Friday, February 29, 2008

No more baby...

Today we finally got around to getting Nathaniel's hair cut. It has been getting shaggier and shaggier and more mullet-like as the weeks have been passing, so we went to a place called Fun Cuts (or something like that) to get it taken care of (I don't trust myself with scissors and an antsy toddler).
I really like the new 'do. He also did really well while he got his hair cut. At the end he got a sucker and told the lady 'thank you'. She looked at him, looked at me and said, "I didn't know he could talk!" Because he had been quiet the entire time she was snipping away at his hair. He didn't even say anything when she used the clippers on him!

A nice little 'before' picture at California Adventure this morning.

Let the clipping begin, not so sure about what's going on.

Half way through and still doing great.

I didn't ever think that I would put gel and hairspray on my toddler's head...

"Now that I have a new 'do, I need a new 'tude!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Nathaniel in line for the roller coaster (he was one inch too short!)

With mommy

Kissing Mickey (Steam boat Willie!)

The Family

Please read my previous blog, but I had to post pics of Nathaniel and our family at Disneyland from Friday. My kid's pretty cute (biased mom!).

The God Delusion

For one of my classes I am required to read two chapters from a book (there is a choice of three) and then write about it. What the author is trying to accomplish in the chapters and how he went about doing it (at least, I think that's what the assignment is, I'm working on the first part right now, reading and writing about what the chapters are about). The book I chose is 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins because when the book was released there was a huge fuss made about it by many people.

For those who are unfamiliar with this book or with the author, I will try and do it some justice without knowing a ton about it myself. Richard Dawkins is a devout atheist who wrote this book with the intent that "religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down". His thesis (at least, in the introduction of his book) is that many people have simply been brought up with religion forced down their throats; that our children have simply been indoctrinated and so there are really more atheists out there than people would admit. He also claims that he is trying to debunk all religions, (although he then only mentions Christianity, Judaism and Islam, which leads me to believe he is gunning for theists as opposed to deists or polytheists...).

As I read through one of his chapters which is focusing on the existence of God and how there is no God, I find myself getting frustrated with his choice of arguments. Sam has pointed out that Dawkins is a scientist, not a philosopher, but still...the man (Dawkins) is like a child on a playground. He will take a theists argument for the existence of God (be it Aquinas' five proofs or the ontological argument---yeah, don't feel dumb if you don't know what those are, I just learned about them in my fourth year of seminary) and he will write it out in the simplest terms he can. He will then attack the argument using the most technical words that he can. His conclusion then is that he is so smart and Christians are dumb so...guess who's right!? He is also trying to argue that God cannot exist because most of the scientists in the world are atheists, which means that smart people know what's going on and Christians simply can't be smart.

Now, I write much of the above paragraph with tongue in cheek, but I'm not that far off base with his arguments. Before anyone accuses me of being biased, I have to say that our youth group just went through a book called 'The Ten Most Common Objections to Christianity'. This book was written in a similar fashion as Dawkins except flipped. Scientific arguments were simplified and then shown to be stupid, and that book frustrated me as well. Why can't people sit down and actually treat one another with respect?

Why can't Christians and atheists sit down and acknowledge that each person's ideas can be valid to a point. My beliefs aren't stupid or based off of some false knowledge that only backwoods, fundamentalist baptists believe and I have to believe that atheists out there aren't simply blindly ignoring truth but that many have looked to answer the God question for themselves and simply are unsatisfied with the answers they have found.

I'm not saying that people should be relativists, stating that we all have truth. There really is only one truth, and that's a logical argument (think about it; 2+2 will always = 4. It can't sometimes = 5, no matter how many people believe that it does). I'm just saying that we should respect others and sit down like adults to discuss things instead of slandering people for their beliefs and calling them idiots.

The thing that bothers me the most about this book (Dawkins) is that he mainly attacks Christians. He has mentioned a few things about Muslims, but all of his disparaging comments have been directed towards Christians. Some of his 'pot shots' if you will have been directed right at specific people, without any explanation why. For example, he was talking about different colleges, and he mentioned Wheaton (which is actually a pretty prestigious school) and said that even though it was ranked high for academics it still produced Billy Graham. What does that have to do with anything? I don't know what his beef is with Billy Graham, but lots of prestigious colleges have probably crapped out pretty awful people, but we can't hold the institution responsible!

So, those are my thoughts right now. I just needed a place to process and I thought some people would appreciate my thoughts (I know, pretty egotistical of me, right?). Let me know what you think! I'm interested in all view points!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Learning the ropes...

I am continually amazed as I watch our little one grow into the person God has created him to be. It's funny because I see more and more of my personality traits coming out of him as opposed to Sam's. I desperately long for my son to grow up to be awesome and amazing like Sam, but it's also kind of nice to see how he takes after me a bit. Unfortunately I see it in his stubborn streak and his short fused temper.

We have been implementing various discipline techniques to try and focus Nathaniel's strong personality into a positive thing. It started with short time outs in his crib at around 15 months (more for myself and Sam than for punishment for Nathaniel) and has slowly grown to one minute stints in the corner and the occasional swat on the well-padded diaper region to solidify our points. Yet...

This kid is driving me mad! He hits. He gets frusterated by our limitations on him and in response he lashes out with his hands, usually slapping either myself or Sam in the face. After trying and trying the "instant time outs" with no warning for hitting us, we moved onto a swat on the butt for continued misbehavior (i.e. when we are walking him to timeout and he starts hitting us even more).

I am desperate! So, the past few days I have tried a different technique, and amazingly it's working! First of all, I notice that Nathaniel likes to do things at his own pace and likes things to be his idea as opposed to being forced to do something (hence the frustration). So, for the past few mornings I have changed our routine and have made our getting ready time twice as long. It involves a long bath time with lots of play (which also gives me the opportunity to catch up on reading, have some prayer/Bible study time or clean the bathroom) and it involves him picking out some clothes, helping get dressed, and allowing him to walk to the car instead of being carried. Sure, it takes an hour instead of a half an hour, but I make the time up with less time outs and less stress on my part. This evening, as he was getting tired he started acting up more and I could tell he was just getting weary. Not yet ready for bed, but tired enough to start lashing out again. Instead of sending him to time out right away for hitting I went back to giving him warnings, then, as we went to time out, (because that just didn't work) I held his arms down at the shoulder to keep him from hitting me and I looked him in the eyes and told him to calm down. It helped a bit. I know he is frusterated by his inability to communicate everything he is thinking, and he tries so hard.

So, that's where we are right now. Loving this little one with everything we can, and trying so hard to have a child who isn't a jerk. I feel bad because since school has started up we have had less time to play together as a family, and on our days off we've had to run errands and do stuff. So, this Friday we are dropping the car off to get new tires and heading to Disneyland to play. I hope that helps things as well.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big fat woo hoo!!

Sam came home rather late-ish last night from his weekend drill because they had to finish up some NCOERs (non commissioned officer evaluation reports). He came home with some crazy news though. On the surface, it sounded bad because they have totally screwed up the training schedule for the rest of this fiscal year and the beginning of the next one. But, when you look at the entire picture it's actually great news!
First of all, Sam doesn't have drill for July or August, which kind of stinks because we really rely on those paychecks to make ends meet (gulp! Gotta start saving up now!) but it means that they moved his two weeks of annual training to September. That's really not going to work out because we have our final (yes, FINAL!!!) semester of school that will be going on then. It doesn't sound so bad at first because he could easily miss two weeks of school for Army commitments (profs are pretty easy going with stuff like that). But, then there is another two weeks of annual training in December (because the fiscal year starts in October). There is no way Sam can miss out on four weeks of school, and I already told him that he is in no way missing another one of my graduations (Army training made him miss my graduation from undergrad).
I know all of that sounds like terribly inconvenient items, so where is the big woo hoo? Well...The reason Sam's unit is doing so much training this year is because right after the new year they are heading to Kosovo for a deployment. Again, why am I rejoicing? Because...Sam isn't on the list!!!! He is NOT slated to go on this deployment!!!
And the crowd goes wild!!!!
Of course, it is still early to rejoice, because with the Army you have to be prepared for anything, but I am still doing my little happy dance. It makes it a bit easier to begin planning the future more.
So, Sam just has to figure out how he can make up the training dates without missing a ton of school. At least he doesn't have to postpone doctoral work! Yay!
And that is why we rejoice this Monday morning.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

2 out of 3...

Nathaniel seems to be getting the dreaded cold/plague that I got last weekend. I hope he doesn't get it as bad as I did. I'm still feeling gross, and adding a whiney toddler on top of that doesn't help my mood very much. To top it off, I have to go to the store today to get some stuff (basic food staples) and Sam is gone playing Army up at Camp Roberts. I have a feeling that we won't be very popular at Food 4 Less today...

I was blessed to be able to visit with a good friend yesterday. He was my nanny for awhile last year but has since moved on to camp ministry. He was in the area doing summer recruiting (for counselors, not campers) so we got to visit. It was really nice. Nathaniel absolutely adores him, so that was nice for him as well.

Not too much else has been going on. Just continuing to get into the swing of the new semester. Realizing lots of stuff, but that is for another, much deeper post. Right now I think the thick mucous is keeping my deep thoughts from bubbling to the surface...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Coughing up pieces of myself.

It totally figures that since I had 7 weeks of break (I wouldn't classify it as vacation since I still was working 20 hours a week at church and parenting) I had to wait and get sick once the semester started. It started off with a little congestion in my chest and a hoarse voice and now it has turned into full fledged deep chest cough, stuffy nose, sore throat and little periods of aches and dizziness. Since I can't really afford to take time off (not monitarily so much, but hectic, crazy busyness) I already foresee myself driving myself into the ground. So, prayers would be appreciated, and if anyone has a family practitioner they know and trust in the SoCal area (preferably around where we live...) please let me know. I don't have one, but I should probably nip this illness in the bud while I still can.

Nathaniel continues to amaze us with his awesomeness. I know I'm bragging, but what mother doesn't have the right to brag? He's just a very well-behaved (for the most part) boy. He has recently discovered 'The Wiggles'. I was talking with a friend about the Wiggles and we decided that even though it is indeed wholesome, it should also come with a warning that they are really annoying. During the end of the dvd the Wiggles are singing the 'Five Little Ducks' song. For those of you not versed in children's songs, it is the one about the little ducks going out and getting lost. Near the end of the song, Captain Feathersword (yes, that's his name...ugh) starts sobbing dramatically over the sadness of the duck's plight. Last night I turned to Nathaniel and said, "oh, Captain Feathersword is sad!" Nathaniel immediately burst into tears and wailed. He does that a lot when others around him cry, he will cry too. I hope it's empathy and not just the desire for attention. Who am I kidding? He's 19 months old, of course he's crying for the attention, he believes the world revolves around him.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Jumping on the bandwagon.

I feel like my whole life I've been told that just because something is popular doesn't mean that it's right. In fact, I believe I used that phrase in my last teaching of the students. But, I guess with the way things are going with the Grummons family, we had better jump on the blogspot bandwagon so that people will be able to keep up with our craziness.

First of all, I realized a few weeks ago that in less than a year both Sam and I will be finished with our Masters degrees. It's kind of a scary place considering this is the one thing I've been focused on as my major goal for over 5 years now. How can it be that it is nearly finished and I have no idea where we are going to end up? At least Sam has his Ph.D. to look forward to...I have to find a real job! Eek! Who knows what's in store for our family during this time?

In all actuality though, I'm super excited (as is Sam) to see where God takes us in the next year. Sam's going to apply to five different schools (I made him narrow it down because applying costs money, grrr....) and I am excited about four of the schools that he's picked. Once we get closer to graduation (probably around November) I will start looking at job openings in those areas and we'll go from there.

So, hopefully we will be able to keep this blog updated. Things are crazy busy for us, but with a toddler who is potty training, an awesome group of junior high students to minister to, and a person who is constantly thinking about something (Sam) I'm sure we will have plenty of stories to share with our *avid* fans. If not just exploiting our amazingly cute child.