Saturday, March 30, 2013

sneaky distractions

the older i get...the faster things sneak up on me.

easter is tomorrow.  and as i ran around yesterday...knowing it was good friday...the day in history that Jesus gave up his life...i realized my tension.

 chad calls this my "yearly tutorial on egg dying."  look at how intently colt is listening to my instructions on how not to slosh the egg dye.

yesterday was the day that i had time.  chad was home.  i could run around looking for swimsuits and goggles and chocolate eggs and those disgusting duck marshmallows to fill the kid's baskets without my sweet, little tag alongs.  i mean...i realize that it's not about the bunny...but i'm not ready to take that part of childhood magic away from my littles.  i still got a basket when i was in high school...God bless my mother...and it didn't mean that i loved Jesus any less.

but...and here's my big BUT...i realized that i am a person who be able to slow down my mind and truly focus all of my emotion on the things that are important.  for example...i can't just breeze through a kid's birthday.  i have to emotionally engage with the day...and feel everything it means...and create all kinds of details that will commemorate the experience.  so...spending good friday shopping for basket fillers felt...frustrating.

i, for one, am glad to see that he is taking this seriously.

i kept thinking...what could we do?  what could we do to feel the day...the weight of it...the importance...the gratitude?  in order to feel those things...i would have to let myself slow down and experience the grief of what He did.  i would have to go there.  and i can't really go there in a target aisle.  and i find it hard to go there with a cluttered house...because my cluttered house is in direct correlation to my cluttered mind.

so...instead of going to the next store on my list...i headed home, in the hopes of an evening with my family.  maybe we could watch the Jesus film together.  maybe we could locate the bible episodes on demand.  maybe we could read the story together.  maybe we could go there together.

 colt was distracted all day by a big, ole' molar that would not come out.

where we ended up going was a grand opening party of a friend's business and taco cabana.

i'm not beating myself up about it.  but i am learning to recognize my distractions.  i am learning that each of our distractions come in disguise.  they are disguised in the most perfect and individual way.  it may be work for one.  it may be sports for another.  it may be a pesky tooth ache for that one.  and maybe...just's trying to make all their easter outfits coordinate perfectly for someone else.  i'm distracted by perfection.  the perfect easter activities for my preschoolers...the perfect dyed eggs...the perfect candy for the baskets...the perfect side dish and dessert to bring for easter dinner...the perfect bunnied, jammies to wear.  and yes...the perfect emotional reaction to the cross on good friday.  well played, satan.  well played.'m doing my best to say NO to all of my distractions.  today, i will read the story to my children.  today, i will go and get the food that i need to take to my parents...and view it as a way of serving them...and not making everything perfect in order to impress them.  today...i will love my kids and spend time with them and not for them.  after all...they won't remember how much time i spent looking for the perfect pair of flip flops to go with their perfect pair of cargo shorts.

 she talks to her eggs...

 "hi little egg."

have a lovely Easter weekend, friends...with as few distractions as possible.

Monday, March 25, 2013

slow dance

my camera has stayed tucked in it's drawer at my desk.  and my phone camera says it's full and no longer has any room for the images of my life.  which is kinda ironic now that i think about it.  obviously my mind feels like my phone does.  full.  and that's why i haven't reached for my camera lately.  i even had a week of family love over spring break that i barely captured.  that's the beach, st. patrick's day, cousins, a night full of musical and dance numbers put on by my children and my nieces and nephew...and not more than a few pictures to show for it.

that's very unlike me.

i'm trying to tell myself that it's okay.  that i don't have to always be memory making.  that my brain can just be.  that i can run around fixing microphones and playing dj and wardrobe change helper and duet side kick when my girl gets scared to sing her queen of hearts solo for our make shift grammys.  (because let's face it...i'm never gonna turn down singing queen of hearts.)  and that i don't also have to be responsible for being behind the camera to preserve every last detail.  i can just be in the moment.  living the moment.  doing the harlem shake in the background.

however...i'm a happier person when looking at life through my camera lens.'s then...that something seemingly "ordinary" becomes "EXTRAordinary."  it's then that i notice the details.

 case in point:  little sister looking at her big sister to see just exactly what it is she's supposed to be doing...a moment that would have been lost without the lens.

witnessing their bond...walking and chatting...and imagining them doing the same thing as adults some day.  maybe they will be reminiscing about their childhood.  or maybe they will be talking about their own kids.  or maybe just walking in comfortable silence and the security that only a sibling can offer.

the lens helps me to remember how the wind blew our skirts as we walked.
and how they walked on ahead.

and how she held onto my arm.

and that lens points out how long her legs are getting ...dangling from their home on my hip.

certainly i wouldn't have remembered their game of rock, paper, scissor.

or the way that it made me smile when i noticed that his shirt matched my drink.

yes.  i realize how i've missed my lens.  i don't like it when my mind tells my heart that there is not enough space for my life's images.  and i guess that's how i know that something has to change.  some priorities need to sway to the right while some others sway to the left...doing that familiar dance that they have to do when the music of life gets a little too loud.  i have to put a slow song on because lawd knows...this girl can hop onto the table during a good hip hop number and stay there one song too long.

i can see myself giving me the two eye brow raised evil eye...quick, but firm pointer finger signal to get off the table.

and i'm glad that i obey her.

because don't you just know that a great slow song is coming on??  like put your head on my shoulder?  and thank God i'm off that table so that i can let those priorities do their slow dance and get themselves calmed down.  and when that beautiful song is over...all is right with the world again.

and i pick up my camera again.  and daily life resumes it's magicalness.  and my brain has all kinds of room for my life's images again.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ice cream's on me

they are prepping the kids for some big, state test this week at school.  this means that we are all being prepped.  not only am i being prepped on what kind of breakfast they need that morning, and what kind of brain sharpening snacks they need to bring on testing days, and how much sleep they need to get, and what kinds of clothing are most comfortable...but i've also become a writing tutor.

the packet comes home in the back pack...half done...and i am to sign it, assuring them that i have watched him or helped him finish it and that it is...indeed...up to snuff.

in this case...there was a lot of helping.

we went over the instructions.  i made certain that he understood the assignment.  and then i reminded him that "he didn't have to be scared of writing...and that all writing was...was telling a story on paper."  however, all the talk about paragraph indention, correct tense, and spelling counting and correct grammar usage had the boy in a word induced stupor.

when i thought that he was ready...i left him to work.  he wrote a short essay on the given subject "a goal for your life."


a 10 year old boy writing an essay about a life goal.

his biggest goal tonight was getting desert after dinner.


he decided to write about becoming a famous piano player.

(i say...go for it, kid.)

when he was done, he brought it to me and said, "how's this?  did i do good?"

as i read it, he resumed play elsewhere in the house...that "lofty famous piano player goal" the farthest thing from his mind.

after i read it...i put my head in my hands.

i may be a writer...but i'm not a teacher.  i don't have the first clue how to teach a fourth grader how to write an essay.  we went back to the drawing board and i did the only thing i knew to do.  i flipped the paper over and told him to tell me the story while i wrote what he said.  i explained where he naturally started a new paragraph in his story...and showed him how to do that on the paper.  i told him how to conclude an essay with a sentence that wraps it all together.

he didn't look so dejected after we did it that way. was no secret that i wouldn't be there when test day came.

there's a lot of pressure put on these kids with this test.  and i don't think it's fair.  fair may not be the right word here. i mean...there is that whole, starving children thing, that when speaking of what's fair and not fair always enters my mind.  but you know what i mean.

and to the educational system that say they don't make the test seem like a big deal to the kids...

here's a tip...

when you order t-shirts for the whole school faculty to wear on the test days...

it's kinda sending the message that it's a big deal.

my kid's not stupid.

and he doesn't need that kind of pressure.

let him eat his lucky charms.  and wear whatever he puts if it's any other morning.  and go to bed the night before like it's any other night...thinking of the frog he caught in the backyard that evening and the pop sickle stain on his pajamas. and whether or not he will get that new coon hat that he's been wanting. and let him come to school...where you can pass out that test like it's any other test.  teach him the stuff that is gonna be on that test.  send it home and we will work on it we did tonight.  but don't make it something it's not.

don't make it what makes him deemed SMART, or SUCCESSFUL, or WORTHY.

and for the love of GOD...don't broadcast all the kids who get COMMENDED PERFORMANCES in the class in front of everyone while the kids who didn't sit there...looking down...fighting off the embarrassment like you did a few years back. not cool. all.

please...don't send him the message, at 10 years old, that if he does poorly on this test...

...he's not GOOD ENOUGH.

my standardized test scores told me that ALL MY LIFE.

it has taken me a master's degree, becoming a writer, a rocking IQ test score, and a good 20 years to realize that those test scores didn't determine my intelligence worth.  and a lot of times...that all get's confused with your entire worth as a person.

and i'll be damned if i'm gonna let it happen to them too.

so...i guess what i'm saying is...if you're wanting this household to get all frazzled and act like this test is the end all be all to his school career and worth as a human being...


when that test day rolls around, i'm telling my kid the same thing i tell him every other day...

"you go rock today being the best YOU you can be.  be kind.  be honest.  love God and love people...but worry more about what God thinks about you than those people.  and no matter what...i couldn't love you any more or any less."

and if he does all of that stuff...but fails that big test...

ice cream's on me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

this is what we've been up to...

things may have been quiet on the blog lately... but most definitely... NOT in the house. this is what we've been up to:

Thursday, March 07, 2013

almost friday funnies.

everything is running slow these days.  me...for one.  even my computer.  it just took 15 minutes to open firefox.  bleh.

i'm going to post something that never fails to make me laugh.

because i need a good laugh.

about a month or so ago...our family was out to dinner with some friends.  and let me just tell you...i overheard a conversation between our 10 year old son and their 10 year old son...

...and that's when i realized that conversations between 10 year old boys ain't what they used to be.


J.T.:  "My birthday is august 25th."

Chase (cocking his head to the side and thinking hard) (i just knew he knew of something in history that happened on that day and i was waiting to hear what it was): "I know something else that happened on that day."  (That's my boy, I thought.)  "Neil Armstrong died.  I'm sure about it."

J.T.:  "I know what happened that day too.  Amanda Bynes got her license revoked."

Chase (seemingly interested and shocked at amanda bynes' irresponsibility):  "Really?"


And since my computer has frozen up about 27 times and shut down twice automatically since i started typing this...

that's all she wrote.

and by "she"...i mean..."me."