hanging out with julia and rachel

in addition to being an associate pastor, i also work at a local middle school. most of our family's "cash" income comes from the school. i say "cash" income, because when you factor in our church salary + the value of living in the parsonage rent free w/o paying for utilities it comes out in favor of the church compensation. so even though our paycheck from the church isn't much, we are very grateful for the full package and our compensation with the church. but we still need dinero to buy "stuff" (gas, clothes, food, insurance, school loans, etc.)

anyways, that being said i have a bit of a relaxed schedule in the summer time since i don't have to work at the school. and today while on my run i started wondering, "what does everyone else who works at the school do with their summer vacations?

i'm sure some of them get a 'summer' job and make extra money, some probably go traveling, or some probably do what i've been doing - nothing.

at the beginning of the summer i thought about getting another job. i even went so far as to ask my brother-in-law to join him in construction. but in the end that didn't work out and i didn't pursue anything else.

and as much as we could use the money to put towards our school loan debt, it's been really nice to just have lazy days. now when i say lazy, it's not like i'm not helping out around the house. but there's not really any pressing schedule on us.

it's nice to not be stressed out by trying to get to such and such a place, or leave by such and such a time, and then feel exhausted at the end of the day and not feel like we've spent any time together as a couple or with our kids.

in fact some days deb and i look at each other and say and/or think "what should we do today?" - "lets do something to fill the time" - "if we don't plan something, the day's just going to waste away"

now while some of you may read this and think what a great problem to have, or wish you too could have months of vacation time paid (btw, it's paid because they prorate the hours i work during the school year and divide by twelve. so during the school year i'm getting paid less than what the hours time my pay rate would equal).

and the fact is that compared to the rest of the industrialized world we lack WAY behind in terms of vacation time. a couple weeks ago we had some friends over for dinner. it was a high school friend of deb's and her husband and young child. he's from england and they are now both part of wycliff translators. anyways they came back to the states on "holiday" and they were around for like a month or more. and from what i understand when most people in the uk take their holiday pay, they actually use it to just relax and rejuvenate.

if you click on link above it will show you a comparison of the required vacation time employers are mandated to give in the G8 nations.

you know it's biblical. God commanded his people to take a vacation at least once a week. and when a couple was married they to take a year long honeymoon.

so even though you may not get almost 12 weeks off of work as i do, i encourage you to take time for yourself, for your family. don't live so rushed or hurried. it'd be good to say every once in a while, "i don't know, what do you wanna do?" (for some reason i recall seeing some video or movie or tv show where two people kept asking that to each other back and forth. but i couldn't remember what it was or a link to it, if you know what i'm talking about i'd love to hear about it.)

// today i'm thankful for:
1. my wife
2. air conditioning
3. winning two bids on ebay
4. one for a new camera
5. the other for an SD card and card reader
AuthorAbraham Lara

lighthouse family

so it’s been 2 weeks since i’ve written anything here (although i’ve written plenty here). and it’s been over a month since i’ve written anything that was a “thought piece” and not just a “life update”. i’m not always sure what to say when it’s been so long between posts because on one hand i feel the need to give a “life update” since so much life has happened. but on the other hand i really enjoy writing the “thought pieces” that take longer to think through to write (and read) and that cause my readers to also think and respond.

well this is life update and an abbreviated one at that. since going to seattle for a little vacation, a week of VBS at another church, camping at Cooper Lake, our church’s Festival of Booths campout, 4th of July BBQ w/church friends, summer outreach at the park (deb and i were clowns), and then finally a week at Long Beach, WA at the Lighthouse Resort (very nice) with grandma and grandpa and our cousins (the najeras).

perhaps i’ll write a longer post about each of those above later. hopefully sooner than later.

we had fun, although vacationing with so many kids is never “easy”. the drive home was about 9 hours total including snack, meal, and potty breaks. the video above shows you the last 6 minutes.

always an adventure in a family of 8, never a dull moment.


// today i'm thankful for:

1. a week at the beach

2. spending time with family

3. our new digital tv converter box

4. being able to sleep in my own bed last night

5. 4 out of 6 kids are still sleeping at the moment
AuthorAbraham Lara

4star hotelwe'll it's finally arrived for all of us - summah-time!

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! he let me know that the correct way of doing things would be to go to the office and then they would find them and bring them to me.

i guess i'm thankful for the school looking out for all the kids from potential "strangers". i'm a little concerned that it took almost 15 minutes for me to be confronted. and a little annoyed that some parent isn't able to just scan out on to the playground for their kid and give them a churro on the last day of school!

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!


minor emergency just now - we heard a huge crash from the girl's back bedroom and what sounded like glass. turns out they were doing some kind of maneuver that caused their metal frame free-standing closet to come crashing down. thankfully they were all directly underneath the base of it so when it fell over it went in front of them. i don't know if that makes sense or not, but no one was hurt.


then on thursday night we're gonna join my uncle rey & family in west seattle. should be a pretty fun time.

and then finally home on friday. if the weather's good we might even stop at a camp ground on the way home and build a fire, cook hot dogs, and roast marshmallows just for the fun of it.

we'll sounds like a pretty full summer to me and it's just the first week!

don' t know how much writing time i'll have over the next few days, so it looks like my 30 day writing challenge is shot. but hey, i've written more these past 3 weeks than i have in the previous 2 months!


// today i'm thankful for:

1. no one was hurt in the accident mentioned above

2. little league games didn’t get cancelled today

3. a VACATION to start out summer vacation

4. a new MBP tomorrow

5. only 5 months left till deb and i can get our iPhone 3G’s