Something So Big

Monday, February 27, 2012

On the Mound

Our trip was full of walking.  Walking for ? miles at the mall, then walking 4 blocks from our downtown hotel room to the Metrodome in the coldness of a February Friday night.  But it was totally worth it because our nephew/cousin Kaleb got in to pitch the 8th inning for his college team that night!
 I know about as much about baseball as I do basketball, so let me keep it brief and just say a couple of things: 1) he's a set-up guy (pitching in close situations for his team, after a starter and before a closer); 2) he throws a submarine pitch (which is kind of a side-armed approach and very hard to bat against); and 3) he is a Division 1 scholarship athlete of whom we are very proud!! 

All of the kids got a foul ball that night, Ally's being one hit against Kaleb which we had him sign...and it was just very cool to see him pitch at this level.  We hope you have a great season and can pitch your way into the minors or majors, Kaleb!  As I got down by 1st baseman to watch him close-up, I couldn't help but remember how when this kid was my kid's age, he always had a ball in his hand.  Any sport, any size opponent, didn't matter to him.  The Engelke campout softball games could get pretty wild, but none of the grown-up batters held back against this kid.  And I guess it paid off ;)
This is my command- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.--Joshua 1:9

More Mall Madness

What little girl wouldn't love to have her doll's hair done?
 Or take her out for a doll-sized smoothie?
 Another time we window-shopped: Nickelodeon Universe rides.  No, we were not about to pay $30 per child to go one those rides.  Why pay for rides, when you can use your imagination for free, right kids? ;)  (Insert thinking balloons here...."Gee I wish Mom and Dad weren't so cheap...")
 Spongebob and the kids.  Could it be our next Christmas card picture?  I don't think so.
Mark and I were soooooooo malled out by about hour 2.  Hour 3 brought on hunger pangs, and we walked about 6 miles until we found the food court.  (After saying no to another price-gouger: the aquarium.)  Okay maybe it wasn't six miles, but it sure felt like it!!  Even though Minnesota farms were well-kept and the city of Minneapolis (from what we saw of it) was very clean, the prices weren't as tidy.  Everything was OVERpriced, but why not?  It's the biggest mall in America, why not have the biggest prices, right?  So we relinquished to the gods of hunger at Sbarro and picked up a cheese pizza (the cheapest thing we could find)...and I supplemented with snacks from Dollar Tree.  (Yes they actually had a Dollar Tree in the Mall of America! and yes everything in it was a dollar!)
 Rejuvenated by our junk lunch, we had enough strength for at least another hour of window shopping.  We ventured up to the theatre area on 4th floor and got to try out the interactive theater seats in the hall (along with a movie trailer).  Cool beans!
 Why we wasted $2 on the hurricane simulator, I'll never know.  Just in case you need to know what it feels like to be in a hurricane, without actually being in a hurricane.  May God help us to never have to know for real!!
 The Disney Store had projections of movies/scenes on these white trees and high up on the walls.  Our littlest princess made a beeline for the Tangled section.  She gets the biggest kick out of Flynn Rider!
 This was the Build-a-Bear Workshop-slash-rainforest gift shop-slash-restaurant.  Because you can never have enough commercialism with just the sale of stuffed animals.  You have to add t-shirts, moving stuffed animals, water fountains, an aquarium bar and a restaurant to get the full experience.  Did we buy anything here?   You should know me by now.
 This was the kids' first visit to MOA and our second (the first being on our way back from our honeymoon).  Mark and I agreed that we can live without another trip there.  Ironically, the best parts of the trip to Minneapolis were not photographed because our camera battery died (despite my charging the day before we departed).  I will share more in another post...I promise.  Just trust us on this - Lego corporation, please build a store in Wisconsin and MOA, don't keep the lights on for us.  You were nice and shiny and all, but you're just not our scene (and the only reason we went to you was because of the Lego Wonderland Shoparama MoneydroppinMarket)!

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.--Ecclesiastes 5:10

Christmas Two Months Later

Our Christmas present to Cy was to take him to the Lego Store in the Mall of America and put $25 into whatever he wanted there.  Well, we just had our 4-day-weekend "winter break" from guess where we went? 

See those colorful dots in the background?  Those are Legos in all different colors.  And the statues on top of the store?  Huge Lego sculptures, made from tiny real-size Legos.  Incredible!
Here's one of the sculptures up close.  It kind of reminds me of the Rose Bowl parade floats, except these aren't flowers.  They're ... you know.

 We took this picture from the 3rd floor, I think.  You can really get a good view of the sculptures and their large sizes.  They were really impressive!  Cy was in heaven.
 This was a little piece of heaven, too.  A make-your-own-mini-fig station!!  The girls really enjoyed this part, too.
 See that circle on the top right?  Those are hundreds and hundreds of different Lego heads.  Most of them were different from the others...kinda like plastic snowflakes;)
 Mini-figs add the personality to Legos, I think.  Boys and girls are equally drawn to them.
 Usually you can't buy mini-figs individually.  That's just one thing that makes the Lego store a very cool place!  I think they were 3 for a $10.00 or something like that.  We let Cy build  a set of three, and he also ordered a T-rex/helicopter set that wasn't in stock.  Free shipping eased the pain of the wait a little bit....and so now he is eagerly awaiting a Fedex shipment this week!
 One last look at the Lego store!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Weekday People

It had been decades since I was part of a classroom Valentine's Party.  I was missing all of this...
I remember the excitement of making a mailbox for my Valentines.  When I was in 3rd grade, I literally had my Valentine's box decorated and in the classroom by the end of January.  We had deeper desks back then...I must have stuffed it in there for weeks.  Mrs. Harrison was pretty good about it because I don't remember her making a fuss about it at all.  Of course, I was a much more mature and responsible child than these hooligans!  (Yeah RIGHT!!)
Doesn't the table look festive?  Alli makes a pretty little accessory, too;)  Oh. the. candy.  When I was a kid (here I go again!), we gave out paper Valentine's, homemade or store-bought.  And that was it.  None of this candy or toys attached to each and every single classmate's Valentine.  Who started this craze?  Because that is what it is.  A CRAZE.  And it makes kids CRAZE-Y!!  Oh, and then there are the crazy parents who let their kids give everybody a BALLOON!  (And I am guilty, too:  Paige made everybody a PAPER AIRPLANE !!)
Ah, yes.  My weekday people.  My job is never boring.  This was last Tuesday, and by Friday I had to turn off the lights to get everyone's attention to say "I've HAD it!"  

But I still love 'em.

 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.--1 John 3:18

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tokens of Esteem

Wynne handed out pixie-stick Valentine flowers this year....thank you Carolyn for the Cricut stamps, and thank you Ally for helping to put these together! 
Our traditional Valentine's Day "Fancy Dinner" was resplendent with candlelight, steak, baked potatoes, crescents, classical music, and the ever-popular sparkling grape juice.  Those kids around the table keep getting bigger each year!
My husband painted the bedroom and I consider that a wonderful Valentine's Day gift!  We finally decided on two colors, sarsparilla....
and "Patches" (a grayish-brown). 
These walls had never been painted before.  Mark did it ALL without my prompting.  He is that kind of a man.  Yes, I am lucky:)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Big Time Worship

We had the privilege of being a part of the Rock and Worship Roadshow again this year, and this time Mark's mom came with us!  Unfortunately, when we arrived at the coliseum it was pert'ner standing room only.  (I haven't been able to say "pert'ner" in a long time.  I miss it!)
Fortunately, however, these were a bunch of kind people (I should hope Christians who love to worship are kind!) we split up and found a seat here and there, with a few of us sitting on the steps in the aisles.  We missed the first 2 gigs and arrived just in time to hear Disciple screaming their faces off.  Throwing their hair, all that hard-rock-kinda-stuff.  Like Shae said, "I didn't think they were singing anything!"  But to each his own;)  Here's the next act, Hawk Nelson! 
Then it was time for LeCrae, a Christian rapper.  I had never heard of him until I saw he was a part of the roadshow.  Looked him up, downloaded a few songs for Cy, and you know what?  I actually liked his music.  The big screen with lyrics helped, but contrary to popular belief, you could actually understand most of what this rapper was sayin/singin.  "Don't wanna waste my life"...."God is enough"....."Hallelujah"......his lyrics were Biblically pretty deep and the tunes/beat were catchy.  Wynne was bee-bopping with LeCrae; it was pretty cute!  But Mark says whenever I start trying to sing/rap that I kill the whole effect.  So I'll try to control myself.  "God is enough....God is enough....never too much....You are enough!"......Youtube it and see if you can resist joining in! I dare you.
Tenth Avenue North did not disappoint.  I know a lot of their songs, and apparently do did about 10,000 other people.
I don't know them enough to know what this guy's name is, but he's the lead and he has a good vocal.  Plus he had a nice way with the crowd, walking right up to sing with people for a few songs.  "You Are More" is probably their signature song.
See, I told you Wynne got into it ;)  Something was said that night that really stuck with me....the lead singer said, "We don't put our hands in the air to draw attention to ourselves, like we are some perfect worshippers....I put my hands in the air because that's what my little girl does when she wants her daddy to pick her up.  I want my Daddy to pick me up!"  I had never thought of it that way before, but I love that imagery.  I sure need my Heavenly Dad to pick me up, don't you?
Last up:  the headliner...Mercy Me.  Nuff said.
Bart preaches with such compassion and authenticity, sharing about a painful time in his life that prompted him to write their latest single, "Hurt and the Healer".  It's a keeper.  The entire band is full of real people who really care.  They each spoke about the children around the world that they sponsor through Compassion International.  I hope they raised some good $$ for the cause. 

"I Can Only Imagine"..."(When I Finally Make it) Home"....."Move"...."So Long Self"...."God With Us"..;;"
"Beautiful"..."Homesick".....I could go on and on.  So many years, so many songs.  None weaker than the other.  All a body of work that praises God and lifts Him up with the glory He deserves!
Home again, home again, jiggedy-jig!

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.--Romans 5:8

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Valentines

I should be getting ready for school right now.  The "stock" outside needs feeding and I need a shower, to get the kids up and ready for the day...but I haven't posted in almost 2 weeks and it's really getting to me.
First off, here's my big Valentine and all my little ones, too!  We all drive each other crazy sometimes, but it's a pretty fun bunch to hang out with!
Shae became sports photographer for Ally's last bb game.  I really like this picture! 

 Ally is VERY driven to do well in everything, sports especially.  But like a typical teenager, guess what she said when she saw this picture?  "My hair looks good!" ;) LOL
 I'm sure it wasn't always easy to have her dad coaching her, but deep-down I think she kinda liked it;)
In other family-related news...CONGRATULATIONS to Greg and Marin on the birth of their little boy BROCK!!  I just love that name and we can't wait to meet our new nephew/cousin!  Best wishes to all the family out east!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14