I Want to Take Olympics

Our recently turned three year-old is a very active child. With the new baby, I have been thinking it might be a good idea to sign Miss 3 up for some special big kid class, so tonight, I gave her three options.

Me: “If you could take one class, would you choose gymnastics, dance, or swimming?”

Miss 3: “Dance”

Me: (Let’s do another trial to be sure.) “If you could take one class, would you choose gymnastics, dance, or swimming?”

Miss 3: “Swimming”

My husband interjects, “Do you know what gymnastics is? Remember the Olympics where the girls jumped and flipped and walked on a balance beam?”

Me: (Maybe this will be the tie breaker.) “If you could take one class, would you choose gymnastics, dance, or swimming?”

Miss 3: “Mommy, I want to take Olympics!!!”
Way to go for the gold, honey…

Tonight, as I think about this, yet another humorous conversation with a three year-old, I find the humor is fading, and reality is handing me a cold, hard dose of truth. Isn’t taking Olympics what we all want? How adult of me to offer her choices of classes, and laugh at her cutting to the chase and telling me her dreams. When did I stop dreaming so big?

Her answer reflects my impatience, too. Perhaps this is what bothers me more. I tried explaining to her that learning gymnastics or swimming could get her to the Olympiics, someday, eventually, maybe… In the midst of my “hardwork pays off” teachable moment, I saw I had already lost her to a pile of feathers at her art table. Who really wants to hear about the hard work it takes to get somewhere, let’s just dream about what it will be like when we arrive. The story of my life…
I wanted to play the piano, not PRACTICE my Etudes.
I wanted to be a country music star (a long, looonnnggg time ago-okay?!), not TRAIN my voice.
I want to run a marathon, not INVEST hours upon hours in long runs.
I want to be debt free, not SACRIFICE vacations, nice things, and my iPhone.
I want to be a famous children’s author, not write a HOPELESS blog that is lucky to get 10 views in a day.
How easy it is to daydream about how nice my reality could be, if only I could find the time, the willpower, the resources, the gut-wrenching commitment to accomplish even just one of these big dreams, my “Olympics,” if you will.

We enter this world, hungry for greatness, filled with passion. And then, reality chips away at our golden standard, bit by bit. Jobs, bills, groceries, cleaning, laundry, RESPONSIBILITY, my friends, push our pies further into the skies.

Even still, we do not stop dreaming. And, while we may not get to everything on our list, every so often, we taste it. We reap the benefits of dedication and determination-the scale drops, we cross the finish line, an opportunity greets us one morning, we get our gold medal. As grown ups, we look back and realize that the end result is only as good as the journey getting there.

So, the Olympics are quickly approaching, choose your event!image

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Did my 8th grade science teacher fail at teaching evolution?

Warning: this post goes much deeper than the previous, “pork n beans”

What is evolution? I’m not looking for an over the top, science definition, but rather, what are its implications for my life? For our world? You see, I was scolded yesterday for saying to my husband that evolution meant things are constantly adapting and changing to become better. *if you are a real scientist, please forgive my layman’s terms, but you may want to keep reading to understand how this theory has been misrepresented to the rest of us who are not active members in the scientific community.

My husband, a teacher of 8th grade science, informed me that evolution means change, not necessarily for the better or worse. But what about those finches?! And the beaks?! Apparently the beaks did change/evolve to accommodate the birds’ diet, and the birds who had the better beaks suited to eat the food were the ones who survived and reproduced-survival of the fittest. Oooohhhh… Okay…

Now, why care about evolution at all? It really doesn’t affect me daily like, say, gravity, but in a way…it does.

I am a Christian-a follower of Christ whose teachings are found on the bible and oh…now you get it. The long seated debate, no, war, between creationists and evolutionists (or whatever you would like to be called) is a major issue for both parties. I’m sure your skin is crawling right now with conviction. If you took an 8th grade science class like mine, this feud was taught to you more than the theory of evolution itself. You were most likely asked to pick a side and debate/attack the other until blood flowed.

Now, in my adult life, married to a Christian in the scientific community, I am beginning to see this heated struggle as unnecessary and irrelevant.
To me it is like debating my favorite restaurant and what my eye color is-it does not match up. The two are from separate life compartments: one is a faith, one is a theory. One dictates life choices, and the other is a study, a piece of scientific knowledge.

So, why then do we insist on battling each other with contempt, dare I say, hatred? Thank you science teachers who taught us to pick a side, rather than learn the facts.

Many people, like my husband, feel trapped in a no-man’s-land where this subject cannot even be politely offered up for discussion. Just the word “evolution” sparks a fire, for both Christians and scientists alike, both misinformed and strongly opinionated. When did an honest discussion become taboo in two communities where honest discussions are said to be valued so much? Oh sure, we might say, “that’s not me. I wouldn’t attack someone before listening to where they are coming from,” but, really? Check your blood pressure right now and tell me the truth. I can say this because I am just like you. It has bothered me for years that my husband “believes” in evolution – he explained to me it is really not something one “believes” or not. And, I would like to tell you we have patiently resolved this issue, but I won’t lie-it has been a very heated debate.

But, back to the birds’ beaks, you cannot argue that things change/adapt/evolve. And, you cannot scientifically prove a miracle. So, I have arrived at my own theory:
if you are a scientist (or not!), you can agree with the theory of evolution and believe in God and Christ Jesus.

Yes, I said it…

Pork n beans

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To date this single, non-threatening can of pork n beans has contained the most power to keep this insomnamomma up all night. It started out innocently enough-an easy side to go with that night’s dinner. Then, after the 8 o’ clock feeding, the true power of the beans was unleashed.

Crying, no no no, screaming broke out 9 PM. A scream unlike any other. A scream to end all screams. And it went on…and on…and on… After two hours of this, it was decided: my precious baby boy has colic! This assumption seemed completely natural because why would I have any reason to suspect the masked culprit-3 bites of pork n beans from dinner?

This led to the never-ending night. There would be no sleep…for anyone (including our 3 year old daughter).

4 AM: Sweet daughter pokes me in the eye (we don’t know why she does this, but eye poking is kind of her thing), waking me from the only 5 minutes of glorious REM I had that night, and asks, “mommy, what’s wrong with my brother?” Her voice carries the tone of a teenager, and I laugh to myself thinking this is the first of many times I will hear this question.

After 10 hours of fighting the invisible powers of fiber, the crying subsided, I took a nap, and as I throw away the morning’s fifth k cup, I see the villain staring up at me from the trash can and it all makes horrific sense.

Placing my hand over my heart, I, insomnamom, do solemnly swear to never, under any circumstances, eat pork n beans again, as long as I nurse (and maybe longer due to the emotional scarring).

The worst part is: they’re not even that good!

I-am-a-runner? I-AM-a-runner!

Running and I have a love-hate relationship, but never more so than since the days of childbirth. As I prepare to return to the sport I love, yet again, I find the pain strangely familiar and comforting like my favorite running shoes. Just seeing them carelessly kicked off beside the door lets me know there is hope…maybe I can still uncover the runner that once was. image
My body hates me right now. Don’t squeeze me into those Under Armor tights taunts my post-baby belly. Don’t move that way shriek every last remnant of abdominal muscle fibers. Don’t hit the pavement so hard screams the post-baby bladder (that we all love so much). You are slow. You look ridiculous. This is not even worth it. How dare you call yourself a runner-at best you are a *gasp* jogger!
But, I-do-it-anyways.
I accept the pudge above my once form-fitting tights. I embrace the pain and say, “bring it on!” as I add even more abdominal exercises to my daily routine. And, yes, I pee my pants-just a little (I just had to include that part for the surprising number of people who apparently search the web for stories about people peeing their pants! Who would have thought? So this is for you, weirdos!) *see my previous blog, “My teacher peed her pants”
No deposit. No return.

Parents Must Read

Proud to be “kinda ridiculous”:
During one of our many play time adventures-when there is a fine line between mommy and Captain Hook-my daughter (Tinkerbell) was in a battle of words with me.
“Codfish!”
“Stinky fish!”
“Underwear fish!”
“Flying fish!”
Long pause…”Mom, you’re being kinda ridiculous.”
At this point I burst out laughing, my three year-old daughter just called me ridiculous in an exactly appropriate context. Where on earth did she learn that word? So I ask her-
“Chicken Big, mommy.”

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Then, I recall that in her new favorite story, Chicken Big, the big chicken does call the smaller chickens ridiculous one time in the text.
This situation happens almost daily at our house. Causing me to only further believe in the power of story time. Our daughter takes new vocabulary from repeated readings of children’s texts and applies it to her daily conversation. Recently, words like, “apparently”, “compare”, “horrible”, and “unkind” have frequented her speech.

The one thing you can do to make a difference:
As a preschool teacher, when askedd, “How can I help my child _______?” (fill in the blank-write her name, make friends, use the potty, etc.) my best advice is always-READ. Reading with your child is the one thing a parent can do to make the biggest impact in that child’s life. Turn off the screens, curl up in bed beside your child and get lost in a story together. This sacred time can build brain power, strengthen social skills, teach life lessons, and create a strong bond between parent and child. I believe many of us parents know this and some of you may have already stopped reading this, but knowing and doing are two very different things. Spending 30 minutes a night reading with your child is a commitment; it is not to be taken lightly or easily brushed off. Your child will look forward to this time together more than they look forward to Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

The Third Grade Guarantee:
Some states have adopted a policy where every third grade child who cannot pass the reaading portion of a standardized test will be retained-will flunk, as a third grader would say. This is cruel and inhumane to subject our nation’s youth to such “ridiculousness.”
This guarantee says, “You can’t read, so here-practice reading some more.” You must not have done enough phonics flashcards, you must not have read the assigned readings that we now know you could not read, you must not have tried hard enough…eight year-old.

Why do you excel at something?
Because I practiced it..a lot.
But, why did you practice it?
Because I enjoyed doing it.
So, why did you enjoy doing it?

Someone encouraged you-told you it was a special skill you had, told you you were good at it, someone mentored you, someone showed you how great you could be; they led by example.
PARENTS: You have an opportunity-do not waste it! Be that catalyst in your child’s life. Show them the wonderful world of reading-make it fun, make it exciting, make it…ridiculous!