Friday, March 30, 2012

Week 12: Spring Has Sprung

When I first saw this week's theme I kind of rolled my eyes. Our trees are still bare. There are very few flowers. This is the time in Utah when the weather can be 70 degrees on Monday and it can snow on Wednesday. Ridiculous.

I had no idea what I was going to post. I thought about going to the archives and finding something nice and springy from last year. But then...

Garrett ran in from outside. "The Ice Cream Man! He's here! He hasn't been here since last summer!" He got his own dollar out of his own jar to purchase his own ice cream.
And at 7:00 pm it was warm enough for him to eat it in the backyard.

Spring has sprung.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Little Bear

Last night was dress up like an animal night at Kid's Club. My husband, who does not currently have a face painting business on the side, turned the boys into a tiger and a bear. (We're one kid short of an oh my.) 

He should have a face painting business on the side, am I right?

When Matthew's face was finished, he sprinted into the room where I was and shouted, "Mama! Yook! Yook at me." He was frantically pointing a finger at his face. I oohhhed and ahhhed about how great it was and took to calling him Little Bear for the rest of the night. We actually decided that if Matthew was an animal he probably would be a bear.

On our way to the church I made a small gasp. Not so loud that Troy would think we were in eminent danger of hitting a small child, but loud enough that the boys would wonder why I'd done it. "What?" they asked.

"Little Bear," I said, "Do you know what happened to Matthew?"

He got a very puzzled look on his face, pointed to himself, and quietly answered, "I right here."

"I know where you are, Little Bear, but have you seen Matthew?"

He was silent for a few moments, clearly trying to figure out what rocker I'd just fallen off of. "Did we leave him at home?" I asked again in a playful tone.

He seemed to catch on and, with a glimmer in his eye, answered softly, "I eat him."

"You ate him?" I gasped, my eyes wide. "What did he taste like?"

Without giving the question any thought at all, he replied, "He taste like chocolate." Troy, Garrett and I were in hysterical laughter by this point which just made Matthew think the whole thing was absolutely the funniest thing he'd ever experienced.

"Little Bear," I said once I'd recovered, "did you also eat Matthew's brother, Garrett?

"Yeah," he confessed. "He's in my tummy."

"Oh. Well. What did he taste like?" I was very curious about the answer. I thought that, since Matthew tasted like chocolate, Garrett might taste like peaches or vanilla or Elmer's glue.

"He taste like chips."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spoiled Rotten

Currently, I'm reading the boys Little House on the Prairie. We've already read Little House in the Big Woods and, truth be told, I chose this particular book after finishing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the simple fact that I think Garrett will absolutely love Farmer Boy and I figured we should go in the order they were put in. I'm sure that, at some point, we'll get stuck in the middle of The Long Winter much like I did when I was in elementary school. But, for now, we're trucking wagonning through the second book in the series. Being that both boys are obsessed with the idea of the wild frontier, Indian jamborees and running through the prairie all day long, they're loving it.

Several nights ago we reached a portion of the book that I could still have paraphrased from when I first read it 23 years ago. Even way back then, in ancient times, I realized just how spoiled I was. Nearly a quarter of a century later, the chasm is even greater.

And in the very toe of each stocking was a shiny bright, new penny!

They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny.

There never had been such a Christmas.

Wow. We're ridiculous. This society. This day and age. We are a spoiled rotten people. I hope I can teach my children that life is about so much more than stuff.

"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days...You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter." -James 5:1-3, 5

Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 11: Night

Since we weren't anywhere spectacular at night last week, I had to go to the archives for this one.

It was taken near the entrance to Tomorrow Land last summer. We spent three nights and two days at Disneyland and California Adventure with my parents. My boys loved watching the fireworks, Matthew from my arms and Garrett from his grandpa's shoulders.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Matthew was being incredibly whiny and crabby this morning. We had a birthday party to go to and he felt warm. Truth be told, The Little Buddy is always warmer than the rest of our family. It had me so freaked out when he was an infant that I took his temperature incessantly, always thinking he was burning with fever. He rarely was. His skin is just toasty to the touch. Today, however, I figured I should make sure he wasn't running a fever before exposing a bunch of kids to whatever he might have had. He doesn't really like having his temperature taken--probably a side effect of my having shoved that thermometer into his ear on so many occasions. When I took it out of the cabinet he covered both ears and shouted, "No! I don't want it in my ear. I can't want it go beep beep."

He felt really warm so I said, "If you let me put it in your ear, I'll give you a chocolate chip." Because, well, I am absolutely not above bribery and if I can keep the peace for one chocolate chip I'll definitely do it. I took his temperature, he did not have one, and we set off for the kitchen in search of the chocolate morsel.

It should be stated that Matthew will not learn his colors. Flat out refuses. Or he's hopelessly colorblind. I'm going to go with the former for the next few months. I may explore the latter after that. It doesn't matter how many times I tell him something is blue or red or yellow, he simply will not learn his colors. It's getting ridiculous.

So I pulled down the tub containing the chocolate chips. It's a little Tupperware tub, not, like, a 40 gallon storage tub--although I like chocolate enough that a storage tub isn't beyond the realm of possibility. I selected one chip and handed it to my son.

He held it in his hand. His eyes got wide. He picked it up with the other hand and held it against his arm.

"Yook! This chocat chip is bwoo (blue)! Yike me!"

"Brown, like you," I smiled.

"Bwown. yike me," he grinned. "I yike it."

"I like it too, Buddy."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chocolate Milk

Two, tiny bottles of chocolate milk.

It was two, tiny bottles of chocolate milk.

And I considered selling my soul to the Devil himself.

Well, alright, it wasn't actually that dramatic. I'm saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8) and nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:39) and my Jesus isn't going to let Satan have my soul. But I struggled with my flesh over chocolate milk. An inner tug of war raged as I debated, always fairly certain I would do the right thing but with just enough disbelief in myself that I couldn't know for sure.

I've been saved by grace through faith since I was seven years old. That's 23 years of walking with the Lord and, still, the battle between the world and my God continues.

My boys love getting gift cards, especially to McDonald's. Yesterday I used the last of a stash of cards we'd been hoarding and treated the boys to Happy Meals after our trip to the grocery store. For Matthew, a hamburger (bugah, as he says it) and, for Garrett, a four piece nugget meal. For both of them, I ordered chocolate milk. As the woman behind the register rang me up, the man behind her placed two milks on the counter. I picked them up and put them into one of my grocery bags.

As I waited for the food, the woman turned, opened the refrigerator, and grabbed two milks. She put them down on the counter. It was not yet noon and the McDonald's inside the Walmart was pretty slow. I didn't figure the elderly woman in line behind me had ordered two chocolate milks. "It'll be just a minute on the fries," the man told me. I smiled and nodded.

Just a minute.

Just a minute for me to long, almost desperately, for a conscience that would allow me to steal those extra milks. I rationalized.

Don't steal. I thought. Although, for some reason, it came down all Kings James authoritative-like, Thou shall not steal. Hmmm, interesting, I thought, my conscience speaks King James. I always thought of my conscience as more of an NIV or a NKJV kind of girl. Is my conscience a girl? Hmmm. Deep thoughts. Stealing. Oh, right. Stealing.

It's not actually stealing. It's just taking what they are more than willing to give, the devil on my shoulder said. Leviticus 19:11 says that you shall not deal falsely, the angel on my other shoulder said. They won't know. It's mere pennies to a corporation like McDonald's, the devil said. You're gonna do that? You're going to sin against God and Ronald McDonald by taking chocolate milk? Really? You're pathetic, the angel contradicted and then punched the devil off my other shoulder. This is how I know it was all a figment of my twisted imagination. I don't think angels go around punching things. Although, to be fair, I've never had an actual conversation with an angel--to my knowledge--so I really have no idea what they'd do if provoked.

The man set the order right next to those two, creamy, chocolate milks on the counter. I walked forward, each step feeling like I had lead attached to my legs. "She didn't know you'd already given me the milks," I said. "So you can go ahead and put those back." Even though my inner monologue said something like, You can just go ahead and put those right here in my hands.

The war between the flesh and the Spirit is no laughing matter. Sure, I could have rationalized that I didn't have the intent to steal anything but my deceitfulness would have been sin enough and my conscience wouldn't have liked that very much.

Did I do the right thing? Yes.

Did I feel good about it? No.

Because really, deep down, I was simply appalled that after 23 years in a relationship with the Savior of the Universe, I considered the option of choosing to sin. And for what?

For two, tiny bottles of chocolate milk.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Are You Gonna Be When You Grow Up?

Just a few minutes ago I was talking to my mom on the phone. Garrett came in and asked me if he could do something. I said no. Like he always does, he began to negotiate with me. I finally said, "The answer is no. It doesn't matter how you ask the question. It doesn't matter how much you try to get me to say yes. It doesn't matter how many different ways you ask me. We are not doing that." He turned on his heels and stomped back outside. I said to my mom, "I'm not letting him be anything besides an attorney when he grows up."

My mom laughed and said something about apples and trees. Well, really she said, "That's what I used to say about you." And, really, I think I would have been a pretty good lawyer. I like to ask questions in all sorts of ways. I like to try to get people to say yes. So, yeah, the apple may not have fallen very far from the tree.

A couple minutes later the following conversation occurred.

G: Mom, what's an macounty?
Me: A county?
G: No, a macourty?
Me: I don't know.
G: A macountant?
Me: An accountant?
G: Yeah.
Me: Someone who works with money and how much you have and where it's going.
G: No. Not that. An attourmy.
Me: An attorney?
G: Yeah.
Me: Where did you hear that word?
G: You said it on the phone.
Me: You heard me say that I want you to be an attorney when you grow up.
G: Yes.
Me: (laughing) You can be whatever you want to be when you grow up.
G: But what is it?
Me: A lawyer.
G: AHHHH! You want me to be a lawyer when I grow up?*
Me: Why not? They make a lot of money.
G: But I thought I was going to work at Red Lobster and give you free meals every time you come in for dinner.

I can see him standing at a fork in the road. There's a sign in front of him that clearly reads Career Path. To the right is a road that will take him to a life of law. To the left is waiting on tables at Red Lobster. There he stands, day after day, unsure and indecisive. They are, after all, two very good choices.

*I think he still has some kind of lingering fear of attorneys. We spent over a year of his life traveling back and forth to court or on the phone with one lawyer after another concerning the permanent adoption of his brother. I think judges, courts, and attorneys hide in his closet and come out from under his bed at night instead of the normal monsters and boogie men.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Lion King

Last night the boys were watching The Lion King. It was pretty funny listening to the things they were saying.

Matthew: Yook, that yion is yicking a bear!

And, you know, come to think of it, little Simba does kind of look like a bear at first.

Garrett: Hey mom, Hakuna Manana!
Me: Matata.
Garrett: Hakuta Matata.
Me: Hakuna.
Garrett: Hakuna Mantana.
Me: Hakuna Matata.
Garrett: Whatever. It means no worries.

So we probably don't really need to worry about how to say it.

Garrett: I don't like that evil grandpa.
Troy: It's his uncle.
Matthew: He scary uncle.

Yes, Matthew, Scar is a scary uncle.

We fast forwarded through the part where Mufasa dies. But I was still reminded that I hate the way Disney kills him off. It's one thing when Nemo's mom dies in the first two minutes of the movie. I haven't formed a real opinion of her either way. It's quite another when Mufasa is all wise and kind and James Earl Jones and then he gets brutally murdered by his brother.

Poor form, Disney. Poor form.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Is He Adopted?

He's adopted.


Although this didn't stop the photographer at his 3-year-old photo shoot from continuing to ask incredibly pointed questions.

"Are they both yours?"


"Are they...brothers?"

"Um. Yes."

" mean...the little one is adopted right?"

Well, since I'm standing here and my husband is standing here and we're clearly white as paste, what do you think?

"Yes." Although, how on earth do you know that the older one isn't adopted?

"Where did he come from?"

"California." This answer always seems to slightly shock people. I assume they're looking for a response more like Ethiopia or Haiti or Uganda but it really seems like they're expecting me to say that he came from Neptune or maybe a galaxy far, far away. I try to be super friendly and kind when I'm answering questions about Matthew's adoption because I have no idea where the person is coming from and what life experiences sit behind their questions.

She really was very nice but the line of questioning just wouldn't stop. Eventually I had to make my answers short and slightly curt. I very nearly said, "We're done with the adoption questions." Because I don't want my very aware three-year-old to feel invalidated in our family.

It was different when he was a baby. But now he comprehends this stuff. 

We tell him his story just as we tell his brother his. It's a story of a mother's love, meant to validate his ethnicity, his culture, his past, as well as his grafting into our family and his future. Lately, though, I'm struggling to find the balance. When he sees pictures of his birth family he grows quiet. "Who is this?" I ask, pointing to his mother. He used to tell me.

"I don't know," he says in a tone that screams, I don't want to talk about it.

I want him to know that he is fully them and fully us and he can talk about his adoption as often or as little as he wants to. I don't want to bring it up so often that he feels that his position in our family is somehow invalidated. I don't want to bring it up so seldom that he feels that his position in their family is somehow invalidated. He is in the unique position of being a full member of two families--just in different ways. And I'm trying like crazy to create healthy lines of communication so that he never feels like we can't talk about it. But in trying to make that environment for him, am I inadvertently making him talk about it too much?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Week 10: Guess What?

This week we were supposed to photograph something that would make everyone have to guess what the picture might be.
Any ideas?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Several months ago, one of us made the mistake of quoting Gary Coleman in Diff'rent Strokes.

Instantly, after saying it just once, both of our children started quoting it. Over. And over. And over. It was one of those times when we cast a sideways glance at each other and sighed. We're trying to do this transracial family thing the best we can. All I needed was my then two-year-old, African-American son going around saying, "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" to everyone within earshot. While I certainly don't think there's anything inherently wrong with either of them quoting a television show, I didn't want the world thinking that I taught it to my son to try to be funny. As though he needed to memorize any piece of humor ever uttered by another African-American. But I also couldn't tell them not to say it because of the cultural and ethnic implications.

So they kept saying it. And we kept telling them to, maybe, not say it quite so much.

Over time, without us repeating the phrase, it has completely morphed. They still say it. A lot. It still makes them laugh hysterically. But it's like that game of telephone. Even though it's only been exchanged between the two of them, time has slowly evolved the sentence. Now one of them busts up when the other one looks at him and says, "What are you doing, Lewis?" (Although, to be fair, Matthew can't pronounce his L's so when he says it, it sounds more like, "What are you doing, Woowis?")

On Why I Don't Usually Read Fiction

There is a very good reason for why I don't typically read fiction. I'm a voracious reader. Once I start a good book something happens to the tendons in my hands and they refuse to pry themselves from the edges of the pages.

I read long into the night.

I forsake everything else in my life. The house falls apart. The dog raises the children. My husband forgets what I look like--which is a good thing because I fail to shower, brush my teeth, and get out of my pajamas. Alright, I'm exaggerating. A little.

I read The Help in a matter of days. I read several of Ted Dekker's books in just a few nights. I read The Hunger Games in six days. The trilogy, that is. I read the first book in one. Then I forced my husband to stop everything he was doing to read them. He doesn't have a church to run or bacon to bring home or a life of his own. He's at my every beck and call, really. "Troy, take every waking moment out of your life and read these. Now. Your very existence depends on it."
We literally devoured them. Those books never saw us coming.

I read them in the morning. I read them in the afternoon when Matthew was taking a nap. I read them late at night. I read them in line to pick Garrett up from school. I read them at the doctor's office while the boys looked at the fish. I considered reading them in the shower but they were on loan from a friend and she may not have appreciated me upon their water-logged return.

"What's happening?" I'd ask Troy who wasn't quite as far as me. Then, knowing what to say and what not to, we'd discuss what was going on. Garrett became intrigued. Obviously not wanting to tell our son the actual premise of the book...

You see, son, the books take place in a post-apocalyptic world, in a country where North America used to be. The government is corrupt. The people are starving. Every year one teenage boy and one teenage girl are chosen from each "district" to compete in a televised battle which will have only one victor. The other 23 will be killed. It's good times, kiddo.

...we glossed it over because, well, he's five. 

Um. Yeah. So. The books take place in a future world. The people in charge are bad guys. Every year 24 teenagers are chosen to compete in a game. ON TV! They get put into a big arena with trees and creeks and a lot of supplies. They get to use knives and go hunting and wear special clothes and, well, it's kind of a lot like camping!

Okay so we didn't actually lie. We just omitted. A lot.

When we finished reading all three we just kind of sat and looked at each other for awhile. It seemed there was precious little left to live for. I asked Jesus to take me home. After a few days I just decided to start writing the fourth book in the series so that at least I would have something left to read. But I'm really kind of too busy to be hijacking an author's characters. So I abandoned that otherwise great idea and the two of us turned to obsessing over the upcoming film.

Did I picture Katniss like that?

Is that what Thresh looked like in my head?

Is Foxface's nose pointy enough?

Troy brought home a People magazine dedicated to the movie. I read it in about fifteen minutes. And then my oldest son became completely obsessed with looking at all the pictures. "Can I go see The Hunger Games with you?" He asked. Simultaneously, Troy and I almost screamed, "NO!"

"Why not?" He asked. After all, it's just a movie about a bunch of kids who go camping. With, you know, intent to kill. The first book is basically a mingling of The LotteryThe Most Dangerous Game, and The Lord of the Flies. It's all fun and games until someone shoves a boulder down a hill and Piggy dies. Er, uh, until there's an all out blood bath at the Cornucopia.

"Um," we stalled. "It's not a good movie for little boys."

"Does someone die?"

Well if that isn't the understatement of the century.

Troy and I talked Hunger Games strategy. What would we do if we suddenly found ourselves in such a situation. How would we survive? It's what we do. We talk theology. We talk child rearing. We talk ridiculous hypotheticals.

"I'd run into the Cornucopia and just get the inevitable over with quicker," was my strategic response. He frowned at me, apparently not satisfied with my answer. It seems he thought he'd married someone tougher, someone wiser, someone who was actually worse at math and doesn't know that a less than 5% chance of survival is simply not good.

Garrett remains obsessed with the magazine. And all things Hunger Games, really. Since he doesn't understand what happens in that arena, he has said some hilarious things. "Mom, when I grow up, can I be in the Hunger Games?" "Matthew, stop bugging me or I'll put you in the Hunger Games." "Hey, Mommy, were you ever in the Hunger Games, you know, before college?"

Oh my dear, sweet, wonderful child, if Mommy had ever been in the Hunger Games, she would not be around anymore. Her strategy, after all, would have been to simply sprint straight into the blood bath.

See, I told you. There is a very good reason for why I don't typically read fiction. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Twin

My Matthew is a cuddle bug.

He's always wanted to become a part of me and if there was a surgical procedure that would fuse the two of us together--one that would make a black male toddler and a white female adult into conjoined twins--he'd sign us both up as soon as he could write. But lately he'll settle to just be in my arms all the time.

Which is a little weird since he's three.

He wants to burrow into my arms every night at bedtime.

He wants to be held.

He wants to sit in my lap for at least a half hour when he wakes up from his nap.

"Hode me, mommy."

"Snuggle me, mommy."

"Cuddoh, mommy."

"Kiss me."

"Hug me."

It's like reverse attachment disorder. Which is probably some kind of attachment disorder all on its own. But I'd be lying if I said I don't kind of love all the warm toddler affection.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Used to Be

I used to think of myself as a pretty good writer. Even though my theatre professor in college once told me to stop copying the writing style of one of my best friends. Even though it's never really amounted to anything. I'd read what I'd written with some semblance of satisfaction. 

I was selected to read a few of my haikus during the Writer's Symposium. That, coupled with the performance of my Crisis piece for a grant my director needed, prompted an English professor to tell me, "Thank you. I really love your art. It's so moving." That was music to this mostly left-brained artist's soul. I know, I know, you can't be a left-brained artist. I've heard. And I've tried more than once to manipulate the quizzes so that I come out right-brained. That's how desperate I am. That's how much I long to be creative instead of analytical. The professor said it in passing--I'm sure he never gave it another thought--but I won't forget it. 

To be recognized for my art, to know that someone noticed, was a moment of pure satisfaction. I'd spent the better part of three years being put to good use. Not many left-brained people grace the actor's entrance of a theatre. We're good for stage managing and production managing and anything else with the word "managing" attached to it. Except costumes. Whatever you do, don't let us near the costumes. So, while I'd learned a great deal in my classes and been given the opportunity to perform a couple of times, there was still a left-brained artist begging to express herself beyond making sure that we didn't exceed the budget for a particular show.

I turned to writing.

It was easy enough to do given that I was working toward--although never quite finishing--a second major in English Education. My time was spent alternating between the theatre and the LJML (Literature, Journalism & Modern Languages) building. I just loved every chance I got to write--especially creatively. And no one there told me to stop trying to copy my friend's voice. One of them did tell me to get back together with my ex-fiance and go to counseling but that's kind of beside the point. It's also a good example of why we don't listen to everything our college professors tell us.

I always received high marks when writing was involved. Feedback was nearly always positive. My freshman composition professor called me in to his office to ask, bewildered, how it was that I couldn't diagram a sentence. After we'd hashed that out he asked me where I'd gone to school. When I told him, he suggested that I go home and thank my educators for teaching me how to write so well.

I used to think of myself as a pretty good writer. I had a thousand ideas just waiting to paint the page.

Now I stare at a blank screen, with the cursor flashing, and wonder where all of that went. And I usually just end up posting a picture.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Competitive Moment

The Rock Star loves to play sports. Er, really, he loves to accumulate the cheap trophies that they hand out at the end of a season. He's played tee ball twice, soccer three times, taken several rounds of swim lessons, and is currently in a junior wrestling league.

But the kid is so passive, so not competitive, so eager to simply make friends and let them score goals or hit the ball or take him to the mat, that is tends to drive me a little bit crazy. I've been competitive since sometime during infancy. I quit playing softball at age seven because I wasn't good at it.

Forget trying to get better.

Forget practicing and practicing and practicing until I acquired the skill set necessary to play well.

I just finished the season and said, "Never again." So far I've kept my word, refusing, even, to play on the church coed league.

In wrestling this season, Garrett is 0-6. The first kid kept grabbing my son's neck, ripping it to the side, and throwing him down to the floor. I almost came unglued. When Troy walked back over to sit with me I told him that I previously had no idea that I was one of those moms. One who will march herself right on to the mat, grab the opposing kid by the waist, throw him to the ground, and tell him never to touch my kid like that again. Or else. Or else I'd press charges. I saw it all playing out in my head. Ally McBeal style.

I didn't do it, mind you. I just didn't know I was the kind of mother who would even imagine it. I was an athlete. I like sports. They're not for the faint of heart. I'm not faint of heart.

Except, apparently, where my son is concerned.

In his fourth match he got schooled, owned, a girl. I don't say that because I was shocked that my manly son couldn't beat a frail, little wisp of a female. I say that because if you're a five-year-old girl and you want to wrestle in a predominantly male sport, you've got to be pretty hardcore. And she was no wisp. When we saw that he was up against a girl we knew it was all over. He won't take a ball from a girl. He won't try to take a girl down. He was born with a chivalrous gene that didn't have to be nurtured. "Get her!" I wanted to scream. "Take her down." Because I'm a competitive psychopath with very little mercy and because I did not want my kid going easy on her because of her gender. Whether he went easy or not doesn't really matter. She would have killed him regardless of his effort.

Last night he lost his first match by, well, a lot.

He was well on his way to being annihilated in his second match when something happened. The other kid hurt Garrett. Suddenly I saw a look of absolute rage flash across his face. And my son started to wrestle. I knew that look. I've felt that look time and time again. I can't explain it. I would dive into a pool as just an average girl, but the moment I felt that water rushing past my pores, I wanted to win. At. All. Cost. Garrett flipped the kid and, with anger flashing in his eyes, managed to score several points before the match was over. He still lost but he started to wrestle with a purpose beyond, "Hey, it sure is fun getting flattened on the ground and then sat on for several minutes."

I don't know if Garrett will play ball or wrestle or play the piano or basket weave as he gets older but I wouldn't trade witnessing that look for anything. That look was straight up how I felt during every race I ever swam. And it was fascinating and hilarious to see it displayed on the face of my son.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Week 9: Eternal Love

When I first saw the theme for this week, I instantly thought of wedding pictures or shots of me with my newborn babies. I even thought of a beautiful picture I have of Matthew's mother snuggling him. But when I really began to dissect it I had to remember that the theme wasn't "Love" or "Long-lasting Love" or "Deep and Abiding Love." 

The theme was simply (and infinitely more than simply) stated, "Eternal Love."

Eternal: [ih-tur-nl] adjective. Without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing.

Our love for our children, while intense and without end, has a clear beginning--even though we can rarely remember a moment without them. Our love for our spouses certainly originated somewhere, sometime, long after we came to be. This left me with the realization that eternal love exists solely in the character of God Himself. Since fallible human beings all have a clear beginning, we are not capable of eternal love.

So, what to photograph? 

Christ's love for us had no beginning. It had no end. It's been there eternally. Before God created the heavens and the earth, His Son knew He would die for us. The timeless plan was finished on that day on Calvary but the love goes on. It will exist when there is a new heaven and a new earth. It simply is. And was. And will be. For eternity.

John 15:13--Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Photo Shoot

When The Rock Star was born, we started taking annual pictures of him in his daddy's Seahawks jersey. When The Little Buddy was born, I selected one of his daddy's business casual shirts. Oh how that child used to swim around in that shirt. He still does, really, but this year we got a few super cute shots.

He smiled. He giggled. He pouted. He danced.

I grabbed a tie out of the closet just to see if it added anything to the pictures. It certainly added entertainment for his still chubby hands.

He lounged around. He ran away. He came back.
He gave me sweet smiles and puzzled faces.
He seemed to enjoy playing dress up in daddy's clothes.
I'd say that I think blue is his color but this kid looks good in just about any color.

I have a hard time remembering that he's three and nearly all grown up.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Interview With a Three-Year-Old

The answers to these were recorded over a couple of different days since Matthew has the attention span of a hyperactive finch. I really had to work to get answers out of him. I suspect that his answers will change immensely over the next year.

1. What is your favorite TV show? Scooby.
2. What did you have for breakfast? Cake. (Cereal but sure, we'll let everyone think I feed him cake for breakfast.)
3. What is your middle name? Matthew! (I said, "What comes after Matthew?" Garrett said, "David!") DAVID!
4. Favorite food? I want to eat pancakes.
5. What food do you dislike? Um. My fingers. (okay)
6. What is your favorite color? Blue.
7. Favorite Lunch? Bread and broccoli. (I feel like these answers are not necessarily the truth.)
8. What is your favorite thing to do? I like to play outside.
9. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? On a train to penguins. (Sure. Why have a perfectly normal desired destination when you could somehow manage to take a train to Antarctica?)
10. Favorite sport? Football.
11. When is your birthday? I have presents and candy.
12. Are you a morning person or a night person? I'm night person.
13. Pets? Yeah. Dog and kitty cat.
14. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? I have a mask.
15. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to play soccer ball.
16. What is your favorite candy? I like suckers.
17. Where is the farthest you've ever been from home? I went on airplane to Grandma's house.
18. What is your favorite book? (He brought me) 1001 Pirate Things to Spot. (This is NOT his favorite book)
19. What are you most proud of? I like hippos.
20. What is your favorite movie? I like Scooby.
21. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Chicken

And for fun, I asked him the same questions that James Lipton asks at the end of Inside the Actor's Studio.

1. What is your favorite word? Lion.
2. What is your least favorite word? No.
3. What turns you on? (I rephrased with, "What do you like?") Food.
4. What turns you off? (I rephrased with, "What don't you like?") Scary.
5. What sound or noise do you love? Gorilla. Ooh ooh ooh.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? Scary. Rahhhh!
7. What is your favorite curse word? (I asked him what his favorite bad word was. He responded) pee pee.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I want to play soccer ball.
9. What profession would you not like to do? I don't know.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? (I omitted the "If Heaven exists" part) I want Him to say, "Now you get to have candy." (Well alrighty.) 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Week 8: Rule of Thirds

Check out the giveaway!


Rule of thirds? I had no idea what the heck this even meant. Any artistic bone I have in this old body is purely theatrical. Thankfully, when the topic was posted, there was a little message attached that instructed us to Google it if we had no idea what it was.

So I did.

"The rule of thirds is a 'rule of thumb' or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as paintings, photographs and designs. The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would." Wikipedia

It's a little challenging when your subject keeps wiggling off of your imaginary line, but I did the best I could.

And I kind of love the shot. I'm not thrilled with the lighting but I love that he looks like he's going to float away. I love that he's wearing his beloved rain boots. I love him. And I love that I took this right after his third birthday, so "rule of thirds" kind of took on another meaning.