Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eight Years Ago Today

On Sunday, our pastor did a sermon on marriage. He said that second marriages last an average of only 7 years. We were happy to know that we've beat the odds. This is the 2nd marriage for both of us, and we have made it 8 years as of today. Can you believe that Molly, (my cute little flower girl) barely came up to my waist at that time? She's taller than I am now. From left to right: my son Joel, Ray's son Dan, my daughter Jess, me, my dd Molly, Ray, his daughter Sarah, my son Jeremy and his dd Ruth.

We figured we had the perfect wedding party right there, and didn't have to ask anyone else to be in the wedding. The good news? I can actually get into my wedding dress again! Some day I'd like to be able to get into the size I wore the first time I got married, but that's not likely to happen any time soon. Oh well. Happy Anniversary Honey!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Week 26 Weigh-In ~ When is a + NOT a Plus?

Just a quick note to let y'all know how I did this week. Not great. I was really hoping to have lost 2.6 lbs to make it to an even 40 lbs off, but alas it was not to be. I've been back on WW (that's WeightWatcher's not Wordless Wednesday), for just about 6 months now, and that woulda been cool. I actually had a bit of a gain...if you can call it that. The scale said I was + .2 That's only 1/5 lb.If you think about it. But it's not like I've actually been "behaving" lately, so it's my own fault. We've just had too many things going on and what with relatives visiting from out of town and family parties etc...Well, you know. But then, I can always find excuses...I just gotta get back to the basics and start writing down what I'm eating and try to find some time to get walks in. I haven't been doing any of that lately. Tonight, after weigh-in, Ray's kids took us out to the Olive Garden for our anniversary which it will be in about 3 minutes. I'm going to go find our wedding pic and post tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hangin' With Hayden

Dan and Hayden arrived late Monday night. Dan stayed home on Tuesday with Hayden and me, but the last couple of days he and I have been hanging out alone, doing a little bonding while Dan is helping out his dad with a construction project. It didn't take Hayden long to start crying every time I got out of his sight. To me, that means that he has accepted me as one of his (temporary) primary caregivers. I also get a big smile from him when I come back into the room. We went through all of this with my grandson, (CJ), when we had him for extended periods of time too. When Mom is around, they generally prefer her to anyone else of course, but in the absence of Mom or Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, (or even Auntie Molly), will do. Here are 3 generations at the airport: Dan (oops, he blinked), holding Hayden, with Ray by his side. Can you tell Dan belongs to Ray? Actually, if you look at Grandpa Ray's baby pictures, there's a bit of a resemblance between him and Hayden too! Here are a few other snapshots I've taken of the boy since he's been here. We've been having a lot of fun with him. Here he is just being cute:

And here, as you can see, Auntie Molly actually got him to go to sleep!
I guess Grandma shoulda washed his little face before taking this one, but he's still pretty cute.

And here...still with a dirty face after supper...he's showing off his two front teeth. Actually he's got four of them already, and appears to be working on a few more at the moment. We're having a great time with him, and in case his mom is checking this blog from Italy, everyone says hi T!...and we'll give your little boy a hug and a kiss for you.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Guess Who's Coming To Visit?

Dan and Hayden! Dan is my step-son, who lives out in Oregon with his wife, Terianna and their son Hayden who will be 9 months old tomorrow. "T" is gone to Italy with her mother for a couple of weeks, so in the meantime Dan and his son will be visiting with us here in MN. Here is a pic of the two of them:

We'll be picking them up at the airport tonight at about 11 pm. Grandpa Ray couldn't be more excited. We haven't seen Dan since we went out to OR for their wedding last Summer, and we've only met Hayden once. He was here for a very brief visit with his mother in July. It should be fun to get to know him a little better this time. Dan is going to help Ray with a job he's doing while he's here, at least for a couple of days, which means I'll get to spend some quality time alone with Hayden. I'm sure we'll have a great time together while his dad and grandpa are busy working. It's been awhile since I've had a baby in the house, but I'm sure it's like riding a bike, it will all come back to me, right?

It's Time...

To put my money where my mouth is, (or maybe my F.R.O.G. where my blog is), as it were. You've probably noticed my little frog sitting at the top of my blog with the words, "Fully Rely On God. Basically, I've decided it's time to practice what I preach.

A few weeks ago, I applied for a full time cake decorating position at our local grocery store. I had an interview and it seemed like everything went really well. Then I even found a few pairs of white pants and a brand new white polo shirt at the Used Clothing Center and garage sales, just in case I was hired and needed them to wear to work. The way things were going, I felt sure that this was where God was leading me. He was going to provide a way for us to have a stable income, and either be able to keep our home, or at least help pay the rent for wherever we end up moving to. I had the prayer chain from my church praying for this job and everything. I anxiously waited over the weekend, and then I got the call on Monday. This is what the bakery manager said, "It was a tough decision, but we decided to go with another applicant." She told me she would like to keep my application on file in case something opened up in the future, but this was not to be my job. Okay. I can deal with that. God must have something even better planned for my future, right?

Well, now that it looks as though there is no longer anything we can do to keep our house, we have been looking for one to rent. We thought we'd found the perfect house. In town, within walking distance to almost anywhere we might want to walk to. It was an older home, but had been nicely remodeled. The problem was, there was another couple in somewhat the same situation as we are, that the owner had promised a week to make their decision whether they wanted it or not. They took the full week...and then decided "Yes", they would take the house. Okay. I understand. We still don't have a place to live and I don't yet have a job to help pay for wherever we do end up renting either.

Ray and I have just started a new bible study at church. It's called, "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day". Interesting title, don't you think? It's based on a book by Mark Batterson. The title is in reference to a man in the bible named Benaiah, who ended up as one of King David's body guards. Apparently, he had killed a lion in a pit in the middle of winter in his past, which I guess made David decide to hire him as his bodyguard. Anyway, it's all about how we don't see the big picture that God does, and we don't know what He is preparing us for in the future while we are going through difficult times. The things we go through that seem the scariest while we are going through them, are oftentimes the greatest experiences we've ever had, once we are looking back on them. He also talks about how our "unanswered prayers" are usually blessings in disguise.

So last night, after reading some of this book, I got to thinking. I have this friendly little frog at the top of my blog telling people to "Fully Rely on God", but do I really do that??? Not usually. I'm always trying to figure out a way to fix things without going to Him first. I need to get it through my head that God knows what He's doing and that He is in control of everything in our lives... and that He will get us through this too. We just have to trust in Him!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Same...Only Different

Here's a pic of Bonnie and me. That's me on the left if you can't tell us apart. When we were growing up, we were always about the same height (and weight), and had the same eye and hair color. Even with all the weight I've lost, we are not anywhere near the same weight these days. We appear to be about the same height, although I thought that I was a little taller once upon a time. I think I was slouching a bit in this pic. Of course our eyes still match, and we do still have the same hair color...except these days it comes out of a box. I wonder if she uses the same brand as I do? Only our hairdressers know for sure.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here

Like a lot of other Americans at this not-so-great moment in history, we are about to be forced out of our house. We bought it almost exactly 3 years ago, thinking at the time that house values would go up...well...you all know the rest of that story. Anyway, now we find ourselves in the position of finding a place to rent. I've been looking at a few places in the area and in the meantime, searching for a job for myself too, so that we can actually come up with the rent each month. We will probably not be saving much by renting, that is, if we want to live in anything better than a 100+ year old cracker box. I guess that would be better than living in a cardboard box...but not much.

I really hadn't necessarily wanted the world to know about our predicament, at least until we had exhausted every avenue of possibility as far as trying to avoid the foreclosure. But close friends and family pretty much know what's going on anyway, so here it is for all the world to see.

There is one house in town that I have looked at, and it seems like it would work for us. Ray is going to look at it with me tonight, and hopefully, if the other couple that has "dibs" on it decides they don't want it, it will be our new home soon. Please pray for us through this difficult situation. I'll keep you updated as much as I can without a c0mputer of my own. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Week 24 Weigh-In ~ A Pretty Good Week

I was debating whether or not to weigh in last night at all, since I'm considering doing the every other week thing now to save money...but in the end, I bit the bullet and went and weighed in. The week had gone better than I thought, even with eating an entire order of Applebee's honey bbq'd wings last Friday night, I ended up losing 1.8 lbs for the week. That makes a total of 37.4 lbs gone so far.

We have been having fun visiting with my cousin and her husband, and went to a family get-together at my Aunt and Uncle's house on Sunday night. Tonight will be their last night in this area, so we're going to my parents' house tonight to see them one more time. I'll try to post some pics of us as soon as we have a 'puter that works better than this one does. I'm taking two computers to my son in a few minutes...hopefully he can make one that works out of the two. Catch y'all later...

Friday, September 12, 2008

My "Twin Cousin" is Coming!

Okay, I know there is no such thing as a twin cousin, but that's what Bonnie and I have called ourselves all of our lives. We were born on the same day at the same hospital 50 years ago, and loved to spend time together as kids. We would always pretend we really were twins, and actually had a few people convinced that we were during our teen years.

Shortly thereafter, her family moved to Iowa, where she met a man that she fell in love with, and ended up graduating from H.S. early and marrying him on May 1, 1976. He had joined the navy and was home on leave after basic training if I remember correctly. After that, they were off to IL...then CA...then the island of Adak in AK, and eventually to Burlington, WA. I'm pretty sure I've only seen her twice in the past 20 years...and that was out there. Bonnie and Tim have not been in MN in probably about 26 years. But they will be here this afternoon! I'm so excited. My gf's are a little upset with me that I'm skipping out on "Ladies night out" at church tonight to have dinner with my cousin and our husbands...but they'll get over it. I'm sorry I won't be there, but I hope you understand and have a great time without me. I know I'm going to laugh 'til I cry...cuz that what Bonnie and I do whenever we get together.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday # 10 ~ Can You Find The Girl in This Picture?

Molly in the butterfly house at the state fair. Do you think the butterflies thought she was a tree?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Week 23 Weigh-In ~One Third of the Way There!

I decided to skip a week last week, since I would have had to go elsewhere to weigh in because of the Monday holiday. I also didn't think my weight had changed much in either direction that week, so it didn't make sense to spend money driving to another town just to find out nothing much had changed. Also, as a lifetime member, I really only have to weigh in once per month so as not to pay for skipped meetings. Just for the sake of saving a few bucks, I may not weigh in weekly from here on out. I know it helps me, so I'll probably try to weigh in at least every other week.

I got myself another gold star last night, having lost 2.4 lbs over the past two weeks for a grand total of 35.6 lbs gone!!! Hallelujah! I was really hoping to be about halfway done by the end of this month, (which will be 6 mos. back on program), but I guess I'll settle for being a little over 1/3 of the way there. After all, I didn't put on over a hundred pounds in a year, so I shouldn't expect to take it off in a year, right. I'll just keep plugging away at it. I honestly haven't been trying all that hard lately either. Just think what I could do if I actually tried.

In other news, I had hoped to blog this week about rejoining the workforce after 8 years at home, but that was not meant to be. I had applied for a full time cake decorator postition, but was not the one chosen in the end. I was told it was a difficult decision though, and that they would keep my app on file in case something else opens up. Hopefully it will soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday # 9 ~ The Battle of the Sexes Begins at a Very Early Age!

My grandson CJ and his "girfriend" Lily

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Fair-ly Good Day

I did update my fair food blog earlier, but I thought I'd let you in on some of the other things we occupied our day with...other than eating.

The day started out on a positive note. As soon as we got to the ticket booth, (where Ray was about to buy two adult and one child's ticket), a complete stranger walked up to me and handed me a ticket. He said, "Here, I have this extra ticket, tell him to buy just two, not three." I barely had time to thank the nice gentlemen, because I had to catch Ray before he had paid for our 3 tickets. We ended up getting in the gates for the price of one adult ticket ($11), and one ($5) discounted "kid's day" ticket. Wow! Thank you Lord! That was a blessing. The lady at the gate didn't question Molly's age either. She really is only 11...but since she's already 5' 8" and starting to "develop", most people assume she's 2 or 3 years older than she really is. Molly really wanted to go to the state fair this year for one particular reason. She had seen a percussion group called "Sheltered Reality" at an art camp that she attended this summer at one of our local churches. This is what they look like:

They had just started playing when we got there this morning around 10:30 AM. They were not far from the entrance, so we found them and sat down to watch. They were kind of loud...but very fun to watch. They're very precise in their drumming and choreography skills. They also have a positive message to give to the kids. Molly not only sat and watched the first show, (during which they invited audience members to come up and be guest drummers with them)...but she wanted to stay for the next show, which was to start about 10 minutes after the first one ended. Since Ray and I did not necessarily want to sit through another hour of this, we gave Molly my cell phone and stayed in the area...but did a little wandering through nearby buildings etc. I was a little nervous about doing that, but she wasn't going anywhere. She was enamored by them.

I'm pretty sure their music wasn't the only reason Molly wanted to sit through the next show ... I'm guessing she was also somewhat enamored by this guy. It's just a feeling, she'd never admit it, but if I were her age I'm pretty sure he's the one I would have picked as the cutest.

This year, we did remember to go check out the "Miracle of Birth" building early in the day. The last time we went to the fair was also on the last day, and by the time we got there, the animals were packed up and gone. Here are a few pictures of what we found in there:
These cute little piggies were less than 24 hours old. There were 13 of them in the litter. How would you like to take care of that many squealing babies all at once?
These sweet little twin lambs were born at about 3 am on Labor Day morning. One was 8 lbs and the other 8.5 lbs. That's about the size all of my kids were. Of course, I had mine one at a time.
They actually ended up being the last babies born in the birthing barn during the fair this year.

Next, I took a picture of some turkey chicks, where I overheard a man say, "I heard this is where all the chicks hang out!" Clever.

How long do you suppose it takes for these little guys...


...to become these yummy drummies?Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Next, we went to the DNR building, where every year, an artist gathers "found objects", (junk), in the rivers and makes some sort of a sculpture out of them. That made for a pretty amazing looking "creature"this year. It looked like some giant ant, ready to take over the world.

Then they had a list of things that you were supposed to find in the sculpture. Here's Molly marking them off. If you found at least 11 of the items, you got a prize. She found 16. She got a cool poster for her effort.

At 3:00 we headed back to Baldwin Park for the last "Sheltered Reality" show (at Molly's request of course). She had decided she was going to be brave and get up on stage with them this time! That should be fun to watch. It was... except, just before she went up there, some rude lady sat down on a bench in front of us...and opened her huge umbrella, obstructing our view!

Some people just don't think. Yes, it was hot out and an umbrella for shade would be nice...but it sure doesn't help the people sitting behind you to be able to see what they sat down (before you) to watch!!! Thankfully, Molly ended up standing just to the left of the obtrusive umbrella so we were able to see her.

I thought she did a very good job keeping up with them. She said it was really hard to do, and that she kept messing up...but I didn't notice. I was proud of her. I have about a 3 minute video of her performing with them, and if I can figure out how to open it I'll post it here one of these days. Right now, I don't think I have the right program to do that on this computer. At the end of the show, since it was their very last show for this year's fair, they invited Sean Emery up on stage to join them. Sean Emery is a sort of Robin Williams-esque sort of character, who has entertained on the same stage for years with a juggling, unicylce and comedy act. That was rather amusing too. At one point he was on his knees balancing the cymbal stand on his chin, while others were hitting it. We came back for his last show at 5pm. After that we headed toward our last stop of the day, which was the Butterfly House. On the way there, we meandered through the fine arts building:

Someone had incredibly made this US map out of indivdual pieces of wood. It was really beautiful. There were a lot of cool exhibits in there, but this one was probably the most interesting:

Those are all rolled up one dollar bills. Nothing was glued down, they were just stuck in this metal grid thing. As we studied this piece of "art" we had to wonder if the border had at one time been completely solid, or if the artist had done it this way on purpose. I figured no one would be mean enough to steal from the letters...but how many would have been tempted to snitch a couple from around the border? We also wondered if they had a camera on the exhibit, documenting the whole thing. If so, it is sure to appear on Dateline or at least You Tube in the near future.

Finally, to our last destination of the day, we sat down and enjoyed watching the butterlies flutter about landing on people:

Ray found a new friend immediately. There were some butterflies who's wings were a beautiful blue color, but the blue only showed when their wings were spread open. I was trying to capture that with my camera, but they were not being very cooperative about it. Here you can see a little bit of blue.
Some people were literally collecting them and putting them on their person. Molly thought it would be a good idea to set a few on her purse while she was in there. She found one that was extremely cooperative.
This one was obviously a show off! It stayed that way on her purse until she finally took it off and gave it to someone else when we left.

Other people were sort of accidentally collecting them. This women walked around for the longest time with a butterfly attatched to her derierre. I guess he was a "butt"erfly? She ended up with one on the top of her head, and a few more on various body parts all at the same time.

Here's Molly posing for one last picture with her little friend, before she said goodbye to it. After that, we hitched a ride on a free trolley that makes the rounds through the fairgrounds, and rode that all the way to the gate. By that time, my feet were killing me, so I was very thankful not to have to walk several blocks to the parking lot. All in all, we had a pretty good time, and hopefully made some memories for Molly, that she can look back on in the future. Some day, she may even get over the fact that we would not let her bring her BFF, Liz along for her to hang with, so she had to spend the entire day with her parents. Aren't we cruel? Parents can be so embarrassing!

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