Thursday, January 27, 2011

4:23 a.m.

A bright light wakes me up in the middle of the night.  It is the hall light outside our bedroom door.  My watch says 4:23.  My husband sleeps.

I get out of bed to investigate, and almost all of the lights in the house are on.  Did I miss something here?  I stick my head in Will and Jack's room, and there is Jack, rummaging through the dirty clothes hamper.  Will, in the top bunk, snoozes on, oblivious.

"What are you doing, Jack?" 

"I'm looking for some pants; I can't find any clean ones in my drawer."

I realize that he is getting ready for school.  I say, "Do you know what time it is?"

He looks at his watch and then looks up at me.  "I thought you just came in here to tell us it was time to get up!  You said it was 6:45!"

I shake my head.  "No buddy, it must have been a dream; it's too early to be up.  Let's get your pajamas back on."

He complies.  I go turn all the lights off and come back to check on him.  The faint glow of a flashlight shines through the blanket he has pulled over his head.  I pull back the blanket, and he wails, "I will never be able to get back to sleep now!"  I understand; I feel the same way.  I tell him to turn the flashlight off.

I climb into his little bunk bed with him and put my arm around him until he is almost asleep.  Then I whisper, "Good night, Jack," and go to bed.  I don't mind waking up for this.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's hard to be Christian right before Bible Study

1:15 p.m. lunch...think about looking over Bible Study notes but opt instead to watch an episode of "Dear Genevieve" that I DVR'd.  Fabulous kitchen makeover.  But now it's 1:40, and I still have so much to do!

Time elapses...2:15...time to get kids - three different alarms go off (one in the bathroom) to remind me.  I am terrified of forgetting to get the kids.  Probably because my parents made it a habit to "forget me" when they went places.  One time my mom forgot to pick me up from soccer practice when I was in elementary school and the coach took me home with him and his whole family ate supper while I watched.  I'm not making this up.  Thus my current phobia.

Bring kids home...try to settle in with the book, but there are things to be signed, daily events to be discussed.  Hard to focus.

4:30  Realized I've been looking at the wrong chapter.  Panic begins to set in.

5:00 What's for supper?  I try to escape reality by calling my sister and asking her when she's going to have her baby (due date was three days ago).  Then I call my friend to ask her a question and we end up chatting until yikes!  It's 5:23 and I have to pick Emma up from play practice at 5:30.  Abrupt end to conversation.

5:45 Back home.  People will be at the house in an hour and fifteen minutes.  I begin to bark orders about cleaning up and yank frozen french fries, last night's roast beef, potatoes and broccoli out of the fridge.

6:12 Will asks, "Are you going to take Jack to practice?"  Jack's basketball practice starts at 6:15.  Yelling for Jack commences.

6:17 Justin takes Jack.  I bake french fries.  Try to finish printing the outline for tonight's study.  Do some dishes.

6:30 Justin is back.  Justin, Will and Emma eat supper while I walk around the house, yelling orders to Emma about the state of her bedroom.  Justin gets up from the table and says, "This is what you look like" and starts marching back and forth in front of the door to the dining room.  Every time he passes the opening, he says, "Clean up!  Clean up downstairs!  Stop talking to each other!  Listen to me!"  I would like to be mad at him, but he's right and it's funny, so we all just laugh.  I go back to the dishes.

6:40 Realize the upstairs bathroom is nasty.  Cross my fingers that no one uses it.

6:45 Coffee on, lights on, fire going...what am I forgetting? Oh, I pray.

7:00 Bible Study begins.   

Monday, January 24, 2011

Profanity! Reader Discretion Advised

For Christmas, Justin asked for a CD by a band called Mumford and Sons. Now, it pains me to admit this, but I have long privately held the opinion that Justin has zero musical taste. Whenever we're on long car trips and I'm driving and he's deejaying, I internally roll my eyes. A sampling of his favorites: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings,and Hank Williams Jr. with some Run DMC and U2 thrown in for good measure. If we had never wed, I can assure you that none of these artists would take up space on my iPod. One of his favorite songs by Merle Haggard includes the following lyrics:

Eatin' rainbow stew in a silver spoon,
Underneath that sky of blue.
We'll all be drinkin' that free bubble-up,
Eatin' some rainbow stew.

Eatin' rainbow stew in a silver spoon,
Underneath that sky of blue.

What does it mean? I don't know, but I have to restrain myself from jumping out of the car window at 70 mph every time I hear it.

So when Justin had a new band he wanted me to listen to, I didn't expect too much. But I LOVE Mumford and Sons. Their songs make me want to ride a galloping horse through the Irish countryside and then put on a wooly sweater and go to the pub and clink mugs with the grizzled old fisherman sitting next to me. Exhilarating! Love them.

Anyway, one of our favorite songs is called "Little Lion Man", and it is fabulous except for a very bad four-letter word that rhymes with duck figures prominently into the chorus. When we were listening to the song in the van with the kids, Justin would just turn the volume down on the radio when that word was about to be sung. We never explained to the kids why Daddy kept turning the music down, and Emma later said she just assumed he was trying to turn it up and couldn't figure out how to do it. Really? Are we parents so feeble-minded that she would just chalk up a whole song's worth of the volume going up and down to Daddy's ineptitude? Apparently.

Will liked the CD so much, he asked if he could put it on his iPod. Justin told him yes but that he couldn't put that particular song on it because it had a bad word. A few days later we were all back in the van; the song came on again, and this time I was the one censoring it. The song says, "I really f***** it up this time," so I just sang, "I really messed it up this time." Jack looked puzzled and said, "Mess isn't a bad word." And I said, "Well, they're not really saying mess. That's just what they mean."

The song still plagues us. The day finally came when I was listening to the album in the kitchen with my hands busy and the uncensored chorus of Little Lion Man came bursting through the speakers. Sweet Willy was in the kitchen with me and I looked at him and said, "Look. That word is inappropriate and I don't foresee a need for you to ever say it, but I cannot keep running to turn the music down every time they say a bad word, and I like that song too much to take it off the playlist.". He nodded and went back outside to play basketball.

Later Justin came home and I told him about what happened. While I hope they choose to use less offensive words, frankly, if the worst thing our kids ever do is drop the f-bomb, I will consider us a parenting success.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why I Usually Hold the Camera

Here's me, screaming, going down our sledding hill last week.

Still Screaming. This is why I'm screaming: the man formerly known as my husband is standing at the base of the hill with a snow shovel.  In wait.

He gleefully shovels snow onto his beloved bride.

Ah, yes. Still screaming, but colder now.

Will it ever end?

Yes, thank goodness.

Here's our friend David, who obviously was not paying attention just then.

One has a premonition of the cold terror that awaits him.

He tries to maneuver the sled away, but there is no escape.

Snow on your head, sucker!

He loses control of the vehicle.

And uses his head to bring himself to a stop.

And, finally, here's one more reason why we try to limit the husband's interaction with the snow shovel.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 5 Things I Could Do For A Really Long Time

1. Read at the beach (especially if someone else was watching the kids).

2. Talk to someone sitting next to me at the beach. I'm pretty chatty when I'm happy.

3. Watch Pride and Prejudice. The BBC version. All six hours of it, and then go out to eat with all of my girl friends and talk about how awesome it was. And then maybe go back home and watch Sense and Sensibility. I love me some Jane Austen English-countryside-walking heroines. And Mr. Darcy!! Reminds me of my angel baby, except I can't talk Justin into wearing cravats. Or riding breeches. Or a top hat. Shame.

4. Hike in the mountains. If it is somewhere beautiful but not too strenuous. If it is too strenuous, then it will have to go in my top 5 list of things I could do for 25 minutes or so.

5. Jigsaw puzzle. This Christmas I bought a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle and sorted it all out on a table downstairs. I thought everyone would love it! Turns out the kiddies were mildly interested in it, but I became completely addicted to it. Even now I can hear it calling me, trying to lure me away from the task at hand. The puzzle is pretty close to done, and I will be sad to see it go. I have been using it as a reward for getting things done, as in: if I put away all of this laundry, then I will give myself 15 minutes of puzzle time. OK 30 minutes, but then it's back to work! Seriously. I mean it. Just one more piece.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Can't Make New Year's Resolutions

Why can't I make resolutions?

Well, I can, I guess.  Last year I resolved to read the Bible through in a year, which led me to spend my "quiet time" in December plowing through Revelations, skimming II Chronicles, and jogging past the book of John frantically so that I could say (to myself, of course, because one does not boast about one's Bible reading), "I did it!"

I decided around December 28th that this was not Bible reading as God intended it, even though He is gracious to give us illumination and encouragement even from a cursory reading of His truth.  But after my decison, instead of finding a passage and just sitting in it, meditating on it, I chunked the whole thing and just stopped reading.  That is not Bible reading as God intended it either; so what do I do? I realized that I need a plan.  I love lists and charts and plans.  Which is why January 1 found me back in Genesis 1, Psalm 1, Matthew 1.  I need a plan.

If I made New Year's resolutions, I couldn't just stop at one.  There are too many things about myself that I would like to fix.  Which to pick to work on?  The truth is, I make New Year's resolutions every night around 10:30, every week on Sunday evening...

tomorrow I will/this week I will:

use my time wisely, 
get up and read my Bible, 
finish all of the laundry, 
change the light fixtures downstairs, 
repaint the boys' room, 
install new hooks in the kids' bathroom, 
clean the bathroom, 
plant my tulip bulbs, 
make a quilt, 
finish the scrapbook from 2008...

Let's just say hypothetically, that this time, I do it.  All of my tasks get done, I am a model of efficiency and cleanliness, I drop 4 dress sizes, and my friends beg me for advice and insight because of my obvious skill in all things domestic and womanly.  

Who would not be impressed?  I would dare to say that Jesus might not.

The problem with new year's resolutions for me (and for most people) is that they are all about me.  Me fixing me.  Me focusing, unrelentingly, wholeheartedly, on me.

I do that enough already.

This year, I would like to resolve to love God and love my neighbor better.  And even this  resolution is made in vain if I do not bring it to my Father, who is the source of any and all good to be found in me.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
  - Micah 6:8

That is my every day resolution.