Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tunes for the Month: November

Whew, what a list. Every so often I start to think that this thing has run it's course and I should just let it go. It takes hardly any time, but it's just another thing on a daunting list. It's always those months that I end up building a list that's so perfect it brings me to tears. Probably about half these songs seem to resonate on a profound level. And the other half? feel so damn good to listen to that I almost can't stand it. 

It's a really good one, y'all. 

1. Sweet Baby James- James Taylor

There is a young cowboy, he lives on the range,
His horse and his cattle are his only companions.
He works in the saddle and sleeps in the canyons,
Waiting for summer, his pastures to change.
And as the moon rises he sits by his fire,
Thinking about women and glasses of beer,
And closing his eyes as the doggies retire.
He sings out a song which is soft but it's clear,
As if maybe someone could hear.
He says
Goodnight you moonlight ladies,
Rockabye sweet baby James.
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose,
Won't you let me go down in my dreams,
And rockabye sweet baby James.

I've been singing this to Graves lately as a lullaby. I just change "sweet baby James" to "sweet baby Graves". It's one of my favorites lately. And I've come to realize that if he never naps again, the real gift is in this time and effort trying to get him there.

2. Scarborough Fair- Simon and Garfunkel

Tell her to find me an acre of land
(On the side of a hill
A sprinkling of leaves)
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

(Washes the grave with silvery tears)
Between the salt water
And the sea strand
(A soldier cleans and polishes a gun)
Then she'll be a true love of mine

This will be obvious in a minute, but I'm going through a bit of a Simon and Garfunkel phase. Like a lot of their beautiful ballads, it's just sort of haunting if you listen to the lyrics. There's a tinge of sadness in the music too, I think. Sometimes when I write these posts, I like to "research" a song a bit. Apparently, this one can be traced back AT LEAST as far as 1670 and the original version's verses all list impossible tasks (making a shirt without seams, washing something in a well without water). I thought it was pretty fascinating. It could have been a Paul Simon original, for all I knew. Learn something new everyday! 

3. Mrs. Robinson- Simon and Garfunkel

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know wo wo wo
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey
We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files
We'd like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home...
Where have you gone, Joe Di Maggio?
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you woo woo woo
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
"Joltin Joe has left and gone away"
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey

I've loved this song for ages. And for about the last ten years whenever I hear it I always think that I should really see The Graduate. Still haven't. It's not really haunting like some of their others, but it's certainly got it's layers and complexities. Paul Simon remarked about the DiMaggio stanza that  "In these days of Presidential transgressions and apologies and prime-time interviews about private sexual matters, we grieve for Joe DiMaggio and mourn the loss of his grace and dignity, his fierce sense of privacy, his fidelity to the memory of his wife and the power of his silence." Which is so interesting to me, because obviously those things have only intensified. 

4. The Boxer- Simon and Garfunkel
Asking only workman's wages
I come lookin' for a job but I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
And I'm laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone, goin' home
Where the New York City winters aren't bleedin' me
Leadin' me, goin' home
In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down or cut him
'Til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving
But the fighter still remains

I listened to the lines "And I'm laying out my winter clothes..And wishing I was gone, goin' home..Where the New York City winters aren't bleedin' me...Leadin' me, goin' home" on Thanksgiving days and it seemed painfully apropos. I maybe sobbed a little. Okay, so I did. And then I listened some more and it was actually healing. For some reason (I guess mainly the holiday), homesickness hit hard this week. 

5. Mama Said- The Shirelles

Mama said there'll be days like this
There'll be days like this mama said
(Mama said, mama said)
Mama said there'll be days like this
There'll be days like this my mama said
And then she said someone will look at me
Like I'm looking at you one day, then I might find
I don't want it any old way, so I don't worry 'cause
Mama said there'll be days like this
There'll be days like this mama said
(Mama said, mama said)
Mama said there'll be days like this

I love, love, love an upbeat song for when you're in a funk. And this one is right perfect.

6. Backstreets- Bruce Springsteen
One soft infested summer
Me and Terry became friends
Trying in vain to breathe
The fire we born in
Catching rides to the outskirts
Tying faith between our teeth
Sleeping in that old abandoned beach house
Getting wasted in the heat
And hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
With a love so hard and filled with defeat
Running for our lives at night on them backstreets...
In the deep heart of the night
We let lose of everything
To go running on the backstreets
Running on the backstreets
Terry you swore we'd live forever
Taking it on them backstreets together
Endless juke joints and Valentino drag
Where famous dancers scraped the tears
Up off the street dressed down in rags
Running into the darkness
Some hurt bad some really dying
At night sometimes it seemed
You could hear the whole damn city crying
Blame it on the lies that killed us
Blame it on the truth that ran us down
You can blame it all on me Terry
It don't matter to me now
When the breakdown hit at midnight
There was nothing left to say
But I hated him
And I hated you when you went away
Laying here in the dark
You're like an angel on my chest
Just another tramp of hearts
Crying tears of faithlessness
Remember all the movies, Terry
We'd go see
Trying to learn to walk like the heroes
We thought we had to be
Well after all this time
To find we're just like all the rest
Stranded in the park
And forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Where we swore forever friends
On the backstreets until the end
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets...

This is where I started looking through Peyton's iTunes library. Of course I stumbled upon some Bruce. Always the imagery. Always. You can just see the two young kids at the abandoned beach house. Or I can. 

7. Bad- U2
If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would let it go, surrender, dislocate
If I could throw this lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay, see you walk, walk away
Into the night and through the rain
Into the half-light and through the flame

Again, it came up as I was looking through the library. It's honestly a sad song, but I love U2 and had to add it.

8. Bad Moon Rising- Creedence Clearwater Revival

I see a bad moon arisin'
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin'
I see bad times today
Don't go around tonight
Well, it's bound to take your life
There's a bad moon on the rise
I hear hurricanes ablowin'
I know the end is comin' soon
I fear rivers overflowin'
I hear the voice of rage and ruin

Y'all. This has been one of my favorites since I was literally a little bit older than Annie. It absolutely makes me want to dance and it makes me feel alive and it makes me feel young and it makes me love music so much. 

9. Badlands- Bruce Springsteen

Talk about a dream, try to make it real
You wake up in the night
With a fear so real
You spend your life waiting
For a moment that just don't come
Don't waste your time waiting
Badlands, you gotta live it everyday
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
Keep pushin' till it's understood
These Badlands start treating us good
Workin' in the field
Till you get your back burned
Workin' 'neath the wheels
Till you get your facts learned
Baby, I got my facts
Learned real good right now

Uncovered this gem, too. I love the idea of trying to make a dream real and of the raw hurt of waking up with a fear that IS real and all that. Beautiful and heartbreaking. What The Boss does best, I guess. 

10. The Promised Land- Bruce Springsteen

I've done my best to live the right way
I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak, I just want to explode
Explode and tear this whole town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start
The dogs on main street howl 'cause they understand
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land

I was adding Badlands in Spotify and found this and then I decided I'd just add it and Jungleland so we could have a good trilogy of "land" songs that Bruce sings. Again, it speaks to real hurt and pain and the desire for a life that is "more". Which I think most people who feel deeply can relate to at some point in their lives. 

11. Jungleland- Bruce Springsteen

The rangers had a homecoming in Harlem, late last night
And the magic rat drove his sleek machine, over Jersey state line
Barefoot girl, sitting on the hood of a Dodge
Drinking warm beer in soft summer rain
The rat pulls into town, rolls up his pants
Together they take a stab at romance and disappear
Down Flamingo lane
Well, the maximum lawman run down Flamingo
Chasing the rat and the barefoot girl
The kids round here look just like shadows
Always quiet, holding hands
From the churches to the jails
Tonight all is silence in the world
As we take our stand
Down in jungle land
The midnight gang's assembled
And picked a rendezvous for the night
They'll meet 'neath that giant Exxon sign
That brings this fair city light
Man, there's an opera out on the turnpike
There's a ballet being fought out in the alley
Until the local cops, cherry top, rips this holy night...
Beneath the city, two hearts beat
Soul engines running through a night so tender
In a bedroom locked, in whispers of soft refusal
And then, surrender in the tunnels uptown
The rat's own dream guns him down
As shots echo down them hallways in the night
No one watches when the ambulance pulls away
Or as the girl shuts out the bedroom light
Outside the street's on fire, in a real death waltz
Between what's flesh and what's fantasy
And then the poets down here, don't write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night
They reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand
But they wind up wounded, not even dead
Tonight in jungle land

Well. As I said, I added this one just because I had the urge. It's long (eh, fifteen years) been a favorite, but I listened closely to the lyrics again this time. Mainly because it describes an urban landscape rather than the midwest and so I was intrigued to listen to the story again. I had forgotten the details. Turns out it's about a "street on fire" and there are several chunks that relate how the police clash with some kids out in Harlem it seemed ridiculously relevant to the firey streets in Missouri. But again, also to just life in general. I think there are themes in Springsteen's music that are so universal they can apply to the situation he's describing but also relate to a much larger scope of the human experience. Which is why he's AMAZING. (Or one of the reasons.)

12. Wait So Long- Trampled by Turtles

And you call me in the morning with your troubles
Takin' it downtown every night
I could never place the stars at night above ya.
I got my hands on the ground,
And you know I'm right.
You wait so long,
You wait so long,
You wait so long,
You wait so long.
It's a coffee stained earth ever time it happens.
Liven up honey it ain't that bad.
Any afterthought rose to recognition
Like every other coffin that I had
And your buick broke down in Winnemucca
Fall to your knees and you pray to the lord
Nothing happens in this burnt out town anymore.
You wait so long,
You wait so long,
You wait so long,
You wait so long.
And your heart rolls on like a frozen freight train
You know that I'll help you if I can
But I'm just a raindrop in a river
Just a little itty-bitty grain of sand

Peyton turned on Spotify while he was cooking the day before Thanksgiving. We found some great new songs. This and the next two are my favorites. I mainly love the music, but I do love some of the lyrics, pparticularlyabout the "coffee stained earth". Great new song. 

13. You and Me- Sara Watkins

Central Valley sunshine
Run out of town
Make your head all funny
So you stick around
Dusty roads
Make dirty feet
I remember you
I remember me
I remember the night
I remember the sound
I remember the light
When the moon came 'round
The night flowers bloomed
The air so sweet
I remember you
I remember me

"Dusty roads make dirty feet." Well, of course. Again, the music. Oh my gosh, the music. But I also love that it evokes a picture of of love- dusty roads, dirty feet, the sounds, the lights, the night, the sweet air. So beautiful.

14. Emmylou- First Aid Kit

Oh the bitter winds are coming in,
And I'm already missing the summer.
Stockholm's cold but I've been told
I was born to endure this kind of weather.
When it's you I find like a ghost in my mind,
I am defeated and I gladly wear the crown.
I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June
And you'll be my Gram and my Johnny too.
No, I'm not asking much of you
Just sing little darling, sing with me.
Now so much I know, that things just don't grow
If you don't bless them with your patience.
And I've been there before, I held up the door
For every stranger with a promise.
But I'm holding back,
That's the strength that I lack,
Every morning keeps returning at my window.
And it brings me to you,
And I won't just pass through,
But I'm not asking for a storm.

Um, the bitter winds are coming in and I'm already missing Summer? Some of my favorite lyrics right now. Also? Things just don't grow if you don't bless them with your presence. Good, good stuff.

So there it is. It's for sure the best loved playlist in a good while. It's a bit mellow and it fits this November just perfectly. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Weekly Smorgasbord

Y'all! My Delicious links work again. So I'm back at it and hopefully will be sharing things on the regular again!
Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:42 PM PST
"I'll never forget when Kim came over to my apartment one night after work and told me she was pregnant. I was devastated. Not just because the news was a shock or because I hadn't expected to be a parent at such a young age. I was devastated because everyone who had celebrated my return "to the fold" would think the turnaround was a false alarm. I had caused my family so much pain and heartbreak with my self-absorbed shenanigans, and they had been so relieved and excited that their reckless son had finally come back; it had been the answer to years and years of prayer. I had put my parents through more than any son ever should and had asked for their forgiveness on numerous occasions. To drop this bomb might crush them all over again, and I just couldn't bear it. I was scared, ashamed, and angry at myself for failing yet again...Kim and I had been so excited about getting married, and now we were going to be parents as well. In addition to the embarrassment and shame involved, we were we were grieving the happy expectation that we’d have a few years, just the two of us, before starting a family. We were in a state of shock. Yet my father did not condemn or lecture us, even though he had every right to do so. Instead, he comforted us. More than that, he gave us good news. He told us that while the circumstances clearly weren’t ideal, this was going to turn out just fine. This baby was going to be a blessing to both of us and a gift to the whole family. Every time Kim and I look at our oldest son (now eighteen), we realize afresh that my dad was absolutely right that day...My father was not preaching the Gospel to me that day–he didn’t sit me down to tell me that, on account of Christ, my sins were forgiven. Instead, he showed me grace. That is, he treated me in a way that was analogous to how God treats you and me. He was not God, of course, but like many fathers, he did play a similar role in my life: someone in authority who showed me love in the midst of deserved judgment. As it is with big-L and little-l law, if occasionally we use big-G and little-g grace interchangeably, it is not because they are they same thing, but because we often experience them the same way… I was at my least lovable in that instance–a repeat offender whose offense was going to have very real consequences–yet somehow my father treated me as though I’d never been loved more."

So powerful. Two things:
1. I desire so much to be a powerful reflection of God's love and grace and not so focused on outward behavior, especially when the primary reason is embarrassment because of how my children make ME look.
2. The most refreshing part of this story was that it happened AFTER the prodigal returned to the fold. So often in my younger years, in regard to sin such as this, I questioned why my faith wasn't stronger or if I was even truly a believer at all because of slip ups I experienced. That's next to impossible when you really start to understand "big G Grace".

Posted: 21 Nov 2014 09:12 PM PST
This is really good. Partly because I was fretting over my kids being not as dressy as I'd like tomorrow. It just seemed impractical to bring extra dress shoes for Graves to wear twice and that sort of thing. I don't really judge others (on this!), but I sometimes make it an idol in my life. I do NOT want to take the kids to First Methodist in clothes they easily church in when we're in Brooklyn. THAT is a sign I need taking down a peg. I love it when God humbles me with appliques instead of smocking, red Chucks instead of little boy dress shoes, and ruffly pants instead of a bishop.

On Parenting:
Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:41 PM PST
Hmm. I have mixed feelings. I think there's a good bit of truth here- you can totally become so consumed with kids you forget each other. But I have a little different perspective because I read so many conservative Christian books/listened to so many radio programs, ect. And they all sent this message about making sure your husband was #1. Like, it doesn't matter if you're up six times in the night to breastfeed, you better make sure you're having sex before you lay your head on that pillow. And it doesn't matter if you hardly had time to get yourself clean for YOURSELF BECAUSE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE A REAL PERSON, you better slap on some lipstick and something other than yoga pants before he walks in. And co-sleeping will destroy even the strongest marriage. I really think there's a balance. And I think we're incredibly fortunate to have found it. I also think Peyton's extremely patient and took things in stride. And for the record, I don't think I could say I love Peyton more than Graves and Annie or vice versa. What I can say is that I know that I love him more because I've watched him parent them beautifully every day for the last five and a half years. So, at least in this house in America, I can only say that parenting has grown my love for Peyton exponentially, rather than killed our marriage.

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 08:26 PM PST
"The tiredness is real, y'all. And I feel so inadequate. Because my tiredness makes me think of others who must be more so than I. So I think--ok, I need to take a meal to that friend who is going through the tough time. Or--I need to take that sweet new baby a gift. Or--I need to load up my babies and go visit that elderly person. I am tired of being the person on the receiving end of the thoughtfulness and care, if that kind of crazy makes any sense to you. I want to be the person giving the care and being thoughtful. But most of the time right now, it doesn't happen. I do try to send encouraging texts each day to friends or family who may need them, but beyond that I basically collapse into bed each night triple exhausted and hoping against hope I will get a three hour stretch of sleep that night."

This post and the one after it both really resonated with me. So often it's so hard to let others serve us. One of my favorite songs is called Servant Song and one of the most powerful stanzas says "Brother let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you. Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too". 
Posted: 24 Nov 2014 08:24 PM PST
"We are reading David Platt's Radical and were talking about how we could show the gospel to those in our Church. I thought of basic ideas: help in the nursery, teach Sunday school, bring meals, etc. And this woman, who is recovering from a pretty major knee surgery right now, said, "We can show others the gospel by accepting help from them."Wow. And that's where I am right now. Having to accept grace from others, having to have grace on myself when everything isn't perfect or when I feel weak."

On Adoption:
Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:38 PM PST
"Twelve-year old Stephen tells me that I'm his best friend. I'm his social worker, and he should have a real best friend, but I don't say this to him. We're at a taping for Wednesday's Child, the news spot featuring children who are up for adoption. Stephen is engaging on camera. Maybe somebody will pick him this time. Maybe he is offering just enough evidence, at twelve, that he's a boy worth loving. And he is lovable, truly. But it is not enough. A family never comes."

 Heartbreaking, truly.
Posted: 24 Nov 2014 08:22 PM PST
"And it is this that leads us to understand that our love and companionship are enough. For we have not been called to carry his burden but rather see him through it. It can not have been better illustrated than that portrayed in the Lord of the Rings triology. As Frodo Baggins was called to carry the one ring unto completion of his task, Samwise Gamgee was equally called to accompany Frodo as his companion. Sam came to understand he could not save Frodo from the agony and burden that he was carrying. Simply, he was there to provide his friendship, love, affection, encouragement, counsel, equilibrium and strength along the journey. It was this role that he came to embrace for Frodo and we witness the sufficiency of love and companionship."

Beautiful post. 

On Breastfeeding:
Posted: 21 Nov 2014 09:09 PM PST
From 1977. Love this so much!
On Gender:
Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:35 PM PST
"Her words have shaken my foundation. I look at men differently. I look at my husband, son, father, and brother differently. I think the mistake Atlantic Monthly made was an honest one. I think it is easy to assume that women are alone in their suffering. But it is not so simple. Life and identity are infinitely more complicated than we want them to be. Men were not made to hold the world up by themselves. Our fathers were not made to be hardened statues of strength. Our husbands are not able to walk this world in denial of their vulnerability; allowing us to fall apart while they must always keep themselves together. Like all of us, the men in our lives need saving. They need a Savior." 

Excellent article by my friend Sarah. I think so often about what it means/will mean to have a little boy that seems very sensitive. It kind of scares me because I don't know that the world will look on his vulnerability positively, like they (in some cases) would his sister's. But it also occurs to me often that maybe more of the adult men I know would be more similarly tender and sensitive had they been afforded that opportunity not just when they were three, but when they were eight, twelve, and thirty two. It's a big burden to bear. And if we don't allow them to fall off their white horse then how can they possibly need a Savior to heal their wounds and brokenness?

On Writing:
Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:32 PM PST
"Sometimes you think about just picking up and leaving this filthy city, but then one morning you wake up and watch the sky turn from narcissus-white to the delicate, throbbing, vein-purple hues of the nodding heads of crocuses and irises, the ones you remember picking from your mother's garden when you were still young and unafraid, and there above the Gowanus you see a map of your future, your past, and your heart (but not in an overwrought or sentimental way.)"

Laughing so hard.

On Abortion:
Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:31 PM PST
I volunteered a good bit at the CPC in Jackson. (Clearly what I'm about to say is anecdotal.) I really didn't see a lot of what went on here. There were a few things I saw that I questioned (mainly that they really don't support anything other than abstinence only as far as unmarried clients go), but I didn't see this sort of clear deception. For the most part, when potential clients called it was "We don't provide abortions, but we'd love for you to come in and talk about other options with your pregnancy. And we can give you a pregnancy test and potentially a free sonogram to confirm you are actually pregnant". And no, you're not winning the war for the unborn with scare tactics and deception. At least, that's not the way I want to win it.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Weekly Happenings Post #295 (November 17-23)-- Hiking and House Guests

We had a full, fun week! We had our normal activities and then we added in an eight mile urban hike and house guests! Peyton had an extra day off (Wednesday), which was fun. He was supposed to work Friday, but he ended up not having to, so he was off Tuesday through Friday, which was SUPER nice.

Monday seemed long, but it was a good day. Peyton was working and the kids got up around eight thirty. They were pretty cranky at first, but brightened up a bit after breakfast and their shows. I folded up the couch, scooped liter, planned school, got on the computer, ate my breakfast, and took my bath. I played with them for longer than usual and then we did their devotion and catechism and cleaned up. They ate lunch and I put Graves down. He actually fell asleep! I ate my lunch and got on Facebook and uploaded pictures and then did school (English AND math!) with Annie. We got Graves up and they played and I packed up my Summer shirts. I fixed the kids supper and then we did Graves's critical thinking and read a bunch. I helped them get ready for bed and put them down. I got on the computer and watched The West Wing until Peyton got home. We talked and I worked on a post and then went to bed.

Peyton was off on Tuesday and it was a really nice day. We got up early and I got myself and the kids ready because Peyton was putting the last touches on a presentation on vaccines that he was giving at A House on Beekman. We got going and headed to the train. It was FREEZING. We made it and had a great time. And Peyton's talk went really well. Lots of discussion and questions. We headed back to Brooklyn and stopped at our favorite BBQ place. It was so cold and Peyton wanted to walk, but Annie and I decided to take the train. Well, it was one of those stations where you can't switch sides and I went to the side going to lower Brooklyn instead of Queens, which is what I needed to get back to our neighborhood. Anyway, I had swiped when I realized and you can't swipe again for twenty minutes. So we just waited. A lady with a young toddler came down and couldn't figure out how to get the stroller through the door (it wasn't a turnstyle it was the kind of door that only lets one person in at a time). Usually, there's a door, but there wasn't at this station. I heard a train coming that we could make, but I was helping her figure out a solution so we missed it. We all got through eventually, after she folded up the stroller and then another train was coming. I was helping her down the stairs and we missed that one, too. We finally got on one and got home and Peyton had Graves asleep. We just hung out and I got on the computer and did a few thing and then Annie fell asleep. That never happens. Peyton woke Graves up for Cumbe and I took a nap myself. I had to wake Annie up and I let her watch a couple of shows. I Lysoled a puzzle Peyton had found that someone was giving away and then read some.

Peyton and Graves got back and Peyton got ready to go out for his book club. Actually, this particular night they were going to a TGC event about racial reconciliation. He left and I let the kids play a bit while I changed over my shoes (the last of my closet changeover). I straightened a little and then they had supper and baths. I started bathing them separately, so Graves helped me take some toys back to their room while Annie took her bath and then she picked out books while he took his. I read to them and got them to bed. Too bad those naps had kicked in and they were up until PAST MIDNIGHT. Peyton did get home well before then and we talked and ate and I finished a blog post and put pictures on Facebook.
My kids have the best papa. Annie told me she missed Wicked Witch so I found her toy Wicked Witch. She said "Oh, I meant the real Wicked Witch". When Peyton got home, he got all dressed up and ran cackling into their room. It was as terrifying as it looks, but they loved it.

Wednesday was fun, but exhausting. We got up and got ready and all had breakfast and then we walked (four miles!) to Ikea to check out a day bed I wanted. We ate there and then headed back.
All bundled up. I wanted to go to Ikea to check out a daybed for our sunroom in the suburbs. Peyton complied as long as I agreed to an urban hike, so we walked eight miles in the bitter cold 

No big deal, just shooting a movie in my nabe, per usual.

One thing I love about the cold is another year in granny print corduroy overalls. And I love her sweet face. Would anybody guess she'll be SIX in four months? She looks like a toddler here! Ha!

 Peyton and Annie were going to a program at the Museum of Natural History and Graves and I were hanging out at home.
ready for a simulated trip to the moon at the Museum of Natural History

 They left and, after a few tears, we had a great time!
I enjoyed my night with sweet Baby Graves so much. We watched a Charlie Brown DVD, read his his favorite books, snuggled a LOT, had some really good conversations,and ate graham crackers and raisins for supper. I was surprised I didn't have any bruises (he's about as rough as he is sweet) and bedtime was HARD without his night party playmate, but it was such a great night.

He said "I'm fantastic". So true, Buddy.

Peyton and Annie got home right after I put Graves down. She had supper and we talked and got her to bed. Peyton and I talked.
They got back and Peyton started pretending to be a waiter with a "Louisiana Republican" accent, pulling out her chair and tucking in her napkin. A little dancing was in order, too.

It ended up being an awful night after an awful argument. I went and got both kids and snuggled with them in the guest room. I cleaned up around the apartment and got on the computer for a bit.

We woke up and made up and ended up having a nice day on Thursday. I had slept a little late (I had had such trouble falling asleep and then Graves woke up with a bloody nose). Then we all got ready and went and served at Saint George's "common table", which is like a once a week soup kitchen. We washed dishes and the kids were GREAT! They helped dry them and stayed mostly out of the way. We came home and ate lunch and got ready for ballet. I took Annie to her class and the boys went grocery shopping. I enjoyed the time- I read a bunch!
The munchkin is mine <3 font="">

She is not the most coordinated, but she is deeply focused. And she loves it so.

We got home around the same time and the kids ate supper and we got them to bed. I did some laundry and cooked some delicious soup. I got on the computer a bit and went to bed.

We were having house guests on Friday, so we spent the day around the apartment getting ready. My laundry hadn't completely dried so after my bath I started drying it and washing more. I had a TERRIBLE headache and about four loads to do. I got it all done and folded and in between I swept and tidied the house and helped the kids straighten their room and purge toys. We took some stuff to the storage unit and I cleaned the bathroom. Peyton did dishes and paid a bunch of bills. It was nice to get the house so in order- it was definitely the best it's looked since we got back from Mississippi.

Anyway, Peyton ran to Mr. Coco's and then Mandy and her husband and brother and sister in law got here and we visited and then they went to eat. Peyton and I got the kids to bed and when they got back we talked some more and then they went to bed. I got on the computer for awhile.

Saturday was really laid back. Peyton and I got up at the same time the kids and our guests did. Peyton was getting ready for work and cooking pancakes and when he had to leave, I took over cooking. I also went ahead and scooped liter. We helped Mandy and them get off and then the kids and I watched a few shows. I had had sort of a restless night so I dozed a bit. I put them in their room and had breakfast, got on the computer, and took my bath.
still such a great sentiment! 

Annie's still so much like this, but she's learning more and more how to problem solve through intense emotion (something that's pretty difficult to teach a small human incidentally).

I played with them some and Annie insisted we do their devotion and catechism. I also read to them some. I fixed the kids lunch and we headed to the playground for a bit after that. Graves rested and Annie did the iPad and I got on the computer. I did some critical thinking with her and then took a quick nap because my head was hurting again. I got up and got going and made some more soup. The kids played so well- they played a little game and did play dough and then it was supper time. They ate and then I bathed them and got them ready for bed. Peyton got home and I finished reading to them and put them down. We ate and Mandy and everyone got back. We all visited and then I got on the computer a bit and went to bed.

We all got up on Sunday morning. Since we had four extra people staying with us and I knew we were going to church that night, I decided we'd skip morning church. We got Peyton off to work and then helped our friends get off- after a quick haircut for Baby Graves.
Perks of having your hair girl from the South as your house guest: your little boy looks like a little boy instead of like a hipster styled by the Russian barber. Which is what happened last time I got it cut up here. 

After that, I told the kids I really wanted to go ahead and take my bath before their shows. They played and I ate breakfast, got on the computer, and got my bath and then we watched some Charlie Brown specials. I was so tired I dozed some even though I'd been up for hours. And Graves was SO cuddly. After that,, we all had lunch and I did dishes. I got Graves down for his rest time and I got on the computer and hung out with Annie. When he got up, they had a snack and I looked at Christmas cards a bit. We got ready and headed to church. The kids were pretty wild and I got a bit stressed during the service. Peyton met us afterwards and we headed home. Our friends were back at the apartment and had decided to leave for the airport that night and sleep there because there was going to be really bad storms through the later part of the night and in the early morning and they knew doing trains with their luggage in that would be a disaster. We helped them get off and fed the kids and got them to bed. Peyton and I talked and then I looked at the cards some more and did some other stuff of the computer.

I cannot believe this week is Thanksgiving! The weeks- and months- are flying by!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thankfuls (Days 11-20)

Ten more days of thankfuls! I have to be honest here, I've been in a bad ugly sinful season of discontent. These lists are always a good exercise, but particularly so when I seem to be struggling in finding contentment despite many, many blessings. 

[Sometimes, things have more meaning when context is given. When I look back at these, I want to remember that context.]
*Day 13- This may sound really silly, but along with giving birth naturally, I credit the woman I am today in large part to learning how to manage public transit in a huge city with small people. I used to be extremely underconfident and very fearful. I still am, at times. But these two things have been so empowering and have shown me that through the Lord's strength I am capable of way more than I think I am. It doesn't matter that I'm small and afraid, I am fierce in Him and I will get my tail and theirs' wherever we need to be in this epic city. 
**Day 15- TMI but cough and sneeze season is always a good reminder that my body is a little broken from these kiddos (mainly Graves). It doesn't work like it did six years ago, for sure. But it also reminds me how thankful I am that it did exactly what it was designed to do TWICE, but particularly with Graves who was a lot bigger and a bit more difficult to carry than his tiny sister.