Wednesday, February 25, 2015

a (funny) conversation with my dad

i missed a call from my dad when i was at the gym this weekend, and when i called him back he asked what i was doing.

me: "i was at the gym, i'm driving home now."
dad: "what'd you say? you were at jim's?"
me (increasing my volume to adjust for his apparent hearing and/or listening problem): "No, I WAS AT THE GYM. WORKING OUT. EXERCISING."
dad: "ohhh, i see, yeah i guess you don't get much exercise."
me (maintaining a high volume to adjust for my sudden mood switch): "I DON'T KNOW DAD, I'm pretty sure I get more exercise than you. I try to go to the gym every day."
dad: "i'm in a fitness group."
me (jackpot!!): "oh yeah, what do you guys do?"
dad: ""ohh we ride bikes. stationary bikes. do you know what they are? and they have machines where you can lift the weights, and adjust the amount of weight with a lever."
me (no wonder i struggle to call exercises by their correct names and expound ad nauseum whenever i describe a workout to lance and he cracks up ... as i am right now.): "yeah i know what you mean. that's good."
dad: "i set it to the lowest amount of weight you can so i don't have to work too hard." (laughing)
me: "very sneaky dad."
dad: "yeah, that's how i got through high school."
me: "being sneaky?"
dad: "cheating. i used to cheat sometimes."
me: "in what?"
dad: "math. i flunked out of math one time. i don't know what happened to me, because my dad - pappy, he was a math-e-matical genius. he could figure things out in his head before most people could on paper. i was never any good at math."
me: "yeah me neither."
dad: "sometimes i walk in circles too."
me: "what?"
dad: "oh in that fitness group. they've got treadmills, but i don't like those things ..."
me: "yeah me neither."
dad: "yeah, so sometimes i just walk in circles instead of getting on those things."
me: "you should do pullups. i did 15 pullups today."
dad: "oh i can't even do one pullup anymore. one time i was out here walking around with lance and he did a few pullups ... were you there too?"
dad: "yeah, well he did a few pullups out there and i couldn't even do any. i didn't even try. something's not right with my arm ..."

i guess i'm glad my dad likes lance enough that he just omits ME from the memory entirely? and if you have not met my dad ... let me just say that the fact that he is lazy about lifting weights and "cheating" the machine is ABSURD.

he is a large man with superior strength. this is the man who broke the sledgehammer game at the boardwalk, which he only played because the guy running the game kept yelling out asinine jokes trying to provoke my tall, then muscular dad into playing. little did he know my dad was a mennonite. a repeat teller of the terrible "what's a mennonite dilemma? free beer!" joke. all of that to say, my dad only played because the guy said he could try it free. (and he was probably well past provoked by that point.) but he was so strong it broke the game, and i was so proud that he was my dad.

my dad is the best and the worst dad all at once. for as long as i can remember, i have listened to him say, "i'm manic-depressive. bipolar. do you know what that is?" it wasn't like he always waited for my answer, it was more of an opening for him to launch into any number of stories from his life.

my dad makes me sick, and my dad makes me feel like a million bucks. as much as i wish my dad was different, he can still make my day without even trying. he always makes me laugh, and few things make me happier than listening to my dad tell stories. even though he is crazy, he is still BY FAR one of the coolest people i have ever known. i honestly don't know how he does it.

and sometimes when i'm feeling particularly depressed, it crosses my mind that i am one of my dad's favorite people and it makes me feel a little bit better.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

truth to soak in

heard this for the first time at the amazing if:lancaster gathering, and it has been my go-to song since that weekend. and the new bethel album (we will not be shaken) is on repeat in my car - so good!

Friday, February 13, 2015

excerpts and links

This article by Shauna Niequist is EXCELLENT. Letting go of perfection (or the attempt of it) is an ongoing theme for me. And I really, really LIKE being around people who embrace the same philosophy for living ... because perfectionism just holds us back and exhausts us.

"I’ve come back to Voltaire’s words a million times: Perfect is the enemy of the good.  You’ll never feel totally ready. The plan will never be perfectly formed. You’ll never have the money you think you need or the support you wish you had. You’ll never feel as strong and prepared as everyone else seems. (Psst: they’re not that strong and prepared, either. No one is.)"
Kayla Mueller's story and her words give me chills. What a brave life. This quote: "For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal, [I will not let this be] something we just accept." 

It makes me think of the scene in Hotel Rwanda, where Joaquin Phoenix as a cameraman covering the genocide has to tell a Rwandan: "I think if people see this footage they'll say, "Oh my God that's horrible," and then go on eating their dinners." That still gets me, because it's what I do. Tune it out and let suffering go on around the world like it's normal. I'm ashamed of that.
And this piece by Ann Voskamp is BEAUTIFUL and right-on. So good I wanted to paste the entire thing here, but here's a tease from the beginning ... 
"We married wrong. Don't buy what anybody else is selling: Everyone always marry wrong. 
Because what's wrong in the world is always us. 
Marriage and love and time, these are enormous forces that inevitably chisel and change us into strangers who have to meet and introduce each other to love all over again. 
None of us ever know whom we marry. And falling in love never made anyone angels ... it's only made it clear how far we've fallen. Who we say 'I do' to - is not who we roll over to touch twenty years later. The challenge for the vows is to fall in love with the stranger to whom you find yourself married. 
The vows are a vow to make the new stranger you've been long married to - know the intimacy of old love everyday."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Poetry rarely resonates with me, and I find that odd considering how much I adore words. But sometimes it does, and this hit the spot this week.

Wild Geese
"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."

[a poem by Mary Oliver, in her book Dream Work]

Winter Aquatots

It wasn't until after I signed Dax up for Aquatots (a parent-baby swim class at our YMCA) and a stranger was laughing at me for buying swim diapers at Target during one of the most frigid weeks of winter that it occurred to me that this might be crazy. 

It is boots-and-parkas-only weather and I signed my kid and myself up for swimming?!

However, it turned out to be a brilliant decision. Indoor swimming is a perfect winter activity since we can't play outside. It's so warm in there that it's *almost* like we're getting some delicious Vitamin D. We all have so much fun and look forward to it every week.

 {Watching basketball - what else!}

One part of motherhood that I've always been excited for is watching Dax play sports or instruments, or whatever other activities he gets into. If I'm honest I think of him in Little League because little baseball players are the cutest thing. (Right up there with kids in pajamas and yellow lab puppies - SO CUTE.) I also see him playing basketball, because he is Lance's son. (And so far they have some strong similarities.) 

All of that to say: watching him swim at Aquatots (even though it's basically singing and splashing around) has confirmed and added to my excitement for all that's to come. Watching your kid have fun is fun!

{Cheese, cheese, cheese!}

Thursday, January 22, 2015

11 months!

as of wednesday, dax is 11 months young! he is officially at a point where before i was his mom, i would have said, "just say the kid is a year old already, enough with this months-listing business." but alas, as the months go by i wait until THE 21st of each month before i say he is ____ months old. 

dax is loving ...

- sometimes running.
- pushing chairs all over the kitchen
- crawling. fast. and especially into small spaces: under tables and toys, between furniture and people, between my leg and the refrigerator as i quickly crack it open to get things out because he LOVES the refrigerator and cries when he can't play in there. (which is extremely annoying!)
- dishwasher is a close second. but i do let him play in there, so it's losing its luster.
- VACUUMING! yesterday we vacuumed the whole house, and he was thrilled when i let him help me in the last room. he stood there and pushed the vacuum oh so slowly as he walked and then would bounce-bounce-bounce and look at me and GRIN.

- smiling. scrunch-nosed smiles. showing off his teeth. (he's got six and counting.)
- laughing. being tickled.
- wrestling/rough housing with dad
- being CHASED. oh the bliss!
- playing in his tunnel
- watching it snow
- going outside. laughing when it's windy.
- trying to grab the wreath on our front door and yank it down while i am unlocking the door.
- playing with objects in public until i lose interest, then becoming interested in throwing them down a few times until mom wises up and stops giving it to me.
- PEOPLE! the more the merrier.
- playing at the gym childcare while mom works out. 
- swimming
- bouncing
- music
- chewing on his comb
- chewing on a pacifier like it's a stogie. (but NEVER using a paci as they are intended for babies.)

- yanking his socks off. sometimes chewing on them, sometimes yelling in aggravation if he can't get them off quickly enough.
- bath time. figuring out how the tub/shower/drain works.
- walks in the ergo.
- waking up as frequently as possible in the night.
- getting a serious look on his face and talking to the oven timer in the kitchen whenever it beeps.
- hiding things. this morning while i was eating breakfast i watched dax take the page of coupons hanging on the fridge, and go slide them under the oven. i said, "dax, what are you doing?" and he just smiles and laughs! sometimes toys go missing and when i watch him "find" them later, i am amazed.
- books. listening to stories. turning pages. (hungry caterpillar, hey diddle diddle, farm animals, and dr seuss's wonderful book of noises are his current faves.)

- wheels. pushing tractors.
- eating! but not feeding himself. he's been trying lots of new foods, and so far there hasn't been anything he does not like. meat is a big hit, especially the pork bbq at the farm show, and he likes cheerios A LOT.

i really love this age. now if only he would sleep. it's depressing. like last night i sobbed in the middle of the night after getting up with him for the umpteenth time and in those dark moments i think, 'well here i go to live in a psych ward any day now, i give up, i can't keep living like this ...'

and maybe i shouldn't write that on a blog on the internet because it makes me sound like a bad mom or a crazy person, but maybe i am okay with being considered a crazy person. because i know some pretty crazy people and i like them. (but i am definitely not okay with being a bad mom, but that fear reminds me i am a good one ... because i am trying my best, and if i were a bad one i wouldn't care or try, so at least there's that.)

and maybe someday when dax is an astronaut discovering new planets ... or curing cancer (or cracking conspiracies and getting those dicey pharmaceutical companies to hand over the cure already) ... or breaking olympic records for all the sports ... or creating something bigger than the internet that we wonder how we ever lived without (except it won't be all controversial like the internet, making people say, "yeah, but times were so much simpler and nicer before we had the internet ...") ... or preaching and teaching truth like billy graham, because i just think he's the coolest ... or starring in movies, being the clint eastwood of his time ... whatever it is, that dax ends up doing and being famous for, then *maybe* some sleep-deprived mom who keeps accidentally wearing her shirts inside out (i've done it too, and it is embarrassing but not enough for me to bother fixing it) who feels like she cannot go another sleepless night will hear that DAX'S MOM did not sleep for months on end, and she will breathe a sigh of relief and be able to keep going, one day at a time, knowing that the future is oh-so-bright for her adorable young rascal. 

and then sharing about going to those dark places during those sleepless nights will not have been in vain.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

apparently + now seriously

i saw this kid's news debut when it first came out, but i just caught his appearance on the ellen show and it cracked me up.