December 24, 2012


Just when I thought I was as grateful and lucky as a girl can be at Christmas, our Christmas Eve took a left turn and I'm feeling a little tested.

Just to prove I can do this optimistic glass half-full thing, I'm choosing to see the positive in Andrew's stomach bug that arrived just in time for dinner and church.

Given world events in recent weeks I think we have to just be thrilled we have a relatively healthy child who will feel better within a few days. We have a warm house and a washing machine that's efficient and we can always buy more Clorox wipes. And? Mark took one for the team tonight. He stayed home with a sick boy while T and I went to family dinner and church. And? They neither one complained once. They're better men than I am woman.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Small acts = grand gestures

I'm starting my New Year's resolution list today. I know it's actually Christmas Eve, not New Year's Eve, but it seems appropriate to me. In the last 10 days we have been gifted with some small acts of kindness by friends that felt pretty big to me. I resolve, beginning today with the spirit of Christmas top-of-mind, to remember to pay these forward in the coming months...


Last Sunday we had to run by Andrew’s piano teacher’s house to pick-up a piece of music he had left there. He had been working on a jazzy version of Jingle Bells to play in music class on talent day. I was irritated with him for leaving the music at his lesson and hated to bother her on a Sunday night to go retrieve it so I sent him to the door by himself. After being greeted at the door he came out on her porch and waved for me to get out of the car, then disappeared inside. I went to the door and found him at her piano practicing the song. She had insisted he come in to run through it with her. Her four kids were home, Sunday night football was on TV, she had been in the middle of wrapping presents and they were preparing to go out-of-town. Yet. She invited him to practice so she could help him one last time with any rough spots. He was grateful for the practice and I for her time. “It’s no big deal,” she said.

Last Thursday was to have been the kids' last day of school before break, complete with winter parties and talent shows and probably not much learning. Instead, it snowed two inches during the night and someone had a panic attack and called off school for the day. That left the kids disappointed and me a little frustrated. I had taken a vacation day to participate in their school parties but had also banked on a three-hour window in the middle of my day to execute some Santa-type activities that are easier to knock-out when I'm home alone. When that phone call came at 6 a.m. canceling classes it canceled my very selfish hope to have a brief quiet in my home. Later that afternoon (after what turned out to be a really great snow day full of friends and sledding) a dear friend showed up with this. She had invited me to a “This could be the last day of the world so we might as well drink margaritas” lunch for the next day that I hadn’t planned to attend because I had planned to use up my child-free hours the day before. Or not. When she found that school was also canceled, she said she thought I needed a treat. It came with a bar of chocolate, too. “It’s nothing,” she said.


Our doorbell rang last Saturday and I opened the door to discover two of Andrew’s classmates - a set of boy/girl twins - on the porch, each holding a plate of holiday cookies. One plate was for our family and was full of all the good stuff; Andes mint chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies with mini-Snickers baked in the middle, etc. The second plate was for Andrew. This very thoughtful family had baked special cookies just for Andrew that were all nut-free and safe for him to eat. He is an amazing sport about not being able to eat certain things and rarely – if ever – complains about having to pass on treats just to be safe. But, let me tell you that the look on his face when he saw a plate just for him was pretty great. He felt special and I felt amazing gratitude. “It was easy,” they said.

Kindnesses that seemed like “no big deal” or that were “easy” to the gift giver felt like big deals to me and felt like the spirit of what Christmas is supposed to be about. So, with these gestures fresh in my mind, I resolve to seize similar opportunities in the coming year! Thomas says he thinks this Christmas is going to be great and when asked why he says it's "because everyone just really seems to have the spirit." 

I agree. Merry Christmas!

December 16, 2012

Science, for the win

Instead of making excuses (to myself? for myself?) about why it has been a month since I wrote something here, I'm going to just dive in with this little gem of a story...

Andrew had a futsal game in Kansas City yesterday in the late-afternoon (if I were making excuses about why I haven't been writing, futsal in Kansas City would appear on the list...) and we decided that while we were so close to the Plaza, we should go ahead and take the boys to dinner and to see the miles of Christmas lights there. 

After a little tension about whether it was possible for Andrew to change his clothes in a moving car and a little disagreement between boys and a mom about whether gray cargo pants actually count as "dress clothes," we maneuvered through the dense Saturday night crowds and enjoyed a great meal with my parents, making the effort of changing out of soccer clothes in the car worth it.

As is the norm these days, Thomas didn't think much of the food available to him on the menu, but he apparently doesn't mind not eating. Not eating affords him more time to talk. And tell stories. And ask questions. My poor lucky mother was the recipient of most of his conversation last night because we were seated around a large round table. He commanded her assistance with word puzzles during the appetizer and her help with cutting the food he mostly didn't eat during the entree. While waiting for dessert he re-payed her efforts by offering up a little science lesson. He has been learning about solids, liquids and gasses and about other physical properties of objects.

I was half-listening as he was chatting about the properties of different things on the table but tuned in fully just in time for him to point at a wine glass and say, "Grandma. Did you know this glass is transparent?"  She responded by telling him that was correct and then said, like the good educator she is, "What's the opposite of transparent?"

Without missing a beat Thomas said, "Oh, that would be opaque." Then my mom said, "If the wine glass is transparent, can you give me an example of something that's opaque?"

He paused a nano-second, looked around the table filled with all kinds of plates and food and then reached up and tapped my mom's cheek and said, "Yes. You're opaque, Grandma!"

We decided most people are, but I think that he'll eventually learn that some are decidedly more so than others!