Saturday, March 29, 2008
1. The silver shoes I bought for 50% off. Every spring I get a craving for one specific trendy item that will refresh my wardrobe and make me feel like I am in style instead of a woman who wears yoga pants and a tee shirt 4 out of 7 days a week.
2. I ate a waffle cone chock full of coffee ice cream mixed with crushed Heath bar, from Marble Slab tonight. And it was worth every minute I will have to spend on the treadmill to burn it off.
3. Miss Pink went to the dentist and had no cavities! (It’s not because she doesn’t eat candy. Apparently she has her daddy’s indestructible teeth [knocking on wood].)
1. The “light” orange juice that is made of watered-down OJ and Splenda. It doesn’t taste like real juice, especially since I like a lot of pulp and this had none. Next time I stop trying to save calories and buy the real thing.
2. The books I read this week, which were mediocre and the worst part of that was: somehow I KNEW they would be, but went against my instincts because one was well reviewed and I kind of like the blog of the other one’s author. It was like I went on a blind date even though I didn’t want to because all my friends say the guy’s great, then once we’re out together, I can see he’s not terrible but he just isn’t my type.
3. Mr. Blue has been very terrible-twoish this week. I know it’s because he’s been sick, but there has been much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and I understand why God is willing to cast people who WON’T LISTEN TO HIM into everlasting darkness.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
It's fine when the mom of her best friend from school is there. This mom and I have become friends (which is why we chose this gym) and she has a three-year-old boy who can play with Mr. Blue.
Because he needs someone to play with. Otherwise, he's doing things like crawling under the bleachers and spilling water on innocent spectators. I try to keep him occupied, but if you know any two-year-old boys, you know it ain't always easy.
I'm envious of the parents of older kids who can sit there pretending to look at their child from time to time, but in actuality they're reading or listening to their iPods. If I did either one of those things, I'd be so tuned out that Mr. B would probably find a way to set the place on fire.
When the friend-mom isn't there, though, I not only have to deal with Mr. B, but in between I have to listen to the chit-chat of the other moms. There's a whole group of them who live in the friend-mom's neighborhood, and I just don't fit in with them, I think. It's weird because we have some things in common: we're all stay-at-home middle-class moms in their thirties. But, really, the similarity ends there.
Part of it, I guess, is that they have more disposable income than I do. (Hard not to assume that when they carry Coach bags half the size of their bodies.) They're manicured and pedicured and coiffed and accessorized within an inch of their lives and you just know they were the popular girls in high school.
But I'm not jealous. Really--I swear. It's just that I find it hard to have an hour-long conversation about coloring one's hair. Seeing as how I've never colored mine, and anyway, what is there to talk about for that long about the subject?
Oh, these ladies could. And they did.
I think I briefly passed out from the shock when the most heavily-made-up of them airily announced that she'd just paid $200 for the last application of blonde highlights to her 16-year-old daughter's hair.
I awoke long enough to hear her say, "Oh, when you have dirty-blonde or brown hair, you really have to put in highlights."
And then I passed out again.
Because, really? You have to? Or what happens? The fashion police come to arrest you to do hard time in the House of Couture?
I guess I'd better start anticipating that knock on my door, then. Because even if I did have $200 extra dollars, I don't want to spend it on highlights for myself. And it will be a cold day in Hades before I spend that on Miss Pink's hair. Sixteen-year-olds are already naturally youthful and fresh and pretty. Why would I want my daughter to feel that she isn't pretty enough without expensive beauty procedures? We can put that money in a college fund!
Please understand: I don't have anything against coloring your hair (or your child's), or even paying lots of money for it. It's your money; spend it however you want (and I would NEVER color my hair at home. When I start feeling old, I'll find a way to afford professional help.) But don't go around bragging about it unless you want people like me to roll their eyes. (Not that they noticed. That's my real problem: that, being Popular Girls, they only pay attention to each other.)
Oh, and another thing: they've got their daughters in gymnastics because they're already in cheerleading. Gymnastics is just to make sure they're good enough to become varsity cheerleaders someday.
Did I mention their daughters are around eight years old? And that if Miss P wants to be a cheerleader, I will wear sackcloth and ashes, so deep will be my grief? "WHO IS THIS GIRL AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE CHILD WHO SHARES MY GENETIC MATERIAL?" I will moan, if that day ever comes.
Today I got there before the group and sat on the end of the bleachers. The Popular Moms arrived one by one and found each other. At one point we said hi. They didn't ask me to sit by them. I corralled Mr. Blue and, when he found two older kids who would play ball with him, I watched the teenage girls climbing ropes up to the ceiling. I was amazed at their strength and agility, the way the muscles shimmered in their legs, and happy to see that for that moment, at least, none of them was trying to think of ways to be more popular, and as far as I could tell, none of them had highlights in their hair.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Warning: today’s post will be a little long. Also ranty. Consider yourself warned, but I need to get this out of my system.
While we were in
While we were chatting, they mentioned that they had found a new church that they really like. I was happy for them, because they have been looking for a church for almost a year. Things didn’t work out so well with the last church they attended.
When they were engaged, they decided to start attending somewhere together, and started with one that belonged to the denomination in which S. and Justin were raised. At first, everything was wonderful. The pastor was super-friendly, they joined a small group and became good friends with the group members, often eating and hanging out at each other’s houses. When S. and D. got married on a tiny budget, the group members helped provide decorations and cake. When S. was struggling to get his mortgage business started, the pastor asked around and one of the wealthy men in the church co-signed on a line of credit for him. It all seemed like one big happy family.
Then a problem arose. The problem was that a child molester was attending their church.* Not only attending, but teaching Sunday School. D. was a teacher in the same class the man was assigned to, and since she is a survivor of sexual abuse, the thought of being in the same room with this man, much less letting him teach young children, induced a panic that she could not endure. Not only that, but the man lived across the street from where they were living at the time, and she was scared to let her little girl play outside.
S. went to see the pastor to ask him to do something about the situation. If I had to guess, I’d say S. probably thought the pastor would say, “Oh no, I had no idea! Thank you for letting me know and I’ll tell him we can’t allow him to teach Sunday School any more.”
Instead the pastor got angry at S. Not only did he already know, but he certainly would not offend this man and his wife by asking them to step down. Didn’t S. believe in the grace of God? That behavior was part of the man’s past, the pastor said, and it was unfair to judge him for it now. (Apparently the pastor had never heard how hard it is to rehabilitate a sex offender.)
The implication was clear: if S. and D. didn’t accept the pastor’s decision, they were unwelcome.
So they left. What else could they do?
Now this is the part of the story I wanted to get to (I had to include the first part because it makes me so CRAZY MAD at that idiotic pastor). Now that S. and D. are no longer attending that church, its members shun them when they run into each other in public. No “hi” or anything from the people they spent three years of their lives with. Just turning aside and walking away. One of the girls in the church worked for them, and when she found out they’d left the church, she quit.
Because of course it is in the Bible that thou shalt attend the same church as your boss, or you will be cast into the fiery flames of perdition. It’s right here in…wait, I know it has to be in here somewhere…oh, right, it's NOT.
Great. Another example of “if you don’t believe exactly like I do, to the point of fashioning yourself into my clone, then you don’t believe in the Jesus I know.”**
Aaaarrrrrgggghhh. This kind of thing makes me want to scream myself hoarse. As Heather said recently about some of her hate mail, “Thank you, Agnes, for proving once and for all that religious fanatics aren’t total douchebags.” (Sarcasm intended.)
I’m just thankful that S. and D. are smart and mature enough to know that not all Christians and not all churches are like that one, and they kept looking instead of quitting in disgust. Still, this kind of stupid in-fighting among believers is common enough that it, and not love, is the way non-believers identify us. And I for one and sick and tired of it.
I’m angry that people who might have been influenced by me are turned off by any mention of my Christianity because of what church people did to them. I can still love the nonbelievers—I don’t have to shove the gospel down their throats--but my mission is made so much harder by the intolerant bigots who got there before me.
*Of course they didn’t rely on rumors for this information. Public records disclosed that the man had been indicted on 21 counts of child sexual abuse.
**In the interest of fairness, I should note that in all likelihood, the church people probably don’t know why S. and D. left. They are not “siding” with the child molester (I hope to all that’s holy.) No, they’re just hating on them for finding another church: “How dare those infidels not declare our church HOLY and PERFECT IN GOD’S EYES!”
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Things that made me happy
1. The chocolate cream pie my mom bought from a tea room for lunch today. I’m so glad I can eat sweets again.
2. The service at church today. At one point I had tears in my eyes as I thought about what Christ’s resurrection means to me, and what it meant to the first believers who saw the empty tomb. Say what you will, something happened that made them willing to suffer and die, if necessary, to tell the world about Jesus.
3. I taught the adult Sunday School class about forgiveness, and quite a few people told me that it helped them. I’m so humbled, and glad to help. My greatest wish is that more people could find spiritual and emotional healing.
4. The kids hunting eggs (inside, since it was chilly) were predictably adorable. When Mr. B saw an egg (that we pointed out to him) he said, “OH!” almost like he was singing the word.
Things that did not
1. Mr. Blue is sick—he’s oozing mucous and I feel so bad for him. When he wakes up his right eye is matted shut, but he hardly whines even when he has a fever.
2. The Easter Bunny ate too many jelly beans last night. On the plus side, I don’t want any more for a long time.
3. Why is it that I leave the house in decent shape before we leave, and when we return, the second we step in the door, it is like a disaster site? Plus Justin is sick too and doesn't feel like helping to clean up (he did help take care of the kids). I hate starting the week feeling like I'm already behind and won't ever catch up.
P.S. Don't you think it's awful that my FIRST happy thing was pie, THEN Jesus rising from the dead? What screwed-up priorities I have! But I'm leaving it so you will know I am honest and don't (always) edit myself.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I was starting to feel kind of housebound since while we're in Louisiana my husband works all the time and I don't have any errands to run or friends to visit. So yesterday I went shopping, ostensibly for a gift for the aforementioned wedding, and stayed gone for 2 1/2 hours--mostly in Target, but also in Ross, Marshalls, and Bed Bath & Beyond. I got a nice present and bought myself a VERY cute denim skirt. For $16, when the one I had been looking at, at Banana Republic, was $60. Score! I didn't feel tempted to buy other stuff even though I looked at everything. I just love having some time to look around without having to deal with hyper kids.
If I don't get to post until after the weekend, (we'll be traveling tomorrow), I wish you all a happy and blessed Easter.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
*sigh* Oh well, it can't be helped.
The kids are having fun, even though their cousins are in school during the day. Once her cousins arrived yesterday afternoon, I hardly saw Miss Pink the rest of the evening. It reminds me of how much fun I used to have at my grandparents' house, with or without my cousins around. It was always so much fun to explore a different house and yard. I could find things to do for hours. After five years of wanting my constant attention, Miss P is finally playing independently. And when her little brother is awake, she has a shadow who wants to do exactly what she's doing.
I just took a long nap and it was great. I hope I don't have trouble getting to sleep tonight, but for now I feel refreshed. I'm going to try to get some "actual" writing done during Mr. Blue's nap. Yet without my usual routine, I feel disconnected and unmotivated. I'll be back home soon enough, so I might as well enjoy the relative lack of responsibility while I can.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Miss Pink is currently obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake. She wants to dress in Strawberry’s colors (pink, white, green, and red) and every day when she gets to choose a DVD to watch, it’s Strawberry (I get a different one from the library each week). It’s probably easier to let her dress in those colors than when she wanted to dress like me every day, since she does have quite a few pink, white, and green clothes. It does mean that when I read S. Shortcake books to her, I point out whenever S. wears anything that is not in the usual colors. “Look, she’s wearing jeans! That means you can wear jeans!” Hey, I do what I’ve gotta do. I can’t be washing the same two shirts every day.
I do understand that this phenomenon is common to a lot of children. They love someone so much—even a cartoon character—that they want to BE that person. I remember liking a little boy at my preschool so much that I wanted to be him. Not marry him, or hug him—just be him. I would put on my pajamas* and pretend I was Sammy. It made me so happy to do that.
Miss P’s obsessions are likely to change at a moment’s notice (and again, I guess this is normal). One day, she just wasn’t into ballet anymore and wanted to stop taking dance. She hardly ever dresses up in her princess dresses anymore. And so it goes, the growing-up process.
I guess when it comes to boys, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because Miss Pink likes a little guy at her preschool who was in her class last year. Yes, last year. They aren’t even in the same class this year, but she still says he’s the one she’s going to marry. I usually just say something like, “Oh, that’s nice” because for heaven’s sake, at her age I am not going to call him her boyfriend; that kind of thing starts early enough (or too early, really) without parental encouragement.
I just wonder why she’s stuck with the idea that he’s The One. Two years is a long time when you’re her age—more than a third of her life. I wonder what she means when she says she loves him. To see them together, they seem like any two preschoolers interacting; she doesn’t giggle or bat her eyelashes at him because she has no idea how to flirt. This week I found out that he will be going to the charter school too, so they’ll continue seeing each other some of the time.
I know that someday she may not even remember his name, or only his name (I have no idea what Sammy looked like) but I can’t help feeling a twinge, knowing what lies ahead. It begins. I didn’t know the letting go doesn’t happen all at once, but rather, the invisible cord that binds us unravels one strand at a time.
*This makes more sense if you know that in the religious tradition in which I was raised, girls did not wear pants. So my pajamas were the only pants I owned.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Justin went into our tiny master bathroom (it contains only the shower and toilet) and I heard him say, "What happened in HERE?"
I rushed in there because with two young children, I feared the worst--excrement smeared on the wall, maybe? [Shudder] Instead, there were little bits of toilet paper stuck to the bottom half of the wall and the floor, the bath mat was damp, and the toilet seat was wet. We couldn't figure out what had happened until I lifted the seat and more tiny bits of paper were stuck inside the rim, indicating that the wet paper had come from inside the toilet. (Look at how I'm trying to sound like a CSI--at least I didn't use the words "directionality" and "spatter.")
Miss Pink said, "I know what happened--the toilet exploded!"
The one thing we know for sure is that it didn't happen right after flushing, or I would have noticed it. We flushed the toilet several times but it refused to explode again. Which was sort of scarier to me--it's not CONSISTENT with its eruptions. I've kept the lid down all day: so far, so good. Of course, I'm also kind of avoiding it, telling myself that I just prefer the other toilet. I don't want the master bathroom one to explode while I'm using it. Ack!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Yesterday the kids decided they wanted to go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. I said we couldn’t go that day (I was fasting, and going out to NOT eat would up the discomfort level from “sacrifice” to “torture”) and did they want me to heat up some frozen chicken nuggets? (I know, I know—but they’ll actually eat them, and I always serve something healthy alongside.)
Yes, said Miss Pink, and could I make fruit salad like they have at CFA? So I made some out of apples, grapes, and mandarin oranges. Mr. Blue had chocolate milk and Miss P had regular, just like at the restaurant. Every so often they would leave the table to play on the playground—which as far as I could tell, consisted of their dad’s recliner serving as a slide.
Miss Pink kept saying, “This is just like Chick Fil A!” At one point she said, “You know what, Mommy? When we wanted to go to Chick Fil A and we couldn’t, instead of getting upset about it, we worked it out!”
“Yes, you did,” I agreed, “and I’m very proud of you.”
Sometimes the way to happiness is adjusting your expectations and finding a way to enjoy what you DO have instead of bemoaning what you don’t. Chalk that one up to “lessons my kids have taught me.”
Later they had an Easter egg hunt with their baskets and about six empty plastic eggs from last year. They had a lot of fun, and although I don’t think the Easter bunny can get away with leaving empty eggs for them, I reminded myself to enjoy the years of low expectations.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Things that made me happy
1. Mr. Blue asks me to sing “Hush Little Baby” to him while I rock him for a few minutes before bed, and as I sing, he lays his head back against my arm and his lips move. He’s singing along with me.
2. The ham and bean soup I made this week. It was delicious, and the cornbread I served with it was so good dipped in the broth.
3. Not to beat a dead horse (what a disgusting metaphor!), but Miss Pink getting into the charter school definitely made me happy.
4. Miss Pink has started receiving an allowance: $2.50 a week—half her age. It will increase accordingly as she gets older. She has been extra polite and willing to do her chores. I know that this probably won’t last since familiarity breeds contempt, but it was a pleasant week around here.
5. Justin and I got to have a date yesterday. I like spending time with my husband, even after nearly 11 years!
Things that bothered me
1. Beautiful 70-degree weather followed a day later by ice and snow. Barely any snow, but still. It’s the flip-flopping between warm and cold that bothers me the most. Plus people in
2. My favorite flannel pajama pants are finally developing a hole in the crotch. They are ten years old (from the Gap, if anyone’s interested in which brand lasted so long) and I am sad that they will have to be thrown out after the cold snaps are ended.
3. It is not getting easier to give up sweets. I’d thought that perhaps I would detox after a week and not crave them. Sadly, that is not the case. I didn’t know how much candy is sold in every store, until now.
4. I’m not looking forward to spending spring break at my m-i-l’s house. Too many reasons to go into now, plus discretion is the better part of valor, but y’all are going to have to pray for me.
That’s really it. My blessings do far outnumber my complaints. Have a great week, everyone!
Friday, March 7, 2008
This means Mr. Blue will be guaranteed a spot when he enters kindergarten, too. So I don't have to go through this in three years. Thank goodness, because I don't think I could stand the suspense.
Let me assure you that I am no school snob. If Miss Pink had not gotten in, we would have sent her to her assigned elementary school and been fine with it. The attempt to get her into this school was nothing compared to the competition to get in the preschools in NYC and Chicago. They have entrance interviews and IQ testing in those places! Sending my kids to a charter school was more about finding a school where they would learn well, not trying to get into Harvard or anything. I just wanted to make sure y'all knew that.
I know that no school is perfect, and Miss Pink and Mr. Blue will still have challenges in school that I will have to help them deal with. But I think this school sounds like a good fit for them. I like that the school believes in multiple intelligences, that every child has gifts and abilities that may not show up on a standardized test. Miss Pink would be fine, I think, in a traditional classroom with lots of reading and writing and sitting at a desk doing worksheets. But she is also artistic and social (interpersonal intelligence). At this school, there is a lot of cooperative learning because their philosophy is that we learn better when we talk about what we're learning instead of just listening to a lecture. (Sort of what we've discovered in the small groups model for churches, right?) Since Miss Pink loves to talk about what she's learning,* this should be perfect for her.
*wonder where she gets that from?
So we shall see. I am committed to volunteering my time at the school (parents must do 10 hours minimum)--not to be hovering over my kid, but to help make the school the best it can be.
A lot of the other parents feel the same way. As my friend said today, "All the other parents really wanted their kids in that school, so it's bound to have a positive atmosphere." I truly believe that parental involvement is the key to a good education for children--not more federal dollars, not fancier technology in the classroom. As a parent, if you are involved in your child's education, whether you're a public, private, or homeschooling family, you are doing the best thing you can do for their future.
When I started this post, I was just going to type the first line. Please don't hate me for my longwindedness!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I haven’t cheated all week on my promise to give up sweets for 21 days. Lowest moment so far: when I saw the remains of a Tootsie Roll Pop Miss Pink had left on the counter, and I wanted to eat that little saliva-coated leftover bit of Tootsie Roll. I almost did it, and then I thought, “How crazy is it that candy controls me like this?” and I said silently to the Tootsie Roll Pop, “No! You will not defeat me!” and I threw it away. And that’s when I knew for sure that I was mentally ill.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
It's actually okay with me if it doesn't work out. He's only two, it's not like preschool is a necessity. It was mainly going to be a safe place where he could play with other kids and learn a few things and do art projects that Mommy isn't creative enough to think up. And (let's be honest) so I could have some time alone for the first time in a few years. I would still like that to happen, and people move or change their minds, so if he gets in, I'll be happy. However, as long as he takes naps, I think I can survive the all-day togetherness. (I realize I have just jinxed myself. I am knocking on wood RIGHT NOW. Although not loudly enough to wake him up from his blessed, wonderful nap.)
My lack of distress probably has something to do with the fact that he's my baby. One more year at home all day--eh, that's fine, we'll take a music class and call it good. We have a playgroup and he does well in the gym daycare when we go, so those are good ways to break up the day. Plus I can think of other ways to spend the tuition.
He's already on the list for Miss Pink's current preschool (they don't have a two-year-old class anymore, or that's where he'd be going next year) so the '09 and '10 school years are good to go.
Now if I only knew for sure where Miss Pink will be going to kindergarten. The online lottery for Educational Nirvana (kidding) is Friday at 10 am. Send good wishes for fast fingers for me!
Monday, March 3, 2008
Disregard the fact that I get dressed in workout clothes almost every morning, because I DO go work out in them, and I change afterwards! Well, sometimes I change. Sometimes I don't, because Pilates doesn't make me sweaty. But I COULD change into these basics, if I wanted to. So there.
1.Fitted leather jacket. I have a trench coat, which was on the original list, and I like it, but it doesn't go with everything, and it's a pain to get on and off with the belt. I wear it sometimes, but I wear my leather jacket more.
2. Denim jacket. When I want a more casual look. I actually need a better one.
3. Dark jeans. Of course.
4. Season-appropriate pants in a neutral color: this winter, black corduroys. Khaki for summer. I tend to bring color and pattern into my wardrobe with tops and skirts, not pants.
5. Fitted tees in several colors. Hanes Perfect Tees work for me. Also some from Target, if I am careful to stay out of the juniors department. I have two long-sleeved ones from Ann Taylor that are nice.
6. A couple of blazers, to dress up the jeans-and-tee look we moms have going on.
7. Sweaters in neutrals (black, gray, navy, camel) and colors (pink, green, orange--different sweaters, of course!) These have various necklines (v-neck, crew, turtleneck).
8. Knee-length skirts, for both dress and casual. Straight and A-line. Since I'm short (5'2"), I have learned to be ruthless with myself and only buy skirts that are at or slightly above the knee. No more looking stumpy!
Edited to add: I'm looking for a knee-length denim skirt (darker wash preferred) and I'm not having any luck--maybe when spring gets here for real, I'll have more options. Any suggestions? ($50 or less, please!)
9. Button-down shirts. I was given several high-quality (read: expensive) shirts in some good colors, plus I had a white Banana Republic one. Since they're fitted, I like to wear them untucked over jeans, with a cute necklace.
10. Can't forget dresses. I stopped buying dresses while I was nursing babies, and now I LOVE my dresses. Most of them are for church. I need a couple of more casual spring dresses, maybe an adorable sundress? I feel the urge to shop coming on...
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Things that made me happy
1. Going out to dinner and a movie with my friends last night. We had so much fun!
2. Making these cool tags about “The Big Picture”—all the things that are important enough to me to document in scrapbooking. They came labeled things like “people,” “culture,” “food,” “music,” “home,” etc. I’m writing on them, obviously, but also decorating them with paint, ribbon, tiny silk flowers, and collage-y elements, Along with blogging, scrapbooking makes me feel I am capturing (some of) the everyday moments of our lives, which will be precious in the years to come.
3. My kids getting to play outside since it was warmer this week. They loved it.
4. Miss Pink was so happy about some Strawberry Shortcake sneakers that I bought for her that it made my heart glad. I love doing things for my children when they ask nicely and are grateful.
5. Kissing Mr. Blue’s neck this morning. I just could eat him up with a SPOON!
Things that bothered or saddened me
1. Justin’s uncle died. He was Justin’s father’s oldest brother (Justin’s father, as the youngest of the six siblings, was the first to die.) Goodbye, Uncle
2. I’m a little worried about Justin coming back from the viewing tonight. He drove 6 ½ hours there, will attend the viewing, and insists on driving back afterwards. I tried to get him to spend the night, but that man is STUBBORN.
3. I didn’t feel I got anything done this week. I mean, besides the usual preparing food, dressing-and-undressing-and bathing-kids, changing diapers, cleaning up the kitchen, and doing laundry. When I put it that way, I did a lot. Plus I wrote some things. Okay, I feel better. (I have a pathological need to feel useful, as if I am required to justify taking up space on the planet.)
4. This shouldn’t be something I am sad about, but I’ve decided to give up sweets for the church fast until Easter (my friend L calls it “mini-Lent”). I am starting for real tomorrow. It will be interesting; my blog posts may be much more crabby at first, until I detox.
5. I miss Justin. We need a date night soon. Anyone want to volunteer to babysit?