Keeping Up With Shoes

Put your shoes in your room.

Put your jacket where it goes.

These are two rules in my house. It has been the rules for several years. Despite this being a long-standing rule, it often goes forgotten or ignored. I often remind the boys when we get home, “If you take off your jacket or shoes be sure to put them where they go.” Yet inevitably one or both will take off their shoes in the living room and toss their jacket on the couch or, worse, the floor. “Finn, take your shoes to room.” “Caden, come get your shoes out of the living room.” These are near daily occurrences.

These rules are rules for a reason, the primary reason being so that when it is time to leave our house we can easily find shoes and coats to expedite leaving. Since we are often either right on time or running late it’s essential that shoes and jackets be easy and quick to locate and throw on.

These are rules so that mornings like the one that occurred today don’t happen.

So — at the appointed time to leave this morning, Caden couldn’t find his shoes. He looked for them to no avail. I exhausted the list of places where shoes usually are when they’re not in his room — in the living room next to the couch, under the kitchen table, in the back play room, in his brother’s room, in the bathroom, under the train table, in the car — and resorted to “You’ll just have to wear your old shoes.” I spent 15 minutes searching for them, and at some point the search had to stop and we had to go on with our day.

Note: Now I woke up early today — 5:45 — so I could exercise before work (which I did) and get Finn up early (which I did) so he would not be rushed for the bus (which he wasn’t) and so he could play a little on the computer before school (which he did) and have myself and Caden ready to leave as soon as the bus came (which we did) so I could make it to work by 8 and get off work at 4. This morning was going extremely well until now. The MIA shoes were throwing a serious cramp in my day. Oh, just wait. It gets better.

So, I place on Caden’s feet, while he is sitting in the car enjoying a warm Toaster Strudel and sipping on CapriSun, “old shoes” with the promise to resume the search for his shoes when we return home this evening.

I drive the 30 minutes to his preschool where we get out to go in and he starts crying and he kicks off a shoe. “It hurts my foot,” he whines. Sigh. “Well, Caden, I’m not sure what to tell you baby. We couldn’t find your shoes, these are the only shoes we have, you’re going to have to wear them.” He’s not buying it and  I can tell this isn’t going to work. He’s not going to be able to wear these shoes today without complaining about them hurting and then taking them off constantly, and I realized that if I sent him to school in these shoes I WAS setting up some innocent preschool teacher and Caden for a horribly bad day.

So after getting mad and giving Caden an earful about how frustrating it is that he doesn’t keep his shoes in his room like I ask, I took a few deep breaths. I told myself he’s 5, he didn’t do it on purpose, yes he knows the rule and doesn’t follow it but we’ll just have to find a better way to get it through to him, etc.

And then I took him to Target and bought new shoes.

So now I want to know — what would you do if this happened to you? Would you buy new shoes? Would you make him wear the ones that hurt? Would you have made him go the day in socks only, leaving the preschool teacher to deal with all sorts of complaints but hoping that would make an impression and teach him not to lose his shoes again? Would you not have left the house in the first place until the shoes were found? How do all you moms out there keep up with your kids shoes??




Am I Crazy?

Groupon offered a half-price skydiving deal on Friday, and skydiving is one of those things on David’s bucket list. He’s talked about wanting to skydive since last year, and in one of these conversations the question was posed about me, would I ever skydive, and my response was something like “with you I would.”

Sweet, huh?

Well, Friday was the day to put my money where my mouth was. You can’t beat 1/2 off, and the certificate is good for up to a year so plenty of time to work up the courage to do it.

Is it something I would do on my own? Probably not. Is it something that would be a fun experience to share with each other? Yes. Am I terrified at the thought of standing on the edge of a plane 14,000 feet in the air and choosing to fall out? Yes. Will I regret not doing it when I’m standing on the ground while he does it and when he talks about it and I have no clue what he just experienced? Yes. Will I be glad, after, that we go skydiving, we shared that “first” together? Yes.

So I bit the bullet and bought the deal.

Oh my.

This should be interesting.

Can You Handle It?

The thought process that lead to this tweet started with the Beth Moore book, So Long Insecurity that I’ve been reading off and on for months. She was talking about how it can be bad for us in our romantic relationships to know too much about each other’s past relationships. While some sharing is necessary and helpful, wanting to know too much is rooted in insecurity because you’re comparing yourself to the former person and seeing how you measure up vs. being confident about yourself. In the process of explaining that, Moore compared that quest to Eve’s original sin, the desire to know more, the desire to know things we weren’t intended to know or that we don’t need to know, “the knowledge of good and evil.” And just like Eve, we can’t handle it. But we don’t know that until it’s too late. God knows that we can’t handle that knowledge so he warns us not to go there.

That got me to thinking about the old adage, “God will never give you more than you can handle,” because if we have the ability to give ourselves too much knowledge than we can handle, then maybe we have the ability to give ourselves too much turmoil than we can handle too. There’s example after example after example of people in Scriptures who have more than they can handle going on. Best I can tell, that adage is an application of I Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

The way I read it, the verse has been taken out of context in that it isn’t talking about problems or stress like we apply it to, but specifically to temptation. God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear doesn’t mean we won’t have difficulties in life that are too hard to manage on our own. God may allow or inflict them on us, for reasons only He knows unless He chooses to reveal them to us. But we are also perfectly capable of — and do — bringing on our share of “more than we can bear” problems. Like Beth talked about with finding out too much about things we don’t need to know — we are capable of finding out information that is more than we can handle. I think we are also capable of getting ourselves into trouble all on our own. We don’t need help to cause problems. We create plenty all by ourselves. And sometimes those problems may actually be more than we can take, but that doesn’t necessarily mean God did it to us. Maybe we did it to ourselves.

Perhaps when we dismiss away some of the issues we face in life with “God will never give you more than you can handle” we are just trying to make ourselves feel better, and we end up robbing ourselves of taking responsibility for our own attitudes and actions that may have got us into a “more than I can handle” spot to begin with. Ultimately, I fear we may end up missing out on the blessing of valuable lesson, too.

Getting My Life Back

It really happened. The book is finished. And when I say finished, I mean written. We sent the book to the publisher today to start the next part of the process — reviews, edits, and the like.

But, whew, what a relief, to have the hardest part behind us.

It turns out, it’s a lot of work to write a book. We spent months and months doing research. And then more months weaving all of that research into stories and then stringing the stories together to tell one, cohesive tale. Then we had to read it and determine the gaps and the things that needed smoothing out and then fix what needed fixin’. Images, captions, bibliography, preface, dedication, acknowledgements …. As I said, there’s a lot of work that goes into a book. It takes late hours and long weekends and caffeine.

The boys have been patient beyond measure, but I know they’re thankful too.

And now it’s done. Now I/we have our life back. So what are we going to do with it?

David blogged all the things things he’s going to do when the book is done a few days ago, and I read his post and got excited. One, because one of the things he’s going to do is take me on a date. I like dates! But then I started imagining all of the things I would do with the free time and making my own list, some of which are the same as his, some aren’t.

Get the Christmas tree out of my house. And while I’m at it, the lights off the outside of the house too.

Clean out my car. In the boys’ floorboard are clothes, coats, gloves, trash, art, toys. It’s time for it all to go!

Sleep. My sleep deficit is too large to catch up but if I can just not go further in debt by going to bed at reasonable time every night my ability to do all these other things and do them in a good mood (being tired makes me more on edge) would be greatly increased!

Finish the spring cleaning project I started in fall. This means call the charity to come pick up the boxes in the garage that are full of stuff I’m getting rid of, and keep cleaning out more stuff. As part of this I want my dining room to be a dining room so the desk/train table/junk corner in there will have to find new homes.

Knit. I have this large basket of beautiful purple and red, and blue and brown yarns just begging to be made into beautiful scarves. Knitting, fortunately, is one of those things I can do while, say, watching a movie.

Catch up (and keep up) on laundry. There have been too many occasions lately where I’m discovering that I or one of the boys are out of a certain clean laundry item and I’m washing the night before what needs to be worn the next day. It’s time for baskets of unfolded laundry to disappear too.

Walk/run on the treadmill. There’s a 5k in April I’m considering doing to help with the weight loss and give me an attainable goal to work toward. The key to being able to walk or run or any exercise is getting enough sleep that I can walk/run in the morning before the boys get up.

Read. There are several dozen books on my “to read” list. I don’t even know what they all are they’re so many. Fiction, non-fiction, spiritual … so many. Fortunately, David likes to read too so his description of a fun afternoon, sitting at the coffee shop together reading, sounds perfect!

Watch movies. Apparently David has a stack of movies for us to watch, and I make sneak in a few of my own movies into his stack too. ;)

*By finished I mean, that it’s written, but it will now undergo a technical review, a grammar/style edit, and then one last look-over before going to press next year. So when I say “finished” I mean the hard part, the writing, is finished. Editing and revisions are still to come.

Blame it on the Brunette

Remember this girl that I said I needed (need being relative)?

Well, I got her. I got her for my birthday from David and the boys.

And I got all her little accessories too.

Then I saw that they had this girl.

And I liked this girl better because she’s more like me in that we share the same hair color.

So I got her too, with the idea that I’d take the blonde Barbie back. But now I’m kind’ve inclined to keep them both. Plus, I like blonde Barbie’s dress better and if I decide to open them I may pull a switch-a-roo with their dresses.

Which leads me to the dilemma. I want to take them out and set them up all cute-like at a little desk with their accessories, but I don’t have a place to do that. Ideally, I’d set them up at work because that would be where it would be most relevant and most appreciated by me and others. But an even bigger reason than that is I don’t want Barbie’s scarf and bracelets and puppy to end up in Caden’s room mixed in with all the action figure helmets, light sabers and tiny M16’s. Or worse yet, Anakin trying to sport Barbie’s killer heels.

Why the knight in shining armor gets dumped on (via Rise&Converge)

I read this amazing blog post this morning, by my high school yearbook editor, on dealing with reality. I particularly embrace Laura’s point that you can’t save someone from themselves, and that you can’t take away their (or your own) “devastating consequences.”

Despite their noblest intentions, Andrew and Thurston ultimately can’t save either woman from themselves. Andrew can’t cure Lucy of her mental illness. Thurston can’t take away the devastating consequences of Linnea’s choice. … Read More

via Rise&Converge

So what does one do? There’s no simple answer, to be sure. I’m in the midst of situations where both of those statements apply, and my approach is to keep going. The cards have been dealt, play with the hand you’ve got. Are there some things in life that we hoped would play out differently? Of course. Is letting those things control us or get us down or stop us from living the appropriate response? I don’t think so. We could go round and round about what should’ve been done or would’ve been nice to have happened, but none of that changes reality. So here’s the reality of the situation. Now what?

Movie Review: Country Strong

I saw Country Strong this weekend.

I saw Country Strong this weekend, while in the Country Music Capitol Nashville Tennessee, while wearing cowgirl boots, the day after having been at a country music songer/songwriter concert. Those seemingly extraneous details actually added quite a bit for me to the Country Strong experience. At one point, a concert in the movie was so real and so good that I felt the urge to applaud. It felt like an extension, almost, of the previous night’s experience watching country music writers perform and talk about their experiences as country musicians to now see the story of someone in that industry played out before me.

I enjoyed the movie, the plot, the actors, the acting, the scenes, etc., but the star of the show in a movie like this, a movie about music and musicians, is the music, is the soundtrack. I’ve had “Give In To Me” and “Timing is Everything” in my head and playing in my iTunes all week. I couldn’t find the soundtrack in stores so I ordered the Country Strong: Original Motion Picture soundtrack on Amazon. But it hasn’t arrived yet or I’d have the whole thing memorized by now, I’m convinced. In the mean time I purchased a few of the movie version tracks from the Country Song More Music from the Motion Picture album on iTunes.

I feel about Country Song the same way I felt about Walk the Line, the Johnny and June story. I was captivated by the music and the story and especially the actors’ singing. I’m always impressed in films when the actors — Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line and Gwyneth Paltrow in Duets and now Country Strong — aren’t singers but they sing as part of playing a role. That, to me, carries more meaning and depth into the role than if the producers had hired a singer for a singing role.

An ironic point along those lines with Country Strong is that in this movie the actors sing and the singer acts. Country singer Tim McGraw plays a leading role in the film but doesn’t sing in the movie at all, either live or a song of his in the background, the exception being the closing credits during which is played his and Faith’s “Me and Tennessee.” (He’s married to country singer Faith Hill.) I enjoy more seeing an actor expanding their talents into singing and thus singing as part of a role than I do a Miley Cyrus or Mandy Moore type trying to act and then having their songs showcased as part of the movie. Maybe it’s because in the things I’ve seen the actors have done a better job at singing for their roles than musicians have done at acting. For some reason seeing Reese or Gwyneth and now Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester sing in a movie is more “real” because they’re using their talents as an actor to now act convincingly as a musician, including singing the part.

The clip above was a lot like a scene from Walk the Line — in fact, I leaned over to David during the movie and said “that is so Johnny-and-June from Walk the Line” — and right now it’s my favorite song/scene.