Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Morning Coffee

Hey friends - check out my guest post on my friend Renee's blog, Morning Coffee. Blessings!

Monday, September 22, 2008

What did you do today?

Years ago, after moving to Fort Worth, our friend Chris Wolfe would stop by to visit and ask me, "Hey TJ, what did you do today?"
I gently taught him early on that you don't ask a stay-at-home mom, "What did you do today?" It's like asking a pregnant woman how much weight she's gained. There's no win-win answer to that question.
Take today, for example.
Theoretically, I have Mondays from 9-2 with all the kids in school. Five hours, right? Five hours to read and watch TV and eat bon bons.
So here's my day:
9:00 Drop off girls (Corbin took boys at 8 - bless him)
9:15-10:15 Prayer group for boys' school (a very necessary way to start off my week!)
10:30 Straight to school to pick up boys and take them to orthodontist.
12:15 Drop boys back off at school, head home to pay bills and do paperwork.
1:15 Get call from school office that Bran's teeth are sore, can I bring meds?
1:30 Leave house, take meds, pick up girls, go by bank, get to boys' school in time for 3:00 pick up.
Fight the masses of parents at pick up and shuffle all the kids around to the PTA closet at the back of school to check inventory for the Fall Carnival Cake Walk booth. Meantime, Esther has filled her diaper. After sorting through cardboard boxes and felt spiders and year-old posters and plastic pumpkins, I determine the inventory looks acceptable.
Carrying Esther in such a way as to not overflow her diaper in my arms, a friend and fellow carnival mom sees me and explains that she already sorted through the carnival props a few days ago - but thanks for coming.
Hudson cries all the way to the car because his mouth hurts. Mental note - I will never again forget Advil on orthodontist day. We make it to the car - and why does it feel like a hundred degrees on Sept 22nd? We walk to the far end of the playground to get to the car because the playground gate is locked. Get to the car, change Essie's diaper in the back of the suburban under the watchful eyes of a man mowing the grass right next to our car. The cut grass blows into the back of my suburban and onto Esther's exposed behind.
So it's now 4:45, and having given up on homework, we're off to Hudson's baseball game (if I can convince him to play through the pain of his orthodontic-treated mouth... oh, the drama). He's supposed to be there in half an hour. And I just realized that I need to get Hudson's glove from Branson's baseball coach before getting Hud to the field early for batting practice, as we accidentally left his glove at Bran's game last week...
Back to the "what did you do today" question. Incidentally, Chris Wolfe's wife, Sarah, had a baby this morning. Their fifth. Nathan Bademan Wolfe, boy #5 in the Wolfe gang, with the oldest only six years old.
I'm guessing Chris doesn't ask Sarah "What did you do today?" too often.
Corbin knew better than to pose the question to me tonight. Unless, of course, he wants to hear, "I wrote this blog post, didn't I?!"

Footnote - In conjunction with my previous "Fully Two" post, watch this. Caught her yesterday in her normal, happy, into-everything antics.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Esther - Fully Two

We celebrated Esther Jamie's second birthday recently, and I just can't let the benchmark birthday pass without lavishing love on her little life. A letter to our baby...

Little One -
You have acquired a handful of nicknames in your two years: Spunky Monkey, Little Queen, Messy Essie... you are quite the caboose to our already colorful family train. While this letter will never capture the entirety of our love for you, perhaps it will capture a bit of your radiant personality.

. Quick as a flash, too. I've attempted many times to sneak upstairs for a moment alone, but haven't figured out how to get out of the room without your little feet padding behind me.
S - Sibling love fest. Every time you walk in a room, "Hi Basden! Hi Branson! Hi Hudson!" You wrestle with them, copy every move they make, pull their hair to get attention (poor Basden, I'm a little surprised she doesn't have bald spots at this point... thank goodness for thick hair and thick skin.. she is patient with her little sister).
T - Talk talk talk. Incredibly verbal. You sing 24/7. Could sing entire songs before you could talk. Favorite songs: "Jesus Loves me" (as fast as you can), "Deep and Wide," "I love you Lord," "Baa Baa Black Sheep," the "B-I-B-L-E," "Happy Birthday," and anything by Toby Mac.
H - "HI" to everyone we meet - absolutely everyone we pass. In every store, on every sidewalk, even in the car as we pass joggers. And you continue with your greetings, pitch steadily increasing, until they respond back to you.
E - Everywhere. Worth repeating.
R - Really so darn cute I can't stand it.

Essie, you absolutely FILL the room - for better or for worse, depending on the mood. Most of the time for the better, but believe me when I say FILL. You are exuberant and comical and jovial and funny and LOUD and lively and lyrical and larger than life.

A few more tidbits we don't want to forget:
- You say "welcome" instead of "thank you." When given a cup of OJ: "Welcome!"
- Love to fuss in your carseat. When you become inconsolable, you'll calm down immediately if Corbin or I reach back and touch your leg or toes. Upon removing our hand, you start again. And then stop with the return of our touch. We've driven hours with aching shoulders for the barter of a quiet car.
- Hud calls to you "Come here girl." Wonder how long before either of you figure out he's summoning you like a puppy. Corbin and I laugh every time, neither of us wanting to correct him.
- At two, you are noticeably becoming more directable. Talking more, fussing less.
- Explore everything. Curiosity. If there's dirt or mud, your hands are in it.
- Inexpressible delight when the doorbell rings.
- "Here ya go" or "Up ya go" or "Thereitis!"
- You do not want to miss out. You stand at the door anxiously waiting for Daddy. Scurry up on a barstool. Cram your body into the blue plastic car - along with whoever else is already in it. Join your siblings in singing chants. Yell "Go Branson!" or "Go Hudson!" louder than anyone else at a baseball game. Yell for the other players by name, too.
- Vocal in the car. Daboo made fun of me for letting you start a pacifier at two-years-old. I let you keep it just to hush you up while I'm driving. Last week after an hour-long drive in her car, Daboo asked me where we keep that pacifier.
- Most content with two fingers in your mouth and snuggling with a satin blankie.
- When Bran puts his Toby Mac CD in the car stereo, he turns the volume up and we all look at you to see your huge cackling grin and involuntary dancing as the music ramps up.

The best thing about you, Essie, other than adding this bundle of LIFE and JOY to our family, is watching your big brothers and sister with you. They pamper you, laugh at you, take care of you. Last week we got a new trampoline at the lake, and I watched from the house as you made your way down the hundred concrete stairs from the porch to the yard, wade across the tall grass to the trampoline, and then before you could even lift your arms in a gesture of help, Branson was quick off the trampoline, in the grass, lifting you up past the net. I watched as Hudson carefully removed your shoes and helped you onto the trampoline bed. They instinctively altered their gymnastics and high jumps to accommodate your chubby (but muscular) two-year-old legs.

It's magical to see how different all four of you are from one another, the beauty of God's unique creation. Your little body is totally different from your siblings, you've got your unique shape and muscular body and dimples all over. Your big brown eyes showcase your curiosity and mischief and questions and adamant opinions.

We love you, little Essie, for who God has made you and for the COLOR and life you bring to our family... thankful for this bright and lively caboose!

What do you know about Wicca?

This is an interesting book, friends. I'm pretty uninformed with the world of witchcraft, especially how it manifests itself in today's culture. Ask me what I know about witches, and my mind goes to the Puritans in Salem in late 1600's. Or to Elizabeth Montgomery in the 60's. Or more recently to the Harry Potter book on our kitchen counter, or to the enchanting and winsome characters Justin, Alex and Max of Disney's "Wizards of Waverly Place."
I don't typically frequent the wicca section at Barnes and Noble. But Generation Hex is quite an eye-opener and one I'm glad I've read (and will likely re-read as my kids get older.) It raised my awareness of the explosion of Wicca in America and its popularity among children, teens and young adults:
Studies confirm that Wicca is the fastest-growing religion in America. By some estimates, it will be America's third-largest religion by 2012 (after Christianity and Judaism).

I was anxious to read Generation Hex, just released in July. My friend Marla Alupoaicei and I got together for dinner a couple of months ago in Dallas and she was able to fill me in a little on what she learned through researching and writing this book. Marla co-authored Generation Hex with her brother-in-law Dillon Burroughs, both DTS graduates.

The theme of the book, according to Dillon: "It’s simply one, two: “What is Wicca?” and “What Should I Do about Wicca?” In 176 pages, we cover the basic of what Wicca is, why it matters, and how to influence those involved in it with the love of Christ. I guess you could say it’s part awareness, part outreach."

One of Marla's goals for Generation Hex is to educate and equip Christians to know what Wicca is and what it is NOT so that we can teach our children about it, be aware of this powerful spiritual trend, and share God’s truth in a gracious way with those caught up in the practice of witchcraft.

So, if you're a parent or grandparent or work with children or youth or young adults at all (have I covered everyone?) there's a compelling reason to know about Wicca and what's going on in our culture. Generation Hex is thoroughly researched and is a simple yet informative tool.
For more Generation Hex reviews check out these blogs:

A Peek at My Bookshelf
Aspire2 Blog
Be My Guest
Bible Dude
Blog Tour Spot
Book Room Reviews
Camy’s Loft
Christy’s Book Blog
read DB
Footprints in the Sand
From the desk of Flutecrafter
Gatorskunz and Mudcats
Good Word Editing
His Reading List
i don’t believe in grammar
In the Dailies
Leap of Faith
Lighthouse Academy
Morehead’s Musings
Mystery, Suspense, and God, Oh My!
One Voice in a Big World
Portrait of a Writer . . . Interrupted
Quiverfull Family
Reality Motherhood
Refresh My Soul
Reiter’s Block
The Friendly Book Nook
The Reel Katie Morgan
The Sosbee Story
Wide Eyed Fiction
Windows to my Soul
Write by Faith
Writing on the Edge