Thursday, April 29, 2010

Last Training Run

We just completed our last training run in preparation for the 5K this weekend. I am still so jazzed that I talked THREE friends into doing the Couch to 5K over the past couple months.

I can't wait to see how they all feel after the finish. At this point, each of them has said they want to keep running after the race, at least three times a week. I hope it happens! And I hope I can keep it up, too, for a good while longer.

Here's to the race!!!

Thursday Thoughts

1) In the early morning quiet of my sleeping house, I creep down the stairs to make a to-do list, read a little scripture, some Francis de Sales, put yesterday's load of jeans in the dryer, and e-mail about four people. With each step, an audible "squick, squick, squick, squick." It's my knees. I'm embarrassed that the only sound in my house is evidence of my aging joints. I suppose this is really only a problem if I have an opportunity to enter a ballroom descending a grand staircase. I don't want the whole kingdom hearing the squick, squick, squick. Let's hope there's a full orchestra to drown out the noise. Or that everyone is so drawn to the sight of my gown that they don't notice my knee noise. There's just so much to worry about in life.

2) I noticed while showering that on the one-liter bottle of "Aussie" shampoo the kids use, it reads, "Smooth as a red carpet celebrity." Seriously? That's the best simile you could come up with? Who is your marketing target? Teenagers? Bored housewives? Maybe they should stick with their Australian theme - though I don't know where that might lead. Smooth as a kangaroo's butt? I can see where they ran into problems.

3) I'm in a mood. Chose my outfit, consisting of khaki capri pants. Soon realized I didn't shave. Decided no one would notice. I hope I'm not wrong. I hope while I'm at the library/daily Mass/Little Caesar's no one recoils in horror and I notice they were staring at my shins. Find something else to look at, people!

4) Speaking of daily Mass, this is a new bright idea my nine year-old came up with. We try to go to daily Mass on Thursdays. Sometimes, Kevin can get away from work and join us. But sometimes it's me alone with four kids. Last week, the two year-old was prostrate on the floor between our front-row seat and the altar. I tried to act like he wasn't mine, but as the average age of every other attender was around 72, I think people knew.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mom of Five

When I found out I was expecting my fifth child, I thought of the families I know with five children. Karen R. in Yucaipa, Barbara C. in Yucaipa, Laura W. in Fresno, and my Nana, who had five - my dad being the youngest.

I sent an e-mail to Barbara (thinking Karen and Laura would read my blog or Kevin's facebook - and knowing Nana probably found out in heaven!). Barbara is a friend of mine who started out as my friend's mom. She is sharp, funny, loving, Godly, and mildly crazy (which I think you can blame on the five kids). She has known me since I was in high school, and by freakish circumstances, we both ended up a few years back in Yucaipa, California at the same time and went to Bible study together. I'll forever remember that she's the one I called to watch Joe and Cayna during Bethanie's birth - and she brought us all Subway for dinner after Bethanie arrived.

Her oldest daughter, Sandee was my friend starting in our senior year of high school, and we were roommates for a few years following high school. I was with Sandee when she got the news that her mom (Barbara) was pregnant with baby #5. We were 21 at the time. I thought it was so neat! Not many 21 year-olds get news of their mom's pregnancies. I went to the baby shower, met new baby Destiny after she appeared on New Year's Eve in the early 90s, and even babysat her a few times. Years later, in Yucaipa, Destiny babysat my kids.

It was fun to e-mail Barbara and tell her our news, especially since my baby #5 is due around the same time of year as her baby #5 was. For the honest record, I am older than Barbara was when Destiny was born - but I'm trying not to think of that! Here is the fun e-mail that Barbara sent back:

Well, well, Mrs. Love,

Do you know you missed April the first?????? Are you sure??????? 5 kids......who would do that???

I am honored to be one of the people you would share this news with. I am so happy and excited for you all!!!!!! This is why they have words like, HOLY COW! and HOLY BUCKETS! and GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING! and WOW! and NO WAY! and ARE YOU KIDDING! and PSHAWWW! and YIPPEE! and YANKEE DOODLE!!!!!!

"Kevin and Teri Plus Five" does not even rhyme---you will need a different name for your reality show.

You do deserve a prize.

I think back to the days when I was telling people about #5 on the way and it was kind of fun! How exciting for you. It does not mean you are crazy, it means God thinks you can be trusted to have and raise another little person. You are doing a wonderful job and He is rewarding you and Kevin with blessings as high as heaven. You are very blessed and lucky. I will be sending prayers your way and lots of love. Larry is very happy for you---even though he thought you had three---he missed John entirely! Men! He loves being the father of 5 and the crown jewel is Grandfather of 10. Get ready for your future! I wish I some great words of wisdom but I do not----just tears of joy! Congratulations.

Your Christmas will be exciting this year. I wonder if you will have the first baby of 2011 and be on the news and get showered with baby gifts? I like Destiny's day because she thinks the whole world has a party for her.

You will never have enough silverware---who ever thought of sets of 8?!! (I bet you know this one already)
You need a bigger hot water heater
Take all the pictures you can afford!
As my older kids said to me--no more cloth diapers--get disposables!
Take care of yourself so you can climb the bleachers at the stadium when #5 graduates!
You will need a bigger mantle for the Christmas stockings
You will go to "back to School" night in September till you are at least 58

I was thinking of you last week. I drove down the Boulevard and I was thinking "I am still mad at that Teri for moving!!!!! I miss you.

I can not wait to hear who wins the tie breaker----the girls or the boys!

Barbara Mother of Five

Talking to Tenth Graders

I wrote so much about how I was dreading my Mary talk to the Confirmation group I thought I needed to process how it went.

For me, it was NO fun to stand in front of 70 tenth graders and talk about Mary. And I can't think of a topic that would make it any better. Later, our future youth minister, who was there to introduce himself, pointed out that it was a "hard room". Half of the kids were facing away from me as they were seated around tables. Therefore, they were whispering to friends and/or texting periodically. Sheesh. I'm glad he plans to change that. Knowing him, he will make many other great changes as well. Even so, I don't think I'm good at talking to teenagers.

There was a positive part. After the talk, I got to join one of the small groups to discuss a few questions. That was WAY more "up my alley" and fun. Sitting face to face and talking more individually was thrilling. I enjoyed seeing their personalities and hearing their thoughts and issues.

Now that this talk is done, I have felt VERY relaxed. For the past few weeks, I've only been reading about Mary. Any question you might have on Catholic teaching about Mary, I'm your woman! (As long as you're not a tenth grader.) And now I can move on to a different book. I have Life of Pi waiting. Maybe tonight I'll pick it up. Or maybe I'll just let my brain take a rest.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Love!

Announcing a new baby Love expected January 1st, 2011! (Which means, of course, that he or she will make an appearance nearer to, say, Valentine's Day!!!)

We are all VERY thrilled and excited.

Praise God with us!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Loves on Ice

Thanks to our Canadian friends, who must miss their native climate, we all went ice skating last weekend.

The kids did great! I was impressed with how well they all did. Even John... well, especially John --- he lacks the fears and the trepidation that his Mommy has about everything. Plus he was just so stinkin' cute in tiny ice skates!

Here's Kev with Bethanie. Good thing Kevin is brave and strong. I would NEVER carry a kid while on ice skates - that wouldn't end pretty.

Joe and Cayna smiling and enjoying every minute! Cayna was all about speed and tricks - somehow she thought it was great fun to zoom along and then fall to her knees and slide. Ouch! - (if you ask me.)

And handsome John on his booty-butt (as Cayna calls it) - where he really spent a lot of time, but didn't mind. He never wanted to leave the ice.

No flu for me!

No sirree, but Kevin sure got it! (Wasn't it just Wednesday I was trying to conjure up the flu for myself to get out of my upcoming talk?)

It's one thing to be up all night with sick kids, quite another to be up all night with a sick husband.

Now, fourteen hours later, I've disinfected everything (even the floor!); washed the sheets; had a short and much-needed nap on the couch; and even went out to Home Depot with all four kids to swipe a half-million paint chips. If I have to go insane waiting to hear about this house, the only way to keep it under control is to imagine decorating. I think I made Kevin a little nervous when I asked him at dinner last night: "Would you like that cool island in the kitchen any less if it was painted orange?"

So life goes on. Before the wild rumpus with illness started last night, I did finish filling in my talk outline. I have a bit more reading to do on the approved Marian apparitions. (If you're Protestant, look that up! You'll be freaked out for sure!) And a lot more praying to do. I am convinced that the only thing that will improve my talk at this point is increased love for these high school students. And the only thing that will increase my love for high school students is God's working.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Well, in addition to this being "Dusting and Vacuuming Day" on my schedule, which is exciting enough - it's also "Take Your Kid to Work Day" and Earth Day.

So I guess I'm dusting and vacuuming, sending two of my children to a construction trailer for the afternoon, and recycling something.

Anything else I should do?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meal plan, check! Mary talk, notsomuch.

I had two things on my to-do list for this evening. Plan meals and get to work on my Mary talk for this weekend.

Here's my shiny meal plan:

(next) Monday - curry chicken casserole
(next) Tuesday - TBD, since I have out-of-town company
(next) Wednesday - pasta
(tomorrow) Thursday - eggs, sausage, & pineapple
Friday - turkey burgers, roasted potatoes
Saturday - crockpot beef
Sunday - hot dogs, corn on the cob, fruit

Isn't that marvelous? And here I am writing about it - taking up MORE time to share it with you INSTEAD of working on my talk. Here's the problem - I don't WANT to give a talk on Mary to a high school group of 70 scary adolescents! It's kind of a Jonah-ish attitude, as I really believe God wants me to do this (and so do the group leaders who asked me back in, like, November) - but I don't want to do this. My efforts to bring on a debilitating flu with the power of negative thinking are to no avail. I'm perfectly healthy. I've MORE than read up on the topic --- I just can't get myself to sit down and fill in the outline I came up with. At least I have an outline. Let's applaud this.

I just heard Cayna ask, "Daddy, where's Mommy?" and he answered, "I don't know." The correct answer is "Downstairs blogging, whining about her responsibilities, and trying to get the flu."

I better go. I really better. Time is ticking away. Tick, tick, tick...

Offer made

We signed the offer papers yesterday afternoon, and they went to the seller's realtor. Assuming they're signed right away, the bank should have them by Monday at the latest. This is a short sale (what isn't right now?) so it could take weeks to hear whether our offer is accepted. Then escrow is another month or more.

We knew our realtor went to our church, and she talked about her kids and grandkids, but in a longer discussion yesterday, I figured out that her daughter is Susan - a woman I've also met at church and am acquainted with in a neat way. I helped start a moms' group two years ago and it has a member list a mile long. There are far more women on the e-mail list than we see at monthly meetings or other gatherings. Susan is one of those who is on the list, but never makes it to meetings. She works full-time, has three kids, and her husband works varying night and weekend shifts. She's also going to nursing school. Yet, she doesn't appear to be the stressed-out maniac I would be in her shoes. And here's the clincher - even though she NEVER benefits from our Moms' Group, EVERY TIME an e-mail goes out appealing for meals to be taken to a new mom, Susan cooks and delivers. I am so amazed by that. She really has a servant heart like Jesus. So yesterday when I figured out which Susan we were talking about - I got tears in my eyes talking about what a great woman she is. Which then made the realtor get tears in her eyes - and then Kevin came in from looking at something in the backyard and wondered what exactly had transpired in three minutes resulting in a whole lot of girly gobbledygook.

So... I like that my realtor not only goes to my church, but is the mom of an amazing woman. Then we found out the inspector who will check out the house ALSO goes to our church and we don't know them well, but see them every week at Mass. They have five kids, one a newborn, and I just ran into her in the bathroom last Sunday changing her baby boy's diaper and heard more about her life (she works, too --- when??? --- and her daughter plays football... and she can't keep up on laundry...)

ALSO... it turns out that our good friend Derryck has been friends with our seller since high school. So every time Kevin thinks of a question about the house, he texts Derryck and Derryck texts the seller/friend and we hear fun facts like: yes, it's a real hardwood floor; yes, the Foosball table stays; etc.

So at least while we wait this possibly extended time, we seemed to be surrounded by people we know. Kinda fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One door shut

Early today our landlord wrote us back and said it would be impossible to sell this house to us. A closed door, after almost three years of being partially open, and six months of seeming wide open.

I cried, and Joe cried, and you're all going to think this is pathetic, but the house we're hoping for now is only around the corner. A short walk, barely out of view. But still, the dynamic we have enjoyed here is about to change, even though minimally. Plus I think it was extra emotional to have that long-open door shut in our faces for sure.

This afternoon the realtor comes with the offer paperwork in-hand.

A little talk on statistics:
Since our wedding, Kevin and I and our growing family have lived in seven homes. The longest we've stayed anywhere is 2 years, 9 months -- and that was Yucaipa. As of TODAY, we've lived in this house exactly 2 years, 9 months. Depending on whether our offer is accepted and how long escrow goes, we might make the three-year mark (though I hope not!). You never know how life will change, but for now we plan to stay in Vegas long-term and this will be the first time for us to buy a house with that in mind. So this next house could break the record!

I'm looking forward to seeing what door opens for us now.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day By Day, Play By Play

Friday we found the house.

Saturday we waited all day to hear back from the realtor. Then we scheduled a showing for Monday.

Sunday we wondered all day about possible changes for our family.

Today we were both nervous all day long, without understanding why. This afternoon, we looked at the house.

Tonight we prayed, talked to friends, and tried one last time with one last e-mail to see if buying the house we're in now is possible.

Tomorrow, hopefully, we'll have some certain direction. Either move forward with purchasing this house, or make an offer on the other.

Then the torturous wait to see if the offer gets accepted or not.

From there, either escrow will open or there will be more waiting to see what other options God will introduce.

Liked "Couples Retreat"

It won't be very often that I review a movie on my blog. First of all, I'm not getting paid for it, second of all, I don't watch very many movies (except in random, unexplained spurts), and third of all - it's so rare that there are good ones!

But Kevin went out and rented two the other night. Saturday night's feature, "Men Who Stare At Goats", with George Clooney and Ewan McGregor was a giant error. Odd waste of time. Couple laughs, and I'm all about quirk, but still...

Last night was "Couples Retreat." And even if you don't count the fact that Vince Vaughan reminds me of my cousin Billy and I love my cousin Billy - it's really a darn good movie. Both Kevin and I agreed (Ebert and Roper pair that we are).

You gotta love any flick that says good stuff about marriage. And I love any flick that includes comic scenes of therapy.

Worth watching!

Alone in a car with a 5-pound bag of candy

Saturday was my MDO (Mom's Day Off). It started in a most wonderful, rare way. I sat at Panera Bread with two friends (and one 3 month-old) and didn't move my butt out of the booth for FOUR hours! That kinda thing rarely happens once the college years have passed and children are born. We're not sure how it happened this time. All the circumstances were just right.

After Panera, though, the day went quickly downhill. In the next couple hours, I developed sky-high anxiety over new-house possibilities. Despite library time where I tried to prep a talk on Mary (which is also scaring my pants off) and my traditional MDO meal at Chipotle (sitting on the patio in the Spring weather and watching the cars go by...) - I still got sick to my stomach from annoying worry. Hopped back in Kevin's car to decide where to go next - and for the first time spotted the HUGE bag of Jolly Ranchers in the back seat. I picked it up and checked - it was a FIVE POUND BAG!!! Looking for a tissue in the console, I came across a small bag of Bit o' Honeys. For the record, I resisted the urge for sugar (especially intense due to my increased stress level) but compounded my anxiety with thoughts of Kevin's impending diabetes and total tooth decay. And, truth be told, it is easier (MUCH easier) to resist Jolly Ranchers and Bit o' Honeys than the frozen yogurt joint next to Chipotle.

Anyway... I ended my day off in bed. For a couple hours. Head pounding and stomach churning.

I'd still do it all over again to get that extended Panera session, though.


We're looking at a house today. I'm a wreck. Only reason I can think of is that we've just arrived in "Limbo Land" again, and I've never liked it here.

Got nothing to do today? Pray for me! We could use some wisdom and I'd like to go into the month of May without ulcers and/or hypertension.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Mom: "Bethanie, Jesus loves you."

Bethanie: "Little ladybug."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Insomnia Chronicles

It's moments before the midnight hour. Clock is ticking on the wall behind me. Nearly half a dozen other people sound asleep upstairs. Too much on my mind. I feel like I can't go into detail, but I'll throw out a few key words and my astute readers won't need the whole story - at least not just yet. Here we go:

Landlord issues


Market good

Possible property

'Nuff said? I know, why am I being cryptic? I don't know, but I can't make sense of the whole thing in my own head, so don't expect me to blog about it. Tomorrow I'll know more - and either the world will open up with new possibilities or we'll start over from scratch and wonder what God might be doing.

I hate not being able to sleep. Perhaps there's something on the DVR.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

After the Talk

It's me... POST-talk Teri. The much more at-ease, peaceful Teri than the PRE-talk girl who was edgy and distracted most of the week.

It was really really fun to speak to the Young Adults group at our parish tonight. I thought there would be no familiar faces, so I was thrilled to see Jeanine and Andrea (along with Violet and Ivy). Nick and Shannon, and all who serve the group are providing a valuable ministry. I loved it! I loved seeing a group of young men and women who want to get to know God better and hang out with each other at church.

I enjoyed the topic, "How to Deepen and Strengthen Our Prayer Lives" and I trust that the Holy Spirit will draw everyone there closer to him with some of the scripture and ideas presented.

In order to deepen and strengthen my own prayer life, I better get some sleep.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

He's on facebook. Wonders never cease.

Did you feel the earth tremble? Kevin joined facebook.

When I joined AGES ago, he looked over my shoulder and was less than enchanted. But he agreed that it looked like a lot of fun for me (he was right - if you've read my blog much, you've heard stories of my fantastic addiction to facebook. I had to quit when my children started going without food or attention for days at a time.)

Last night I came back from running and he was staring at his facebook page. "Where is my wall?" he asked. And: "What am I supposed to do?"

It was truly a shift in the universe as I know it. Never in our sixteen years of knowing each other have I ever EVER known anything on the computer that he doesn't. I attribute this to the fact that facebook is all about relationships and chit-chat and networking and the part of Kevin's brain that deals with relationships, chit-chat and networking has been overtaken by the part of his brain that deals with everything else. He can design a pipeline to move poop from your house to the treatment plant to the lake; he can tackle and subdue mathematical equations that would stupefy any liberal arts major; and he can recall truths penned by early Church Fathers that he read two years ago in a volume the size of a phone book. But ask the guy to type in his "status" on facebook and he is at an embarrassing loss.

He told me, as I sat there drinking in the sight of him on a social networking site, that his coworker Dawn shared how when her boyfriend signed up, he had 540 friend requests within 22 seconds. With all due respect to Dawn's boyfriend (and I've met him - he's a nice guy) - Kevin is NOT that networker. He'll get many important jobs done in his life, but collecting buddies in his jacket pocket isn't one of them. So it's refreshing and amusing to watch him on facebook. (Plus, let's be honest, it's similar to having a nibble of Snickers bar when I've given up all sugar!)

I love you, Kev! And I love that you're on facebook. (It's almost like Steve Carell joining Tina Fey's book group on "Date Night".) Now if only those friend requests you put out there come back favorably.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here's how it went down:

Monday, 6:20 p.m. - At dinner, Cayna casually murmurs, "My tummy doesn't feel good."

8:00 p.m. - "Mommy, my throat really hurts."

8:00:04 - I check Cayna's throat. There is a BRIGHT red tiny-dot "rash" covering the back of Cayna's throat.

11:45 p.m. - I predict strep throat, and tell Kevin I bet Cayna will barf in the middle of the night. I am late getting to bed because I couldn't tear myself away from the computer and working on my talk.

12:00 a.m. - "MOMMY!" Cayna calls me because she says she feels like she is going to throw up. I dread our first barf episode with her on the top bunk. How on earth will I clean THAT up? I bring her the barf bowl, cover her up and hope for the best. (The barf bowl, in our house, is also the popcorn bowl. Wanna join us for movie night?)

4:24 a.m. - "MOMMY!" Cayna calls me because she says she is scared. I am, too - it's no picnic having sick kids. And it's dreadful cleaning up barf in the middle of the night. She feels only barely feverish. I cover her up and hope for the best.

6:45 a.m. - Cayna wanders in our room and hops in bed with me - I'm trying to sneak in a few extra minutes to compensate for the late night.

8:36 - Call the pediatrician.

9:15 - See the pediatrician.

9:20 - Pediatrician commends me on my diagnostic skills. Cayna has strep. Didn't even do the culture - you shoulda seen her throat - it was like fire. In dot form. Dotty fire, nausea, low-grade fever and headache.

10:15 - Pick up filled prescription. Kids are watching "Goofy" in the van. All plans involving other children have been canceled for the next 24 hours. Hang "QUARANTINE" sign on the front of the house. Fed Ex guy comes and throws my delivery out of the truck without stopping. He's no dummy.

10:30 - Administer first dose of antibiotic. Set Cayna up on the couch, cover her up and hope for the best.

In homeschool, if one kid is sick, I vote the other gets the day off, too. Mom, too - though I can't figure out how to make this work.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Six Year-Old

A few nights ago: "Mom, when you were engaged to Daddy, were you skinny?"

Tonight at the dinner table: "I know you would never get a divorce from Daddy, but if you did, who would you marry?"

A Talk

Later this week, I am giving a talk at our parish's young adults group: "How to Deepen and Strengthen Your Prayer Life."

I LOVE giving talks. I do not, however, like the stress it causes me to prepare for them. Even as I've improved in the procrastination department, my perfectionism makes the preparation process a difficult one.

Case in point, I kept trying to develop part of my outline today --- in the midst of homeschooling and mothering four children. NOT smart, because I became a grouchy mama. Lesson learned --- I have to resist sneaking in prep time during the day, no matter how hard it is to wait for evening.

I thought earlier today, typical of my "all or nothing" attitude, that I should never give another talk again until my youngest is in college. Baloney. I just need to develop better discipline in preparation and time management. It's hard! I feel WAY more important and validated as a person preparing a talk someone might actually benefit from than I do changing diapers and helping my third grader with division. That is a big bummer. Why did I choose motherhood, with its low pay and low societal affirmation? Why do I want MORE children? I suppose underneath it all I've become convinced of the benefits, no matter how hard they are to see nine days out of ten.

And I now know myself well enough to know that I will be on an incredible high after the talk - and perhaps I should come home and blog then so you can hear from the "other me" - the one who has it all together and manages a successful speaking career and four fabulous children - easy breezy!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More books for a good cause

I am in love with books.

My mom invited us to a used book sale put on in our diocese and Joe and I went today. It was held at St. Viator's and all proceeds went to Rachel's Vineyard, which is an organization that puts on weekend retreats for those dealing with the pain of abortion.

I brought home quite a pile of books, and was happy to give the cash to such an important ministry. Dig these titles:

The Red Pony, by John Steinbeck
Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson
The Oxford Book of American Verse, copyright 1950 (I've been wanting more good poetry books)
The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
The New Year, by Pearl S. Buck
Of True Religion, by St. Augustine
Two volumes of American Wit and Humor, copyright 1907
The Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
The Library of Piano Classics (for Joe & Cayna & future piano players in our family)
Norman Rockwell, by Karal Ann Marling (a coffee table book I got for five bucks but would have paid more for since I admire Norman Rockwell)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Devout Life thought for Saturday

Just a couple days ago, I started reading Saint Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life.

It's divided into really short chapters, easily read in five minutes. I'm trying to limit myself to one a day, so I can really digest it - but I see some intriguing chapter titles coming up and am tempted to zoom through more to get further faster. Sadly, I probably require a little longer for the "lessons" to sink in, as much as I'd like to think I'm a quick learner.

I like this de Sales guy. He sounds so kind while he's dispensing life-changing advice on a relationship with God.

Anyway... today's chapter is "The First Step Must Be Purifying the Soul". And here is the sentence that stood out to me the most this morning:

"The soul which rises from out of sin to a devout life has been compared to the dawn, which does not banish darkness suddenly, but by degrees."

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen - I'm growing closer to Jesus by degrees, no matter HOW fast I read this book!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Time Machine

Today I cared for fever-boy (day 3 of 102 degrees and higher); homeschooled; dusted; vacuumed; cleaned a pus-and-blood-filled infected pierced ear on a screaming six year-old; and then hopped into Mike Nalley's Saturn. It might as well have been a time machine, traveling into my past, as we zoomed to the UNLV campus for Rebel Christian Fellowship's Thursday night Large Group meeting.

RCF staff Mattie Goins asked a few of us old fogies from InterVarsity past to come share some of our stories of people investing in us for Jesus and how we in turn invested in others.

We met in the Student Union Theater... a place not in existence in the student union I knew in the 1990s. The NEW student union boasts a Taco Bell and a Panda Express, among other things. It's also three stories high instead of the old two. It's unrecognizable. Somewhere in the new frame, there still exists the exact spot where I first met Kevin Love in 1994. Plus all the old rooms overlooking Pida Plaza and the "mall" where we had countless Large Group meetings when I was a student and then a staff.

I really appreciated and enjoyed being there. I still love college students. It was a joy to meet this new generation - many generations past when I went off staff. I met a guy named John who I am SURE to remember to pray for because #1 - he is following God's call to lead dorm ministry (which both Kevin and I loved); #2 - his name is John, so that's easy to remember (since I have a son with the same name!); #3 - he is a sophomore in Construction Management - just like my hubby (the Construction Management part, not the sophomore part).

It was a good night, and not just because I got to leave behind the fever, the pus, the housework and the bedtime duties (though that certainly was a perk).

Viva RCF!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Uncle Bob

My Uncle Bob died early Monday. He lived in Florida with my Aunt Ann. He looked a LOT like my dad, though he was much older (89, and my dad is 73). There were five kids in my dad's family: Ruth (still living in Allentown); Bob (just died in Melbourne, Florida); Kathryn (living in Allentown); David (died recently in Allentown); and James (my dad). Now my dad is the only living brother, even both his brothers-in-law have passed away. (Another GREAT argument for marrying a younger man, thank you very much!)

One of my favorite photos belonging to my dad is a shot of Uncle Bob, home on leave from the military in 1940-something, and wearing his uniform, giving his little brother (my dad) a big hug.

Bob and Ann used to like to come to Vegas, and I got to drive them around once when I was in college. They were fun tourists.

In 1997, on our way to Puerto Rico, my roommate Dyalma and I stopped to visit Bob and Ann in Melbourne.

In 2001, Kevin, baby Joseph (then 6 months old) and I went to Orlando for an engineering conference and made the drive to Melbourne to see Bob and Ann and my cousin Linda and her family. They rolled out the red carpet, and were so sweet with Joseph. Uncle Bob had a whole room full of an elaborate train set-up and little Joe was amazed by it. Since then, Uncle Bob sent many of his trains to my dad to keep for Joe when he gets older.

Bob was a wonderful grandpa and in most of his e-mails over the years, he wrote extensively about his grandkids' activities and how he was involved. He also kept busy helping at his church and gardening a lot in the Florida soil. Uncle Bob had much of the artistic talent of the Helfrich men, and his carved wooden birds attracted me when I saw them in his home.

He died peacefully in his sleep after a pretty drawn-out and sometimes dramatic battle with many health problems. I'm sad I'll never see him again on earth. I'm even sadder that my dad's side of the family, which has always drawn me, is shrinking. At least the part I know. Our west-coast contingency of the Helfrich family is too many miles away to have kept up relationships in the new generations.

God Bless Aunt Ann, Linda, Debbie, and all the family and friends grieving for Bob Helfrich.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"I Tripped" and other Easter memories

In keeping with the tradition of wearing a new outfit on Easter (found nowhere in the Bible), I wore a new turquoise-colored button-down dress with a bow on the FRONT (to accentuate the belly, seemingly), some new wedges, and jewelry to match. (Part of my new ensemble is visible in the little headshot photo now adorning my blog sidebar.)

We posed for a photo before church, then made our way to Mass. We had to combat a few other families for good seats to be near the kids' choir, but it was all in the Spirit of humility and generosity, I assure you. There was very little grumbling and dirty-look giving.

We walked in the tornadic winds from church to van, then gathered at home for our three-year-old tradition of a two-yard egg hunt. Only a few children had to be anchored to keep from blowing away in the ridiculous wind, the rest were heavy enough, or were weighed down by their candy-filled baskets.

On the way to the neighbors', my new shoes proved to be faulty when scrambling over the tiny rocks that cover my yard. Down I went. Glory and dignity and probably a cuss word under my breath. But no scrapes or bruises, thankfully.

Easter ham and lots of trimmings were served for lunch at the neighbors', then home to change into comfy clothes and try to "blow an egg". (I don't know what else you'd call this activity.) I bored a small hole at each end of an already-dyed egg and tried to blow the white and yolk out to make a delicate decoration. All that resulted was childbirth-like effort (nearly bursting all the capillaries in my face) and blue lips and teeth from the egg dye. I gave up and threw the whole mess in the trash.

The kids played the afternoon away while Kevin worked on an upcoming talk and I read The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. It was a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon, complicated only minorly by my recurring wistful wishes for a bustling, idyllic extended-family gathering. Though I THINK I know better than God, and often imagine what life would be like with dozens of loving relatives gathered 'round - He, in His wisdom (and love) has given me a different life. And can I really complain?---This one has good friends, great husband, lovely children, --- and Easter dinner at Sonic drive-in. My hamburger was delicious, in case you were curious.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Christ the Lord is risen today!

Friday, April 2, 2010

39 Going On 20

Good news from the gynecologist's office! I have the fertility of a 19 year-old!

Man oh man, when I had her run the extra blood tests, what I was really looking for was some further justification for my grouchiness. "You're pre-menopausal," I wanted her to state. Or, "Boy howdy your thyroid is out of whack!"

Nope. My lab sheets might as well have had smiley faces next to all the test scores. I'm a shiny, healthy, nearly 40 year-old with the hormone levels of a teenager!

Those were her words, BTW, not mine. She said, and I quote, "We see numbers like these on 19 year-olds."

Well, there you have it. My eyes are crinkly, my neck is starting to sag. But my follicle-stimulating hormone is a freakin' spring chicken!

Well, either that or OB/Gyns these days are prompted to give such speeches to their mid-life patients in order to sell more fertility-ending procedures and drugs.

I'm a Catholic, folks. So what this all means for me is four or five more kids before I break a hip. Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Out like a lamb, my fanny

March "went out" yesterday. But not like a lamb, no way, no how. More like a messy, boiling, catastrophic whirlwind of a windstorm. But... this is the new Teri! The new Teri does not complain! She dresses herself in the morning and meets the day's challenges (and disappointments) with smiles! crisp dresses! poetry!

Yes, poetry.

The new Teri replaces complaining with poetry. So---a Haiku about the wind:

a Haiku by Teri

Dust assaulting all
Whipped into a storm of rage
I'm hiding indoors

There, now. Wasn't that nice? Seventeen pristine syllables instead of a diatribe on all things offensive to me.

Now, I have more Haiku to compose on the following topics:

Small, yippy dogs
Paperwork at doctors' offices
Certain family members
Intestinal viruses
All housecleaning
Grocery prices