Thursday, December 7, 2017

Creepy Santa & Advent Fail

Above: Holiday crafting; Sam at his last Sock Hop; recent Batman drawing.

Sam is very concerned about Santa Claus being "creepy" for the song "he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake." He's also consternated about Santa's knowing about every kid's good or bad deeds during the Christmas season - "He just says he does that to stress the parents and kids out during Christmas, to make the kids act better. Then after Christmas?: back to normal." Sam also is working his mental wheels hard on "how does he make it to all the jillions of kids around the world? I've finally concluded this: He is faster than the Flash. He HAS to be."

Meanwhile, I broke out the Advent devotional book I got last year to try to insert some Deep Thoughts and Spiritual Reflections About the Season into our dinner hour. 

That did not go well. I thought the fact that the Bible story about Jacob seeing the ladder of angels would seem kind of cool because we had JUST heard "Stairway to Heaven" on the radio... The devotion talked about how Jacob felt like a failure, but God still loved him.

"Do you ever feel like a failure?" I asked my family. 

"I feel like a failure every day... that I don't do my homework," said Phin (Josephine). "And I AM." 

"Ok, but, even if you fail at things, that doesn't make YOU a failure," I argued.

"Yes it does."

"Not you as a person. Besides, feeling like a failure is something we all do at times. Even me. Even Lisa."

Phin: "Well, OF COURSE You. But not Lisa."

"Yes, Lisa does. Right, Lisa?" I said.

Lisa: "Huh? Um - Sure?"

Phin: "No she doesn't."

Me: "Yes she does. Lisa, tell them about a time you felt like a failure."

Lisa: "Um... do you have a specific one in mind...?"

"She's not a failure," said Phin.

"Neither are you!" I said.

"Yes, I am," said Phin. Because - she is the trapper, and I'm the tiger, and she knows how to get me.  

I was getting very - emphatic - at this point. "What about a tree? Do you ever say to a tree, "You're a failure"?"

"No, that would be dumb," the kids said.

"Right. What if it loses its leaves?"

"It's supposed to."

"Right! See, a tree just IS a tree. You just ARE you. You can't be a failure. God loves you no matter what." Me. Struggling.

Sam: "What about that guy who killed Heather Heyer? Isn't he a failure?" 

Me: "Well, I mean... he didn't make good choices but... God still loves him. There's plenty of people who do bad things who change, who ask for forgiveness, who go on to do great things..." 

Everyone: "Like WHO?"

Me: "Uh... Moses! Moses was a murderer. He was running away and God still chose him to lead his people."

Lisa: "Oh, good one."

Sam: "But he was sorry. What if someone isn't sorry?"


And that's the condensed version. 

Somewhere in there I made the mistake of saying I believed God was inside all of us - so Sam started calling ME "God." "Goodnight, God." "Hey God, will you take my glass to the kitchen?" "See ya later, God."

The next morning, Pouty the Preteen was still insisting she feels like a failure - possibly just to get a rise out of me - and Sam's concluded that the theology behind God, me, and Santa Claus is all very specious and questionable. And I have the worst nickname in history.

This is why most families have cardboard advent calendars with chocolate. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Josephine Turns 12

The steampunk murder mystery party was a success! Phin (Josephine) played a futuristic physicist with a British accent; the others here include Samuel as a fictional president, Aunt Julia as an imagined world ruler, and historical figures brought back to life - Mata Hari, Rembrant, Marilyn Monroe, Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Albert Einstein, and Ivan the Terrible. (Not pictured: me as Annie Oakley and Lisa as Confuscius.) (Friends Ellie, Julia, Abby, Janiya, Sam, Henry, Lily.)

The kids got super into their characters and feasted on the candy bar and blue mocktails. We had a brief dance party, too. 6th grade seems to be going great - learning the clarinet, continuing Art Quest, reading "at the college level, MOM."

She is still so her. This morning she said, "I don't think dreams are just rehashing of the day. I think our souls actually go to other places and meet up with other people's souls."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Finding Sam-o

Happy Halloween...

... almost. Here's your challenge for the day: Can you find Sam in this picture??!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dogwood Parade April 2016

Cataloging old images continues! These are from April 23, 2016.

On our way to the Dogwood Parade where these two were to appear on the Charlottesville Pride float.

And here they are on board in the staging area just before the parade was set to start.

It was a very festive time.

And after the parade we went and hung out in a school field, reading and playing
An excellent wall to play soccer against. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pictures from the past

As both Josephine and Sam continue to grow up, I thought it would be good to post a few pictures from when they were very young. I found these yesterday while cleaning out my basement. This is from around Josephine's third birthday in 2008.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Another season of baseball is about to be behind us. 
Sam got a run batted in shortly after this was taken. 
Right about here.
Sam's been playing catcher and it's been fun seeing him gain skills. 
Josephine enjoys her tunes waiting for the game to end. 

Monday, April 24, 2017


At the beginning of a springtime walk. 
Donut stop! 
The balloons came from the fun fair at Clark. There was hilarity involved. 
There was hilarity at the fun fair, too! Thanks to my friend Tim for doing his balloon art thing. 
Navigating the remote control track.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Jo & Amy Visit Texas

Waiting for the airplane to take off, we took silly photos.

Window seat. Will never forget Jo exclaiming over all the swimming pools.

The farm. The pink glow of the greenhouse that they jokingly call their 'whorehouse.' 

Learning how to make onion rings

Josephine trying on Great-Aunt Gertrude's dressing gown.

Jo and Grandma Helen eating frozen yogurt delights.

Learning how to play cribbage.

Because, why not balance a ceramic frog on your head?

"I'm so happy here."

She designed and sewed this together during one afternoon. 

Waiting for return flight.

Last selfie of the trip.