Saturday, March 29, 2008

i'm ridiculous

seriously. seriously. you'll wish i never learned to post videos. this is one of the first youtube videos that i ever saw. and it's one of my favorites. i love it. i'm wondering if any of you have seen it. let me say it again.

finally learned (from Shari) how to post a video!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

the most bloggable kid in the family

I've kinda felt badly that Miles gets more posts than the others. A friend recently wrote of their third child, "Kate is the queen of one-liners...". A family with four children has one that is quoted significantly more often. That made me feel much better. Part of the reason Miles is quoted most is that he talks incessantly. He has SO much to say that he'll accuse you of interrupting even if he hasn't said anything. "But, I'm trying to think of what I want to say! Don't talk until I've said it!". Yikes. So, without further adieu, here's just a few recent quotes from Miles:

With a sinister laugh, "Hey, Mommy, I told Corene today that the three wise men were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego." (yeah, Jenny, you'll want to undo that!)

Looking at a Pepsi delivery truck, "Mommy, is that a global warming truck?"

"I told Nathaniel today that before you die you have to take all your clothes off." What???

"Mommy, I have a new rule. It's called 'child's choice'. If I choose something, you have to give it to me."
And a chant he made up: "Say a prayer; Make it clear; and in'ves'ti'gate your beer!"
well, goodness, i know there must be more, but's all i've got for now!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

the Bible according to Miles

The scene: Miles and Avery have these lego Bionicles (about 7 inches tall) that look like medieval knights, equipped with medieval weapons like a spiky ball on a chain. They are doing battle and apparently they've carved out some rules for the guys.

Miles: AVERY! That's not fair. You are being just like a pharisee.

Avery is dumbfounded.

Miles: The pharisees wanted to make sure that everybody else followed God's rules, but they didn't want to follow them their selves.
This reminds me....
About this time last year, we were at the grocery story when Avery and Miles were misbehaving. I made them promise that they were going to behave. I was super redundant, "Avery will you stay off the cart?" He replied, "yes". Within seconds, Avery nearly brought the cart over on its side. Miles chimed in, "Avery, remember, 'let your yes be yes and your no be no'...".
And that very night, Brent was reading to them about Adam and Eve in the garden and how Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit which God had forbidden her to eat.

Miles thought for a moment and said, "This reminds me of a verse, 'Through the disobedience of one man, the many were made sinners', but it seems to me that it was through the disobedience of a woman."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

the only time when swimsuits are 100 percent cute

So, for my birthday, our family is going to the Water Park of America. It's ridiculously fun. Even for someone who thinks wearing a bathing suit is a totally awkward thing to do in public. Water slides and lazy rivers make the embarrassment go away within minutes.

Jillian is ready for some splish-splashy fun!

not bragging. just wondering.

Okay. Jillian's been saying, "ma ma", "da da", "neh neh", and "ba ba". We're quite sure these are arbitrary ramblings of a baby. But this morning she looked at my coffee and said, "da!". The boys and I looked at each other and Miles said, "She said 'that'." Well, I thought I heard the same thing, but doubted the probability of such. And then moments later she looked at my coffee again and said, "dat!", actually pronouncing the 't' sound. We looked at each other and Avery said, "that's weird". Could it be?

Monday, March 17, 2008

i know. it's totally annoying.

I mean, if you're going to have a blog, update the dang thing, right? I guess I've been kind of blank. I mean, trust me, I say, "I'll be blogging about that" like 10 times a day, but by the time the kids are in bed, I'm so exhausted, I've got nothin' left. But, I know how you think. I'm one of you, too. You're like, "Okay. Surely by now they've at least posted a funny picture." And then, same old thing, same old title, same old pictures. It's almost like when you're on hold and it sounds like someone's going to finally pick up, but no. "Your call is very important to us." The nice difference between that and this week-long abandoned blog is that you are not held captive here. You are very free to just click away.

Following the suit of a friend in town, Molly, I think I'll just blurt out the random thoughts of my brain:

1. I hate shopping. Swim suit? The worst! Thought it would be easier to go to Sam's and pick one up. Imagine walking through the store with this. It's awkward. Worse even is that it's more low cut than it appears on the manequin-hanger. Gross. Now I have to take it back.

2. Pictured below is last week's culinary success. Brown rice, apples, cashews, red peppers, curry...and so on. Yum.

3. This is my view when I'm rinsing my hair. One day, I decided I couldn't take the ridiculously ugly wallpaper anymore. And five minutes later, I couldn't take it down anymore. typical.

4. Today I read a chapter from C.S. Lewis' Grand Miracle entitled, "The Trouble with X...". In this article he suggests that we abstain from thinking about anyone else's faults (unless we are in a parent or teacher relationship with the subject). That seems so obvious to some of you and so remarkable to me. I hope that I really take the suggestion to heart and think more tenderly towards those who would normally receive my mental wrath.

5. I'm also reading The Three-Martini Vacation (finally). Very funny. Read this if you are a mommy and if you're not easily offended by off-color humor. Not a Christian book, but contains many Christian principles.

6. Last week, Brent took the boys to Denny's on the "free kids' dinner" night. I know. I would never admit it, but let me just defend myself by telling you that Avery can read the flourescent paint on the windows and has been begging to go eat for free almost every Tuesday night for three months. I was going to go, but Jillian fell asleep in my arms as we were about to leave. I was not desperate for a Moons over My Hammy, so I stayed back. This is what I missed out on. Apparently, a cartoonist draws pictures of the patrons for free. The boys' pics look freaky, but he almost has Brent perfectly. I've never had one of those cartoony drawings in all my life. I don't think I want one because they always exaggerate the little flaws. No thanks....well, actually, I'm a bit curious. If I get one, I'll post it. (But that would mean going to Denny's and then admitting that fact!)

7. Brent has just informed me that WEEKLY, Miles ponders over this question. "How can you NOT sell an air guitar?" (This reminds me of the time when I told Miles that Daddy was going to sell one of his guitars and he said, "Well I hope he doesn't sell his air guitar. I LOVE that one." What????)

Well, I guess that's a wrap for now. Thanks for checking in!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Miles wanted to make a pillow for his sister.
First, he ironed his fabric.
And then he stitched and filled.

And, voila!
ahhhh...the comfort of a pillow...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

sidewalk counseling

This morning I started my day like I have started every Saturday morning for at least a month. I wake up with a passion for life and for God's sovereignty over it. And then what? I dress as warmly as possible, which includes pulling my corduroys over my pajamas, because the sidewalk where I stand is on the north side of the building. That never meant anything to me before I moved up to this frozen tundra. The fourth floor of the building is home to an abortion clinic. So, now you know.

I am not a picketer. I am relying on God's wisdom to give last minute counsel to women and men in crisis who are hoping in abortion to solve their problems.

My sister's blog detailed last week's events when God used me to help a couple decide to leave the abortion clinic. It was all God. He gets the glory. I get the joy. The week before, a couple who my friend Marty spoke to kept their baby. And I just found out another couple that yet another counselor and I spoke to also kept their baby just today. (And I'm quite certain if they heard anything helpful, it was from the other counselor.) I can't say this enough: Only God can change hearts. Not logic alone. Not truth alone.

That's three babies...saved. Three mothers and three fathers rescued from the pain of abortion. I'm so grateful to God to let me witness such mercy and grace.

Okay. I don't want this to be long. So, I'll get to my thought from this morning.

It's discussed in courtrooms and coffee shops whether the life that is destroyed is a "baby". But, out there on the front lines, the moms, and the boyfriends, and the parents who give their approval for their teenage daughters to have abortions know exactly what it is. Do you know how I know? They say, "We can't keep this baby." A grandfather said this morning, "We already have a grandchild and she doesn't want this baby." A lady told me last week, "My sister is willing to take this baby, but I can't do this."

It's a baby...and they all know it.

Friday, March 7, 2008

back on the dating scene, part 2

I really intended on writing a post about my "date" with Miles. But, I think there's just too much back story on this kid. I want to share more about who he is before I move on to our date...which I may never write about, or maybe I'll get into it at the end of this post...we'll see.

He's quite different from his older brother. Miles is expressive and artsy and chatty. He is neither quiet nor enamored with sports. I feel so badly for the guy when Brent tosses him a ball (or whatever it may be as I've learned boys are likely to toss around a used napkin, or a sugar packet, or dirty socks...seriously...). At least 50% of the time, Miles doesn't catch it. And he has such a sweet disposition about the thing. "One more try," he naively suggests. Oh, it just breaks my heart to even conjur the many memories of watching him peeking under his long bangs in bright hopes of a catch. And he doesn't care nearly as much as I do. At least, I hope not.

Miles is not wimpy though. He lacks ball skills, but he'll take you down. He's a scrapper. If you're an adult, he'll call you out on your inconsistency or your hypocrisy or your poor logic. And if you're his brother, he'll take you down hard and fast. I've often thought wrestling could be the perfect sport for him, but the idea of one of my sons in a wrestling singlet is just something I can't handle right now.

moving on...

Some of you know that Miles has another family. Not a real one. Don't worry. He made one up when he was two, and it started with stories of his "Jet Father", then pronouced, "Jet Fozza". We loved it. Since then, there have been many additions to the "Jet" family. There was his "Jet Mother" who was born with one arm, who died when she was little. There was his "Jet Sister" by the name of Ada Jackson who also died. When he was just four, he told us that his "Jet Father" was a widow and that he lives in our neighborhood. The story is always changing with new members who die and come back to life. continuity schmontinuity.

This little buster prefers fiction to reality. For example, about a month ago, I said, "Let's take turns sharing with the family our favorite memory." I caught sight of Miles thinking, "and it has to be a REAL memory," I added. We each shared one thing. Then it was time for round two of our favorite memories. And on Miles' second turn he said, "Does it have to be real???? Because, I have so many really good memories with my Jet Family."

Despite Miles' love for fiction, he can hardly sit still to listen to a book. But, he can move and listen to a book. He's an "active listener". It's strange because, by all appearances, he's not paying a lick of attention. Then you ask a comprehension question and he nails it. It's astounding to me.

Well...I guess I'll just tell you the nutshell of my date with Miles, which I thought would go over better than the one with Avery, because I feel like I understand him. He knew with certainty that he wanted the plain cheesecake, despite the fact that I can easily make it at home. He ate 98% of it, which surprised me because he's usually so generous. After he was done, he whipped out a walkie-talkie that he'd smuggled on our date and attempted to have a conversation with his brother (who was approximately 7 miles from our restaurant). The only thing he wanted to talk to me about was the possibility of our neighbors moving out and their home being occupied by the actor who played Bubba Fet (from Star Wars...which he hasn't even seen.).

And that was our date.

So, struggling for closure for this post, I'll just say that whether I'm with quiet Avery, or chatty Miles, simply sitting together with a dessert, sans agenda is what this mother needs right now because these moments are helping me to love my boys more...and, ironically, the intention was to fulfill their needs.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

back on the dating scene, part 1

I finally decided to take some advice. It was high time I stepped up my game, so I decided to spend time with my boys individually, intentionally and, Lord willing, regularly. There were multiple motivators: no. 10 in this article; decaf coffee; and the disconnectedness I've felt from both of my sons.

Background on Avery: After going out for a meal with the family, he'll usually say something like, "It wasn't that good. I wish I would have gotten what Miles got." After buying some trinket at the store, he usually has buyers regret. He tends to be the kind of person who sees the glass half empty...even when it's full.

So, I took Avery to a bakery cafe that appears to have been decorated by a crafter from the 80s...lots of hook-and-loop crafts...but it's local and quaint. He doesn't really talk much. I was actually anxious while we were in the car on the way. What are we going to talk about? Is he going to be just as rude and disappointed and ungrateful as usual? On top of his typical behaviors, he's been his Daddy's son from the time he was 18 months when Brent taught him to swing a bat. He's not artsy, or chatty or expressive. He's thoughtful, quiet and enamored with sports. So, sometimes, it just feels awkward to be with my son who I love so deeply, because I struggle to know how to show him.

We got to the restaurant and at the entrance is a glass encasement of desserts. "Hey Aves, which one would you like?" He's delighted, yet frozen. Did I mention he's indecisive? (Probably because he's a first born with parents saying, "Are you sure?", like WAY too much.) We sit down, he looks at the menu and notices "Rice Krispy Treat". I second guess him as usual, but politely...and for good reason: "Well, Avery when I have a hard time deciding what to get at a restaurant, I try to pick something that I would never make at home." That helped. Waiter comes and escorts him to the case again. I notice that Avery has taken off his shoes. I let it go. He comes back. "Do you want to tell me or do you want it to be a surprise?" He answers, "Surprise. I also got ice cream." Okay, I didn't give clearance for ice cream, but I'm letting it go. I felt the Lord guiding me and causing me to be quiet and smile at him and let him just be. The beauty of a cream cheese-frosted, chocolated-glazed, chocolate cake arrives. His eyes widen. He's very careful to go halfsies with me. I'm surprised because it seems like his version of fair is getting at least 68% of anything good. He's quiet as usual and the only conversation I recall is about how the kids at school react when someone toots*. (For those of you dying to know, they hold their noses and say, "stinky". big surprise.)

The reason this is blog-worthy is not because the date was really amazing. He didn't tell me a secret. Nor did he want to discuss anything in particular. He didn't get to go to Chuck-e-Cheese or some indoor play area and run around or throw the football. This wasn't the first dessert he'd ever had, nor was it the most delectable.

It was just me and him and no agenda.

And as we were leaving he said,
"That was so much fun. I had a great time."

THAT'S why it's worth a post.
I'm learning how to love on my son in quiet and in action.

*note -- "Toots" is the language used in our home for passing gas. Avery went to school this year and learned the crass version, but didn't exactly hear it right. So, he came home from school and said, "I know the f-word. It's 'frnt'." No, I did not mis-type. He said what I just spelled. It's my favorite word. Still makes me laugh.

Monday, March 3, 2008

tagged again...same premise, different form

Here we go. I was tagged by Keitha. She rocks.

10 Years ago

Ten years ago, I had been married for seven months. Our first year of marriage was rough. We argued so much and it was drama all the time. No, I mean, when we weren't having our marriage drama, I was on stage or in practices with the Improv team or in a play. I think the one I was in 10 years ago was Beyond the Bedroom Wall. I had a lead. And Kim would be pleased if I mentioned that I won some best actress award for that role. And, no Kim, it's not out on my mantle. I would like to think that I've changed a lot since those years. I think one word that would describe how I see the Jenna of 10 years ago would be "pride". This manifested itself mainly in my harsh criticisms of everyone around me. Sorry, old college friends.

Things on My To Do List Today:

make coffee
new post on blog
make lunch for Avery
get him to school
finish monogramming burp cloth
get Miles to preschool
go to chiropractor (first time in over a year, I feel so crooked)
read my Bible, pray everyday (wrote it that way, b/c that song was in my head)
pick up Miles? (or will Jenny pick up?)
fold laundry, wash laundry, repeat
rearrange the junk in my house
make dinner? can't remember what's on the menu....
probably make a trip to the grocery store (Sams yesterday, reg. grocery today)
figure out where that smell is coming from in the kitchen (sink? trash?)
make beds
enjoy family
work on fighter verse (memory verse for church, philipians 4:6-8)
probably call my mom and dad
email janice

Three of my BAD Habits:
(I should ask Brent, but I'm afraid...and he's asleep....good.)

Oh, here's one Brent has mentioned. I was talking to Brent on the phone, and I took a drink, and he said, "you could move the phone away from your face" because he could hear me gulping and it was REALLY loud. And then he said that I do that a lot. He just informed me of this very recently. So naturally, I was horrified that I've been gulping in ya'll's ears for YEARS!!! I'm thinking that's a habit.

I feel entitled to treats all the time. It's a battle. Whenever I go the gas station, I have an impulse to buy something...usually Resees Peanut Butter cups. I'm so grateful for "pay at the pump", having kids, and Minnesota winters as this keeps me from going in these days. I used to almost always get a treat whenever I ran any errands. I still struggle with getting the ice cream at McDonalds and the lattes at the drive thru Starbucks.

I don't make eye contact with my family enough. I can get so busy or just distracted that I don't take the time to look into their eyes. I love eyes. I love their eyes. I need to break this habit today....

If I Suddenly became a Billionaire:

I'd put an addition on this old house. I've been watching my neighbor's addition go up and it's a beaut. We have friends, family and school in our neighborhood. The idea of moving--even if it's for a good reason, like growing out of this house--seems crazy. But, as half of my heart is in St. Louis, I'd be there a lot more. And I'd travel more in general. And, or course, I'd give a lot away to our church and pro-life ministries. Yep. I know what I'd do. (Marty will appreciate this.) I'd stand outside of abortion clinics and tell women, "I'll give you $10,000 if you'll listen to me and not go into that clinic."

Five Jobs I've Had:

babysitting since I was 10 years old
2nd shift receptionist at Retirement home (this included cleaning up vomit once...)
selling/folding clothes at Express
trained to serve at Bob Evans (think Perkins...humbling, lasted three weeks I think)
Worked for the Bidners in their home nannying and at their business Nikco Sports

Five Things People Don't Know About Me:

1. I struggle with anxiety. I haven't been diagnosed, but I think it's pretty obvious. After spending time with a group of people, many times I feel like my heart is going to palpitate out of my chest. I just get nervous. And I replay conversations, emails and mistakes of the day in my head when I'm supposed to be drifting off to sleep. I know this has it's roots in desiring to please people more than God.

2. I still wish I could be on Saturday Night a regular.

3. I love to rollerblade, but I don't for a few reasons. One reason is that I've had the same rollerblades since I was 15, I think. That's half my age. That's ridiculous. I can't wear those things.

4. Every few years, I try to go vegetarian only to realize it's such a pain. I could do it if I had 30 main course vegetarian recipes that were amazing...and if real bacon was a vegetable...

5. I long to be a structured person, and I'm just not.

I will tag Jenny and Tiffany...and Emma, for good measure.