Saturday, July 31, 2010

Judah is Weally good at Karate Kid

J is taking the kids to a special event at a dojo nearby where a neighbor child takes karate lessons. Judah has recently watched The Karate Kid with Daddy and Sofi and is very excited, with big plans about all the fighting he's going to do. I just overheard this exchange between Judah and J and laughed so hard I nearly snorted my Cheerioes out my nose...

No, Judah, you can't take your sword to karate class. they have their own swords at karate.

Can I... can I... can I...? (excitement renders him nearly speechless)

No, son, they're not going to let you use the sword.


Because you have to be very very good at karate before they let you use the swords.

But, but, but I AM reawwy good at kawate kid.

No, silly boy, you've never even had a karate class before.

But, but , but I am REAWWY good at kawate kid.


But, but, but I kawate kid VIOLET. I karate kid Violet when she was Cinderella. Wemember??

Monday, July 26, 2010

Conversation in the living room

And den the dwagon schopped off my head, like dis-- schop-schop

Oh really? And then did you carry it around under your arm like The Green Knight?

Noooo... I cawwied it awound in my hand, like dis. And den...and den...and den I gwooooed it back on! And den I schopped HIS head off!!

This is what happens when you read too many King Arthur stories at bedtime.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Too long and thoughtful to be a Facebook status

Parenting just goes on getting harder and harder as your kids get older.

I have a theory about why there are so many hot-button, controversial issues about pregnancy, birth and babyhood, and so few (at least that I've come across in the Christian community) similarly divisive issues pertaining to middle-school children. It's because when we're parenting those younger children (and when we're pregnant and all that) things are so much easier to see in black and white. Once they turn eight/nine/ten, somewhere in there, it becomes so much more difficult to discern the Best Way.

I fall into this myself. Ask me about teaching my kids the meaning of "no". Ask me about getting them to sleep through the night, breastfeeding them, birthing them and proper nutrition and exercise during pregnancy-- I have ready answers and a system I firmly believe is the best for each one of those issues. (don't get me wrong, I'm not holding myself up as a paragon of perfect parenting-- I'm just saying I have strong opinions and methods I believe in pretty passionately.)

But now, now that Sofi is almosteight... well, things are different. I find it much easier to talk about why I believe in babywearing, than to explain to my sobbing almosteight-year-old why she is the "only girl my age" to not be allowed to pierce her ears. I find it sososo much simpler to teach a one-year-old not to touch the pretty glass thingy, than to teach my daughter to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even when it might get you in trouble, even when it makes you look bad. I have statistics and percentages and studies out the whazoo to convince you that natural childbirth is better for you and for your baby, but when my daughter asks me why Daddy and I won't let her wear a bikini, I just stand there and open and shut my mouth a few times like a stranded fish.

I'm a little at a loss as to why this is. It's not just that I feel less strongly about bikinis and ear piercing and telling the truth... it's just that those things are more long-term, big-picture result oriented. It's not that there's anything wrong, per se, with piercing one's ears. It's just that a part of us wants to keep that for later-- to wait, and grow up in stages, instead of all at once. It's not really about the earrings, they're just a symbol of something more important.

And the bikini, too. Another small part of a big issue. The M word. Modesty. And simply banning bikinis doesn't even begin to address the depth of Modesty as I want my daughter to express it, live it. It's just a very small part of it. It's not about covering certain parts of her body, it's about attitudes and habits.

Isn't it funny how easy it is to be adamant, unbending, vocal, passionate about the temporary, unimportant things, like whether my child sleeps through the night sooner than yours? And how hard it is to articulate and teach the really important things like Honesty, Modesty, Maturity?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dog days of summer

But don't feel too sorry for us, we've been doing lots of THIS:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lake Eola

We spent a beautiful morning in downtown Orlando this morning at Lake Eola Park. There were swans and at least half a dozen other birds I couldn't identify. Please chime in in the comments if you see a bird you recognize (other than the swans, duh). There were also at least three different varities of swans (or species, I suppose). Black ones and white ones with thick yellow beaks, in addition to the traditional and familiar ones with slender red beaks. I think the yellow-beaked ones may have been trumpeter swans...?? Anyone? I'm including a short video with a quickie example of the call I kept hearing. It's not great quality and the ornery ole things shut up as soon as I whipped out the camera. They were FULL of music for the five minutes leading up to the appearance of the camera....

Such a beautiful place... There are swan boats to rent and a floating fountain in the center of the lake that kind of sprays water all around. We've promised the kids we'll go back one time this summer and rent two boats so we can ride out to the fountain :) I'll be sure to take the camera!

By the way, Judah earned himself a milkshake by walking the entire perimeter of the lake-- nearly a full mile!










Monday, July 19, 2010

My baby's in a real bed now...




Isn't that a great bunkbed? Craigslist, $125-- including mattresses. SCORE!! So much sturdier than the one Sofi's been using all these years. We finally let it go to the dump. Didn't think it would survive the move. It had given my family at least 25 years of good service. R.I.P.

Helping Daddy screw stuff up

There's nothing like little boys in Hero Underpants....




Sunday, July 18, 2010

Catching up with some random stuff: Sofi's dance recital

I realized that there are a bunch of photos and vids that I didn't post over the last months of moving and craziness, so I'm going to kind of jam them all into a few posts. This is all mostly for the doting grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (and the crazy-old Great-Aunt, can't forget her *wicked grin*), although the rest of you are welcome to coo over my brilliant, talented and extremely photogenic children as well.

Sofi's Irish Step Dance Recital:

Please excuse the shaky videography-- pregnant woman on her knees with camera upheld over the heads of other camera-happy parents...

This was Sofi's last recital (of five) with her beloved Miss Cindy. We will miss you, Miss Cindy! There will never be another teacher like you!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A New Haircut

Since I can't show all my girlfriend's my new "do" in person, I'll have to just blog about it and y'all can do The Girlfriend Squeal from your keyboard, m'kay? Make it loud now...

Here we go!



It was my first time trying out a salon school. In this case, the Aveda Institute here in Orlando. It was superawesome. I'm very happy with the cut, I got a free massage (!!), all the products they use are all-natural and chem-free AND. AND. It only cost me $15-- including the tip!!! You cannot beat that. The woman who did it was veeery slow careful and the master teacher makes her rounds periodically checking up on the students and making corrections when necessary, so I wasn't even worried about how it might turn out to have a student cut my hair.

The woman told me, as she cut my hair, that the salon school cuts are really the best you can get since there are at least two people watching to be sure it turns out right--- and I believe her now! Especially because my bangs turned out exACTly how I like them, which (as those of you with bangs know) can be tricky.

The school itself was just a cool place to see, too. It's an enormous building with row upon row of stations and people buzzing all around doing various yummy-smelling things to other people in the chairs-- even at 8:30 in the morning there were at least 25-30 clients already there. It was hopping! I loved it and can hardly wait to go back. A pedicure is in my very near future also, especially since a 60 minute session is only $17!! Aaack! Yet another reason (besides Disney) for all y'all to come visit me ASAP!

P.S. J thinks it's too short and is officially in mourning over my lost locks, but I really like how the shorter cut makes me look like I actually have cheekbones! Despite the seven-months-pregnant-puffiness. Also, I should mention that in these photos, the part of the back that you can see looks a little "chopped-off", but it doesn't in person. Must be the way I combed it, or something... not sure...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quote of the Week

My dear friend, Laura, is sharing her thoughts on Grace today. Here is my favorite part:

I see Grace as a little, dancing, butterfly, fluttering around us always. And sometimes she takes our breath away by landing on us. And our souls are tugged upwards and for no good reason that is logical and sound we find ourselves with the strongest Faith and Love we've ever felt. We are sure that all is Good. We actually feel eternity.

Grace really is no small thing.

Go ahead, go read the rest. Take some tissues and let the Lord sent a little light into your life from someone else's journey.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day

Well. Ok. Maybe that's an overstatement. Just a little.

But it wasn't a good day. It's was a day where, by five o-clock, I decided to just give up and go ahead and have a good cry. Which, at seven months pregnant and moving into a strange town, I feel I deserve now and again.

First: We lost Judah. Only for about fifteen minutes, but those were a veeery loooong fifteen minutes, let me tell you. He rode his scooter to the end of the sidewalk outside our back door and then couldn't remember how to get back to the house from there (it's only about fifteen feet, but he's new here). So he turned left and kept on going. And kept turning left or right when he got to the end of the sidewalk until he was completely outside the little enclave of enclosed courtyards that we depend on to keep the kids "safe". This neighborhood is very "woodsy", with lots of trees and shrubs, which is great-- beautiful!-- but meant that within five minutes (the time it took Sofi, who was out playing with him, to come in and put on her bathing suit, and us to realize she was in here and he was not) he was completely out of sight and hearing.

My easy-going, laid-back, calm husband gets very... intense... in moments like these. In my small-town naivete, I didn't fully grasp the gravity of the situation until he came back in and said, Get dressed, I can't see him anywhere, and then threw on his sneakers and ran back out.

We walked/ran up and down the maze of sidewalks, calling for him in carefully non-panicking voices and then, there he was. Still on the tricycle. Totally safe, although a little nervous. He'd been calling for Daddy, once he realized that he couldn't find our house-- which looks exactly identical to all the other hundreds of houses here.

Second; I took on the daunting task of grocery shopping in a New City. I am a creature of habit in grocery shopping. If you look at the roadways of the 'Burg, you may actually see a rut from my car wheels traveling the exact same path from store to store every week. The same items-- each from the store I know always carries them at the best price. Nine years of shopping at the same stores every week.

So today, newspaper circulars in hand, I sat down to make a list of prices and locations and map out my new route with the GPS. Only problem is, the GPS doesn't take into account what sort of neighborhoods it takes you through.

Twenty minutes after I left my house, I found myself walled in by concrete traffic barriers and cones. Looming over them were more concrete walls, covered in graffiti and filth. Trash everywhere and a general air of decay and want.

And then the car reminded me that we're not entirely sure that it's fixed yet. And I was afraid to even check my cell phone battery. Not that it would do any good, since the truck's in the shop and J's at home with both kids and no way to get to me before the muggers do.... *PREGNANT WOMAN PANIC*

I made it to the grocery store, which was also a little shady-looking, and then home (by a different route-- thanks to Google) and then burst into tears in the driveway.

All the way home I kept thinking, I have no idea how to do this. I've never lived in a city even remotely close to this size. When I moved to the 'Burg as a new bride, it seemed like a huge city to me. Our town had about 400 residents. How can I possibly learn to live in Orlando? With three kids? What if I do something stupid, like forget to check on them every two-and-a-half minutes? What if I forget to lock our car door? (We never locked our doors back home) What if I let them get too far away from me in the grocery store? What if I try to get someplace in town with the GPS and then run out of gas in a place like I saw today? What if....???

I just have no instincts about these things. All my life I've lived in small-town places where people were generally trustworthy and honest. Our kids have played out on the sidewalk with minimal supervision their whole lives-- trusting to their adherence to a set of boundaries, which they almost never crossed. I send Sofi two or three aisles away in the store to grab me something in another category. I let her take Judah to the back of Big Lots to ogle the toys while I shop. I sometimes leave them in the car while I run into the Post Office.

This place scares me. In the back of my mind are murmurings of the promises of the Lord, but right now the fears are muchmuch louder.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Welcome to our beach condo :)

Here's a virtual tour so y'all can see our new digs! Despite the thousands of dollars in unexpected car repairs over the last week, we've been blessed amazingly by this new home. It's really beautiful. Give me another two hundred square feet in the shape of some more closets and another two bedrooms and I'd be set for good.

(blogger's not letting me post the tour of the bedrooms... let me see if I can get that fixed while y'all enjoy the rest!) (eta: you can go watch the tour here in the meantime)

Monday, July 5, 2010

From here to there....

...from there...


to here....



I don't think, Laura, you knew when you gave me that little magnet just how significant it would become to me in the next week :) I've been holding onto that quote, and the promise the Lord seemed to give us with Jamie's name, tight with both hands for this whole last week. And it hasn't stopped yet. J is semi-stranded back in Savannah, Ga in an attempt to retrieve our delinquent, and supposedly repaired, Honda. It wasn't, and might not yet be, safe to drive. Not sure when he'll be home....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It feels like Monday already.

This morning, before even breakfast, the kids were already squabbling. They've been consistently getting on each other's nerves since about half-way through North Carolina.

I was feeling a little down. It's our first Sunday here and I miss my church family. We're going to visit a PCA church here, and I know there will be some familiar things-- communion, the creeds, the hymns (thank the Lord for universal symbols of the Faith). But in large part, it will be strange and new.

So I decided to make myself some grits. You know, comfort food. 'Cause everyone knows that there's nothing like grits and eggs to heal pretty much any existential angst. (Can I get an amen??)

But then I spilled the grits all over the kitchen floor. I went to vacuum it up. And let me tell you, this is a small kitchen. There simply isn't room for me, baby and a vacuum. I knocked the crisp, perfectly browned bacon on the floor. I vacuumed that up, made more grits, kept my chin up. And then I realized that we were out of butter.

At that point I had two options; a good hard cry, or a blog post. I chose the blog post, because, you know, mascara... and a new church... gotta make an impression...

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Moving Tips (even though no one asked)

Do not throw an "accident" outfit into a plastic bag and toss it in the trunk of the car, assuming you'll launder it at the first stop on the trip. You will not. You will forget it's there, uncovering it four days later, now morphed into an ammonia-reeking ball of molding fabric. The smell will nearly take your life, leaving your children mother-less and your husband a widower. It's totally not worth it.

Do not assume that just because your husband's car broke down this morning, your car is safe for at least a couple days. Apparently 20 minutes is sufficient for Karma to re-set. Also do not assume that, just because you had it in to the dealership two days ago, that same car can't possibly have actually just died on you in the middle of in-town traffic.

Don't assume that since your car broke down once already, and the mechanics assured you that it was merely a "sensor problem", it won't happen again. And again. And again. And then once more.

Out of town car repairs are expensive.

Trading in a busted Honda Civic for a larger vehicle is expensive.

New timing chains for Toyota pick-ups are expensive, despite the slightly trailer-trash ambiance.

Do not expect toddlers to sleep on the road.


Not even after midnight.

Be thankful he's in the other vehicle.

Never underestimate the gastrointestinal effect of irregular meals and too much fast food on said toddler. Underestimate, as in "not put on a diaper at naptime". Even if he never wears a diaper at naptime any more.

Never, ever say "well, shucks, I was kinda hoping some of this stuff would actually break in the move so I would have an excuse to throw it out and replace it with something nice". The very next box will contain a treasured wedding present, shattered to bits. Take my word for it.

40 boxes of books is insane. Impressive, and a good conversation starter, and even possibly helpful in labeling yourself part of the "In Crowd" in a roomful of academics...yes. Sane? No.

Next time, buy matching book cases.

If your husband agrees to sell the old couch, which isn't worth the price of the space in the U-Haul truck, and replace it when you get there with something nicer; don't assume he actually heard the second part of that sentence.

too be continued...