Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Untold Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Here is young Laura Ingalls Wilder on her way to school to do my her presentation. So precious.
Laura appears tolerant as her little brother attempts to get in on her portrait session.Laura's patience runs out, however, when her baby sister joins in on the fun.It's hard being Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Let's Take Some Deep Breaths

or, Why I Think Everyone Should Visit Texas in April
Extra points if you can guess what Big Daddy Weave song gets into my head every time I see these photos.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Random Conversation With a Stranger

Scene: picnic table outside our favorite hamburger stand, chatting with the lady who just took our order as she smokes a cigarette.

Her: So you have three children? Why don't you have another so you can have an even number?

Tommy: Yeah! I want a baby brother!

Me: (strained smile)

Her: What grade are y'all in?

Kids: 2nd! Kindergarten! I'll be in kindergarten next year!

Her: (to me) Oh, and what will you do then, with all of them in school?

Grace: Laundry.

Me: Well, I'll go to work...and then do laundry.

Grace: That's lame.

Me: Yes, yes it is.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bad News

I was sitting at home in the middle of the day on Thursday when my husband walked through the door. I said something welcoming like, "Why are you home and not at work?" and he announced that he'd been laid off from his job.

There is no scandal, no dissatisfaction or wrong-doing to report in this situation; the church has been hurting financially, and they had to cut five staff members to make ends meet. The pastor and elders were heartbroken about it. Our church is one of the last in our area to make staff cuts; many of our friends and acquaintances in the ministry have gone through this situation in the last few months. I guess I just never thought it would happen to us.

I am feeling at peace about it, though; strangely I am not worried or even that emotional about it yet. We've been given 12 weeks of severance and health insurance, an enormous blessing that I know a lot of people don't receive, and I am grateful.

I am also very blessed to have a husband who is exceptionally gifted and well-respected. He has more initiative than anyone I have ever known. For the past few years, he has basically been working two jobs; one full time job at the church, and another full time job doing his writing/conference speaking/blogging. He is brilliant and driven and I am confident that the Lord will provide something for him.

It doesn't hurt that I've been reading all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to help Gracie with my her report for school, and boy, Ma and Pa Ingalls sure went through some much rougher times. The grasshoppers ate their wheat for two summers in a row! Then they had to leave to find work! Then their baby died! Then Mary lost her eyesight! So, you know, that's really bad. This will pass. Right? Right?

To be truthful, we've been through this nightmare before. After September 11, there was a huge economic downturn in the Durham, NC area, where we were living at the time. Our church had some... let's just say shady financial troubles that were hidden very well for a very long time, but with the drop in finances that winter, it got continually worse, and the pastor had to let Greg go.

At the time, it was devastating. I had a 16 month old daughter, and was five months pregnant with my son. A few weeks after we received that news, we went to the doctor for an ultrasound and discovered that a cyst was growing in the baby's brain. A few weeks after that, I was playing with Gracie in the front yard when I was attacked and mauled by my neighbor's 100 pound dog, with Gracie standing just a few feet away. A few weeks later, we signed off on the sale of our house, loaded up a U-haul truck, and sadly began the journey back to South Carolina, where we would stay with Greg's mom until we got back on our feet. As Greg was backing the truck out of the driveway, he steered it right into the front fender of his own SUV, with me behind the wheel paying attention to the toddler seated in the back. As he stood with his hands on his hips, surveying the damage, for just an instant I saw a look in his eyes not unlike Clark Griswold upon his arrival at Wally World, but it passed, and he got back in the truck and we drove off in a cloud of exhaust.

That story ends well; the baby was perfectly healthy at the next ultrasound, I got over my dog bites and away from the toxic neighbor, the time spent at my mother-in-law's house was an enormous blessing. We were able to live off of our savings and a few music gigs here and there until a new job was offered, and then we coasted into the DC area on fumes with $100 left to our names, one day left before our old health insurance expired, and a new understanding of the phrase 'Trust in God'... an understanding that is now going to be tested again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Dwight Schrute Moment

The other day I was standing in the Museum of Nature and Science in front of a fake black bear habitat. A little girl behind me squealed to her Daddy, "Ooooh, look at those scary bears!" The father replied, "If you ever see a bear like that in real life, honey, you better run FAST!"

Every fiber of my being wanted to turn around and say, "You should never run from a bear. They are faster than you and they will catch you."

But I didn't. I quelled the urge and maintained my dignity. For once.

Suppressing my inner Dwight since 2009.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Such is Life

On Thursday night, I watched my son score a game-winning goal at his soccer game. It was his first goal ever, and boy was he ecstatic. And then on Saturday morning, we watched him score another goal.

For the other team.

Although he denies that it was him. He claims he was trying to get the ball away from the goal. And I choose to believe him.

Our Easter was a good one, filled with wonderful worship and lots of sweets. Then we came home and ate fajitas and deviled eggs for Easter dinner. Hi, I live in Texas.

And now some photos for the grandparents and assorted others who may be interested:

Here is Tommy defending the ball from this apparently 11 year old girl:

Going for the goal...
Such joy. Such blurry, blurry joy.

Afterwards, I let took him out for ice cream and let him choose anything off the menu. Then we all made ourselves sick from eating so much. Fun times.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Life Lessons by Barbie

We've been watching Barbie Thumbelina all week at the house, a birthday gift specifically requested by my 5 year old. I'll sum up the message of the movie for you so you can save some time: Adults are greedy, materialistic, selfish people who are destroying our environment for monetary gain without any thought for the creatures that live in it. Also, they absolutely will not listen to the pleadings of their children to change their ways, so naturally the only recourse that children have is to stand up publicly in an act of outright defiance; only then will the adults realize how very wrong they are, meekly change their ways, and start saving our planet along with the children.

So, you know, just like real life.

I don't know what the deal is with all the Barbie propaganda. I don't necessarily have a problem with the message of environmentalism; I'm a moderately green person. I strongly believe that my children's generation needs to be taught differently than my generation on the issue of the environment, and I am trying my best to do so, with my children and with my Girl Scout troop. I just find it annoying that the same character who promotes "fashion" and "shopping" and "dressing like a street-walker" to young girls would take such an uppity moral tone. That's all.

Obviously I don't have enough of a problem with Barbie to ban her presence in my home. She is welcome as long as she behaves herself. I am grateful to her for knocking those nasty Bratz dolls out of business, so she can stay and play. I do insist that she own respectable clothing; capris and doctor coats and ball gowns and such, although every time I run into her she is laying in the floor completely naked, the little tramp.

But since Barbie has taken it upon herself to give moral instruction to my children, I've been giving a little thought to some lessons she could teach that would be a little more useful in real life.

1. Sometimes you try your best, and you still don't win, and it's completely fair.
(I was at a school assembly recently where awards were given out for the Science Fair: 57 First Place ribbons! Oh, everyone was so great, we just couldn't decide! How wonderful! My friend and I were just giving each other incredulous looks....this is a whole different post, however...)

2. Sometimes those in authority are wrong, and taking a stand about it doesn't change their mind, and you just have to suck it up and deal with the injustice.

3. Sometimes you just don't get what you want.

4. Being a 'diva' or a 'princess' is not going to work to your advantage in the real world. See also: 'Fashion' and 'shopping' cost money, and you have to work for that, Princess.

I would absolutely buy these movies. I need Barbie to help me teach these lessons to my kids. It really is hard to do.

(P.S. I have an Aaron Update from the last post: He was sent home from the hospital today! This is a HUGE answer to prayer, as it could have been much much worse. He continues to be in a lot of pain, and has a long recovery ahead of him.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The answer: Drives Fast, Loves the Cowboys, Addicted to his iPhone.

The question: What can you tell about my husband from this photo?In his defense, the speed limit in west Texas is 80, although let's just say he's no stranger to that speed.

It's a mystery to me why he takes his hat off when riding in the car, although if I had to guess, I would say that maybe it is because he is so tall it hits the ceiling when he turns his head. I really don't know. Thirteen years of marriage and still so many unknowns.

On a different note:

If you are my Facebook friend or my real-life friend, you've probably heard about my friend Aaron. He is on staff at our church along with Greg, and he has been in Intensive Care since Monday after a fall. He went to the doctor with the flu and received an injection, and when he was checking out, he fainted and the back of his head hit the floor, fracturing his skull, as well as bruising the frontal lobe of his brain. We are all just grieved and frightened for him and for his wife Jenny. Greg has been staying overnight at the hospital the last few nights to give the family some rest, and has been really devastated to see his friend in that condition. There has been some improvement, and the doctors say he should be out of ICU in the next day or two. Prayers for his family as well as for his full recovery would be much appreciated.

The kiddos

The kiddos

Kidney Peril Updates
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Contact Info

chrissyinthecarpoollane at g mail dot com.