Friday, May 30, 2008

Grades are in!

Drum roll please....

The Grummons family is proud to boast of their super smart-ness (is that a word? Who cares!).

Sam: History of Normative Systems-A
OT Survey-A

Carrie: Advanced Reading in Hebrew/Exegesis of Jeremiah-A
Field Education-A

That's right, with a crazy busy, super stressful, absolutely hectic semester full of school, parenting, church stuff and work (with the occasional date here and there) we both managed to pull 4.0 semesters. I think that is the definition of grace right there (for me, Sam is super smart anyways and has nearly a 4.0 anyways for his Master's, this is my personal best semester since starting my degree, and I think I was the busiest I have been since starting).

So, you may ask, what are you going to do to celebrate the end of a crazy semester?
We're going to Disneyland! (okay, so we went to Disneyland this morning, this afternoon we are preparing to start summer school tomorrow...back to the grind stone!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And when I think things are getting rough...I'm reminded of my many blessings.

It's been a rough week in the Grummons neighborhood. The wonderful owners of our apartment building had another slab leak in the apartment building. This time, it was in unit three and when the plumbers came out today they were told that all of the hot water pipes have to be replaced (or something like that). So, not only are we hot water-less (all of us), we get to have our walls ripped into again (this happened to us back in January). That stinks, but what is worse is that there is all sort of drama with tenant #3 anyways heart hurts for these wonderful people who have been dealt a crap hand.

I was slightly feeling sorry for myself tonight thinking about the lack of hot water and what a cramp getting our walls torn out puts in our life style but God smacked me on the head and showed me how dumb I was being within about a minute of my pity party (not even enough time for the ice cream cake to be served!).

First of all, a little inconvenience is nothing compared to what our dear neighbors are facing. $6500.00 in repairs and a guy who won't pay his rent (but demands the leak to be fixed...grrr!). Secondly, at least we have water, even if I had to heat up a pot of water to wash dishes tonight, at least we have the water to do that with. I also have dishes and food and a roof over my head and the means to pay rent.

Also, I have an amazing little boy who brings tons of light into my life. How can I feel sorry for myself when I have such a sweet little boy hugging and kissing me (and throwing an elbow in my face if I get too snuggly)?

Plus, today we got to hang out at the ocean for a little bit. One of my favorite places.

Also, yesterday and tomorrow we have been helping out a friend as she cares for a brood of children (three of whom aren't hers!) since she had back surgery and can't do much. It is really easy because of the 6 kids around two are three, one is four, two are two and one is this cute little 9 months old who is content being held or hanging with his sisters. They all get along great, such smooth sailing. Today I asked Nathaniel if he wanted to play with his friends tomorrow and I said, "Do you want to play with Ellie?" and he replied, "an Nak!" It was cool to see him remember his friends and know their names (Zeke, Vivian and Makayla).

Sorry for the long post! Enjoy the slide show from the past few days!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What drives my thinking

I have been doing some thinking about my own thinking as of late. A few things are driving this latest round of reflection.

For one, I am now regularly teaching an apologetics class at church. It is a great honor and blessing. The honor is not that I get to hear me yap or have a position or anything worthless like that. The honor is that I get to use my gifts in service to the church. I get to do what I do well (or at least what I do best, and that may not say much) to help others think about their faith. It has been a long time since I was first introduced to this way of thinking, and there have been many changes along the way.

Second, many of my theological views have adjusted along the way, and the "Cartesian Anxiety Syndrome" I had, that fear of not having absolute certainty, has certainly faded. Arguments which I once gave a lot of credit to (C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity Moral Argument) have become suspect while I have a lot more respect for other arguments.

Third, I see some major problems in American Evangelicalism. The unholy alliance between the evangelical church and political conservatism is killing the church's witness. Christian ethics used to be critiqued for holding onto the values of humility, forgiveness, altruism, and turning the other cheek. Gee, if only I could defend Christianity from those "charges." But now, we are critiqued for valuing hate, exclusion, war, greed, and oppression. The worse part about it, however, is that it is not slander. The charges stick. They don't stick to the Bible, they bounce off the Gospel, but they cling to the church (note that this is a little hyperbolic, but only a little). I see that now, and by reflecting on how I came to see it I might be able to show others.

So, with all this describing why I am thinking about my thinking, what have I thought about my thoughts?

I will only mention this right now. I realized that non-Christians have knowledge to offer. I went to a very liberal school, and I saw all sides of liberalism. I saw its anger, its selfishness, its attitude, its atheism, its relativism, etc... But I also saw moral concerns. A moral concern for the environment. A moral concern for the oppressed. The moral aspects of economics. How American foriegn policy is corrupted with hubris. Those were legitimate moral concerns, concerns that the church did not seem to be paying adequate attention to. Second, I found that I could not only incorporate those concerns into my Christian worldview, but that I could give them a better footing. Take the environment. Seeing the world as God's creation gives it value (in a way that naturalism cannot account for). Our status as God's image bearers comes with a responsibility to care for our home. In Christianity I can not only account for our continuity with nature (like the New Age spiritualists do, justifying environmental concern because we are all "one") insofar as "from dust we were formed;" I can also account for our special responsibilities to creation insofar as we are distinct.

This is only part of it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Precious moments

Nathaniel's new picture pose

The last week we have seen our fair share of significant events happen. First of all, Nathaniel transitioned smoothly into his bed without much of a fuss (although last night I was awoken at 1:30am to the sounds of a crying child and found Nathaniel on the floor, unharmed, but visibly shaken and upset. He got over it and went right back to sleep). I also got to see one of my closest friends graduate with her M.A. in Old Testament. Okay, so since it was raining and the graduation was outside, I didn't actually witness the event, but I did go to the reception and take pictures with her. I was so proud of her, she overcame a lot of stuff to get this degree.

Julie and I after graduation

Last night I was reading my book (Men and Women in Ministry) and I looked over at Nathaniel who was quietly coloring at the table and I got kind of sad. He really holds very little of his baby-ness anymore. He is all toddler/kid. Next step, potty training. He is definitely ready. The other day I walked into his room after his nap and was greeted by a bare butt and a crib full of poo...My theory, he knew that he needed to go potty, knew that the diaper is supposed to come off before he goes in the toilet and then...yeah. Luckily is was solid. 'Nuff said.

I have found that ever since I've become a mother certain phrases come out of my mouth that I never before would have said. Things like, "Don't talk with soup in your mouth." and "No, we don't wipe our bottom with paper and then blow our nose with the same piece." But, alas, it is necessary for me to spout such wisdom at various times of my day...

A rare picture of Nathaniel where is doesn't realize there is a camera on him.

I hope everyone enjoys their Memorial Day. Remember that it is more than just a day of no work (for some) and no mail service. We are to remember those who have lost their lives serving our country.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Nathan's Big Boy Bed!

Nathaniel's big boy bed came in today! It was quite exciting to enter a new stage of parenting. It is a very nice bed from Living Spaces, it comes with underneath drawers and should last him until he is 18 and we kick him out. Best of all, we found the coolest bed set at Ross.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The return of Blankie!

The new Blankie arrived today, just in time for nap. Nathaniel was pretty happy about it, and it's interesting to see how his vocabulary has improved in only a month. He now calls it "Blank" instead of 'bee bee'. Awww...

Sam told Nathaniel that we got Blankie cleaned really well which was why it was gone for so long. I honestly don't think Nathaniel cares either way why he was "Blankie" less for so long.

We went out and got Nathaniel's big boy bed today. It will be delivered on Saturday morning, which means that tomorrow we have to completely rearrange the bedroom. We have to do some creative storing for awhile because we will keep the crib up until Nathaniel is through with the transition. I hope he transitions well, we got him a captain's bed and it is kind of high...At least he isn't a violent sleeper.

Not too much else to report. I'm super excited about my summer class starting next week. I got my syllabus today and we get to talk about some super interesting topics. The class is called 'Church and Society' which is actually an ethics class. We are going to talk about things like abortion, genetics studies, euthanasia, poverty, etc. I'm really excited. Unfortunately, I have homework to do next week in prep for the class. *sigh*.

OH!! and we had a real thunder storm tonight! I can count on one hand the number of thunderstorms we have had out here since we moved. It was wonderful. It felt like a real spring evening. Yay!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why I do what I do.

If you click on the title of this post you will see one of the many reasons I am involved in youth ministry.

I love these guys! For all of the times I come home frustrated with ministry, I have 10 times when I come home energized and excited. I love teaching these kids (young adults, really) about Jesus and I love watching them actually "get" it.

I also love playing Kijabe Can Can and having the bragging rights of winning, but then having to admit that yes, I beat an 8th grader...woot!

And for those of you who do not know what Kijabe Can Can is...well...just go to you tube and type in Kijabe Can Can. You can get the jist of the idea. It's great fun.

I have been very blessed by the girls in my small group. It's a nice ego boost when we ask them to give concrete examples of when they have felt loved and they mention church and small group leaders (and me!) as times they have felt loved. It also made me feel good when I asked my students who loved them unconditionally and one of them threw her arms around me and said, "Carrie!". I'm glad they notice how much I care.

On the home front, things are good. Sam took Nathaniel to Disneyland yesterday for Daddy time while I went to school and work. I was sad that I couldn't go, but it's good for Sam and the boy to have some male time together.

Not too much else going on. Just working on church stuff, gearing up for Dodgeapalooza (the annual dodge ball tourney), studying for teaching and dreading class starting up in a week. Sigh. Short lived summer break for me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More about smell.

This time, I'm actually posting about smell, as in odor. Lately, when Nathaniel wakes up from his nap he reeks. I kid you not! My sweet little boy smells like a foot after his nap. I know that it's because he sweats like crazy when he sleeps (even in his air conditioned room, he sweats like he just ran a mile). Tonight as I was getting ready to lay him down in his bed I could almost see the stink cloud rising up from his sheets (mind you, I wash his crib sheet at least once a week). I realized what it smelled like: Sour Milk. We don't let Nathaniel eat or drink anything in his crib, so I was a little perplexed. Why does my kid's bed stink so badly?! Why is my kid the smelly kid?

Well, it all boils down to diet. Attending a school with a high concentration of Korean students I have found myself having this conversation many times with many different ethnicities. We basically all smell like the major food group we eat. Koreans eat a food called Kim Chi (think spicy sauerkraut) and therefore, when placed in a warm room with a lot of Koreans there is the definite odor of garlic-y kim chi. My Korean classmates are also quick to point out that Americans smell like sour milk. Of course, I'm American, I've grown up around Americans and therefore, I never noticed. Until tonight. My kid (who I swear gets bathed daily, sometimes even twice!) smells like sour milk.

Joy. I am going to strip his bedding tomorrow and cut back on the dairy products!

On another note. Due to my role in ministry and my gender I have had some interesting interactions and comments made in my direction as of late. So, at the prompting of Danny and Pastor Mike, I have begun reading a book called, Men and Women in the Church. It is very well written and has hit me right in the intellectual stomach. I will eventually write a post about my thoughts and share some things the book has to say. I am hoping that since the author is a prof at Azusa Pacific (about 30 miles up the road) I will be able to nail her down and pick her brain. That would be awesome.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spell vs. Smell

Being the parent of a toddler has taught me how difficult the English language is to master. Not only does one have to catch all of the nuances of the language, but it's easy to see (hear) how miscommunication can happen.

Nathaniel has the book 'Pat the Bunny' (which I thought for the longest time was the name of the bunny. It isn't, it is a command. Gosh, that is another example of how difficult learning English is!) and in part of it is the whole, "Paul can smell the flowers, now you smell the flowers" with the page of scented flowers. Nathaniel leans over and proceeds to blow his nose on the page (because he doesn't understand the difference yet, he just sees how mommy smells things and mimics the sound).

Well, Nathaniel also has this little old travel boggle game which is really just flashcards in a scrolling thing with pictures and words. He loves to scroll through the pictures and point out what things are, "Feet!", "Baby", etc. This morning he was looking at it and started pointing to the letters and saying them or sounding them out (YAY!!!). So, I sat down with him and we were looking at the pictures and I would ask him to point out the letters. One time I asked him, "Can you spell that?" and he leaned over and smelled the picture.

I need to enunciate I guess.

I also notice that he confuses H and N; I and T; and sometimes B and E.

It's interesting how we see the world through our kids' eyes and begin to understand how frustrating and confusing life can be.

But, I am excited that Nathaniel sat down in front of the word FEET and said, "Fffff...Eee...Eee...Tee!" Sure, it was a combination of sounding out and spelling, but reading starts somewhere, right?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mother's Day slide show.

Our Mother's Day

I had a wonderful Mother's Day. I got to sleep in (wahoo!!!) until 8am where I was gently awoken by Sam coming into the bedroom with a hot mug of coffee for me. He was going to serve me breakfast in bed, but I thought it would be a little too cliche and I wanted to eat in the kitchen with Sam and Nathaniel (and avoid little one jumping onto the bed and spilling syrup on my sheets). Sam not only made me pancakes, but he made me banana pancakes! My favorite!
After church and nap we went to Disneyland. When we got there I said, "Hey, let's see if Nathaniel is tall enough to ride the Matterhorn yet!" I didn't think he would be, but he was tall enough, so I won the 'Mother of the Year' award by taking my 22 month old on a roller coaster ride.

Here is the after picture. He doesn't look too scared or scarred. In fact, we went on the Go Gadget roller coaster right after this and he loved it!
I will post another post with a slide show, because I'm trying to insert pictures, but it's being dumb (or, I'm dumb...hmmm...).
Life is good here. Sam is nearly done with the semester, I'm basically done (except for going to class and prepping Hebrew before class) and it's been nice to go to the park more often. My major project (aside from reading for pleasure) has been to really clean the apartment. I have been picking something to clean every day. I am pleased to announce my living room is clean completely. I even cleaned out the desk! Woot! I also dusted the tip tops of the book shelves! As soon as Sam is finished with his final paper, he's going to be handed a dust rag and a mop and he will get to join the fun.
Nathaniel is awesome. He is starting to put words together. His favorite one is pointing to a picture of the family and saying, "daddy and mommy and daddy and mommy and daddy..." It's pretty cute.
The bodily functions have calmed down as well. We are finishing up the antibiotics and the poops are solid once more. Life is good. Tomorrow we will go to Disneyland and enjoy our free time because summer school starts in two weeks. Ugh.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Flight of the Conchords

These guys are absolutely hilarious! Here is too awkward conversations everywhere:

Friday, May 9, 2008

And it just keeps getting better!

Monday-Thursday: Occasional vomits from the child. We never knew when it was coming, but it made for an interesting week.

Wednesday: Trip to the pediatrician to find out about a double ear infection, which resulted in a shot of antibiotics in the leg (poor boy) and 10 days worth of "yummy" amoxycillin (which, Nathaniel always asks for more of...).

Friday: We realize what antibiotics does to our poor boy's system. Needless to Nathaniel had a massive blow out in the diaper when we were at McD's eating lunch. Sam had to strip him down in the men's room and bag up everything the kid was wearing from the waist down. Then (after running a few more quick errands, which are another post unto themselves...let's just say I hate the Target by our house even more today than I did before), we got home and I hear Nathaniel in the back of the car saying, "Ewww...". Yup, more poo down the leg. Into the bathtub he went, and I threw a load of laundry into the wash (I've done more laundry this week than in the past two weeks combined!). Nathaniel got out of the tub, into a fresh diaper and snuggled down for his nap. At about 5pm I went to wake him up because I wanted him to sleep tonight (he's been taking really long naps lately due to all of the sickness stuff). When I walked into his bedroom I noticed he was already sitting up looking at a book in his crib, while finger painting...

Yup, he once again liquified his lunch and got it on his sheet and wiped it on his crib slats. Amazingly, it didn't get on his book, his stuffed animals or his blankets, just his crib and sheet. So, off he went into the tub (much to his great delight. He loves playing with the water as it comes out of the faucet) and in went more laundry. Quite a bit of bleach went onto a rag and all over his crib, and now...he is once again sleeping soundly and mommy is hoping that there is no more "surprises" waiting for me.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Date at Disneyland

The other weekend one of our friends took Nathaniel for a day (and night) and let Sam and I be a couple again. It was amazingly fun.

You would think that of all of the possibilities that were ahead of us Sam and I would choose something chic and classy. Maybe a fancy dinner at The Melting Pot? Maybe a nice movie? Maybe hiking in the wilderness (ha, after driving for about an hour and a half first). Nope. We went to Disneyland! Woo Hoo!

It was a lot of fun, but we realized that we are lame. We got tired so easily! We spent quite a bit of time just sitting on benches watching people and relishing the fact that we didn't have a stroller or a diaper bag (although, we did miss the little booger and were happy to be reunited the next day).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Double ear infection and a case of the technicolor yawns...

First, I have to say I love my boy's timing. In the 22 months he has been on this earth, he has only thrown up a few times. The first time was after his 1st birthday (I think too much frosting or something). I got to deal with that one, but this past week he's had the flu and has managed to throw up quite a few times. Every time he's thrown up, I have not been home, so Sam has had to deal with it. Amazing timing! I feel lucky. I told Sam it was because he missed out on the 8 months of puking I did while pregnant, it's payback time.

I did take Nathaniel to the pediatrician today to see if there was anything we could do to help him get better from the "pukes". Turns out he has a double ear infection too. Poor boy. He had to have a shot of antibiotics since he was throwing up too. That equaled really unhappy boy at the doctor's. He was also really unhappy because I wouldn't give him any milk...

Funny story from tonight. We were picking up toys before bathtime and Nathaniel picked up most of his blocks and then dumped them all out. He got into "ignoring" mood when I kept reminding him to pick up his blocks. Finally I said, "Nathaniel, look at me. If you aren't going to pick up your blocks you are going to have a time out." Then I went to put something away, and I came back into the living room and couldn't find Nathaniel. I went into the kitchen and found him in time out with his arms crossed. I burst into laughter and walked into the living room because he had put himself in time out! What a funny boy. After that, he picked up blocks right away.

He's an awesome kid. I love this boy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"NO!" "MINE!"

This past weekend our neighbors had a moving sale, and we joined them in the attempt to sell some of our junk. Nathaniel was happily playing with Cathy's 2 year old cousin when the I heard the dreaded words..."Mine!" and I looked over to see my sweet little boy yanking a toy out of this other kid's hands and glaring at him like he was trying to take money or something. Ugh. So, we now get to start the numerous lessons about sharing...luckily the two boys happily began playing with the ball together and a crisis was averted.

Yet, last night I was diligently working on yet another paper and Sam was reading Nathaniel a story, or at least was planning on reading him his bedtime story...suddenly from the other room I hear, "No! Mine!!" Yup, the twos struck again, Nathaniel didn't want Sam to read the story, he wanted to hold the book and flip through the pages on his own. *sigh* So it starts.

He's also learned another new word. Last night during bedtime prayers, Sam was praying and Nathaniel was picking his nose (gross). He sweetly looked up at me, held out his hand and said, "Booger?" Ew.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The mother of all meltdowns...

I am officially a "bad, mean old mommy". I made Nathaniel pick up the crayons that he dumped all over the floor, and I took away his toys and closed his bedroom door (to keep him away from the toys, not to lock him in). Doing this caused the snotty, crying, screaming fit of the year. For 2.5 hours he screamed and hit and threw things and flailed and even went as far as tugging on my heart strings by crying, "bee-bee...beeee....beeeeeee..." While I sat there calmly telling him he needed to pick up his crayons. Aren't I terrible? Teaching my child responsibility and that throwing a wing ding of a fit doesn't get him his way?

Needless to say, he finally calmly picked up his crayons, came over and gave me a big hug, and then ate a huge lunch (okay, soup and a banana, but he ate a lot of soup). Ugh, what a morning.

More news on the blankie front (maybe I should call this "blankie gate"?). A dear long time friend of mine read my blog and went to the kid kouture website and sent me a gift card (online voucher) for said blankie-type along with an email. What a sweetie! (Thanks Erika!!). Of course, the blankie story tugged on her emotions because of her blankie (and hankie) that she had when she was growing up that she ended up burying with her mom when she passed away from cancer a few years ago. Of course, I was bawling like Nathaniel (oh my, did I just type that?) when I read her email...

Again, I really do think that school is causing me to lose my mind.

All in all, good week (aside from fits). I finished a huge paper, was blessed by a friend, my son spent the night with some friends last weekend (and Sam and I got to go to D-land and ride big kid rides) and yesterday we got to go to the Talbot Student Banquet last minute for free! It's been some good de-stressing times. Of course...I still have a butt load to do (and so does Sam), but in three weeks this semester will be over (and then the 6 weeks of summer classes start...*ominous music*).