Monday, July 27, 2009

The HagenZoo Embarks on a Large, Accidental Adventure.

"Hey Kiddos!, jump in the van! It's time to get Marli!" Shouts of excitment ring through the air. Their older sister has been gone for over a week and they Hagen kids are ready to have her home. We choose the van because, while it doesn't have a radio, it DOES have air conditioning. Uneventful ride to Totem Lake, and Marli is now picked up.
We begin our catching up conversation and round the corner to get on the I405. "um, Mom? Did the van just quit?" asks Marli. "Why yes, I believe it has." replies Mom, cool and calm. We coast to a stop on the shoulder of the on-ramp and I activate the hazard lights. Good. Now, to call Jerry. "Hon, the van has stopped, it won't restart and we are on an on ramp to 405." Jerry replies "Oh. Wow! That's a problem. That's, um, okay. I'll get the suburban and come get you guys." I can tell he is trying not to sound worried and a little panicky. It's not working. I can still hear it, and I am glad he loves us enough to be worried!
We sit there for about 15 minutes. The van warms up. considerably. I roll down windows. The temperature inside the van is rising. This isn't good. Not good at all. think, think, think. What to do?
"Hey Kiddos! let's get out of the van! We're going for a walk!" What??!?!?" they ask? "ON THE FREEWAY?!?!?!? Is that even legal??!?!?!" (you can guess who said that! Yep, J.J.) "No, son, it isn't legal. But it is a superior action to the one that leaves you all cooking in the van, don't you think?" J.J.'s reply, "We could get cooked in the van? Really?" As J.J. is contemplating whether it would be more cool to find out if someone could actually get cooked in the van, or experience probable impending doom on the freeway, we are searching the van for the shoes that Andrew has removed. I realize, with chagrin, that the stroller is at home. Benjamin, whom you all have prayed for, had trouble putting on weight and not losing any. Not any more. He weighs about 19 lbs. That plus the 40 lb infant seat (it's an exaggeration, but not much...) are now hanging on my right arm, the purse and diaper bag on my left. We hop over the guard rail because it looks like there is a gravel pathway that might allow us to get down to the arterial road without having to walk on the shoulder. Not so much. Back up the gravel pathway, back over the guard rail.
I give explicit instructions to "Walk with your left hand ON the guard rail. NO EXCEPTIONS! Do not wiggle, do not jump or stretch. Do not run. Do not SNEEZE!" At this point my children are more afraid of death by Mom's voice than death by vehicular homicide.
We are walking, single file, down the on ramp. I count 20 vehicles go by us. Each on slowed, gave a wide arc around us and the faces they made were priceless! I wish I had a camera for each one! I had a couple of "What a terrible mother" looks, a few "Oh How awful! I wonder what happened" looks and at least one or two "What an inconvenience, get out of the road!" looks. Not one person stopped or bothered to ask if we needed help. One woman, six kids. Really? Not one? If you EVER see any thing like this. STOP AND ASK!!!!!
We make it to the intersection and are faced with a decision. Which way to go? We decide on Denny's. Air conditioned, notoriously slow service, and we have lots of time to kill. "No? You don't take checks? Oh....kay. We'll have three grand slam breakfasts." I carry cash for gas and grocery shopping. When I am not doing one of the two, I don't generally have much cash with me. It works. There's a lot of food on a Grand Slam break fast plate. It worked out beautifully. Our waitress was wonderful. She decorated four of the pancakes for the kids with strawberry syrup and checked on us often. We left her a good tip and left the restauraunt. Now what? I call Jerry. "Hi! How long?" "Well, I am going to see if I can borrow the Bentley's tow dolly!" "okay, hon! bye" Going to see. That means we have more time to use. What to do?
"Hey kiddos! We are going for another walk!" We walk across the street to the Totem Lake Mall, which closes at six pm on Sundays. It was 7:30 pm. We took over the covered entry and the sidewalk for 20 feet in either direction. We sat on the ground, layed on the ground, ran around and around and around on the ground, the children played, swung and hung on the bike rack. They sang and danced and played tag and I LET THEM.
"Mom, I'm thirsty." O Great. "I don't have any thing for you. Dad and Mr. Mark will be here soon." "Mom, I'm thirsty." So, four of the children repeat this refrain. One can't speak and the oldest knows better. The oldest is sent to the nearby Chevron for cold bottles of water. As she leaves, Jerry and Mr. Mark arrive. Halleluja!!!! We pile in, pick Marli up and head over to the on ramp to load the van on to the dolly. Backing down an on ramp, even on the shoulder, about as legal as walking around on the freeway - okay, we weren't hitch hiking.
"Hon?" Jerry replies "yes?" "Um, one of the kids had my keys over at the mall and I am sure they are laying on the pavement over there." "Oh. Really?" "um, yeah." "okay." Off we go. We pull over, Jerry wants to do a torque check, and I think He's really hungry. Mr. Mark takes me back to the mall to get my keys. There they lay, undisturbed on the sidewalk. We get back to the freeway. Mark says, Jerry's probably left there by now, you think?" I thought I was thinking when I replies "Yes, I'm sure he is." So...Mark brought me home. About 2 miles from home, my phone rang. "Mom?" "yes?" "Did you find your keys?" "yes!" "Good. Are you almost here?" "Um, almost home?" No, here" "Where are you?" At the parking lot." "Really?" "yes!" (Babies screaming in the background. Really, truly, screaming.) "Uh, tell Dad to head home. I am almost home." "uh, okay. Bye"
There you have it. A large, accidental adventure. I Wonder what tomorrow will bring...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts on Food

A good friend and I were having a conversation in which the subject arose of 'feeding the whole neighborhood'. Children from other families are playing at or near our house, and it is snack time. My children come in with 3-7 (usually) others asking for a snack. 'Wow.' I'm thinkging. 'How'm I gonna feed all of these kids?'. Do I tell the others that they need to go home and get a snack? Here's what I am finding out: Some of the children either don't get a snack at home, or get some kind of sugary snack. They get cold, fresh fruit, cheese, nuts, crackers and popcicles at my house. This can get expensive just for my family!
Have you ever had your mind blasted with a Holy Spirit Meteor? It happens to me once in while. this Holy Spirit Mind Blast reminded me who provides the food. God does. Does He provide food to my family because He is obligated? I think not. He provides food to my family so that we will responsibly fuel our human bodies to continue building His Kingdom here on earth. He provides food to my family because He enjoys sharing good things with us. He provides food to my family so that we will share his blessing.
I won't be stingy with snacks anymore, and I'll be working on responsible fueling...