Tuesday, January 29, 2008

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart”-Kahlil Gibran

I've always thought my kids were cute. I'm their mom. I'm supposed to. It's natural.

Every once in a while, though, I'm struck by how stunningly beautiful they are.

There were times when I nursed TheBoy that I stared into his gorgeous eyes and just got lost. There I was nourishing his body, his soul and those wonderful trusting eyes stared up at me with such innocence and such love.

I had similar moments with my girls. Babies are at their most beautiful when they're at the breast. You see those sweet chubby cheeks bouncing and those big gorgeous eyes staring up at you brimming with contentment and love. With my twins, though, their first interactions with each other were at the breast. For the longest time, they didn't seem to realize they were separate beings. They never showed a conscious awareness of the other one. Then, one day, while I nursed them both on either side, one reached over and grabbed the other one's hand. Their gazes shifted from me to each other. While they continued to nurse, they flailed their little arms reaching out for the other.

Over the past few days, I've been overwhelmed by my children's beauty.

I recently got some pictures of them that I just adore. I looked at the photographs and was shocked by how gorgeous they are. I always thought they were cute, but I've gotten lost in those pictures and I've been left wondering, "When did you grow into such beautiful beings?"

Today, we went to story time and I was struck by it once again. The big kids made such a point of helping their little brother without ever being asked. They treated him so gently and so motherly. I have two sisters who have spent their entirely lives trying to physically injure each other, so I'm particularly thankful for and in awe of the connections I see between my children.

Earlier this morning, TheBoy took something that belongs to Girl1. I held my breath and waited for the eruption, but rather than scream at him, she spoke very sweetly to him and she let him have it without a fight.

I've made a point of pulling the big kids aside today to tell them how proud I am of them. And I am. They're absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out. I'm so very grateful for and so much in awe of them.

Anxiously awaiting this evening's Daily Show

Last night, after the State of the Union wrapped up, I turned to dh and said, "I can't wait to see Jon Stewart's commentary on tomorrow's Daily Show."

FTR, we actually had the speech on last night. I haven't done that since the State of the Union in '03, when dh was deployed to the Middle East for the first time. I found myself screaming and crying at the out-right lies.

This time, I made it through by basically having it on as background noise. Although, I did have a few choice words for the president, especially when he insisted he wants more funding for the military. Um...you got it, now where's that safety gear they were promised years ago? My very quiet dh even chastised Bush a few times and my husband is not one to do that.

Sometimes, I forget how very angry and insulted this administration makes him feel. He's quiet about it. He doesn't complain. Although, the fact that he gave up his career, job security, and retirement as a result of the current administration should really have clued me in.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The only thing better than great friends are great friends with cool socks.

I have the coolest friends in the world.

Recently, I had to have a scary procedure done. While getting ready to head out, I purposely reached for a pair of Fragle Rock socks a friend once sent me. During the procedure, I glanced down and saw my bright yellow socks. They made me grin to myself and feel a little more at ease.

Today, a package came from that same friend. In this package was a handmade card, some stickers for the kids and another pack of cool socks.

I will be changing into a pair of them today.

I like funky socks. Even when you need to be dressed professionally, you can usually wear a pair of unusual socks. So even if the rest of the world thinks you're conforming to the norm, you know that your bright green monster socks would beg to differ.

I like odd socks, but I LOVE my friends. If you are a friend bearing socks, then you rock my world.

After opening that package today, I'm now inspired to do more little things like that for my friends. There are lots of people I want to make/buy things for just to let them know I'm thinking of them. I think I just got the kick in the pants I needed to do that.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Just when you're about to throttle them, they do something like this.

Girl1 has had her third loose tooth for a while now. We actually found it was loose not long after the first one popped out, but it's holding firm and refuses to be yanked, twisted, or coerced out.

There's a carousel at a local mall. The kids have ridden on it a grand sum total of once and that was because my parents were out and they paid for it.

I would love to be a more spontaneous parent and let them do more fun stuff every once in a while, but their memories astound me and their expectations exhaust me. You let them do something once and they ask for it every single time after that.

That has been the case with that carousel. They last time they bugged me about it, I explained that they were more than welcome to use their own money to buy tickets.

Then, not long ago, Girl1 started putting more effort into freeing that loose tooth. While wiggling said tooth, she came up and asked me, "Do you tink da toof fahee ill ive ee ore oney if I ass?" Mispronunciations courtesy of the little fingers busy messing with the tooth. When I asked her why, she told me wanted enough money so that she could buy tickets for herself and her sister since her sister has yet to loose a tooth and it doesn't appear as though she will any time soon.


Oh and today, we watched a kids' show about money. It focused on different ways in which we acquire money (work, gifts, allowance, loans, etc). When it was over, Girl1 came up to me and we had this conversation:

Girl1: They forgot one.
Me: One what?
Girl1: One way of getting money.
Me: And what would that be?
Girl1: The tooth fairy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Random Early Edition

I'm only a little early.

I'm at a complete loss right now, so this week, my Thursday Thirteen will feature a random list of thoughts fresh from my stream of consciousness.

Thirteen Thoughts Rampaging Through My Mind Right Now

1…. I really really REALLY hope the military doesn't reactivate my husband.

2.....The speed of light is 186,000 miles/sec

3.....I memorized #2 when I was in the 7th grade on a field trip. It has actually proven to be very useful.

4.... Bamboo can grow 15 feet in 7 days.

5.....I learned that bit of information when the big kids and I were studying Tu B'Shevat for school.

6....Starbucks actually offers the Peppermint Mocha Frappacino year round, but they only put it up on the menu in December. Although, after December, you can't get those nifty little pink peppermint sprinkles on it.

7....The same is true of the Java Chip Frappacino. It may not always be on the menu, but you can get it anyway.

8....That last bit of information came in very handy after my sister had her baby (a homebirth, btw). I headed out to see her and asked what I could bring. Her only request was Starbucks, but she lamented the fact that the Java Chip Frappacino was not on their current menu. I was able to provide her with her chocolaty coffee goodness despite what the menu proclaimed.

9....I've never understood why Kermit sang, "Why are there so many songs about rainbows?" There aren't. There's ONE.

10....Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring banana phone. Although, in my head, it was the dead-pan talking version of the song, but I can't find that right now.

11....Long after our kids stopped watching Caillou, my sister and I will still randomly bust into the theme-song.

12....The Muppet Show is the kids' show that I think had the best theme.

13....I wish surfaces were all self-dusting.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Oh hell!

Dh has gotten a few suspicious letters from the military in recent weeks. The short cryptic version of the story is that we now fear that, due to a series of unfortunate events, dh may be reactivated and sent to fight.

We very much do NOT want that to happen.

Oh hell!

Next on my list of craftiness

I love these work of art clips for holding children's artwork. That would be ridiculously easy to make from things we already have lying around (although I'd probably buy some more clothes pins which are endlessly useful anyway). I do believe that will be next on my list of things to make. Hmm...that could make a great Valentine's Day gift for the big kids.

I also wonder about making one right here for the office. We already have a cork board, but that clothesline could be useful for paperwork we need and having it in plain sight would be a great reminder so that I don't completely forget it. Right now, that would be a great way to keep track of our paperwork for taxes.

One could also be useful in the entryway. It could hold the mail and maybe then I could find my dining room table from under Mail Mountain.

The possiblities are endless.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Choice

Blog for Choice Day

I know several of my readers disagree with me here, but this is something about which I feel strongly.

I was reminded about the day by Kol Ra'ash Gadol.

I couldn't figure exactly what to write, but then I found the Smirking Cat's post. It's well-written and covers many of my thoughts, so I'll share that with you. Blog for Choice 2008

I will also direct you to Julia's heartbreaking story. I've known a number of people who were adamantly anti-choice, but reading her story gave them pause. She provides additional information here: Painful. Please read about her and her family.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The dream lives.

On Today's episode of Oprah, they featured people keeping Dr. King's dream alive. One story was about two unlikely cousins.

Vy, An African-American artist from Harlem found she and Marion, a white elderly cattle rancher from Missouri were cousins. When he first contacted her, he did not know she was African-American. It's unclear from the show or the article whether he was made aware of that, but there's footage of them meeting at the airport for the first time and it appears that's when he first learns of their differences. He throws down his coat, gives her a big bear hug and says in an astonished tone, "Cousins? Isn't that beautiful!"

That left me breathless and in tears. Their differences could have been startling or shocking or even disconcerting, but no, he found their differences and their ties beautiful. How wonderful!

In My Garden Grows a Tree

Birthday Party for the Trees at imabima.blogspot.com

In my garden
grows a tree,

Dances day

And night for me,

Four in a bar

Or sometimes three

To music secret

As can be
Nightly to

Its hidden tune

I watch it move

Against the moon,

Dancing to

A silent sound,

One foot planted
In the ground.

Dancing tree,

When may I hear

Day or night

Your music clear?

What the note

And what the song

That you sing

The seasons long?

It is written

Said the tree,

On the pages

Of the sea;

It is there

At every hand

On the pages

Of the land;

Whether waking

Or in dream:

Voice of meadow-grass

And stream,

And out of

The ringing air

Voice of sun
And moon and star.

It is there

For all to know

As tides shall turn

And wildflowers grow:

There for you

And there for me,
Said the glancing
Dancing tree.
From Collected Poems for Children by Charles Causley

Ima on and off the bima's recent post inspired me to post this.

It's Tu B'shevat. We went to a Tu B'Shevat seder yesterday and it was lovely. As part of the seder, we read a slightly different version of the story Ima posted.

Honi came across an elderly man planting a carob tree with his grandson. Honi laughed at the man and said, "Silly old man, do you really think you'll live long enough to enjoy the fruit of your labor?" The man replied, "I eat today from my grandfather's tree." Honi then fell into a deep sleep. 70 years later, he awoke to find a huge carob tree and an elderly man tending it. Honi asked, "Are you the same man I saw planting this tree long ago?" The man replied, "No, that was my grandfather."

And now, I'll share two stories about trees.

With our ice storms last year, many trees were lost. One of my friends lost this tree in her back yard. That was the tree she, her husband and their son planted 8 years ago in honor of the baby daughter they lost. She was still born.

Here's a happier story for you.
This is why I love the Honi story so very much. I have lived it.

My grandfather was plant crazy. He planted trees all over the property. I was lucky enough to grow up in the same house where he had lived. So even though he died just before my 7th birthday, I grew up with evidence of him all around me. Time and weather have destroyed all but the one that stands in front of my parents' house. I played under the shade of all of those trees, but especially that one in the front. As a child, I studied its branches from my parents' bedroom window. I remember the times I tried in vain to climb that trunk. It has grown over the years, so now, when I visit, I can see the bright green leaves from the front door. That tree has been there through my father's childhood, mine and now, my children's. I have a deep affection for that tree. Its roots and mine are intertwined.

This guy should be a tourist attraction.

I want to head to Australia just to meet that guy.

No Headline Could Improve Upon This.
Conductor, as train comes in: Ahem: Quack-quack-quack, quack-quack, quack, quack, quack-quack... A-whoo-whoo!


via Overheard Everywhere, Jan 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sit right back and you'll hear a tail.

This is an interaction between myself and my son from earlier today.

TheBoy is playing with a stuffed animal and pointing out different body parts.

TheBoy: Eyes. Two eyes. One. Two. Ears. Nose. Tail.
He then grabs at his behind and says in a questioning voice,
"TheBoy tail?"

Me: No. People don't have tails.
He then grabbed at his penis, pulling it and announced, "Penis. Tail."

Um...no. Good try, though.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Going green and begging for stuff

Yet again, I'm trying to win something. Although, you can't say I've sold out to the man because a woman is responsible for this give away. :-)

Birthday Party for the Trees at imabima.blogspot.com

Tu B'Shevat is coming up. Robin had a fabulous Thursday Thirteen dedicated to it and she does a great job of explaining it. Why re-invent the wheel when you could just link to someone instead? You can also follow the pretty colored button up there to Ima on the Bima and read her haiku about it.

After Sunday school tomorrow, the whole family will be partaking in a Tu B'Shevat seder (see Robin's blog for more). We've actually never been to one before. I'm really looking forward to it.

Thus far, our Tu B'Shevat celebrations have included replanting items which make fabulous cat food. The big kids decorated planters and took home some plants after a family service last week, but unfortunately, one of the cats found the plants and thought they were awfully tasty.

Why does Johnny come marching homeless?

The lasting effects of the "war," are a favorite topic of mine (as we've survived them and are continuing to do so), so when I saw Erin McClam's recent article on the topic, I knew I'd have to share with you.

Why does Johnny come marching homeless?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Support our troops by sending good vibes

My friend over at Halfway Hip (with whom I have found over the years that I have far too much in common) is getting ready for her family to transition from military to civilian. Been there, done that, it's a surreal experience. We are not civilians. We've survived deployments and so very many other things exclusive to the military culture. There is no way we can completely separate ourselves from what we have endured and for most of us, no way we would want to do that.

It's such a weird and profound experience. Heck, it even prompted me to rename my blog. As Kristin Henderson wrote, it truly is like stepping off the spaceship. I blogged about it at the very beginning, so I'll just direct you to this post: Notes From A Former Military Wife.

Now a friend of mine is about to embark on that strange trip. Yet again, I want to remind people that the oddity and hardships do not end with the homecoming. That's just the end of your participation in the conflict over there for the time being. There are many conflicts still to be endured here at home. So pretty pretty please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday Thirteen: Fortune Cookies

Thirteen fortunes I have saved over the years

Any spelling/grammatical mistakes are intentional. These are copied exactly.

1…. Something on 4 wheels will soon be a fun investment for you!
TheBoy actually got that one earlier this week and it cracked me up given his interest in all things with wheels.

2. You have a deep understanding of other people's needs and feelings.

3. Don't underestimate yourself. Your social skills are needed by others at this time.

4. No one conquers who doesn't fight.

5. Accept no others definition of your life, accept only your own.

6. The secret of getting ahead is getting started
Oh boy did I need to reread that one right about now!

7. Others appreciate your expressive qualities.

8. You will be unusually successful in an entertainment career.

9. You will be sharing great news with the people you love.

10. You discover treasures where others see nothing unusual.

11. Buy things because you need them, not because they are on sale.

12. You are a bundle of energy, always on the go.
Girl2 got that one once and oh boy was it the truth!

13. When the moment comes, take the last one from the left.
That is my very favorite fortune of all time.

And just FTR, I can't stand the taste of fortune cookies. I am, however, addicted to fortunes.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I can't sleep, but I want to win stuff and I want to save the world too.

Birthday Party for the Trees at imabima.blogspot.com

Ima on the Bima is giving away a really neat reusable bag and I want it.

So I'm blogging, commenting, and hoping for the best.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Britain has much cooler people than we do.

Screw this. I'm moving.

This is hysterical. It absolutely made my day. My niece sent me a version of this and I cracked up.

And this little girl (from the same show) is absolutely phenomenal.

While she didn't win, she did get a record deal.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Why I love my husband (#1347)

As part of my determination to be more organized, we made a trip to Target earlier this week. We bought several things to help with my quest. When we grabbed the plastic under-the-bed drawer, dh stuck it on the bottom of the shopping cart. After we paid, I noticed the drawer and asked if he had paid for it. He hadn't.

So I asked, "What do we do now?" To which he replied, "We get back in line and pay for it."

Whereas others screech and scream about the decline of morals in America, my husband quietly does the right thing. I think that is far more effective in teaching our children and far more telling about him and his beliefs.

Thank you for striking.

FTR, I support the writers' strike.

Last night, I was actually thrilled that there's a strike. The lack of anything new/decent on television lead me to search the dial. I found the latest installment of the PBS documentary, The Jewish Americans. It's fascinating.

Something else I found fascinating is that one of the historians (sorry, but I didn't catch her name) sounds so very much like my MIL. The historian's inflection and tone are so very similar to my MIL's. I'm assuming it's a NY Jew born to immigrants thing, but I just find it so fascinating that they have that in common. There are bridges between Jews all over the world. Our common thread extends from things like diet, experience, history, literature, music, etc. It's striking (pardon the unintentional pun) to find that connection in something so seemingly small as tone of voice.

Although, last night, when I mentioned to dh that the historian in the documentary sounded just like his mother, my husband's reply was, "Oh great! That's just what the world needs." You could hear the eyeroll in his tone of voice. :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You are NOT Suzanne Vega. Cut that out!

My life is a musical composed entirely by a set of first grade twins. They will not, however, win any Tony Awards for their lyrical wonders.

Girl2 is currently in the process of singing a song about her day where the lyrics are a jumble of those from various Signing Time DVDs (when she runs out of ideas, she yells out, "L,M,N,O") and other made-up lyrics wherein she describes what she is doing.

My whole life is like this now. It never stops. I'm all for creativity, but damn it, how the hell am I gonna survive their creativity?

The other day, Girl1 followed me around the kitchen singing about her day. "I'm walking in the kitchen. I'm looking out the window, but no one's there. I'm going to run to the back door..."

I turned to her and announced, "Hun, you are not Suzanne Vega. Please cut that out."

Contemporary Christian Music Scares Me,but not nearly as much as big corporations

Thanks to late night commercials, this Jew recognizes far too many of the songs referenced here:

I often complain about corporations taking over the world. The PapaJohns.com Bowl? Seriously? WTF?

When I was a kid, the local sports arena was just known as "The Arena." It was actually named for a corrupt dead politician, but no one referred to it as such. When I was a teenager, it became "Big Corporation Arena." Just recently, when we went to visit, I found it's now "Another Corporation I Never Realized Was Large Enough to Buy a Sports Complex Arena."

Now, American landmarks are no longer named for their location or historical context. They've been prostituted to large corporations. The South West Airlines Grand Canon or the Liberty Mutual Liberty Bell probably aren't far away.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

File under "I want."

We're planning for a move in the next year or so. The girls have made both my husband and me aware of what they do/don't want in their new bedroom in their new house. One thing they want is their bedroom the same color. Um...not gonna happen. I regretted painting their room light blue from the moment I did it. We knew I would paint a mural and thought blue would be the best backdrop. We were wrong.

Regardless, I'm adding Chalkals to my wishlist for the girls' new room. They may look like ordinary wall decals, but they can actually be written on with chalk.

Do they still make chalkboard paint? If so, I could do something like that with stencils. Still, I thought those owls were awfully cute. And given the name of this blog, wouldn't these be perfect for my office?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Stooopid resolutions.

Damn it! I swore I wasn't going to make a resolution in honor of the new year. I think they're stupid and pointless. It's rare that someone sticks with theirs.

Still, without me even trying, I have stepped right into the pit of a resolution.

I am going to be more organized.

My mother is the type of person who has everything organized. She has covers on the couches. If there's even a speck of dirt on the floor, it gives her heart palpitations. My father is a pack rat. He keeps anything and everything. I know you're supposed to inherit 1/2 your chromosomes from each parent. It would appear I am a biological anomaly. It seems that I got all of mine from my father.

When I stayed with my brother, I found his pantry to be startling. Everything is in order, stacked nice and neatly with all the labels facing out. You would think it was a sign of a disturbed mind, but it's not. Whereas my mother's absolute need for cleanliness sometimes makes it difficult to function (no, I'm not being sarcastic), my brother is a brilliant well adjusted person with lots of friends. How is it that he got such a wonderful balance? I want that.

Since I was not born with the neatness gene, I need to over-compensate. I have got to find some way to make up for my failings. I started following Kamrin's lead by simplifying, but that has come to a halt. We did get rid of some clutter, but there's much more to do. It has gotten worse since Chanukah.

Today, we took the first step. We reorganized our bedroom and we're going to move a piece of furniture out of the office and into our room. Once we do that, it should be an avalanche of organization. That will give us room to add book cases wherein we can store lots of the school clutter plus I can take my craft supplies and photographs out of the giant plastic boxes which take up far too much room, sort them into smaller boxes and put them on the shelves.

We've been stuck in a holding pattern. We can't clear out one room because first we need to do something with another room, but we can't start that room because it has things that need to go somewhere else.

Here's hoping that we don't lose momentum and that we wind up with a straightened relatively clutter-free home in the not-too distant future.

ETA: I'm going to try to commit to this monthly checklist. I can do one thing a day.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Politics as a sport

An old friend of mine recently posted a blog entry wherein he mentions his contempt for those who treat politics as a sport. He refers to it as an entertaining way that those who are passionate use to escape.

I agree with a point he made about the disturbing obsession that some folks seem to have with their candidates (No, Giselle, I don't mean you and the Ron Paul-mobile) and I do see where he's coming from with the politics as a sport concept, but I think there are a group of us that he doesn't recognize.

We are a military family. I have posted over and over again about how a large part of the reason we are so passionate about politics is because it's a life or death situation for us--literally. Since I have ranted about that in the past, I won't do it again. I'll just get the point out there.

Yes, I feel strongly that I do NOT want certain people in office under any circumstances. While I'm not sold on any particular candidate just yet, I do feel strongly that there are some who would do a better job than others. I may very well be willing to go to political rallies. I may be willing to be an active part of a campaign. I may be willing to wear a cleverly-written t-shirt in support of a candidate or slap such a bumper sticker on my vehicle (since I can do that now. Woo hoo to no incumbent and a husband who is no longer active-duty).

Although we are passionate about the presidential race, there is no way in hell anyone could so much as suggest that it's "escapist entertainment" for us. And if they did make that suggestion, I can't promise that I would resist the urge to beat them over the head with a sign proclaiming my support for a particular candidate.