Sunday, December 30, 2007

Obsessive Possessive

Nana coined a new term tonight, "Obsessive Possessive". This is a cross between obsessive compulsive and just plain possessive. Christopher has latched onto it, and promised full notation (perhaps royalties) for every mention in print. It is particularly descriptive of Caleb and his use of toys.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Anecdotes from Odd

We had a great resource of help from our church when Josiah was born. From prayer to meals, we felt so cared for, and loved. One of the best acts of service was from a couple willing to watch our older children so Christopher could be completely focused on me, and the new baby during my labor and delivery. Mr. and Mrs. M are grandparents themselves, but live too far away from their little ones to make regular visits feasible. As a result, my children have been adopted! While Mr. and Mrs. M were here Mrs. M wrote down the funny things my children said to share with me later. I couldn't resist sharing them with you as well!

When Mr. and Mrs. M arrived at our house a Barney DVD was playing. Mrs. M expressed her delight by saying, "I haven't seen Barney in ages!"
Bethany replied, "Well, of course not! You're so old!"

"Now we're not poor with boys!" Hannah announced after Daddy called to tell the kids about Josiah.

The older girls needed a puppy for their game of make-believe and everyone decided Caleb would fit the bill. Hannah explained to Mrs. M, with Bethany agreeing, " Caleb is much better when he's an animal than when he's a boy."

Hannah was pretending to be Maria, the servant for Mrs. M and Bethany. But she almost got into a fistfight with Bethany because Bethany didn't want her to bring her a treat.

No one ever said Caleb was a pacifist. He ate his pizza into the shape of a gun, and proceeded to shoot everyone at the dinner table.

I wrote two thank-you notes, just in case the damage from the shooting was irreversible. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I received this for Josiah's birth. I think it sums things up beautifully.

A Mom's Version of First Corinthians 13

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper - not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn of cleanliness - not godliness.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.

Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.

Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.

Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love is present through the trials.

Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Love is the key that opens salvation's message to a child's heart.

Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.

Now I glory in God's perfection of my child.

As a mother there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is love.

The Great Toy Switch of 2007

Christmas 2007
One of the blessings of a large family are special days, like Christmas. We had a fantastic time watching little ones open presents, listen to Daddy read the Christmas story from the Bible, and spend time with extended family. We celebrate Christmas in a two-day staged affair. Because we go to our aunt's house for a large family gathering on Christmas evening we have moved the present opening to Christmas Eve. This gives us a full day to take our time opening and playing with presents, and still get to Christmas Eve candlelight service. Then Christmas morning we have a hot breakfast, read the Christmas story, play with all our new toys, and finally have dinner with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We have lots of sweet memories, but I think one of the best is the "Great Toy Switch of 2007". 

Nana worked hard to find something special for each child. She took my advice in what the little girls would like, and purchased an incredibly realistic shopping cart for Leah. It has all the look and feel of the ones Mama uses at the grocery store, complete with baby holder in the front. For Mary she bought a Little People airplane that plays music, comes with three new figurines, and has a handle so she can carry it around with her.

Both girls were napping when we set out the shopping cart, along with a ride-on scooter for Mary and a few more presents, including the airplane, that were still wrapped. We assumed the girls would get up from their nap and Mary would get her ride-on, while Leah got the shopping cart. Mary woke up first, and came down to finish her present extravaganza. We had the camera rolling to see her reaction when she saw her ride-on, but she made a beeline for Leah's grocery cart. The test drive turned into an obsession with placing everything into the cart and walking to the kitchen and back, kitchen and back, kitchen and back. We laughed about how we were going to get Mary to give up the cart when Leah came down. The longer Leah slept, the more Mary pushed that shopping cart, the more apparent it became that Leah was not getting it back! What were we going to do? The shopping cart was supposed to be Leah's "big" present from her Nana. There was only one solution.

When Leah came downstairs from her nap we presented her with the present from Nana. You can imagine her surprise when she unwrapped a new Little People airplane! She never even gave more than a passing glance to the shopping cart. Later in the evening Nana asked Leah if she liked her new airplane (she was spinning around in circles while pretending to fly the plane), or if she liked the grocery cart better. Leah didn't even stop spinning in order to answer that she much preferred the airplane.

There hasn't been even a hint of jealousy between the girls and "their" presents.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jesus Rode A Donkey

Leah performed in our church's Christmas musical this past weekend. One of the songs she sang was about Mary riding a donkey into Bethelehem just before birthing Baby Jesus. In typical Leah fashion she transposed the characters in the song, and she now sings - constantly - about Jesus riding a donkey into Bethelehem. We have tried to explain that it is Mary who rode the donkey, but she is not interested in change. Caleb, especially, finds Leah's song tedious. And I must admit that after hearing it some 500 times in less than 10 minutes it can grate on you. Try it for yourself. Watch the following video, and then replay it continuously for the entire day!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Homeschool Giggles

This quick video, made by a large homeschooling family about homeschooling is HILARIOUS. I only wish we could provide you with a video of Odd, but this comes pretty close!

A Homeschooling Family

The Christmas Tree

My mom and I are very different in our tastes. She is eclectic psychedelic 60's, I am tailored Pottery Barn. We have always been opposite in many respects. For instance, growing up she saw nothing wrong with a fake tree, which is heretical to me. She also likes multi-colored lights... and bulbs. To top it off she puts on the odd, and unmatched "special" ornaments that, in my humble opinion, ruin the entire feng shui of a tree. At least we didn't do the blinking light thing (very often). So when I "grew up and got mt own house" you better believe I did it MY WAY. Fresh tree, white lights, gold and burgundy bulbs, ribbon, and nothing to shock the delicate balance of harmony. I loved it. And so began my Christmas tree tradition.

It grew as our family grew. I do accept tasteful Hallmark ornaments, and we involve the kids with choosing and cutting down our own tree. But the lights are my deal (it takes a Jedi to know exactly how to string lights on a tree - I learned it from my mom - whose method was good, it was just the color I abhorred). I also do the bulbs, and well, everything else about decorating the tree. People ask me about letting my kids help, and I inform them that we do so many things in our home which involve the kids I do not feel guilty in the least that I get the Christmas Tree. I have given up the walls in my home, which are now oddly covered in artwork taped wherever the whim carried the artist. I have given up my vehicle, which now houses noisy toys playing badly tuned electronic versions of classical masterpieces. I gave up my privacy, body, sanity, in essence my being in order to serve the little people in my care. I AM NOT GIVING UP THE CHRISTMAS TREE.

A few years ago the older girls started asking when they could help decorate the tree. I told them that this was Mama's special thing, and they may never get to do it. When they grew up and had their own homes....

Last year I finally gave in and allowed them to help with the bulbs, and even an occasional Hallmark ornament. Of course I supervised everything, and admittedly went back after they had gone to bed in order to rearrange some of their finer choices in composition. It about killed me.

Then Josiah was born, and now everything is ruined. In the first place we had to go to Kris Kringle "Lot o' Trees" to buy our tree because there was no way we were making it as a family into the Santa Cruz mountains with Mama lugging Josiah. We all agreed it was a doable solution that will instantaneously be thrown down next year when we go back to our favorite spot and cut our own tree. We picked our tree out on Monday, and by Friday it still had not a lick of anything remotely decorative upon it. The week was admittedly crazy, but the kids were becoming anxious. The natives were restless. Christopher and I finally promised them we would decorate the tree on Saturday. And then disaster struck, and I have lost my tree forever.

Josiah disagreed with some chocolate I ate (I know), and was very gassy and fussy starting at 4am Saturday morning. He also decided to throw a little growth spurt in there, and by Saturday afternoon I thought I was going to lose my mind. Between trying to burp him and feed him I barely had time to pee, let alone appreciate decorating a Christmas tree. But a promise to an 8, 6 and 4 year old is a matter of life and death. I managed to get the lights up, with the newly acquired assistance of Hannah, but when the actual decorating was about to begin, complete with "help" from Hannah, Bethany and Caleb, I had to sit and nurse for the millionth time. I suddenly could not manage bulb placement, let alone bulb selection. I could only coach from the side lines. By the end of the night I was hearing things like:

Why don't we use more colored bulbs?
I like the lights when they blink.
How come we can't put tinsel on the tree?

When you grow up and have your own home...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Confessions of an Ogre

You might imagine that Odd, like other lands, has its monsters. We do. But instead of the Ogre from fairytales Odd has something called a Mother.

The older girls learned about Santa Lucia in Sunday School yesterday and were struck by the beautiful service the tradition of Santa Lucia describes. The story goes that Lucy was a young girl in Rome during the Christian persecution of the early church after Christ's crucifixion. She brought food to the Christians hiding in the catacombs. On December 13, the longest night of the year, she was carrying so much food that she had nowhere to hold her candle, so she placed in a wreath which she wore on her head. To this day a very popular tradition in much of Scandinavia is for a young girl of the house to dress in a white gown with a red sash around her waist and a wreath of candles on her head and go throughout the house in the early morning serving baked goods to each member of the family.

So Hannah and Bethany thought they would surprise our family by performing this tradition in our home. They asked the ugly Mother if they could be allowed to wake early the following morning to perform their surprise. Mother agreed, and all thought the day would be fine. But everyone should know that a Mother is never to be trusted!

The girls were intending on waking at 7:30am to get about their "plan" but alas they did not rise until nearly 8:15. This threw a wrench in the timing of their production, but as still relatively young children their concept of improvising was limited and they just plugged right along oblivious to any conflicts their lateness might cause. Mother was taking a much needed nap after Josiah's early morning feed, and the rest of the children were sleeping. Bethany was fixing everyone's cereal bowl complete with their own personal pitcher of milk for pouring, and arranging them on a pancake griddle (using it as a platter for carrying), while Hannah was making a crown for Bethany to wear. The girls had even picked out their clothes the night before - Bethany wore her white flower girl dress from her Aunnie C's wedding with a red long-sleeved shirt tied around her waist for a sash. All was going well, until...

At 8:30 Mary decided to start seriously squawking. We installed the tent on her crib last night and she was not pleased that she no longer had unrestricted access out of her bed. Simultaneous to that Josiah decided to start crying after a measly hour+ nap, and Mother's anticipated rest was going down the drain. Josiah quieted with a pacifier, but the girls were nowhere to be found to take the other children down for breakfast. Mother went looking for them. When she arrived downstairs Bethany was heartbroken that her surprise was ruined. Hannah was trying to finish the crown, and the only thing Mother could think of was how tired she was, and how much she wanted Mary to stop squawking. Mother ordered one of the girls to go up and tell the other children that it was time to get up and eat breakfast (they had instructed their younger siblings to stay in bed for a surprise, and miraculously they obeyed). Hannah did so, but in the meantime Mary got her hackles up and needed to be disciplined by the now thoroughly agitated Mother. Finally all the children (save Josiah who was finally sleeping again) were downstairs but Mary was still in a funk. Mother had to come down to discipline her again, and noticed that Hannah was more concerned about the surprise than the very real hunger of her siblings. This is where the volatile nature of Mothers comes into play, and why they are the equivalent of the Ogre.

Mother exclaimed that she was sorry their surprise was ruined but since they got up later than intended they were going to need to deal with the reality of serving breakfast without all the details. Bethany even poured Mother cereal but all Mother wanted to do was go back upstairs and take a NAP! Mother snapped at Hannah who was trying to help, snapped at Mary who was not trying to help, and snapped at Bethany who was simply hurt.


Mother realized that she was ruining this precious moment her children had tried to orchestrate for her. And she apologized for hurting their feelings. Of course she still only wanted to go upstairs and sleep for a hundred years, but that is another fairytale creature not a Mother. Her children forgave her, but Mother is afraid she has ruined their hearts forever, and they will never initiate this kind of surprise again.

To any other Mother out there that lives like an Ogre sometimes...

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he [the Lord] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

We are not superhuman in Odd. We are very ordinary, with very ordinary ups and downs. If there is anything unique about us, let it be our very extraordinary God.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Instructions For Use

Please read the following instructions tag attached to my Boppy brand nursing pillow.

Okay, so let's walk this through...

1 - Read before each use. Um, right. First of all the tag is attached to the pillow which is housed in a Boppy designed cover. So to even GET to the tag you would need to remove the cover every single time. It doesn't take a genius to realize the absurdity of going through the process of reading the tag when your newborn is screaming for food. What do they think we will do? "Wait a minute Jr. Mama knows you are hungry, but I haven't read the tag in the last 3 hours so I don't remember what I am not supposed to do."

2 - Do not allow baby to lie face down or fall asleep on this or any other pillow. This seems fairly self-explanatory except that one of the larger advertised uses for the pillow is giving your infant safe support for "tummy time." Yea. That's where your child lies face down across the pillow to help build trunk and neck muscles. So how exactly does one accomplish that dichotomy? And falling asleep with the pillow is another good piece of advice. I should put baby to sleep in his cradle. Of course I am not allowed to ever leave baby unattended in his cradle, but that is another tag.

3 - Do not use in bed or crib. Now here I think they may actually have a valid point. Large pillows, stuffed animals, fluffy comforters can create suffocation risks. I assume they mean the child's bed. They certainly mean the child's crib since, last time I read the tag, my bed is not a crib. But then the last line causes me to reevaluate even this piece of noble advice.

4 - Only use on floor. Okay, after all the above ridiculousness you mean to tell me that I have to sit on my FLOOR every time I want to nurse my baby? Yep, that's what it means. If you look at their website all the mamas pictured are sitting, cross-legged, on the ground. Hmmmm, sounds comfy don't it? Just think, you had a baby last week, your bottom is a little tender... or better yet you had a cesarean and can't even lower yourself into a sitting-on-the-floor position without the aid of a crane and narcotics, yet here this charming little tag (which you must read before every use) sufficiently removes any ounce of comfort you may experience from the use of the product by its own instructions.

It would be great if the child himself came with such detailed instructions for use!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Number 100

Congratulations, you are reading our 100th post on Letters From Odd! I thought I would take a second to scroll back through our archives and give you a few of my favorite moments in Odd. Do you have a favorite memory from this not-so-fairy-tale-land? We would love to hear about it!

Tomato May 26, 2006

Wisdom From Experience June 1, 2006

Imelda Marcos Eat Your Heart Out June 16, 2006

Treatski Kapoopski July 25, 2006

Nope, let me change that - Digger Man August 31, 2006

It's Coffee September 10, 2006

Breakfast Theater December 13, 2006

Phonics, Or The Study Of How I Learned To Mispronounce Words January 22, 2007

Blah Blah Blah January 26, 2007

Entrepreneurial Skilz February 23, 2007

Hole In Your Head June 14, 2007

Dagarate July 18, 2007

Operatic Knuckles August 10, 2007

The Hulk October 11, 2007

The Ride Home October 23, 2007

Josiah Edward November 26, 2007

We look forward to the next 100 posts!