Good Friday

Below is the text of a note I posted to Facebook last Good Friday.  There are a couple of reasons I’m posting it here today:

1. I didn’t have a blog at the time. In fact, this was probably the moment I can look back and point to as being the impetus for starting Storming the Castle.

2. I love love LOVE this story, and I want to “preserve” it for the boys.

3. I’m too slammed with work to come up with a new post for Good Friday 2010.

So there, being totally honest, that’s why I’m posting it here today.  I hope it blesses you on this, the most precious 3 days in the Christian calendar.

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Mommy, the Boys, and Good Friday 2009
April 10, 2009 (D was 4 years old, A was 3 years old)

As I put the boys to bed tonight, we talked about what today means. I told them, “Today is Good Friday. That’s the day we remember that Jesus died for us.” D replied immediately, “And then He rose again!”

“That’s right,” I said. “He came back to life on Easter Sunday.”

“Mommy, do you know what the bad people did to Jesus?” A asked. “They put nails in him and they said bad things to him.”

D: “Yeah, like DUMB.” (LOL!)

D: “But then he came back to life and someone took Him up to Heaven.”

A: “The ANGELS took him to Heaven!” (You have to imagine this said with all the exasperation that only a 3-year-old can have for his older brother!)

I asked them if they wanted to pray with me. A said he would if I told him what to say, so together we said “Dear Lord, I love you. Amen.” (I really want him not to be scared to pray out loud, and he’s a little shy sometimes, so we keep it simple.)

D said he wanted to talk to God himself, so I bowed my head and waited to hear what he would say.

“I love you, God, and I’m sorry the bad people put needles in you. And thank you for the seeds and the water for the plants and the flowers. I love you SOOOO much, and I love my family. Amen.”

It was a few seconds before I trusted myself to speak. Don’t ever doubt that a 4-year-old can understand what’s important. They understand better than we do sometimes.

Thank you, Lord, for my beautiful boys.

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Ode to the Japanese Steakhouse

Oh, Japanese Steakhouse, how I love you.

You let us eat our food while it’s hot.

You entertain the boys.

You allow us to visit with family members (because the boys are entertained).

All this, and yummy soup too.

Japanese steakhouse, how I love you.

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How to Travel Like a Pro

A couple of days ago, I published my Comedy of Errors travel story, and in it I promised a list of tips that the casual traveler might not consider.  This is by no means a comprehensive list…there are plenty of travel sites with plenty of standard tips…but these are ones I’ve found in 5 years of heavy travel that have saved me more times than I can count.

Travel Tip #1: Plan for Delays

In my experience, being “on-time” is the exception, not the rule.  Therefore, PLAN for delays.  If you have to change planes, find out how much time you’ll have between flights BEFORE you book the tickets.  A “legal” connection is one that has at least 30 minutes between arrival and takeoff, and in my opinion, that is a recipe for disaster.  Flights are supposed to board 20-30 minutes prior to departure.  Good luck getting from one end of the airport to the other when your first flight lands as your second flight is boarding!  I try not to book connections with less than an hour in between.

And PLEASE don’t plan major events for the day of travel!  Do you really want to miss cousin Linda’s wedding because you chose to fly in that morning instead of the day before?  I do not fly in the morning of a meeting unless I can afford to miss that meeting completely.

Travel Tip #2: Don’t check your bags

If you want maximum flexibility in managing delays and getting on earlier flights via the standby list, you can’t have checked bags.  On numerous occasions I’ve been able to jump onto a different flight when mine was delayed, simply because I had all my bags with me at the gate.

Please note: This isn’t necessarily an easy tip to accomplish.  If you’re going on a 2 week trip to Europe, or traveling with many small children…yeah, not going to happen.  Whether or not you should try to carry on could be its own article, so leave a comment if you’re interested in that discussion…if there’s enough interest, I’ll write a “To Check or Not to Check” post.

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Happy Birthday, Furbaby

I know I promised my travel tips post next (and I swear it’s ready — written and scheduled to be posted on Thursday, in fact!), but I couldn’t let today pass without a post to my furbaby, Bryce.  Why?  Because today, March 23, is his official adoption birthday.  Seven years ago today, we adopted Bryce from the local Animal Shelter.  Best. Decision. EVER.

To me he is the sweetest, gentlest, best dog God ever created, and he is my BABY.   The fact that he has fur and 4 legs doesn’t matter a bit.

Bryce is about 8 years old now, and Lord willing, we’ll have many more good years together.  However long we have, he has blessed our lives in ways I can’t even begin to express.

A few weeks ago, I did a You Capture post dedicated to Bryce, and rather than reprint all I said there, I’ll simply link to it and end by saying, “Happy Birthday, to my First Baby, my Furbaby, Bryce.  WE LOVE YOU.”

http://www.storming-the-castle.com/205/you-capture-faces/

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The Glamorous Life of Travel

There are two reactions I typically get when people find out that I travel for my job: “Poor thing!” or “Wow, that must be very cool.”  As extremes often go, neither is quite right.  For the most part I enjoy traveling, or at least I don’t mind it so much.  I can honestly say I like my job, I’m grateful to work for a great company, and I enjoy using up the frequent flier miles and hotel points to take my family on vacations like our upcoming one to Disney World (4 plane tickets all bought with miles!).

Glamorous, however, it is NOT, and no day was less glamorous than Wednesday, February 24, 2010, as I attempted to make my way home from Manchester, NH.  If you follow me on Twitter, you might remember that day, as I tweeted up a storm, trying to keep my friends and family up to date on the latest insane travel developments.  Never have I been more grateful for technology than I was on that day — it saved me a ton of phone calls because everyone could either check Twitter or Facebook.

That day was so crazy, that I decided it desperately deserved its own blog post, so here goes (be warned: this is a long one!).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Manchester, NH

4:00am – Alarm goes off.  I once again curse late afternoon meetings that make it impossible for me to fly home that night.  Glad I decided to forgo my usual 6am flight home through Charlotte in favor of sleeping an extra 30 minutes and going through LaGuardia instead.  Ha ha ha.

5:00am – Check out of hotel and get into a cab whose driver appears no older than 15.  I take a leap of faith and do not ask to see his license.  It’s just too darn early to care.  Oh, and it’s SNOWING.  Supposed to be a decent sized storm.  Famous last words: “I’m glad I’m getting out of here early!”

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Ebb and Flow

For those of you who know me in real life, you’ve probably already figured out that my rate of posting is in direct correlation to how crazy things are at work.  Not busy, because there’s always a ton to do, and there’s always time I could find to dash off a post (as I have done previously from random airports!), but CRAZY — as in my mental capacity for creativity is GONE.  Even coming up with ideas is tough sometimes, so I have HUGE respect for those of you who update your blogs daily.

The last few weeks have been jam packed with travel, meetings, and general insanity at home and at work, but I’m thinking a brief lull this weekend might allow for a couple quick posts that have been rattling around in my brain.  Mainly I’m just trying not to feel guilty about how my posting ebbs and flows.  Like I wrote in my Mommy Guilt post, Life’s just too short for such stupidity.

So basically, this post is really a “thank you” for YOU, the awesome people who check my blog daily (even when I don’t!).  I love you for keeping tabs on me, and I want you to know I appreciate the interest.  Stay patient with me, and I’ll (try to) stay patient with myself as the Ebb and Flow continues. 🙂

Random Musings

Things to come…

Another LONG LONG LONG travel week for me, so likely few, if any, posts.  However, if you follow me on Twitter or FB, you probably know of my travel nightmare/comedy of errors from last week.  I’m working on a post about that (because it truly deserves to be immortalized), as well as a How To Travel Like a Pro post for my friends and family who are blessed to NOT travel nearly as much as I do.

In the meantime, hope you all have a very blessed week.  I’ll leave you with this jewel from my church’s sermon yesterday: “You don’t have to focus your life on loving yourself.  God loves you more and better than you ever could.”  What a concept!!!

Random Musings

Kissing

Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) kissed Mary Jane.

5 1/2 year old D: “Why does he kiss her, Mommy?”

Me: “Because he likes her.”

D: “Hmmm…”

Me: “Do you think that’s icky?”

D: “No.”

Me: “You don’t think kissing a girl is icky?”

D: “No. I would like it.”

Me: “Really? Have you ever kissed a girl?”

D: “Sure, lots of times.”

Me: “REALLY?  WHO HAVE YOU KISSED?”

D: (rolling his eyes) “I’m looking right at her!”

Got me there. 🙂

Kids, Parenting, Random Musings , ,

Green Day – Part 1

Last Friday was Pink Day at A’s class, complete with pink cookies for snack.  (If you remember from The Power of Pink, pink is A’s favoritest color ever, so he was loving that theme.)  Anyway, parents sign up for each color day, and our day – Green – will be coming up soon.  I asked A what he’d like us to bring for Green Day snack, which prompted the following conversation.  Keep in mind that A is 4, and his brother D (who naturally joined in with his two cents) is 5.

A: “We could have a cake with icing for leaves.”

Me: “Um, okay, well…. “ I don’t bake, nor do I wish to buy a green cake. “How about Green jello?” My favorite, so I push it at every opportunity.

A: “Ooooh, I do not like jello.” I love how he doesn’t use contractions yet.  So cute. “We could have cookies with green icing.” Notice the theme in his suggestions?

Me: “Yes, we could have cookies.  Hey, what about celery?  I know, we could have celery with cream cheese that we color GREEN!”

A: “Ooooh, I do not like celery.  I do not think I will like that very much.”

D: “Lettuce is green.”

Me: “That’s right, lettuce IS green.  I know, we could have lettuce, and celery, and limes, and broccoli, and peas.”

Now, I know what’s coming, and you do too, right?  “Ooooh I do not like…”  But no, he surprised me.  Because actually, he can’t say he doesn’t like peas or broccoli, since we eat those frequently.  Instead he came up with this gem of logic:

A: “Mommy, it is just a small basket.” They use reusable baskets with napkins to hold their snack instead of paper plates. “It will not hold all of those things.  We should get a green cake.”

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And with that, part 1 of planning was complete.  I’ll post part 2, with pictures, in a few weeks when we actually cater Green Day snack.  I’m fairly certain there won’t be a green cake.

To Be Continued…

Kids, Parenting, Random Musings , ,

The Mom Olympics

I’m not a figure skater.  You’ll never see me on a luge, in a bobsled, or skiing cross country and pausing to shoot at a target.  Same goes for the Summer games – no gymnastics, diving, or 100-meter dash for me.

But you know what?  I’m a gold medalist in a little known event:  Changing a Child’s Wet Bed in the Dark at 3am.  Yes, fans, I’m talking about the Magnificent Olympics of Motherhood, also known as…The MOM Games.

Since some of you may not be aware that this is an actual scored event, I thought I’d take this opportunity to educate you on the finer aspects of its scoring.

1. The Event Begins – In other events, the beginning is marked by a gunshot or a horn.  Not here, although it may seem that way to your perpetually sleep-deprived body.  Here the event starts with the child leaving his or her bed.  Points are awarded based on the following criteria: How quickly do you go from fast asleep to out of bed?  Are you awake from the moment the child’s door opens, or must said child shake you awake?  Are your feet on the floor before your brain registers that you’re up?  Max score 10 points.  Points lost if spouse wakes up and you have a conversation about whose turn it is to change the bed.

2.  Bed Changing – The heart of this event.  Here you can earn a maximum of 50 points, but like in figure skating, they are divided into 2 categories: Technical (30 points) and Artistry (20 points).  Full marks given for sheets that match and covers that are fully tucked in.  All points lost if you decide to take the easy way out and cover the wet spot with a towel.

3. Change the Child – No, this isn’t about making them stop wetting the bed (oh, if only)…it’s about changing their pajamas.  10 points awarded for getting the child successfully changed, with a bonus of 5 points if the pajama bottoms and top match, and another 5 if you get the child to change himself while you change the bed.  Even at 3am, it’s all about multitasking!

4. Dump Soiled Laundry in the Laundry Room – Self explanatory.  10 points.  Points subtracted if you leave the laundry on the floor of the child’s room or in the hallway to deal with in the morning.

5. Total Time to Bed – How quickly can you execute the entire event and reach the finish line by climbing back into your own bed?  10 points.

Bonus points are awarded for the following:
10 points – Child stays half asleep and goes back to sleep with no fuss.
10 points – Sibling stays asleep during entire event (15 points if sibling is in the same room!).
20 points – Spouse stays blissfully asleep and says “I didn’t know you did that last night” when told about your marvelous performance in the morning.

Ladies and gentlemen, for those of you keeping track, I scored an amazing 155 points last night, earning me the gold medal in the 2010 MOM games.  Of course, I share this honor with many of you, but that’s the beauty of the MOM games….there are plenty of medals to go around.

So tell me, what’s your best MOM event?

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