Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Time is Here...

We're watching "Charlie Brown Christmas" this evening. I love Charles Schultz's version of the Christmas story...its so great and it makes me cry every time Charlie Brown asks, "What is Christmas all about anyway" and Linus steps out and starts quoting the well known passage out from Luke's gospel. Its funny, because when I was in 5th grade, we did "Charlie Brown Christmas" in my school, public school. I was Lucy....I know surprising, that someone like me with such a retiring personality was cast as Lucy...its called acting.

Anyway, whenever I watch the cartoon, I'm reminded of that experience, I remember some of the lines and I'm surprised as Linus starts talking that we were able to quote from the Bible in public school. Of course, it was the dark ages...

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas this year. I was talking with a friend the other day about presents, buying them, not buying them, what to do. Everyone that we buy for has everything that they could ever want or need and more. Mark and I have talked seriously about donating to Heifer International in everyone's name...buying various bunnies, chicks, geese, bees, etc and calling it a day. I'm still not sure what we are going to do.

I'm torn. I completely agree that Christmas has become something that I don't think it was intended to be. It is commercialized and every year I stress out over what to buy for everyone and I hate that. There are so many people in the world that need so much....but, I also think that honoring the people I love in my life is important, showing them that I thought of them is nice, and putting myself aside and thinking of them is good too. I want it to be different, definately...but I don't know if that means not buying presents for my loved ones. I fear that if we just decided to donate, across the board....for me, it might be a cop out. I fear that if I decide to do that it will be out of laziness. I don't know if my motives are pure.

I wonder, for me, if the greater gift would be to actually THINK about my loved ones, try to find something (even something small) that they would ACTUALLY like. Not just going down the list and quickly getting something just because it is expected but to actually think about the person and honor them with something that lets them know I actually thought about them. I don't know...its just what I've been pondering. You may all get a goat or actually part of a goat, because a whole goat is really expensive. I guess I just keep thinking that sometimes I'm not even very good at putting my families and loved ones needs above mine, let alone the rest of the world, maybe Christmas would be a good time for me to show them that I do appreciate and love them, even if that means a hand knit scarf, a CD I really thought they would enjoy or a tin of ginger snaps from Williams Sonoma....something to think about.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Snow, Snow, Snow....

Yes, we have snow in Seattle. I love snow. I reminds me of being a child, waiting to see if we have to go to school...Mark took the kids out tonight to play and they loved it. I've been sick for a few days, so I stayed in. Which is another reason that I'm happy about the snow, I just saw that Seattle schools are closed tomorrow, which means that Will doesn't have school, which means that I don't have to work in his class tomorrow, or try to find a replacement since I've still got a fever. Yeah snow day!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Co-op Revisited

So, I had a "situation" in co-op preschool yesterday. Will threw a fit. We were getting ready for snack and from the sink, washing their hands, all the kids in my small group started yelling, "I want to pass out the cups! I want to pass out the napkins!" etc. Aparently, Will was one of the ones who had requested passing out the cups. But, BB got to the table first, I wasn't thinking, and stupidly let her pass out the cups. So, when Will returned to the table, he freaked out about said cups already being passed out, threw himself on the floor and proceeded to scream, "I said I wanted to pass out the cups!!!" Because I could think of nothing creative to do or say, I stupidly said, "I'm sorry Will, BB got here first and I let her pass out the cups. You can pass them out next time." To which he screamed again and cried. At this point, the teacher interviened, giving him two choices. To either join his group for snack or sit on the couch in the libarary. My strong-willed son stubbornly sat for the whole snack on the couch, never even turning to look at me. Every once in a while, Teacher Kris would warn him that snack would be over soon and that once we went downstairs to play, he would be out of luck. He still sat.

UNTIL snack was over and we were cleaning up. Suddenly, he decides he wants a snack, of course. So, I sit with him on the couch explaining that snack is now over, he missed his opportunity and needed to just join his friends downstairs. To which he wailed, crying "I just want my snack!!!" I was at a loss, anytime I mentioned the words snack or downstairs, he would wail louder. So, I stubbornly decide that he just needs to go downstairs, that seeing his friends playing would wake him up to the fact that he was being silly. So I pick up his suddenly rigid body as he screams louder and I am saying, "This is enough. It is time to play." I get him to the top of the stairs and can no longer hold him, since he has gone limp and seemingly weighs about 200 pounds, so when I drop him, he takes off running back to his couch. I am exhausted, go downstairs to Teacher Kris, feeling like a failure and tell her, "I give up!"

So, she goes upstairs, plays good cop, and gives him a snack. While she is gone, a few other weird things happen with the kids downstairs..we end up back upstairs and my son looks at me, happy as a clam, and says, "Teacher Kris got me some snack!" I feel like a failure and she looks like a hero.

Its the weirdest thing every time Monday comes around...I dread going to this classroom. Its like every insecurity I have ever had from Jr High to my life now, as a parent, comes to the surface and I am beaten by a room full of 4 year olds. First of all, it is a well known fact that your child behaves worse in these situations when you are present. Aparently, the days that I am not there, Will is the picture of good behavior, charming the pants off of everyone. I arrive and he turns into Damian, complete with 666 on his forehead. The other problem is that I realize, I love my children, but other people's children, not so much. I know, it makes me a horrible person, but I think, ever since I've had my own children, I just don't have the time or energy for anyone else's children. I'm kind and can appreciate their cuteness, etc but it just doesn't feel the same as it did before Will and Lora came onto the scene. I just don't think I'm the "Co-op Type". My kids eat sugar, we don't but only organic, we watch cartoons, yes even "Tom and Jerry", I spank my kids sometimes. I feel like a failure when I leave this place. But, my problem is, Will loves it. He loves the class, he loves the teacher, he loves the other kids and parents. He left at 12:45 today with his new friend Paya and Paya's mom to walk to school together and she will bring him home at 4:00. He loves walking to school with Paya and his mom. I could never take that away from him.

So, what do I do with my insecurity?? Just buck up and suffer through Mondays? Convince Mark to get a TB test done so he can at least alternate Mondays with me? Decide already at this age, to homeschool Will just so I can avoid teachers and other parents that make me feel like a failure? I don't know what to do....Any ideas?

On a totally unrelated note.....Lora and I are watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and she said to me, "Mommy, let's watch Charlie Brown Pirates"...umm, do you mean Pilgrims? Maybe she's not too far off!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Studio 60....

Okay, so I have added a new show this season. Its "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", horrible title, great show. It is by the same people who brought us "The West Wing", which I never really got into. I don't know if I'm not smart enough, or just not into politics or what, I just never really got it. This show is about TV, I know TV. Its a great look at the interworkings of a television show, it moves fast and its funny. The humor is sometimes dry and sometimes over-the-top. I just like it.

There is one interesting wrinkle in the show. It is about the making of a show much like "Saturday Night Live"...and they have a Christian character on the show. She is interesting, normal and not one-dimensional. They show her standing up for what she believes while also finding the sketches they do about conservatives funny. She's able to laugh at herself, which is good. On tonight's episode, she has an interesting thing happen....she is in trouble with liberals because of some comments she made in a magazine article and even ends up getting a death threat for her views, but at the same time is cancelled from a "Women of Faith" type of tour for not being conservative enough.

I can relate to her, I feel like I'm constantly straddling that fence between the right and the left. I'm not sure where I belong...just trying to follow Jesus and love people and by doing that, risking hatred from both sides. I still choose to "live in the tension" as I love to say. I think, in this case the middle is the place to be.

On another, totally unrelated note, Christopher Guest...maker of such movies as "Waiting for Guffman", "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind" is coming out with a new movie, opening this Friday. Its called "For Your Consideration", its about a little independent movie that starts getting Oscar buzz and how that affects the cast, etc. Its in his typical mockumentary form, with the usual cast of characters and it looks hilarious...in case you need something to do this weekend.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fightin' Words

I know, everyone's talking about it...Ted Haggard. The fallen leader of the evangelical church. I don't want to just be another one out there talking about him...but it makes me sad. It makes me sad when anyone is unfaithful to the covenant they made. It makes me sad to see a family damaged by deceit. As a fellow evangelical, it makes me sad for the jokes and jabs that inevitably follow. And I get it. I make jokes too. Have you ever noticed though, its like with your family. You can say anything about your own family, but when someone who is not a part of your family, even an in-law says something about your family...those are fightin' words. My son's teacher made a joke today about the Ted Haggard situation. And it stung. The funny thing is, before this, I wouldn't really have identified myself with him. I think of myself as more "progressive" than him. Maybe not so black and white. But when someone outside my circle of evangelicals, an atheist, nontheless made a crack at him, I felt it in my heart. In fact, it made me a little mad.

Isn't that weird? I don't know this man and frankly, when I saw him on 60 Minutes not long ago, there was much that I didn't agree with him about and I found him a little scary. A little too "right-wing" gays are evil for me. But, when someone that I see as even more of an outsider cuts him down, I feel this instant kinship with him. Maybe its the Jesus in both of us. Because even though he's fallen and made these huge mistakes, I think he loves Jesus. He got off track somewhere along the line. Maybe it was something he struggled with his whole life and just couldn't resist any longer. Kind of how I feel every time I eat another piece of candy corn.

Not that I'm equating my eating habits to trysts with male prostitutes...but don't we all have things that we struggle with? Maybe my sins aren't so public or don't have the ramifications that his have, especially to his family. But, who am I to cast stones in his direction? He receives the same grace that I receive and neither of us deserves it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween, Consumerism and "The Red Tent"...random

Well, Halloween is over for another year. I really like Halloween. For one thing, I love candy. I'm a horrible mom because I let my kids eat candy. I try to monitor, but I'm not good at it. Anyway, they were darling as a Doctor and Dorothy. Will chose the Doctor costume, but we forced Dorothy on Lora. They've never even seen the movie, but with a dog that looks a lot like Toto, it was a natural. On a somewhat unrelated note, it is raining today and I got Lora saying "I'm melting, I'm melting"...as we were walking back to the car from dropping Will off from school. Kids crack me up....

Something not as funny about kids in general and mine specifically...they are consumers. A friend brought us the Toys-r-us catalogue last night and Will has been studying it ever since. He calls catalogues and such his "newspapers" which is funny because we don't even subscribe to the paper. Anyway, he is intently scoping out every item and is careful to note the age appropriateness of each toy. The funny thing is that he doesn't understand the "and up" concept. So any thing that says "3 and up" he thinks he can't have. He gets really upset if he sees something he likes and it doesn't say "4 and up". Who is raising this consumer??? I blame the grandparents! Not really, I'm only kidding...don't quit buying the kids things based upon one misplaced comment.....

On a completely unrelated note, I just finished a great book. We are studying Genesis in our Tuesday morning Bible study and just recently were talking about the Jacob/Leah/Rachael story, which I posted about earlier. But, out of that, a friend recommended "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamante. It tells the story from the perspective of Jacobs only daughter, Dinah. It is definately fiction with a lot of license taken....but who knows, we are given such sketchy details, maybe she's right on the money. The book traces Dinah from a young girl all the way to death. I love the significance of the Red Tent, not just as a place that the women went at "that time of the month" but the way that it was used as a place for the older women to teach the younger women about life, love, family and even spiritual things. There is a lot of idol worship, the author really takes the stance that Jacob's wives did not only worship his God and were influenced by the gods of their father. Which I think was probably the case. So, I highly recommend the book. One warning...there is some sex, the aformentioned idol worship and some liberty taken with biblical stories. So, if that offends, don't read it....But, I think she has some great perspectives on women's lives in that time period, and I couldn't put it down!