there are five reasons why at the lara house we’ve been waiting for this day with anticipation for several reasons.

first of all it’s trash day and our trash has been full since last friday. last friday i trimmed the hedges around our house. we were going to have company that evening so deb wanted me to clean up all the trimmings. well that filled up our garbage bin and we’ve had to walk over to the church parking lot to throw away our everyday trash bags all week.

secondly, today Phil Wickham is giving away his latest album “Singalong” on his blog. yes, the full album is available for download. all you gotta do is go to his site, fill out your name and email and zip code. then they’ll send you a link to download the album. (warning: this does sign you up for their email newsletter, but you’re getting a free album!)

// click the link below to keep reading //

dog pile!

so recently our girls have really become into “dog piling” on mom or dad or whoever will let themselves be on the bottom.

i love it. let me rephrase that. i love it when i’m ready to play. there are times that i’m reading, writing, or just napping on the couch and they come running and i am most certainly not ready in those cases. but when i am ready – bring it!

// click the link below to keep reading //

introducing the bPhone

now you may think that the new iPhone 3G is the greatest thing since the invention of little mustard and ketchup packets, but i tell you it has nothing on the bPhone. that’s b as in banana phone. if you ever had a young toddler and a fruit bowl together in the same house then chances are you’ve used the bPhone. although it’s been around since the dawn of time it’s still a popular favorite with the 3ft and under crowd and those still developing their words. sure it may not double as an internet browser or email machine, but then again when was the last time you paid $200+ for a banana? no, these ingenious gadgets of communication can be picked up in a bundle pack of 6 for less than $3 bucks at most participating retailers. and you also can’t play music or watch videos, but you can watch the bPhone itself blend in the blender to make your favorite smoothie, or milkshake. the reception is also crystal clear. (as long as you’re calling someone else also using a bPhone and they are within 5ft range of you physically) to show you just how much fun you could have with your toddler and his/her new bPhone, i’ve included a short video of me and rachel using our own bPhones out in the real world.

…PS. please be aware that even though you’re particular model should have a similar size and shape as the ones shown in the video, yours may vary slightly. also be aware that there is only a limited warranty on the bPhone, usually only 36 hours.

the movies

what’s exciting about this particular trip to the movies is the fact that it’s free. one of the movie theaters close by is doing a ” family film festival ” during the summer. click on the previous link to see if there’s a regal cinemas in your area doing the same thing. basically these are family films from the past 1-3 years. they do it in the morning so as not to take screen time away from their other regular films. but they offer it as a fun activity for families to do. (plus the fact that they’re also probably making a TON of money on popcorn sales with all those families/kids) they’ve been doing this for most of june and july. and unfortunately we’ve just been so busy with other things we haven’t gotten around to going. oh and the theater is 40min away so we gotta factor in gas money and the trouble of getting a family of 8 up, dressed and ready to go by 9am. (not an easy feat) so this morning the choices are Alvin and the Chipmunks or Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium . the girls love Alvin and have seen it like a bazillion times but still love it nonetheless. they’ve also seen Mr. Magorium, but deb and i haven’t see it so we’ll see if we can watch that. maybe we’ll put Magorium on in the van on the way there and back. ——————– // today i’m thankful for: 1. 6 amazingly beautiful daughters 2. 1 amazingly beautiful, supportive, sexy wife 3. two vehicles that run great 4. twitter friends who help get questions answered 5. relatively good health

free lunches through the summer

during the summer our local school district provides free lunches to children under 18 at various schools. i think they do this because they feel that there are a lot of kids left alone during the summer months while their parents are working. our schools have a pretty high percentage of students that already qualify for free or reduced lunch. anyways, our girls love going. it’s not like they eat a lot. julia just kinda pecks at her food after being reminded to eat every couple minutes. but they like getting out of the house and going somewhere. and especially before the older girls went to school they liked feeling like “non-homeschool” kids by eating lunch on styrofoam trays in a gym cafeteria. plus during the summer when everyone’s home it makes it easy for us to feed the older sisters. there’s two schools that are the same distance from our home that we could go to. the main HS is really nice, has hard plastic trays, and the AC is on because there’s also summer school classes going on. but there’s also older HS age kids eating because they’re in summer school classes. the second school is the “alternative” HS. it’s the school that people go to when they drop out of the regular HS and then decide that they do want to graduate. (either that or they’re expelled from the regular HS and are sent to this school) anyways, it’s kinda ghetto. here’s a pic of the gym ceiling: but the reason the girls like this one so much is because there are no summer school classes and so it’s mostly all elementary age kids that eat there. and also i think it’s because it’s the first school we went to when we first heard about this “free lunch” program so in their minds it’s the “right place” to go. so that’s a daily part of our routine everyday during the summer (at least until the end of july when the the program ends). the only thing is that they only serve lunch from 12-12.30 and sometime it’s a challenge to get everyone’s shoes on, hair done, etc. because even though it’s a regular part of our routine we always seem to forget about it until noon and then we’re rushing to get there on time before they start putting everything away. if you’re in the area join us for lunch. 🙂 —————————- // today i’m thankful for: 1. the lawn got mowed today 2. my monthly haircut today 3. the way the keyboard lights up in dim lighting on my MBP 4. running with my wife/friend this morning 5. pictures of my kids

i live like a king

it’s 6.17a as i begin writing and the house is quiet, except for the lonely cry of one baby. everyone else is calm, peaceful, warm, safe, and at rest. (deb’s with the crying baby so maybe she’s not completely at rest – but you get the picture.) we ate a great meals all day yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, etc. and today we’ll eat well again … and tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, etc. my children are clothed and lack nothing. my wife is beautiful, looks great in her clothes. she’s a devoted and loving mother to our children. she loves me and takes care of me. she goes out of her way to give things her personal creative touch. she’s the other half of our “family brain”. in other words, she remembers to think of things that i never would; like bringing water bottles and cereal for snacks in the van on vacation. and most of all, she loves me. we’ve paid for everything on this vacation in cash. cash that we’d saved up for specifically for a family vacation. it’s nice to think that when we go back home we won’t have the credit card bill of the fun things we did following us home. i may not have all the luxuries of life, i guess i do have a Macbook Pro now, so that counts as a luxury. i don’t drive a car that has less than 100K miles on it, but they both run great and are “new-to-us” (oh yeah, and they’re both paid off). i don’t have servants waiting for me to mention my every whim, but i have kids and a wife love to spoil the only “man of the house”. i don’t have a legion of armies fighting for my behalf, but i have the God of the universe on my side. yes, i live like a king. i live in the blessings of God. i live in a house of love. —————————- // today i’m thankful for: 1. my uncle rey’s hospitality 2. debbie woolsey’s hospitality 3. my MBP not being stolen when i accidently left the sliding door of the van wide open with my computer bag in plain site while we went to the “family fun center” in tuckwilla, and we didn’t realize it until about an hour or more later when julia had an accident, and she and deb went to Target to buy her some new clothes. 4. the great carne asada we had for dinner last night 5. having a home to go back to after a vacation

this is what the Laras call camping

the girls had their last day of school today. i drove them to school and then had the great idea of going and getting churros (a mexican pastry – cinnimon stick). then i went back to the school to give the girls one before school started. i knew that the first thing they do is go to breakfast and then go out to the play field. i figured they would have eaten while i drove to get the churros and would be out on the play field by the time i got back. so since i work at a school i knew the “right” way of doing things would be to go to the front office ask them to send a note for my kids and then they’d come to the office and i could give them their churros. but i also know since i work at a school that “recess time” is the worst time to try to find a kid since there’s so many of them running around. so i thought it would be just as easy for me to try to locate them by sitting in my car looking out onto the field. but honestly, the parking lot doesn’t have the best view of the playground so i went to a “back alley” parking spot behind the school playground and just parked, looking for my daughters. in my mind this whole process would take maybe 3-4 minutes and i’d spot them, call them over, hand them a churro, and look like the best dad in the world on the last day of school. instead i sat there for 15 minutes or so scanning back and forth trying to distinguish them from all the other girls on the playground wearing pink sweaters. i began to wonder if maybe they were just taking their sweet time eating breakfast and wouldn’t come out before the first bell. and maybe they were just cold and were standing by the building where there was less wind, and where i couldn’t really see them. finally one of the “duty” teachers sent out a guy (i think he was a janitor- since he was dressed in a grey shirt uniform) to my car to see who this stalker was. i explained what i was doing, he wasn’t really sure whether to believe me or not. for all he knew i was some pedophile trying to lure sweet innocent children into his car on the last day of school with mexican cinnamon stick pastries! … oh well, that’s that and now it’s behind us. our initial summer plans have changed. since monday we’ve been planning on going to seattle tomorrow (wednesday). we were going to leave around 8am and then meet the guy i’m buying my Macbook Pro from at around 11.30. then on the way home we were planning on going camping at Cooper Lake near Cle Elum. well, that was at least until this afternoon when it was still raining, cloudy, and COLD. we decided that maybe this wasn’t the best time to go camping. it wasn’t really the cold that was keeping us away (contrary to what my mother might think – we do know how to keep the kids warm in cold weather, even the babies). it was the fact that it was raining so much. we have a tarp to lay down under our tent but our tent is bigger than the tent and we didn’t want to chance waking up in a puddle. we’ve got more plans to go camping later this summer anyways, so we’ll just wait. but now we’re leaving at 6am to be to seattle around 9-9.30 to meet one of deb’s old drama directors (bruce and debbie woolsey) who now live in seattle. debbie’s home alone right now because bruce and their 3 boys went to disneyland. so deb and our girls are going to spend the morning at debbie’s house. i’ll go meet “the guy” at the south seattle costco around 11. then i’ll probably head to the Apple Store to buy a new case for my computer and play with the new iPhone. 🙂 then i’ll go back to the woolsey’s house and we’re gonna hang out till we can go to our hotel. can i tell you? we scored a great price on a hotel via hotwire.com . if you’ve never used the site it’s AWESOME. you tell it where you want to go, the dates, and then it gives you a list of prices of hotel and their “star” rating. the only thing is they don’t tell you the name of the hotel until you’ve booked. they don’t tell you the address, so if you have to be within walking distance of some convention center or something it might not be a good site to book your stay. but otherwise they do tell you what neighborhood the hotel’s in so you (with a map) so you can get generally close to where you want to be. anyways we picked a “3 star” hotel in the pike place market neighborhood for $109+ tax ($130 total), put in our info, clicked submit and waited for the name of our hotel. the Crowne Plaza – Downtown Seattle . i went to their website and tried to book a room for the same dates and type of room. their “discount” price was $237+ tax ($273.97 total!!). we saved over $140 with this site. and by the looks of the pictures on the web, it’s a really, really, really nice hotel. we’re gonna feel like kings and queens and princesses tomorrow!