Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Same Song 42nd Verse

I've written this post before.  It's the one where I lament about my lack of time and energy and mental clarity but also say I wouldn't trade anything for the intentionally spilled milk at the end of a long, thematic learning day including an astronaut suit and a matching cookie from the bakery even if it means changing my clothes and the sheets just when I thought I was about to punch out my timecard after a 12 hour shift and 1 private bathroom break and the pool being closed because someone (I will hunt you and I will find you, and then I will lecture you) brought glass into it and it shattered and I got the sweetest hugs and heard the sweetest mispronunciation of words and felt a huge victory at figuring out "baby toes" means a request for "Veggie Tales" and a huge defeat at learning vegetables think the people of Ninevah slapped each other with fish and trying to read the correct version of Jonah to my son of the same name and feeling defeated that my not-even-two year old had a much stronger preference for Jamberry but remembering my swelling pride in the achievements he reached earlier in the day and wanting a break but not wanting to be away but feeling like I'm never alone because I'm never alone, and trying to lose the baby weight from aforementioned almost two year old and wondering if I should start faking a late-announced pregnancy and sudden birth and carry around a baby doll to act like it's baby weight from a more recent baby but knowing that plan derails when said baby doll doesn't get any bigger, or move, or gets left in the hatchback while I run into HEB for the FOURTH time since Sunday and we still are low on milk and I wonder how is that even mathematically, physically possible but figure it's due to the fact that I can't start using my new planner until Friday so I have things written down on my phone and my old planner and August dates in my new one and no, you may not throw a real baseball down the stairs and yes, I am sure we will get a dog someday because we all seem to need something else to take care of and we might as well test out those awesome vinyl floors we are saving up to get because I decided I love real wood too much to put hand scraped Tobacco Road Acacia in a track house that is storing what was originally the genius idea of Christmas in July to make the fall semester easier on Santa but is now a bunch of Amazon boxes of Daniel Tiger paraphernalia when I am the only one here now who likes Daniel Tiger.

Yes. It's that post.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer 2015: June Edition

June is almost over and one of my many summer plans was to blog more, but I am a slow learner when it comes to life and time with a toddler!

Our precious mess has been on the go.  We have had some really tough challenges in this stage and a whole lot of fun.  It's like I always say:  parenting is just intense.  It's intense highs and intense lows - it's everything, intensified. Because you're dealing with a person! 

Per usual, my photo situation is hard to access because of computer overload issues.  I'll include what I can get to.

We've had a magical Boerne summer so far.  We've hit up Longhorn, Jonah danced till he dropped at the German band concert, we ate gourmet popcorn and watched The Lego Movie in the park, we've been to the pool every day we've been here and it's open (and not storming), we've ruined and fixed one car in the heavy rains we've had, are group swim class drop outs and semi-private lesson victors, said goodbye to dear friends, we've been to McKenna Children's Museum, the La Cantera playground, Chik Fil A, and lots of Library days, we've read, read, read,  blown 1.4 million bubbles, patted 19 dogs, counted 17 windmills (and watched the DVD about them an equal number of times), thrown 72.5 two-year-old size tantrums, discovered the joy of a flashlight, eaten frozen yogurt, had an absolute blast visiting the "beesh" with Oma and Opa, (I) listened to a great audio book from the library, made plans to write a book about how life is (probably) still worth living without wood floors, and, lest you have been living under a rock and think teachers don't do anything in the summer, done some school work.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Favorite Things: Books Edition

Here are a few of my favorite books right now:

Seeing as how it took me a full school year to get through one book (Elizabeth the Queen), I am having a thrill ride gobbling up as many books as I can.  

Here was the first chow down, and it rivals Lewis.  Need I say more?

Then I landed on a delightful rendition of a Scottish myth by my favorite, Alexander McCall Smith.  Thank goodness for the toddler I naively brought with me to the second, quiet, studious floor of the library (who discovered if you push books they fall out the other side of the shelf), or I might never have decided to grab it (or have worked up a sweat in the library).

The book above on the right, Jesus Outside the Lines, is my current read, recommended by a pastor friend, and it is nothing short of fantastic.  It is challenging and apt.  I love when someone is gifted with truly shedding light on a facet of our culture and our selves, and Sauls does that here beautifully and not in the tiring way often used to critique our world, but in the very manner he proposes: that of truly loving the recipient of his message and first understanding and empathizing with where he or she is coming from.

Next on my favorite reads right now is this gem - another refreshing call to clear thinking.  I like to keep a book on my Kindle phone app for unexpected waiting times, but apparently lines around Boerne have been quick (or I've been too busy shielding all the M&Ms in the checkout lanes from aforementioned toddler) because this screen shot from my phone says my reading speed is 1%.

And for Jonah, we have loved what seems to be a bigger selection of board books from our library recently.  He's been excited for new books, which has been fun for us (I know - two teacher parents happy for reading enthusiasm.  It's shocking, I realize).  That's really just our cover, though.  The truth is, Netflix is a huge flop right now so that's why I'm all about reading.  Aside from the four episode delight I found called "The Brian Boitano Project" about a home restoration in Italy, it's all mere distraction. 

(No, home restoration stories are not mere distraction.  They are true stories, and mirror our own spiritual journey of alone to claimed, of empty to inhabited.  They are redemptive and inspiring.)

(Yes, I just justified watching HGTV with biblical concepts. I would do it again.  I can do the same for any meaningless purchase - just call me.)

Yet in all seriousness, perhaps there is a time and place to slow down on reading and start to focus on some other skills.

Really, I can only assume I've been using a mouse the wrong way all these years.  Happy summer!

Friday, April 10, 2015

As the Windmill Turns

It's been two months since I've last updated but it feels like two weeks.  This is how I know I'm getting old.  Also, I can't fit myself gracefully into a child size tent anymore and I've started researching products for my face.  

But I'm sitting here listening to Melanie Shankle's new book (thus my writing style may sound like hers - I have a tendency to chameleon and possibly haven't found my "voice" as my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Coffee, said we should all do), and am texting with one of my best friends and can't seem to get up off the couch to actually go to bed.  

So, I might as well blog.

If you're reading this from Facebook, that means you're friends with me on Facebook and that means you've already seen most of these pics and heard most of these stories.  But for the sake of archiving and not failing to live up to the over documentation standards of the twenty-teens, here goes.

For spring break we went to the Lubbock windmill museum.  Because who doesn't plan their vacation around what an 18 month old is interested in?  It was a precious little family trip, and relatively easy given that we were the only car headed TO Lubbock for spring break.  Once we were there though it was apparent how sick Howard was, I may have made him change our hotel from the sketchy side of Lubbock to a less sketchy side of Lubbock, and things generally seemed to get hard.

But we persevered and oh was it worth it.  After a stop in Abilene to spend the night with Great Gape, a pullover in Roscoe to see the wind farm, and a sweet night catching up with my dad's side of the family, we spent the whole next day touring the American Wind Power Museum and left with trinkets and books and a documentary about windmills that has been on a loop at our house ever since and that my parents claim "is really well done and even won a Telly."  They've seen it, because if you spend any time with us at all, and they have, you watch the windmill DVD.

Jonah's windmill obsession has even inspired aspiring artists and real artists!  I started this knife painting for him:

And our kind friend Paul De Luna, who actually knows what he's doing as evidenced by the fact that he does it for a living, is sketching this for Jo:

It's a sweet, exhausting time.  My house is never clean.  It's a chore to feed people - particularly because one needs several different meal options, one has certain health requirements (butter is ALL NATURAL people, get on board with me here) and because one doesn't actually get the chance to eat anything but has heard rumors of people dying if they don't so stuffs the non-windmill part of a cut-out peanut butter and jelly sandwich in her mouth or takes the last of the chicken nuggets and chips only to return most of that after discovering that it's soggy because someone else has already almost eaten it.

And it's just like my dad said it would be: everything is sticky.  I didn't know what he was talking about but it's become so true.  Everything.  Every surface in our home is sticky.  And the disturbing part is I don't really know what it's from.  It could be Children's Tylenol.  It could be finger painted yogurt after deciding spoons were too cumbersome.  But most likely, it's my spilled coffee.  I can't multitask when I hear the cat being pulled by her tail because she's been mistaken yet again for a stuffed animal.  The poor thing.  This was supposed to be her castle.

But I wouldn't trade the sticky and the tired and all this newfound knowledge of windmills (like the mechanics of the pumping cylinder or the fact that the Halladay Standard was the first self-governing windmill) for all the world.  And I especially wouldn't trade last night when I have Jonah a funky hair do in the bath, showed him, and he flipped out, fearing it was permanent.  I had to show him the final product before he stopped calling for Papa.  

Nor would I trade watching him savor with giggles and sheer delight his first blueberry bagel while we strolled around HEB...

or watching him pose with pride next to the tent I am sure he absolutely thinks he assembled...

...or snuggling with me on a rainy morning, or reviewing all the animal sounds (the owl saying "owwwwl" is my personal favorite), or patting me goodnight at the day's end...because this IS the world.  I already have it.

And this leaves me to conclude once and for all that I will actually be the crazy lady in "I'll Love You Forever" who hikes up a ladder to her grown son's window in the middle of the night so she can rock him.  Because that's completely normal.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How to Live With the Emotionally Unstable

1. Provide well planned projects, such as this one (though I'm not exactly sure what it is).  They can be simply accomplished by storing numerous unsecured items at low levels.

2. Take art classes as a form of therapy...because actually going to therapy requires too much talking for late night hours like 8:00pm.

3. By the fourth attempt to feed, the EU ("Emotionally Unstable," not to be confused with "European Union") should be very well ready for a more creative factor to his food presentation.  Sandwiches in animal shapes can become very predictable.

4. Connect with your like-mindedness with God and remember that He created man foreknowing he would fall.

5.  Yes, that's a meal time in front of the television.  It became more important that he get some food in him than how exactly that happened. Sometimes when a Nazi knocks on your door and you lie to protect the Jew you're hiding you have some higher moral priorities too, so hush.  Oh and yes - he's eating off the builder grade carpet.  See previous example about lying to a Nazi.

6. Provide plenty of animal experiences for the EU.  For example, catback riding has been shown to greatly aid those dealing with emotional instability.  However, beware there may be some cases in which the rider and the cat don't 'gel.'

7. Find a stable, committed man who can keep a cool head.

8. Ensure the EU has a steady supply of refined sugar.  If you get behind in this area, don't panic.  Do quickly and calmly find the nearest emergency shelter and take cover.  True Paleo living is learning how to flee.

  9. Enjoy the moments of joy that remind you of the fulfillment you had in bringing home the EU from the alien ship that landed in your backyard.  

10. Stay up until wee hours of the night preparing for a special 13.2 seconds of excitement for the EU for a holiday that isn't really supposed to be a big deal, so you think, making it a big deal is extra special so not making it a big deal isn't an option because the EU will take no prisoners!!  I mean takes prisoners!!

11. Admit that you are the EU.  Send the smaller EU to work on a ranch while you begin the recovery process.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Something Rather Than Nothing

Recently in one of my courses I've been leading students through the Craig / Krauss debate entitled "Life, the Universe, and Nothing."  Of course one of the ancient questions of "Why is there something rather than nothing" comes into play at one point as Craig tries to show Krauss that science can't answer that. 

This post will be nothing like that debate.

Nonetheless, while baby boy is getting all the day's cookies hosed off of him allow me to share some things I thought would look like huge accomplishments once posted that are apparently really very normal. I guess the fact that there's something rather than nothing is itself the huge accomplishment.  

I have been watching Pioneer Woman on Netflix and am a tad obsessed.  My mother in law doesn't get it, but that's because she is the real Pioneer Woman.  For those of us who think pizza rolls from the freezer are dinner, it's really fun to watch and start to cook through.  

So, I made her Bowtie Pasta Chicken Alfredo.  I made mine with chicken sausage like my friend does.

Ok awesome.  I made dinner.

Next on the list of exciting:  Valentine's treats for Jonah's little classmates.

I bought these inexpensive bags at Walmart and used a white paint pen to write on them.

I filled them each with one bath time toy.

At first they didn't fit.  I may have gone into a slight panic that I was the worst mom ever.  Then I looked at the chevron and the chalkboard going on and told Pinterest to shove it. 

And that's exactly what I did with the toys and made it work.

I was feeling pretty good until I realized I didn't have enough bathtub toys.  Repeat the worst mom / best mom scenario from above.

I pulled out some unopened door stoppers for the rest of the treats and solved crisis número dos.

It takes a Master's degree, people.

It was a gorgeous day so after I made the week's cookies (I feel insecure if there aren't baked goods in our cake dome), we played and played outside with Jo.

That is, until, I couldn't get him to stop checking the mailboxes and had to haul him, the mail, the keys, my phone, and oh...the most awkward red rider bike / trike / stroller apparatus from around the corner to our house.  It was perhaps the most difficult trip back from a mailbox ever made.

Jonah was kicking and screaming and after all sorts of cajoling, including trying to shed some light on the situation by telling him some people in the world are being persecuted for their faith and we are just trying to get to the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at home, I gave up.

For some reason (probably the reasons) my efforts didn't work so I had to hoist the not so tiny human up like a firewood log and just trek it out.

Hey.  It's something.  That's better than nothing.  (But not better than just WALKING HOME.)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Getaway done right

We just had a fabulous staycation in downtown San Antonio.  Allow me to relive before the plumber arrives to gut my kitchen on a mission to find what's leaking (ugh).

We ate at La Frite, my FAVORITE restaurant this side of the pond.  Seriously it's the best. It's a Belgian café with a quirky casual, intimate atmosphere and haute cuisine.  We had time to linger, drink La Fite, eat savory brie and Vol Au Vent de Poulet ended by chocolate mousse...sigh.  I mean does it get any better?

I even tried mushrooms with my vol au vent.  I figured it was only fair if I'm asking Jonah to try new foods.

Then we stayed a hotel downtown - The Pear Tree.  We had our own queen beds and slept with both ears closed.  For me, that meant 11 hours straight.

We do things right.

(Howard doesn't do selfies.  So I just do them for him.)