Saturday, January 31, 2009

Worth checking out...

Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary is collecting comments. For each comment they receive on this post they will donate a dollar to a family whose daughter, Tuesday, has terminal cancer. I love the idea of this. I love that each dollar that they give them will represent thought or prayer for their family. So go there, read Tuesday's heartbreaking story, say a prayer for the family and leave a comment.

EDITED-Comments for this are now closed as the family as given as much as they were able.

Also, This letter from the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara to Sasha and Milia Obama on growing up in the White House is lovely and gracious and poignant. Thanks Lori for bringing it to my attention.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fridays Fave 5

So I know yesterday's post was a bit melancholy the most depressing blog post ever. It took me a few days to write it, and I decided, spontaneously, to hit post while hanging out at a coffee shop waiting for Allie to finish her voice lesson. I would never have done so if my blog wasn't private now, out of respect for the other families involved. For the record, Brandon was not involved in that situation at all, and I didn't mean to imply that or even that he is headed in that direction. It's just that it suddenly feels like a only a few small steps from here to there. And that's scary. And because of that my heart is just breaking for the families that are involved.

Sigh. Inhale. Exhale. OK, moving on...

I have decided to resurrect the Friday's Fave Five. Because I am trying to regain some kind of blogging structure and what better way than a weekly commitment. And even better, a weekly commitment dedicated to positivity. I can hear the collective sigh of relief. So here goes, The Five Favorite Things -that come to mind right now- From My Week.

  1. Brandon's basketball game. The game was not unusual, Brandon has basketball games every week, but this game he played particularly hard and well. It was a joy to watch him. The ride home was a happy one and we chatted easily about his game and his day at school. As much as I try these moments of comfortable conversation can't be created, making them feel all the more precious when they sneak up on me.
  2. Shrinking. I am on a diet. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (or, bless your heart, both) you already know this, because you have been subjected to near daily laments about the foods I must - or must not - eat. So obviously the diet in itself is not the Friday Fave entry. The diet stinks. But I had my final January weigh in today and I am down 11 pounds since the first of the year. Excited? Why, yes I am. Shallow? Yep, that too.
  3. A new coat. Since we've established the shallow thing, let's run with it shall we? I got a new coat at Target yesterday and I totally love it. Here's a picture of it in green. I actually got it in Rose (which doesn't show up half as cute on the site as in person) but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I almost got both colors. I refrained though, deciding that one trench coat I really didn't need was enough. My will power is quite extraordinary.
  4. My sister-in-law. I actually have SIX sisters-in-law. They are all completely different but I can honestly say that each one of them is a blessing to me. Last weekend my youngest brother's wife drove in from out of town just to spend all day helping me strip wall paper off of my kitchen walls. Anyone who has ever participated in the awful task of removing wallpaper knows that voluntarily driving two hours with young children to do this at someone elses house should receive a medal. She's a saint, that girl. Incidentally, I have wanted the wallpaper removed for the entire five years I have lived at this house. The best picture I could find was one of poor Ben from his first birthday party. You can see the ivy paper behind him. We are picking paint colors this weekend and hopefully I will have pictures of our progress in the next couple weeks. Minus the adorably pouty birthday baby, of course.
  5. Clara. Between her typical tyrannical rants she's actually been quite the snuggle-bug this week: Spending time just sitting with me on the couch. Sitting in my lap to listen to stories. Last night after The Man finished the PJ/teeth brushing bed time routine she ran back into the living room to give me a hug, then ran half way back to her room and stopped and spun around. "Hava kiss?" she asked. I laughed and nodded and she ran back to me, put one of her pudgy little hands on each side of my face and smacked a kiss right on my lips. "Tank you, Mama!" she grinned. Then happily ran back down to hall to bed. How blessed am I?
For more Fridays Fave visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Today when I picked up Ben from preschool another blonde boy climbed into the van behind him. My Four-year-old was having his first after school playdate. He has become friends with the son of another teacher at our preschool and has been repeatedly asking if this boy, Silas, could come over to play with his new Christmas toys. In particular, he was adamant about how he wanted Silas to play light sabers with him. Ben had received two light sabers from my mother for Christmas and Clara, despite Ben's best persuasive efforts, has been reluctant to be his sparring partner. In fact she tends to run from the room yelling "Be caweful! Ben, Be caweful!" whenever the topic is mentioned. I can't say that I blame her. I think it's probably a good policy to run away anytime someone starts chasing you with a stick. Light up or otherwise.

Ben's friend is a precocious, friendly boy whom, I think it bares mentioning, Clara is passionately in love with. In fact, every time we enter the school she runs to embrace him screeching "Silaaasss" at the top of her lungs. To his credit, he always stops what he's doing to give her a hug, thus putting me solidly in the Silas fan club as well. So obviously, Silas coming to our home was an event of rockstar proportions. And today, was the day.

Ben and Silas tore out of the car and into the house while I trailed behind them carrying bookbags and papers from school. Clara was eating lunch when they arrived, giving them a temporary reprieve from her overwhelming affection. I dropped my load inside the door and stopped to observe them, curious to see if things would go smoothly. Ben began to lead Silas through our home, room by room showing him around. All the while keeping up a running commentary in a voice that was comically serious:

"This is my house and look this is my light saber and my other light saber that changes colors that's the one you get to use when we FIGHT, and that's just my dog, Beamer, and she likes everyone, and this is my car thing and come in here...I have to show you this is my room and it's SO CLEAN (which was absolutely not true) and look these are the knights and castles I got for Christmas and my Whack a Mole game but that's really loud so my mom doesn't like it..."

And watching my son and his friend, these two four-year-old boys wandering through the house in pint-sized mimicry of grown-up civilities made my heart catch in my throat. I looked across the room at The Man, eating lunch with Clara, and saw the same emotion reflected in his eyes as he watched them. Amusement. Adoration. Wonder. It was like we could see his school years unfolding in front of us.

And then they started to play. And it quickly became apparent that they were, in fact, only four.

The ideas that Ben had carefully nursed of what he and Silas would do were shattered almost immediately. Silas had his own opinions. He wanted to play knights; Ben wanted to play light sabers. He wanted to check out all Ben's toys. Ben wanted to play hide-and-seek. And Clara, bless her heart, just wanted to be included. So I settled into my new job teaching the skills of friendship. Of how to be a good host. Of give and take. There was much whining and a few tears from Ben and to be honest, I think they argued more than they played.

And then Silas' mother came and they both started crying because they didn't want him to leave. So, they made plans to repeat the experience again next week at his house. Finally after many hurried promises of the adventures they would have together next time, Silas was gone. Ben, still weepy, crawled up into my lap. And for quite a while I sat there, rocking him slowly back and forth, wondering at the boy in my lap who seemed at once too big and too small.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Going Under Cover - Update

Welcome friends. The deed is done; Joy in Chaos is now a member's only club. And you are all members. Lucky, lucky me! *

I must say, you guys really know how to make a girl feel loved. I am overwhelmed by the response to my last post. It may have been the most comments I have ever received, and largely from people letting me know they wanted to continue to follow my ramblings. I was moved to tears. (I know you must all be thinking by now that everything moves me to tears - It's not far from the truth. I am nothing if not emotional.)

I have received many requests for details on what exactly happened, which I just can't get into. I appreciate your concern and I hope that you will forgive me for continuing to be annoyingly vague. I will say that this situation is particular to me and a despicable person from my past, and is likely not something you would ever have to worry about at your own place.

It's also possible, even likely, that eventually I will exchange this locked door for a secret identity. I am toying with the idea of creating a new completely anonymous - if that's even possible - blog. Right now, however, the idea of starting over is too sad and overwhelming so here I'll stay. Locked doors and all, it's a comfortable home and I love it. Even more so, because all of you come to call.

*Please remember that because this is a private blog my posts will no longer show up in your feed readers. I know that's inconvenient and if I could fix it, I would.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The end of an era...

I really love my blog. When I started it a year and a half ago, I wasn't sure what would come of it. I knew I wanted to create a record of my life as a mom, but I was hoping it would be more than that. And it has been. It has been a release, an outlet, that is completely mine. A place to reflect on my blessings and confess my inadequacies. I found my niche, albeit tiny, in this huge place we call the blogosphere. I made friends. Presumptuous as it may seem to call them that.

I wasn't quite as good at blogging as I thought I would be. The words didn't come as easily as I hoped, and often times my life seemed too dull and trite to inspire them. My writing has been sporadic and I never really found a consistent tone. Sometimes I was silly or sarcastic, sometimes serious and introspective. Sometimes just plain sad. But this place has reflected me honestly, if not completely. And I love it.

But I made some mistakes. I used my real name (occasionally even my real last name), I used my kids real names. I gave out too much personal information. And lately that has come back to bite me. People are reading my thoughts, who shouldn't be. They're learning intimate details of my kids lives, because I invited them in, with no thought for privacy or restrictions. It was dumb and careless of me. And honestly, it was selfish. I wanted an audience. And I couldn't invite the world in and keep out one.

So, due to some unexpected and disturbing revelations I have to make this blog private. I don't want to do it. It honestly brought me to tears. I love having an open door. I love it when someone stops in for the first time and says "You made me laugh" or "I get just what you are saying." But some things are just more important.

I will keep the blog public for one more week. If I know you in my real life I will automatically send you an invite to read it when it goes private. If you are one of my blogging friends who wants to attempt to navigate passwords (and the fact that your reader will no longer show my updates...sob!) send me an email and I will include you as well.

It was fun while it lasted.