Saturday, March 31, 2007

Marching on

As previously noted, I loved Little Women as a kid. So when I finally got around to reading Geraldine Brooks' Pulitzer-Prize-winning March, about the absent Mr. March serving as chaplain in the Union Army, I was excited to have a "grown-up" read of a favorite story. I was more than a little disappointed. Maybe it's something about having won an exalted award that got my hopes up. Granted, Brooks did model Mr. March more after Louisa's own father, Bronson Alcott, who was a bit of a Transcendentalist wacko. Brooks is a fine enough writer but her character was insufferable--haughty, self-righteous, patronizing, and verbose in a 19th century sentimental novel way. Plus, he really doesn't like Calvinists. The story Brooks creates for him, while imaginative, didn't resonate with me either; it seemed too far-fetched, too romantic. However, his conflict in being in a war with principles he admires while simultaneously denouncing the means to enforce those principles was contemporary and Brooks managed to portray that connection with current issues without banging it in our heads.

The best part of the novel comes when the narration switches to Mrs. March (dear Marmee). Her voice is strong and more genuine, a refreshing change from March's pomposity. So in the end the best part of Little Women is the women. Except for Laurie, of course. I always thought he was dreamy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I love the weekend

We had great weather, family, dirt, good food. What could be better?
On Saturday, Dave's parents came over for the day. The men worked in the yard, including getting my "garden" ready. Well, a few rows of beans and zucchini. Dave saved one last zucchini hill for Rebekah to plant. The ladies tended to the munchkins and sipped lattes on the patio during nap time.
Lasagna and banana pudding (I know, what a combo) for dinner & dessert. None of us have been eating like that lately. And it was sooo good. Rebekah's reaction to eating dessert (which she doesn't get too often) was priceless. She thought finding cookies in her dessert was a double bonus and she scammed more bits from Grandma's bowl. She also picked up a new phrase from Dad: "My back is killing me!" She used it correctly all day long.
Finally saw what all the hoopla was about with Little Miss Sunshine. What's up with us picking movies about transporting corpses?! Laughed, wait, it's still there. Still, cursing and whatnot aside, a good message about being a family.
Sunday--great worship (even if the praise team all wore some shade of orange/coral/pink--interesting) and a powerful message about growing younger (taken from Luke 22), reminding me to be like my kids--trusting, dependent, communicative, and about my Father's business. The focus on the kingdom of God has been incredible and challenging these past three months. Coupled with our "Sunday School" class's discussion on being both culturally relevant and living counter-culturally has made me look at my daily decisions with fresh eyes. I'm still not there yet. More on my laziness later. But I'm working on it.
Shalom, everyone. Have a blessed Monday.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kids and Sanctification

The day started out so nicely. A sweet toddler snuggled in bed with us this morning (not too early). But by naptime, I had had enough. Too many times of telling the girl not to do something only to watch her do it. Too many times of hearing, "but I just..." The memory of her whining, foot-stamping, and going "boneless" up and down the aisles of Publix this morning. Enough! I sent her to her room, refused to read Madeline. Grrr!

And what does she say? Through her tears, crying, "But I want to obey! I want to be a good girl!"

She is so me. I know she's trying to avoid consequences, to get me to relent. But she is reflecting the battle that goes on in my own heart. I'd like to obey, I would. I know I should stop when I hear the Spirit saying "no." But do I? Instead, I suffer the consequences and then go running to the throne room, crying, "Abba! I want to be good."

"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate...For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. " Romans 7:15, 18-19

Our kids are here to show us our sinful self all day long, aren't they?

Ten minutes later, I peeked in her room. Already asleep, sheet up to her chin, thumb in her mouth, fingers woven through her blanket. Dare I say "angelic"?

And when she wakes up, sweet and looking for a hug, I'll be ready for her.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

budding feminist?

Rebekah (this morning): Why is so many mans on the news?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I think I'm in love...

My (first) pair of shoes from arrived today. This could be very dangerous. Shoe shopping from my desk chair, free shipping, no kids, thousands of shoes. They arrived in this lime printed box with the shoe box wrapped in brown tissue paper and sealed with a lime sticker. Too cute. The shoes--bronze metallic Skechers--are also fab, though I know Mom is thinking "ooooo-kay" in that voice moms have when they think their daughters' tastes are weird.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Does this happen to anyone else?

Gray Monday morning...this might be the last cool Florida day before the heat and humidity take over. The kids are asleep and I'd kinda like to be too. Dinner is cooking in the crock pot--niiice. I think Borat may be the next movie in our queue. Great. It's payback for the last one I chose--For Your Consideration, a Christopher Guest mockumentary on a bad movie getting Oscar buzz. Not nearly as good as Guffman or Mighty Wind, my Guest favs. A few funny moments and a lot of "hey, isn't that....?" I was amazed a how many people signed up to do really short bits.

I was on nursery duty yesterday which means I check the workers in and make sure all the rooms are covered. I guess since I was back there so often people needed to comment on my kids. I was told the funny, brilliant, wacky things Rebekah was doing--like needing binoculars for Daddy. She told everyone she was going to Target to get them. I'm just surprised she didn't need to go by Starbucks first or get something from Lowes too. I'm just used to her imaginative wackiness--like wheeling her little horse up to the fireplace screen and placing her Chic-Fil-A order. "I want a kid's meal, a fruit cup, and a 'yemonade.'"

Of course, Ben's still a wonder to people too. I got a lot of "That's a big baby!" A new babysitter told her mom that he's "giant." Well, he is up to 19 lbs. and looks about 8 months old. Which is all great for my waistline, but not for my back.

And a Madness update: It hasn't been a great year. His best board only puts him around 100,000th nationally, somewhere in the top 5%. Does this mean he sees the futility? Nope. Just some tweaking of the program for next year.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Madness x Madness

Don't talk to me about March Madness. Whatever level of interest in the NCAA tourney may occur in your household, it cannot compare to the insanity here. And Dave doesn't even like college basketball. No, my friends, but he is a math geek.

Three years ago he and a tech friend at work complied years of statistics on the tournament to help them predict who may win. Not on actual team, but on the rankings of teams in general. Like how often an 8 beats a 9, how often a 1 makes it to the Final Four, etc. Then they created an Excel program to spit out thousands of iterations based on those statistics.

Then the true madness begins. Starting on Sunday, Dave created 100 boards. 100. Using as many screen names as he can through multiple websites he made 100 different scenarios based on statistical predictions. Tonight he'll watch the ESPN ticker to highlight and update his brackets, sort them by percentage correct, and track his national ranking. But not actually watch the games.

What truly makes my head spin is that he realizes how impossible it is to accurately predict the winner this way--or even the Final Four. It would take the program like 21,000 iterations to come close. I'm just glad we have two TV's with cable now. Hey, maybe he'll win the flat screen TV. Then next year we can do all this in HD. Yea.

I need to find a book.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Nerd Alert!

Check out this website: So cool!

And--did you know that Eats, Shoots, and Leaves comes in a kiddie version? My poor kids.

And, just so the math folks don't feel left out, Happy Pi Day!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Last night was book club night. It's a breath of fresh air--often coffee and brownie scented. I love what we read--random, interesting, varied; I love the women--random, interesting, and varied. We get caught up on movies, books, and each other. And Debby S. is there! What more could I ask for!

Our selection this time was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and while we discussed poverty, feminism, and families, what has stayed with me to this morning was a comment by S.C. She brought up the realness of Francie's world and how (if we were to teach this to today's high schoolers, especially the ones she & I have taught) that aspect of community and reality would be so "unreal" to them, maybe more so than the poverty. In our world of TV, computers, BLOGS, etc. we are so distant, insulated, and living in un-reality. I know this world is but a shadow of things to come, but I wonder if we are becoming more and more shadowy. Is my community the Starbucks barrista who remembers my name and drink order? The friends who comment on my blog? When's the last time we met for coffee or had a phone conversation? What is real? Am I becoming any more "of substance," able to walk on the blades of grass in the intense sun like the narrator in The Great Divorce? Can I handle real joy and survive real pain?

Friday, March 9, 2007

Today's Lessons

Rebekah's school of 2-ness

Health & Fitness
Four food groups: peanut butter, yogurt, graham crackers, applesauce (repeat)
Exercise: "Wiggle your bottom, wiggle your toes, wiggle your fingers, stomp your feet..."
Anatomy & Physiology: "Is Benjamin stinky yet?" And taking her puppy to the "hospital" for a checkup, "Thump, thump, thump."

Matching color and pattern: Organizing Daddy's sock drawer

Curious George

Number Theory
After the laundry is done, still missing socks.

Mommy is on the computer again.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The soundtrack of our lives

We are music lovers, despite the fact that I gave up the flute by 8th grade and Dave cannot hum (don't let him do humdingers in Cranium!). The whole house comes to a stop when we get a new CD and we read every word in the liner notes.

Rebekah is coming into her own musical life too with definite favorite singers/groups and an interest in instruments. Here she is conducting Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. (we're really not that pretentious, I promise.) She's using a Pampered Chef chip clip as a baton. She also highly recommends Slugs and Bugs by Goodgame and Peterson. Quirky kids music that won't make parents pull their hair out. Trust me.

Ben is into anything we sing but he loves "I'm so Blue" from Madame Blueberry. Maybe it's the fact that I sing in a crazy French accent. Any way, it never fails to make him smile and try to "oo-oo-oo" back.
And the soundtrack of my life--Jill Phillip's aptly titled "Nobody's Got It All Together." Her voice is fabulous and she pours out her heart in her lyrics. (Rule in our house--singers must write their own songs.) We saw her perform with Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God tour. (You have to see this concert if it comes anywhere near you next Christmas!) "NGIAT" is so much about being loved by God, being honest with Him (cuz He knows it anyway!) and yourself, and giving up the act, the worrying, the self-consciousness. Sets me back on track.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Three Burials, Two Tired Parents, One Glass of Wine

So I've realized that I spend more time reading my friends' blogs than I do writing my own. Do they have more interesting lives than I do? More insightful commentary? More humorous ancedotes? Well, maybe Kathy does.

We watched Tommy Lee Jones' directorial (sp?) debut in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Yes, I know how behind I am in my movie watching. We don't see movies in the theater the week or month they come out! And I really have to psych myself up for movie watching lately. I think with all the stress and tiredness and junk of real life I just don't want to watch anything too deep or dramatic or tense or sad. Luckily, this was a comedy. Well, a Flannery O'Connor kind of comedy. We did laugh at the black humor throughout the movie which kept things light. Watching Tommy Lee Jones pump antifreeze into the corpse of his best friend to keep ants from eating it was strangely funny. All in all, a good movie, something to think about the illegal immigrant issue from another perspective. I stayed awake for the whole thing--even with a glass of wine in me. And Dave didn't hate it--that's saying a lot!