Sunday, April 24, 2011

No More Easter Bunny
It's the end of an era here in the Craig household.  Alex asked me the other day point blank if the Easter Bunny was real.  I lied; I said of course there was.  My eagle eyed 8 year old spotted the top handle of a cherry pink Easter basket yesterday in my car.  (BTW, Steve picked it up and left it in the front seat of my car.  I love his effort, but c'mon; could he at least have put it in the trunk?  Love you, honey.)  Ergo, the questioning began again:  Mommy, are you sure there's really an Easter Bunny?  I sighed.  I told her the truth.  Alex's response:  Mommy, don't lie to me again.
Ok, so she was a little upset about the no Easter Bunny thing, but she was more upset that I lied to her.  I commend her.  I must be doing something right.  Personally, I think she would have been fine with no Easter Bunny at all.  When she was 18 months old, I dutifully brought her down to the mall in pink gingham and whoopsie pigtails to have her picture taken with the old rat.  She screamed like there was no tomorrow and pulled her white ribbons out of her hair.  The photographer called me over to pick out a package ranging from $20 to $100, and I asked him if he was crazy; there was no way I was paying for a $20 picture with my child assaulting the mall Easter Bunny.  He gave me a blank stare in return.  Oh well.
So, as we're sitting down to a lovely Easter lunch with my family, someone brought up freaking Santa Claus.  You've gotta be kidding.  I buried my face in my hands over my green bean casserole and potatoes au gratin and pretended I wasn't there, until Alex's voice boomed over the conversation to me:  Mommy, is Santa Claus real?  Oh geez.  With everyone's eyes suddenly upon me, Jesus answered for me:  Honey, we'll talk about this later.  I tabled it.  She asked me not to lie, and let me tell you that the Santa thing is not going to go over as well.  So, I sugared her up with every other child around the world and am praying the subject will not come up for a very long time.
Don't be too afraid; I told Alex to not advertise the "Easter Bunny isn't real" thing for all the world to know.  It's not world stopping news and every child doesn't need to know.  She seemed to understand.
Through it all, I'm thankful because Alex assured me that she knows what Easter is about:  it's about Jesus conquering the grave!  It's about Him loving us more than anything and bearing the cross for our sins.  When she made cards for family members, on her own without my prompting, she drew pictures of Jesus on the cross.  Also, she was quick to tell me that two of her friends asked Jesus into their hearts today.  Wow.
Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You for loving us and teaching us what love is.  Thank You for the invitation and for walking along side of me wherever I am.  Thank You for helping my kiddo remember what's most important and coming to her in real ways.  Amen.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Camper

I did it, guys.  I tackled nature, even if it did have an electric outlet to charge my phone and my daughter's DS.  Whatever, you have to start somewhere.  I came with a tarp, plenty of marshmallows, Hershey's chocolate bars, and graham crackers to tow.  I spent a week fretting that I would be the most unprepared camper in Brown County, but when it came down to it, whatever one was lacking, someone else shared willingly.  Thank God for my small group!
The first night in our tent, it was me and the girls.  Steve needed one more night home to finish up some work and finish off his third round of antibiotics to fight his nagging bronchitis.  So, we hunkered down with our pink and purple sleeping bags on top of our air mattresses.  We slept peacefully, although our air mattresses deflated and the bitter morning air shocked us to throw our extra blankets over our heads.
We woke up, ate muffins, and off we went on our first hike.  Serene and sunny, the two mile hiking trail proved to be worth the view, until Alex fell once, then twice, three times, and of course, a fourth with a tantrum to mark each fall.  Despite my fleeting patience, my pals encouraged and helped me along the way with my girl.  I was indeed thankful.  It gave me a chance to get some good advice from my dear friends on different possibilities that I could try to help her with her tantrums, etc...
I have always said that raising Alex has taught me what it really means to be a parent.  She has not been an easy child, and I have said that some of it is because she's an only child and some of it is due to me learning how to love her in a way that she feels my love.  I'm still figuring this out in bits and pieces, but I know God has sent just the people I need to me to help and encourage me along the way.  I'm grateful beyond belief.
This year has proven to be exceptionally challenging for her.  Losing TJ is something that she still cries about from time to time.  At school, they asked me to look into testing her for a learning disability and ADD or ADHD.  I explored each and every one of those areas; she tested above average in almost every area and didn't qualify for ADD or ADHD after doing the evaluations.  We are still going to counseling, so as a family we are having a sounding board to help us through our difficulties this year, and we're very thankful for "Ms. Kelly."  Alex is extremely social at home with her friends in the neighborhood and at church, but not so much at her school (she currently attends private school).  She adores all the kids at her school, she doesn't have a bad word to say about anyone, but she doesn't engage with them in play, etc...  This is not the child we see at home, at all.  We are praying for God's direction in all of this.  I may start looking into yoga, diet, anything.
On Day 2 of our camping extravaganza, Steve arrived.  We made smores and hot dogs, laughed around the camp fire,  and attempted a shower.  Alex didn't sleep well, and it started to rain.  Joy, one of partners in crime on this trip, was feeling a nasty sore throat and cold coming on.  We were in battle!  On the morning of Day 3, Steve and Brandi took the kids to McDonalds for breakfast (surprise, surprise).  I drank coffee, read a People Magazine, chatted with my pals, and started to organize for the sojourn home.
Although we came home muddy and exhausted, it was worth it.  We all have to get out of our every day bubbles and try something new, even if it is a little daunting.  We need to step out of the little dramas and just breathe, jump in, and go for it.  The laundry will get done and the dirt vaccumed up.  We'll get some extra sleep and stock up on groceries.  It will all be fine, but we all need a new perspective, a new experience from time to time.  And for this, I'm glad we did it.
Much love to my small group!  Love you lots.  I seriously think BRAVO or A&E should create a show about our small group.  We got some good stuff going on!

Monday, April 4, 2011

YA Quotes Part III: A Hodgepodge

So, here goes.  I'm going to wrap this up with a few more of my favorite authors...  Enjoy!

"It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love." 
-Jellicoe Road  by Melina Marchetta

"From this distance everything is so bloody perfect." 
-Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

"Be prepared for the worst, my love, for it lives next door to the best." 
-Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

"Comfort zones are overrated. They make you lazy." 
-Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

"These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I'm thinking."
-Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

“Because any hope beyond that, my boy, would be too much. I feared we would drown in it.”
Then I choose to drown,” Finnikin said. “In hope. Rather than float into nothing."
-Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart." 
-Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

"Stupid people are dangerous." 
-Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

"But the truth doesn't need to be known, or believed, to be true." 
-Deadline by Chris Crutcher

"If you're good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can't be wrong." 
-The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

"Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community." 
-The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

"Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they're the four hugest words in the world when they're put together.

You can do it." 

-The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

"I draw because words are too unpredictable.
I draw because words are too limited.
If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning.
But when you draw a picture everybody can understand it.
If I draw a cartoon of a flower, then every man, woman, and child in the world can look at it and say, "That's a flower." 

-The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

"Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are." 
-I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

"The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you." 
-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

"Maybe everyone can live beyond what they're capable of." 
-I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

"I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." 
-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

"Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness." 
-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

"Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. "I'm okay" we say. "I'm alright". But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can't get it off. That's when you realize that sometimes it isn't even an answer--it's a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced." 
-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

"Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day. "
-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Profound, profound, profound.  No, young adult literature isn't just vampire novels.  

Saturday, April 2, 2011

YA Lit Quotes Part 2: E. Lockhart

So, continuing on with my last post, here are a few more quotes from another unforgettable YA author, E. Lockhart.  Check it out...

"It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can't see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow. It is better to speak up than stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people.

She will not be simple and sweet. She will not be what people tell her to be. That Bunny Rabbit is dead." 

-The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks (E. Lockhart)
P.S.  Every teenage girl who is fighting to express her voice needs to read this book.  It was awesome.

"I love the idea of the big life - the life that matters, the life that makes a difference. The life where stuff happens, where people take action. The opposite of the life where the girl can't even speak to the boy she likes; the opposite of the life where the friends aren't even good friends, and lots of days are wasted away feeling bored and kind of okay, like nothing matters much." 
-Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

"She might, in fact, go crazy, as has happened to a lot of people who break the rules. Not the people who play at rebellion but really only solidify their already dominant positions in society but those who take some larger action that disrupts the social order. Who try to push through the doors that are usually closed to them. They do sometimes go crazy, these people, because the world is telling them not to want the things they want. It can seem saner to give up - but then one goes insane from giving up." 
-The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks  (E. Lockhart)
P.S.  I can so relate to this.  I have felt like this since I was a little girl.  I hope I pass this "never giving  up" to my own little girl.

"People think of hearts when they think of love, but a heart is a bloody organ in the body. It doesn't have any emotions. It's like a metaphor for love that has nothing to do with what love actually is." 
-Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart