Monday, February 26, 2007

Boot Camp

Suzy and the kids and I just got done with Boot Camp--Ab Boot Camp! Ouch! I've done a little pilates this week too. This for me, is truly a feat... exercise has never come easily to me and frankly, I just find it hard to get motivated.

I've come to the realization though that post-C-Section especially I need to strengthen my abs before I fall apart! And, if I repeatedly gain as much weight in a year as I did this year, it won't be too long before I'll need to take far more drastic measures than some time with Billy Blanks! Exercise is good for me, and it makes me feel good and it makes me look good. So why do I find it so hard? Isn't that the crazy thing about life...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My favortie website

If you are as nosy as I am, or as interested in Real Estate, you'll find this website to be too much fun!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

So, what did I learn?

Aunt Barb wanted to know what I learned at Vortex, what I will take home with me and what I learned about God through this experience, and I feel like this is the first chance I've had to do much more than breathe since I got back... so I'll do my best to answer your questions Aunt Barb!

I think the biggest thing that I learned is that I need other people, specifically other Children's Ministry Directors/Pastors, in my life in order to do my job the best that I can. There's nobody else that can truly understand the ups and downs, the joys and the struggles etc., like someone who is walking in the same shoes. I was the only part-timer so I now have the brains of 16+ other people who are ahead of me (some of them far ahead of me in numbers of kids, and experience in ministry) that I can pick, learn from, bounce ideas off of, interact with. And, because of the way Vortex was structured with so few attendees... we now all have a vested interested in each others lives and ministries.

That kind of answers all of the questions, because what I will take home with me is the ability to interact with this group of people about ministry ideas, thoughts and struggles. I will also take home some small tangible, practical ideas about signs, checking kids in, classroom decor, training and such. I also talked with several people about transitioning ministries and changing things effectively. Really, I'll take away lot's of good stuff, but I won't bore you with the details.

And what did I learn about God? He created us to need other people. We weren't meant to be able to do everything and to be everything to everyone all on our own. He's gifted us to serve him in specific ways, and we're meant to work with others who compliment our strengths and weaknesses to accomplish work for Him. It's a humble reality. I happen to like how God works though :0)

Thanks Aunt Barb for the great questions!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Our First Date!

Titus and I went on our first date for Valentine's Day yesterday. Just me, my little man and my Starbucks! He was a perfect gentleman, and his smile was enchanting. As you can see in picture number 3 however, he did reveal to me that he has a slight drinking problem! Titus had his first taste of apple juice yesterday and I had my usual double chocolate chip blended creme. We had some great conversation and lot's of fun. I think he's pretty close to the perfect Valentine!

Rob and Leeann went out on a date to Applebees where Leeann enjoyed a milkshake with her daddy. We hope to "date" each of our kids regularly and to teach them how to be good dates too. It was fun, and a joy to my heart to get to go on a date with Titus. I hope to do more of that in the future, because we had lot's of fun!
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

All the way up the stairs!

Titus made it all of the way up the stairs all by himself today! Suzy and I were eating lunch at the table and didn't even realize Titus had stopped toddling around by us until Weston said "Titus is stuck!" He'd made it half way up the stairs! We supervised as he crawled the rest of the way up. I'm pround of him... yet somewhat scared also. I just hope he learns to get down properly, and that he doesn't try to stand up when he's half way up the stairs.

We opted not to get top and bottom of the stair baby gates. We might regret that someday... but hopefully we'll just be able to teach him to navigate them well. I might have to eat my words soon enough though!

Monday, February 12, 2007

75 degrees and Beautiful!

Suzy and the kids and I met a friend, Leanna for lunch at Costco today. Then we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Truthfully, we were hoping to wear the kids out and it seems to have worked! It sure was nice to get outside and spend some time in the beautiful sunshine. The weather is even nicer than it was any of our days in Southern California ironically!

I haven't been doing much worth blogging about lately, hence the fact I'm posting about the weather!

My daddy is getting married on Friday. That's kind of wierd, but I'm excited for them. Now my kids can offically call Tasha Grandma :0) For those of you who don't know, she's less than a year older than I am which makes this statement especially funny! Their kids (my younger siblings) are both younger than Leeann. It's comical to talk to my dad about potty training and other parenting issues. Such is life... it seems we all have somewhat disfunctional families... mine just happens to put the "fun" into that word!

My Birthday is coming up at the end of next week also. It used to be a sacred day (insert sarcasm there) until my little sister decided to steal it from me. When I grew up I always wanted a little sister. I dreamed of what it would be like to share clothes, and stories, and makeup. Well, on my 23rd Birthday my dream finally came true. Well, kind of. The little sister part of it came true, but I don't think we're likely to be sharing clothes or makeup anytime soon! I wouldn't trade her for anything though. I think we'll get along better in the future. Right now she just gets really jealous when she sees some other girl pop in every couple of months claiming that her daddy is their daddy too. She doesn't like to share yet! It probably doesn't help that I try to make her jealous because it's funny to watch. I guess sibling rivalry spans across decades even! I'm looking forward to seeing my family this weekend... it's always a blessing!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Midieval Times

He's floating... wierd!

My Knights in Shining Armor?

Me. Again.

So strong... and courageous!

Back with my Best Friend

I missed Rob, it was so good to see him after a couple of days! We're posing for a picture in one of Saddleback's Children's Story areas (where they have props that help Bible stories come alive for young kids!)

This is the view from where we enjoyed our Starbucks and good conversation!

Laguna Beach

This was more or less the view from the window where we ate breakfast. Amazing!


Tanis (the lady I've been interacting with about attending Vortex), Cynthia (I gather she's the one that makes Craig look good :0), me and Craig (the Saddleback Children's Pastor)

More Pictures

Ouch. Right through the heart!

This is the knight we were rooting for. He didn't win the end competition, but he did really well (probably the best) out of the competitions throughout.

When the knights won a competition they got flowers from the princess and then they threw them to people in the crowd. I got one!

California Days 4-7

We made it home last night, about 1:15 in the morning. We'd been planning to get a hotel room, but decided just to drive through and get home if we could. Rob was a trooper, and drove the 912 miles (and 15+ hours) so that I could wake my children up from the dead of sleep to snuggle! Oh, it was sooo good to see them! I think Titus grew at least a foot and gained at least 5 pounds while we were gone! He's "talking" more and close to running... following the big kids around determining to fit in!

The trip was such a blessing for so many reasons, I'm so glad we got this opportunity! It was nice to meet people who are in my profession, and to hear their hearts and struggles and stories. I look forward to continuing a relationship with those who were also at Vortex.

I'll fill you in on the remainder of the trip:
We, obviously spent the day at Disneyland... which was sweet! I did, however follow in the tradition of a previous attender of Vortex, and threw-up after riding Star Tours. It put a little bit of a damper on my day because I opted out of a couple of jerky rides after that... but it was still great fun. I can't believe I actually lost it at Disneyland!

I did something I swore I'd never do: I rode on the Tower of Terror! It was a peer pressure I tell you! Speaking of pressure, I had to go to the bathroom so bad before we got on this ride that I was all but sure I was going to end up in a puddle. Luckily though... I made it through dry! The guy next to me has claw marks in him... but I'm sure they'll heal :0)

We saw the Alladin show, which is a must if you ever go to California Adventures. Jasmine lost her drawers in a wardrobe malfunction, but she recovered well. It was memorable at least!

We got back to the hotel around 10, and I feel like I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

We got up early Thursday morning and drove to Laguna Beach to have breakfast. It was delicious, and a great way to end our time. We left the restraunt and each got filmed in a testimonial type thingy that they'll use to promote future Vortex's.

I met Rob in the afternoon and we drove back to Laguna Beach and enjoyed a Starbucks as we walked along the boardwalk. It was so beautiful! We returned to Huntington Beach for a little while and then we headed on our great midieval adventure!

We ate dinner at the Midieval Times Restraunt which is a must see if you're ever in the area. It was a lot of fun, and a great experience. You just can't find places like that to go on dates in Albany!

Friday morning we set out for the long trip home... and that's pretty much the end of this story! Our Great California Adventure!

California Pictures

I thought this 'post-card' from It's a Small World would be fitting for my readers!

Tinker Bell!

When Leeann saw this picture she exclaimed joyfully "Cindegrella Mama, Cindegrella!"

Everytime I saw a princess I thought about how much Leeann would love to be there with me, seeing the magic and the princesses and the rides and...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

California Day 4.5

CODE NUMBER: 604C93F1217B962471284903DA15E110

And what do you suppose this place has to do with learning about ministry to kids :0)

California Day 3.5 and 4

The hotel has a computer in the lobby! I'll still have to make this pretty short and sweet, but for inquiring minds who want to know...

We are staying in a beautiful hotel, with the MOST comfortable beds! It's a nice feature! We met up in one of the student rooms at Saddleback for lunch and just spent time getting to know each other. We took a tour of their children's facility which is so beautiful. It's a new building so it's obviously pretty modern, though it's not at all opulent. I'll post pictures when I get home hopefully. We ate dinner at P.F. Changs last night which was a lovely dinner, and then we had dessert at the Jutila's house and hung out some more.

That's essentially what this is-a lot of meeting people, networking, hanging out and asking questions. There's no formal agenda, you simply learn as you go... so it's up to you what you take from it. I'm definitely having fun! We have gotten some really cool free stuff, which I'm certainly not complaining about.

Today we are spending the day "out of the box". I.E. They're not telling us where we're going or what we are doing until we get there. I have my suspicions though that I might be heading to the Happiest Place on Earth. Now that I've written that down though, I might have to eat my words later :0)

I got to talk to the kids this morning. Leeann didn't really want to talk much, but it was so good to hear her voice, and Titus's too. I'll be SOOO EXCITED to give them loves when I get home! I hope all is going well, and maybe I'll get to update you again this evening or tomorrow morning?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

California Days 2.5 and 3

I didn't get the whole Golden family together in one place at one time for a picture, so I took a picture of a picture of them... here they are!

Car #1 that smelled like smoke and was uncomfortable next to car #2 which made the remainder of our trip down here more enjoyable!

Thing #1 you just don't see in Oregon. Yummy. We ate dinner here!

Thing #2 you don't see in Oregon. Ahhh. Delightful!

After my last post we kept on driving through the middle-of-nowhere California. Do you realize that like 600 of the 800 miles of I-5 in California is nothing but barren land with a few poedunk little areas to stop along the way? I seriously thought I was going to have a mental breakdown at one point... but such is life!

I got to call home and talk to Leeann for a few minutes last night. It was so good to hear her sweet little voice!

Somehow we missed our exit off of I-5, but it ended up turning out okay. Not before I burst into tears wondering if we were ever going to make it to where we needed to be. Needless to say I was a little emotional yesterday!

So, we pulled into Aaron and Tamara's at about 10:00 last night and settled in. We're again blessed to have people to stay with! Rob's going to take me to my hotel in about an hour, and I'll meet up with everyone at Saddleback for lunch! It's hard to believe this day is finally here!

Monday, February 05, 2007

California Day 2

We just drove through Sacramento, California. I’m actually typing in the car—how weird is that? I’ll post this at our next stop if we get wireless internet somewhere. We stopped and had lunch at a delightful little cafĂ© in a grocery store near the Arco Arena. This part of the drive is fairly uneventful because there’s not much to see and the cities are few and far between. We’ll spend an awful lot of time on the road today, but that’s okay by me!

We left Redding a little later than we’d planned because we traded in our rental car. It reeked like cigarette smoke, and was quite uncomfortable as well. They were nice enough to provide us with a new car though, which went a little way to redeem their terrible customer service from yesterday.

I admit, I miss the kids already… but I’m excited for my California adventure none-the-less. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything, but I sure would like some smooches from my kiddos! I keep thinking about Titus’s big smiles and Leeann’s sweet snuggles!

Rob informed me that it’s 66 degrees outside. This car, a Toyota Corolla, has a thermometer and Rob is getting a kick out of telling me anytime the temperature rises. Last night I got a kick out of telling him every time he was going too far over the speed limit, so I guess we’re even!

I don’t think I ever blogged about why we rented a car, and I’ve got nothing better to do at the moment, so here it goes: Like responsible little people we decided to take our car (the evil blue Buick) into the shop last Monday to ensure it would be safe to take it on our trip. The mechanic said he could make it safe, but it would cost lots of money and that the problems he sees on the horizons (oil in the water, head gasket issues etc.) indicate that we would be better off getting a new car in the near future, and that he wouldn’t recommend taking the car to California. We didn’t want to take the van because we wanted Suzy to have the ability to transport all four kids in their car seats (and we didn’t want to pay for the gas on that puppy), and we found a relatively cheap rental car… so we took the plunge and rented a car. I think it’s turning out to be a great choice! And, we’re getting the option to “test drive” a few cars that are similar in specs as to what we might potentially be looking at. We really don’t know what we’ll do, or when we’ll replace the Buick yet, but we know it will have to be in the relatively near future. So, now you’re caught up on the life (and nearly death) of the Buick. Congratulations!

In less than 24 hours I’ll be at Vortex! Man, I’m so excited! God has blessed us so much by literally providing for this trip. I can only imagine what it is that he’s wanting me to learn, or do, or experience by coming down here. His hand is obviously all over this trip. God is SO good!

We’re now in Stockton, California. Or, driving through, rather. I’m enjoying seeing the beautiful architecture in these parts. Rob’s listening to some music being a little bit silly as he’s singing along in the driver’s seat. He keeps referring to himself as “my driver”. I think it’s cute. Did I blog that this morning? Wow, sometimes I think in terms of what I’m going to blog, so I may end up blogging the same thing on multiple occasions by accident. Whoops! Oh well.
We’ve gone 194.2 miles since this morning. We went 385ish miles yesterday. I think we’ll log nearly 2000 miles by the time we make it home. That’s a lot of miles. We can do in a day what it took others months, or even years to do just over 100 years ago. Isn’t that a crazy thought? I wonder what life will be like 100 years from now. Will we all travel by jet packs? Hmmmm….

Well, I suppose I’m just rambling now (wow, imagine that!). I’ll try to keep you updated if possible, though I won’t be able to during the conference. We’re passing exit 471… wish you were here!

California Day 1

Yesterday we really did it, we packed up, rented a car and headed down to California! I can even begin to express how excited I've been for this trip!

I'll refrain from boring you with the details about the terrible rental car service... but once we got done with that headache, we headed home after church, ate some lunch and finished packing. We left home about 2:45... saying good-bye to the two most precious children in the whole wide world! I know they're in good hands though :0)

We stopped at Steamers for a couple of German Chocolate blended mocha's, made a quick stop by Costco for some sunglass clip-ons (I seem to have lost my second pair of perscription sunglasses this year), and we headed out of town. We shared some Applebees for dinner, and greatly enjoyed each others company as we were on the road. We pulled into Breanna's house (a friend of Rob's from his younger days) a little after 9:00 and got to take some time to catch up her and her husband Pete. It's a beautiful home, obviously full of lot's of love! We're so grateful to have the opportunity to stay with friends instead of in a cheesy cheap motel! Thanks Goldens!

So, here we are, in Redding California, starting day 2 of our trip. I don't know how much I'll actually get to update you as I'm here, but I'll be sure to give you details once we get back. Tonight we are headed down to Huntington Beach to stay with Rob's cousin and his wife. It'll be a good 10 hour drive, plus stops, so it's going to be a long day. BUT, I can't think of anyone I'd rather be stuck in the car with for so long :0)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Movie Night!

We have a little tradition in our family that we call movie night. It's where we pull out our ugly foam camping mats, lot's of blankets and pillows, we pop some pop-corn and pop in a movie. Come to think of it, I think I recently blogged about one of these... so this might be a repeat of information to most of you!

Well, this one was special anyway because we had more kids then normal! We watched a good ole' rendition of Blue's Clues and had some good ole' fashioned fun too!

Titus got animal crackers in his bowl. We didn't tell him that he was getting gyped!

Rob and I have all four of the kids this weekend, while Suzy gets to enjoy some time with other ladies at our church's women's retreat. Two whole days with no kids! Granted, she'll then have four kids for six days, but hopefully this will give her the energy she needs to make it through. We're running around trying frantically to get ready for our trip (so frantically I just had to blog :0)

Rob gets "Uncle of the Year" award for his feats yesterday. I left for a photo shoot around 8:00, but the boys were already in bed and our kids were nearly there, so I thought everything would be fine. About 8:25 I get a phone call from Rob telling me that Weston threw up and that I needed to come home. So I rushed out the door and came home to Weston in the tub, Logan snuggled up on the couch, and Rob armed with plenty of rags and cleaners with a load of laundry already in the wash. He cleaned it up fearlessly and said, "I should get some kind of reward for this!" So, here it is, "Uncle of the Year, Rob Buhl".

*Side note: I think he just missed his mommy, because he's been fine all day. Weston that is, not Rob. Though Rob probably misses his mommy too, but not enough to make him throw up. *