Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not Again

Adaryll and I spent 3 years in seminary in New Orleans just before Elias was born. I just went to the website of FBCNO where we were members, and I found a post from the pastor. He truly is a great writer, and I wanted to paste his thoughts for you all to read.

David Crosby 08/28/08
The cancelations are rolling in. Formal Katrina remembrances are being replaced by an unstoppable barrage of unwanted, terrifying memories. Productive work is now on hold. All eyes are on the Gulf of Mexico and the unseeing, unfeeling specter of Hurricane Gustav.
He has me churning already. His powerful winds and deadly aim at New Orleans are dredging up suppressed memories of midnight runs, stranded plans, and emotional partings.
An emergency meeting to batten down the hatches turned into a torrent of tormented remembrances. Pets are a problem. The elderly need help. Temporary office accommodations are available in Montgomery, Alabama.
The post-Katrina newcomers are staring at me, maybe a little mystified. I am waving my arms too much. My voice is strained, and my animation seems bigger than the situation calls for.
Someone voices the "no evacuation" sentiment. A Katrina survivor who fished his loved ones out of the flood jumps back in his chair, shaking his head violently. "No, sir! I'm not staying." No one knows how to escape this gaping fissure running through our collective lives.
Lunch is now the hour of dark speculation and ominous prediction. "If we flood again, that's the end for New Orleans. No one will come to help us."
Everything in me resists. I don't want to do this, not even think this.
But my mind steals inexorably to the edge of the cliff. I peer into a murky, imagined future where New Orleans has become the modern Atlantis after Gustav completes a deadly one-two punch.
Close the shutters again. Find the power drill and long screws. Cover the windows. Load the files. Fill the gas tanks. Remember how we missed the tools and computers last time. We know this routine.
Move the valuables to the second floor. Clean out the freezer. Take-what? Am I preparing for a three-day vacation or three weeks of waiting for the bowl to finally empty?
I am screaming inside-and shaking. My worst nightmare comes at me hour by hour from every quarter in vivid color with all the numbers perpetually displayed: 75 mph sustained winds, 4 mph WNW. These spinning currents are peeling off the scabs and breaking open the unhealed wounds of Katrina's beating.
My usual "tropical storm confusion" about when to say what to whom is compounded by an unshakable sense of doom gripping the back of my neck. I don't want to go there. How do I stop myself? What will this storm cost me? Everything?
Our levees seem so formidable when I push my bicycle to their crest. But they shrink to tiny scratches in the sand when viewed from these thunderheads. I feel panic. Did the Corps of Engineers fix those weak spots along the Industrial Canal? What about the MRGO?
My brother's bedrooms are full, and our son has too much on his plate. We will evacuate to Texas, my wife has decided, so she can tend to her aging father for a few days. How many days, I wonder.
Someone is singing. My heart slows down. I cannot live in this emotional quicksand. My refuge in this storm of memories is a firm faith anchored somewhere beyond government, nature, and science.
I wrench my mind back to all the familiar faces, people that I love. Here lie the real values of my life. These I can protect. My possessions may be looted, soaked or mildewed, but if my loved ones are safe, I have scarcely lost a thing. This, too, I learned from Katrina.
Back to the task at hand. Make sure we have a good plan when the Mayor blows his horn. And this time we get on the correct side of the contraflow so we can actually go to Texas.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Praying Babies

I remember the first time Elias prayed totally on his own at bedtime. I remember my eyes tearing up and recognizing how special that moment was. Elias prays so openly and regularly now, that I had almost forgotten how special that really is.
The way we started praying with each of the kids went something like this:
Mommy: Thank you
Elias: Thank you
Mommy: for family
Elias: for family
And so on and so forth. So far, Elena has only been able to do that. When I say the whole phrase, "Thank you for family", all she repeats back is "family". But tonight was different.
Tonight, Elena prayed completely on her own. It went like this:
Elena: "Dear God, Thank you for Daddy. Thank you for Elias. Thank you for Elena. Thank you for Mommy. Thank you for friends. Thank you for french fries. Thank you for froggy. Thank you for eyes. Thank you for nose. Thank you for face (as she gently rubbed the palm of her hand on my face). Thank you for birds. That one there. That one there. That one there. That one there. That one there. That one there. That one there. That one there. That one there. (pointing to a different bird each time).
Mommy: Thank you for ALL the birds in Elena's room! Amen!
Elena: Amen!

Wordless Wednesday Winner

It has to go to Adaryll for his "Uh, huh said...pot"! I can't believe I didn't see that one coming, actually! Thanks to everyone who played!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pink Mafia

Adaryll used to call our Indiana friend, Kirsten, and her daughter "The Pink Mafia". One or both of them was always wearing pink. They would be so proud to know of Elena's newfound obsession with pink.
* A few weeks ago in Ikea eating fruit: I put a piece of pineapple on the fork and Elena insisted, "No! The PINK one!" She had mango that day for the first time. I don't even know if she liked the taste, but she loved that it was pink!
* Any time I try to get her to put on her black crocs: "No! PINK ones!"
* Picking out a hairbow: "PINK one!!!" (and now she even insists that I comb her hair with the pink comb because we have two, pink and blue. The blue one might as well not exist now)
* Fixing her a cup of milk: when I open the cabinet full of sippy cups, if there is a pink one up there she exclaims, "Yes! Yes! PINK cup!!!"
* Yesterday at Elias' first Tball practice she made a new friend, Molly. Molly is 3 months older than Elena and had pink sunglasses and a pink toy cell phone. Elena continually went to Molly, laid her own red sunglasses and red toy cell phone at Molly's feet as if making an offering. They she would say "Elena turn. Pink one please."
* Today I decided to let her have juice before dinner. We almost never serve the kids juice, so this is a special thing. When I asked her if she wanted juice, she immediately explained to me. "PINK juice. No orange juice please."
And on and on and on. Seriously, I think I could keep listing examples all night long! The girl LOVES her some pink! (And deep down I am so happy about it!!! It is so much fun getting to pink her up! Even if I was a total tomboy until she was born!) Watch out world, the Pink Mafia is representing in Austin, TX!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I post the picture, you leave the caption in the comments section.
If you are scratching your head confused today, go back to the Aug 16th post called "Lighten Up". These are the actual pots & pans referenced there. :) And since it would be tacky for the receiver of such a gift to post a funny blog about it on her site, we decided to do it here. Throw us a bone, folks- Leave a funny caption- she could use a good laugh!


Are you sick of hearing about Kindergarten yet? I bet some of you couldn't wait for the first day of school just so that I would stop talking about it!
Today was the big first day, and Elias did great. I almost logged on when my alarm went off this morning to blog Observation #1 about Kindergarten: getting up before the sun really sucks. But then I wasn't sure it was really appropriate to say "sucks" on your blog when you are a pastor's wife. So I decided to save it until later today, slide it into a longer post, and hope you didn't notice. :)
I woke Elias up at 7am (yikes!) and he groggily said, "I am so excited!" Then he woke up a little more and sat up and said, "Today is my first day of Kindergarten! I have been waiting for this day all summer!" He went potty, got dressed, let me fix his hair, and came downstairs to eat breakfast. At 7:20 I went in to get Elena up (yikes even more! I don't think I have ever gotten her up before 8:15am unless we were catching an early flight somewhere!). I told her we had to take Elias to school and she said, "No, Elena big girl school." I got her dressed and fixed her hair and we were in the car at 8:30 exactly- just as planned! But I had forgotten her cup of milk I had poured and stuck back in the fridge at 6:30am when I got up. So back into the house I went, unlocked both locks, unset the alarm, grabbed the milk, set the alarm again, locked the locks again. We were only 2 minutes behind planned schedule!
It took 22 minutes to get to school though (normally only a 12 minute drive) because of all the school zones and crazy traffic of parents taking their kids to the 3 schools I pass on the way. Who are these people, anyway? Don't they know I have to get my kid to school?? :) We were still there with about 5 minutes to spare.
Adaryll met us in the parking lot and we all walked in together. We found Elias' seat and kissed him goodbye. It felt like dropping him off for Sunday school- totally not a big deal! (I think the finality of it will hit after several days of him being gone from 8-3, but since this first week is half days it just wasn't a big thing). Then Adaryll, Elena and I headed down to the Boo-Hoo or Woo-Hoo Breakfast they had for the Kindergarten parents. There was tons of food and kleenex and they had the tables set up with the teachers' names so you could sit with the parents of kids in your class. It was nice to meet and re-meet some of them. It is going to take me a while to learn all the names because there are 16 kids in the class! It was funny to see how some moms were really having a hard time, others celebrating, and others (like me) just okay with it all.
Then Elena and I came home and prepared a roast and veggies for dinner, worked on her learning her colors, played a game, and watched a show on TV. Before we knew it, it was time to go back and pick him up!
We went to McDonalds to pick up lunch on the way home. I got a great play-by-play of what all went on the first day including: morning board, moving silly ways while counting up to a number Ms. Horvath pointed to, a story about Samuel and Eli, coloring, snack, recess outside on the playground, and receiving awards for completing their first day. Elena was in bed for nap by 12:30 and Elias and I are soon to follow! Overall, I think it was a great first day!

Monday, August 25, 2008

How Can That Be?

Tomorrow is the big day- Elias starts Kindergarten!!! Tonight I am excited, so we will see if the sadness returns in the morning! I kind of realized today though that it isn't really sadness. It's really more disbelief. How is it possible that my 6 pound, 5 ounce wrinkled up baby boy can be starting Kindergarten? Really, how can that be??? It just doesn't seem possible that all of that was almost 6 years ago! Where has the time gone? Can we make it stop?! Ok, I don't really want it to stop. And I have no regrets- I have relished the time I have had with him at home and he is ready to be a school boy now!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Lesson In Self Control

Sunday, as I got ready for church, I could hear "Jesus loves me, this I know" being sung in Elena's baby monitor. We actually have a video monitor with a camera in each kid's room, so I turned it on and ran to get my digital camera to record her. By the time I found it, she had stopped singing. What I saw, instead, was a lesson in self control. (Remember, we have a "do not get out of bed" rule at the Jordan house, and Elena hasn't yet broken that rule)

Ketchup By The Handful

The kids had hotdogs for dinner tonight. Once Elena's hotdog was gone, she proceeded to eat the rest of the ketchup...with her hands. It made for some great pics. Especially because all she was wearing was the bloomers from her pretty white chuch dress (hello- NOT feeding a 2 year old ketchup in a white baby Gap dress, even if it was a hand-me-down!!!) and a lei. Aren't you hungry for ketchup now?!

The Big Yellow Bus Is Just Around The Corner

Several years ago, I think even before I had Elena, I received an email from a friend whose youngest had just started Kindergarten. Now this friend is one of those moms who I admire immensely- she always seems to have the right things to say to her kids and communicates it with the right attitude. One of the things I have heard her tell her kids dozens of times is "People are more important than things" or "We love people more than things". It's just one of the many, many take-aways I have had from being able to watch her as a mom.
Back to the email. She had dropped off all 3 of her kids at school that day for the very first time. She talked about how her sweet son put one hand on her cheek and thanked her for being the best Mommy and for loving him just the right way. And how then she stood and walked out of his Kindergarten room with tears in her eyes. She went home and opened up the windows of the house and noticed that never, in the years since she had become a Mom, had her house been more empty and quiet. So with the curtains blowing in the breeze, she began to write her email.
She sent the email to me and 3 or 4 others of us that had kids around age 2 or 3 at the time. She specified that she wasn't writing to make us sad or anxious about what was coming our way, but that she just wanted us to embrace the time we had with our kids. Not take it for granted that they are home with us and that we get to stay home with them! She closed her email with, "The big yellow bus is just around the corner. Love, Martha"
Now, Elias isn't going to be riding a big yellow bus, but the principle still applies. I am realizing today that tomorrow is my very last full day with him before he is a school-boy. I truly am excited for him in so many ways. And I am excited for some of the new roles I will have as his Mom. But part of me is kind of mourning the end of an era. There are so many things that will change as a result of him being in school. And I am not always the best when it comes to change. Pray for me this week- my sweet baby boy is officially growing up, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Winner

The winner for this week is my sister, April (who informed me that she was just going to enter as many times as she could to increase her chances of winning- lol!) Sadly, this comment is actually true:
W: "You're so messy!"
E: "No, you're the messy one."
W: "No, no, no! My highchair is messy and my playroom is messy, but I am not messy. Sometimes you have, like, food and stuff in your hair. That's messy, cuz!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Can't Wait For Kindergarten, Mommy!

Last night Elias and talked about Kindergarten while we snuggled in his red chair before bed. I explained to him that each morning Monday through Friday I would wake him up, he would get dressed and eat breakfast, and then I would take him to school. Then I told him he would have lunch at school and then have more school, and that I would come get him after Elena's nap. His eyes got really wide and he said, "So I am going to have morning school AND afternoon school?!" He was pretty excited. We talked about all the different things he would get to do at school like dictation, art, reading, Spanish, science, PE, music, etc. Finally, he said to me, "I can't wait to be in Kindergarten, Mommy!" I told him how excited I was for him too (although inside I am mourning the fact that, in reality, he is going to be spending as much or more awake time at school than he will be with me!). Then he said to me, "I can't wait to be a grown-up and choose to be an American Gladiator and pound those obstacle courses!"
Here are his "big boy starting school" pics. So now we can vote like we did for Elena's- which one is your favorite?

Modeling Shoot

Here are some of the proofs from a shoot that the kids did with a local modeling agency a few weeks ago...