Saturday, March 29, 2008

And You Are?

"Cougar Forest."

"Who are you?" I ask, while Harper swings her purple golf club.

"Cougar Forest. He's a famous golf guy."

Gently, ever so gently, I ask, "Do you mean Tiger Woods?"

"Oh, yeah."

And THIS is why I blog.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Genre

Harper has taken quite a liking to reading biographies. I couldn't be more pleased! Last night alone, she read us books about Harriett Tubman and Rosa Parks.

And while the story I read had a mythical quality to it, we did learn that St. George the dragon slayer did actually exist although details about the life of George the Saint are few and uncertain.

Even so, she enjoyed reading about him, as well as Harriott and Rosa. In fact, she has already chosen her next biographies: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Helen Keller.

Way to go girl!

Zane, however, continues his quest to read every version of Jack and the Beanstalk known to man. He ventured into the world of The Three Little Pigs for like a day, but now is back to Jack, the beanstalk, and the the Giant. He and Harper have even been acting out some scenes from the story. So, if Jack and the Beanstalk is going to continue to promote reading and creative play in this house, then I'm all over it.

I wish I'd recorded myself singing my own version of Jack and the Beanstalk story the other day over dinner - complete improv. I couldn't stop myself.

It sounded like a musical theater song on crack.

Keeping Up With Appearances

There is so much I could write about this t-shirt logo.
There is so much I want to write about this t-shirt logo.
There is not enough time for me to tackle it right now.

But, I will. Someday.

Especially because it was once said of me that I don't truly worship God when I sing, but rather just rely upon my outward display of emotions to make it look like I'm worshipping, when indeed, I am not, for apparently, I am not spirit filled when I lead worship, but rather, "soul filled". (Oh, I'm sorry. Do you have the super human ability to see into my HEART?!).

No, you're not insane. I don't know what "soul filled" means either. Sounds like something out of one of those self help books that Oprah says will change your life.
I must confess. I love this t-shirt.

I want one.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hawk 101 vs. Bizarro 10

A day without TV can be a beautiful thing.

Your daughter cleans up her room on her own.

Your son plays happily in his room.

And then, the Secret Agent game begins. Hawk 101 (Harper) is searching for Bizarro 10(Zane) to stop him in his quest to find the magic collar: a collar that will do anything you want upon giving it commands.

Hawk 101 knows that it would be bad news for all of humanity if Bizarro 10 were to get his hands on such a treasure. Bizarro 10 is also attempting to find the super spy binoculars.

He must be stopped.

All is going well.

And then, Hawk 101 locates Bizarro 10, grabs him, and throws him to the ground.

Bizarro 10 begins to cry.

There is blood.

And a split lip.

Mom calls a time-out.

Not the, "You're in trouble, get ye to time-out!" kind of time-out, but rather the one you call when there is blood.

They are different. According to "Mom's Handbook of Time-outs", a must-read.

Pressure and ice are applied.

All is going well. All is going well.

And this is what comes of not watching TV!

Good Friday Forecast

Heavy Snow/Wind. High of 32. Low of 28.
Day: Snowy and windy. Snow will become heavy at times this afternoon. Thunder possible. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds E at 20 to 30 mph. Snow accumulating 4 to 6 inches.

Night: Snow this evening will transition to snow showers late. Low 28F. Winds NE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 70%. Snow accumulating 2 to 4 inches.

Matthew 27:45
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock.

Matthew 27: 51
The earth shook, rocks split apart.

Mark 15:33
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock.

Luke 23:44-45
By this time it was noon, and a darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock. The light from the sun was gone.

Ok, so the weather also wasn't so great the day Jesus died.

What am I complaining about?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Few Daily Stats

Stats for today, Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
1: Successful potty attempt for Zane
2: Teeth now missing from Harper's mouth
3: Readthrough's of Zane's Transformer Book
4: Versions of Jack and the Beanstalk read between George and myself to Zane who is still consumed with all things Jack and the Beanstalk
5: Baskets of clean laundry to put away
6: Times the phone rang in the course of 10 minutes. The calls were from one of my students, Erin McDonough, who wanted to tell me personally that all our work had paid off. She won the role of Jo in Little Women at New Trier! GREAT JOB, ERIN!
7: Vocabulary age that Zane reached during a research study at Northwestern
9: RSVP's for Easter Dinner
10: Potstickers consumed
14: Days we've successfully used only one vehicle
13: Doses of Focalin taken
30: Miles (give or take a few) to get to and from Children's Hospital today
30: Minutes it took George to walk home from church. He smelled ripe when he got home.
36th: Winter storm warning (or some number in the 30's. Does it really matter? We're getting a WINTER STORM WARNING ON MARCH 19TH)
40: Pacer Day laps run by Harper in gym class. (Interestingly enough, she ran more laps than all the other girls in the class, and all the other boys, except for one. Can Focalin be considered a performing enhancing drug? Uh-oh).
70: Minutes of television watched by the kids
120: Minutes I stayed up working Mary Kay and blogging after Harper, Zane, and Scout went to sleep.
And now, off to read!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easter: Zane's Account

One of my most memorable Easter moments as a mother, was when Harper recounted the story of the Crucifixion as she had "heard" it on an animated video. In her 3 year old mind, she was sure that the narrator was saying:

"And so it was, that Jesus died on the cross, between two feet."

Well, now it's Zane's turn to recount the events. Here are just a few comments that he shared from our readings about the Crucifixion and Resurrection:

"Jesus died. But He will come back alive so that He can come over on Easter."
(anyone want to come to our place in costume?)

"Jesus died on the cross. When he became undead, He was another Jesus."
(hmmmm. Night of the Living Jesus?)

It's hard to explain to a three year old that the, um, "undead" Jesus is the same as the one who died on the cross. His response to this was:

"Oh. Ok. Now He stands on clouds."

So, we're not quite there yet in terms of understanding.

I often wonder if we even truely understand it as adults.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It Worked!

The snow stopped!

It's now HAILING!!!


It Will Just Go Away If I Ignore It, Right?

It is soooooooo NOT snowing.

It is soooooooo NOT snowing.

It is soooooooo NOT snowing.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

College Bound

Northwestern University calls us periodically to see if we'd be cool with having the kids participate in research studies on language development, and Zane was scheduled for one this past Friday.

"Hey, Zane, after lunch we're headed over to college."

"Oh! College road trip?"

Thank you Raven Symone.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Congratulations on your FIRST LOST TOOTH!

And even though you don't believe that the Tooth Fairy exists, this has still been a momentous occasion.

But seriously, Harper, think about it. Mommy would NEVER give up a precious quarter when such a coin could be used to secure metered parking in town. I just never seem to have parking change when I need it. Would I really take this said quarter and place it under your pillow, thus leaving me to scrounge the floor of the car for coinage?????????
Don't dismiss the existence of the Tooth Fairy so quickly, for I am stingy with my change!

Tooth number two is right around the corner. I predict next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Played Like A Cheap Fiddle


That would be me.

The one being played like a cheap fiddle.

Who knew Harper could play?

Ok, this whole walk through the world of ADHD medication is tedious and precarious, and obviously, I'm not fairing as well as others.

George keeps reminding me that we need to, excuse me, "stay the course", over the next two weeks.

Friends who have children on medication remind me that the first go is not always the clincher.

Harper, has even begun to take it in stride and within 10 minutes of taking it this morning had changed from "spring forward cranky girl" to "little Miss Helpful Sunshine".

I, on the other hand, have been told to chart. Keep track. Take daily notes. Watch for side effects. Record emotions and actions. Document. Keep a daily journal. You get the picture. All my mothering senses are on hyper-overload.

And thus, we arrive at today.

Harper arrived at church in a pretty good mood. I had already been there since 7:30 am (or 6:30 am if you take into account that we sprang forward today. Yes, I'm whining). I was pleased to see that she seemed great. She still didn't want to attend Sunday School and preferred hanging with George's class upstairs. I sang and then went to retrieve her, only to find her exiting George's class in a huff. Furrowed brow, sullen, all sighs. When I asked her what was up, she goes, "I'm bored."

I can't stand that answer.

We went down to the church library where she had a miraculous change of attitude and spent the remainder of the Sunday School hour writing a letter to my mom and reading to Fred Bryant, a great friend and incredible musician in our band. She was happy and enthusiastic.

After this, we went to the second service where, once again, Miss Sullen Face made an appearance. She sat stone faced through the music, although, it must be noted that she did indeed SIT, wouldn't go to second hour Sunday school (Children and Worship) unless George brought her up, wouldn't go without her backpack, and later, she shared that for the story and for prayer time, she sat by herself at the classroom door.

Like a good historian, I wrote all these behaviors down, and then teared up in church. My concern and heaviness for Harper is so very immense. She just seemed so unhappy today.

After church, I had an entirely new outlook due to George who shared that she went willingly into Children and Worship after he told her she'd get three stars in her star jar. This, got me thinking as I frantically attempted to pull off the wool covering my eyes.

The three of us had an INCREDIBLE talk after church. INCREDIBLE. I confronted her outright and asked whether her crabbiness was due to her not feeling well (her medication can bug her belly), or because she was just choosing to be crabby. She fessed up to conscious crabbiness. And while my words were direct, there was a thread of humor running through our entire conversation. This is obviously a paraphrased version of what we like to call "interview time."

"I was bored in Daddy's class because nobody needed help with water or coffee."

"Well, Harper, you made the choice not to attend your class, and thus, you have to sit in Daddy's class while I'm singing. You had your journal - you could have done some writing. This is your choice. But what you can't do is be distracting with your huffing and your puffing because you are bored, or leave the classroom. You chose to be there. If you are going to continue to be in his classroom you must not be distracting. Period."

I told her she should just go to the first hour of Sunday School if she can't handle being in Daddy's class. These are her two choices.

She explained clearly and beautifully that she doesn't enjoy her Sunday School class, even sharing that during Children and Worship (the class she attends second hour) the story "comes alive" and she can see it in her head, while in the first hour, they just read out of a book, and say "you have to do this craft and you have to do that craft" while in C & W they get independent work time. C & W also has more music, which she likes, although she doesn't like to sing or perform in front of everyone. Her animation while explaining this was incredible. What a public speaker.

"So, Harper, would you agree with me that your irritated attitude today had nothing to do with your being sad, but had everything to do with whether you get your own way?"

"Y. E. S."

"Because you seemed happy in the library, and happy writing to Mema. And then, when something happens that you don't like, you get all irritated. Today you were happy, then sad, then happy, then sad. I thought something was really wrong and was worried about you until Daddy gave you up. Even though you were sulking he said you went to Children and Worship with no problem once he gave you stars."

"Um. Yeah. I like that class."


"I know. Hug!"

Obviously, this is just a bit of what we talked about. The most interesting piece came when she couldn't explain why she sat by the door, away from the class, for the story and for prayer time.

"It's a complicated question" was her answer.

Ok, time to sum up. Harper is 7. If she doesn't want to do something she can manipulate like the best of them. Her current form of manipulation is to use the "bored" excuse and feign irritation. The medication IS working and aside from a little stomach discomfort and morning irritability, it seems to be helping her to stay focused. Fidgeting is down. Comprehension, at least around the house, is up. Homework was a breeze yesterday. And this was Saturday homework. Which technically she probably didn't need to do, but I asked her to do it anyway. A breeze. Our time after church today was amazing. No popping on and off of chairs. A well communicated conversation.

So, I'm going to have to trust in the Lord's wisdom to show me when my child is just being 7 and needs to be called out like I did today, or when she's having a meltdown due to anxiety (the suspected culprit which drives her to sit by the door during the Sunday School class she DOES like) or ADHD (like the after school "coming down off of the medication"' meltdown on Thursday).

I'm taking a nap now.

Coffee: God's Proof That He Loves Us

I am one of those people who can drink coffee all hours of the day. I am also one of those people who really enjoys the taste of coffee. Yes, I'll admit that in the morning, I indulge in my creamy cup because I do need the wake up jolt. In fact, we're now in the practice of setting the coffee maker to wake before us so that when we finally get out of bed we are greeted with the morning aroma of steamy joe eager to be poured. This is quite nice.

And yet, even though I do use this nectar to wake me, this is not the only reason for my love affair with coffee. For I do, indeed, love the taste.

So, around this time of year in the Christian calendar, Lent arrives, beckoning us to "give up" or "refrain" from something in our lives. As Christ sacrificed for us, we too, attempt to follow His lead by sacrificing the time and thought and energy we would actually give to this action or object, for the purpose of prayer and reflection and focus upon Him.

I guess I've never really understood the practice of giving something up for Lent, as I've never met someone, who after refraining from an action or object during Lent actually chose to make it a life change. Admittedly, I find the idea of knowingly giving something up for Lent with the intention of taking it back after Easter quite foreign. Now, perhaps experiencing a "life change" is not even the reason or true intention of Lent. Maybe I just have it wrong. I'm just wired to believe that if I am going to be devoted to the process of removing something from my life for 40 days, there should be a desire for this time of abstinence to be one which is actually transforming past the 40 day mark. For example, is it truely sacrifice if I'm merely counting down the days until I can eat sugar or chocolate again? I just don't find that authentic or really that sacrificial.

Now, if I am indeed replacing the time and energy I devote to my indulgence in sugar or chocolate with a time of prayer and reflection, then sure, this practice, this discipline, is one of value.

The issue here, could be, that I've just never experienced a true time of reflection during Lent. Nor do I know many who have actually embraced Lent as more than a time to just haphazardly say, "I'm giving up ________ for Lent." without further discussion.

I guess I just don't like to do things half-arsed.

So, IF I were to take up a Lenten practice, what would I sacrifice with the intent that I would actually make a long term change that would positively affect my relationship with the Lord, my family, and my community?



I'd just take that back afterwards. My point.

How about: Watching less TV in the evenings? Yes. Getting to bed earlier? Yes. Rising earlier? Yes. These are the three areas of my life where a long term change would be of great benefit to my relationship with the Lord, my husband, my children, and my health.

These are areas where I NEED the Lord's help and strength.

These are areas where I NEED the Lord's discipline.

These are areas where I NEED the Lord's power.

These are the areas that I can not win a power struggle with myself. I NEED God's movement in my life on these.

Others may NEED God's movement for diet, nutrition, shopping, attitude while driving, whatever. My intention is not to cheapen anyone's Lenten experience.

My intention is to take a deeper look at WHY we choose what we choose to "give up" and to acknowledge that the practice of Lenten abstinence can, and should, be a time for us to experience the Lord's renewal for the long haul as He remolds and rehshapes us through our sacrificial actions and choices.

Most importantly, however, is our need to give up something for which we lack the power to give up on our own, but rather NEED the Lord's intimate intervention. It is something for which our reliance upon ourselves is shattered, and thus, turns our eyes to Jesus.

This is no short term task.

Am I a short-termer or a long-hauler?

I want to be a long-hauler.

Someone better pour me another cup of coffee.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Toying with . . .

redoing the household budget . . . again.

going down to one car.

rearranging my teaching schedule so that I can volunteer more frequently in Harper's classroom.

working towards having Mary Kay, (well, not literally THE Mary Kay, but rather the business) pay off our debt.

how I'm going to purchase an amp so that I can actually use my new pink electric guitar.

when I can invest in guitar lessons for myself.

getting the taxes done so I can look forward to that big 'ole check that President Bush is sending our way. Um, no, we won't be running out to buy a new TV with it.

the idea that the Clinton's could possibly get 4 more years in the White House. Say it isn't so.

whether the cost of living in Chicago is really too much for us.

"Meet the Focalin's" as the title for a new movie describing our journey into the world of ADHD medication.

selling Harper's med's to pay bills.

toying with thoughts.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I'll Spare You the Details and a Photo

Not completely sure where Zane first heard and adopted this new phrase, but the other day, while shopping in Target, he proclaimed,

"This store has a stinky violation."

Ok, so I didn't find Target to stink. And upon investigation I found that Zane didn't stink either. So I'm not quite certain of the origin of this statement and why he chose to use it in Target.

The phrase has now evolved to mean just what it insinuates. A stinky violation has now adopted the definition of what one would initially imagine it to be as communicated through the words of a 3 year old who is still primarily in pull ups or diapers.

"Dad! I have a stinky violation!"

I do have to proudly report that Zane has had two stinky violations in the potty.

Wow! Enough of this. I can't believe I am actually posting about pullups/diapers, potty chairs and the deposits found in each.

Now I'm the one who has committed a stinky violation.