Friday, December 31, 2010

Wailing in the New Year

Here's to hoping the wailing that is coming from my youngest's bedroom is not indicative of the year to come.

Hoping the noise makers at your new year's party a less organic than mine.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Agatha Explained

In more than one post I've referenced Agatha the Gift-bearing Beagle and if you've spent much time around my children it's likely that they've asked you if you've ever heard of her.  So here it is, Agatha explained.

When LK and I moved to Memphis for his graduate work we bought a house.  Sure we calculated that 5 years in a house given the down payment we could make would make more financial sense than renting. And sure, we determined we'd be able to house overnight guests better in a house.  But really, I mean really really, we got a house so we could get a dog.

So, less than a week after moving in LK and I were at the pound- believing that we would show our heroic side by rescuing one of their caged pets.  We chose Keebler- a German Shepherd mix who was on death row.  We paid our money and went home with happy expectation that following a routine examine and spaying Keebler would be ours.  We went an even bought toys and a bandana for her to wear. We were excited.

Two days passed and back to the pound we went.

But at the pound the worker, who himself looked like the human version of the unwanted pets he watched over, told us that that dog had parvo and distemper and they'd dun put her down.

You could physically see my heartbreak.

Okay, Okay- we said, so what can we do now?  And we were told we could choose another dog.  So we did.  This time we chose a puppy- sure that a puppy would be healthy enough to survive the two day physical.

Two days had pass, and many phone calls to the pound to make sure the do was okay, and back to the pound we went.  But when we arrived, heartbreak again as we were told that dog had heartworms and they put him down.

No- no! LK told them- you killed our last dog.  This dog you just told us not more than an hour ago was ready to take home.

We couldn't bare the heartbreak of choosing another dog only to have the Memphis pound kill it, so the worker directed us to a "pet store."

We were not only first time home buyers, we were first time pet buyers so we didn't know about the whole puppy mill situation, we just knew that here was a place that would have a dog we could take home that day, and that was good enough for us.

LK told the work about his dream of having a dog that would catch a frisbee off leash at the park the way the dogs did at the beginning of The Flight of the Navigator.

The workers eyes lit up.  If you want a dog you can let off leash, a good dog that doesn't bark or dig and is so easy to train, a dog you can let off leash while you play at the park, a dog that hardly sheds ... you need a beagle.

Clearly "stupid" was tattooed across our forehead.

We paid more than one month's house payment and took the beagle home, naming her Agatha, Greek for a "good thing."

Within one week, after the dog had dug up and eaten flowers out of the backyard, after the dog spent all night barking and baying, after the dog had eaten part of the mask I'd bought in Venice, after the dog defiantly peed on our bed while looking at us, and after the dog had shed balls of hair in every corner of the house and scaled the fence to run away- I looked at LK and told him to take this hellion dog back to that woman and tell her that she LIED!!!!

Overtime Agatha and I would grow to love each other and in December, when LK and I celebrated our first Christmas away from family- I decided Agatha should buy us a gift.  She was well aware of the massive leaf situation we had with all the old trees in our yard and thoughtfully bought us a leaf blower.

Since that year Agatha has brought us presents each year and well before the boys knew that there was a man name Santa, they knew Agatha the Gift Bearing Beagle would bring them presents.

They've even asked if she'll be able to find us at the new house.  And LK assured them that just like when she would run away back in our Memphis days and find her way home, she would find the new house. And she did.

So here is to hoping Agatha brought you all your heart desired.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Eve Of

Two presents left to wrap, but given that I had not wrapped a thing before 8:45pm tonight, I'm feeling pretty good about only having two items left. And since technically I don't need those items until lunch time, I'm calling it a grande success (despite the fact that I ran out of tape and could not remember which moving box the spare rolls were in and thus I wrapped 80% of the gifts with duct tape).

Here's to a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


As I'm replacing this and adding trying to make it gluten free for our first new house dinner guests, and I'm realizing I don't have this so I'll just add that .... I suddenly realize that ISH's Mayo Pickle Sandwich must be genetic.

Rewind to two weeks ago:
ISH: Can we make ZaFrank's tea sandwiches?
Me: What do you need to make it
ISH: Cucumbers
Me: I don't have cucumbers.
ISH: ... thinking.... thinking... But we have pickles.
Me: Hmmmm
ISH: And we need cream cheese.
Me: I don't have cream cheese.
ISH:  ... thinking.... thinking... But we have mayonnaise
Me: Ummmmmmm
ISH: And we need crustless white bread
Me: I don't have crustless white bread.
ISH: ... thinking.... thinking... But we have wheat rolls, right?

And so we made ZaFrank's cucumber, cream cheese, white bread tea sandwiches without the cucumbers, cream cheese or white bread.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

RTT: Busted.

What time is it: 925P

Where am I: Old House kitchen table, coming to terms that unlike I had thought, this will likely not be my last RTT from Old House

Listening to: My computer fan spin.

Last ate: Chex Mix (store bought) which I found to be lacking in taste and thus only has me craving for some good homemade stuff.

Thoughts: I have a post I started on Monday that is 1/2 finished. Started it before the drama. Started it before our buyer walked away and our contract. Started it before I had to fight for at least a little justice in the whole mess. A little justice came- but then left behind it the whole now what question.

I told LK a week ago that I didn't think this would go through- that something with the buyer didn't feel right. I hate it when my intuition is right. And I hate it when I discount intuition only to have it proven after all.

But, I am so thankful for the friends who have stepped up to give a refrigerator to us, or loan us couches, or offer to help move on short notice some- but not all- of our things (got to keep Old House looking her best). This is not going like I thought it would by any means but I'm still able to see so many of the blessing in this and maybe that's what it's about.

And strangely, I have peace. That doesn't mean I'm not frustrated by what happened and it doesn't mean I didn't state what was right and what was not in no uncertain terms, but even still- I do have peace. And I'm thankful for that. Thankful that His left arm is still supporting my head and that even now, His right arm embraces me- and perhaps embracing me more than if we were sailing through to closing day. And that really brings amazing peace.

We put our tree up this week and while all things won't be moved to New House, the boys will ... and I will ... We all will be together on Christmas with a tree in one house even if it is not as I had planned it.

I spent 2 weeks and 2 days killing myself to have a house ready for move in day. So tonight I will reward myself with sleep. And tomorrow night, when we sleep in New House for the first time- two months after having signed on the line- I will reward myself with a nice bath.... that is once I get the cabinet doors out of the tub.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Prayer Walk

We're less than 12 hours from the new carpet coming to New House and the over-the-carpet-painting-areas are all done (huge relief!!!).  So tonight I combined the prayer walk idea from Brazil with the draw on the floor idea my mom let us do back when their house was under construction.

We went around to the carpeted rooms with the boys and our Bible, read verses that were related to the activities we anticipate for the rooms, wrote the scripture reference on the floor, and then prayed over the room.

In the pantry area we read:
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who goes to him for safety.
and talked about how blessed we are for the food God gives us.

In my office we read:
Sometimes God gives a man wealth and possessions. He makes it possible for him to enjoy them. He helps him accept the life he has given him. He helps him to be happy in his work. All of those things are gifts from God.
and prayed for my work, my clients, and thanking God that I have a job I enjoy doing.

In the living room we read:
Don't forget to welcome strangers. By doing that, some people have welcomed angels without knowing it.
and talked about how we look forward to having Qgroups, friends, family, neighbors, and more over to our new home.

In the master bed we read:
Here is what Israel should say, suppose the Lord had not been on our side. Suppose the Lord had not been on our side when our enemies attacked us. Suppose he had not been on our side when their anger blazed out against us. Then they would have swallowed us alive. They would have been like a flood that drowned us. They would have swept over us like a rushing river. They would have washed us away like a swollen stream. Give praise to the Lord. He has not let our enemies chew us up. We have escaped like a bird from a hunter's trap. The trap has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help comes from the Lord. He is the Maker of heaven and earth.

which has been a deeply personal selection for our marriage and prayed that like Old House, this place can be a sanctuary and a strengthening place for our relationship.

In the boys room we read:
The integrity of the upright guides them

and talked about integrity and prayed our prayer over the boys- that they would will grow to be men of integrity who know and honor God's word.

In the middle bedroom we read:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

and talked about the foster babies we look forward to having in our family and prayed for them and for us as we minister to them.

And in the hallway- we read:
He will be the firm foundation for their entire lives. He will give them all of the wisdom, knowledge and saving power they will ever need. Respect for the Lord is the key to that treasure

and talked about how just like this concrete is the foundation for our house, God is our foundation for our lives and then we signed and dated the concrete.

The cutest part in signing our names as that I went first and wrote "Mommy" and then my real name under it.  Geo went next and wrote his name in quotes as well "Geo" and then tried to write a description below- he was trying for brother I'm sure but ended up writing bother of ISH.  Priceless for sure.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

RTT: The Goodest Word

What time is it: 841A

Where am I: Old House preparing to head to New House for crunch time work

Listening to: the washing machine churn, ISH play Lego Star Wars, and my stomach growl

Last ate: Per statement above- haven't gotten around to eating breakfast yet, so I guess... coffee.

Thoughts: ISH likes to know the rules not so much in the want-to-know-so-can-break-em sort of way but want-to-know-so-I-don't-do-it-wrong sort of a way (I've said it before and will say it again- I have very compliant children. Blessing!). When we give him a new rule, for roughly the next week we will have discussion with ISH as he comes to make sure his foot is not over the perverible line or more to the point to make sure the foot is not even near the line when he does _______ instead of doing what he knows he should not. Yes, I struggle to not be annoyed by the constant questioning of what is in bounds and is it in bounds enough.  I know he does it with a pure heart.  He's a good puritan child.

Our most recent "we don't do that in this family" conversation was when the 5 year old neighbor dropped the F-bomb. Yes, you saw that right FIVE-YEAR-OLD!!!! Since then ISH has been concerned about the word being in his mind and the possibility of accidentally saying it. It's been a good discussion of the junk-in-junk-out rule.

 Through it all I've been trying to help him by saying that God wants us to focus on whatever is good, noble and pure so if he can focus there, the bad will not be as strong in his mind.  Let's focus on the good words I've told him.

Today he came to me and wanted to know if that is a very bad word, what is the "goodest word."

After a moment of thinking I replied, "Well, I guess it's love.  After all, isn't that all we need."

The great Beatles reference was lost on him. But he's young yet and that means we still have time to install the importance of good music.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tunnel Vision

We got a contract on Old House just after Thanksgiving (nice reason for giving thanks) and we're working to close in December 23 (merry Christmas to me!!)

This means New House needs to be ready asap.

I'm coming to terms that it won't all be done by closing date, but trying to knock out what I can- and it's much better to have not everything done and a sold Old House than all projects complete and two houses.

But carpet comes in Monday which means I feel like I'm living in a tunnel vision- project minded state. ... Wait I think that's not just a feeling. 

Sorry if I seem a bit MIA for a while.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Random Thought Thursday: The Santa Question

What time is it: 345P

Where am I: on campus waiting for Geo during piano practice

Listening to: Geo play the piano- auto correcting the line he keeps missing in Ode to Joy.

Last ate: Ramen- the dietary staple of my life as I work at New House which does not yet have a refrigerator.

I was asked point blank yesterday about Santa by my youngest. Strangely we don't talk about Santa around here, or didn't really until Geo came home from first grade educating us all on the wonders that is.

But strangely, I found myself caught. I don't want to tell my child that there is a kind and loving man watching everything that goes on and if we are good this man will reward us... to only later tell him said man isn't really real but oh by the way let me tell you about God...

So I didn't want to say the truth but didn't want to burst his little happy Santa-loving heart.

Instead, I played the "what do you mean by is Santa real" question to see exactly what he was wanting to know. It boiled down to the question of can Santa go back up the chimney, and he seemed satisfied with the idea he came to that Santa must go out the door.

In my defense I never did say he's real- and in fact once said he wasn't- but then the talent of ISH's selective hearing tuned that out (he, of course, gets that talent from his father).

So I'm curious- do you do Santa? Do you tell your kids he's real? Do you go the route of a past friend of mine whose mom put footprints near the fireplace in the name of childhood magic? Do you squelch any Santa talk in the name of full on honesty? Or do you find yourself somewhere in between?

And in my own defense- at least Agatha the Gift Bearing Beagle did actually exist.