Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year ...

with cool nights and brisk mornings; it's time for Christmas music and footed jammies. I know it's not past Halloween yet, but I don't really like Halloween that much anyway. The candy is good, but that's about it. ;) Anyway, I digress. The point is that we don't ever know if it will actually be cool when it is "time" for Christmas music, so I have decided to play it whenever I feel like it. I have a good friend who taught me that I could actually do that, so now I do. However, I do wait for cool weather to share this music with the boys in the van.

As for the jammies, Evan has been asking when it would be time for the "pajamas where you can't see your feet". His wonderful dad was getting them ready for bed last night and asked me what the weather was supposed to be. I wondered why he was asking about the weather at this particular point in time, but I just went with it. I gave him the overnight low, and he decided it was time. The cries from the boys were just too precious! They were very excited. Apparently Evan has grown too much though, because his were a little too tight. We went in after he was asleep and found that he had actually taken them off. Guess it's time to go shopping, too! (By the way, I was not in on the pj selection, so don't blame the Christmas pj's on me.)
Monday, October 27, 2008

Young love

And at the ages of 5 and 6, I do mean young. I heard that one of Evan's classmates told her grandmother that Evan was her boyfriend. After school today I had to ask Evan about it. He kind of grinned and said, "She said that at school today." I asked what he did when she said it and this was his answer.

(Okay, so the picture is not quite as dramatic as his expression was. I will try to get a better pic.)

I asked if she was his girlfriend and he said yes.

Tonight we were telling Dad and he said that she was not his best girlfriend. Apparently there's a difference between best girlfriend and girlfriend. He doesn't talk about the other girls in his class much, though, so I think she might really be, and he was getting a little embarrassed by the discussion. I also don't think that he has a clue what these words mean other than she is a friend who is a girl. I hope he keeps this innocence a while longer! (And I do mean a long while!)
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kids Karnival

Tonight was our church's annual carnival, and it was our first time to attend. It was really neat and we had a lot of fun. It took a lot of work to pull this event off and we are grateful for the people who did it!

The boys got to wear their Halloween costumes tonight, but Steve and I just went as ourselves. The boys are boxers which is quite appropriate given their behavior to each other lately. They weren't quite sure about wearing their costumes before Halloween, but they decided to go with it to get candy. They know how to make good decisions! ;)
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkin Day!

Today was "Pumpkin Day" for Evan's class at school. This was a first for us, so I didn't know what to expect. There were 5 stations set up in different rooms, and the kids rotated through them in groups of 3. I was in the Senses Station. The kids looked at, touched and smelled a pumpkin (inside and out) and then described it. Some of the kids didn't really want to touch the insides of the pumpkin. Evan was one of those. This didn't really surprise me since he hasn't wanted to help his dad with that in previous years. After that we played candy corn bingo (where candy corn was the marker). Some of the other stations involved reading the pumpkin parable, estimating and counting pumpkin seeds, painting and decorating mini-pumpkins, and eating pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie. (There might have been more, but that is all Evan remembers.) The kids were fun, and it was good to get to know them a little better. Joel wanted to join in, so we did let him play bingo with the first group. After that he mostly ate candy corn. He did play bingo with the last group, too.
I got to bring the pumpkin home and cook it up. This was my first attempt at cooking my own pumpkin, and I can see why canned is just fine. It was fun, but it took most of the afternoon and my fingertips are kind of burned now. This picture is the final result. But we have lots of pumpkin to use (and freeze) now! I think tomorrow will be a pumpkin-bread-baking-day.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Conversations with Joel

1. While we were driving around after Bible study today, Joel randomly asked, "Where's that other kid?" Puzzled, I asked, "What other kid?" He said, "Evan." Not sure when Evan became "that other kid", but now I know in case it comes up again.

2. The library parking lot was full today because of early voting, so we had to park on the street. On our way back to the van I asked Joel if he wanted to race across the grass. He said no because it would hurt his booty. I asked how racing could possibly hurt his booty, and he said it was because there were ants in his booty. Hmmm. I asked him if he needed a new diaper and he said yes. He wasn't dirty, so I didn't change him. We went immediately to get Evan from school. One of the first things Joel told Evan was that he had ants in his booty. I guess we need a new pest control service.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More fall activities

And there will be even more to come! But this is a recap of last weekend.

On Saturday we went to a local nursery to get some ideas for landscaping, but more importantly, to enjoy their fall festival. It was a really neat event with a petting zoo, face painting, hay maze, hay ride, a fire engine tour, flower pot decorating and pansy plating for the kids, popcorn, drinks, food coupons, a visit from the Chick-Fil-A cow, and a "guess how much the pumpkin weighs" station. The best part is that it was all free! Joel loved the petting zoo and asked today when he could go to it again. (Evan wouldn't even go in the petting zoo.) Evan wanted to get his face painted, but the line was too long and too slow-moving. (There was only one lady doing the painting, and her work was very intricate. It was beautiful, but very time-consuming.) I think that Evan's favorite part was the hay maze or the hay ride. He also enjoyed getting a new plant. (Joel wouldn't do that one.) It was fun, but very tiring for the old folks (Steve and me).

After the festival we went to the library's Spooktacular to vote for the pumpkins. (We will go to the library later this week to see the results.) The Spooktacular was set up in the conference room at the library and it was a little too scary for Joel. Evan was a little scared by one part, but he handled it pretty well.

Sunday afternoon Evan went to a carnival-themed birthday party for a little girl in his class. It was really cute and set up with a bunch of carnival games for the kids to play. Costumes were optional, but Evan wanted to wear one. I didn't have this year's ready, so he wore an old one and went as Batman. It was in the high 70's or low 80's, but he never complained about the turtleneck and sweatpants. Anything for Batman, apparently.
Friday, October 17, 2008

Meet the pumpkins ... and Marvin!

Joel's mean spider pumpkin
Joel likes playing with his pumpkin. He doesn't understand that it is not a toy. He likes it so much that he decided to not enter it into the decorated pumpkin contest at the library, because we would have to leave it there.

Evan's pink alien pumpkin, with Marvin

Evan brought Marvin home from school for the weekend. Marvin gets to do what Evan does and we get to journal about it. Marvin helped Evan decide how to decorate his pumpkin for the contest. Evan considered keeping his pumpkin at home, too, but I told him we could pick it back up next week so he decided to enter it. He seems to be motivated by the prospect of receiving a prize for his pumpkin.

My pumpkin

It's hard to see the hair from the first picture, and the second picture isn't much better. It's cool hair made from a funky type of yarn. I am not into witches, but we kept seeing an animated witch at Wal-Mart, and it completely captivated Joel. He doesn't know that it is a witch, though. He calls her "the purple woman". So I decided that the stem would make a wonderful purple woman nose. I almost made it into an elephant, but I asked Joel which he wanted me to make and he chose the purple woman.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just some observations ...

from the boys.

1. Evan saw a police car that was white on the top and black on the sides. He said, "Hey, mom! That police car looks like a skunk!" I doubt that is the look that the police department was going for, but when you're right, you're right!

2. Evan and I were discussing Noah's ark on the way home from church one week. I told him that the ark only had one door, just like there is only one way to get to heaven. I asked him if he knew what that way was and he said yes. I thought, "Oh, I have done a good job of teaching him." When I then asked him what that way is, he confidently replied, "Straight up!"

3. Last night Joel asked his dad why he (Joel) disobeyed so much that day. Steve started a discussion (or monologue) about sin and how Jesus came to take our sin away. Joel listened for about a minute and then interrupted Steve to say, "Dad, you have green circle eyes, and you have black circle eyes." The conversation ended there. However, I was impressed that Joel noticed Steve's eye color, since Steve can't even tell you that.

4. At the zoo I smelled something foul in the rhino area. I made the mistake of saying, "Whoa, do you guys smell that rhino poop!" I have been hearing about rhino poop from Joel ever since then. Today he asked who changed the rhino's diaper. I tried to explain that rhinos just poop on the ground. I then had to explain that all animals do that. His next question was about who wiped the rhino after he pooped. So much to figure out about how the world works when you are only 2.
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mother-son bonding time

Just something that we did for fun last week. We've had these since early summer and we just started using them. Another thing that made me feel like a bad mom, but is now marked off the list.

BTW - My "tat" looked real cool on Saturday when I went to a Turbo Kick class at my gym!
Friday, October 10, 2008

Field Trip Mania!

We are just a few days into October and Evan has already had two field trips! The first one was a shorter one to an aquarium. It was a neat trip, though, because one of the aquarium employees talked to the group about animals and other things at the sea shore. Evan showing off a feather - something that can be found at the sea shore

Then he brought out some animals to let us all look at and touch if we wanted to. Evan liked looking, but only touched the sea star. Evan checking out a hermit crab

I was taking pictures, but I touched the last animal, a sea urchin.
Yesterday the most of the class took a DART train to the Dallas Zoo. (A few just met us at the zoo.) Joel got to join us on this adventure, too. We almost didn't make it to the train on time. We ran across the parking lot and then up a long ramp. (Thank goodness I have been working out or I would not have survived.) When we got up there one train pulled out. The other train was on the other side of the tracks and I couldn't figure out how to get there. As I was trying to figure it out, it pulled out. I looked around desperately and didn't see anyone from the class. I didn't know what to do! We were running to get tickets and get to the train on time, so I didn't check the map and had no idea what train to get on or which direction to go. Just before I panicked, I saw the group at the other end of the platform. WHEW!! They were almost on that train, but they got off because we weren't there yet. In my defense, when I joined them on the platform I checked the clock and it was 9:11am. We had planned on taking the 9:15 train, so I was on time and if they had taken that train it would have been on an earlier one than scheduled.

The train ride gave me a chance to catch my breath, which was nice. Once we got to the zoo we met up with the rest of the class, took a bathroom break, got a scavenger hunt sheet, and went to the monorail. After the monorail we split up and just went around the zoo. This field trip lasted the whole school day, but it was still a quick trip around the zoo. It worked out alright for me since I didn't get to the gym, but I still got a good workout trying to get us all over so that we could complete the all-important scavenger hunt so that Evan could get the all-important prize. The boys had a great time looking at the animals and learning more about them.

Before we went all Joel could talk about was the gorilla. Would it be angry? Would it be silly? What would it do? When could we see it? As you might imagine, the first thing we did after the monorail was go to the gorilla exhibit. That is probably my favorite part of the Dallas Zoo, so I was glad to share it with the boys. I was really hoping that the gorillas would be out and we did get to see two of them! One of them was walking around and pretty close up. The other one was sleeping with his back to us, but he still counts.
Evan's favorite animal was the cheetah. There's only one and it is in a smaller cage, so we did get to see it. I prefer open spaces for the animals, but we never did see the cheetahs at the National Zoo, so I guess the cages have some benefits for us.Anyway, that is a recap of our first two field trips. There will be more field trips to come, so stay tuned!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's pumpkin time!

Today we took a visit to our local pumpkin patch to find some pumpkins for the library's pumpkin decorating contest. The boys each did an excellent job of picking pumpkins and had a lot of fun playing in the hay maze. I had fun getting them out of the house, since Evan was out of school again today.

Much to Evan's dismay, we have not decorated the pumpkins yet. We will work on that over the weekend, probably, and I will share pictures from that, too, of course.
Monday, October 6, 2008

Rain and mud

We had rain today, so I decided to let the boys play in it. I have never done that before, and I have felt like a bad mom because of it. So, today was the day! We had some friends over who played with them outside, too. They didn't like the actual rain as much as the mud.

Don't ask me how Evan got mud in his ear, because I really don't know.

Also, Joel was supposed to be wearing rain boots, but he took them off and then played in the mud in his socks.
Friday, October 3, 2008

At least it was still edible

Last night we were having a dinner with our small group, and I was bringing a cake. I baked the sheet cake after I picked Evan up from school. I left it out so that it could cool before I finished it, and sat down to rest. Evan was watching tv, and I fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up, I headed to the back of the house, and Evan seemed eager to tell me something. "Mom," he started, "I accidentally woke Joel up, and he told me to eat the cake." I ran to the cake and this is what I found.He was sent to timeout so that I could calm down and think. At first I considered not letting him have dinner, but then I decided that he could have carrots, celery, and broccoli. He chose carrots, but only ate a little. He ate so much cake, that he couldn't have been that hungry anyway.

He knew that he was in trouble, and that it was a bad thing to do, but he wasn't acting like it. On the way to our small group meeting the subject of the cake came up and he said, "That cake was soooo yummy!" I got on to him, but he just said it again.

On the drive home the subject of the ten commandments came up, and eventually we got around to stealing. I explained to him that taking the cake was like stealing, and that seemed to finally make an impact on him.

By the way, I did decide to take the cake to the meeting, and everyone enjoyed the story behind it. Since it was messed up already, I decided to experiment, and it wasn't as good as if I had followed the recipe, but it was still tasty.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Welcome to my 100th post!

In celebration of my 100th post, I thought that I could give a little more history on myself than I normally do here. In case you didn't know, my bachelor's degree is in Political Science. What am I doing with that, you might ask? Most of the time I am using it to navigate the machiavellian world of toddlerhood and pre-school. Lest you think I am exaggerating, here are just a few quotes from Prince Machiavelli. I could have picked so many more:
  • Before all else, be armed. (the philosophy of the boys)
  • He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command. (important for parents to remember)
  • I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it. (you can guess)
  • Never was anything great achieved without danger. (you know this one, too)
So, I haven't used this degree in any sort of professional way, but I am now finding a way to use this as a room mom at Evan's school. Yes, you read that correctly - as a room mom. (It's not macchiavellian, though, thankfully.) The new director of Evan's school wants to hold elections for a school mascot, and I signed up to be on the committee. Of course, this job turned out to be more than I had anticipated, but it is fun. We are going to hold the election on the same day as the national election - complete with "campaign" posters, voter registration cards, a polling place, and "I voted" stickers or badges. I am looking forward to the whole thing, and I think it will be fun to include Evan in discussions of voting this year. Plus I get to use my bachelor's degree. How fun is that! ;)

Of course the presidential elections are also reminding me of my degree and the turmoil I felt towards the end of my college career. I really was tired of political science by the time I graduated. It's really just the study of power. Granted, there are many components to it - who has it, how they got it, what they do with it, etc. - but ultimately it's just about power. That might thrill some people, but it kind of depresses me. I think we often delude ourselves with our sense of control, but perhaps that is for another day.

However, every 4 years, as Americans, we have the privilege and responsibility of deciding who will lead our government for the next 4 years. This time is usually met with both anticipation and fear by me. Who will emerge this time? Who will win? What if the "wrong" person gets in? What role does God expect Christians to play in this whole thing? Should I campaign? Or, should I just pray and vote?

This year I happen to have started a new Bible study at my church, which takes us through the Bible in 3 years. The study begins in Genesis and goes through Revelation, in the order they appear. We do about a book a week, and we just finished Leviticus. You may be thinking, what does this have to do with the elections? Well, I think it does. The main thing that I got out of Leviticus was God's desire for His people to live "holy" lives. I am having trouble seeing what that should look like, because only God is truly holy. He does want for us to grow in holiness, however, and He gives us the power to do it. When He is talking to the Israelites in Leviticus the command to be holy is usually accompanied by a charge to be set apart or separate from the people around them. I think that might be the hardest part of holiness for American Christians. We want to be like everyone else, to blend in, to be accepted. Perhaps it's so we can "reach" others. Perhaps it's so we don't have to face "persecution" (which looks totally different for us than it does for believers in Asia or Africa). Regardless of the reason, I don't think that this is what God had in mind for us. Jesus told us that people would hate us if we followed Him. Should it surprise us when that happens? Now, I am not talking about people hating us because we are hateful to those with different opinions or those who are not believers, but I am talking about hating us because we are like God, who is pure, but who is also love.

So, back to the original question - what are we to do? I think that for me the answer lies in seeking God and surrendering everything to Him. Another part of Leviticus that spoke to me was the whole burnt offering. This offering was a voluntary offering that person could give to God. The name comes from the fact that the whole offering was consumed by fire (most offerings saved some of the meat for the priests to eat), and it was a picture of the giver offering all of his life and all of himself to God. There are so many places in the Old and New Testament where God says that what He wants is a heart that wants Him. He wants us to believe Him, to trust Him, and to live out our faith, but it seems to me that it all starts with a heart that wants Him. I read a book recently that described it like this: God doesn't want to be the top of our list of priorities. He wants to be the center of everything in our lives. Wouldn't everything else in my life fall into place much better if He was at the center of it all. After all, I don't need to study political science to know who truly has the power. It's my God - and He graciously and generously shares that power with me to live my life devoted to Him.
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