Saturday, March 28, 2015

Letter to (Three Year and Eleven Month Old) Graves

 Dear Graves,

It's been such a fun month with you. We celebrated the Chinese New Year at the Met and you had such a great time watching all the performances (although you are STILL telling us- almost a month later- how upset you are that we ended up not going to the actual parade). We've had a good many relaxing days around the apartment, too. You love those! You enjoy cooking with Papa so much and last time he was off and we stayed home you and Annie did a science experiment with him! You got a knight costume for Valentine's Day and your are obsessed with it. 

Mostly you love to wear as little as possible, though. It will be eleven degrees and every picture I take has to be cropped or strategically positioned (or I have to dress you for it) because all you ever want to wear is superhero underwear.

You are so big. You actually wore pants and a little sweater (not a jon jon) to church the other day. You are still asking to be called "Big Boy Baby Graves".

You are as busy as a bee (or a beehijer- your favorite animal from inside your own imagination) but you are so good natured and appreciative. He told Papa awhile back "you did a great job, Papa!" (at helping him with a craft). One Valentine's Day you also told us thank you for your little presents and when we took you guys out to eat you said "Y'all! Y'all! I'm really enjoying this!". Annie is mostly polite but it doesn't occur to her to validate and affirm people the way you do.

You're catching onto things, though. You didn't want any chicken spaghetti tonight (you're not a picky eater and it's one of your favorites and later realized that). I asked you what you felt like and you said "well, not just random stuff either". Heads up, Papa. Stop just putting "random stuff" on our boy's plate!

You recently figured out that I don't really want you to actually sleep during rest time so now you "threatens" me that you will fall asleep if I don't let you out. You love pretending to be asleep and then jumping up and yelling "SURPRISE!". 

You've also been joining us at about four every morning. And lately you've been building a mini "nest" (like the one in your closet) basically in your sleep. You snore just like your Papa and you're the BEST snuggler.You're also just beautiful to watch. I don't regret saying yes to you for one minute. 

You're the sweetest boy. You and AP were watching Winnie the Pooh a few weeks ago and I heard some whimpering. I went in to check and bless your heart, you had big tears glistening in your eyes. Because Rabbit had told Tigger he could never bounce again. For a moment I just soaked up your sweet sensitivity and cuddled him. But then I thought about how often our culture tells little boys like you to "Stop!Bouncing!" Being honest, I have a little bit of that control freak Rabbit (and anxiety ridden Piglet and and chronically depressed Eyore) in me (wish I could just be Kanga). It was a good reminder that stifling your bouncy spirit would be just as bad as stifling your sensitive one. And I needed it- especially during the long, dreary Winter days that bring out the Rabbit, Piglet AND Eyore sides of my temperament.

You are making real progress on the "things that could kill or really hurt you" front. When you hear a train and you're not in the carrier or a stroller, you immediately squeeze my hand TIGHT. And the other day I picked you up to wash your hands in the sink and you started fussing and said "KNIFE!" because one was in the sink. I realize most kids probably have these epiphanies like two years earlier than you, but I'm SO PROUD of each one.

You are such a funny, funny guy. Annie dropped a piece of ice on the floor and was SOBBING about having to pick it up. Papa goes "You're just going to have to suck it up". And you said "If she sucks it up, she'll get diarrhea". We are so lax about eating off the floor but we've been really consistent with telling you that if you eat stuff off the sidewalk or train platform you will very possibly get diarrhea. Guess the warnings are working.

We've had several amusing trips to The Met with you. You love to point and loudly announce that you are noticing the penises in the statue garden. You call nipples "pinkies" and we got an earfull about all the pinkies you see there as well. 

We actually recently Gave y'all some basic "birds and the bees" info tonight and you kept pressing imaginary buttons on an imaginary bus and yelling "Next stop VAGINA!". I was sort of terrified of the next time we'd have to use public transit.

I let y'all color Valentines for Mickey and Minnie and then dictate them to me. I loved how yours wasn't remotely coherent. It said "This blue card is for Mickey because it's a boy picture. We love our kittens surely much and we don't want them to teetee in our bathroom. Thank you for our Mickey and Rob". 

One fun thing about you is ALL the words you make up. Annie never really did that.  One of my favorite of your made up words- used most often in relation to the back of his beloved crocodile, but can be used to describe anything rough and bumpy- is "gribbally grabbally". I so wish my grandmother was still around to talk to him about going to the "Pig-ally Wig-ally" for groceries.

The other day you said you were doing "starfish-fasha-bihadjer" exercises (usually Papa does jumping jacks and calls them "starfish" then "pencil" to teach you and Annie what to do). Then you started running around the couch repeating "bacon fulled the bastard!" and mixing in random phrases about "vasoli" "axel" "Christ on the cross" "God" etc. . Look, you talk about Christ on the cross constantly. If there's a bastard full of bacon mixed in, I'm okay with it. 

Speaking have become fascinated with crosses. Not like necklaces- literal, actual crosses. A few weeks ago you ran away from us at the train station (not on a platform, praise God) and we had yet another discussion about things that can kill you (cars, trains, ect.). You said "Or a cross could kill Jesus". Another day saw the cross at church and asked me a bunch of questions, the majority of which had to do if it was a REAL cross and and an OUTSIDE cross (I finally figured out you meant one used to actually, you know, crucify someone). You also spent a good few minutes asking our beloved priest, Ben, about the significance of it currently being cloaked in purple. In an earlier conversation with a stranger, I caught myself getting nervous you'd bring up your latest fascination. Because let's face it, when it stops being a necklace and starts being an instrument of torture, things get weird real fast. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that I'd much rather spend my days talking about the gory details of the cross (and the glorious details of Easter morning!) with you than spend them on the things I'm prone to- behavior modification and moralism. 

Graves, we love you so much more than you can ever imagine.

Momma and Papa

P.S. You spider t-shirt is a 3T and your jeans are a 2T. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Letter to (Six Year and Eleven Month Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Ann Peyton, 

Last month was really great with you. We had a fun Valentine's Day and we enjoyed our last month of membership at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. We've been to The Met a couple of times, too. The other day we wound up in the modern art galleries and you saw this big painting that was a bunch of color blocks and said: "AP: "I don't recognize what this is". I thought it was hysterical. It snowed some more and you're getting better and better at reading. 

Speaking of reading. The other day we were working on English and I asked you to tell me a word that ryhmes with "call". Without missing a beat, you said "y'all"?. Bless your heart. You can take the girl outa the South but you can't take the South outa the girl!  

You just love school and are thinking about what you're learning a lot even when we're not doing school. You recently made an uppercase "A" with a banana peel and used more of the peel to make a "breve" on top. You told that it was a short a. It was hysterical to me that you thought to code letters with you nanar peels

During read aloud time the other day we had started Sarah, Plain and Tall and I got a bit teary. You told me that "it doesn't really bother you" when characters' mommas die in the books we read. Gravesy and I are both going to need a Xanax when we get to Bridge to Terabithia. Hope you can put up with us. 

I got this pretty advanced (and really graphic) dino book a long time ago and gave it to you and Graves back in October. It's totally fueled y'alls obsession. We finally finished it- you wanted to read the whole book and I read three pages a day (so much detail!) for months. Then for awhile you insisted that you and Bud pick out their favorites each day to reread. We're slowly stepping back in favor of other things, which is good because I might have made it y'alls Lenten sacrifice. Ha! Anyway, the other day you said that you wanted to be a "cold weather dinosaur". I said okay not realizing you were referring to a specific one. When you asked us what it was Papa and I were like "wooly mammoth??" And you looked at us like "no, fools" and said "um, it's not a creature after the dinosaurs". Well, we found him in the book finally. There was snow in the picture, his name was "cryro" something, and he lived in Anartica. This is so intense.

Also, a recent favorite conversation with you: "Now that my nose has stopped bleeding, the meat eaters are drinking the blood off my tissue....Pretty scary, right?"

You are my little Captain Obvious. Back before Valentine's Day you said to me "do you know what I realized? I think that whole box of stuff from Minnie was to celebrate Valentine's Day because it had a bunch of heart stuff and mostly it was pink or red." 

Sometimes during naptime, Graves likes to pretend to be asleep and then yell "surprise" when you go in to get him. I guess you thought it sounded like fun because she awhile back you walked up behind me and whispered "I'm going to surprise momma" and then yelled surprise. Hello again, Captain Obvious. It's hysterical how much better Graves is at playing jokes even though he's three and you're five.

You are so rule-oriented. You called me back to your room because Monk Monk requested a banana. "But the answer 'you've already ate-en' or 'you can have a snack'?" I think you were genuinely conflicted about what to do and needed me to help you parent MonkMonk.

Momma and Papa

P.S. You got dressed in this dress the other day and I noticed that the arms were getting too short (it still seemed to fit everywhere else). I thought "hmm, we have had it quite awhile" and peeked at the tag. It's a 3T. Hahaha! 

Weekly Happenings Post #312 (March 16-22): Beginning the Boxing

Right after Cookie and Conrad left last week, Peyton decided it wa time to get started packing boxes. We're packing the moving cubes mid April and he's working like thirteen of the first fourteen days in April (and then he'll be off until we leave- woot woot!). Anyway, he's really wanted to help where he can so I won't be stuck doing all the packing those two weeks.

Peyton didn't have to work until Monday afternoon and that was nice after a busy weekend. We all slept late and then got up and got busy. Peyton packed up things and I straightened and did some laundry. We ate lunch and I took a bath. I realized as he was about to leave that I needed to not only get a load, but do one more (the mattress cover from the guest room didn't make it in and I had already stripped the bed). Anyway, I discussed with Peyton and I decided the kids were finally big enough to leave in the apartment while I ran to the basement, especially if I knew it would be a quick trip (i.e.. no sorting or anything). I fixed them lunch and got my laundry. I folded a bunch while they ate and put up some dishes Peyton had washed. I read to them and Graves rested. I got on the computer and then did school with AP. I started my last load of laundry while they played and folded and read some until it was time to change it over. I changed over the laundry and fixed the kids super. They ate and I got the clean laundry and made up the bed. I read to them and got them to bed and got on the computer for a bit. Peyton was late getting home because he ran to Target. I read some more and did my Bible study. When he got home, we ate and talked for a long time.

Tuesday was a good day. Peyton had to work but the kids slept late. Graves and I visited a bit before AP got up. They watched their shows and then I fixed them breakfast. I went ahead and got moving and checked my email. I talked to Peyton and folded up the couch and the kids played in the den a little. They moved to their room and I had my breakfast, did a few more chores, and got my bath. We played and did morning school and then I took some things off the wall to pack and fixed them lunch. I ate lunch and made Suddenly Salad and washed dishes and then read to them. Graves rested and I got on the computer and did school with Annie. When he got up, they played and I folded laundry, packed some boxes of shoes, and got their supper ready while they did Play Dough. They ate and I uploaded pictures and cleaned up the kitchen. I read to them and got them to bed. I got on the computer and cooked mine and Peyton's supper. He got home and we ate and watched TV. I finished a post and sent an email and went to bed.

Peyton was off on Wednesday morning. We got up late and he fixed breakfast and I took a long bath and read some in the tub. Graves ended up coming to visit with me and got a bath, too. I got dressed and started chores- straightening, folding up the couch, and scooping liter. Peyton got ready for work and left and I dried and put away the dishes he had washed. The kids played with kinetic sand and I boxed some homeschool stuff we aren't currently using. I fixed them lunch and made some lemonade. I did more dishes from lunch and then folded some laundry. I read to the kids and Graves had rest time. I ate my lunch and put pictures on Facebook, started a post, and listened to Serial. I read some blogs and did school with Annie. Graves got up and I finished putting up some laundry I had folded while I was doing math with AP. I played with them some and cooked tomato soup. They ate and then had a bath and I got them to bed. I read some blogs until Peyton got home and we ate and watched TV and talked.

Peyton was off on Thursday and it was a nice laid back day. It was pretty and we thought about going to the park but it was SO cold. Peyton cooked breakfast, I took my bath and emailed a friend, and we did some around the house. The kids had lunch and Peyton got ready to go to A House on Beekman but AP decided to stay home. I did a puzzle with the kids, played pretend and fed them a snack. Graves had rest time and Peyton called to say that he realized on the train that tutoring was cancelled. He went to Target and then came home. We ended up letting Graves finish up rest time in a separate area of the den than Annie and he did great. I did two math lessons with Annie while Peyton and Graves did a game on the iPad and then we all played some and ate supper and talked and then got the kids to bed. I did dishes and straightened and finished a blog post. Peyton and I ate and watched TV. We chatted and went to bed.

Peyton was off again on Friday and we had planned to have a relaxing morning and then go to a museum. We got up, got ready, ate breakfast, and I did THREE math lessons with AP (they were about telling time and they all went really fast). We had lunch and were getting dressed to go and Annie said she'd rather just stay home and play here. I was surprised. She has gotten to be more of a homebody but also it was snowing and I think she's just SO done with that, like we are. We all agreed and Peyton and I were somewhat relieved, too. I read a BUNCH to them (like a hundred pages of poetry) and he did a little science experiment.
volcano eruption! 

I started laundry and then Peyton ran to the grocery store and they hung out with me while I typed an email. I finished my wash and Peyton worked on feeding the kids and getting them to bed. After they went to bed, we listened to Serial and I folded. We did a lot of boxing and labeling boxes and then I ate supper and went to bed.

Peyton worked on Saturday and it was a strange day. We got up late and watched their shows and I started straightening. A repair guy came to fix our toilet right before I got in the tub- I was glad we didn't miss him. The kids ate breakfast and I got frustrated with the Internet. I couldn't get my GoodReads account to connect to Facebook and it wouldn't let me log in. I ended up totally reseting the browser and powering off the computer. The computer takes long enough to come back on and then I had to reset my bookmarklet things and with Delicious I had to sign back in and it took me awhile to get that password figured out. The guy finally left and the kids finally finished eating. They played and I took a bath and ate my breakfast and we finally got on with our day. We did the kids' devotion and then they had lunch and we played and read and then Graves rested. I ate lunch and got on the comptuer and when he got up we did two math lessons. The kids had supper and we cleaned up their room and then Peyton got home. He played with them and then helped me get them to bed. We ate and watched a show and then I got on the computer. I got ready for church and went to bed.
Graves woke up. Peyton had fallen asleep reading in the guest room, so I stuck Graves in bed with him! I ended up putting him back in bed because I didn't want him to wake up when Peyton got up for work (Sundays go so much smoother if I beat the kids getting up). Anyway, he starting crying again and I was listening to the news and this family in Brooklyn lost SEVEN children in a house fire. Needless to say, he slept in MY arms all night. 

I got up and got my bath on Sunday and got ready and Graves woke up. He and AP ate breakfast and I got them dressed and finished getting ready myself.
I was stressed out the night before and Peyton made me some cookies from scratch. And he left these for the kids. He's a good fella

I ate something and we left for church. Church was great and the Forum was really interesting (it was the last class on heresies). We stopped by Peyton's store on the way home and by the time we got home it was 3:45.

I woke up this congested and with a headache and sinus nausea. I knew wearing Graves would pull on my reserves and just make me feel worse and more exhausted. Plus I had just told someone that it's less about my fears now and more about how it's just frustrating because he wants to smell every rose (or pick up every rock and stick) in Brooklyn. Anyway, we gave it a shot. Three trains into and out of Gramercy and he did GREAT. I don't give him enough credit. Someone on the train let him play with a toy and he even gave it back right away, the first time I asked him to. Oh and the reason AP has on pants for church: she got hot and they let her take off her dress. The reason Bud has a ducktail: I didn't have time to fix it this morning. Also: SPRING.

 Graves rested and I ate something and got on the computer. I took a nap myself. I got up and we played and I fixed the kids supper. I cleaned up the kitchen and Graves had an accident so he had a bath. Peyton got home and helped me get the kids to bed and we had take out and watched a movie. I called Minnie and read some blogs and went to bed.

Whew. This has been a good week so far. We're boxing some more and it's gotten a little warmer, thankfully!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

Some links that I loved this week. Some of these are older but somehow didn't make it into previous posts (I don't think?). Anyway, here they are:

On Faith:
Posted: 07 Mar 2015 11:57 AM PST
 This is the kind of thing that led to my post on laying down some baggage. Because damn if somebody's not going to throw you under the bus for "being led by your senses" rather than "a theological understanding grounded in the explicit teachings of Scripture." False dichotomies abound. I was sort of unfair to Dr. Mohler in my comments on Facebook when I shared this, but I do think it's problematic. I think Preston (below) does an excellent job of speaking to the issue. 
Posted: 09 Mar 2015 11:06 AM PDT
Who went wrong? My parents, who taught me to pray and know the Scriptures? My pastors, who taught me Jesus longs for all of us to be reconciled to God? My youth leaders, who taught me the Spirit is always at work in us? I became an Anglican, but I do not feel ashamed of the tradition I was raised in. I feel exceptionally blessed to have been raised in it. The Baptists gave me a fierce love of Scripture; the Baptists taught me to want salvation for all people. My questions about what those things meant and mean were not unsafe in the Baptist faith, at least not in the faith I experienced, so words like yours always startle me, especially from someone who is in the position of leadership you hold. I am an Anglican, but I do not dismiss your faithfulness. I do not doubt your convictions or openness to the Spirit of God. Were you to come to our church, the Table would be open to you, for we confess and serve together the same Good Shepherd. More importantly, we were found by the same Good Shepherd. I can guess your criticisms of my faith and the Christian faith as expressed in Roman Catholicism. Baptism, Communion, justification, and so on. I take these matters seriously, not least of all because it’s my job to. But as we both know, the world is becoming increasingly hostile to orthodox Christian faith. We both know the souls of many hang in the balance. We both know the witness of the church faces countless challenges. I’ll be direct: why are we wasting time?"

Well, Preston as far more gracious and generous to Al than I was. Which is convicting. Every word of this is really, really good.
On Family: 
Posted: 16 Mar 2015 06:29 PM PDT
"Gingerly walking, slowly healing, taking all help that is offered. I remember the first-baby-me, the one who wanted to be seen as capable and together, and bless her heart. What a waste of energy on independence. Now I eat meals other women prepared for my family and I praise them at the city gates. I lean heavily on my mother and my sister for disciplining my children, for an extra set of hands, for help cleaning the kitchen. I am humbled and so I receive from my people. I cry when my milk comes in and I sort through our delivery, my recovery, my emotions, receiving prayer and wisdom from friends. One day again it will be my turn to make the meals, to lay hands and minister with prayer and perspective, and a folded load of laundry, I will be ready."

This whole thing is so beautiful.

Posted: 07 Mar 2015 08:13 PM PST
"Plans change. Flights are delayed, museums are closed on random days, the food isn't what they said it'd be like, and it thunderstorms on beach days. Such is life. ...Yes, this happens in real life, too, but it seems to happen more often than not on extended worldwide travel. It can be hard on my sensibilities as an adult, but embracing change and learning to go with the flow teaches my kids how to flex in all parts of life. In fact, they've taught me a thing or two in this department—it's been a joy to watch them adapt to changes and adjust their expectations on the go."

Posted: 07 Mar 2015 05:10 PM PST
"So, don't be discouraged when you see my clean kitchen or your friend with the amazing closet and beautiful hair. Don't be discouraged by the mom who gets her kids to eat well-balanced paleo meals or the friend who is always hosting all these fun play dates and parties. We're all struggling with something else you're not seeing and we're all "real," I promise." This is actually something I've given a good bit of thought to. I think this article makes great points in that we all have areas we are strong in and areas we're weak in and we should just be encouraging each other and building each other up. There's no need to shame someone for their strengths (by pretending they are an illusion) to avoid shaming others for their weaknesses (e.g. a messy house). It can be a "both and" thing. Also, it's helpful to keep in mind that everything is a curated image, at least to an extent (and sometimes subconsciously). But the chick with the messy house is presenting something to you just like the one who moved the laundry hamper out of the way before she snapped the picture.

Posted: 11 Mar 2015 08:16 PM PDT
I love the idea of a more structured quiet time. I've wondered how this would work going forward, especially as we have a small-ish house and would like more little people in it =)
On Childhood: 
Posted: 16 Mar 2015 07:27 PM PDT
"This is the hope of glory: feeling the decadent evening love rising warm in pinking cheeks, covering eyes to things not for children. This is the hope of glory: the wonder of traveling mercies, snowy peaks and Carolina tide, and ever asking 'are we there yet?'"

On Story:
Posted: 07 Mar 2015 12:19 PM PST
"But far above art and style is heart and story, and sometimes the deepest most beautiful moments in life don't add up to fit a cohesive feed. They happen in artificial light, in front of cluttered boxes, with crooked lines, harsh shadows and yellow hues. Their story is their art. This week, I added some of my most beautiful moments ever to my feed. There's no soft, natural light, no strategic perspective, but they represent the most important thing about my art and my brand, I hope--love. Love can't always be packaged with soft light and pretty details, love doesn't always photograph well or fit with our style, but the story blooming under those fluorescent lights, the emotions surging in that crowded room--it was art, it was beauty, and it looked and felt more cohesive with what I want to capture and share than the perfect afternoon light ever could. It was beautiful."

On Cancer:
Posted: 07 Mar 2015 08:07 PM PST
"You might think seeing a breast cancer scar 'Oh, that's ugly, that's scary' but yet when you see these images they're raw, they're unflinching and yet they're beautiful, they're empowering". So brave.

On Crowds:
Posted: 08 Mar 2015 08:07 PM PDT
"It is only in a crowd that man can become free of this fear of being touched. That is the only situation in which the fear changes into its opposite. The crowd he needs is the dense crowd, in which body is pressed to body; a crowd, too, whose psychical constitution is also dense, or compact, so that he no longer notices who it is that presses against him. As soon as man has surrendered himself to the crowd, he ceases to fear its touch." So fascinating. I know this has been true of me this year. And it adds an interesting dimension to my shoe tying anecdote from this morning (i.e. often New Yorkers are forced to touch each other regularly and indiscriminately- you've already been humbled a bit- so it's much easier to bend down and tie a stranger's shoe, which happened to me recently- blog post soon (maybe tomorrow?)).

On Jeans:
Posted: 07 Mar 2015 08:06 PM PST
If I had a nickel for every time someone wearing these things told me graphically about the porn he had watched, flipped off the principle behind his back, or enjoyed the view while I engaged is the most absurd acts of thirteen year old PDA on the campus of a prestigious college preparatory school, I'd have....probably a whole JNCO pocket full of nickels. And also a very different early adolescence. Wouldn't trade it for the world. It was a formative experience and some of those friendships live on to this day. But ‪#‎hardishardyo‬ and ‪#‎sevenththroughninthgradewasHARD‬ ‪#‎sorryMinnieIknowtheywereyourhardestyearstoo‬

On Southern Snowstorms:
Posted: 07 Mar 2015 08:14 PM PST
This is THE BEST. I nearly spit out my drink. So on point since a) Minnie actually uses the word "catywampus" on the regular and b) Sweet Dixie Champagne is the only way I'm making it these days. P and I were howling (and missing the South something fierce).

(Our Apartment) On Streeteasy:
Posted: 07 Mar 2015 08:04 PM PST
So who wants to buy our eight hundred square foot apartment for half a million dollars? ‪#‎priceyplacetoliveyo‬
Noteworthy Quotes from the Week:
"“My identity as Abba’s child is not an abstraction or a tap dance into religiosity. It is the core truth of my existence. Living in the wisdom of accepted tenderness profoundly affects my perception of reality, the way I respond to people and their life situations. How I treat my brothers and sisters from day to day, whether they be Caucasian, African, Asian, or Hispanic; how I react to the sin-scarred wino on the street; how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike; how I deal with ordinary people in their ordinary unbelief on an ordinary day will speak the truth of who I am more poignantly than the pro-life sticker on the bumper of my car. We are not for life simply because we are warding off death. We are sons and daughters of the Most High and maturing in tenderness to the extent that we are for others—all others—to the extent that no human flesh is strange to us, to the extent that we can touch the hand of another in love, to the extent that for us there are no “others.”" - Brennan Manning
Grace abounds in contemporary movies, books, novels, films and music. If God is not in the whirlwind, He may be in a Woody Allen film, or a Bruce Springsteen concert. Most people understand imagery and symbol better than doctrine and dogma. Images touch hearts and awaken imaginations. One theologian suggested that Springsteen's 'Tunnel of Love' album, in which he symbolically sings of sin, death, despair and redemption, is more important for Catholics than the Pope's last visit when he spoke of morality only in doctrinal propositions.” -Brennan Manning
{{SD here: Gnosticism, and plenty of contemporary Christianity, says that these things are unhelpful and wasteful. Or worse yet, downright bad. Ol' Brennan says they are good and Grace abounds in them and the folks at Mockingbird have carved out a whole niche for pointing people to the Cross using pop culture. Basically, I've found my people. #‎andIdonthavetowatchfireprooforlistentokloveifidontwantto‬}}

"If your Bible study doesn't offend you with the humbling message of the cross, if it tells you steps to get better, it isn't Christian." -Elyse Fitzpatrick 

If you tell your own story with sufficient candor and concreteness, it will be an interesting story and in some sense universal." -Fredrick Buechner

Noteworthy Images from the Week:


{MLK removing a burning cross from his yard. The child beside him is his son.}

Hope you enjoyed and learned something new! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Weekly Happenings Post #311 (March 9-15)-- Cookie and Con Visit!!!

We had a great time with Cookie and Conrad this weekend. It was a short trip and we were so exhausted- we stayed up late and I think I just got "peopled out". Graves actually wore me slap out. Peyton and I both looked at each other after they left and we were like "We are so tired- from Graves". I'm not even kidding. He did not stop talking, except for sleeping, the entire time. Even when we were having our own conversations, he basically kept talking or singing to himself. I mean he's sort of like that in general, but he was in OVERDRIVE. Annie was almost the exact opposite. She was the most reserved I've seen her in awhile. She was very happy and pleasant the whole time, but sort of distant at points. She'd just look off into the distance some and I knew she was thinking so hard or else just caught up in her own imagination. I think it was sort of overwhelming for her- all the talking and going from one thing to the next. It was interesting to watch how their little temperaments seemed incredibly magnified in this situation. 

It was also really fun to have Cookie and Conrad to ourselves (i.e. not in Jackson, where we have to share them) so we got a lot of visiting in. I actually felt like I learned things about my sister- that she still calls my mom three or four times a day and that she cries when she thinks about how much she loves King Louie, their dog- that I didn't know. It was a really special time. 

But back to the beginning of the week...

Peyton didn't have to work until Monday afternoon and we all slept SO late and then watched Bambi in bed. Ha! I got up and did some things and we had "brunch" before Peyton left. The kids played and I got on the computer, took my bath, and did some major straightening and organizing. It was beautiful and warmer than usual and we headed to the park with snacks. We had an okay time, but there was still a good bit of ice I hadn't expected. The kids and I had on light jackets (it was in the fifties) and everyone else still had on their Winter gear. We came home and Graves rested. I got on the computer and enjoyed watching day turn to dusk out our window. I did math with Annie and Graves got up. We finished math and played and I fixed chili and they ate and I got them to bed. I got on the computer and Peyton got home. We stayed up too late, of course.

We all slept pretty late again on Tuesday and Peyton was off. We had a low key morning and then got ready and headed to Prospect Park. It was overcast and windy and we made it longer than the previous day, but I was cold. 
Graves wanted to wear his sandals and some weird ensemble of coats. And I don't think Annie's hair was combed that day.  We look a mess. 

We headed home and had snacks and bathed the kids and then Peyton and I worked on starting to pack up the kids' room while they watched a couple of shows. I did laundry and Graves and Peyton ran to get groceries in the neighborhood around nine thirty, in the drizzling rain. I was doing math with Annie. Ha! Our schedule is insane. They got home and we finished up and the kids fell asleep really quickly. Peyton and I ate super, watched some shows and folded laundry, and chatted. Annie had not wanted her hair washed, so around two, right before he went to bed, Peyton got her up and washed her hair. She seriously didn't mind one bit. 

We had a really relaxing day on Wednesday. Peyton was off and we all slept really late and watched Little House on the Prairie. We had breakfast and I got busy. I took my bath and straightened around the apartment. I did everything but the kids' room and the dishes. Peyton worked on packing up some of his clothes and then I got Annie's work together and they left for the Bronx. Graves actually took a nice nap and so the time flew. I wrote a blog post, put pictures on Facebook, and relaxed. When he got up, we packed up some more toys and I started cleaning up the kitchen. Peyton and Annie got home and the kids ate supper and I finished the dishes. I scooped the liter box and Peyton got the kids ready for bed. I read them their Bible story and got on the computer for a bit. I read a few blogs and responded to some emails. I had a hard time falling asleep. 

Peyton was working all day Thursday and I had several things to do to get ready for Cookie and Conrad's visit. Graves had gotten in our bed super early, but he slept until about nine and then we played until Annie got up around ten. They watched their shows and had breakfast and I did a bunch of cleaning. I swept behind the couch and it was AWFUL. I also searched for a remote and realized one of the kitties had teeteed in the laundry again. I got on the computer, ate my breakfast, and took my bath. And then started the all day process of doing two loads of laundry. We got the first load on, came back and did an abbreviated version of morning school, went back down and put it in the dryer, had lunch (I folded a previous load while they ate), went and got the laundry, and read our pre rest time book. Graves rested and I ate my lunch, read a few blogs, and did school with Annie. Graves got up and we started another load of laundry. We came up and I emailed a friend and we cleaned up their room. We switched it to the dryer and they ate supper. We went down to check it and it still wasn't dry. I bathed them and we got it out at the last minute before nine (when the basement laundry room closes). I got them to bed and Peyton got home. I got on the computer and went to bed after we ate and watched several episodes of Parks and Rec.

Friday was the day Cookie and Conrad were arriving and Peyton had taken it off, but they weren't getting here until later. We got up and had breakfast and got ready and caught a bus to Ikea.

We were looking for a slipcover for our couch and I wanted to buy some bedding for a daybed I wanted to put in the sunroom at home. I wanted to get the trip checked off my list! We ate lunch there and found out that the slipcover (and couch!) were being discontinued. Ugggh. Ours is in BAD shape from the cats and now I'm not sure what to do. Troubleshoot with Minnie, I guess. Anyway, we got the bedding and headed home. We had snacks and rest time and finished straightening up the house for our guests. Cookie and Conrad arrived before nine and we headed to get pizza. We had a wonderful time and when we got home, we did the nighttime routine all together. We talked to Cookie and Conrad and planned our day for Saturday. I got on the computer briefly and went to bed.

Saturday was a great day. It was raining and we took it easy that morning. Cookie and Con went to a local restaurant in Fort Greene for brunch and we got ready and got the kids ready to go. They got back and took showers and we headed into the city. We went to the Natural History Museum, walked through Central Park from the Upper West Side to the Upper East Side, had lunch at a deli in the city, and then did The Met.

These monkeys LOVED having their aunt and uncle here. 

He is in heaven. Before Cookie and Con got here he was so nervous and talking ninety miles a minute. He told me that Cookie MIGHT have a tail like a mermaid and he asked me if she'd be wearing her wedding dress.

Surprisingly, one of their current favorite things at the Museum of Natural History is a temporary exhibit on natural disasters. I'm super fascinated by it, too!

Watching Superstorm Sandy hit the city on this digitalized table map. SO interesting!

He's gonna be a weather freak like Mick. 

Annie requested a picture in front of the Native American homes, unsurprisingly.

The Met is typically not my favorite museum. Peyton always talks to the kids about the artistic techniques, which is just not my thing. Anyway, we were back in Contemporary and Modern again and Annie and I started talking about the *meaning* of the pieces. We talked about this hand and how Surrealists liked to portray irrational things (like a hand with no body attached to it) sometimes. I explained what that meant and asked her to come up with an example she could draw or make with Play Dough. She said "a zebra making pancakes". I showed her the beautiful pastoral paintings and told her about modern artists who were influenced by a desire to escape their chaotic, urban surroundings and I asked her to think of a place where a city girl can run free ("Prospect Park, Momma!") and what a great feeling that is. A wonderful day on so many levels!

We came home pretty wiped out. We fed the kids dinner and I started laundry and then Cookie, Conrad, and I had a nice quiet dinner at Lola- a place I love in our neighborhood.. We got home and put the laundry in the dryer and watched some Civil War documentaries on Netflix and visited. I got my laundry and Peyton and Conrad talked some (Cookie had already gone to bed). I emailed a friend and went to bed myself.

Sunday was another great day. We got up- again leisurely- and went to eat breakfast at another one of our favorite's, Cousin John's.

We were going to trek down to the piers but it was SO cold. We ended up visiting Prospect Park and showing them the library.
A little #anniesart. One thing that drives me NUTS is when adults talk to kids and they ask a million questions and don't give them time to answer. I know their intention is so sweet and I appreciate them acknowledging my children. And I get that waiting for an answer can feel awkward. Anyway, this woman asked her on Sunday what kind of dinosaur her toy was. Annie said "she's a stegasauras". Then she asked if she had a name "Is it Jane? Mary? Ellis? Linda?...oh, does he not have a name?" When she FINALLY stopped talking Annie looked her directly in the eye (something she's not always great about) and said "Yes ma'am, she does have a name. Her name is Stegy". It was so good to see a combination of polite and assertive from her.

We came home and Cookie and Conrad got their stuff together and played dinosaurs for a bit. They left mid afternoon. I knew Peyton and the kids were staying home from church, but I had planned to go. I ended up deciding I was just too peopled out. I got a headache awhile later and I was really glad I had decided to stick around home. Peyton took a part the kids toy shelf, dollhouse, and work bench and I packed up some stuff. The kids watched a show and had supper and a bath and we got them to bed. I sent a few emails and read some blogs and did a few things and then I talked to Minnie. Peyton and I chatted and went to bed.

This week has been great so far and I can't believe how quickly we are inching right along towards April.