Saturday, September 5, 2015

Cirque Millenia

I didn't want to go.  I hate circuses.  But as my son gets closer to driving (in November), that also means he is closer to leaving home. That makes it hard for me to say no to anything that my baby  girl (nine-years-old) wants to do -- especially if it's something that  I know she may eventually grow out of.  I want to seize all of the "childhood moments" that I have left with her.  This is why I found myself sweating, sitting on a wooden bench on a very typically hot and humid Oklahoma night to watch this:

Judging from the fact that it was only a one-ring circus, I expected the show to be quick and unimpressive.

I was wrong.

Here's the first thing I learned: I don't hate circuses.  I just hate the kind with animals; captive elephants being whipped make me sad.  Also, I don't like the huge, three-ring kind of circuses where you can't possibly see everything because either (a) there's something happening in all three rings at one time or (b) some of the rings are so far away that you might as well be watching the circus on TV.

Cirque Cirque Millennia's one-ring circus is an intimate experience.  I was sitting in the center second row, and yet I felt as if one of the trapeze artists was going to fly into me.  She didn't of course, but the close proximity was absolutely thrilling!

Another thing about the Cirque Millennia's one ring circus: you can see EVERYTHING.  You can see the acrobats' facial expressions as they mentally prepare to awe and amaze you.  You can see their flexing muscles, which because of their smiles and grace, are the only things to clue you in to the fact that what they are doing is really, really difficult (impossible for most of us).

Things like this:

And this:

And this:

And this man: 
he's jumping rope on that thing and that thing is moving!
Please also note: there were NO NETS!

These are world-class performers that you get to see right here in our small community!

I also appreciated that the Cirque Millennia did not use animals in their show.  (They do have ponies available for pony rides.)  For those of you with a fear of clowns, no worries -- Cirque Millennia doesn't have any clowns either.  Instead of clowns, kids get to see these two guys have a dance-off.  

My life is complete now that I have seen Sponge Bob do the worm.

This guy also made my little girl laugh and cheer.
He is the son of the woman on the right, 
who also is one of the beautiful acrobats.

I hope I have convinced you that you can't miss this circus!  There are shows tomorrow (9/6) at 3pm and 7 pm.  Dress light, bring a camera and cash (there are refreshments for sale, entry is $15 for adults; Brookie was admitted free tonight but the poster says kids are $7.50), and most of all come prepared


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas Reading Book Reviews: Part I

Over Christmas Break, I chose to read A Prayer for Owen Meany and I decided to get a head start on the required reading for my Books for Young Adults class. Here is Part I of my reviews of those books. (Part II will follow shortly)

The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa. (Required Book)

I hated this and do not recommend this book. At the beginning of the book, there is a photo of the author. Because of the author’s long grey hair, I mistakenly thought that the author was an older woman who just didn’t wear make-up. As I read this graphic novel, I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t believe a woman would write this.” It seemed instead that I had found myself inside the mind of a sex-obsessed 12-year-old boy. When I finished the book, I was still so puzzled that I decided to read more about the author, and it was only then that I discovered that the author is indeed a man. Ironically, on GoodReads this is what is said about him, “He is best known for his tender stories and uncanny ability to write from a profoundly feminine perspective.” Let’s just say that I was not fooled and could not disagree more about his writing ability. The “tender story” in this book to me is more like an introduction to erotica for kids and/or a poorly written sex education book about girls’ and boys’ sexual anatomy and changing bodies all the while trying to disguise itself as poetic and profound. To me, it hints of pedophilia on the part of the author (yes, I said it!) and is full of scenes like this: The main character’s mother hugs her and then says, “Oh my! Look at you! Your breasts are bigger than mine now.” Does dialogue get any worse than that?

Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick (Required Book)

The author starts the book in 2073 as Eric, a journalist, lands on a mysterious island to investigate rumors of island inhabitants who never die. From there, the book travels back in time to that same island with each section. For instance, readers get a glimpse of the island and its inhabitants during World War II, and again, during the Viking era. The book continues back in time until the last section is labeled “Time Unknown”. In each section, you see the same two main characters, Eric and Meryl; sometimes they are married to each other, sometimes they are mother/son, father/daughter, or no relation to each other. Much like the movie, “The Sixth Sense”, you don’t really know what’s going on until the end of the book and then you feel the need to re-read the entire book to better understand the nuances and clues provided. I was definitely intrigued and curious throughout the book. However, I have to be honest: when I finally understood what was happening, I was a bit disappointed because I feel the author could have explored many other plot options within his creative concept. Overall, this book is a great reading experience even if the end is a bit anti-climatic.

I could not help myself: after finishing the book, I found Carl Larrson’s painting online to see if I could find Meryl’s little hand holding an apple, but I could never get a high enough quality resolution online to definitely say yes or no. If you read this and are able to see better than I did, please let me know!

Labels: love story, futuristic sci-fi, fairytale, fantasy, vampires, ghosts, historical fiction, Norse Mythology

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This is the fictional story of Junior, a Native American growing up on a reservation who decides after the first day of his freshman year in high school that he must transfer from the high school on the reservation to the “white” high school several miles away. It is a funny, witty, and poignant story about race, human dignity, poverty, alcoholism within the Native American community, first love, real friendships -- I just loved it and I think this character’s story needed to be told and the world needs to really hear what Junior has to say. Disclaimer: Like a great song that has a bad word in it, I can’t unequivocally recommend this book because there is one chapter where Junior proudly discusses how “good” he is at masturbating to porn. Because I believe that porn is harmful to ALL involved (creators, consumers, family of consumers, etc -- See This Video), I have a real problem with literature that tells kids that porn consumption is harmless and normal. I really wish the author had omitted that chapter! In spite of this, I still want my kids to read this book but I think it requires a discussion before and/or after they read it. FYI: It is definitely for high school teens.

Monday, December 15, 2014

First Designer Purse

Last October, on our third day in London, I realized that I was going to have quite a few British pounds leftover. I talked to David and asked him if I should exchange them for Euros since we were going to France for a few days, but he did not want me to do that because you lose money every time you exchange currency. He told me to go buy something nice for myself.

I thought about several different things that I might purchase. I looked at some jewelry and clothes. One thing I even considered was a jacket from Uniqlo because it would be something that was sort of a novelty for an Oklahoma girl and something that I could use for years to come. However, I eventually decided to get a designer handbag because I have never had one and it would be a beautiful but useful souvenir of our time in London.

Debenhams department store was right in front of our hotel so I went there to shop. I quickly realized that designer handbags were much more expensive than I had assumed! So instead of getting a handbag, I decided to buy a beautiful wallet -- which by the way, they call a "purse" in the UK. When I got home, I never told David that I had originally sought a handbag; I just showed him my wallet and told him how much I loved it.

Here is a picture of it today. I love the fun, whimsical "Shop Picture" design because it reminds me of the streets in London and on the back it actually says, "London" (as all Bailey and Quinn products do). It is still so beautiful even after being used every day for 14 months:

Almost exactly a year after I purchased the wallet (again, I never told David or anyone that I had at first wanted a handbag), David told me that he wanted to buy me a designer purse. Just out of the blue like that . . . I immediately said, "Do my purses look terrible or something?" He said no and just said that he knew that I had never had one and that he would like to get me one. I feel the need to point out that I have in no way felt deprived by my lack of designer handbags!! lol! But I was certainly excited about the possibility of getting one!

I started looking online at Coach, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton (LV was still way outside of my range!) and Kate Spade. However, I found myself really wishing that I could get a Bailey and Quinn purse to match my wallet. Not with the same decorative elements, but to have the wallet and purse be from the same designer (OCD, I know!). I looked to see if any department stores here in the States carried them to no avail. Then, I looked on Amazon and was at first excited because Bailey and Quinn was a seller; then I was disappointed to find that it did not offer shipping to the US. At some point, I accidentally ended up on the Debenhams website and discovered that they had just recently launched an international website and when I spent a certain amount, I could get free international shipping!! To top it off, all of the Bailey and Quinn handbags were on sale!!

I had Claire and Brooke help me decide on one and placed my order. It has been here for months, but David and I put it back for my birthday and I got to open it today!

Here it is -- I am so excited to finally get to use it!!


Monday, December 10, 2012

2012: Good Year, Bad Year

1. BAD year for fashion. We discovered that both Claire and Brooke need to wear supportive shoes with orthotics most of the time.

2. GOOD year for fashion-- on those special occasions when Brooke can choose her own ensembles and shoes.

3. GOOD year for big birthdays. Brooke turned 6 (which makes her a big girl & no longer a toddler). Claire turned 10 (double-digits, baby!), Jack turned 13 and Sonja celebrated the big 4-0!

4. BAD year for big birthday parties. Brookie chose to have a small family party in Oklahoma City, Claire chose to celebrate her birthday by going rock climbing, and Jack celebrated his birthday by meeting his favorite photographer. Sonja decided things are crazy enough without adding a birthday party 10 days before Christmas.

5. GOOD year for being a man: Jack and David used a chain saw for the first time to cut down a tree in our yard.

6. BAD year for common sense: Jack and David used a chain saw. What??

7. GOOD year for answered prayers. When we found a stray miniature poodle, we didn’t know that Claire had been praying for a dog. Leave it to God to answer her prayers with a flea-infested, one-eyed poodle with bad breath! He was also already house-trained, crate-trained, & very affectionate. Most importantly, we are not allergic to him!

8. BAD year for playing indoor hide and seek because even if our dog is not with Sonja when she hides, he will lead the children straight to her. He has an amazing sense of smell!

9. BAD year for seeing celebrities: even though George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, & Juliette Lewis were in Bartlesville filming a movie, the closest we got to them was hearing about them from our plumbers who helped install 1950’s appliances in one of the houses where the movie (August: Osage County) was filmed.

10. GOOD year for water activities: Claire was baptized in June, Brookie learned to swim in July, & we got to spend a few days at Lake Murray in Ardmore where Sonja grew up.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

Here is our family photo from October 2010 taken by Emily Potts Photography. In this picture, Jack is one month shy of eleven, Claire is eight, and Brookie is four.

I thought that the railroad tracks were aesthetically pleasing as a background, but they are also very symbolic for our family.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Correction: things I love and things I hate

Oops -- I realized that primarily because of the dichotomy that I set up here that I misspoke (how's that for "politician-ese"?). I don't hate teachers who abuse kids -- I hate WHEN teachers abuse kids or another way, I hate the ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR, not the person. The abusive teacher of whom I was speaking professes to be a Christian and so I pray for the Holy Spirit to convict him.

Also, I meant to include these two things and somehow, I did not get them on the list.

One thing I hate: when a single strand of hair lands on my shirt and feels like a spider on my arm and then I look around to see what it is and it takes me about 10 times to finally find the single strand of hair.

One thing I love: the soup cans that have a flip-top lid so you don't have to use a can-opener.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things I Love and Things I Hate

Something I hate: AT&T. I hate them so much that I decided against an iPhone simply because I did not want to have to deal with them. Now, I am hoping and praying in the next 5 years that someone else will be added on as a provider for iPhone.

Something I love: books. I once read that Charles M. Schultz (creator of Peanuts strip) felt that the best part of his success was that it enabled him to buy any book he wanted. Sigh -- that sounds dreamy to me.

Something I hate: the fact that I let a couple of people talk me out of getting built-in bookshelves in our new home. In my fantasy world, I would be able to buy any book I want and would have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that have one of those ladders that slide across a bar so that you can reach the books that are too high (which would be most of them since I am staturally-challenged).

Something I love: The new Incredible Bra by Victoria's Secret. It really is incredible. Supposedly, it can add up to two cup sizes, but that's not why I love it. This is why: the underwire is enclosed inside foam and it is perfect with t-shirts because there are no clasps on the straps and somehow it doesn't show back fat. I am serious, this bra is some sort of scientific wonder.

Something I hate: The Incredible Bra's price.

Something I love: hearing my kids laugh together when I am in a different room.

Something I hate: being almost 40 and still dealing with acne.

Something I hate even more than that: the fact that my insurance company has decided to only cover acne medication until age 26. Uhh -- for me that was like, more than 10 years ago, and believe me, I wish that acne magically disappeared at age 26!

Something I love: rye bread.

Something I hate: divorce. I feel like it's the reason that I don't know a lot of my family very well. Divorce makes family gatherings awkward and divorce causes people to move far away from each other.

Something I love: being in the country and exploring nature.

Something I hate: teachers who abuse kids. Hasn't happened to me or my kids, but I know about it happening here in Bville and the person is still working in an elementary school.

Something I love: studying the Bible.

Something I love more than that: teaching kids about what I have learned when I study the Bible.

Something I hate: having to count calories.

Something I love: my husband's hair when he lets it grow out a bit. Can you say McDreamy? I especially like it when he doesn't have to go to work for a few days and he doesn't shave.

Something I hate: when the person I'm on the phone with tells me they need to go because they have another call. How rude is that? If it's a doctor or an emergency, that's one thing. Otherwise, it is just rude, rude, rude.

Something I love: tortilla soup, but most of you (if anyone is even reading this) already know that.

Something I hate: smoke detectors that malfunction in the middle of the night.

Something I love: cooking dinner.

Something I hate: cleaning up after cooking dinner.

Something I hate more than that: cooking dinner, having kids complain about dinner, then having to clean up after said dinner. Makes me just want to feed them McDonald's and let them deal with their atherosclerosis later.

Something I love: my kids -- so I will keep trying to get them to eat healthy.

Something I hate: the idea that someday I will leave this wonderful world behind. I do so much love grass, trees, blue skies, leaves, the moon, stars, and enjoying a rainbow with my kids.

Something I love: the idea that when I do leave this earth behind, I will get to see my dad (step-dad) again.

That's all for now. My sweet Brookie wants to play.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brookie's "2nd" birthday

Tonight, was a rough night. As I posted on FB, Jack and Claire needed only to look at each other for there to be trouble. My goal tonight was to get everyone in bed ASAP -- and that meant no later than 8:30 pm.

By 8 pm, I was finished bathing Brookie, finished brushing her teeth, and finished combing out the mammoth knots in her hair. I was on the home stretch of getting her off to dreamland.

It was time to pray and she prayed one of her sweet meandering prayers. Things like, "'aynk you for us not to be frustrated. [Even she, at four, knew I had had a frustrating night!] Aynk you that we have good food so we can exercise and stretch. Aynk you for my 'flam-lee' to be 'spectable.'"

Unfortunately, due to the random nature of her prayers and my frazzled brain, tonight (like most nights) I can't remember exactly what she prayed, but whatever she prayed about, the prayers were especially sweet and earnest. So when she was finished I told her, "Oh, Brookie, that pleases God and Jesus when you talk to them. When you pray, you're talking to them and they can hear you."

"How do they do that?" she asked with awe and wonder.

"I don't know, but they really do hear your prayers up in heaven," I told her. (The word omniscient would have meant nothing to her and I was trying to join in her awe-struck appraisal of God and Jesus.)

"I think I know how they hear them," she piped up.

"Really? What do you think?" I added, thinking that this was going to be really interesting.

"It's because they're in our heart," she explained to me. "So, since they are there, they can hear us." She placed one of her dimpled little hands over the center of her chest.

"Maybe you're right, Brookie. If they're in your heart, they would definitely hear your prayers." (I have to note here that the phrase "Jesus is in my heart" is not the phrase that I prefer to use. Kids are so concrete and I think some of them think that Jesus is really physically living in there in one of the four chambers in the heart. But anyway, I just followed her lead and went with it tonight.)

Then she said, with a teenager-esque, sassy look, "Some of my friends think their heart is here [placing her hand over the left side of her chest] , but it's not. It's here [placing her hand on the center of her chest again]."

"Do you feel it beating?" I asked her.

Her eyes got big and round, and she said, "Oh! Whoaaa!" and even altered her breathing a little as she focused on her heart rate.

Then I said, "You know what? God and Jesus can't live in your heart unless you ask them to come there and ask Jesus to be your Savior."

"Hmm," Brookie said. This is one of her regular expressions and it always is so endearing because she says it in such a grown up manner; it sometimes seems a bit unnatural coming from someone so young. But it usually means that the wheels are really turning up there in her little brain.

"We can talk about this more and you can do it later," I said as I kissed her forehead. Honestly, I had not broached this subject with Brookie in a LONG time because the approach I took with Jack and Claire really caused Brookie some anxiety. Saying something like, "If you ask Jesus to save you, then when you die, you will get to live in heaven forever with him and God," caused her to respond with something like this, "I don't want to die," or "I want to still be with you and Daddy." So I just dropped the subject and decided to wait until she was a bit more mature, which I had unconsciously, automatically decided couldn't possibly be tonight (not on the first night in over a year that we had talked about salvation.) And I have to be completely honest, I was still on a mission to get everyone to bed by 8:30 and it was 8:15.

But Brookie surprised me and said, "How 'bout I do it now?"

"Ok . . . Are you sure you want to?" I asked. I hadn't gone through all of the "stuff" with her, but I did not want to stop her or stop something that God was trying to do. At that moment, it seemed clear to me that God had been preparing her and drawing her near to Him. The last week and a half or so, she had initiated lots of conversations about God and her meandering prayers had become really heartfelt.

"Father, God . . ." I started to lead her through the "ABC prayer" like I had done with Jack and Claire.

But, Little Miss Independent would have none of that; she took the reins.

"Fodder, God and Jesus, please come live in my heart and be my Savior. And help "M" be happy and 'aynk you dat her nose is better. In Jesus' Name, Amen." (That part about "M" seems random, but it is actually an acknowledgment of her sin. "M" is one of Brookie's good friends in her PreK class. Two days ago, "M" tried to cut in line in front of Brookie and Brookie evidently pushed "M" and made "M" fall and hurt her nose. Brookie came home and her conscience was very disturbed by what she had done. She slowly told me the story and when she got to the very end, she said (all on her own), "I'm sorry, God." I loved how she did this because she wasn't on her knees in some sort of "religious pose"; we were just walking inside from the garage and she said it just like she was talking to me, as if it was the most natural thing to her.)

Back to tonight . . . when she finished praying, I hugged her and called for Jack and Claire to share the news with them. It was amazing how the little monsters became angels instantly and my heart burst as they listened to Brookie tell them what she had done and celebrated with her. I didn't think my joy could be more complete than when Jack, squatted down to be eye level with Brookie and told her, "Now you will get to live in heaven with God and Jesus some day." (Good boy, Jack -- thanks for not mentioning anything about dying.) Then Brookie added, "And when I am in heaven, they won't be in my heart anymore because they will be in heaven and I will be in heaven. We'll be together." Jack gave her a big hug and said, "Wow! You are so smart!"

Then Claire decided Brookie should call David (he was still at work).

Claire grabbed the phone, dialed David's cell, and said, "Dad, Brookie's got something to tell you," and then she handed the phone to Brookie, who said, "Daddy? I asked God and Jesus into my heart and to be my savior and that "M" is happy and to 'aynk thank them that her nose is better [to thank them that her nose is better]".

What a faith-building experience as a parent! A parent's job is important, but this was a reminder to me that I don't have to do it all -- salvation is God's gift to us, after all -- and even though I am their parent, my children's salvation does not rest entirely on my shoulders. I have a part in it, but tonight it was evident that God had done the work; He had made all of the preparations and readied Brookie's heart and I just had to be willing to let my 8:30 bedtime plans go. A good example of the common Celebrate Recovery saying, "Let Go and Let God".

Epilogue: That all happened last night (Wed. September 29, 2010) and this morning, I kept calling and calling Brooke to come down for breakfast. She never answered and so I finally went up to her room and I found her completely dressed for school sitting in a corner in her room looking very solemn. She was listening to her "Jesus Songs" -- a CD called "Hide 'Em In Your Heart" (scriptures put to music for children). She absolutely did not want to come down, so I just left her there all morning. When it was time for me to take her to school, I went back upstairs and found her in exactly the same position. She turned the CD player off and said, "Can I listen to this again today after my nap?" Wow!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Claire's Belated 7th Birthday Post

Claire's 7th birthday was 2 1/2 months ago. I just realized that I never made a post about her because we celebrated her birthday and then went on our summer vacation. When we returned, we had one thing after another until school started . . .

Claire read the book Pinkalicious months before her birthday and decided she wanted a Pinkalicious party for her birthday. The book is about a girl who eats too many pink cupcakes and develops a case of pinkatitus and turns pink. For Claire's party, each of her friends got to decorate two cupcakes (pink of course). Then we gave each girl her own copy of Pinkalicious and my mom read it to the group. Afterwards, we had cake and ice cream. The giant cupcake was made by Connie Easterwood; I was so surprised and impressed because she made it look exactly like the cupcakes in the book!

What can I say about Claire? She is interesting because she is simultaneously introverted and very social. On the one hand, she keeps her thoughts and emotions to herself and it often takes a little work to get her to open up about how she truly feels about things. (The one exception to this is when Jack is annoying or bothering her; I WISH I could get her to keep those thoughts and emotions to herself!). Once I get her to open up, though, I am often so impressed with her insight and perception about people and the things happening in her life.

And in spite of being introverted, she is, as I said, very social. To say that Claire doesn't want to do anything unless someone is doing it with her is a pretty fair summation of her. She will sit for 45 minutes while I read to her, but finds no joy in reading the same book if she has to read it by herself. T.V. and movies aren't as fun unless she has someone to sit on the couch with her and laugh or cry with her. Church is fun -- if she can bring friends. Even chores are actually fun for her if she is doing them with someone else.

We call Claire our monkey because if something can be climbed, she will climb it. She really wants to get into rock climbing/repelling and has begged us to build her a climbing wall. Once she scaled the outside of the tall slide at Sonic and then jumped off of the top of it. (I am glad that I was helping Brookie with something at that exact moment because had I seen it, I might have died from a heart attack right there on the spot!)

Claire has a tender heart. Last year a little pre-kindergartener was crying on the bus. Prior to that point, Claire had only seen her. Claire invited the little girl to sit with her and then helped her stop crying by making her laugh. Claire is the same sort of tender comforter for Brookie when Brookie is upset (usually because she has been denied something that she wants to play with).

She is also the most generous little girl I know. She has a very tight budget ($2/week allowance=$1.80 after tithe). At the end of August, she had Jack figure up how much money she would have from then until December so that she could start planning to buy presents for Jack and me for our birthdays in November and December. Most of the time she spends her money on sweet treats that she shares with whoever is with her. Again, this is probably because even a sweet treat is a better experience for her if someone else is sharing it with her.

Here are her answers to the following questions:
Favorite Restaurant: IHOP
Favorite food: peanut butter and jelly sandwich (she only gets to eat this when she is at a friend's house or at school because of Jack's allergy and I think this has increased its value to Claire)
Favorite Color: light blue
Favorite song: The Climb by Hannah Montana
Favorite book: All about Sam
Favorite snack: butterfinger mix from Braum's
Favorite activity: cooking and climbing
Favorite game: mouse trap
What she wants to do when she grows up: hairdresser
One thing that makes her happy: ice cream

Happy Belated Birthday, Claire!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Our Little Lady Turned Three

Brooke celebrated her third birthday on May 28th. I want to take this opportunity to write down as many things about her and what she is like at three. Sorry for the randomness, but I have to do this quickly and things probably won't segue smoothly.

When Jack was her age, he would open up a sandwich take the meat off and just eat the bread. Claire would open up a sandwich, eat the meat, and leave the bread. I wondered which one Brookie would do, but in this area, like so many others, she is not like either one, but is her own little self. Brookie LOVES fruits and vegetables. She will leave the sandwich and instead eat 3-4 helpings of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. She likes salads, too. A salad where she can dip the individual components of the salad in salad dressing (usually ranch for her) is as good as dipping french fries in ketchup.

Her speech is a constant source of entertainment for all of us. She loves the "jooper jumper" at Kiddie Park. She likes to eat holly hops (lolly pops). She uses a unique sentence structure. Instead of saying, "Jack has a book," she will say, "Jacks have a book". She also has the cutest trouble when L's are in words. Elephant becomes Ephelant. Hobby Lobby is Hobbly Lobbly. "All of it" is "Ov-uh-lit". "Probably" is "Plob-aby". She often orders her sentences backwards getting cause and effect reversed. Once she said, "I'm sick because I want tylenol". She was trying to say, "I want tylenol because I am sick" but the reverse (the way she said it) was actually the real truth! She just wanted tylenol because she likes the chewable bubble gum flavored pills.

She likes to imitate phrases and things that she hears. One day, she was on her cell phone (toy) all day and she kept telling people, "I pri-she-ate-it [I appreciate it]". The older kids say, "Oh, snap!" when something goes wrong and one day, that was her phrase on her cell phone, "Oh snap, I have to go!" Sometimes when Jack or Claire are disobeying and I want to get their attention, I will say, "Jack Settle . . ." or "Claire Settle . . .". So when Brookie wants to get my attention, she will say, "Mommy Settle you need to listen!"

Her favorite Bible story for the past few months has been about Jacob and Esau. Last night at bed time she told me she was going to hold Jacob's hand so he would not be afraid about Esau wanting to kill him. Then she wanted me to "pray about that to God" (that God would protect Jacob). Then she told me she was someday going to have a rock for a pillow (like Jacob slept on when he dreamed his famous dream). (This is all from her little preschoolers Bible that we read together each morning).

Last night she also told me that when she grows up she is going to be the teacher and not Miss Nadine (her teacher at mother's day out). This is interesting because Miss Nadine says that Brookie is her "helper" at school -- giving directions like "listen to Miss Nadine", "Time to line up", "put your finger on the wall" (the way they help the little ones stay in line when they walk down the hall), "no, not that wall, the other wall". At home, she plays school and will often do circle time with imaginary friends, calling on them to answer questions and gently correcting someone who speaks out of turn.

She has been daytime potty trained for quite a while, meaning that she only needs a pull-up at bedtime (she does not even need one for naptime). She was the by far the easiest child to train out of all three and I am so proud of her and also thankful that she has been easy since we are so busy. I am still trying to figure out what to do for night time though. How can I not remember what I did with Jack and Claire to help them stay dry through the night?

Brookie is in the beginning phases of recognizing letters. One night she wanted to "read" Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? to David and me. She opened the book and paused on the title page and then pointed and said, "B!" Then she pointed to two b's and said, "Two B's!" She can almost count to 20 but for some reason she usually leaves out the number 15. Her favorite books right now are It's not easy being big", "Just me and my Dad", "Wait for me said Maggie MacGee" and "Good Night Moon". In Good Night Moon, she told me that someday that would be her room. As you can tell, she likes to talk about what will happen "someday".

In the car, she wants to listen to "Jesus Songs" -- what she calls a CD entitled, "Hide Them in Your Heart". She also seems to have an amazing spatial awareness. She is like a map. Once we went to the Red Cross to drop Jack off for Cub Scouts. The next day when we went past the turn to go there, she asked, "Are we going to the Wed Cwoss?"

She has decided that she likes our dog Murphy, but not our new, teething puppy Cherry because, "Cherrys bite" (again her cute little sentence structure).

I seem to be her favorite person, which is so special to me. One night, she put her arm around my neck and pulled me to her and said, "You're my mommy." She has never cried for me when I drop her off at school, but when I pick her up, she often says, "I missed you. Did you miss me?" One day while she was napping, Claire and I left to go around the neighborhood to gather signatures for a petition to protest the jail. When she woke up, David snuggled her for a bit, and then took her outside to play. At some point she went back inside and when she did not come out again for about 5 minutes David went in to check on her. He found her curled up under her desk crying, "I want my mommy". It was not a loud, temper tantrum sort of episode, he said, just a very sad cry like her heart was broken. When I arrived home she was happily playing again, but she gave me big hugs.

She is my sunshine -- Not a roller coaster of emotions, just a happy little girl almost all of the time. A joy . . .

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vote No on June 9th

There is no question that a new jail is a legitimate need for our community. However, the County’s current plans for the jail site involve meeting that legitimate need in an illegitimate way.

Imagine if the county decided to put the jail next to your church or your child’s school; you would not agree with that decision or vote for that site. Now imagine that the county decided to put the jail next to your home. You certainly would have a problem with that site and you would hope and pray that your fellow citizens would support your opposition to such an inappropriate and incompatible addition to your neighborhood.

If Washington County voters approve the new taxes for the jail on June 9th, they will also be approving a jail site that is in the middle of a neighborhood. One family on Oak will literally walk out of their front door, walk across the street, and be on the jail campus. When they sit on their front porch, they will be looking at a jail. May it never be!

If Washington County voters approve the new taxes for the jail on June 9th, what will history say about that decision? Will it be a flagrant example of maltreatment of the poor? Will it be viewed as a discriminatory act against the African-American community? Will it a brazen illustration of the powerful taking advantage of the weak?

I urge Washington County voters to exercise the Golden Rule when you step into the voting booth on June 9th; do to others what you would have them do to you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Come Support the Neighbors Tomorrow Night

I want to invite Bartians who support Neighbors for Justice and/or who oppose the proposed jail site to come to the city council meeting tomorrow night and speak in favor of agenda item #17; if you can't come, please pray!! (401 S. Johnstone, 7pm)

17. Discuss and take possible action on obtaining a legal opinion from a contracted legal service on the City
Council’s August 25, 2008 action of rezoning the 5.4 acre tract of land located at the southeast corner of
Adams Boulevard and Oak Avenue for the location of a new jail facility

This legal opinion could provide an opportunity to have the vote in favor of rezoning to allow the jail to be OVERTURNED. If it is overturned the county would not be able to build a jail in the middle of a neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Here I Come to Save the Day!

I have been going through every photo, every piece of paper --

Here is a note from my sweet Claire that I saved from last year:

FroM Claire To MoMmY

I LoVe you MOM
You SaveD Me FrOM
ThroiNg uP iN FruT
oF The PeePL iN
the DoCTrsoFis.

First of all, I was so touched by this note because she wrote this a few days after the incident (so it was quite important to her).

Second, it gave me some perspective into Claire's world. Sometimes from my own adult perspective I forget things that I knew as a kid. On that day when Claire told me that she thought she was going to be sick, I ushered her swiftly and urgently to the bathroom mainly to avoid making a mess. It never occurred to me that getting sick in front of all of those people would embarrass my sweet (then) kindergartner. My adult perspective: Children go to the doctor when they are sick and sick kids often throw up -- so not a big deal to see a kid throwing up in a doctor's office. But when I remember what I was like in kindergarten, I know that I too would have been mortified to throw up in front of a waiting room full of people. So glad that God used me to "save" her from a public humiliation!