Saturday, April 30, 2011


One of the brothers yesterday:

"The most important thing is God and Jesus. The second important thing is your penis."

Rand would be much happier if he could go back in utero for the remainder of the packing process.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I listened to Tim Keller's series on marriage and was reminded of some teachings on marriage that have been life-giving for me.  As a younger woman, I read the Biblical passages on respect in marriage and felt like I was being pressed down or made lesser - that something was being demanded of me.  Then in a marriage ceremony, my pastor spoke of a woman respecting her husband as the loving thing to do - that it's the primary way most men experience love and that it should be offered, not demanded.  It's the difference between having to pay a fee to join a church and a church depending on freely given offerings.  Removing the demand changes everything.  

That need for respect is one of the ways I see shades of the men my boys will be.  I found this in my journal from last fall...
"I'll show you a shortcut, Mommy.  Come this way.  Follow me." 
My 3 year old son steps from the trail into the trees and looks back uncertainly to see if I'll follow.  I see the beginnings of a man made to lead - he needs to be followed.  So I duck under branches and climb over rocks to follow him on this "shortcut".  His shortcut is a circle in the woods, but the path is not the point.  My son is learning how to be a man, and as he leads me, the air around him changes.  I can see his steps grow more confident.  We make it back to the trail and he's no longer a little boy walking in the woods.  Now he carries himself with the confidence of an explorer, a master woodsman, a leader.  And I pray for the women my sons will marry - that they will be gentle with these boys of mine who need to lead in the way they need oxygen.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Love is...

This blog is becoming a casualty of our move.  Hopefully I'll have more to say and more time to say it after we get settled.  Bear with me.  For now...
Love is...

...packing up empty Lego set boxes because "they're really special to me, Mommy."
...summoning some small amount of sympathy* for your husband who comes down with a stomach bug after working away from home for three weeks, on the weekend you're supposed to be packing the house together.
...dealing lovingly with a wife who gives you a passive-aggressive guilt trip for getting sick.
*Even that pitiful amount of sympathy would have been impossible without violent and incontrovertible evidence of extreme illness.
**Actually, at this stage of life, I require that kind of evidence for any amount of sympathy for spousal illness that is inconvenient to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Verbage and hiking...

I took David and Jacob hiking last weekend on the Billy Goat trail.  We had a great time.  It's a strenuous hike with a lot of rock scrambling.  I knew they would love the first mile or so but was worried that they couldn't handle four miles of climbing up and sliding down rocks.  They loved it.  I had a hard time keeping up with them.  Then we started walking back to the car.  It was a leisurely mile walk on a flat path.  It nearly ended them.  The whining was beyond what I thought possible.  I almost had to walk far ahead and pretend I didn't know them.  In the future, I will save the "I just finished an awesome hike" candy bar until we actually reach the car.
I read Room by Emma Donahue.  It was a good read but...really, really disturbing.  She took me to the edge of what I could handle in suspense and horror.  My favorite part was the way she portrayed the five year old narrator.  She did a fantastic job of representing what is to think and speak at that age.  The room is not heated, it gets "hotted".  My second son is five.  Until I read that book, I hadn't noticed how often he turns adjectives and nouns into verbs.  

I read The Tale of Despereaux to the boys a few weeks ago.  It's my favorite read aloud this year.  It's a page turner and beautifully captures human nature in a way that's still appropriate for children.  A bad guy is not a bad guy.  He has a story.  There is a reason he became that way.  Anyway, in explaining how a young girl lost her hearing, the author writes:
The less Mig heard, the less she understood.  The less she understood, the more things she did wrong; and the more things she did wrong, the more clouts to the ear she received, and the less she heard.  This is what is known as a vicious circle.
Then my five year old, Jacob pronounced emphatically:
We do NOT want to get vicious circled.
That's right, buddy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A boy day...

Today has been one of those days that I'll cherish and remember as a boy day.  We read about tanks for science.  It was one of our more thrilling science lessons.  Eight years ago, I would have been shocked to see how much enthusiasm I could generate over weaponry.  

Today's history reading was on the Mayans.  In case you were wondering, status symbols and beauty are relative.  The Mayan kings would file their front teeth to pointed fangs.  As babies, their mothers would use wooden rings to give them pointy heads and hang toys right at their noses to make them cross-eyed.  We were all hugely entertained by that mental picture.  David asked if it would hurt to file your teeth, so I'll need to keep an eye on that situation.  We also learned about a Mayan ball game where the winner is rewarded with gold and treasure and the losers are beheaded.  (And I thought Little League was nuts.)

After lunch we spent some time in the woods.  They walked across an old fallen tree lying across a creek.  It was a perfect height - just high enough so that they felt brave and wild for crossing it.  At the end of the walk we spent some time playing in the creek.  I don't know why I wasted oxygen saying, "You can play beside the creek, but don't get your shoes or pants wet."  I've been at this boy gig long enough to know better.  Of course everyone but Rand (I'm still faster than him) got soaked.  It was always technically an accident.  I think they were born understanding plausible deniability.

This afternoon David and Jacob watched Top Ten Tanks on the Military channel.  David took notes.  Afterward we went to the library and checked out every book on tanks.  On our way in, they all ran up to me with a handful of dandelions.  It's been a good day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are you my mother?

We left Rand with my brother and sister-in-law while we were in Houston looking at houses.  He has been my clingiest baby, so I was expecting him to be very excited to see me.  It turns out that his affections are cheap - five days of food and snuggles from Angela, and he was over me.  When he saw me, he clung to her.  When I held him, he cried.  When I stayed in the room and she left, he cried.  When I tried to feed him, he refused and would only let Angela.  When I rubbed his back, he grabbed my hand and pushed it away.  Now I'm going to have spend the next week showing him pictures of her and then pinching him.*

*Big shout out to my fantabulous brothers and sisters-in-law for keeping the boys.  That house hunting trip with the boys in tow would have ended me.  We think we have a house but haven't heard for sure.
**Maybe Rand likes Angela more because she doesn't take pictures of him when he's crying???

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Scenes from Houston...



Caleb's gravesite

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Friday, April 1, 2011

What goes around...

My brothers are keeping the boys while we look at houses in Houston.* My baby brother has my baby. He sent this picture...

When we were little, I used to dress Aaron up like a girl and tell him his name was Mary. I think he has some passive aggressive anger about it.

*John, Aaron, Karen and Angela, you are rock stars!!!

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