Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to the Grind

What exactly does that statement mean? I'm really not quite sure, but it does conjure up vague images of coffee filters and Indian squaws smashing corn kernels.

Before I got "back to the grind," however, I had a stellar Thanksgiving weekend.

It began with HAIR! I decided to straighten my hair for the occasion, but had to blow-dry it first. Above was the result. After over an hour of Macy and Tori pulling at my head with flat irons, I ended up with stick-straight hair.

We went to the F's for the Thanksgiving feast, and had a wonderful time with them. After dinner, we children put on Little Red Riding Hoods for the parents, which was loads of fun.

Later in the evening we went to the park. (Note the straight hair.)

Once at the park we had lots of fun with the camera.

And jumping off picnic tables...

Tori and I spent the night so that we could wake up at 5:00 the next morning to go Black Friday shopping with Mrs F, Gabriela, and Renata. I get up at 5:30 every morning, but somehow the fact that we were at Old Navy at that hour made it seem a lot crazier. (Can you pick out the real people from amongst the mannequins?)

Best picture of Renata. Ever.

Later that same Friday, I drove Macy, Tori, Gabriela and Renata to go ice-skating outdoors along with a bunch of other people (like Emma :) from youth group.

As if the weekend hadn't been enough fun already, Macy had her Candy Land Sweet 16 Party on Saturday night.

The bathroom was a whirlwind of make-up brushes and bobby pins as we got ready for the evening and finally stepped out--the final product--into the night.

Christopher and Drew DJed the party.

If you hadn't guessed, it was a dance party.

A pretty "wild" one at that!

While the rap blared and the hips swayed in the studio, I chatted in the front room with these lovely ladies.

During the party we discovered that Caroline is a pretty impressive comedic dancer. Watching her prance around the floor was very entertaining, to say the least.

Best of all, Macy had a fabulous evening!

And the fun didn't end with the close of the party. After all the guests had left, we cleaned up the dance studio and headed home. Chris, Mollie, Andrew, and Calvin came along with us and we crowded into the living room to watch Macy open her boatload of presents. Once she'd unwrapped a vast array of lip gloss and nail polish, we just sat around and chatted--until 2:30 in the morning!

Still the party weekend continued. Since we didn't have youth group on Sunday evening, my sisters and I invited the youth over to our house for a bonfire in lieu of our usual meeting. Quite a few people came and we passed a very enjoyable evening roasting marshmallows, riding the zip-line, and passing Willanona from person to person.

Yet again I am reminded of how much I love my family ("adopted" siblings included). Although the Thanksgiving holiday has come to a close, I continue to give thanks for my crazy, spontaneous, open, wild, loving, beautiful family.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Macy Michelle

Today is my sister's 16th birthday. Since it's such a very special day, I thought I'd take a moment to celebrate the life of Macy!

I love Macy because....

She's really beautiful.

She was top of her Kindergarten class.

She has a really bendy back.

She had seriously cool bangs for about one week.

She goes for younger men.

She has friends with really great style.

She's not afraid to fight for what she believes in.

She's a hard-core exerciser.

She has mad peanut "unshelling" skills.

She's a star.

She's my sister.

But seriously....
Macy really is beautiful.

She's fun and she's funny.

She loves without judgment and she's [almost] always cheerful toward everyone.

And she's part of this family, which is really the coolest thing a person can be. ;)

I love you, sister! Keep those birthdays coming.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Weekend of Shows

Thank you, Kathleen, for taking me to the Joshua Radin show for my birthday! It was wonderful, and not only because of Mr. Radin. Every artist that evening was superb (well, the Watson Twins not so much...but everyone else), and I had the greatest time hanging out with Kathleenie! The line-up was as follows:

Jessica Stave, a singer/guitar player from London. Her voice was rich and melodic, and her evident excitement about performing made it very enjoyable to watch.

The Kin, brothers Thorry and Isaac Koren from Australia. They surprised me with being really, really good. Blending their voices into harmonies that were so beautiful they were haunting, they silenced a crowd of hundreds with the beauty of their music. After the show I got a chance to chat with these young men, and it was really neat to hear a little about their stories and the paths that led them to music.

The Watson Twins, sisters from Kentucky, sang next. While they performed I couldn't help thinking that they sounded like wannabe hippies who will be forever wishing they'd been around for Woodstock.

And finally, Joshua Radin. It was worth all of the anticipation. With his deep speaking voice and pure singing voice, that musician captured my ears (and heart) from beginning to end. Not only did he sing wonderfully, he played the guitar excellently and told lots of interesting anecdotes. I love to be at a show and have the feeling that this could all be happening in my livingroom, because it's just so chill and casual. As great as his performance was, it contained an underlying tone of heartbreak. "It's lonely on the road," he confessed. "And I always think that being with a girl for a night will make it better. But it only makes me lonelier." I sorrow for his brokenness and pray that God would take his pain and turn this man to the Cross. How joyful it would be if Joshua Radin used his talent for the Kingdom of God!

Saturday evening Jessie and I went to see Copeland, and once again it was a great night thanks to all of the artists. When we first walked into the theatre, Zach Williams was lying on his back on the stage, playing the guitar and crooning. After that rather odd (and somewhat unpleasant) display of talent, however, he turned out to be an incredible singer.

Next Brooke Waggoner played the piano and sang. Although Jessie had a few quabbles with her piano playing, I thoroughly enjoyed her Regina Spektor-like style.

After that Jimmy Gnecco sang/played guitar. He walked out on stage dressed in a black leather jacket, hair slicked back, and I thought, "Wow, this guy looks like a real jerk. Maybe even a murderer." Despite his frightening appearance, man could he sing! I was very impressed. But I still bet he's a jerk.
(I'm pretty sure this is a picture from Saturday night, because this is the exact outfit he was wearing. Unless he always wears the same thing...)

By the time scary Jimmy Gnecco was done, I was very ready for sweet Aaron Marsh of Copeland. Unfortunately, the poor guy had swine flu. Despite his illness, he managed to put on a pretty good show--with only a few nasal notes and coughs into the mic. Even though he sang well, he was hilariously awkward. He was all legs and arms up there on that stage and reminded me of Paulie Bleeker from Juno. Gotta love 'im.

All in all, it was a really great weekend of shows. Even if I was sick for them all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

An Exciting Night...I Hope

Joshua Radin concert with Kathleen tonight! I'm super excited. But I'm sick... Please pray I feel better by the time we get there!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Of Babies and Ears

This evening I babysat Lindsey and Sarah C. and had the greatest time! Being with them reminded me of why I love kids/babysitting. Sometimes in the constant going from job to job I forget how much I love what I do. It's always nice to be reminded by adorable little girls. :)

Favorite quote of the night: "Look Miss Tali, I put chap stick on my picture. That's to make it prettier."

In other random news, my friend just sent me this diagram, and I'm pretty excited about it. I have a sneaking suspicion it's going to come in handy some day....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moscow (Idaho, not Russia)

Two summers ago five young men from Moscow, Idaho came to Orlando to sell pest control. They came to my church and sat in the pew right in front of my family. So we invited them to lunch. Next Sunday they were there again and we invited them to lunch again. And again. And again. That summer we spent almost Sunday afternoon with "the Pest Control Boys." Over the course of the weeks they told us about the classical Christian college in their town called New Saint Andrews. The more I learned about it the more it sounded like the place for me.

But Idaho is thousands of miles away. Before long I mostly discarded thoughts of going there. A few months ago, however, Danny (one of the Pest Control Boys) told me I ought to at least visit the school. I love to travel, so I figured I might as well visit Idaho and add another state to my states-I've-been-to list. Here are a few pictures from my travels:

This is the Ryan's beautiful home, where I got to stay for several days.

Just behind the Ryan's house is a large yard with a barn and several sheds.

Beyond the yard are fields (now barren) and far in the distance the blue mountains, peaks enshrouded in a low-hanging fog.

The one day I remembered my camera there was a homecoming parade in Downtown Moscow. But you can kind of see New Saint Andrews there on the left. If you can't tell, it's a very small school. In fact, the student body is less than two hundred.

Remember the earlier-posted picture of the University of Idaho? This is one I took myself. Sadly, there were no brilliant leaves: an early frost stole away any chance of bright colors.

This is Danny, whose family I stayed with. He was sweet enough to pick me up at the airport, keep track of my schedule, and show me all around the town.

From left to right: Danny, Marty, Caleb (three of the PCBs) and Matt (Marty's roommate). Marty had us for lunch one afternoon, and though it was me and five guys, it was great fun.

After that lunch Danny had to work, so his friend Jessie picked me up. I helped her decorate for the NSA fall festival, and then we went to her house to dress up. I hadn't brought a costume, but we fixed me right up with clothes from her attic and a metal strainer from the kitchen cupboard.

Can anyone guess what I am?

If you couldn't tell, I was a pregnant lady from the 80s. It was slightly scandalous, but SUPER funny. ;)

It seems that wherever I go I end up doing something crazy like piercing ears or dying hair. This trip was no exception.

Sunday afternoon I dyed Danny's sister Lizzy's hair. It was pretty exciting.

Danny will kill me for posting this picture, but it's simply too funny not to share. After standing in the freezing (literally) weather for over an hour, watching a Pumpkin Rugby game that he thought he'd be playing in, he was a little chilled. So I lent him my gloves. Wasn't that kind?

These two lovely girls are Rachel and Bekah, two of Danny's four sisters. If you're wondering, that is a scarf around Bekah's head. We had a lot of fun that evening...

There you have it. Lots of random pictures and stories from my trip to Moscow. "What was the point of all that?" you might be wondering. Well, the point is that I fell in love with the people, the school, and the town of Moscow, Idaho. While there I couldn't help thinking, again and again, "I was created for a place such as this." I plan to go back.