Saturday, March 27, 2010

Get that away from him!

I feel like I say that way too often lately. Kevin has taken to grabbing everything within reach and putting it in his mouth. We really have to be stringent about what is around him. The other day I put him in the Bumbo while I was making dinner and turned around to find this:

Yes, that is the mixing bowl to my electric mixer and the accessories that I keep in the bowl. I had thought they were out of reach, but he slithered around in the seat until he could reach over and get the bowl and slide it over!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A "Marathon of Service"

To expound on the previous post, I just wanted to put down my thoughts on this last weekend. Whenever I do volunteer work, I feel rewarded. But for some reason this last weekend felt extra special. Maybe it was just the excitement because I knew people in the marathon, or maybe it was knowing how we were helping the community. Either way, my feet were tired, but my heart was full when the weekend came to a close.

Our Church was highlighted in an LA Times article last week, which I thought I'd share here as well. Link (for as long as it works):,0,7413718.story

And here is the article:
Churches get the runaround during the L.A. Marathon
By Martha Groves
March 14, 2010

Mindful of road closures and parking problems, leaders at several churches near the race's route have made unusual arrangements for race day -- including telling congregants not to show up.

The Rev. Mary E. Haddad found it bizarre one recent Sunday to be telling the congregation at All Saints' Church in Beverly Hills to not bother showing up the morning of March 21.
"Remember the Sabbath and keep it aerobic," the interim rector said. Officials of the Episcopal church had decided to cancel all four morning services on the day of the Los Angeles Marathon and hold one 6 p.m. service instead.
"In 18 years of professional church work, I've never known anything to close church on a Sunday morning," Haddad said, adding that the decision speaks to L.A.'s automobile culture.
Genuflecting before the reality of road closures, crowds and parking problems, religious leaders at several places of worship on or near the 26.2-mile marathon route have made out-of-the-ordinary arrangements for race day.
According to race organizers, 14 churches sit along the new "stadium to the sea" route, and 88 others are within a five-block radius. The names reflect the city's diversity: Chinese Buddhist Assn., Filipino Christian Church, Centro Cristiano Pentecostal, Sung Lim Korean Presbyterian Church. Some, like All Saints', will forgo morning services and hold gatherings on the evening before, or the evening of, the race. Members of Lutheran Church of the Master in Westwood will attend Mount Olive Lutheran in Santa Monica.

Brentwood Presbyterian Church is encouraging members to spend part of its "marathon of service" weekend preparing food for homeless people, gleaning fruit in Oxnard or planting trees. Some members will remain at the San Vicente Boulevard church to play music from the film "Chariots of Fire" and cheer on runners as they pass Mile 22.

The nondenominational Paradox Community Church normally holds a 10 a.m. Sunday service in AMC theater No. 4 at Westfield Century City. Come race day, however, the shopping center will be on the route. So members will meet for a baptism at Mother's Beach in Marina del Rey, well away from the fray, said Pastor Tim Wagner.
Runners this year will go from Dodger Stadium to the ocean, passing through Echo Park, Silver Lake, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. In years past, competitors ran through parts of Los Angeles not known for stunning views. This year, they will catch glimpses of such name-brand sites as the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive.
Last year, the marathon was held on Memorial Day, a Monday, after a number of downtown churches complained that detours and crowds on the traditional Sunday in March kept parishioners away. For many churches, the limited access also meant drastic reductions in collection-plate money.
"Inevitably, the route would cut off access to literally dozens of churches" in downtown and South and Central Los Angeles, said Father John S. Bakas of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The disruptions affected nearly a million people, he said.
Memorial Day, however, proved problematic for a number of reasons. Marathon officials said participation fell by roughly 5,000 competitors, and the L.A. Marathon organization had to reimburse 2,000 runners who had thought the event would be in March. City officials also feared that hot weather could dramatically increase the number of medical emergencies among entrants. The weather ended up being mild, but officials said they could not always count on that.
Ginger Williams, the marathon organization's director of community relations, began communicating with churches months ago. A few, she said, sought directions for routing members around closures and into garages.

The Rev. Dave Carpenter, pastor of Brentwood Presbyterian, said at first it seemed "off-the-charts unbelievable" that the L.A. Marathon might stop Sunday morning worship in its tracks. Then the "marathon of service" idea took hold."The marathon could be seen as an affront to religious freedom or an opportunity to support the community and be good partners," Carpenter said."We decided right away that's better than going out and picketing."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Peeling back the Layers

This last Sunday was the annual LA Marathon. This year they changed the route so that the runners ran from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica pier. Our Church was along the route, and all streets were closed around the area, so they offered a "service weekend" instead with opportunities to volunteer in the community. We chose to do a Habitat for Humanity service project on Saturday. It was with their "Brush with Kindness" program in which people who have fallen on hard times get their houses renovated. Saturday we worked on a very nice lady's house in Inglewood. The peeling paint needed to be stripped off the wood paneling that surrounded the house.

Starting work in the front

After lunch we got to use the power tools. Here's Mike using the belt sander

This is a close-up of one of the wood panels that was stripped down to the wood. You can see the various layers of paint from over the years. At one point this house was avocado green!

At clean-up time. The woman came out of the house and met each of us personally. She was so very grateful for our time, and made us feel special for helping out.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

You know you've had a fun day when...

You come home looking like this...

I had a meeting at the kids' daycare that went later than expected, so Daddy took Amanda to the gas station next door and got some sort of red juice. Then they played on the playground until I was done. We had McDonald's for dinner that night, and boy Amanda was in heaven!
Kevin watching me give Amanda a bath. I just think this is a cute pic of him :)

Amanda recently finally got the guts up to ride her new bike she got for Christmas. She has a little trouble starting up, but once she gets going she pedals really well!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Zoo Day!

Last Friday the kids' daycare was closed for a Staff Development Day. Mike was in Reno snowboarding with his friends, so I took the opportunity to take the kids to the zoo. As you may or may not know, I went to high school in the parking lot of the LA zoo, and haven't been back in years. So it was really interesting to me to see how the zoo has changed over the years!

My favorite exhibit, the meerkats!

Kevin hanging out in the stroller.

Amanda is slowly getting more brave at doing things she didn't used to do, like climbing on walls. She has always been a very timid girl, not really taking many risks. But Friday she felt safe enough to walk along a low wall on the path.

The chimps were one of her favorite exhibits. And yes, she wore her "Daddy's Little Monkey" shirt that day too!

The Rhino got up and did some moving around for us.

Then we found the playground...

And one last stop at the fountain before we left for the day...
All in all it was a fun trip. The weather was beautiful, a nice 72 degrees. I was in short sleeves after walking around pushing a stroller! Definitely worth the trip, and Amanda is still talking about what she saw at the zoo!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rainy Day Fun

Last Saturday we had some rain overnight and Amanda's new rainboots arrived just in time. So we went outside and splashed in some puddles.

Later that afternoon we headed to my parent's house and went outside with our umbrellas.

And this is just about the cutest picture I have taken of Kevin. I am in love with it :)