Friday, December 28, 2007

"choto matane"

"little bits of "see you later""

Today our dear friend and 4-month houseguest, Yoriko, left for Japan.
There has been a flurry of commotion since the second week of December, starting with Yoriko's sister's arrival. We made friends quickly with Sambi and then the girls were off to Chicago. Then our summer houseguest (and friend), Kaori, arrived for a Christmas visit. Soon after Sambi was headed home. Now Yoriko has gone, and Kaori is leaving for a visit to NYC.

So there have been little bits of "see you later" happening around here, and I am preparing for the nearing departure of Matt, who seems to have just arrived. Another "see you later" is on it's way.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

whaaaaaaaaat?

We walked in from the Boring family Christmas and Matt was here. Yes, my brother Matt came all the way from Taiwan to spend Christmas with us. No one knew that he was coming. He took a taxi from the airport to our doorstep. Yoriko and Kaori were having a party here and told him where we were. After surprising mom and dad, they came over here to wait for us to arrive.
What shock!
And what a gift!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

nice blinders!

I was just thinking about the horse that pulled us around on Saturday's "Santa on the Square" carriage ride. He had blinders on and he was grumpy. While I can't say for sure that his reason for the mood was the blinders, it certainly was a good enough reason. (It could also have been the pulling people around in the snow with bells jingling behind your ears while getting slushed upon by speeding cars.)
Sometimes I wish I could have someone directing my sight, focusing me on the most important things, like the blinders. A little more of a "one-tracked" mind may be good. There are always too many things going at once.
Mike is right when he tells me that I do it to myself, that I take on too much. It's just that I crave interaction, excitement, inspiration, creative expression and more.
And while the blinders work for the horse, that kind of "guidance" wouldn't work for me. It would cause some grumpiness, at the least.
At this place, when I'm caring for three little boys, my mind has to be focused on many things... multi-tasking at it's busiest. So, I add on a bit more of the things I love. Doing these things helps me to "be" myself. The ability to go after them gives me autonomy.
And someday, I will need to live at more of a "one-tracked" pace. I may need the blinders then.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A bride named Sambica (Hymn)

Out of the ten peices of art that I showed at The Harrison Center's "White Christmas" show, this gown was my favorite.
I found a vintage dressform at Midland Antiques. After I resized it to a more realistic size, I put it on an old coatrack and paper mached it with paper from an old hymnal. That's how she gets her name, Sambica (the word for hymn in Japaneese).
The gown is made entirely out of recyled/reused materials. The majority of the dress is made from bulk coffee bags (bullet bags) that I got from local coffee shops. They were painted and then sewn.
The bustle and bust are made from plastic netting bags (that often package fruit and vegatables) and cereal bags. The bustle is accented with magnetic audio tape that I found somewhere.

Friday, December 7, 2007

a little jesus

You would have thought he was a little Jesus by the way he transformed the ER on Wednesday night.
Although we don't know how, Stewart injured his neck on Wednesday. He was completely out of character, crying hysterically and refusing to move his head. He kept saying that his hair and neck hurt. Mr. Tough Guy had officially fallen apart. Our dear friend, Dr. Rachel looked at him and said he should be checked out at the ER just in case it was something bad.
Off we went.
And into the ER he walked like a little Jesus (without the healing and parables). Everyone who caught a glimpse of our Stewart couldn't help but smile. He was wearing his green turtleneck, red overalls, blue snow boots, and stripped bear hat. By that time he was pleasant and quite serious. It seemed like the nurses didn't want to leave our room. The lady we shared a room with for an hour kept saying, "Stewart, help me be brave.", and "He's so sweet."
When we left, the man who was with Stewart's roomate, gave him dollar (Stewart calls it his penny.) The nurses were sad. We were thankful that he was alright and VERY proud.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

still a sparrow

I often think of my Sparrow family. My grandma, Edna Sparrow, passed away in the late spring and my grandpa, Stewart Sparrow, passed away when I was in high school but most of the family is still in Spokane, Washington . Today, we were looking at the journal of a trip we took out there to visit the Sparrow family when Stewart was a year old. An amazing heritage we have in the Sparrows, brimming with detailed stories of adventure, family and community.
Whenever I see a little sparrow flying about or fluffing up it's feathers in the cold I can't help but smile. These little birds are delightful to watch. Their shape is charming. Even the word "sparrow" feels like a perfect word. Maybe growing up with this name, and knowing who the Sparrow family is created this affinity for them.
Here is a foretaste of some art I'm finishing, complete with a few sparrows. The art show is this Friday at the Harrison Center for the Arts. Try to come, if you can.
P.S. Check out our family's newest work for the Advent season at www.thebabe.wordpress.com. (Boring Advent Blog Extra)

Monday, December 3, 2007

i'm halfway to being a single parent

Mike has been working so much lately to prepare for a big trial. I've had a quasi-single-parent experience.
I have not enjoyed it... at all.
It has made me realize how much I rely on him to be home at a certain time. After dinner he and the boys usually wrestle or play chase and then he usually handles Stewart and Marshall's bedtime routine while I get Nigel ready for sleep. It's all on me these days. And then the weekends... I have missed having the freedom to work on my art or on other projects. I have missed having a substantial break from being alone with the kids. To have a partner in this endeavor is a huge gift, not to be underestimated.
I'm extremely frustrated that his work has taken precedence over mine, but, yes, his work pays the bills and he has to build up his professional experiences. Mike has been stressed by this trial but I've seen him excited about work for the first time in, well, forever. It's great but there's a tinge of jealousy when I see him leave excited. He gets to go out, do something he's enjoying, that he's good at AND get paid for it.
All the while, I'm wilting. Actually, I wilted after day one, and now, I feel more like I'm pulverized. My kids are upside down, and this mother's emotional life feels like a Jackson Pollock painting. I have to stay in, do something I thought I loved but now feel like I hate, that I don't feel like I'm good at AND NOT get paid.
I'm tired and I want to work.

Monday, November 26, 2007

this is called procrastination

Meet the bean thread noodles that I cooked tonight. They were supposed to be a crispy topping for a pilaf rice dish I made but I kinda forgot how these noodles are to be prepared. Oops. We didn't eat them so I photographed them.
Taking this picture was me procrastinating on working-out, and now I'm procrastinating on some art that is due to be in a show next week. I've been saying that I'm desperate to work, but now, when I have my hands free, I'm refusing to go open the door to my studio. Maybe if I ignore it a little bit longer...
It doesn't surprise me that I'm doing this. I've done this for as long as I can remember. It got worse in college. For me, work is either hot or cold. I'm either conscienciously preparing, way in advance or I'm pushing it back as far as possible. It's just me. It's just how I do things. Frustrating for sure, and something that I want to improve upon. But... good things come out of procrastinating. The stress doesn't feel good, but it nudges me into the "right" place that I need to be to make it happen.
And finally, I'll head that way....just after I get myself a cafe con leche.

Friday, November 23, 2007

fireplace

Today, Marshall drew an amazing picture of our fireplace. Slightly to the left of center is the smoke, framed by bellowing flames. Below is the wood (sticks) which looks like a double-crossed "T" and below that are the three knobs (the ones that adjust the gas flames).
What I love about kids art... simplicity with unusual places of detail.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

beautiful thanksgiving

I moved our dinning table into our living room, where the fireplace is. I closed our golden-colored curtains, lit candles and loaded a corner table with delightful food. Our feast included a 17 pound, Fosters and butter basted turkey with stuffing, the traditional green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted vegetables, sweet potato casserole, rolls and a triad of salads. It was quite yummy!
Last night the idea struck me, to have our feast by firelight in our living room. I wanted it to be special and to remember in the coming year to live thankfully. I speak as if I am thankful, being polite with my words, but to really live thankfully, that doesn't come easy. It may come easier with the obvious things, but not in the monotonous, the challenging or the annoying.
I want to live in thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

what I didn't get for my birthday

I didn't get a recumbent cycle exercise machine for my birthday. An extra special "thank you" goes out to the men in my life who didn't gift THIS!
Would THIS have been better than NOTHING?
absolutely not!
Maybe it would help me shed those extra pounds, but I would HATE to get this as a gift. The message it would send is too horrible.
The story behind the box is this; we were at Marshall's gym class and they were unloading new exercise machines. So we asked for a box (one of the best kids toys ever). This morning we lit it up, and it's now our cow barn (complete with Hot Wheels cars for the "cows" to play with). Maybe we'll paint it so that I don't have to be reminded that I'm still not exercising.

Monday, November 19, 2007

this nineteenth day of this eleventh month

a whinny boy awoke
i wondered, "could it be a joke?"

boys were dressed and going
i felt my mind slowing

cereal sloshed
i begged, "could i get washed?"

"happy birthday, mama!"
i may, i wanna

eyes wide, mad and sad
i sighed, "please let me have..."

talking across the sea
"i am happy."

sometimes they're so unpleasant
i opened my first present

the boys play, smile and cry
i voice, "why?"

children bring insight, joy too
i delight, no longer thirty two

Friday, November 16, 2007

the battle for dino eggs

The kids were playing dinosaur at the museum today. There was another mama there with three boys and they were playing together with Marshall and Stewart. They were gathering and guarding their eggs which resulted in some very active play. I wouldn't have really given if much thought since no one was getting hurt and no one was being mean, but the other mama kept barking for her kids to share and stop being mean. So, I got down there with them, near their "nest" and directed some quiet encouragement to Marshall, saying something like, "you're doing exactly what the dinosaurs did... protecting their young". Lest you think that I was being an instigator, the boys were just growling at eachother and grabbing for the eggs, with the smallest bit of tame wrestling AND I didn't direct this comment towards her children.
After the next order came out, I assured the mom that she shouldn't worry about my kids and that I was ok with their play. She said that not sharing wasn't ok with her. I don't think I responded. (So you know, it wasn't a tense exchange.)
I couldn't figure out why she thought her kids were being mean, and I couldn't wait for them to leave so the imaginative play could continue without interruption. I felt like her standards of control were unreasonable. From my perspective, the boys were just pretending. The grabbing wasn't bully-ish or mean, it just seemed like a game. I was mystified. It was weird.
They continued to play until finally the mom said that they had better move on so that no one would get hurt. I was glad. Marshall and Stewart continued to play pretend dinosaur, growling, waving their dino claws and showing their terrific teeth.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

my new favorite art

In my house, I am enjoying some new favorites. The kids and I gave three Kipp Normand peices to Mike for his birthday. They are each striking, but I particularly love these two that are framing some of Marshall's new art.
Enjoy it with me.








Monday, November 12, 2007

two and a half weeks later

We had a strong rain several weeks back. The wind and rain downed our neighbor's tree (seven or eight doors west of us). For over a week, the tree remained on the sidewalk and on part of the street. Now, it's out of the "public" space, but consumes his entire front yard, blocking his walkway and front door.
We stayed close to home for our nature walk today so that Nigel could nap as he seems to be fighting something. Marshall, Stewart and I walked down and plopped ourselves on his curb and drew what we saw. Marshall called his drawing, "Big Bully", and Stewart named his, "Orange One". We then dragged some branches home so we could light them up for our winter porch display. I was surprised that we enjoyed ourselves so much over something that's so annoying.
Marshall was perplexed about how the neighbor gets inside. I am too since his back yard looks grown over up to his back door. Mike and I are pretty sure that it's not an abandoned home. When we mentioned it to his next door neighbor, he seemed to say something to the affect that they weren't worried about it and that the resident just went in the back door anyway. We're not sure how someone can live with it being like that. We're wondering if the person or people who live there are simply not physically able to take care of it. We'll inquire when we figure out how to reach the front or back door.
This is living in Fountain Square. We'll take the good and the annoying!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

the long search for a sunday meal

Since going to Trader's Point Creamery last week, I learned about a brunch they do every Saturday and Sunday along with an indoor farmer's market. I was excited to plan our family gathering there for Sunday afternoon, with cousin Brian and family coming in from Crawfordsville, and cousin Lauren and Chloe visiting from Boston. I thought that it would be a great place to eat together and explore. I called to see if we needed reservations for a large group, "No", they said.
So I planned it, everyone showed up and there was no brunch. We were told it was done only on Friday and Saturdays now. Some got yummy chocolate milk and I figured out where we could go for brunch. I felt obligated to find us a place because the original idea was mine to begin with. I wanted to make it right. So, I decided on a place in Zionsville, ONLY 9 miles away. 9 miles further.
And it was good... good to be with family. Zionsville was a nice place to be on a rainy fall day, with a quaint downtown.
I did not enjoy decision making for an entire group, not knowing where we were headed or what to expect. I did not enjoy trying to give directions to 5 drivers, when my directions were second hand. I thought of myself as being pretty flexible, but I wasn't in that place on Sunday. I give that responsibility to someone else for next time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

broad ripple day

Our cousin Lauren is here to visit with, now 13 year old, Chloe. I can't even belive that this same Chloe was in our wedding 10 years ago and was led down the aisle by our neice Taylor, also 13.
It scares me a bit to have time leap forward like that, right before my eyes. And weird that in that "blink- of-an-eye" leap, my life has changed so drastically. It doesn't seem possible.
Lauren, Chloe, Amy, Mom, Nigel and I had breakfast at Petite Chou (they serve a yummy crepe au fromage). Nigel was an angel to withstand the time afterwards, perusing Broad Ripple's boutiques. And even though he did great, he won't be doing that for much longer. (He is still the perfect age to cart around, where he doesn't demand mobility... just the occasional nibble).
Mike, Dad, Marshall and Stewart joined us on Westfield Blvd. for Garden pizza from Bazbeux (pepperoni for the boys). After eating, we crossed the street to the canal to encourage the boys rock throwing distances.
Later in the evening Mike, his parents and I enjoyed a birthday dinner at Mama Corolla's before attending a Spirit and Place event at First Friends Church. We heard some entertaining stories by Phil Gulley and music by Carrie Newcomer.
It was a full, Broad Ripple day.

Friday, November 9, 2007

happy birthday Mike!

Isn't he great!
Happy Birthday, Mike!
Mike got some homemade artwork from the boys and Kipp Normand artwork from all of us.
Marshall was happy to help with the candle counting and placing. All the boys were happy to help daddy blow out his 32 candles.

third party

Some people would say that I threw away my vote.
I'm glad to disagree.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

we've been farming

At the Sparrow School, we're studing farms.
Trader's Point Creamery, Anderson Orchard, and The Brown Family Farm (our egg co-op farm) have seen our little troupe this week. It's been busy, trying to get in some farm visits before it gets too cold.
Next week, we'll stay a bit closer and try to visit Boring Farms in New Palestine. I'd also love to visit the farm where we'll be getting our Thanksgiving turkey from, and a farm with 4-H'ers raising goats or rabbits or llamas (any leads on the later would be helpful). What else? Wouldn't it be fun to visit a John Deere dealership?
But if these big things don't happen, I'll be satisfied with the farms we've seen and our Boring Farm visit. I'd like to encourage Marshall to do some video journaling of Boring Farms and it's legacy. I think he asks good questions but would like to see him put a little more effort into listening to answers. Maybe this will be a good exercise for him to do with Uncle Phil and Grandpa Eugene ("Whale-tail"). More on this later.
Some thoughts about homeschool:
We're not home much.
It's so incredible to watch Marshall, Stewart and Nigel interact with eachother so much.
The world is so grand and curious and I'm loving that we can explore it together.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

frazzled girl

This week, I worked on a display for this Missions Travel Journal release. I learned that I took on more than I could handle with everything else that was happening this week. I had several late nights working on it.
The idea was an easy one, one that I was excited about. Creating it was difficult though, with mistakes or accidents happening one right after the next, like using a new kind of acrylic sheeting, a saw that malfunctioned and paint not drying in the cold fall air. I ended up tired and frazzled and glad to be done. Seeing it hanging was disappointing.
There are lessons to be learned here.
(frazzled face created by Katherine Green)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

boring robot boys

We saw so many kiddos last night, at Fountain Square's Halloween event and then at our doorstep.
We also witnessed several adults (or really old-looking teenagers). "Hum, and what are you dressed up as?" I wanted to ask when they approached sans children and without costume (unless you count a halloween bag as a costume).
"Trick-or-Treat, and could I just get a cig or beer instead of candy?"
"Trick-or-Treat! Just let me scope out how many younguns you have running around."
"Trick-or-Treat, your house looks quite tasty to me."
How I've let my mind wander. I'm sure they just wanted a year's supply of candy for free!
As for Marshall and Stewart, they had as much candy as they wanted last night and this morning picked out 5 pieces. Each piece went into an envelope with their initial on it. They'll get to choose a mystery envelope for the next 5 days. The rest of their stash will be donated to the witch (not me).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

j a c k o' c a r v i n g

Six j a c k s light our doorstep. Bwa ha ha!

go nuts!

We made donuts at Mom and Dad Boring's yesterday. It was made a tradition by Grandma Bernice Boring who always had a donut-making, family gathering at the farm on Halloween.
Our kids went nuts.
Say "SUGAAAARRRR!"
They were so jacked up. They were pumelling eachother in wrestling and laughing and yelling hysterically. On the way home they were screaming in the back seat and they would not stop, so in the mile and a half drive home, I sat between them with my hand over Stewart's mouth.
It was super frustrating to try to calm them down. I almost didn't recognize them, they were so altered.
Finally, they calmed down, after several rounds of incidents and time-outs.
We're already preparing mentally for the craziness on Halloween night, when sugar abounds and is not limited (this only happens 3x a year, so I'm ok with it... in theory).

Saturday, October 27, 2007

apple cider in the air

The leaves are falling.
There is apple cider in the air.
Pumkins all around.
Watch this...(sideways)
video

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"New Year Baby"

This afternoon, Mike and I watched, "New Year Baby" on The Heartland Film Festival's last day. It's the story of a Cambodian refugee family living in the United States who journeys back to Cambodia to explore their past. Socheata Poeuv is the director/producer who is investigating her family's history as it relates to being refugees because of the Khmer Rouge.
A brief history... the Khmer Rouge was the ruling political party of Cambodia in the mid to late 70's. They are remembered for the deaths of around 1.5 MILLION people (by execution, starvation and forced labor). I read that it was one of the most lethal regimes of the 20th century (according to Wikepedia). They followed a man named, Pol Pot (who died in 1998 and was never tried for his crimes). What the Khmer Rouge did was force all the urban dwellers out to collective farms and labor camps. Beyond the deaths that these actions caused, they forced marriages, separatations of entire families, and all property was seized. The idea was to create a classless society, who's members would farm rice, which they could export for "collective" gain.
I remember watching an after school special one year when we were in the States (maybe I was in 5th grade). It was about a Cambodian refugee family and their transition to this country. The most vivid picture from that was the kids hiding their food under their beds because they were worried that they would run out or that everything would be taken away again. So, I was aware of the fact that there were people who had to flee Cambodia and who were starving, but beyond that I didn't know much else about this situation. I remember crying.
I cried today too.
Hearing stories like this one help to take me out of my world and into the larger one. They help me open my mind to seeing another's life situation. Stories like this one make me sad, and feeling that sadness is good for me. Why?
My emotional response has propelled me into learning about the conflict(s) in Cambodia and those surrounding it (basically all the way to before World War II).
It has also made me get pissed off about the crap that rulers do. And it's made me pissed off that people go along with it.
In one scene, the daughter (director of the movie), her father and their interpreter meet the director of the hospital where hundreds were mistreated and died (including their interpreter's own mother). The daughter asks if this woman feels guilt for what happened and if she would like to apologize to him (the interpreter). The woman says that she doesn't feel guilt, that she was only doing what she was told so that she could continue living and that it wasn't her doing. She finally apologizes (rather non-emotionally).
So isn't that it? Isn't it exactly why people go along with things like this? They simply want to survive it. How many stories are out there like this one? And where would I stand? What would I do for the sake of keeping my family and myself alive?
I would like to think that if I was being forced to act in such a manner, that I would revolt. That I would rather die.
In the beginning of the documentary, the daughter is asking her parents why they survived (or something similar). The "ma" says that the "pa" survives because he always chose the "middle-of-the-road". She says she survived because she was sneaky, that she could talk her way in and out of situations.
The other questions that I am considering are these... Where would I draw the line? What battles would I pick? Would I even be brave enough to be a "Rosa Parks"- making a stand for something that seems relatively minor like a bus seat? Would I, like the parents in "New Year Baby" marry someone because it was being demanded of me by the rulers? What issues are so important to me (beyond my family and God) that I would fight for them?
In the end of the movie, we learn about the fathers' heroic journeys (totalling 5 or 6) across the Vietnameese border to bring his adopted children, his new wife and baby, and a sewing maching (I'm guessing it was a pretty swell machine) to safety. That surely isn't "middle-of-the -road" thinking. He made a stand that I would want to make... one for his familys' survival.

i got a long nap!

Amy came over today so that I could do something I wanted to do... anything, she said.
I chose to take a long nap. It was great. And on top of that, the coffee I had when I woke was the perfect cup.
What a gift, and even though I had about 20 other things that I would have loved to do or that I needed to do, the nap is what suited me. And to have that time resting and alone, well, it was time for it.
Thank you, Amy!
(She's my brother's girlfriend.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

catwalk

Have you ever walked on a catwalk, two or three stories above a loud, manufacturing floor? We did it yesterday at the Forest Discovery Center in Starlight, IN(forestcenter.com). Stewart rode in the stoller, because of the noise and vibrating feelings of the walkway. Nigel nursed to sleep through the tour (his nap on-the-go).
It was super interesting to watch the entire process, feeling like a little bird, curious at the goings-on, and spying down at all the factory workers doing their different jobs. We went at our own pace and without a guide, which I think added to the feeling of intrigue about the work and workers. Marshall and I were really into it.
It would take some practice for me to get used to people watching me work. I surely wouldn't want everyone to be able to see my mothering work all the time. I've caught myself looking around sometimes when I've been really bitchy and impatient towards my kids, just to make sure that I wasn't completely offending someone (besides my kids) or embarassing myself.
Even in my corporate work life, I didn't like people hanging out over my shoulder (unless I was certain that I could impress them with my "skills"). And as for art, I like solitude. If I am working on something tedious on one of my peices like hand-stitching then I don't care but when I'm putting something together, thinking something out or playing with an idea, I sometimes talk to myself, dance, get side-tracked, doodle, you know... things I'm kinda self-conscious about how I appear while doing them. Of course I want to "save face" even though I'm the first to admit I'm weird and messed-up. I wish I was more uninhibited more of the time and that I didn't give this crap any importance.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

nigel in bed today

He was so precious during his Sunday afternoon nap with his stripped baby legs. He nurses to sleep, getting all sweaty while he's cuddled up. When I finally know that he's asleep, I rise and he's all alone in our bed. (A bed that is so enormous for him, but the perfect size when all the kids are with us.) And when he wakes, he stretches and looks about as if he's getting his bearings and laughs when he sees me, reaching for the camera.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

my tree

For Mother's Day, I asked for a tree. I didn't know what kind of tree and so the purchase was delayed. After studying trees with Marshall this month, I made a list of things I wanted in a tree. Mike, Marshall, Stewart and Pa Gary went to Schneider's nursery in Seymour (we were down that way as a family one day) and picked one out. It's a Centennial Maple. It will grow 50 ft. high and have a 35 ft. spread. It's a good climbing tree and swinging tree, the two main things I wanted, besides being a smaller sized maple.
The reason I wanted to get a tree now was to plan ahead for grandchildren. Weird? Yep, sounds weird saying it... grandchildren. It just seems so far away (if the kids choose to have children someday).
Sure, we'll enjoy our tree's colors and shade now, but mostly I'm looking forward to our boys growing up with it. I want them to come home someday and remember when the tree was newly planted, and remember their adventures on it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

accomplishment

It's so great to finish something!
I finished a peice of art work that has been on my desk for what seems like months. Finishing catapulted me forward, allowing me to start two new projects (AND I cleaned up part of my work space).
Simply miraculous; miraculous to have Katherine hang out with the kids while I desperately cling to my idol... accomplishment.
Now, I will sleep. My mind will wander past the grey and layerd, sun-lit clouds. I will rest.
Tomorrow, there will be more to accomplish; the less fulfilling laundry, feeding, diapering, teaching and policing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

we won't be pirates

We won't be pirates, but after taking this picture, maybe we should reconsider.
Stewart has taken to dressing up like Captain Jack Sparrow. He doesn't know what a pirate is. He growls and thinks he's a monster when he puts the patch over his eye. His growl is mighty, it's low and loud, and he puts his whole body into it, tensing every muscle.
We're going to be robots for Halloween. I wonder what kind of sound effects will come out of Stewart then.
On another note, Stewart has taken up singing lately. He sings low and loud, and puts his whole body into it, gliding about with a "mic" in his hands (if he can find one). Mostly he sings, "Super-Reader saves the day" and "abcdefglmnoprstuvyz" and "Have patience, have patience, such a hurry. Remember, Remember, too".

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

vicious little paws

Nigel has such a stong grip. He's actually bruised me with his pinch before. It's worse if his nails are long. Today he grabbed my check while he was nursing and it really hurt...really.
Marshall and Stewart were demonstrating his strength. They know, because they did it to me too.
Vicious little paws. What will I do?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Grabill's Amish

A few weeks ago, we went through Grabill, Indiana. There is a large community of Amish people there.
We stopped at a park and let the kids run around for a bit. Driving around later, we were so enthralled at seeing their pristine farms, their horse-drawn buggies, and their distinguishing clothes. I was so excited to "sneak" some pictures of them riding along, and so curious.
I remember riding through Ohio's Amish country many times when we were on furlough. My grandma, Nina Saunders, had her particular Amish stores that she visited to "stock-up" (she didn't need to). Their bulk goods and cheeses were her favorite things, and we always made our way to... was it Miller's restaurant? Something like that.

I've always been curious. It lead me to fantasize about living the life of the Amish. You know: big farms, big families, no electricity, cars or machines. I wanted to try it out. Maybe it was to see if I would like it, or if I fit in, or even if I could be strong enough to endure it.
Well, Mike and Marshall and I were talking about their lifestyle. We theorized that it may be easier to feel close to God if nature was that much a part of your life and if you didn't have the distractions of machines, cars, etc. Mike suggested that we stay at an Amish Bed & Breakfast sometime when the kids get older. All those feelings of curiosity came up again and I wanted to do it! I didn't even know that it was a possibility and so, I was pretty excited about the prospect (however far away). I'm still excited, like a girl.
I wonder how my kids will fare, in an Amish home, without cars and with Amish chores.

Friday, October 12, 2007

unclemutat34

video
Are you going to change your blogsite to unclemutat34?
We miss you entirely, Matt. We're hoping your day was not as "typhoony" and that our phone conversation and these photos brightened your birthday. We talked about wanting to take you out for a special "bubble" tea at your favorite tea stand. Someday we'll make it to Taichung.
Mom and Dad got back from Spokane yesterday. They brought with them a rock from the place we hiked in Montana, the mountainous one across the river from the train line.
The boys are sporting new pajamas from "Lincoln's 10,000 Silver Dollars". They have moose and bears on them. Stewart refused to put his on for a long time, crying and carrying on. He was scared of the bears. Once he saw Marshall and Stewart with them on, he braved up.
We're off to Marshall's soccer game. He's proud to be wearing new cleats.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

being "that"

Stewart pulled my head back towards him and I again nuzzled my face into his neck. It was the second time putting him back in his bed (after Mike's third time). I just couldn't bear to see his sad, blue eyes look pitifully into mine, as if to say, "mama, I need you". So, I let him need me. After all, how many moments a day do I dedicate to spending with him...only him? He's the middle child, and an independent one. So, I let him need me.
Gently, every so often, I was able to raise my gaze to study him. I began thinking of how amazing it feels to be "that" for your child, to be able to calm him just because you are the parent. And I thought ahead to when I won't be able to be "that". When he will need something else from me.
I wondered why God doesn't do that for us. I mean, he doesn't come over and cradle us the way we do our newborns. He doesn't hold our hand and tuck us into sleeptime. He doesn't actually gather us up into his huge embrace when we need him. Why doesn't he let me need him in that way? Is it that we are supposed to need something else, something more tempered and mature?
I am built to need those things. As a child, I need.
I thought about how maybe he could do "that" for me. Maybe he could harness all his might and power and love just to meet those needs precisely as I envision it.
And, maybe, he does all those things for me. Maybe he delivers those things through others. Beyond the muck of humanity, the reality of darkness- that he could place himself in us in such a way so we can meet eachother's needs. That there's a little of God in us all, simply enough to pass around? What do you think? (post comment now)