27 December 2007
I am too excited. Much more excited than an adult should be about a kids' movie. But I am giddily excited about Veggie Tales' new movies, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Yes, all of the VT movies have put forth values that want my children to embrace. Values that I embrace. But really, it's also because I don't want to claw my eyes out when I'm watching it. I laugh at the shows. I mean, I crack up. And there are other Christian (and non-faith based) shows that they love, and that are positive for them, but I absolutely adore the Veggies.
The movie comes out on January 11th... We WILL be seeing it. CLICK HERE FOR THE TRAILER
And if you're actually interested in seeing it too... THEATRE LISTING
26 December 2007
It's also painful looking at Kay (her mom... My aunt). Not in the way you'd think. She looks very healthy, and I've heard that they're done with the chemo and radiation and surgery. It's just the reality of seeing her in her wig. Seeing it, and knowing that she went through all of that, and I didn't do anything to try to stay in contact. I suck. I let my selfish anxieties about being with mom's side of the family get to me too much. You're supposed to be able to push those aside when someone needs you. I don't know if she needed ME, but I can only imagine that you need any sort of support you can get. I mean, she was diagnosed with breast cancer less than a year after her daughter committed suicide. Gosh, less than 6 months after, if I remember correctly.
Either way... The point is that I'm going to try my darnedest to get down there. Plus, Devon left his MP3 charger and hat over at Stacy's, so I'll just HAVE to go.
23 December 2007
A few things on my mind today...
I went to Youth Group with Allison tonight, and we watched The Nativity Story. It was the second time I've seen it (the first being last year when it came out... Also with the Youth Group), and it was just as powerful for me. I cried a good bit. I think if someone asked me if I could interview anyone, alive or dead, I might want to talk to Mary. I can't imagine being in her shoes.
On to other things at Youth Group... There's someone there, and I get the feeling they don't like me. I really shouldn't worry about it, but I always want everyone to like me. Big fault. They aren't rude, and they're very cordial, so I don't have anything bad to say about them... I just feel like now I go out of my way to make conversation and get them to like me. How silly is that? If you like me, you like me, and if you don't, then I shouldn't worry about it, right? *sigh* I guess I just let things bother me too much.
SPEAKING OF WHICH... Lately, I get way too caught up with the stresses of this season, rather than the reason we celebrate it in the first place. I'm worried that Allison and Devon won't like what they got. I literally spend hours on the internet and in stores fretting over what to get them. I worry about money. We're okay on money, but I still freak out over spending it. I'm worried that the gifts the kids made will be seen as cheesy. And I shouldn't worry about all these silly things. I've been heck to be around this week because of it, too.
Oh, and I want to spend Christmas Eve here, so that I can go to the evening services at church. But I want to spend Christmas with my family. I can't have it both ways, and I know that. GAH!!!
19 December 2007
Anyway, what I'm really here for...
My firstborn is 12. TWELVE! How did that happen, and where did the time go?
She goes to school dances... She likes boys... She's in middle school... *FAINT*
12 November 2007
We just got back from East Texas with the inlaws. We celebrated Thanksgiving early, due to David (Hank's nephew) having to leave Sunday to go to Kansas. I can't remember exactly which Army base he'll be headed to. Either way, he wouldn't be here for Thanksgiving, so I think it's best that we did it this way. He is definitely in my prayers. He believes he will be deployed December 14.
Other than that, it's been fairly routine. Sanctuary Choir practice on Tuesdays... Church and Youth Group on Sundays. That sort of thing. Oh, one more thing. I'm a little excited and nervous, all at the same time. Our church choir director asked if I would sing a solo for our Christmas piece. It's a beautiful song, one that spoke to me from the moment I heard it. I pray that I can do it justice.
And, of course, there was Halloween. I'll go in reverse, starting with Halloween night. We had lost Ezra's pirate hat, so I was scrambling to figure out what to do for him. Then I just grabbed a sharpie, and started "tatooing" him... "GLAM ROCK" on his knuckles, a cross on his arm, and black fingernails... Oh, and I used some black eyeliner to give him a goatee... He wore some of his sister's leopard pants, used his guitar, and we put a shiney purple scarf around his waist. I think it turned out okay.
And, you can see that Anna was Little Red Riding Hood. I think she made a great Little Red.
Here we were at our church's Trunk or Treat the Sunday before Halloween. I love these. Lots of people decorate their trunks, and the kids get plenty of candy.
09 October 2007
Well, Friday morning, he also figured out how to get the big ol' triple knotted tie off of the security bar too. I kept it on, even though I was told it was a fire hazard. (Truth be told, I have some big cabinet speakers right beside the glass door, and I would hurl one through it, should a fire come about, and I can't get to the front door.) This morning, I woke up and Ezra was gone. (I've looked for door alarms locally, but I'm having to order one online.) He got out AGAIN. And he was at the front office with a police officer. And they took him down to the Collin County Childrens' Advocacy Center, which is run by CPS.
We got there, and they took the two little ones into a playroom, and put us in a small waiting room with no windows. We were there for hours, and nobody would tell us ANYTHING. Then people who were visiting their kids were telling us all these horrible stories. One lady said that her ex made false claims about her new fiancée touching their daughter inappropriately. She said that they have not investigated it properly, and that the day the ex said it happened, she was WITH the ex. And that they took ALL of her children, and they've been there since August. One lady was telling us how she grew up in CPS (Child Protective Services), and that she was molested and it was covered up, and some other horror stories. Anyway, I do know there are two sides to every story, but I was still horrified at what could happen. I will take a bullet for my kids in a heartbeat, but I would die at the thought of them being with someone else, and not knowing how they are. I cried more today than I ever have in my life. Finally, the case worker came to see us, and she questioned me. She was very nice, and even explained why it took her so long to get to us. I answered a bunch of questions, and she said that it was obvious that we had been taking preventative measures, and that she sees no reason why they can't come home with us immediately. She said this sort of thing happens often, but the problem is when it happens repeatedly, and the parent does nothing to prevent it from happening again. And after talking to her, I really felt like everything was handled properly, and in my case, the system worked. I think that we should've been questioned... I was simply afraid of my babies being taken away. Interestingly enough, we got the case worker that one of the ladies had warned us about. I don't know why, because she was more than helpful. Of course, I can understand that you would be quite bitter if your kids are taken away. And I don't know what their full and true stories are.
From the second I was aware he was gone (which was the second I woke up), I prayed. I prayed nearly non-stop. I prayed that my children would remain safe and happy... That my children would come home with me... That whoever was in charge of deciding where my kids went would have a compassionate heart. We called one of our pastors, and he prayed on the phone with Hank. We called a friend in Sunday School to pray for us. We called Hank's parents. I do believe in the power of prayer.
It was also hard seeing Hank feel helpless. He is our fearless leader. When I break down, I can always depend on him to be my rock. And he even tried this time. He was trying to be strong and stoic for my sake, but I worried when I saw him shaking. Then he broke down and cried. I have never seen him cry like that. He's a warm, loving, and sensitive man, but he doesn't cry often. The only other time I've seen him shed a tear is when his grandma died.
We both had the same feeling though. He said that the devil has been trying to attack him for a long time (he's been through a lot of rough situations in his life), but even if something happens to his kids, he will not lose faith, because our God is a great God. I feel the same way. And He has blessed us. He blessed us BIG TIME by giving our children back to us. I say our children... Really, I feel their His children on loan to us during our time on earth. Anyway...
I haven't found a security bar for the sliding door yet (another one that we can put at the top of the door), but I'm grabbing Allison's tension bar shower rod, and putting it at the top of the door. I must never underestimate Ezra. I know that I have to stay two steps ahead of him at all times, because just when I feel like everything's safe, he figures out a way to get out of it.
And that kid is gonna be the death of me. I love him to pieces, but I'm surprised that Hank and I both didn't keel over from a heart attack today. I still feel really drained. I still also feel really blessed. Something this terrible has made me appreciate the blessings that my kids really are.
So, I'm sure that some of you may think ill of me, and that maybe I haven't done enough, but I did everything I knew how to do. And maybe that wasn't enough, but I know that I'm a good mom. Not the best, I have some terrible flaws, but nobody (with the exception of God and Hank) will ever love my kids like I do.
And it also made me realize that I love our church. I love our congregation. I truly, truly do. Pastor Borkenhagen prayed with Hank on the phone during the whole CPS ordeal. (BTW, just seconds after he got off of the phone with the Pastor was when the case worker said that we would be going home WITH them, right then), Suzanne from our Sunday School class had her whole family praying for us, and she even went up to the CPS place with goodies for us, but we'd just left.
Then, Hank dropped Allison off for camp, and Pastor Kollman (head pastor) pulled Hank into his office. He told Hank that he would do anything in his power to help us. That he would pray, and if we needed a character reference, that he would gladly give them one. We shouldn't, as the ordeal is nearly over with. The only thing that will happen now, is that the case worker (Bethany) is going to call, then come by to check out our new locks.
Then when we went to church, the word had spread. Not in a bad, gossipy way, but people came to us out of true concern. I think we took up half of the Sunday School hour talking about the incident and getting words of support from the people in our class.
We had seriously thought of packing up and moving in with Hank's parents to get out of the city at all. Go to the deep country where we thought Ezra might be safer. But after Pastor Borkenhagen's call to Hank, he said he felt a peace, and felt that God wanted us to stay. I do love our church. I still think it's funny that we didn't want to go to *that* church, because of it's size. I guess we know better than to judge a book by it's cover.
I think our Girlfriends' Spa day will be very needed. It's a little spa day that our church is holding for all the women. It's $10 for the whole day (9am-4:30pm), but someone bought my way already. Heh. That's cool.
BTW - While I am still on my guard at all times, and I now get up with Hank early in the morning (to ensure I get up before Ezra), we installed some new door stops for the glass door. All the child safety stops looked like a joke, but all it really took was talking to one of the guys at Lowe's who helped us out. They are metal thingies (sorry for being so technical) that attach to the railing (we have put ours on the TOP railing, of course), and the door cannot open. I'm still looking at getting a double sided deadbolt for the door, even though we do have the chain at the very top of the door. And I'm still getting the door chimes. I've learned that I consistently underestimate Ezra, and that needs to stop... I need to be ahead of my game at all times. And even though I am being very proactive (as I felt I always was, but I suppose I wasn't), I'm still having nightmares of him getting out. I do love that boy.
04 October 2007
A few random photos of them playing and hunting around...
I like this little mushroom... Dunno why, but I think they're cool looking.
"HEY! What are you doing over here?"
Anna had to show me the turtles on the back side of the slide... VERY interesting.
This is what I get when I say, "Say Cheese, Anna!" LOL!
Ezra is ready for the rockstar life already. He knows how to shoo away the paparazzi.
Doesn't he look so pensive?
GAH! Ezra made sure to carry along his little sticks of cheese, and then immediately dumps them when we get to the playground. Goofy boy.
03 October 2007
Here is a really cool one I just did.
I did the "70 piece bulbs" version.
02 October 2007
Anna proceeds to tell me, "Mama, Cheetos is yummy food 'dat falls from Heaven." Oh dear. ROFL!
28 September 2007
Ezra got my Carmex (lip balm stuff) and put it in his hair (isn't that where it belongs???), so I went to run some bath water. I came back, and Ezra's gone. I check the rooms. Nope. Did he open the front door? HOLY CRAP! Did he figure out how to open the door WITH the doorknob safety covers? I run outside and yell for him. Nope. I came back inside and yelled for him. I was starting to panic.
THEN... Plano PD shows up at my door with one of our maintenance staff. Before I could get a word out, he says, "Are you missing something?" I replied, "Yes! My son, where is he?" In that second, I imagined him to be injured or worse. The officer then informed me that he was safe with a neighbor (one I had never met), and asked me some questions. I go from horror to relief that he's okay to humiliation to worry. I showed him that I had the cover on the doorknob. We went to get Ezra, and then with all of the major worries (is CPS going to take my child away???), I start thinking about all the stupid things. "What are they thinking of me? My kid got out! He's only in a diaper. He has Carmex goo on his head!" I was bawling the whole time. I talked to the office about getting another lock installed at the top of the door.
I think I cried more that day than I have in months, combined. The officer had to file a report, but didn't know if CPS would get involved. I'm assuming they won't, but you never know. They have now put a chain lock at the top of the door, so I feel safer, but man... This kid gets into everything, and can get OUT of anything.
So, that is my trauma o' the month. Hopefully, this kind of trauma will never happen again.
Oh, and I think I must have made a certain statement more than once, because Anna came up to me later that day and said, "Ezwah's gonna be da def 'a you, huh?" (Translation for those who don't speak toddler - "Ezra's going to be the death of you, huh?") I just replied, "Maybe, but I love him with all my heart, just like I love all of you."
18 September 2007
They had a blast.
I finally looked at the pictures, and all I can say is WAHHHH!!! Where have my babies gone? I still call them "The Babies" when referring to them. But they aren't. Look at this grown up little man.
If you have not already noticed, anytime Ezra knows you're going to take his picture, he says, "CHEEEEEEEESE!" It makes it hard to catch a good photo sometimes, but still... Isn't he just the cutest?
My goodness. I'll have to find one of my mom's old baby photos. She looks so much like her Nana in this picture. Wow.
Now, this is pure joy! Nothing makes kids happier than sliding. Okay, maybe eating ice cream for dinner. Or maybe a pony. Anyway, you get my point.
Some more random toddler-slidin', fun-havin' pictures. Enjoy.
There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never ever lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more
Gosh, I haven't sung that to her in a long time. Of course, she's 11.5 now, and in middle school. *sigh* Where has the time gone?
13 September 2007
Anna - "Knock Knock"
Me - "Who's there?"
Anna - "Gwape"
Me - "Grape, who?"
Anna - "Come in!"
She hasn't learned the art of a punchline yet, but it's still funny.
Then Hank told her this one...
Orange you glad I didn't say banana?
So Anna comes to me and says...
This kid cracks me up!
29 August 2007
I am slightly aggravated though. I took pictures of Allison leaving for school on her first day, and I took them on HER camera. Well, my card reader is screwed (Thank you Ezra... LOL!), and she can't seem to find her cable. Meh. Hopefully, Hank will upload them to our share drive soon.
In the meantime, you will have to deal with hot and sweaty Allison walking home from the bus stop. Still a cutie pie!
This is what happens when Anna dresses herself. Really though, it's not bad. A future fashion maven in the making? Though, the shoes have to go. Okay, they're good to play in.
Look at these eyes! I'm in love with her hazel eyes!
And I'm just plain IN LOVE with this picture!
Little GI Ezra listening to some tunes. Nope, not any Veggie music, but he's okay with Mom's music. (Probably some Ryan Adams, Stone Temple Pilots, or Plumb...)
But, oh my! They have (or I have, so I have only myself to blame) discovered Veggie Radio... It's on the front page of http://www.bigidea.com
What have I done???!!!???
I put a VeggieTales movie on, and went to the bathroom. Well, I left the peanut butter out. When I came out, there was peanut butter EVERYWHERE. All over him... All over both sofas... All over the rug, carpet and walls... I saw RED. I knew then that I couldn't touch him, and it was hard to even speak without yelling. I just looked at him and said, "You go sit in time out, NOW." It was then that I could see how people lose it and hit their kids (not simply spanking, but really hurting them). It's not an excuse, and it's never right, but I knew at that moment, if I touched him, I could hurt him. I sat at the computer (he was still in sight) and IM'ed with Hank... It was the only thing I could do. I would deal with the mess later. Hank told me to take pictures, and I was like "What?", but I did. And now I'm glad. It's funny now. And I'll keep it as proof of what a handful he was... LOL!
Here is the proof...
27 August 2007
Okay, so I have a million blogs, it seems. Well, I have my MySpace and a private one, so okay... Not quite a million. I exaggerate sometimes.
This one is solely devoted to the family. The Meineke Clan - Hank, Jennifer, Devon, Allison, Anna Vista, and last (but surely NEVER the least) Ezra.
Intros? Hank is a Terminal Manager for a logistics company named Nordic. It's still a pretty new division, so he has his ups and downs, but he still kicks some major butt. He is 31, and an awesomely devoted husband and daddy. He loves his guitar, video games, music, and he's an amazing Christian apologist.
Jennifer? MOI? I stay at home during the day with the youngest two monkeys, and three nights a week I wait tables for some spending money. I'm a huge music and music trivia nerd, and I love laughing with my monkeys. They always keep me entertained. I also love church. I had been looking for "something" all my life, and when I married Hank, I started taking adult information classes with the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod). I felt at home. Even moreso when we found our current church home, Messiah Lutheran Church in Plano, TX. I'm still growing in my faith, and I'm human, so I have some stumbling blocks. But my faith grows stronger day by day.
Allison is 11.5, and is a middle schooler as of today. I'm eagerly awaiting her return to tell me how it all went (and pictures will come tonight or tomorrow... PROMISE!!!) She just started with the church youth praise team yesterday, and today starts the Oboe in school. She's a total smarteypants and social butterfly.
Devon will be 13 in September, and just started his first year in Junior High. He loves skateboarding, video games and playing the trumpet. (And he's pretty good too! :) ) We only get to see him every other weekend and about half of the summer, so we cherish every minute we get with him.
Anna Vista is 3, and is a smart and funny little girl. (And gorgeous, to boot!) She loves singing, and loves anything Dora or VeggieTales. Her favorite past time is going to the Jack Carter Pool.
Ezra is 2, and is a wonderful little handful! I call him Houdini, because he can get past any baby safe item there is. He's the strong, silent type. He also loves VeggieTales, and seems to have a fascination with pirates.
Here are some recent pictures of our monkeys! Thanks for sticking around to read all of this!