Friday, February 29, 2008

Weekly Whatnot

This week Aaron got hit with the plague--a version of the complete-knockout sickness going around. He is feeling better, and the rest of us have stayed clear of it so far. (Lord, protect my child.)

The other day I went by Pastor J. and his wife K.'s house as they were packing up. Strange to see their house nearly empty. And lots of memories brought back by helping wipe out cupboards (as K. helped me when we moved in here), by a big yellow moving truck, by the panicked Are we going to get everything in? look on K.'s face when she came home and saw it. I decided I'd better say good-bye and get out of the way.

At the church we are getting by after saying good-bye. We have pulpit supply lined up for a while (featuring Aaron for Holy Week) and an interim pastor search team formed. It's certainly a lot of heavy lifting for those who serve in multiple capacities in the church, though. We hope and pray we get pastoral leadership in here before they burn out. Aaron has also been discovering just how many people come to the church wanting things he can't help them with and just how little he can get done when he's the only one there to tell them he can't help them with those things.

I took our taxes in to be done today. I must confess that despite my sworn aversion to all things numerical, I find a certain satisfaction in getting the taxes done. It's like a puzzle. And a challenge to set a new personal best for most deductions. I did our taxes myself for a few years after my dad gave me some tips, but I gave it up when we moved across states and I went self-employed. This year I had the mother of all paper stacks for the accountant, what with all the medical and adoption stuff. It took me parts of several days just to get it organized, but I kept telling myself that the trouble should "earn" us a nice fat refund, which we will promptly use to take a trip to Maui pay off all our prior stimulation of the economy (health care and travel sectors in particular).

That's all the news that isn't. Photo post coming soon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Travels and Tidbits

Last Friday and Saturday we went to a youth ministry seminar with the Young Life crew. I decided somewhat late to come along, with Anna. That was tiring. Fun, but tiring. She is decidedly less easy to tote along and keep quiet during presentations these days (thus we are camping out in the church nursery a lot of late), although she had a couple well-timed naps and was great overall. When she was rambunctious I let her climb stairs (closely guided) and enjoy the sun outside. There's nothing like hanging out on a nice campus quad to make you feel young and hip. Until you realize how much younger those frisbee boys are and that the most defining thing about your hip is that it has a baby riding on it. Ah well.

Our two cool young chick YL leaders rode with us. We had a lot of fun. Yes, we have lived here 4 1/2 years and we now have a handful of new friends younger than us (versus 20 years older--no offense to our fogie friends). We are soooooo cool now!

We offered to drop off C. but she said her parents had dropped off her car at our house so she could just drive home. We pulled in--no car. She called them: "I thought you said you dropped off my car. It's not here." Oh yes, it was . . . in our neighbors' driveway. They had to be thinking What the...?!

Yesterday I'm standing in the ShopMart pharmacy line (otherwise known as the 7th circle of hell but with $4 drugs) with Anna in the cart. The old (white) guy behind me that she's grinning at says randomly but cheerfully to Anna, "Are you going to vote for Barack Obama?" I translated for her: "Yes sir!" (except for the whole, you know, 17 years too young thing).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Some Firsts

Some firsts over the last couple days:
  1. Anna slept downstairs in her room.
  2. I fished a toy out of the toilet. I felt vaguely dirty all day. Guess we're keeping that door closed now.
  3. I sorted papers to be filed for the first time in . . . eleven months. Since April. They are in piles all over my bed; I hope to restrain them in a filing cabinet soon.
Most notable is the change in sleeping venue. Anna's crib is upstairs in our bedroom rather than down in her room, but she naps in a pack-n-play in her room. We've liked having her up with us, especially when she first came home. The problem is that our upstairs is a loft, so while she's falling asleep we can't have many lights on or make much noise (although once she is out, we can watch TV or whatever). I also can't really work in my office area, and it's a pain to take things downstairs just for that time, which means I end up feeling like I'm wasting a lot of time in the evenings when I really could and should be working, paying bills, filing papers for the first time in eleven months, etc.

Two nights ago we gave it a shot and lo and behold she slept all the way through the night. It was only a little lonely when we went to bed and got up by an empty crib. Last night she was up at 4:00 a.m. and got up for good at 6:00 a.m. (slightly more bearable since we had to get up anyway). Before long we will once again engage in the ill-advised process of moving a crib over a twelve-foot loft half-wall. At least gravity will be on our side this time. But I'm still staying on the safer "upstairs" end!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Love to Change the World

My friend says she's disappointed surprised I haven't talked politics more on my blog, given the arguments discussions we used to have back in Conservatism Central. I'm not in the mood for a rant (stay tuned, I'm sure I will be), so she'll have to keep waiting on that part, but she oughta get a laugh out of what I got us for Valentine's Day . . . OBAMAWEAR!

(Because, after all, he's stolen my bleeding heart.)

We're not really Valentine's Day/minor holiday people. Every day should be full of love and yada yada yada. Plus being lazy and cheap and busy. (And married. Or is this getting redundant?) But with our presidential primary so late as to hopefully be useless, I wanted to do something to show my new crush how I feel about him. And I figured hey, if I'm going to contribute, might as well get a shirt out of it, right?

I consulted Aaron and decided on this one and he told me he wanted this one and of course stickers. Unfortunately everything is backordered so who knows when we'll get anything. But I did put the sticker Artsy Betty gave me for Christmas on my van the other day, and just being so bold made this ObamaMama feel proud to be an American.

I've never given money to a politician before, although in college my roomie and I did go to a Bob Dole rally. I've never sported a bumper sticker or a shirt--not for lack of interest or passion about issues but because I've never felt strongly for someone. But this time is different, and I really feel like Obama is different--not perfect or a messiah but certainly, compared to what we've been settling for, more full of potential and more authentic and more able to make us want to be more of what America should and can be. We are so used to despairing of all we are not that we've forgotten how to even ask if we can be more. Finally we have someone encouraging us to dream big American dreams again and whispering the encouragement and trumpeting the power to reach for them: Yes we can.

These are not the issues reasons for my choice, of course. Those we can get into another day and are freely available on things called the Internets and newspapers for those who want to know (I don't get this whole "his speeches are vague" argument--they all talk vaguely at rallies, because people don't like policy lectures, but that doesn't mean they don't have plans). These are the heart reasons I feel I have to fight for him to have a chance to make a change--because if he never gets a chance, we'll never know what might have been possible. And I want to know I did my part to say yes to the possibilities.

So we didn't go out to dinner and we didn't buy overpriced flowers. I could go for some chocolate, but, endorphins notwithstanding, chocolate doesn't change a thing. This Valentine's Day, we put our love to work for change.

See, love really can change the world.

Yes we can.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

(About 41, but who's counting?)

This awesome cartoon by Dave Walker is from the awesome

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Toofies, Threefies, Fourfies

First there were toofies. Then . . . threefies!

Hello, Snaggletooth!

Now . . . fourfies!

And doggone cute!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Socially Acceptable

Monday I made the exciting trek to the Social Security office to apply for Anna's number. I need this so we can file our taxes and hopefully get a nice fat refund. I had mistakenly thought I might need to complete her Oregon readoption before getting the SSN, but I'm happy to report that I can continue to procrastinate on that set of papers.

I had to drive an hour and a half each way and wait 45 minutes, but they didn't give me any trouble applying. All that time practicing saying "I need to see your supervisor" for naught. Anna did her best to entertain everyone else who was waiting. In two weeks we should have her card with her currently legal name: Yegetanesh Aaron [HisMiddleName]. It has a nice ring to it, don'tcha think?

Hey, at least this particular government transaction was free. AND we got to go to Target. Baby's got new shoes, baby.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Her Oneth Birthday

Somewhere in the after-Christmas blur, our little girl turned one. This really caught me off guard since I was just getting used to the concept that I had a baby—now I have a one-year-old? Say what?!

I kept waffling on whether to party or not to party. Fortunately, our less celebration-challenged friends at church ensured the presence of cake and cards, and on her birthday we were able to go out for dinner with friends and come back home for banana cream pie (Daddy’s favorite, why not?). Her favorite gift, despite the fine variety she received, is the kitty card from Grandma and Grandpa H. It’s sitting on a shelf so she can see it and declare its name: "Kheeeey!" Silly me to ever thinks she needs anything more than the sight of an actual or two-dimensional cat.

Birthday dinner—high five!

At church she started out pretty dainty with the cake, but in the end she had a good amount of the brightest purple frosting imaginable on her hands, face, hair, eyelashes, and clothing. (Sorry, the only pictures are still on our friend’s camera.) With the pie, she wasted no time.

Pie for One.

This is a messy game to play with a mouthful of pudding.

But he started it!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Changes Come

Changes are coming to our little church, our family here in SmallPort: Pastor J. is leaving in just a few weeks. He told us a couple weeks before Christmas. He has taken a position at a church in Northern California.

Aaron is a youth pastor; he's employed by our church. So this change means even more in our lives than it would if J. were "just" our pastor and not also Aaron's boss, a friend, and in a sense the reason we came out here to Oregon. And it means a lot of unstability and uncertainty in the church for a while, and therefore a bit of anxiety about budgets and jobs and all those sorts of things. You know, the things that keep our lives on the path they're on and our checkbook in near the black.

I think a lot of us in the church have a lot of mixed feelings about this. On the one hand we are obviously sad to say goodbye to someone who's been a teacher, a friend, a part of so much of our lives for so long. On the other hand I think a lot of us felt it coming and honestly were relieved that if there was going to be a parting, it's happening this way, where we can be genuinely happy for him because he's excited about the new place he's being called to (as opposed to, say, "I can't take you people any more!"). The last couple years have had some rough times for our little church. We've lost people, we've lost tempers, and sometimes we've darn near lost hope. We've always been able to pull together enough to carry on, but sometimes it's just time for a change.

Although, as I said, we are starting a very uncertain time, I think in the long run the change will be good for us. It will force us to rearticulate and affirm who we are and who we want to be. It will require us to pull together and put old differences behind us. It asks us to go all in, and so far the congregation seems willing to stand together for their church family.

We will use pulpit supply (substitute teacher preachers) for a few months while we look for an interim pastor. Those hoping Aaron will start preaching a lot . . . better get over it. He does such a good job, but he puts so much time into it to do so that is too busy with the kids to do it too often. The interim pastor will not only preach but provide some leadership to help guide us in our search for a new pastor. Unfortunately, there's apparently a shortage of interim pastors in Oregon . . . oh dear, this whole thing could take a while . . . sigh.

Changes come
Turn my world around

I have my father's hand
I have my mother's tongue
I look for redemption in everyone

Changes come
Turn my world around
Changes come
Bring the whole thing down
Jesus come
Turn the world around
Lay my burden down