Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hollywood Babies

Some of you know that my mother's maiden name is Hollywood. No, really, it is. My grandfather's family is from Hollywood, Ireland, a small village just southwest of Dublin. My grandparents raised their family in Downey, California, a mere 20 miles from the infamous Hollywood district and mountainous sign. So it's no surprise that many of my Ohio friends assume that we call my grandmother "Grandma Hollywood" not because that's really her name but because she resides there.

Unfortunately my precious Grandpa died before ever seeing any of his babies' babies produce babies, and as my lovely Grandma so often says, "he loved you kids and he'd have gotten a kick out of seeing all of his great-grandchildren." Love and kicks, that was Grandpa Hollywood.

Recently the west coast babies made a trip east, and for the first time EVER, all seven Hollywood babies were together. Sadly my Grandma could not be here to see them as a bunch, but it's probably a good thing. It was a lively and LOUD afternoon.

These pictures are dedicated to Grandpa Hollywood, the sweetest kid of them all.

And if these seven GORGEOUS munchkins are any indication of how handsome (and feisty) Jimmy Hollywood was, you will know he was quite the catch. Way to go, Phyllis!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Let's talk about penises.

And poop and anything else that fascinates little boys. And big boys. And grown men. {rolls eyes}

I thought I'd share a few of my three-year-old son's recent penis/poop incidents (READER BEWARE):

While changing his diaper, Henry sang this to the tune of Wheels on the Bus, "My penis goes up and down, up and down. My penis goes up and down." And when I asked him the name of the song, he said, "Penis Bus." Well, naturally, of course.

Another favorite around this house is Henry's famous saying, "Always don't touch your poop." Occasionally he expands on that, adding "or your hands will get dirty." The kid's got a point.

And the one that I still struggle to handle appropriately, because I'm much too immature for this parenting thing, and because HE'S MY LITTLE BOY, Henry's famous announcement, "Mommy, my penis tickles and I want to touch it." Oh dear heavens! And to think puberty is still a decade away.

And the latest . . . and probably not appropriate for the Internets, but since when did that stop me from clicking Publish? Naked Henry noticed that his penis was, well, you know, up, and he said, "Mommy, look! My penis is like a mountain." Oh for heavens sake!

You could say we have a very open relationship.

Please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

To school or not to school?

My wonderful friend Marla has been busy blogging about her family's decision to homeschool or not to homeschool, and coincidentally the topic of education has been weighing on my heart lately as well.

But unlike Marla, my decision (homeschool? private school? public?) isn't a tough one. For one thing, my oldest child is three years old. I have two whole prayer-filled years before we must decide. I know God could easily change our hearts and minds. We stand firm in our decision today, but I am well aware that our decision could change not just when our children are school-age, but every year after that.

Before I type one more word, please know that I firmly believe God has different paths for different families - homeschool, private school, public school - for different yet equally important reasons.

I think it's also important to note that we live in a stellar school district. Our choice is made that much easier knowing that if we choose public education, our children will go to quality schools. I know my beliefs would be challenged if our public school options were not as hopeful.

I also can't deny that culturally speaking, I have been immersed in public schools. I grew up in public schools, I worked in public schools, and some of my best friends are superb educators in public schools. Public school education is a part of my DNA in the same way that my veins flow with uber thick German blood.

But when I try to separate myself from all of that (and no, it's not easy), I am still drawn toward public education.

Primarily, the reason we are choosing public schools is because of community.

At the core of my being, I am drawn to my community. I have a great big heart for the people around me. I love running into a neighbor on the bike path, a familiar face who walks the same concrete steps I walk everyday. Many of these folks aren't people I dine with or call up on the phone. Most of them are nameless - our conversations have never required titles. But they are my community. And I love them. And I cannot imagine how much more I will feel connected to these folks when our paths stretch beyond our backyards and into our childrens' schools. And it makes me just giddy to think of all the ways God is going to open doors through our involvement in this community via public schools.

Recently I read an outstanding article that challenges Christians to consider public schools for their families. The author's target audience is primarily Christian parents who lean toward private schools, but her arguments spoke directly to the reasons why I feel so strongly about public education.

There are two quotes from the article that I will share:

First, "One of the best places to build a relationship with families is in our public schools. They’re the hubs of our communities."

And this next quote brought tears to my eyes: "We can preach the gospel in the public schools, and the way we’re going to do that is through our lives, by allowing teachers, students, families, and administrators to experience the love of Christ through our actions . . . the church is not here with an ulterior motive—our ultimate motive is to love, to serve, to bless."

And that's just it. I don't have an agenda. Are you kidding me? Just thinking about evangelism makes me rashy. But I love to love. I love to serve. And I love to bless. And in turn, my life is transformed. I can't think of one time that I loved someone and it didn't in turn bless me.

I think that one of the best gifts that I can give my children is to demonstrate what it looks like to humbly follow Jesus in our community. I want them to see what it looks like to embrace a community, flaws and all, because God calls us to love the lost. And how can we love them if we don't go to them? Surely my humanity will fall short. But God never will. And that is where we will place our faith. Not in a curriculum or a method or a school district. But in the power of a God who is bigger than worldly influences and peer pressure and political agendas.

The list of reasons I believe God is preparing us for public schools doesn't stop at community. And I may or may not share more. For now, I pray that I will have eyes to see and ears to hear God's plan for my family. And I praise God that we live in a country where we have the freedom of choice and the opportunity of education.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Easter?

When I was about 12 years old, Champ, our golden retriever, went for a joy ride in the nearby woods on Easter Sunday. Champ's built-in GPS could put TomTom to shame, and soon after he left, Champ came traipsing up the steps onto the back porch. When my dad opened the door to let in the happy dog, we noticed that Champ was not alone. Hanging from his mouth was a baby rabbit, and as if a dead baby bunny on Easter Sunday wasn't bad enough, the poor thing wasn't even dead. The lil' nugget was still breathing but not well, and thank you Lord for a dad who grew up with hillbillies and knows how to take care of those things. One snap of the neck later, and the Easter bunny was out of its misery.

I was recently reminded of this tragic event when my husband spent this past Easter season on his own quest for a kill. This time the prize was a turkey. And because my macho husband thinks it's fun to live like the natives, he opted to hunt turkeys with a bow and arrow. And because my Robin Hood actually happens to be a darn good archer, he succeeded. And though I find the entire thing absolutely barbaric, I thought I'd share a few pics of my proud hubby, his weapon, and his trophy.

Because you really didn't want to see a picture of a dead bunny, did you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Surviving the minivan.

We did it. We bought a minivan.

But don't freak, yo. We DID NOT adorn it with stick people figurine stickers and fake baseball window shattered decals.

It's silver. It's crisp. It rocks.

And I don't mind it one bit. Especially considering my imagination is superb (thanks to a couple of choice years in my early 20s.)

And here's how I roll.

I slide in, crank up 107.5, and turn on my imagination. Chrysler who? I'm cruising down the 270 in a slick black Range Rover, tinted windows, spinners, and . . . and those kids in the back? They my posse.

In all seriousness, I had to laugh when we bought it because I was often asked by my peers, "How are you feeling now that you drive a minivan? Are you okay?" You would have thought I received a fatal diagnosis. But the diagnosis is perfect. With this new set of wheels I foresee hours of reaching back and tickling tiny toes, years of carpooling to baseball games, and miles of roadtrippin' with the fam. I couldn't ask for a more beautiful future, and believe it or not, I'm thrilled to create memories in what this generation of parents is affectionately naming the swagger wagon.

How about you? Do you fear the minivan or have you embraced it and all its sliding door glory?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Easter 2011 Highlights

Beautiful weather and beautiful day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Miss Bunny Ears 2011

My hometown is home to Wendy's headquarters and back in the day they held an annual Miss Wendy pageant. Girls would put on a bright red pigtailed wig and blue & white striped dress and compete to be that year's spokesgirl for the restaurant. Most of the girls ended up looking like a trashy Raggedy Ann doll with dime-sized fake freckles all over their faces. It was quite bizarre. Very bizarre. But my hometown is also home to a field of giant cement corn so I'm not really surprised we hosted an event such as the Wendy's pageant.

Anyway, recently we plopped some fake bunny ears on Harper's sweet little mop and I thought, if there was a Miss Bunny Ears pageant in which girls put on a set of bunny ears and competed to represent commercialized Easter, I can tell you that there would be no contest. And I think you'll agree.

But then something terrible happened and my daughter started to take the Miss Bunny Ears pageant to an entirely different level and I was reminded of a pageant-of-sorts that also involves bunny ears and partially-clothed girls and that was the end of that photo shoot and I've spent everyday since in deep prayer that my daughter's future would never ever ever have anything to do with bunny ears or pageants or partially-clothed photography. Lord have mercy, we're moving to Antartica.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My fridge stank for two whole weeks, and it still stinks.

But creating this Easter memory with my minis was so worth it.

And in case you were wondering (you probably weren't), coloring Easter eggs was the catalyst for this brilliant invention.

And I could have sworn that we colored eggs last year, but I don't have pictures to prove it. However I do have pictures from coloring eggs two years ago, and it's safe to say that I cried myself to sleep after I found these pictures.

He's not my baby anymore and it isn't fair {leaves room kicking and screaming}.