Monday, September 30, 2013


I just found this series of "selfies" that Garrett took of himself back in July. Before he got a haircut. Before he lost his top two teeth.

I think they should make an appearance on his wedding slide show. Don't you?

This kid.

He cracks me up.

He melts my heart.

He's growing up too fast.

Also, he's weird.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


When the Little Buddy was a bit smaller, he ate dirt. He ate kind of a lot of dirt. I mentioned it to the pediatrician. He didn't seem overly concerned. Later, it reached unfortunate levels and we began rationing the amount of time he could play outside. Because, see, every time he went out he ran straight to a muddy part of the yard and shoveled in as many fistfuls as he could before I scooped him up. He was tiny. His language was at a minimum. Still, when I asked if he could play outside without eating dirt he said yes even though the answer was a clear no. Then, when I asked him why he was doing it, the answer was a slightly less clear, "Ah dunno!"

He grew out of it.

A few days ago, we discovered an unattractive shade of dirt lipstick smeared around his mouth. His daddy talked to him about not eating dirt. I'm not sure why, but we didn't think much about it.

This afternoon he was playing in the yard. He came in with dirt in the corners of his mouth. Concerned about what is going on in his little life to make him turn to a lifestyle that will, one day, land him on an episode of My Strange Addiction, I decided to get to the bottom of it.

"Show me where you got the dirt," I told him, so calmly that I was actually pretty proud of my parenting skills.

He marched me right over to his old stomping grounds, the part of our yard that we've attempted to grow a garden in but mostly to no avail. We didn't even try this year. "Right there." He pointed to the dark dirt. The dirt that we bought last year when we were hardcore about getting our garden to grow. The dirt that isn't really dirt at all but is, in fact, steer manure. BECAUSE OF COURSE IT IS.

It's alarming how often I use my theatre degree in my every day life. I mean, really. Everyone should have to take extensive acting training before becoming a mother. Because listen! I didn't freak out AT ALL when I realized that my kid had been eating bovine excrement. I mean, I wanted to. I wanted to scream and stick my finger down his throat right then and there but I refrained. And people say dramatic training is worthless. Ha.

"Okay. How much did you eat?"

"That much," he said. "Right there." He pointed to a tiny mound of dark dirt. "That's where I spit it out."

"Wait," I said. HOLD THE PHONE. "Did you swallow any?"

"No," he shook his head.

"You didn't put any in your tummy?"

"No. Only my mouth."

"Why?" I asked. "Why did you put it in your mouth?"

He sighed as though our conversation was boring him to tears. "I was making a castle for the ants."

WHY DON'T THESE LITTLE HUMANS COME WITH A MANUAL? I mean, really. If I could just open up his guidebook and turn to the chapter that explains the correlation between putting feces in the mouth and making castles, I'd be golden.

Instead I just stammered, "What?"

"Mommy! See that! That's a castle FOR THE ANTS. I made them a castle to play in. Like at the beach."

The utter confusion was slowly being replaced by a dawning of enlightenment. "Okay and you put it in your mouth because..." I trailed off. He blinked his big chocolate eyes at me.

"I had to make it wet and sticky to build it right," he explained with a tone that said, Lady, everyone knows that dry sand does not a castle make. The wet stuff is where it's at. Come on! You're from California. YOU SHOULD KNOW.

"Alright," I sighed. I took his little hand and we walked back toward the house. Once inside, I bent down to his level, wiped his lips and told him not to do that anymore. "Matthew, that wasn't dirt you put in your mouth. It was manure."

"What's manure?" he questioned.

"Poop," I said bluntly. He seemed moderately disturbed.

I wish I could make this stuff up. In fact, in this case, I wish I HAD MADE THIS STUFF UP. Unfortunately, it's just another day. Because these boys--they really are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. And, if it's true that we are what we eat (or, at least, put into our mouths), apparently also steer manure.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm Broken and Busy!

My life is kerAz right now. In fact, I had to put Physical Therapy on my to-do list just for the pleasure of crossing it off. Which I haven't done yet. Because it's not until tomorrow. By the way, I'm going to physical therapy because once upon a time I was a swimmer and apparently this is a death trap for shoulders. It's entirely possible that I have a labral tear that could require surgery. Or maybe not. Only time and a possible MRI that may or may not offer conclusive results will tell. The real kicker is that I don't even remember doing anything to it this time. I just woke up about a month ago in immense and intense pain. Word on the street--and by street I mean physical therapy office--is that swimmer's develop tight muscles across their backs and around the shoulder blade area but the front of the shoulder becomes loose and sloppy after years of repetitive motion. Thus, it is prone to injury. Especially when the (ex)swimmer gets old. And, apparently, in this case, old means 32.

But that's not why my life is crazy (kerAz!).

I'm trying to get ready to host a women's retreat for 46!

That's a lot of estrogen in one place.

So I'm remembering details and cleaning my house (which is ridiculous because I have three males in the house and when I say, "Women's retreat!" they hear, "Pizza on the carpet during Sports Center!" and "We don't have to make our beds!" and "Showering optional!") and still working, volunteering, teaching Bible study, and preparing to speak at another retreat the following weekend.

And that is why my blogging has been bad.

Bad. Bad blogger. Right here.

I, like, totally get it if you're moving on to someone who posts with regularity. Although, I do promise to be back more regularly in a week or two.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fanny Packs

Today I spoke at an event here in Salt Lake.

I told a story about how, when I was eight, I thought fanny packs were actually fanny pats.

As in, I thought it was some portable cushion for bony rear ends.

At the end I discussed the fact that once I figured out that it was actually fanny pack, I came to love mine. Because it was the 80's and I was eight and fanny packs were cool. I actually said that.

Then, when the event was over, a dear woman stood up.

Wearing a fanny pack.

I'm not even kidding.

She is a refugee from Russia. Is it wrong for me to hope that the language barrier prevented her from being offended?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I just recently read Amy Grant's book Mosaic and don't even act surprised. Actually, go ahead and act surprised but only over the fact that it was written several years ago and I only just now read it.

I also just watched one of the Beth Moore DVDs in the David series. The one where she talks about friendship. It's not the one where she's wearing a gold and brown frock that almost made me spit my lunch on my laptop screen and did, in fact, prompt me to call my mother immediately to DISCUSS. There's just no in between with her. Either I love her outfit so very much that I want to move to Houston, strike up a relationship with Mrs. Wanda Elizabeth Moore herself, and then ask to borrow her clothing or I dislike it so much that I almost have to close my eyes in order to get past what she's wearing and into the heart of what she's saying.

But these two very separate things led me to start thinking about relationships. Because in Amy Grant's book she writes short vignettes and a lot of them are about things like, "We had a girls weekend at a cabin and we stayed in our pajamas until the mid afternoon sharing and laughing and drinking coffee.*" Or, "The news was so devastating that I climbed into bed with my friend and we just laid there together and cried.*" And Beth was talking about patterning our relationships after the way Christ did. She said we should have three close friends. The kind you tell everything to. The kind you stay in your pajamas until the mid afternoon with. The kind you climb into bed with to cry when the world is devastating. The rule is, they have to be CLOSE friends--as in, not living in another state.

I think I used to have that.

In fact, I know I did.

High school was like that.

And college.

I have good friends now. There are women from my past that I consider life long friends. But I'd have to fly halfway across the country to climb into bed with them and, even then, it would have to be the very most interesting situation in order to dictate, "HEY, GET INTO THE BED AND START TO CRY!" Although that has more to do with the fact that my synapses don't fire correctly. I can receive the most devastating news--the kind that will leave me crying in my own bed for days on end--but if I receive it in front of people, I'll probably shrug it off and everyone will think I'm an unfeeling stone. There's a bizarre disconnect between my heart and my tear ducts. (Seriously, I remember vividly the few times I've gone and lost it in front of people.) Then there's the fact that I'd likely stand awkwardly next to the bed, reach out my arm, pat my friend and tell her, "There, there." And everyone would just wind up feeling intensely uncomfortable.

But my whole rambling point is that I think most of us, as estrogen filled womenfolk, desire the nearness of a few friends. We want to be able to cry or laugh or get each other in a powerful and real way.

Maybe it's the nature of ministry that prevents this in my own life. I have to be incredibly careful who I share certain things with because our position within our church body is unique.

Or maybe it's my Wear-My-Heart-on-My-Sleeve-but-Also-Remain-Kinda-Private-About-Stuff personality that lends itself to a lot of friendly acquaintances but not a lot of climb into someone's bed to cry with them deep friendships.

Maybe it's the fact that ministry typically equals shallow roots. Because I just never know when the church will want to go in a different direction. Or when the Lord will say, "Getta move on." And then I'll have to start all over again with close personal friends that I can actually have face to face interaction with. You just can't cry (read: try to cry) with someone over email.

I am so thankful for the friends in my life. The ones that get my humor or, at least, laugh anyway. The ones who genuinely care about me, pray for me, love me. But is there more? And I have some really good friends. But is there something deeper that I'm missing?

If the answer is yes, I suppose I should start filling out some applications.

*Not actual quotes

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I don't put all my stock money (HA! As IF I had any money to put into stocks) on the idea of 5 Love Languages, but I do think they're a fun tool to have in navigating our relationships. I wonder how much of them are just built into us and how much of them stem from the way in which we were parented. I mean, my kids have different love languages but I can also look back and see that I catered to them in certain ways when they were really little people. For example, I never wanted to put Matthew down because I was just terrified that, one day, he wouldn't be around for me to hold and love. So even though, as a teeny infant, he was fine being left in his crib, I held him and snuggled him and loved him like he was going out of style. As a four-year-old, if I had to guess, I'd have to say his love language is Touch.

On the flip side, Garrett's love language is Quality Time. But how much of that is the fact that I gave him all of my undivided attention for a two and a half years? Maybe there is some innate quality that leads us to our love language. Or maybe we shape them as parents? I don't know.

I also doubt that there are really only five and that we all fit into nice neat categories. However, that being said, I'm totally an Acts of Service girl. TOTALLY.

I mean, there may as well not be any others.

So yesterday I wasn't feeling well because of the Pretend UTI. Troy took both boys to school, took the cat to the vet, picked both boys up from school and shampooed the carpet. What was I doing while he performed all of these duties? I was becoming one with my bed. I mean, sure, I was working Bible studies and speaking things and retreats, but I really didn't get up much. At one point I managed to move down the stairs. I found him cleaning the carpet and I said, "Nothing makes me love you more than when you're cleaning carpets." Although, to be fair, I could change out "cleaning carpets" for "doing dishes, yard work, scrubbing floors" and it would still be true.

I know he loves me when he's trying to make things look better or relieving me of some of my duties. I try to tell him as much so that he knows he's appreciated.

This led to him making a comment about never allowing a man who cleans carpets to enter my house unless he's home as well.

"That's true," I said. There's just no telling where my heart would lie. "We probably also shouldn't hire a gardener."

"Right," he responded.

"Or any kind of handyman."

"Yes. So we're agreed. We don't hire any carpet cleans, gardeners or handymen."

"Well, not if we know what's good for us," I finished.

I'm an Acts of Service kind of girl. Although, if humor was a love language, that's probably what I'd speak.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Satan Causes Imaginary UTIs: A Working Title

I have a very hectic six weeks coming up here. Starting, oh I don't know, right now and going until, say, exactly October 28. This Saturday I'm speaking at a conference. The following weekend I am running our retreat. The Saturday after that I am speaking at a day retreat and then, not long after that, we're leaving for 12 days in Israel where there will be no laundry services except, maybe, a bathroom sink and some soap. So maybe the thing I'm the very most worried about is packing two rowdy boys for 12 days of traipsing through archaeological sites, hiking up mountains, riding camels and wading through tunnels. All activities that will keep my sons' clothing bright and pristine, no doubt. But then, packing has always stressed me out.

I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking when I agreed to speak at two different events in two weeks with a three day retreat thrown in for good measure. Except I know it involved, "Sure I can do that because they aren't scheduled on the same weekend. Why on earth not?"

Imaginary UTI's. That's why.

Yesterday I went to my worship rehearsal at 8:00 am, hauled myself to InstaCare during our Sunday School hour and got back in time to sing for the service. Because on Friday night I started to be aware of my abdomen and lower back and all the trips to the bathroom I was making. This continued on Saturday with me thinking, "Am I making an unusually large amount of trips to the commode? Do I feel my guts?"

I assumed UTI and decided to GET RID OF THAT THING RIGHT QUICK ON SUNDAY MORNING. There I sat, in what is basically defined as Urgent Care, dressed in my church clothes, as all manner of horrible disease walked in wearing sweat pants and hacking up a lung. One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't want to keep urinating eleventy million times a day.

But guess what?

My urine. It looked GREAT! My numbers were good--except I'm not drinking enough--and there was no sign of infection. But I promise you, it is not normal to notice your bladder. After tapping my back and shoving on my abdomen, the doctor decided to put me on a medication to make my bladder stop spasming. Or something.

And that's when I remembered that a couple of years ago, THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED the week before I spoke at a conference. I know because this pill turns urine a very bright orange and stains everything and that just so happens to be memorable to me. Right now I'm gonna go ahead and just tag this THINGS I PROBABLY SHOULDN'T BLOG ABOUT.

So it would seem that Satan attacks my psyche and makes me think I have a UTI, when I really don't. Or he attacks my urinary tract system but masks it as EXCELLENT LOOKING LIQUID WASTE. I don't mean to be flippant about the very real warfare that Satan is permitted to have on us but, honestly, it's almost amusing how predictable he is. From now on, when someone asks me to speak at a conference or retreat, I might as well lead with, "Well, sure, as long as you don't mind every toilet bowl in the vicinity of your event turning orange. Because I will be experiencing a pretend UTI that day."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Product of an 80's Child

He wanted to listen to music as he fell asleep. There is an old cassette tape--full of instruments and dolphin sounds--that I bought at a craft fair in Lake Tahoe as a child. He picked it up, turned it over in his hands. "Can I listen to this one?" he asked me and I nodded. Up and down. Not side to side.

I turned my back to close the curtain. I heard the frustrated sound of cramming something large into something small. I looked over my shoulder.

That boy, born in the ridiculous heat of a July summer in 2006, was trying to shove the cassette into the tape player. Problem was, it was still in the case. Harder he pushed. "How! Does! This! Work?" he ejected through clenched teeth. He noticed me watching him in amusement. "Why isn't this working? What am I doing wrong?"

I was young again, playing Tiffany and Paula Abdul and, of course, Amy Grant. I was lying on the brown carpet in my bedroom, sunlight streaming through the window. I was painstakingly pushing Record. Stop. Record. Stop. to make the best mixed tape you've ever heard because where else would New Kids on the Block be featured back to back with Sing Your Praise to the Lord? And then came CDs.

Here we were, some two and a half decades later, my son looking at a tape like he'd never seen one before. Somewhere, in some alternate universe, the 80's are crying. I showed him how to open it. He held the tape in his hands. Turned it over. Examined it.

"Wow! Cool!" Retro. He slid it into the player. "That's great," he giggled.

Maybe I'll start dressing him in neon parachute pants.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


These days are long and busy and filled with living. Real, repetitious, living. First grade math homework. For one thing. They are filled with planning and bathing and grocery shopping and laundry which just never seems to be done. Days of, "Pick up your dirty socks and push in your chair and feed the dog, go to the bathroom and get in the car before we're late!" They culminate into this idea that, one day, in the not so distant future, I'll have raised a man. Or two.

These days are packed to the very tip top with school and sports and back and forth to church. There was one hour to dry and fold clothes, fix something for dinner, inhale the meal, and get into the car so that we could get to the church by 7:00. The oldest asked if he could play outside.

Many minutes later, I connected the sound I was hearing to a waterfall of pelting rain. I ran into the garage. The very last thing I needed to add to my hour was getting a water logged seven-year-old mopped up and changed into fresh clothing. From the safety of the garage, I called out for him.

He ran from the neighbor's yard, not yet soaked, toothless grin from ear to ear, because few things in life are as joyful as playing in a warm summer rain.

"Can I stay out and play in the rain?" he asked.

"No. We're in a hurry. I don't want you to be soaked and have to change," I answered. Even as I said it I wondered how it all really works. How does time change a person so much? Why wasn't I playing in the rain anymore?

"Okay," he answered, this mostly obedient child of mine. "I have to go in," he called to his friend. We stood there, in the garage, between the cars. Dinner warmed in the oven. Laundry tossed in the dryer. Seconds ticked away on the clock. I think I tilted my head, ever so slightly, as I surveyed the boy. Breathless and speckled with drops of rain, he's as mesmerizing now as he was that very first day. "What?" he studied my face.

"Go," I said.

"Huh?" he responded. "I'll get all wet."

"Go!" I said it urgently, almost as if someone's life depended on it. "Go play in the rain." I watched him for a few moments as he splashed and giggled and twirled. His clothing changed colors, hair plastered flat, laughter laced with the deep joy of a carefree moment. I turned toward the house.

The laundry needed folding. The oven would buzz. Soon.

I padded across the carpet to close the backdoor, left open again by one of them. Bright sun shone down. How could this be? The front yard was a monsoon. In the back, a pelting rain poured down but the star broke through the clouds.

I was eight again.

I ran into the rain and began spinning in all directions. "Surely there is a rainbow!" I declared with urgency. "God, where is it? Where is Your promise?" I asked into the rainshine. I couldn't find one. Not from the limited view of my backyard. But, suddenly, I felt a new pull. Wet, I ran into the house. Sun streamed through the kitchen windows.

"Come here!" I called to my husband. "Come here. My feet are soaking." I waved him to me with a frantic arm, afraid the moment would pass. Terrified that the clouds would hide the sun or the rain would stop. He came to me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and my legs around his middle so that I wouldn't make wet footprints on the floor. "Take me over there." I pointed to the spot in the kitchen where the sun was coming through. He sat me on the counter and I pulled him to me.

"It's our perfect weather!" I shouted.

He likes sleepy, gray days filled with rain and clouds.

I like warm, vibrant days filled with sunshine and bright colors.

In the middle of our busyness, smack in the center of a mundane day, I found perfect weather--for both of us. Troy smiled and kissed me. Garrett's soaked laugh filled the air as he spun through the yard. A glimpse of God's glory.

And to think, I almost missed it all.

Monday, September 9, 2013


I'm 32.

Restless. There was so much more I wanted to do by now. So much more I dreamed of being. This world keeps spinning at breakneck speeds and I hold on for dear life until, one day, I wake up and I'm 32.

Or 52.

Or 82.

It doesn't really matter what age because, however I dissect the years, I find the answer lies squarely in the fact that I am old. Not as old as I'll be tomorrow but certainly older than I was yesterday. Young compared to some, of course. As old as I've ever been, indeed.

I want my house to be clean, to raise up these boys, to be a better wife and certainly a better pastor's wife, to save wisely, to spend graciously, but most of all, what I've always wanted is to be somebody.

I'm an achiever. It doesn't matter what I accomplish in a day's time, my bed envelopes me and I am dissatisfied with what I've managed to tackle. The list is always long, the fruit scarce. My chest constricts and I feel panic swell, choking my throat with cathartic tears that I forbid my eyes to shed.

I should be...

Fill in the blank with everything I've ever wanted, needed, believed I could be.

I am a recovering perfectionist. Sometimes I relapse. I feel pressure wrap its cold, bony fingers around me and I fight to pry them off. I don't have to be the woman I've created in my head. She's a fake, a fraud, a phony. An airbrushed version of someone who looks vaguely like me. She's not real. She's the monster under the bed--existing only in my own imagination.

I've never been one for resolutions. Enough failed plans for the new year piled up sky high until I stopped making them altogether. Fifteen years ago. Or so. But I've got one thing pretty well figured out. I'm never going to get everything done that I want to. Never. Ever. Because I want too many things.

But on this first day after my 32nd birthday, I'm resolving. I am old--if I have only one year of life left. I am young--if I have sixty. And I'll never know, at least not really, where my future lies on that hazy line between here and eternity.

I've boiled down every single hope and dream and desire to just one thing.

And I want to live it big.

It's a prayer to my Creator, the only one who's opinion of me actually matters.

Let something I do each and every day have eternal significance. 

On slow days, may a fierce hug remind my children how much their Father loves them. On fast days, may a hurried smile to a stranger remind her of Love. May I remember that each day--regardless of how many are left--is a gift from the Almighty. Perhaps, if I live life every day pointing to Him, I won't worry about being somebody. I won't need to do more or be more than He has called me to do or be right now.

Oh Lord, if I accomplish nothing else in this life, let something I do every day matter--eternally.

Let me love like You.

Let me lead someone to You.

Let me show them You in my smile, my joy, my life.

This is my resolution.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

In Concert

My friend Allison is 44 and I will be 32 tomorrow. We're not exactly teenagers. That didn't stop us from snarking around someone's campsite at the Utah State Fair, trying to get closer to the super lame trailer that held Amy Grant. (Epic fail, Utah. You made us all look like backwoods hicks.) It's no mystery that I love Amy with my entire, unashamed heart. I write about her often enough that there may as well be a label on this very blog just for her. In fact, I think I'm going to do that right now. I'm kind of surprised that it hasn't already happened. One moment.


The food vendors set up campsites in the parking lot behind the grand stand. There we found ourselves after the concert, traipsing through someone's site, attempting to get a glimpse. We didn't succeed. We did realize just how lacking security was on that side of the stage. A simple climb over a short fence with minimal pokey things on top, and we'd have been back there. Free to accost Amy Grant with hugs and high fives. Free to inform her of her disappointing security detail. Free to ask for autographs, take pictures on really old cell phones, and invite her out for coffee.

So, basically, free to be psychotic crazy women. Free to call my husband from the slammer and ask him to come bail us out on account of all the creepy stalker behavior. No one wants to be those women. Not even me.

Don't get me wrong. I definitely want to have coffee with Amy Grant. But I want her to think I'm cool and intelligent. I want us to have dialogue about Jesus over java and a scone. I want to ask her where she got her shirt and how, after birthing four babies and turning 52, she manages to stay so thin. I want to sing Thy Word with her because I can. Because it's low enough that I can effectively hit the notes, even with my Nothing But Alto--sometimes tenor--range. I don't want her to think I escaped from the local loony bin. That's simply not the kind of relationship I'm looking for.

This is the only picture I managed to get on my ridiculously old, partly Truckee River water damaged phone.

The photo doesn't show the worship session we had in the middle of the concert. It doesn't tell the funny story about the TSA agent who looked at her boarding pass and driver's license and, without looking up at her at all, said, "There used to be an old gospel singer named Amy Grant." As though she was already dead. It doesn't show the way she sang Don't Try So Hard and it spoke to me because, of late, I've been having some real Peniel moments with God over pursuing perfection. It doesn't even show that we were in the ninth row and our seats were awesome and they only cost $25.

Amy Grant has been making music since before I was born. So when I hear her sing live I remember the old VHS of one of her concerts that I watched when I was eight. She came on stage during the long intro to Sing Your Praise to the Lord wearing some skin tight ensemble and being all of about twentysomething. I recall sitting on a lifeguard tower with my friends when I was nine or ten, singing Galileo in the dark during a beach camping trip that also involved roller blades. I remember hearing El Shaddai and wondering what, on earth, language that was and what, the heck, she was saying. Never knowing that I would come to a point in my faith journey where God would became my El Shaddai, my El Elyon and my Adonai. And that those names would be precious to me. I remember the first time I saw her in concert, during my junior year of high school--on a date with my mom--at the Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego.

There was the time I sat listening to Oh How the Years Go By as a teenager and thinking that it had a deeper meaning than I could ever begin to understand at fifteen. Then I became a mom and I knew what I knew I didn't know back then.

This music has grown me. From a kid who believed that God had sent His Son to save me to an adult who's heart breaks for the people who don't know that truth. So I pay to go see her in concert because, in some minuscule way, I want to say, "Thank you." Thank you for making music that has moved me for the better part of my entire life. Thank you for being real and vulnerable. Thank you for not being a soprano. That's why I go.

Well, and also because, deep down inside, I just might be that crazy stalker woman.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Last First Day of Preschool

This kid started his last year of preschool on Wednesday. Between both boys, it's our fifth year at the same school. We like it there. If I added up all the money I've spent on preschool, well, it would be a lot of money. It's worth it.

Matthew is doing a weird thing where he sometimes curls his upper lip when he smiles. I happen to think it's precious.

Seriously. This kid. He's just adorable.

Wait for it...

It's the lip curl.

He's also an incredible ham. I said, "Smile." He did this.

He pouted for the first five minutes of school. Then he had a great day. When I picked him up I asked him why he was pouting at the beginning. "Because I don't yike it when you yeave me." 

"I always come back. You can have fun at school. I'll always come and get you." Unless I die or something. But I didn't tell him that part because, you know, he's four.

His brother, the budding photographer was outside snapping pictures at the same time. He caught this one...

Am I the only one who wants to eat him? He really is that delicious. Right?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bumps & Nails

The boys were outside playing. Matthew came to get me stating that Garrett was hurt and crying. I went out to investigate. Sure enough, there the oldest was, crying and holding his head, carrying two soft(ish) swords. He'd been in a dual with a much bigger boy from across the street. The bigger boy had hit him square across the head. A large bump was protruding from the side of his forehead. I brought him in, got him ice, and put him on my bed.

Not ten minutes later, Matthew was in the playroom cleaning up. Suddenly I heard a loud bump and then an instant and ear piercing scream. I ran to him. He'd somehow managed to run straight into the doorknob. A bump to rival his brother's was already sticking out from his head. "Garrett," I said, "Quick, give me that bag of ice."

"But it's on my head," the older brother protested.

"I know, but it's been there for awhile, let me put it on Matthew's."

There I sat with both of the Bump Brothers. Two goose eggs separated by minutes.

As wounds often do, Matthew's sent him into a downward spiral stopped only by the sweet bliss of sleep. His first day of school is tomorrow so I cut his nails after I'd finished brushing his teeth. For some reason that I'll never quite understand, he became attached to one of his big toe nails. He insisted he was going to keep it. I know that as a mom I'm not supposed to be sweating the small stuff but I have to draw the line somewhere. Storing old, dirty toe nails is just not going to happen. I threw it away.

He erupted into wails and sobs that sounded like he'd hit his head on the doorknob again. Except, no. This was over a toe nail. I told him to go get in bed. Wracking grief consumed him. "Hey, calm down, you're gonna waste all the tears in your little head," Garrett scolded him. I would have told him to leave the parenting to me but I was too busy laughing.


All I could do was smile. Because sometimes being a mom is all fun and games and sweetness and light. And sometimes it's a pair of matching head lumps and a dirty toe nail that is, apparently, a four-year-old's best friend.

First Grade Woes

First grade is killing me dead.

Kindergarten was so easy for my kid, so short, such a free extension of preschool.

First grade is school.

And my son hates it. He's exhausted when he gets home from his seven hour day and absolutely devastated over the idea of sitting down to do homework. His school ends at 3:25 so by the time we're home and organized, it's almost 4:00. That leaves relatively little time for homework and dinner and bathing and reading and a Bible story. Next week he'll start playing ball and going to Kid's Club at church--so we'll have even less time to figure everything else out.

He cries.

Every night.

Just at the idea of getting up the next morning and starting all over again.

Last night he asked me if I would please homeschool him. I'm not 100% sure where he even got the idea about homeschool but I've got a very short list of suspects. I'd like to have a word or two with them because my kid's idea of homeschool is FUN FUN FUN AND PLAY PLAY PLAY and, apparently, relatively little instruction. I told him he wouldn't want me to homeschool him. There would be tears--most of them mine. There would be yelling and refusing to do things and THE PLAYROOM WOULD BE GONE BECAUSE IT WOULD BE TURNED INTO A CLASSROOM. I told him as much last night as he sobbed into my arms over the travesty of public education. "That's okay," he said. "The bedroom and the playroom could be the same and the other room would be our classroom. It would be so much better."

Someone misinformed him.

"There are no friends here. No need for a lunchbox. No buying school lunch on occasion. No recess. No iPad."

"But we'd finish so much faster!" he said.

And on that point I couldn't argue. I spent three days in a first grade class last week. I know better than anyone that, one on one, I could do in two hours what took the whole day to do. So there is that.

That's just simply not the only reason we have him in public education. We have him there for friends. We have him there for learning to interact with various different forms of authority. We have him there to be a light and to show the love of Jesus. Our best witnessing opportunities have come from the very fact that he's at a public school. We have him there to understand that most of the world doesn't believe what he does--and to teach him how to interact with that world. Until the Lord calls me to pull him away from all that and teach him at home, we're going to have to power through.

I just hope he adjusts quickly because the tears are hurting my heart.