Monday, September 13, 2010

Odds and Ends

These last few weeks have been busy as I've been trying to get used to a new routine. Yet I've been surprisingly at ease with all of the changes to our normal schedule and I'm thinking that this school thing is working out just fine for our family for now. I'm thankful. We had gone back and forth on whether or not to home school for quite some time yet felt like putting Isaac into the classical christian school started by our church was the right fit for us at this time. I know not every family feels this way. Some people are strongly for public education and letting their children be little lights in their community. Others are strongly for homeschooling and keeping their children as near to them as possible. Some people make decisions based on what is best in their current circumstances. And gasp-some people end up changing their minds later and switching their children around.

That's what is so amazing about families. God made them all unique with their own culture. No two families are alike even if they share all of the same principles. We are responsible to give our children a christian education and whatever we choose to do with that is our choice. We just use our wisdom and discernment. But we can't make that decision for our neighbor. It's just not simply ours to make. Again, we're responsible for our own. So I'm thankful that we have Isaac where he is now. Yet, I don't feel threatened or uneasy by choices other families around me make. I love that God gives us freedom to make these decisions. I'm not saying anyone has made me feel uneasy about our decision; I just know there can be certain stigmas about education and which way is the "right" way to do it. I know women, myself included, can easily fall into this trap so it's good to keep things real.

Onto other news, we had a bit of a road trip this weekend. It was our first big trip as a family of six. We drove six hours south to LA. Unfortunately the events prompting our road trip were very sad for our family. Steve's aunt passed away a little over a week ago. But when you've got a car full of kids, a road trip, even for a funeral, can still be tons of fun. I wouldn't have said this earlier in my parenting years because road trips then were merely something to be endured. But now that we have two that are a bit older, they've become much more fun. And no it's not because of the DVD player.

All of you can scream and yell all you want but we just DO NOT believe in the DVD player in the car. Don't worry...I won't judge you for doing it. In fact, all of our friends do it and we still love and respect them. Believe it or not, we even have a player in our car that the original owners installed before we bought it. We've just never used it. Not even once. Because we are so old school and stubborn that we want our kids to learn to look out the window and play. There I said it. Shoot me.

Yet that's what they did. And it was glorious. Steve and I got quite a bit of talking done (which was wonderful for me), we listened to a parenting series titled Loving Little Ones by Doug Wilson (excellent by the way) and we laughed a lot. Elliana and Josh also did their share of crying but with the older two in the back laughing, it felt doable. Almost sane. Is that possible? I must admit this was our first road trip of this kind. Even though we still have two little ones, I feel like we're moving past the crazy, everyone is screaming, baby is always hungry, somebody peed their pants kind of road trip...into a fun family adventure (note I said adventure...crazy things still do happen, they're just happening in an overall better context). Thank God. Those were some long years.

The hotel stay was great. The boys got to swim, explore the grounds, jump on the beds and laugh at the phone and TV in the bathroom. It's the simple pleasures. They loved the continental breakfast as well. It wasn't even the most comprehensive one I've ever seen but they thought it was great. We made about three trips over to the lobby to get everyone's food. It was seriously hilarious. While we were getting food, Steve had taken Joshua to go get coffee at Starbucks. So I had everyone else. Believe me, it's easier to have the other three in these type situations. But Ellie decided she didn't like the carrier so instead of letting her scream (she's got a pair of lungs) for everyone else to hear, I simply took her out but then I only had one arm. So Isaac and Caleb helped me heap bagels, yogurts and other treats onto plates and we just took trips. Because there's a lot of us. And we need a bunch of food. And most importantly, because it's FREE! The looks from others cracked me up.

You have to remember we were in Southern California where having even three kids is a bit on the rare side. And that's fine. We're not offended at all. But I do love to see peoples' reactions. One older gentleman said to me, "I sure hope Dad isn't sleeping in right now! (because Steve wasn't there helping with the food)." I grinned widely and replied, "No...he's getting coffee with the other one." The look of incredulity on his face about made me laugh out loud. I had to restrain myself. It was comical. Like I've said before, Steve and I wonder about our sanity sometimes too that we've had four kids in five years. We wouldn't change it but it has been a bit crazy. So we don't fault anyone else for thinking us a little off our rockers. But it does cause for some great laughs here and there. I enjoy that part.

Speaking of Southern California, I learned some new things. First of all, call me naive, but I never knew there was such a rivalry between UCLA and USC. I must say, I picked up on that right away even in the restaurant the night we arrived. All littered throughout BJ's were college sweatshirts from the two schools and many people passing by were talking about the universities like they were the BEST. And they're simply not because everyone knows Cal Poly is but I digress. Not that I was intentionally eaves-dropping but we did have to wait awhile to get seated and I was just sitting nursing the baby.

I was fascinated by this. Even the pastor doing the memorial service mentioned UCLA as the best school (Steve's aunt attended UCLA). Whoa! That's when I knew for sure that the animosity between the schools was not a joke! It's a serious rivalry! As a simple visitor I felt pressured to choose a side. So, on the record, I have to say when pressured into a decision, that I'd have to stick with family loyalty. My mother-in-law went to USC and really, I don't want to let her down. So...Go Trojans! I hope you don't miss Pete Carroll too much and that Lane Kiffen can still lead the Trojans to victory...and hopefully the Rose Bowl (after their two year suspension that is).

I also saw some interesting clothing styles which is normal for Los Angeles. Some were cute. Others weren't. I'm not one for fashion at all. In fact, I've already posted about that here. Yet, sometimes I'm thankful that I'm not given to every fashion whim because some of them are so, so WEIRD. The shredded jeans thing is way beyond me. Can someone please explain it?! I think it looks horrible. I can understand an occasional strategic rip in a pair of jeans that could make them look a bit more appealing sans rip can a bunch of rips up and down the front of the pant legs be taken seriously at all. Come on. I know I'm usually behind the times on these things but, I know you'll never catch me in a pair of those. No thank you.

Wow...I'm sure rambling and being sassy today. Not sure what's gotten into me. It must be Monday and I just washed and folded five loads of laundry. Yep...that's it.

Anyhow, lastly I mentioned that we went to a memorial. The memorial was for Steve's aunt. I only had the pleasure of meeting her a handful of times but every time I did, she made me feel like I was extremely special and that she had known me for years. That's just the kind of person she was. Needless to say, the service was packed. As in all of the overflow rooms were packed and people were standing in the halls kind of packed to honor her life. The eulogies were beautiful and we were so glad we got to be there.

One of the funniest things I remember about her is that she would always send this same birthday card to Steve's mom year after year. In fact, if I'm remembering correctly, they sent it back and forth to each other. Not sure if that was done in recent years but I remember it being a tradition when Steve and I met. I thought that was so funny and clever. I never had a sister so, I can't necessarily understand the bonds of sisterhood they all shared, but I do know that Mary was loved by both her sisters and will be missed tremendously.

Which brings me to this little peanut. She has mellowed out so much in the past couple of weeks and I'm really just starting to relax and enjoy her. Having her seriously makes me think that maybe, just maybe we should try for a fifth just to give her a chance at having a sister. Because I never had one. And she has three brothers. And maybe it would be worth a try. But then again, it could be another boy and then what would we have accomplished? We would've just made her boy world even larger. Hmmm....we'll have to see about that.

Yet in the meantime, I'm taking every.single.little opportunity to dress her up as much as possible. Because after three boys I deserve it. Ha!

Have a great week and Go Trojans!


  1. I was so thankful all your family could join us at Aunt Mary's memorial service. My sister read your blog faithfully and often called me to share her delight in hearing about each little Dauphin.

    Yes, the back and forth birthday card! Why buy a new one each year. Just use the same one over again. I already miss her!!

  2. Go Trojans is right!! :-) Gosh, my dad went to USC and we were RAISED in Cardinal and Gold! :-) I seriously thought that UCLA fans = non Christians for awhile. Until I found out good friends of ours were UCLA fans. I was baffled!

    And yes, on the no-DVD player in the car! I'm not swearing it off forever, but we just did a 10.5 hour car ride to Estes and didn't bring a DVD player (not that we have one...) and Bella did just fine, playing with her dollies and books. I guess I always felt like I grew up with no DVD player and turned out okay, so... so can my kids! :-)