Sunday, August 23, 2009

As promised.. a clip from our road trip

The boys got a piece of candy every 50 miles, and this impromptu dance party happened to coincide with a fifty mile mark, so both boys are chewing on carmels, or something.


We have church at 11:30 a.m.

That means we wake up at 7 a.m. and eat cereal. Then cook waffles at 8:30.

That means we take naps at 9:30.

That means we play Legos and read books and build forts and lie around on the carpet in blankets until 10 a.m.

That means we stay in our pajamas until 10:30.

That means at 10:30 we look at the clock and say, "Shoot, we're still in our pajamas." And we jump in the shower and throw clothes on ourselves and the boys and by 11 a.m. we're sitting at the table and I've got a toothbrush in my mouth and I'm telling the boys to "hurry and eat your spaghetti or we'll be late for church," and the QB is doing her makeup as we pull out of the complex parking lot at 11:20 and by 11:29 we're walking in the double doors of the Chapel and sitting down just as the bishop is standing up to welcome everyone to the meeting.

Oh well, at least we weren't late. And the waffles were good--oatmeal with agave nectar and a little whipped cream.

Line of the day from the pulpit:
"If you care, the Holy Ghost will help you find a way.
If you don't care, you'll find an excuse all by yourself."

A few pictures....

Sunglasses, swords, and pajamas--three summer morning essentials at our house.

This is the chocolate chicken I won in the "chicken dance" contest at the Church party last week.
It's all about bobbing your head and picking up your feet.

Grandpa Franklin was a big hit with the boys. The only problem is that they may have exhausted his supply of Navy stories. He'll have to make up some new ones next time we see him.

The Monkey at a hotel pool in Illinois.

I think I was as tired as I look in this picture. Thanks for your help Grandpa.

Grandma single-handedly unpacked and organized our entire kitchen (and that was after she'd single-handedly packed up and cleaned out our kitchen in Ohio--and I'm sure she left feeling like she hadn't done enough. Silly. Thanks Grandma.

The monkey and his house.

This is why we call him the Monkey.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mr. Baseball and the swimming Pool

So we've got a pool. Not a big one. But its a pool. Clear water. Chlorine. stamped concrete patio. With 90+ degree weather outside almost everyday, we're getting our rent's worth.

We go about once every other day and Mr. Baseball is slowly learning to swim. He took lessons last summer, but as he is with most new things (and as I am), he resists taking the time to learn if it doesn't come naturally. And swimming hasn't come naturally. We had been trying to teach him to hang on to the wall and kick, show him how to use a kick board or inner tube to hold himself up, hold him up ourselves by the waist so he could practice, but he has always been more interested in doing cannon balls into the shallow end and "walling" around the edge of the pool.

But since we've moved here and had such easy access to a pool he has put in a real effort to learn. Not that he's been excited about "practicing" per say, but he does spend much of his time in the pool gliding with one hand on his nose while he paws at the water and his feet flail behind him. He's actually given himself a bruise on the edge of his nose from squeezing it so tightly. It was cute, but his stubborn unwillingness to "practice" bugged me.

That brings us to today. I was catching him as he jumped into the "deep" end (5 ft.) and I asked him if he would try to swim to the wall. I expected him to put up a stink about my desire for him to "practice," but he said okay and he started thrashing towards the wall. He actually made it a few feet before he began to sink.

I expected him to be grumpy, but when I asked him if he was okay, he laughed and said, "Yeah."

He climbed back out of the pool and jumped in again for me to catch him. And again he willingly tried to swim back to the wall. He repeated this process a half-dozen times and each time he made it almost all the way to the wall without my help.

He was thrilled.

I was thrilled.

Then he got tired.

But not grumpy.

He actually laid down on the pool deck and let one hand hang in the water. "I'm tired," he said. But then he got back in and did it again.

So I was absolutely thrilled. Proud. Pleased. A little surprised. And now I'm feeling a little silly about the whole thing. Why so thrilled/proud/pleased at this and not at his earlier attempts at "learning" to swim? Sure his nose-bruising thrashing around in the shallow end lacked the structure and repetition of "REAL" practice, but it was practice nonetheless. Today, was it merely that he was willing to follow my suggestion? I hope not. It drives me crazy that as a parent, no matter how patient and open-minded I try to be, when it comes down to it, a part of me just wants him to Do. What. I. Say.

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself.

It was fun--really fun--to be out there today with him and the monkey (whose getting his own set of webbed feet with the help of a floaty suit) and the QB (who is feeling better everyday and stepping nicely into the cute-prego-mama role) and while it was nice for him to respond so willingly to my suggestion, and while I was mega-pleased that he kept at it even though his head went under water a couple of times and several times he glanced over at me, wondering if I was going to put a hand out to help him, it was mostly nice just to be out there as a family and to laugh and splash and get a little sunburned together.

Hmmm. It's the last day of summer vacation, if you don't count tomorrow (and we don't, really, because Sundays are pretty much the same year round for Mormons), and now that I'm thinking about it, today was a fine way to say good-bye to the season. Mr. Baseball starts school on Monday. I start on Thursday. We'll still hit the pool as long as the weather is warm, but after today life gets busier, and we have to stop pretending we're on an extended vacation.

The real world awaits. But for now, I'm content with my sunburn, and the image of my son, afloat an arms length away, riding that wave between failure and flying.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Corporal Punishment? No thank you!

Yesterday I registered Mr. Baseball for school. The usual address and info was requested along with two questions next to yes or no boxes. The first was basically a "Do you give permission for corporal punishment to be used with your child at school" and the second was "Do you give permission for your child to attend field trips". Whoa. Hold on. Corporal punishment!? I haven't heard those words for a while but I'm pretty sure that means slapping, hitting or spanking. Sure enough, the * for info on the back of the form said

* "
Corporal punishment shall be limited to spanking or paddling the student".

Wait. What?! You mean you want me to give you permission to paddle my son? I was totally shocked. I put a big X through the no box, finished filling in the rest of the information and turned it in. It's taken me about 24 hours to really figure this out and think through it, but yes, corporal punishment is legal here, and yes, my son will be attending a school where it's still legal.

Maybe I'm just ignorant as can be, but I thought C.P. was illegal in the United States. Not only is it still legal in 21 states, but it was used on 49,000 student in Texas in 2008. The Center for Effective Discipline provides a wealth of information on this subject, from statistics on the number of countries banning CP, even at home (24), to sample letters for parents in writing to their district. I'm especially grateful for their guide to looking up statistics where I happily found Mr. Baseball's school with zero incidents of corporal punishment last year. Whew! I'm glad I saw that before I wrote a nasty letter to the district!

Corporal punishment in schools was banned in Ohio last year and I hope to see the same in our new state! Maybe that letter I was going to write should be directed to my new congressman, I'll let you know.

Just after I originally posted this blog, I found this timely (no pun intended) article:
Corporal Punishment in U.S. Schools, Time Magazine

Saturday, August 15, 2009

7 year itch? Says who?!

Today marks seven years of marriage. That's a lot of time together. Here's a quick sum of our lives since August 15th, 2002:

7 moves
6 anniversaries
5 bikes
4 pregnancies
4 apartments
4 states
4 universities
3 degrees
3 car accidents
2.5 children
2 houses
2 cars
2 emergency room visits
1 major contest win
1 stolen car
1 year in Japan
1 HUGE moving sale

...a few tears...

Lots of bike rides, holidays, romantic dinners, family home evenings, hikes, sleepless nights, trips to church on Sunday, diaper changes, visits to the temple, grocery trips, home haircuts, papers and essays, church callings, part-time jobs, and plane trips.

And tons of hugs and kisses.

Here's to Marriage!

Any advice for the next seven?

*And thanks to the person I got this idea from. I read it on a blog a while ago, I don't remember which one, but it was cute!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In Lub with Lubbock

1490 miles and $400+ dollars in gas later, we have arrived at our new home in Lubbock, Texas.

Thank you to everyone who fasted and prayed for, or otherwise thought good things about the QB on this trip. She was feeling as good as we could have asked (and we DID ask!) for the entire trip. She even felt good enough to dance along with the radio. (She's not feeling so great today, but that is another story. We are glad the traveling went as smoothly as it did)

Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Franklin for flying to Ohio, helping us load up and clean up, For driving the Penske truck 1490 miles, for unpacking, and organizing and playing with grand kids and telling them so many Navy stories that all they talk about is Navy ships and Mr. Baseball tried to jump into the pool "Like a sailor" with his feet crossed and his arms around his neck, for running errands and making meals and just being there when we needed you.

Thanks to everyone who helped load the truck on Saturday. It only took about an hour and we had the apartment cleaned so early that we contemplated catching a movie to celebrate how smooth everything went. We didn't end up going to the movies, but the fact that we had the option was great.

Thanks to everyone who watched kids, brought meals, or otherwise helped us out while I was trying to finish up teaching, pack the house, and get our new life in order.

Lubbock is hot, frequented by colossal thunder storms, and very friendly. Everyone wants to talk to you, and they seem genuinely interested.

I took the monkey's Sunday shirt off today before feeding him some watermelon in his booster seat and while I was getting his bib and the watermelon in the kitchen he kept repeating over and over: "Bib on my nip--ples," "bib on my nip--ples." In fact, just about every time he takes his shirt off he informs us that he has "Nip-ples."

Mr. Baseball lost a tooth tonight. Or, rather, he yanked it out with a piece of dental floss. He discovered the tooth was loose last night and all day today he walked around with his finger in his mouth, wiggling the tooth. By bedtime he was so distracted by the wiggly tooth that he couldn't go to sleep. I told him his options were 1) pull it out, 2) have me pull it out, or 3) ignore it and go to bed. He chose to pull it out himself. So I tied a piece of dental floss around his tooth and he gave it a tug. The tooth came easier than I was expecting and when I cheered as it came out, he gave me a big smile and jumped into the air. He was asleep within ten minutes, disembodied tooth tucked safely under his pillow.

In the car, somewhere on I-70 on the way to Oklahoma, we were playing the "I'm thinking of something..." guessing game and I said, "I"m thinking of something squishy," and Mr. Baseball said, "Is it your meat?"

The Monkey has taken to hitting and kicking a lot lately. When I ask him why he does it, he usually answers something like, "Because brother/Daddy/Mommy is Stup-pid." Its really hard to be upset when he says "stup-pid" that way, but we're trying to ween him off the word without giving him too much attention for saying it. Yeah, right, that's going to work.

Lubbock has more Christian radio stations than the Vatican has stone pillars. Christian Rock, Christian talk, Christian preaching, Christian fundraising, Christian cooking, Christian financial advice, Christian parenting advice.

Lubbock does not have a dedicated NPR station. Morning Edition is over before I wake up. All Things Considered in the afternoon, sure, but the rest is classical music, Opera, and Irish folk singers. No Science Friday. No Talk of the Nation, period. No Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. No This American Life. I. AM. GOING. TO. BE. SICK. At least we have the Internet (or, at least we will have the Internet, on or about the 5th of August. Why does it take five days to process something like that? I don't understand. Oh well. I am grateful for the "Business Center" here at the complex).

I don't start any real school for a few weeks so we've got some time to adjust. Which is good, because the QB is still not out of the morning sickness cycle yet and the boys need a lot of attention.

I am a writer, by the way, or at least I am supposed to be. It's funny, this "write about real life," stuff that I do. Life has to be interesting if I want any new material, but sometimes when life is at its most interesting, that's when it is the most difficult to write. When I've spent all day unpacking boxes, making phone calls, running errands, wiping rear-ends, paying bills, making meals, dumping out pails of throw-up, mopping up spills of oatmeal, pulling out loose teeth, hanging pictures, and folding clothes, the energy to sit down and think critically about the world completely escapes me. All I want to do is throw in a movie and eat a half-carton of ice cream.

Is that healthy?

Writing is SUPPOSED to be cathartic. It's supposed to channel all my pent up energy into streams of earth-rattling prose--"language charged with meaning," and "spontaneous overflows of powerful emotion recollected in tranquility." Meaning for me, meaning for you, meaning for ALL MANKIND!

I'm supposed to NEED to write.


Well, right now, what I NEED is some sleep. The writing will come later. And so will some pictures of the boys and a video of all of us dancing in the car somewhere in Missouri.