Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Another fun Halloween!!!
A top hit this year was a last-minute idea. Kristi found a website with free stencils. I let each kid pick out their favorite, printed it, cut it out, and traced it onto the pumpkins, all within an hour of Kevin being due home from work. Then, thanks to Kevin and his Dremel tool - this is how they turned out:

The kids were so adorable I just admired them the whole time we were out.
Thanks to my mom for sewing a perfect Dorothy costume, and providing a basket for Toto. Rafael, Dorothy, the Blue Butterfly, and our little penguin had SO MUCH fun!

The best story from the night - we gathered afterwards to inspect the candy haul and the kids got to answer the door all together at the neighbors'. Every time the doorbell rang, five kids went running. Once after the door was closed on another batch of trick-or-treaters, Bethanie broke out sobbing. We couldn't figure out what happened right away. At first I thought she was sad because she didn't get to hand out any candy. But then it was discovered that she had given her lollipop away to one of the trick-or-treaters. Her USED Tootsie Roll Pop that she'd been enjoying for about ten minutes. We were all laughing imagining the reaction when THAT kid gets home to find a sticky, sucked-on lollipop in his bag. Ick!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day Before Candy

It is nearly three o'clock and what a day it has been. I sit here eating Trader Joe's yummy microwave popcorn while my two girls are jumping on the trampoline in the leaves. Yes, even in Las Vegas we have one tree that turns gorgeous shades of deep red and yellow and drops leaves on the trampoline. So my Western girls get to jump in leaves, just not in the traditional way.

I could really talk up the idyllic scene I've got going here, but the truth is I was a raving lunatic just hours ago in the throes of a crazy shopping trip trying to find ruby red slippers for Cayna's Dorothy costume. It was lunacy because the search has spanned about two weeks and ninety-five stores. I was ready to spray-paint her school shoes, but Payless finally produced and now we are all happily "back in Kansas," shall we say?

So... after hot-gluing various pieces of Bethanie's butterfly get-up, finding the red shoes, purchasing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and borrowing the penguin for John - we're ready to go!!! Wait, not really - I still have to buy, gut, and carve some pumpkins and pick up some candy. Perhaps that will happen on the way home from the little get-together I'm going to tonight. Wanna know what it's for? My husband keeps making fun of it - it's a company that makes those vinyl letters to stick on your wall in various phrases as a decoration. Kevin's quote about this: "We could get Bethanie to do the same thing for free."

Anyway... tomorrow I will post pictures of my adorable Trick-or-Treaters and let you know how I'm doing resisting the candy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Husband and Wife

You know those questionnaire e-mails that people send? You're supposed to fill them out and send them on and everyone grows a little closer and the world becomes more cozy? They annoy a lot of people, but I confess I love them. I guess I just like talking about myself (as if you didn't know that - you're reading my BLOG!)

I got one the other day from my friend, Kim, and filled it out and sent it back. I also forwarded it to Kevin. I'm not sure why, but I think it has to do with the power of suggestion and #36. To my surprise, he filled it out and sent it back! I was shocked, but it made my whole day. Partly because he took the time to indulge my frivolity and partly because his answers made me laugh out loud several times. So... I'm reprinting my answers and his. It's okay if you skip ahead to his answers, I'll understand.

My answers:
1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:15, it was dreamy - and rare

2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The cinema? Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (free kids' movies this summer)

4. What is your favorite TV show? The Office

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Cold Cereal

6. What is your middle name? Lynn

7. What food do you dislike? Beets

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I'm with you, Kim - I'm not a CD fan, but I love my iPod - Gwen Stefani is a favorite

9. What kind of car do you drive? A Honda Odyssey. It's pretty sexy.

10. Favorite sandwich? Turkey with sprouts that someone makes for me

11. What characteristic do you despise? Lack of normal social skills

12. Favorite item of clothing? I love my Old Navy jammy pants

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? it's a tough call - I'm dying to hang out in New England but now Rome, too

14. Are you an organized person? yessiree

15. Where would you retire to? wherever my kids are - or at least wherever the one that likes me is

16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? they've kinda sucked lately - I did go to Cheesecake Factory this year, but we didn't even have cheesecake for dessert - how did that happen?

17. What are you going to do when you finish this? send Kim an adoption-related e-mail

18. Furthest place you are sending this? we'll see what kind of mood I'm in

19. Who will be the first to send this back? I don't know

20. What's the last thing that made you laugh? some election satire Kevin and I watched

21. Morning person or a night person? Night. Duh, why do you think I'm sitting here typing this?

22. Shoe size? 10

23. Pets? Nope.

24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Yes. I am now a Phillies fan. I never knew!

25. What did you want to be when you were little? A lawyer.

26. How are you today? Well, it was a fairly nice day, weather- and kid-wise. Kevin cooked dinner and I got to run tonight. But I'm fighting some depression and the birth parent search possibility is too big on my mind.

27. What is your favorite flower? Lilac. Stargazer lily is a close second. There is a lilac candle burning in my room waiting for me as I speak!

28. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? I have some fun stuff going on this next week, so I suppose I'm looking forward to all of that. Most of all, our book group is having an All-Saints Day pancake breakfast next Saturday. How's that for random Catholic?

29. What are you listening to right now? I just heard the toilet flush upstairs.

30. Are your toenails painted currently? Yes.

31. Do you wish on stars? No.

32. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Pink. Or green. Or a unique shade of blue. Never orange.

33. How is the weather right now? Sooooooooooo gorgeous. If people visited Vegas now, they'd never leave.

34. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Christine. Well, but not really a person, it was her voicemail. So Kristi.

35. Favorite soft drink? Don't drink them much, but when I do, I love a root beer.

36. Favorite restaurant? If SOMEONE would ever take me, I'm pretty sure I would love Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris. Hello? Anyone?

37. Hair color? Blonde

38. What was your favorite toy as a child? Dolls. Loved dolls. Never had one of those busts, Kim - but I wanted one. Maybe I oughtta get my daughters one for Christmas. I'm guessing they don't make Cher anymore.

39. Summer or Winter. Both

40. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.

41. Coffee or tea? Tea. Or a Chocolate Chip Frolatte at Saxby's. But that's not so much coffee as dessert.

42. Do you want your friends to email you back? Yes.

43. When was the last time you cried? Don't remember, though I felt the need to several times this week and probably should have.

44. What is under your bed? Weights. Pieces of the porta-crib. Probably some stray toys and a dust bunny or two.

45. What did you do last night? I'll tell you what we didn't do. We didn't go to Baskin Robbins with our neighbors because the envelope system on our budget is my ENEMY.

46. What are you afraid of? You name it, sister: cancer; violence; my kids growing up too fast; going to jail; the list goes on and on

47. Salty or sweet? Sweet.

48. How many keys on your key ring? car, house, Dad's house - 3!

49. Favorite day of the week? Usually Saturday. Sunday's a close second.

50. Do you make friends easily? I think so.

51. How many people will you send this to? Not really sure.

52. How many will respond? Don't know.

53. Do you like finding out all this stuff about your friends? Absolutely.

His answers:
1. What time did you get up this morning? 5:35 AM, 5:42 AM, and then 5:49 AM.

2. Diamonds or pearls? no.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Wall-E.

4. What is your favorite TV show? The Office.

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Nothing or oatmeal at work.

6. What is your middle name? William.

7. What food do you dislike? Most healthy things; fish (more generally, things that swim or swam or lived in the water at any point during its life).

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I have been hearing Erasure in my head lately.

9. What kind of car do you drive? Ford Explorer/Exploder.

10 Favorite sandwich? Turkey and provolone on Sourdough toasted in a toaster oven.

11. What characteristic do you despise? Ineptitude and lack of awareness of ineptitude.

12. Favorite item of clothing? protects my sensitive areas.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Holy Land.

14. Are you an organized person? I like organization, but not organizing.

15. Where would you retire to? Where I lived my life...why move away from that?

16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? 30th with sumo wrestling.

17. What are you going to do when you finish this? work.

18. Furthest place you are sending this? home.

19. Who will be the first to send this back? there is not much chance anyone will send this back.

20. What's the last thing that made you laugh? Seeing someone at work who looked really awkward in a hard hat and vest. #30 also made me laugh.

21. Morning person or a night person? Morning.

22. Shoe size? 12.

23. Pets? No.

24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? My wife is now a Phillies fan.

25. What did you want to be when you were little? An elephant.

26. How are you today? Normal.

27. What is your favorite flower? Venus fly trap...a very manly flower.

28. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? 12/24. That is when I find out my bonus.

29. What are you listening to right now? Women of Grace.

30. Are your toenails painted currently? Hell no; I do believe I'd get my ass kicked if my toenails were painted.

31. Do you wish on stars? No.

32. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Burnt sienna.

33. How is the weather right now? Nice. I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.

34. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Rich.

35. Favorite soft drink? Coke.

36. Favorite restaurant? Jack in the Box.

37. Hair color? Short.

38. What was your favorite toy as a child? Legos.

39. Summer or Winter. "Summer" I hate being cold.

40. Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla.

41. Coffee or tea? Coffee.

42. Do you want your friends to email you back? Some of them.

43. When was the last time you cried? When I was a baby. Actually, I almost always choke up at the moment Troy unites people. Then I make fun of them because people usually act like dorks in situations like that. My answer to #29 almost made me cry.

44. What is under your bed? Weights. Pieces of the porta-crib. Probably some stray toys and a dust bunny or two.

45. What did you do last night? Sewed patches on my cub scout leader uniform.

46. What are you afraid of? Mirrors in the dark.

47. Salty or sweet? Sweet.

48. How many keys on your key ring? 6, one keyless pad thing, one magnetic access key to office.

49. Favorite day of the week? Thursday; refer to #4.

50. Do you make friends easily? No.

51. How many people will you send this to? One.

52. How many will respond? One.

53. Do you like finding out all this stuff about your friends? Eh.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Sentence Today

Abortion is the complete opposite of social justice.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Doctor Day

Since my last visit to a family practice was in a small town in the hills, I noticed quite a few advancements in the world of doctor offices now three years later and in the big city. For example, I saw both doctors and at least one nurse toting their laptops from room to room. No paper charts at this office at all. She said she is the only one in town to be exclusively computerized.

As usual, I wrote "Unknown - Adopted" on the Medical History section. And then, lo and behold, the last question was "Would you like prayer today?" Well, who is going to say no to that?

Of course, you write this information just to keep their pens flowing, because both the nurse and the doctor asked me specific questions about my parents and siblings (neither of which have a genetic connection to me) later during my visit and I had to restate the "I don't know, I'm adopted" line.

ANYway... I was there for a check-up as well as to list a few bothersome issues and list I did. And I really like this doctor. She was very thorough and very UNrushed. We spent the most time discussing how I have been running and want to keep running, but I have back pain and breathing issues. Long story short, I have scoliosis. She was very surprised I didn't know that already because apparently it's fairly obvious. Come on, people, I read the Judy Blume book about the girl who had scoliosis - how could my own spine malformation escape my notice? Doc spent a good amount of time explaining what this means for my running career and for my disks and for my co-pay once she sends me to a specialist. She told me to keep running, which was music to my ears. "Keep your core strong," she said, "That's what will save you as you age." Alrighty then!

She is sending me to a holistic specialist - a guy who does sports medicine and chiropractic, and is perfectly comfortable in the traditional and alternative worlds of medicine. He has a staff of physical therapists and she guessed he would do at least one adjustment and then help me figure out how to keep my back from wigging out again in the future, especially as I try to increase my running distances. I'm pretty excited about seeing this guy.

My breathing issues remain a mystery. She asked me somewhat teasingly "You don't smoke pot?" and I grinned. It was humorous that she asked this soon after I told her I have four children. I took a breathing test with a little machine plugged into - you guessed it - the nurse's laptop. Then I had a breathing treatment and took the test again. No change. So I'm to continue my conditioning exercises during running and report back if it continues to be a problem. I liked that she suggested some other possibilities, but ruled out about four separate things and then admitted she just wasn't sure.

We ended our date with a cozy little discussion on antidepressants. No hormonal mother of young children living in America can escape this conversation. And I liked her response and explanation. I also LOVED that she said, "I'm not going to prescribe anything to you after just one visit." Bravo! Let me introduce you to a colleague of yours in Smalltown, California who wanted to drug me up quicker than you can say Prozac. I'm glad I found this new doctor, and I'm reasonably sure that I can continue to avoid medication as long as I keep exercising and stay off sugar. But I'll keep you posted, because the knowledge I gained today about my sketchy mental health is the best I've heard yet in YEARS of struggling.

I also need bloodwork later this week to determine any possible issues that we might not have touched on today. Issues like thyroid problems, blood sugar imbalances, cholesterol levels, and pregnancy. Woo-hoo! Read about it here first when I get the exciting results.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I'm going to see a doctor tomorrow - for no particular reason - I just like to spend money wantonly. And when your addictions to food and shopping and gambling have failed you, hypochondria comes in handy and gives you a reason to start meeting all the doctors in your area.

That's not really what I'm doing. Is it? I have this painful lump on my index finger. Some occasional numbness in my left thigh. I had a rash, but the dermatologist took care of that with some steroid cream.

Honestly, I'm going because it seems like the thing to do every now and again. And I like a little adventure. Last time I visited a general doc, I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and depression. That dumbhead (he was) was trying to get me to leave with no fewer than two prescriptions - for long-term use - after ONE VISIT. I refused. And I changed my diet, started exercising and lost weight. MIRACULOUSLY my cholesterol dropped and the depression worked itself out. So we'll see what this one has to offer.

Every time I visit a doctor, especially as I'm getting older, I'm tempted to lie on the background sheet. Instead of putting "UNKNOWN - ADOPTED" across the whole family history section, I toy with the idea of writing every disease in the book - or at least the most common ones that scare me. Cancer, heart disease, liver failure, stroke. Yes, I might be lying, but I might not. Those could be true for all I know. And since I can't get the people who keep my adoption records sealed to pay for extra diagnostic testing, I'll just make myself look like a walking time bomb in order to rule out the doozy diseases.

I've heard this doctor is a Christian and prays with her patients. Well, at least she prayed with my mom. My neighbor goes to her, too - and she didn't get the prayer treatment. I'm curious whether she'll ask to pray with me. I'm in a rather snotty mood (can you tell?) so I might just retort, "If you think it'll help."

Well, wish me luck. What better way to start a week than with a visit to a doctor?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Night Update

Really? The World Series is on RIGHT NOW? Kevin says it really is live and those people really are watching this game at 1:30 a.m. in Philly. At first I was making fun of a Phillies guy who got out on second base so I thought I would root for the Tampa Bay team. But I can't get behind a team called the Devil Rays!!! What IS a Devil Ray? Will someone please tell me? I suppose I could Google it but I just don't care enough and since my brother went to school in Philly I might as well take their team's side. Kevin is normally a baseball fan, so I asked why we haven't been watching this. Apparently we've been busy.

Now that you're settled on who Teri hopes to win the Series, let's move on to some other important things.

Today is exactly two months til Christmas. Are you ready? I am. Yep. If by "ready" you mean "prepared to start making a list". Catholics do a bang-up job of celebrating significant Jesus stuff, so I kinda let them take care of that side of things. Other than that, I might buy a poinsettia this year. Put up the stockings. Buy some gifts. Shoot a goose and cook the sucker for Christmas Eve. I'm not sure what Santa will bring me this year. I think I might ask for a scooter. Why not?

Friends coming from out of the country tomorrow to stay with us. Doesn't that sound exotic? What it amounts to, really, is that I have to clean the bathrooms. On the Sabbath. But, if you know your Bible, you know Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and me cleaning my bathrooms is almost like that. I will be preventing disease. The downstairs "powder room" gets a Clorox swipe now and again but I can honestly say that the Master bathroom has not been cleaned in months. (And Beth Barker, if you are now reading my blog, I hope you will still be my friend. I imagine that if you went that long without cleaning your bathroom the universe might implode!)

I have so much more on my mind right now. I went for a run tonight and apparently the endorphins are making me overly chatty. Okay, I'm overly chatty no matter what, but I'm feeling extra loopy. But it is time to go continue watching my beloved Phillies.

Lots of Love, and Happy Saturday to you and yours,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Poetry & A Crappy Week

As soon as I call this week crappy, it gets all overly sensitive and defensive. And I recognize that it wasn't ALL crappy. Just a significant enough portion to label it thus in my post title.

If I was a teacher, I'd give it a C-. If I was a doctor, I'd say it was sick. If I was an engineer, I'd redesign it... somebody stop me!

Arrived home late Sunday night from being out of town.

Started the week with a day-long visit from the mother-in-law (nuff said).

A woman was raped a few miles from my house and my resulting paranoia is affecting my running.

I had a conflict with a friend over POLITICS which is my least favorite topic, but at least it got resolved. If I'm going to have a conflict with a friend, I'd rather it be over something much more interesting --- like a man! (Just kidding.)

And (rather on a high note) I found a friend from junior high and it's been really great talking with her on e-mail. At the same time, it's been almost overly thought-provoking as she has shared with me the story of finding her birth mother and all that has gone along with that.

Also, I'm experiencing a craving for poetry which has led me to check out two books of poetry from the library in the past two weeks.

So, I plan to go pop some popcorn and stare into space and process all this (wish me luck). But before I go, I have to quote Garrison Keillor in the Introduction to Good Poems for Hard Times.

Here's Mr. Keillor --- and here's to a good weekend, - I could use it.

Poetry is a necessity as simple as the need to be touched and similarly a need that is hard to enunciate. The intense vision and high spirits and moral grandeur are simply needed lest we drift through our days consumed by clothing options and hair styling and whether to have the soup or the salad.

The meaning of poetry is to give courage. A poem is not a puzzle that you the dutiful reader is obliged to solve. It is meant to poke you, get you to buck up, pay attention, rise and shine, look alive, get a grip, get the picture, pull up your socks, wake up and die right.

At times life becomes almost impossible, and you curl up under a blanket in a dim room behind drawn shades and you despise your life, which seems mean and purposeless, a hoax and a cheat, your shining chances all wasted, pissed away, nobody can change this or make this better, love is lost, hope gone, nothing left but to pour a glass of gin and listen to weepy music. But it can help to say words. Moaning helps. So does prayer. God hears prayer and restores the souls of the faithful. Walking helps. Many people have pulled themselves up out of the pit by the simple expedient of rising to their feet, leaning slightly forward, and putting one foot ahead of the other. Poems help.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Something the other tour guides won't show you:

Many of the blogs I read do a great job of showing one side of motherhood - the clean, polished, sane, sweet, and put-together side.

I, ladies and gentlemen, strive to show you something those "other" bloggers will not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not out to try to glamorize the frump or even complain about the mundane. The reason I have these photos in the first place is that they are part of my famous photo-essay entitled "I am a Mom, and it's Taking Over My Life." One day on a Las Vegas freeway, I looked in the rearview mirror and the image of the carseats all over the place made an impression on my brain. I thought, "I didn't have carseats in my car before, and I won't always have carseats in my car. And some people want to have carseats in their car but can't have a baby and some people have carseats in their car but don't embrace the crazy years of mothering young children - they can't wait to get rid of them."

I am trying to enjoy it while it lasts without killing anybody. How's that for a motto?

No matter how many times I reiterate the rule, "No removing couch cushions!" they still do it. I am a killjoy because apparently, these cushions make great slides, as shown here.

This photo is titled "Lunch aftermath." It could as easily be titled "Ode to Mothers of Preschoolers" since it includes: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; unfinished food; sippy cups; and a handmade gift (the vase from Mother's Day 2006).

The top of the washing machine is the catch-all for items needing to go somewhere else when I get the time. This particular stack is nursing nightgowns waiting to move to a bin in the garage. My baby just night-weaned and I get to go back to regular nightclothes. Bittersweet.

Someday (between menopause and grandparenthood) I will not have Costco-size boxes of diapers in the laundry room. And someday around the same time, I will organize that same laundry room and find a better place for the floor-cleaning paraphernalia my husband has invested in.

This is the piece de resistance! The floor of my van after a road trip. Truth be told, it looks like this even when the road trip was only to the grocery store and back. My father (comedian that he is) suggested I shampoo the rugs more often. Right. When I have the money to pay a detailer to do the job properly while I sip a cappuccino, I'd rather spend it on counseling to reconcile the part of me that has four children who eat Goldfish in the van with the part of me that was raised by an EXTREMELY obsessive housekeeper.

And there you have it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's on your bookshelf?

A speaker I just listened to on CD in my car said "Show me your bookshelf and I'll tell you what your priorities are."

Well, duh.

Makes for an interesting personality revealer, huh?

Once every fourteen or fifteen years, when I have time to roam around a library unhindered, I usually browse in the fiction section and feel pressure to find a good, entertaining read. This is difficult, what with all that "not judging a book by its cover" stuff.

So, tonight I had the luxury of half an hour in the library but I headed for the non-fiction section instead. Call me a nerd, but it was so exciting I could hardly stand it. I went up and down every aisle. (This is not an enormous library.) If I'd had a shopping cart, I might have come home with dozens of books. Since I was already carrying my 94-pound diaper bag, (yes, even without the baby I end up carrying the thing - who has time to transfer purses? -- who even has another purse?) I settled on three random gems and headed for check-out.

I have arrived home with Keys to Parenting Your Five Year Old; Good Poems for Hard Times; and Writing Humor: Creativity and the Comic Mind. In case you're interested, I spent a good amount of time perusing the "Western U.S. History" section looking for stuff on the Donner Party and the "White House" section. Literally the White House, not Presidential History. I'm talking books on the design and arrangement of the actual residence.

Already checked out last week and sitting on my end table are: Forever, Erma - zillions of Erma Bombeck's columns reprinted and 1,000 Quotable Poems. I'm in kind of a poetry mood and I'm going with it.

So that's it for me. A little multiple personality disorder in real life translates to a fascinating hodge-podge of borrowed books!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I can't believe the darn bird broke.

Only five days ago, I posted about my knick-knack bird.

Today my soccer-pro three year-old drop-kicked a Sesame Street playground ball over the china closet and little bird apparently took it in the face. I heard the crash from the kitchen and I knew what it was. (Not my keen intuition, it's just that, like I told you, I only have one knick-knack --- what else could it have been?) Seems I've made a big enough deal about this bird being special to me because my seven year-old came out to the kitchen in a split second and gave me a hug. So sweet! Five year-old appeared, too, and asked if I was sad. Guilty-party three year-old went on with her day. My mother-in-law brought the pieces out to the kitchen counter and I just stood there - grieving, I guess. Somewhere "Taps" played. But five year-old inspected the shards and insisted, "Daddy can fix it."

On one hand, this bird is special enough to warrant some attempted glue repair. On the other hand, what is more pathetic than one ill-placed knick-knack? I'll tell you: an ill-placed knick-knack that has dried-glue-ooze sticking out between all the broken pieces. Sheez.

In the wake of this tragedy, I'm reminded of two related stories, and since I'm waiting for my dinner burrito to digest before I attempt sleep, I might as well tell you:

In college, I was in my car on my way to a morning class listening to some song on the Christian radio station. Immediately as the soprano artist finished the line, "His eye is on the sparrow, so I know he watches over me!" I spotted a dead bird in the middle of the road. For Pete's sake! What's a girl supposed to do with THAT? I went to my God-loving, usually-profound friend, told her about it, and awaited her words of wisdom. All she said was, "Uh-oh."

Yep, thought of that very story today when my little bird got broken. And this one:

When I was little, my Nana gave me a set of glass angel figurines. They were Christmas decorations and there were eight of them. One holiday season something ticked me off and I swept my arm along the shelf where they were standing, sending three of them hurling to the ground. Smasharooni. Dad fixed them and I have no memory of those angels before the yellow glue became part of their sweet little charm. For decades now, I have taken them out of their tissue every Christmas and displayed them prominently --- after I re-glue them. Regluing the angels is as much a part of my decorating tradition as hanging the advent calendar and untangling the light strands, because no matter how well I wrap them, they re-break in storage every. single. year. At least I don't have to behold their broken bodies all year long. Hm. Wonder if I could just add little birdie in with them? We've already established I have no real perch suitable for this bird - why not move him in with the angels? They can make beautiful music together.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sing a Song

At the dedication Mass yesterday, we sang a song as we all entered the new church for the first time. I've sung the song before, but I heard the words more clearly this time since I was really thinking about them in the context of this new place of prayer and worship.

Let us build a house where love can dwell

And all can safely live,

A place where saints and children tell

How hearts learn to forgive.

Built of hopes and dreams and visions,

Rock of faith and vault of grace;

Here the love of Christ shall end divisions

All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Funny thing... the word forgiveness stood out to me. Sort of a central theme in Christianity, right? - to the point where I sort of take it for granted sometimes. And that's NOT the part of my "religion" I want to gloss over. So when it stood out to me, I spent the next few minutes trying to figure through a half-prayer, half-self-evaluation WHY it stood out.

Didn't have to think about it for very long, and now with the benefit of over 24 hours of reflection I have come up with a humdinger of an understanding. I have people I need to forgive. Two of the biggest are my mother and my father. And the symbolism of realizing it OUTSIDE the church JUST BEFORE entering isn't lost on me.

I'd like to do the work of forgiving so I can go on singing and walk through those doors celebrating.

"...a house where love can dwell and all can safely live." Amen.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The People You Meet

In Summer, 2005, my step-father was battling cancer and decided after forty-plus years away from God and the Church to finally return (to both). My mother had always said if he went back, she'd go with him. She didn't care that he was Catholic and she was Protestant, she signed up for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) -the class you take to become Catholic.

A couple states away, I, their daughter was living my little life as a devoted follower of Jesus and member of a non-denominational Christian church. But I was THRILLED that they were deciding to come back to God - I knew this was an answer to years of praying. And any bias I had against the Catholic church was smoothed over by my trust in the Lord that He had His hand in the whole thing.

I am a curious person. If, after all these years, my parents were going to commit themselves to God and to church - I wanted to know more about it. Had they chosen a non-denominational church, or even one of the denominations I was familiar with: Baptist; Presbyterian; Lutheran; Methodist; Reformed; or Pentecostal, I would have known all I needed to know. But Catholic was a mystery. All I knew about Catholicism was that many of its members leave to join the "non-denominations" I was familiar with and that they believe enough weird things to make it "iffy" whether they really know Jesus or not - that's what I thought. When I thought "Catholic", I thought "stuffy"; "Mary-obsessed"; and other unfavorable notions influenced by all the ex- or non-practicing Catholics I'd known.

For my purposes, I decided to "go to the source". I got out the phone book and called the Catholic Church in our little town of Yucaipa to see if I could take a class something like what my parents were taking. This was a research project for me, though - I had NO intention of EVER becoming Catholic. And it was also sort of a demonstration of my love for my parents and acceptance of their decision to move toward God.

If I could have been labeled mildly anti-Catholic, Kevin would have been more drastically so. But for whatever reason, (God's intervention?) he gave me his blessing to attend the RCIA classes at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in Yucaipa starting immediately.

My memories of those few RCIA classes I attended are accentuated by the people I met. I can picture many of them in my mind, and I remember some of their stories - but only a few names stand out, probably because I later developed some level of relationship with them. From the very beginning, though, I met Pat, Wally, Veronica, Rob, and Deacon Dan.

Here's what I knew about Rob: He was married and had three boys at home. He had the exact same work attire as Kevin - I wondered if he had a similar career. He was a sponsor for one of the guys in RCIA. And judging by his answers to the things we all discussed, as well as his rapport with Pat, the leader, he was a strong Catholic with at least SOME kind of real relationship with God (imagine that, little Protestant girl!)

After a VERY significant time in RCIA (significant in that it wrecked all my prejudice against the Church and corrected my misconceptions) I quit going. I'd had GREAT conversations over the phone with my parents about what I learned. And when my step-dad died suddenly a couple months later, I thanked God for allowing me to learn a little bit more about the religion that had drawn him back after so long away.

Other than the blessings of some joyful, unifying conversations with my parents, I didn't think I was affected much by the time in RCIA. And I continued attending and being involved at our church. I was part of a MOPS group there and at Christmastime, (now in Yucaipa just over a year) I felt like I had a sort of a friendship breakthrough at a holiday party one night. This woman, Karen, talked about all the places she had lived growing up and in her adult life. She said that all the moving around taught her to "cut to the chase" with friendships. If she got along with someone, there wasn't time to take it slow - just get together for coffee and get on with it! I liked that advice, especially coming from where I was at the time - on my fourth move in three years and desperate for friends.

So I asked her for coffee. It never really happened. We meant well, but my baby was still under a year and she was getting ready to give birth so schedules didn't mesh. I knew we shared an interest in running, though, so months later when there was a 5K in our town, I asked her to join me. She did! I don't know what kind of indoctrination a foot race is for a friendship, especially when you're only about 8 weeks postpartum, but she was a trooper and because she never stopped, even on the hellacious hills, neither did I.

Next thing I knew, I heard from a friend who lived close to Karen that she was moving overseas. I called her to tell her I'd heard she was moving and she was nice enough to tell me she was going to keep a blog and give me the address. Then she left. I LOVED reading her blog. I lived vicariously through her accounts of being an American woman, wife, and mom in the adventurous world of Indonesia. Plus I just dug her sense of humor, humility, and storytelling skills.

Imagine my surprise when once she included a photo of her husband in a post and I recognized him!!! It was Rob from RCIA. It was very freaky to figure this out about a year after going to RCIA. It was fun to tell her about it on e-mail and freak her out, too. I hadn't even known she was Catholic until right before she left.

And now another two years have gone by. More children have been born, and Rob and Karen are back in the U.S. - in Yucaipa, even. Kevin and I have become Catholic (which is more of a long story and I'll write the whole thing out some day). And in the 15 months since we moved away, a new Church building was completed in the same parish where Kevin and I first started attending Mass in October of 2006. The dedication of that new building took place today. We are here visiting for it, on a whirlwind 24-hour trip to our "roots" of this new faith which has been an adventure in itself. Tonight I got to see Rob and Karen in person. Together. At church. Not just on her blog, (which I still enjoy). And on the surface, they're just a fun story of a wild connection that only God would pull off. But if you think a little deeper, like I like to - they're a valuable part of how I came to believe in this Church from the beginning. I needed to see another family who looked at least a little like us. And I needed to know that there are Catholic "missionaries". (They went to Indonesia with Catholic Relief Services.) And my faith is steadied when I read about Karen's everyday life, mothering, and attitudes in light of the fact that I now know very well she is Catholic.

Friday, October 17, 2008

School Festival

Tonight was the kids' school Fall Festival.
Here's the good and the bad:

The good:

My kids were SO excited about it and have been since we pre-bought tickets weeks ago.

They had a fun time eating dinner there; choosing between a sundae bar and cotton candy for dessert; and winning prizes at the games sponsored by each class.

I didn't have to cook or do dishes.

This is the closest we get to a "community event". We live in a big city, but it feels at least slightly more "small town" when there's an event at the school. It's still a far cry from the idyllic Springtime town picnic in the square, but you take what you can get.

I was reminded that though we've only been back for a little over a year, we've met a lot of people. It's fun to recognize familiar faces and get to know more people a little bit.

The bad:

O. Ver. Crowd. Ing. This is my second school festival in Las Vegas. And it was the second time I tried to imagine how much nicer it would be with fewer people.

Seriously. Here are some numbers from the evening to depict how mobbed it was:
- thought I lost one of the children at least three times
- got my foot run over by a stroller once, feet stepped on twice
- lost our neighbors and their families in the crowds at least five times
- had frequent visions of things like stampedes; gridlock; cattle-herding

But now it's over for another year. The money is spent and so are the kids. And three of the six of us have temporary face tattoos.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All Dressed Up

Tonight I put up my hair, and dressed in a suit, and chauffered my mom and a friend to a fundraising banquet for the First Choice Pregnancy Services Center in Las Vegas.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the Opening Prayer was prayed by a Priest who is Kevin's spiritual advisor. So I had fun watching and listening to these people in action.

Most of all, I loved hearing that this place has a 75% save rate for the babies at-risk to abortion who come into the clinic.

I'm also proud that my mom volunteers at the Center, and that is a testimony of God's goodness, creativity, and ability to amaze me.

After dinner (!) they did an ultrasound right there in the Las Vegas Hotel/Casino banquet room. That's just not something that happens at your run-of-the-mill banquet. Guess this isn't your run-of-the-mill cause.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why Would I Post About A Pillow?---

---Same reason I'd post about a bird...

...because I'm being influenced too heavily by HGTV and other stations that broadcast celebrities and their "favorite things" segments on certain shows.

I went around my house and photographed some of my own fave things. This accomplished two missions - 1) it gave me blog material and 2) it gave me practice using my camera and a realization that I "need" another new lens.

I'm only showing you the pillow and the bird. Those are randomly weird enough.

So about the bird. I call it "dear little bird" because sometimes I like to talk like a little old lady. (Sometimes, when I'm 9 months pregnant, I also end up moving like a little old lady, but that's another story...) Who uses the word "dear" anymore, really?

This bird drew the attention of my dear little friend Julester when we were shopping in a dear little curio shop near my dear little home once upon a time.

We each bought one. Difference between me and Julester is that she went home and had a perfect place to stick the bird, whereas in my knick-knack-free, vacuously-decorated home the dear little bird is hopelessly lost.

HGTV sucks. It just makes me realize my many decorating shortfalls, one being that I have no place to put my bird.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Orange Pillow

Do you have any object in your house that holds "special feelings" for you? Other than the TV, the cookie jar, the couch...

For me, it's this pillow:

In August of 2005, I was hospitalized unexpectedly and given this pillow as soon as I was registered and given a room and a bed. I vaguely remember the nurse saying something about it being a gift from a pillow-making group of some sort, and maybe even told how to use it to help with pain if I had to cough or laugh.

Truthfully, I think it's a bit ugly. Orange is officially my least favorite of all colors and the floral pattern isn't appealing. But I LOVE this pillow anyway! It has a place of honor right on my nightstand and even looking at it evokes feelings of peace, care, joy, and calm. Weird, huh?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Get these folks a Realtor.

This is a photo of a typical family living around here. They need a house. Pictured with them is their puppy and one of their horses, but I'm pretty sure they have about fifteen more horses, (I've seen them on my daughters' bedroom floor). I'm guessing they're animal lovers, because they also have a pig, a goose, a turtle, and a triceratops. So obviously they've outgrown the Little People House they moved into last Christmas. AND on top of their size issues, they also inherited quite a bit of furniture from my woodworking father. Five or six rooms-worth. But HE DIDN'T BUILD THEM A HOUSE.

Here is some of the furniture:

Nice, huh? Yes, it's quite cute. And it was delivered to my house and deposited on THE DINING ROOM TABLE. We need to eat at the dining room table. We can't have people LIVING on it! So the furniture was moved to a nearby windowsill. But that resulted in some catastrophes you can only imagine if you can picture setting up housekeeping on a narrow cliff. Therefore, I got out a box, labeled it "Dollhouse Furniture" and placed it on a high shelf to wait for construction completion on a suitable house. Daughter #1 did not forget it was there, and recently asked if she could play with it. I had the brilliant idea to move it all into an "urban-style loft" (the top of our linen cupboard) and this is where all the furniture remains to this day:

Sadly, you may notice that Early-American furniture is all wrong style-wise for an urban loft. Not to mention it's sorta small and there's no place for a horde of pets. Hopefully by Christmas this family and at least some of their pets can find a place to permanently call home.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fans Off, Flannel On

Dang desert. I think we might have just careened through Fall without even noticing. It's Winter! I hope I'm wrong. I still have a rocking chair in the garage begging to be finished and it ain't gonna happen if the weather stays frigid.

Whatever the coming weeks bring, the baby wore socks last night, I turned off all the bedroom ceiling fans, and if I get the energy, I might put the flannel sheets on our bed for tonight.

Ahhhhhh, flannel sheets. So soft and cozy. Do you know there are people in the world who don't like flannel sheets? Perish the thought! The two people I'm thinking of live one in Houston, Texas and one in Fresno, California, so I guess it makes a little sense. I wonder if they'd feel the same if they lived in an ice-fishing hut in Alaska. My guess is no. I live in the Nevada desert, myself, but nighttime temperatures do get down pretty low and I live in a tract home which means my house has NO insulation and poorly-installed windows. It's COLD.

Can't wait for bedtime.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Windy Outside

From the time I started spending my own money on hairspray,
I was mad at the wind.

It would blow and gust and dust.
Assaulting and tiring.

Now I have a daughter.
Unaccusing. Five years old.
She sees all things differently.
My list of culprits-
Is her list of friends:
Being tickled,
Waking up early,
Non-matching clothes,
and wind.

I saw her pause to linger longer in the breeze,
To feel it touch her skin-
And move her hair.
It made her smile,
And her eyes changed (I believe I witnessed her first consideration of the wonder of the weather.)

I think I might like her opinion of things better than mine.

Friday, October 10, 2008


10 Things That Happened Today, 10/10:

1) I got "The Jeffersons" theme song stuck in my head, not sure how. Then, later, I heard "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on the car radio, and that replaced "The Jeffersons."

2) John started to take more of a liking to walking!

3) Relished an evening out visiting a favorite friend.

4) Had a Thanksgiving planning session with my mom.

5) Enjoyed my clean floor for the whole ONE day it will last.

6) Marvelled at the weather. It was a bone-chilling 61 degrees in Las Vegas this morning so Joe busted out some winter wear - gloves and a hat:

7) I laughed to myself just remembering last night's "The Office" episode.

8) Decided on Halloween costumes! Whew! (Spiderman, Dorothy, butterfly, penguin, in case you're wondering)

9) Top speed during my run: 7:25 (sustained for a little less than a quarter of a mile, though)

10) For 45 minutes, one child napped while three visited the Nalleys. I sat on the couch. No computer, no TV, no chores. I sat on the couch in the quiet.

Happy 10/10.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This Always Happens...

...I just start to figure something out - something that should normally make life better - when suddenly a difficulty pops up. Often, this difficulty is related to:

1) technological complexity

2) math

3) my alarmingly low patience level

For example:

-the CD changer in my van - I've often been inches from careening off the freeway or interstate because I'm trying to remove, say, Veggie Tales from disc position 2 to replace it with, say, Will Smith - but I really have no idea how to do this and the thing makes awful noises and I fear it is grinding my CD to smithereens

-my cell phone - laugh if you must, but I can at least make a call. Even easier, I can receive one. However, if my one year-old tampers with the buttons and inadvertently changes the ring from "Cingular Tone" to "Rock Me" - I am at a total loss how to change it back

-my iPod - provided my spouse helps me with downloading, uploading, sideloading, and syncing--- (and provided I can get the earbud thingy to stay in my ear)--I am very good at listening to music. Should the aforementioned spouse drop dead tonight, though, I will be forced to listen to whatever noise he has on his playlist and not my beloved "Hollaback Girl"

Which brings me to tonight. I printed out a training schedule for a 10K. Until now, I've been slacking along at short distances, slow speeds, and very little improvement. But I want to go further, faster, and ultimately NOT die on a racecourse. But I CANNOT FIGURE OUT all the crazy talk on the schedule!!!!!!!!

WHAT is a 440? What's an 880? What do 200 yards look like? What's a split? An interval? (And thank God I learned what a fartlek is a while back or I'd be asking that, too.) Dang. I really thought all I had to do was buy shoes. Now I have to put on my thinking cap which will MORE THAN LIKELY knock those earbud thingys right outta my ears.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This will come in handy when?

Thanks to my astute vocabularian friend, Julie, I subscribe to "A Word A Day" online and receive boosts to my speaking and writing skills every day.

Today's arrived. It said the following:

hey rube
(hay roob)

noun: 1. A fight between members of a circus and the general public. 2. A call to rally circus members in a fight.

The term originated in the 19th century when circuses were rowdy affairs and Hey Rube was the rallying cry to call all circus people to help in a fight with townspeople. It's not clear whether Rube in this term was someone specific or simply a use of the informal term rube (shortened form of Reuben) for an unsophisticated person from a rural area.

It's always fun to try out new words. But I'm not sure there is ANY way to work "hey rube" into my typical conversations. I do have some outings planned yet for today, so I'll see what I can do.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day two

I don't intend to turn my blog into a chronicle of my eating issues, but they are big on my mind right now. I just made it through day two, and it was challenging. I was ravenously hungry at least twice and managed not to binge. This might not have ended so well if I had more groceries in my house, but I'll take the grace where I can get it.

Lest you think that all I think about is eating (or NOT eating), here are some one-sentence blurbs about the rest of my day:

We had our last book group tonight, having finished "Life-Giving Love", a book about the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage, family, contraception, and etcetera.

A family we barely know (but dearly love - figure that out!) is coming for dinner on Saturday --- four days away and I'm already nervous.

Baby boy has been sleeping through the night --- I plan to throw a party and everyone I've ever known is invited.

My house is a freaking mess and it stresses me out. Please may the housekeeping fairies appear tonight and make the messes, the unfinished chores, and the various stenches go away.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I did it.

I ate well all day.

It's been weeks, months even. And it's a vicious circle. I eat bad, I get depressed. I'm depressed, I eat bad. I've been a mess and I told Kevin last night I'd just like to get through ONE DAY. ONE DAY of eating within the boundaries of Weight Watchers. The program isn't magical, but for someone like me who needs its parameters, it is helpful. He reminded me about a speaker we heard who said "A disciplined life is a happy life," and without going all analytical on the word "happy" I'll just say he was a good, Godly, wise speaker. Someone I'd like to listen to, but gosh darnit, I just don't want to quit eating enormous quantities of food whenever I please. However, the more this gets out of control, the more I become a basketcase and that's no good.

It's almost 9:00. I'm on my way to pick up a book and once I'm reading, I don't eat. So I made it. ONE DAY. One day down. I need prayer to tackle another.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Happy Sunday

Every day there is at least one thing to laugh about. Usually there are many.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

If My Life Were A Sitcom... wouldn't be very successful. I'll admit it, there's just not enough "zing" in my every day to interest viewers. But perhaps someday soon my sparkling personality will attract producers and then they'll need help to "loosely adapt" my life to a half-hour show once a week on NBC. If this happens, I will suggest the following for setting and characters:

Me - a witty though neurotic housewife; educated but spends most of her day doing mundane tasks around the suburban home; strikingly good-looking but with a penchant for self-deprecation; slightly chubby though always training for a triathalon; employed by a newspaper syndicate always hungry for her next sharply-written column

My hubby - portrayed as harried; the show never reveals his true job title, but it has something to do with wastewater treatment; stellar father; picks up the pieces of his wife's neurosis

My private investigator - a worldly woman; questionable ethics; her skills are questionable since she is forever avidly searching for but unable to find my birth parents

My running partner - a spunky, slightly mouthy, tiny-bit-rebellious member of a conservative church; provides lots of therapy on thrice-weekly runs

My neighbors - long-time friends who tolerate my "issues" and lend support through the day-in, day-out routines of suburban living; characters in and of themselves:

*one is extremely environmentally conscious to the point of riding his bike everywhere, up to 45 miles a day; has a compost pile in the front yard bringing neighborhood association fines upon himself
*one has such extreme concerns for the weakness of the economy she has undertaken digging a shelter under the street and stocking it with food and cash
*one is the neighborhood "Uncle" kind-of-a-guy - knows everyone, likes everyone, and everyone likes him
*one is my exact opposite - she sees things the way they are with no need for over-analysis; no neuroses; but is sufficiently amused by me

And finally, my children - for the sake of television and the need for hyperbole, I have eight --- combined with the neighbors for our weekly Sunday-night dinners, there are twenty-five children. As with "Everybody Loves Raymond", for the sake of plot and to save money hiring expensive child-actors, much of the child-connected plotlines are secondary.

So... would you watch?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Picture of the Week

My sweet Cayna learned to ride her two-wheeler this week. She is a champ! I highly recommend the "no training wheels, remove the pedals like they do in Europe" method. It has worked very well for both our bike-riding kids so far.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Years Past

As I was moving wet clothes from the washer to the dryer the other day, my mind wandered. It was still late September and my commemorative thinking strained back as far as possible to remember other late Septembers.

I'll start the list with the most recent "late September."

late September, 2008 - Celebrated baby John's first birthday. Arranged a professional photograph to order the 16x20 since I started that "tradition" with baby #1. For me and my offspring, the first birthday is a significant time of "coming out of the fog" of the first year. Usually, the on-demand breastfeeding becomes slightly less demanding by the first birthday. Baby moves more out of our bed and into a crib. We're sleeping more. Everyday responsibilities seem "do-able" again.

late September, 2007 - Gave birth! The days and weeks immediately following John's birth were marked by extreme peace. I relished the two-week "babymoon" I gave myself. At the advice of Martha Sears, I stayed in my nightgown for the whole two weeks and rested as much as possible. Accepted meals from friends and help from Mom and mother-in-law. The peace came from God and from the deliberate break from usual expectations on a wife and mom. If only a nightgown could evoke this anytime!

late September, 2006 - After almost six months of "For Sale By Owner", we listed our home in So Cal with a realtor. We also quit attending our non-denominational church and began to go to Catholic Mass. We changed our decision to move to San Antonio in favor of Las Vegas. In case this sounds like a lot, it was. I was a complete wreck during this time.

late September, 2005 - My step-father died unexpectedly and my family mourned.

late September, 2004 - We moved from Murrieta, California to Yucaipa. I was just entering the second trimester of my third pregnancy and hoping for a fun two years in a cute house just miles from the San Andreas fault and bordering an "extreme fire danger" zone. Why won't that dang house sell?

late September, 2003 - Our family of four geared up for a move to Pismo Beach, California! We visited there to explore and find housing, but weeks later the project fell through for Kevin's company and our future move was "up in the air" again.

late September, 2002 - I took a positive pregnancy test and devised creative ways to announce the news of our second child to Kevin.

late September, 2001 - Despite the recent events of 9/11, I flew with my 9 month-old firstborn child to visit Grandpa Tony and Grandma Noela in New Mexico. Joseph was delighted by doting grandparents and a new place to explore.

late September, 2000 - Just into the third trimester of my pregnancy with Joseph, I spent my days at an insurance office job and my nights sitting on the couch watching my belly grow.

late September, 1999 - Our first home went into escrow. I never knew you had to sign so many papers!

late September, 1998 - We were newlyweds. I was on staff with InterVarsity and Kevin biked to school every day and worked at Applebee's at night.

How's that for ten years of a random month in a wonderful life?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


My children (a couple of 'em) started gymnastics. And I sat in the waiting/observation room and boy oh boy was my mind going a mile a minute. Some of the thoughts I had are similar to those of any mom. Others make me think I'm just plain ka-whacko.

Thoughts I think most moms would have:

1) "This is so cool! Look at those great kids out there! They're naturals! They're Olympic material! Any minute now their instructor will appear through those doors and tell me I have natural talent on my hands."

2) "How fun! I wish I had done this when I was a kid!"

3) "What a great idea this was! This is going to increase their coordination, boost their confidence, and hopefully not render them paralyzed from the neck down."

The thought I had that maybe makes me just plain ka-whacko.

1) "What an opportunity this is. This place is so expensive, what am I doing here? What makes me think my kids belong here? It's not right that it's so expensive - I can imagine all the kids in Las Vegas who would LOVE the opportunity to take a class here but can't afford it."

And then I just got depressed. Try to imagine, if you will, that this depression came right alongside the joy I was feeling getting to watch my kids do all this neat stuff with an expert staff in a fabulous setting. It's funny. I confess here that I will not spend money (even when I do have it) on certain luxuries - and I feel superior for it. "You won't see me carrying a designer handbag like that." "I'd never drive a Hummer." Whatever. But I don't think plunking tons of money down on "lessons" is any better, even if (maybe especially if) it's for my kids. You can't disagree that tons of materialism is justified if it's "for the kids". My question is, how... HOW do you draw the line? Maybe it's not the lessons themselves, in my case. But I realized I enjoyed seeing my kids have this pleasure so much that I would do almost anything to get it for them. Even put it on the charge card when our budget is currently more limited than usual. Why? Because they deserve it. Really? Why? I'm afraid it's a vicarious thing. I wanted things like that and never got them. Or maybe I just wanted my parents to want me to have things like that and never got them. I don't know. I do know this really isn't about gymnastics. And as much as I love my children to the ends of the earth, they do not deserve gymnastics. It's quite a privilege to take lessons in a place like that. And I don't know how to make sure they know that.

Tonight my thoughts aren't organized. I don't know what the moral of this story is. But I have known God long enough to know that when I dump all this at his feet, he's going to work through it with me and eventually I'll learn something. When that happens, I'll let you know.