Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crustless Bread

A few years ago my littlest sister married a free-spirited, bright and independent musician. Now he's working his way into Dental school, supporting a daughter and is maybe a little more care-worn than he was in those easy-going days of their courtship. But what I love about my bro-in-law is that he hasn't let all his dreams die as they sometimes do when reality kicks in.

For his birthday this year he recorded one of his songs. My little sister sang back-up.

I wanted to share the song with you. But Blogger wouldn't let me insert a lone .wav file. The only way I could figure out how to add the song to my blog was through a quick time movie file. But imovie wouldn't let me make a movie with just a song and no images so I randomly started adding photos.

After a while I realized I was adding pictures of Spouse. And then I started thinking about Spouse. How he used to have lots of dreams too. Some of them we've made happen (architecture!) (babies!) (me!), but some of them he has silently left behind as reality has kicked in.

We've been married 12 years. I've known him since he was 15. We've been though a lot. Mostly happy times.

As I watched this little movie I made, I noticed that my pictures of him pretty much tell the story of Spouse. He is funny. He works hard. He is a great dad. He is my best friend. He's smart. He draws and thinks and sketches. He prays. He takes us to church every Sunday. He calls me from work. He is happy for me when I get away from the house and kids for a while. He solves problems. He doesn't seem to notice all my faults. Or my wrinkles.

Enjoy the movie and the song. Let's give it up for my bro-in-law and for Spouse! Let's give it up for the men who leave some dreams behind.

What dreams have you or your spouse left behind?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Great American Hero

#1's big 2nd grade Social Studies project is called "Great Americans." It involves a month of reading and writing about the chosen great American and it culminates with a big poster and presentation in March. It's a big deal. Apparently there was an approved list of great Americans the student could choose from, which included names like Ben Franklin, Martin Luther King, Obama and ... J. K. Rowling. Which is exactly who #1 chose.

She was so excited to study J.K. Rowling, I hated bursting her bubble. "J.K. Rowling is awesome, but she's actually not American."

"Huh? She's not? No, I guess she's not, huh? Why was she on the great Americans list?"

I didn't have an answer for her. But we did talk about other possibilities for who #1 could study.
"All the good ones are taken, " she sighed. "I really wanted to do J.K. Rowling. Maybe I could do a different writer?"

Yes! #1 is my daughter! I immediately envisioned us reading Little Women together or pouring over William Carlos Williams poems late into the night.

"Sure! There's Wallace Stegner or Willa Cather. Those are great American writers. This will be so fun!!! I can help you research them and I know a really good book about..."

"Judy Blume. I want to do Judy Blume."


"Yea, Judy Blume. You know, Superfudge?"

Trying to recover from fleeting euphoric hope, now dashed, I said, "Ok. Sure I'm sure she will be a fun American writer to study."

I emailed her teacher and although Judy Blume was not on the approved list of great Americans, he would allow it since the J.K. Rowling thing was his fault in the first place.

So last night, armed with the Judy Blume biography she found in her school library, #1 started her writing homework. Write ten interesting facts about your great American.

#1 had already covered the basics. Where and when she was born... #1 still needed about 8 facts, so I picked up her biography and started scanning the pages.

About halfway through the book, I looked at #1, suppressing my alarm. "So did you read this book?"


"The whole thing?"


"Did you understand everything?"

"I think so."

"Do you understand what this word means? Or this word?" Pointing to the words, menstruate and sexuality.

"Not really."

Did you know that some of Judy Blume's books were banned from school libraries because of their sexual content?


It's going to be a long month.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to turn 6 in style

Last week on this very day, the children and I rode our bikes to a nearby park to meet up with some friends. It was an "early release" day at school, so the park was crawling with wildly happy kids. #2 and I started throwing the football back and forth and it wasn't long before all the boys in the vicinity gravitated to us and wanted in on the football action.

This is exactly the type of situation #2 thrives in. Lots of boys, lots of energy, new friends and some sort of ball. It was #2's idea to take it to the next level. "Hey! Come and wrestle me!" He caught a ball and took off running, shrieking with laughter.

The boys were tackling each other now and loving it. They were rolling in dirt and grass, wrestling the ball away from each other, laughing.

I think you know where this is going.

Straight to the orthopedist.

The Doctor asked, "What happened buddy?"

"Playing football and I got my finger stepped on."

"How old are you?"


Looking over his glasses, he scanned #2 up and down, sizing him up, "How have you not been in here yet?"

#2 is a big, active boy who likes to play hard (and is often clumsy). It's a miracle he's kept his bones intact for five whole years.

As if a broken bone weren't enough action for this boy, here is another milestone #2 crossed this past week:

Ripped the bloody tooth from his gums with one hand. The other had pushing me away, not wanting any help.

If you looked up the definition of "six year old boy" in the dictionary here is the picture you'll find:

Happy Birthday Buster!