Friday, March 31, 2006

mojo requested

Today around noon we start camping out for William's Georgia Pre-K position at the desired preschool. When's the registration? Saturday at 9 am! There are 10 slots left. I'm not thrilled that we have to do something so absurd, but I suppose this is the price we pay for not currently having him in preschool. I don't feel bad about it though...a year of speech therapy and occupational therapy has gotten him ready for school. I know we did the right thing, but now we have to wait in line for the coveted position. I'm still asking myself why they planned this to coincide with the beginning of spring break. I hope we make it to Hilton Head with some sanity. At least we have the chance to regain it there.

I'll try to post from the road if possible. I'm not sure about connectivity in Hilton Head.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

and something not so trivial

Last night I watched the second on Nancy Grace's feature hours concerning the death of a Church of Christ minister in Tennessee. In her first show two days ago she did not have anyone from the church speak, but instead choose a Baptist minister from Finland who seemed ready to entertain and called the church a "cult". (Transcript here.) Finally she allowed Rubel Shelly to speak for the church last night and her methods were less than desirable. She only allowed the man a split second to answer something and she seemed intent on making her point known before he could even finish a sentance. He was composed, calm, and thoughtful. In an hour show she only allowed 5 minutes to talk to Mr. Shelly. Deepak Chopra, a minister from Bob Jones University (who said the Church of Christ was not a cult at all), a minister's wife, and a Rabbi from the new TLC program, "Shalom in the Home" were all feature guests. When a caller had a thoughtful and informative question for Mr. Shelly it was clear that Nancy Grace was not pleased with the question since she had let Mr. Shelly depart the discussion. (Second transcript here.)

When news reporters decide to become entertainers also they truly lose all credibility. I learned an important lesson last night. Never take a capsulized bit of news and assume you know the whole story. I am the face of the Church of Christ... not some fictional story written by Nancy Grace. It's a sad situation all the way around -- three kids have lost their father to death and their mother to the crime.

thursday trivials

We are scurrying around trying to get ready for our spring break trip right now. As always there is tons to do and not enough time to do it. We'll keep plugging away. We are headed to Hilton Head Island, SC for a little vacation. I think we all need it. Dave has been incredibly busy at work and I've been juggling all the chaos with our's time to get away and just not think about real life for a little while. I anticipate lots of sand play, chasing of a toddler, and sunscreen. Dave would probably put some golf in that mix too. I think the most exciting thing we have planned all week is to take a dolphin watching cruise with the kids. We are using our timeshare arrangement so the whole deal won't cost us that much. I'm excited -- completely unprepared, but excited.

Last week we signed up for the YMCA's Parent's Night Out program on Friday night. Grace was a little young so we took her with us...unfortunately she isn't the most pleasant dining partner right now. We ate at a favorite Thai restaurant and it was nice to have some time together as a couple. Grace consumed almost everything we ordered. Apparently she has no food predjudices right now. After picking up the kids we headed home. Jordan and William were chattering about their night with friends when suddenly William exclaimed in a "Home Alone" type voice,

"OH MY GOODNESS! I actually forgot to make friends tonight!!!"

Funny, no? He's been on a roll lately. I think you can blame the fact that he is four years old and bursting with something to say all the time. We were at the dentist the other day for Jordan and I had all three with me. (I started to post about the funny chorus of noise that we made while in that little exam cubicle, but I was too traumatized.) The funniest part came when William -- who had restrained himself from talking during the whole exam -- said,

"Um, Excuse me Mister Doctor Whatever Your Name Is, When do you think you will be done with Jordan so we can go home."

Can you say, "See Mom blush and fumble for something cute to say?" following that little man's performance. He'a an original one I guess.

Tomorrow is the day that we have to camp out for William's K4 spot. The actual registration is on Saturday morning, but we have to show up around 11 am on Friday to guarantee a spot. Dave and I plan to trade back and forth through the night. Should be loads of fun. Thankfully my niece Laura has taken mercy on us and offered to help with the kids tomorrow afternoon. (Did I mention how much I adore her?) Let's just say we'll be glad to get to Hilton Head in one piece. I'll try to keep posting updates through the week as we travel.

Monday, March 27, 2006

the quiet to come

Our house is loud. Happy, chaotic, and loud. Three children under the age of 9 make a lot of noise. There are days when Dave and I cling to that little bit of quiet time after bedtime. We waited 7 years to start our family after our marriage and we were more than ready for this phase in our life. Still, I find myself uttering the statement, "Please, Mommy needs a moment to think." And occassionally a child looks at me like I might be "fragile." Maybe I am some days.

This weekend my sister-in-law came over to visit. She only lives five miles down the road, but it's nice to have a few moments to catch-up since everyone has crazy schedules. Alice has three children -- grown or almost grown. Her last one is graduating college next year. We only had two children at home since Jordan was off at a Girl Scout event. William had said, "Aunt Alice, Aunt Alice, ummmm I need to tell you something." almost a million times in her first hour here.

Finally I kindly apologized to her for the craziness. And she said something -- something she's told me before -- that stopped me in my over-apologetic southern tracks.

"One day, 18 years from now, these little noises will be gone and you will miss it with all your heart. I miss it and you will too."

I hope she keeps reminding me that the little moments -- the mundane moments -- are crazy memories that I'll miss one day.

(As I type this Jordan and William are having one of their "discussions". I'll miss it one day. I'll miss it one day. I'll miss it one day.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

times three

I've been going through some really odd dejavu situations lately. Today we were on the elevator at the YMCA -- I'm sure you are asking why I was on the elevator at a place where workouts occur, but consider the load involved with getting all of us to the gym -- anyway, William, Grace and I were there. We were headed to put Grace in the nursery so that we could first attend William's music class. (I worked out later.) We step onto the elevator. I put Grace down. William then goes into uber protection mode screaching, "Moooom, you cannot let her near these emergency buttons. Those are the ones she hits evvvvvery time and you will have to hold onto her hand tightly!"

Excuse me? My speed demon has come to his senses and is now telling me what to do with his younger sister??? Did the world stop turning today and I wasn't told?

Then tonight we were eating out -- which has become a pleasure with a 20 month old (she says sarcastically) -- and Grace starts stripping in the restaurant. She is determined to take her top off and you can be sure the pants were next in her little logical brain. I took one look at her and had instant flashbacks to Jordan (with the exception of Grace's blonder hair). When we were moving to Maryland from Hawaii Jordan stripped in a restaurant almost every night. She had only worn a sundress in Hawaii each day so winter clothing for Maryland's February weather was more than she could stand. More than once I accepted the award for mother of the year with Jordan's inappropriate clothing removal. That's not even counting the moment we got off the plane in Atlanta during the move and I handed her wrapped in a blanket with only a diaper on to my in-laws who had not seen her for 7 months. (Another traumatic story for another post...let's just say that the winter outfit transition on the plane ride DID NOT go well.) How old was Jordan when we moved? 20 months old. See? Dejavu.

Honestly, I think God is trying to teach me a lot of lessons with these kids. I adore them -- really I do. I guess I'm still not getting the point because I'm experiencing all this times three. Then again, at least I know that "this too shall pass."

Monday, March 20, 2006

circle of fire

Jordan recently read Circle of Fire by Evelyn Coleman. It's part of the American Girl History Mystery series. Yesterday she wrote the author. She's done this before with success and wanted to try it again to help with a school project she is to complete this week based upon the book. It was a little last minute so I didn't expect an answer so quickly. Here is the correspondance between Jordan and Evelyn Coleman:

Dear Ms. Coleman,

My name is Jordan Mxxxxxxxx. I go to Mxxxxxx Elementary School in Marietta, Georgia. I like to read a lot and I have just begun reading the American Girl History Mystery series. I have completed your book, Circle of Fire. I really liked it a lot. I have a project where I need to read a mystery and then do a creative project having to do with the mystery for my ALP Class. I choose Circle of Fire. It is due this Wednesday, March 22, 2006.

I was very interested in the book’s subject and was wondering how Mendy felt after she found out that Jeffery’s Dad was a member of the Klan. I just keep wondering what she might have felt when she found out how many people in town were in the Klan. I feel mad that the Klan thought that Jesus died just for them.

Thank you for your time. I’m glad you are helping me with my project,

And here is the author's reply which came only a few short hours after Jordan's letter (you've got to love email):

Dear Jordan,

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful note. I'm certainly happy to know you met Mendy and Jeffrey. You say you're to read a mystery and select a creative project having to do with the mystery? What creative project did you decide to do?

As for your interest in the book's subject, I imagine Mendy felt very sad that Jeffrey's father was a member of the Klan. As a young girl I realized that people I knew and respected were also part of the Klan in North Carolina, and I can tell you it hurt. I didn't mind that the Klan thought Jesus died for them, because I didn't believe for one minute that he died "just for them," but for all people. My father told me some people were just confused sometimes.

Thank you for reading Circle of Fire... and for selecting it as your project. I hope you'll write back and let me know what you decide to do as your project?

Warmest friendship,
Ms. Coleman

Words are very powerful, aren't they? I'm sure you've gathered that the book involves a story about a little girl who finds out about the Klan in the 1950s. Bravo to Evelyn for covering this issue with honesty and sensitivity so that young girls like Jordan can begin to understand the impact of history. I so appreciate all the American Girl products and books -- no commercial endorsements or advertisements, only things from a wholesome and intelligent point of view.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

pay it forward

This quarter our church has been offering a midweek class on financial stewardship. Dave and I have been enjoying the class very much. There are so many practical things to take in -- some familiar and some new. In addition the overriding theme has centered upon your attitude toward life and how you approach different money issues. Before we start the practical discussions each week our teacher goes though several applicable Bible verses. At the end of last Wednesday's lesson he challenged us to take the New Testement Bible and look up how many times the word "give" is used. I'm working on that task right now. I'll let you know the results.

It's interesting to think about the attitudes that people hold toward money, possessions, and life. It got me thinking about that movie, "Pay It Forward" which was released in 2000. (Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment) It's one of my favorites. How many people are caught up in their own concerns and don't notice an opportunity? I suppose we are all guilty of this, me included. I like this verse in Luke 12:34 (NIV):

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

ramblings in the key of springtime

Nothing new and monumental to post today. As usual it's been a busy week. Sunday we started off with a little excitement. We were getting everyone dressed for church when we noticed a rash on William. It progressed quickly, did not look like hives or allergy, but instead looked like Chicken Pox with the beginnings of pox blisters all over his body. Since there are a ton of pregnant people at church we decided to quarantine ourselves until we could get to the doctor on Monday. William was in good spirits, but didn't feel well. He began a low grade fever and we diagnosed him from internet pages. By Monday morning the whole thing looked worse. I took him to the doctor first thing. We were ushered directly to a room while mothers shielded their babies from us. The doctor looked William over good, touched the pox marks, and declared that it was an allergic reaction to the amoxicillin he had been taking for 9 days with no problem. We were given a steroid dosage at the office and then allergy medicine to take for the week. People still stood 15 feet away from us at the checkout line. It has taken three days for his skin to clear up. Looking back at the whole thing now I think we were fortunate that William did not have any breathing problems overnight from Sunday to Monday. His system is obviously allergic to any penicillin now.

We've been delivering the last of our Girl Scout Cookies. I bought a few extra cases to sell during the delivery. I was sweating a load about selling them, but the darn things sell themselves. Next year I would order more Somoas. I thought I was the only one who liked those better than the shortbread Trefoils and Thin Mints. Apparently not. Jordan's schedule is pretty busy each week. The amount of homework increases significantly during third grade and the commitment to after school activities does also. She has several big projects due this week. I was quizzing her last night for her Health test. William sat on my right hand side deeply interested in the textbook. He began to answer questions outloud. Dave asked him to be quiet so Jordan could answer them. William then leaned over to me and said so sincerely, "I'm gonna be ready for school. I was just getting ready for school with those answers." Ah, birth order just gotta love it.

I'm in the midst of lining up summer camp plans. William is still at the stage where you can pick a few fun theme day camps or sports camps and he'll be thrilled. Jordan is at the stage where you have to plan ahead for week long events which include week long camping and other activities to take her away from the chores he mother would assign to her over the summer break. I am excited that she will be attending a week long Girl Scout camp near Lake Allatoona. Dave once attended YMCA camps near that location and he said it is a beautiful place to learn to canoe, horseback ride, etc. It's hard to believe that she'll be nine this May.

Grace is becoming quite the little sister. William has an obsession with robots right now -- probably always will. Each morning he wakes up with a new assignment for the day. Yesterday it was to make a robot that moved like a snake. Problem is that Grace makes it her mission to mess with any project William is working on. I suppose it would help if William did not involve Grace's toys in the invention process. Earlier this week Dave started building a robot workbench with William in the basement. It all started when William asked Dave to bring home robot parts from work. That afternoon Dave came home with some parts. William was elated. They then progressed to the basement to begin making a workbench to keep things on and a few memories. It was fun to watch the excitement. I think Grace hopes that her toys will phase out of the robot part category soon. ;-)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

melt my heart

My little buddy William sat down to color at the kitchen counter. All of a sudden he realized that he could spell a word with the letters he knew. Carefully he wrote the word and then said, "Here Mom, this one is for you. It's got your name on it." It's the best gift I've gotten in a while.

Friday, March 10, 2006

3rd grade music performance

Jordan with her friend Abby after the 3rd grade concert

Something good happened last night. We were scheduled to attend a PTA meeting where the third grade would perform their yearly performance. Our elementary schools no longer hold "programs" during the school day. That's how it worked when I grew up...but that was eons ago. No longer do they do a spring themed program during valuable school time. How many times did you sing "Here comes Peter Cottontail" during your elementary years? I do know that Jordan and the whole third grade had been practicing for this program for a while.

Now I don't like having to sit through a PTA meeting with two young kiddos in my lap, but they did make an effort to speed through the proceedings. I thank them for that favor. Then the featured show came. Mr. Tighe, the music teacher at Jordan's elementary school, came out with the group and he showed everything they have learned throughout the year. It was amazing. He took them through all the vocal scales. Talked about how they combine different learning styles to reach more children in the process and built upon each skill until we saw a finished set of musical pieces that included recorders, voice, and glockenspiels (xylophones). It's hard to explain, but trust me when I say that they are learning musical skills that will last them a lifetime. It completely blows you away when you realize the depth of knowledge they are given. There's nothing wrong with a themed program, but this blew the pants off of Peter Cottontail. American Idol contestants should be so lucky. It's so obvious that Mr. Tighe is talented and loves teaching children. What a nice thing to see. After the show Dave laughingly said that he'd be impressed with just getting six third grade classes to stand still, but that he was completely impressed with the night's performance.

So when you hear public education slammed, just think of Mr. Tighe and others like him. Call me sappy, but our children are lucky to have people like him in their lives.

Lots of little faces with Mr. Tighe directing. Jordan is in the middle on the front row

Sunday, March 05, 2006

oscar night

WILLIAM: "Dad, did they just say "Cinderella Man"?"

DAVE: "Yes, that's what they said."

WILLIAM: "What *does* a Cinderella man look like???"

Friday, March 03, 2006

week's end

I cannot believe it is late Thursday night already. This happens to me on the weeks when Dave is traveling. Time flies incredibly fast and though I may accomplish much, it doesn't seem like it. It's been a good week overall, but I could sleep for days right now and the list of things to be done is still significant.

I wanted to impart some bits of experience and wisdom before the weekend began. Today I was "indisposed" when the phone rang. I heard William say, "I'll get it!" (And to his defense, he does very well answering the phone. It's the moment after that where he starts talking about whatever is on his four-year-old mind that scares me.) So I thought to myself that I had better get to a phone quickly. Not quite composed, I run down the hallway to our guest bedroom...BAMM! I tripped over my pants and landed on my left knee. It was one of those moments where you feel dazed and confused -- and it was at that moment that I realized I would not get the phone. I yelled out to William to not pick up the phone. For once in his life the little stinker actually obeyed my request on first chance.

Still on the floor trying to decide if I was injured (not badly), I listened to the answering machine pick up. Guess who was calling me??? A TELEMARKETER! I've learned two things from this incident:
1. Never run to the phone...especially if it is a telemarketer.
2. Let William answer the phone would be a special treat to hear him converse with a telemarketer.

Yet another laugh at my expense -- happy telephone fun from me to you.