Welcome to our adventures. I try as best as I can to document the happenings here in our family - everything from the shenanigans to the spiritual, from the kid to the kitchen, from the cat to the catastrophes. We believe that adventure can be found in everything we do...even in the mundane tasks of the day. When we set our minds on things above in gratitude to God, we find the strength to approach life with a sense of purpose & adventure. The adventure may not always be what we have planned...but isn't that what adventure is all about?

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Thursday, February 28, 2008
We've been busy in Patterson...

Abby is giving the Wii a workout - she's mastered bowling, tennis, baseball and she's working on her golf swing. She works up a sweat playing! At least she remembers to hydrate herself frequently. Grandpa is her bowling coach (see pic to the left - a heavy strategy session occurs over Raisin Bran). And oh, the Wii isn't the only option here at Club Amaro Patterson - there's also Senior Fitness aerobics in the mornings w/ Grandma, if one chooses.

Mike has been working this week - he's got a nice little setup in one of the bedrooms where he is able to do all those important Bank of America things that he needs to do. He pops out for an occasional bowling match or a trip to the table for one of Mom's home-cooked meals.

Curious about what I've been up to (if not, skip this paragraph)? Well, besides trying to get these blogs all squared away (have you seen the new email delivery option?)...I have been living up to my vow of relaxation! After going 100 miles an hour for the last month, it's been a major blessing to just decompress in familiar surroundings. Today I was treated to an incredible spa pedicure at the beauty shop in downtown Patterson. Whilst I was having me footsies done up, my hands got a parrafin wax dip. That was kinda trippy. I'm also ready my first fiction book in I don't know how many years! Thanks Dave & Jeri for sending that to us - I'm looking forward to finishing it up. I'm sure at some point I will comment on the book here...stay tuned for that.

Abby had a special date w/ Grandma today where they went shopping at the Dollar Store and had lunch at Carl's Jr. Actually, I accompanied Grandma and Abby to the dollar store YESTERDAY and was then informed by my daughter that she wanted to go w/ Grandma ALONE. We all agreed that they would return the next day, sans Mom. Don't worry, my feelings weren't hurt. Abby has been all over town w/ Grandma....to the Post office, to the library (for story hour), to the drug store, etc. They are kindred errand-runner spirits.

Lastly, tonight we had dinner w/ Aunt Julie & Uncle Paul at Strings for "all you can eat" pasta and sauce. We got to visit one last time w/ P & J before we leave town. Of course, before they left, Aunt Julie and Abby had to get ANOTHER session of coloring in. I think Abby gets her coloring prowess from Aunt Julie - they are quite a team. Abby got lots of hugs stored up to tide her over until next time we see them again.

Stay tuned!

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Sometimes, the editing mechanism that exists between Abby's brain and mouth doesn't work properly and conversations like this occur:

Mom: "Ok Abby, let's get ready for bed."

Abby (in a whining, complaining tone): "Oh Moooommmmm....I don't feel good".

Mom (in an aggravated, I'm about to unleash on you kind of tone): "Abby....you just spent 30 minutes bowling on the Wii with us and you looked perfectly fine to me. Now, all of the sudden it's time to get ready for bed and you don't FEEL good?"

Abby (thinking, thinking, thinking): "I meant to say..........I....love you".
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Revised post - the video was acting goofy, so I fixed it...plus, the video has also been edited a bit.

Watch Abby and Aunt Julie perform the Electric Slide:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I've never had a camellia plant before - in fact, I really couldn't have identified a camellia until recently. My floral landscape consisted of impatiens in the summer and cyclamen in the winter, along with a few azalea bushes and the saddest hydrangea you've ever laid eyes on.

Well, in August, our front yard was transformed from this to this. We gave the landscaper creative license on the plant arrangements around the cedar tree. Most of the plants I recognized except for one - which I was told was a camellia. Well...it looked pretty boring to me. It was a stick in the ground with like 4 branches. The leaves were nice, green and waxy, but it had nothin' else going for it! Right after we put the house on the market, we noticed something interesting happening to the camellia - there were tiny little buds growing. Wow, I was REALLY excited....that's what this front yard needs is some color! I wondered how many days I would have to wait to see the blooms....I wondered what color they would be and if I would be able to cut them and put them in a vase. Days turned into weeks...the buds were getting bigger but WHERE were my blooms??? Good grief...I was growing very impatient. I even gave the thing a little dose of Miracle Grow - I read the directions and everything! Still...no blooms. Weeks turned into months - those buds were gettin' fat - but there was NO STINKIN' BLOOMS!! I was beginning to wonder if the camellia was God's little joke - a big fat brussel spout lookin' thing with no color. Then, around the turn of the year those little brussel spouts started to show some color. Even at that point, it continued to take its sweet old time opening up.

I'm not lying when I say that the first bloom showed up right after an offer was put on our house! And once that first bloom opened, the entire bush started bursting with color! Now a huge camellia tree this was not - but the 3 of us were impressed with how buds were just bursting all over the place. Every time we went out of the house we would stop and observe it....so it wasn't God's joke after all. In fact, the whole process reminded me of a spiritual truth from Ecclesiastes 3:11 that bears repeating constantly. "He has made everything beautiful in its time."

I miss "my" camellia's (although now they are far from being mine!)...partly because they are such a vibrant, beautiful, red color that I love. But mostly I miss them because I invested so much time in waiting for them to blossom. There were so many buds left that had not even started showing color yet. There were so many that I would not get to see come to blossom. But I am thankful for the blossoms I saw, and for being reminded that God makes things beautiful in HIS own good time.

I know many may not understand the journey that this family finds itself on. In fact, as a family, we don't even really know what waits for us down the road. But we know that right now, our journey may be comparable to a tiny, tiny little bud - and if we are patient, a bloom will come and it will be beautiful.

love and miss,

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

You should check out the amenities at Club Amaro Patterson...they have a short order cook (and short she is) with a menu that consists of chips, hot dogs, apples and other stuff. There is a beauty chamber and a massage parlor complete with dancing Spaniard. You should check it out...it's AAA rated, 5 star.

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Here we are in Patterson, Ca....74 miles away from the city that we "used to" live in. 2226 miles (and 7 weeks) away from our new city, Murfreesboro.

Yesterday was all about errands and the "last lasts" - we were constantly saying, "well, that's the last shower I will have in Concord" or "that's our last trip to Trader Joe's" or "that's the last time we'll have Chinatown Cafe". We had such favor with our errands - I didn't quite know how we would get through them all, but everything went so smoothly. Front parking spots, no lines at the stores, etc., etc. It was a perfectly executed errand day :)

A few items of significance....the handing over of the keys. We met John, our realtor, at the house around 11am. The house was all clean and empty - it was so strange. We handed over the keys and did some chit chatting, then piled in the jam-packed car and rode off into the sunset. The last time we will ever pull out of the garage.... Now, as we speak, the house is being fumigated.

Also of great significance to us was saying goodbye to more very special people. First stop, Bob & Eva D. We got to visit with them for a few minutes and then they prayed for us....hugs and tears with some laughter mixed in.....they are special people in our lives that have seen us through alot (and vice versa). We will miss you guys!

Another tough goodbye was waiting for us up in the hills of Oakland. It was a bittersweet visit w/ Kathryn B. (aka "Queso") because we FINALLY got to meet her Mom, (aka "MABS"). And it's true - she is as cute as a bugs ear, and then some! We had a great visit - lots of laughs as usual. Saying goodbye to KB was hard because we've become closer over the last 6 months or so....and, I could have just stolen her Mom right then and there. I'm bummed that I can't stay and get to know Mabs more too. More hugs, more tears....yaddah, yaddah, yaddah....you know the drill.

After our ride down the hill, we were OFFICIALLY on our road trip. It was really funny because all day long were were in the car it seemed stopping off and doing all these errands. Every time we got back in the car Abby would ask, "are on our road trip yet?" The whole time, Abby never even touched her "activity" basket that holds all the fun goodies that we've collected for the road trip. I thought that was interesting that she wasn't diving in trying to find something to do. However, when we left KB's house, she asked us, "are we on our road trip now?" We answered yes and she immediately started grabbing stuff out of the basket to do!

I wish I had something more profound to say about our "last last" (which was driving away from the Bay Area for the last time as residents). But, it was quite uneventful to tell you the truth. I think the reason for that is because the physical place is not what has our hearts - it's the people.

We arrived in Patterson sometime around 7:30pm and were greeted by the usual barrage of Mom & Pop hugs and excitement. We are looking forward to a week of chillaxin' and hanging out with family.

Stay tuned!
Friday, February 22, 2008
There's a gray haired cheetah and an elephant (with a braid)
on the lose. Please call if you have seen them!
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Yep...it's a done deal. Charlotte Ave just shed 7500 pounds of Amaro belongings. Those mover guys zipped in and whisked all the boxes and various household items away....in the rain no less. What was left was a house that doesn't even look familiar to me anymore. Weird, I must say. Reality is setting in.

So tonight we had dinner - our LAST DINNER - at Claim Jumper w/ Nancy and Leslie. It was great visiting with them - of course, there's the goodbye part....those are getting a little old. After dinner, we headed back to Charlotte Ave to do a little "clean up" before tomorrow's activities (cleaners, final electrician and plumbing work). Abby jumped right in and was a huge help, as usual. The movers were kind enough to leave all kinds of random things behind! We found a slipper for one of Abby's dolls, a plastic kangaroo, a pair of socks (which incidentally were right in the middle of the room - hello? what's up with that? throw them in a box and put them on the moving truck - what are we paying you for anyway?), lots of dust bunnies and about $3.29 worth of coins.

One item that really threw me for a loop was a big, huge, massive box of used toiletries. Let me stop right there - I have a confession to make...I am a toiletry junkie. There. I said it. I was faced head on with my addition as I sat and looked at this 4 cubic foot box of various toiletries - all used. See, the movers can't take anything in the toiletry realm that's been opened. Just my luck.....all my cool lotions, body washes, body sprays, mouth washes, astringents, bubble baths and the like....I had to say goodbye to it. Of course, I'm getting good at goodbyes now!

So - that's it for now....empty house. Lots and lots of errands on tap tomorrow including a trip to the doctor for Abby, whose cough is just not going away. It will be a good opportunity to also say goodbye to Dr. Chua-Lim...Abby's pediatrician of 5 years now.

Today I'm especially thankful for: Ann and Tyson K. - they took Abby today so she could play and have fun while Mom sat and watched movers all day. Also, Shelley and Natalie O. for taking Abby on Tuesday. They will probably never know how much that meant to me to have Abby cared for while all this boring stuff was going on at home. I'm also thankful for my long, long time friends Nancy and Leslie....who I've known longer than anyone else in the Bay Area! Saying goodbye tonight was harder than it looked (I've run out of tears at this point). Lastly, I'm thankful for Harv - who, even though is the most un-sentimental person I know (don't call me mean for saying that - he would tell you the same!), managed a hug and a "it's been nice" for me as we took off this evening from the house. It has been nice, Harv! You've been one of our best friends here in town and I would eat a fish eye to prove it to ya.

Prayer requests: please pray for health (esp. for Abby) and safety as we take off tomorrow for Patterson.

love and dust bunnies,
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Well, the packers are a packin' - man, they are doing a fabulous job...much better than we would have done. It was a late night (or, early morning more like) getting things organized for the packers and getting packed for our 7 week road trip...then we woke up early and started all over again. I know I'm a little sore and....shhhh don't tell anyone but I never got a shower this morning...so I'm slighty stinky as well. Maybe more than slightly. I apologize for all of you that I hugged today...

Today was Abby's last day of school. Her classmates each drew a picture for her and someone (thanks Wendy!) recorded the child's goodbye message to Abby...it was bound together and given to her. It is precious. I will have to write some the sentiments here - maybe next time - they are precious. Looking at it makes me cry, but also reminds me how blessed Abby is to have known these great kids. Abby will miss her friends and teachers, Mrs. Hopkins, Mrs. Robison and Mrs. Esakson - we were so blessed to have such great people to know this year. We are sad to say goodbye.

On a much more happy note - a great friend of ours (thanks Nancy - aka tre cool boss) has given us 2 nights at the Embassy Suites so we can sleep in style tonight and tomorrow. We are excited - it will be a fun way to start our adventure. We are getting very excited about our first leg of the 7WRT, which is Patterson. Woo hoo!

Stay tuned.
I was hoping to have a leisurely evening tonight where I could ponder and write about life and moving. But instead, we are in a frenzy trying to pack for a 7 week road trip as well as prepare for the movers who will be here in about 8 hours to pack up life as we know it. I can't believe that in 2 days we will be leaving our life on Charlotte Ave. We're taking bets as to how many pairs of underwear one can get away with on a 7 week road trip - feel free to chime in with any thoughts you may have on that.

Until the next time.
Friday, February 8, 2008

This picture represents alot more than 1000 words…it represents:

  • almost 6 months of “for sale”
  • 182 days of making the bed (with all the “foo foo” pillows and what not)
  • 1000 answers to the question, “So, what’s going on with the house?”
  • the beginning of an adventure where details are not always available

Stay tuned as Club Amaro packs it up and hits the road for the REAL 2300 miles!!

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