Thursday, December 30, 2010


Yikes, people.

It's midnight, and what is my son doing?

He's laying on the floor of the family room, filling out his DRIVER'S LICENCE PERMIT APPLICATION.

He's been taking Driver's Ed this week through one of the local driving schools. A four-day short-course, (so he doesn't have to take the interminable after-school sessions), paid for by the grandmothers' generous Christmas Fund.

(And can I just say "Whew!" because he has GOT to be the hardest person on the PLANET to buy Christmas/birthday presents for)

Seems the 4-day short course might just become a two-and-a-half day short course, because the class is pretty small, and they're working through the material very efficiently.

And what do they do at the end of the course?

Why, they make a Field Trip down to the DMV to get their Learner's Permits.


At least now, I know how tall he is (5'11") and how much he weighs (130lb), because we had to put that information down on the application.

I just hope they don't want the ACTUAL social security card. I know where mine is, and where Ken's is, but the kids? Kelly's is still in the envelope it was delivered to us in, and Nate's is AWOL, somewhere in the computer room. Of course, the 'story' of the card might be enough for the DMV employee. Our three coming-to-the-USA social security card numbers (Ken, Me, Skip) are sequential numbers. And if Ken shows his, and i show mine, maybe that'll do. The driver school instructor says it's a bit of a crap shoot if they ask you for your card or not.

I suppose it wouldn't hurt us to have to wait a week or so, if I did have to go down to the SSA and get a replacement card for Skip.

Old enough to drive?

Say it isn't so!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Wedding Prep

So, tonight is Starbuck's bachelor party.

Hopefully, we won't hear anything about it on the news. You see, our friend Nick belongs to the "Go Big or Go Home" school of party-planning, and he was put in charge of the Bachelor Party.

*checks watch*

If things went according to plan, Starbuck was kidnapped in the last 15 minutes by a county sheriff and three veterans of Desert Storm. Hopefully, as the sheriff commented, without witnesses, because all it would take is one call to 911, and the whole plan could be stopped at gunpoint. But, again as the sheriff commented, he figures he could probably flash his badge and talk his way out of things, which would be awkward, with a capital AWK.

So we won't think that.

In the last week, Starbuck hasn't been allowed to go home. He hasn't been allowed to drive down his street, or see his house. You see, in the last 3 days, his house was turned into a scene from the first Star Wars movie. The scene where Luke and Obi Wan meet Han Solo. Our pastor has been working on his Han Solo costume for the last month, and threatened to wear it to church last Sunday because it was, and I quote him here, "So FREAKIN' COOL!" Nick is bald, and is hosting the party as Darth Maul. Fully costumed, of course. And the entire inside of the house is one big Tatooine Man Cave.

I contemplated growing a beard, and trying to crash the party so I could photograph it.

They were pressuring Ken to come as Chewbacca. But, alas, the costumes were VERY expensive, and my time was a little bit taken up with other things, so when Ken made the "um, it's probably too late for you to make me a costume" noises the day before yesterday (with hope in his voice, because he didn't want to be wearing a shag carpet at a big crowded party any more than the next guy), you know what my answer was. Instead, he wore Skip's long black cloak, black jeans, black shirt, and his black leather vest. That, along with a red light saber (thank you, kids, for never throwing ANYTHING away), and he was a stealth-sith.

Kelly and I have done a bit more wedding prep at the church.

On Monday, when we got the sanctuary ready, we didn't move the drum kit from the center back of the stage.

You can sort of see it in this photo:

Kind of an eyesore to be in the back of every photo of the ceremony.

We found some screening in the back room, and brought it out...

OK, so now you can't see the drums, but it does kind of look like the backdrop for the Dating Game.

And the one side of the screen droops kind of awkwardly. Someone better fix that.

Hello, my little duct tape engineer...

You OK in there?

But now we see big patches of red duct tape... That's not good.

How about eight yards of 108-inch wide black muslin?

(And yes, I used a coupon at Joann's. 40% off. Boo YEAH!)

Last night, we had a holiday open house at our place. Beef tenderloin sliders, massive cheese tray, and desserts.

Nick came over, and was dishing on all the wedding preparations, and all the chaos that had been going on at the tuxedo fitting that afternoon. Apparently, everything that could go wrong, actually did. There were bow ties instead of regular ties, and the pocket squares were the wrong colour of green. "Barf-worthy", I think was the shade that Nick thought they'd been given. I said "Well, if you just want pocket squares that are appropriate, I can take care of that. Do you have an idea of the colour?

And he said "Hey! Do you want to see the tux?"

Of course!

So he went out to his car, and brings in his tuxedo bag. It's a gorgeous thing. I can hardly wait to see the whole thing put together.

And then he says "Well, they gave us the bow ties, even though they're wrong. And they're the same fabric as the ties are going to be. Could you use this?"

So, this morning? After I dropped Skip off at Driver's Ed (eek!), I stopped in at Joann's, and found some silk that was as close as it gets. Ok, it's not actually silk-silk, but it's silky fabric. And over the course of the afternoon, I put together 6 pocket squares for the guys to use in the breast pocket of their tuxedo jackets.

I hope they're ok.

And now, I'm off to the airport to pick up the last groomsman, who's flying in with his wife tonight. I think I'm dropping him off at the Cantina... maybe I should take my camera... just in case...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wedding Prep

Starbuck, our youth pastor-slash-Starbucks barrista (hence his pseudonym) is getting married on New Year's Eve.

I've been puttering around a bit, putting stuff together for the wedding. And I've offered the services of my family, if there should be any need for heavy lifting, etc.

Yesterday, he put out the word that he needed help getting the church ready for the wedding service. You see, for the last few months, we've not had chairs-in-rows in our sanctuary. We brought in a bunch of bistro tables, with four or six chairs around each, and that's what's been filling the place. Sort of makes it kind of hip and fun, and yet also like sitting around the table with family. And different family every week if you want. I've met some great people, and turned guests into friends at the tables this fall.

But tables are kind of hard to process around, when you want to walk down the aisle in a big floofy white dress. (For the record, Starbuck is not the one wearing the floofy dress. He's wearing a tux with a white silk vest. Classy!)

Anyways, he wanted the tables moved, and the chairs put back into the more traditional row structure.

So we showed up with the troops, bright and early.

And within a very short time, the place was looking far more traditional.

Then Kelly and Nate helped Starbuck take down the big overhead screen. Scary!

(Skip was instrumental in cranking the cables out of the way, after all was said and done)

And then we got to decorate. They'd bought a bunch of little white Christmas lights, and we strung them down the outer walls of the sanctuary.

Look! I'm working!

ps. I am wearing the most awesome Christmas present t-shirt, too:

Then Starbuck took me aside. "Look!" he said, totally sparkling with excitement. "They're here!"

And he opened a little velvet box, and showed me their wedding rings. It was SO cool to see how excited he's getting.

I asked him if I could borrow the rings, just for a few minutes, and I took them up on stage, where the spotlights were shining down with some serious wattage.

At first, I thought they might look cool in the tree.

Nah. Not the best. But then I had another idea.

Someone! Get me a bible!

This is his ring:

This is hers:

And this is Skip, trying desperately to balance both rings at the same time:

Verdict: It can't be done.

So we settled for not-balanced:

The cool thing?

Starbuck just called, and asked if he could have copies of these photos. I have a tiny thought that one of them might end up on their wedding programs.

I'm totally stoked.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning 2010 Part 1

You know, my heart goes out to you mothers (and fathers) who have kids who are so excited about Christmas that they wake up at the crack of 'dawn somewhere ELSE in the world', and wake you up with the bouncing on the bed, and the chanting of "pre-SENTS, pre-SENTS!"

This year, I thought, for just the shortest while on Christmas morning, that maybe my family had moved out overnight.

I got up at 845am, and the house was silent.

'Twas the morning of Christmas
And all through the pad
Not a creature was stirring
Except mom, who was glad.

I figured I probably had a bit of time to putter around, so I got busy in the kitchen.

I was pulling the last sheet of Lebkuchen Angels out of the oven when the first set of footfalls was heard on the stairs.

First, it was Stocking Time in the family room, while Ken had a shower.

(From l to r: Kelly's turquoise zebra stocking, Nate's Charlie Brown stocking, Skip proves his stocking is empty by wearing it on his head)

Stockings take a while because everyone tries to figure out what's inside all the little red-wrapped parcels.

"I think this is... candy"

"This present is not whispering any clues to me. I don't know what it is"

"Mom, this does not look or feel like something that I would like OR need"

OH... ha ha.

(I think he thought it was cologne)

The kids got head-lamps. Now they can read in bed.

Skip started his kitchen gadget collection, getting an ORANGE silicon spatula. (and in the background, Nate has unearthed the stash of Ghirardelli chocolate squares in the toe of his stocking)

A freshly-showered Ken joins us while the stocking action is still going strong.

That's the stocking my mom made him for our first Christmas together, celebrated at their house, and using stockings for the very first time (as stockings were the tradition in HIS family, not mine)

Ken also added to his kitchen gadget collection, when his stocking barfed up an offset spreading knife.

Soon, everyone had an empty stocking, and I noticed something...

"Skip, your hair is a greasy mess. Go have a shower before we open presents. I don't want any more photos of your hair dripping with anything other than water."

So, Skip headed up to the shower, and we went into the living room, and listened to Ken play the guitar for a while.

Merry Christmas to all.

Christmas Eve

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

Every year, our church has a late-night service on Christmas Eve. Things get rolling around 11pm, and wind up around 11:45, at which point, we all head outside, and stand in the dark parking lot, singing Christmas Carols until midnight.

This year, Kelly was going to play some music with me before the service began. So we practiced a bit at home, and Ken even got in on the show...

The church was so pretty, all dark, and just lit by candles, and the trees...

I didn't take as many photos this year because I was in the band. A little too distracting to take a camera up on stage. But I did sneak a shot when the music was done, as I was leaving the stage.

The service ended a little after 1145, and we all quietly went out into the dark parking lot with our candles.

One of our pastors had taken the center candle from the advent wreath, and he used it to start lighting the candles around the circle.

There's something just magical about a quiet candle-lit night.

Ken and Kelly were across the circle from the boys and me.

It was a little bit windy. Nate had to be vigilant to keep his candle burning.

Shhh. I snuck a photo while they were praying. Skip is in the 'don't take photos of me' phase, so sometimes I just have to take the chances that are offered to me.

And then it was midnight, and we sang Silent Night, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and it was Christmas Morning. And the quiet hush broke, and gave way to the excited conversations of friends and kids who can hardly wait for morning to arrive.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come.

(and why am I writing this now? Because my kids are STILL SLEEPING! and it's nearly 9am on Christmas morning. Talk about your Christmas Miracles)

Friday, December 24, 2010

A holiday message from Jewel.

Dudes, you think I'm all perky, but see these feathers? They're bolt upright because that's the way I say "FEAR!" You have no idea how scary that plastic tree is to me. And is it just me, or is that sock monkey ornament twitching, and trying to get me...? Eek! I must RUN AWAY!

Mirrors? Who puts mirrors on a tree? And what's that scary gold thing? And that red line! You can't land on it. It's just scary and distracting! I am full of FEAR!!!!... oh wait. Is this Ruby here with me? Ok, maybe it's not all that bad. If Ruby is here, it must be safe...

Ruby? Is that you? How can you STAND being near this scary thing???? You are my rock, honey pie. Here, come sit with me, and I will cluck to you and make everything all better.

I will be brave for you, Ruby! Even though that sock monkey is waving at me. I will be brave. Don't worry, Ruby...

Goodness Ruby, you are SO BRAVE! How can you be sitting in that scary creepy tree without having a heart attack. I'd better join you...

Merry Christmas, all my invisible internet friends. May your tree not be nearly as scary as this one. And may you have a warm and loving time with friends and family.

And don't forget to put out treats for my homeless friends who have to live in BIG SCARY TREES OUTSIDE.

Honestly, I don't know how they do it. They must have nerves of steel, those finches and sparrows.

It's ok, Ruby. I'm right here. I won't let the scary tree get you.