Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our Snow Man and His Pet


Well, no snow...Fresno's usual sun and smog has turned to cold and fog...and so it shall remain for winter, the locals tell us. Owen fell in love with the green (his favorite color) scarf Sushi gave me at Thanksgiving, so to make sure I got to keep my scarf, he got one of his own:

Oooh, and to keep his gigantic melon warm, a hat too. Yes, the only hat that even stretched over his frontal lobe was the size 10-14. I know, he's 3. Movie quote for Julie: "It's like Sputnik! He can go and cry himself to sleep on his huge gigantic pillow!"


With our friends the Roses moving to New York, Owen was given custody of their pet goldfish "Rose". He has renamed her "Rosie", so I hope she's not too confused when she swims to the surface in the morning for her daily fish flakes.



Those who know my frugal side would think I would be happy to get such a return on my investment, but may I say that after a month of fish ownership, I was (*blush*) sad to find out that goldfish can live for 25 years. Rosie is already a year old!

Now, my mom does have a helpful hint for "transitioning" to other pets....it involves bleach. Rose Family, don't worry, I'm not going that route...yet. Your fish is safe with us. :)

It's fun though to hear Owen tell Rosie good morning (a la Bill Murray in "What About Bob?"..."Good morning, Gill! Gill? I said, Good Morning!") and let him have the responsibility of feeding her every morning. He's doing a great job.

Now, I'm off to ask the neighbors to "fish-sit" while we're in Texas this month. Aaah, pet ownership. :)

Tentmaking

In the footsteps of the Apostle Paul...here's our little tentmaker:



Did you know a light-saber is a tent-building tool? See video below:

video


Final Product with Dad: 45 minutes for O-boy to build, 10 minutes before rowdy play destroyed it. Totally worth it to him though.


Finishing Touches Video:
video

Part of the reason for the tent was that this was one of the last nights in his little bed (converted from his IKEA crib). It's now been totally "princess-ed" out by my friend Jamillah's daughter. Way to go, Z, for being in a "big girl" bed! As for Owen's new twin bed, here it is in its unadorned state:


Sushi and I will be spending some time over the holidays looking for a dust ruffle (nothing sounds more manly, right?), comforter, and sheet sets for Mr. Owen. For now, it's just the coolest thing because it's so tall.

Here's Owen letting Spooky Bear test how far it would be to fall off this bed.

And that's me...testing how long I can make one post...still, I have to whet the grandparents' appetites before we arrive for the holidays...right?

Son, Sand, and Sushi!


My parents came to San Diego for Thanksgiving, and we drove down from Fresno. We celebrated with my Great-Uncle Mo, Great-Aunt Linda, and Uncle Jerry (seen playing "monster" on the beach with Owen). Owen loved his time playing with Opa and Sushi...the countdown to Christmas in Texas is now even more intense!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Martha Who?

Because I am continually humbled by my friend Susan's ability to practice so many disciplines (spiritual and otherwise), I will complete her A-Z regarding housekeeping (below).

Everybody has their own standards for housekeeping, and it's funny to me how much we take from our moms regarding habits and expectations...even the menfolk use their moms as a touchstone for how a house is to be kept. Is that true for you? Do you keep your potholders in the same place as your mom did growing up? Scary when I think of what expectations I'm setting up for Owen's future spouse...high or low. :)

So, here it is: Arnold Housekeeping from A to Z...not a model for you, just how it is at our house.

A is for Aprons - yes/no? A definite yes. When I cook, it's usually right after walking in the door from work, and I still have my work clothes on. I'm not the neatest cook, so an apron with coverage is important. I have a feeling one of Santa's elves is making me a cuter, retro apron that I won't be embarrassed to wear in front of company, so I'll keep you posted.

B is for Baking - favorite thing to bake? Chocolate chip cookies. The classic is hard to beat.

C is for Clothesline - do you have one? Nope. Home-owners association is pretty strict at our new apartments.

D is for Donuts - have you ever made them? Yep; fond memories of my dad making donuts on Saturday morning from canned biscuits. Yummy.

E is for Every Day - one homemaking task you do every day: DISHES. I can't stand them in the sink.

Laundry! Wash-Dry-Fold-Put away...every weekend, several trips down to the laundry room loaded up with quarters. Michael helps a lot here.

F is for Freezer - do you have a separate deep freeze? Oh, you've tapped one of my deepest desires (bold ambitions, I know), but no.

G is for Garbage Disposal Unit - do you have one? Yes, but I wish I had a compost pile. Again, I think the Home-Owners' Association would frown upon that one.

H is for Handbook - what’s your favorite homemaking resource? My memories of my mom and grandmothers' homes...nothing like coming home to a clean and organized home.

I is for Ironing - love or hate it? I was raised in a house where my dad did most of the ironing on Saturdays while watching football, and that is a tradition that continues at our home. Michael does my ironing; he laughs at my elf clothes. :) Compared to his shirts and pants, mine are like doll clothes, he says. If this baby is a girl, he'll have even more doll clothes to work with.

J is for Junk Draw - yes/no? But of course...every house needs one catch-all place. No shame there, I say.

K is for Kitchen - color and decorating scheme? We chose not to paint in this apartment, so not much there. All focus is around the kitchen table, which is usually covered with a newspaper, a plate Owen will come back to when he needs a nibble, and an incomplete crossword puzzle.

L is for Love - what’s your favorite part of homemaking? the peace of a clean house with a lit candle...all things in their place is heaven for my personality type.

M is for Mop - do you have one? Finally, yes. In our Ft. Worth stay, I'm ashamed to admit I went a year without...that's the nice part about a small apartment...I got by with a rag and some Lysol. Now, I mop every week. Still hate it, but my feet don't stick to the floor. :P

N is for Nylons - machine or hand wash? Machine wash. I buy the cheap ones so I'm lucky if they ever make it to the wash before they run.

O is for Oven - do you use a window or open the oven door to check? Window, unless I want a sniff of the goodness.

P is for Pizza - what do you put on yours? sausage and mushrooms...sprinkle on some Cavender's seasoning, and I'm in heaven.

Q is for quiet - what do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Hmmm...at work, those do not happen, so it's usually only enough time for a deep breath before moving on. In the evenings, I do a crossword puzzle.

R is for Recipe Card Box - yes/no? Own, but do not use.

S is Style of House - what style is your house? Craigslist, hand-me-downs, Ross, and Big Lots...an eclectic sort of whatever we could bring to California in our U-Haul and the limits of our budget. One day...one day...my home will express my personal style...or maybe, this has become my style. I think that's okay with me.

T is for Tablecloths - do you use them? No. Do I have a few? No. I'll add on my arch-nemesis: T is for Trash - do you take it out? NO NO NO...with respect to traditional American gender roles, this is one area where it is Michael's job, and his job alone. And woe to him if it is neglected.

U is for Under The Kitchen Sink - organized or toxic wasteland? Organized...too small a place here at Apt. 47 to be untidy. With no laundry room, a lot has to be kept there.

V is for Vacuum - how many times a week? Once a week. Since we're all gone during the day, that is sufficient. In the summer, when Owen and I are home, every 2 or 3 days.

W is for Wash - how many loads of washing do you do each week? 3 loads...a white, a dark, and a linens. When using a coin-op machine, the fewer trips down to the laundry room, the better.

Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off? In my mind, yes. If Michael is helping that day, I write the whole list down, and we choose tasks. I've realized what an amazing helpmate he is to me this year in Fresno.

Y is for Yard - who does what? The grounds crew comes every Tuesday to our apartments. As we walked through Home Depot last night, picking up an air filter for the AC/Heating unit, Michael said, "In a weird way, isn't it nice not to be tempted or even need 98% of the items in this store?" (I'm sure my dad cringed at that statement) As much as we hope to have a place of our own one day, with respect to the yard and house maintenance, apartment living is the life for me. (I hope that's my sentiment, since that's what I've done for the last 11 years)

Zzzz’s - what’s the last homemaking task you do before bed in the evening? check the kitchen one last time...I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen...and do one last round up of any Owen toys he missed before he hit the sack.

Thanks, Susan, for all the questions. It made me appreciate the home of which God has made us the stewards. Home Sweet Home.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Perspective

Click to see closer view:









It's been a crazy week at our house and work, and this morning, as I read the comics, 2 of my 3 favorite comics summarized the range of my emotions this week. I'm trying to reframe all of "demands" and obligations (see above), so "Rose is Rose" helped out there. (see below)

Rose Is Rose


As for my 3rd favorite comic, it's "Zits". Just when I want to abandon all hope, I laugh at "Zits", knowing I'm not the only adult frustrated with humans between the ages of 13 and 17 (and perhaps, they are equally frustrated with me). I mean this week, I almost boycotted Sonic because I couldn't interact with another teen...even if it was a carhop delivering Cherry Limeade goodness. So, here's my favorite "Zits" of the week:









Aiming to keep a smile on my face this week...1 week until Thanksgiving Break with my San Diego relatives and my folks!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween, Y'all!

After much anticipation, Halloween was a great success at our house! Owen had his party at school, and after school, he opened his USPS package from Opa and Sushi. Inside, his Cowboy costume. Thanks, Sushi, for taking the time to dress up our little cowboy. He loves it, and you're right...when he outgrows the cowboy vest, he can dress up like the organ grinder's monkey (if Uncle Lee will let him borrow his fez).Our "plan" was to start trick or treating at Owen's teacher's house. Miss Nazeli had invited him, so that's where it began...and ended. He was so satisfied with his experience, that he didn't feel the need to do another house. And after the hospitality they extended, we left an hour later filled with Armenian sweet bread, coffee, juice, and more candy than any 3 year old needs at 7 pm. He was so happy to show off his costume to her and her family, and we are so excited that he loves his teacher so much!

So, here are the photos of our little cowboy (vest and pants made by Sushi) enjoying the 31st.



PS: for all those asking if we are going to find out the gender early on this pregnancy (we didn't with Owen), we're still not sure. But as for wishes, Owen wants a boy so "we can match," he says.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Party

Here's the Arnold family's first carving tradition.
We ended the day with no tantrums or stitches.
I know there's more photos of one little boy
Than anyone besides a grandmother enjoys...
But for those faithful lurkers who watch to the end,
I promise you good news you can share with a friend.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sushi, Scooters, and Strawberries

Near the bottom, you'll find a montage of our latest and greatest adventures.

1st: Owen received a scooter (for the fall and as a reward for something...for those without children, I will spare you the details). We ordered it online because he wanted a Batman scooter to match our neighbor Andrew's. Already keeping up with the neighbors, huh? So, they've been scootering around the block together, Owen scoots from the parking lot to our church service (for you RVC folks, you know that walk can be killer with a grumpy toddler), and we are finally stroller-free on our neighborhood walks! YEAH!
video

2nd: Grandma Suzie "Sushi" came to town. Owen was so excited to see her at the airport. He's usually not that affectionate or cuddly, but he spent the first day stuck to her like glue. They stayed home together while I was at work on Friday, playing Play-doh, reading books, scootering, and, of course, shopping! Owen was Sushi's good luck charm, for the bargain hunter found many a deal for her fall wardrobe here in Fresno. We also took our first trip to Old Town Clovis to do a little antique shopping too. We were all sad to see her go on Monday morning, but we were thankful for each minute she was here!

3rd: Soon after moving to Fresno, the Rose family got us connected with T&D Willey Farms in Madera and their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Tom and Denesse own and operate an organic farm about 30 minutes away, supplying grocers around the country. They also supply families with weekly boxes of produce. You've seen my neice's Flat Stanley in one of these boxes before:

Yes, Owen's first taste of radish. It's super-fresh (usually picked the day before) and Denesse does a great job of supplying recipes to go with the less common items. For example, this week, our box contained the following:
  • 5 Red potatoes
  • 2 White Onions
  • 1 head of Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of Baby Dill
  • 1 pound of green snap beans
  • 1 bunch of collard greens
  • 1 bag of Seedless grapes
AND THAT'S THE SMALL BOX!!

Between Dream Dinners and the CSA, I haven't been to the grocery store for anything beyond milk and bread lately. If you live in Fresno, ask me about it. It's all organic and WAY cheaper than the grocery store.

Anyhoo, back to the story, we went on their seasonal farm tour this Saturday. A worker, oddly dressed like Che Guevara(sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the actual driver...but he seriously looked just like him, beret AND camo), drove a tractor with 4 or 5 flatbed trailers behind it (3 families per trailer). Tom narrated along the way, telling all of us CSA members about how the food gets from soil to table. I couldn't believe Owen stayed attentive and did not jump off the trailer for an hour (except to walk the rows with the group), but the strawberries were pretty powerful motivators. We also got to see how they wash and package everything, so it was like our own episode of either "Dirty Jobs" or "How Its Made". If only our driver looked like Mike Rowe.


They grow such a variety of produce there, and they rotate the acreage to grow crops year round. It was cool to hear about the veggies that are coming this winter (artichokes...my favorite) and spring. For you Dwight Schrute fans, Mr. Willey farms beets too.

We never know what's going to be in our box, so it's like a culinary surprise every week. Michael has tried more veggies in the past few months than in the past 30 years, and Owen...well, you know he'll eat anything.

Pardon all of the Flat Stanley photos; as you'll remember, we're compiling photos of Fresno's finest for her school project. If anyone is going to Yosemite or King's Canyon soon and you want to take Stanley along for the ride, let me know. He's a good traveler.



Before our Texas friends wonder if we've gone TOO granola, do know that we ended the morning with a lunch at Wienerschnitzel.

DELICIOUSLY SINFUL!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

1st Women's Retreat

The Bass Pines Resort on Bass Pines Lake, California


Well, I'm officially an adult in that I attended my first women's retreat this weekend. I have been home less than 5 minutes, and I felt the need to sit down to type...an apology...or is it an apologetic? I don't know, but here it goes:

To the mom who said "I just stay home" when I asked if she worked outside the home: I value your career as much as I hope you value mine, so may I write this as a way to honor the gifts I saw in you and so many other River Valley women?

This weekend, I met so many women. I met another teacher, a musician, a preacher, a counselor, a philosopher, a gardener, a comedienne, an administrator, a partner, a servant, a cheerleader, a lawyer, a caretaker, a hospice worker, a decorator, and a student.

You see, although I don't actually know how these women spend their 8 to 5 business day, I know that this weekend I saw them teaching, praising, preaching, counseling, pondering, pruning, joking, managing, working together, supporting each other, serving others, encouraging others, defending our faith, tending to sisters, holding hands as people let their old selves die, brightening our space, and sitting at another's feet.

Seeing these ladies use their gifts was so honoring to God. The children of God have such a diversity of gifts--that in and of itself is amazing--moreover, though, how amazing is it that our God is so multi-dimensional? Seeing 1 woman manifest 1 gift so well is amazing, seeing many women manifesting multiple gifts is even better, but experiencing the God who embodies all of these gifts? Well, that is why an eternity in His presence will still never be enough.

She was humble...because He is not too proud to be with me.
She was spontaneous...because He surprises me daily.
She was focused...because He never lost sight of me.
She was nurturing...because He comforts me.
She was encouraging...because He inspires me.
She was a teacher...because He is Wisdom.
She was musical...because He sings over me.
She was a listener...because He values our voice.
She was serious...because He means business.
She was passionate...because He is still in love with me.
She was faithful...because He has never abandoned me.
She was searching...because He found me.

So thank you, ladies, for sharing your true selves and letting me glimpse God through your reflections. You are more than any label you or others put on yourself because of the label God has put on you: "Created In My Image".

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Animals do Police Shoot?

Owen's top 2 comments from the week:

#1 "Mooooom, I have a plan!" said like a whiny teenager when Owen was caught climbing the kitchen counters on a recon. mission for some fruit snacks. I'm sure you do, son. I'm sure you do.

#2 "Mom, why do policemens have guns? What animals do they shoot?" Can you tell I've been watching too much of The Colbert Report when my answer was "Bears"? But I'm glad he didn't put together what other options there are for real guns. And yes, he says policemens.


Top of slide at fair...pretty precarious for a grown lady to try to sit on a burlap sack at the top of a metal hill with a 40 lb. kid on your lap.


Needless to say, our friend Rob and my extra weight put us ahead of little Katie in the race.


And here's the view that had Michael giggling 5 minutes later. Click the photo to zoom in.


Thanks Rob for emailing your pictures; your camera really captured the moment! So fun!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last Weekend in September...3 months in Fresno?!

First of all, thank you to those who keep sending me emails, posting on my Facebook wall, texting me messages, blogging comments, and leaving voice mails about my absence from the blog world. In the future, I respond to messages sent via the US postal service. When you'll pay more than $0.40 to get me to open up my laptop, I know you care.

Still, thanks to your encouragement, here are some photos of the family. Click to watch; scroll to read more about what we've been up to. PS: I would like to direct your attention to my profile on the left...note the phrases "infrequent poster" and "during the school year". Quarter grades are due in a week and a half, so my next appearance may be in October....

(Google Readers may have to click on the post itself because the photos didn't show up unless you were on the blog itself)


The photos are a combination of several things. Our niece Keely sent us a Flat Stanley project. Stanley (and thus Keely's class) will be learning more about Fresno through the travels and travails of a Fresno 3 year old. Stanley arrived the same day we picked up our weekly produce from T & D Willey Farms, so he got to experience the freshness of our local produce. Yummy. Grammie Glynda, did you know Michael eats zucchini? Oh, and Owen too.

Next stop, Stanley joined our family and the Roses to the Caruthers Fair. Let's face it, after the Texas State Fair, why try to compete? The Big Fresno Fair comes next weekend, but with 4 children (5 and under) and one pregnant lady (not me), our two families decided that a small-town fair might be the perfect size for our kiddos. And it was!

Now we're back at the house, gearing up for a couple of big weeks ahead. The River Valley Church women's retreat is next weekend, Sushi (Owen's grandma) is coming to town after that (sure, you could sing it to the tune of "Santa's Comin' to Town...Owen is), and Owen's class has a trip planned to the pumpkin patch. We have a lot coming up.

As for Michael, work is going well. He continues to see therapy clients of all kinds during the day and soon will take over the facilitation of a marital therapy group 2 nights a week. All his classes at Fuller are done; please pray for him to successfully defend his dissertation this semester.

For the NatRat, please continue to pray for strength and wisdom...managing our household and growing relationships in our community is no small thing for any of us, but as our family continues to live and serve in Fresno, please pray that we will choose our commitments wisely.

Love y'all! Until the next weekend I have a moment to breathe (and blog)...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wordle



Here's the Wordle of my blog. It's a fun site that takes texts and makes the size of the words proportional to their frequency. (wordle.net)

Poor Michael.

Need a closer view?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Take A Breath

Why would I "tsk-tsk" a 3 year old making cupcakes? Why would I get grumpy at a mess? That's my issue; lucky for me, Owen helped keep me in check. Here's us processing it all over chocolate.


video

Can you tell we've been working with Owen on calming himself down? He tends to get stressed out about really little things (yes, I know where he gets that from), but today, he turned the tables on me.

The neighbors he's referring to are the kiddos next door (for whom we were making the cupcakes). We've met a lot of our neighbors, and I'm thankful that we're making relationships with several of them. Michael and I have lived in intentional or in like-minded communities for so long (Harding married housing: 1 year, Fuller seminary housing: 5 years and with my folks: 6 months) that sometimes we wonder if we will ever not share a wall with someone. :) Even Owen realizes this because when he bumps his bedroom wall, he shouts, "Sorry Eleanor!"

Here in Fresno, we've found such joy in serving our neighbors and such blessing in the encouragement they in turn provide to us that I continue to praise God for our new place. Concerns on our minds and hearts: a neighbor recently diagnosed with diabetes and her fiance dumping her because "that's not what he signed up for", a neighbor returning to work on Monday after being ill for over a month, a neighbor losing his business, an elderly neighbor missing her children, and several fathers who are doing their best to have relationships with their elementary aged children despite seeing them only on the weekends.

And as for our neighbors, they share space with us: a mom who is exhausted and lonely, a dad adapting to a new job and fighting his insecurities therein, and a boy who is learning about life and love amidst it all.

And all any of us can do is "take a breath".

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Favorite Monkey



"OH, Curious George. I love him. I love that monkey; he makes me laugh."







I could say almost the same thing. "OH, Owen. I love him. I love that boy; he makes me laugh!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

School Tour


For those of you who've been asking about how the first week of school went, the results are in: 2 thumbs up.

The video montage is of our school, my room, and photos of all the murals I pass walking from my room to the back parking lot. They are all student made and reflect the culture of our students. So cool...now to keep them free from tagging is the eternal job of campus security.

For my teacher friends who need more details, read on. All others are free from "shop talk" from here and are given guilt-free license to tune out and surf for funny stuff on YouTube.

This week began the first year of the Roosevelt High School Freshmen Academy. About 400 of our freshmen are in the Academy program. Our location is East Hall where our principal, 2 counselors, and teams of teachers are set up.

I'm on a team with another math teacher, two English teachers, a science teacher, and a sociology for living (SFL) teacher. These freshmen have been identified at-risk for failure coming from eighth grade into the ninth. Looking at our data from 8th grade, we have a ton of work to do...both in mathematics and English. Most of our student population are English Language Learners and that makes our job so much more important. As a student, if I can't participate fully in the curriculum because I don't understand the language, I am more likely to opt out. That may manifest itself with class disruption, gang involvement, drug use, truancy, and, eventually, physically dropping out of school. Our drop out rate is so high that I'd depress myself by typing it out, so let's just say I absolutely have a reason to invest myself at my school this year.

I share 50 kids with the English, science, and SFL teacher. The other 50 are with the other math teacher and English teacher. The science and SFL teacher have both sets (100 kids total). No more wondering who their teachers are and where they go next. Elementary school teachers, I'm sure that last statement sounded funny, but in the high school world, that information is not always free-flowing.

I teach two blocks per day (I'd be jealous of myself reading that). I see my kiddos everyday for a block period, and they stay with each other all day, going from class to class in the same building. The beauty is that every one of my 50 kids has the same English, math, science, and sociology teacher at the same time. So, one of our team was at a conference on Friday, and I knew my class had her next period. It was a perfect time to talk about the expected behaviors when a guest teacher is on campus, so when the bell rang, all 23 of them walked down to class with that on their brains.

We teachers also share a conference time (in addition to our prep time) every other day to conference about student progress and cross-curricular activities. This week, we spent a lot of time making sure our rules and procedures were similar (to ease the transition to high school for our students) and sharing anecdotal evidence of student progress. There is so much potential here when it comes to intervention opportunities for these freshmen, so I can't wait to see what happens next. As far as collaboration goes, kudos to the math department because I'm almost having to hide during my prep period so that I won't be "interrupted" with so many good ideas and thought-provoking questions.

WOW! For all those who asked how school was, be careful what you wish for, eh? Still want more info? Try our recent accountability reports for demographics and scores. Here's to a great year. Thanks for all your prayers. Go Rough Riders!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

End of Summer Wrap Up

Questions Owen has right now that I'm finding difficult to answer:

"Why doesn't Miss Piggy have eyebrows, Mom?"
"Why do we have armies?" <---answer must be understandable to a 3-year old...please also know that his answer to any reply you give will be, "Why?"


For all concerned grandparents reading this, Owen's first week of daycare went very well. His teachers love him, and he's been so happy coming home every day this week. I underestimated how much he missed friendships with kiddos his own age since we moved to Fresno. Thank you to all who are praying over his teachers (Miss Nazeli and Miss Paula) and him.

And for all you who keep asking when #2 is coming...our next addition will be





...a lightbulb. Yep, by request, Owen wants a lightbulb over any other addition. The conversation went something like this:

I'm driving Owen to school and a lady is walking her 2 dogs.

"Mom, don't run over that lady and her dogs....I don't have a dog YET....Or a brother or a sister."

I asked him if he wanted any of those 3 things at his house. He said, "Maybe a big one." After asking which one, he said, "Maybe a big sister. But I really need a lightbulb. One for my room, one for your room, one for Casen, one for Miss Wendy, and one for Mr. Scott."

So, if I look like I'm glowing...it's a lightbulb, not a baby. :)

Here's some photos of our growing boy:



Above is Owen on his first day of swim lessons (thank you Grandmom!). He was excited until it came time to get in the water. One lesson we learned is that swimming with the family is WAY different than swimming with 2 strangers (even if they are cute girls). So, our little fish in our pool became our little barnacle at the public pool. He was suctioned to the side, and due to low enrollment in the class, he was the only swimmer. Owen can be hesistant about new things, so without the example of some other brave soul, he didn't make much progress. Nonetheless, we've adopted Dory's motto:



Monday, July 28, 2008

Tahoe Trip

This weekend, we helped my dear friend Lisa celebrate her relationship and future with her main squeeze Josh. The wedding was on the deck of the Tahoe Gal paddle boat. Mr. G did a great job officiating the ceremony, and Owen did a great job (for a 3 year old) sitting through 'til the kiss.

For those of you who gasp at the thought of Owen on a boat until 10:30 pm, let me tell you, we felt the same way. Thank you to Braeden, Katie's son, for stooping down from your 6 year old world to entertain/endure a 3 year old. He was a lifesaver. Yes, young professionals on the boat, we saw your quizzical glances in our direction, as if to say "You do realize this is an adult function?" And since I've been on the giving end of those looks before, all I have to say is, "never say never"!

My excuse...the weekend babysitters (the grandmothers) are far away and favorite Auntie Rae was also out of town, and I could not pass up the chance to see the G. family all together. Katie, Lisa, and I met in kindergarten at Matske Elementary and for as long as I lived in Houston, we were three peas in a pod...I was just the weird looking pea. They set the standard for faithful friendships, and it is to them that, for a long time, each new friend I made was compared. Thank you girls for setting the bar so high.

Needless to say, as Michael has been in grad. school in CA and they've wrapped up their medical doctorates in Texas, I've missed those girls a lot. I'm glad I get 3 weeks for Christmas vacation (thank you Fresno Unified), for now that both the girls are settled in Dallas, they should plan to see the old NatRat over the holidays.

Other photos are of the family in/around Lake Tahoe. About 20 seconds after I told Owen there were no crabs in the lake (yes, he asked), a dead crawdad came floating by his feet. Let the screaming commence. He jumped up in my arms, pleaded for me to take him back to the shore, and there he remained on that rock until it was time to get back in the car. Poor little city boy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Details: Los Angeles Trip

First of all, may I say "THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!" I don't know which one of you it is (the more the merrier), but thank you so much for your continued prayers! We've found a childcare provider, my teaching credential is cleared in Texas, and I signed my contract for work. YAHOO! Now, to enjoy the last two weeks of summer!

Our trip to Los Angeles to drop Michael off at Fuller was a success. While we were there, Owen and I were able to do so much, both in LA and back in Fresno!

*We caught up with the Cains. Owen hadn't seen Abby and Sophie since they rode to Texas with us last summer! The girls were so surprised that Owen could talk...a little more than they bargained for I think.

*We did a ton with the Emmetts. Again, it had been too long since their last Owen-encounter. We went to the park, the zoo, the Natural History Museum, made cookies, and played with all of Bert's cool action figures. Owen couldn't have had a better tour guide to see the dinosaurs at the museum than Bert. He even wore his Indiana Jones hat to help dig for dino bones. If only Ashley had been there...next time.

Owen is also in love with RaeEtta...maybe it was the chocolate chip cookies they made together. Yes, I'm jealous, but it was nice seeing him be so loving and affectionate with such a dear friend. Now that we're back, the pile of drawings for Auntie Rae is threatening to take over Owen's room :)

*We caught up with so many Fuller friends. Over time and distance, there is such a bond within that community. So thank you especially to our friends from Selah for hanging out: the Shenks, Finlays, Groenwals, and Leaks. While we were in the courtyard, Owen hopped on a tricycle, and for the first time, he set off to pedaling. Yeah!

*Thank you Uncle Joe for opening up the Lee Family Extended Stay Hotel. Amenities offered: easy access to Fuller, cable television, PlayStation3, and translation at Korean BBQ restaurants. The Arnold Resort of Fresno will be opened up for business soon, so come one, come all!


Audio bites to go with your photos above:

"Mom, can I tease you?" "Yes." "Okay! You're a funny BOY! HA HA HA!"

"Owen, come on outside and get the mail with me." "No way! It's too hot for little boys out there, Mom!"

"Daddy, it's nice to have you back. So, so nice!"


Now we're back and preparing for Lisa's wedding in Lake Tahoe. Yep, it seems that Lake Tahoe is the destination for bloggers everywhere...Julie, Wade, Quad Momma Susan, and now us.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where in the World is Little Owen Arnold?

If you haven't seen any new posts, I haven't already given up on blogging already. Michael is in Pasadena for the next 2 weeks taking his LAST class at Fuller. He says last, but I'll believe it when he walks across the stage and receives that doctorate next June. Why does that influence my blog? He took the computer. Today, I'm mooching my friend Rae's (teacher friend from Glendale). Tomorrow, we return to Fresno. And since I'm not comfortable mooching the computers of any of my new neighbors, you'll just have to wait until the Mike-Man returns to hear about the following:

Owen and I visiting Los Angeles
The Natural History Museum
Music at the Zoo
Seeing our old apartment and Fuller friends
My first official day on the job with FUSD
2 weeks flying solo with Owen in Fresno

As you wait for the next pictures and news, could you be praying about our childcare situation for Owen? Thank you, friends!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fireworks, Baseball, and Other Owen Events




Latest words/antics/adventures from Owen:

1. Carrying him down the stairs, I said, "One day soon, you'll be too big for me to carry you." And he replied, "But not today! Maybe tomorrow."

2. Recently, he asked where his imagination is, and I pointed between my temples. "My imagination is in my forehead?" So, yesterday when I came into his room after nap, he said, "Mom, today, my forehead opened up and my room turned into a jungle. Then a bear came out and roared at me."

3. Last night, I am re-reading my July 4th post, trying to decide if I wanted to post it or not, Owea adds his commentary by coming out of his room (after 40 minutes "asleep") with poo all over his hands and, upon further inspection, all over the wall and his spooky bear. Michael took the wall, I took the boy, and the washing machine downstairs took the bear and laundry. Owen's reaction was like "oops. I got in over my head. YUCKY YUCKY YUCKY! Mom, come in here!" He did apologize after he saw how much it took to clean everything up and when he realized he wouldn't be getting his bear back tonight. Thank you, Mom, for cleaning me up when I did this, and Micah, if you're reading this, I thought of you and Emma and said a prayer for your strength.

4. FIRST HALF OF SLIDESHOW: Owen did buy and pop fireworks, with Michael's help. The fireworks stand by our house has this big inflatable tube guy ("The Noodle Man"), and Owen wants to see him all the time. Whenever we drive by, I sing the Noodle Man song (to the tune of "I Know a Weiner Man" for all you Camp Deer Run folks), so Owen thinks it's hilarious. Michael just thinks we're weird. Owen was sad to drive by the Noodle Man's house today and realize that he's gone. Until next year, when we can sing it again.

5. SECOND HALF OF SLIDESHOW: Owen attended his second baseball game today (first one at Dodger stadium when he was an infant). Yep, I know I deprived Owen of a Ranger game in late June, but it was the last week of school and Mommy was exhausted. Fast forward to this month, and I'm still exhausted. So, we took the Roses up on their invitation to the Fresno Grizzlies AAA game. Ignore the fact that they're part of the Giants organization. Owen did well, and the highlight of the game was the big fireworks show AND Owen got to meet Parker, the mascot. Owen loved that he was an orange bear (just like the beloved Spooky Bear), so Owen took Spooky to see him after the game. For all the fake smiles and goofy picture faces Owen has been making lately, I think this might be his true estatic smile! And, the Grizzlies won despite the fact that their manager got thrown out in the second inning.

It felt like we were watching Bull Durham because this RiverCats runner got tagged out at second on an attempted stolen base...or so the coach thought. The ump called the runner safe, the manager came out, argued, and kicked dirt around. He got thrown out, and before he left, he stomped over to second base, pulled the base out of the ground, and walked back to his dug out as if to say, "You wanna see what a stolen base looks like? Take a look at this!" It was hilarious. And about a minute later, you see this base fly out of our dugout back onto the field. Not a model of sportsmanship, but entertaining nonetheless.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Penny for Your Thoughts


As our family celebrates the independence of our country, I struggle to find the balance between blind allegiance to the red, white, and blue and broad criticism of our entire democracy.

My thoughts today:

I praise you God for the rights that are afforded and protected in our constitution.
I pray to you God that those rights be respected for all people, everyday.

I praise you God for the right to vote for a candidate of my choice in a free and fair election.
I pray to you God that I use that vote in an honest, thoughtful, and deliberate manner.

I praise you God for people who volunteer their lives to serve in our armed forces.
I pray to you God that their lives be used to strengthen the people of all nations, not just the power of some nations.

I praise you God for the freedom to worship in any manner that pleases me.
I pray to you God that you lead me in worship that pleases you.


Can you see how I'm struggling to find the balance? Reading in Isaiah this week, I see what I'm waiting on, but how does Christ as ruler and God's kingdom manifest itself with our rulers and our kingdoms now?

Please feel free to add your comments and start a dialogue. Share where you find it tough to see the balance or, if you've found the balance, share your message of reconciliation.

Whew, good thing I'm posting pictures of Owen with the Noodle Man this weekend, or this blog would be gettin' a little heavy. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Time Fun

Here's a few photos of our past couple of days. We had a playdate with 2 Fuller families that live in the area. Rebecca N. came over with Isaac, Peter, and Katie, and Sarah R. brought her 3 kiddos, David, Emma, and Katie Beth.

Boy, Owen was not used to not being the oldest, but he hung in there. Thanks Isaac and Katie Beth for your patience. :)

The Arnolds (who now feel WAY behind in their childbearing) have been spending a lot of time at the pool and the park. Owen decided today that he needs to wear a towel around his waist too, so that's the bathroom hand towel. One day when he's a huge teenager, I'll laugh thinking that the hand towel used to fit around his waist. We're striking Owen's favorite pose, of course.

Cherry face pictures are from swimming with Sarah and Rob and the kiddos this afternoon. Owen is turning into quite the fish. Today, he gladly accepted instruction from Katie Beth on how to do laps around the pool holding onto the edge. A little scary for Mommy, but he did it! Same for climbing up the big twister at the park. Scary, but he did it!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Post as Long as our Trip

Our 1600 mile journey to Fresno officially started last Saturday morning, and we safely arrived from Texas on Monday late afternoon. And to write down all that transpired in that time...well, let's not. The daily recap will be long enough!

Thursday: Thanks to Glynda, Debbie, and Mom for the help packing up the rest of the house!

Friday: Thanks to Dad, Big Mike, Charles, Julie, and Chris for moving boxes and loading up the trucks. It went so smoothly due to the skills of the master packer, Greg, and the muscles of the rest. Moreover, having both grandmas watching Owen and his friend Ryan at Chisholm Park made it even easier.

Saturday: After a small delay (Skeeter, one of Lee and Stephanie's cats, got sick and had to go the vet), we pulled out around 10 am. One Penske truck towing the Japanese Suburban and one Honda packed to the brim with enough stuff to entertain Owen for the day....or so we thought. Actually, he did quite well. After lunch stops, fuel stops, and potty stops, we lodged for the night in Tecumcari, NM.

We did stop for dinner at the Big Texan in Amarillo.

If you've ever driven I-40, you're familiar with the sign after sign advertising the FREE 72 OZ STEAK!. If you've seen the movie "The Great Outdoors", then you're familiar with consequences of attempting to eat such a large quantity of meat. Although I saw Michael and Lee think about it, we were content just to watch the 40 year old man AND the 12 year old boy attempt to eat the following in under an hour: 1 72 oz steak, 3 fried shrimp, 1 loaded baked potato, and a side salad. WOW!


The man was successful while the boy...well, he's just a boy. So, free meal for one and a free trip to the restroom for the brave middle-schooler. At least now we can say we've been there, seen that. :)

Sunday: One good day down, two to go. Steph drove the Civic, and today was O-town's day to drive us crazy. Praise be to Sushi and Grammie, though, for the killer combination of the portable DVD player and "Cars" movie. Whew...my child can talk...until the headphones go on. At one point, Stephanie asked if it would be wrong to let him watch a movie for the next 1000 miles. Sweet, patient Aunt Nini survived until we bedded down in Kingman, AZ after a long day and an evening where Spitting Mad Owen made his return. :( But, we've figured out a solution...spit and you lose Spooky Bear for an amount of time. If you've seen Owen with this bear, you know that's us pulling out the big guns. So far, we've only had to take him once.

Monday: At this point, everyone is like "are we there yet?" God bless the pioneers for continuing on through the territories all the way to California. Lee drove with me on day 3, and he kept bringing up the enduring spirit of the Okies in the Great Depression. I mean, you've got to wonder if you'll ever get to the farmlands of California when you're in the Mohave. But we made it to Fresno and unloaded about 3/4 of the truck before bedtime. Wanna see where? Here are photos of the outside of our new home.

This is the entrance. As one of our new neighbors said, "Welcome to the Marie Antoinette!"

This is the view of our place upstairs (note boxes on balcony) from the center courtyard. It's a Melrose Place style complex with all the units overlooking a central spot with the pool.

Here's the view from our apartment downstairs.
And, yes, Mom, I will post pictures of the inside when we're more unpacked. And, yes, Dad, there is a recycle bin for all residents.

Tuesday: Day to unpack with the help of Uncle Lee and Aunt Nini. We finished unloading the truck, took a dip in the pool, and sent them on their way in their rented convertible to the coast. They came back on Saturday after a great trip visiting Steph's old friends and family in San Luis Obispo. I realized this trip how much time Stephanie spends (endures?) with our family, while so many of her relatives are far away. So thank you Steph for sharing your time with us, and thank you Lee for being such a good friend and hubby to her on y'all's trip out to S.L.O.

Wednesday-Friday: We've been trying to balance work and play. Owen helps out on the play part because he wants some attention and he helps out on the work part because I've got to put this stuff away before he gets into it. KWIM moms? So, Michael's been a jewel. He and Owen have found a great park in Fresno (Woodward Park) to play frisbee, soccer, and feed the ducks. He's helping Owen turn into a little fish in our pool. And they've played a lot of basketball on Owen's little goal in the courtyard before I bring them sandwiches to eat at the patio furniture downstairs.

With all that help, the boxes are almost all unpacked. The remaining to do list is mostly hanging pictures and doing decorative stuff. With all that done and it being hotter than sin outside in the afternoon, we tooking advantage of our first coupon and went bowling. It was Owen's first full game on his own. I think he outbowled Michael, but it could have been the bumpers.
They didn't actually have shoes for feet so small...these are mine.

Looking down the lane at the world's slowest moving ball.

If you know Owen, you know he has an angry face. But he's not spitting. HA!


And if you know Owen, you also know he has a sweet happy face too! Bowling was a hit, but he could only last one game. Taking turns with Mom and Dad can wear any toddler out.

Saturday: Owen and I walked to the Farmer's Market by our house. He loved it.

Here's the market. It's covered by this long arbor full of grapevines.

I wish I had a picture, but at one point, he had a fig in one hand and an apricot in the other with peach juice running down his arms and shirt. No farmer lady can resist his little face peeking out over their table. He loved it! And with full farms just 15 minutes from downtown Fresno, this stuff is Fresh with a capital F. Yummy, yummy!

Lee and Steph arrived back in Fresno Saturday evening. We swam and ate dinner at a sushi place in town.

For Fresno lurkers, we can now comment on the following restaurants:

The Sumo Grill in Fig Gardens: Quick teriyaki bowls and Udon noodles. Free kids' meals after 4 and lots of sports on the TV. We watched Fresno State win game 2 of the College Baseball World Series here. Go Bulldogs!

Don Miguel's Taqueria on Blackstone: AMAZING! Get there before the lunch rush because this place was hopping! So yummy! Owen inhaled his fish taco, and Michael ate his enchiladas in record time!

World's Best Taqueria on Blackstone: I actually can't remember the name, but the sign said World's Best. I had the shrimp ceviche tostada, and it was almost as good as Mom's.

Chop Suey Chinese Restaurant on Blackstone: "Dim Sum good food!" Michael said. Aside from the fact that I had to endure Michael trying to make plays on words with "dim sum", it was a delightfully fresh and yummy meal. A limited dim sum menu on weeknights makes us want to go back for the full menu on a Sunday lunch.

The Naked Fish on First: The sushi was a good as the service was bad. If you're patient, it's worth the wait! Speaking of patience, here's a video Aunt Nini took of Owen's drawn out attempt at chopsticks. Luckily, he got his food first, so we had the time.


video

Weinerschnitzel on Shaw: Well, who doesn't love the Weinerschnitzel? I'd sing the song my mom taught me for it, but just count your blessings that this is a visual, not audio version of my blog.

"Der Weinerschnitzel, Der Weinerschinitzel!
Ya, dis must be the place.
You drive right in,
They stick a great big hot dog in your face! Ya!"

Now that the kitchen is unpacked, we're back to eating at home, but it was good while it lasted.

Sunday: Lee and Steph got to the airport on time, and our family joined another to worship at a church in Easton (just outside of Fresno in a farming community). This is the only family we knew in Fresno pre-move, and they so graciously invited us to church. It was nice to catch up with Sarah, who I knew through the Fuller wives group in Pasadena, and for our kiddos to play together.

Michael and Rob talked community psychology for he's a pastor preparing for a deployment in the Air Force as a chaplain. Owen played with Katie, Emma, and David. I so appreciate their hospitality, and Owen was very much in need of some time with kiddos. Tomorrow, we have a playdate with Sarah again and our mutual friend Rebecca is in town from nearby Delphi, so everyone's coming over to our place.

Yeah, I'm crazy to have people over, but Owen needs to have his room broken in some time, don't you think?

Updates on that later...thanks for reading this incredibly long post. Like the title says, the post was almost as long as our Trip. ALMOST...

This post brought to you by Penske Truck Rental (2 thumbs up), U-Haul boxes (since picked up from a Fresno Craigslister), Interstate 40, rest stops funded by the taxpayers of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, Motel 6, overpriced gasoline stations galore, and
"Herbie: Fully Loaded"...now Owen's 2nd favorite movie next to "Cars". Thanks Grandma Sushi!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hail Dear Old Deer Run!

Here's Owen with his sweet friend Roselyn at Camp Deer Run's 50th Anniversary Weekend. So much fun! Her daddy Clint did a great job to help organize the weekend.

I got to catch up with so many dear friends. Our individual lives are so different than they were 10 years ago (jobs, homes, families, etc.), but it was so nice to see how much we all have in common. Owen played so well with everyone's kiddos (except for that love/hate thing he had going with Dane B. Hugging one minute and tackling the next).

Here below are most of the ladies from our generation. In this picture, there are 4 gals who met their hubbies at CDR (and a couple more who had to stay home due to impending births). Congrats to Sam and Hollee (triplets born this week) and Adam and Doodle (another boy to add to the clan)! Sparky and Sarah are set to have their baby induced on Monday, so here's to one more PeeWee for CDR in 2012. :)


The Plan

I logged on to update everyone on "The Plan" for the move. Then I was reading a post from December about all the possible internship sites Michael could have. Notice, I didn't mention Fresno. The unconscious mind...

So, I finished my year at NHS on Friday. I'm not in the mood to cry anymore, so I'll leave the description of my goodbyes at that. We have the next two weeks to pack, organize, and socialize before we pull out for Fresno on the 21st.

We do need help loading the truck on the 20th, so any available friends would be great! My brother and his wife are driving out with us. When we're unloaded, they're renting a car and driving to San Luis Obispo to visit Stephanie's family and then flying home. Good deal for us both...except for the 22 hours in the car with a spitting 3 year old.



Yep, that's his new thing...spitting. 9 times out of 10, he remembers to only spit outside on the ground, but that 1 time he "forgets", it's to spit in anger when he doesn't get his way. Tips?

When we arrive, I'll be sure to post pictures of the new digs. With school out, I'll add some pictures ASAP.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hiatus

Okey-dokey...I'm on hiatus for now. Perhaps when we move to Fresno....