Sunday, April 20, 2008

Busy Bees

Wow -- life seems to have gotten very busy for us lately! A lot has happened in the last three weeks. Here is a brief recap of the major events:

I celebrated another birthday, my 31st to be exact. It was a special day. Rusty and Alex took me to lunch at Macaroni Grill. That evening, Alex went to Mackenzie's house for a few hours while we grabbed dinner at a gyro place we've been wanting to try and then went to a movie. We ended up going to the cheap theater and watching "National Treasure 2" because there just weren't any new releases worth watching. Anyway, it was fun, and the best part of the whole day was that I got a break from cooking (Rusty made breakfast, too)!

This year (the first that I can recall since we've been together), Rusty decided to try his hand at making a cake for me. When I got home from work, he was just taking it out of the oven, and it was a beautiful golden color and smelled so yummy. I wish I had taken a picture of it, because ten minutes later, this is what it looked like:

Always, always grease and flour your cake pans, folks! That's my kitchen tip of the day. No, no, no need to thank me.

A can of frosting, some Starbucks mocha syrup, and a can of mandarin oranges later, this is the masterpiece that emerged:

That's a "31" with my name below it, just in case you were wondering. You can't fault his creativity, bless his heart. (How Southern am I?)

And here I am blowing out my candles:
And, just in case you were wondering, the cake was actually quite good. We had Danny, Katie, and Gina (Katie's mom) over to help us eat cake and icecream. Rusty cut very small pieces of cake because he didn't want anyone to feel like they had to force themselves to eat it, and everyone went back for seconds! The cake did have a crumbly, cornbread-ish texture, however. Turns out, he made the cake with Bisquick. Bisquick, people. Bless his heart.

Okay, moving on.

Rusty had gall-bladder surgery on April 4th. The procedure went well, and he spent several days at home recuperating. It will be interesting to see if having no gall bladder helps with the acid reflux he has been dealing with for the past several years.

On Thursday, April 10, we went to the circus with the Gearsons. I have never been to a circus before (unless you count some of the elementary schools I visited during my AET years). Alex really enjoyed the show -- especially all the animals. He even got to ride a pony during intermission! It was a very late night, though (the show didn't even start until 7:30), so he was pretty cranky by the time we left. Our son is not usually one to just fall asleep in our laps when he gets tired -- instead, he runs around like a maniac, getting progressively more hyper. It's like he knows if he slows down he'll just fall over.

Most of our circus pics didn't turn out (still trying to figure out all the tricks to our new digital camera), but here are a couple that did:

Let's see, what else? A bunch of little things... We've had several out-of-town friends stop in and stay with us over the last few weeks. I have been getting things in order so we could file our taxes -- for the last two years. When did I turn into such a procrastinator? We had an appointment with our CPA on Monday, April 14th. Definitely getting in just under the wire, wouldn't you say? But the good news is, we are expecting a fat (phat?) refund from the IRS. Woo-hoo for the Economic Stimulus Package! Rusty has been super busy (and super stressed) with paper-writing and studying for finals. The semi-annual Highland Children's Clothing Sale was last weekend, so I went and did some shopping at that. (And can I just insert here that I LOVE consignment shopping and saving money? Definitely gonna miss these clothing sales when we move to Africa!)

Speaking of Africa, we are a little over a month away from leaving on our survey trip. Our visas are in process at the Angolan embassy, and our funds are rolling in (track our fundraising progress with the ticker above). This week, we received a very generous contribution to our cause from a church here in Memphis, which brings us over halfway to our goal and gives us enough to purchase our plane tickets. God is good, and we have faith that he will provide the rest when we need it!

All three of us have been needing to get several vaccinations before going to Africa this summer. The weekend before last, I went to a nearby clinic for mine. Four vaccines cost me a whopping $375. Ouch (in more ways than one)!

Last week, Rusty went and got the same four vaccinations and it only cost him $305. This is because, being the scatterbrained person that I sometimes often am, I set my typhoid vaccine (a set of four pills that you take orally) on top of the car, along with all my shot records and a packet of information I had printed off the CDC website, while I strapped Alex into his carseat (I had taken him with me since it was the day after Rusty's surgery and I wanted Rusty to stay home and rest). Then, you guessed it, I got in my car and drove off, completely forgetting about the stuff on top. The good news is that, after I realized my mistake (and had a complete meltdown), Rusty and I went back to look for everything. (So much for staying home and resting!) We ended up finding all of it except the typhoid vaccine (even found the instructions on how to take the pills, but not the box with the pills in it)! I am thankful to have recovered all my shot records, because those were truly irreplaceable. But it was a bit painful to go in and spend another $70 on a second typhoid vaccine.

As for Alex, he will only need two vaccinations (thank you, Starbucks insurance and well-baby check-ups for taking care of everything else!) -- but the clinic Rusty and I went to doesn't take kids under the age of five, so I will have to take him downtown to the county health department. Ugh, not looking forward to that.

And, no, I am not pregnant, so I can't even blame my scattered brains on a new life growing within!


  1. Laura,
    I've been saying for a couple of years that we have four grandchildren and they all look like our sons-in-law--how fair is that?! However, this last description of Alex going to the circus and how he doesn't go to sleep in your lap even though he's getting more and more tired could have been written word for word about you 30 years ago! That's one reason I went out to the villages so little with Larry when you were very young. I remember our first furlough when we stopped in Israel to see the Huffard's--you were almost 3. We flew straight from Tel Aviv to New York with only a short stop in London for fuel. You never slept the whole time! When we got to New York and had a 3-4 hour layover we thought we would find a quiet corner and let you nap on a pallet. Oh no, you found a little ramp (like for wheelchairs and strollers) and ran up and down it the whole time! Larry and I were SO tired but couldn't nap because you were awake the whole time.
    So I guess Alex has got some of the Stephens' side in him after all! We love you all so much, Mom

  2. Watching Rusty decorate that cake was the funniest thing I've ever seen. Just thinking about it makes me laugh. I'm glad you had a nice birthday. And I'm glad we got to go to the circus together!

  3. Rusty, that was so sweet of you to make Laura a cake - who cares that it fell apart or that you used Bisquick! I think it's great you thought of it and went to all the trouble to do it!

    Laura, I can't believe I still haven't talked to you for our birthday! Not for lack of trying - but now I know why - you've been crazy busy! I had no idea Rusty was having surgery - but I'm glad it went well.

    We're praying for all the preparations for Angola - and I can sympathize with losing your typhoid pills - when I was doing the paper work for my drivers lisence here, I went shopping afterward and left all of the paperwork in a bookstore (I was so upset because those papers represent like a week of headache and waiting in line!) Luckily they were there when I went back - and lucky me, I was pregnant - so at least I had an excuse!

    And may I just say - buy all you possibly can when you can consignment shop! But maybe, just maybe, you'll get lucky and find a used clothes market in Angola - there's one here and I just went today and bought Michaela a bunch of clothes (mostly Old Navy, Children's Place, and Gap brands) for 3 dollars each! Hooray for the Cancha!

    We love you guys!

  4. Good job on the cake Rusty! Way to go. Loved the update and especially love to see the Angola survey trip funds process! Praise God.
    We had to pay a fat amount TO the IRS this year - very sad. Enjoy those education credits while you have them - they are very helpful!!!!
    Hope we get to get together soon.
    Love you guys...

  5. Anonymous8:42 AM

    My brudder the chef!! He's so awesome, and thoughtful. Nicely done Rus. I'm glad you guys are getting the funds you need. Yeah for taxes, paying them, and getting something back!!! Child Earned Income Credit FOR THE WIN!! Sure you're not pregnant. I don't believe you, only cause the last time when you were doing drugs in the bathroom at lazer tag... AHEM...j/k folks LAURLITA WASN'T DOING DRUGS... she was taking a pregnancy test just before they left for JAPAN,in the womens bathroom, at Lazer tag. Of course they didn't bother telling any of us until they got there. So whatever Laura, when ya due?

  6. Anonymous11:08 AM