Monday, December 26, 2005

Pet Peeves

This week's question is: what are your pet peeves?

Loud, blaring TV; our dog barking; salespeople who come to the door setting off our dog barking; people who get a bunch of tattoos or dress freakishly, then complaining that everyone stares at them; women who dress skimpily then complaining that men only look at their boobs; people who remind me for a month or more beforehand that their birthday is coming up; pessimists; devil's advocates; cheap rich people.

Here are some of my pet loves: getting good stuff at cheap prices; eating my mom's food; getting good pictures of the kids; getting letters in the mail; getting calls from long lost people; reading a book while eating ice cream.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Birthday Jesus

I don't have a picture of today's birthday person like I normally do. It doesn't matter anyway. You all know what He kind of looks like. Appearance-wise, He probably didn't stand out very much. It was what He said and did that caught one's attention.

I have known Jesus since I was a senior in high school. I was reluctant at first because I knew this was not a person you could flake on or forget about. I knew this relationship would be hard work and a lifetime of commitment. It was difficult for me back then to even imagine a marriage commitment, much less an eternal one. I knew this relationship would lead to a drastic change, and I didn't think I needed a change. I wasn't on drugs. I was a good student and daughter, a decent person in general.

Jesus was patient and kind with me. He could have allowed me to be bombarded with sorrows and tragedies that would have left me with no choice but to turn to Him. Instead, He surrounded me with loving Christian people that gently nudged me in the right direction. The more I learn about Him, the more I am amazed by how loving He is.

It is so hard to put into words what Jesus means to me. I think it's better that way; He shouldn't be easily categorized by a few words. One thing He has meant to me is freedom. Freedom from sin, for one thing. Lots of people think that Christianity is all about the rules, and that freedom is the ability to sleep around, get drunk, party, and do whatever they want. These and other sins are not freedom; they're traps. Left unfettered, sin always leads to more sin, as natural and sure as a ball falling if you drop it on earth. Gambling usually leads to more gambling, getting drunk leads to alcoholism, sometimes even death. Sleeping around leads to spreading of disease. It's all a deathtrap. The "milder" sins are no exception. The only way to break free of this natural cause and effect is through Jesus, because Jesus has occupied the deathtrap for us already. All sins demand a consequence. Some people take the consequence upon themselves, and some pass it to Jesus. God wants us to do the second; otherwise He wouldn't have orchestrated the whole thing. He's merciful and forgiving that way.

Actually, I'm as free as the next person to do whatever I want. Just like when Raina grows up, she'll be free to eat all the candy, cookies, and ice cream she wants. But I know better, and I hope she will know better too. A relationship with Jesus is one of the hardest things to establish and maintain, but it is so worth it. In fact, there is nothing more worthwhile, not even motherhood.

There is so much more about Him to tell, too much for one day's blog. Maybe another day...

In a way, today is not just Jesus' birthday but mine, Kevin's, the kids', and yours as well. Let's all make it a good one.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Movie night

Last night we left the kids with the grandparents and went to see the Narnia movie. We only see a few movies a year, depending on what movies come out, how busy we are, and our finances during those two weeks. So for us, seeing a movie in a theater is an Occasion. It was fun. We both enjoyed the movie and had a good time afterwards discussing it. Maybe it's the mother in me, but the part I liked best was watching the four children. They did such a good job casting the kids, especially Lucy. She was just the cutest sweetest little thing. Whenever Susan came onto the screen, I wondered why teenagers today can't look that wholesome, why they mostly look like near-hookers. And Edmund reminded me a little of my boy, his rebelliousness and the nice round shape of his head. I've heard people say they cried when Aslan sacrificed his life. Not me. The part that made me teary was watching the love and bonding between the siblings. Like I said, it must be the mother in me.

It was a beautiful movie and definitely the best we've seen this year. Of course, the only other ones we've seen this year are Madagascar (with the kids) and Revenge of the Sith so I'm not exactly the most reliable movie critic.

Oh, yeah, I found out that I get carsick looking at Christmas lights. I don't know why. It hasn't happened in previous years. Maybe it's because we were driving around before dinner and my empty stomach made it worse? Or maybe it's just another effect of aging and having children. Probably all of the above and Kevin's crazy driving, too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What a Deal

I have to gloat about the outrageous deal I scored today. I went shopping at JC Penney with a $10 off coupon (the one mailed to me, not the one in the ad). I was supposed to do more Christmas shopping but wound up with a pair of jeans for myself instead. It was originally on sale for $40 but was on clearance for $10.77. With the coupon, the grand total was 83 cents. That's right, eighty-three cents!

A couple of years ago, I paid $5 for a pair of beige cargo pants from Old Navy. It was on sale because it was men's pants, and only the small sizes were left. A couple of years before that, I paid $4 for Gap khakis that were men’s but really small. Each time I got a good deal, I was happy. I would make everybody guess how much I'd paid for them. My sisters thought I was nuts and told me this was not the kind of thing one brags about. Eh, what do they know.

But still! 83 cents? That's the best deal I've ever gotten on clothing, not counting free and thrift store stuff. The jeans are pretty nice, too. A little too hip for me, maybe, but hey, good enough for 83 cents! And I really needed these jeans because (dare I say it?) I have not returned to my pre-pregnancy size YET.

So, yup, I'm feeling quite smug. Especially since I had another one of these coupons and this time did use it on someone's Christmas present. But I can't say who because I doubt he/she will be as happy as me to learn his/her present was only $5 (actually less but I can't say how much less).

Happy Shopping, everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Party Saturday

This weekend was busy but in a great way. We had two parties on Saturday. The first one was lunch at Dave & Buster's to celebrate the birth and health of my friend's new baby. Her baby is very cute and chubby, but no, I was not tempted to have another one (only to squeeze and hold him). My friend is wonderfully hilarious, and although she was busy most of the time, the few pieces of conversation we exchanged demonstrated she hasn't changed a bit.

The second party was for Joshua, who turned three. Josh's mom, Jenny, was my college roommate for 4 years. It was great to see Jenny, of course, but it was also great to see her parents, brothers, and friends, all of whom I used to see frequently but haven't in a long time. At one point, I was sitting there watching everybody running around with their kids and thought, "holy cow, we are all parents now, with one, two, three, even four children." Everybody looks the same as they did 15 years ago, and yet we're completely changed. Back then, we were focused on getting A's, a nice guy/girl, and maybe a good career. No one was thinking about children. It was all very surreal.

At the end of the day, we were exhausted. But these are the kind of days we moved back to LA for, to be a part of our family and friends' milestones. And we don't want them to miss our milestones, either. So despite the horrible traffic, smog, cost of living, and so many other things wrong with LA, we're here to stay.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

The Madness Begins

The Christmas rush, that is. I have so many things to do this week that I have a to do list that I look at hourly. Normally I only have a weekly to do list that I follow sporadically. There's the Christmas card that we're still trying to crank out, all the presents that I have to buy, some presents that I have bought and need to return, the price adjustments I have to get because today is a sales day at a lot of places, the presents I have to wrap, the Christmas decorations that we have to finish. Oh yeah, did I mention we're also planning my son’s birthday get-together which is right after Christmas? I have to make a bunch of phone calls to potential party places, decide on the one, and then send out the invitations. Needless to say, it will not be homemade (the invitation and the food). Of course there's the normal mountain of laundry, dishes, and tidying I normally do. All this, and diaper checks every hour.

I'm usually not an anxious person, but I could get to be with this list. I have to remind myself to take it easy and let things be. During times like these, I love to listen to this song by Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker, and Christine Dente.

Taking My Time

The world is turning
Telling me to hurry on
You gotta run to get ahead
Try to take the things that you want
But when the sun begins to set
So many things I haven't done yet

(Chorus) Oh but I won't worry 'cause there's no hurry
The world's not passing me by
"Cause the Lord, He knows just where each day goes
I know He won't leave me behind
And I'm won't be bringing a single thing that my heart can't carry inside
'Cause I'm going home and I'm only taking my time

The weight of worry
is never worth the price
of a world of treasures
that can never satisfy
But I know heaven's up ahead
where the best is yet to come

I'll be singing this song a lot this month.