Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weekly Smorgasbord

Some links from the past little bit:

On Gender and Marriage:
Posted: 11 Apr 2014 06:01 PM PDT
"For example, in the book Fascinating Womanhood , a man is about to make a disastrous financial decision, where he could lose everything. The author encourages the wife to say, "It sounds like a good idea, and I can see why you're excited about it, but for some reason, deep inside, I just don't feel right about it." It's not that she doesn't see specific reasons for the financial danger—it's that saying those reasons outright could hurt what the author calls his "Sensitive Masculine Pride."" 

Few people probably know this, but there was a point in my life (high school) (before we were even dating) when I told Peyton I thought it was wrong for a woman to ever voice a disagreement with her husband. To be fair, at that same point in time, P was saying things like "My wife *will* work". So glad we are far away from those places. And I only hope we are less arrogant about our closely held beliefs at this point. We both needed to be taken down a peg. [For what it's worth, I think the title of this post is a bit misleading. It really doesn't have anything to do with Quiverfull ideology.]

On Parenting:
Posted: 15 Apr 2014 08:32 PM PDT
I always think this stuff is kind of stupid. Maybe it's because I know VERY few moms who literally never sit down during their "work day" (which by the way, is hardly ever TWENTY FOUR HOURS, I mean maybe if your kid is super sick or you have like nine of them?). You know who doesn't sit hardly at all (or very little), though? The other person in this family who makes it possible for me to do this work, this holy work that I feel like is so incredibly important. Give him a back pat instead of cussing him out next time your medicine isn't ready the exact minute you thought it would be. Another reason I hate this kind of thing- that person I just mentioned? He comes home and does ALL of this when he's here. Like a good father does. And they rarely get this sort of over the top shout out. I'm very proud of the work I do. The most important job in the world? Probably. The most emotionally taxing job in the world? Quite possibly. But the toughest job in the world (esp. from a physical standpoint)? NOPE.

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 05:50 PM PDT
Maybe this is me being super arrogant, but I don't know how you miss this. It's fine for movies and little kid shows in moderation, I think, but some of this older kid stuff is awful. And I picked up on this from like watching five minutes of it at the pediatrician's office. OF COURSE, it's not just Disney either, it's Nick and ABC Family and everything else. My question is....what classics are you going to order on DVD to share with your eight to twelve year olds-- Full House, Saved by the Bell, Doug? [We already own a couple of seasons of Pete and Pete purely for Peyton's enjoyment.]

On Living a Beautiful Story:
Posted: 16 Apr 2014 06:08 PM PDT
"And might be stealing the beauty of each of our stories. It might be preventing us from getting to our best ideas, from acting on our most passionate convictions, from having the courage to take a stand or to simply let life unfold in it's thrilling and messy way, right in front of us. If we're busy correcting ourselves or redirecting ourselves or trying to make our lives seem palatable or understandable or organized…  We might be missing what makes our lives truly amazing—the fact that they aren't any of these things.  They are wild and untamed and incredible."

On April Fool's Day and Other Funny Stuff:
Posted: 09 Apr 2014 12:17 PM PDT
Hilarious responses to an NPR April Foo's joke. The last one is especially great.

Posted: 10 Apr 2014 05:56 PM PDT
This is pretty funny.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekly Happenings #264 (April 14-20)-- Celebrating Birthdays with the Dinos and Celebrating the Risen Lord at Trinity Grace Crown Heights and Calvary-Saint George's

This was us by the end of Easter day. I really wanted to put on my make-up since it was the Easter picture. The evening was rough (we did some exploring around midtown after church- UGH) and it would have felt terribly inauthentic to have looked any other way than we do here. BEAT. 

What a wonderful Easter week we had! Peyton had switched days so he ended up being off Thursday through Sunday. It was just a great week! Also, as alluded to in the title, I think we've worked out our church situation. I'm going to blog more about it, but I'm really excited that the Lord has shown us two places we desire to be plugged into!

Peyton worked on Monday and the kids and I did our usual morning thing- breakfast and two shows. They helped me pick up and then I got my bath. I also ordered Graves some Summer pajamas. We cleaned up their room and then headed over to Mr. Coco's to find things that were orange because Annie is learning the phonogram "o" and I wanted to have a fun day with it. We came home and I fixed their lunch and got Graves down.

He took a great nap and I uploaded pictures, got on Facebook and Twitter, ate my lunch, and read some. And Annie and I did some school stuff. He got up and they played and then I read them our Five In a Row book. I showed them a little sensory box I had made for them to play with and cooked supper. They ate and I got them ready for bed and read a good bit to them. I got on the computer and read blogs for awhile and then Peyton got home. We ate dinner and watched TV and chatted and fell asleep.
Ann Peyton learned the phonogram "o" last week (and Graves is learning whatever he happens to absorb). We had open-faced sandwiches, omelets, and oatmeal. We wore orange and went on a scavenger hunt at Mr. Coco's for healthy orange foods. Annie laced and traced an octagon and I made them a mini sensory box with more oatmeal and orange things (that was mainly a little something for Bud). I gave Annie several topics to choose from and we got library books on octopi(?) and the ocean. It was actually really fun for all of us!

Tuesday was raining and Peyton was working. The kids got up and we had breakfast and watched Busy Town and Clifford. After that, they played and I did some things on the computer and texted our land lady. I folded up the bed and took my bath and then we straightened their room. They had lunch and I put Graves down for a nap. He didn't fall asleep, but he played well by himself for a good while. I got on the computer and ate lunch and then did school with Annie. Graves got up and I fixed them supper and folded laundry.
Found this little coffee drinking monkey. His sister dressed him and dressed herself as a trapeze artist. He said his name is "Cugo". The trapeze artist that was teaching him tricks sure was bossy!

"Cugo" went crazy and is attacking his trainer/the trapeze artist. She just called the zoo and said "You sent us the wrong monkey. This one is wild. You need to come get him." 

Cugo taking a nap, complete with super loud fake snoring.

I bathed them after supper and put them to bed. Usually when Graves skips his nap, he falls asleep FAST. For some reason, they both had a hard time. Anyway, Peyton got home and we ate and I got on the computer and then went to sleep.
 Crazy sleepers!

Peyton was working again on Wednesday. We did our normal morning breakfast/show routine and then I took my bath. We Facetimed with Minnie and I helped the kids pick up toys. They had lunch and I put Graves down. He didn't nap again and that day was rougher. I ate lunch and read some and put pictures on Flikr.
A little throwback- at Mickey and Minnie's FIVE years ago with our "Annie Baby".

 I didn't do school with Annie and we ended up doing it after he got up. Not as bad as I thought it would be, but not ideal. After that, we read our Five in a Row book and Annie and Graves made some construction paper eggs and hid them. I fixed them supper and got them ready for bed. We Facetimed with my parents again and I read to them and got them to bed. They made an obstacle course and Annie told me she wanted to show Peyton in the morning. But then Graves slipped and got hurt and she told me "just put these things (random little stuff they used to make the course) on my shelf in the bookcase for nap time. I don't think Bud's big enough for this game". Epic night parties, folks.

 I got on the computer and Peyton picked up take out on his way home. We watched SVU and went to bed.

Peyton was finally off on Thursday and we were celebrating the kids' birthdays.
A few happies and then off to see the dinos! 

We had a slow morning and then headed to the American Museum of Natural History. We stopped at a park on the way.

It was Spring Break and the museum was so crowded. I swear, going to a famous museum in NYC during Spring Break is an introvert's worse nightmare. That said, it could be worse. There was this adorable Jewish girl in the bathroom in a Peter Pan collar and below the knee skirt. She was trying so hard to find somewhere to nurse her baby. My heart just broke for her.

Birthday bash and science lesson all in one.

Seminole women were given a string of beads at an early age and additional strings would be added from time to time until she was wearing several pounds and they coiled almost up to her ears. She would feel "immodestly dressed" without them. Bud loved the dinos, but Annie and I were intrigued by the cultural history part of the museum.

You know how they say "measure twice, cut once"? Check the train twice, board once. Ask me how I know. Oh and for what it's worth, Annie told us we were on the wrong train. And she was right. She's smarter than both of us. 

We came back to Brooklyn and had dinner at a restaurant in the neighborhood. It was sort of frustrating- overpriced and the kids didn't eat much (which is unusual for them). We came home and pretty much put them right to bed. We planned the rest of the weekend and I got on the computer and wrote a post and read a couple of blogs.

Friday was a good day. We woke up and got a slow start. I got ready and got the kids ready and we moved the last of our stuff that needed to go into the storage units. Then we walked to the library, returned books, and got some more! We headed to Target and got groceries and game home and unloaded and regrouped. We fed and bathed the kids and headed to church. We stopped by the park and were doing great on time. Until I got messed up on directions. We ended up across town from where we needed to be. I felt so bad! We ended up going to Trader Joes's and picking up a few things. We came home and I got Graves to bed and Peyton and Annie ran to Mr. Coco's. We put her to bed and sang some hymns together and listened to a recording from Mockingbird. We went to bed pretty late.

Saturday was nice. We got up later than we had planned (of course) and got ready and rode a couple of buses to Crown Heights for an Easter egg hunt.
Raise your hand if you like Easter candy! Also, you wear corduroy and flannel to the egg hunts when it's forty eight degrees.

little love bugs!

We had a lot of fun visiting and meeting new people.
Fun at the Trinity Grace Crown Heights Easter Egg Hunt! Graves said later that the big bunny was there for his birthday! 

We stayed a good while and then walked home. Annie actually disobeyed and Peyton told her since she caused us to miss the bus, we'd have to walk a good bit. And we did. And it was hard. And she was tired. UGH, natural consequences. We actually did end up getting on a bus for the last little bit.
Don't ever tell me about what a cold, rude city this is. I'll tell you about the time a stranger offered to hold my son on a crowded bus. He looks a little unnerved, but he had been visiting up a storm with her. She said "I wish the men with money would flirt with me this way". Haha!

Anyway, we ate lunch at a Mexican place and then came back to the apartment. Peyton helped me with the kids and dishes and I started picking up the apartment. I did laundry and straightened and then we hung some last things in the kids' room. I finished up the laundry and picked up some more and we went to bed early.

I'm glad we did because Sunday was Easter and what a day! We got up and got ready and rode the bus back to Crown Heights for church. It was a wonderful service and we had so much fun visiting with new friends again.
Because of the weather, Graves wore the tool jon jon he's been wearing every third Sunday for months since he grew out of almost all his others instead of what I'd have like to put him in. And this is the best picture I got of them, with no one looking and after Annie turned her dress around half way home (buttons in the front, y'all). She also told me it didn't seem fancy enough to be a real Easter dress and (shamefully) in my mind, I kind of agreed. In my most honest self, I have let it bother me, especially when comparing myself to others. I've told myself lots of things to try to take away those feelings and the best I've found is this- JESUS IS ALIVE weather we're in lace and seersucker or not. The second best is this- we are making friends here who live like He is. We used to sing a song that said "the things of the world will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace". For awhile, I prayed that He would help those things appear dimmer to me and I'm committing to pray that again.

We came home and I fixed lunch. I actually cooked a new (simple) recipe. We rested a bit and got ready and headed to Manhattan for our evening church service. Instead of coming straight home we went to a neat little park with lots of lights and then to check out the weather start at night. It ended up being more walking than we realized and we were all so tired. Then some of the trains were down. UGH. We finally made it home and we put the kids right to bed. Peyton and I did a few things and went to bed ourselves.

This is Peyton's longer work week, but we have some fun things planned for when he's off!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday Post: Glue

Five Minute Friday

Back in seventh grade, we did a chapter on sexual reproduction in science. It was "Chapter 23" and it was infamous. We anticipated it all here. There was a box that you could put any and all questions in (no promises the teacher would answer, but it was anonymous and questions were encouraged). I went to a pretty conservative, though not religiously affiliated private school, and at the end of the week came the obvious abstinence message. An illustration was used and I remember it positively to this day, so it must have been worth something, unlike those awful spitting in glasses and stomping on roses metaphors.

Basically, our teacher took two giant red hearts, pasted them together, let it dry and then ripped them apart. The obvious implication was that that was exactly what happened when you engaged in extra material sex and then the relationship dissolved. Chunks of your heart were pulled away. It was a good, albeit, incomplete analogy, I thought.

The trouble is, though, I've seen this happen in so many other areas, as well.

Really any time you give of yourself in a vulnerable way, you're gluing yourself in way and if and when that comes undone it's worse than a ripped off Band-Aid. It's pieces of your very heart.

A friend shared this post by Sarah Bessey recently, knowing I could relate, because she did and we're very similar in some ways. Sarah says:

"[Y]ou don’t want to have a hard heart. You’d rather be hurt than impenetrable. This is the price of living without armour, of making art with your life and stories and faith: you are vulnerable."

My, what truth she speaks. Sometimes, I feel guilty about this. Am I basically a promiscuous teenager- why do I give my heart so easily to others? Other times I question my reaction completely and if it's sensical or healthy or normal. Is something wrong with me- shouldn't I be a little more numb to the voices that bring hurt and sting my soul? Still other times, I question my perception. Of course sleeping with your fourteen year old boyfriend when you're thirteen is going to have negative emotional consequences, but a friend's (most likely unintentional) jab- why does this bite so much?

I'm the kind of person where there's not much middle ground. If we're friends and we see each other often, it's likely I've bared my soul a few times. I've tried and I really just can't operate much other way. In the end, I have to trust that the glue I let myself attach to others with is a glue that the Spirit will use and redeem for His purposes. And I have to trust that He'll do the same with the little pieces of construction paper that have been ripped off on occasion. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bubbles and Hearts and Spring Sun Against my Back

It rained last night. A hard, miserable rain that brought in a strong cold front, and SNOW, as ridiculous as that sounds. I've had a rough couple of days. I don't think the weather has made my mood, but it certainly hasn't helped it.

But last week. Last week was lovely. Last week we got to taste and see Springtime in New York.

It's been a hard Winter, what we experienced of it, and it's so nice to be validated by the locals that THIS IS NOT NORMAL and IT'S OKAY TO SAY THIS IS HARD. Because it is (was?) hard. Really hard.

At the same time, I've fallen in love with this place over the last ten weeks in the midst of that. I feel like it's sort of like when you fall in love with a person during a rough patch. You know you made it through that and you can make it through anything. Or when you love a child through a terribly trying season. What bliss it is when they round the corner and you have the framework of such unconditional love as your foundation.

I made it through those dreary months and while it was hard, there was so much good. There was weeping in the Winter, there were bouts of homesickness, but it was overwhelmingly good. All that makes me really, really excited for what Spring and Summer hold.

Anyway, back to last week.

Minnie had sent yet another care package which basically consisted of her pilfering the dollar bins at Target, I'm pretty sure. One evening I needed to do laundry. We had already been to the park, but I wanted to get the kids back outside again to enjoy the beautiful weather. So in between cycles we went outside and I busted out one of Minnie's surprises- little plastic eggs filled with bubbles. They were quite a hit.

Annie picked her own outfit. She was literally wearing three different colors of pink, red heart leggings that I bought for four dollars with another pair, and her red Chucks. A million years ago, I wrote about actually being able to handle red and pink together, but only because it was on her precious tiny self. Five years later and I kinda love it a lot, especially with her wild hair that looks like I hadn't brushed it (I had). (Apparently, that post was written at the point where I was also explaining that I loved to call her "Annie"- she was less than a month old).

Then this guy, with his perpetual bruises. His little legs today looked awful. I need to count the bruises. And I have NO IDEA about any of them. I do know where he got the massive knee scrape, though. That same concrete courtyard that's pictured. I have a feeling it'll be the bearer of a lot of bruises and scraps this Summer. He's so rough and so tender all at the same time and it's my favorite. I can't imagine him any other way, and truthfully, I wouldn't want to.

Still for just a moment, wrapped up in their bubbles and the beauty of the world around them.

And then so fully a part of it. Annie on her tiptoes reaching for the bubble. I love watching her grab and stretch for new things. I'm seeing it in so many areas with her, but especially with learning to read and write, and few things make my own soul come alive more.

And then they're still again. I said it about something about it the other day, but it's nice to watch him be mesmerized by things. To know that it's possible for something to hold his attention. He's much more easily excited about things than his sister, but much less easily captivated. I love when I get to see him captivated, just as I love seeing her excited.

He's still such a baby, in many ways and I'm glad. I've been saying that for years, though. Annie's always more grown up at any age because he's the baby. They had a fight the morn of his third birthday because she wanted to call him "Big Boy Graves" and he insisted upon "Baby Graves". I told her that he'll always be our baby. And he will, even if/when there's another baby. He'll always be our Baby Graves- mine, Peyton's, and in some ways hers.

She's so serious, so often. It's often a good serious, though. The intensity of her eyes is just a glimpse of the intensity of her soul.

Occasionally, he's somber, too. Still and quite and like he's really thinking hard about something. It's harder to know with him. But as he talks more and more, we're learning more and more about him. And falling more and more in love with him.

Sometimes, these days when Peyton works and it's just me and them are hard. The hardest part, I think, is not having the outside interaction with other (grown up!) people I had at home. But these little people. I'm learning more and more about their hearts and souls and dreams and desires and fears and hurts and struggles and triumphs.

Brooklyn in the Winter was a marvelous place to learn them better. I'm confident Brooklyn in the Spring will bring forth even more enchanted things with my beautiful people.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weekly Happenings #263 (April 7-13)-- A Big Old (Baby) Birthday Boy

Sometimes, you gotta let the outtakes be the family picture. I want to remember this- all of it. 

Last week was nice and slow-- maybe a little too slow. Peyton worked extra on Thursday (he usually has a half day off on the weekends he works) and that seemed to make a big difference. But, it was a fun week. And Graves turned THREE. But, he still requests we call him "Baby Graves", even when we offer to do otherwise. I love that, of course. 

Monday was a nice (much needed!) relaxing day. The kids got up and played awhile and by the time they wanted breakfast it was nine! I fixed it for them and we watched their shows and then I got a bath, sent an email, and did a few other things. We played a bit and cleaned up their room and ended up having lunch super late. I did dishes while they ate and then put Graves down for a nap.

I got on the computer, did school with AP, and took my own nap. When Graves got up, they played and I swept and mopped and folded and put up clothes.
Annie told me Aurora (pretend princess) was "freaking out" because her picture of the beautiful snow got erased.

I fixed the kids supper and got them ready for bed. We read and I hung up clothes in their room. I read some blogs and Peyton got home. We ate dinner and watched TV and then I got on the computer and then we went to bed.

Peyton was off on Tuesday and we had a nice day. The kids were playing in their room again and Peyton was in the tub when I got up. I cleaned the tub and changed the cat liter and cleaned up their area and then took my bath. I swept and mopped the hallways and Peyton took the kids to buy some cat food after I got them ready. I uploaded pictures, made up the bed, cleaned out the cats' water bowls, and had breakfast. I finished getting ready and when Peyton and the children got home, we left for Target. We walked there and got a bunch of stuff and then walked home. We all had lunch and then went to a park near the apartment.
A little girl told me "she's SO adorable". I really don't know that I can make him look like more of a little boy than this??

Now this? Is a GIRL. 

We got home and I got ready because there was another screening at the Brooklyn Historical Society. It was really neat. My phone died on the way back and I was super nervous figuring out the bus route. But I made it! Peyton and I talked and I ate some boxed macaroni and cheese and then got on the computer for a bit.

Peyton left early on Wednesday, but the kids slept late. We ate breakfast and watched their shows and then folded up the couch. I put up the diapers and wipes we had gotten at Target and swept in the den.
"Bud is a little farmer. He goes to the farm and works and at night he comes home. Look! He brought me this good bacon!"

 I took my bath and started the kids picking up their room and then I did dishes really quickly and packed lunches and we headed to the park. They ate lunch and played some and I put Graves down right when we got home.

He took awhile to fall asleep. I ate my lunch, got on the computer, and read some. I did my Bible study and did school with Annie and then we woke Graves up. We started laundry and went outside in the courtyard to blow bubbles.

We changed over the laundry and I got supper ready for them. They ate and we got the dry laundry and they had baths. I put them to bed and read some blogs and wrote some. Peyton got home and we ate supper and then talked to our associate pastor back home on Facebook. We went to bed pretty late.

Peyton's usually off on Thursday mornings when he works the weekend, but his partner was on vacation, so he worked all day last week. Anyway, it was more of the same. The kids got up and played a bit with each other and then I fixed them breakfast. My mom called and I ended up texting with some friends, so I was actually not dozing during their shows :) They helped me fold up the couch and I put up some laundry and then took my bath and scooped cat liter and did a few other things. We had a little while before lunch, so I got down on the floor and played with Little People with them and then we cleaned up their room. I fixed them lunch and did a bunch of dishes and then put Graves down.

He took a good nap and I got on the computer. I uploaded some pictures and read blogs and then did my Bible study and read. Annie and I did school and I had to wake Graves up. I needed to do more laundry, so we started that and then they played while I folded the day before's laundry. We read our Five in a Row book and changed over the laundry and then the kids ate supper. I had planned to cook chili, but I forgot to thaw the meat! They had oatmeal and a ton of fruit and were super happy about it. We got the laundry and I put the clean sheets on their beds. I got them ready for bed and put them down. I got on the computer for a bit and put pictures on Flikr and worked on a post and then started the chili. Peyton was late getting home, we ate right when he got in. I finished my post and put pictures on Facebook and then cleaned up the kitchen and went to bed.

Peyton was off and we got up on Friday and got ready and headed to the South Bronx. They had an Easter party that day since the following week was Spring Break and we had fun helping with that. Again, I just felt such a strong confirmation that it's one of the places the Lord wants us while we're here. After that we stopped in Manhattan and this happened:
I did it. Annie went back with me! 

Who needs a double stroller? Perks of having tiny kids, I guess. They seriously rode a few blocks like this. Funny sidenote: they wouldn't have made it one of it were reversed. Annie does not like people up in her space. Graves's live language is physical touch, I swear. Doesn't matter of you're holding him or he's holding you, it's his favorite.

We came home and chilled out a bit. We had eaten at the party, but were all hungry so we had snacks/second lunches and rested and the kids watched their little programs for the day.
It was so nice to have a day with him! 

We skipped naptime since it was so late. Peyton was going to an event at the library and I told the kids we could go to the park for a bit before supper. Peyton walked with us and then we played for about half an hour. We got home and the kids ate some leftover chili while I did dishes and hung up clothes in their room. I got them to bed early, which was good because they were both having a really rough night. I finished sweeping and mopping, put fresh sheets on our bed, and hung up some more clothes. I got on the computer and read some posts and Peyton got home. We talked and had dinner and went to bed.

Saturday was Graves's birthday. Peyton had to work and the kids and I did our normal breakfast-cartoons-cuddle thing. I spent some time texting friends and then got my bath. We played some in the kids room and Facetimed my mom and then cleaned up.
Minnie has a great sense of humor :)

I fixed them lunch and put Graves down. He never did nap and Annie was sort of needy. I ate lunch and got on the computer and organized some in the study. I also uploaded a bunch of iPhone pictures to the external and Annie and I did a little bit of school stuff (she missed the memo that we don't have to do school during naptime on Saturday). Anyway, we let Graves get up and all got ready and then headed down to the courtyard. We played a bit and then I got the kids cupcakes.
Well, he's grown. 

Happy birthday to this guy who fights with his sister when she refuses to call him "Baby Graves". 

I just love these people so much. 

We came home and had dinner (they didn't each much) and cupcakes and I bathed them and got them to bed. I got on the computer for a bit and Peyton got home. I put up groceries and added some books on Goodreads and we talked and ate. I wrote out Annie's April memory work and my quote for the kitchen.

Peyton worked on Sunday and I got up and got my bath and got the kids ready while he was getting ready. We went to Trinity Grace Park Slope. It was a really good service, but I gotta be honest Sunday's are HARD when Peyton's not here. The bus ride there was fine, but Graves didn't want to go to his class. It was a family worship day, meaning the kids all come to worship and are dismissed before the sermon. I think it was a hard transition and I ended up keeping him with me. I thought he did GREAT, but my standards for him are-- well, I don't think they're low, but they're realistic for him. I think some people near us may not have agreed that he did great. Anyway, we hustled to catch the bus after church so we didn't have to wait another half hour for the next one. We got there and I got the stroller folded up, got out my changed and was ready. However, right as it pulled up Annie dropped her craft and palm branches. I told her to hurry and get them. Well, I grabbed her hand and was watching the bus and started pulling her. I drug her right into the pole. Y'all! Bless her heart. I know her, though, and having a mild concussion would be worth it to have her stuff.

Anyway, we got home and I picked up the kids' room really quickly and then fixed them lunch and started dishes. I talked to Peyton and put Graves down. He took a long nap and I ate lunch, got on the computer, and read to Annie and then I took a nap myself. I had to wake Graves ups and we Facetimed with Peyton's parents. I let them watch cartoons for a bit and worked on my April playlist and then got their supper ready. They ate and I got them ready for bed. We Facetimed with my dad and I put them down. I got on the computer and worked on resetting my phone and read some blog posts. Peyton got home and we chatted and then I finished up with my phone.

This week is different because Peyton's working today (Tuesday) which is one of his usual days off but then we'll get a big chunk all together at the end. I'm really excited- we're doing the kids' little birthday celebration and that will be fun! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

When Your Baby Turns Three

Whereas, Annie obviously made me a momma, I'm the kind of momma I am in large part because of this guy. He keeps me on my toes. This day three years ago was so amazing. His birth was such a transformative moment in my life. I've thought about it so much lately- because in many ways our NYC journey mirrors my pregnancy with him, his birth, his little life. Just like this place I've learned scared to love, he stretches me and challenges me at every turn. But just like this place, he's full of a million treasures and I'll never be able to find them all. His heart so tender, his enthusiasm so great, his sensitivity so astute, his cheerfulness so contagious, his smile so captivating, his love so strong, his spunk so delightful- these are just a few of the gems we've mined in only three years. I can't wait to learn more about you, Graves, and for all the things I know you'll continue to teach me about myself, about love, and about the Lord Himself.

I'm so honored that my friend Mallory asked me to be part of this storyteller series on her blog. Since today is our precious Graves's third birthday, I thought it would be fitting to tell the story of his birth, an event that was truly transformative in my life.

"That ten-ish hour experience was a big one, one that will forever effect the way I view myself, the things I'm capable of, and the strength I truly did not know I had. It, to this day, gives me courage to do big things and make bold changes in my life. But at the same time, his little life has done that exact same thing for the whole duration of it thus far. He challenges me because, unlike his sister, he's very different from me. I've watched the Lord increase my patience through him and He's used Graves's life to sanctify me in a way nothing else has. Some days I battle the same fears I did that glorious day. Fears that an experience, a day, a year, or his childhood, will never end or that it won't end the way I want it to. Fears that I'll cave and give up on something- like homeschooling- that I deeply desire because it's just too hard. Fears that I'm not strong enough and simply inadequate for the task at hand. God uses him- his birth, his life- to remind me that the good (the very good) is often times bought at a price. Sometimes, it feels like it comes at the price of my sanity. But like his birth, it really just comes at the price of a bit of pain and pressure. So much beauty- patience and flexibility and trust and creativity- has been birthed out of my mothering of him and the struggle, like a birth, that it has entailed. I've learned so much from him. Thank you, Graves, for being such an excellent teacher. From day one."

Enjoy this piece over there, with both his and Annie's regular monthly letters to follow. Per our tradition, Peyton writes the yearly ones. Being as I've fallen into the habit of posting them both very late in the month, he's decided to follow suit. I offer this information mainly for my own peace of mind.

In other news, he's pretty much grown. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weekly Happenings Post #262 (March 31-April 6)-- Long Island Railroad Museum, Mockingbird, a Drastic Haircut, and Annie Banani Turns FIVE!!!

Peyton's parents sent Graves a birthday card that could be turned into a paper airplane (they sent Annie a different, cute card, too) and Annie decided she wanted to make her own plane! 

My goodness, if the title didn't give it away, last week was BUSY! And FUN. Super fun. 

The kids actually slept a bit late after Peyton left for work on Monday. They got up around eight thirty and we did our normal breakfast and TV routine. I ended up letting them watch three twenty five minute shows instead of the usual two, but on the last one I talked to AP more and Graves just laid in my arms. Which is sort of a step up for dozing, I think. I've also been wanting to watch more of their little shows with them, so that was good. They helped me fold up the sheets and push in the couch and then I picked up a bit and got my bath and looked at a couple of things on the computer.

We read our Five in a Row book and started cleaning up their room. Ellis called and I talked to him a bit and then we finished cleaning up and had lunch. I did dishes and then put Graves down. I got on the computer for a bit and then did school with Annie. I actually had time to read some before Graves woke up. When he got up, the kids colored and I fixed them supper. I bathed them and read to them and put them to bed. I read some articles online and Peyton got home and we watched How I Met Your Mother and ate dinner. I did dishes and deleted a bunch of pictures off the camera and went to bed. 

Peyton was off on Tuesday and we had a nice day. We got up and got ready and headed to the library. I took a photography class and Peyton and the kids were going to go to a singing program. It was packed, though, so they just read books. 
The class was very informative!

You can take the boy out of the 'Sip. Can't take the 'Sip outta the boy :)

We walked home and had lunch and then we organized and started taking boxes to the storage unit. It's in another building on the premises of the complex we live in and we worked for about an hour and a half (we obviously took the kids on all the trips since we both made all the trips). We actually got locked out on the last trip because it closed at five. UGH. We also still had one more big box that was going to be a huge hassle. But we were just happy to have access to it. We fixed the kids supper and let them play and I cleaned some and then we put them down early. I worked on my April blog design and Peyton and I chatted. I finished a post and Peyton went and got us some snacks and we went to bed earlier than usual. 

Tuesday was Annie's birthday and it turned out slightly interesting. The kids got up early before Peyton left. I had a headache, but I took some medicine and that helped. I fixed them breakfast after we played with stuffed dinosaurs in our bed for awhile. Then we watched their little shows. I let them pick one extra since it was Annie's birthday. After that they jumped on some bubble wrap for awhile. I started folding up the couch and picking up around the apartment and I realized Peyton had taken the keys. I was planning to mail a package that afternoon and more importantly, I wanted to stop at a bakery and get Annie (and Graves, of course) a little treat. Anyway, I was sort of frustrated, but I got ready to put the kids in their room and take my bath. Well, the gate wasn't secured (this has happened one other time recently) and Graves was sort of fussing and objecting to being put in there and the gate fell over and we crashed down with it (I was holding him). I just held him until he felt better- that really doesn't take long with him. After that, though, Annie discovered a kitty had pooped on her quilt. I was, of course, super frustrated, but she was DISTRAUGHT. I finally got her calmed down enough to get a bath and I realized we didn't have enough money on our laundry card. 

At least it was going to end up being a productive day, I decided. I got on the computer for a few minutes and then hopped in the tub. I dried my hair and got things together and then we ran down to the basement to start laundry. We filled up the laundry card at the guard station and then walked over to the other building so I could leave a note saying not to throw away our stuff (we had left a few things outside the unit the day before- it was basically just boxes Peyton wanted to save). The whole thing was locked, though, so I couldn't. We came back and played a bit until it was time to change over the clothes. I fixed the kids lunch and did dishes while they dried. After we got them, I made up Annie's bed. I went ahead and cleaned up the kids' room really quickly myself and then put Graves down for a nap.

He never fell asleep, but he did pretty well. I ate lunch and rested a bit and got on the computer and then did school stuff with Annie. When he got up, they played and we read our Five in a Row book. I also hung up a ton of Peyton's clothes and cooked some asparagus and orzo and made quesadillas (random, right?) for supper for the kids. They ate and we Facetimed with my mom and dad. We opened a birthday present from Peyton's parents (it included several Berenstein Bears book she told me "Oh, I've been wishing for these!") and then I got them ready for bed and put them down. 
I also let them help me make cake in a cup in cereal bowls after supper (I think she liked making it more than eating it- girlfriend loves to cook).

I got on the computer and called my mom back. Peyton got home and we talked and I wrote a blog post and read some blogs and went to bed. 

Thursday was a really pleasant day. The kids got up when Peyton left and we had breakfast and watched their shows and then I got my bath. I talked to Peyton on the phone and made another phone call and got on the computer for a minute and then I got the kids ready and we went back to the storage unit. It was locked again (apparently you need a key to the whole room), but a maintenance guy unlocked it and our stuff was still there. We moved it in  and then came back up and got the stroller and a package and went to the post office that's about a quarter mile away. We picked up muffins on the way home and the kids ate lunch when we got home. I did dishes and put Graves down and swept. 

He took a great nap and I ate lunch and laid down for a few minutes, read some blogs and did my Weekly Happenings post, and emailed someone about Junior League stuff. AND I organized some pictures and spent some time doing school with Annie. Graves got up and we did our Five in a Row book and read some more Berenstein Bears and I put up dishes and washed the ones from lunch. I folded clothes and texted my mom and then started cooking the kids eggs and oatmeal for supper. They enjoyed it and I had some, too. I cleaned the kitchen up and bathed them and got them to bed pretty early. I had another bad headache and it kept getting worse and worse. I swept and picked up around the apartment took some medicine and then laid down for a bit. I ended up taking a two hour nap at eight o'clock. UGH. I got up and did a few things on the computer before Peyton got home and then I took some more medicine and we talked and I ate a snack. I finally made myself get up and get ready for my big day Friday. 

Friday was SO amazing. I got up and got ready and headed to a the Mockingbird Conference. Y'all it was so incredible.

 I took a huge amount of notes and I'm going to try to type them up into something coherent and formulate a blog post soon.
Afternoon break outs. I went with the Childish Gambino and learned about Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity 

Anyway, I took three trains, had lunch at a restaurant by myself (the food wasn't great, but I enjoyed the alone time), made a handful of new friends I had SUCH a delightful time visiting with, and got home around nine thirty. It was a long day, but a great one. Peyton and I talked and I wrote a post and emailed Darlene and then went to bed.

Saturday was another great, but tiring day. We had a fun adventure planned. We got up (late!) at around seven fifteen. We needed to leave by eight and if we didn't it was going to put a kink in our travel plans. We HUSTLED and got to the subway and got on the G train. We caught the E train a few stops later and were glancing at our watches the whole time. We made it to Penn Station and ran to get tickets and get on the train to Long Island. We made it! It was an enjoyable ride and we met our friends, Barb and Kim (who were the closest friends of Peyton's amazing late aunt), at the station around eleven thirty.
Kinda neat to see a "normal" house on our way through Queens. We also saw some adorable (and I assume much more affordable) little shotguns. I told Peyton, though I'm so glad we didn't end up in Queens where you have to have a car, ect. Brooklyn is the PERFECT (for now) midpoint between suburbia and a place like Manhattan. 

We grabbed lunch at Panera and then headed to the Railroad Museum. We had a BLAST.
It was so awesome to have a couple of extra sets of hands. What a nice break for me and Peyton! 

Inside of a coach from the 1950s that was operational until fairly recently.

A windy ride on this little guy who made his debut at the World's Fair some half century ago.

This guy was obsessed. 

Inside a "Bay Window Caboose" from the early sixties. 

Toot Toot!

After that, we stopped by Barb's mom's house for a bit and then went to her house and had pizza for supper. We got back on the train exhausted. 

 They were a bit wild. Riding on a Long Island Railroad train back from Long Island. We had like two more hours before we were back in BK. It wouldn't be as bad, but we had to get off the train at Penn Station and get on the subway and then change subway trains and then walk several blocks. With car seats. And no stroller. BUT, we had an awesome day. Also: this is some (alot) of people's COMMUTE. Can you imagine?

They would not calm down on the train ride home, so since we had the seats anyway we decided to restrain them. They loved it! What a day!

On the way home, I tripped and fell. With Graves (who was asleep) in my arms. It was scary and left me shaky. We finally got home around ten and put the kids right to bed. Peyton and I talked and I did a few things and went to bed.

We (of course) woke up late on Sunday. I had told Peyton I really wanted to try Calvary-Saint George's (the church where Mockingbird was held) that morning and somehow we made it, just a little late. We got the kids bathed and fed in about an hour and ourselves ready. We were late getting on the train, but we made it. I overheard this guy tell his boyfriend "Who needs a hug machine when you have the six train at rush hour...or the L train when everyone is going to brunch?" It was so crowded.

Anyway, we finally made it and the message was AMAZING. I'm going to have to do a follow up post about churchs we've visited, but I want to be very careful how I frame it because at every single place I have (or Peyton has) been we've heard the gospel proclaimed- which frankly, I wasn't sure we would at some churches here. Of course, we've tried to be discerning in even where we visit, but it's still been a really happy condition. I was pretty upset last night as we tried to figure out where we'll actually commit to but this morning as I reflect on it, I realize that it's a pretty good problem to have.

Anyway, after that we bought some snacks/lunch at Duane Reade and ate on the steps of a park while we listened to some people protest about the "Dream Act". We swung by the store again for a bathroom visit and then headed to the East Village to get Graves's haircut. It was a pretty long walk (not like some here, but longer than I was expecting) and I had on church boots and we didn't have a stroller for AP. But we made it! And Graves did great.
I took him to the Russian barber. It was one of the most terrifying things I've done here yet. Not even kidding. I'm picky about, and emotionally invested in, boy baby boy hair.

The guy wasn't the sweet girl form the salon at home and it's definitely not Graves's signature Buster Brown, but our Russian barber was so kind and we we did end up with a classic lite boy cut, as opposed to some of the crazy do's I saw them working on. So I call it a win. His hair was so absurd. It was insane how much the guy cut. Graves goes "You cutting off ALL my hair?" And the barber says "No Sweetie, you got plenty".

After that, we tried to go get my nose pierced, but I didn't have my ID. We got another snack and headed back to Brooklyn. When we got home, the kids played and I started cooking Italian chicken. I played on my phone and started laundry and we ate. Peyton got the kids to bed and we talked and then I cleaned up the apartment some and wrote a post. I was actually really upset because we had sort of different opinions on which church should become our regular place of worship. I went to bed feeling frustrated and unsettled.

This week has been long for some reason. I've think we've come up with a plan for church (I'll write more about it later), so that's nice. This is Peyton's "long" week, though, and I think that's been harder coming off such a busy weekend.