“Let’s Go Fly a Kite”

elmo in sky

“Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite & send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear.
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!”

-Mary Poppins

highest heightmad kite skills


I remember my mom singing the song above when I was little. When I searched for it, I realized it is from Mary Poppins, but I do not remember that fact. Anyway, ever since Daniel and I enjoyed a windy day and some kite flying earlier this week, I have had that silly song in my head. This was our first kite flying attempt, and he did a great job; I now consider him a kite flying pro. Just look at how high he flew the kite!

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Spoiled.

Who is spoiled in our family??? All of us! In actuality, we all have turns in being the king/queen/prince of “spoildom.” I, however, have recently become more aware of how spoiled I am. And to be a little less abrasive and no less true, I will use the term blessed. So, recently I have become more aware of how blessed I am, for I received a pedicure, complete with shiny red toenail polish, all at the complete approval of my loving husband. Then, when I mentioned a massage, he insisted, thus I scheduled myself a pre-natal massage, which I received today!

I realize these are complete luxuries, not necessities.  I know, too, having funds to allot towards splurges is great. These things, however, are not what really knocked a sense of blessing into my life. Instead, I was awakened to my blessed life today, after my massage, while in my office.

Being part-time, I share an office. Actually, many professors share offices, even full-time tenured folks. Anyway, point being, sometimes I am alone, while others I am accompanied by colleagues. Today,  the office was full when my student arrived. He, an international student from an Arabic country, entered and requested to speak outside, alone. I stepped out, asking what he needed/wanted to discuss. Turns out, he had concerns about the required oral presentation over his recent paper.

This particular student chose to write on freedom of speech, and in his document, he presented facts that did not reflect his home country positively. He was not slanderous; he was relaying facts. As he thought about his project and speaking to classmates, he felt uncomfortable, not because of the language barrier and common nervousness, but he was truly afraid of a student telling someone, anyone, about his particularly negative reflections on his home. He claimed he was fine when the information was between us, but when confronted with a large audience, he was worried. So worried, in fact, he did not even want to discuss the issue in front of my colleagues. Without asking for exceptions, he just wanted to know how dramatically his grade would be hurt if he refrained. I then asked how he felt about presenting to just me, before class, so that his “offensive” information would not be heard by many ears. He was glad for that concession, and he showed promptly at the arranged time, presenting as required.

Before he presented, however, I reflected upon my freedom of speech and how I take it for granted. If I chose, I could say disparaging things about my country, government, president, friends, family, laws, etc. anywhere, at anytime, with little negative repercussions, if any. In his country, however, he can not rebel against the powers that be. For example, as mentioned in his presentation, a government official was thrown in jail for life because he relayed his opinion in public. What atrocious thing did he say? The official declared the government should  allow females to drive a car. He also conveyed a story about a 7year old girl who was given in marriage to a 30 year old man, and no one spoke against such awful and inappropriate arrangements, for fear of death. Just knowing this student spoke out in a paper to me and then worried tremendously about letting a few students know his beliefs, even with thousands of miles between his words and his home nation, goes to show how severe the issue of free speech and thought are for him.

That said, measly pedicure and massage aside, I am spoiled, blessed to have the opportunities I have, and I am eternally grateful to God for that. Even though things can be frustrating in my government and life at times, I am proud to be an American, free speech and all.

Sometimes I’m Wrong…Sometimes

Ever since we were dating, Thomas and I agreed that he was funny 9 out of 10 times, while I was right 9 out of 10 times. Corny, but typically true. Recently, however, I have found myself to be wrong.

Example 1: While making a Lowe’s run to grab painting essentials for Wesley’s room. I remembered we needed to buy a little plastic tray to put under my potted plant in order to avoid leaks onto the carpet. Thomas picked out one that was huge in diameter. I insisted it was way too big, so I went back and exchanged it for a smaller one. He proceeded to tell me mine was too small, but I assured him it was the size we needed. I then told him, “When we get home, if it does not work, you can say ‘I told you so.’” Then we bought. Once home, it was too small. I, in complete honesty, was thinking of another plant basket that is currently not in use, so I began to tell him I had the wrong basket in mind when making the purchase. That did not save me much face, for the plastic tray was too small for the second basket as well! My good, sweet husband just laughed.

Example 2: Many folks have been asking if Daniel understands the coming little brother. I would honestly say I do not think he has made the link, for when asked where Wesley is, he will point first at my belly…..and then at his……and then at Thomas’s…..and then at his stuffed animal’s. Well, we were eating dinner out the other night and Daniel was being silly. He was saying “Where’s Daddy???” and we would all look around for Daddy until Daniel chimed in with a pointed finger and an ecstatic, “Oh, dere he is!!!” This continued with Mommy, then Daniel, and ultimately ending in “Where’s Wesley???” Daniel immediately pointed to my stomach, and there was no more pointing after that. He then hugged my belly and rested his head on my tummy. As I was lavishing in the sweet, precious mommy moment, Daniel very quickly grabbed the hem of my shirt and pulled it up to my chin and screamed, “Dere’s Wesley!!!” We all laughed so hard, and I was really glad we were in a casual place with no one near us that could see my preggo belly! So, I think he has finally made the link, but there is still no doubt that his little toddler world will be rocked when Wesley officially arrives

dana-owen

Example 3: I was very fortunate to meet up with an old friend, Dana, along with her son Owen, while they made a visit to TN. She asked if Daniel knew he was going to be getting a little brother soon. I then began to relay the story above, at which Daniel heard the name Wesley and began to point to my belly again, ultimately confirming that he was connecting the dots and proving mommy wrong again. But this day, I was wrong more than once, for while we were eating lunch at the mall food court, Daniel eyed the carousel the entire time we ate lunch. I told Dana that he only imagines it looks fun and thinks he wants to ride it, but as soon as I pay and put him on it, he would scream and cry (he did that very thing last summer at the fair, and when I put the penny into the horse at Kroger’s for him to ride, he cries immediately to get off.). After we said goodbye to our friend, Daniel kept saying “Momma…peeeeaaassss! Horse!” I told him that if he agreed to go to the potty first, we would ride it. Successful potty trip later, I paid the money to get him on the ride. This is the result:

Needless to say, I was wrong, yet again. Sometimes though it is not too bad to be wrong :o).

Looks like I have a long streak of being right coming my way!

Like Father, Like Son

I went to a consignment sale the other day with my cousin, Leitte. While there, I saw a little pair of shoes in Daniel’s size, and I simply couldn’t resist spending the $8 for them. The main reason I had to have them for Daniel: they are mini replicas to his Daddy’s shoe. I know Daniel will only temporarily  wear the size, but with baby #2 being a boy as well, we will certainly get good use from them. As for Daddy, this is approximately his 3rd pair of these exact New Balances, so I know that he will continue to wear them for a while as well, even if it is not the specifically pictured pair. If you have ever tried to buy these NB 992, you know they are expensive, running about $120 retail.  I, however, am not going to pay that much for them, so I  keep my eyes on the look out for a good deal. One day I was in a second-hand discount shoe store and I found Thomas’s current pair, in perfect condition, on sale for 11 bucks. That’s right, only a ten and a one dollar bill. I am sure your thoughts are just like mine were: What the heck is wrong with them? Turns out one was a size 11 while the other was a size 11 1/2. Upon consulting the hubby, he informed me that the slight size difference was minimal, and he would never notice the variation, which has turned out to be true. So, all in all, there is less than 20 bucks invested in the shoes below, but, as corny as it sounds, it truly is priceless to see these matching shoes for the two most important men in my life. It is beyond cute! Perhaps now I will need to keep my eyes open for a 3rd very tiny pair for when baby Wesley offically enters my world!

n-shoes2And kudos to Thomas’s sweet camera, for I just sat these shoes in the floor, admist the evening sunlight, and snapped a shot. I think his camera could even make poop look pretty.

A Little Time Away

Our family took a journey to Memphis to enjoy a little time away from our normal routines, as well as to spend some time visiting with friends, one of which was kind enough to house us for two nights. Daniel was extremely cooperative with the majority of the trip, and we were very pleased with how well he slept on his little pallet in our room, even napping as he needed. The big event of the trip was visiting the Memphis zoo, which was only a few blocks from where our friends, Eric and Amanda, lived. We were blessed with simply wonderful weather, which made for some happy animals, not to mention a busy zoo. Thomas took some great pictures of the animals, and we are thinking that it might be neat to use these, as well as some other pictures from a visit to another zoo, to decorate Wesley’s room.

Highlights from our zoo time:

  • Daniel’s experience with the polar bears, who were wonderfully active for their audience. Two of the enormous bears were play fighting in the water, right next to the viewing glass. They made Daniel laugh with glee, all the while proclaiming, “Dat bear’s a fish!” Guess it was his own way of saying they were swimming. Very cute, indeed.
  • The little girl at the playground that came up to me, boldly asking “What’s wrong with your tummy??!!!?” I didn’t understand her the first time, so she had to repeat herself. I held back a chuckle and told her kindly that nothing was wrong, I was just going to have a baby. Ahhh, kids.
  • As exiting the zoo after several hours of enjoyment, Daniel cried big tears as I carried him out the exit. He reached over my shoulders and back towards the gates screaming “Dat way! Animals! Dat way!!” Slightly cute, as well as a little embarrassing. The poor guy was ready for his nap but not ready to leave, that’s for sure.

We also took time to view a few other sites while there, such as The Loraine Motel, where MLK Jr. was killed. It was a little odd how the chaos of the city seemed to be absorbed when near the balcony. Things were very quiet at that spot. Throw in a few trolley rides, a few meals out, a few meals in, and lots of laughs with friends, you’ve got the basic gist of our journey. Oh…..and a puke in the carseat from Daniel when we were about 15 mils from home……now you have the idea of our trip!

On Good Friday

On Good Friday, as our house endured some furious rain and small pelts of hail, a mere 25 minute zip on the Interstate away, tornadoes were touching down, treating trees like toothpicks and moving cars like small marbles. Soon we discovered that the powerful element of Mother Nature had briefly visited the neighborhood of Thomas’s sister and her family. Once stowed away in the bathroom of their house for a just under two minutes, they emerged to find many homes around them equipped with new views, for entire roofs and/or entire sides of a house no longer existed. Their immediate neighbors once had a storage shed outside that was no where to be found, yet its contents were visible in nearly every yard around. Nice wooden privacy fences that once stood tall and useful suddenly became flat pancakes in the grass. Telephone poles and other debris covered the streets out from and into their home. Power was out and the sound of news helicopters and chainsaws began to fill the air. The images I was viewing on the news soon were visible in my living room via their digital camera. Safe and sound, our family arrived for what was to become a slumber party, of sorts.

Elizabeth brought some perishable items, and we crammed them into our fridge and freezer. The kiddos played like maniacs, and I began to develop sleeping arranges for our four sudden guests. Thomas began prepping our spaghetti dinner and everyone was just prayerful for those still discovering the destruction and thankful for our family’s safety, as well as the protection of their home and possessions.

As some of the aerial images from the events were flashed up on the television, Daniel had a great description of the scene: “Oh no! A MESS!”

A mess…..yes, certainly.

Tornadoes in this area are something we are accustomed to, or tornado warnings at least, for it seems like the weatherman is always reporting on something pending. There will be touchdowns, typically even in your city, but it is a totally different story when it is your home being hit, or the one next to you for that matter. Although it was not our home and neighbors, it was our immediate family, and it makes the events seem surreal. We were very grateful to be able to help them out and give them a lighted house, hot water, and fresh/hot food to eat. Daniel was ecstatic to have playmates. Overall, Jon and Liz are very happy to have a home to return to, and many in the area are forever grateful to still have a life.

After Daniel noted the mess being seen on TV, the news reporter of that station made a comment that “Good Friday” must now not be considered so good to many. Quickly, however, viewers e-mailed and called the station, claiming that instead of “Good Friday,” it is “Great Friday,” for the survivors had another day to live and just one more reason to be thankful during this Easter season.

SO true.

Not in the Scrapbook

Today, I am tired with no specific reason why, for I went to bed early, sleeping until the last possible minute before Thomas headed to work. I know I have perfect reasons to be tired—growing a baby, caring for a toddler,

CEO of a household, and teaching 2 days a week, but it is not really one of those specifically impacting me today. I am, for the lack of better words,  “blah.” And, to be honest, the blah has made me treat my son differently. I, like most folks, have a shorter fuse when in a bad mood, and the things we might normally do to pep me or him up are not viable options on bad weather days (going to the park, playing in his new sandbox, blowing bubbles outside, etc.). We, therefore, hobbled through the morning until naptime. With Daniel napping, I really wanted to sit on the couch and watch some brainless TV, but a huge storm front is currently coming through, and the only thing on my non-cable television is the local weatherman’s storm warnings, Doppler radar images, and pictures of hail and funnel clouds.

Alternatively, I decided to check my GoogleReader. After reading a few blog posts, I came across one from a family we use to attend church with before moving. In fact, Steven and his wife, Michelle, taught our SS class, and they had a second daughter just a few weeks before Daniel was born. They were truly a wonderful couple. Sadly, my use of past tense is correct, for Michelle passed away very suddenly just over a year ago. I watched Steven live out my worst nightmare. As he attempted to juggle sudden single parenthood, a job as a professor, and extreme grief, he somehow stayed in one piece. His post I read today told of how he made a digital photo book of ‘08, in attempts
to keep with the tradition his wife set of constructing elaborate, heirloom worthy, scrapbooks. Briefly, he mentioned what was in the book. Next, he took a moment to say what wasn’t: “So what’s not there? Well, there are no pictures of
the days in January I spent laying on the floor, crying uncontrollably. There are no pictures of the nights I lost my temper and threw cups down the hall. Nothing to show how dead to the world I was some days, and nothing to indicate
how lonely some days were (and still are sometimes).”

If that does not touch your heart, you might want to go and get yours checked. Reading this entry after being in my blah, tired mood made me think of how humans, mommies especially, tend to leave out details of a crummy day, and we fill our photo albums, blogs, conversations, and status updates with the things that make us and our family look good: smiling faces, awards won, promotions earned, milestones reached, but rarely do we admit, as Steven did, to the bad moments, the times when we do not have it all together.Everything is always “good.”

So, in a sort of confession mode (1 John 1:9), here are some things that occurredthis morning, which are out of my norm and definitely not scrapbook worthy:

  • I did not show the interest Daniel deserved when he kept
    trying to show me things.
  • I gave him time-out for not listening when I should have
    given him more time to respond to/understand my request.
  • I put in a Veggie movie and sat next to him reading a
    magazine because that was easier than having to interact and take my “turn
    momma” after he growled, hopped, or clapped.
  • I served a less than well-balanced lunch of milk, peas, and
    mandarin oranges in an effort to not have to fix anything else.
  • I did not read him a book before nap, even though he asked
    me to do so.
  • I yelled at him “Go to sleep!” from downstairs when he cried
    for me to turn on his light during naptime.

There you go.

And although I know none of you ever thought it, I am not perfect. I get angry and frustrated. I totally miss the mark, and my excuses for doing so are much less respectable than Steven’s. It is, however, on days
like today, that I am thankful for the forgiving nature of a toddler. He will wake up and remember nothing of the unfair time-out and the unnecessary yell. Instead, Daniel will wake up and love me so much, thinking I am the best mommy
ever. Isn’t that a relief! And, for the people that do remember ill-treatment, I am forever grateful to be covered in Christ’s forgiveness.

My plan is not to blog only Debbie Downer posts, but I do think there is something to be said for showing humanness, and I am certain that others of you have less than scrapbook worthy moments,
which just might need to be shared.