We just had to cut Kevin off from my reggae music because he was dancing himself into a frenzy and it's almost time for bed. Sweet.
Monday, November 28, 2005
My grandfather logged as a side job of sorts but I didn't know much about it when I was a kid. My mom always told me that his father was in a wheelchair with debilitating arthritis and Grandpa kept logging and splitting wood as a way to keep the arthritis in his back at bay so that the same thing wouldn't happen to him.
When I started camping with Andy, he would split wood for the campfire and he handed me the splitter one time and said to give it a try. I was scared but got some easy pieces so that I didn't have to swing much as I was afraid of missing and splitting my shin bone off the rest of my leg.
Many years later, I am now a more seasoned (pun intended) splitter of wood and let me tell you, I understand why Andy's first inclination when he's mad is to go to the log pile and wail on some wood. I've gained the confidence to swing the splitter over my head and bring it down with all of my momentum and I haven't recently met a (reasonable) log I couldn't split.
People ask why we aren't filling our fireplace with a thermostatically-controlled natural gas stove or even a pellet stove. Our first answer is that we like the crackling sound and smoky smell of a "real" fire but we have to admit that we also like - love, really - the natural act of preparing the wood and building the fire.
There's something about feeling all of your energy flow up through your body, out your hands, into the sledge and down into the log that appears impenetrable but which splits into pieces like a toothpick when you pound it. Maybe it's just the endorphins that are released. Maybe it's just that I feel powerful. Maybe it's the connection I have to days gone by when people had to split wood and use fire for all of their heating and cooking.
I'm beginning to wonder if Grandpa had more in mind by keeping up with his logging than just keeping his back limber. I don't recall seeing him get angry with Grandma but I'm sure he did (and his 3 daughters) and maybe he just needed to be by himself and whack some logs to keep his sanity.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Two years ago we hosted both sides of our families on Thanksgiving. Andy came up with the idea of having a turkey drawing contest. Contestants would trace their hand with a crayon and then decorate it to look like a turkey. Entries were taped to the dining room wall and then we gave out prizes for the "best" drawings. One nephew, who was 2 1/2 at the time, won an extension cord from the dollar store. We heard tonight from his parents that he wouldn't let anyone else use it ("It's MINE!") and that he slept with it for months. You read that right... months. Who would've thought?
Our Thanksgiving guests have gone and Kevin is snug in bed. We did a fair amount of cleaning up while the family was here but there is plenty left to do. We don't mind as we really enjoy hosting people at our house and most that goes with it. However, I realized while looking at the mess that it's not just about dirty dishes but about dirty floors, toys scattered around and sticky messes on the table. Why, then, did we work so hard last night and this morning to prepare our house for visitors by cleaning? It was fairly pointless considering that we have to do it all again. It would make much more sense to just clean AFTER the guests have left rather than trying to make the house look good before people arrive.
Whose idea was it to clean a house before a party? That just makes no sense.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Good: It snowed tonight! We had about an inch accumulate on the cars and bushes. Yay, snow!!
Bad: We have an early Thanksgiving guest whom we did not invite. Some sort of (presumed) rodent is clattering around in the wall behind our fridge between the kitchen and basement steps. We'll hope he/she doesn't make an appearance while our holiday guests are here.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Andy took this photo of a Red-tailed Hawk devouring a squirrel it caught in our neighbor's yard. It was the same week that we saw a Cooper's Hawk nab, pluck and eat a Goldfinch from our feeder and that we saw a Red-shouldered Hawk eat a rodent while standing on our clothesline pole such that it dripped some of the, um, juices, down the pole.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I've realized recently that I haven't had a need to explain that Kevin is adopted very often anymore. Most of the times that it comes up are when there is a timing issue, such as when people would ask questions shortly after he was here assuming that because he was 2 1/2 years old, I'd known him that long, and I'd have to say that we adopted him and he'd only been here such and such amount of time and that's why I didn't know what they were talking about.
Today at the reception at church we met Matthew, the new pastor, and we introduced Kevin. No need came up to mention that we adopted him and I realized that felt nice. I don't mind telling anyone that we adopted him but it was nice that it wasn't an issue and that I didn't have to feel like I was lying by not mentioning it and making some excuse to explain something that didn't make sense. There was just no need.
Then we were at the playground this afternoon and I was talking to some parents there and we discovered that we moved into the area around the same time. Their son is close to Kevin's age so I commented that it must've been pretty stressful to move while 8 1/2 months pregnant. It never dawned on me that they'd be doing the math, too, and coming up with the fact that we moved when Kevin was 6 months old. Well, maybe we did, but he was in Guatemala so he didn't factor into our move very much!
Clearly the need to mention his adoption comes more infrequently these days and that is a "normalizing" sort of thing. There will always be times that it comes up but it won't be so common to have to mention it (or lie, which I don't do very well.) I wasn't expecting this to be such a settling thing and it's a nice surprise.
A couple of months ago our church hired a new senior pastor, Matthew. He and his family are moving here from England but haven't yet sold their house so he's not working for us yet. This week they're here visiting to get a feel for some local neighborhoods in order to eventually buy a house here and get their kids in school, etc. After church today we had a reception to officially welcome them to our conregation and it was the first time Andy and I talked to Matthew. I feel better now because although I don't expect him to remember our names or where we live or any of that stuff, we've met. He's heard our names and seen our smiling faces. And when we moved to the other side of the room and he came around meeting people, he remembered that he'd met us 30 minutes and 25 people prior.
Also impressive was his comment that they know our congregation will support them and that we're allowed to register our opinions with him. I know that Brian, our out-going senior pastor, has to say that we're not to complain and we're to be 100% supportive but, honestly, I've heard him say that about too many things and it creates a feeling, at least with me, that I'm not allowed to ever disagree with something about our church. I do have negative opinions of some things and I'm sure everybody does. I don't expect that most of them matter a whole lot because it's not like a large group of people can all be satisfied at the same time. I realize that. But I also realize that when people have bad feelings about what's going on with something very important and they're not allowed to share that, they'll feel very separated.
I do intend to support Matthew and Lisa and their kids and I intend not to complain about things that really shouldn't matter. But when something does matter, I intend to expect my opinion to be registered and I think that will happen with Matthew at the helm.
I have low expectations in the sense that I don't want to expect too much when all I could be is disappointed, but I have high expectations in the sense that I won't be surprised if Matthew does a really, really good job leading our congregation.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
I'm canning applesauce to sell at a "craft fair" at our church in a few weeks and I wanted to decorate the jars with a piece of fabric over the lid tied with a ribbon. I needed something apple-related in a small print because each piece would be small. We checked out the local quilting store assuming they'd have the perfect design. True enough, they did (in multiple colors, even!) It wasn't until the saleslady was cutting my second yard of fabric that I realized I didn't know how much it cost. I checked the end of the bolt she was using and my eyes widened. Next time, I'll try Wal-Mart first and the quilting store as a last resort.
Ask Kevin what he learned today at the hardware store and he'll tell you that he shouldn't put his finger into a small hole because it may not come back out easily.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
On Sunday afternoon we attended a birthday party for my college roommate's 1-yr old son. Kevin joined in some of the fun with the other kids there, throwing balloons around, running in circles and ganging up with balloons on the oldest boy who took everything in stride. Then came time for the goodie bags to be handed out and there was a special treat. A well-dressed Storm Trooper made an appearance to hand out the bags!
Perhaps I've mentioned previously that Kevin is afraid of costumed characters, won't wear costumes, doesn't want us to wear costumes, etc. You can imagine his distaste of the Storm Trooper!
He ran screaming and crying from the front of the room and I recall leaping over a few tables and some startled grandparents to get to him because he couldn't see us. I carried him, shrieking, out of the building. He continued screaming with tears running down his contorted face for what seemed like an eternity and he kept yelling that he wanted to go home, he wanted to get in the van, he wanted to sit in the van by himself, he WANTED TO GO HOME. I didn't feel comfortable just leaving like that and then I came up with what might be my most brilliant parenting move yet.
I went back inside (Andy was outside with Kevin) and waited until all of the families had taken their pictures with the Storm Trooper and I asked him if he could take off his helmet and talk to Kevin so that he could see that he was a real person wearing a costume. The man (it's funny to say that as he is my friend's little brother's friend from high school but technically he is a man now) was very happy to make things better for Kevin so he took off his helmet keeping the rest of the suit on and peeked out the door to say "Hi" to Kevin. We spent a few minutes pointing out that he was just a man in a costume and that he was really very nice and he talked well to Kevin.
After that was over, Kevin wanted to see the man without any of the costume on so we waited around until he came back out and then Kevin couldn't get over the fact that he was wearing his ball cap backwards. "Why he have that backwards?" "Why he wearing his hat backwards?" "Why he wearing it like that?" Without any screaming and crying, we figured we could just explain away the hat conundrum without an intervention.
Kevin still talks about the man in the costume and he seems to be processing it well. Earlier in the year he talked for months about the Easter Bunny that we saw at the mall so I'd say he's doing ok. I'm glad that we were able to avert the almost guaranteed nightmares he would've had from that well-meaning Storm Trooper.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I'm trying not to post during work but this can't be kept to myself. I was just offered a chance to play on a women's ice hockey team that is just starting up with some new players! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!
I probably won't do it as I'd likely need to drop volleyball and it would be more expensive than volleyball. But, wow, can you imagine??
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
The host of tonight's party said Kevin was "friendly" as a quizzical look passed his face. Another good friend said she didn't recognize Kevin tonight. What was different? He was being personable! He was social! He was touching other people! He talked to people he didn't know! Perhaps we gave him 4 glasses of punch from the wrong bowl. He was raring to go for the couple of hours we were there (after a very short warm-up period) and he kept playing happily with various people all night. He was wired when we left the party so we expected that he may not fall asleep on the drive home. Then before even being buckled into his carseat, his eyes turned glassy and his jaw went slack. In 90 seconds from walking out the door to putting him in the car, he had turned from party animal into zombie. I said to Andy, "Oh no - it's almost as if he was energized by..." and then together we slowly mouthed, "PEOPLE." Our Myers-Briggs "I-ness" twitched nervously the whole way home.