Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knit 1, pearl 1, raise 1...

I had to wait for a few minutes in the casino while Chris finished his poker game. I found a window seat across from the poker room and sat and read my book.
Chris: You are such an oddity.
Me: Not as much of an oddity as I could have been - I wanted to knit.

This is the view from our balcony. We each mentioned what struck us about the view. I didn't notice the NYC skyline. Chris didn't notice the mountains.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Because it works...

Chris and I are in Vegas.  He loves to play poker.  I want a vacation to ... sit in a hotel room.  Seriously, I could be at Motel 6 in Des Moines, and as long as I don't have to fix a sandwich for anyone, I'm happy.

In the plane on the way here, I really thought the row in front of us was being secretly filmed for What Would You Do.  The plane was completely full.  It was a four hour long Southwest flight with first come, first serve seating.  There were two middle seats available in the row in front of us.  The other four seats in the row were occupied by large men (which would be why those were the last two seats).  One of them looked fierce - dark sunglasses, tattoos, stern look.  An attractive young woman bustled up the aisle with a man in tow.  She asked Fierce to move to a middle seat so she and her fiance could sit together.  Pause for a minute to let that sink in.  Fierce unapologetically said no.  She went frantically back up the aisle to search for two adjacent seats that did not exist.  Finally, she gave up and she and her fiance sat in middle seats across from one another where she - wait for it - BURST INTO HYSTERICAL TEARS.  We all know what happened next.  Fierce, who would probably scare you in a dark alley, is actually a gummy bear on the inside, gave up his aisle seat so that this woman who doesn't look scary could sit next to her fiance.  The tears ceased.  She calmly collected her things and moved to the seat beside her fiance.

Me to Chris:  That's why we do it.  It works.  Every time.

In the interest of honesty, I have to admit something that came to mind as I was laughing at this ridiculous scene.  As a new bride, I would get mad at Chris if he didn't hold my hand in church.*  Not a little irritated.  Not a sarcastic comment dropped here and there.  But hour long discussion kind of mad.  I didn't cry, though.  Whining was usually my MO when I needed to bring out the heavy artillery.**

*I think I need to clarify that - not if he wasn't willing to hold my hand but if he did not initiate holding my hand.
**Yes, I used the past tense.  I like to think of it as hope more than as hypocrisy.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Literally true...

A not so recent conversation...
Jacob:  There's another damn car.
Me:  What did you say???
David:  He means damaged.
Jacob:  Yeah, that car has one damn on it.  
Me:  (outward serenity, internal laughter, and relief that I asked before I flipped out)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

King david...

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
       even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.
       Because he is at my right hand,
       I will not be shaken.
You have made known to me the path of life;
       you will fill me with joy in your presence,
       with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:7-8, 11
I'm reading about King David with the boys right now.  He refused to kill Saul or his descendants, even in the face of great provocation from Saul, anointing from God and multiple opportunities.  Out of reverence for and fear of God, he refused to do what made A LOT of sense in his day - to kill off the rival king and heirs who threatened your power, particularly if that king was actively trying to kill you,  was a no-brainer.  David even had the men who claimed to have killed Saul and who had murdered Saul's son executed.  In his day, that was a crazy way to do things - but it was God's way.

This hit me even harder when I read later on that day about the actions of the Roman emporers who claimed to be Christian.  They consistently killed off rivals, and they had Jesus' teachings.  Their culture and the "practical" way of doing things was just too ingrained.  I know that in all likelihood some were not believers but just used Christianity for political purposes.  But I think some really were believers and just would not let go of pursuing life their own way to let the Lord counsel them.

This makes me wonder what I accept blindly and unthinkingly from my culture but is actually offensive to God and not even in my best interest.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Things I didn't expect to say today:
"No punting in the living room."

"Don't stand in the refrigerator."

"The axe and the dagger are in the front seat."
Things I didn't expect to hear today:
"Daddy, will you hold Mommy down so I can burp in her ear?"
Things I didn't expect to see today:
Purple flowers with a backdrop of fall leaves.

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Monday, October 18, 2010


Bryan was unaccounted for on Saturday, and the house was eerily quiet.  I assumed this meant he was
1.  Playing outside with his brothers.
2.  Playing alone in the basement - probably with the Lego creations his brothers usually won't let him touch.
3.  Wreaking quiet havoc in unknown parts of the house.
Just in case the answer was #3, implying significant effort from me, I figured I might as well enjoy another chapter of my book before dealing with the mess.

I eventually found this in my bathroom.
In this stunning piece, entitled Menstrart*, the artist used a maxi-pad as his canvas and toothpaste as the adhesive for the decorative tampons.

Seriously, I think I could sell this to the Guggenheim.  It's much more interesting than the pane of glass leaning against the wall or the rusty bedsprings on display the last time I was there.

*Menstrart - menstrual art

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dangers of babyhood in the wilds of suburbia...

Who knew the Tupperware cabinet could be fraught with danger?

For the record, David wanted to take it off him immediately and I insisted on a picture first.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Mathematical relativism, the beautiful butterfly, and laziness...

Last night...
Bryan:  ... 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 58, 47, 73, 14, ...
Jacob:  No Bryan, that's not how it goes. 
Bryan:  (offended)  I get to decide for myself... 16, 42, 36, ...
Jacob:  No, Bryan,...
Bryan:  (deeply offended)  Mommy, Jacob is trying to be in charge of me.
The mathematician in me is concerned at the mathematical relativism.

The Beautiful Butterfly is our new favorite picture book.  It looks like a sweet, sentimental story.  David was adamantly opposed to hearing it.  A sweet butterfly loses her little mouse husband to a hungry fish.  All of nature mourns for her by dropping leaves, singing laments, ... (SPOILER ALERT)  A king comes along and decides to join in the grieving process.  To show his sorrow, he takes off his robe and runs around in his royal underwear.  The brothers h laughed until they could laugh no more.  Then they took off their clothes, put on their robes and acted out the royal underwear scene ad nauseum.*

This is what you find when you tell a seven year old boy (mine at least) to put the rest of snack up in the fridge.
*The mouse is regurgitated when the fish laughs at the underwear shenanigans.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ten years never sounded so small...

I read this and was blown away:
"You have only ten years to be in your twenties and only ten years to be in your thirties.  You have only ten years when your child is one to ten.  Then childhood is gone forever."
Wow.  It's obvious, but when I read it, I felt an overwhelming sense of panic.  Remember all the time you spent worrying about your weight as a teenager or twenty-something?  Then you either turned thirty or got hugely pregnant and gained some perspective - "I was skinny and I didn't even know it.  What was I complaining about !?!"

We've just got a few more years of real childhood with David.  He'll stop pretending to be a Jedi soon.  I have a few more months to watch Rand crawl.  We have maybe one more year of Jacob's crazy made up games like Bollyball-bollyball.  Bryan will probably stop making up songs in another year or two.  Once it's gone, it's gone.

And a side of childhood I'm actually excited about leaving behind...

picking up various creepy crawlies.  The found salamanders on our nature walk.  Yuck.

Monday, October 11, 2010

When is she going to sing already?...

Scene from last weekend, past the hour when Chris and I expect to be done for the day with our adorable but exhausting children...
Jacob:  (crying) Bryan won't let me go to sleep.
Bryan: (crying)  Jacob hit me.
Jacob:  (crying and indignant)  I had to hit him because he wouldn't let me finish "The Beach Song."
Bryan:  (crying louder)  He won't listen to my joke.
Jacob:  (still crying)  He won't let me finish my song.  He's  calling me a fat lady.
Chris and me: (laughing) Seriously. Go to bed right now. We're going to think this is funny for like one more minute.
We don't always laugh at their various behavior problems.**  I just tend to blog more about those.  We're like little kids - we get to the giggly stage of tired.

In other news, Rand's infant skateboarding career was short lived.  He rocked out for about five minutes and was over it by the time I got the camera.

*We sang "To God Be the Glory" every night of our '09 beach trip.  It is now "The Beach Song" to the brothers h.
**Sometimes we flip out and occasionally we handle them maturely and seriously.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chocolate chocolate...

Today was a Jonah day.*  Nothing spectacular happened.  The baby was up a lot in the night, so I woke up late and sleep deprived.  The rest of the day flowed from that inauspicious beginning.  Once we got the kids down to bed, I decided chocolate was required.  When I pulled up to the gas station, a woman pulled in right beside me.  She was about my age, looked worn and frazzled and was driving an oversize SUV.  We made eye contact and she looked a little embarrassed, as I'm sure, did I.  I knew immediately that we were there for the same reason.  At first I thought I had been mistaken when she passed by the candy aisle and walked directly to the counter.  Then I realized that I was right, and the drug of choice was the only difference.


      you so
         in the
of your
- Arnold Adoff

*See Anne of Green Gables

Thursday, October 7, 2010


We met with our nature walk group a few weeks after Rand broke his leg.  Someone in the group asked what had happened.  I recited my attempt at a light-hearted version of the event.  She immediately zeroed in on the undercurrents of shame.
Friend:  There is no condemnation.
Me:  (nervous/embarrassed laugh, nodding head in surface agreement)
Friend:  No, I can see that you're still condemning yourself.  You're believing a lie.  There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
Me:  (now really listening)  Thank you.
I had heard the same words from my husband, my mother, my sister-in-law, but for some reason, from the mouth of this virtual stranger, it felt as though it came directly from the heart of God.

The following Sunday a missionary spoke at church.  She told the story of a woman in the village where she worked.  The woman was extremely bitter.  The missionary later learned that the son of this woman had been imprisoned for 5 or 6 years and was still awaiting trial.  There was a local medicine man who would utter special incantations for $85.  These incantations were guaranteed to result in the speedy release of the prisoner.  This woman was ashamed of what she had done, presumably theft and prostitution, to raise the necessary funds.  When she delivered the cash, the medicine man insisted she sleep with him.  In desperation, she agreed.  Her son was not released.  She was eaten up with shame and bitterness.  Some of the local women shared with her the gospel - that there is forgiveness and grace and a different way of life available in Jesus.  She believed and is now a Follower of Jesus. 

Those words, "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus," jumped to my mind.  I feel a little silly comparing my suburban mama woes with this woman struggling for survival, but it's the same God who has freed us both.  Her son was released within a few days of her decision.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I like to think of myself as an enlightened person when it comes to kids' sports.  I'm definitely not one of THOSE parents.  I think there is a passive-aggressive soccer mom lurking beneath the surface, though.  David is really enjoying soccer.  His coach is great - laid back and seems to really know soccer.  David has learned a lot.  He's been practicing some at home and playing pseudo-games with Chris and me.  I've noticed that he's much less aggressive about going after the ball in his Upward games than he is with us.  Recent conversation...
Me:  David, I don't know much about soccer, but it seems to me that one of the most important things is to really go after the ball.
David:  My coach says that the most important thing is to have fun.
Me:  (laughing and shame-faced)  That's absolutely right, buddy.  Just listen to your coach.

Friday, October 1, 2010


We read this very cool book that combines the story of the Japanese poet Issa with his poetry and beautiful illustrations by Kazuko Stone.

In got me in a haiku mood:
The baby won't cry
While he eats.  I hate to sweep.

Just in case you're wondering if this is a pattern of slovenly mothering, here is a story from a few years back.  Bryan was about 18 months.  I had just thrown away a bag of stale chips.  While trying to do something (urgent, no doubt) on the computer, I heard the unmistakable sound of chips pouring on to the floor...
Me:  (internal monologue)  They're in a bag in the top of the trash so they aren't THAT dirty, and they should keep him busy for another five minutes or so.  (Five minutes later I go sweep up the chips, dump them into the trash can and return to the computer.  Fast forward another few minutes.)
Sound from hall:  Thunk, crumble.  (pause)  Thunk, crumble.  (pause)...
Enter Bryan carrying a kitchen trash can almost as tall as himself and occasionally dropping it to eat a few chips directly from the trash.  Awesome.

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