Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm hugging my kids harder these days.

How many posts have I started since Friday, either on the laptop or in my head, regarding the tragic killings in Connecticut?  Nothing sounds right.  I've backspaced more in the past half hour in the writing of this post, than I probably have since starting this blog 4 years ago.  There are just no words for something like this, so I'll just continue to pray for the comfort and healing of the survivors, the school, the parents and children, the community, and our nation as we continue to try to digest and understand something so impossible to understand.

A facebook friend wrote today of how her daughter's teacher would be like those teachers in Newtown that sacrificed their own lives to try to shelter and save their students.  So I thought of my own kids' teachers.  All 7 of them.  (Lexi has 5 teachers, 3 in Early Childhood and 2 at Parent's Day Out)  And yes, I am certain that all of my kids' teachers would put themselves between my child and danger.  I look back at the teachers my kids have had in past years and other staff at the school that I've met, and I feel the same.  It was still tough putting my kids on a bus this morning, but it sure makes it easier knowing that they are going to a school with staff and teachers like this.  I was raised by 2 teachers, and when I was growing up, I was surrounded and loved by all my parents' closest friends who were teachers.  My mother-in-law was a teacher and my sister-in-law is a teacher.  And I am absolutely certain that all of these teachers that I love so much, would protect a child in their class just as they would their own children at home.

I've been attending the church where Alexis attends Parent's Day Out for over a year now.  I've gotten to know a few people, primarily through the preschool that is there, but it's a big church, so I still feel fairly anonymous when I walk into that large congregation by myself.  I feel comfortable there.  I usually scramble into the sanctuary moments before the service starts and get out of there quick to pick up the kids from Sunday School.  Since the kids don't sit with me in the service, I actually get to hear the sermon.  Kinda nice.  This past Sunday the associate minister was preaching, and it was emotional as we all tried to understand the tragedy.  One of the things the pastor mentioned was reaching out to those people who are "on the edge".  When the service was over, within fractions of a second, before I even had grabbed my purse and turned to leave, I felt an arm around my shoulders and a very kind woman who I've never seen before, was complimenting me on my dress, my hair, and how nice it was to see me.  She hugged me.  Twice.  And then an older gentleman came over and shook my hand.  Before I was out of the sanctuary, 4 people I'd never met or even seen before had stopped to greet me.

I almost giggled to myself, wondering if I look like I'm "on the edge."  (I assure you, I'm not.)  I think really it's just people trying to make sense of the Connecticut shootings and trying to show more kindness...trying to reach out to others.  I left feeling hopeful, that even with these heinous events that we will never be able to make sense of, that it will make us want to be a little kinder, hug a little longer, love a little deeper, and pray a whole lot harder. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Lucas Oil Weekend

We've had some new experiences this weekend.  I had plans with a girlfriend from highschool yesterday that fell through and decided to find something holiday related to do with the kids instead.  Sitting at home all day, as tempting as it was with the dreary, rainy weather, would only result in nothing more than hitting new levels of success in the boys video games, Lexi's further memorization of all things Wiggle, and a bigger imprint on the couch by yours truly.  We decided to try a new museum:  the Eiteljorg.  For those not familiar, it's a museum of American Indians and Western Art.  Not my personal taste.  BUT, they've been advertising a train exhibit, a "locomotive wonderland" called Jolly Rails, that had over 1200 feet of track, 7 trains, and replicas of several Indianapolis buildings such as Lucas Oil Stadium, Union Station, and Monument Circle, and national treasures including the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore, all built with natural materials.  The boys were on board, and since Lexi didn't get a vote, we were on our way.

The boys running up to the front entrance.  Best to burn some energy before entering a museum.

Nick's favorite part of the display, the replica of Lucas Oil.
To keep the boys from rushing through too quickly (a 5 minute walk-thru doesn't make me feel like I've gotten my money's worth) I gave one kid my camera and the other my phone (on the camera setting) and told them I needed pictures.  I've since gone through the pictures and deleted about 50 blurred trains, 10 pics of eyeballs, 30 of floors, and 20 more of fingers and thumbs.  But they loved it, I got about 4 good pictures out of it, and we spent a good 30 minutes there.
Photo credit:  Nicholas Smith

Photo credit:  Blake Smith


I was glad to see there was an interactive floor for the kids and we stayed an additional 30 minutes.  Blake loved it, Nick liked it, and Lexi's nap had been cut short, but was still pretty darn good.
In the stagecoach


She wasn't impressed.
So it wasn't a long outing.  I'd hoped to spend enough time that we'd leave the museum when it was dark and the kids could see Monument Circle all lit up.  I even made the kids wander through a couple of the rooms with the Native American artwork and sculptures (yawn) but we got kicked out since Alexis had a bottle of milk.  Thank goodness.  So we topped off the day with a trip to the bookstore for Nick to spend the remainder of a birthday gift card (Oh DANGIT, why did he have to discover Captain Underpants?) and dinner out.  Other than missing Daddy (so grateful for his overtime opportunities, but we miss him coming with us on some of this stuff), it was a great day.

Nicholas and I had been counting down to today since before Thanksgiving.  Nick has really gotten into football and I love having someone to watch it with on Sundays.  Our Sunday routines have become the highlight of my week:  Church, grocery, lunch, 1:00 football, 4:00 football, 8:30 football.  Have I mentioned the indentation on my couch?  I had hinted at the fact that I wanted to take Nicholas to a football game.  Jason was fine with staying home with Alexis and Blake, so along with my aunt and uncle, we got tickets for the Colts game today.  Sadly, our advent calendar has taken a back seat.  The countdown has solely been for today's game.  Nick and Blake and Jason have all been to Lucas Oil Stadium to attend Monster Jam.  I would never be so desparate to see Lucas Oil Stadium that I would attend Monster Jam.  N.E.V.E.R.  And I don't like to say never.  Ever.  Today was my first time at Lucas Oil, and Nick and my first ever Colts game.

Photo credit: really nice dude at our table
I asked Nicholas if it was like he expected, better or worse.  His response:  "Better.  Duh."  And then he rolled his eyes at me.  Yep, we've hit the eye-roll stage.

Not sure what's up with Nick's expression, but he can say he's had his picture taken with Adam Vinatieri, #4.
That's Vinatieri, mid-kick, during the pre-game warm up.

This is a view of Lucas Oil Stadium from the nose-bleed section, 5 rows from the top.

The Colts won, of course. Nick thinks that his lucky #4 jersey is why they won. I think it was my blue nail polish.
Let Advent Commence!