28 July 2009

oh, the laughter.


i have been on a schedule of going to kroger on saturdays. this evolved when i was working 60 hours a week, and the only time i could grocery shop was the weekend. every sunday, after church, we would go eat mexican at "the horse restaurant" and then all trek through wal mart. then, paul got really sick of participating in my grocery shopping (apparently my efficiency quotient was, in fact, deficient)

So, i started going on saturdays without him-

and then, if you regularly read this you know, i had to quit going on saturdays because, i thought, that had to be the worst time to go.

But no. Its not.

This past week, i stretched us through the weekend without a grocery store trip and was planning to go on Monday.

going with all three children has proven quite a challenge -

1) collins has to ride in his car seat because he cannot sit up yet - and i cannot see around the car seat to see whats in front of me, so i frequently run into unsuspecting old ladies, or, more often, unsuspecting clever displays of tostitos RIGHT NEXT to the ingredients for rotel.

2) eason is just untrustworthy - thats what it boils down to - i cannot let him walk with me because he wants to touch, and/or climb on, everything! Its not even malicious - its just little boy, short attention span, fascinated by colors and items and aparrati on which to climb.
And, a lot of the time, i cannot even see him to tell him to stop - see Number 1 above-
And if he gets in the big part of the cart then there really isn't enough room for the groceries.

SO - On Monday, I tried to work it so that I could go to the store with fewer than three children - i was willing to go with two - ada and one of the boys - but going with Collins and Eason is just lengthening my trip by at least 125%.

I had sewing camp this week (more on that later), so I couldn't go in the morning (which is obviously the preferable time to go) - so i planned to go during children's nap time - Paul would be home from work around 2 and then i could leave big kids here napping and either take or leave Collins - great plan.
Well, Paul wanted to go work out when he got home. I love when Paul works out because it means his bod is so hot!

couldn't resist. didn't really try to resist.

But - i do love for him to get to work out, because it makes him a happier, more easy going guy - So, i was fully supportive of him working out - He got home around 2 - but his work out partner wasn't available until 3 -
So, Paul and Will finally left, on bike, for the Y, at 315 or so.

ENTER TORRENTIAL DOWN POUR NUMBER 1. (notice the foreshadowing)

Paul and Will were stuck at the Y for a while - they finally got home, soaking wet, with Paul injured from a rain-caused fall from his bike - around 445.

I decided I needed to finish making supper and get it in the oven before I went to the store.

I pressed start on the oven timer at 515 and ran out the door. (made a yummy new dish - more on that later)

(I will say, looking back, that perhaps I could have put off the kroger trip to tuesday.... but then the kids would have had saltines for breakfast two days instead of one day....)

I'll also say that God and my husband are good - and i was able to leave all three kids with him while i ran to the store for what i assumed would be a 25 minute sprint through.

515 on a Monday evening - new worst time to go to kroger.

You'll be pleasantly grocery shopping with a bunch of people who have gone back to work on Monday to discover - wait - their jobs still suck. (as crude as that word is, i couldn't come up with anything that would take its place - "stink" doesn't quite provide the umph i was looking for)
And they are still discontent. Oh, and at the end of the day, their spouse calls and says "remember - we don't have any milk - and i'm in a meeting at my job that also sucks, so can you run to the store"
While there, they realize that milk is not the only thing they need. They also probably need to feed their families for the rest of the week. But they don't know what to feed them, so they start wandering the aisles in this bizarre in-a-hurry-but-don't-have-a-list mode that the designers of the tostitos/velveeta/rotel display are counting on.
This puts them in a worse mood, because, let's face it, they know, on some level, that they are on repeat - a broken record - scratching the sound of this awful, unintentional, pitiful failing.
I find myself almost paralyzed because i am at the same time angry at these people, at our society that has created these people - and also so sad for them. So sad that they feel, rightly or wrongly, that they cannot slow down - and be intentional - and make a grocery list.

But - i make it through Kroger - list completed - in about 38 minutes.

Walk to the front. to discover that - oh - i don't know - KROGER HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS IS A TYPICALLY BUSY TIME FOR THEM AND THEY HAVE half OF THEIR LANES OPEN. ('half' there is not in caps - because if i had been telling this story orally - i would have dropped my raised voice at that moment for emphasis...)

There are an average of 5.3 people in line at each check out - and at the self-check, my personal favorite, there are 12. I hop in the 12 person line because i figure doing it myself will be best at this point -

I scan my items. The filets I bought as a treat for us are not on sale for as much as the sign said. I don't care and pay the extra 20%.

I enter my alternate id - because i've been using my mother's kroger card account for 7 years now - but i don't have a card - so i have to enter our phone number - which is actually no one's phone number now... wonder how that works?

I swipe my credit card... and....

ENTER TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR NUMBER 2!

It was one of those moments in big, metal buildings when you hear the sound and wonder if its some gunfire - or some machinery about to crash down on your head - but, no, its just water.

its 622 pm at this point. I wait for ten minutes, visiting with an old mock trial foe - begin pondering how my priorities and loves have changed so much over the past few years - the down pour does not let up.

This is not just a steady rain type of situation. This is one of those rains that almost seems desperate. And because its desperate, one thinks it will run out of steam soon.

But it doesn't.

So I make a run for it - which is stupid, because I have to actually unload my groceries from the cart into the car - so I should really just stroll to the car.

I'll add here that I have on blue jeans - purely out of vanity (they fit great and it makes me feel skinny) - blue jeans - perfect attire for anything except rain.

By the time i get all of bags into car and close door, i might as well have gotten in a shower and stood there, fully clothed, for 10 minutes. I actually think I was wetter than that.

I drive home. Get out of car. Stroll through the rain into my back door. Spy the looks on my husband's and children's faces, not to mention my dear friend Dan who had come to eat with us.

Oh, the laughter.

26 July 2009

happy sabbath


I think its interesting that, in Christian traditions, the Sabbath is referred to as "The Lord's Day." Sunday is our Sabbath; it is the new covenant reference back to the Old Testament Sabbath, from the Hebrew shabbat: to cease, the seventh day, the day of rest. And in many sense's, in OT times, it was a day for the Lord. But, in many ways, it was and is a day from the Lord. A day given to us on which we are commanded not to work. To rest. To remember the day and keep it holy. It is the Lord's day, but in the same way that any gift belongs to its giver -

I am certainly glad to have the gift - it has become for us a day of family centered-ness - of food and fellowship. My children know it as that, and I hope that they always will. After we worship, we play - and visit - and eat - and discuss. What a privilege it is - a gift. A day from and for the Lord.


The Framable Favorite above - possibly my favorite picture of all time...

I took it - on a January day - you know, one of those Mississippi January Days when the high is actually 62, which feels really warm, so you wear short sleeves and end up with goose bumps. But that's okay, because air on your skin is so refreshing. There is some property being developed (and has been being developed now for 8 years or so...) close to my mom's and dad's old house. And we went for a walk on this property- on this January day -when i was quite pregnant with eason - back when ada bee was an only child. we laughed at my mom's dogs playing in the water - and had a grand old time.
And what is better than a little girl on her daddy's shoulders?

18 July 2009

framable favorites and double dates - an alliterative post


a couple of months ago, Paul left the then hugely pregnant me home with the kiddos and went to the beach for a long weekend for a good friend's bachelor party -
The kiddos kept me busy, but during the time that I would normally be visiting with Paul and/or vegging with Paul watching a Netflix dvd, I went through all the five thousand pictures in my iphoto library. I had recently realized that I didn't have any framed photos in my house.... I know- this is ridiculous - especially when one has photogenic children. But, it was true. So, I went through hoping to pick out some pics to frame.

Well, after I went through them, I had narrowed from 5000 to about a hundred, which is pretty good.... although you cannot go from zero framed pictures in your house to a hundred over night. But, we do now have 7 framed that weren't here three months ago. Yay us.

Anyway, I thought I would start sharing the 'framable favorites' - as the Event in iphoto is now titled. And write a little snippet about where the picture came from - a retro active blog snippet, if you will.

(I love "If you will" - rarely is there a perfect place for it in a sentence, but when there is, well, its like a good cream sauce on angel hair...)

So... picture of the day, above. I'm estimating a October 2004 date. I'm not off by more than a month in either direction.
location: the park in Oxford - i am forgetting the name of it - Not the park close to the library (which is avent park, right?), but the one off of Jackson avenue. There is a lake and it is dog walking heaven. And, if you are so inclined, a great place to meet single dog owners. (ha)
Paul went for a run while I read and occasionally took pictures of ada brooks lying on a quilt. My mother refers to this series of pictures as "The Cancer Baby Shoot" - because ada brooks was an unfortunately bald child during the 4-14 month phase of her life. And, in fairness to my mother, she did kind of look like a chemo patient. I love this picture of me because it looks like me - if that makes sense. I had on blue jeans and a long sleeved polo my mother wore in college and my glasses. (the pair of glasses i wore from age 15 through age 25 - new glasses last month...). I also love it because it is one of the first pictures I have that I know Paul took. He's a terrible photographer of people, generally, but he's my husband...so I like having a picture he took. Also, this one isn't bad. I also love it because Ada Brooks, Paul and I spent a lot of time at that park.



I feel like a double date may be the perfect social interaction. I just think a foursome is easy to deal with and lovely in most every way. You can hear everything being said at the table, but there is enough difference to make the table interesting. Not that a date with just my husband isn't interesting, but its just not the same kind of stimulating.

If its just the two of us, Paul and I either end up in a very, very nuanced conversation about some obscure issue, because even after only 3 1/2 years of marriage, we have pretty much nailed down all mainstream issues, and if a new issue comes up, the chances of me predicting exactly what he will say about it are about 87% i would say. Or we talk about our future dreams - you know, our craftsman architecture house with 12 foot ceilings and 8 inch heart pine plank floors. Or, worst of all, we end up doing 'business' - like making logistical plans - talking about when a good time to go to Sam's would be. (Or we people watch and speculate about their lives and usually mock, which isn't very sweet and we shouldn't do it....)

The big kids were in Hburg last night for the night with Paul's parents - and Paul and I had TWO double dates in one evening. (I should clarify that the couples on a double date are not restricted to romantic couples...)

First, we met the woodliff men - dan and max- for happy hour at sal and mookies. Where they have great beer, decent wine, and some fun cocktails (try the ginny hendricks - an awesome gin, lemon juice and sugar martini - very refreshing and a new take on gin). Their bar is called the Pi lounge and their happy hour starts at 3:14 pm and lasts for 3 hours and 14 minutes and you get 31.4% off of all drinks. Pretty clever, jeff good.

Then we met Calen and Will for supper at aladdin. I just love aladdin. Bring your own wine (I learned from our very amusing, expressive waiter last night that the reason Aladdin is BYOB is that a conservative Muslim family owns it and they don't want to fool with a liquor license out of moral concerns). After supper, we went back to the Brantleys for pie. Key Lime Pie. Paul's favorite. well, in his top three (my cherrie pie, most anyone's cheesecake being the other two).

My cheeks hurt from all the laughing and smiling we did on our double dates last night.

now off to kroger. on a saturday. i know, i swore, but i chose happy hour over kroger yesterday afternoon...

17 July 2009

quotes of the week:

"Can't we just email baby announcements - email is free you know." - Paul (clearly)

"God turned down the rain a little bit - you can go get your wine now, Mama" - Ada Brooks
(apparently i've instilled the importance of an occasional liquor store run....)

"He that raises a large family, does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too." - Ben Franklin

"Collins is loud" - Eason

16 July 2009

oh, don't we love amoretti.
i love how this dress is half seventies / half today.

http://rebekahmerkle1.blogspot.com/

15 July 2009

summertime and the livin's funny

video


i sent the children outside today to eat popsicles while I was feeding the baby. Collins cannot spend a lot of time outside, even in the shade, because I have this constant conflict between slapping the mosquito off of him and hitting my not quite four week old child.

when he was finished, i put him down and went outside to check on them.

i found two naked kiddos, jumping on the trampoline. spraying each other with the hose. (not exactly missing the bedspread 'drying' on the clothesline)

when i reappeared with my camera, ada brooks ran inside to put on a bathing suit (which simultaneously amused me, made me proud and made me sad).

I started taking pics and took some video as well. the above is my favorite - the 'we think its funny to fall out of things' game.

i do wonder what makes children laugh - especially how they learn at what they should laugh? this evening we watched the videos and looked at the pictures i took. while admiring their handiwork, both of them were cackling so hard i almost pulled the video camera back out.

sometimes i worry about their senses of humor - especially ada's - because she seems to actually think a lot of the things that are marketed to children (ages 5-7, according to netflix) are funny - and they are so not funny. in most of them I don't even understand what is supposed to be funny.

but then, she also laughed at 'anybody want a peanut?' in The Princess Bride, so all hope is not lost.
and she laughed at herself and her brother as they fell out of a wet, plastic wagon.

and maybe i just don't get five year old humor - maybe its my problem...

beautiful sunset tonight in the 39216.

feeding baby again. that's all i do. well, not all. but between feeding him and feeding the other three, cleaning up from feeding the other three, answering questions from the other three, and preparing the next meal, thats pretty much all i do.

makes one understand wetnurses.

12 July 2009

great sabbath. not as restful as i had hoped, but great all the same. bout to wake a sleeping baby to feed him and put us both to sleep. peach cobbler and Numb3rs whilst he eats.

11 July 2009

i am hot.

eason is constantly naked. i cannot decide if its the summer weather or the obsession with his physical self. or a hold over from often naked, heavy duty potty training.

i am hot and not allowed nor do i prefer to be constantly naked.

we have a hole in our roof. Paul has been trying to fix it for forty eight hours (straight?) now -

someone (cough cough) put 9 beers in our outside freezer on thursday. i just discovered them. i am not cleaning it up. nope. cannot make me.

kroger on a saturday makes me angry - ive decided i cannot go on a saturday anymore.

the produce at the farmers market is imperfect - very imperfect - spots and bruises and various strange colors and shapes - it makes me think that probably God made it that way. just like people. which makes me very concerned about the produce at kroger.... whats the dealio there?

collins has an amusing habit of puddling while i'm changing his diaper. today, he puddled and the angle of the stream dictated that the puddle actually went into his ear. at which he smiled.

something aint right with all men.

09 July 2009

back to (really) cooking -

pavlova in the oven for dessert tonight. will be topping it with fresh meridian, ms peaches and fresh (kroger...) cherries. if you ever can find meridian peaches, know that God made the soil there for growing peaches - a meridian peach has yet to be beaten in my little world.

fresh fresh fresh. (our dear friend dan says specialty grocery stores are going to be his undoing. especially ones that have fresh in the title) i've never entered Fresh Market, the ironic chain restaurant that claims to have cornered the market on "fresh" (ha). I feel like it might be like heroine for me. you know - one hit and i'm addicted. I don't need one more painful addiction to break in my life.
(Current ones needing to be broken: facebook, carbonated beverages, cherries, ice cream, watching strangers out my front window)

(I shouldn't trivialize addiction - these should be more accurately called habits needing to be broken - i understand, all too well, that real addiction can be life-destroying.

but the word has entered our vernacular - and I always pick using words how I want to over using them in a way that is sensitive to others... which I should add to the things to work on list, i guess...

she says begrudgingly)

can one have a multiparagraph parenthetical, or is it like a block quote and needs a different notation?

i learned a while ago that pav, as it is called in countries that eat it often, is served at many australian and new zealand (here is a helpful little site) christmas dinners. i thought this strange - it is such a summery dish - requiring fresh fruit and served chilled. well, the cream and the fruit are chilled and the merengue is room temp.

and then i remembered, as many reading this will have immediately thought, december is the middle of summer for those in the southern hemisphere. so - it makes sense that their christmas dinner would have a more summery feel than our traditional spice cakes and rich puddings.

This prompted me to do some very cursory reasearch on australian christmas traditions. (A friend of mine is raising her young family there with her aussie husband, so it adds a level of interest for me).

Many australian families spend part of christmas holidays (and even christmas day) at the beach. They are likely to eat cold seafood, fruit and vegetable salads, and pavlova and cookies for christmas dinner.

Oh, and, Santa does come, leaving presents under the tree, pulled in a sleigh by 6 kangaroos. =)

I'll take Dasher, Comet, Cupid, etc. But it is fun! can't you just see them hopping up to the roof? of the beach house? with surfboards?

My son, the younger, loves the sound of a kitchen aid mixer. A wise young thing he is.

My son, the elder, was irritated that my kitchen aid mixer was ruining his 24 minutes of television a day (Dora the Explorer - on Netflix Instant Watch)

My daughter calmly explained to him that all they needed to do was turn up the volume. Duh, she said. Did i teach her "duh"? I don't think so, but I'm not swearing to it.

Rest of menu for tonight's dinner with friends:

Angel Hair with Shrimp in a White Wine Cream Sauce. Which is one of my favorite recipes. I have guilt preparing it for just us because with heavy cream and shrimp, it is quite decadent. At least for us.
Roasted Asparagus (Just your standard Kosher salt and Olive Oil)
Green Salad - contributed by a visitor
Bread - contributed by a visitor
and then, the above mentioned Pav.

I do love to see a meal from start to finish. I'm hungry now. As is Collins.

06 July 2009

rain rain stay today

I am awake. 4:21 am. Been awake for about 73 minutes.

I have no idea why. Well, I can speculate about a few reasons.

I have a newborn who sleeps most of the night without waking up and this terrifies me. (I know I shouldn't complain about such things. But he is so tiny and I worry he might forget to tell his heart to beat or something)

I'm used to waking up in the middle of the night due to being huge and pregnant and completely uncomfortable. But I'm not really pregnant anymore - someone tell my sleep clock.

I have a lot in my mind - always - and when I wake up, I often cannot stop thinking.

I know what woke me this morning. A sound I haven't heard in weeks - I know its been at least three, maybe more. It actually took me a minute to identify it.

Rain. (Rain) on a hot (shingled) roof. What an amazing blessing.

I almost woke Paul up and made him come play in it with me. But I'm working on being a little bit less selfish when it comes to him - I have a tendency to be self-sacrificing when it comes to his emotions, but very, very selfish when it comes to his physical well-being. If I'm awake, why shouldn't he be, etc. I'm trying to be more conscious of it, though.

I'm so glad for the rain - mainly because of the plants - but hopefully it will also cool off our lives a little bit. My poor little people are bouncing off the walls these days because its just too hot to spend a significant amount of time outside. And its only July 6th. Can we make it to September 6th - when perhaps there will be a day when the high is 73 and we'll feel like its the middle of winter and we'll put on jeans and sweaters and by 2 pm be sweating our tails off?

I think I probably still cannot sleep - maybe I'll play in the rain all alone.

03 July 2009

two posts in one... =) Gandolfini and Elephants.

Post A:

just watched a great movie with my sweet husband. The Last Castle. Perhaps I thought it was great because it has two of my favorite actors in it - Robert Redford and James Gandolfini.

It is difficult for me to watch James Gandolfini in any role other than Tony Soprano. It kind of shocks me how much of an affect the Sopranos has had on my movie and culture consciousness. I wonder if it is unique to me or if others experience this. In this movie we just watched, Gandolfini plays this backboneless jerk - and although Tony is evil in many ways, he isn't backboneless. I found the Gandolfini character hard to believe mostly because of this contradiction, I think.

Robert Redford is an attractive man.

Post B:

Paul has been building (built-in) bookcases in our living room over the past few months - he started and finished the first installment a month or two ago - and then right before Collins was born, he started the next installment - and is on the cusp of finishing them.

And they are just perfect. They are beautiful and functional and such a display of his hard work at learning woodworking and carpentry over the past three years. He did not grow up around this type of work and when we married, he was, in a word, awful at it - mostly due to a lack of knowledge, but also due to impatience. But he set his mind to learning. He apprenticed himself to a master carpenter for about 10 hours a week for about six months - learned a ton - and he has spent many a free hour working hard at becoming proficient. And he has succeeded.

He feels about his woodworking, I would say, like I do about cooking. But I have the benefit of having grown up sitting on the counter under the tutelage of my mother, a very proficient cook.

But my feeling when I look at these new bookcases is one of sheer pride - pride in his work that mirrors a feeling of pride I would have in my own work. I had nothing to do with the bookcases (save offering an occasional aesthetic observation) -
I have rarely felt this kind of pride - an innocent, selfless pride - usually, I'll confess, my pride is either tainted by the bad kind of pride - the self-glorifying, narcissistic type of pride - or, when it is pride in something someone else has accomplished, it is tainted by a tinge (large or small) of jealousy.

But not this - this is the type of pride that is, I think, what Lewis calls true Humility. Being able to rejoice in the accomplishments of others in the same way we would rejoice in our own accomplishments. Because we've really turned our focus off of ourselves and onto God's creation.

From my favorite Lewis book, The Screwtape Letters:
"The Enemy [God] wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour's talents—or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things."

It is so nice to see God's work in our lives - to see Him allowing us to bear the fruit He designed us to bear. I think it is one of the great benefits of marriage - that we are able to practice on our spouses, if you will. That we can work on the things we are supposed to exhibit in all of our relationships - openness, honesty, sincerity, love, security, joy, peace (to name a few) - and then hopefully take those lessons out into the world.

I am so thankful for my husband. Whose birthday starts in 26 minutes. Happy Birthday to Paul. And America.

And let us all rejoice in Elephants.