Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mom's Log: Swim Lesson Week 2

Mom's Log -- Star Date: Monday
Objective for this mission: Get everyone to class on time

We failed. We were a little late in obtaining our objective, but we still made it to swim lessons, so that really is still a success. Everyone is a little tired from being out late Sunday night. Last week there was a breeze, even a wind, each day of the week. Today, alas, there was none. It was hot.

We survived lessons and actually had nothing else planned that day.

Star Date: Tuesday
Objective: Get everyone to class on time & survive the heat
Minor Objective: See if the phasers can be set to "Taze" for the first person I remember saying they wished summer would arrive.

Today everyone is cranky. Which always makes for more challenging of an adventure.
We have claimed a's a metal picnic table under an umbrella. There's a mom and her boys that come sit with us at this time. She's very talkative and has boys that are exactly 2 years apart. All their birthdays are in July. 6, 4, & 2. The 4 year old loves whales, sharks and dolphins. He was thrilled to find out Mini-Me knew what a whale shark looked like. He asks her every day to draw him a shark or whale. She tried to draw one in a doctor's coat and he refused it. She tried to draw an entertaining seal and he refused that. I finally had to point out to the artist that Boy age 4 was looking for realism.

Luckily we go home.
I'm not melting - but I sure feel like it.

Star Date: Wednesday
We make it to swim lessons with time to spare, even though I didn't manage to get everything that I wanted for the time we are going to spend.

Today, I talk to G-man's teacher. He chose his words very diplomatically. I was impressed for someone that young to take such care with his words. He essentially told me that G-man tried every task given with gusto - but just couldn't quite accomplish the skills needed to move on to the next level.

I had a talk with Mini-me's teacher, and she said that there were still some skills that M needed to work on. The check list could not be checked off for Mini-Me being able to swim across the pool.

Bubbles is HOT before the big kids are even close to done with their lessons. Bubbles and I are a lot a like - She gets cranky when she gets hot. I get a brilliant plan to let her play in the shower to get wet and cool off. She loved the idea - but then she didn't want to leave. I did manage to get her out and to her swim lessons.

We go home even with the kids being a bit dejected. Everyone is hot and tired. We eat lunch and take naps.

Star Date: Thursday!!! LAST DAY!!
Ick. Today I am tempted to take my shoes off and get in the shower myself.
The last day of classes. We made a new friend with a dad who took his wife's place for a mommy and me class with his son. He plays with J-man and Bubbles for a bit. His son is 2. (He didn't look big compared to my chunk of a 3 year old - but his dad insisted that he was big for 2.)

Bubbles ends up playing in the shower for a bit again.
The big kids get to have a bit of fun for classes. G-man was the most excited. He got to jump off the diving board many times under the watchful eyes of the life guard and his teacher. The Life Guard even tries to teach them how to make a cannon ball.

J-man and Bubbles have their classes and they turned on the Shower sprinklers for their classes. My big kids are slightly jealous and would love to go play but I had to tell them no. Mini-Me is still dejected that she didn't advance to the next level. I explain to her that it's not that big of a deal. Most kids don't even bother to take level 5 classes and I'd rather her repeat the level than to drown in level 6.

J-man doesn't advance to Level 2 either. So we'll be repeating the same levels next year. Hopefully the classes will be much the same so that I can get in the first session in the first classes.

I can not imagine being in the later sessions that will take place in July.

As the lessons wrapped up, I refelcted on our weeks.
We looked to be a light on the pool deck. We got to talk to a mom and a dad (who liked to talk). They both helped ME pass the time. I hope that we helped them, too.

It made me realize, too, that we can not be so busy trying to be "Light" into the lives of others and not see when someone is shining their light into ours.

I'm glad that swim lessons are over. The kids are chomping at the proverbial bits to go swim. I'm chicken. I have to keep my eyes on two different kids who like to go two different places. Last year when J-man wasn't trying to drown, Bubbles was running away. Toward the exit.

I read the quote from the great philosopher Ferris Bueller this week. "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

I don't want to miss life -- but trying to juggle "not missing it" and mommy-ness is my next challenge.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Not exactly a super hero...

I've had this in my head for a few weeks now. I think it's time to download it out of my brain circuits and onto the computer circuits. Not that it's stellar or anything - but it'll at least free up brain space.

About a month ago, some one wrote in public for all the world to see, that he didn't understand how anyone could life in a state that passed a same-sex marriage amendment.

I understand what the Bible says about homosexuality (there goes my G rating) in Leviticus. I'm quite fine with God's position on it. (We are to hate the sin - not the sinner, but that's another post for another time.)

However, I was troubled by the blanket statement -- that included anyone and everyone.

Knowing many people who war in the spirit for their state and country, I pointed out to him that there were Christians living in those states. It was really quite pointless. His next comment told me that really, in his brain, he didn't understand why there wasn't a mass exodus of Christians from those states.

I guess he expected people to get up, uproot family and leave their jobs.
I was a bit saddened by this. There was no grace, there was no love - only judgement and law.
I understand using God's Word as a guide...but I also know what it's like to use the Word to only bring about judgement.

I gave up the conversation. It was a pointless pursuit to try to change his mind.

I didn't give up the thought in my heart, though. I came from such a religious thinking. How can I point out to people the need for grace and love? I mean, with that attitude, they will never ever see anyone set free from that lifestyle. Possibly from any lifestyle.

Then one night at church, I was encouraged by someone who preached that he wanted to be like LOT. Yes, the Lot in Genesis.

He's not a super hero.

God and Abraham had a talk about Sodom & Gomorrah. God was going to destroy the cities and Abraham interceded. (Abraham in this city is a very good example of intercessory prayer)

You can read the rest of the story - but the Angels go to the city gates to find Lot. For him to be sitting at the city gates, suggests that he was a city leader, an elder in the city.

God counted him righteous among a city of nuts and unrighteous. He was spared. Like I said, he was not exactly super hero material.

I want to be like Lot.
The world may be going crazy - but I want to be counted as righteous!!

I got a chance tonight to thank my preacher friend for his exhortation about Lot and I told him how it ministered to me. He said something that ties in with what God has been talking to me about letting your light shine!

He said, "What are we supposed to do? Abandon the cities for the demons to occupy?"

I could see it visually! I could see how we are the Light of the world. If the light totally leaves an area - it would be completely dark. That could preach!!! The song "Mighty to Save" says we're to let our light shine. So all the world can see ...

Letting our light shine means we're offering hope.

Letting our light shine means we're refusing to let the enemy take any more ground.

Letting our light shine means we're taking back the ground he's stolen.

I'm reminded of the scene in "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings" when the Fellowship is the mines of Moria. Gandalf has to shine his light bright to scatter the bad guys.

I'm reminded of a scene in "Pitch Black" where the light kills and hurts the dark dwelling creatures. the creatures couldn't survive in the light. They had to wait for the light to completely leave before they came out.

We can't let the light leave (until God calls us out) - so I want to be like Lot. I want my light to shine, even when the world calls me crazy.

Because I know what happens when the light leaves. .... and I'm not ready to let that happen.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In christ Alone...

My Saturday plans are not going my way...
I really, really want to whine about it.

really I do.

I guess I shouldn't though, because I needed a time to sit and do nothing- and that's what I'm getting - even if it wasn't in the plan for today. The dog is loving the saturday -- he's spent most of the day sleeping.

someone sent me something with this song in it- and I love this song...decided to find it and post it..

because it really could be one of the many background songs of my life.

I guess I won't whine after all.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A week in recap ...

Mother's log ---

Star Date...


Strategic Target: Survive the first day of Swim lessons.

Swim lessons started Today. Mini-Me and G-man were enrolled in levels 5 & 3. Their classes started at 9 am. This requires a 30 minute drive. More importantly, it requires me to get up earlier than usual in order to get everyone and their stuff out the door in time.

Luckily, everyone was eager and ready to get ready. We were ready we left early (and naturally made a quick stop at the Sonic). We arrived early and picked a spot to sit and camp out.

J-man headed over to the splash pad to look at stuff - and naturally pushed the button that starts the splash pad. I was surprised - and he was thrilled - that the sprinklers actually turned on. People were sitting at a picnic table nearby and the wind blew the sprinkles right onto them - they dashed around and moved to another picnic table - FAR AWAY from the splash pad. I rush to get him to stop pounding on the start button - and just managed to walk over a spout as it gushed up.

My right side and carry-all bag got wet.
It was funny! I laughed -- but felt bad for the people who had to scramble for cover. (Snicker Snicker)

The two big kids have swim lessons in the first session - and Bubbles and J-man have swim lessons in the second session. I brought a ball - but the wind blew it around too much. They got bored quickly. I finally found a distraction for them using the squares on the concrete to make a pathway. Time passed quickly - and it was their turn for lessons and the big kids turn to wait.

The big kids actually got more bored than the little kids. Luckily, I informed them that this is what it was going to be like for each lesson -- and they needed to come prepared. The wait passed a bit painfully for all of us. J-man did well during his lesson - but Bubbles didn't want to listen and obey.

Her class got finished before J's did -- she sat on my lap and I tried to talk to her about swim lessons. She whined at me. I told her that she needed to listen and obey the teacher - she told me she didn't want to play in the water - she wanted to play in the street. I laughed out loud.

Finally, lessons were over - we go home and do some math.
Over all - it was a pretty successful day.
The Professor worked late.

Star Date ....
I'm impressed with myself for keeping the days straight.
Strategic Target for today: Survive Swim lessons - and manage to not for get to take Gizmo to the vet.

I overslept.
We still managed to get out of the house fairly on time.
Even if I did forget to eat breakfast.

We are all more prepared for the waiting part of the day. I brought mazes for J-man and vowel magnets for both he and Bubbles. J-man did puzzle after puzzle. Bubbles went to visit a baby. So I worked with J-man while Bubbles was visiting. I looked up and she was sitting in a lady's lap.
Oh! I'd better go see if the lady minds.
Her mouth said she didn't mind - but her body language did.
I walked away because I listened to her mouth - but watched Erica talk to her and watched the lap-lady look at her friend. Neither of them smiled.
I dug out the magnets and called Bubbles over and we messed with magnets and vowel sounds until it was her turn for swim lessons.
Today was much better for her.

While they were having swim lessons, a dad and I struck up a conversation. I started it by saying, "Look at all those people lined up in their chairs watching swim lessons -- sitting right on top of the splash pad. How funny would it be if the sprinklers accidentally turned on."

He sauntered up to test the off function. It was still off.

It would have been funny.

On the way home, I think how much I need to go to the grocery store - but The Professor is going to work until midnight. So I text my friend who is an awesome babysitter in her own right and ask her if she'd be interested in the job. She is and she's available to come NOW.

She just increased in her awesomeness - which I wasn't sure was possible.

We arrive home to find blood on the bathroom floor. NOT what I wanted to see.
The search for Maggie found her in the closet sleeping and apparently sound of body.
I clean up the blood and try to get ready for a grocery trip. I had bought Clown food for the kids on the way home.

My Awesome friend and her brother showed up - and I went grocery shopping.

No bathroom breaks interrupted my trip. No fits were thrown. I got done within the hour. I didn't get everything I needed - but I don't mind going to the store for one or two items. Bubbles doesn't really manage long trips, and I don't blame her. The store is an awesome place of distractions for a 3 year old. I keep forgetting how young 3 is - especially when she's desirous of world domination.

So groceries are put away. My friends leave. We travel to take Gizmo to the vet. Which proved to be way more of a challenge for Bubbles "no nap" Denim. We survived - and the whole visit made me love Dr. B even more. Gizmo is over all healthy. He had fleas and signs of a former infestation and he had hookworms, so he got 3 pills and an over all clean bill of health. The main diagnosis he got was "CUTE"

I mowed the grass.

Phew. That concludes the log for Tuesday.

Wednesday ---
I overslept again.
I need George Jetson's ejector bed.
Strategic target: Swim Lessons
We were just a skosh late and someone else was sitting in our camping spot. So we move to an actual picnic table. And LOVED IT!
J-man wants to do mazes and quickly gets bored. Bubbles is loving the magnet vowels and is no equal to J-man and possible surpassing him.

It dawns on me that I will have 4 students for the 2009/2010 school year.

I managed not to panic.
or cry.

The vowel magnet thing was pure genius, if I do say so myself.

Swim lessons for them - Today Bubbles didn't want to listen and obey.
For some reason, I've noticed that all the kids are a bit cranky today.
I hope tomorrow is better.

BONUS! We got to see the Professor in the day light! and before the kids went to bed!!
He was nearly tackled in the door way by 4 kids AND the dog. Mini-Me recruited him to help her on her video game -- nothing says "welcome home" like a video controller being thrust in your hand.

Star Date -- Thursday.
Though - it really feels like Friday.
We manage to arrive on time for Swim lessons today.
Today is treading water day for G-man's class. He managed to tread water for the count of 25. The desired goal for the class is more than 50. Mini-Me manages a belly flop when trying a standing dive. The wait for the little kids includes crayons, magnets and visiting with a new friend. J-man decided not to do any mazes but to play with action figures. He is happy. Our new friend is an older kid enrolled in the level 1 class. She got moved to the level 3 class today - but couldn't handle the water in her eyes. She said it caused her head to pound. We talked and colored and I was listening for Holy Spirit to tell me how to minister to her - when her dad showed up and she had to leave. She left in tears and I was sad for her.

Bubbles came running up after class. "I 'isten and 'bey!!!!"
J said, "I put my whole head in the water!!" and he is beaming.
The car is filled with much chatter. we headed to PetSmart to get a dog tag for Gizmo and a few stuffed doggy toys. As much fun as the swim lessons were - the etching of the dog tag was the bright spot in their day. G told me "I'll always remember this!"


We made an unexpected visit to the cat vet which turned out to be more of a challenge than we wanted. I wished I could have turned my phasers to stun. the Vet...not the kids.

bonus: We got to see The Professor twice in a row before bed time. AND we had pizza!

Swim lessons were concluded for the week.
We managed our strategic target for each day - and we're looking forward to swim lessons next week, too. The Strategic target remains the same for next week.

This week indicated that we were on the right track and plan. Now -- to figure out the right plan and strategy for actually going swimming.

That's an entirely different scenario.

Mother's log - out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Tail of a Tale --- Part 2

After we took Sprout back, I was relieved.

For several reasons. One, The Professor didn't have to shoot a dog. and Two, It gave my heart time to rest.

When we drove to pick Sprout up, I had to pull into a Sonic to cry. I ordered a drink so they didn't look at me funny and so as not to freak out the kids. They're used to Sonic. They're not so used to seeing me cry for no apparent reason. (outside of church, I guess I should say.)

I began the search for an understanding of dog breeds. I finally narrowed my choices down to Havanese, Shih-Tzus and maltese. Havanese are still rare enough to not be in the rescue centers.

I found one for sale by name of Bounty....but he cost $350.
I was tempted -because I was totally tickled by his name.
The Professor, who's allergic and is only getting a dog because he loves us, was put off by the price.

I checked the online "for sale" site. Found a few that were emergency adoptions and one possibility. But he shed.

So I took my list of possible dog breeds, and surfed an online adopt-a-pet site. I was able to narrow my search to my zip code and the breed I wanted was "Small" - and began the search.

I searched through many pages of cute and adorable dogs - but making sure I hunted for the non-shedding variety.

I suddenly found the listing for "Gizmo". A 9-month old Shih-Tzu mix. He's been through obedience training and he was CUTE!! We had considered changing Shaggy's name to Gizmo before we decided he really was a shaggy, so I was curious.

I began talking to the lady running the rescue via e-mail. I sent her an e-mail on Saturday night and she responded on Sunday.

The training Gizmo had been through was called "Parole-a-pet". He'd been taught to come and answer his name, and some other basics like that at a local prison.

He's cute.
He's been trained.
He's cute.
He's got a great name.

So I asked what we needed to do to adopt him. We needed a fenced back yard and the referral from our vet.

I told the kids that we had found a possible dog...but we were waiting to see what happened with it. Mini-Me was not thrilled with his name.
But that was the only detractor she came up with.

So I gave the lady Dr. B's name and we waited.

We had G-man's 9th birthday party on Monday and that night I got the e-mail that told us that we could have him.

We went to pick him up on Tuesday.He wasn't happy to leave his foster mom.

Maggie, the cat, was LESS than thrilled about him. I'm not even sure there are words that express her displeasure. But it was the fact that Gizmo gave chase that really got her goat.

It wasn't long before he was begging food from the kids...

And curling up in Shaggy's old bed (That he never used except to wrestle with).

He's gentle - but he's showing spurts of energy. He LOVES tug-of-war and he'll chase a few tennis balls and when he's done he just stops.

We don't think he likes the heat because he doesn't play much outside.
He still doesn't have his appetite back for dog food - he is trying to steal food off the kids plates, though.

He ran out of the door this morning, but didn't run far and came when we called him.

He's a good dog.
I think he's a good fit - even if he's still not adjusted yet.

They don't know about his daddy but his mom was a full shih-tzu.

He's taller than Shaggy was - but still manages to get out of the doggy door.
We've had to close the cat up in the bedroom for now because she scratches and that makes him bark.

It's been a crazy week...tomorrow will be his one week anniversary with us. He meets Dr. B tomorrow, too.

thanks for meeting Gizmo.
I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Tail of a tale... part 1

When Shaggy went to be with Jesus (that's our hope as we don't really KNOW where Doggies go when they die.) our vet suggested we adopt Sprout. He's 9 months old. Completely healthy. Had all his shots. He's been neutered. He would do really well with kids. He loves to play chase.

The kids were all for this idea. They really wanted another dog.
I really wanted time to wait. and ponder and think.
But we picked him up on a Friday.

This is Sprout.

He's cute, isn't he?

Rather unassuming, too.
He looks a bit like a rascal with that hair.

He's not very tall. When he's on all 4 feet.
When he jumps .... he's very tall.

And when he jumps - he bites.

And when he bites, he's scary.

9 months old - and NEVER been around kids.
He's a biter.

In just a few hours of having him in our home, I heard two very telling comments.

J-man said, "I don't like him. I wish Shaggy hadn't died."

Mini-E, who is now known as Bubbles, hollered as she ran for the door, "Doggy gonna EAT ME!!!"


The professor was willing, on Friday, to see how the weekend went. To see if Sprout calmed down at all.

He jumped. He bit.
He bruised.
He even bit me - and I realize it was just playing and herding -- but he was biting ANYTHING available. Arms, legs, bottoms.

Mini-Me pointed her finger at him and told him "NO!" and he bit her finger.

By the evening came, and all the kids were scared of him.
The professor said, "He goes back in the morning."

In the morning, Mini-Me took him outside to run and play, hoping to win over our affections for the dog. Soon someone comes in and says, "MINI-ME NEEDS HELP!"

So I saunter over and find her crying and frozen in place with the dog bouncing around her. He did not want to just play ball -- he bit her on her arms and legs so hard that he left bruises all over her. The next day, she looked like an abuse victim.

If we had lived in the woods, Sprout would have been sprouting up daisies.
The Prof was one mad man.
Sprout went back to the vet as soon as they opened the next day.

I started the search for dog breeds.
We now knew we did NOT want a terrier.
Because of him, I also cut out herding dogs as a potential pup for us, too.

We needed a rather non-shedding dog as the professor is allergic to fur. -- anything growing really. So -- the search began.

Stay tuned for the our next exciting *snort* adventure

I use the term "adventure" VERY lightly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let it Rain!!!

Rain has been on my mind for some time now. We had many, many days of rain not that long ago and everywhere I turned people were complaining about the rain. Don't get me wrong, I understand where they are coming from and I'm not issuing any sort of condemnation toward them. Then we had no rain. LOTS of humidity but no rain.

Today it's raining. I'm very grateful. There are lots of cracks in the dirt around the tree -- the ground is thirsty and I was going to have to water. (I often turn the sprinkler and then forget to turn it off)

Here in this state, we tend to get lots and lots of rain suddenly - and then nothing. Well, I guess humidity is something. A muggy, sticky something.

When people complain about the rain, I remind them they'll be wishing for rain in July and August. They don't always want to hear that - but sometimes it provides a perspective shift.

I really love the rain.

A few years ago, our state was in a very dry season. Actually a drought made up of about 2 or three years of not enough rain.
The church I was attending was also in the midst of a very dry season.

I have learned that often, what is happening in the physical, what-we-can-see-with-our-eyes, realm is often indicative of what is happening in the spirit realm.

So I was praying one day, as many people were, for rain. Thinking about how they can both be tied together. So I was asking for both Physical rain and spiritual rain.
We needed both so desperately.

Holy Spirit very clearly said, "People don't want it, because it will mess up their schedules."

I sat back and said "Ooooooooo ". It was a very big thought.

In the church - how often do we sit there with our programs and want God to fit inside them?

In the world, it's the same way. We only want rain when we want it.

It was then that I decided that I wanted the rain.
Any time - any place ...

because the alternative was (and is) -- drought.

Physical and spiritual drought.

We have to be willing to let Him rain on us....because sometimes He will interfere with OUR plans. our agendas. Our schedules.

I love the rain.
And now you know why.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Can you put the breaks on the Time Flight?

Everyone -- and I mean EvErYoNe -- says "Time Flies quickly".
I've decided that someone needs to pull the emergency brakes on this flight.
Time needs to pause. or SOMETHING.

We celebrated G-man's birthday on Monday. His actual birthday date is tomorrow. During the course of our family get together, Mini-Me started to complain that her birthday was LAST. She has her birthday in October. She consider hers last because it's last on the calendar.

I tried to point out to her the positives. In her calendar (the one that starts with her birth) her birthday is actually first.

She acknowledges this - but then points out that on *the* calendar, her birthday is last.

I tried another tactic. I pointed out to her that her birthday was in October. I asked her how many months was it from now until Christmas?? I was trying to point out to her that she was going to get presents before Christmas came along - but the others weren't.

Sure, we buy them stuff through out the year (My love language *is* gift giving - so this is a, *cough, cough* , given.)

(pun intended)

but the other kids would not get an "official" and wrapped present until then.

It didn't really convince her and it started my brain to thinking.

Sometimes thinking can lead to over thinking and then I'm in a bother.

Okay. Here goes... Am I the ONLY mom that does this??? I can't be.
I may be unique -- but I'm never *That* unique.

If there's only 4 months until Mini-Me's birthday, then that really means there's only about 2 months until we should start school back up (officially). That means that I'm so far behind I'm behind myself!!

My goal had been to do some light summer schooling to keep our math skills sharp and to get J-man ready for Kindergarten. I've done NOTHING. It's been such a crazy month that I've not wanted to do ANYthing - let alone school work.

So I need to get hopping. But we have swim lessons starting next week. They always come home tired from that. And this year ALL the kids are enrolled in swim lessons. ... and ... and ...

If it's 4 months until Mini-Me's birthday then it's really only a bit over 6 months until Christmas - and I don't have the house in order for School -- let alone CHRISTMAS....

And I'm 36. How did that happen??
With all my being behind in the stuff like school work and house work - how am I going to get ahead in the stuff that pertains to ME??

Does anyone have a paper bag???

*hee* *hoo* *hee* *hoo* *hee* *hoo* *heeeeeeee*

So to get ahead means I need to focus on the important things -- and the very important things at that. I'm not totally sure what they are, to be honest.

I have decided that I'll return that one book back to the library - it wasn't any good. And I don't have time to read non-good books.

I'll delete a few blogs off my google reader. They have readers in the hundreds. They make me laugh - but they won't miss me.

I'll trim back some other stuff around the house...and try to get back on our game plan of a cleaning rotation --

but still --

2 months.
4 months.
6 months.


I wish time would stop flying.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

in which we say goodbye....

Today we had to say good bye to Shaggy.

His pain had gotten so great in his legs that he was miserable.
He wasn't sleeping and often spent the last few days and nights alternatingly crying and squirming and scratching and chewing on whatever it was that was hurting.

I talked to Dr. B. about any other options that we had for him. We were quite possibly looking at surgery on his legs and surgery on his spine -- but definitely no guarantees. If nerve issues were the cause of his pain, the surgeries were not going to help.

We didn't want him to suffer just so we can have Shaggy and he'd already suffered much.

So today, we said good bye to Shaggy.
We will always love him.

At the same time that we will mourn his loss, the kids are asking when "will we get another dog?". They are very resilient. I am very glad for that fact.

Today is not the best of days...

I don't have anything blog worthy to write about.
This sums up the last few weeks -- except my birthday and my birthday gift, of course.

That t-shirt still makes me giggle.

Monday, June 1, 2009

For My Birthday -

Today is my birthday. I'm 36.

For my birthday, I got this amazing lap top computer. (It's amazing to me, at least.) I got a boxed set of DVD's for the first 3 seasons of the TV series "Bones". So since I got both gifts early, I decided to treat myself today for something fun.

I opted for the movies, but I also have to say that it wasn't solely my idea. I had actually planned on going to the movies for G-man's birthday on the 10th. Mini-Me actually said, randomly, "I thought we were going to the movies for your birthday." My first thought was, "That wasn't what I said." My second thought was, "Why can't we??"

So after Speech Therapy, the 3 big kids and I headed to the movies with a really great friend while Mini-E stayed with my mom.

I was eager to see the movie. The trailers and clips told me that the main character was finally on the way to the adventure that he'd always wanted. Granted, that did happen. What I wasn't expecting was the layer upon layer of story that they were going to put into this one film.

We first meet Carl Frederickson when he is a little boy sitting in a movie house watching news reels of his explorer hero, Charles Muntz (who, oddly enough, looks a bit like Kirk Douglas). We see Carl pretending to be this adventurer on his way home.

I am a sucker for a good character and at this point I was sold right here - but I put my heart completely into the movie when he meets Ellie. He comes across her in an abaondoned house and she is a proverbial spit fire. She talks non-stop and he says very little - but we see they have an immediate connection.

She sneaks up to his window (after he breaks his arm) because she thought he might need some cheering up. It's a great scene. We see how opposite these two friends are and it's quite perfect. As she's leaving she says "You don't talk much. I like you, Kid." as if his silence was the clincher to her affection....and she's gone.

In tiny glimpses into their lives we watch them get married and grow old together. We get to peak into their lives in a quick fashion, as far as movie time goes, but we see sooo much! We see how perfect they were for each other, we see how they worked together, how they complimented each other in their opposite-ness.

Christa Banister said, over at an article at, that it was "easily one of the best on-screen love story that she had seen in a while" and I agree. I cried when Ellie passed away. But even watching Carl going back into the empty house, I thought to myself that was the kind of love story I wanted. They really had a complete and full life. Even if they didn't get to have the adventure and dream they had thought they wanted.

Russell is a tubby little Wilderness Scout that shows up on Carl's front porch. He wants to earn his "assisting the elderly badge" and become a "senior explorer". Carl takes a mildly kind attitude and agrees to help him. With a smirk, he sends Russell on a Snipe Hunt.

Carl gets in trouble right about now in the movie and is ordered to go to an "assisted living retirement home".

Carl has other plans. He's had them for a very long time (Since he first met Ellie). He decides that now is as good as any to take the adventure they had been planning for. He has tied thousands and thousands of balloons onto the grating in his fireplace and his house just lifts up from the foundation and soars through the sky.

Because of the snipe hunt, Russell comes along for the adventure. I'm trying not to tell you everything, here...

They make an unlikely duo.
They meet up with some unlikely characters. The Adventure part of the movie is what we see in the trailers and clips. We see Carl struggle to fulfill his promise to Ellie and we see a new bond form between Carl and Russell. Russell is a typical kid. He reminded me of J-man, to be honest, but he could be just any kid.

They meet a giant bird, a talking dog named Dug, and the hero that Carl idolized as a kid turns out to be a bitter, old bad guy (who REALLY looks like Kirk Douglas).

As I said at the beginning, the movie really is in layers - but it's also in 3 parts. We see the relationship between Carl and Ellie, then the adventure of Carl and Russell and finally the relationship with Carl and Russell.

Carl really thought his lifew as over after Ellie died. I think that's what made him so cranky. When he met Russell his goal in life was to find Paradise Falls like he had promised Ellie in what seemed like a life time ago. I really think he was going to Paradise Falls to wait until he died.

As he got to know Russell, a part of his heart opened up.

We see them together at the end of the movie. We watch Carl become something important in Russell's life, I couldn't help but remembering something I heard at a conference in January. It was something along the line of: No matter how old you are, your mission in life is not over until Jesus calls you home.

Carl found his next mission in life with Russell. The movie closes out with us watching his next grand adventure. I admit it - I cried. I am a hopeless romantic.

The movie is so deep in spots that it isn't going to be for all children. J-man, who's 5, did ask at one point if it was time to go home. It *Was* technically nap time for him. The two big kids said they liked it. Mini-Me prefaced that by saying some parts were sad.

I honestly don't know if The Professor will like the movie. I will end up purchasing it when it comes to DVD. I can see our own relationship in the on-screen lives of Carl and Ellie, but I bet many people will.

The guys and gals at Pixar did a bang up job.
The animation and acting are top notch.
The dogs had me in stitches.
Ed Asner as Carl is amazing.

If you see it, let me know what you think, and be sure to take along some tissues - just in case.