Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day to be Grateful

I am going to repost an old one. It was originally written in July, 07 but I think it has some nuggets that are worth reviewing.

As and update for the following post: We are now over a year outside of the "Rice Event" and I must say, it is still a resounding success.


I left my camera at a friend's house (after a tea party) and since I hate blogging without pictures, here is one of my three children, right after Esther's birth. This is before they became spoiled brats. Did I just call my children brats? Why yes. Yes I did. See how sweet they are here? Little Esther was content to nurse her days away and Marcus thought we were heroes just for sharing our french fries. Weston was always a bit of a whiner, but lately, oh my! Lately it has snowballed into something very unpretty.

If I give them a cookie, Weston will cry, and call me a liar, because he will say that I did, in fact, promise him ten cookies. Which is completely untrue. Esther will cry because her cookie only has three billion chocolate chips and she wanted fifteen gazillion chocolate chips. Marcus will pout because...well, actually, I have no idea why Marcus will pout. He has been in a constant state of poutiness lately.

If I fix their favorite dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches with granny smith apples, mayo, and green olives (don't mock it, they LOVE it), Weston will complain that his has a brown spot on it, Marcus will cry because I only had enough to give him four full sandwiches, and Esther will suddenly decide she hates bread.

If I take them to the park, they will throw a fit because I ask them to put on their shoes, because we have to walk, and because I didn't know they wanted to go to THAT OTHER PARK.

If I take them swimming, the sun will be to hot, or they will be too cold, or we will stay too long, or we will not stay long enough.

If I bake them a surprise cake, someone will cry because they wanted lemon, not chocolate.

And on and on and on to kingdom come. Do I sound as if I am complaining? My dears, I don't know any other tone of voice. I have been surrounded by whining and complaining for so long, I have forgotten how to converse any other way.

BUT. But, I found a solution. It hit me one night just like a lighbulb turning on and illuminating the deep recesses of the parenting brain I had shut off. We were in the van listening to Weston and Esther whine because we were not going to the restaraunt THEY wanted to go to (which happened to be two different ones). Marcus did not whine. Rather, he gave this deep sigh and rolled his eyes. the sigh ended with a deep disgusted grunt.
Something inside of me snapped. I am not sure when the last time I have heard my children say thank you, but I can gaurantee you it was so long ago that we might as well consider that they never said it. I told them, "you have this weekend to learn gratitude because by Monday, if you haven't learned it, I am going to start feeding you rice with every meal. I am going to feed it to you until you will bow down in gratitude to just see a boiled egg.
Let me just say that their response was... Well, I don't know how to describe it. Bad. We are talking screaming. And kicking. More screaming. Calling us names. Remember now, that I have only threatened this course of action. I look at Dustan, he looks at me. The looks says, "What did we do wrong? How did we raise these monsters?"

And so we went home. We did not go to any restaraunt at all. We had rice. No one said thank you. So we had rice at dinner. Weston gave me a very feeble "Thank you for the rice, mommy." By breakfast, Marcus, who can't stand rice at all, and who has now missed two meals, tells me that he "will be grateful for whatever I feed him." I say, "Good, cause we are having shoes." Marcus says, "Thank you for the shoes mommy."
I feed them all their favorite cereal. I recieve three hearty thank yous and some help in cleaning the kitchen. These children do NOT want another meal of rice.

But I have the container sitting in the middle of the counter- just in case. I think the visual reminder will be enough.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So. I heard some famous person on tv said that home-schoolers were demented.

I only heard that a famous person said this. I didn't follow the link to find out what the context was, or who this famous person was- because:
a. I don't care
b. I really, really, really don't care.
c. because I wouldn't know a famous person if they slapped me upside the head and stuck a straw in my nose.
d. I just really can't make myself care.

I feel as if I should make a defense for myself. In the year of 1983 my mother (who is undoubtedly demented) pulled me out of school to homeschool me. So, if anyone has a right to speak on behalf of demented home schoolers, It's me. Right?

Oh, and I home school my kids. My kids are second generation home schooled, which makes them an extra special form of demented.

Here's the deal. I want to type out this really cool coherent post in response to this un-known famous person. Alas, I can not.

My fingers are in my ears, my head is wagging back and forth, my eyes are glowing red, and my tongue is hanging out. Bliggity bloggity bloogity blubber blug.

It's all I can seem to get out.

If anyone thought I was going to disagree with the well known famous person (except to me), they would be mistaken. I am definitely demented. I am pretty sure that anyone who knows me agrees.
And the poor clerk at Starbucks tonight agrees. Poor guy. My friends tipped him extra because I made him so distraught. One friend dumped all her change into his tip cup.

And I am SURELY not going to argue about how my children are not demented. Have you met my kids????? They are s.t.r.a.n.g.e AND demented.

However. I don't think it was the home schooling. I think it was genetics. But, maybe it was home schooling. I should definitely leave that option open.

And it starts.

The count down for Christmas. Except this year I won't be party to it. I don't really care how many days there are until Christmas.

Last week I cared. But this week I don't care.

This week I am already ready for Christmas.

You see, at first I thought, "This year I will make everyone's gifts." I hoarded links, and how-to's, and tutorials. I made a mental post it note list of everyone who "needed" gifts, and what I could give them.

A Christmas checklist. Like every other year. Like every other family.

And then I had a better idea. Why spend all this time frantically trying to make gifts that will never get completed? Just like every other year, I would be forced to run to the store- buying high priced, over priced crap for everyone. Why? For what reason? Did everyone really enjoy last years dollar store lotion?

So, my new idea was just to buy the stuff now. I would shop ahead, and therefore put thought into each gift. I would think about the person, and buy gifts that they would really like. It was a good idea, right?

But, then I had a better idea, helped out by a certain video I saw on youtube.

Why not buy nothing at all? Seriously? I don't even remember what my husband got me last year, much less his Aunt so and so. The gifts I so carefully picked out for my children now sit neglected on a shelf. What is the purpose of all this gift frenzy, the money spending, the debt building, the guilt induced fear of not adding up to everyone else's generosity?

So. I am opting out. No one is getting store bought gifts from me. No one is getting handmade gifts for me. Not my mother, not my pastor, not my son's Sunday School teacher... Not my children.

And I can hear a worldwide gasp. "What about the magic and awe of Christmas for the children?"

My response, " Under Control." My children will not open a single battery operated, plastic, hair growing, gun toting, miniature sized anything.

Nothing they open will have a price tag, a return receipt, or those nasty little screws that drive parents nuts every Christmas day.

They won't make a list, and if they do, I doubt their list will coincide with what they receive.

Because Esther is NOT getting a white horse with a horn out its head.
And Weston is NOT getting the entire Star Wars Lego set. No matter how much he begs for it.
And Marcus- actually, I don't have a clue what he wants. But it probably is long and shoots bullets which he most definitely WILL NOT GET.

As I travel to Ohio to spend Christmas with my parents and siblings. With my sister-in-law Carrie, and with my brother-in-law Jesse. With my little nieces- and my mischievous nephew, I will load my van with gifts wrapped in festive paper and tied with ribbon. Just like every other year. But this year, the gifts that I add to the tree will be far different than any other year.

My Christmas revelation has not turned me into the grinch. It has, rather made me a bit more Claus like. And far more Christ like.

Throughout the day, we will unwrap these gifts. The fist one will be a rectangular one. Under the paper and ribbons, our family will find my father's old black Bible, and he will open it and read the Christmas story. I will hold Esther on my lap and Marcus and Weston will be snuggled under my arm, and together we will have anew, the awe of that very first Christmas.
The Christmas story will remind us what Christmas giving is all about.

And in that spirit, the children will grab another package. Inside the gift bag filled with confetti will be a bag of chocolate chips. Together we will make chocolate chip cookies. And Marmie will have to swat at the children's hands when they try to eat all the cookie dough.

Maybe later, they will unwrap a movie. Not a new one from the store, but an old one. A favorite. Probably Star Wars because I am the only one who hates Star Wars. And we will pop corn the old fashioned way and have a family movie time.

I will have wrapped our well worn games; the ones that we already know the rules to, and the ones that everyone loves. When they are unwrapped we will play them. Grandma too. We will even make her play Bang. If I have to watch Star Wars, she can be forced to sit through a rousing shoot em up game of Bang.

I will wrap up a pair of socks for each kid, because we will need to keep our toes warm for our Christmas day walk, and maybe someone will stay home to make us hot cocoa for re-warming our frozen noses.

This is not a new idea. It's one I learned a long time ago, but the video reminded me of it.

On Christmas day, God gave me His heart. And I plan to celebrate that gift by giving mine.

Want to join me?

As this post gets read by more people and passed around, please comment and add your ideas of what could be wrapped and placed under the tree. Together, we can make this the second best Christmas this universe has ever seen.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Learn from my mistake

Don't try to freeze bean soup, in jars.

It makes a bean bomb.

bean bomb
1. An explosive weapon of great destructive power derived from the rapid release of energy in the sudden expansion of small pebble like frozen beans.
2. A bomb deriving its destructive power from the release of gaseous energy.
Also called stink bomb, forced window bomb, run and barf explosion. Often seen in public places like a library or grocery store.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

History. His Story.

My father challenged me to read this today. How relevant and how beautiful it is. Nothing I could write today would equal the value of these beautiful simple words.

Psalm 146

1 Praise the LORD. [a]
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

2 I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.

4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,

6 the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever.

7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,

8 the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.

9 The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD.

Weeks ago, I read a blog post that resonated with me. It's like she jumped inside my head. I saved it and link it here today. Those who read my blog and align themselves with Christ- Do not forget who you are. Those who read my blog and are not Christ followers- please know that not all of us have lost our mind or our hearts.
For Christian Voters