Monday, June 30, 2008

Seperation Anxiety

Today my girls left for Church camp. This is their third year to go to camp, but for their first two years, I went with them. I was their dorm leader. I told them, now that they are 10 years old and I've been with them twice, they can go without me. And much to my dismay I got a lot of squeals of delight. They were so excited to go "alone!" (Though one of the good things about being twins, or siblings close in age, is that they are never really alone.)

But, just what happened to the days when they never wanted to be out of my sight? I remember longing for time alone. Now, don't get me wrong, I still love my time alone, but it's nice when those you love want to be with you. (Or at least, act a little bit sad that I'm not going to be there.) And I do know that I wouldn't want it the other way around either, where they could never go anywhere without me. After all, we are raising future adults right? And we want our children to eventually become independent. It just happens too fast!

Both Erica & Lexi did tell us how much they are going to miss us. (It's usually right before bed time, the rest of the time they're kept pretty busy.) And the boys are excited to have a week with no little sisters around! And I'm sure at some point during their first week home I'll think "Can't you go back to camp for awhile?" ;) I'm just a little sad at sending them off. But, we are looking forward to spending some time with just "the Boys" this week, like we did with the girls when the boys were away at camp. And I'm sure I'll go through this all over again on my trip to New York, only I'll be the one having fun and being kept busy.

Turn abouts fair play!

Friday, June 27, 2008

New York

"Start Spread'n the news . . ." (from the song New York, New York)

Both of my sons are going with their youth group on a missions trip to New York City two weeks from today! And I'm going with them! Yeah Me! I'll be a chaperon, not a student, just in case you were confused. I'm helping to run the dramas we will be doing, among other things.

We will be in Queens and doing things like Sidewalk Sunday School, Outreaches, helping churches do V.B.S., visiting kids with cancer or aids in the hospital, working in a soup kitchen, holding services and many other things. We are so excited. This is Zach's first missions trip, the second one for Kyle. We will visit Times Square Church as well as Brooklyn Tab. How cool is that?

And of course we will have time for seeing the sights. You know I am a Big City Girl through & through, and a city doesn't get much bigger than this! One of my goals in life has always been to see a Broadway play ON BROADWAY. I've seen several both in Detroit and in Phoenix, but never on Broadway. And we just found out that we may get the oportunity to see The Phantom of the Opera while we're there! And since I've always encouraged a love for all things Broadway in my kids, Phantom has always been Kyle's favorite play. So, we are really psyched about this! (okay, Zach, not so much, but the rest of us are!) I'm even willing to give up the money I was hoping to buy a designer knock-off purse in China Town with to see Phantom. And even though I LOVE purses, and you can NEVER have too many, it will be worth it. I'll definitely post pic's from the trip and tell you all about it.

So, as you think of it, say a prayer for our trip. Thanks friends.

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Who Ya Gonna Call?"

So, a few weeks ago my sons were both up north at Church camp. My husband calls me because he had just gotten a call from Zach and the camp nurse. Zach had hurt his ankle while playing soccer at camp. The nurse thought it could possibly be broken. It swelled up, turned black & blue, and hurt him. We had to decide if we wanted him taken into town to have it X-rayed, or wait till he got home. We went back & forth. It's easier to wait till he comes home, when we can take him ourselves, but then that's late on Friday, so we'd have to wait out the weekend as well. And our other concern is that Zach runs track at school. (He ran the 100 & the 200 on Varsity last year as a sophomore, in one of the largest high schools in the state.) So if we wait and it was broken and it hadn't been set right at the beginning, would that damage his ankle more in the long run? So, we thought better safe than sorry. We had it X-rayed there, and thankfully it wasn't broken, he had severely sprained it they told us. So he spent the rest of the week at camp & the following two weeks in a splint and on crutches. He is seeing both, our regular Dr. as well as a Chiropractor. And his ankle is doing much better!

So, now back to my original question: during the week he was still at camp, as John & I were talking this whole thing through, I asked him, "Why do you think he called you first and not me?" (A similar situation had happened at camp a few years earlier as well, and again, Dad was the first call. And his response is always, "let me talk it over with Mom and we'll call you back.") John said, "I have no idea why they would call me instead of you." And seeing where I was going with this we started to come up with possible reasons that he would be the first call, like . . . I always put his cell phone number down as our emergency contact number, because I know he always has his phone on his person, while mine is in my purse and if I'm not holding my purse at that moment I might not hear the phone ring. Also, the kids all know this as well and might think the best way to reach us is through their Dad's cell phone.

And as we're talking about this I also realize that almost every time one of the kids gets sick in the night, or has had a bad dream, John is the one they wake-up first. So, we think maybe it's because his side of the bed is closest to the door. (There's got to be a good reason for this! Right?) Then John says, "You can blame it on whatever you want, but, I know what the real reason is," I'm dying to know why our kids would call him before they call me. So, I ask just what that reason is. He said, "You don't fool me, I know all those nights when you were up with our kids when they were baby's, rocking them, feeding them, soothing them, you were whispering in their ear 'when your older & get sick in the night, or get hurt, wake-up Daddy, because Mommy needs her sleep.'" I just laughed.

It is true that I was never one of those moms who got all upset that after all my labor pains, and sleepless night's with a newborn, that my kids said "Dada" first. I always used it to my advantage. When they would wake up in the middle of the night, I'd nudge John and say, "The baby's calling you," and roll over and go back to sleep. Or I'd say something like, "You know I would love to change another messy, stinky diaper, but he did ask for you, and I wouldn't want to disappoint him!" Brilliant, I know!

But, now I guess I know how all those dads feel after years and years of coaching their kids, and teaching them everything they know about life and sports, how they must feel when their son or daughter wins an Olympic gold medal, or wins the super bowl, or state championship, only to look into the camera and mouth the words "Hi Mom!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fathers Day

I hope you all had a great weekend celebrating Fathers Day!

We were going out to dinner on Saturday evening for Fathers Day, so I was in my room getting ready, doing my hair. And John had gotten a call from a friend of ours who needed to talk about some issues. So, he came in while I was getting ready so we could talk about things. (So, needless to say I was distracted.) I finished my hair, and we left for the restaurant.

We're driving down the freeway, about half way to the restaurant when it hits me . . . in a panic, I yell out "Oh my goodness!" John and the kids all look around to see if we're about to be in an accident or whats going on. Then I tell them "I forgot to put on make-up!" They all immediately burst into laughter. I was mortified. I have not left my house without make-up on since I was 12 years old! I have no eyes and no lips without make-up. Kyle threatened to take a picture with his phone. (He values his life too much to actually do it!) and my loving, caring husband, who's stood beside me for over 20 years and has been a wonderful father to our four children WOULD NOT turn around & take me back home to remedy the situation.

But, Luckily for me, in the same parking lot the restaurant is in, there is a Target. Hallelujah! So, I drop off John & the kids to go put our name in for a table & run over to Target. I run into the store (never taking my sun glasses off the entire time in the store, and praying I don't see anyone I know) quickly grab the basics I need, pay, apply, drive back to the restaurant, and all just in time to sit down to my Diet Coke & an appetizer they just brought out. Now that's great timing! And my husband didn't have to look at me with no make-up on throughout our dinner, now that's a great Fathers Day present!

Speaking of Father's day gifts, John got a new, awesome guitar pedal (that's how he describes it) he picked out, so he told us we couldn't get him anything else for Fathers day. But he has to have something to open on that day too, right? I couldn't put a big bow on his guitar pedal in front of the whole church while he's leading worship. But we did get him something little anyway. I found a picture frame that holds four pictures, and in it I put a picture of him baptizing in water all four of our kids to hang in his office at the church. Being a Pastor, he was able to baptize our kids himself, they were all very memorable & special.

Kyle was 8 years old and was baptized in a lake in Michigan. Zach was 9, and it was in a swimming pool in Louisiana. Erica & Lexi were 10 (it was just two months ago) and were baptized in a baptismal tank in our church.

He was surprised and loved the pictures! So, I thought I'd share them with you as well.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I am one of seven children. My Parents had 5 Boys & 2 Girls. And my mom has always said that Boys are much easier to raise than Girls. I don't know if my sister and I were just that tough, or what?! Because I do know that the boys were FAR from perfect! (very far!) And I have son's just like some of them to prove it. And my mom is not the only person I've heard say this. As Youth Pastors, we've dealt with teenagers & their parents for many years, and many of them said the same thing as well. I think they are referencing those wonderful pre-teen and teen age years when the emotions often times run away with your child. And your left wondering where that sweet kid of yours went, and more importantly, when are they coming back?!

So, now that I have two of each, I've learnt that even two kids of the SAME sex can be, and usually are, very different from each other. And I do know that I am NOT ready to have two adolescent girls in my house. Yikes! Recently when I was reading a blog that I read weekly by another Music Pastors wife from a huge church in Atlanta, GA. who has three small children, one who is adopted. She's very open & honest, and has some great ideas for family nights, and it's just fun to read if you ever want to check it out. It's called 'Whittaker Woman'. On her blog I found this saying that I love: "When you have a boy, you have to worry about one boy on the planet. When you have a girl, you have to worry about every boy on the planet." How true is that?!

Now, I want to know what you think. Click on Comment at the end of this post & share your thoughts on Boys-Vs-Girls. Let us know which you think is easier or harder to raise & why. And come back often to read everyones responses. It will be fun, and we'll all gain some insight from each other.

I leave you with this thought. Psalms 127:3-5 says: Don't you see that children are God's best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What's In A Name?

One of the first things people ask me when they meet me for the first time is, "Is Star your real name?" Yes, it is. Then they want to know how I got my name, or if my parents were hippies. (I think they are referencing Moon Unit Zappa.) My parents were not hippies, they had a nice, 'normal' name picked out for me, I was supposed to be Julie, until I was born 2 weeks late, which happened to be on Christmas Day, December 25th. So, they decided they wanted a Christmasy name for me. So literally a star was born!

I have a good friend of mine who is getting ready to have her first child. And we were talking about Baby names the other day. And how it might be a good idea not to tell too many people what names you're thinking of because your bound to get an, "I never liked that name," or a "I knew someone with that name and they were a horrible person," etc.

When we were naming our kids I remember thinking 'this is a huge responsibility! This will be this child's name for their entire life, it is how they will be known.' That's a lot of pressure. John, my husband, didn't want a Jr., he thinks his name is too common. And I don't think it helped that he married someone who's dad, brother & nephew are named John as well. So as a newly married couple we talked about having kids & what we would name them, and we decided on Kyle Micah for a boy. (As a teenager I had a huge crush on a Phoenix Suns player named Kyle Macy, and John likes to tease people that his wife named his first born son after some old crush.) And then for our first born daughter, since John's middle name is Eric we decided to name her Erica Starr after the two of us. Though by adding a letter to each of our names, we were giving her, her own spelling.

So, a few years later our first child was born & it was a boy. Kyle. Then 16 months after that, we had our second child, another boy. Oh, wait we already used our boys name! We had a hard time finding another name we both liked, we wanted something that sounded good with Kyle, so out came the baby name book. I love knowing where a name originated & what it's meaning is. We came up with a name we thought sounded good with Kyle so, I looked up the meaning. Now Kyle means 'Handsome', and 'from the straight'. This second name (name has been withheld to protect the innocent) means crooked nose. How could we tell one son, you are handsome and the other you are crooked nose? So, we decided against that name. Back to the drawing board. Then I found the coolest name I'd ever heard. I thought this is a great name for a child, a teenager, and an adult. Cause you need to think about it at every stage in life. (Can you imagine meeting a woman business executive or a lawyer named Buffy?) I wanted to name our son Canyon. John however thought the coolest name I ever heard was the weirdest name he's ever heard. So, as you can tell we got all the way to Z's before we found the perfect name. Zacheriah. Which means 'God has remembered'.

And when it came time to name our twins, I knew I didn't want 'twiny' names like Missy & Sissy. But, I did want names that flowed well together. We stuck with Erica, so we needed a name that went well with that. Then I heard Alexia, and fell in love with it. So, we have Erica Starr and Alexia Jewell. And one day I had had about all the kicking in my womb I could handle. And I was thinking about their names. Erica means 'Brave ruler', and then I realized Alexia means 'defender of mankind'. And I thought no wonder they are kicking each other so much, Erica's trying to rule & Lexi's just defending herself!

I like unusual names. Especially for girls. I think boys might not fair as well with too unusual of a name. My dad was a big Johnny Cash fan and now thanks to his grandpa, my son is. But I'm reminded of the Johnny Cash song "A Boy named Sue." Now, you don't want your child to be one of five kids in their class at school with the same name. But you don't want them made fun of their whole life either. And just know that if you name your kid a unique name, or give them an unusual spelling of their name, that they will never find their name on a souvenir key chain, Christmas ornament, coffee mug, etc. And trust me they will look and be disappointed when they don't see their name. You will have to special order anything with their name on it. With us, Zach may see his name but, it's always spelled with a K, we spell it with a H. And the closest Alexia usually finds is Alexis. And of course my name is never their either. Though right now is a good time to be named Star, because I can walk into any teenage girl shop & find t-shirts and jewelry with stars on them, cause there hip, for now anyway.

Put some thought into what your naming your child. What's cute or funny to you now, might not be to them when they have to carry that name around for the rest of their life. My maiden name was Fink. (yes you read it right!) and when my mom was pregnant with me my dad told her he was going to name me Ima. Ima Fink. Nice huh?! Luckily for me he was just joking. I don't know if Star Fink was any better. But, with a name like Star people never paid much attention to my last name. Which was a good thing, because if you notice, Star spelled backwards is Rats! ; )

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Meet My Family

I thought I should introduce my family to you, since I'm sure I will be talking (or blogging) about them, and using them as examples in the future. . .

I met John on a Blind Date. (yes, they can work!) And we were married within a year of that first date! That was over 20 years ago! My how time flies when your having fun! He is the Music Pastor at Mesa First Assembly of God in Mesa, Arizona. We've been in the ministry for all of our 20 years together. (and separately since we were teenagers.) We've lived in four different states. He is a great Husband and Father to our kids! He even loves to cook. Having a man that can cook & will sing to you, what could be better than that?!

Our first born is Kyle. He was my hardest baby, never sleeping through the night until he was well over a year old. He was always busy, and wanted to be entertained every minute of every day. He was also a very fun kid to be around. Full of life and adventure (if not mischief!). Definitely my strong willed child. He can talk to anyone, anytime. And thrives on being the center of attention. He's also been in trouble in every school he's ever attended. And now . . . my baby is about to turn 18! Ouch! I constantly have people from young parents who watch him play with their little ones, to senior citizens come up to me to tell me what an awesome young man he is, going out of his way to be helpful at church or in our neighborhood, or purposely meeting new people & making them feel comfortable. And I'm always like "are you sure it's my Kyle?" ; ) I'm sure you will be hearing (or reading) much more about him and all his life adventures!

Next comes Zach. He is 16 months younger than his brother, and has a totally different personality. He slept through the night solidly from 6 weeks on. And he could always entertain himself. Give him some matchbox cars, dinosaurs, or army men and he'd be happy for hours on end. He loves to read & is very scholarly, I've never had to remind him to do his homework, he just does it. (not the case with Kyle!) Zach has always been my shy child. Whenever any adult would speak to him he would hide behind my leg (sometimes almost pulling my skirt off!) He was always content to stay in the back ground. We've had to force him to make friends. Now, at age 16, he has come a long way, and is coming out of his shell. People have commented to me they've never heard him speak before, & now all of a sudden he is very vocal. He's funny, and friendly and still loves to learn, and instead of cars or army men it's all about playing music right now. And he plays his guitar for hours every day. I'm also told by many people what an awesome young man Zach is as well.

And then we have Twin girls Erica & Lexi. Talk about not sleeping through the night, try having new born twins in the house. It was extremely hard, that whole first year (and I'm sure it will be the subject of many blogs to come), not to mention the Terrible Twos, times two! (again, I'm sure more blog's to follow on that subject as well! Painful memories!) They are sweet & Beautiful. It was a whole education watching them play & learn together, and discover the world as a pair, and on their own. And being girls, they talk a lot and squeal loudly and often! We have had to deal with many issues concerning twins: such as to dress alike or not, having to decide weather or not to place them in the same or separate class rooms in school, Speech Issues, etc. And now those precious twin girls are 10 & 1/2. (they would be very upset if I left out that Half!) They continually let me know that they are now "Pre-Teens"! Ugh! I am not ready for them to grow-up! My baby girls.

Well, there you have it . . . "the Forbi' Four!"