Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Fickle Mind

Today I took the four year old to school for the Halloween Parade. While we were there we visited some old friends in the Library and took a peek at the kindergarten room where he will probably be a student next year. Where has the time gone, sigh.

But that's not where I'm going with this.

There was a time not so long ago...... OK, it was a long time ago. It was BK (before kids). Is there any parent so knowledgeable as the parent without children? Let me answer that for you. No. I had it my mind that my children would never celebrate the Satanic holiday of Halloween. Probably not even a "harvest celebration" because that just seemed like a lame imitation. Yeah right. Fast forward to the parent of a dinosaur obsessed three year old and Presto! all my convictions crumble like a house of cards. From there the pendulum swung to the most opposite extreme. Long sleepless nights making costumes so that my little powerranger/princess/mario/fireman/ladybug/ninja/ad infinitum would stand out from the crowd, thus proving that I loved my kid more than the parents who settled for the store bought costume. Then came a day when my children dared to refuse my costume ideas. I felt lighter, like a burden had suddenly been lifted off my shoulders. Again, my convictions crumbled.

Tonight, my older kids will throw together costumes five minutes before leaving for a trunk or treat our youth group is hosting. I will walk the neighborhood with the Four year old in his Mario costume: overalls, a red shirt and a red hat, bought at Wal-Mart. To complete the look I'll stick a piece of electrical tape under his nose for a mustache. When we get home, I'll steal all his M&M's.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The abbreviated version

The memorial service was a gathering of the usual suspects. Together now only for weddings and funerals. Since Grandma was the common denominator for many of us there are some I imagine I won't see again. That is life I guess. There was one insanely inappropriate moment of hilarity at the interment. There is no way I could do it justice, though, because it was one of those "you had to be there" moments. Here is the photograph. Direct your attention to the man on the ground. He is attempting to lower the cement case containing the ashes into the ground. The hilarity ensues between the top of his pants and the bottom (no pun intended) of his jacket/shirt.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

I was back in Nebraska this weekend for my Grandma's memorial service. I'd like to write about it tomorrow so I'm mentioning it here to hold myself accountable.

Meanwhile I'm going to edit some photos of my eldest and watch Nightmare Before Halloween for the umptybillionth time. Somehow it never gets old.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Survivor: Missouri

Well, I survived. God granted us mercy, thank you a million times over for the prayers. I rate the weekend at one out of five gray hairs. That means that aside from some hilarious hormones on parade, it was pretty much event free. According to my daughter the drama was at an all time low. Not only that, but the MS youth group edged ever so slightly closer to the Kingdom of Heaven. I just need to say this, is there anything more entertaining in the world than a bunch of high schoolers trying to be an example to a bunch of middle schoolers. No, I don't think so.

On a somewhat related note, we had a visitor to our house last night. A young guy who is a junior at my older boys high school came by our house in a state of distress at about 10:00 p.m. He was so upset that I jumped to my usual dire conclusion and imagined someone had been ax murdered. Hey, it's not completely outside the realm of possibility. There was that thing a couple years ago.....different family though. So anyway, it was just a family fight that got out of hand and his step father had locked him out of the house. He just needed a place to catch his breath and give his step father time to cool off. After awhile he left to walk it off. It was all a little unsettling. It kind of reminded me of a time or two, (or two hundred) at my own home growing up. My kids were a little taken aback, though, because I don't think they'd ever considered the possibility that a parent would go to such extremes. I hope that means we're doing something right. I saw that he was back in his house by 11:00 by the time signature on his facebook so that's good, but I'd like to make sure that everything is ok. If anyone knows how I might do that without looking like a complete busybody please, by all means, share it with me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

In Case I Don't Make it Back

Pray for me. I'm off to spend the weekend with, youth, energy and our best hope for a bright future. Middle School Retreat time. Seriously people, pray for me.

Step Away From the Camera

The problem with being the family photographer, aside from never getting your picture taken, is that you are always so busy "capturing the moment" that you rarely get to experience the moment. The pressure is something awful. What if, at the end of the day, you didn't capture the perfect photograph that brings the entire day together in one comprehensive image. You've lost it for all eternity. Then what will you look at in your waning years? It's almost tragic.

But what if, at the photo op, you get out the camera and horror of horrors, the battery is dead, or worse yet, you forgot your camera entirely.

I've experienced both these scenarios in the past two weeks. Honestly, at the time I didn't know if I'd make it. The panic attack that threatened almost overwhelmed me. Then the strangest thing happened. I started to enjoy myself. I stood less than five feet away from my family and interacted with them. Like the proverbial bike I realized that I hadn't forgotten how to have fun. I won't say I don't have regrets because the little shutterbug sitting on my shoulder won't let it go. I'm just saying sometimes it's ok to let it go. To build real memories instead of poorly framed, overexposed, out of focus memories.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

There is no place like.......

I sort of have this feeling today that the return of Tom Osborne to Nebraska football is being hailed as the second coming in my hometown. I'm sure my dad would be happy to confirm this if I were to call him. Stupid football. I love it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fifty Percent Chance of Smiting

I've played sidekicks to a host of characters portrayed by my four year old: Luigi to his Mario, Tails to his Sonic, Black Spiderman to his Spiderman, and on and on. Today is a new one on me. Today we are playing God and Jesus. Is that even legal?

Legalities aside, the four year old is playing Jesus and I have been assigned the role of God. Our job is making people. I have been given the additional job of making bugs. You may be wondering to yourself why the four year old would give lead role, God, to me. Here's the thing, I don't think he did. In his mind I think Jesus is the lead. It makes sense if you think about it from the perspective of a four year old. Or, for a forty four year old for that matter. The bulk of bible class time is about Jesus. Jesus was "real", accessible. God is..... out there. It's something I'd thought about before but this sort of brings it into focus. How do I make God more real. To the four year old, to myself. Maybe the answer comes through Jesus. I guess I've got my work cut out for me.

Here are a couple of side notes of interest that I learned today. Apparently the business of making people is a messy one that requires the use of safety goggles. Also, did you know that there are no tootsie rolls in heaven?

One of our "creations"

*Edit* Ok, I know the Trinity should get equal billing. Notice that the Holy Spirit was left on the cutting room floor of my little scenario. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. That's one of those things I haven't figured out yet.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stepping out of the nest.

My oldest is off with his father today to visit a university. I am suddenly struck with the realization that this is our last October with him. We already spent our last September with him. Honestly, most days are just like any other but sometimes I look at him through different eyes and marvel at how time has passed. I make it entirely clear to him that we would fully support and even encourage him to stay at home and go to junior college for a year or more till he is completely sure of his direction in life. Generally this makes for great motivation to get him to write his college essays or do some other college related preparations.

What will he be when he grows up? I haven't a clue. The kid is a blank slate. I think that is why he needs to get out of the house. There is only so much you can learn about yourself under your parent's roof and I think he needs to get out there and "find himself". I refuse to be sad about this. Sometimes I wonder why. Is something wrong with me? Maybe it's because our house is so crowded. More likely it is because I remember the excitement and thrill I had when leaving home. I did it completely wrong. I was way too young, instead of easing my way out I bolted and I was nowhere near ready. But I did it and I figured it out. Mostly. I'm still figuring some things out. It works, though, it's the way God made us. Eventually we all want to leave our parents. So when the time comes I am prepared to shed tears but I will do so in the spirit of celebration.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


My Grandma died three weeks ago on September 21st 2007 at age ninety six. It still hasn't sunk in, even though we all knew it was coming. I guess I just took it for granted that she would always be around. She intended to be around, I think. Last I heard she was planning to match her sister's one hundred years. In the end I believe she just kind of tired of living and let go. She died around 12:15 A.M. and I can't get it out of my head that she waited till after midnight on purpose. September 20 is my birthday. Grandma was like that, she never wanted to be inconvenient in any way.

Some of my favorite memories:

I think my poor Grandma used to hold herself responsible for the success or failure of the many sporting teams she supported, but none more than the Huskers during football season. I'll never forget the time I called home during a game and my dad informed me that Grandma was hiding behind the fridge because the Huskers were losing. That still cracks me up.

When I was little my hair was very long and very fine but I had a LOT of it and it was always in tangles. I would throw a fit when my mom tried to brush it because it hurt so bad. My Grandma had the touch. On our visits to her house I looked forward to her sitting beside me and gently working through my hair till it was untangled and she could brush through it pain free. It was magical.

My Grandma had one sister and one brother. I never met her brother. When talking about her sister Grandma would often insinuate that her sister was the "good" girl and she was the "bad" girl. One afternoon my dad and I took Grandma on a drive through the small towns in eastern Nebraska where she grew up. She pointed out many landmarks to us including the spot where she and Grandad used to spend time "sparking" when they were dating. TMI Grandma.
After 9/11 I called my Grandma to get perspective on things. Among the things we discussed were Pearl Harbor, World War Two in general and the assassination of JFK. Perspective is a wonderful and healing thing. I am so thankful to have had access to it.

There are a lot of things I hope I will inherit from my Grandma eventually. Her selflessness. Her attitudes of tolerance and acceptance. Her love of family. Her love of reading; I still have stacks of books that she gave me. Her patronage of the Arts.

As I said before it hasn't really sunk in yet that she is gone but grief has a way of sneaking up on me. A week ago at church I was sitting there with a rotten attitude and not wanting to sing. Someone sat down behind me with a beautiful singing voice and my attitude did a one-eighty. Slowly, my thoughts drifted to my Grandma. I never heard her sing but everyone said what a beautiful Alto voice she had and out of nowhere I was fighting back tears. I was well on my way to some serious sobbing so I left and got control of myself. I think little things like that will creep up on me till we have time to grieve her as a family at her memorial service.

Above all, I am thankful for the time I got to spend with her and for the fact that she was able to meet all my children.

Rest in peace Grandma.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Birthday Angst

I've got a couple of posts in me that I need to get out. One is for our sixteen year old son, formerly known as the Fifteen year old. That's what you get today.

You know how your parents said to you, when you had worn out their last nerve, "Just wait till you have children of your own."? For me the Sixteen year old is that child. I see in him what I used to be and every day I fight the urge to call my parents and apologize. He is not a bad kid. It's just, well, for one thing, nothing is ever his fault. EVER. Not only that, but, the world is conspiring to make life even more difficult for him. And, by world I mean, mainly, his sister. For me it was my brothers. Oh yes, I remember. There is a word for it. Teenage angst. I cannot change his perception of the world, that is his battle. I can understand where he is coming from, though, and that's where I think he has an advantage over me at his age.

Now I will tell a story that would embarrass the snot out of him. How's that for understanding. As a baby he was the most affectionate of all my children. When he was nursing or just sitting in my arms, he used to take my hair in his chubby little hand and hold it like a security blanky. These days he tends to hold things in and let the tension get to him, but, he is still my most affectionate child in his own way. I can always tell when the tension has broken because he will sneak up behind me and start "fixing" my hair. It's my little sign that things will be OK with him. Things may be difficult, of his own making or maybe the world really is out to get him. He has a foundation of faith, though, that I trust he can always return to no matter where life takes him.

With that and with a massive dose of prayer for his survival on the streets (drivers licence) I wish him a blessed seventeenth year of life.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Things are looking up.

So, today was much better. Mainly due to the fact that a headache kept me in bed and out of trouble for a sizable chunk of the day. I got to feeling better, though, thanks to copious amounts of Excedrin and by afternoon I was feeling well enough to go on an actual date with my actual husband. We saw 3:10 to Yuma. Here's my review. It was totally awesome, go see it. Be careful leaving the theater though. You may have the feeling that there are bad guys with guns behind every car in the parking lot.

And oh yeah, Go KU!

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Terriblehorriblenogoodverybad Day

I couldn't make any sense, I made an idiot of myself, I said all the wrong things, and to top it all off I think I just brushed my teeth with an ant.

Is it tomorrow yet?

Things to remember not to do.

#1. Quit saying naughty words (out loud) in front of the four year old. This is going to get me in some serious trouble, and soon.