Here we are!

Here we are!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Daniel's Winter Holiday Program

Tonight was the Liberty school program. It's a holiday program that happens in winter but you can't call it a Christmas program. The classes sang songs about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, because I think if they wanted to sing about one religious holiday, they had to sing about all of them. Daniel sang great and did great motions. We invited the grandparents to join us and then have dinner at our house afterwards. One set showed up, but not the other. After the four-minute kindergarten presentation, we went outside to collect our son and lost track of the grandparents. We figured we would meet up at our house. So we called the other set on our way home and found out that they completely forgot about it, but might stop by anyway. After arriving at home, I finished up the last minute dinner stuff and waited for the grandparents. And waited. And hoped they didn't get into a car crash. And hoped they didn't misunderstand "come over for dinner" for something else. And called all THREE of their cell phones (which were all turned off). And then finally decided to start feeding the family amidst Michael's cries of disappointment. What was that parable about the feast without any guests? Knock knock. One set of grandparents arrives. Ding dong. The other set of grandparents arrives. All is well and tummies are full. Daniel was so proud and excited for his program. Finally it's his turn to be a star!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Neufelds-Dancing With The Stars

Send your own ElfYourself eCards
Happy Anniversary and Merry Thanks-giving
This week, six years ago, we moved into our house. It was so nice to be back in a house after living in an apartment for a year waiting for it to be built. The first morning in our house, I sat at the dining room table and soaked up the bright sun pouring in through the east window. The cramped apartment had one window and we ended up with houseplant casualties. What was supposed to be four months in a tiny place with three people and a dog turned into 12 months and four people and a dog. Thanksgiving week six years ago, we got the keys and started painting. Michael brought along his box of Legos to play with while we painted and Daniel was a month old so he slept. This is a favorite picture of our house because it is so "springy" looking. When things turn brown about this time of year, I like looking at the green plants and the sunshine.

Christmas creep!?! Yesterday I heard Christmas music playing on the radio station (isn't that supposed to start on Thanksgiving Day?). And there were no less than three houses on our block already decorated for Christmas! Today I went to Costco and Michael's and the parking lots were full. Regardless of what the news is saying about people hanging onto their wallets, I have not seen the evidence yet. Maybe it's the $1.75 per gallon gas. It's not even Thanksgiving (and even I like to have most of my Christmas shopping done by then). But I must admit, I started listening to Christmas music back in October. I got Sara Groves' new Christmas CD for my birthday, so I had to crack it open and give it a spin. It's a fun new album with new tunes on old Christmas favorites. She has a few originals as well, like "Toy Packaging," about the frustrations of trying to get a new toy out of it's packaging, and "To Be With You," reminiscing about family holidays. So... in the meantime, I'll get ready for a yummy Thanksgiving dinner and wait 3 more days to start decorating for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Batman and Sonic the Hedgehog

Michael's Jack-o-lantern

Daniel's Jack-o-lantern

October Highlights...

Michael got to play soccer in the rain and he thought it was pretty cool. This was the week that we brought the snacks, so we also got to roll along the ice chest with our chairs, jackets, and umbrellas.

Tracy's Birthday
For my birthday I thought it would be fun to get all the free restaurant food I could. I had already received a voucher for a free oatmeal at Starbucks, and I had a gift card that I used for a skinny caramel latte. Yum. I chose the dried fruit and brown sugar toppings. Then on my way out, I grabbed a bag of grounds for our compost bin.

Next, for lunch, I headed to Rubio's. You have to sign up online and then you get a free meal for your birthday. I chose the grilled mahi mahi burrito since I wouldn't normally order something like that. It was delish, but the fish was a teeny bit overcooked. I think I might like it better with a fried version instead of the grilled, but I knew what was coming up next for dinner...

After signing up online, Red Robin gave me a free burger basket. I got my favorite Whisky River Barbecue Burger, or whatever they call it. Michael was at soccer practice, so I saved half of it for him to eat when he was done and he gobbled it up.

And last, but not least, Cold Stone Creamery gave me a "like-it" size ice cream with one mix in. Cake batter ice cream with Twix bar mixed in. Mmmmm.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Do not leave alcohol near your jack-o-lantern!

Tony sent me this humorous picture. Made me laugh.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tonight's Entertainment...
The boys love U2.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Moms In Touch
Today was another weekly Moms In Touch meeting where the moms from our school can get together in a home to pray for the students, parents and staff. The first time I heard of MITI (Moms In Touch International) was years ago when a parent of a high school student shared about it in church. But what's really funny is that she has a New Zealand accent and always said "Mums in Touch." And for a while, I seriously thought there was a group called "Mums in Touch." I only just found out that our school has a group back in May. It is run so great: exactly one hour long, come when you can, don't worry if you miss a week, no gossip. But the thing I like the best is that there's no "God Bless America" attitude. What I mean is, we don't pray for the school to be the best and win all the games and give glory to Clovis Unified, as though no one else is worthy of God's blessings. This is a time to sincerely pray for each staff person and the students and parents who need intercession. I've gotten to know a few other moms whom I would not have had the chance to meet otherwise. It's a lot of fun to minister with other moms from many different denominations.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Careers are chosen early
Michael told me that he had to learn how to build houses so he could go to Africa and build houses for people who couldn't afford it. He wanted tools and he wanted his friends to learn, so they could go with him. I told him that an architect or engineer would be great for a job when he grew up. He used to draw "contraptions" even as young as four years old. But on to the bigger issue... "Michael, did you know there are places a lot closer that have poor people who need houses?" Really? "Yes, places like Mexico or even Canada!" No way. "But for Mexico you would need to learn Spanish." Oh, I know a few words. "And guess what? Pastor James knows how to speak Canadian, so he can teach you!" Awesome!

Daniel made a "first aid kit" last year at church. It's a white paper bag with die cuts of bandaids and a stethoscope. Inside, it has real bandaids, cotton balls, and cotton swabs. Currently, it is almost shredded and has had supplies replaced numerous times. He took it to preschool almost every day last year. Last week, Michael had a teeny tiny cut on his foot, and while he was showing me, Daniel ran up and peeled open a bandaid and stuck it on Michael's foot. He wants to be a doctor. I told him to make sure and go into a specialty where the hours and pay were good.
Woo Hoo! Both in School!
On the first day of school, we had a Woo Hoo/Boo Hoo Brunch. I was definitely the Woo Hoo parent excited that both kids are now in school every day. Daniel enjoys his class and several boys from his preschool last year are in the same class. The first day, he was a bit nervous. Usually he is very independent and does his own thing, but that first day he didn't want to try anything new. Michael had a class full of 45 students, but now they are down to the mandated 37. He was sad to see a few friends get transferred to other schools and was pretty emotional coming home from school. Tim is back in school and enjoys the teaching part of it. He finished his 3rd year of doctoral studies and now is ready to start the dissertation phase. Tracy's school involvement is the PTC Treasurer and classroom volunteer.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary
In 13 years, we have remained BFFs, created two wonderful little boys, purchased 2 houses and 4 cars, loved 2 shelties, learned numerous ways to do-it-yourself, cleaned up more spit, puke and poop than I care to recall, pondered life's many decisions, and took many wild adventures together. Time flies when you're having fun!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

MCC Sale
We went to the MCC Sale last Friday night. The first stop was, of course, the fritter booth. While I stood in line, Tim took the boys over to get some hot dogs and we called Don and Phyllis with our German sausage order in another line. We all met back with food for dinner. I must say, the fritters were especially good this year... they were better than the last 2 years, IIRC. At the Ten Thousand Villages tent, I always buy a package of fair trade coffee. This year I was thrilled to find the "Bike Fuel" blend, so in honor of the recent bike trip, purchased this one. Also came home with some kettle corn. Jamie stood in line for zwiebach for an hour and 20 minutes! But rumor has it that the food ran out just after lunch on Saturday, so just another reason we like to go on Friday.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring Break

During spring break, the boys and I went along on the high schoolers' bike trip from Santa Cruz to Morro Bay. We went along as the cooks and got to drive the RV. The first two nights were at churches, and the last 3 nights were in campgrounds. It was loads of fun and the hardest thing about it was packing up every night to stay at a new place. The students were a lot of fun and the boys enjoyed playing with them each evening. Here's the blog.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Congratulations Mickey!
Mickey graduated from Beginner dog training today. He can "sit," "stay," "come," "wait," "down," "leave it," and "shake." Now it's on to Intermediate training.
Another visit from the Tooth Fairy
Daniel lost his 2nd tooth this week. He just doesn't get rattled by that sort of thing. It's all natural and normal that his tooth will come out and he will be ready for the tooth fairy and in the morning he will check to see what was left for him.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Library Elf
I just found a really cool website. Library Elf can send you email reminders of when your library loans are due and keep bugging you when they are overdue (if that's what you want). We go to the library about once a week and with videos (due in 1 week) and books (due in 3 weeks) that have a gazillion different due dates, it's hard to keep track. Add on to that, the Fresno County Library website is notoriously slow, and it's easy to procrastinate looking up all the due dates for lack of time. I've also tried the lengthy telephone response system, and the website is a teeny bit faster. So, at Library Elf, you just check if your library is supported, enter your account information, and tell it when you want reminders sent to you. How cool is that?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This weekend's malady...
Today we spent 2 1/2 hours in urgent care to get a prescription for antibiotic eye ointment. Michael has pink eye, but is on the mend. Last night, the boys from the Bach Children's Choir sang the national anthem at the Falcon's hockey game. Later on during the game, Michael's eye started bothering him and by the time he got home, it was watering and full of eye boogers. And since our family has not had pink eye in several years, we were all out of those eye drops that most young families have stored in their fridge door. Had today been a warm sunny day, I would have been very disappointed. But since it was a bit rainy and windy, I did not mind the wait as much and was able to get halfway through "The Taming of the Shrew." Now that's a funny book! Michael also finished a Star Wars book and is ready to take an AR quiz on Monday to complete his quarterly goal. Tim and Daniel stayed home and cut down a tree that was starting to shade our solar panels. Maybe Daniel can help Daddy again when it's time to plant a replacement. Can't wait to see what next weekend has in store!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Simple Pleasures

  • Preheated blanket when I crawl into bed

  • Sunset Magazine in the mail

  • Clean countertops

  • When Tim says, "Let's go to Sal's"

  • Remembering to program the coffeepot the night before

  • Waking up and STILL not catching the flu

  • Hitting all green lights on the way somewhere

  • Shopping at Costco at 10:00 a.m. on a weekday; filling up at the Costco gas station at 8:15 a.m. on a weekday

What's your simple pleasure?
Alison Krauss-A Hundred Miles or More
Tim brought back a few gifts for me and the boys when he was finished with his classes at Fuller. The boys each got Spongebob cups that flash with swirly straws. I got an Alison Krauss CD. It's really good, and if you can appreciate bluegrass/country music, you must run to your favorite music retailer and get this gem. Most of the songs are sad ballads, but don't let that scare you away. The music and production are outstanding. The critics didn't give it much of a nod, which usually means that the average joe will love it. Every time "Down to the River to Pray" comes on, Daniel says that's his favorite song. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Gryffindor: 11.4 points!
Michael took his AR Quiz on Harry Potter and answered 19 out of 20 correctly, thus earning him 11.4 points. Way to go Michael! We had to work hard on contrasting the book details from the movie since the quiz was only on the book.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Of Blossoms and Harry Potter

Finally life is getting back into shape. We "enjoyed" several low-key days at home and Michael and I even knocked out a few chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. That was one of the only things that could keep his mind off his bad headache. Wednesday, Daniel went to preschool and Michael and I got to watch more of the movie, Harry Potter, up to the same point we were at in the book. It's a lot of fun to read a bunch in the book and then watch it play out on the movie. That book is worth a whopping 12 AR points at school and I told Michael as soon as he passed the quiz, we would watch the whole movie at one time. It's fun to see how Michael understands the implied meaning of things instead of being told flat out, "Malfoy is a mean boy" or "Ron has a good heart."

There are some trees next door to Daniel's preschool that are just starting to blossom. I told the boys about how I grew up with trees blossoming all around me every February and that, at the time, it didn't seem like anything special. And now I can't wait for them to blossom because it's a little bright spot in the middle of a dreary winter. I said that we "had trees blossoming just right outside our door" and I still have to pull out my memory of all the pink blossoms and honey-sweet scent. Daniel asked if the blossoms filled up the doorway so much we couldn't get out. I explained that "right outside our door" was a sort of figure of speech. He asked what a figure of speech was. Oh, how those fresh little minds are ready to be filled.

Monday, February 11, 2008

When the kids are sick...
The boys are sick with whatever it is that has school attendance dropping and church-goers not going. Daniel spiked a fever in a mere 15 minutes on Friday night and they are both coughing like crazy. Thankfully they have been sleeping all night which allows Mom to sleep all night and not wear down the immune system. Friday night: purchase more children's Tylenol. Sunday night: purchase more cough syrup. Today: need to purchase some children's Motrin since the Tylenol is not working on the headaches. Michael has that headache where it feels like your eyes are going to pop out, but no fever. Ugh. Everywhere you go, people have the same cough: grocery store, restaurant, class... What if a big X was magically stamped on your forehead if you were still contagious? Would you stay home from work or school? Would you give dirty looks to the person next to you with a big X? Would you (hee hee) cover it up with makeup? As a mom, I would want to tell a contagious person to go home and quit spreading their germs to my kids. On the flip side, how many times have I been contagious but felt well enough to go to work or church? Wouldn't it be great if there was a cold vaccine just like the flu vaccine?
Irresistible Revolution
Quote out of a book written by a really weird guy (but who inspires many):
"The gospel is good news for sick people and is disturbing for those who think they've got it all together. Some of us have been told our whole lives that we are wretched, but the gospel reminds us that we are beautiful. Others of us have been told our whole lives that we are beautiful, but the gospel reminds us that we are also wretched. The church is a place where we can stand up and say we are wretched, and everyone will nod and agree and remind us that we are also beautiful."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

"I'm just going to sneak one when you're not looking!"
I asked Daniel how preschool was, and he said, "I don't want to tell you anything." This is a common reply these days and it's not because he did something naughty and doesn't want to talk about it. So I asked what songs they sang in chapel today (let me rephrase, I asked what songs the other kids sang in chapel today) and he replied, "I don't know." So I told him that when he was going to ask me for a snack, I was going to reply "I don't want to tell you," and when he asked me for something to drink, I was going to say, "I don't know." Well that got him pretty upset and he told me that if I was going to do that, then he was just going to sneak one when I wasn't looking. (Which, by the way, he used to do a couple of years ago. It got to be so bad that we had to lock our pantry door because we couldn't keep him out of it.) After his proclamation, I was laughing so hard that it made him even more upset, and I couldn't stop laughing about him getting upset at me laughing at him... it was a vicious cycle. So eventually he did tell me about preschool and he did get his snack and drink.
Roller Skating
Today Michael went roller skating for the first time with the 3rd and 4th graders at his school for a reward. Mommy was pretty nervous that he was going to get the skates by himself, put them on by himself, and skate by himself. Mommy prayed all morning that he would have fun and that every little detail would work out and that he would not get a concussion. When he got home from school, the first words out were, "Cal Skate was so much fun! I have GOT to go there for my next birthday!" (See post below... this could be a very good idea.) When asked if he actually went skating and didn't have to hang on to the wall, he replied that he was able to skate around once he figured it out (with the help of a "skate guy"). Yay, thank you God!
Yuck E. Chuck E.

Once again, Michael asked for Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday. Ugh. And this time we went on a Saturday. Double Ugh. It was so crowded that we had to wait in line just to get inside. But Michael was so excited because he invited two friends and they couldn't wait to play the video games. We finally got inside and our only choice was to sit at a table for 6, but with 8 people. We loaded the boys up on tokens and they were off. When our two pizzas finally came, the server proceeded to dump one of the pizzas on our coats while she set the other one down on the table. Another 25 minutes later, after first convincing the other servers that we were still awaiting another pizza, we had our second pizza. You would think the server that dumped the pizza could at least utter the words, "I'm sorry," but apparently those words are not part of her vocabulary. Or even offer some cotton candy or comp us a salad bar for greasing up otherwise clean outerwear. Sorry, Chuck E., you failed. But the boys redeemed their tickets for some mighty fine prizes. The favorite was loading up each hand with rings that bling'd of "$."

The 6 month carrot

Planted in July, early harvest today. Many are still left in the ground to mature fully. Does anyone know how safe 6-month old carrots are to eat? It's too late for me since I tried a couple already. Some taste sweet and light, others taste heavy and woody. I'm wondering what kind of nuclear waste in our heavily-amended clay soil caused the deformities. Maybe after another 6 months the rest of them will be full size. Mickey saw me and Daniel pull some out and when we turned our backs, he pulled one right out of the ground with his mouth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blue Man Group
Last night we went to the Blue Man Group concert at the Save Mart Center. We saw them the last time they were in Fresno and we had to go back for more. We were in the front row! Yes, the front row! Right by the stairs that they walk down on into the audience. We could have touched them! We should have touched them! It was such a fun show! We even got ponchos to wear, and I'm not sure if they were for the show or for the beer-guzzling lady next to us (how many cups of beer can you purchase and stash under your chair?). But what a dull audience Fresno is. They sat down the entire time! Tell me how you can SIT during such high energy! My favorite song is still "I Feel Love" with the lights, music, colors, ENERGY! The evening flew by and before we knew it, we were at Rock Concert Movement #78: The Fake Ending. But the audience DID get up for the Rock Concert Movement #3: The Up and Down Jumping Motion during the encore. Tim got some great footage and pics, and Michael is really excited that we took pictures for him. (Pictures up soon.) The boys love to watch the Blue Man DVD.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Mock Green Bean Casserole
"I'll eat it as long as you take all the green beans out." ~Daniel

The offending food? Green Bean Casserole!
Daniel lost a tooth!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Meet Mickey! He is our new sheltie. We adopted him from the Northern CA Sheltie Rescue a week before Christmas. He is a blue merle and is so cute! He is a year and a half old and is a perfect match for our family. We knew we wanted to get another sheltie and happened to run across the Rescue's website. We filled out a very detailed application and, much to our delight, they made a placement with us. Mickey is really energetic and has such a funny personality. We drove up to the Bay Area to pick him up and he doesn't get car sick! He is house-trained, knows how to "sit," and we just found out that he can "shake." But, he is a bit defensive around other dogs, so we are working on the socialization.

When we got back from picking him up, he just seemed to know he was at his new home. He came over to me and "asked" to have his tummy scratched.