Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mars and Venus

My daughter's birthday has got me thinking about how good it has been good for my sanity to have a girl in the family. I remember one Thanksgiving I was giving my husband the silent treatment as we drove to the in-laws. I don't remember why I was mad, some imagined slight I'm sure, but I was shooting my silent arrows from the passenger seat to the drivers seat. My husband, blissfully unaware of his transgressions drove on. Then, from the back seat I heard a little voice, "Mom, are you mad about something". Either my aim was really off or my daughter inherited the mind reading gene. From the back seat she picked up on the anger that had bounced right off my husband. It was quite a lesson, and I'd like to say I learned it but that would be a lie. I still attempt the silent treatment from time to time, seeing how it is so effective and all, I just try to do it when the kids are not around. OK, that's a lie too. I am a horrible example to my daughter, the most I can manage is a feeble "do as I say not as I do". And what I say is, "men can NOT read your mind". I add that to my mothers advice, "you can NOT change a man", and hopefully one of these generations we will get it right. Actually I did take my mom's advice because there is nothing about my husband that I wish to change, unless you count the fact that I wish he could read my mind. In the mean time, it's nice to have my daughter and fellow mind reader here with me.

Happy (and now belated) Birthday

(I actually started this on the 23rd of September)

Fourteen years ago today, three days after my thirtieth birthday, we welcomed a new baby into our family. After two boys, out popped a dark haired baby girl.

She is fourteen years old today. Somehow that round little baby has transformed into a beautiful, sweet hearted, athletic, young lady. She is so beautiful. In one post I mentioned that my mom looked like Snow White. My daughter resembles Pocahontas, with blue eyes. I am bracketed by Disney princesses.

I would say that I am so proud of who she is becoming except that I feel like so much of my child raising has been out of my control. I just try not to get in the way, with varying degrees of success.

People warned me about age thirteen and, indeed, I remembered myself at age thirteen. I spent the better half of last year in fear, waiting for the monster to emerge. Apparently she is a different animal though, and I am blessed. So, my birthday wish for her is one of continued innocence. I pray that she could hold the cynicism of life at bay. I know it cannot be forever but let it be as long as possible. Her older brother jokes about training her to toughen her up because she screams at spiders and such. What boys and brothers don't realize is that girls and sisters become tough in ways that they can not even imagine. It is needed, I suppose, but hopefully not before it's time.

Happy birthday my little girl. Thank you for fourteen fantastic fun-filled years.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Nothing will come of nothing: speak again"

I've been deep in thought the last few days. Deep. But I'm done I think. Done thinking, that is, and with not much to show for it, so instead, here is an accounting of my weekend.

Last weekend the whole family, the WHOLE family, spent the weekend in Nebraska. We accomplished three things, well more than that but three major things.

First we took a trip to the campus of UNL to catch some of the pre-USC game festivities. Mainly we wanted to catch the marching band rehearsal and let the kids hang out at the stadium. I wanted some of what I had as a kid to rub off on them because, while I never attended the University of Nebraska, I spent many a happy time at the football stadium. It really is an awesome atmosphere. Ironically the only one I've managed to get to an actual game is my daughter (and the four year old in utero) And now, just to mess with the video button which I haven't done yet, here is a video of the marching huskers!

Originally the main purpose for this trip was to see my Dad performing in King Lear with the Flatwater Shakespeare Company. I had a hard time enjoying the play because my crazy dad who, I swear is as mad as King Lear, spent the last three months or so complaining about how he'd never be able to remember all those lines and how his body is in such bad shape he might just fall apart on stage. He did fine. Eventually I was able to relax and enjoy the show. Well, enjoy it as much as you can enjoy a show in which everybody dies in the end. Look, here is a picture of "the King". As you can see, he left the building. Ha Ha.

The third reason we all came to town and what became the main reason is that my Grandma is not doing at all well. My kids are so blessed to have known her while she was still herself. She still is, of course, but she is a little difficult to find these days. She is pretty unresponsive due to age and medication. My little brother and I spent a good long time just holding her hand and looking into her eyes. Talking a little bit, but not much, really. Every once in awhile a little bit of Grandma would bubble up to the surface and make an appearance. I was thankful for that because I had a very strong feeling that I was saying good-bye to her. I was very happy that my three older kids, all independently, expressed a desire to go visit her. I am proud of them because it was not expected to be a happy visit. It wasn't happy but it was very touching as they all kissed and hugged her goodbye at the end. Now, so I don't leave you with such sad thoughts and to continue with the visuals, I leave you with this photo of my Grandma and my little brother in earlier days. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An update.

I asked for prayers for Maxine Bullard last week and they have been answered. Unfortunately the answer was no to the ovarian cancer study because apparently her cancer is at to advanced a stage. What is fascinating to me is the bright and witty emails she sends out with what seems like such dire news. I am taking her advice and praying for a small miracle every day till she is healed. It is fascinating to me to see how she does not face this alone. Not alone in the physical realm and not alone in the spiritual realm. It is easy to see the many people who go phisically along side her through this illness but just as visible to me are those who go alongside her in spirit. It is so obvious through her words and actions. That is how I, as an outside observer mostly via the internet, see it. I pray that I would live my life that way.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fun Times

One of my and my husband's favorite pastimes is discussing with our kids, in detail and with anatomically correct language, what some of the songs our kids listen to actually mean. And when I say listen I mean, hear accidentally because my kids would never listen to that stuff. *cough, cough* Trust me when I say that they have just as fun as we do during these little dialogues. Oh yeah. Our latest adventure in music is titled Cr@nk D@t S0ulj@ B0y. (characters, so I don't get googled)

You know, it's not the ones I understand about that worry me, It's the ones I don't.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Long Live Bob

I just ate a tomato the size of my head. I had to, you see. It was starting to get soft. The tomato, not my head.

Later on tonight we will make about eight jars of salsa.

Just call me couch tomato.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Habit forming

I read a blog called The Secret Life of Kat. I lurk there quite often. It's awesome, go check it out! She has issued a challenge to her readers to develop a new habit on the assumption that it takes 21 days for a routine to take root and genuinely become a habit. I haven't "officially" joined the challenge because I can't handle that much accountability, but I am striking out on my own. I figure here I'm only accountable to a handful of people. I won't spill the details yet but depending on how well I do with it I'll elaborate later. Small steps. It's a simple thing that I am trying to do and something most people probably do without thinking, just not me. Not with a capital N.

Now go check out that blog.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

May I be so bold as to ask,

would you pray for someone for me? Her name is Maxine Bullard. She is a remarkable woman in many ways but the one of the ways that has stuck with me is her ability to make 1st and 2nd Kings not only interesting but fascinating to third thru sixth grade children. I mean superhero fascinating. I don't mention this to imply that she is more worthy of prayer than anyone else, I just thought you should know, that's all.

She is trying to get accepted into a program in Chicago that treats advanced Ovarian Cancer.
She is a widowed parent to two grown children and one in his first year in college. (Her husband passed away one year ago after a sudden, severe heart attack.)

I thank you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Like I need more grey hair.

We are on the cusp of initiating another driver into the family. The fifteen year old turns sixteen at the end of this month. He is doing as well as can be expected. This afternoon he got it into his head that he wanted to drive the stick shift home when I picked him up from xc practice. I haven't had the pleasure yet of driving that particular car with him so I decided to live dangerously and handed over the steering wheel. I think his main concern was coolness points for driving off in front of his friends still awaiting rides. He managed to get away without killing the car. Then he killed it a couple of times at an intersection with a car behind him. ***ADVICE TANGENT*** Mothers, before letting your teen get behind the wheel for the first time, it might behoove you to review all that Lamaze breathing you learned during pregnancy. ***TANGENT OVER*** He actually did a great job and we made it two thirds of the way home at which point he let me take the wheel back when faced with a traffic backup. On a hill. In heavy construction. It's good to know your limits.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Secular Sins

Christians are judgemental, no? That has got to be one of the top ten complaints about Christians. It doesn't help that we, as Christians, are so eager to prove it true. Quibble all you want to about the meaning of Matthew 7:1-2 but you know you do it. I do it, you do it, all God's children do it. I'm doing it right now. But, let's not be too hasty. Christians don't have the only corner on that market. Tune in to a morning news show some time, or maybe Oprah and see if you don't come away feeling as guilty as sin. There are any number of speakers, authors or "experts" only too happy to tell us how to live our lives and woe be it to the individual trying to keep up with these ever changing commandments.

In the spirit of fair play I thought I'd spend some time in confession. I want to confess my sins of commission or omission in the secular realm. I was thinking of beginning this "forgive me AlGore for I have sinned", but that would be going to far, don't you think?

My sins:

1. Recycling. Look, I recycle, I really do. I am a child of the seventies after all. I even remember the original little ecology symbol. It's just, sometimes, when I am overwhelmed by cramming six people's worth of junk into a house meant for four, I might, in a fit of cleaning frenzy, might, actually, throw away a newspaper....or a soda can.

1a. I, overuse, commas.

2. Sunscreen. For one thing, I have been known to use less than 50 spf. For another thing, I don't reapply after one hour. And lastly, if we are going out after 3:00 I don't bother. And for the kids, I would just hit the high spots: shoulders, face, back, chest and arms. Oh, and the tops of their ears, that can be nasty. Try rubbing three children down completely with sunscreen and see if you even make it out of the house before midnight. On the beach, however, we mind our sunscreen p's and q's. Going to the beach is treated like a visit to the sunscreen pope or something. We learned that lesson the hard way. If we are anywhere near the beach everyone takes a bath in sunscreen every hour on the hour. King Sol shows no mercy.

3. Trans fats. Once or twice, Ok, probably dozens of times, I allowed my children to take Lunchables to school for field trip lunches. I have also given in to the hue and cry for Oreos.

4. Christmas. I wish random people a Merry Christmas*. Actually I don't think this is nearly as big a deal as the media makes it out to be. Maybe for a vocal minority. Though maybe, being in the majority, I don't get it. That's always a possibility. No one has wished me a Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa yet but if they did, would I be offended? No.

5. Edumacation. I believe five minutes worth of Entertainment Tonight viewing bears this one out. I believe, contrary to what our teachers told us, there ARE stupid questions.

Ok, enough of that. While written with tongue firmly in cheek, some of these I really would like to improve on. Not the Christmas one though. I'm kind of unrepentant on that one. I know if I were to do a little more soul searching that these five would just be the tip of the iceberg. This is all I can manage to do penance for at the moment. Meanwhile, let's all cut each other some slack.

* During the Christmas season.