Friday, December 21, 2007

We're Watching Mary Poppins, Instead

Jonathan is refusing to watch Jim Carrey in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

"I'm afraid of his long wiggly fingers--that he'll use them to steal our holiday."

I can see his point a bit, can't you?

Those are some long wiggly fingers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas, Blogsville

Holiday greetings from the kiddos

Quick coffee break on Wall Street

Jonathan is feeling the effects of a busy Christmas season

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall Made Me Cry.

I'm relatively certain that tears are not the normal reaction to the Rockettes and all their accompanying extravagance.
Awe, laughter, increases in Christmas spirit...all expected reactions.
Crying-- probably not so much.

I took the morning off from work so I could chaperone Jonathan's preschool class on their field trip to the show. (Jonathan complained that I was the only mom who never helped at the preschool. Little does he know how much of my job is "helping the preschool." It's just that I am in the school office, and he doesn't see me.) The other chaperones and I led the undulating line of giggling/pouting/chatting plaid-clad preschoolers as we walked the 6 blocks to Radio City Music Hall. We found our way to our seats, the ushers handed us 3-D glasses and magically lit star-shaped wands, and the show began. Lights flashed, the orchestra played, dancing ensued, and Santa welcomed us to the greatest show in the greatest city on earth.

It was all very...LARGE.

I glanced at Jonathan, perched on the edge of his upholstered seat, sitting still as stone while he took it all in. It was then that I was blindsided by the thought.
I live here. In this city. And this is NORMAL--that my son and I are on a school field trip to what surely is one of the best known shows in one of the best known venues in the world.

Thus began the tears of gratitude.

I used to have those Wait, I LIVE here moments quite frequently...while playing in Central Park or walking down a crowded sidewalk. But lately, as I've grown accustomed to life in the city, those thoughts have receded. I wasn't prepared for this one.

God is good, my friends. Good because He's called our family to a city that we love, to do work that we love. And while we're working, we're experiencing a vast and rich culture that testifies to God's love of beauty and creativity.

We live here.
We love here.

We've Elved Ourselves

It's the kind of things the kids and I do on early Sunday mornings.

Watch it here.

(We don't dance together very good, said Jonathan.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Well, I guess it worked for Daniel Boone

Now that the temps have dropped and the wind has taken the opportunity to whip against all who dare to venture outside, I love my sleeping bag coat more than ever.

There was a brief moment this week, however, when the coat and I had to work through an issue.

I arrived at work one morning, cozy as could be and so appreciative for the warmth the coat had lent me on the journey. The fur on the collar had gently brushed my face and kept the wind from blowing down my neck. "What a great coat I have," thought I.

Out of curiosity, I decided to check the coat's filling. Was it a special down that made it so warm, or was the down intermingled with some new man-made insulation that kept the cold from reaching me?

Waterfowl feathers,
Wool lining--
All there, the magical combination of warmth.

But what's this?
The fur is
Raccoon Fur!?

I was horrified. And not because I was offended by the presence of real animal fur (sorry PETA, that's not my cause), but because it was RACCOON.

Raccoons, the rodents of my childhood.

trash invading,
birdseed stealing,
rabies transmitting,
roadkill thieves in the night.

And now, I'm wearing a coonskin. Against my face. And liking it. What's next? Ratskin gloves?

I imagined Michael Kors searching the highways and byways for a dead 'coon with which to make the trim on my coat, and suddenly, I liked both Michael Kors and my coat a little bit less. (To be fair, I never said my reaction was rational. I'm sure Michael Kors didn't search the roads for a dead 'coon. He probably sent his people to do it for him...)

How to resolve this dilemma?

In the end my pragmatism won over (as usual).
This is the warmest coat I've ever owned. It can't help it that someone made a bad choice in fur selection.

I was able to forgive it for its rodent trim,
but I have not forgotten, and I still can't nuzzle my cheek into the fur like I did before.
I'll work on that. Maybe with time...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

How fitting that we awoke this morning, the Morning to Start Christmas Baking, to find the season's first snowfall had arrived in the night

Frequent breaks in the baking to check snow status ("Yep, it's still snowing!")

Cutout cookies with the secret ingredient and a nod to our Dutch heritage: almond extract

Jonathan didn't buy my "less is more when it comes to sprinkles" pitch;
Chloe thought pink would be the perfect Christmas accent

Bing Crosby's White Christmas+plenty of flour+50% of sprinkles finding their way to floor= Job well done

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lest You Think I Exaggerate

More pics of our Griswold-esque courtyard.
I especially appreciate the neon lining of the streambed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's No Lost Cause, Mr. Jonathan.

Jonathan was taking a bath. I was doing some cleaning.

"Mamaaaa!" He bellowed. With that urgent, "hurry up I'm stuck or I'm going to have a bathroom accident or maybe I just need a drink of juice really, really bad" tone.
I hustled inside.

"What's the matter?'

"Mama, there is NO WAY I can learn to be a good boy."

Pause, while I try to catch up with his train of thought. "What?" (I know; I'll write a book about my mad parenting communication skillz sometime soon.)

"There's no place to learn how to be a good boy," Jonathan explained, with some patience but really not much.

"But what about how Daddy and I teach you? What about preschool?" I asked.

"But Mamaaa (implied in his tone here is: But, Mama, please try to get your slow and sluggish brain to catch up with mine), there are piano lessons and violin lessons and karate lessons, but there is NO PLACE to go to learn how to be a good boy. So. I. Can't. Be. A. Good. Boy."

Right, I think. Good Boy lessons are hard to come by in this town. Maybe at the Y?

Turns out that Steve and Jonathan had had a long discussion that afternoon about consequences and discipline and why we are helping him "learn how to be a good boy."

After learning of this, I returned to Jonathan and spoke with him of Grace. I explained that no one is perfect; we all are broken and do things that hurt each other and hurt God's heart. But, I told him, the beautiful thing is that because of Jesus, God doesn't see those things when he looks at us. He sees how much he loves us, and that's it. In the end, we try to be good out of our love and thankfulness for what Jesus does for us.

His reply to my explanation was not unexpected.
"I just don't know how to be a good boy, though! So I can't be one."

He is only 4.
I've got 28 years on him, and
I'm still wading my way through legalism to fall into grace.

Don't despair, sweet Jonathan. It's not a lost cause.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

They've Decorated the Courtyard

The kids call it a Winter Wonderland.

I call it...something else. It is indeed something else.

Well, If You Insist...

...I'll do my best to comply.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Show of Hands, Please

I ate leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast this morning.
Anyone else?

Grandma B's Fabulous Handmade Apron, circa late 1950's (?)
(I wore it all yesterday; if
a girl can't wear it while preparing Thanksgiving Dinner, when can she wear it?)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"What are you doing, blogging on Thanksgiving?"

I'm drinking maple walnut coffee
listening to Sara Groves, "Tell Me What You Know"
celebrating that this morning person can invest her a.m. energy in something
a little bit lazy
this Thanksgiving Day.

Also, I'm gearing up for the final preparation of a Thanksgiving meal for 8. (We can easily make it 9 or 10 if you're looking for a place to land this day. Com'on over.)

But the real question is: Have you read this blog?
The beauty of the story and the work that is being done...and the way it's told...sometimes leaves me breathless.
(Thanks, KJ, for directing me there)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We went to the Macy's Balloon Inflation Event

Kermit was there

So was a shady-looking Ronald Mc Donald
(Notice the minuscular size of the people standing near his hand
compared to the enormity of this scary balloon.)

And Shrek. But he was closer to life-sized and not as full of hot air

Hello Kitty must have been misbehaving; she was tied down tight

We'll watch the parade from home tomorrow morning and call it good.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Do Thigs

The kids have a rough time of it in the mornings.
I mean, I have absurdly high expectations.
Eat their breakfast...brush their teeth...the kind of things any kid couldn't possibly accomplish in one morning.

And most mornings, our interactions go like this:
"Jonathan, turn off the tv and eat your breakfast."
"But, Mamaaaa....!"
"Chloe, stop messing around and get dressed."
"Ok, but Jonathan's not getting dressed, either."
"Jonathan, get dressed."
"But, Mamaaaa...!"

Not exactly the warm fuzzy way to start your day.

So Chloe, my rule-abiding, list-loving, "I'll meet your expectations and raise them one" oldest child, has created some checklists for our morning routines.

Chloe's Do Thigs Chart.

Wake up at 6:30: check
Brus teeth: check
Get drest: check
Do hair: check
Pack bag: check
Jonathan's Do Things Chart
Wake uq at 5:30: check (that's a self-prescribed awakening time, by the way, and not mother-approved)
Brush teeth: apparently didn't happen today
Get drest: check

Why doesn't Jonathan have to do his hair or pack his bag? I'm not going to delve into that mystery. I'm just glad he gets drest.

Speaking of getting dressed, why is it that my dry cleaner uses bags circa: 1967?
Cuddly and soft as a, that's soft!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jesus and Emily Dickenson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind--
Emily Dickinson

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.
Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat
and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.
Then he told them many things in parables..."
The Bible, Matthew 13:1-3

When I was younger, parables annoyed me. They seemed roundabout,
I wanted straight up, unadulterated, tell-it-like-it-is truth.

Parables still irritate me sometimes.

But I'm also old enough to know that oftentimes,

I need the truth, but I need it slant.

(Thank God that He knows us better than we know ourselves.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fresh Direct

Fresh Direct: Deliverer of Groceries and Robot Costume-making Supplies

Costume Design by Chloe
Modeled by Jonathan

Sunday, November 11, 2007


My blogging has not been comprehensive lately. I know this because many of you have been emailing me with "How are you? Tell me about..." kinds of questions. It occurred to me that others may be wondering the same things. Hence,

Grace in the City Frequently Asked Questions

1. How are things going with the church?
I've been hesitant to write about City Fellowship Church. I feel slightly protective of it, like it's a fragile newborn. But, friends, the church is going very well. God is bringing together a community of about 15 people each Sunday evening. We're alternating between times of worship and small group gatherings. And while we continue to work very hard to build this church, I feel awestruck as I look around the room on Sunday evenings. It is clear to me that God is at work, that this group will be built by Him and not our efforts alone. That knowledge is a gift to two type-A people such as Steve and me. And it's something we have to gently remind each other daily.

2. What's the church's worship style?
One of the core values of the church is "Experiencing Worship: Our worship is an experience of dialogue with the living God perceived through vibrant and creative liturgy, preaching to the mind and heart, and sacramental communion with God through Jesus Christ." Just exactly how that hits the ground is something that we are developing in community with the others in our group. Currently, our worship is a liturgy of three movements: 1. Orientation (to worship and to God) 2. Disorientation (expressing how sin disrupts our focus on God) and 3. Re-orientation (assurance of God's faithfulness and grace). The elements of these movements shift weekly, but in general, we sing a combination of hymns and praise songs, have a strong focus on scripture, and include as many people as possible in the various roles of the service. It's been a blessing to me, and I 'm excited to see how it evolves over the next year. There is much room for creativity within those three movements.

3. But how do you fit everyone in your apartment?
Let me show you why we chose this apartment over the others at which we looked:

When it's time for worship, we can move the couch against the wall, pull out every possible seating surface that we can find, and worship in the round. That works for now, but if more people join us, we'll have to head to Ikea for some folding chairs and modify that arrangement. We've got room for 25-30 all in. The table where Steve was sitting is where we always set out food. You saw the computer, too, so now you can picture me whilst I'm blogging.

3b. Wow, that's some stark white apartment. Why are the walls of your apartment so barren?
Because most of the walls are made of concrete, and I can't figure out how to hang things on them without a jackhammer. (Although the concrete wall is another reason why we chose this apt; it provides excellent soundproofing for worship).

4. What does your day to day schedule look like?
I get up at 5:30, which is Jonathan's favorite time to wake up. Chloe arises around 6:00, and we get ready for school. The kids ride with me to school. I buy a cup of coffee from a woman named Sarah at the cafe near school. Sarah is sweet and beautiful and knows how I take my coffee. She always asks after the kids. The kiddos hang out in my office for the 30 minutes or so before school starts, and then I send them on their way. Steve picks up the kids when school gets out, and I work for a couple more hours. I get home between 5 and 6, and then we usually have a church-type activity in the evening. We try to host many of them in our apartment, so as to cut back on babysitting.

5. Do you cook for all those people that come to your apartment?
Sometimes, sometimes not. I try to keep from being too uptight about it, but I'm not always successful.

6. What's the funniest thing your kids have said recently?
This one is from Chloe just this morning, while listening to "I Will Survive," by Gloria Gayner and twirling around the room: "I wonder how I got to be so good at disco dancing, when I've never taken a single lesson?"

Grace in the City Not so Frequently Asked Questions
(ie: Never Asked, but I Still Want to Tell You)

1. What did you do last night?
Steve and I and the kids went to a local restaurant, where Jonathan was regaling us with knock knock jokes like this:
"Knock Knock."
"Who's there."
"Hawaii, who?"
"Hawaii Beach! Get it? BEACH?"
To which Chloe would inevitably reply with a deadpan "No."

The atmosphere around our table suddenly grew brighter, and Steve looked up to see if a lamp had magically appeared. But no, it was, in fact, only the ignited bread basket paper on our table. The corner of the paper had dipped into the little votive candle and started on fire. The waiter quickly appeared and tried to turn the basket over and smother the fire. That wasn't quick enough for me, so I took my glass of water and doused the thing. Voila: Soggy Toast, house special.

2. Have you recently read any books which give good insight into the postmodern view of religion and spirituality?
As a matter of fact, I have. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, and Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert are both well written and entertaining reads that would spark great conversation about truth and God.

3. Is this the longest Grace in the City blog post ever?
Probably. Have a beautiful Sunday!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Friday Morning on the Way to School

Chloe and Jonathan come with me to the school each morning. It's a 10 minute walk to the subway and another 25 minute subway ride to the school. In general, I enjoy this time (I'll let you know if that's still the case when the temps drop below freezing. Doubtful.). The city is still sleepy when we leave, the air feels fresh, and the sun is rising. Clusters of NYPD cops stand on the corners, window washers are getting a head start on their never-ending task, and the coffee and donut carts are pumping out lovely aromas into the air.
I snapped some pics last Friday.

Taxis line up outside The World Financial Center, which is across from our apt. complex

We cross the Westside Hwy each morning on a footbridge. This is looking north. The World Financial Center is on the left, the WTC site is to the right.

Looking south down the Westside Hwy. Battery Park City is one of the last places in Manhattan with room to build. The condos that are being built will sell for millions of dollars each.

Rector Street Station. Our stop.

Chloe and Jonathan are often the only children in our subway car. We make the most of our time by reading books together, talking about the day to come, and reviewing spelling words or something similar. We're starting to recognize regulars who ride the same time as we do each day.

I Just Noticed Something in the Elevator

Our apartment building has 32 floors.
But no, it doesn't.
There's no 13th floor.

It's too unlucky, I guess. And there are plenty of buildings in the city with a similar setup.

But are the people on the 14th floor fooled for even one second? Do they really think there's some phantom 13th floor below them and they're really sitting safe on the more fortunate 14th floor?

Our building was built in the early 80's, btw. This is not some throwback to more superstitious times.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hallo on this Halloween

A lot of people in this city take their Halloweens seriously.
Today in Starbucks, I saw a man dressed as a Ghostbuster, and it wasn't even noon.
On the subway on the way home from work, I sat next to a stuffed banana. A black ninja was down the aisle, and the "Where's Waldo" guy was leaning against the door. A woman with a crazy short skirt and black fishnet stockings was across the way, but I couldn't tell if that was a costume or just an everyday wardrobe choice.
Steve, Purple Princess, and Buzz are out making the candy-gathering rounds tonight, while I hover by the door waiting for the doorbell and the trailing chorus of "Trick or Treeeeeat!"

It's not a bad job, the Candy Hander-outer. I enjoy all the costumes and Thank You's and the general jovial atmosphere.

But I fear I am discriminatory in my implementation of candy hand-outing.
Yes, I am. Please don't call the ACLU.

When I open the door to behold a little child, perhaps 10 years old or younger, I happily ask them what their costume is, comment on the cute/scary/creative nature of their costume, and hand over the goods. On occasion, there are the really little ones, the ones who are still learning the Trick or Treating ropes, who will stand brazenly with their bags gaping open even after I've deposited the candy. When this happens, I'll smile and throw in another piece for good measure. Happy to do it. Really.

In contrast, when I open the door to a motley crowd of teenagers with half-hearted costumes, I am the Not So Nice Begrudging Candy Hander-Outer. This is especially true when, before I even open the door, I can hear from their "Trick or Treat" that voices have changed and facial hair is forthcoming. Humph! I think. Bah humbug! (which is absolutely appropriate for my attitude and should not be reserved for Christmastime only ).

Tonight, as I was dropping some licorice into a kid's bag, he stopped me and said, "Not that kind! Can I have something else?"
"What!?" I exclaimed, and paused mid-drop.
"Yeah, um...(pause that was a nanosecond too long)... I'm allergic. Can I have something else?"
I'm a nurse; I can respect a person's food-allergy, but that didn't sit well.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Know What Chloe Wants for Christmas

How 'bout two front teeth?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our 'hood

Battery Park City was featured in the New York Times this weekend.
You can read about it here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm a Model, You Know What I Mean

Scott DeVore rocks his camera.

But there is only so much a person can do when working with raw material such as this:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's Been Too Long

Since my last bulleted list.

And it's also been over a year since the move from Michigan to Manhattan.


How I've Changed Since Moving to Manhattan
(Shallow Edition)

  • My purse is bigger. I now have a serious amount of junk that accompanies me everywhere. Antibacterial wipes. A paperback. My ipod. A small collection of toys, including but not limited to: silly putty, legos, a matchbox car, and crayons. (For the kids, not me. Really.)
  • I own a more expansive selection of outerwear and accessories. Rain boots, hats, down coats of three different weights. Absolutely necessary when a person spends as much time as I do walking from subway stop to subway stop.
  • I cook less with cream of mushroom soup and more with olive oil. Though a can of C of M still comes in handy in a pinch. And, to be truthful, I cook less in general.
  • I now can simultaneously watch the sidewalk for hazardous materials (read: dog poop, vomit, and Wet Patches of Unknown Origin) and also look ahead to avoid colliding with other pedestrians . It's a skill that can only be learned from experience. Ask Michelle.
  • I eat more Indian food. Also Vietnamese food. Also gelato. And pastries, and cheesecake, Brooklyn-style pizza, gyros... (sigh. It's all so tasty.)
  • I'm more assertive. It's a good, self-protective skill to have here, really, or you might not ever get your turn in line or your opportunity to board the bus. Not to be confused with Aggressive or Absolutely Annoying.
  • My sense of smell has become less discriminating. Also a self-protective adaptation. I'm looking forward to the less humid weather of fall, when the smells of the city aren't trapped so close to ground level.
  • I've developed a sort of guidance system via hand-holding with my kids. They know now that if we're walking down the street holding hands, and I move my hand to the right or the left, that they need to follow. It's somewhat like a horse with a bit, I imagine. But it works well.
I know I've changed in more ways than that, and the ways affect my character, my faith, my attitude. But that's another post for another day.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pigtails, Four Days and Counting

On Tuesday, Chloe asked to have her hair done "different."

This, coming from a child who used to spaz if I approached her with anything resembling a ribbon or barrette (remember that, Mom?).

After a few tries, we settled on pig tails. (Her hair has finally regrown enough since the drastic repairs following The Self-Induced Cut incident.)

That afternoon at parent teacher conferences, her teacher mentioned to me that one of the little boys in her class had told Chloe that her pigtails made her the most beautiful girl in the school. When I arrived home that evening, I asked Chloe if anyone had commented on her pigtails. She told me that one little boy thought she looked pretty and another one told her she "looked like she was in high school!"

It's not hard to guess how Little Miss wanted her styled the next day. And the next.

Those first graders sure know how to compliment their ladies, don't they?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

You Tell Me

Good Morning, Blogsville. A few questions for you on this lovely fall day.
After it rains here, or sometimes just because it's NYC, giant water cockroaches will scurry across the sidewalk. They're at least an inch long and quite bulky, so they can't move as fast as their little German cockroach cousins. I've seen many a person lift up their foot and squash the roach dead, taking out all their cockroach resentment on one (ugly, deserving, just plain gross) hapless bug. Steve once witnessed a little boy of about two, begging his nanny not to kill the nice little bug. The nanny barely paused before she lifted her boot-shod foot and brought it down again with a crunch. When people do that, I feel as if they're doing the city a favor, stopping one roach from reproducing into how many thousands more.
My friend Anne Marie, a long time New Yorker and over all city-savvy kind of lady, once told me that if you happen to step on a pregnant roach, a roach with eggs, the eggs can get stuck to the bottom of your shoe. A few steps later, you enter your apartment with an egg laden shoe, ushering all kinds of mayhem into your very home. Blech. I shudder when I think about the possibility.
Can this be true? Anyone an entomologist by hobby or by trade?
On a totally unrelated note,
Some acquaintances of mine recently attended a different church. This church, brand-spanking new and eager to welcome people into their community, does something that gives me pause.
They give a Starbucks gift card, valued at $5, to first time visitors. Attached to the card is a handwritten note of welcome from the pastor.
And I wonder...
What do you think about that? Would it make you want to come back to the church? And if so, would you come back hoping to see what Week #2's gift would be?

Next Time Around, God, Please Keep This in Mind

Jonathan's prayer at dinner last night:

Dear God. Thank you for everything. Thank you for the world. Thank you for the galaxy, and thank you for dinosaurs. But the one thing I don't like is the T-Rex. Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2007

In an Attempt to Influence the Poll

Michelle recently added a poll to her blog.

"Do you think you could live in New York City?"

Not only can I live here, I love living here.

I'm a bit in the minority, according to Michelle's very official and extensive poll.

If you can't stand the thought of living here, perhaps I could convince you to visit? Check out Tina's blog about the girls' time here (we had a great time) and watch this latest release from NYCVisit (I think it's well done), and then give me your answer. I'll start inflating the aerobeds.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


You might call it a sleeping bag with a place for my feet to stick out.

I call it Theres-no-way-this-lower-manhattan-wind-is-going-to-bother-me.

It's made of down and reaches nigh unto my ankles.
A little poof does a body good.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Back to Blogsville

Come now, I haven't forgotten how to blog. Didn't I warn you that September's blogging would be sporadic at best? I've been busy, that's all. I'm not complaining (really, I'm not), but you should know that in addition to working full time and being Mom and Wife, I've been having church related meeting or dinners every night of the week. Which doesn't leave much time for sleep, much less blogging. (Plus The Office started, which I've been watching in the five minute spurts of free time that I have. Priorities, folks.)

I've got some substantial blogs brewing, though.

Like what I've recently learned about forgiveness.

And how City Fellowship Church had its first Fellowship Gathering at our apartment.

And then there is The Weekend that Seven West Michigan Women Took on New York City.

There's even the blog about how I lectured Chloe on the subtle pitfalls of being a know-it-all, and she answered me with, "I already knew that." (Well, that's really the whole story on that one. I'll call that good.)

You know, I've been living, and things have been happening. I just haven't blogged. I've missed it, really. Missed the writing and the processing and the sharing that goes along with blogging. I'm excited to rejoin Blogsville.

I'm back in the saddle again. Yee Haw.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Have I mentioned that we're starting a church?

It's great.

The community that's developing is great.

And the logo is really great, wouldn't you say?

You can even check out our (temporary but still great) website here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

That Answer Was a Bit Too Honest

Last night, I held Jonathan's hand as we walked to his bedroom to begin the good-night ritual. His hand was stickier than I would have liked.

"Jonathan," I said. "Your hand is sticky! When is the last time you washed your hands really well?" (After dinner? Before dinner?)

"Ummm," Jonathan considered. "I think it was...Saturday!"


Next time, I'm not going to ask.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tagged Twice and Tardy

Both Gina and Lorraine tagged me ages ago, and I'm just now getting around to posting in response. Here goes:

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog for the rules.

My middle name is Marie, same as my grandmother's first name and Chloe's middle name.

M- I am married. To wonderful Steve, going on ten years. The fact that I'm not yet 32 and have been married for almost ten years begets some comments in this city. Steve and I are an oddity (those of you who know us well--please stop nodding your heads in agreement so vigorously. I'm only referring to the length of our marriage here). Example: Steve and I lead a marriage group that consists of 8 couples. Of those couples, we are the youngest, have been married the longest, and are the only ones with children.

A- I am an administrator at a great little prep school here in the city. This means that I run around like a chicken with my head cut off all day long (not my official job description).

R- I am redeemed. My belief that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for me and consequently conquered death for my redemption is absolutely integral to my understanding of who I am and my purpose in life.

I- I am an initiator. I like to set things in motion (like churches). Follow through, while satisfying in a way that is similar to how I feel after a particularly arduous bathroom cleaning or lawn-mowing, is a bit more difficult for me. It requires more focused self-discipline. But perhaps this is true of most everyone?

E- I am an extrovert. This comes in quite handy in both church-building and blogging. who to tag? I think Michelle and Michelle, Tina, Susan, and Marissa. Have fun, ladies!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Did I just buy a gallon of milk or the whole cow?

I know that I've been out of touch with things lately because I've been so busy at work.
I've not been paying attention to my grocery budget; I've just been picking up things as we need them.

But yesterday I happened to look up as the gallon of milk I was buying was scanned into the cash register.


Is that normal?
How long has it been that way?
The last time I noticed, it was 3-something/gallon.
How long have I been gone, anyway?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Trying on the Words for Size

I walked around the corner of the kids' room today to see Jonathan scuttle into his closet.
He had a pencil in his hand and guilt in his countenance.
I turned in the direction from which he had come and discovered the beginnings of a stick figure scribbled on the back of the door.

"Jonathan!" I said in my You're in Trouble Now tone.
"I'm sorry Mama! I'm so sorry!" came the voice from the closet.
"Jonathan, come out here," I said. "You knew that what you were doing was wrong, didn't you?"
"Jonathan, if you knew what you were doing was wrong, why did you choose to do it?" I suppose I was probing his understanding of original sin, maybe just a bit. His answers told me more than I would have guessed.

" uh...I was nervous?"
"No, I don't think you were nervous."
"Because I was, um, disappointed?"
"No, not disappointed."
"Because I was just a teeny bit confused!"
"How were you confused?'

Pause. Two. Three. Four.

"Because I was confused! I thought wrong was right and right was wrong! So I was doing right!" He smiled such a confident smile then, sure that his four year old mind had just out-logicked his own mama. Surely there was no way I could find fault with him after that!

How could I not laugh?
Seriously. That boy.
He still sat in the naughty chair, tho.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

(Back) To School

Jonathan's First Day of PreSchool
Chloe's First Day of First Grade

Exciting stuff.

Last night as we were polishing off another chapter of Harry Potter, Chloe told me she had butterflies in her stomach about the first day of school.
"Excited butterflies or nervous butterflies?" asked I.
"Umm..." she thought for a moment, "Like, one is nervous and five are excited."
All six butterflies accounted for.

At our First Day of School Celebratory Dinner at McDonald's (that's right, folks, gourmet livin' for us here in the city), I asked Jonathan who he played with at school today.
"Sam," he answered.
"And what did you play?"
"Um, we played Run Around."
Certainly, a worthwhile endeavor with subtle and complicated rules, the likes of which adults cannot comprehend.

Also, I managed to get all 140 students on the bus or on their merry way with no one left behind or dropped off at the wrong stop or other mishap. Phew. These last two weeks may have aged me two years.

All in all, a good first day.

Monday, September 03, 2007

For Future Reference

Benihana: Japenese Steakhouse where the meals are cooked at the table
Benny Hinn: Televangelist with a propensity for expensive white suits

Some people in this household have a tendency to confuse the two. Not that either one comes up in conversation more than once a year, mind you.)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Jonathan Tenderheart

Steve's parents visited last weekend,
bringing us some furniture that had been in storage.
We passed the World Trade Center site a few times while they were here, coming or going from this thing or that. At one point, Steve's mother stopped to take a few photos, and Jonathan and I stopped for a difficult life lesson.

"But why are they doing so much construction here?" Jonathan asked.

I picked him up so he could better see, and I scrambled for an answer appropriate for a 4 year old. "Once, before we lived here, right here were the two tallest buildings in New York. Lots and lots of people worked here. And then, honey, a few years ago, some people who don't understand God's love did a terrible thing. They took airplanes and flew them in the buildings. The buildings started on fire and fell down, and many, many people died." I stopped there. Was that too much for him? Would he understand the gravity of the situation?

Jonathan looked at me and held my eyes for a moment, testing me to see if my words were the truth. Then he tucked his head into my neck and cried. I looked silently out at the site and allowed him to share in the grief of so many.

His tears were brief as his optimistic and hopeful spirit buoyed. Jonathan picked up his head and looked at me, inspired.

"But they're building a new one, right? And it will be strong, STRONG! "

"Yep. They'll build it so it is very safe. And we'll pray that God protects the city, too."

"They will build it out of BRICKS. Then it will be so strong."

I walked on with him then, praying that God would protect the city and my son's tender heart.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Remember Me While I'm Gone

Crazy Hours.

That's what a school administrator works in the week leading up to the first day of school, as I'm quickly learning. And my recently educated guess is that this will continue through Septeember.

Apologies in advance for what will surely be sporadic blogging.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What Do You Get

What do you get when you combine a 6 year old girl


5 bucks burning a hole in her pocket



You get this irresistible example of renaissance art gone wrong, that's what you get.

It is fantastically, compellingly ugly.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I was hesitant with good reason.


I need to go in the kids' bedroom and see if their fish died today.

I really don't want to.

You see, last week I jumped the gun a bit and told Jonathan that his fish (named Tucan or Kipper, depending on day and mood) had died when it really hadn't. It was just asleep. At the top of the water. At an angle. (You can see how I made the mistake, right? Especially after I knocked on the tank and the fish didn't move a fin). So 5 minutes of unnecessary tears later, Chloe discovered that TucanKipper was not dead, but was in fact moving.

That was the beginning of the end, though. The fish is not well.
TucanKipper is now named Green Around the Gills in my book.

I've got to go look.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Practice Makes (Not Quite) Perfect

Steve and I have been married for 9 years.

In that time, we have moved 6 times.

Could be that we're getting good at it.

We went from this (see, I wasn't exaggerating about how there was nowhere to walk in our old apt.):

To this, in less than 36 hours:

(Look, Mom, full-sized oven and refrigerator)

*Notice that the kids have not adjusted to the extra space we have in our new digs and feel they must sit on top of the TV, as they were forced to do in our previous apartment.

I'll take some outdoor/'hood pics and post them this weekend.