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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Friday, May 29, 2009
I could have called this post, "my baby's done growed up" but I thought it would be wise to display my edumacational aptitude so you all will think I'm smart.

August 2006, first day of Pre-school


Can you stand this picture? Inspect the cheeks...take them in. Commit them to memory. Nevermind the hack job on the bangs - c'mon, I can only do so many things and now you want me to have a cosmetology degree too? Look past the bangs. The cheeks...THE CHEEKS. I love those cheeks.

August 2007, first day of Jr. Kindergarten


Ahhh...Jr. Kindergarten (otherwise known as glorified second year of preschool). Of course Mom has made her wear the SAME Care Bears backpack that she wore for preschool. How embarrassing that must have been for her. You know how cruel those junior kindergartners can be about that sort of thing.

On a completely unrelated note...I'm having a moment looking at my flowers from our house back in CA. Maybe soon I will have some flowers in my TN flowerbed. ~~sigh~~

July 2008, first day of Kindergarten


NO! NO! Not the Care Bears backpack.... Fortunately for Abby, after the first day of Kindergarten, her teacher dropped a subtle hint that perhaps the Care Bears backpack might be "a little small".

Kindergarten school picture #1 (Aug 2008)


Kindergarten school picture #2 (April 2009)


Is this a new trend? Since when do I need two school pictures? Does that much change in 8 months? Do I not take enough pictures at home that I need the staged Olan Mills shot? Where is the wagon wheel? Or has the metal rail replaced the wagon wheel as the prop of choice?

Hey, I'm a sucker just like the next Mom. The picture peeps got 2 checks from me, don-cha-know.

Almost a first grader - May 2009


Today was Abby's last day of Kindergarten. No more Kindergarten escapades to write about. More importantly, my spell checker will finally get a break from the word Kindergarten. I always spell that word wrong! Now I can move onto numbers. I'm very excited.

People, my girl is growing up...I can hardly stand it...it's happening right before my eyes. She's a beautiful, smart, funny, tender-hearted little person who can't talk without moving her hands. I love her so much!

Thanks for letting me have my Mommy moment.

love,
k
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Don't pop your corn just yet, I'm not doing a scene reenactment from The Green Mile.

Poor Edward Delacroix...Percy should not have told him the truth about the mouse city. BAD PERCY.

No, I just thought I'd share a little milestone with y'all, straight from the driveway of Club Amaro. We're officially down to two wheels...well...I shouldn't say we're "rollin' on two" just yet. Let's call it, "DAY ONE".

Do you remember when you first learned how to ride your bike? I can't remember learning myself...I just remember that time my knee came into contact with about 5 1/2 feet worth of sidewalk. I'll spare you the details of the aftermath. You know back then, we never wore helmets or pads...we were hard core bikers, man! Rub some neosporin on it and get back on your bike.

So this afternoon we were out in the front yard with some friends. The kids were all riding their bikes in the cul-de-sac. I'm watching poor Abby rockin' this bike that is way too small for her. Not to mention, the training wheels are cadywampus so they aren't even serving much of a purpose. As I was watching her ride, I could tell that she had all the confidence in the world...the confidence that comes from a little pair of training wheels.



I thought to myself, That girl needs to shed those training wheels and start rollin' like a big kid.

How hard can it be to teach a kid to ride a bike. I mean, you give them a little push...they wobble a bit and they're off, right?

"Mike...I'm thinking about maybe taking those training wheels off" [Translation: "Mike...go get the training wheel removal tool, take off the training wheels and teach this girl how to ride her bike."]

Abby was very excited and a little nervous at the prospect of riding her bike big kid style and so began "Bike Riding 101" at Club Amaro. It was such a contrast watching her without the training wheels...before she had been so confident and sure of herself. Now, only a few minutes later she's nervous and jerky.

So here's the thing. I'm watching my child attempt to ride her bike without the training wheels and I'm immediately reminded of my own journey in life.

There are those times in life when God calls me to a new level of "riding" with Him. Maybe I've been riding along doing things in my own strength, or maybe I've just been riding along in a comfortable place - not growing - just comfy. Maybe there are those times where I've been getting a steady diet of milk and God is calling me to take on some meat. Whatever the circumstance, taking the next step can be like removing the training wheels from my bike.

Sometimes, even getting on the bike can take everything I've got - let alone trying to ride the thing. Maybe I let the bike sit awhile in the garage...leaving it to collect cobwebs of rebellion and denial in the corner. Eventually I will get on the bike, but the uncertainty of what comes next can be even more unbearable. Will He hold onto me until I get it right? What happens if I fall, will He be there to pick me up? What if there is a curb ahead and I freeze, will He remind me to slow down?

"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."
Isaiah 41:13

"If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

Ps 37:23-24


Training wheels serve a purpose...but they limit us. The safety and stability they provide are only for a season.

My child, shed the training wheels and let me teach you to ride. The open road awaits.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Tap tap tap...anyone there? This thing on?

[crickets chirping]

Uh huh...well, I may have lost some of you over the course of the last 9 days. How can I assign blame? I leave you for 9 days with a post about mowing the lawn and expect you to be perked up on the edge of your seat waiting for what comes next? The audacity.

But you....you....you're good, you. You've stuck with me and for that I am truly grateful. I hope the chains don't hurt too much.

So I had a super duper follow-up to the lawn-mowing post....it was all about watching my socks dry. It was going to be a good one. However, I decided to keep that one to myself. I sense your grief - counseling will be available.

Instead, I decided to account for my absence over the last nine days - in hopes that you will forgive me and welcome me back into your good graces.

As most of you know, I work part time at the USA branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). I can't really say exactly what I do there...alot of different things. Some technical, some graphical, some db admining, some reporting, some this, some that. I even unload the dishwasher sometimes (shhhh....don't tell Mike - he is still under the impression that I don't know how to do it). After 10 years of Corporate America and 10 years of consulting to the business industry (uh oh...I just really made myself feel old), I think working in ministry is a nice change of pace. I feel like I can use my skills for a cause that is Kingdom focused - and, I get to work with cool peeps. Of course, they made me sit at the kitchen table for 6 months, but I won't hold that against them!

Here is a little advert that will give you a taste of what our ministry is about:


Embedded Video above...
If you are unable to see the video, please visit
The Adventures of Club Amaro for access.


Please, PLEASE, PLEASE visit our webiste and find out more about this ministry to Israel and the Jewish people. As a side note, I respect your right to hold a differing opinion on the issues our ministry addresses. However, I would still encourage you to check out some of the resources and listen to the arguments being made for our causes. You may be surprised what you find.

On to business. This weekend, the ICEJ partnered up with a large local church here in town to put on a 3 day conference entitled, "Israel, the Church and the Nations". We featured 2 incredible (and when I say incredible, you don't really understand what I mean....I mean....INCREDIBLE) speakers who challenged me - major big time. My brain hurts and I need a massage. And I'm having nightmares about hundreds of trays of sandwiches from Jason's deli attacking me. There's a very large foil tray of pickles in my refrigerator. It's a problem. Ok, we need to move on.

So I have been a little on the busy side helping to prepare for this conference. Not that I did so much, but I did work more than I normally do (40 hours in the last week, 26 of those hours were in the last 3 days). When you put that on top of my other life responsibilities...well, the apple cart get's a little spun out. You people out there that do the whole "working full time" thing? I am so giving you props right now. There was a time during my Corp. America days when I did my share of 60 hour weeks but those days are WAAAAAYYYYYY over (not to mention I'm WAAAYYYYYY older). Anyway - much respect to the workforce of America.....(just so you can get the visual that goes along with that last sentence, I'm doing that whole Sammy Sousa thing with the kissing of the fist and the peace sign on the heart and the what not all).

Man. I need to move on. I'm going nowhere fast. I'm thinking of falling back on my sock drying post...this is a train wreck. Sorry.

Busy. Yeah, I've been busy....too busy to blog. TB squared.

But I did want to say that my 3 day weekend was extremely rewarding. I served. I learned. I talked. I engaged. I worshiped. I laughed. I heard truth spoken. I heard an 80 year old British man say a naughty word in church. I was challenged. I was exhausted. I was blessed. I found strength and energy where there wasn't any. I found something out about myself that I didn't know. I ate alot of Jason's Deli. I spoke a bit of Spanish to some Latino Pastors. I was hugged by 2 Nigerian Pastors. I missed being hugged by my family. I saw my friends give of themselves. I saw people I barely knew give of themselves. I touched the arm of a master theologian. I saw people's eyes being opened to truth. I bought a really big book. I gave my feet a reason for a pedicure.

Now I'm back. Back to the regularly scheduled Club Amaro programing. Back to mowing lawns and drying socks. I love my life - and don't think that you heard one SHRED of sarcasm in that statement. I do love my life...my family, my God. Not necessarily in that order. Also, I love my readers!! Thanks for sticking with me, guys...you are the BEST!

lotsa love,
k

PS: Gotta get a shout out to the sis-in-law, J to the M.I.Chizy-lis. In honor of your bday, I have a special clip for you. Hope it brings back a fun memory. ENJOY!


Embedded Video above...
If you are unable to see the video, please visit
The Adventures of Club Amaro for access.
Friday, May 15, 2009
WARNING

Please keep all animals, small children and valuable extremities at least 50 feet away from this man while he sits on his lawn tractor.


In addition to the above disclaimer, I am also kindly warning you that I am about to attempt to create an entire post around the fact that we mowed the lawn today. I cannot be held responsible for the following content...I have momentarily lost my right mind and am only operating in the left. Please post your grievances in the comment section and I will gladly address them when I return to sanity.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, birds and bees...sound the horns, blast the confetti, put on your party hats. It's inauguration day!


Big Red made his first official appearance today around the lawn of Club Amaro.

I'm here to tell you our yard will NEVER have overgrown, unruly grass. Why, you ask? Because my husband has found the fountain of youth - sitting on Big Red in 6th gear.


Let me break it down for you. Mike and I are sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast (Abby is at school) and we are looking at the back yard. It all started when I say, "Wow, that grass is getting kinda long".

Translation: "You need to get out there and start that lawn tractor up and mow this thing before the rain comes today."

His response, "Yeah...sure is"
Translation: "Yeah....sure is"

So then I come back with this gem, "Maybe I should go start Big Red up and take it him for a spin, huh?"

Translation, "I live in Tennessee now and I know that I'm sort of expected to do things like ride a lawn tractor around with curlers in my hair, and really, I think I might kind of like to do that, but I don't want to like it....I'm confused and I'm not sure what to do. Can you go get me a Starbucks and then come back and mow the lawn?"

His response, "Sure...you want me to back it out of the shed for you?"
Translation: "Sure...you want me to back it out of the shed for you?"

So we head out to the back yard. Mike backs Big Red out of the shed and starts him up. Mike was kind enough to give me a quick lesson on how to run it without mangling myself. I have to say, I was quite nervous at first. Something about large blades spinning around faster than the speed of light right under my feet that just puts me a little on the uneasy side, you know? But, after a few laps around the play structure (ahem...I mean, swing set) I was sort of digging it.

Then it happened.

The little boy inside of Mike wanted to ride.

"You better let me quick get that section underneath the trees...that way, it won't mess up your hair" (Of course I was wearing my cowgirl hat, but that's besides the point)

Translation: MY TURN!!!!!

And then this happened:



Needless to say, I let the boy finish the grass and I ran and got the camera so I could document the momentous occasion when Big Red made his inaugural trip around the lawn. Mike also had fun multi-tasking during his ride. He could mow and make Tony Amaro hand gestures at the same time. Exhibit A:


We also did have one casualty:

R.I.P. Abby's Velcro tennis ball

All in all, we are happy to report that Big Red runs pretty well (thanks Joe and Rusty!). He seemed to get over his carburetor problems and now just needs a little tire TLC. That, and we need to come up with a lawn pattern strategy - riding aimlessly around the yard does not look professional and also wastes gas. It's bad enough we have our 6 year old preaching to us about how the engine emissions are harming the atmosphere.

So there you go...happy inauguration day. And I may be able to promise you this will be the last post on mowing you will ever see on T.A.C.A. For May, anyways.

All "choked" up,
k

Club Amaro's new handsome mow boy.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Because I know you can't get enough of the Extreme Gesticulation action...and because Monday is my day off...and because I don't feel all that well so it's easy to sit and work on my computer...I'm posting another edition of Sunday Convo. You're beyond thrilled, I can see it!

This episode has a dedication attached. In honor of Uncle Anthony (Chemistry Prof), Abby discusses some recent Science Ex-perry-ments.

ENJOY...and watch out for the green explosion.





Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

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Sunday, May 10, 2009
Just wanted to give a shout out to my two favorite Mom's! Since I had a little mix up with the whole "sending out of the cards", I wanted to take a post just for the purpose of telling everyone how fabulously blessed I am to have two great ladies in my life! Of course, there's Mom #1, who gave birth to me and raised me to be the wonderful woman that you know today (HA HA!!). And then there's Mom #2 who gave birth to the most awesome guy EVER (that would be my husband, y'all) AND who happens to be the best mother-in-law a gal could have.

So - to my two favorite gals, I'm sending a big Club Amaro hug...and just think of how wonderful it will be to get those cards next week [insert nervous laughter here].

LOVE YOU MOMS!!!

And of course, Happy Mother's Day to all you fabulous Mom's reading this post...
Some of you have been around me long enough to know that I've always dreamed of having my own video production company (this is different from the hair salon fantasy I was talking about previously). In an effort to try and live out that dream, I just started tagging all my videos as "Green Chair Productions". Like, I'm just a video production company and you need to accept that, ok? Someday I'll go into the whole back story of the Green Chair...but for now, just roll with me.

One of my favorite video subjects is, of course, Abby.

I haven't busted out the ol' video cam in awhile and I've recently been inspired by my friend Julie over at Lost Luggage who has been going CRAZY with her video cam these days. [On a completely unrelated note: for those of you who are into "mixed media art" you WANT to - strike that - NEED to check out her new online class called, "Layer Love". For more details, please check out the promo video.]

So today I sat down with the video camera (sorry, the video camera does NOT have a cool name like "The Reb") and just interviewed Abby about various things. I will be taking this raw footage and using it to create a series of videos entitled, "Sunday Conversation with Abigail Amaro" (hopefully Roy Firestone doesn't come after me for copyright infringement).

A few items of note:

1. Please excuse the hairdo - we are in a bang transition period. Pray for me.

2. Green Chair Productions has given this clip a rating of "EG" (for EXTREME GESTICULATION). For those of you who have a propensity for motion sickness, you MAY want to consider taking some drugs prior to watching this clip. You know, Great Grandpa Jim always says, "If you tie her hands behind her back, I bet she wouldn't be able to talk".

I present to you Episode One of SCwAA.

ENJOY!


Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Please note that Facebook viewers & Feedburner email subscribers may not be able to see the embedded video...please visit The Adventures of Club Amaro for access.
Friday, May 8, 2009
For those of you missing the reference, Walnut Grove is the small town in Minnesota where Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up in the late 1800's. You know, that little house on the prairie next to Plum Creek...Laura and Carrie would run off to the school house where Ms. Beadle would be waiting, along with that pesky brat Nellie and her brother. My favorite was Mrs. Olsen - don't we all know someone like Mrs. Olsen?

"Paw....Paw?"

Oh, those were the days...horse drawn carriages, country doctors and sleep bonnets. Or just bonnets in general.

Which leads me to the reason for all the Laura Ingalls nostalgia.

Abby and her new bonnet


Yes friends, Abby now has a bonnet. You need the back story on this, lest you think I force such things on my offspring.

From the moment she laid eyes on a young Melissa Gilbert sporting her nifty head accent (courtesy of my girlfriend who has a season of 'Little House' that she shows to the kids on occasion), Abby has begged me for a bonnet. BEGGED, I tell you. I guess there could be worse things for her to be begging for. I remember once we were in the gift shop at the Stones River Battlefield - they had a few bonnets along with other Civil War items and memorabilia. I was afraid that we would have to tranquilize the child in order to remove the bonnet and get her out of the store. I have to admit though, she looked darn cute in the thing.

Then, there were those random times in the car where she will bust out with the bonnet plea.

"Mom...remember those bonnets?"

"Uh...yeah"

"Oh man....I would just love to have one of those"

So I knew that someday, I would have to acquiesce.

And friends, that day has come.


She's already asked me if she can wear it to school.

I'm afraid I may never see the top of her head again.
What's up my peeps?

A few items of note:

1) Jeremiah is still alive.
2) It's still tornado season.

This week, Abby's school is having "spirit week". Which spirit, I'm not sure, but it's happening nonetheless. Anyway, they started the week off with Pajama Day. A day when they get to wear their pajamas (brilliant naming convention, eh?). This is like the 3rd or 4th PJ day the school has had. The kids think it's swell and I look at it as one less outfit to discuss at 7:15am.

Tuesday was "twin day"...kids picked a buddy to wear coordinating outfits. I'll give you 3 guesses who Abby picked for her twin.



Wednesday was my FAVORITE day. I don't know about you, but I have this hair salon fantasy. I'm the owner of a hair salon where me and all my best girlfriends do hair all day while we chat about the small town scandals and sip warm diet coke. Don't worry, I'm in counseling. I did get to have a bit of a hair salon moment as I ramped Abby up for "Crazy Hair Day".



I was sure that she would have the craziest hair - but alas, some OTHER mom came up with something cooler involving long braids and wire. DANG IT.

Thursday was game day - a bit of a let down after all the previous spirit week craziness if you ask me. So yeah - they played games. Woo woo.

Friday was "career day". And if anyone can make a career out of dancing, it would be the Little Moon.



So there you go...

One last thing - a BIG shout out to Mom Amaro, who is celebrating a new age of youth today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lots of love,
k
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
 
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I can't believe I haven't been photo-documenting the development of the Garden Cooperative that we are doing with B & M. I guess I've been taking too many pictures of bubble nests and flowers. So here it is...we've got most everything planted with the exception of a thyme plant, our string bean seeds and I think 8 more tomatoes. There has also been talk of sprinkling a few lettuce seeds around.

We have had a few casualties already, thanks to some hungry cutworms. Boy, those things can really take down a plant.

Stay tuned for more on the Co-op, and join us as we pray for ABUNDANT BOUNTY! Since none of us know what we're doing, it will have to be an act of God for sure!

Peas & carrots,
k
Monday, May 4, 2009


I thought it was time that all of you get a look at Big Red. Big Red is our lawn mower...or, lawn tractor...or...whatever you are supposed to call those things.

Big Red has been sitting in the Big Shed since we bought our house last August. Big Red had some problems. Problems that us city folk don't understand.

So, fortunately for us, we have good friends who know what's good for Big Red. And finally we called some of them!

Just want to give a quick shout out to Joe W. and Rusty R. - both of whom have given Big Red some love. We sure, sure appreciate it!!

We'll getcha hooked up with a nice skillet of Cat Heads to make it worth your while. :)
Where is Don Ho when you need him, huh??



I know all of you have been on the edge of your seat all week hoping for a Jeremiah update. And by the way, thanks to those of you that got in touch with me to let me know that your kids have successfully kept betta fish for years. Very encouraging!!

So, we know Jeremiah was a bullfrog and he was a good friend of mine. Oh wait...sorry. Have I told you that I can't get that stinkin' song out of my head? I'm driving Abby crazy with the singing of the song. "Mom...you are REALLY annoying me." You're six...you're too young to be annoyed by anything.

ANYWAY. Jeremiah is STILL ALIVE! It's true...he lives. Not only that....but, we think he may also be HAPPY.

According to many online sources, betta fish create something called a "bubble nest". This little nest of bubbles is created in anticipation of some hot female betta appearing in the tank to lay her eggs. It's the sign (so they say) of a betta who is happy in his environs. YAY!

Exhibit A: Jeremiah and his Tiny Bubbles


Abby did her first tank cleaning on Saturday. Geez...I have never seen her so excited to do a chore. Love her enthusiasm for it. If only it would carry over into things like brushing her teeth or eating cooked broccoli without ranch dipping sauce.

So there you go people...proof that Club Amaro is fully capable of keeping a pet. For a week. Here's hoping we can string a few of them together, eh?

Keep on bubblin'

k
I LOVE surprises (unless of course it's on my doorstep, in a bag, on fire...not good).

I especially love surprises from my garden.

Like this:



or this:



and even this:



And, while we're on the subject...this too:



This being the first spring in our house, I was delighted to find all kinds of flowers popping up for me to look at and photograph. The Reb + surprise flowers = pure bliss.

What kinds of flowers are popping up in your dirt??

Iris-sistable!

k


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