Showing posts with label the Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the Bible. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday, Wednesday in St. Paul

Wednesday was rainy and cold, so I spent a comfortable morning scribbling blog posts in a notebook, working through a bible study (tell me friends:  Am I the only one who can't stand David?  I know it probably says something terrible about me, but I have a feeling if David and I were to enter an episode of Doctor Who and somehow co-exist within the same earthly timeline, we would loathe each other.  I'm suspicious of overly charming people- I feel like I'm being manipulated- and David does a number of seriously heinous things, realizes he's been a naughty, naughty David, and whines about it for the rest of eternity.  I decided to do this study because I was hoping it would change my long-held opinion about David.  So far, nope.), and reading bits and pieces of The City, An Altar in the World, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

Around 12:15 I finally got sick of myself and decided I need a little stimulation, so I went for a 45-minute walk through the St. Paul Skyway, where by minute 20 I had gotten all the stimulation I needed, but was by this point, of course, lost.  (HEY.  Those skyways are positively labyrinthine, not nearly as straightforward as the maps would have you believe.)

I did finally make it back to our hotel room, and vowed never to leave again.  Have I mentioned how much we loved our hotel?  WE LOVED OUR HOTEL.  It occupies three floors of a downtown St. Paul building constructed in 1917, and so much of the original ornate detail still exists in the lobby and select pockets of the building:

Just a slice of the view from the second floor balcony down into the lobby.  You can't even see the grand piano or the front desk.

As for our room, the parts you want to be tasteful and charming were, well, tasteful and charming, and the parts that you want to be just a teensy bit more modern (read:  shower, kitchenette, mattress, Keurig) were perfectly updated.

Hello, room.  I miss your big, original windows that actually open.  I miss your soft lighting from four separate lamps.  I miss your high ceilings and your two capacious built-in wardrobes and your complementary K-cups (replenished daily!) and your little tubs of flavored coffee creamer and the helpful nonjudgmental people working at the front desk who gave me all the extra creamer I could want.  Oh, and?  Every single room is different, which means we have no choice but to go back.  Our hands are tied.

Hello, big ol' bed with built-in drawers there at the bottom that you unfortunately can't see in this photo.

Yes, this bathroom was on the small side, but whomever it was that set up this little boutique hotel put all kinds of space-saving bits of genius all over.  

Plus, there's a little step-up to get into the (scrupulously clean) bathroom.

I don't know why I geek out over little steps and old doors.  I just do.

Two steps to get into the shower.  I didn't know what to do with myself.

Wardrobes are my love language.  Especially when they have waffle-weave hotel robes hanging inside.  Especially especially when the hangers holding onto those robes contain a (nicely) sarcastic little note informing you that if that robe somehow finds its way into your luggage when you leave, you can go ahead and have it for the bargain price of $75 a pop, or you can contact the front desk and they'll get one for you for a much more reasonable price.

You can see why we didn't want to leave.  Ever.  I'm sure we could have found a place to stuff the children.  I mean, there are two wardrobes.  Not mention free breakfast for hours and hours every morning.  I do believe all three of our kids would agree to a wardrobe for a bedroom in exchange for waffles every single day.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayers for Connecticut

Thus says the Lord:
"A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
refusing to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more."

-Jeremiah 31:15

Praying for all those in Newton, Connecticut.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This Post May or May Not Contain a Slight Exaggeration

Our family thrives on routine.

Well, I thrive on routine.  Our kids don't really have much choice in the matter.  Maybe having more spontaneity in their lives would be better for one or more of them, but unfortunately, they're stuck with me for a mother, and I just don't handle last minute changes well.  Or change at all, really, unless I've been given plenty of time to mull it over and prepare myself.  

Basically I'm the most exciting person alive.

One part of our family's daily routine is the post-supper play hour.  This is the one time each workday that we get to spend together, all five of us.  Our kiddos are still a bit young to be in any extra-curricular activities, and I'm actually trying to hold them off for as long as possible at this point, just to help preserve this family time we have together each evening.

And because I'm a socially awkward hermit.  But I usually just cite the first reason.

If it's at all warm outside, we play out in the backyard.  The evening usually looks something like this:

Atticus plays soccer or golf or frisbee at a skill level that is coming close to out-stripping my own.  He's usually just what this photo depicts:  a blur.

Derek plays with him.  Sometimes I join in, but usually stop when I get tired of being laughed at or when I feel I've hit my daily quota of closing my eyes and squealing when a ball comes toward me.  I've noticed a number of people walking their dogs on the other side of the fence, and I sometimes wonder if it's a feminist out there, cringing every time she hears me.

Sometimes we can even coerce Adelaide into playing with us.  But not on this day, obviously.

Caedmon is usually up for about anything.  I think that evening he was trying to hide from the camera behind my scarf, and it quickly became a fun game for him and a strangle-session for me.  Seems like a pretty accurate metaphor for motherhood in general, actually.

We've had a few evenings this fall that have been too cool to play outdoors, so we stayed in and played a family favorite:  Hide and Seek.

You should know something about me: I'm awesome at Hide and Seek.  

I once won a game of Hide and Seek at a neighbor's house by making everyone think I was a tree.  Not hiding in or near a tree.  I was the tree.  Seriously.

Another time Derek walked right past me because I had managed to successfully camouflage myself to the point that I blended in with the quilt on our bed.  And I don't mean I bunched up the blankets at the foot of the bed and hit under those (a H&S rookie move if ever there was one), I mean I laid spread eagle, flat on top of the bed.  That's how good I am.  

Does it seem like I'm a little too proud of my H&S prowess?  

Well, if I am, it comes only from sucking at every single other competitive activity in existence.  So I'll ask you not to begrudge me this one thing, please.

Oh, and I should note that if you're one of those freaks that believes H&S also involves running and getting to a "base" before the person who's "it," you're sorely mistaken.  That's some kind of tag-infested, bastardized version of Hide and Seek.  And I'm not just saying that because I always lose that kind.  (Except I probably am.)

So, yeah.  I'm really good at Hide and Seek.

Or I was.  

Because those recent nights where our family stayed in and played H&S?  I did not do well.  

The problem is all mental.  (So many, many of my problems are.)  You see, successful hiding depends on 

1)  Absolute stillness.
2)  Absolute silence.
3)  Being brazen in your hiding spots.  Don't go for the obvious, like stuffing yourself in the clothes dryer or cowering under the table.  Be a tree.  Be a quilt.  Be brazen.

Number three, I can still do.  But numbers one and two?  I seem to have lost those abilities over the summer.  I had decent hiding places a couple times the other night, but completely sabotaged myself by giggling madly when I heard Derek approaching, or letting my body become suddenly overcome by random spasms in my limbs.  

And breathing?  Forget about it.  I have suddenly become the heaviest breather ever.  I'm trying to be completely still, but my chest rising and falling by at least a foot (okay, maybe not quite a foot) and my bordering-on-obscene mouth-breathing gives me away.

I had one thing.  One thing I was good at.  And God has snatched it away from me.

I'm hereby changing my name to Job.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm Trying To Freaking Love You

We have now completed our first week in our whole "Fruits of the Spirit" theme our family has going on this summer.  We had some great discussion and activities, along with some... unexpected social consequences.

The first fruit listed is "Love," fortunately a pretty straightforward concept for our little ones- I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about the rather vague notion of "Goodness."  I'm sure God had us in mind when he was setting down an order for the fruits.  Because, you know, it's all about us.

We started by defining love as best we could, and that first day we talked about expressing love within our home.  At the supper table that evening, we went around the table, each family member telling one thing they loved about each person.  Adelaide's were pretty well-thought-out; Atticus said, "I love Caedmon because he's sticky."  I'm not always sure that I'm getting through to that boy.

Next, we talked about showing love to family and friends outside of our family.  Each kid colored several pictures, and we mailed them off to various family members.  The day after that, we talked about ways to love strangers and the world at large.  We acted out skits that put the kiddos in different social settings; in one they were diners at a restaurant and I was the waitress, in another we were in a busy grocery store, in yet another we were on a playground with some difficult children.

They also colored various worksheets I printed for them depicting biblical scenes of loving your neighbor, and we brainstormed some ideas of things to do that would show love to people this summer.

Adelaide soaked it all up, Caedmon was just happy to be included, and Atticus participated better on some days than on others.  I really didn't know how much he was taking away from all our lessons until this morning, as we were walking into the public library.  There was a lady walking down the sidewalk toward us, also about to approach the front door.  Atticus darted in front of all of us, opened the heavy front door for her to walk through, then turned around to look at her while holding the door open, beaming.

She sailed through without so much as looking at him.

This did not fit in with our teaching from last week, and he let me know.


She never did turn around, although several other patrons sure did.

I would have scolded him for yelling in the library, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  How many times have I done the exact same thing, and it was all I could do not to give a snide, "You're welcome!" when the other person didn't so much as acknowledge my presence, let alone express their thanks.  Common courtesy, manners, and politeness were a big part of our lesson in loving people in our everyday lives last week, just because I feel like a kind word to a complete stranger can go a long way.

This week's lesson is "Peace."  I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to convey this fruit to our kiddos, as well as how Atticus will use it to further ostracize our family in public.

I'm actually really looking forward to it.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm Too Tired to Come Up With a Creative Title

I don't know how much sleep I got last night.  I do know that I went to bed a little after ten pm and got up at 6:40 am.  I also know that my son woke me up countless times last night, yelling and crying.  I say 'countless' because I stopped counting after I got up the seventh time.

As a result, I'm tired today.  Eyes burning every time I blink tired.  Keep crashing heavily into furniture because my balance is really off tired.  Having trouble making my keep-me-sane start-of-day list tired.  Takes me a full minute to answer a simple question because my cognitive processes are so delayed tired.

After getting our older son his breakfast (the younger slept in- proof that God's mercies really are new every morning), I slowly made my way up the stairs to change and wash up.  After getting dressed, I stumbled into the bathroom, squeezed toothpaste onto my toothbrush.

About fifteen seconds into my teethbrushing, I realized something was amiss.  I wasn't sure what.  I get really stupid when I'm tired, so I looked vaguely around me, trying to figure out what was going on.  There was some small part of my brain trying to communicate something important to me, but I couldn't quite decipher the message.  I continued to brush in a sluggish fashion, my eyes wandering around the bathroom, looking for inconsistencies.

Finally, a thought made it through the fog:  My toothpaste sure tastes funny this morning.

After that thought had made its way ever so slowly to my hand, I pulled the toothbrush out of my mouth.  I stared at it stupidly.  Something was wrong with the appearance of it, I just knew it.  What color is my toothpaste supposed to be?  Hmmm.  Oh, yes, that's right- white.  My toothpaste is white.  Okay, what color is that stuff on my toothbrush right now?  Let's see.  It's not white.  It's... yellow.  So what's wrong here?  Ummm... white is not the same as yellow.  No, no, wait.  There should be white stuff on my toothbrush.  Not yellow stuff.  White.  So... yellow stuff on my toothbrush is not a good sign.

After this fun little internal dialogue, I turned my attention to the taste in my mouth.  In addition to the brilliant revelation of My toothpaste is white, I also came up with My toothpaste is minty.  I realized that my mouth did not taste minty.  It tasted... what was that?  Camphor?  Definitely something medicinal.

Let me go ahead and skip ahead to the part where I open the medicine cabinet to find out what's wrong with the toothpaste tube.  Let's likewise skip the part where I puzzle over the fact that the folks at Colgate have changed the name of their toothpaste to "A and D Ointment."  Let's also skip the laborious thought processes involved and the ridiculous amount of time it took to me to figure out that I had been brushing my teeth with the same ointment I slather on my children's nether regions when they have a diaper rash.

This little episode had one positive note: It shocked me awake.  I did my best to wipe all the ointment out of my mouth with a towel (because, man, that stuff really sticks to your molars), brush my teeth with actual toothpaste, and make the wise decision to stop storing the A and D Ointment right next to the toothpaste.

One hour in this everlasting, exhausting day down, half a billion to go.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Most Brilliant Parenting Move Yet

Because we have an exceedingly busy weekend ahead of us, I spent a portion of last night stuffing our children's Easter baskets.

Aside from the semi-healthy treats like fruit strips and those vacuum-packed foils of pureed fruit that Caedmon can suck dry in thirty seconds flat, their totes are mostly filled with the requisite hollow plastic eggs.  Each child received a couple balloons, a bouncy ball, and some yogurt-covered raisins in a few of those.

The rest of the eggs are filled with prunes.

Now, before you start shaking your head and feeling sorry for our kids, hear me out.  Prunes have a lot going for them.  They're all kinds of healthy, reasonably sweet, and come in these handy individually-wrapped packages, so that the inside of the eggs don't get all sticky.  Plus you know those kids are going to need something to keep them regular after all that junk they'll get everywhere else.

Convinced yet?  Then let me share the rest of my reasoning behind the prune-stuffed Easter eggs.

It all boils down to the fact that I'm kind of regretting introducing our kiddos to the concept of the Easter bunny.  And no, it's not because I hate rabbits (well, not just because of that).  It's because when you're trying to keep your kids' minds on the real reason for Easter- Jesus- it's really hard to compete with candy and a giant rabbit just scary enough to make him exciting.

Obviously, I should have thought all this through when Adelaide was still very young.  But when you have your first kid, you're not thinking straight.  Holidays get an extra dose of excitement because you can't wait to introduce your brand new kid to all those fun traditions you remember enjoying as a child.

I remember Adelaide's first Easter; my head was full of my favorite Easter dresses and Easter goodies, particularly the basket that contained an actual Barbie doll that I received the Easter we were at Grandma's house.  Why is it the Easter bunny is always so much more generous when you're at Grandma's house?  It's a mystery.

Suddenly, it's five years later, you have not one, but three Easter baskets to fill, and you just can't bring yourself to fill it with things that will make your offspring love a huge garden pest.  So you fill it with prunes.

And if your kid looks at their friends' baskets and starts asking, "Why didn't the Easter bunny bring me all that stuff?  Why doesn't the Easter bunny like me?" your ready-made answer can be something along the lines of, "That Easter bunny is a fickle fellow.  And honey, while the Easter bunny may not like you, Jesus always loves you."

Sounds like a plan guaranteed not to blow up in my face.

Even I, however, felt a modicum of guilt over stuffing my little darlings' buckets with dried plums, so I also stuck a big specially-shaped slab of chocolate in the older two's baskets.  Not in the shape of bunnies, though, oh, no.  Our kids' chocolate is in the shape of an ichthys and reads, "Jesus."

Because what says, "Happy Easter!" better than Jesus chocolate?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our Children Are Doomed

Sometimes I feel sorry for our kids.

Generally this sympathy is brought about by one incident or another that makes me say, "Wow.  You really are my kid," or likewise makes Derek say, "You really are your mother's daughter/son."

Last week's situation involved Atticus having an outburst in his bedroom at naptime.  Upon hearing his sudden shrieks, I loped up the stairs, ran into his room, and asked, "What's the matter, Bud?"  He cried/yelled, "There's something on my eyes!"  My thoughts immediately ran to logical explanations like blindness due to acid in his eyes (because you know we keep a vat of acid in the corner of our childrens' bedroom), so I rushed over, knelt down, and tried to gently pull his eyelids up.  He resisted and said, "No, HERE!"

He then ran his fingertips over his eyebrows.

A few weeks before that, it took me the better part of an afternoon to finally figure out what was bothering Adelaide.  All she would tell me was that she had done something bad and was afraid that I wouldn't love her anymore, and worse, that God wouldn't love her anymore.  I petted and soothed her enough to where she finally admitted, sobbing, that "I bowed down to Atticus!"

It took me a bit to figure out exactly what she meant and what had happened; something about how she was bowing down for some reason or other, Atticus happened to come stand in front of her, and after all the Old Testament stories we've been reading about people like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, she thought that literally bowing down in front of anyone but Jesus Himself would earn her a one-way ticket to Hell.  It took quite a while to calm her down after this one.

I can only imagine what Derek must think during these little kid-crises- perhaps that he should have been a little more choosy in his search for a wife and subsequent mother of his children?

I am well able to understand what our kiddos are thinking during these episodes.  They're probably similar to the kind of thoughts I have when I wake up in the middle of the night, it seems especially bright outside our bedroom window, and my first thought is, "Aliens.  I knew it."

Our son's little eyebrow scare mostly likely brought forth feelings like the ones I had the other night when, after calming Atticus down at around 2 am, I crawled back into bed, Derek rolled over in his sleep, and one of his hands came to rest near my leg.  His fingers were on part of my pajama pants, and somehow, every time he inhaled, his hand moved a fraction, and it plucked at the material of my pajamas.  I chuckled over this for a second, until horror overcame the humor, because I rapidly managed to convince myself that due to the fact that he was lying on his back, his hand couldn't have been facing that way and performed that strange plucking action; instead, he must have sprouted another hand off of his hip, and it was this new limb that was snagging my clothing, trying to get my attention.

It took me a full minute to gather the courage to throw the covers back and see if there was an extra hand near his abdomen.  I'll save you the suspense:  there wasn't.

So although our children may seem crazy now, don't worry.  Strong evidence suggests that while they may not outgrow this paranoia, they will become rather skilled at hiding it from the public at large.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wisdom Is In The Eye Of The Beholder. Or Something.

I think my kids are funny.  They say and do funny things.

I am perfectly aware, however, that they are not alone in this.  Most kids are pretty funny (unless they're really, really annoying- you know the ones I'm talking about).

I recently started teaching Adelaide's Kindergarten class at church.  Another lady and I switch off, so I only teach every other Sunday.  25 5- and 6-year olds for an hour and a half.  That's a lot of funny.

Two weeks ago, we were talking about Solomon.  I told them that when Solomon was young, he got to ask God for anything he wanted-anything at all.  Then, of course, I asked the class, "If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?"

Hands flew into the air.

"A horse!"

"A unicorn!"

"The movie 'Rio'!"

"A video game!"


That last one was from a kid that I'm pretty sure is going to be one of my secret favorites.  I know, I know, teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but hey, I'm not a real teacher, and I'm pretty careful to treat all the kids exactly the same.

But, c'mon, if rice crispy treats had been around back in Solomon's days, who knows?  Maybe he would have passed up wisdom for a delicious, crispy, buttery, marshmallowy treat.

Or maybe there's a lost Proverb somewhere concerning rice crispy treats that was waaaay ahead of it's time.

You don't know.

What I bet you do know is that maybe I shouldn't be teaching this class.

Oh, well, only two more days until I get to see those comical kids again!