Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting Plugged In

I have finally made the leap back into Children's Ministry! I attended the KidCity Kickoff last week where we got to learn about serving in KidCity at Hope Community Church. There had to be well over 600 folks was impressive to see so many folks committed to serve in the children's ministry!

The staff did a great job with registration and opening music, a cool glow-in-the-dark dance routine. Laura Lee, the KidCity Children's Pastor, gave an inspiring talk about how we need to work on ourselves spiritually before we can change lives in others spiritually. She related it to working out at the gym to keep physically in shape.

We then got to go to our breakouts...mine was the "Nuts & Bolts of Large Group Teaching". I met the other large group teachers for preschool & elementary and we got a brief overview on how to make eye-contact, use body language and tone in our presentation. Basic stage presence stuff.

Then we went to our classrooms in which we will serve. I'll be in the K-1 room on Saturday nights. Here we got an overview of what to do in case of an emergency & where to go. They showed us the procedure to call a parent & where the info for CPR & First Aid was located. We finished it off by doing a mock fire drill and went outside to the parking lot.

The most impressive thing was receiving my curriculum for the rest of the year! At Seacoast, that was what we spent most of our time curriculum. In KidCity, they use it "as is" from Willow Creek's Promiseland Curriculum. I'm still at a loss for words. (For those of you in Children's Ministry, you know what I mean...rarely does anything just work out of the box!)

On Sunday, I attended the KidCity Orientation class. This is where we heard about all of the positions within the ministry and how they all work together. We also completed the paperwork to do the background check.

They have these orientations once a month for new folks in addition to the big KidCity Kickoff that everyone attends to re-commit for the next year. They allow you to choose 2 months out of the year to take off from serving. They actually recruit folks to fill in for those "track outs" so the position is never empty. That's smart.

Can't wait to actually begin teaching again. This is exciting and making me a little nervous all at the same time. I hope they like me. : )

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Trip to the Barber Shop

Mom's Eye Surgery

The purpose of my trip to Ohio was to be there for my mom as she underwent cataract surgery. It really wasn't a big deal, but she was nervous and I wanted to be there for her. She will probably kill me for posting these pictures, but she knows its inevitable...sorry mom! : )

For starters, she got the coolest blue bonnet to wear that morning. Seems like they could have invented something a little more discrete....I mean, that just screams "cafeteria lady" or circus clown, right.

As they were inserting the IV, we were trying to make small talk to keep her focus off the pain. I asked the nurse if the doctor was going to write on her head which eye to work on, so they didn't accidentally cut off her foot. Two minutes later, in walks Dr. Lilly with a pen and he wrote his initials over her left eye. Mom asked if "DL" stood for "Do the Left Eye". I guess that could be it too.

The surgery only took about 40-45 minutes and mom was wheeled back to the room. She was mumbling about bees and I was certain that she was still high on the meds. She wasn't though. I'm not sure why, but the doctors had been discussing bumble bees during her surgery, so for the last 45 minutes she heard nothing but "bee talk". I'm sure she was glad that was over!

Next, came time for the recovery talk and instructions for the eye drops. She also got an eye-patch/bubble that she had to wear over her eye so she wouldn't accidentally touch it. He gave her some really cool black sun glasses to wear home. Here is a picture of me & mom with our shades on.

After that, she was a free woman! Just a quick ride in a wheel chair and she was out the door. I am proud of her for doing so well and for being a good sport.... and for letting me take all these pictures & post them on my blog. I love you Mommy! : )

Proctorville, Ohio

I made the trip to Ohio with the kids all by myself....and even came back with the same two I left with!

Disclaimer: As I got on the road, I realized that I had not charged my good camera, so most of my pictures on this trip were taken with my iphone. They didn't turn out too bad, but definitely not as of good quality that I like.

Proctorville, Ohio is a small town (a village actually) along the Ohio River, across from Huntington, WV. I grew up in "Proctorvegas" and loved the true sense of community among the folks who reside there. My mom asked me recently if I miss it and I had a hard time answering her. I miss some things about it, like driving down the road and knowing almost ever person you pass. I miss the people who live there, like my friends and my family. But moreover I miss the good times from when I was younger. You could play outside without parental supervision. You could ride a moped several miles across town and it wasn't a big deal. A date could include sitting in a pick-up truck looking up at the stars. Life was simple then, or at least I like to remember it that way.

When I go back to visit, I am amazed to see the things that have changed: new businesses, new roads, new homes...signs of growth! And still there are things that haven't changed in a long time: the police station/village hall/water company share the same old church building and of course the overwhelming pride in Marshall University....almost everyone wears "Herd" apparel. Speaking of apparel, I found this t-shirt at Kroger. It says "Greetings from Proctorville" and shows a Fairland school bus, a fire station, a Kroger, a post office and a barn. That's pretty accurate, minus the East End Bridge, some gas stations and a pizza joint!

Interesting fact: According to the 2000 Census, the population of Proctorville was just 620...that's about how many folks live in my neighborhood in Morrisville, NC!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I love saving money. I guess most people do, but I really LOVE it, maybe too much at times. I don't know why it has taken me so long to make it to this place, but I decided today was the day....I went to Aldi Food Mart!

Have you been there? If so, you know why I was so excited. If not, let me tell you about it and then go find one in your neck of the woods and save your family some money on groceries too!

If that's not enough, then you should check out their Online Meal Planer!

BEFORE SHOPPING at Aldi, you need to know a few things:

1. They only take CASH, food stamps, and a handful of selected debit cards. (Your standard bank debit/credit card is not accepted. So, just run by your ATM and pick up some green.)

2. You need a quarter. If you plan on using their shopping cart, you need to insert a quarter as a deposit to use the shopping cart. You'll get it back when you leave though, so don't worry...its not a rip-off. (See pictures below)

3. Get over yourself. By that I mean, try to not be a snob and insist on name brand foods/items. Sure, some things are better than the generic. But with most things, the generic brand is often so similar to "the real thing" that you can't tell the difference. For example, I bought the kids "Toaster Tarts" instead of "Pop Tarts"....It saved me nearly $5.00!

4. They don't use grocery bags! Nope. Just like Sam's Club or Costco, you just grab some boxes along the way or bring your own bag from home. And they don't have someone to help you out to your actually have to push the cart and groceries out to your own car AND load them yourself. THEN you actually have to return the shopping cart to the store. (For those of you who don't usually do that, please do it...for me!)

I used to shop at Aldi when I was in college. I used to brag that I could buy a whole months worth of food for under $50. That was about 10 years ago and my diet was primarily ramen noodles and frozen chicken, but still....$50 a month for food! That's impressive.

Today, I stopped by the bank and withdrew $100 cash and grabbed a quarter. I got excited to see they haven't changed much with the store other than updated their signage and selection.

When I shop, I turn into a little "Rain Man" version of myself. I start calculating price per unit, comparing brands, and keeping a running tally in my head. Today, I was so excited about it all that I lost track of the tally and as the lady was ringing it up, I started to worry that I would go over. I tried to assure myself that it probably happens to folks all the time, but was praying it wouldn't happen to me! She read off the total: $60.37...what?! I was way under! Woohoo!!!

Why do I love Aldi so much? It comes down to the savings. I usually budget about $100 per week for food for our family. Today, I just spent a little over $60 and I bought 2 WEEKS worth of food!!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kaden's Birthday Party

Our neighbors had a birthday party for their little girl Kaden today. She turned 2 years old! Branden and Kaden are the same ages as Cody and Abby....and their mommy, Lauren, just found out that she is expecting #3. Lauren made this beautiful cake was "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"...these pictures don't do it justice.

Cody & Abby had a blast playing with all of Branden & Kaden's toys and making a mess at someone else's house for a change. They really like birthday parties..what kid doesn't? Abby kept going through all of the gift bags and found a pair of shoes that she likes. Cody even brought his ukelele and sang "Happy Birthday to You" to Kaden before she blew out her candles. So sweet!

Here are a few pictures I took at the party. We talked someone into talking our picture, with all 4 of us looking at the camera. Abby wasn't smiling because she had to stop running for two seconds while we took our picture. And I notice that Cody has a dinosaur on his nose! Oh well...that just shows you how hard it is to get a good picture of all of us together.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Luau Day at School

The kids had a Luau Party at school today. They have been studying Hawaii all week and had a big party to wrap it all up. Clay & I went to join in the fun. We got to help serve the food and drinks and get the kids dressed for the party. Man, Miss Margaret & Miss Gwen have their hands full. They are so sweet and patient with the kids....we love them!

They had made cute Hawaiian skirts, leis & hats. All of the parents brought fruit and the kids sampled it all...I was impressed to see they were eating fruit that I won't even eat! Cody was so cute in his shirt and hat.

Abby had a grass skirt and lei on for about 30 seconds then took it off. Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of her class because we were in Cody's room most of the time. She had brought her ukelele to school for show-and-share. They said she strummed it a few times and said "round and round" and "beep, beep, beep" (that's her version of The Wheels on the Bus"). I wish I had got that on video!

In addition to learning about the number & names of the Hawaiian islands and learning about the culture, they have been learning about the word "Aloha" this week. We use it as the traditional Hawaiian greeting to say "goodbye and hello", but the word actually means "love". I didn't know that! See, I even learned something!

Next week, the kids will be learning about various forms of transportation used in Manhattan. They will be learning the letter "Ii", the number "5", the "rectangle" shape, the color "blue", and all about the big city of Manhattan! Ooohhh, sounds like fun! Maybe at the end of the week, we can have a NYC Party. We will all wear black, avoid eye contact with each other and teach the kids to pick pockets. We can pump in sewage smells and eat street food for snack. : )

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Poppy's Birthday Card

Today the kids made a card for Poppy, who will be celebrating his 59th birthday this week.
Cody did most of the artwork on it, which is unlike him. Usually Abby is our little artist, but today Cody was our Picasso. He even practiced writing his name several times on it. He did pretty good with it. We ended up with only one seat cushion having purple marker on it, so it wasn't too bad.

Cody was very excited to pick out the stamp and selected the "Maggie Simpson" stamp because it looks like Abby when she has a pacifier...I can see the resemblance.

After picking out the stamp and addressing it, we went out to the mail box. I took their picture as they were putting it in. As Abby realized the mail box door was closing, she took the card and ran off. She wanted to keep the mail for herself. After I caught her (she's fast) and tore the card from her hands, I put it back in the mailbox and the crying began.....whahhhhh!!!!

So Poppy, I hope you like your was made with lots of love, sweat and tears. We love you. Have a great birthday weekend!