Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

He absolutely, positively was not listening. Not obeying me in the least! In sheer irritation I said to Warren, “You’re this close,” indicating with my thumb and pointer finger the teeny amount of space he had, “to staying home while Dad just goes to the picnic without us.”

In a high pitched, sing-songy, happy voice he countered, “I’m this close,” with an even shorter distance between his fingers.

So much for keeping a straight, authoritative face.

Celebrate the Mundane!

We all have talents. Some of them grand, like singing, playing the piano, or quilting. Others more quiet like being the one friend that people can turn to for advice, or having the ability to put a smile on someone’s face at any given time.

But I’d like to take a moment to recognize all those who have talents of the more unexceptional, the more trivial nature. Those of you who can load the dishwasher in record time, or those that pump gas without spilling a single drop. Kudos to you!

I, myself, am a queen at organizing the refrigerator. Not to toot my own horn too much, but if it requires packing it in, I can make it work! Chuck an old container of moldy beans and a wilting, limp stalk of celery and voilá! I know it’s from all of those days wasted as a teenager playing “Tetris” on the Nintendo. Perhaps it’s served it’s purpose after all.

So, what about you? What are your hidden mundane talents?

The Shiggles

Warren was cold this morning. I guess that extra glass of milk really did him in.

“Ooooo, I’m cold, Mama! Ooooo!”

Sure enough there were goosebumps on his arms. He noticed them, too.

“Dad, when the goosebumps come, why do I get shiggles?”

We think he was going for “shivers,” but perhaps I just need to broaden my vocabulary.

Negotiations

We let Warren have one souvenir from our trip to Disneyland. Of all the things he could have chosen, he insisted on a Chevron toy collectible car. You know, like the kind you can get at a Chevron gas station. Any Chevron gas station. He saw it as we came out of the Autopia ride for the umpteenth time and no other amazing Disney-themed toy was gonna change his mind. That was the winner.

Since it’s a collectible, it came with a booklet describing the newly purchased car, and with an even larger booklet listing all of the additional cars and paraphernalia one could possibly buy.

After looking the booklets over for awhile, he decided he wanted to get a car T-shirt. Colin explained that you can’t just go out and buy everything you want. You have to do things to earn them, like doing chores.

Yes, chores he knows. We have a chore chart system set up for him, complete with a reward of his (limited) choice at the end. You could see the light switch on:

“Dad, what if I washed the dishes? Then I could get this car T-shirt.”

“Dad, maybe I could sweep the floor and get all the cars!”

“What if I set the table? Go to the grocery store?”

A brilliant plan. Who knew he excelled in the art of negotiation?

It’s Autumntime, It’s Autumntime…

Except the leaves aren’t really falling down here. But that’s not stopping me from getting in the mood for fall festivities. Especially when it comes to food!

One dish, in particular, takes me back to our first autumn in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. The crisp air and long shadows while walking down E. 53rd Street, golds and deep reds of the leaves outside our high rise apartment window, wood smoke just beginning to make a regular appearance out of old brownstone chimneys… you could feel the impending harshness of winter start to creep its way in and, by the time Halloween came around, the cold air called out for stews, soups, and ciders.

Continue reading It’s Autumntime, It’s Autumntime…

Oh, The Anticipation!

Warren was really looking forward to our trip to Disneyland. The night before we went we slept at my parents’ house so we could be a little closer the next morning. It’s always tricky getting your kid to sleep somewhere other than his own bed. Couple that with the excitement of going to a major theme park for the first time and you’ve got a 3-year-old bouncing off the walls.

“Dad, I can’t stop laughing. Should I stop laughing?”

“Yeah, you should probably stop laughing so you can go to sleep.”

Thankfully, he did! I bet he went to sleep with a smile on his face. I know I did.

The Magic Kingdom

Toontown
Toontown

We took Warren to Disneyland for the first time yesterday. He didn’t know what hit him. From the parking lot tram ride to the drenching drop of Splash Mountain, Renny walked around in a sort of dazed euphoria. A three-year-old’s dream come true: Mickey, Goofy, and all the gang, talking, dancing, and cavorting just steps away. It was definitely a different experience taking my own child and watching through his eyes.

Which is probably why I started seeing those “kiddie rides” in a new light. Call me a stick-in-the-mud but I thought they were over-stimulating and more than a little frightening! Crazy lights, things jumping out, and noise, noise, noise. I know that Renny felt the same way because he covered his ears and eyes during most of them. Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin was the wildest one by far. A bunch of bad news weasels pouring toxic waste “DIP” around your car and Roger Rabbit running around in a frenzy?

“That one was scary, Mama.”

Autopia
Autopia

Indeed it was. But I guess that’s part of the fun, right?

However, Colin is the master of getting Warren to do things that he would normally shy away from. So, we were able to convince him to go on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Star Tours, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh before he caught on to us.

The hit of the day: Autopia. We went on at least 3 times! He loved being able to steer the car, even if Colin and I had to push down on the gas pedal for him. Not an easy task, I tell you!

Dumbo, the Teacups, the Rocketships, and the train around the park were also favorites. Believe it or not he loved Gadget’s Roller Coaster in Toontown so much that he asked to go on it again… and again… and again.

Luckily for us the park was pretty empty and it was an absolutely beautiful day– blue skies, and a very warm sun. Hooboy! Was it hot!

Teacups
Teacups

We ended the day with the “Parade of a Million Dreams,” which we watched from the sidelines of Main Street. Such a fun way to cap off the whole Disneyland experience.

He was a trooper. The whole day, from 10 to 8, walking around, sans stroller. As you’d expect he crashed in the car as soon as we got on the freeway. He’ll be talking about this day for awhile!

I Heart Gotham City

Well, the city behind the Hollywood version, that is. Colin and I finally got to see “Dark Knight” this week. Three months later, yes, but at least we still caught it in the theater! Thanks Mom and Dad for making it possible!

As our Windy City friends know, all of the outdoor city scenes were filmed in Chicago. The grand vistas of Gotham’s downtown: Chicago’s amazing architecture. The multi-leveled streets and tunnels: S. Columbus and W. Wacker Drives. Batman speeding through a glass-walled shopping area on his motorcycle: the underground walkway system that’s part of Metra’s Randolph Street station. Some of the final scenes take place pretty close to the movie theater where we would have seen this if we still lived there.

We enjoyed the movie for the story, of course. But the real thrill came from seeing parts of a city where we spent three wonderful years of our life. A city that we absolutely love. A city we still think of as home.

I’m so glad we finally got to see this amazing movie. But it’s made me miss Chicago and our friends there a little bit more.

Waiting to Adopt

Many of you have asked how our adoption process is going this second time around. The answer: slowly. What a different experience this one has been. With Warren, there was no waiting. Before we had even finished the paper work, we were chosen and life with our little son began.

Not so this time. We’ve been on “the waiting list” for almost a year now and, really, we’ve had relatively no prospects over the last 12 months. Of course we are still faithful that it will work out, but lately I’ve been more than a little discouraged.

It’s funny how trials in your life work, isn’t it? Before we welcomed Warren into our family we went forward with the adoption process knowing it was time but thinking it wouldn’t bother us if we had to wait a long time for it to happen. Boom. We get Renny (for which, of course, we are beyond grateful). Now, we are anxious to add to our family, hoping it will happen any minute, and all we can do is wait, wait, and wait some more. I know that there are lessons to be learned here, just as there were the first time. The biggest lesson being that things do not happen according to our time line but as the Lord sees is best for us. Oh, I hope that I can do more than just acknowledge this truth but that I can let it soak into my thoughts and attitude, as well.

But some good news, we hope. Just recently we were contacted by our caseworker about a birth mom in New Mexico who is four months along. We don’t know if this will go anywhere, but it has been such a boost to our testimonies to know that we have not been forgotten. Our Father in Heaven truly is mindful of our desires.

Thank you, all of you, for your love and concern, your support, your prayers. What strength it gives us.

Reflections on our family's joys & trials