Wednesday, December 31, 2008

keeping up with the times

Well, i've gone & done it. Chris took me out last night & bought me a new fancy pants cell phone, to replace my dinky tracfone. We will be cancelling our home phone w/in the next couple days, so if you need my new phone number be sure to let me know! :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Once Again in Santa Barbara

"It's Christmas once again in Santa Barbara
There is not a chance that it will snow
Palm trees are swaying in the warm breeze
Back east it's 10 degrees below

I can hear the mission bells are ringing
State Street is all dressed up in Christmas Cheer
Kids are counting days 'til Christmas morning
It's my favorite time of year

It's Christmas once again in Santa Barbara
There is not a snowflake to be found
No sleigh rides, no snowmen like you see on the Christmas cards
Oh But we've got a lot of Christmas in our hearts

Some folks say it doesn't feel like Christmas
If you can't look outside and see some snow
I don't recall that it was snowing in Bethlehem 2000 years ago

Trees hung with lights and decorations
Families gather by the fireside
This scene would make a perfect Christmas card
As long as you don't look outside

It's Christmas once again in Santa Barbara
There is not a snowflake to be found
No sleigh rides, no snowmen like you see on the Christmas cards
Oh But we've got a lot of Christmas in our hearts "

Composers: Barry DeVorzon and Micheal Towers

one of my favorite christmas songs. :) ... now if only i could find a way to buy it. :(

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to you all! May your new year be filled with new discoveries of God's love for you!

One Photo

I took LOTS of pictures while we were in New York, but haven't had much time to go through them. so while you're waiting.... here's me & chris at the Top of the Rock --72 (or something) stories above New York.

Me having lots of fun.... and chris - tired of me taking pictures. :)

Did i mention that i dyed my hair blonde?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 4 in NYC

our last day. lots of fun! very new yorky

Today was the coldest of all... high of 31 degrees.
went to the Statue of liberty. There were all sorts of little street vendors that were fun to browse. my favorite was the one w/the hot apple cider. :) Then we waited for HOURS to get on the fairy to see the statue. We had to go through all sorts of security. They don't tell you all that *before* you buy the tickets. But, she was beautiful. we're glad we went. Got to watch the sun set behind the statue. wow.

Then we visted Ground Zero (the former site of the twin towers). That was really neat. They're building 6 towers in the their place. pretty cool.

From there, we tried to see Trinity church, which we've heard a lot about, but it was closed. so we got on the subway & headed toward Central park....but we decided to hop off at Times Square. WOW! very busy & exciting! so many lights! very cool...then back into the abyss of the subway & up at Central park. There, we got to experience New York hospitality at it's finest, when we waited for a carriage ride, and some guy tried to tell us how terrible they are, and that we should ride in his bicycle trailer instead. Then we got to watch a fight between the people at the front of the carriage line & the people in the back, who were cutting. And then we got kicked off of a carriage, because *we* were at the front of the line, and apparently, the carriage driver feels angry about having to serve people in a civil fashion. bu we *finally* got on a carriage, & had a lovely ride around the park.

afterward, we went looking for a gift for my mother in law, in a nearby shop. When i asked how much a crystal bowl was, i was able to talk the guy down from $350 to $100, just by saying, "that's not in our budget." hee hee. :)

off to the subway again, & back to Times Square where we had some authentic New York pizza for dinner. Even though it was cold, & old, it was probably some of the best pizza i've had. yum!

Then, back to the subway, & to the hotel. Now we've got to pack & be out of the hotel by 4am, which is 1am CA time. EEK!

good night!

Friday, December 12, 2008

day 3 in NYC

no more rain... no more broken umbrellas lying around.

we woke up at 10:30 this am. laid around awhile, & went downstairs to get breakfast. They were closed for breakfast, but said they would open for lunch in 1/2 an hour. so we waited & got a lovely lunch. Chris was feeling sick from a cold he had before we left home, so we came upstairs to our room & watched a movie that we had rented before leaving SB. Then we took a nap, & woke up around 5:00pm. FINALLY got out the door to see NY around 6 in the eve! Went to dinner at a fun italian place called Alfredo's. They were the first place to make Fetuccini Alfredo - back in 1914, so of course i had to order some. The best i've ever had. After dinner we walked around a little more, and now we're back in the hotel, at 11:30 NY time. lots of fun details i'm leaving out, but i'm gonna go be w/my honey - who's glad to be back in bed. :)

tomorrow: a carriage ride at central park & maybe a visit to an art museum..and the statue of liberty??

Thursday, December 11, 2008

here we are!

left home at 4 yesterday. arrived in NY at 6 this am. i got sick on the taxi, so we got a hotel room & crashed til about 12:30. We've got a room on the 22nd floor, in a hotel that overlooks the brooklyn bridge. very FUN!!! This evening, we took the subway to manhattan & watched a cirque du soliel at the Madison Square Garden. what a blast. i think everyone should see a cirque du soliel at some point in their lives. they're amazing! tomorrow, we don't know what we're doing yet. so much to see! so much to do! it's rainy & windy & cold. I've got a tally of how many broken umbrellas i find on the street. we've seen 23 so far. And that doesn't include the piles that we saw in the trash cans. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Off To The Big Apple

This afternoon, at 4:00, Chris & I leave for New York!!! Can't wait to see the big city all deck out for Christmas. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

12 days of....

With thanksgiving just a few days away, i thought you might enjoy watching this video, to help you get into the holiday spirit. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

American Red Cross

Saturday, we spent *all* day taking a class with the red cross, so we could work with them to help with the fires. It was an incredibly boring five hours, but I really learned a lot about the red cross. I've used them to get my CPR or First Aid certification, but i didn't really realize what else the did.

They're available to help with any kind of disaster, even a single home fire - it doesn't have to be a huge, city-wide thing. They help people get back on their feet, after their disaster - which means providing a place to stay (shelter or hotel), and any kind of resources a person could need to get started again. Right now, where we are, they're going out to the burn areas, & passing out clean up kits for people - shovels, brooms, gloves, eye drops, etc... whatever they could use to help them clean up the mess that used to be their home.

And I'm amazed at how *very* organized they are! they have checklists for EVERYTHING! That way, anyone (like me) could just walk in on their first day, & open up a shelter - or whatever else. Also, they work really hard at being prepared, so that when a disaster does strike, they have everything they need. So they have all sorts of agreements with businesses all over town, so they can get all sorts of supplies for free from - whomever. (McDonald's supplied our lunch for the day of our class) --which, by the way, give a huge tax write-off to the donating company.

On Tuesday, I was "activated," & got to help for a couple hours while all my kids were at school. They were sending out trucks to so hand out the clean up kits. I really wanted to do that, but since i wasn't available all day, i just got to help load the trucks. Then i went upstairs to help make phone calls.

It was really cool, & i really liked being able to help. And now i have great respect for the Red Cross!

More on the Fire

1,940 acres burned
100% contained
231 residences destroyed: 151 City of Santa Barbara, 80 County of Santa Barbara;
9 residences damaged
Damage assessment is continuing
319 parcels currently remain under evacuation
756 firefighters and support personnel
23 injuries from smoke inhalation
3 burn injuries
Estimated firefighting cost to date $5,700,000

The firemen were able to keep the fires under control, so they didn't spread any further than where they were the first couple days.

The people started returning to their homes on Monday. Very sad to hear about the devisation out there. I heard one lady talking about her dad's was caught in the fire, & the metal melted down into the street. now the car is fused to the street!

I think i mentioned before, that the fire was in a *very* wealthy part of town, so a lot of expensive property was completely lost. One man had museum pieces in his home!

But the fire is contained, and now begins the recovery process.

Westmont, the local college was hit hard. about 50 college kids are needing a place tostay, because some of the dorms were burned (we've offered to house a couple of girls). Tons of faculty lost their homes. One of the worst hit was a family with a little 4 y/o boy, and she's 6 months pregnant. They lost EVERYTHING. the fire grew so qickly that they just had to run out as fast as they could. so they had no clothes, no toys for their child, no baby supplies for the next... So our church adopted them & is trying to gather things together for them. We're planning to throw a baby shower later, for her.

Friday, November 14, 2008

update #2

random facts & news bits:

it's supposed to be crazy hot (90 degrees) and windy today - but not as windy as yesterday.

the fire is 2 1/2 miles from the shore.

For you movie buffs, the news people just mentioned that "scarface" was filmed out where the fire is burning. Also, a local hotel which is near the fire was site for "the postman aways rings twice."

"Publicists for [Rob] Lowe and [Oprah] Winfrey told the AP the celebrities' homes had not been destroyed and neither was staying in the area Thursday night." just in case you were worried about them.

Montecito suffered a major fire in 1977, when more than 200 homes burned. A fire in 1964 burned about 67,000 acres and damaged 150 houses and buildings." - fox news

"Due to the firefighting activities in the area, water reservoirs have dropped to dangerously low levels."

as of last night, at least 2 people had to be helicoptered out to burn centers for treatment.

10 injuries from smoke inhalation
3 burn injuries (1 firefighter and 2 residents)

1,000 firefighters on the front lines.

5,400 residents have been evacuated.

over 100 people slept at the local shelter last night (no celebrities mentioned ;~) ). That's sad to me, b/c that means there are over 100 people who don't have any friends who can house them! :(

Animals Sheltered at Santa Barbara Humane Society:•20 cats, 9 dogs, 1 pig, 4 horses, 11 miscellaneous small animals - just in case you were worried about all the little critters. :)

update #1

Chris went out and bought an antena for our TV last night, so we could get one grainy news channel. The fire is burning mainly in Montecito, which is where a lot of famous people live on large estates. When we were watching last night, the footage of the burning buildings, the houses were enormous! If you feel like doing some celebrity sightings, you might want to go check out the local evac. center. --maybe i should go check it out & see if my good friend, Kenny Loggins is there. ;~)

They had a few helicopters dumping water on the fires through the night, using infrared goggles. Now that daylight is here, there are all sorts of helicpters flying around.

waking up this morning to the news, we heard that Westmont (chris' alma mater) lost about 8 buildings, including some student housing, and 12 faculty houses. 2,500 acres have burned and over 100 homes have been lost. The yard where chris' company keeps all of their equipment has been put on evacuation alert. Before we went to sleep last night, we set out a few things that we would want to grab quickly, just in case we had to evacuate. So far the fire has stayed a safe distance from us. It would have to go through downtown S.B. before it got to us. It's just hard to feel 100% safe, since the winds are so crazy.

If you'd like to hear more, Fox News has a good article w/photos. it's pretty sad when the national news gives you better coverage than the local news! - but seriously, i think that's just because all the local news is just trying to tell everyone the wheres & whens of evacuations & school closures. Our schools don't close for snow days, they close for fire!

This should be an interesting weekend!

As a side-note, the local radio station just mocked the national headlines: "We're being reffered to as a 'wealthy enclave.' For those of you going to work this morning, struggling to make your mortgage payment, you can be comforted with the fact that you live in a 'wealthy enclave.'" :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

another wildfire...

Just thought you'd all like to know that we have a HUGE wildfire burning here in the mountains just above town. It started about four hours ago & is growing like crazy. We have really strong hot winds that are blowing down the mountain - sometimes at 75 miles/hour. It's making this fire spread really quickly. I heard one news source estimate well over 60 structures that he saw burning. It also sounds like the local college (which chris attended) has lost several buildings. All of the students are currently locked in the fire-proof gym. It's hard to tell what exactly is happening, because the fire is so huge & moving so rapidly, that it doesn't sound like anyone has any exact news. The people on the radio just said 20,000 homes are w/o electricity, and 400 acres burned. The firefighters aren't giving any estimations as to how much is contained, because it's completely out of control.

We don't have TV here, so we're keeping up with the news w/our local radio station, and KEYT, live video feed from KSBY and one more.

Bippity Boppity Boo! - or something like that.

okay... it looks like my blog is in desperate need of an update, so i thought i'd share a few pictures from halloween.

normally, i don't dress up, but since my in-laws were going to be enjoying halloween with us, my very creative mother-in-law, & sister-in-law thought it'd be fun to do a group costume, and since they did all the work how could i resist? :)

We were the 3 fairies from sleeping beauty. I think i was flora - but i've never seen the movie, so i'm not really sure.

Didn't they do a great job on the costumes!?

People *loved* seeing the three fairies & everyone gushed over how wonderful it was & asked to take pictures. What a strange feeling to be a celebrity. :)

Chris was a MasterCard commercial. :)

Chloe was a waitress

The Boys were bees. It's truly impossible to get a good picture of those boys. they just can't hold a decent smile for more than half a second! I finally gave up. This is my best one of about 5.

Evy was a Ballerina Butterfly

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Chloe's wish list

Chloe told me this moring that she's added a few things to her christmas wish list:

an iphone
a wallet (to hold her $1,000?)
and some make-up

She couldn't understand why i was laughing so hard at her request.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy halloween everybody. :) my in laws are coming into town soon, & we'll all go to a church carnival together. what are *you* doing?

we had no time to do the pumpkin thing this month, so we ran to the "pumpkin patch" & got some pumpkins last night. Thank goodness for K-mart, because we didn't have time to carve them, either. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My weekend

Chris went away on a men's retreat over the weekend, which left me with *lots* of time to do *whatever i wanted* (aside from the part when I was dealing with kids ;~)). So... on friday night, i went to my aunt & uncle's house & took pictures of their family for christmas. Then i spent the rest of the evening with my mom. Saturday morning, we spent the morning tie-dying. it was a BLAST! we made all sorts of fun shirts. maybe i'll take a picture some day & show you. After that, a friend came over, & i took pictures of 3 of her kids. THEN, i had a sitter & went out with a girlfriend, and THEN, another friend joined us, and we watched movies until late. So fun!

Here's one of the pictures that i took of my friend's daughter. isn't she darling!?

Friday, October 10, 2008

A New Post For Heather

I have some extra time to post today, so i thought i share some of my favorite pics from this summer when Heather came to visit. Thanks to Eric for the pics of me & heather together. :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Night Life

When we got our dog, we put her food outside, right under our bathroom window. Shortly after, we realized we were going to have to bring the food inside every night, to protect it from the many animals who wanted to share with Shasta. What usually happens, though, is that we forget, until we hear an animal crunching the food outside, & then we have to scare them away, so we can grab the food really quick. Well, the other night, i looked outside, & found this guy.

He refused to be scared away! i made noises to scare him, & he just came closer! at one point, he started to walk away (finally!), so i opened the door to grab the food. As soon as he heard the door open, he turned around & came back! i'm sure he would've walked right into the house, if i had let him! this is him, standing on his hind legs to get a better look at me, while I took his picture through the window.

Over the last week or so, Ricky Raccoon has been replaced by a cute little Pepe le Pew. (I'm not about to take pictures of him! He might spray me!) and once, he brought his whole family of about five skunks! The other night, after we scared him away once, I looked out the window, to investigate a little noise outside. There was Pepe le Pew, having a stand off with Ricky! Pepe was fiercely guarding the food, so Ricky wouldn't get to it. Finally after several flicks of the tail, & some scratching at the ground from Pepe, Ricky turned around & walked away. I was kind of surprised, since raccoons are known to be kind of agressive. But i guess nothing compares to a little spritz of Stink.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Children Are Missing

I'm convinced that someone has abducted my children and replaced them with perfect little angels.

The other night, for dinner, I made chicken with stir-fry veggies. The second we were done praying, my boys were begging for the vegetables. "I want *lots* of vegetables, please!"
and then, "Wow, Thanks for making such a great dinner, Mom! This is my favorite meal *ever*"
"MMM! This is *so* good!"
"Can I have *more* vegetables??"
"I *love* this broccoli!"

As far as I'm concerned, whoever took my children can keep them. I like the new ones *just* fine!" :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The little old lady...

Zachy always amuses me with the way he looks at the world. He thinks about things (or at least verbalizes them) differently than most kids. Today, i picked him up from preschool, & asked him what he did. He tod me that he heard about "a very old lady who ate all these different animals, like a dog and a spider and a fly!"

so I said, "Wow! that's crazy! I wonder why someone would do that?"

"I'm pretty sure she did it to catch the bugs that she ate.... and i'm pretty sure she ate the whole cow without even cooking it or anything! .... mom, do people drain the blood out before they eat things like that?"

"yes, they drain the blood."

"how do they do that?"

"I don't know... but you know, Zachary, that's just a pretend story. A person couldn't *really* eat all of those animals, right?"

"yah... unless they cut them up into tiny little pieces first.... and did you know she ate a dog and a cat, too!?"


"yah! and they tickled her in her tummy!"

:) I don't think I know of anyone who's put so much thought into that story before. :)

I wonder what he'll be when he grows up. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008


Thanks, Jessica for sending me a link to some fun videos by MercyMe, a popular christian band (well-known for their song, "I can Only Imagine".)

I thought all my girlfriends from Dallas would enjoy this one, especially. ;~)

Here's "Ice Baby"

and "The Eye of the Tiger"

"Never Gonna Give You Up"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the "talk"

okay... so i've tried & tried to figure out a way to post the podcast of sunday's service onto this blog, but i can't figure it out. So, if you'd like to hear it, you can go to our church's website and click in the bottom left-hand corner where it says "new life podcast." That will bring up an itunes window w/a few podcasts from our church. ours is "road trip #4." you can click on the play button in the top left corner to listen, or if you want to keep it forever, because you think we're so wonderful ;~), you can click on "get episode," & it will upload to your itunes account (assuming you have one).

There was a couple who shared before us, so our interview doesn't start until about 33 min. into it. you can skip them if you want (though they had a great story, too). FYI, we shared for about 30 min, so if you're going to listen, you'll wanna make sure you have enough time. :)

if any of you computer geniuses who read my blog, know how to post the podcast, let me know, & i'll do that instead. :) Thanks!

Let me know if you listen, i'd like to know your thoughts. :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Last Sunday

Over the past month or so, our church as been doing a series called "road trips," where the pastor interviews a person or two, and they share their testimonies. This has been a really powerful time, because not only do we get to know the people in our church in a little deeper way, but God is really using these testimonies to touch everyone's hearts.

Last Wednesday our pastor asked, Chris & me to share *our* testimony on Sunday. Most of you know, to some degree, that Chris & I have had a pretty difficult marriage over the years, but this last year, God has really changed Chris' heart, which in turn, has really changed our marriage. After giving up on ever serving God together it felt like such a privilege to be able to stand up share this story! It felt like such a gift from God. :)

Through the week, Chris & I prayed & prayed, & were very excited to see what God would do on Sunday. It went wonderfully! I felt like we were both able to articulate the things we wanted to say, and we got to speak about how God reached into our hopeless situation & bring life. Lots of people talked to us afterward & thanked us for sharing. it was great!

This was a very special time to me, especially, because it was the first time for me & chris to minister together publicly - it kind of felt like an initiation. :) The fact that we would ever be able to do that, after where we've come from is truly a miracle!! Yay, God!

I can't wait to do it again! ;~)

Monday, September 08, 2008

a great Zachy-ism

along with the theme of, "you're the best mom i ever had!" that i posted a couple weeks ago:

zachy told me today, "you're the best mom in the whole world! I never had a mom who gave us our *own* sponges and let our grandma come visit!" :)


Chris got his passport on Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Today was the kids' first day of school! YAY! CRAZY, BUSY, FUN! Tomorrow will be Chloe & Gideon's first day to *go* to school! (if you remember, we're doing a homeschool/public school hybrid) They're just THRILLED! Tuesdays (9-2) will be art, P.E, music, & spanish. Thursdays will be history & science, & the rest of the time they'll be with me! Evy & Zachy will be in preschool tomorrow, too, so i'll have TWO HOLE HOURS to myself! yay! i plan to spend some time w/my mom. :) should be nice. --in the future i plan to use that time for shopping & errands. Thursdays, Zachy will be in preschool, but evy will be w/me.

It's a really full schedule, but i'm really excited. YAY!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"wow! I get to give birth *and* change diapers!"

My mom found a bunch of cute cards the other day & showed them to me. The were so wonderful that I had to check out the website of the person who made them. These were some of my favorites. :)