Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Friday Photo: Nutria Battle

Our hero!  He did battle with a nasty, huge nutria and won!  The beast is dead.  However, he ended up with an infection, some surgery, and this lovely accessory. 

Technology Void

I could claim some higher-ground here in my parenting.  I could call it intentional.  But if I'm really honest, money is more of the motivator than a deep belief against gaming systems.  However, I will admit that I'm glad that money is a factor and has prevented us from purchasing any of these devices for our boys.

Yesterday when B got off the bus he was mad, at me.  "Wow, what's with the face?  What did I do?"

"I want a DS."  Part of me wants one for them too, really...when I see how it makes them feel a bit inferior to their friends.  They've taken full assessment of their situation, done the research while they are at friends' houses.  They know we have a technology void.  This weekend I even caught B in a little-white-lie with his cousin, "Yeah, I have an ipod."  His cousin responded, "Well we have three, but we have to share them as a family."  Actually, B does not have an ipod.  His father has one that he lets the boys have full access to.  B keeps the speaker and ipod right by his bed, so I guess it feels like it is his, but it is not.

Often when I go pick the boys up from playing at friends' houses the mom will say, "Wow, they like to play video games, don't they."  I don't know how many times I've gone to pick C up from a playdate, and I have to search the home to find him hidden in the corner with a handheld system in his hands.  I feel like that health mom who doesn't allow their kids to have refined sugars and turns their children in to ravenous beasts around candy.  (One of these children was in my 6th grade class and stole the Ding Dong out of my lunch for months.  Oh and my husband did not have a TV growing up, which only meant he figured out what time shows were on and made sure he was at a friends house when the shows aired...much to the annoyance of his friend who was bored of those shows.)

Now before you think I'm a horrible mother, the boys do play video games.  They can access many of the same games that their friends play on our computer.  They love it.  It is a passion for them.  I've had other moms tell me that maybe I should just get my boys a Wii, "Then maybe they'll get it out of their systems."  Um, I doubt that.  I remember when my oldest was two and I was basically clueless in my mom role and actually told a friend, "Yeah, we really have been pro-active in our screen time and B just isn't in to it."  Um, B was two, that was it.  Developmentally he was just not at that zone stage...now he is.

Sometimes I take our computer and hide it, so the boys will not ask to use it.

The other night I did this and it forced them to play and create.  And I didn't have to deal with the begging.   I  went upstairs and watched B play with his Legos.  He was having fun creating worlds and vehicles for those worlds.  There were sound effects and general ingenuity.  I thought to myself, "Well, maybe when they get out into life they will be the innovators and creative-thinkers of their generation.  Maybe when they are the next Steve Jobs they will say in a speech, 'I thank my mom for my brain.  She denied us access to technology growing up.  Even though I didn't like it at the time, I appreciate it now.  Unlike our peers, our brains were left to grow and develop, forced to create and solve our own bouts of boredom'."

Oh, who am I kidding, I know it is only a matter of time before we finally save up, give in, and buy a gaming system.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Update: Anticipate

Over the New Year I decided to embrace a word for the year instead of making goals or resolutions.  I felt like God handed me, lovingly, the word anticipate.  I felt like I was moving away from old commitments and into new ones, just wasn't sure what the new ones were yet.  I love being aware of the movements of God in my life and living in trust as my life takes new turns.  I learned long ago not to force change, but to anticipate, hope, plan, and trust change.

So, guess what!?  I am embracing a new teaching challenge: preschool.  Never would I have predicted this career choice.  I started out in secondary education, loved my stint at the college level, but now I'm actually very excited and eager to begin this new venue for my passion of teaching.

I'm finding myself taking on some new volunteer work also.  I'm trying to get some planning and movement in the way of long-range plans for my sons' school playground.

But don't worry, I'm passing off many of my old commitments: church women's retreat, mom's Circus Teabreak's group, standing back a bit more from Sunday school leadership (although still taking my turn at teaching), found a new mom to take on the school newsletter, dropping Site Council for next year...probably not coaching my son's soccer team (Daddy says he wants too.).  So, don't worry, I actually think I'm striking a more healthy balance and focusing on fewer things and doing those few things well:  teacher, mother, wife, daughter, and friend. 

But, this transition period has been busy, and that is why there has been less writing lately on my blog.  Just thought my faithful readers would like to know.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Perfect Jeans

I have never been that lucky girl; never had that perfect pair of jeans…until now.  I love this denim like no other.  My passion is unequaled.  And this chance encounter was all quite by accident.  It was a harried decision, a choice I almost didn’t make, a choice thrown on at the end of a time-sensitive –shopping-endeavor.  My childhood friend and I had indulged our stay-at-home-mom fantasies and hired a babysitter while we allowed ourselves to shop, in a mall!  Still our time was limited and was encroached upon by the knowledge that there was a 5 to 1 ratio at her house.  So even though we appeared to be free women, we still shopped like two rushed, frenzied mothers: there was a time constraint.  Luckily I did have my best friend with me who obviously knows a good pair of jeans and recognized they were a hit on my legs, thighs and buns.  “Well, should I get them?  What do you think?”

“Definitely.”  I was unsure because the hems dragged a bit.  She promised that she could alter them if I needed it.  This scene is almost three years old, but is clear in my mind…one of those fateful, frozen events.  By this one simple purchase I was changing the course of history, at least as far as my wardrobe goes.

For three years I would wake and gaze into my closet.  I had choices.  There were other jeans.  But whenever, out of obligation, I chose another pair I always regretted it.  My heart was another’s.  My true love lay in my drawers waiting for me to realize my mistake and return to him and his threads only.

Days with Mr. Perfect were just better.  My confidence oozed:  the right color, with the right fade; the right softness that didn’t sag by the end of the day; so dependable.  I could dress these jeans up or down.  They were good enough for casual grocery shopping, picking up the kids, or going on dates with my husband.  They were morphing into my body, becoming a second skin.  We had lit the wedding unity candle and had become one.

That is why my heart broke recently when I discovered a thin stream of light protruding through the back, left pocket.  Maybe it was my imagination.  Maybe if I stood straight, did not squat, no one else would notice.  I tested this out on my husband.  “Well, maybe if I wear blue underwear?”

“Maybe it is time to get a new pair of jeans.”

Sorrow.  I knew that fates would only give goodness to me once.  You only have one first love.  I tried to find the exact same brand, but it had been three years and the fashions had morphed slightly.  (I guess I’m like that woman who still insists on a beehive at the beauty salon.)  I compromised.  I found something I could live with, not necessarily live without.

I brought this new pair of jeans home and placed them in the drawer next to my worn-out-lover.  I was sad.  I knew that when I woke up and put them on, it would not be the same…and it was not.  I still have my perfect-pair-of-jeans.  I will not throw him out yet.  And I still wear Mr. Right on days when I know I am safe from public scrutiny.  I now understand the powerful connection between a woman and her jeans.  Some things in life you can only learn through experience.  Jeans are one of those things.