Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shut The Front Door!

While we were visiting our good friends Paul & Jill we were talking Twins! Like us, they also are the parents of Twins. Jill was telling us when her babies were little & she had a Dr.'s apt for them a friend offered to keep her older son for the day while she took the Twins to see the Dr. And she said "No. I need him there. He holds the door for me & helps me more than you can imagine." And of course I could relate, having older boys as well. And thankfully so!

Then Paul who we've known since he was a College student said that he remembered going Christmas shopping with us when our kids were little & how Kyle & Zach (then about 7 & 9) would run up ahead of us to open the door & hold it so we could get the double stroller in. (I had forgotten all about those days!) And I told him it's funny that he should mention that, because just the day before, when we were sight seeing in down town Seattle, we walked up to a building, I believe it was the Space Needle & another man arrived at the door at the same time we did, he opened it & then jumped in front of us to hurry inside. I didn't think much of it, but I heard my 19 year old son Zach, behind me say to his Dad "Dad, did you see that guy, he didn't even hold the door open for Mom & the girls!" And John replied with something like "Well son, there are a lot of guys like that out there." And when I was telling this story to Paul he said (about Zach) "That is an attitude that will serve him well in life!"

So, I've been thinking about this. I never made the conscious decision that I was going to raise my boys (now 19 & 21) to be Gentlemen. It just came naturally I guess. I do remember very vividly my first day of High School, I walked up to the school as a new Freshman, my older brother Marty, was a Senior & when we got there, he opened the door & held it open for me to walk in. And I remember thinking right then & there: If my own Brother can hold a door for me, than ANY guy who wants to Date me better be willing to! And I stuck to that! A few years latter I was going on a date with some guy, it was our first date together, he came up to the house & we went out to his car. Where he preceded to get in the car. I stood there in my driveway, next to the car. He realized what he had done, got out of the car, came around & opened my door for me then went back & got in his side. I can make a joke about anything & it was funny, but I think I made my point. :)

Now, I am all about Girl Power! I'm a Mother of two Teenage girls who I sing to regularly, "Any thing Boys can do, Girls can do better!" (you know it's true!) :) And I, like every other girl out there, can certainly open my own car door. I just feel like it's a matter of respect. It doesn't mean I think I'm better than a man, or that I feel I'm beneath him. I can & do hold doors as well. And as I was thinking about turning this little story into a Blog Post the thought occurred to me: is Chivalry dead? Are Gentleman really a dying breed? If that is the case, then what a sad world we would live in!

I have been Married now for almost 24 years to a Man who still holds the door for me! He did from our very first blind date! (Or there probably wouldn't have been a second!) :) And I'm sure THAT has been the biggest driving force in my boy's learning to be the Gentlemen they are today. I've seen my son hold a door for groups of people who all shuffle by without so much as a Thank You. I always try to remember to say Thank You, when a door is held for me, even when I'm in a hurry. When Paul & Jill were taking us on a tour of their Church while we were visiting them, their two little boys (who are now about 7 & 9) would open & hold every door we walked in or out of!

So, Where do you stand on the subject? Next to your car door, waiting for it to be held open? :) Or opening it yourself & giving the man trying to open it for you what for?

Should we be raising our Sons to be Gentlemen?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Help

I've Blogged before about reading the Book The Help. And you know I usually wait till after I've seen a Movie to decide weather or not to read the Book. I've learned if I like a Movie I will Love the Book! But too often if I've read the book & liked it, I'm always disappointed in the Movie! Because they obviously can never put everything that is in a book into a two hour movie.

But this time I did it backwards (or like most "normal" people!) I read the Book first. And I LOVE this Book! I can honestly say it is one of my Favorite Books of All Time! And that is a Big deal for me to say! I love a lot of Books, but there are very few (only a handful) that get into the All Time Favorite Category! But The Help is one of them!

Love Emma Stone, who played Skeeter
and is an Arizona Girl, born & raised BTW!

So needless to say I was very skeptical about seeing this Movie. I was really hoping the Movie would do the Book justice. But I was mentally prepared to be disappointed & not like it. I wanted my 13 year old daughters to see it with me because having read the Book, I knew it was an important message for them to hear. A bunch of Girlfriends I haven't seen in way too long all got together to see it. There were 9 women & 3 teenage girls! So good to see those friends again.

Ron Howard's daughter Bryce (who also played Victoria in Eclipse)
did a great job playing the evil Hilly!
(Though I bet it will be awhile before she eats Chocolate Pie again! haha)

And I must say I LOVED the Movie! Yay! I was so pleasantly surprised. Having read the Book & knowing what would happen I found myself giggling at what I knew was about to happen in the Movie before it did. :) I also knew since having read it, that I wouldn't cry during the Movie. Wrong! I Blubbered like a baby! Surprising even myself. I went to work the next day & my eyes were still sore & swollen from crying so much! I think maybe I cried even more because having read the Book, I felt like I really knew these women!

Loved that my girls were repeating this all important line
after seeing the Movie!

The Book does give you much more details & background into the characters. And there were several things that happened in the Book that I really wish could have been in the Movie, but of course not everything can. But over all, they really did a great job adapting the Book into a Movie! I love them both! And I would highly recommend you see the Movie & read the Book. ASAP!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!!

He left home back in May!
A Boy, going out on his own for the first time.

He returned in August!
A Mountain Man.

Welcome Home Zach!
You were missed!
(Now it's time for a shave & haircut!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Old Friends are the Best Friends!

After spending time with Zach at his Mountain, Touring Forks & the Rain Forest, and Spending time in Seattle, we dropped Zach back off at Mt. Rainier :( & we headed east for some very special reasons. Some good friends of ours from Michigan now live in Eastern Washington so we got to spend the weekend with them.

We had moved to Michigan with our boys (Kyle was 2 years old & Zach was 10 months old) We met Paul soon after. He had recently gotten out of the Navy & was going to college on the GI Bill and started attending our Church & soon became John's Bass Player. As a starving College student he ate many meals at our house. He even offered to watch our boys so we could go out from time to time if we'd just feed him. :) He was good practice for someday (like now) when we'd have College age boys of our own to feed! And our boys were good practice for him for someday (like now) when he'd have kids of his own! :) But, I'm skipping ahead.

Paul met Jill at a Christian student even at school & soon she was all he could talk about. I'll never forget the night we knew he was going to ask her to marry him, we we're all a little nervous! (I'm sure no one more than Paul!) :) I remember pulling up to our house & me saying to John "Well, if Paul is sitting on our front stoop, we know Jill said no." Thankfully, He wasn't sitting of our front stoop! :) John sang at their wedding. Paul likes to remind John of how on the night before his wedding, John hadn't learned the song yet! (Thankfully Jill was not aware of that fact, and as always John pulled it off without a hitch!) Paul became an Engineer for GM. Jill got her Masters Degree I believe in Art History. They are so smart, I don't know why they hang out with us! :)

We then had twin girls & for some reason Paul never volunteered to babysit again! (He's no dummy!) We moved away from Michigan when the girls were 2. John, My Dad & Paul along with Kyle & Zach drove all our belongings across the country. My Mom & Jill flew with me & my 2 year old twins to help us move. Now that's Friendship! But I have to interrupt this story to share a life lesson I learned on that trip . . .

We flew out of Detroit, were to change planes in Memphis & then on to our final destination. Now as a mom of 4 children, trust me, I know how to travel with kids, I packed snacks and activities, I was ready for our 4 hour trip. But due to bad weather after we boarded our Plane, we sat on the tarmac for over 4 hours! I exhausted all our snacks, books, toys, etc. I called John to say don't go to meet us at the airport, we haven't even left Detroit yet! They were heading out right then to go pick us up. Thankfully my girls slept most of that flight! (Even on this road trip at the age of 13, they pretty much slept or read in the car! Some things never change!) :) We landed in Memphis long after our connecting flight was long gone, it was late, and pretty much everything was shut down. A couple things to keep in mind here: 2 year old Twins, no snacks, no food to be found in the airport.

I love my Mom dearly, but she is the type of person that if you have a problem, or need to return something or send back a meal, you want her to do it! She seems to thrive on that kind of conflict! (while I hide under the table) :) So here she is, yelling at the airport attendant something along the lines of "Do you see these two Babies? They have not eaten, there is nothing open here! We've missed our flight. And we can not stay the night in the airport to wait for the first flight out in the morning! You do something! And do it now!" The girls were crying, (I'm sure I was on the verge!) We were frustrated, the Airline Attendant was frustrated. Everyone was standing their ground & getting nowhere! Then Jill steps up. Now Jill is so much fun, but I must tell you, I'm pretty sure that everyone who has ever met her would tell you their first impression of her would be quiet, shy, sweet! Well sweet little Jill pushes forward into the heart of the conflict & says in her soft voice, something along the lines of "Excuse me, I'm sure you can see the predicament we are in with two small children & our flight being delayed, isn't there anyway you could get us a flight out of here tonight? We'll even fly to another town two hours away from where we're supposed to be going & have our husbands drive there to pick us up." To our surprise the clerk said "let me see what I can do" and the next thing we knew we were on a flight, not to the town two hours away, but to our original destination! Wow! I learned then & there that old saying: You catch more flies with honey than you do with Vinegar (or however that goes) is true & really works! I made a mental note of that fact & never forgot that! Thank you Jill (& Mom) for that life lesson!

Over the next several years they had a baby boy, followed by Twins (they are really trying to be like us, aren't they?! Though their twins are Boy/Girl) & then a baby girl! Paul took a (literal) Leap of Faith & left his job to go into full time Ministry! They moved across the country & are now Music & Youth Pastors. John & Paul have remained Great friends throughout the years. (Do men call each other BFF's?) We've visited each other in different places over the years. And ALWAYS have a great time together! We were so happy to get to see them on this trip.

A real Blessing to us was getting to hear Paul Preach for the first time. It just worked out that his Lead Pastor was out of town the Sunday we were there, so Paul was the speaker. He did such an amazing job! He's grown so much. I told John We raised him right! (haha like we had anything to do with how he turned out! But hay, I am not above taking credit, where credit is not due!) :) My girls & I LOVE Scarves! And Jill confessed she just never knows how to wear them, so us Arizona girls gave Jill some scarf wearing lessons! Now she is part of the club!

Then on Sunday night at their Youth Service, Paul asked John to lead Worship and John & Paul got to play together once again!

The day before they took us all out to the lake and we got to meet some of the kids in their youth group & their parents. My girls got to ride on a speedboat for the first time! I Tweeted that night that I had just let my girls go out on a lake in a boat full of Teenage boys I don't know! Yikes!

And then they got out of the boat! And got to learn a new sport: Tubing! Where you lay on an inner tube, & get pulled behind the boat & go over the wake! They had a ball! Even through the wipe outs! :)

Paul & Jill's kids are about the cutest ever! The last time I had visited them, a few years ago, Jill & I took her kids to a park & her son, Ben asked her: "Is it alright if we eat our lunch on top of the play structure?" I never let her live that one down! I told her only HER kids would call a Jungle Gym or a Swing Set a "Play Structure!" :) Yes, even their kids are smart! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree I guess! But little Elisabeth, who didn't remember me from when she was a baby, soon became a girl after my own heart, we found her fast asleep in her bed, with a book! And she didn't even wake up when we took her picture! We had to show her the next day!

Their kids loved my girls & my girls loved them! "Sorry!"

My girls braided Natalie's hair. Daddy's & Daughters made Brownies together! Yes, Jill & I were both smart enough to marry men who love to cook! :) Hey, there's another life lesson for you! ;)

And of course we had to get some group shots! Starting with Two sets of Twins! Erica & Alexia, Natalie & Noah!

Then all the kids! Ben, Elisabeth, Erica, Lexi, Natalie, Noah!

Then of course we had to add the parents!

But things got out of control! And in Church! Oops!

We had such a great time getting to see them. Noah thought about hiding in a suitcase & going with us, but being a home body (like Zach) he decided against it! (But, watch out, look where Zach is now!) :) Ben even offered me a dollar a day if we would stay there! I was very tempted to take him up on his offer! Like I said, Old Friends are the Best Friends! (not that any of us are old!) Even when they live far away!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Well, you knew this City Girl couldn't go an entire vacation climbing Mountains & touring small towns (even if it is in Twilight!) for long. The City calls to me! So we spent a day in Seattle! John & I had visited there once before, but our kids hadn't been there. So we had to correct that! After all Sleepless in Seattle is one of my all time favorite movies!

No trip to Seattle is complete without seeing the very first ever Starbucks! Or as my hubby calls it: Mecca! :) You know he loves his Starbucks!

A friend of mine named Lee Gunther, from my Teen years, who was part of the same Youth Group, now lives in the Seattle area, and like my Husband, he is now a Worship Pastor as well. We haven't seen each other in probably over 25 years. He and his lovely wife were able to come meet us downtown! It's always so much fun to reconnect with old friends! (not that he, or I, is "old" of course!) :)

There are all kinds of little shops & alley ways that give the look & feel of being in Europe. We saw all kinds of Street performers. We saw kids playing Violins, a young man playing a Sax with a sign that said saving money for Band Camp! Then we saw a pan handler with a sign that simply said: Need $ 4 Weed! (Hay, at least he was being honest!) Lexi said if we lived near hear I would so play my Flute down town! We told her as long as her sign didn't say what that guy's did! :) We saw a man playing Guitar, singing the Black Eyed Peas all while Hoola Hooping! (I'm not kidding!) There was even a full size Piano on the street! I saw a boy doing a Rubik's Cube for donations! I think I found a new Career path for Zach, he rocks the Rubik's Cube! :)

Of course we had to visit Pikes Place Market! So full of people! I love it!

Where you can watch them tossing fish!

But, the other side with the fresh Flowers smells a whole lot better! :)

And of course I made everyone stop at the spot where some scenes in Sleepless in Seattle were filmed! Love it!

We saw a young woman making Bracelets, and she had my girls names on some. You do see Erica's name but it's almost always spelled with a K. This one had a C! And once in a great while you will find Lexi's name but it ALWAYS is spelled Lexie, not how we spell it. Her full name is Alexia & you NEVER see that. Only Alexis. Well this place had it! They even had Zach spelled with an H instead of a K! But, guess what name they didn't have, that's right, no Star!

With a family full of Musicians, when visiting new cities we always look for a Hard Rock Cafe! John collects the little Guitar Pins from all the different Cities & Countries! You can read some Blog Post's from our Vacation on his Blog as well!

Then it was on to the Seattle Space Needle. View from the bottom . . .

View from the top . . .

Seattle is such a Beautiful City. It's Cool & Hip! (kind of like me! haha)

Hang Loose Seattle! If you look close at the picture below, you can see Mt. Rainier behind Zach.