Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Song, Water, and Vacuums

Listening to: Crazy Love by Michael Buble

Sometimes music is the best medicine. I'm a little sensitive in the auditory department, so I tend to forget about music until I have the opportunity to just sit and really listen. We recently(ish) procured a couple of Sonos hi-fi speakers and I just have to say - they are entirely worth the investment. This bitty white tower of remarkable projection and sound quality is life to me some days.

It was 80 degrees here today. I found myself sweating as I vacuumed out our Buick van. Vacuuming is a chore that I do not enjoy, and I have complained that none of the car washes here have free vacuums. It's not that I am unwilling to pay for the service, it's more about the fact that I *never* carry change. It's ironic to me that I can swipe my debit card to have my car washed but the vacuums never take cards. Who carries cash in 2017? The moms with clean vans, apparently.

Ooh, the Sonos has moved in to The Way You Look Tonight. Swoooooon. I want a glass of something delicious while I sit here listening now. But I digress. The kids decided that the eighty degree temps were warm enough for water play and in my recent efforts to say yes to their fun ideas more as well as cutting way down on screen time (says Mom as she types on the computer), I let them hook up the sprinkler under the trampoline. Their favorite. Water guns came out and they had a blast. I threw together some breakfast for dinner and let them eat on the porch.

I find myself transfixed in what I call I Hope You Remember moments. I gaze at my children wondering which of these moments will be woven into the fabric of their good childhood memories. It seems that every single person, no matter how difficult their childhood, has a safety net woven from the fibers of safe and happy moments. I consider my children to be experiencing a pretty happy childhood, and so I wonder - is this it? Will you remember this moment? Will it fade into the blur of your overarching impressions of your childhood, or will you have a snapshot of this precise moment? When you are grown and lying in bed, maybe somewhere on an adventure, will you long for the scene of skinny shirtless brothers licking popsicles and wielding water guns? Or the sight of your sister, wavy blonde hair dripping at the ends, frizzy curls around her face, running and yelling as she joins your fun and adamantly puts forth her suggestions for fun and games? I can't help but wonder. which of the yesses, however they barely managed to squeak out of my mouth, will make the memory cut? I know it's the fluffy dreamer girl inside me who longs to know, but it's a wonderful thing to think about.

Now Listening to: Josh Groban's To Where You Are

We have been teaching the kids Psalm 15 for 2.5 months. They learned Psalm 23 in January, but something about the following months caused our memory project to drag on this time. We're almost finished now, and it's precious to hear their sweet voices chime in as we practice it in the evening. Particularly Joe, who tends to pick up more than we realize.

GUYS. FOOLS RUSH IN JUST CAME ON. Andrea Bocelli & Katharine McPhee. My favorite version ever! As you may have noticed by the intermittent notations of song change, I'm not making it through this blog quickly. Pandora is just killin' it with my faves right now.

Well, it's cooling down outside and I need to dry off my passel of monkeys. Good night, guys!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Goodreads, Shows, and CS Lewis

The children who reside in my house and occasionally under my feet experienced a moment of intense grief this morning when their father and I announced that Youtube Kids was being removed from all of our devices for a time. The utter atrocity of life under this roof. Children who are forced to occasionally reevaluate the way they spend their time. It's like something from a Dicken's novel.

I've been working on some reading catch-up in The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson, which some of us are reading this year as a study at church. I just finished the March chapter and I'm moving into April (like I said - behind!), but I think the March chapter has been my favorite so far. I closed it inspired to expose my children to more artistic and natural experiences as much as is possible.

On the subject of books, I have recently discovered GoodReads and I can't believe I never used it before. It's social media for readers. SOCIAL MEDIA FOR READERS. I have found my people. Thank you, Life. You are not lame today. <3

I have decided recently that I think I need a bicycle. I used to love pedaling away down my street as a child, feeling like I was free and flying. Maybe it won't be as magical as an adult, but I'm up for the effort.

Due to a friend's recent recommendation I have been enjoying the delightful little series Lark Rise to Candleford. It's not new, but it was new to me, and thanks to Amazon Prime Video I have been zipping through it when I have a spare moment here or there or happen to be folding laundry or washing dishes. Does anyone else pull the iphone-propped-on-the-windowsill maneuver when they're alone on the kitchen cleaning up? This sweet trip back into the 1800s has been such a breath of fresh air. I'm experiencing the deep urge to hunt down a copy of The Story Girl - a favorite book from my childhood - and give it a read with fresh, grown-up eyes.

While reading CS Lewis a year or so ago, he mentioned the concept of chronological snobbery, and it stuck with me. The fallacy that newer is better. Younger is wiser - more informed. Life seems to continually remind me that the real challenges and desires in front of us now tend to mirror those faced by those who have gone before. The details may change, but the challenges tend remain the same generation after generation. Things like need, poverty, the need for forgiveness and grace, loneliness, a desire to feel purposeful and wanted. Such running themes throughout lives and generations and eras and the world over. It's fascinating.

Well, my honey is home and The Voice is on. Cheerio, friends. <3

Friday, April 7, 2017

Two Year Olds, Books, Plays, Marketing, and Hummus

My two year old nephew is here today and has been here for a couple of nights, which has been a crash course in the hilarity and irrationality of toddlers.

How is it that the sands of time move so quickly and quietly that we lose touch without having known that we've lost it? My sensory child has some quirks that make him seem younger than 4.5 to me, but he's certainly not two.

There's very little reasoning with a two year old. How did I forget my own two year olds? "You can help me on the am-poline," Jason insists. I'm a little busy so I delay. "Ask Joe to help you get on the trampoline, he's big!" The faltering yet bold reply, "Youuuuuu can ask you to help me on the am-poline."

Earlier an "accidental" snooze on the couch while they play results in yellow highlighter all over my desk. Where did he FIND that?! Oh wait. My house isn't baby-proof anymore - which means it's even less toddler-proof. I sigh to myself, glad it wasn't a black sharpie, as I pick up the shredded box of cards that's lying in the hallway. Less you misunderstand, he has been a hilarious little riot and we have enjoyed having him. And also my sister (his mom) will just laugh at this blog and tell me that I deserve it for the many times I corrected her when she said "to" and meant "too." At least, I'm giving her permission to laugh (are you reading this, Mandi?).

I recently finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I won't give any spoilers, but it was definitely different than the books. It was difficult to determine where character deviations were meant to depict the softening that comes with age and parenthood and where they pointed to the other non-Rowling contributors to the script. Either way, I'm glad I read it, but the dialogue leans a bit further into the dramatic than the first seven works. At points it could even be cheesy, but these are observations from someone who has only read the play and not seen it onstage. Perhaps skilled actors and actresses could deliver the nuance more effectively than the audiobook reader managed to do.

After finishing the aforementioned play, I picked up Love Wins by Rob Bell and I've given up on it. It's just... weird? I selected it because it was available on Overdrive and I needed a new audiobook, but I probably should have red some reviews or at least a little about RB first.

I must say, I'd love it if Amazon's Whispersync technology could magically become available for ALL books. I'm reading so many books right now that I truly want to finish, but I tend to pick up a hardcopy and drift away from it, adopting a shiny new hardcopy and so on the cycle continues. I just can't manage to be immobile and focused long enough to read as many "real" books as I'd like. Audiobooks are my love. Ironically, I recently saw that a newish survey revealed that they are the least popular medium for literary consumption. I was shocked. How can others not share my wonder in the magic that is reading a book AND accomplishing other things? I do listen so much better when I'm completing some repetitive task like dishes or laundry, too, so there's that. Sit still while reading? How is this accomplished?

In random life developments, I picked up some hummus and enjoyed it for the first time ever. I have tried hummus two or three times and was less than enraptured. This variety comes from Costco and is roasted red pepper and tastes like a Mexican bean dip. We are loving it, and since it's organic, we pretend that portion control isn't necessary and there are no carbs. Adult logic, in other words.

Lastly, I've been slowly bolstering our movie collection. My husband might say it hasn't been THAT slow. But I managed a killer deal on a dvd of The Little Mermaid (which is in the vault at the moment) complete with digital copy code for under $10 on eBay. These are the kinds of victories that make you feel like a real winner when you're almost thirty and have kids in elementary school. My list of vault titles that we don't yet have is becoming shorter and shorter, and I can't wait for The Lion King to come back out in October. I also joined the Disney Movie Club when I saw their current offer, and that helped. (Full disclosure: the link is my referral link - free movies when friends sign up!)

Speaking of movies, can we discuss screen time? Specifically youtube? I feel like my kids would prefer Youtube Kids over any movies ever. EVER. I'm becoming really irked about this, while trying hard to maintain my chill as a parent who picks her battles. I just feel so marketed to, and feel that the kids are as well. It's one of those odd, not all THAT harmful, but annoying sort of things that just cause me to cringe without really being certain what to do about it. Even lame kid's tv shows seem to have a point, other than "here is this toy and all of these other toys, and you would love it and you need it." If your kids are into toy unboxings and similar things that are a part of this generation's youtube craze, how do you keep it all in balance?

And there you have it guys, my Friday afternoon stream of consciousness update from our corner of the world. How are you guys? <3