Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ch-ch-changes! Or, simply put, WAHOOOOOOO!!!!

We huddled around my laptop, with it's stinkin' stop-go almost live coverage of yesterday's amazing events, and my eyes kept ping-ponging between my children and my President. And then I would cry and laugh and do a little dance that was no where near as graceful as the Obamas' fancy footwork at the Neighborhood Ball.

Just before bed, the boys and I sat down to write letters of congratulations to the 44th President of the United States of America.

"I am a little worried about him," Noah said as we sat along the coffee table. "He didn't smile much today."

"It is a big responsibility. He has a whole lot of work that he has to do now. I think we saw the weight of that today," I responded.

It was one of those moments when I realized that Noah is growing up. He did not ask "what work?" He did not look perplexed at the notion of it being a job that comes with heavy burdens.

There was an understanding in his silence, a sense of that strange emotion that happens when hope and fear collide.

He took out his pencil and wrote a simple, matter of fact letter. It included a line of congratulations. A vote of confidence. A laundry list of what he would like to see accomplished (1. end war 2. help more people who really need it 3. build better schools-- and by that I don't mean actual buildings). Thank you, my son added, for being who you are.

Max, at four, was to the point in his scribble/draw/dictation:
"I am glad you won (*in the spirit of the day, mom edited out the 'and beat that old McCain...,' and also the 'did you ever see the Palin rap from that late night tv show?). I hope someday we can ride the subway together, because it is the most funest thing to do in Washington, DC. Trust me. I did it before. Love, Max"

And as I continued to cry and laugh and get up to dance, I wrote this:

Dear President Obama,

Today, I sat with my children and listened to you as you accepted your position as leader of our nation. Outside, the blue sky and white snow seemed to reflect, one off the other, so that our yard was filled with light. Inside, my three young ones gathered around my lap, each smiling, and cheering and watching with unmistakable trust and joy as they listened to your words of hope, your call to action, your celebration of living a new dawn, a new day.

Tonight, I can only say thank you. Thank you, Mr. President, for giving us back our country, and even more than that, thank you for expecting more from all of us. I am a mother, and so to know that the leader of our country is a man who values the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental needs of all the world’s children; it fills me with gratitude and a renewed sense of responsibility. Thank you, Mr. President, for being someone that will continue to inspire and engage my children as they grow and learn about service, ethics, and following dreams.

All the best to you,

A new day.
A new day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crafting while we wait for the whole world to change (in less than 24 hours!)

Okay, just look what my Max made for a friend who is having a baby:

I mean, can you get any cuter?

My craft-driven resolutions are actually producing things. Okay. One thing.

But still.

I’m feeling very ants-in-my-pants today, awaiting the big, big, big day tomorrow. This morning, we gathered around my computer and listened to MLK’s famous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Monument.

The night before, Noah and I talked about Dr. King and the power of his actions, his words, his dreams. We talked about how Noah sat on the floor of the Lincoln Memorial two years ago, how at seven he had been awe struck by the writing etched into the walls.

“You whispered, ‘This was a great man, mama. I hope other great men have come here to see this,’” I told him.

He smiled, and nodded, as I went on to connect the dots.

I’m honestly too excited to say much more. We’ll be gathering at my mom’s tomorrow at noon (darn that no tv thing!) to watch history in the making. Noah will be home from school, and will no doubt sit beside me, holding my hand and saying something wonderful about change and hope and great men and their words.

2009, it is a wonderful year for beginnings.

Oh, and speaking of beginnings (nice segue, no?) I wrote about the beginning of my parenting resolutions for the year over here. And I mention Yetis, Luke Skywalker, and snowshoes, and if that isn’t a reason to read, I don’t know what is. Come visit. And comment, just because you are great like that.

I’ll be back tomorrow, celebrating. Big time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yule balls are replaced with yarn balls: welcome 2009.

There is a ball of yarn with two knitting needles sticking out, like hair pins, lying next to my great aunt’s secretary in my living room. They have been there since last night, when, after two hours of attempting to teach myself to knit via YouTube, they got tossed, er, hurled across the room.

Knitting is a New Year’s resolution. As is learning embroidery, and how to sew, and how to bake more varieties of bread so I never have to buy a store loaf again. Unlike my good friend Sus, however, I am not so good at keeping resolutions.

This week, I bundled up with Lizzie and braved the cold just long enough two hit up the two craft stores in our area. I bought needles and thread, hoops and yarn, wool felt squares and fabric printer paper. It’s like I’ve become possessed by the crafting demon (which, as I type this, I am picturing as having a giant thimble head and those weird scrapbook scissors for arms). Partly, I will admit, I have been bitten by the creativity bug a-la Amanda Soule, both because of her blog and her amazing little book The Creative Family. The truth is, I find myself fighting the urge to make every single project she describes. By next week.


When I walked back into my house after my crafting spree, my arms full of batting and stuffing, fabric and enthusiasm, Justin looked at me in that head-cocked, here-we-go-again way.

“What?!” I said, with righteousness oozing from my lightened wallet.

“Nothing, nothing,” he responded. And busied himself with unloading the dishwasher.

I know what the look was, however, because it happens every January, when I spark up a bunch if important resolutions: i.e. “I must buy everything else I need for yoga because I am going to get serious about making time for me to practice at home now” (blankets and blocks are currently collecting dust in my closet); I am going to teach Noah everything there is to know about Shakespeare (kids Shakespeare books were just rediscovered in my quest to create a closet just for, uh, crafts); I am going to get nifty gadgets and read great books about organization and home management (oh, bother, I don’t even know where that stuff went). You get the idea.

So I get why there is some, um, doubt when it comes to my ability to stick to these silly little resolutions. Except for one thing: I need them. It occurred to me, during the whole if-you-rub-a-neti-pot-will-a-genie-appear plague weeks at our house, that I was amazingly happy to not be running around, on this committee or that one, or spending oodles of energy outside our four walls (although a little fresh air would have been nice). And because of that, I’ve cut. And cut. And cut some more. I needed the space to just be with Justin and our three little people

—whom I am always with, but not with, if that makes sense—and to get back to that basic love of sharing time, and discovery, with my family.

Enter knitting and all the rest. I still need something to do for me, some time to sneak in a project or create something new, and these artistic (or not-so artistic, if you look at my attempts) outlets just may fit the bill. I am envisioning nights by the fire: baby asleep, boys tucked into their rooms, just knitting away as Justin reads beside me.

And I am leaving out how the baby will always wake up crying until she is nursing and the boys will come down once, or six times, needing water and more toast or just another hug until I’m too tired to make even a stitch.

And I am leaving out the fact that I will probably hurl that insolent ball of yarn across the room many more times before it is over, because tonight, in this quiet house, the snow is falling in huge flakes out my window. I am warm and still by the fire.

And I am okay taking a deep breath and saying, I am going to try.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year! Cough, sniffle, snort....

Happy New Year!

Here's a picture of a flying squirrel, known to my children as "Bulgar" (as in the wheat, and I have NO clue how it relates to our fuzzy friend) to celebrate the entrance of 2009.

That makes no sense, I know. I should be posting about my resolution (to live. simply.) or about Lizzie getting five teeth at once, or about that pesky plastic Jesus story I've been promising forever.

But (cough, sniffle) we're sick. We've been sick for almost a month. straight. And I whined, er, wrote, about it here:

lots of love, and hopes of returning soon.