I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

December 15, 2008
A tree covered with Snow
Image via Wikipedia

SNOW!!!

A lot of snow. A LOT of snow! We got dumped on yesterday here in the Portland area, and everything is shut down, including schools. We played in the snow most of yesterday with a bunch of sledding, hot chocolate, and coffee with peppermint creamer. I’m still sore, actually. Temps are expected to be in the low 20’s all week, with more snow coming tomorrow night, Wednesday, and Thursday, so honestly, I don’t think the kids will be going to school at all this week. Which is both good and bad. Good, because it’s the week before Christmas break and we’ll get to watch lots of old Christmas movies, make popcorn, presents, and homemade goodies. Bad, because the kids will be bugging me every five minutes to go outside again, which, hello? It’s COLD.

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

December 15, 2008
A tree covered with Snow
Image via Wikipedia

SNOW!!!

A lot of snow. A LOT of snow! We got dumped on yesterday here in the Portland area, and everything is shut down, including schools. We played in the snow most of yesterday with a bunch of sledding, hot chocolate, and coffee with peppermint creamer. I’m still sore, actually. Temps are expected to be in the low 20’s all week, with more snow coming tomorrow night, Wednesday, and Thursday, so honestly, I don’t think the kids will be going to school at all this week. Which is both good and bad. Good, because it’s the week before Christmas break and we’ll get to watch lots of old Christmas movies, make popcorn, presents, and homemade goodies. Bad, because the kids will be bugging me every five minutes to go outside again, which, hello? It’s COLD.

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Birthday boy

December 12, 2008

This Sunday, Henry turns eleven, and he has been reminding us of this fact for, oh, I don’t know, months? Yes, that sounds about right.

Birthday celebrations commence today. He’s requested that we bring Oreos and licorice for the class; last year, we brought donut holes which I personally was a big fan of because I got to eat all the leftovers. This year, not so much.

He’s also let us know that he is in charge on Sunday, and that means of the remote control, the meal schedule, and where he sits in the car (he has called shotgun). Henry obviously has very specific ideas on how this birthday is going to go!

He’s asked for Mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls for his birthday breakfast; all the kids usually ask for them and I’m happy to oblige, even though they take about three hours to make (!). Then he wants Papa Murphy’s “paparoni” pizza, and he wants to watch the Garfield movie. After that, he’s pretty much done – that’s the pinnacle of his birthday wishes. Simple and easy to fulfill. Hopefully, we’ll have some snow to add to his joy!

Christmas at the Grotto

December 11, 2008
the grotto
Image by errrrrrrrrika via Flickr

Last night as a family Christmas present, my mother in law took us to Burgerville (hazelnut shakes nom nom nom) and then to the Grotto, a Catholic shrine dedicated to Mary that features a large Christmas display every year – lights, actors, singing, concerts, etc.

It’s great. I’m not a Catholic (although I have been investigating Catholicism – seriously) but it’s so reverent and holy there. Even the kids were quiet as we listened to the Christmas story, watched the candles flicker, and quietly paid homage to this strangest yet holiest of stories.

I’ve been struck this year by how odd it was for God to come as a baby. Babies are so helpless, yet so utterly charming and kissable. Even when they keep you up all night screaming, you still can’t help but snuggle their baby chub and hug them close. And Jesus was a baby – Mary had to know that he was God, right there in her arms, yet still….that tummy wasn’t going to kiss itself. There’s nothing in the Bible that says Mary didn’t mother Jesus like he was a regular baby (if there is any such thing as a “regular” baby, that is!). It makes me smile to think of it.

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I'll have a hard time hiding this one

December 10, 2008
R2-D2 model
Image by ewen and donabel via Flickr

My husband is a huge Star Wars geek. Huge. Like, he has action figures all over this desk, posters carefully placed in giant cardboard tubes, and at least ten Christmas ornaments that are currently on the tree (including one of Princess Leia in her Jabba the Hutt bikini. Huh.). So I knew this Christmas I wanted to get him something to add to his collection, something that he would totally go nuts over. So I hit Craigslist, and lo and behold, I found a walking, talking R2-D2 that is brand new in the box, only been used a couple of times, for $40. It originally sold for almost $200 last year, so I feel pretty proud of myself for being so cheap finding such a bargain.

So I had to be quite the sneaky girl yesterday in order to actually obtain this item. Since Dean and I both work from home, I made up a library errand (the gig was almost up when he decided he was going to go with me, but I gave him the slip) but I actually went to the Starbucks parking lot and met the nice lady who sold me this fun toy. It’s HUGE. I had to hide it in my closet underneath all my jammies; hopefully nobody will look there. Craigslist is awesome!

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I’ll have a hard time hiding this one

December 10, 2008
R2-D2 model
Image by ewen and donabel via Flickr

My husband is a huge Star Wars geek. Huge. Like, he has action figures all over this desk, posters carefully placed in giant cardboard tubes, and at least ten Christmas ornaments that are currently on the tree (including one of Princess Leia in her Jabba the Hutt bikini. Huh.). So I knew this Christmas I wanted to get him something to add to his collection, something that he would totally go nuts over. So I hit Craigslist, and lo and behold, I found a walking, talking R2-D2 that is brand new in the box, only been used a couple of times, for $40. It originally sold for almost $200 last year, so I feel pretty proud of myself for being so cheap finding such a bargain.

So I had to be quite the sneaky girl yesterday in order to actually obtain this item. Since Dean and I both work from home, I made up a library errand (the gig was almost up when he decided he was going to go with me, but I gave him the slip) but I actually went to the Starbucks parking lot and met the nice lady who sold me this fun toy. It’s HUGE. I had to hide it in my closet underneath all my jammies; hopefully nobody will look there. Craigslist is awesome!

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The heart of a child

December 9, 2008

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, because I was thinking about ways to reach our oldest son, James.

James is 14, and yes, he is a teenager and we’re dealing with teenage-ish things. However, this is not what keeps me up at night.

The fact is, James has been…I guess you could call him a “troubled” child since he was very young. He plays a good game; he makes people think he’s a good kid, but then he turns around and does something really deceitful or mean. We never quite know what’s going on in James’ heart, because he is so good at deceiving us. Most of the time we find out what he’s doing way after the fact.

He is on medication now, anti-depressants, and they seem to help – that is, when he remembers to take them. Last week was a hard week; he loves to argue with Dean over anything – and I do mean anything. This particular time he decided that Emma’s video game time was over (we give the kids about an hour of video game time on the weekends) and abruptly turned off her game. We told him he was out of line, etc., and he fixated on one little point and started arguing the heck out of it, lost his temper, and was sent to his room, where he promptly destroyed his bookshelves and punched a gigantic hole in the wall, screaming obscenities.

He’s grounded right now, but it doesn’t affect him whatsoever. This is just one example of the kind of stuff we deal with on a daily basis; he’s constantly arguing, or picking on his brother and sister, and he’s always planning, planning, planning something that’s inappropriate and underhanded.

We are at our wit’s end with this child. We love him very much, and have always taught him carefully that these kinds of decisions are wrong. We’ve never given any reason to be angry with us, he has been a cherished child since he was born, and yet. And yet.

Just when I think maybe he’s starting to change, or turn towards what is right, he does something that shows us that he is just playing with us. All we can do at this point is pray and continue to do what we know is right so we don’t have any regrets later. That’s all we know to do.

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength

December 8, 2008

I’m a big fan of social media (obviously), and I have accounts at Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook, etc. I guess you could call me a geek, although I’m certainly outgeeked by many people in my particular niche – I just don’t have the time or energy to dedicate that they do. Especially when reading posts like Robert’s, which praises the merits of Friendfeed vs. Twitter, two services I utilize consistently if not constantly (I even wrote an article on how I use Friendfeed over at Mashable last week).

Frankly, I’m astonished at how much time Robert and others like him spend at these services. I know that this is part of their job, and they do it well, but wow. Just, wow. One of the commentors at this post suggested it was like “drinking from a fire hose”, and I have to agree. However, it does seem to work for them, although if you’re drinking from a fire hose, how do you savor the individual nuances and flavors?

Personally, I like to choose who I listen to very carefully. I have limited time since I have a family and my first responsibility is to them, so while I use Friendfeed, I definitely don’t have it open all day (it’s just too addicting!). I want to be thoughtful about who I give my time to. I don’t want to be scattered, chasing different bits of information all over the place to no good end. After all, the bottom line is that all this techie stuff, while infinitely interesting, isn’t going to tuck my kids into bed, or kiss my husband, or make my home into a warm and welcoming place for friends and family.

That’s just me, though. I appreciate what Robert and those like him do to introduce these services to all of us and make them more attractive, and I applaud their aggressive use of new technology in order to create a more level playing field.

An imperfect offering

December 6, 2008

Via The Margins:

A number of pastors are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of resources we pour into the weekly show. One remembered the solos of the minimally gifted “Aunt Jane” who – nevertheless – was powerful in her musical ministry because of the power of *her life.* But there is no way she would be ever singing in any attractional mega-church service. An appreciation of her public worship only came because of an appreciation of her life of worship.

So true, especially in this holiday season. We go to a church that we kind of just fell into after being in a startup church for a few years that unfortunately fizzled out once the head pastor left. Our church is a good church, active in the community, great kids program, etc. However, the “weekly show” has become a distraction rather than an edification. Only the best of the best are allowed up front to lead worship. You never hear from anyone who has a wobbly voice, or makes mistakes playing a simple worship song, or from someone who is over 40, because that would not be “seeker sensitive”, whatever that means.

Growing up, we had quite the opposite situation. Betty and John led worship most Sundays, with cracked vibratos, missed words,and impromptu additions to the weekly menu. There was a sense of participation, rather than a stage with performers that played to an audience. I miss that.

I think that many churches are missing the boat when they exclude these imperfect offerings. When you only have the brightest and best in front of the congregation every single service, you impart a sense of us vs. them, which is so unfortunate. Why is it that the flashy and the synchronized is regarded as more important than the sincere and contemplative? What ever happened to listening to the quiet, rather than making sure that every song finishes in exactly 3.30 minutes (and repeating the same words five times)?

I tend to be moved more by the hesitant yet plaintive voices of a children’s choir, nervous about singing in front of everyone, or the tear-stained testimony of a grandmother or grandfather, or the passionate songs of a single mom who doesn’t know how she’s going to pay her water bill this month. That’s who Jesus was interested too – the people who weren’t necessarily the greatest performers, but whose hearts compelled them to lift up what they had, regardless.

When did getting drunk start becoming acceptable?

December 5, 2008

Warning: Super fuddy duddy-ish post coming your way.

I’m noticing an odd trend in many of the blogs I read, some of which are parenting blogs. It’s become de rigeur to talk about getting drunk and taking care of your kids, or talk about polishing off bottles of wine, or what have you. Examples: Sweetney, Dooce, CoolMom, MightyGirl, etc. For instance, here’s an entry from Sweetney this morning:

And I’m working on it, and in fact intended to finish and post it today, but that was before I spent last night at the bottom of a wine bottle — wait, make that TWO wine bottles (shut up, I had company!) — and upon attempting the typing with the words forming thoughts and ideas this morning, found that mah brains no worky gudd.

I realize that I’ve probably missed out on something alarmingly cool and hip, but I don’t find it funny when people joke about getting drunk like it’s socially acceptable to swallow back a barrel of booze as a way to deal with children and stress. Sure, it’s MEANT to be funny, but seriously, being around drunk people is boring UNLESS you’re drunk too, which, for me is physically unattainable since I can’t stand the taste of pretty much anything with alcohol it it.

Gah. I guess this is just one more example of why I’m not in the Cool Kids Club.