April 29, 2011

A Royal Wedding, an Unbelievable Nightmare, and a Half-Finished Post

My heart is sick for Alabama. The devastation and loss in that state are so immense, and it is so sad. Whole communities were wiped off the map. 200+ people died. This loss feels so close that I have a hard time being excited even about the inimitable royal wedding, amazing though it seemed to be in the few videos I watched. No, I didn't get up for it. Sleep takes precedence over historicity at this moment of my life.

If I have to choose between a fairy tale wedding across the pond and an ugly tragedy at home, I'll choose the tragedy. No, it doesn't HAVE to be an either/or, but since I don't have the emotional flexibility right now to handle two events of disparate tone, I must choose.

And I choose Alabama. So I am grieving right now for all those who have lost so much, while also being thankful that so many of the people I love in Montgomery were safe.

Pray for Alabama, for healing, safety, and restoration.

And speaking of storms, we had a couple here last Friday. They were nothing compared to the devastation throughout the Southeast, but I still began documenting it. Below is what I wrote before I ran out of steam:

St. Louis is soaked, absolutely soaked. This month's weather better be good for the plants because it sure has taken its toll on my mood and energy.

As most people know, last Friday evening St. Louis experienced tornadoes that left behind some major damage. Thankfully, there were few serious injuries, but there were lots of people who celebrated Easter without homes.

We spent last Friday evening watching the weather reports. And watching and watching. I'm from the land of hurricanes, so severe, frightening weather isn't new to me. But coverage of these tornadoes still left me ill at ease. Last Friday's storms barreled through in a straight line, something rare for tornadoes. As such, the weather team could say things like, "If you live in Weldon Springs, you will be under the gun in 22 minutes," or "If you're in St. John right now, you'd better be in your basement. Get to the lowest level of your house NOW." It was all a bit ominous.

In the end, we were about 6-8 miles south of the tornadoes, but we still spent 45 minutes in the basement. A small part of our motivation for going to the basement was to make up for the last severe storm when we SHOULD have been in the basement. But we weren't. We were sleeping. So this time, we went down. Me, Lindon, sleeping Levi, and angry, resentful Nash.

April 27, 2011


Every year I love Easter more and more. The more I think about the central role Christ's resurrection plays in the Christian faith and the impact it has on my life, the more hopeful I get. Easter is the reason we can hope, and death has lost its sting.

This year Levi could interact with the peripheral aspects of the celebration without understanding a lick of it. Ideal? No. But at least it gives us a chance to figure out, as the parents, how we want our family to deal with those peripheral elements so that we can major on the majors later when Levi (and eventually others) can understand more.

To that end, we got Levi an Easter basket but did not get him any candy. Once Lindon told me that the average child eats 6 pounds of candy at Easter, we determined we would not enter that arena. So, Levi got his first Cardinals shirt, some multi-colored Goldfish, and a coloring book.

The church held an Easter egg hunt for the children and created a special area for kids under 2. Levi easily grasped the concept of procuring a round thing that strongly resembled a ball, but he struggled a bit with the idea that he could continue to grab as many of them as he wanted. But, eventually, he acquiesced and went gang busters. Lindon and I were kind enough to take away the tedious. candy-like contents of those eggs so that they did not impinge on Levi's happiness with the ball-like-ness of the eggs. Note the sweatshirt he needed to wear outsite because it was way too cold for our liking.

After church we spent the afternoon with friends old and new and just had a wonderful time. Here is our official family Easter photo, which will double as our look-how-responsible-we-seem-and-how-cute-that-kid-is-so-go-ahead-and-hire-Lindon-as-your-pastor photo. 

April 15, 2011

There's One More Angel In Heaven...

 Levi enjoys using his rapidly-increasing language skills to communicate his preferences in life. When it comes to books, he wants to read his Little Animal Book or his Little Word Book, but NOT Goodnight, Gorilla or The Quiet Book (those are so three months ago). It helps to know this, as it reduces tantrums.

When it comes to shoes, Levi always wants to wear his boots. He pulls them out of the bin and brings them to us to put on. Of course, walking in them is terribly awkward, but it seems that he likes the sound the hard sole makes on the wood floors. When he wears them, I inevitably start singing one of my favorite songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat. "Father, we've somethin' to tell you..."

Conveniently, the boots slip on nicely over skinny pajamas. And they are great to wear while supervising Dad in the kitchen. Lindon would be completely lost if he didn't have his cowboy assistant to help him make bread dough.

For Christmas I'm giving Lindon my kid in a box. Sorry for the very crass pop culture reference at the expense of my progeny. 

But, seriously, boxes might be Levi's favorite toys. They provide him with hours of entertainment. Second favorite toy might be the laundry basket.

These photos offer further evidence of how terribly shy my kid is. He would never dream of doing something silly for the camera, like squishing his face into a tupperware container. 

Or squishing his face into the tupperware and squealing. 

But he really, really likes to try to hit the camera with anything. Photographing him can be quite precarious. 

Who knew a piece of plastic could be so much fun? It might even rival the cardboard box for providing the most entertainment. 

April 12, 2011

Real Education

As someone without an ounce of entrepreneurial spirit, making the most of my college education wasn't a high priority. In my profoundly circumspect estimation, my BA in English AND Communication perfectly qualified me for pretty much any job under the sun. Plus, I wrote for the college newspaper! Ok, this is a little bit of an exaggeration, but the idea of pounding the pavement, cobbling together some sound experiences, and taking chances really scared the heck out of me.

To make things worse, I attended a small, private college that did not have the national name recognition of larger institutions (unless you think of the Pittsburgh and DC areas as the whole country). For reasons that I no longer remember, I firmly believed that when potential employers saw my alma mater and GPA, they would be so blown away that they would offer me the world.

This did not happen.

So, I consider myself one of the least qualified people in the universe to give advice to college students on how to make the most of their time in college. Thankfully, there are people like Scott Adams who have the entrepreneurial spirit and concrete successes to dispense such advice. His insights are awesome.

Read them here.

For the record, I think that had I heard this type of counsel in the days leading up to my entrance to college, I would have disregarded it. I was that confident that my A's would get me through life. But it does help me think about how to model a different paradigm for my kids.

Also, for the record, I loved the art history classes and all the other dorky classes. But not calculus.

April 5, 2011

Life in List Form

Last week was one of those weeks where my plate was piled so high that blogging fell off of it, like when you're overly ambitious at the salad bar. There were a few things that happened that I wanted to record here, but then I lacked the energy (and time). So those really exciting events I wanted to share with you will be reduced to list form. In no particular order.

 - The weekend was so beautiful and spring-like that I never wanted it to end. Each day got progressively warmer and sunnier. By Sunday afternoon I could lie on the deck and just soak in the sun. It was glorious.

 - We enjoyed the nice weekend by having an actual date or sorts. We and some friends took turns putting our kids to bed at each other's houses and enjoying the chance to get out for a few hours. Our date night afforded us the chance to hear an amazing concert at Central and to finally get Lindon a pair of running shoes, a feat we have be trying to accomplish in earnest since January.

 - Also, we spent an abnormal amount of time with friends this weekend. It was so nice and long overdue.

 - My daffodils have bloomed! Sadly, some of my plants did not return this year, including my tulips, hyacinths, and some of the violas. The azaleas and bugleweed, though returning, look ill. My garden needs some inspiration at this point and a bit of color.

 - My writing gigs have demanded a lot of time and energy from me lately (hence my lack of blogging motivation), but they seem to be entering a small hiatus.

 - Levi and Lindon are out of town for a few days, leaving me and Nash behind to hold down the fort. It feels both sad to not have my boys around and strangely exhilarating to have a few days of complete freedom. Bicycle and I have big plans.

 - The sweet-less Lent life is going well. Most days I still think about sweets, but not having them doesn't bother me as much now as it did two weeks ago. Yes, I have been fully indulging my Sundays as a break from Lent, and they have helped me push through the tough days. One point that keeps emerging is that it must take something as extreme as a 40-day fast for me to exert some discipline regarding my love of all things sugary. This laziness regarding what I eat disappoints me and makes me wonder if I need to give up certain foods more often like my crazy friends the Bradshaws do every winter. 

 Ok, those are all the points I can think of for now. Now back to enjoying my few days sans mom responsibilities.