1.31.2006

Domesticity

I've been trying a new system for structuring my day. Everybody needs a kazillion different things from me and it gets pretty confusing. It's not so much that there's too much to do, as that all the demands on my time come in such a haphazard fashion, and it's tough to stay focused.

Anyway, everybody takes turns now. Well, they don't take turns asking for stuff, but I take turns listening to them.

I set the kitchen timer for 15 min., and for those fifteen minutes, I'm entirely focused on the kids. Diapers and sippy cups and stories and block towers. They always need laundry, too, and if they're happily occupying themselves, I'll throw in a load... but for those fifteen minutes, they can't possibly get in the way, because they're the highest priority.

Then the buzzer goes off, and it's Andy's turn for fifteen minutes. Dishes and mopping and bills and menu-planning. Of course I'll deal with any urgent crisis with the kids--after all, Andy want's his kids taken care of--but if it can wait, it will wait. Because once the buzzer goes oof, the next 15 minutes are theirs again.

And then it's MY fifteen minutes. And I'd tell you what I do with my fifteen minutes... except that the buzzer just went off.

Trial and Error and Unacceptable HTML

Blogger and I are having communications issues.

I'm beginning to think that immersion might not be the best language-learning technique for HTML.

Meanwhile, can anybody tell me why my template is so kerbonchlified?

1.27.2006

One of those days

It's been one of those days. You know, the sort of day where you realize that the chicken you were planning on having for dinner has been in the fridge just a little too long. You're tempted to use it anyway, but after googling salmonela, you decide that throwing it away is the safer option.

The sort of day where you realize that throwing it away wasn't a safe option at all, 'cause there's son number one, busily excavating too-old raw chicken from the trash and spreading it around on one of the chairs. Suddenly reupholstering the chairs jumps to the top of the priority list. Especially since that's not the same chair as the one that he gleefully poured his milk on an hour ago.

It's been the sort of day where as you're trying to scrub the butter off the outside of the refrigerator door, son number two squeezes the trigger of the bottle in your hand and gives himself a faceful of Orange Blast.

Yeah... It's just pretty much been one of those days.

1.26.2006

Four

And no, this is not an announcement. =)

I contemplated waiting for four tags, but I think I'll be nice and settle for the square root of four. =) So, Rachel and Lauren, here they are...

Four Jobs I've Had

1. Flute teacher
2. English tutor
3. Coordinator for Andy's summer math academy

and of course, last, but not least,

4. My current position as Shaper of Souls, Changer of Diapers.


Four Places I've Lived

1. Supai, Arizona. One of the most beautiful spots on earth, a little village tucked away inside the Grand Canyon. A lush oasis in an austere desert, waterfalls of a delicate magnificence, towering walls glowing in the sun, hemming in the bluest of skies...
2. Cottonwood, Arizona. Because what Supai has in beauty, it lacks in things like, well, grocery stores. My childhood was split between these two places, two weeks here, a month there.
3. La Mirada, CA, where I attended Biola University and the Torrey Honors Institute.
4. And here we are in Anaheim, right where the 91 meets the 57. Freeway interchanges are one of the few truly beautiful things in Los Angeles. As long as their moving, that is.

Four Vacations I've Taken

1. I have vague (but fond) recollections of camping on a rocky beach in Oregon, where the air was filled with salt and sea gulls, and they had a wonderful childrens program, featuring Scott O'Dell readings. I'm not exactly sure if there was a geographical relationship between that particular location and Island of the Blue Dolphins, but I do know that I earned a very spiffy badge for filling a certain number of trash bags on my de-littering expeditions. I also seem to remember watching Haley's Comet from under a crowded canopy... but I suspect my memory might be combining several camping trips into one. The dates don't quite line up, and besides, who would watch a comet from under a canopy? (Unless it was raining.... hardly ever rains in Oregon...)

2. I remember going up to Grandma and Grandpa's little cottage by The Lake, and floating peacefully in an inner tube with my mother.

3. There was a dear sweet lady, a friend of Wycliffe, who owned two amazing beach-front condominiums in beautiful San Clemente. She lived in one, and rented the other out to weary missionary families for the price of $100/wk. This is what comes to mind when I think of utter tranquility.

4. For our first anniversary, Andy and I spent a weekend at an adorable little historic port town in Oregon. Unfortuantely I don't remember either the name of the town, or its historic significance apart from being the home of an exceedingly eccentric merchant with a magnificent house, but we had a wonderful time.

Four Vehicles I've Owned

1. '91 Toyota Tercel, given us by Andy's parents. An amazing little vehicle. I'm pretty sure we have the oldest vehicle among our circle of friends, and the most reliable.
2. The doopah-mobile is a blessing straight from the hand of God. I think its new name is Chewbacca, though, since that's who it sounds like when it asks for more power-steering fluid. Which is often. I tell you, this vehicle is thirstier than a nursing mom.
3. twin stroller. And yes, it actually does fit through most doorways. Usually. At any rate, it navigates corners and curbs, which is more than you can say for most tandems. Do be cautious on the curbs though, especially when moving the seats to the upright position. The center of gravity changes considerably. Not that I'd have any way of knowing this...
4. Ummm.... my sons have a number of trucks. Does that count?

Four Bloggers I'd like to Tag

1. Becka
2. Emily
3. Lauren M.
4. Sarah

(Not that I don't know most of these things about you, sis... but you really do need to update your blog more often. Love you!)

Four

And no, this is not an announcement. =)

I contemplated waiting for four tags, but I think I'll be nice and settle for the square root of four. =) So, Rachel and Lauren, here they are...

Four Jobs I've Had

1. Flute teacher
2. English tutor
3. Coordinator for Andy's summer math academy

and of course, last, but not least,

4. My current position as Shaper of Souls, Changer of Diapers.


Four Places I've Lived

1. Supai, Arizona. One of the most beautiful spots on earth, a little village tucked away inside the Grand Canyon. A lush oasis in an austere desert, waterfalls of a delicate magnificence, towering walls glowing in the sun, hemming in the bluest of skies...
2. Cottonwood, Arizona. Because what Supai has in beauty, it lacks in things like, well, grocery stores. My childhood was split between these two places, two weeks here, a month there.
3. La Mirada, CA, where I attended Biola University and the Torrey Honors Institute.
4. And here we are in Anaheim, right where the 91 meets the 57. Freeway interchanges are one of the few truly beautiful things in Los Angeles. As long as their moving, that is.

Four Vacations I've Taken

1. I have vague (but fond) recollections of camping on a rocky beach in Oregon, where the air was filled with salt and sea gulls, and they had a wonderful childrens program, featuring Scott O'Dell readings. I'm not exactly sure if there was a geographical relationship between that particular location and http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440439884/sr=1-1/qid=1138296734/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-5014156-4500102?%5Fencoding=UTF8, but I do know that I earned a very spiffy badge for filling a certain number of trash bags on my de-littering expeditions. I also seem to remember watching Haley's Comet from under a crowded canopy... but I suspect my memory might be combining several camping trips into one. The dates don't quite line up, and besides, who would watch a comet from under a canopy? (Unless it was raining.... hardly ever rains in Oregon...)

2. I remember going up to Grandma and Grandpa's little cottage by The Lake, and floating peacefully in an inner tube with my mother.

3. There was a dear sweet lady, a friend of Wycliffe, who owned two amazing beach-front condominiums in beautiful San Clemente. She lived in one, and rented the other out to weary missionary families for the price of $100/wk. This is what comes to mind when I think of utter tranquility.

4. For our first anniversary, Andy and I spent a weekend at an adorable little historic port town in Oregon. Unfortuantely I don't remember either the name of the town, or its historic significance apart from being the home of an exceedingly eccentric merchant with a magnificent house, but we had a wonderful time.

Four Vehicles I've Owned

1. '91 Toyota Tercel, given us by Andy's parents. An amazing little vehicle. I'm pretty sure we have the oldest vehicle among our circle of friends, and the most reliable.
2. The doopah-mobile is a blessing straight from the hand of God. I think its new name is Chewbacca, though, since that's who it sounds like when it asks for more power-steering fluid. Which is often. I tell you, this vehicle is thirstier than a nursing mom.
3. twin stroller. And yes, it actually does fit through most doorways. Usually. At any rate, it navigates corners and curbs, which is more than you can say for most tandems. Do be cautious on the curbs though, especially when moving the seats to the upright position. The center of gravity changes considerably. Not that I'd have any way of knowing this...
4. Ummm.... my sons have a number of trucks. Does that count?

Four Bloggers I'd like to Tag

1. Becka
2. Emily
3. Lauren M.
4. Sarah

(Not that I don't know most of these things about you, sis... but you really do need to update your blog more often. Love you!)

1.24.2006

It's a Shame

I was sitting on the couch with September when Nathan came up to me, holding out a mangled shard of plastic that was once part of a cassette case.

"Bow-keen. Bow-keen."

It took me a while to catch on to what he was saying. "That's right, Meepo. Uh-oh. It's broken."

Then he pointed up at the blinds on the window directly over my head. "Bow-keen."

"Yep. That's right. You boys have pretty much destroyed the blinds."

He shook his head ruefully, clucking softly. "Tsa shame."

1.23.2006

Hair-raising

Andy and I are working hard on training the wuggies not to pull one another's hair... but, well, we try hard, and they pull hard. It's getting better, slowly but surely, but it's still a big problem around here.

Anyway, Isaiah was sitting on my lap, and we were working on his facial features. He poked his finger in my eye, and said "eye!" I then pointed to my nose. "Nose!"
He pointed to his own nose. "Nos!"

"Ear!"
"Ire!"

"Cheek"
"Teek"

"Hair!"
"Owie!"

1.21.2006

Grace for the Journey

One afternoon last week, as I was sitting in the Target parking lot, contemplating how I was going to trek all three kids through the store, I breathed a silent prayer.

Please God, no more sympathy.

I’d been listening to the Alito confirmation hearings on the way over, and senators were trying to nail down his opinion of Roe v. Wade. Alito managed to evade most of their questions, although without the tremendous authority and finesse Roberts showed when it was his turn. I was quite sure Alito would make a fine justice if confirmed... but listening as he ran the gauntlet mostly just reminded me that Chief Justice Roberts is the man. Utterly grueling, and Alito did a fine job. But Roberts made it look easy, towering over the great men and women of congress like a god.

Anyway. As they grew more and more frustrated, senators gave eloquent and impassioned expressions of why the issue is so important. It’s not just a question of the rights of women vs. the rights of fetuses, it is a question of the value and status of women. A woman’s right to choose is utterly fundamental to her personhood, to her very value as a human being. Failure to fund a woman’s abortion is failure to grant her full status as an adult human person.

All this hurt me on a very deep and personal level. Because, of course, what this means is that woman qua woman isn’t really quite human. A woman is not fully a person until she has the option of walking away from parenthood. The implication, subtle but searing, was that femininity is inherently problematic, that we need to do something about my womanhood in order to make me as much a fully adult human as a deadbeat dad.

I’d already spent the morning, not exactly regretting my life path, but feeling rather ashamed of it. What am I doing, sitting here at home with a baby at my breast, chasing toddlers around, instead of pursuing a degree or doing something significant? And what is wrong with me that I’m loving it?

Hearing eloquent senators pontificate about the need to rescue women from the degradation of motherhood just drove the shame in deeper.

And now I had to trundle everybody around Target, and face the stares. You can’t go anywhere with twins without attracting lots of attention. It just doesn’t happen. When it was just the twins, it was all admiration. My, my, wasn’t I lucky to have my two kids all at once so I wouldn’t ever have to get pregnant again. But of course, I did get pregnant again, and, moreover, I had another baby. And now people just gawk, and a few of them even have the audacity to express their sympathy. What a poor, unfortunate woman I am, so young with so many children. Oh how sorry they are that God has blessed us so richly.

The more tired and worn out you are, the more sympathy you attract—and I was too tired and worn out to deal with it.

Please, God. No more sympathy. Not today. I just can’t handle it.

He must have heard me.

The smiling lady at the snack bar admired my small Persephone child, and another young mom pointed out the twins to her little girls. I had a nice chat with the immensely pregnant woman buying pull-ups for her twin toddlers at home. But no derisive stares, no pitying glances.

And then, as I was browsing through the shoe section, a man approached me. Probably in his mid-twenties, gaunt, disheveled, and moderately toothless. When he saw the twins, his face broke open into wonder and delight. He stood there for a good five minutes, maybe ten, reveling in their beauty. I stroked September’s head as I talked with him, and he asked permission to do the same. As he rubbed her bald little noggin, I was afraid he might explode with the joy of it. I really love these kids, don’t I? He could tell. What a lucky man my husband is... lots of women now don’t really want the bother of having kids...

Suddenly he remembered himself. He apologized, embarrassed, for taking up so much of my time, and we each went back to our respective browsing.

A few minutes later, he was back again, this time trying on a handsome pair of black loafers. He shyly asked if I would tell him what I thought of the shoes. Were they the right sort of shoes to wear to church?

See he’s been going to church lately, New Life Fellowship down the street. Trying to put his life back together, you know? He’s a little out of place in sneakers and T-shirts, but you’re supposed to come the way you are, right? But, well... His voice trailed off, and he gave a little shrug.

And it was my turn to delight, to be blown away by a little glimpse into the beauty of grace and redemption. Come as you are, come and be restored. God showed his love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us... And it is that utter love and acceptance that draws us out of our brokenness and filth to become who we were meant to be all along.

I assured him that the shoes were very nice, and concurred with his hopes that if he saves them just for Sundays, they should last him a long time. We wished one another God’s blessings on our respective journeys, and then I finished up my shopping---still exhausted, but much refreshed. And immensely glad for having lugged my wuggies through Target that day.

1.19.2006

Two by two by two...


They're two! Posted by Picasa

1.17.2006

The fruit of the... orange tree.

The other night, Andy and I had a bit of red wine with our steaks. The wuggies had orange juice. When Isaiah had drained his cup, he slid his empty glass over to Dadders, saying "Mo!"

But instead of getting the pitcher out of the fridge, Andy poured him a few drops out of his own glass. Isaiah held it up, and carefully examined the deep garnet liquid. After sniffing it, he carefully put the cup up to his mouth.

No sooner had the first drop touched his lips, than he slowly, deliberately set the glass down again, and pushed it back toward Dadders.

With tremendous dignity and firmness, he clarified his request. "Onge. Jus."

1.15.2006

Transplant

Our church has a superbly gifted organist, but alas our decrepid organ is quite unworthy of her talents. Thus it was with great jubilation that she announced this morning that the parish's $3650 bid on ebay had won us a gorgeous antique pipe organ somewhere in Ohio, and we will be undergoing an organ transplant.

Speaking of music, we played musical babies after church. Who doesn't? Anyway, while Katie was getting her baby fix with September, I stepped outside to meet eight-day-old Hunter Nick. Of course I was quite eager to hold the little fellow, and his tired mama took advantage of the opportunity to duck into the fellowship hall to get big sister Autumn something to munch.

So I was standing out in front of the church holding a tiny blue bundle when Andy found me. "Oh there you are. Hey wait a second... you changed September's outfit!"

1.13.2006

Love and Logic

Earlier this week, my in-laws sent us some fabulous childrearing resources:

Helicopters, Drill Sergeants, and Consultants: Parenting Styles and the Messages They Send

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years

Excellent, excellent, excellent.

His principles really boil down to personal responsibility. Right from the start, we must teach our children to own their decisions and think wisely. This means that whatever wrong things they do must make trouble for themselves--not for anyone else. Since anger makes for a really bad learning environment, everything needs to be very calm, loving and empathetic. But whatever they do, they're going to have to live with the consequences.

So when Isaiah starts scaling the kitchen cupboards, uh-oh, it's such a bummer. Can't have that, so it looks like he'll just have to go hang out by himself in his room for a while.

A whiny older child sure drains mom's energy, so he'll have to make up for it by vaccuming.

Anyone who won't behave at the grocery store will obviously have to stay home next time... and will be responsible for paying for the babysitting, either through chores or giving up some of their toys.

And that poor, poor kid who flipped the bird for the class photo. He had to completely arrange the retake, setting up the risers, unloading the photographer's equipment, and paying for the replacement prints for all the parents.

With these principles, you are in complete control of your parenting as you teach your children to be in control of their behavior. Works a whole lot better than utterly losing control of the situation as you struggle to control your children's behavior.

Things have been much calmer around here for the past few days.

1.11.2006

So considerate

Well, if he had to take off his diaper and pee all over the floor, at least he knew to do it in the kitchen.

Small mercies, small mercies.

1.09.2006

Spilled Milk

I thought maybe I could save the carpet by mandating that the boys are only to drink their milk in the kitchen.

I see now that I must also mandate that September is only to spit up in the kitchen.

1.07.2006

All the King's Horses



Nothing brings a mother running faster than the words "ball" and "uh-oh" in close proximation.

Especially if they've figured out how to get into the refrigerator.
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Contrary to popular opinion

I do NOT have two left feet.

Neither do I have one right shoe.

1.06.2006

Advertising Unpacked

(yeah, we're unpacking all sorts of stuff around here...)

Last night Andy took the boys for doopahs around the mall while Tembo and I picked out some new curtains for our new house. While the current curtains are in far better condition (and far better taste, for that manner) than I ever would have expected for something so very, very paisley... well, they just aren’t quite my style.

After we got home (sadly, without curtains), Andy commented on the absurdity of the images surrounding Abercrombie and Fitch. How can models serve to advertise clothing when they aren’t actually wearing any?

I speculated that it was probably along the same lines as the ubiquitous beer ads featuring absurdly curvaceous bikini-clad women. “Wear our clothing and gorgeously buff nearly-naked men will immediately flock around you.”

But after a moment’s thought, the analogy broke down. No, that’s how car ads work. “Drive this vehicle, and you will be surrounded by women who look like this.”

Beer ads are different, though. With beer ads, it’s actually “Drink our beer and every woman you see will look like this.”

1.05.2006

Last night, we were friends.

This is not to say that we aren't usually friends--we are. Very much so.

But last night, after a rough day at work for him, a rough day at home for me, and nothing in the house for dinner, we drove to In-N-Out, and talked and talked and talked, far too late into the night.

We talked about frustration and exhaustion, and about how we don't want to move again for a very long time. Try as we might to avoid the subject, we even talked about money. But we didn't talk because we needed to know, because everything we do and everything we spend is twined together and interconnected. We talked because we needed the comeraderie.

We talked about long-range hopes and dreams, and tell me again why I became a teacher? But mostly we talked about Scotland, about the peat and the standing stones, the rocks and the waves and the solitude. Someday when we're old and grey and life is calmer...

And in that strange way that disparate moments have of folding back upon one another, we were suddenly back in the writing center conference room, perched on the table, covering the whiteboards with furious scribbles, pausing only to briefly realize that this is the one person with whom I want to spend my life...

...at school and in the Hebrides, and all the In-N-Out parking lots in between.

1.04.2006


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Monday morning the wuggies had lots of fun in the tub. We all started the day out squeaky clean.

Then, while I was still in the bathroom, brushing my hair, my dear sons got a head start on my work for the day.


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See---I told you they were great at unpacking boxes!

scrubadubdub Posted by Picasa

1.03.2006

Noisy Toys

There is an entire genre of toys which, when sufficiently poked, prodded, pinched, or squeezed, will immediately commence making quite an entertaining racket.

It is highly unfortunate that Mr. Meepo has discovered his sister to be in that category.

Shiftless

Er, at least I was.

It seems to be working again today.

I find it quite ironic that the shift keys on my computer start working again the moment start typing outhng a clever post about the lack of them.

I suppose the moral of the story is that if you leave your computer keyboard out in the rain, all may not, in fact, be entirely lost.

And don't judge people too harshly for posting with improper capitalization. It may not be laziness. It could be that they just never got around to bringing their keyboard in from the rain.

Er...

yeah.

1.02.2006

rainy day

THE day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

---Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The last great laundry change hunt

wednesday was moving day. while andy and doug loaded up the truck, kathy and i ran around town doing sundry errands. the appliance dealer wanted cash, so while i was at the bank picking up money orders for the rent and security deposit, i also withdrew the exact amount we owed for the washing machine and drier. then we went over to little caeser's to pick up a pizza.

now, little caesar's is also a cash only sort of establishment, and i had in my wallet the exact amount we owed the appliance guy.

no problem. surely andy has 6.30 in his wallet. so i dipped into the laundry money to buy a pizza.

unfortunately, andy did not have 6.30 in his wallet.

and we had barely enough time to get to the appliance shop before they closed until the new year. certainly no time to backtrack to the bank.

and so it was that i found myself once again scrounging around the car looking for quarters for the washing mashine.

i thought there was a delightful sort of closure to that experience. but i was nevertheless glad to see a washington mutual a few blocks before we reached the shop.

especially since we were still 37 cents short.