Monday, October 31, 2011

Thoughts on Halloween

We celebrate Halloween here at the Long house. I know that among Christians, of which I am one, this can be a very tricky (Haha! Tricky!) subject. I'm sure I have very dear friends who disagree with me about this, and that's ok. We can still be friends as far as I'm concerned. But let me just tell you where we're at on the Halloween debate. I have not studied the history of Halloween. But I agree that it may have been started by very evil people who had very evil intentions. But I also believe that it has now morphed into a perfectly harmless holiday, for most people. (The people who do strange, harmful things on Halloween are doing strange, harmful things all year.) The seven year old who shows up knocking at my door dressed as Cinderella, probably does not have plans later in the evening to sacrifice her precious cat Fluffy on a burning fire of Bibles, as an offering to Satan. And if I refuse to open the door for her, she is most likely going to think, "Geez, what a party pooper." She is not going to think, "Oh my goodness. They must not celebrate Halloween. I bet it's because they love Jesus. They're right! I should love Jesus, too!"

As a follower of Jesus, I want to be known for what I am for, not known for what I'm against.

Do you know what I'm for? I'm for fostering a feeling of community in my neighborhood. I'm for having one night a year where it's perfectly acceptable to knock on your neighbors door and beg for candy. I'm for celebrating creative costumes. I'm for being there when my neighbors come knocking at my door with their adorable kids. I'm for having the GOOD candy. I'm for attempting to be "that house who gives the amazing fill-in-the-blank. (We haven't discovered that yet. We're trying.) I'm for having one last hurrah as a neighborhood before we all shut ourselves in our houses for the cold winter. I'm for taking a holiday that may have been meant for evil, and making it the most fun, community driven activity we've done all year.

There may still be time. Go get some candy.

Mundane Monday: October 25, 2011

Before I forget. Violet was dry all day! She peed in the potty all day long! She had one poopy diaper, though. So it wasn't completely a "one diaper day". (One diaper days are when she uses the same cloth diaper from morning until bedtime, never soiling it once.) She has had one diaper days before, maybe two or three. I'm happy because it was a one diaper day, but I didn't obsessively take her potty all day. She just did a great job of waiting until I took her. She is getting so big!

Monday got off to a good start because I drug myself out of bed before the girls and got ready before they were up. I haven't done this in a while. Getting up before the girls always helps. Always. I have trouble convincing myself of its usefulness when my alarm goes off at 6:30, but later in the day I'm always glad I did it.

The girls slept late. I went in to their room to get them at 8:30. Violet was awake, just being quiet. Nola was sound asleep. I nursed Violet and then got some breakfast for everybody.

Since I had gotten up early, I had time to get a grocery list made before the girls got up. Right after breakfast I got the girls dressed and we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart. The trip was amazingly smooth. No calamities to report.

We came home in time for Violet's morning nap. I messed around the house and Nola watched tv while Violet slept.

When Violet woke up I said, "Let's go have a picnic!" I grabbed leftover Little Ceasars and a couple of yogurts and we jumped in the car.

This is where I wasted a half an hour of our lives trying to find the playground I wanted.

We live near Lake Zorinsky. It's a small lake but it has several picnic areas and more than one playground. It has a million zillion entrances on two different streets. I gambled with the 168th Street entrances and I was wrong. Four times. I finally made it to the entrance I wanted at 156th Street. I should've called Ryan. But maybe I will remember next time. Nola kept saying, "Where are we going?" every time I turned around.

We finally made it. Nola played while I nursed Violet on a bench. Then Nola came and sat wtih us on the bench and we all ate lunch. Then we all played. Violet loves the slides. They had a very big, swirly one and she would just giggle when we rounded the last corner at the bottom. All three of us got on the tire swing, and Violet giggled and giggled on it, too. It got surprisingly warm and I stupidly wore a sweater without a normal shirt underneath. We left before it got too hot, though.

We went home for nap time. Usually playtime outside equals a crazy good nap for the girls. Totally backfired today. Don't know why. Violet slept for an hour and a half (that's short for her) and Nola never fell asleep at all.I let them get up around three. Nola was hyper. It was a little annoying. Violet was fussy. It was a little annoying. When Ryan came home I smiled my most sarcastic smile and said, "We're awake! All of us! We're all awake!"

A little while later I tried to lay Violet down again, but that never works. I think it helps her a little to just lay in her bed, but she doesn't sleep. When Nola ran into the room to get her (we did not ask her to do this), we decided to get out of the house. I find tired, fussy children easier to handle outside of the house. You'd think it would be bad taking them to a store. Sometimes it is, but usually my girls are content looking around at things while we were out. As opposed to fussing about every little thing at home. It distracts them from their fussiness to get out.

We went to Lowes to look at shower heads. Ours has kind of bit the dust. I love shopping for home stuff with Ryan. It's just one of the little things that I dreamt of when I was single. Shopping for shower heads with my husband, with our little baby in the cart, and our preschooler tagging along behind us. It's a simple little dream come true for me.

We came home shower head-less, but grateful for an outing. We ate leftovers for dinner. Dinner time can be stressful with two small children. The stress of it has forced us to always eat at the table. I love that. We all sit down together, and Ryan makes conversation with the girls. He has this prayer that I love, "Thank you for the food we have to eat, the house we have to eat it in, and the family we have to eat it with." Isn't that so beautiful? Did he make that up? We're not sure. Either way, I love it.

Nola watched Diego after supper, and then the girls went to bed. The one benefit of no naps is early bedtime! After the girls were all tucked in, we watched Transformers 3. Yeah, there's a lot of metal clanking and crashing in that movie.

All in all, it was a pretty good Monday. Mundane and all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mundane Monday: October 17

This day did not start well. Nola woke up and puked twice at 2 a.m. Yay.

We had a very full weekend. Nola didn't take a nap Friday, Saturday or Sunday. And Saturday she stayed up until 10:30 p.m. Not just awake, but dancing like a party animal at our good friends' wedding (Congratulations Drew and Kate!). The cuteness of Nola on the dance floor was overwhelming. After a song ended she would run up to us and say, "I want another one!" Unfortunately, her immune system couldn't quite handle the lack of sleep.

Nola never puked again during the day on Monday. I guess it was a fluke puke. (Did I just make up that clever little rhyme?) So grateful for that. While Violet took a morning nap, Nola and I crashed on my bed. It took Nola a while to fall asleep, but she finally snuggled up against my back and drifted off. So cozy. I snoozed a few minutes myself.

Violet wasn't sick at all, but exhaustion got the better of her. She had only brief moments of happiness. She cried on and off all day. We survived through lunch. Everyone ate something. Then we sat on the couch together and watched Diego. Violet was pretty content as long as I held her and she could suck her fingers.

Both girls took a really good afternoon nap. Thank the Lord. They both woke up happy. Ish. Happiness didn't last long for Violet. And Nola had a fever. Diego came to the rescue for Nola. She watched more of his animal salvations while I nursed Violet. After Ryan got home from work he took Violet out to get some things from the store, then came back and fed the girls dinner. While he did that, I got ready to go out with him to the Dead Hour release party. (It was a blast to see everyone Ryan works with. They just released the second season of their web series.)

Ryan's parents graciously came over to babysit while we went out. We had planned a sleep over at Grandma's which would have been infinitely more fun. But Nola was so under the weather, and they were both so exhausted from the weekend we decided it would be too much. Tom and Nita are such good Grandparents to come over and stay with the girls while they sleep. Not much bonding time, just unconditional Grandparent love.

So today was one of those days that I pretty much did nothing except hold my girls. Which is fine with me. Mondays are always recovery days for us, even after normal weekends. Super busy weekends followed by sickness make for an even more recovery oriented day.

Wow. That was boring. And no pictures. But someday, years from now, I'll get all sentimental reading about our boring days. As someone, I don't know who, says...The days are long, but the years are short.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Loving Learning: A Sappy Post About a Favorite Teacher

I was lucky to have a lot of great teachers growing up. I went to a very small, Christian school ran by the church I grew up in. I had a small circle of the same teachers on and off for all my schooling. I spent a lot of time with one teacher, Mrs. Schromm, through out elementary and middle school. She was my main teacher in junior high. She definitely stands above the rest.

The thing I remember most about her was how she inspired us to not just memorize facts, but to love learning. Rather than merely teach us what we needed to know, she taught us how to learn. She modeled this for us by teaching us subjects that she herself had no specialties in. We went through a Spanish program together, and she took us through a special unit on drawing. I learned a LOT in both those classes, because it showed me that I could learn whatever I put my mind to. I didn't need special skills or even special degrees, but just a ready mind.

She loved us, and gave extra to give us a great education. She got her bus license so she could take an entire bus load of junior high and high schoolers to the YMCA three times a week for P.E. She was so good to us.

The way she taught me to look at learning is probably the reason that when asked in a job interview, "So you know a little Spanish and you like music. You could teach music and Spanish to preschoolers, right?!" I said, "Heck, yeah! Easy schmeesy." That was a great couple of years doing something I loved.

I hope I can give my girls the same attitude about life and learning that she gave me. She made me feel as though I was just one Library trip away from mastering any new skill I wanted. Thank you, Mrs. Schromm! You are in my personal hall of fame.