Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time for Writing

I know I should be writing, but I'm struggling to find the time. Currently my middle son is climbing all over my lap and computer chair. It seems we are all trying to find time with each other.

My husband has entered some alternate universe, which revolves around his soccer schedule. My oldest is in full-day-school and my middle in preschool. This means my skills as carpool director are being exercised. The thing is, I'm not sure I'm that great of a driver. I keep noticing too many close calls when I drive. The latest example would be the woman who I didn't see walking in the crosswalk as I turned right....right in to her. I got a very dirty glare. I also took a friend to book group; she was noticeably tense due to my ability to appear distracted when I drive. Now, in true random, blog fashion: back to the main point of this entry.

I keep hoping things will get into a rhythm once soccer is over, and the rains come, and we are all forced to be bored and inside. I'm not sure I could continue at such a frantic pace.

Tomorrow should be less hectic. My only real plans, other than dropping kids off and picking kids up, is running in to Costco to use my coupons! I'm excited that it will just be with my baby boy. He definitely gets the attention shaft. So I'm happy to spend some one-on-one time with him tomorrow, searching the selves for really good deals.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Photo

Does this really even need a caption?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What A Gift!

So my "BFF" of all time did a tribute to me/us on her blog yesterday.....because it was my birthday. How thoughtful is that!? Plus, she made an easy post for me. I'm just sending you her way. There are some excellent pictures of mullets and spiral perms.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Help! Need Books

It has been a while since I've posted any kid book recommendations. This is because we got out of our library routine, but now I'm back at it. However, my last visit did not bring many books I was ready to rave about.

There was one that struck a chord with my middle. I didn't particularly love it, but he did, so I will go ahead and give it a thumbs up.

It is I'm The Biggest Thing in the Ocean, which is told from the voice of a bragging Giant Squid. Each page shows him pointing out how much bigger his is than yet another sea creature until he gets swallowed by a whale. Then he in the belly of the whale he noticed that the whale just swallowed everything he was boasting about being bigger than. He gulps and then shouts, "I'm the biggest creature in this whale!"

Monday, September 20, 2010


Miracle! My son is talking to me about school, and I think even more than his peers are to their parents. This is based off of conversations I've had with other moms. The trick is knowing how to work with my son's communication style.

1. Never expect him to tell you anything on the ride home from school.
2. Little bits come out from 4 pm until bedtime.
3. It is best to listen to him talk one-on-one without distractions of toys and brothers. This is best right before he falls asleep.
4. Know what to ask. Never ask, "What did you do at school today?" Rather ask, "Who did you sit with at lunch?" Be specific.

So, here is what I've gathered about his first week of school.

1. He loves his friends and has a group from preschool that he always plays with on recess! I'm feeling very good about my choice to send him to preschool. Social success!
2. They play vampires vs. rabbits. The boys are the vampires attempting to eat the rabbits' bones. (girls) {Why is boys chasing girls a universal, timeless? We (me and my classmates) played cooties, cops and robbers, oh and with my Mennonite neighbors: Anabaptist vs. the Indians. Wow, how inappropriate was that game. The girls were the Anabaptist and the boys were the Indians.}
3. They have to be at school so long because they learn so much.
4. They are learning all their letters and sounds, but it is different that the ABC song I taught them.
5. He loves his teacher.
6. They all counted to 30, but their teacher can count to 100.
7. He is in the yellow table group.
8. They have music and he loves it. They listen to songs and when the songs stop they have to stand like a solider.
9. They have library and he read a book about alligators and next time he's getting the book called Ice Age.
10. In PE they get to play with the scooters. They have four wheels and they are square.
11. Their class is really good, but you can hear the loud 1st graders through the wall.
12. It is not OK to blow other kids' hair.
13. There is one little boy that pokes people and my son and his buddy are super fast and can run away from him.

I thought that was pretty good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Asked For It..East of Eden

Steinbeck is in no way a Christian writer, but he is a studier of people, behavior, and the Truth observed in and around him. East of Eden is an allegory loosely based on the story of Cain and Abel and the concept that we all have the capacity for evil or for good; that we have the ability to choose. That is where our power lies.

I’ve read the book four times now. The first time I read it, I tried to make it fit the Genesis account perfectly. I kept finding characters who I thought were Cain, Abel, Adam, the Serpent, Joseph, Moses etc. I found my read a bit frustrating because more than one character embodies many of the Biblical persons above.

Like all Steinbeck books you must love place and setting and be someone who gets attached to land and earth. Place is central to all his works. Place defines characters and their choices and motivations. “The Salinas Valley is in Northern California. It is a long narrow swale between two ranges of mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay....”

Adam Trask heads to the Salinas Valley with his new wife, Cathy. Cathy, who clearly embodies the idea of a great deceiver/serpent, “Her hair was gold and lovely; wide-set hazel eyes with upper lids that dropped made her look mysteriously sleepy. Her nose was delicate and thin, and her cheekbones high and wide, sweeping down to a small chin so that her face was hearth-shaped. Her mouth was well shaped and well lipped by abnormally small-what used to be called a rosebud. Her ears were very little, without lobes, and they pressed so close to her head that even with her hair combed up they made no silhouette.”

Cathy has no intention of staying with Adam, but uses him to escape a former life full of lies and murder. Once the twin boys, Cal and Aron, are born she leaves Adam and hides as a prostitute in Salinas. (A feared prostitute who manipulates men of power through blackmail.)

Disillusioned, Adam raises his two boys with little affection or attention. Any parenting the boys receive was done so by Lee their Chinese servant. Spiritual guidance is also found in Samuel Hamilton who helps Adam break free from the hold that Cathy has over him. Adam is stuck in his misfortune and is letting his past control his future.

But there is another character that must break free from Cathy and that is her dark son Cal who always feels the struggle between good and evil within himself, always feels like the evil son in comparison to his brother’s, Aron’s, perceived goodness.

When Cal discovers who Cathy really is, the twins have been told that she died, he feels defeated. If his mother is such a notoriously evil woman, then he must be destined to follow in her path of manipulation and deceit. But the best scene is when he goes to visit Cathy and realize that he is his own person and Cathy actually has no power to control him. It is a scene of sweet victory, and from that point on Cathy spirals into her own pit of destruction. Fitting, right?

There are so many layers to this story. Each character is full. Each scene has purpose. It truly is a great work of literature, an America classic. It not only tells a spiritual story, but also captures the American mind and spirit as our nation went from the 1800’s into the 1900’s.

There is a conversation in this book between Lee and Cal over if there is any good in the world...sometimes it is so much easier to see all the evil. Lee points out that if there were no good, then evil would have full reign, which it does not. For me this is affirming in my own faith. When I was in high school I would try and understand the existence of God and fail, but had no trouble believing in the existence of pure evil or Satan. I would talk myself out of my seasons of doubt by noticing that if there is evil and only evil then our world would be a horrible place, and yet there is much hope and life here.

East of Eden has a solid place in my spiritual journey. It is a story of people overcoming evil, overcoming the chains of their past, and breaking free. I happen to be a sucker for that story line, time and time again.

I'm sure there are many East of Eden experts out there, who would read my analysis and guffaw, but this is how I read the book and what it means to me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Photo-

He loves to cook! Since he was two he's been letting us know that someday he'll own a restaurant named Kimbee. It'll be the biggest restaurant in the world and will serve pancakes and waffles. Here we are making applesauce.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Time, A Must Read

I crave my delivery of Time magazine like I anticipate my morning coffee. The afternoon it comes to my mailbox is a vacation. I put aside all my house duties and lounge on my couch and read. I read it cover to cover. I get half done by the time my youngest wakes up from his afternoon nap, and then I finish the rest right before I fall asleep at night. I renewed my subscription with a sense of pride and duty. I gladly paid the fee to support quality reporting. I prefer tangible news to virtual.

And this last issues was particularly good. First it feels good to read real reporting, held up to journalistic standards vs. opinions on blogs or from a poorly construction e-mail forward, with little or no fact finding invovled. And so I encourage you to pick this latest issue up. You don't have to agree with all the opinions, but the will get you thinking and conversing for sure.

Points of Interest:

Tony Blair's piece on his time with our last two presidents, Bill and George, was so well written and articulated. He made me proud to be part of our American system. He inspired me to continue to strive for goodness in our government. Go Tony. Impressive.

The cover story on Israel was very interesting especially with the current peace talks. I found myself wanting to book a flight and have coffee with the people interviewed, in Tel Aviv. I guess I'm weak when it comes to beach towns. Sounds nice. Plus the fact that Israel's economy is strong and has not been effected by this last recession/depression. And, they are surrounded by those who are not happy with their location. You can follow this link and read the article on line.

I am always intrigued by politics. I guess that is the "geek" in me. I was a social studies major in college, so it is in my blood. But the article about Obama no longer being Mr. Popular was very interesting especially because of the elections coming up this fall.

And lastly, Gibbs' column was quite good on religion and our political leaders. Did you know that Dwight Eisenhower was raised as a Jehovah Witness? That Taft was Unitarian? I think we all know by now that Jefferson was a deist. Anyway, she posed some good food for thought on the topic of our Presidents and their religions of choice and how comfortable that makes us feel, or not etc.

Let me know if any of you pick up a copy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

It Is Starting...

It is the end of an era. It went much faster than anticipated. I feel the door slowly closing on this age of preschool now that my oldest is going to all-day-kindergarten this fall. While I was tucking him in last night I looked over at the calendar by his bed and gasped, “Only a few more weeks, and you’ll be an official school boy.”

He wiggled with excitement, the anticipation burbling out of him. I keep rehearsing the first drop-off. I’ve made arrangements for my mom to watch the younger two, so that I can relish in the moment. Lately I have been finding myself telling my oldest, “You were my first baby. You taught me everything I know about being a mom.”

“Buy why was I your first baby?”

“You made a good one.”

“Why did I teach you how to be a mommy?”

“Because before I had you I didn’t know how to feed a baby, change a baby’s diapers, get a baby to sleep, calm a baby down......”

I still remember my first Mommy and Me class at the Newberg Hospital. I thought I was doing so well. I went when he was only two-weeks-old. The other new moms gasped when I shared how old my newborn was. I thought they were impressed, now I know they thought I was crazy. And I was because only about 30 minutes into our circle time my new son started to cry. I was so embarrassed. I tried the pacifier. Nope. I tried rocking him. Nope. Breast feed? I was too much of a novice to do that confidently in public. I had to leave. I rushed out of the hospital with my little boy in his infant carrier screaming as I cautiously, totally paranoid, maneuvered the westbound curves of 99W. I’m pretty sure you can drive those curves going at least 5 mph. I pulled into our driveway and collapsed onto the couch exhausted. It took me a while to realize my first baby had actually stopped crying---fallen asleep.

Now I don’t even notice when a baby cries, mine or others. It is just background noise. When our final son arrived nearly 18 months ago, I finally had the confidence to nurse when needed in public and to do so with tact and privacy. This is the true mark of a veteran mom---at least for me. (Something that was good at the time, but I am happy to never have to do again.)

I can reach back and touch those first moments of motherhood so easily, and that is why I know I will be an emotional wreck the day after Labor Day when I drive my oldest to school. I’m excited for him, but sad for me---the one he’s leaving behind. I will now be relying on my oldest to let me into his world, his day. I’m depending on my son to talk to me, tell me who he is playing with, who he likes, who’s mean to him, what he’s good at in school, and when he needs help.

I’ve scheduled a day for just us to go school shopping. We’ve made our list. I have grand plans of this new annual tradition being very special---I hope I haven’t built it up too much. I imagine that first-day-of-school-picture that we will take on the front porch---you know, the porch no one ever uses, but remains sacred for this documented, picture occasion. We will pose here for the next 12 years, or at least until he stops wanting to in about the 6th grade: new shoes, pants, shirt, jacket, and backpack. I can visualize my son’s distinct smile, consistent through the progression of elementary, middle, and finally high school. He already has plans on attending college, since that is when he will finally be able to take his mechanical engineering classes. He informed me that since his brain works so well, he’s going in to engineering. (Always good to start out with that much confidence.)

I can’t believe this day has arrived, this very first day of school. This is it. We did it. I got him this far: he got me this far. We are both jumping into a pool with smiles, but eyes shut...not sure of how it’ll feel when we splash into the water, yet pretty sure it’ll be good.

I’m going to need to drive extra slow on my solo drive back to the house after dropping my oldest off in September, about as slow as I drove home from that first class at the hospital. I need enough time to get all my tears out before my other two sons greet me at the backdoor with vim and vigor.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yum, Blackberries. Friday Photo

Yes, the shirt was ruined. But see the joy on his face?