Friday, April 30, 2010

Look up!

Decided to do NaBloPoMo again this month... let's see if I can! There are a lot of things happening in May, including my birthday, and the birthday of my first born, and some traveling, so I'm not sure I'll be able to manage it.

I'll try, though. The theme of the month is "Look up", which brings me immediately to Psalm 121:

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Good place to start, I think.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Warning: This Post is Rambling and Somewhat Philosophical

One thing I appreciate about little children is the levity they bring to our lives. Nothing is more rewarding than being allowed a window into the joyous and sincere thought processes of a little one. Mundane things sparkle when viewed through the lens of a preschooler, and I have to remind myself of that during the more trying moments.

I took a long car trip with Small One yesterday. It was far longer than it should have been, actually, because my dear Small, who normally seems to have the bladder of a camel, needed to stop every ten minutes. I'm not sure what was up with that, but she was serious about it. At one point I told her she'd need to hold it a little while longer, as I'd stopped 10 minutes earlier, and a minute or two later I heard her voice pipe up in the back seat.

"Please God, help me hold my pee pee just a LITTLE bit longer."

Sigh. Obviously, I stopped.

We are a Christian household, and I have a strong faith. I've always read scripture to my children, taken them to church, encouraged them to develop a strong spiritual life, but lately I've been discouraged. It seems like there's so much that gets in the way of simple faith! For the teenagers, it's peer pressure, and societal pressure to always question... not that I have a problem with questioning, I've turned my own faith inside out at times, searching for truth, and believe I'm stronger for it. With the preschoolers, though, it's something different. It should be easy- Jesus himself spoke of the beauty of childlike faith. But it's not easy, because today's children are bombarded with images and information, and even though I take Small to Sunday school and she's enrolled in a church preschool, I feel like there's a fear, even among Christian people, of telling children anything real that goes along with our religion.

At Easter, for instance, we were told in Sunday school not to teach the little ones anything about the true meaning of Easter, because death and resurrection are far too heavy for little children to comprehend. Ok, well, maybe, but by three and a half they've been exposed to Snow White and Batman and who knows what all else? Their pets die. Their loved ones die. Show me an almost four year old who doesn't know what the word "die" means, and I'll show you a very sheltered four year old. So why, when the death and resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of our faith, are we not allowed to teach it in simple terms they understand. One of our banned lessons had the following (deeply controversial) theme: "Jesus's friends were happy that he was alive again!" In my opinion, it would take a pretty unintelligent three and a half to be unable to grasp that one! I think we're seriously underestimating our children these days, in many ways, feeding them crap physically, mentally, and spiritually, and fooling ourselves into believing that's all they can handle. Is it the children that have a problem, or are the adults around them uncomfortable with the idea that a person so small could actually have an idea or insight? Or is it that we're trying so hard to be politically correct that we strip the world of meaning, lest someone be offended?

All that to say, I've been discouraged. I've questioned whether it makes any difference whatsoever to take your children to church, if the church isn't going to teach them anything. But yesterday, with roughly 65000 hours in the car together, I got to hear some of Small's theology.

First, she asked me how God gets out of her heart when he has things to do. I stumbled over this one, because "God in your heart" is sort of an ethereal concept for someone as literal as my Small. And really, it's a good point. God's a busy guy, you know, making the rain fall, and the grass grow, and all that sort of whatnot. How's he supposed to do that from the rather confined space inside the chest of a three year old girl?

She followed it up with this, though:

Small- "You know, Pinocchio asked Jesus to come into his heart. Pinocchio is a puppet, sort of like the muppets."

Me- (not sure where she was going with this) "Hmm... and what did Jesus say?"

Small- "Oh, he said yes! That's how Jesus is! If you ask him into your heart, he always says yes! God is like that too, if you ask him for help he helps you!"

I thought that was pretty good, actually. I can go with that.

She later told me that her skinned knee was getting better. We talked about how our bodies are able to heal themselves. She asked me how they know how to do that all by themselves, and I told her that God made our bodies that way. She seemed content with that answer.

A few minutes later, I heard her in the back seat again.

"Thank you, God, for making my knee better. Thank you for my healthy body that knows how to heal all by itself. Thank you for making my wonderful body!" Then she interrupted herself to say, "Mommy! You thank God for your wonderful body, too!"

And so, I did.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nonsense Marketing

During the holiday season, I got several emails that made me laugh, from different companies trying to capitalize on the holidays in order to sell their products. My favorite was "Merry Christmas from Early Pregnancy!"

Wow, nothing says "Merry Christmas!" like a pregnancy test. I'm giving that to my husband this year. "Merry Christmas, and by the way, we're screwed." Good one!

Today, though I received a similar email, from All Posters. "Poster Sale, just in time for Mother's Day!" Oh, whew! What a relief! NOW I know what to get my mother-in-law. A poster! Honey, do you think we should go for young Bob Dylan or just get her a Nagel print? Maybe this one:

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday 13- Tax Day Edition

13 things that have made me happy on this lovely tax day:

1)Done with taxes! Hurray! No longer have taxes hanging over my head! And unlike some previous years, we will not be driving to the post office at 11:30pm. Yaay!

2)Not only THAT, but now the people in my world who have no spare time during tax season are officially free of the burden! Whee! Playdates abundant!

3) We're getting a million trillion dollars back from our tax refund. Ok, maybe not that much, but in our world, it feels like it. Wahoo!

4) Free coffee from Starbucks if you bring in your own mug. Seriously. I did not believe they would fill my giant jacuzzi sized mug but yes, they did! Hurray! (This jacuzzi full of coffee I just finished may explain all the exclamations of joy, but maybe that's just the way I am today!)

5) It is a gorgeous day. Spectacular. Blue skies, everything all green and fabulous, truly wonderful. (Note: this may not hold true everywhere, but in Atlanta, absolutely.)

6) Dogwood Festival this weekend. I know that's not technically related to today, but the anticipation is making me happy.

7) On a similar note, I've agreed to let Middle Child miss a morning assembly tomorrow to go cheer her boyfriend on in his robotics competition, which means Middle Child, Small One, and I will be watching a ROBOT PARADE first thing in the morning. This is terribly exciting, and of course you KNOW I've been singing the song all day. If you know the song, admit it, you're singing it too.

8) Lots of tax related discounts today. Places like PF Changs, Cinnabon and Chik Fil A are giving big discounts! I have no funds with which to participate, having been out twice this week, and having not yet received the aforementioned million trillion dollars, but I'm purely delighted for those of you who do! Yippee!

9) After I pick up my Small One from school and go to the bank, I don't have to be ANYWHERE ELSE but home for the rest of the day. Huzzah! Naps all round!

10) We finally finished watching 8 & 1/2, (the Fellini film) last night, which means I am now allowed by the Man to rent Nine, which is what I wanted to see in the first place! (Because, hello! Daniel Day Lewis!) Woot! And while I'm on the subject of 8 & 1/2, I can appreciate why it's considered great and all that, but truthfully, I thought it was a little tedious.Seriously, it took us a week to watch it. Anyone else have a thought on that one? I don't like it when movies begin to feel like assigned viewing. (But I digress! I now return you to your regularly scheduled joyful exclamations!)

11) Burgers and sweet potato fries for dinner tonight. Yeehaw!

12)Thursday Night= Flash Forward. If I haven't mentioned how I feel about Joseph Fiennes, allow me to take a moment of silence to meditate on him. You know what? Even if I've already told you, I'm taking a moment anyway.

13)Last but not least: my class this morning. After years of thinking I'd hate to teach kids, I have absolutely fallen in love with teaching for the homeschool group. I have two 10 year old boys in my literature class this session, and they never cease to make me smile. Today I had the fantastic opportunity to introduce them to one of my all time favorite children's books- Edward Eager's Half Magic. They loved it- so fun! Children laughing is one of my favorite sounds of all time.

Wonderful day, and it's only 2:30- yahoo! Hope all my lovely readers are having a similarly fabulous 15th.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Add it to the list...

I had fifty godzillion errands to run today. Yes, that's fifty times the size of Godzilla worth of errands. In other words, a LOT. I knew I had to gear up for it, because as it turns out, it literally took from 9am til 7:30 pm. But I think I'm all set for tomorrow!

Last night, as I was falling into bed, quite late, I said to the Man, "Given the number of errands I have to run in the morning, I am not getting out of bed until 8:30. If anything happens before 8:30, it's on you." He agreed, and we went to sleep.

This morning, true to his word, the Man got up with Small One and let me sleep. When I got up, I rolled out of bed and into my clothes and, heading into the bathroom to brush my teeth, noticed we were out of toothpaste. I pulled my travel tube out of my makeup bag and finished getting ready.

As I stood in the kitchen pouring my coffee before I walked out the door, I said to the Man, "I have an extremely long list of things to buy today, but if you think of anything else, text me. I noticed, for instance, that we're out of toothpaste."

Small One, happily eating cereal and yogurt at the dining table, piped up with a smile, "Hey, Mommy! Remember when I was going poop in the potty and the toothpaste fell in?"

"Oh yeah," the Man said, "I meant to tell you, we need toothpaste."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Slightly Different Take on Easter

Small One is very excited about Easter this year. It's the first year that she's been old enough to be in an actual Sunday school class where actual lessons are taught that she really "gets", and she's in our church preschool as well. I have reason to believe, though, that the secular portion of the program is carrying a little too much weight this year.

I wondered how much she understood of the Easter story, so I asked her. I said "Do you know what happened on Easter during Jesus's time?"

She said, "Did Jesus died?"

I said, "Yes. He died. But on Easter he came back to life, and that's why we celebrate Easter."

She replied, "Yes! And THAT'S why we have eggs shaped like dinosaur heads!"

Hmm... I'm not sure how that relates, actually...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday 13- the Ex Con Edition

Yep, that's right, readers. I now have a record. While you've been sitting there, waiting somewhat impatiently for my next blog entry, wondering what could be the hold up, I've been living a life of crime and debauchery, including a 22 hour stay in the not so luxurious Fulton County Jail. Now, though, I'm back to share my somewhat jaded insights, gleaned from inside the big house.

Thirteen things observed while in jail:

1)Forgetting to pay a traffic ticket is frowned upon to an alarming degree here in Georgia. Even if one of the top 10 people in your world passes away mere days after the incident, even if the incident took place in another state, do NOT forget your traffic ticket, because Georgia cops don't play.

2)Even though remembering to pay your tickets is KEY, no one will remind you. This is an interesting point, in my opinion, because it would seem more cost effective to send people a reminder note, rather than dragging their ticket forgetting asses off to jail.

3)If your license is suspended because you forgot to pay a traffic ticket, no one needs to tell you that, either. I did make the point to a law enforcement official, mentioning that if I'd been TOLD I had a suspended license I would not have driven on it. His response? "No one needs to TELL you, you know what you did." Hmm...

4)Yes, handcuffs are considered ABSOLUTELY necessary. Seriously. Even if you're a middle class Mama, driving a mini-van with a child safety seat in the back, if you are one of those dangerous criminals who forgets to pay your traffic ticket, you're going to be frisked by the side of the road, handcuffed, and taken to jail. SERIOUSLY.

5)Frisking is a really popular activity in jail. Even after you've been made to strip completely naked and put on jail clothes (more on that in a minute), they still feel the need to pat you down every time you walk from one room to another, because... actually, I have no idea. I found it completely mystifying, to be honest. What in the world could we have obtained between the dressing room and the cell block?

6)On the OTHER hand, there is some mysterious social activity that goes on in jail, so I may be talking out of turn to wonder how someone could have gotten contraband while walking a hallway. Consider this: There was an inmate worker who was sweeping the floor while simultaneously flirting with one of my cell mates. I saw him sweep a scrap of paper and small pencil into the cell so that she could write her address on the paper and kick it back out to him. I am SO not kidding. Interestingly, she gave him a false address. Still, I thought it was rather an ingenious move on his part.

7)Flirting in jail is not limited to the inmates. While I, personally, could not fathom how any of the people who had JUST gotten to the jail were interested in anything other than getting the heck out of there, I did watch the flirtation between law enforcement officials with some interest, because it seems an unlikely place for romance to blossom. Then again, I guess you typically meet people at work, right? Interesting.

8)The flirting of the guards was of particular wonder to me because they were all such seriously mean bad-asses. REALLY. Not nice to the inmates. While some of the people working more administratively-(for example, in the medical office and the fingerprint room)- were decently human in their interactions, the guards and other law enforcement types were just plain harsh. I mean, come on! How am I supposed to know not to turn around in my seat? No need to scream at me as though I've pulled a weapon, a simple "you're not allowed to turn around" would have sufficed.

9)Final note on flirting. If it seems that women in sheriff's department uniforms are not going to be looking all that attractive, consider this: there was a guard in there with glittery false eyelashes. Really? You wear false eyelashes with sparkles to your job at the JAIL?

10)Back to the stripping naked issue... until my adventure, I was unaware that one is not allowed to wear one's own underwear in jail. Nope, you have to strip down in a room full of people and put on jail issued undergarments, then the clothing with "Fulton County Inmate" all over it.

11)Here's another thing I didn't know! There are no clocks in jail. If an inmate wants to know what time it is, she has to ask a guard. And did I mention the guards are mean? Yeah, they might tell you what time it is, or they might pretend not to hear you, or they MIGHT (and this is my personal favorite) say "You got someplace to be? You gonna be LATE." Ah, charming.

12)Fun fact: everyone processed into the Fulton County jail is tested for syphilis and tuberculosis. Were you aware you can get those diseases through traffic infractions? Me neither, but I'm happy to report I'm all clear. Whew!

13)Last but not least, the meal schedule in jail: Breakfast, 3:30am. (?!) Lunch, 10:30 am. Dinner, 6:00pm. What the heck kind of screwy schedule is that?!?

Needless to say, I'm happy to be back on the other side of all that. I do wonder, though, how many drunk drivers got away that Friday night while THREE police officers were attending to the business of arresting me. I also wonder how much of the taxpayers money is spent every year on food, laundry, and housing for "overnight guests" who simply forget to pay a traffic ticket. Seems rather a waste to me, but maybe that's just my criminal mastermind side speaking.