Sunday, May 19, 2013

Even On the Way to Church

This was a typical Sunday morning around here: anything but peaceful and contemplative as we scurried around readying ourselves for church.  Untangling hair, "discussing" clothing options, and repeating - at least 3 times - where the kids can find the yogurt are not activities that lend themselves to restfulness.  I am not the first parent to recognize that hypocrisy paves our way to worship service after an hour of yelling.
But - oh thank you! - grace follows along too.
Grace = favor that I do not deserve, blessings that I cannot earn.
It was grace, I believe, that snapped me out of my on-the-way-to-church-distraction and opened my ears to the song coming from the seat directly behind me.
Happy girl with crazy, breezy hair
Like many a four-year-old, this little girl of mine sings a lot made-up songs. This morning's musical creation was mostly made up of common phrases from "church" choruses:
I shout to God. 
He is so great. 
I love you, God. 
He knows what I'm feeling.
It wasn't particularly melodious and it didn't rhyme. However, it was the most beautiful sound of the morning:  a hymn of spontaneous worship from a child who can't make it through a Sunday service in just one seat.
Did you notice? He knows what I'm feeling. 
I have no idea what was going through her little head that would prompt those words.  But I needed them.  He knows...
Our Sunday morning frazzle-rock doesn't surprise the great God.  I think He can handle this tattered mom and her rambunctious offspring that fidget and whisper through prayers.  His grace means that He still likes us, even when our company manners collapse and we behave like those people you shake your head at in the grocery store.
He knows...
When I feel tired, or fabulous, or overwhelmed, or in control, or just plain lazy, or like a failure  These feelings do not take Him off guard. My varied and shifting emotions do not change His love for me.  He loves me because of who He is, not because of anything I've done. I cannot earn grace. It follows me in the giddiness of a "good" day and even on the way to church.

Aren't you proud of this trick I taught my songbird?  Who needs plastic surgery when scotch tape is available?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Lovely Interruption of Spring

We had a beautiful spring here in Northwest Ohio. It was last week, in case you missed it.

We had some lovely moments together, Spring and I.

Those moments were usually interrupted by children, or laundry or a dog that has discovered the newly plowed field behind our house.

You shake your head. You roll your eyes a little. What is Honour's problem?  Doesn't she know that the loveliest moments of life are found in those interrupting children? In serving her family? In yelling her dog back into her own yard?

Well, yes, Honour knows all that.
Honour even tries to embrace those lovely interruptions.
Don't go packing Honour's case for a guilt trip she doesn't need.

Some botanical specimen outside Honour's dining room window, May 2, 2013
Spring ends quickly. On the calendar, Spring lasts from March 21 until June 21.  But most of that isn't spring.  The first six weeks of that time is merely Winter winding down.  It is muddy,windy, rainy (but only if we don't need precipitation; brown and bare if we do).  Balmy one day, freezing the next.  Too cold for a jacket, too warm for a coat.  Those first six weeks of calendar "Spring" are like the last 30 minutes before a toddler's nap: nothing pleases her; she needs a drink, she needs a snack; she feels hot, she wants a blanket; she's tired but wired; whiny and whimsical in turns, but since she doesn't like taking turns, she's mostly whiny.
Nap time eventually comes, and so does Spring.
For a WHOLE beautiful week - two if you're really special - everything is blossoms and buds.

Exact same specimen, outside the exact same window, May 5.
What do you like better - promising buds or full-blown blossoms?  The anticipation is exhilarating, but the realization of their potential is quite heady too.  It's rather like a theater production, don't you think?

 In all honesty, of the four springs we've lived here, I have never seen this tree quite so luxuriant in blooms.  As you can see by the arrangement of the patio furniture, we just sat around and stared at the pinkness.

Just kidding. Maybe someone sat around the fire-pit in the pre-Spring coolness.  Maybe the dog had a party while we slept. Maybe the tree did a little Shakespeare for the varmints.  Maybe...

It is precisely because she knows the season is fleeting that Honour didn't mind ignoring her children, laundry and dog for a few minutes to just stare at the pretty flowers. Yes, she was contemplating the ephemeral season, but it also took a few minutes for the caffeine to fully awaken her brain to the commotions around her.  [And if you're going to ask how laundry creates a commotion, you're obviously lacking in imagination.] She doesn't mind much of anything in those first few sluggish moments of the morning.

Spring has had her week of loveliness.  The tulips are wrinkled old ladies, well past their prime and missing most of their petals, although none of us have the heart to tell them that.  The daffodils seemed aware of their own decline and, shriveling upon themselves, quietly faded, without the fight of their sisters.  The ornamental and fruit trees exhausted themselves in performance and scattered their own flowers at their feet.  Maybe someone clapped, but none of us heard.
Now it is Summer. 
We our wait for thunder storms and the calender to catch up.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

As-I-Watch-It Review of Les Miserables

8:03 - Hugh Jackman is the best beyond scruffy parolee I've ever seen. I feel simultaneously repulsed and attracted.  And why can't more church men be portrayed as the generous and singing types?

11:27 - How can I keep my teeth from turning black? Because there is no hiding black teeth when you sing.

15:20 - Oh the scabs! The horrible facial scabs! At the end of the day, I am so glad I'm not a French beggar of the 19th century!

17:30 - He took way more than eight years off of his life in the last eight years. And now I feel like I must sing everything. "Is there anyone here who can swear before God she has nothing to fear, she has nothing to hide?" Well, yes. Actually, I think I can... at least before God. Perhaps not before people, but definitely I'm not hiding anything before God.

21:50 - I wasn't sure if it was you, but then I saw you straining and I knew.  Ironic.

24:55 - I really, really, really hope my children don't need my teeth someday.

27:00 - Not graphic, but I had to shrink my screen because there is a tent full of little boys in the back yard.

27:something to 31:ish - Actually cried a tiny bit. And I don't even like Anne Hathaway that much. And I don't understand how she can sing so shortly after having teeth pulled (hey, I could barely talk after having some teeth pulled, not to mention sing my guts out! But maybe my drugs were more powerful.) But I totally get that a mother would do anything she could - would sell everything she has - to save her child.

36:40 - It suddenly just struck me / that I'd have really liked to see / Sacha Baron Cohen / in all of Russell's scenes.  (pretend I just sang that.)

44:32 - Sword vs. Wood Trim Torn From Wall. Never choose the sword.

47:00 - Oh. My. I forgot she was in this movie! HELENA (Bonham Carter) I love you!!!!! Even in nasty, mean inn keeper roles, you are the best.

47:50 - And now I see why he couldn't have taken Russell's place. Sigh.  Such villainy.

52:46 - But where did he get the dry clothes? Didn't he escape out the hospital window into the convenient water below?

55:37 - "Let's not haggle for darling Colette." "Cozette." "Cozette."  LOL'd on that one, I did.

 59:37 - His hand as he strokes her hair = unnatural. Which I guess is natural for someone who is thrust into an unfamiliar responsibility.

63:17 - I'm escaping from the authorities, sneaking around a cemetery with a child I just bought from her decrepit guardians, it's the perfect time to burst into singing!

64:08 - WHY DID THEY GIVE HIM SO MANY SONGS TO SING?!?! He's doing his best, but it's just hard to not hear him say "Are you not entertained?!?"  And I'm not that entertained during this solo on the rooftop.  Plus my husband has walked in, and his attention span isn't musically inclined.

70:00 -You don't see many freckle-faced heroes.  Stop asking so many questions,  Corey.

76:03 - Love always trumps revolution. Love is a revolution of it's own kind. Especially with singing. Wait.  The guy with the pipe looks like Sherlock. Surely not. No, it's not.  Anyway. This younger brother is going to have a uphill battle in love, because it doesn't look like older brother is not going to help him with this love, what with his higher call and all that.  And Corey finds the freckled guy annoying, but really, he's hott in an an endearing, innocent, freckled way.

79:50 - Crap. No time for love. I've got to go with this revolution bit.  Unless the girl that burns with unrequited love for me can find the one that I do love for me.

81:50 - He calls her a lonely child, but she's really rather grown up now.

84:49 - It's beginning to look like they used up all the good songs at the first part of the movie.

85:55 - Wait. I like this weird trio. Kinda. Whoa  That was a pretty high note, Amanda.  And now you're busted for being out in the gated garden at night.

89:00 - Singing in the Rain.  Talking to myself.  She appears to have a dimple on the left side of her smile. Basically, she is just like me. Except with darker hair. And that whole unrequited love part. Right, Corey?

93:00 - Now that is a sports bra.

94:00 - Stirring song, in which we find out that if love disappoints you, you can always fall back on revolution.

96:00 - "Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men." I am going to hijack this song faster than they hijacked the funeral. "Do you the mother sing? Singing the song of angry mom... something about not being slaves again. I think it has to do with dirty socks..."

98:00 - Well that protest went badly.  Too bad for the piano.  And Russell is infiltrating. I never liked him.  Don't trust him. Listen to the urchin.  And now he's throwing punches instead of telephones.

102:00 - Distant marching footsteps never bode well.  Notice they stopped singing?  Really hard to wage a meaningful  battle when you're singing.

104:00 - How is it raining on her and not him?  But at least she's singing again.  And begging for his affection.  And making the urchin cry.

107:00 - Uh-oh. Valjean has found out Cosette's secret love.

111:0something - I'm tired of keeping track of how much longer this movie goes.  Javert needs to forgive. Like yesterday.

I'm curious about the historical setting of this story. French history has never interested me, so I really don't know that much about it. (I mean, it involved a reign of terror, how edifying could that have been?)  Apparently  it doesn't interest Corey either, as he is heading off to bed.  There is a limit to how many solos he can handle... but I feel like I've committed so much to this movie already, so how can I not finish it?

Did they give Hugh a perm for this role?

If you feel like giving up in a hopeless situation, a singing child with a cockney accent will always energize you to keep fighting. Just hope that he doesn't die within thirty seconds.

Never mind. Listen to the police man with the pom-pommed hat and the waxed mustache.  Please.

They never listen.

Barricade of furniture and mattresses vs. Cannon fire.  Hmmm... I'm pretty sure the brothers are on the losing side.

There is no stopping Jean Valjean.  Not sewers.  Not hopeless revolutionaries.

That little actor kid playing the dead child is amazing.

Russell hears groaning.  All the best scenes take place in a sludge of watery crap.  They end with Javert at the top of the stairs.  Because he won't give in.  Corey has missed the best part.

Top of the bridge. Green screen, much?  I don't know what's making me sick: the high "note" of Javert's suicide solo or the crash at the bottom of the leap.  Maybe I shouldn't have stayed up for this.

How would you sing "There lived a man named Jean Valjean..." without laughing?  "Who am I? Who am I? I'm Jean Valjean." *snicker.

In the end: love does outlast revolution. Except that in heaven the revolutionaries get to keeping singing their angry song. Well, that part doesn't make sense, does it?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Over Anticipater, Not Over Achiever

Sometimes I get excited easily. I over-anticipate and make too much of an upcoming event and then crash in a burst bubble of failed expectations.
Sometimes I go totally low-key and last minute about stuff and then bask in the surprising awesomeness of the outcome.
I mix-and-match these beginnings and endings. I have illustrated with a flowchart.

Interestingly enough, this flowchart in itself started in the happy yellow circle, but has ended up in the descending gray arrow. Design is not really my forte.  I think Pinterest is an excellent example of this optimism/pessimism pattern.

Anyway, today is my Birthday. I have not over-anticipated the day, and it totally shows in my housekeeping. Also in my homeschooling.  Friday we had to cancel school for the day because our trip to the health department for vaccinations took much longer than I had scheduled. Also, those shot-up kids didn't feel very well after the microbes of disease were coursing through their veins.  It turns out, when you wait until a kid is big to get shots they get a whole lot at once.  Incidentally, the dosages don't increase, just the number of shots available to them.
Vaccinations are a controversial subject.  I only like controversy when it's pronounced the British way, (con-TRAUV-eh-see) so let's just not talk about it unless we can do so with a proper voice.
Since Friday's schoolwork was displaced by Friday's controversial injections, it has become Monday's Assignments.  Easy, right? Because everyone likes to start their week out with a few spelling tests amid the loads of laundry and dishes and leftover food that must be eaten.
Between Weston's birthday party on Friday night and my birthday today, it has been a four-day weekend of Bad-{for Waistline}Foods: Burgers, Chips and Ice Cream, followed by Donuts, Hot Dogs and Pizza, then Ribs and Pecan Pie with no random bursts of running anywhere in the mix.  Tonight the Daddy and I are going to go on a date which of course means eating high-calorie foods and someone whispering to the server that it's my birthday in hopes that they'll present me with a free dessert.  This also means that I should try to hide some of the evidence of the weekend's crazy fun (i.e., clean the bathrooms and wash the dishes) before the babysitter shows up.
I'm all about starting in the purple circle today.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

World's Greatest Eleven Year Old

Today is my oldest child's birthday.
Teeny tiny baby announcement

Thanks to this kid, I feel pretty old now. We have suddenly reached that stage where I can humiliate him {quite easily} in public just by opening my mouth.
What I'm trying to say is that he's more of an adult than I am and that makes me ancient.
Yesterday he told me, in an off-handed way, that my teeth look like Mater's.  He's full of great compliments. Maybe they're payback for the embarrassment.

2 years old

There are days I love this mom job and days when quite honestly feel like maybe I'd rather do something else.  But there is never a day when I don't want to be a mom to this kid (or his fantastic siblings). Does that make sense? I'm confusing like that.

 Happy Birthday, Kid. I appreciate your patience with this first-time mom...

 your curiosity about everything (especially every gross thing)...

your creativity and initiative...

and your general wackiness.  It's our distinguishing family trait.
I love you.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Random Thoughts Strung With Tenuous Thread

You would not believe the difficulties I just dreamed my way through in order to get to Zumba class.  When I found myself topless in the woods, my arms hopelessly tangled in my sports bra, I realized that I must be dreaming and I sat down to wait until I woke up.  There is no way I am missing Zumba this morning - it is the most fun workout I've ever done.  Not that I'm a workout expert.  I just like making faces at the instructor because she's a relative [small town issue] and I take it upon myself to lighten her load. And also to get her out of sync.
After I woke up, I snapped this picture with my phone:

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my bed invaded by a toddler.  Although small for her age, she understands how to position herself to increase her holdings.  The bundled shape in the left half of the bed is my husband. The remaining edge was where I had been dreaming 30 seconds before.  It is no wonder I dreamed of hardship, trying to maintain that precarious balance.

Yesterday morning, Sambonini brought down his dirty laundry without being asked.   What a grownup kid!  Of course this means he was out of clean underwear. But I'm glad he's reached the maturity level where wearing yesterday's dirties is unappealing.

I have a crazy-lot of work to do today.  Too bad I am out of paper so I can't print my to-do list. Has anyone noticed that kids these days don't practice the conservation that they preach?  The idea of using the backside of a sheet of paper seems to be deplorable to them.

Right now I'm trying to decide if I should have a egg and avocado sandwich for breakfast or granola.  Both options make me feel so earthy. My kids are helping themselves in the kitchen, so I'd better go in there and choose.  [Avocado rhymes with bravado, so it's pulling ahead right now. Is there anything special that granola rhymes with?]