Thursday, January 31, 2013

Another Yes

I got a parcel in the mail yesterday from my grandmother: a wonderfully cozy tea cozy (can you get cozier than a tea cozy? really?), a miniature black train for Littles that is now his favourite, and a book that my mom had asked her to mail to me.

So I spent the last twenty four hours reading. You know, in between being the Beyond Awesome Mom I know I've tricked you all into thinking I am.

I read Sent before bed last night (in spite of a 5.15 alarm), during the boys' bath time, in the drive thru line, instead of mopping, and while we had some quality Veggie Tales watching during dinner (see: Beyond Awesome). I did refrain from reading while driving, since the Man frowns on that, and I also didn't read while running since I had company and it was still pretty dark out when I went (the street lights are spotty), but barely 24 hours later, I've finished the book.

I can't even begin to explain to you the emotional impact this book had on me. It took me home. I realize it won't do that for most of the people who read it--there are a limited number of Americans who grew up in Southeast Asia--but if you love Jesus or even if you just say you love Jesus (maybe especially if you just say you love Jesus?), this book should be a gigantic kick in the pants. It was for me. Because when Jesus says to me, "Follow me" and I say, "yes"--do I really mean it?

And let me be straightforward, what Christ called the Alan family to will probably not be what He calls me to and what He calls me to will probably not be what He calls you to, but am I ready to be obedient? Am I putting my "yes" on the table, no holds barred, no reservations, regardless of what that means for me (or even for my kids?)? And really, what He is calling all of us to is a closer relationship with Him, and normally that means obeying Him even when it looks just a little insane to the rest of the world.

I'll include one quotation just to trigger your interest. Hilary writes, after giving up her house, her job, her husband's job, her kid's schools and hobbies, her friends, her normalcy, her life (as she knew it), "We had not given up anything of any real value, and we had been given so much in return. Besides, there is nothing radical about obedience. It's what all followers of Jesus are called to do." But what does that really look like?

So if you want to read more, you can pre-order Hilary Alan's book on Amazon (it comes out February 19th). I got to read an advanced copy because my mom and Hilary are bffs (they are that cool) and not at all because I was going to write about it on the blog--that was a fortuitous afterthought on my part--but I have pledged to share all good things with you, and now I have done so. 

Because I Could

 Today I said yes.

When my son asked me if he could stay home from "school," I said yes.

Then I said yes to making a pillow fort out of couch cushions. I said yes to dancing crazily to Little's favourite song--15 times in a row. I said yes to Christmas socks on the last day of January.

I said yes to bath time before lunch, bath time with both vivid green water and enough bubbles for bubble beards. I said yes to lotion between the toes (although Littles wanted to say no). I said yes to turkey and cheese sandwiches and leftover vegetable soup. Tiny said yes to falling asleep at the lunch table (pillow forts are exhausting).

I said yes to reading during nap time and also yes to mopping, yes to lemonade and yes to post nap Pop-Tarts (don't judge), yes to crumbs on the table, on the floor, on my jacket and yes to sharing with the dog.

I said yes to going to the playground and going down the slide, yes to the constant panic attack that is Tiny thinking he's a big boy, yes to racing Littles home (even though I was carrying both his brother and the ball he'd insisted on bringing).

I said yes to Sonic for dinner, and then when Littles changed his mind, I said yes to Braums. I said yes to Veggie Tales and eating in the living room. I said yes to Toot and Puddle and giggles before bed time (but I confess I said no to Thomas--there's only so much I can take). I said yes to night lights (in the plural), ocean sounds, and good night snuggles.

I said yes today because this week was too full of noes, too full of negatives, too full of Not, and today I wanted life. I wanted a celebration. And I could've sent Little to school and gone about my day like any other Thursday, accumulating check marks on my To Do list as I went, and it wouldn't have been a wrong choice by any means, but today, instead, I just. said. yes.

Because I could.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Just a Picture

And a few words to make your Monday a little more lovable:

Littles, after attaching his snowflake balloon to the Trigs: Trigger is Super Christmas!!!

I'm guessing that Super Christmas is some kind of awesome new canine superhero, perhaps one that delivers Christmas and all its wonders year round instead of merely in December. He flies through the air with the greatest of ease, after all, thanks to that helium balloon. But can he successfully disguise himself with only a pair of nerdy glasses?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Not Awesome Beyond All Reason

Last night, things were a little more formal since we had guests for dinner. They were especially thrilled with their high end, size appropriate table and chairs after being unceremoniously kicked out of Tiny's high chair, much to Little's dismay.

But tonight, after a long day of sharing snot and peanut butter crackers, losing trucks in the sandbox, cleaning poop out of the bathtub, celebrating the little things, playing dress up with the house, and generally kicking rear and taking names, we decided to kick back in some matching footie pajamas (Littles loves him some matching), eat a pizza, and watch Veggie Tales. Classic Frizz Family Friday Night.

Just thought I'd share. 

In my mind I had a really hilarious way to tie up this post and make it seem relevant and awesome beyond all reason, but I just realized that it's eight o'clock on a Friday night and I'm seriously considering going to sleep right now, so I'm obviously incapable of anything hilarious, relevant, or awesome. 

The End. 

I think.

Is it bedtime yet? 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Forgetting Something

This morning as I was slapping together Little's sandwich and trying to divine where Tiny's sippy cup had disappeared to, I had this niggling feeling that I was forgetting something, that there was something I was supposed to be thinking about. What was it, though? I'd gotten out to exercise already (in blisteringly cold winds), had my quiet time, been purposeful about greeting the boys with joy, made the beds, sipped my coffee slowly. What was it?

We were walking out the door, Little's backpack on his bag, Tiny slung over my shoulder along with the diaper bag, when I saw the recycling truck coming up the road. Our very full recycling bin is no where in sight, by which I mean, most definitely still in our locked garage. I hesitated a minute. Maybe it wasn't that full. Maybe we could make it another week. Maybe... And then I grabbed the keys out of the diaper bag, hoisted Tiny up a little higher, and high-tailed it for the garage, Littles following questioningly in my wake. I managed to get the lock open (no small feat), man-handled the recycling bin out the side door (the garage door is a beast), yelled (lovingly but loudly) at Littles to Get Out of the Way NOW, and raced to the curb, just as the recycling truck pulled up in front of our house. I said a breathless good morning to the driver, loaded the kids in the car, apologized eloquently to Littles, and hit the road.

And then it hit me. It wasn't that I was making bad choices this morning (although forgetting to put out recycling wasn't my best option and yelling at Littles may be in the grey area); it was that I was forgetting the point. The routines I'd chosen were there for a purpose--to remind me of Christ, to help me choose the Good Portion--and instead they were just becoming routines. Good ones, maybe, but without the heart behind them they were just meaningless actions and reactions.

So I just want to say: don't mistake the means for the End, don't mistake the discipline for the Reward. And please don't let me do that either.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

And Oh!

We're all learning stuff around here.
 Sometimes life is full of little moments that bring a sudden "Oh" of understanding to me. Not necessarily anything deeply profound but more than a mere blip on the radar. It can happen between heartbeats, and the ordinary I've been seeing appears less ordinary, whether that means there is the hint of the sacred acknowledged or an unexpected realization of who I am.

Like this afternoon when I was cutting up Tiny's PB&J til it looked like the communion bread they served at my old church (we did chopped up slices of white bread instead of cross-embossed communion wafers--practical and economical) and--Oh! My sons and I are breaking bread together, and even bread that's been smeared with peanut butter and sticky jam counts.

Or hearing from an old friend about her upcoming permanent change of station (even though we haven't lived in the same city for a year and a half now) and a sudden wave of missing and--Oh! The rest of my life is going to feel like that, at least to a certain extent, missing what I already don't have.

Or when the Brown Eyed Boys look up at me from the small plastic table and its pair of yellow chairs as they eat their lunch or when I walk through the front door holding only the diaper bag because both boys are proudly crossing the threshold on their own and--Oh! Have I suddenly become superfluous? Already?!?! And does this kind of feel great?

Or when I find myself writing a letter in my head {Dear People Who Lived Here Before Us, I understand that you probably left in a hurry (being military like ourselves), but was it really necessary to affix multiple tiny pieces of sticky tack all over the middle bedroom and then LEAVE IT for some poor person like myself to diligently scrape off with a tiny paring knife? At the very least, you could've used tacks. Also, letting your kids put stickers on the walls and then not removing the whole sticker? Really? I'm speechless. Sincerely, the Sucker Who Moved In After You} and--Oh! I'm either going to have to learn how to suck it up or I'm going to be whining about rentals for the rest of my life (evidently while missing people I haven't seen in years).

Or getting frustrated with Littles as he runs both Percy and Thomas on the track, full throttle and shivering angrily head-to-head, each trying to go the opposite way, as their batteries die an early death and--Oh! That's Jacob wrestling with God (because inevitably the stronger engine wins)--that's me fighting with my husband (we don't get very far and wear ourselves out)--that's me, too, pushing my will instead of His.

And I have no idea how to encapsulate those moments here after a day of changing the kitty litter and walking the dog and scrubbing down walls and getting peed on (though technically that was last night--and that's what I get for cutting Tiny's fingernails while he is in the nude), but I hope that maybe you'll read this and something will click in your head about your day and you'll go: Oh! And suddenly it will all make sense. Or possibly make less sense, which can be equally exciting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Questions for Christians: A Not At All Snarky Take On Christian Romance Novels

For my birthday this year, the Man's grandparents sent me a two volume novel (not a three volume novel,  Oscar Wilde), A Thousand Tomorrows and Just Beyond the Clouds by Karen Kingsbury. I will state up front that I had never read a Karen Kingsbury novel, not having the highest opinion of most Christian fiction, but since it was a gift and I'd heard relatively decent things about her writing and since we were knee-deep in The Month of Sick, I decided to give it a shot. So I did.

It took me around 48 hours in between rubbing Vicks on the boys and refilling the humidifier and dolling out steam baths, and they were done. Easy reading, in all honesty. And her writing wasn't awful even if it wasn't necessarily award winning--there were no hearts beating like tom-toms or eyes persistently described as "screaming silver blue"--and she did her best with hard topics like Down Syndrome and premature death (and had done an excellent job researching the rodeo). But over the next few days (and evidently weeks since it's almost February now), something bothered me about it.

What bothered me was this: there was talk about church and morals and Christianity and prayer and maybe even a couple passing references to Jesus, but there was no real Jesus. There was no Christ crucified and resurrected. There was no laying down of our lives to take up His. There was no transformation through a relationship with Christ.

In the author's note at the end, Ms Kingsbury writes that if her book had encouraged you to find hope in Jesus, then to go find a Bible-believing church and start digging into the Scriptures. While this is admirable, and I truly hope her readers read her note (possibly more than her novels), I found myself asking what in the book would have possibly drawn someone to Jesus--and came up empty. It might've drawn me to the concept of prayer or to leading a moral life but to Jesus? The fact that the main character refrains from having premarital sex only out of deference to his late wife's memory tells you something. How is he transformed by a relationship with Christ? He doesn't seem to be. Towards the end, he's attending church; he's praying; he's living life the "right" way, perhaps. But, as Paul says, all of that is a loss (literally: dirty garbage, dung, menstrual rags) compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:8).

I'm not trying to slam Ms Kingsbury's writing. Neither am I suggesting that she should've spent a greater portion of the book sermonizing. I merely suggest that when writing Christian characters we, as writers, should challenge ourselves to show the true transforming power of a relationship with Christ, just as we, as believers, should challenge ourselves to live out the transformation of Christ--instead of just going to church or praying or doing the "right" things and thinking we've got it covered.

It makes me wonder, how many people fill the pews of our churches or the chairs of our Bible studies or the links of our prayer chains and don't know who in the world Jesus is and the incredible gift of Life that He is offering us? And why in the world are we not telling them if we ourselves know?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

There's a New Hero in Town

 We entertain ourselves fairly well around here:

And no, that was actually not my idea. It was the nephew of the woman who used to dress up my stuffed animals and place them in entertaining scenarios (generally eating each other) any time she generously decided to make up my bed. She may be half a world away and hitting cows with her bicycle, but her spirit is always with us and evidencing itself by dressing up Penguinsie as a superhero mafioso.

Sometimes the best words are these: indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. There just isn't enough to complain about with these two around.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Together At Last

{"Reunited and It Feels So Good" playing softly in the background}

What once was lost has now been found.

Also, dust ruffles are the devil.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cinders and Ashes!

Thomas the Tank Engine is MIA.

We have sent for the dogs and commenced the man hunt (train hunt?).

Littles had the handy idea to ask Percy, Thomas' best friend, but Percy, unfortunately, did not know where Thomas was. This came as no small surprise to me considering the fact that Percy has always been just a few bricks short of a load, in my opinion, and also just arrived yesterday, while Thomas has been missing for a couple days now.

Then Littles suggested that the Man took Thomas to work with him. Which is logical. If I had to go to work all day and alternately arrest people and then commit death by powerpoint, I'd like a really useful engine to take with me.

So we have ransacked the house, but he is nowhere to be found. This is the inevitable consequence of playing hide-and-seek with inanimate objects, I explained to Littles. I should know. I once hid my sister's turtle in our baby swing and didn't find it again for a week. Don't worry. It lived. Let's hope Thomas fares as well.

Now my phone has joined Thomas in the black hole where he has hidden himself. My hope is that Thomas will use his good sense to dial 911. At the very least, we'll be able to track the cell phone back to him. But can steam engines dial?

Never mind. I found my phone deep in the bowels of the couch, but still no Thomas.

If you were a really useful engine belonging to a train obsessed three year old, where would you go?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Year of the Good Portion

I've been waiting to write this post. Partially because I wanted to get past the boys' birthday blowout (haha), but mostly because the year always starts in this glow of newness when the power of ideas and words carries you smoothly over the rough patches and I wanted to wait until the nitty gritty hit, until the going got tough, because it's easy to talk when things are going the way you want them and perhaps not so easy when you are coming up against your weakness and sin nature in the day-to-day.

Let me back up. I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I like to talk through the last year and maybe write some goals for the new year, but actually making a resolution (that I'll probably break within the next three weeks) is not quite my cup of tea. As a perfectionist, it's difficult to even set goals that I may or may not be able to meet--yes, this is a fear problem in my life--but I read about the idea of naming the year to come, and so I began praying, praying about what to name this coming year--in hope.

{I want so badly to share my heart with you about this, but I feel that the words are coming out disjointed, stilted. Bear with me?}

I considered the Year of Light. And then the Year of Boldness. And then the Year of Purpose. But as I laid them out before the Lord, none of them seemed like quite what my heart needed. Then, as I prayed, I happened to read again the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10, and verse 42 jumped out at me, these words:
Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.
And it tugged at me. Something about the wording was different. What did it mean that she'd chosen the good portion?  In truth, the word "portion" has always been one of my favourites; I love the passage in Lamentations 3 that reads:
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
So I went through my Bible and studied the word "portion". It was used a lot more in the Old Testament when God was dividing up what went where (and to whom) in the Promised Land, so I sludged through a lot of verses in Deuteronomy and Numbers that made my eyeballs want to fall out. The one interesting thing I found there, though, was that, for the Levites, God really was their literal portion and the rest of the Israelites were required give a portion (again!) of what they had in order to care for their Levite brothers. I also learned that I could take my portion lightly, that I could give it away or waste it, that I could even chose it from the wrong source (Joshua 22). And I learned that trusting in lies limits my portion (Jer. 13:25).

Then there were countless references of God being our portion (like the one in Lamentations 3:24, and also Psalm 16:5 and Psalm 73:26), which was what I think Jesus was referring to when he told Martha that Mary had "chosen the good portion". You see, when Mary chose to sit down and listen to what Jesus was saying, she wasn't choosing not to help Martha or to be lazy or even to be intellectual and bold (for a woman at the time), what she was choosing, what she was taking as her portion, was Jesus. He was the good portion.  It wasn't about making a legalistic choice or a spiritual choice or a right versus wrong choice; it was simply about choosing Jesus. And that's what I want from this year.

The truth is that it's easy for me to get bogged down in To Do lists and legalism and perfectionism. On the flip side, it's easy for me to get lost in laziness and guilt and my endlessly awful entertainment addiction. And for me, it's cyclical. I try hard to do everything right and then get overwhelmed so I crash and then I feel guilty so I try to hide from the guilt in either more slothfulness or more sweat and struggle.

This year, I don't want that.

This year, I want the good portion. This year, I want Jesus.

And some days that means getting up before the sun and just being with Him. And some days that means snuggling in bed with my Little Man and reading Winnie the Pooh (because didn't He say, "Let the little children come to me"?). And some days that means putting His words before myself over and over again, even in those heated moments when I discover Littles stealing Tiny's toy, or Tiny destroying yet another one of my books, or a tornado struck room that two seconds earlier had been neatly picked up (yes, I just called my sons tornadoes).

But it doesn't mean more rules. It doesn't include the words "I will never" or "I will always". It doesn't mean I'm always going to be perfect and always be right and never get angry (which is good because I would definitely have blown it today). It just means that whenever it comes to mind, I'm going to make the choice to draw near to Jesus, whatever that happens to look like, in whatever moment I'm in, and that that will be enough.

So check back with me in June, and ask me if I'm still choosing the good portion or if I've settled for something that might not be that bad but just isn't Jesus.

And thanks for letting me get these words out (I promise more eloquence on the next post) because I know there is power in speaking my heart aloud, if only to hold myself accountable. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Birthday Blurbology, Part 2

  •  If your newly 3 year old son excuses himself from the breakfast table to go to the bathroom and takes a really long time and comes back with really dirty hands (even though you were sure you'd wiped them off before he went), don't blame the frozen blueberries he was eating. Blame the wonderful friend who sent you the Color My Bath tablets. You will find this in the bathroom sink:

  • Also, if you should happen to have a baby (who is no longer a baby) who likes to hand feed every meal to the dog (who ate yesterday's cupcakes), do not be surprised if you come home from dropping off your oldest son at Mother's Day Out and discover that the french toast you put in a ziplock bag and left on the counter is no longer there. Doggie spent the rest of the day outside in the Yard of Shame.

  • This makes me smile every time: 

I don't know if it's the line of clothespins or the cute basket or the card that says, "Kids, I have fresh towels for you to leave rotting on the floor. Come and get 'em!" (thank you, Aunt Becky), but it's probably the latter. Also, I hung my Christmas calendar in the laundry room so that every time I do laundry I can think about being on a warm, sunny beach instead. So far, it's working really well for me. And my laundry is caught up because I want to spend time dreaming about being on a beach.
  • What three year old do you know whose ideal birthday cake is covered in fruit? I made him eat my blueberries. And yes, he's stuck his finger in the icing right after the Man took this picture. He also ate the back wheel before I got it iced, so I had to fix the flat with extra cake bits--true skill, I tell you. One final note of cakeness: the candles are in the funnel. Where else would they have gone?

  • Have I mentioned that this face is taking over our family photo albums? I'm so over it. I mean, not over the face itself but over The Face that the face is making. Seriously, what does he think he is? A toothy squid?

  • And one final, not really birthday related blurb, this week I have been thinking about what it means to extend grace to myself so that I can truly delight in my children, my husband, my Savior, and my life. This is playing itself out in interesting ways. It's allowed me to shift a couple of my To Do's from one day to the next, to stay late at a friend's house and accept help from my dinner guests, to not finish my run but instead enjoy a cup of coffee and some time of quiet, to eat popcorn for lunch with my feet propped up on the coffee table. This year I am seeking to make different choices. Keep an eye out on the blog; I have some words waiting in the wings for you. I just had to get through the Birthdays first. So: stay tuned. And in the meantime, take another good look at the above picture and shudder at its Terrible Awesomeness.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Birthday Blurbology

In honour of my littlest blurb who showed up around this time last year, some Blurbs:

  • My morning runs are not as fun any more now that the Christmas lights are down.  Instead I'm running in the dark, and it's cold (so very, very cold). Now the only way to entertain myself is by imagining how much more difficult my runs would be if I was lugging around a space heater.
  • Music practice in our home is fraught with perils for everyone involved. Tiny wants to sit on my lap while I practice (either instrument), but I'm terrified he's going to nose dive off right at the end of a long run. Littles tries to build a fort underneath the piano and ends up cracking his head underneath. Then he stands up and whaps himself on the flute. Whatever music I manage to produce is accompanied by falling sheet music, banging on the piano, and fingers being shoved up the end of my flute. Gone are the days when I sat in a tiny practice room, quiet in its solitude. This is way more fun, right?
  • This morning Littles tells me: When I grow up, I want to be a stinkpot. Me too, son, me too.
  • Not all cupcake liners are created equal. Some buckle under pressure. Also, cake batter is yummy.
  • On a directly related note: back-to-back birthdays mean cake mix birthday cakes. Sue me.
  • Again with that directly related note: should you happen to make two dozen cupcakes, ice them, and then leave them on the kitchen table while you run out with your husband and sons for a quick birthday dinner, when you come home, fourteen of them will be missing, and the cat and dog (who have joined forces for the first time ever) will have contentedly chocolatey faces. At least the ten they left were untouched. They are considerate to the last. I realize they were just trying to help us out since we're making another cake tomorrow (and do we really want to finish out the first week of January ten pounds heavier?).
  • On a continued vein (in? a continued vein?), parents of children with back-to-back birthday (or people of all kinds who have experienced at some point in your life a back-to-back birthday), how? Just: how? Or maybe: how??? Somebody share with me your wisdom. I feel like at least one of the children (but probably both) will get gipped. In reality though, the only ones suffering will be the birthday party hating parents.
And on that note, here are some birthday pictures to complete this birthday blurbage:

The caked up birthday boy.
Yeah, he's already passed out cold.

Last year, tomorrow.
The birthday boy holding his brother.
This year, today.
The brother holding the birthday boy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Paint by Joy

On Wednesday I went out to the cold, dusty garage and dragged in a big blue tub labelled neatly in my father's handwriting: MARIAN. I was looking for paint brushes. Specifically, oil paint brushes. I had two blank canvases sitting in the guest room closet that had been blank (and in the guest room closet) since I dropped oil painting (and my art minor) my junior year of college--and I'd had it. They were perfectly good canvases, and I had perfectly good oil paints, and who cares if I had absolutely no clue what I was doing? The canvases were already wasted by just sitting around being blank. That is logical, right? Unfortunately, all I could find in my art box was watercolour brushes, so to the garage I went.
I lugged in the blue bin to a chorus of "Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, what's that? Mommy, why are you bringing that in the house? Mommy, what's in there?" (Can't you see I'm working here?) and proceeded to dive right in. There were no oil paint brushes, just a lot of painful memories I wasn't ready to face. So I repacked the tub and drove to Walmart with the boys and bought some brushes. Just. Like. That.
Art class. Littles takes his work very seriously.
Tiny doesn't take anything seriously--except maybe dancing.
He has a mean macarena.
Today the boys and I had art time, by which I mean I taught Littles the fine art of watercolour painting and set Tiny in his high chair with a spare paint brush, the roll of masking tape, and a water jug to entertain himself while I tried my hand at oil painting. And behold: I produced a masterpiece beyond my expectations! Just kidding. It's not anywhere near finished and will probably look awesomely horrible--but I had fun! And so did the boys (Littles more than Tiny--he knows when he gets the short end of the stick).
I don't know what the deal is with that cheesy grin.

Anyway, Little Man's new artwork called for a redoing of the clotheline, and I just happened to have found a super awesome world map in the blue bin while I was poking around looking for paint brushes, so I basically redid their entire wall, and once again--I had fun! May I just say, if you don't have a clothesline somewhere in your house, you have not lived. (Yes, I'm joking, but seriously: best decorating decision I have ever made. Ever. That clothesline completes me.) And then I took pictures so you can see the wonder that ensued. You're welcome.

The clothesline and map. Plus Littles' head.
He really wanted to be in the picture.
The blue bin is still sitting in the kitchen, covered in dust. I'm using it to barricade the dog bowls (Tiny has taken to playing in them of late--it's disgusting). I haven't decided if I want to face the music and have another go at it or wait it out and put it back in the garage. And the truth is that I think either option is alright. I think it's fine to say, "I'm grieving, and maybe it's inconvenient, and that's okay." I think God knows when the time will be right for me to hold those memories in my physical hands and until I'm there I refuse to add guilt to grief. Instead, I choose joy: paint brushes, clotheslines, and world maps. I'm not hiding; I'm waiting. And while I wait, I choose joy.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Moving to Woodcock Pocket (and Taking Skippyjon with Me)

I'm in love.


I mean, of course, in addition to my wonderful husband. Maybe not quite up there with him, but it's close. And because I love you guys, I will share in my newfound bliss. Two words:

Toot and Puddle. (The "and" doesn't count.)

They are adorable. They are amazing. They will Change Your World (and potentially steal your heart).

I first discovered Toot and Puddle quite by accident. I was browsing the H's while the boys rampaged in the children's section of our library when I saw "Hobbie, Holly." The name triggered a memory of a long ago Holly Hobbie blanket. So I pulled out the book to see if it was indeed the same character--and magic!

It turns out that author/illustrator Holly Hobbie (who did create the Holly Hobbie character I was thinking of) had written an entire series about two little pig friends named Toot and Puddle. Puddle is a homebody--a cook, an artist, a gardener--while Toot is pretty much his opposite--an adventure chaser, an inventor, a traveller. They are best friends who live together in a wondrous place called Woodcock Pocket (I want to move there--I'm letting the Air Force know). The boys and I have now read through four of the Toot and Puddle books, starting with the original Toot and Puddle, where Toot travels the world for a year and sends postcards to Puddle about his adventures (bull fighting in Spain! elephant rides in India!), and continuing on through Let it Snow, A Present for Toot, and I'll Be Home for Christmas. They were all charming. I'm ready to read all the rest of the series. Library day doesn't come often enough...

Here I am with Toot and Puddle. If only this was real life...

I seriously want to rip pages out of these books and frame them. I won't. But only because they're library books, and base library books at that. I don't want them to send Security Forces after me. That'd be embarrassing...
P.S. For a bonus round, and because I truly do love you that much (just not as much as Toot and Puddle) (or the Man), I want to make sure that you know about Skippyjon Jones. You should because I've referenced him before but in case you're new around here or you, pause for effect, forgot (GASP!), Skippyjon Jones is Judy Schachner's fabulous Siamese kitty who thinks he is a chihuahua and goes on heart stopping adventures in spite of his Mama Kitty's disapproval. This week, the boys and I read Skippyjon Jones: Cirque de Ole. I admit that I mostly get Skippyjon for me, since I'm not positive the Little Man had any idea what was going on. I, however, was dying laughing. My favourite line: "But what can be more important than a mustache, muchachos?"' (Did I mention that Skippyjon also teaches you Spanish? I now know the word for "flea".) And just so you can be made happy by this book too, I included a picture of me with the tiny Trembling Tower of Power that was built on top of Skippito's grande cabeza. I've never liked chihuahuas even half this much. Or Siamese cats for this matter.
And yes, you're welcome. Don't children's books just make you happy on the inside?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not a Real Blog Post

And I'm back in the game!

Our family greeted the new year germ-free (which is saying something), and today I finally feel like myself again, the version of myself that I actually like--not the one that spends half the day growling at the kids and the other half passed out on the couch watching mind-numbing television. There's also something about starting a new week on a Wednesday. I only have to make it through 3 days til the Man is home to be the real adult in our home. Basically, that means I've run out of steam already. Yay! Just kidding?

On that note, I'm going to watch some awesomely mind-numbing television (Alias, anyone?) with my husband as a reward for the wonderful day I have beaten into submission. And then go to sleep. So I can do it again tomorrow.