Welcome to our exceedingly messy, beautiful life: "a big world is OUT THERE WAITING for us to live in every day. Outside, you will find, there is love all around you... It's a beautiful life & it's a beautiful world & it's a beautiful time... to be here!"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008 ~ Hello 2009


Sooooooooooooo Thankful for:
Family
Friends
Sobriety
God's presence & provision
Our home - more than just a roof over our heads
Our Cars - that all run right now!
Food on the table & in our pantry
Indoor plumbing (hot & cold running water)
Luxuries like climate control (Air conditioning & Heating)
Church family & home
Health (mental, emotional, physical)
Growth (mental, emotional, physical)  
Business opportunities

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION?:
To remain grateful in the face of ALL that God chooses to bring my way in 2009.
To have these lyrics be true not just externally, but internally all year long, moment by moment:

"Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be,
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name"

THANK YOU GOD!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pacific Life Bowl

Grampie took Jade, Elle, Lando, and Em to the annual Pacific Life Bowl game.

Elle & Jade & some weird guy
Em & Lando

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Birthday dear Mom-my!

Miss M and went to the Melting Pot for dinner.
We had fiesta cheese, salad, we chose the Mojo cooking method with steak, chicken, shrimp etc., and bananas foster chocolate dessert... YUM!

Mom & Dad
Mom & Miss M
The 3 of us!

HAPPY 39th BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!!

Merry Christmas '08

Christmas morn'.
Our lovely little tree.
Bijou's stocking.
Devo's snowboard.
D's snowboard.
Carving the standing rib roast.
Flying helicopters.
Grampie playing Wii golf.
Cheers!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

PEACE ON EARTH

Ahhhhhhhhh! What a lovely, musical Christmas!

This is Lando singing "I Heard The Bells ON
Christmas Day" by Casting Crowns.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Drummer Boy

Here are Lando & Deevs performing "The Little Drummer Boy" at the new Fuse service.
We'll
try to get an even better copy and post it later, if we can (We have footage of them doing this in the Sanctuary which is nice).

(Thanks Jade for filming with your Flip!)
xo


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Visions of Sugar Plums

Tonight we trekked out into the country 
to the Christmas tree farm 
to pick out the Christmas tree 
which we picked out a LONG time ago, 
when it was just a wee sapling.  

Bundled up in our scarves and mittens, 
we trudged through the snowy field and found it, growing in its winter wonderland.  

D wielded a trusty axe and felled our fir with a few swift chops then he & Lando hoisted it onto their brawny shoulders 
and carried it to the car.  

Afterward we sipped hot chocolate and nibbled fresh-baked cookies.

Ahhhhh... traditions to savor!

****************************

Ok.  So it wasn't QUITE like that.

We trekked 2.4 miles to Home Depot and trudged through the parking lot surrounded by chain link fencing

Miss M, Lando, Stoop (girlfriend), Deevs, Mom, Dad
and picked out a tree we spotted seconds before.  We got to call it our own for a mere $59.99.
OK.
So we weren't exactly "BUNDLED" up.
Some of us wore a jacket.
Some wore a beanie or hood.
Some wore... ahem... a tank top.  
D & Lando DID carry it to the car. 
 
Nope, no cocoa or cookies either (fresh baked or otherwise), 
but we DID go to the Club with Grampie for dinner.

Ahhhh... Memories.


Football Ends

We (or should I say "Lando") played in the semi-final CIF game last night.  
We (or should I say "they") dominated the whole first half and were up at half-time.  
You could tell by the energy between the 2 crowds that both we & they actually believed we might win.
A few BAD calls and a few missed conversion opportunities later and we were neck & neck.  It was CLOSE to the bitter end.  Yet in the end, it turned out that we couldn't overcome all those bad calls and missed chances and we lost 27-22.  
And we are out.  
And football is over.  
It was a one year wonder for our family and we loved every minute of it!

Deevs' Teeth

After a long couple of years, Deevs got his braces off.
His snaggletooth grin is no-longer.  It has been replaced by a straight, gleaming set of pearly whites.  
BEFORE
AFTER
Thanks Dr. H!

(1 down, 1 to go... If Miss M will wear her elastics, she too will be straight & smooth.)


Home Safely

Thanks Ann for pointing out that I haven't posted since vacation.  It DID kinda look like we maybe decided to never come back.  
So I owe a few posts. 
We flew home safely from STT via Puerto Rico.  
Puerto Rico to LAX was 8 hours.  That was a little long for our backs, but we made it.
Good to be back!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

St. John Vacation - Day 11

Our last day of vacation started early, 7:30AM.
Our alarm went off and we hopped up and started packing and tidying.
D had washed all the muddy evidence of off-roading off the jeep the evening before, so it was all house stuff.
Laundry, dishes, packing, putting stuff  away etc.
We filled the bananquits sugar water one last time (by now, they had invited ALL their friends!!!... it was a bananaquit PARTY!)
(I know, this is a terrible picture, but I wanted to show how MANY there were.)
We said goodbye to our view and the house and the island and headed off to the car barge.
We got in line and the timing looked GREAT!  We had guessed (and if you guess wrong, you could be waiting a LONG time for the next ferry.)  We were maybe the 5th car in line... the car ferry fits probably about 20-25.  We got on and departed pretty quickly.  We were chugging away from STJ by 8:45.  

We got into Red Hook and Dad (D) expertly maneuvered through traffic to K-Mart where we purchased a new duffle bag to check (we ALMOST didn't make the 50lb. weight on the way here, and we didn't want to go through that again, so we decided to just check 2 bags this time).
The we picked our way through Charlotte Amalie back to The Green Iguana.  
Sue let us check in early (10:15), which was REALLY nice.  We put our bags in our room,
 got swimsuits on, and were heading to Magen's Bay by 10:40 and on the beach by 11:00.  (Again, nothing short of miraculous left-hand driving by Dad!!!)

Magen's (pronounced like the girl's name Megan) was a big bay, crowded with cruise ship day-trippers.  But we could walk down far enough to get away from it all.
The day was nice enough but we sure missed our beach chairs :o(
We swam and read and napped.
We ate lunch at the snack bar the swam, read, and napped some more.
All in all a perfect last day.

video

We met a young couple from Iowa on the beach and were able to give them some tips and encouraged them to make a day trip to STJ for the day.
We had to go find gas and TRIED to go shopping for a few souvenirs but parking proved to be a nightmare, so we gave up and went back to the hotel and showered and got ready for dinner.
We went to Cuzzin's (local, Caribbean fare) with another couple who was just BEGINNING their vacation and staying the night at Green Iguana.

Our flight is super early in the morning (be at the airport checking in at 6:00AM).
We will be at LAX by 3:45 if everything goes smoothly.
Then we jump back in to high speed life with Lando's CIF game up near Magic Mountain on Saturday night and Miss M's round of 32 League Cup game Sunday.
After having a nice long break, this actually sounds like a fun way to spend the weekend... we are looking forward to it!

Love you!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

St. John Vacation - Day 10

As I mentioned, we started the day with a flat tire (poor D).

We eventually got to leave the house and head to our daily Starfish Market trip 
where we bought our daily sandwich.  By the time we left it was raining and the skies were blanketed in thick, black clouds... not a very promising looking day for our last full day on St. John... BOO!
With the rain coming down fairly vigorously, we decided that our plans of basking in the glorious sun on a favorite beach was not in the cards right then.
So we took off down a new direction (more exploring) and decided 
to hike to Waterlemon Bay where Waterlemon Cay is (WaterLEMON, not melon and Cay is always pronounced "Key").
The hike was over a mile each way.
It was raining so we stripped down to just swimsuits... we didn't bring towels or chairs or anything... just snorkel gear and a couple bottles of water.
We hiked through the dripping greenery along the coast on a narrow trail at beach level.  It was actually a little chilly and VERY wet.
We met some people leaving and they said the snorkeling was good and worth it, so we were heartened.
We got in the water as soon as we got to the little sandy and rocky inlet.
Almost immediately, we saw a sea turtle munching on the sea grass.
We could get VERY close and watch him munch.  He seemed unperturbed by our presence.  Seeing him was GREAT!  He was the first sea turtle of the trip.
We also got to see a lot of great fish, as usual... but the other highlight was the sting ray.  Cool!
When we were done, we hiked back.
The rain had stopped by this point although it was still very gray and dark.
We went to Maho bay (with our good friends, the chickens) and spent the rest of the day there reading, napping, eating, filming, etc.

The sun peeked out in spurts - but it was never the glorious day we had hoped for.
(Although we DID we see two rays frolicking in the really shallow water of our bay right before we left.)
When the noseeums started biting, it was time to leave.
We popped by Starfish again on the way home and bought stuff for dinner (sometimes it is just too much work to go back out).
D has a meeting in town tonight.
I'll probably make dinner.

Tomorrow we pack up and leave here and head over to STT for the day.

St. John Vacation - Day 9

I am sitting here typing this while D is changing the FLAT TIRE on our jeep that we woke up to.  BUMMER!  But it DOES give me a little time to write about yesterday.

We got up early - 6:30AM (which, for all the CA folk is 2:30AM) to get packed up and ready to be down at the docks at 7:30.  We handed in our passports and customs money because we were going to be in British waters and on British soil all day.  We took off on the "Bad Kitty" (I know.  I know.  But I didn't name it) 
for Virgin Gorda (fat virgin).  It took over an hour and a half, but we were zooming across the glittering azure ocean under an expanse of aqua sky with a few cotton ball clouds scattered here and there... who could mind?
We arrived in Spanish Town to clear customs then on to "The Baths".
The "Baths" is short for Batholiths which comes from the Greek bathosz "depth", lithosz "stone".  These are AMAZING rock caves and tunnels and caverns that you can hike through.  There is one cavern called the "cathedral room"... it is SO beautiful, people even get married in it!
 When the light shines in a certain way, apparently, it lights up all the walls like stained glass windows. We had to swim in to this area, so WE DIDN'T GET TO BRING OUT CAMERA!!!  Tell me we were not grumbling and complaining the WHOLE time to each other that we didn't have our camera.  It became the joke of the trip for everyone "Don't you 
wish you had your camera?"... "Oh, this would be a great time for a Kodak moment." etc.
When we got back on the boat, we finally got to take some photos with them in the distance... definitely NOT the same :o(

Then we rode about 10 minutes to Cooper Island for lunch.
The bay was so turquoise it almost blinded.
Lunch was mediocre... thankfully, they was not the point.
Back on the Bad Kitty and off to The Indians for snorkeling.

The Indians were a big out-cropping of rocks off the coast of Norman Island.
We snorkeled around these and saw jelly fish and heard a parrot fish munching the coral (did you know his munching and digesting and *ahem* pooping make sand???).
Our guide, Antonio free dives and can go down up to 60 feet with no tank or anything.
It was fun to watch him swim like a fish while we tourists bobbed above him.

At the end, we headed to Jost Van Dyke (pronounced Yost), another BVI.  
We pulled up onto yet another crystalline beach and spent about an hour there before heading back for St. John and going through customs to come back into America.
What a GREAT trip!

For dinner we went to Morgan's Mango for lobster and steak.
Yummy.
We came back and watched a movie before bed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

St. John Vacation - Day 8

Yesterday was an exploring day.
We 4 wheeled up Bordeaux Mountain road.
It was a little precarious, but D is an AWESOME drive, so I really felt very safe.
We came upon a septic pump truck (STINKY!!!) that was blocking the NARROW dirt road (we were wondering how HE made it up there???)... he had to back up to let us through.
We got a tiny bit lost, but it is pretty impossible to stay lost on a small island... and a lady who live up there pointed the way.  

We went to Skinny's (Skinny Legs) for lunch.
Known for their excellent burgers (in all the guide books).
After, we tried to go to Vie's beach again, but it was
 CLOSED... her personal, private beach is closed Sundays and Mondays... go figure?
We decided that as long as we had made the hour long trip to the east side of the island, we should stay over there and find a beach.
We went to Salt Pond Bay again and swam & read for about 2 hours, then the no-see-ums started to come out and bite, so we headed back to the jeep and drove home.
We decided to stop by Fish Bay before going home and look at a lot for sale (cheapest lot on the island)... we didn't actually find it yet, but we DID run into two ladies out walking their french bulldogs who asked us if we wanted to see something cool.
Of course we said YES!
They gave us directions (turn right, find deserted, brown, psycho house, find narrow path, 5 minutes to the beach).
We drove around for probably 1/2 hour TRYING to make sense of her directions.
Is THAT the psycho house?
No!... it can't be.  Could THAT be the trail?  No... it can't be. etc.
We finally DID find it and it was BARELY visible from the road... maybe 2 feet wide.
We couldn't BELIEVE this could be it.
But sure enough, a few yards down into the steep tree tunnel, there was a Virgin Islands National Park sign!!!!!!!  It was almost like they didn't want you to find this trail, but if you did, THEN they would tell you it was part of the park system. 
 Crazy!
So we climbed down the 5 minutes and were on this ENORMOUS deserted beach (Reef Bay).  We were the only people on it.
We had wanted to go there, but the only route was a 3 mile hike down (and 3 miles back up!)... so we thought we wouldn't get to see it.
It was beautiful... there were crashing waves and lovely white sand.
(And this REALLY secret trail to this beach made our other secret beaches seem like imposters - haha.)

Came home.  Made dinner.  Watched a movie.
Ahhhhh.

I'll write about today in a little while.