Monday, April 29, 2013

Majesty Speaks! Again.

It’s my turn to blog again.  So I’m just going to write about how our week went a couple weeks back so you have a snapshot of how our typical week goes.

Caroline is experiencing some moderate to severe separation anxiety.  A couple of weeks ago I could hear her in the nursery when I was all the way upstairs in my class with the doors closed.

Yep, I always have “that kid."

So, for now, I am hanging out with her in her class so as to not cause the 14 other babies to melt down as well.  This week we made a small gain because I mostly kept her in her seat and she mostly didn’t cry unless I tried to leave.   After lunch, we have a much needed Sunday nap and usually after that we have a nice slow afternoon.

We went to a birthday party at Pump It Up.  This was Caroline’s first Pump It Up experience and she was pretty impressed.  She is still perfecting her walk so she climbed and jumped on a few of the inflatables but mostly she just walked a few steps, laughed, fell down and then started the process over.   Jack even took a little time to show her his favorites.  That afternoon we had a playdate with Ethan and Ella.  Jack was dressed as Batman the entire time.  Caroline was supposed to nap but she refused to miss out on the fun.

Later on I realized she probably wasn’t napping because she was cutting tooth #9.

Jack had school so after Caroline’s nap we headed out for groceries.  She is not a fan of this chore.  Unless she has a snack in her hand, she thinks she needs to stand up and ride so, it makes for a long shopping trip.  This afternoon, Jack and I made shrimp spring rolls - they were pretty good with peanut sauce and Jack loved making them!

Caroline cut tooth #10 today.

One of my favorite days!  We have gotten together with some good friends on Wednesdays since Jack turned two.  Today we met Ms. Julie, Ms. Valerie, Hudson and Norah at Wonderwild.   This was Caroline’s first time to get to play here and she loved it.  It’s a nice place for the kids to play, and since it’s contained the grown ups can talk – fun for everyone!   
Caroline and Norah were obsessed with going down the slide so Ms. Valerie, Ms. Julie and I all went down the slide about 25 times each.  Whatever keeps those girls happy!  Jack and Hudson were obsessed with building the perfect fort (or house, depending on who was in charge at the moment).

Thursday & Friday
Jack had school so Caroline and I took it slow and ran some errands.  We made pudding pops and “smoothie pops” earlier in the week and had these for snacks.

Jack has no idea that the smoothie pops have spinach in them.

Jack’s favorite day of the week because Daddy is home.   Our favorite babysitter came today while Caroline napped and E.C. and I had a date!  We had a blast at the local Arts Festival and Jack and Caroline had a blast with Chandler!

I love days when everyone wins.

So there’s our typical week (all except for the date part). 

Jack does his reading lessons with me in the afternoons.  We are 75% of the way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and he’s doing great.  We’ve gone at a really slow pace but he’s doing so well and I haven’t wanted to push him too much.

He is really into drawing right now.  I need to scan in some of his pictures.  He brought me some pictures the other day.  One, he explained “it is Jesus on the cross.”  One is “Jesus feeding the 5,000,” and the other is “the resurrection.”  I’m pretty impressed that he knows what the resurrection is, but I’m more than thrilled that this is what he chooses to draw and think about without prompting from us.

Caroline is a hoot.  Her curly hair and happy personality are just fun.  She’s almost 4 weeks post ear tube surgery now and seems so much happier now that her ears don’t hurt.  She’s also eating better; that part surprised me.  Last night she had chicken, squash, zucchini, avocado, green beans and red bell pepper... yep, all for supper.

She has a bunch of words now.  She knows what lots of animals say (bear, lion, dog, pig, cat).  She communicates well for 14 months.  The other day she was wearing her little white Keds.  She brought me one pink sandal and one white mary jane.  She sat down and pointed to her feet - she wanted to wear her other shoes!   Her favorite stuffed animal is Paloma the Pig and she goes everywhere with us! 

E.C. just got back from two back-to-back conferences, one in Florida and then one all the way out in Nevada.  I am so so so thankful that Bebe came to help!  The kids had a blast.  They got to play at the splashpad, make cranberry bread, eat ice cream in the middle of the day for no good reason and lots of tickling went on!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jack's Word of the Day

Aluthinum Oil \ə-ˈlü-thə-nəm ˈi(-ə)l\
A sheet metal made from aluminum, prepared in very thin leaves.  Produced extensively for household use.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Oil on Canvas

Part of what I like about art is its relative permanence.  We're still digging up 2,000 year old Roman marbles.  No, the other kind.  Centuries-old portraits (dead people, mostly) hang in galleries that thousands (live people, mostly) visit every day.

Even after the world changes, after people come and go, the brass tacks of the thing is that it's just about impossible to toss granny's oil painting hanging over there.  No, art - and we're talking real art, not some clown filling up a twobahfour with 16 penny nails and angst - art isn't disposable in any real sense.

So this year, in lieu of some harebrained story of the very dear and still very departed First Mate herself, I'll try something a bit different.

I mentioned this a long time back, but one of my most treasured possessions is an oil painting of Belle the Dog by my Aunt Dana.  It hangs in my bar, out of sight of most visitors.

It's a synthesis of two photographs (neither of which I have digitally right now, sorry).  In one, a fairly young pup stands stock-still in my dad's growing corn, obviously convinced there's a quail to be scared up just ahead.  The other is an up-close of an older, but not too much older dog with the unraveling and stringy fringe of hair characteristic of her breed.  

The corn appears to be planted in beach sand, and indeed that's just about the exact consistency of the land I grew up on.  In.  Whatever, it was a little of both.  The rows shoot out at a diagonal from the viewer's eye.

So to the man on the street, it looks a bit like a short-lens landscape of two nearly identical dogs, one a bit younger than the other.  It reminds me a lot of the way-too-expensive antique print we almost bought in London, labelled SETTERS AT WORK in stoic block letters.  (I've never forgiven myself for not plunking down the MasterCharge and shipping it home.)  It hung right in the middle of Harrods where they have the £100,000 Persian rugs they let you walk on.  No kidding.  So essentially a 911 Turbo you can't drive, but can spill popcorn on.  I'm rambling.  Sorry.

The painting.  We were talking about a painting.  Have a look at the texture created that gets the hair just right, and Aunt Dana's absolutely precise, almost eerie, representation of The FuzzenFarce's eye, right down to the big white lashes.  And by all means don't miss my very favorite part, "D. MORGAN" disguised as the fine, orangey hair of Older Belle's neck.

Well, that's all the time we have for this year's Remembrance of Sweet Old Puppy Dogs.  Hope you enjoyed it.  See you in 2014, everybody.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Foot Washing and Other Quandaries

In college, I used to go to this little church out in the middle of the Arkansas rice fields.  I don't think I could find it on a map now.  This is the place where, during a potluck, a little old lady discovered I would eat squirrel (no comments, please).  She dragged me over to her big platter of fried, well, squirrel.

It was excellent, but one of the pieces was just impossible.  I diligently worked all the batter off, which was delicious.  But that was it; I couldn't get anything else.  Frustrated, I took a close look at what I'd been gnawing on, and saw... wait for it... two little squirrel eye sockets looking back at me.

Let's just say I was more judicious during the next round.*  I digress.

So one night, we got into a discussion in Bible class, and a little old lady (different one) flatly said that we should do everything the Bible says (uh, no arguments there, ma'am).  She then said that in eating the Lord's Supper (or Communion) that we should eat it, and then go out.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  Finally, someone quoted Matthew 26:30:
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Oh!  Yeah, well, okay.  Sure.  Everyone moved on.   But she was adamant.  She wanted to go out.  We should go out.

My buddy was teaching.  He was a bit older than me, and a whole lot wiser.  He simply said, "They went to the Mount of Olives."

"Right," she agreed, "They went out.  We should go out."

"But ma'am, they went... to the Mount of Olives.  Near Jerusalem."

"Oh." *long silence*  "I see."

Sometimes it's easy to get hung up in the literal.

Like so.  Last week, we read them chillrun the story of Jesus washing the apostles' feet.  Jack paid very close attention, something he doesn't always do, frankly.  I thought, "Hey, he actually understood that we should be servants to one another.  That's awesome!"

A day or two later, I'm flopped on the fading chaise longue outside, watching Jack wipe down his New Big Boy Bicycle And It's Green And And It's Really Really FastTM with a wet washcloth.  Likes to keep his machines in tip top order, this one.

He comes over to me, and asks, I kid you not, "Daddy, can I wash your feet?"  You can take a look at the picture to see what happened next.  I gladly ignored the chain grease and bike crud on the rag as well as the doctrinal implications.  I feel compelled to add that he was wearing his Superman jammies.

That dude is a sweet, sweet guy.  Literal?  Sure he is.  But sweet.  And to swap scripture on you, I'm certainly the "least of these," so he really nailed that one.

My parents came down this weekend and we had pristine weather to just hang out and talk in the sun.  WITHOUT complaining about it.  Really.  We paraded the children around.  We looked at FLAHurs!

*On the phone later:  "Hey mom, they don't cook 'em like we cook 'em."

Monday, April 1, 2013


Much of the steam that I blow off by overusing adverbs here on CJMP is being expended elsewhere.  Sorry.  Maybe I'm conserving energy for summer.  I can feel it coming, man.

It's dumb to observe, but lately I just sit around and think a lot.  Dirty, pollen-covered kids whir around me but I just sit there, ruminating.  I do most of my thinking outside.  The photo above is my view.

We had a great Easter.  We hope you did, as well.  Χριστός ἀνέστη!  Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!