Friday, February 27, 2009

Birthday Girl

My birthday isn't officially until Sunday, but yesterday there was an early celebration.  Check out my birthday present:

That's right, I'm now one of those snobby Mac users.  I can hear a faint gloating snicker coming from somewhere around the Detroit, Michigan area.  Seriously, I am very excited to get acquainted with my new best friend and thankfully, the Apple store offers many free classes for new Mac owners.

Jeremy, Trista and the kids came over last night to join us and my parents for dinner.  Trista walked in with an ice cream birthday cake, compliments of my thoughtful sister, Linda.  It was yummy!   Thanks Linda!

Today, Mom & Dad treated me to lunch buffet at Mazzios.  It's shaping up to be a very good birthday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reflections...Part III

Wed. 2/18
  • today's temps climbed up to the 90's
  • poured concrete in wall header around entire perimeter of bldg. via a bucket brigade
First, the men would fill their wheelbarrows with concrete (at least we didn't have to mix our own this time).
Then, the women would pull the concrete into buckets.
Then the buckets would be handed up to the men on the scaffolding.Where it was poured into the headers.
  • we had the whole header poured before lunch! with only 10 gringos and 10 Mexicanos
  • the afternoon was spent putting up frames for the classroom ceiling/upper level floor

Me, breaking up dried concrete to clear the footings for the framing being put up.
  • after a beautiful dinner at Las Generales, we had a devo in the Lashley's room and had a wonderful time of sharing our personal feelings about our time spent here in Mexico
Thurs. 2/19
  • checked out of our hotel and ready to leave for job site at 7:30 a.m.
  • truck poured concrete into columns we had built (thank goodness we didn't have to use buckets for this)
I love this picture that Barrett took, cause it shows how big this building is going to be.

If we could've only stayed a little longer, we could've finished this classroom space.
  • at lunch, our sweet Mexican friends presented us each with a gift of cookies and a "thank you" book marker
  • we left Santa Monica after lunch and despite a couple of "small" delays on the road and at the border, we were soon back in the U.S.
Although it felt good to go "home," it was equally as difficult to leave. The people in Mexico are so appreciative, kind, loving and joyful and there is so much work left to do in Santa Monica. Working alongside brothers and sisters from Ft. Gibson and Mexico is an indescribeable experience. To have Neal beside me on this trip made it even more special. We can't wait to go back!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reflections...Part II

Tues. 2/17
  • Since we only have 5 rooms, we don't get the free hotel breakfast. This morning Rick takes us to a road-side taco stand that is owned by one of the elders.
  • afterwards we're told that the flavorful meat filling was cow lips! okay...right here I want to say something really clever and witty, but...I'm at a loss for words....cow lips....seriously...
  • before heading to the job site, Rick takes us to see the school of preaching in Monterrey where Ladie attended

  • our cooks made a special lunch for us today...even brought in an outsider whose specialty is gorditas
The gordita master

Lovely Ote

Sweet Lorena, Ladie's wife

  • to thank them for the lunch, we sang a few songs for them...the singing wasn't near as good as the meal
  • today I made use of my Spanish class and actually communicated with some of the hermanos y hermanas (brothers and sisters), which was a real thrill for me
  • after dinner, Eunice and Sergio took us to the top of a hill in the middle of Monterrey where we had a fantastic view of this, the 3rd largest city in Mexico

Reflections on Mexico, Part I

I'll try to just post the highlights of our amazing experience in Mexico. It's always difficult to describe and I'm still rather emotional, so I'll be brief....maybe.

Sat. 2/14

  • up at 3:30 a.m., pick up Carol Bogle in Sapulpa at 4:30

  • arrive at Ft. Gibson 5:30 a.m., load up and leave at 6:00 (we have a very prompt group)

  • drive to Tyler, TX and pick up a plate compacter that Rick Owen has secured

  • arrive at destination in San Antonio for the night

Fort Gibson & Sand Springs Missions Workers

Barrett Vanlandingham, Everett Laney, Glenn & Robin Elliott, Dan Rouse, Carol Bogle,
Neal & Lita Blevins, Jerri Collins, Kenny Lashley

Sun. 2/15

  • after breakfast and a devotional, start out on drive to Colombia (less busy, "easier" to cross border than Nuevo Laredo)

  • Ha Ha Ha Ha's NEVER easy to enter of the members of our team doesn't realize his Visa from last summer is still tucked inside his passport...agent quickly snatches it up and says that since he didn't "check himself out of the country" in June, he'll have to wait 24 hrs to cross over

  • we try everything, including a bribe....I mean offering to pay a "fee" let him in--but he won't budge

  • plan B is to try to enter at Nuevo Laredo

  • since there's no line for a vehicle permit, we decide to go ahead and get it while we're here, but the agent has trouble understanding the paperwork (no habla ingles) ....anyway...long story short, some bilingual tourists finally help us and we manage to get the permit and head over to Nuevo Laredo

  • after another long wait we get our 10th Visa

  • while waiting at the border, Neal spots an amigo! What are the chances? Francisco (worked for Neal at BP) is there trying to get his work visa, but is short on cash (about US$240)

  • our kind, compassionate group chips in and "lends" him the money, which he promises to pay back the next day (he's staying in Monterrey and knows where our hotel is)
Mon. 2/16

  • we are all amazed at the progress that has been made on the church bldg. in Santa Monica

  • devo with Rick before starting the labor...Rick brings us up to date on the political unrest in Mexico

  • it's cool and misty, so there's LOTS of mud, but a great day temperature-wise to work

  • busy all day building forms for the columns/pillars

Arriving Monday morning.


  • lunch was fantastico! delicious tamales (which I don't even like in the U.S.) and spicy beans....yum yum!

    Everyone is pretty tired and dirty after a long but rewarding day.

  • Eunice (daughter of Ladie, the preacher) and Sergio (one of our Mexican brothers) accompanied us back to our hotel and took us to a great hamburger joint for supper ... the biggest hamburger I've ever eaten...but we still wanted ice cream to cool down our digestive system from all the hot & spicy food (or something like that)

sorry, Barrett, but this is one of my favorite pics--so much for the diet

  • oh yeah, I can't forget--while we were hanging out in the hotel lobby, waiting for everyone to go eat supper, guess who shows up? Right! Francisco! Not only did he repay us all our money, but he came bearing gifts of assorted cookies.
Okay, so it looks like I can't be brief, after all. So I'll split this up a bit so that I don't have such a long post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesdays with Lauren

Lauren hadn't eaten breakfast when I picked her up this morning, so we took a cereal bar for the road. This wasn't my first rodeo, so I grabbed the blanket I carry in my car and covered her lap. That didn't go over well. "I can't like Bubby's blanket."'s not Bubby's, it's Nana's. "Is YOU blanket?" Yes, and you're a very lucky girl that Nana's letting you get sticky cereal bar all over it.

On the way to BSF, she sneezed and I said, "Goodness." She sneezed again, and again I said, "Goodness," to which she said, "What in a woold?" And we both giggled. (Keep'll need to remember this later.)

When I picked Lauren up at her class, (she's so much like me) she was "reading" a book to the other kids and holding the book up to show them the pictures. (Note to self: Go NOWHERE without your camera.)

Our weekly visit to Janet's office was good.....and bad. She loves to get in Janet's top drawer and today she found the petty cash container. While I was busy with paperwork, Janet was watching her stuff money into her Gap jacket pockets. Cute. Oh yeah, it's all fun and games until you have to give the money back! She reluctantly gave up the change, but she was NOT letting go of the bills. Uh uh! No way! I knew where this was heading. So we left Janet's office in tears. I put her in the car seat and she grabbed her blanket to wipe her snotty nose. I said, "Did you wipe your nose on your blanket? WHAT IN THE WORLD?" This brought out the "Trista look" and she informed me, "Non't say not funny!"

Meanwhile...back at the ranch.

Just when I thought we'd been through the whole gamut of purses, she decides today to carry the backpack/purse. What can I say? She loves variety. And today we had to put a Bible in it.

Leading me to the car for a little play time.

If you're wondering why my head is jammed into the roof of the car, it's 'cause
I'm sitting in HER CAR SEAT!

And she's at the wheel.

It was a beautiful day...until this evening when the thunderstorms and tornadoes came we enjoyed a walk to the pond with Gracie.

What a sweet pose.

Look out, here comes Gracie.

Gracie, you're gonna mess up my photo shoot!

Too late.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Grey Matter

Grey's Anatomy is going downhill, if you ask me. And I know you want my opinion. First it was the whole "Denny" thing. Too weird. If I have to see those puppy dog eyes and hear his sad, "Izzie Stevens," one more time, I'm gonna puke. But I think he's gone for good now, don't you? We can only hope. Then, just when we're rid of Erica and think Callie will come to her senses, Dr. Robbins, the new Ped. Surgeon, who I really liked up until now, steps onto the scene. Barf! And if I didn't already want to purge, there's Lexie and Mark. How does anyone get any medical help around Seattle Grace when all the docs are secretly (or not so secretly) rendezvousing in the on-call room? And although right now it's all very sweet, it's only a matter of time before Christina and Owen are doing more than brushing hands. I may have to cross this off my list of "shows I watch." And Amy, if this is what hospitals are really like, I don't want you to be a nurse. Kyle, you can quit Med School NOW.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tuesdays with Lauren

Subtitle: Lauren's Obsession with Purses

After Bible Study, I was putting Lauren in her car seat and she saw my purse. She really wanted to hold it on her lap, and momentarily forgetting that she's TWO, I obliged. She was unusually quiet on the trip home, which should have been my first clue. Here are pictures of the crime scene:
Yes, Trista, this explains the powdery substance on her nice suede coat. It's a mixture of Arbonne Personalizer and Altoids residue. She also managed to smear lip gloss on random surfaces.

Over the past month Lauren has graduated from the classic clutch (Jan. 2)...

to the shoulder strap (Jan. 20)...

To the biggest honkin' bag I own (Feb. 3)...

Favorite phrase of the day: While we were coloring, she tried using an adjustable pencil, with several colors, that is missing a piece and therefore the tip just retracts into the barrel. After several unsuccessful attempts, she exclaimed, "Hey, what's the deal?"