Monday, December 29, 2008

What do you think of this title?

People have asked if it makes me feel old to know that I will be a great aunt. It really doesn't. It makes me think my brother is old, though, since he's becoming a grandfather! Though, Phil is the same age as he is & our kids aren't even teens yet. I know great aunts are like way down the list on relatives that get a title when new babies come. Aunts are just, well, aunts. I've been Aunt Lori far longer than I've been Mom, Mama, Mommy, or MOTHER! When you get to be a great aunt, you don't get a new name. You're still just Aunt.....

I've decided that, since this baby only has ONE paternal blood-related aunt, that I should get a special title. After watching Prince Caspian, from The Chronicles of Narnia, and hearing the titles of the Kings and Queens of Narnia, I have chosen my royal title. I shall herefore and forevermore be known to little Bean as (drum roll please):

Aunt Lori, the Great!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Little Secret!

I have some news to share. Here's a hint:

Don't worry, that isn't inside of ME! It's our new GREAT nephew or niece/cousin! My nephew & niece-in-law, Nils & Katie, are expecting their first baby in late July! We were asked not to share the news until ALL the soon to be grandparents were told in person. That involved waiting for the "kids" to take a trip to Missouri. They are back, so I am feeling at liberty to share this!

Nils is the oldest grandchild of all of his grandparents (including steps), and, of course, the oldest child of his parents. This will be the first great grandchild for all of his grandparents. I am not sure if Katie is the oldest grandchild or not, but this will be the first grandchild on both Nils' and Katie's sides of the family. A very exciting event, indeed!

I don't know if they realize that in our family we have 2 special birthdays towards the end of July: My Grammie, Elsie Lindgren Berggren Anderson, was born on July 20, 1906. She went to be with the Lord in 1996, just a few months before our second special birthday: our Bethany was born on July 25, 1996. Before Grammie died, she said, "Lori is having a baby boy on my birthday!" She was wrong on both counts, but it made me SURE we were having a boy! We think it would be just too cool if the baby comes on July 25th!

To find more about our new baby, currently being called "Bean" (this seems to be the new term for babies early in utero---it is always fun when my friend whose last name is "Green" is pregnant---Green Bean, then she has a Green Baby), visit their website: I thought the title was a really clever play on the popular show "John and Kate plus 8!"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This may be my shortest ever blog post! I want to wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas. Enjoy your family and friends. Enjoy the food and festivities. Most of all, enjoy the blessing of knowing that a tiny baby came to earth over 2000 years ago who was all God and all man. He came to teach, to love, and to serve. But His greatest gift to us was His death and resurrection at Calvary. We, in our best efforts, are nothing before Him. We can never be perfect or flawless on our own, yet that is what He requires. It's only when we accept that HE is perfect and on the cross carried all of the punishment we deserved, that we can know that we will stand face to face with our Lord one day. As the old hymn goes, "Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me?"

I pray that you will have a BLESSED Christmas rejoicing in this greatest Gift of all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The BEST Christmas show ever!

After our adventure of getting stuck on the roller coaster on Saturday, we rode a few more rides and then went to see a Christmas show. I had made the girls go into one of the buildings (a huge restaurant hall/area) where they were singing holiday songs, some Christmas, some wintery, the music you hear on the radio or in kids' shows this time of year. The ladies who sang and danced had the most muscular enormous legs I've ever seen! They were obviously this way from years of dancing, and they were good dancers. But, the Christmas show we went to see was a REAL CHRISTmas show. There was a "nominal fee" we had to pay to get in. They never printed anywhere what the cost was, just that a "nominal fee" would be charged. We were a bit miffed that we'd have to pay for a show when we already paid for the park.

Wow. I don't think I can describe this show well enough, but I will say it was worth far more than the "nominal fee" (which was only $3 a person). There is one theater in our Six Flags that is a real indoor theater with a huge stage, red velvet curtains on the sides, theatrical lighting, etc. The set was made to look like a hillside in Bethlehem. Then, in the background were the buildings in Bethlehem where lights twinkled in windows as if candle were flickering. The first character was the narator. He looked like what I picture an old Jewish shepherd in that time period to look like. He sang. BOY, did he sing! The song was "Night of Miracles" (an original score, I think) that had some traditional carols intermingled. We knew there would be live animals, so it wasn't a surprise that when Mary & Joseph came in, they had a real donkey. A bit later there were sheep. These were sheep trained to respond to the dropping of food or something. They came out of different entrances and went right to the food! A bit later a little girl, who could not have been more than 5, if that old, sang Away in a Manger. We were just awed that this tiny person could sing in front of all these people about our dear Savior's birth! And she was GOOD! Natalie pointed out that the adult, who must have been playing this girl's mom, was holding a baby donkey! A REAL LIVE BABY DONKEY!

This play had angels flying, lights flashing as the angels approached the shepherds, and a whole flock of shepherds listening! About the only thing we are pretty sure that wasn't authentic looking is the baby Jesus. We couldn't see that closely, but Natalie pointed out that they walked away from the manger at one point to sing, so she's pretty sure they didn't have a real baby. She also said, "How could a baby sleep with all that racket going on?" LOL!

The best part was near the end. We were sitting very close to the back. Phil has a thing about liking to be in the BACK of an auditorium for a "good view." We heard a very strange loud noise. I honestly thought it was an adult with mental disabilities who was angry and throwing a fit. Turns out Phil thought the same thing. I find it odd that this particular sound triggered that thought, but it did. I didn't look, thinking it was a person making the noise. The rest of my family looked, then poked me to turn around. It was a CAMEL! They had to duck the camel's head into the door and he was none too happy! That thing was HUGE!!! I have never seen a camel. I thought maybe I had at the zoo, but I now think I have never ever seen one. Correction, HAD never seen one. Remember how we were sitting in the BACK? They brought the camel in through the back so we saw it UP CLOSE and personal. Or almost personal. We wondered where the 3rd wise man was when only 2 walked in with gifts to bear. The 3rd one was on top of the camel! (Yes, I know the Bible doesn't tell us there were 3 wise men OR that they rode camels---we had a pastor teach about that one Christmas---but it's still what's stuck in our heads! AND yes, I know that they didn't show up at the manger, but hey, it was a 30 minute production!)

The play was done with such taste, such elegance where it called for elegance, and simplicity where it called for simplicity. It captured the essence of what must have happened that glorious night. When the play was over, the entire audience rose to their feet in applause. When the little girl who sang came for her bow, I am sure we all roared with our applause!

If you live in or near the San Antonio area and would like to audition----wait, that's the game show closing. If you live near SA & plan to go to the Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, it is WELL WORTH IT to pay the $3 more to see this production.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We're STUCK!!!

This evening we ventured out to enjoy "Holiday in the Park" at Fiesta Texas (6 flags). It was daylight when we arrived, but even without all of the lights on, the halls were decked with boughs of holly and a whole lot more! One section of the park was closed off, but the rest of the park was bedazzled with glitter, lights, greenery, and just all kinds of Christmas FUN STUFF! We typically have the same "route" every time at this park. As usual, we started at the Road Runner. It's the "small" roller coaster, but is a far cry from the "Rollschucoaster" in kiddy land. It's listed under "Thrill" rides and is one of those, "Don't go on this if you have back problems or are having a baby" kind of rides. The girls know it so well that they smile at the camera as we zip past it. You know, those cameras they station so that they'll have a look of total fear or total excitement. Our girls make goofy faces at it going 60 mph or something!

The four of us got into our seats and enjoyed our first ever COOL ride on a roller coaster. It definitely beat going in 95-100 degree weather! We passed our last big curve and were heading into the loading dock when the ride abruptly stopped. It normally stops in that spot, but not quite that harshly. Then it meanders around a curve into the loading area. The only problem was after that stop, it didn't meander. We sat there for a few minutes then this lady (in the yellow & blue) spoke over the intercom, "Can you hear me? If you can, raise your hands." We could and we did. "We are having technical difficulties. Please remain calm and stay seated facing forward," were are directions, as if we were going to jump ship or something! Seriously, even though it was up high, because of where it was, there were wide walking areas on both sides of the cars. I think my biggest concern was for the boys in the front of the car. They had asked us for the time earlier & asked if we thought they'd be done by 5:30. We said, "Oh, yes, you have plenty of time." It was only around 5 at the time and we were near the entrance. Little did we know exiting would not be as fast! I felt better when I saw some young ladies yelling across to them, so they knew the boys were stuck on the ride. Here are some pictures of the experience. Bethany put on a bored face just for this picture. It was a scrapbook moment. You can see behind Natalie's hair the line of people waiting to ride the Road Runner. Ahead of us was the turn where we would be sent into that little wooden "house" looking building.

It really wasn't a bad experience, but what a great story to be able to tell, "One time we got STUCK ON A ROLLER COASTER RIDE! It just quit running with us on it stranded hundreds of feet in the air!" LOL! AND I got to call my mom from the roller coaster. I've never done THAT before!

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's all over but the crying.

There is no crying involved, it just sounded good. THe end of semester "hoopla" at our homeschool co-op marks the end of a semester. Imagine that! It means for about 6 weeks I don't have to help plan lessons for American Girls, haul half my kitchen to the church, deal with one child who can't WAIT to get to co-op, except for one class which she seems to really not like, despite the fact she really likes the teacher, and trying to get the other child out of bed on Tuesday because she'd like to be home doing crafts. It also means we can HOMEschool for a while with, hopefully, limited interruptions. I don't know when I will have a day at home. I mean, totally, completely, without having to leave the house, at home.

I do love our co-op, but the break is wonderful.

Natalie danced tonight in the program, and I am attempting to upload a video to my blog. I've never done this, so not sure it will work, but I'm trying!


After reviewing the situation, I thought I better think it out again. Wait, that's a song from Oliver! You can see the scene here: We THINK that it is better to pay the fine than to tell them the ticket is not true, because we also had an expired registration sticker, which is noted on this ticket. We had just recently realized BOTH cars' stickers had expired. I do not recall getting the paperwork for those. Then again, this past year is such a blur that they could have arrived and been tossed out accidentally. The irony is that I was GOING TO THE TAX OFFICE when I found the ticket. I guess I will save taking on City Hall for another day. But, I will ask them why it is illegal to park in front of your own house for more than 24 hours. Sometimes on the weekends we do leave it there that long.

And, in case you wondered, it is illegal to park against the traffic (even on a neighborhood cul-de-sac), that is facing the wrong way. It's also a code violation to have a mattress outside for more than a certain number of days (like 3 days max). I know this because our neighbors had one out and were going to take it to someone's house (and I THINK it was in the back yard) and they got ticketed! I still say the police have FAR better things to do than slap down code violations over cars parked the wrong way and mattresses!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A ticket for WHAT???

I am about to "take on city hall" so to speak. We went out to the van today & found a "parking violation" on it. The violation? "Using a public street for storage for more than 24 hours." In other words, it is illegal to park in front of your house, even though our driveway will only hold one vehicle. And everyone else in the neighborhood has cars on the street. Okay, so even if that IS a parking violation, here's the kicker: It said "greater than 24 hours." That van was in the DRIVEWAY all weekend b/c Phil fixed the brakes on it. The Buick was in the street. Oh, yes, they were facing the right way, too. That's another violation if you park facing the wrong way. In your own neighborhood. On a culdesac where no one comes. In front of your own house. Anyway, the van was parked on the street from approximately 6:30 or 7 p.m. last night until 1:30 p.m. today. The policeman obviously made the assumption that it was there more than 24 hours. The other note: dirty windows. WHAT? I just cleaned the windows on the front & rear. I did not just clean the windows on the sides in the back. All other windows were clean. And what does that have to do with a PARKING VIOLATION? We live in San Antonio where it's dusty & our cars are parked under trees. Trees have pollen. Pollen falls. Trees have birds. Birds poop. He didn't say "bird poop on car." Maybe because I'd CLEANED IT OFF THE WINDOWS---those "DIRTY" windows.

So, now I get to spend a day downtown, probably have to pay for parking to go try to prove that I did NOT have the van parked there for 24 hours, and find out where in the world we are supposed to park a 2nd car in a one car driveway. This is just how I wanted to spend a day. I was FINALLY going to have a day at home. I thought we might actually do some homeschooling AT HOME this week. Thank you Mr. Policeman for a Very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Prayer request for my aunt and Phil's uncles

If anyone happens to be reading my blog, would you please pray for my Aunt Olivia? Her husband of over 60 years died tonight. It wasn't too long ago they found out he had cancer. This week he went into the hospital & they said he would not recover. They were in the process of finding out about hospice care.

Aunt Olivia was only 14 when she married her husband, who was 21. She has health problems, too, which will make this time even more difficult. They have 3 married kids, and 6 grandchildren who will miss Uncle Gene greatly.

My mom is the only remaining "inlaw" in my dad's family. All 3 of his sisters are now widows. I am planning on Mom keeping her position for quite some time!

We are waiting on funeral info. With my dad in recovery for his leg, I offered to drive them to Waco for the funeral in our van so he can keep his leg elevated. Our last day of homeschool co-op is Tuesday, and I also have an out of the blue paying job on Tuesday morning, so we'll see if the funeral ends up being that day or another one.

This week, the same day we found out that Uncle Gene was declining, we also learned that Phil's Uncle Gilbert had emergency surgery in Arizona. His wife, Dorothy, is recovering from a fall that fractured her arm, but it can't be casted. Their daughter Vicky is there taking care of her mom, and now her dad as well. Please pray for all of them in these days. Gilbert is the oldest child of the 8 in my mother in law's family.

We also found out that Uncle Don, the baby of the family, got bad news about his cancer (for which he has undergone multiple treatments). His counts were up (a bad thing). He is now on a waiting list for a trial treatment here in San Antonio. Please pray for Don and his wife Dawn.

Thank you!

When is THIS Mom's retreat?

I'm ready for a retreat. Not a church retreat or a ladies retreat. Just a single, solitary retreat somewhere without an oven or dishwasher, where gluten free food is catered right to my door and dishes are promptly carried off to wash somewhere else, and there are NO kids, NO washing machines, NO shopping that HAS to be done, NO bills to pay (or figure out HOW to pay), NO kids, did I mention NO KIDS??? And there will be a large whirlpool tub awaiting my arrival. And chocolates on my pillow. And a lovely table area for me to do some crafts just for fun! And ample time to work on my Bible Study. And no kids. Then, I'd like to return to a clean house, doubled in size, where I can actually PUT things away (it's quite difficult to put things away when there is no space). AND I'd like to find cheerful children who are grateful for all they have and don't complain or whine or scream over something as simple as taking a bath (heaven forbid we should ask them to bathe 2 nights in a row). Then, I'd like to open my checkbook, and freely write checks to pay every bill early and have plenty left over to give to many people in need.

Really, is this asking too much?

At the Car Wash.....

Our cars stay filthy and really need a trip to the car wash. They live under trees (both over the driveway and over the street where they are parked) and birds live in both trees. Yes, you can imagine what that does to one's car. Add a bit of pollen, some dried leaves stuck in various openings, and acorns, and it's just not a pretty picture! However, before going to the car wash, I think I will share with you two lessons learned by two different friends.

Last night one of my friends decided to drive her car through the car wash. It was dark. It was cold. It was late at night. It should have been a simple task. You sit, you watch, you wait, you drive away. That is, it's simple, unless, unbeknownst to you, your sun roof has a leak. It would become more complicated if the sunroof were leaking just above the driver. Remember, it was cold. Yes, cold water started coming in through the sun roof (it was closed, I'm guessing!). My friend reached up to somehow catch or block this rain, but this caused the water to run down her arm onto both the front and back of her top. She finally found a cup to hold up to catch what might still be coming in, but she was soaked in water before that point. Did I mention it was cold? She said she & her girls gasped in unison when they saw the water coming in, then burst into uncontrolled laughter. Lesson 1: Never enter the car wash with a sun roof that could potentially have a leak.

Next lesson. About a month or two ago another friend decided to go through a drive through car wash. She must have opened her door to push the right buttons on the little machine that talks to you and tells you how to drive into a car wash. She pulled up and sat back to enjoy a relaxing few moments alone in the car wash. It was relaxing, that is, until the first round of water came by. She felt some water coming into the car. It was then she realized that her door was not really shut well! She held onto the door, pulling it tightly, in fear that the monster wash might rip the door off and take her with it! She sat holding and pulling through the initial rinse, the soap, the scour, the power rinse, and whatever other stages she might have chosen back at that little box that tells you what to do where you have to open your door a little bit to reach. It did end, and she did make it out of there alive. Lesson 2: When you go to the little box with the buttons, be sure to pull up close enough to just have to open your WINDOW, then shut it tightly before following the light that says, "Pull forward."

Or, you could just do the poor man's car wash to rid your car of bird droppings. This involves pulling up to the gas tanks, even if you don't need to put gasoline in the car. Then you begin washing your car off with the window cleaner scrubber and squeegee. This takes a some real talent as you have to do an initial soak, followed by scrubbing, then dip again into the now filthy liquid in that little black holder so you can add a rinse off. Next you squeegee any remaining "crumbs". Then you must rinse again, because you now have tiny droppings in the corners of the windows and crevices of the car. This technique COULD lead to some really weird looking soap marks on your car. That's what I've heard. Um, yeah, that's it. Uh, huh. The neighbor's car must have looked like that. This must be lesson 3: Just have your husband or kids wash the car. You will avoid all 3 incidents listed above.