Monday, September 29, 2008

Always the Bridesmaid

Loraine has been in 21 weddings! and yes, she has all the dresses. We all suspect that someone told part of her story to someone and they made the movie "27 Dresses"!

But this weekend...........

Loraine married her true love!

Loraine was one of my closest friends in highschool. She has lived in New York for many years now and works at HBO. Her now husband is a firefighter. It was such fun to be able to celebrate with them at their "California Reception". It was like another reunion with my highschool classmates. We were all so happy for our dear friend.

I did take some pictures...but they look like this -


I was trying to show a friend of mine pictures of the kids on my camera (I forgot to bring prints) and I hit some funky button and it obviously messed with my settings! If only I could bring Tracy everywhere with me....

But, the photographer from the wedding gave us a taste of some pictures coming. They are small proofs, but will remind me what a beautiful day this was for Lor!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008


We do not have television service so we miss out on lots of junk - but also on some good stuff, like the Olympics. My parents have been kind enough to record shows for us that we really want to watch. This is our stack of the 2008 Summer Olympics. I have a large stack of "24" episodes too :)

Nate calls it Amish-Vision ...I think the Phillips kids first coined the phrase. We have gone back and forth about having TV or not. We miss out on sports. I really miss watching baseball games and Brian misses football. I know we would love the history channel and some programs on the biography channel. I love to watch cooking shows and I enjoy the little bit of HGTV that I have seen. I thought by this summer we would have caved, with the Olympics and Presidential news this Fall. But, we are still holding out - for now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Numbers and Crowds

This was really pretty cool

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's the Lady not the Sauce

Thursday night at our house is Spaghetti Night.

Because of this lady:

I have worked with Doreen for over ten years. She started out as a part-time typist and is now the office manager. She is British and she is oh so funny! She is 73 years old and walks over five miles every morning! She loves the Lord and always makes my time in the office fun. I only see her a few times a month since I am not in the office very often, but when I am, she makes it a day I can look forward to.

Over the years, when I am at the office we ask each other "so, what are you making for dinner tonight?" If it is a Thursday - I already know. Its Spaghetti Night at her house and she will likely get company. Widowers in her neighborhood, her son, her sons friends from high school (now adult men who are hoping her spaghetti is still there) and people from church. She has a huge pot that has been cooking for days.

Of course I had to inquire about her famous spaghetti. At first she was very vague. I kept bugging her and she finally caved - sort of. I made it for a few months - and served it on Thursday, but I was never sure I was getting it right since I had not had hers.

Recently I got a call from her, inviting our entire family over to her house for Spaghetti dinner - even though it was a Sunday afternoon! She had never really met the kids and had wanted to.

Here is Matt setting the table

Nate cutting the garlic bread

Here is the sauce:

It was delicious! She packs in meatballs and Italian sausage. Other ingredients are standard - cans of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, lots and lots of garlic, bay leaf, peppers, hot pepper flakes (not too much), basil, salt and pepper. I was expecting the sauce to be tasty and it really was. But, she also made homemade apple pie. It was the BEST apple pie any of us had ever had.

So , the Rennicks have Spaghetti Night on Thursday nights ( come over you want) and everyone is happy with making my sauce as close to Doreen's as I can - but we all love her and know that its the lady not the sauce that we will always remember! well....and the apple pie.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

sometimes I like my work...

the room....
the view....
the restaurant...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chamber Music Hero

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Post-Script Praises

  • We were new to our church during this time. The pastors were so sweet and came to the hospital and really got to know us. Brian ended up not going back to his job in West Hollywood but was the worship pastor at our church and was able to get some pastoral training he had always wanted.
  • After 7 years, we now know he had the "best" kind of MS - he has had no other "episodes" since that time. He has been able to work full-time and regained almost all strength in right side after physical therapy.
  • We had the best neurologist! He recommended excellent medication and was very informative.
  • Brian has been an encouragement to others with MS as he has been involved in sharing his testimony and song at various support groups.
  • A friend gave us a book "Life on Hold - Finding Hope in the Face of Serious Illness" by Brunvoll & Seiler. This is such an excellent book for anyone who has just been told they have a serious disease or life-changing illness.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My 9/11 (cont.)

So, we do not have television. I never really went on-line much for news back in 2001 and did not have a radio in the house - if there is an earthquake, I would feel it, there is no evacuation warning. On occasion, my mom has called to let me know news that is of national importance. Especially since the time that I did not know Princess Diana had died until I saw her funeral procession on the front page of a newspaper at 7-11. Isn't it cool that you can still be that sheltered?

Anyway, I woke up on the morning of Sept.11, planning to get Nate ready for a field trip to Riley's Farm Orchards. I had called my good friend Beverly and let her know what was going on with Brian and asked if she could take Nate with her to the trip. I had not thought of what I was going to do with Matt and Bria and get to the hospital.
Before I had time to figure that out, I got a call from my dad. Knowing we had no television on...he called to tell me two airplanes had hit the World Trade Center buildings. He was trying to tell me over the phone what the news was saying, while he was watching it. They had already announced that flights were cancelled and he knew he would not be going to New York as planned. I asked if he had talked to mom. He had tried to call her cell phone as well as my uncle's, but know one answered.
This is when I mentioned to him that we had another little crisis going on. I told him Brian was in the hospital and that I needed to get over there. He came to right over to watch the kids.
I got to the hospital and sat with Brian while he waited for more tests and results of some tests. They introduced us to the neurologist that would be checking things out. I think at this time they had already ruled out a stroke.
As we sat in the hospital room, watching what was going on in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. - we felt very small. We were alive, we were safe, we new where each other were ....we were waiting to hear from mom.
I left that day to find my dad at home with the kids - he had just stopped the ice cream truck to buy ice cream for my kids and the new neighbor next door :) He had ordered pizza.
The next morning, Sept. 12, 2001, we heard from Mom! She was safe, but she was so sad, she had a front row seat to something very horrific. She was in the downtown apartment building a few miles from ground zero. She heard booms, she smelled fumes and death. She was trying to find out how and when she could come home, but at that time, getting to airport was going to be difficult and it was still not clear when flights would resume. She wanted to be wit her family. She wanted to be with me and Brian. She really wanted to be there for the kids.

The afternoon of Sept. 12, I went to the hospital. I sat with Brian who was still in pain from a spinal tap. The neurologist came in to show us the results of the MRI and other tests. He said that there are seven (I think) tests that show you have Multiple Sclerosis - all of Brian's pointed that direction. The brain scans showed the tissue scars. As he talked about symptoms, we realized that he had been feeling it for the past year. He had fatigue (who wouldn't with his work commute and stress) but also had temporarily lost his vision in one eye a good 9 months before - again, another sign of M.S.

We cried. Mostly for the unknown. The kids. This was not in our picture.

I sat in the hospital parking lot weeping. I tried to call my mom's cell phone (so I DID have a cell phone!) She picked up and heard me crying. I could not get out the words.

She kept saying "honey, what is it" "what is wrong with Brian" "honey please tell me!" Finally, "mom, he has multiple sclerosis"
Mom says (with very relieved and light hearted tone ) "oh, is that all? oh, honey, we can do that"

Mom's voice, at ground zero and with correct perspective, "we can do that"

That is all it took. I stopped crying and thought, she is right. What a perfect response from a mother - I really hope I am like her.

I got back to the house and my dad was there. I told him the diagnosis - and he cried. That of course, got me crying again. But only for a short time because then comes the kids and you just have to smile and reassure and basically talk the truth. That God is in control and that they do not have to worry. I told them daddy will be home soon.

My dad had a yellow ribbon on his tree until mom got home.

I have to tell about the next day. It is so clear in my memory. Bria came with me to the hospital and so everyone was happy. Brian loved seeing his baby. The nurses loved seeing the baby Brian kept talking about!

We sat in the hospital room (he could go home once the steroids began to get rid of the numbing) and we watched Billy Graham give the memorial address for the victims of 9/11. It was all so right on. Again, our trial felt small. I drove home that night and our city was lining the streets with people holding candles leading up to the fire station. This looked so surreal to me as I was in the car playing a song Brian had wrote years earlier -

I will follow You, wherever you may lead
Through the darkest nights, times when its so hard to see
With your hand there in mine, I know you are with me all the time,
I will follow You.

I will follow you wherever you may go
To learn your truth, the things I need to know
I can call your name, for your never going to change
I will follow you
Yes, I will follow you

My 9/11

You know how as a kid really getting Amercian History for the first time - makes you think about what it must have been like for your parents the day JFK was shot, or for your grandparents when the strike at Pearl Harbor was announced? I want to share for my family's little history book/blog - what was going on with us on 9/11/2001 - 7 years ago today.

I wish I had a picture of what we all looked like around this time. Nate was 7, Matt 2 and Bria 3 months. I think I do - but it is a print and I may just have to add it later. I know I have tons of pictures of Bria, since she was the new baby girl. It was such a busy time as we had just moved into our home in May and then I had Bria right away, so even three months later, some rooms had boxes to be unpacked.

A few days after Labor Day, Brian woke up feeling numbness down his right arm. He has neck and back injuries from multiple car accidents as a teen, and so he thought it might have something to do with his neck being "out" and would need to go to a chiropractor.

Move ahead a few days later - to Monday, September 10, 2001. Brian works in West Hollywood at a small Christian record lable. This is about a 2 to 3 hour commute (one way) everyday. He woke up before me and drove to work as usual. I knew he was not feeling right about the numbing in his arm, as it had begun to move down to his hand on Sunday night. I went about my day with a homeschooled 3rd grader, toddler and infant at home. I remember we just got a new neighbor, a single mom with a teenage daughter and I wanted to make cookies and introduce myself. I remember this because first of all, she turned out to be a great friend to our family and also because with two kids and an infant, it takes all day to do a simple gesture like this :)

I was praying throughout the day for Brian - not overly concerned, just a slight worry in my heart.

My mom had just left on a business trip to New York city. She worked for my Uncle who had an apartment in New York and they were going to some kind of planning meeting. My mom and dad were getting ready to celebrate their wedding anniversary (Sept. 13) and so my dad planned to fly to New York on Sept. 11 and have a romantic dinner at Tavern on the Green with my mom.

At about 5:30 pm on Sept. 10 I got a call from an emergency room nurse at Inland Valley Hospital (just down the street from my house) saying that they have my husband. By the afternoon at work he had felt numbness on the entire right side of his body , including his tounge. He could not talk, walk or write normally. So, he called his doctor from work and he said you must go to the emergency room right now. Now, I laugh at this because I know our doctor meant the CLOSEST ER, but Brian drove from Hollywood to the nearest hospital to home becuase he knew something was really wrong and did not want me to have to drive a long distance with the kiddos.

He did not call me from work to let me know what was going on. I dont even think we had cell phones. Right after I got the call from the hospital saying that they were testing him and looking specifically for signs of a stroke, I remember calmly taking my cookies out of the oven, holding my baby, writing a note to my neighbor and walking over to her house to introduce myself and give her the cookies. I walked back in the house and just kept taking care of the kids and praying. I remember my heart feeling really heavy - but I did not call anyone. Not my mom, dad, Brian's parents or any friends.

The ER nurse called again before I went to sleep to tell me Brian was fine, he was resting, in a room and would be under-going tests for at least another day. He said I did not need to come right away, but in the morning.

Before I went to sleep that night, Brian's mom called from Texas. She said she was just thinking of us and wanted a recipe that I had made when she was just out for a visit. I said sure, here is the recipe - and by the way.......Brian is in the hospital.....She said she would be praying and wanted me to keep her updated. I am sure she was glad she called for a recipe - what a dumb daughter-in-law to have not called her.

My husband is in the hosptial and my mom is in downtown New York.
This blog is getting a little too long. But, for my sake, being this is the first time I have written this down, I do not want to forget some of the details. I have to go start my day.. so I will continue this story later.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pumpkin Latte Time

Dear Emily at Chatting at the Sky says it best and so funny it made me smile real BIG!

Homeschool Essentials

While doing school with Matt and Bria, I have to include and be prepared with some little "extras". For example, when Bria has a question, but I am working with Matt, she can look at the magazine, do a puzzle, color or eat popcorn. I like to change the "extras" around each day, but keep them on the table at arms reach, so no one has to get up! Once they get up from the table, I am doomed :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Radio Interview

Brian had a radio interview tonight on a New York station. It is a secular station that has a three hour spot on Sunday nights to highlight Christian music. The two DJ's are great and have really been promoting Brian's music over the past few weeks. He did great tonight! They ended up talking to him for 45 minutes and played three of his songs, Desperado, The Outlaw and Everything's Coming Down. They talked about everything from football, the Beatles, Norway, adoption, his family and the gospel. He did so good! He was funny! He mentioned on air that he would give away a CD to a caller - and to our delight (and relief) people called in! The boys were able to listen to the interview on the web and they were so proud.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

This is the day that the Lord has made.......let us rejoice!

My life on this day:

4:45 am - alarm goes off

5:00 am - up and making coffee

5:15 to 6:45 am - working on finishing appraisal report. the value is WAY below escrow price so I am now in a slight panic.

6:45 am - Nate is making breakfast for himself, Matt is up and bringing out the toaster and honey to toast my English muffin

6:50 am - Nate and I discuss his lunch options. He settled on salami, cheese and crackers - but was worried about the cheese staying cool enough. I put an ice bag in the portable DVD case as a quick lunch box. Until now he has been making rice and putting it in a thermos. We are lacking in this area.

7:00 am - Pray and send Nate on his way with dad to the carpool pick up place.

7:10 am - Send out an email to the buyer of the hotel I am appraising, basically saying "what were you thinking!" and another email warning my boss who is supposed to review my report today.

7:20 am - Help Matt and Bria get on task with making bed, getting dressed, etc.

7:25 am - Change a load of laundry and put in my couch cover that was full of ants! (just remembered its still in the washer - oops)

7:30 am - Make bed, get in the shower

8:00 am - Help Matt with math and help Bria with piano practice

8:20 am - Matt is vacuuming and I am getting school ready that they take to do during and on the way to music lessons

8:30 am - Brian is taking kids to music. I am on the phone with my boss who is slightly panicking too.

10:00 am - After working on appraisal report and discussing the issues with my boss, get some clarity and some suggestions, I just about finish the report

10:15 am - Get Matt to write a paragraph using as many spelling words as possible - I offered an incentive this time - he gets $0.25 for each list word used.

10:30 am - Bria cleans up Polly pockets and we get ready to leave for Matt's tennis lesson

11:00 am - 12::00 pm - Matt enjoyed his first lesson very much. I enjoyed shade and watching Bria on the swing set. I noticed that when she "pumps" her legs are perfectly straight and her toes are pointed without thinking about it - just like she practices for dismounts in gymnastics.

12:15 pm - make tuna sandwiches for kids and tuna salad for me. Kids turn on Arthur dvd and I go back to exchange emails with a client regarding my next appointment - in Truckee!

1:00-2:00 pm - Kids are playing great, Friday is our half-day, so I sneak in more report writing and menu planning

2:30 pm - Mom (Mamaw) comes over and we head over to Nate's school. This is her first time seeing where he goes to school and since he is the first born grandchild and has been home schooled his entire life, this is a big stuff.

3:00-5:00 pm - Pick up Nate and begin our "tour" of new retail and restaurant places in Temecula. We first go to the Henry's center and see that there is a San Sai (great Japanese "fast-food") and Melting Pot fondue restaurant - which I cannot wait to try.

Then we hit the Village center at the mall and Mamaw treats us to White Lime yogurt. It was so fun and yummy. You pay by the ounce ($0.39 per ounce) which includes all your toppings too. I had cake batter (of course) but with no guilt since it is Fat Free :) This same center has Cosi, a restaurant I really wanted my mom to see since it has "fun" girly food and cute chairs and lighting. Also checked out a pet store and got Snickers some "best buddy treats"

Drove my mom through Harveston since she had not seen it before. She really loved the lake and the cape cod style.

5:15 pm - went to Blockbuster to pick out some videos. Got very distracted watching some Madonna videos from the 1980's. Scary that I new every word to the songs

6:00 pm - say bye to mom, hello to honey, and start on dinner

6:15 pm - while making Enchiladas, I watch a video of Sara Palin talking at her church over a year ago. - interesting. Assembly of God.......but love that she loves Jesus. I also listen to "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman, for the first time (I had been avoiding it) and had a good cry in the kitchen, but no one noticed.

6:30 pm - broke up a fight between Matt and Bria - Bria was not letting Matt out of her room until she was done playing with him. He told her he wanted to go do more "man - ly" things

7:00 pm - we finally sit down to dinner and enjoy Nate's stories of his day - if nothing else, public school has provided some comic relief to the family

7:45 pm - Help Nate finish the dishes and go blog :)

8:45 pm - Time to get on my jammies, pray with the kids and watch a movie with my man.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Wow! I cannot believe it! We got to go to the Big A and watch the Angels play the Rangers! Our dear neighbor friends who just welcomed a baby girl, gave us the tickets he got from work. What great seats! This was Matt's first big league game and he loved it! He was so fun to watch the game with. I was about his age when my dad had season tickets to the Angels and I loved going to the games. I loved keeping score in my program and being so excited when they announced the lineup. I still feel nostalgic when I am at the stadium and remember my favorite first baseman Rod Carew and my favorite catcher Brian Downing. My dad would take me to autograph days and the best memory ever was when Brian Downing hit a grand slam on my birthday (I think I was turning 11).

The highlight of this game (besides sitting with my sons and hubby) was Torii Hunter. He is Matt's favorite ballplayer right now and he had a great game - with a single and two amazing plays at center field. Matt also was thrown some free peanuts during the 7th inning stretch by one of the guys in the hat! :)