31 October 2008

Joe the Plumber

Two average Joes with all their plumbing gear.

I should subtitle this post, "The Woes of the Joes," because it was upon my strong suggestions that I convinced my two trusting sons to dress up as Joe the Plumber this year for Halloween. They really wanted to be boring things like Spiderman or a dinosaur or a soccer player.

But I got the idea in my head, and thought it would be the most clever costume of the year. And it may well be. The grown-ups all seemed to think it was clever. And last night when we went Trick or Treating, the boys learned real quick that if they told the candy-givers that they were "Joe the Plumber," they would get a good reaction. So they had fun.

But today at school was a different story. Kindergarteners and First-graders are not well-versed in the political conversation and climate that surrounds us this time of year. Not really. (I don't know why not. My 2-year old likes to say in her 2-year-old accent, "I'm Barak Obama; I poove dis message," but I digress.) When kids see one of their peers wearing holey jeans and a plaid shirt with a name-tag, carrying a plunger, all they really see is a kid with brown stuff on his face (the coffee-grind goatees) who doesn't look like anything out of the ordinary. So they got called "Dirty Joe" (because his face looked dirty), and "Hobo Joe," neither of which is something you want to be called by your peers.

The little plumber boys at school. The kindergarten teacher had to borrow the plunger because some naughty little kid clogged the sink with paper towels.

I was tempted to ask the little angel who kept teasing my plumber boy if she was dressed as a snowman, to give her a little taste of her own medicine, but I didn't. By the restraining of the Holy Spirit, I didn't. I really was tempted. But I didn't.

A sweet little princess who loves to say "twiko tweet"

I did tell my boys about a time when I was teased for what I wore at Halloween. (It was the only costume I can remember wearing, frankly.) My high school friend and I dressed as Sylvester and Tweety Bird. Only problem was, I was so tall, that I looked more like Big Bird! I didn't mind the teasing too much; I liked being tall back then, as I do now. I'm told my kids will most likely be tall too--since Daddy is 6'6", so the story fit well.

Even dressed as plumbers, they look a lot like a Latin teacher I know.

We fully expect our kids to be teased at school. We sometimes even joke about it, because we know we're such nerdy parents. But actually being there and watching it happen was not such a fun experience. However, it is a good learning opportunity for them to deal with those feelings and to encourage them to not be so concerned about what people think of us, and be more mindful of what God thinks. A lesson for myself as well!

30 October 2008

Halloween Ideas

Halloween is here again! It’s one of those holidays that we have come to tolerate and even participate in with limitation, because it is a good opportunity to get to know people in the neighborhood and hopefully even to witness to them. Although we dislike the evil themes that surround Halloween, we have agreed to let the kids dress up, as long as it’s not a costume that would be dishonoring to the Lord. In past years, the boys have been little Frenchmen, fire fighters, cowboys, and hamburgers. Except for the hamburger costumes and the cowboy hats, our dress-up ideas have consisted of things we currently own or have on hand to use. In our township, they usually have “Trick-or-Treat” night the day before Halloween, in order to cut down on crime, I guess. So tonight is “Trick-or-Treat,” and tomorrow will be a 1/2-day of Halloween festivities at school.

So here are my bright ideas for this year’s Halloween costume options:

#1. “Joe the Plumber.” I’m pretty sure this is the only year that this costume option will be a huge hit. There’s almost no out-of pocket expense, although I did splurge and spend $2.87 on a new plunger, which we’ll be able to use for household purposes if necessary long after Halloween is forgotten. So all you need: a plaid shirt, a plunger, and a homemade name-tag that says “Joe.” You can use a 5-gallon bucket to put the candy into, which would make a suitable accessory. We’re also thinking of putting coffee grinds on their faces for a more mature-looking plumber.

#2. “Roman Senator.” Okay, this is appealing to the Latin-lover in our family, but all one really needs is a T-shirt and a large sheet to wrap around toga-style. My husband actually owns a tunic and a toga, so his costume is ready. But perhaps one of our scholars would like to dress up like Daddy this year. It’s a possibility. (Although it might be a little too cold to wear sandals.)

#3. “Soccer Player.” This appeals to my athletes, because we haven’t let them wear their soccer uniforms except for during soccer season. And at the rate they are growing, they’ll most likely not fit into their cleats come springtime.

#4. “Princess.” Yawn. I’m not a big princess fan, but my daughter does have a very frilly pink dress that is too big for her currently, but it might just be perfect for a little princess look although she’ll have to wear heavy stockings and a turtleneck underneath.

#5. “Recycled Hamburger.” If the princess look doesn’t work out, we still have the hamburger costume to fall back on. (We managed to somehow not take any photos of the hamburger costumes!)

#6. “Pregnant Woman.” And finally, the costume that I thought of last night that I think is the scariest idea of them all! I still have all my maternity clothes, some even still in my dresser drawer. So this would be an easy idea for me; I just don’t know if everyone will get that it’s supposed to be a scary costume—and not some freaky announcement.

Happy Halloween!

28 October 2008

Facebook Phenomenon

Well, after a couple of invitations from my sister and a friend, I finally decided to look Facebook in the face and see what the phenomenon is all about. WOW! It's a bit overwhelming. I was just telling my Mom the other day that I think I like the pace of blogging much better. I don't get the kind of "traffic" that Facebook almost automatically throws my way, which is so distracting to me. It's already hard enough limiting the amount of time I spend doing blogging; Facebook is even more tempting as a distraction, because you're perpetually aware of who's online, who commented to whom, who did what (or is currently doing whatever). It's over the top! And my inbox is flooding!

I shouldn't complain. It's nice to re-connect with people I haven't connected with in years. But my challenge (that my long-distanced best friend lovingly reminded me of) is to actually re-connect with actual people and to develop actual friendships, rather than online friends who are easy to be friendly with but hard to be truly honest with (and almost impossible to have over for dinner).

Unfortunately for me today, I have to skip my Tuesday morning Bible study class at church (with actual people) because I'm keeping Tristan home from school due to a cold. So here I sit, at least for a few moments, in the computer state. My thoughts are trailing now, so it's best to wrap it up. But in conclusion, Facebook seems too much in my face. I won't write it off completely, but that's how I feel about it at the moment. At the same time, I'll just holler out to anyone interested--let me know if you want to be a part of Facebook, and I will gladly be your "Facebook friend."

24 October 2008

Good Old Fashioned Hard Work

I noticed yesterday while looking over at my side bar that year-to-date I have as many posts so far as I did the entire year last year! And yes, that includes the most recent hiatus. So that makes me feel pretty good. My desire is to keep posting; more frequently. Maybe I'll even update that ol' sidebar one of these days.

I recently called my sister and asked if she would help hold me accountable to my housekeeping goals. Her enthusiastic response was telling: she laughed at me. Then she e-mailed me photos of HER house, and I realized that she had in fact inherited that same gene as me! So now we are calling one another on occasion and trying to encourage one another to make goals and then accomplish them. I was about to e-mail these photos to her, but decided to do something ghastly and frightening (hey, it's almost Halloween--why not?). So I'm posting these photos on my blog for the whole world to see. It's currently 11:50. At 2:30 this afternoon, I will take photos of my progress and post them.

When I tell my kids to go clean their room, and then check on them 20 minutes later, I know whether they've been working or not by the visible evidence that is very telling. And now I'm applying the same principal to myself. So I'd better get working! I also have a (nearly) 2-year old and a nursing baby and LUNCH to contend with, but the proof will be in the photos. I'll post them later, Lord-willing!

****************Afternoon Update******************

So here are some afternoon reflections. While you can see a difference between the sets of photos, it's still not done. But you obviously can see that I wasn't sitting and watching TV or staring at my computer all day long; not that anyone is accusing me of doing that--it's my own conscience that's nagging at me! I'm amazed at how much STUFF just doesn't get put away. That is a habit I have to really focus on. And here's a bonus photo of my new stove (one of those posts that never got posted about while my parents were visiting), and some chicken parts roasting in the oven--dinner is in the making--and it's not even 3pm yet! SLAP MY BACK AND CALL ME ETHEL! (I still need to mop that filthy floor, sort through the mail piled high on my desk, and don't even get me started about the basement! But we'll chalk one up for domestic victory.) Now I'm off to pick up my little helpers!

22 October 2008

Blogging one-handed

Well I wasn't planning to take a month off from blogging. I just blinked a few times and realized a whole month had passed before my eyes. You know you're a blogger at heart when you go through your day thinking about how you'd post about every other event. (sigh!) I've had so many of those kinds of events, I'll never catch up! Meanwhile, NOTHING gets posted. Wow; that's a lot like my housework, unfortunately. But not today. Today I'm catching up on laundry. I'm actually folding it, an actually putting it away. Today I'm making apple butter in the oven, and we'll hopefully get it canned tonight. Today is going to be a day of domestic victory. It already is. (And hopefully it will also be a day of victory for the Phillies for game one of the World Series.) So if I get a couple of photos posted with this little blurb of a post, so be it. But once Brendan is done with his lunch, it's back to work.