Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Big Day

Blake is our Star Wars fan. Yesterday we celebrated his 5th b-day by having 13 of his friends and classmates to our Planet for a SW party.

Upon arrival the little Padawans each received their own lightsaber for their training to become Jedi Knights. Their training started with an Asteroid hunt (treasure hunt) and the Padawan to find and free the droids in the asteroid field would receive special honors (a prize).

From there they helped Master Yoda find his lightsaber (pin the lightsaber on Yoda). And onto lightsaber training using the Force to keep the balloons airborne. After a small training break to refuel with a special SW cake training resumed with the bomb toss (water balloon toss) with the goal not to drop the bomb and be covered in Jabba slime (water).

Their training was almost complete but first the Death Star must be destroyed (break the pinata that Queen Michelle made using her elementry school teaching techniques...paper mache). With the Rebel forces destroyed Luke Skywalker (b-day boy) received a transmission that Darth Vadar (Grandpa Ron) was still alive and he had captured Princess Leia (Skyler). The Padawans would not be stopped now. They dueled with DV til his doom and freed Princess Leia. Each Padawan returned to their own planet after receiving their honors (party packs) and earning the title of Jedi Knight.

If you don't believe me take a look for yourself...

(Use the +/- to speed or slow slide show and/or the middle button to stop on a slide)

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's a.....

bird! It’s a plane! It’s………

my Supermen!

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, faster than a speeding bullet, and really, really handsome my Superman Returned from America.

My Superboy (he is quite super) and 13 of his cohorts will celebrate his 5th birthday today with none other than a Star Wars party.

I love my Superheroes!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Traffic Jam Truths

I am not sure how you guys handle traffic jams but admittedly I don’t always fare so well.

My kid’s school is an easy 10 minutes drive but with rush hour traffic in the mornings it can take up to 45 minutes by which time the easy drive turns tumultuous.

Fortunately the morning person of the family (Rich) fights the traffic everyday to get the kids to school on time; meanwhile I saunter out of bed and watch Bobie (Barney) with Tori while drinking a good cup of java.

The past three weeks while Rich was away my saunter turned to reckless haste trying to get the kid’s up, fed, dressed and in the car with all their appropriate school belongings, by 6:45 a.m.

I decided my dread would only make my kid’s mornings miserable so I needed to make the best of it. My ‘best of it’ attempts included blaring my music, serenading my captured audience, playing tic-tac-toe…hey if I can put my make-up on while driving TTT is a breeze, and various other multi-task activities while driving 10 miles per hour. After two days of the kid’s pleas for me to stop singing (they just don’t appreciate good talent) I found a book on CD someone recently gave me that I was interested in listening to. Although very good material and I say this in the most humble manner it was a lot of ‘elementary teaching’. Not that I have arrived or don’t need this info…it is great stuff it just made me evaluate if 4 more CD’s of this was the best investment of time.

Much to my children’s dismay my singing debut resumed when Skyler finally asked “Mom, are there any more of those messages we heard the other day?” I shared that we only listened to 1 of the 5 CD series. She asked, “Can we listen to the other ones?” With a quizzical look, I drilled her on what she heard and she repeated the different concepts and even some of the stories featured on CD #1….I did not even think she was listening. So our listening resumed.

Today, we completed CD #5 and I now realize it was a fabulous investment of not only my time but my children's! I found myself shouting ‘amen’, ‘that’s it’ and ‘so good’ throughout our listening journey. Best of all Skyler sponged up every word! One morning Blake’s antics were drowning out the author's voice when Skyler reprimanded him with “Blake would you please be quiet I am trying to listen and you should be too; this is good stuff.” The thought of her “getting” these foundational truths and life principles at age 7 is a very happy one!

A couple years ago I happened upon the scripture… “My children are taught of the Lord and great is their peace and undisturbed composure” and I’ve prayed it over them ever since. Today, I thought about the things that teach my children of the Lord. It isn’t just what I share with them during our devotional times or what I model to them throughout the day (which frankly keeps me awake at night agonizing over my poor example). What are they hearing that I am listening to? What are they seeing that I am watching? Who is affecting them that I am hanging around? Are these things/my choices giving them an accurate picture of who He is? Do they produce peace and an undisturbed composure? Some rhetorical questions I felt healthy to ponder! When I flippantly put that first CD in the player I never imagined the effect it might have on the two little ones sitting in the backseat.

My intent is not to be preachy or sound super spiritual as fact is I am a far cry from either. Just sharing some random thoughts of truth revealed while sitting in traffic!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Roses are definitely red

....and abundant at the Franzen household.

A dear friend emailed me this morning inquiring about Rich’s V-day gift and if he took the ‘hint’. He was true to his comment...meaning no hint was neccessary.

Yesterday afternoon a florist delivery truck arrived at my home. The nice young man handed me a beautiful display of roses and said, “Wait, there is more”. He came back with 2 more beautiful bouquets of roses.

“For the special women in my life…my wife, my mom and my Sky” Love Rit

Being so overwhelmed with emotion and excited to surprise Jackie and Sky with their gift I did not realize our electric security gate closed with Zoƫ, the dog, on the outside. The poor delivery guy sat at the gate ringing the bell (I could not hear it as I was in the backyard making the delivery) to tell me about the dog. 10 minutes passed before I realized what happened.

Sohailah he seemed like a really nice guy…why don’t you come visit and I’ll introduce you after all I know where he works. And there is a pretty good chance you’d get a lot of flowers if things worked out. (hee)

Today I was surprised with another bouquet of flowers making the floral displays in my house an even 4. The sender chose to remain anonymous but wrote this precious card:

“We love you! Thank you for your sacrifice for the Kingdom apart from Rich. There are a lot of people that love you too!”

It brought tears to my eyes!

Thank you my love; flowers from you are always wonderful but are even more special knowing the extra thought and effort you put into it while a million miles away.

And thank you to “thoughtful anonymous” for the tangible reminder of how very blessed I am!

6 more sleeps until my Valentine returns to his rightful place! Yippee!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Be My Valentine

My your day be filled with love, sweets and caffeine!

Monday, February 12, 2007


Now there is a word that has gotten a lot of press over the years and kept stand-up comedians full of material. They say when you marry you are not only marrying your spouse you are marrying their family. Well when I said “I do” to Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome, I did pretty well in the in-law category too.

Rich’s mom (aka Grandma Jackie) and her 100 lbs (to the tee) of luggage arrived yesterday! She was greeted at the airport with screams of joy and big hugs from Skyler and Blake. Tori reluctant at first carefully contemplated if she should follow suit. Seeing her siblings each received handfuls of candy she quickly joined the welcome fest. Is there a grandparent's manual somewhere mandating sweets and loud toys for the grandkids?

After the long trip home from the airport, albeit we only live 15 miles away, due to a directionally challenged driver the unpacking began. Let’s just say if our support ever runs dry we have ample supply of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and fruit snacks to sustain us for a while.

I am so thankful not only for the extra pair of loving hands to help while Rich is away but to have such wonderful in-laws in my life. I am blessed with two spectacular families!

So it is Grandparent's Day here (Grandpa is accompanying Rich on his way back) everyday for the next 21 days. Or would it more aptly be called, "Grandkid's Day"?!

Anyone know of a safe sedative I can give my kids to balance out the 3 week sugar high?

Friday, February 09, 2007


As most of you know Rich is in America right now…eating great food, shopping, seeing precious friends and family….I am not bitter at all.

The kids and I pray for him everyday. Today on the way to school Blake wanted to pray for Daddy. It went something like this….

“Lord help daddy’s meetings to go well and keep him safe and help him to come back soon (at this point I was thinking… ‘Such a sweet boy’). He continued… “And help him to bring me back lots of presents from America.” Now I am thinking—‘so boy’! At least he is honest!

Just had a thought…maybe I should pray like that and perhaps a beautiful gift wrapped in red paper with a white bow from Red Envelope would arrive on my door step! (HINT HINT Rich).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What's for dinner?

Things are heating up here, literally. Where most of you are experiencing freezing temperatures we on the other side of the globe are sizzl'in in the summer heat. I expect it to be hot in December and January as that is when temperatures typically soar but with February usually comes some cool relief. So far Feb. has been anything but cool.

What is hot you ask? Well temps have remained in the high 80’s. I know especially my Texas friends are thinking that is not too bad but that is the temp INSIDE and outside. For some reason unknown to me, South African homes do not have air conditioning.

Around 5p.m. yesterday afternoon Blake asked “What’s for dinner”. I shuttered at the thought of turning on my stove and making dinner. Truth be told, I shutter every night, regardless of the temperature, at the thought of making dinner. I know I just blew my Martha Stewart image (ha). For reasons I can only explain as temporary insanity due to an overheated brain I replied, “How about ice-cream?” Blake gave me the ‘what have you done with my mother look’ and responded, “Really?”.

So we hopped in the car and went for ice-cream. I kept telling myself over and over, "Ice-cream is nutritious it has milk in it." However I did make them eat apples and carrots before bed to rid myself of the lingering maternal guilt.

Today is teeming with heat once again…any ideas on what I should do for dinner tonight?

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Disastrous Weekend

I chose to skip the disaster displayed on Sunday and focus my text on the natural disaster that occurred on Friday. One reason being because I am a sore loser and the other because my parents live in one of the cities torn a part by the tornado that made its way through central Florida this weekend.

Prior to my captivating news report let me tell you a little bit about the Villages, FL where my parents reside…..

Only those 65+ are able to take up residence in this community of 60,000. The streets are full of Cadillacs and Buicks, everyone owns a golf cart and golf cart passages lead to every possible place one would want to go. It has its own hospital, shopping centers and restaurants are fully occupied each night by 5:30 p.m. for the ‘early bird special’ of course. It is Disney World for the elderly. Oddly enough they even have a Starbucks. Doesn’t seem like the $4.25 a cup clientele to me but I also thought the Bears had a winning chance at the Super bowl so what do I know?!

A couple years ago while visiting, Rich and I took advantage the “grandparents baby-sitting service” and went on a interesting experience in a retirement village. We stopped in Starbucks for an evening treat and found that Rich went to college with one of the employees. He not only generously comped our lattes he gave us his weekly-benefit, pound of coffee. He said it was just so refreshing to have someone “that knew what to order”. He went on to explain that most of his customers come in and ask for “a coffee”. He then asks “what kind of coffee” and after the customer’s blank stare he proceeds to try to explain the coffee varieties available and by the time he gets to the sizing…tall, grande, low-fat, half-calf….the response is always, “I just want a coffee”.

Sorry, I drifted with that last story; perhaps because I stayed up all night for one 14 second highlight. And returning to the news…..

Friday night SA time my brother alerted me to the tornado and to the fact that my parents were fine! Thank you Lord! I quickly clicked over to MSNBC and sure enough it was headline news. I read the stories of the tragedy…hundreds of homes destroyed, 14 killed (the report at the time) even the cameo of the precious older gentlemen huddling in his closet holding his wife praying while listening to the sounds of their roof being ripped off. The heart pounding report of the devastation ended with, “Walt Disney in Orlando remains unaffected”……PHEW, I was relieved to hear that though hundreds are homeless and people lost their lives at least Mickey was a-okay! Gotta love American media!

Congrats Mom and Dad you made national news and you trumped the disastrous Bears (pathetic) attempt at the Super bowl title….at least in my blog anyway.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Blast from the Past

Not to be redundant but I just could not help myself. Very funny...very 80's! Although I have a pair of sunglasses that strike an eerie similarity to those of Jim McMahon.

Super Bowl Shuffle - video powered by Metacafe

One more day til game day....GO BEARS!

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I got to thinking about highlights today…I know quite a random thought.

What about highlights? Well a lot of us highlight our hair, we highlight an excerpt to be remembered in a book, we like when someone highlights our accomplishments, we endeavor to highlight God in our everyday lives and we too often highlight our weaknesses.

Tori decided she would highlight her legs today,in a very literal sense of the word………

So I am curious what are you highlighting today?