- Spending Christmas Eve and Christmas at home was wonderful. We had a nice relaxing, fun day with Anna, packed while she napped, and had a lovely dinner with friends.
- Friday's drive to Portland: uneventful. Flight to Chicago: tolerable, despite non-sleeping child. Flight to Grand Rapids: CANCELLED due to smothering fog. Curse you O'Hare! We spent the night in a hotel and my parents came and drove us to GR.
- Weather: confused. It was over 55 degrees on Saturday when we got in, then promptly got cold again the next day. We need, and should get tonight, some fresh snow to pretty the place up again.
- Football: let's move on.
- Christmas: bountiful. Sunday we had Aaron's immediate family Christmas at his parents' house and the extended family was over later on. So we did get to see most everyone, the three girl cousins got to play, and Anna was quite charming throughout despite her lack of nap, with the exception of a couple toy disputes early on. (Apparently the hot item all the kidlets covet this year is a kids' toy laptop. And Anna is that bully who starts a fight in the mall to get her hands on the last one. And whatever else you have in your cart. We need to practice sharing...)
- Sunday afternoon my brother, sister-in-law, and 9-month-old nephew arrived, so the farmhouse is family-filled and festive. How we spent our lovely day yesterday: cook, eat, open gifts, play Wii (repeat). Anna is really into the opening this year--loves ripping that paper! She will even help you with yours. Even if you don't want her to. Fortunately, she also likes delivering, so she can be distracted by the task of taking a gift to someone else.
- Today I hung out with a friend and I think we are all going out to dinner, but in between we are doing nothing, nothing, gloriously nothing in particular! Very nice and I hope to do some more of it this week.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Saturday I helped make an army of Christmas Eve Mice for the youth Christmas party. I am usually not very crafty but I will make an exception if it's edible. These are fun to make, especially if you have a few friends on the mouse assembly line with you. And they're almost too adorable to eat--though I managed. Even their spare parts are delicious.
But watch out. Sometimes they get hungry and start to organize.
Or even cannibalize.
Sometimes you have to make an example out of one to keep them in line.
Sunday was a big day since Aaron preached at church and we had the Frontline party at night (with the watching of some sport in between, though it did not really resemble pro football). The last couple years we've had a progressive dinner for the kids at a few church families' houses, but there are getting to be just too darn many of them. So we rented out a great little coffeeshop/restaurant and had a really nice dinner there. The helpers from church decked it out gorgeous, the food was great, and it was a nice intimate (okay, pushing crowded) setting for a little Charlie Brown Christmas and singing. I think the kids enjoyed it; some of them never go out for a dinner that nice. Heck, rarely do I--it was pretty darn nice!
Monday we did some more cookie decorating with friends. Don't worry, I'll eat them all before we leave town. By myself if I
This is the first year we'll actually be here for Christmas Eve and Christmas--usually we travel, but this year we leave on the 26th. I'm so excited that we'll be here for the candlelight service. I always love that and our church all decked out and in candlelight will rival any for beauty worthy of the occasion.
And I'm excited for what sounds like it'll be a very, very white Christmas in Michigan. Lots to do before our trip, though, and work calling too. Fa la la la la . . .
Sunday, December 21, 2008
It was a time like this
war and tumult of war,
a horror in the air.
Hungry yawned the abyss--
and yet there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.It was a time like this
of fear and lust for power
license and greed a blight--
and yet the Prince of bliss
came in the darkest hour
in quiet and silent light.
And in a time like this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?
Ah! wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I also recommend this short article by Gwen Ifil, "The Malia and Sasha Effect."
I am taken by what America will now see in these two little brown girls. Not victims, like the little girls who died at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963. Not hoochie mamas, like the Black girls who shake their rumps in music videos. Just two happy, playful, well-adjusted future Black women. . . .
[Barack Obama] mused about what it would mean for other children to see his daughters running around on the South Lawn. "That changes how America looks at itself," he said. "It changes how White children think about Black children, and it changes how Black children think about Black children."
Symbols can be powerful, I agree.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
In the previous post she was doing her cheerleading moves (not just being sassy). Her favorite is the "Irish Rumble." Hands on your hips now, everybody, and lean back and forth as you say:
Everybody do that Irish RumbleOr as Anna says, Ah-ah ah-ah ah-ah-aahh. Ah-ah ah-ah ah-ah-aahh. Aaaaaaaaaah! Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!
Everybody do that Irish Rumble
Iriiiiiiiish! (roll hands above head)
Rumblllllllle! (bend over and roll hands down low)
Okay, I'll have to post video. Trust me, she's got it down well enough to make her whole section of the bleachers crack up laughing. She wants you to do it with her at random times, like anytime you put your hands on your hips or while you're changing a diaper. Whenever the school spirit moves.
At this game she was given actual cheerleader pom poms by a real live cheerleader to play with throughout the game. This was good because at the previous game, someone gave her one but then we had to give it back, and the meltdown was epic. And every time she saw one, she wanted it. Theirs are so sparkly! And may I just say? Best. Toy. Ever. for a basketball game. She was an angel because she takes her job of cheering very, very seriously, as you can see.
The funniest thing was that she was not just cheering along but copying virtually everything the cheerleaders did. You know how they stand when they're not cheering, facing the game with their hands and pom poms behind their backs? Anna stood like that almost anytime they did! A two year old standing quietly with her hands behind her back for long stretches of a public event? God bless the cheerleaders, every one!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Then again, I've lost my snow-preparedness touch: tried to drive to the store this morning and did not have an ice scraper. Note to self: put "buy ice scraper" on the Michigan to-do list. A small plastic beach sand shovel does not really work.
But clearly no snow.
The bummer is that our fun Christmas Young Life Club was cancelled, but the no-snow snowday still made me feel Christmasy, and since last week I have accomplished a lot on the holiday to-do list. One trip out for a few things tomorrow and I should have everything, but there's still all the packing and travel to-dos, of course. This year we are not leaving for Michigan until the 26th, so at least we get to celebrate Christmas together at home and on Christmas rather than saying, "So when do you want to do presents?" and cramming it in at some odd time days before.
A few days ago some friends brought us a couple presents: a pelican pull toy that says "Squaawk!" and "Wheee!" and the train they used to put around their tree when their grandkids were little. The pelican is cute and fun but the train is the more special gift. Neither of us ever had a train before but I think it'll be a nice tradition. It even has a light and whistle.
Look at that face! Do you think she likes it?
Do you think he does?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Barb has family and friends surrounding her with support, but the weeks ahead when things quiet down will be difficult. I am sorry I cannot be there this week but glad it is just a couple weeks until we will see her.
You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love and
Who get hardened in the hurt
Do you remember when you lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread....
I know you bore our sorrows
I know you feel our pain
I know that it would not hurt any less even if it could be explained....
And so, you've been here all along I guess
It's just your ways and you are just plain hard to get
"You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God."
Thou son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, be born again into our world. Wherever there is war in this world, wherever there is pain, wherever there is loneliness, wherever there is no hope, come, thou long-expected one, with healing in thy wings.
Holy Child, whom the shepherds and the kings and the dumb beasts adored, be born again. Wherever there is boredom, wherever there is fear of failure, wherever there is temptation too strong to resist, wherever there is bitterness of heart, come, thou blessed one, with healing in thy wings.
Savior, be born in each of us who raises his face to thy face, not knowing fully who he is or who thou art, knowing only that thy love is beyond his knowing and that no other has the power to make him whole. Come, Lord Jesus, to each who longs for thee even though he has forgotten thy name. Come quickly.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Ducks are in rows. Wheels are in motion. Proposals have been accepted. Tiny adolescent hearts have been broken. And the transition team of Change.Wetzel wishes to announce:
Aaron will be starting studies at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, in fall 2009.
Your first reaction to this news probably depends greatly on where you live. For our friends and family in Michigan, there is much rejoicing. Here in Oregon, well . . . there is great support, great understanding, and great love, but there is also great sadness at the thought of parting from the place and the people which have very much become home and family. (So no gloating, please, Michigan folk.)
Aaron has been accepted to WTS to study for his M.Div degree and become an ordained pastor. It’s a three-year program. This is something he’s always thought about doing someday, and over the last couple years he’s had more opportunities to preach and lead in different ways and received more encouragement that made him more able to see himself doing it. He’s just ready.
And I’m pleased to be able to fulfill the prophecy laid out by my best friend back in high school, that I will be a pastor’s wife. (I also recall something about the organ and a “pastor’s wife’s butt,” whatever that means, but let’s let that part go.)
I should have declared a moratorium on mascara last week, because it was terribly emotional. A few people—basically the church elders—knew our plans but we wanted to tell a few more in person before the whole congregation found out. But we didn’t want it to get out to the kids; we needed to tell them ourselves, all at once, so they didn’t hear any misinformation or feel slighted that some were told and some weren’t. Sunday morning the church was told (not gonna lie, I cried through church and then avoided talking to people) and Sunday night Aaron told the kids at Frontline. The girls, the grownups, and Aaron bawled.
We’ll be here and Aaron will keep working for the church through the school year. We hope we can help the church and our friend from the Foursquare church who has been partnering with Aaron on Frontline this year be able to keep a ministry to kids going strong into the future. We really hope our church has a pastor by summer too. It’s such a strange and difficult time to be breaking this news and bringing more change upon our church, but we hope the long notice will actually help smooth the transition.
Besides, we couldn't wait any longer to tell—do you know how much stuff we have to figure out before summer? We have to get our house ready to sell, try to sell our house in this lovely market, look for a job in the lovely Michigan job market, find health insurance on the
open not-for-sick-people market, figure out finances and financial aid, figure out what to do with our pets (boo hoo), figure out how to move across the country, get rid of everything we don’t want to move . . . and oh yeah, do it all while proceeding through our regularly scheduled life with a toddler underfoot.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Help! Will you be my transition team?
I hope to step up my blogging since I have a thousand rampant thoughts clamoring to finally get out of my head. Let me know if you have questions I can answer.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Meanwhile, please drop a prayer for my uncle Jerry (and aunt Barb), if you're so inclined. A few weeks ago he had a blood clot in his leg and in the course of testing they found he has cancer in his pancreas and liver. He is supposed to start chemo next week but went back in the hospital Sunday with something else going on in his brain, it seems--not sure yet what that was about.
UPDATE: Jerry did apparently have some sort of stroke, but it is NOT cancer in his brain. He will start chemo soon.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
She's gotten into hitting. For control. For effect. Apparently, for fun.
This gets her a time-out. Problem is, that doesn't seem to be helping much. Sometimes I think she wants one. Sometimes she definitely wants one because it means she'd stay in the living room (albeit on the chair in the corner) instead of having to go for a diaper change. Manipulator alert! We're onto this one, so diaper change it is.
Sometimes if she takes a swing at me and misses I'll warn her and she'll stop. But when I'm brushing her teeth, she doesn't miss. She slaps me in the face. Which kind of, you know, fricking hurts. And makes me mad. And then she knows it and hits again, again, again. I can either get hit repeatedly or grab her hands, but that only confirms that I'm mad and makes her mad (or makes it more fun, perhaps, depending on your understanding of total toddler depravity, I suppose).
It's getting to me. And she knows it.
I don't think I want to give her time-out then (although tonight I did) because I don't want to teach that negative behavior gets more attention--and gets her out of brushing her teeth and going to bed. I do want to stop and/or punish the behavior with enough unpleasantness and immediacy to show this is serious. And I'd really like to, you know, not get hit in the face.
How do I get at this? Can I make time-out work here? Do I need some sort of upgrade to Time-Out 2.0?
I am remembering that it's probably about control, so I should probably find some way to give her more control in the tooth brushing process.
Right. More control? She's opening the cabinet, she's licking the mirror . . . she's out of control!
But at least she has semi-clean teeth.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I need an easy recipe for soup or something to make with a ham bone (and ham). Split pea probably not preferred, since it looks too much like a healthy vegetable to fool Aaron. I could do another kind of bean soup, though, right? Or a ham/corn soup/chowder kind of thing? Anybody?
I'll probably make another turkey casserole and freeze it. For turkey noodle soup, I will just wing it. (No pun intended. But I am amused.) Any other ideas?
Monday, December 01, 2008
I just wanted to take a moment to draw attention to this once again and encourage you to pause and reflect on the lives torn apart by this preventable disease. Perhaps you think you don't know much about AIDS and would like to learn more. Perhaps you will be moved to say a prayer for those who are sick or grieving loved ones. Perhaps you would like to consider how you can help in your community or in other parts of the world where resources are scarce and orphans sadly are many. A donation to AHOPE for Children directly or through Ethiopian Orphan Relief might make a nice gesture in lieu of unneeded gift for a relative or other bleeding heart blogger you know. (She also likes sterling silver. I heard.)
If you ever have an opportunity to see part of the AIDS Quilt displayed, go see it. It is unforgettable.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
No turkeys were harmed during this game. Well, okay, three. But there were no fowl balls, and leftovers to spare. (You know you are just gobbling up these puns.)
Having apparently avoided contracting any form of salmonella sickness, I am off to pick up my mom at the airport soon. She and my dad were in Florida last weekend for my cousin's wedding, flew home Sunday, Monday morning she taught kindergarten, then had conferences, taught this morning, and flew out here in the afternoon. Whew! Grandchildren are quite the stamina-boosters, it seems. But how am I going to keep up?
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Yesterday, in fact, she was having some kind of irrational cracker spaz-out before dinner. She asks for crackers or Goldfish a lot, and I was going to let her have some as I was getting dinner ready. I even let her choose. Power to the two-year-old people and all that. Goldfish, graham cracker sticks, or regular crackers--she pointed at the regular crackers and surprisingly did not demand the opposite .75 seconds later.
However, there was an opened sleeve of the same crackers on the counter already, so I gave her one of those. NO WAY. CRACKERS is what I demand, you tricksy mama! THOSE CRACKERS, FROM THE BOX. I tried to show her that they're the same. That one's not open; this one is. See, I'll demonstrate how good they are.
NO YOU WILL NOT, I WILL SMACK IT AWAY FROM YOU TOO, CRACKERS FROM THE BOX NOW OR I WILL DIEEEEEEEEE HERE ON THIS KITCHEN FLOOR! CRAAAAAAACKERRRRRRRRR!
A tad dramatic sometimes, that one.
I tried to get her in her chair and started on some food--there were actual tears by now. Pasta and cracker were rejected. Fishsticks were grudgingly accepted since they arrived with a side of banana. When all else fails, resistance to the banana is futile. And it works as a gateway drug to fishsticks and crackers. Even crackers from a previously opened sleeve.
Whatever, girl. You can have your crackers moods; I have the bananas. And she who holds the bananas will always be victorious.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
First, just to change up the parts so she doesn't get perma-part, I tried an X marks the spot do:
Also, the cutest overalls ever.
A week or so ago I tried a veil style for the first time. For a first attempt I thought it looked decent and it stayed pretty well. It would be cute with colored rubber bands, I think, but mine were cheapies that kept breaking, so I used black and put the little clippies in.
I think I may need to try some new products because her hair and scalp seem a bit dry lately. I've been putting it off because I'll have to buy online. I also want to attempt some cornrows and twists. But my first attempts may not be blog-worthy--except to provide humor.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I have been holding these thoughts in my heart for over a week now, trying to find true enough words. I also wanted to be sensitive to those disappointed in the election results, because I know that can be difficult. But a couple friends who voted differently took the time to graciously say congratulations, good work for your candidate. And besides the fact that I did so, so little, here’s the thing: sure, I’m happy and proud for me. But I’m rejoicing for these brothers and sisters:
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, election night
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, election night
Oh, yes, I’m pleased that Obama won and hopeful that he will be a wise president and bring about progress on health care and other things that concern me. I’m relieved that the election was not decided by prejudice or muddied by recounts. I’m thankful that all those who gave up so much to do so much for what they believe in could see their labors pay off and encouraged by the level of determination to participate in democracy.
But my deepest happiness is for those to whom this means so much, much more: our fellow citizens who because of color have felt (even if they didn’t really realize it until now) not quite represented, not quite included in the possibilities, not quite sure they would ever see a brown, bold, beautiful first family like this one. The grandchildren of slaves, the survivors of Jim Crow, the marchers and riders and friends of the martyrs, the millions who have borne the burdens of our tangled American history—this means something to them that it never quite could to me, and I am proud that America has affirmed their hope.
I hope we can all recognize the significance of this moment for many of our brothers and sisters even if we do not feel the same or voted differently. We can be happy or disappointed about the electoral outcome, and for me, I am happy—but for black America, I rejoice. I share in their joy in a spiritual way knowing this was more than a political moment. We share it as a human moment.
I rejoice for John Lewis.
I rejoice for Jesse Jackson.
I rejoice for Ebenezer Baptist Church.
I rejoice for the black boy of about nine who tried to explain what it means—“It means no one can tell you you can’t do something . . . No limitations . . .”—but he choked up so badly he had to sit down, his friend patting him comfortingly on the back.
Their joy, pride, and emotion has humbled me and brought me to tears many times this week. I hope we can all recognize the significance of this moment for many of our brothers and sisters even if we do not feel the same or voted differently. We can be happy or disappointed about the electoral outcome and still share in their joy in a spiritual way knowing this was more than a political moment. We share it as a human moment.
What does it mean for the future? Who knows. Black Americans know better than most that inequalities don’t disappear because somebody shared a nice moment. We are not now “post-racial”; we are not “colorblind.” The absurdity of this should be as plain as the ridiculousness of Steven Colbert telling a guest on his show, “I don’t see color, but I’m told that you’re black. Is that true?” Of course he sees color. We all see color, and there is nothing wrong with that. I see color, I see hair—I see brown skin and cornrows on the White House lawn, and it is a beautiful sight!
For me, right now, it means just one less question my daughter will ask: “Why aren’t there any brown presidents?” (A thousand more will still test my—our country’s—ability to answer.)
It means the possibility of seeing one of the first daughters on TV and saying, “Anna, check out Sasha’s twists—should we try your hair that way tomorrow?”
It means many who sometimes felt not quite represented now feel more connected to the community that is our nation, and that is a good, good thing.
It means our children may believe, and that is the greatest of all.
These two boys waited as a long line of adults greeted Senator Obama before a rally on Martin Luther King Day in Columbia, S.C. They never took their eyes off of him. Their grandmother told me, “Our young men have waited a long time to have someone to look up to, to make them believe Dr. King’s words can be true for them.” Jan. 21, 2008. © Callie Shell / Aurora for Time
LINKS for perspective:
"In Our Lifetimes" by Henry Louis Gates at The Root
"Free Our Minds" by Lynne Duke at The Root
"The Imagery of Tuesday" at Jack & Jill Politics (I encourage you to read the comments on some of these election night and day after threads)
"We Rejected So Much History and So Many Rules That Have Bound Us" by Baratunde Thurston
"Daring to Dream of a Black President," leading black voices share what it means to them
Only one-word answers allowed!
Your mother? chatty
Your dream goal? writer
Your car? mommyvan
Something you’re not wearing? trends
Favorite shop? Target
Next to meme? You!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Okay, I'll start.
First of all, I'm not even sure it's bread.
Second, when did the Amish start using Ziploc bags and boxed instant vanilla pudding?
Third, giving it is not a sign of friendship. It's more like a curse. Every ten days it multiplies to four times its original size. I guess I am supposed to make three friends a week, because I ran out of my original friends. Or we're not friends any more after I infected their houses with this stuff. It's like giving them Gremlins.
Fourth, due to the inclusion of the Amish Boxed Instant Pudding (see point 2), should one attempt to get ahead of the multiplication curve (see point 3) by making a double batch (who the heck has 8 Ziploc bags and friends to spare?) and in the process accidentally omit some ingredient . . . such as, say, apparently, flour . . . one will have invented the newly trademarked Amish Charcoal Cement. It is a lovely substance, with an oily, goopy center cradled in an impenetrable coal crust. Even after five days of soaking, scientists have been unable to completely eradicate it from the pan.
I think I would like to go back to banana bread. Can someone stop by with a metal spoon and an exorcist?
Aaron has been having terrible back pain. A while ago he had some tight muscles and muscle spasms, but this round is more in his side and chest as well as back, like the way his ribs hurt after his heart surgery. So Friday he got an x-ray and Monday the doctor was supposed to look at it.
In the afternoon I was trying to get my mishmash of a Young Life talk straightened out so I would only make a fool of myself during the humorous parts of the evening, not while trying to be deep and wise. No small task. In the middle of naptime Aaron came home to quickly drop off all the stuff for Club because the doctor was trying to work him in and he didn't know how long it would take. The doctor decided to make him go get a CT scan--which is fine since the x-ray was useless and better safe than sorry, but this was at 5:00. So he headed to the hospital, I rushed to try to get Anna fed and ready to drop off with the sitter, remember all the Club stuff, pick up Aaron's pain prescription, figure out if I had to pick up any kids, and try to get to the Clubhouse before the student leaders got there (I failed but another leader was there).
We had to alter Club plans a bit since Aaron couldn't go doing any crazy dance moves again(!) and we were just hoping he'd make it in time. He did, and Club went well considering how frazzled at least I felt. Perhaps we are funnier when we mess up than when we rehearse!
All that to say, I'm glad my talk is done with and I can get back to battling dishes, dog hair, and editing deadlines--all of which seem to lurk around every corner around here.
No actual diagnosis from the doctor yet--message was nothing serious, we'll call back. I will update if there's anything to tell.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
We got a gianormous TV this week. I mean really ridiculously big. Someone from church was looking to get rid of it and offered it to us. Does my husband ever turn down free electronics? Of course not. And when did he start moving out the old TV and messing with all the wires and receiver? Oh, on Tuesday, just as East Coast polls were closing. NOT COOL. I started getting twitchy watching static as Ohio was about to be called, but he got things plugged in in time for everything important. Waltino was here for a while helping with the TV, the eating of chili, and the exchanging of celebratory terrorist fist jabs (offered for Aaron's bemusement).
No word yet on Waltino's bid for write-in mayoral runner-up. Perhaps it's in a recount. We concede nothing.
Tomorrow our super TV will hopefully bring us the sight of the Lions' first win--though I have stopped holding my breath and almost stopped caring. Unbelievable, I know. Call it a case of "You have to laugh at yourself, because you'd cry your eyes out if you didn't."
Speaking of the Lions losing . . . my mom is coming out for Thanksgiving, only two and a half weeks away.
Meanwhile we are missing my cousin's wedding in Florida and the funeral of one of Aaron's aunts, in Michigan. Of course both families would like to have us present and we would love to go, but that's not remotely practical or possible at this time. The un-joys of living far away. We send our thoughts and prayers.
That's all the update I can muster right now--I should be working.