Friday, May 22, 2015

A Tornado South of 70 and West of I35

Like a veteran with war stories, every Oklahoman has a few tornado stories to tell.  BJ and I racked up our first one two years ago in Norman, Oklahoma. Tuesday evening, we acquired our second.

Tuesdays are game night for BJ and his college buddies, so he was at the computer killing trolls or something (I actually have no idea what they were doing), and I was relaxing after getting the kids to bed by watching the season finale of a reality show I am too embarrassed to admit I watch. Throughout the broadcast of my unmentionable show, the weather man kept popping in saying something along these line: "A slow-moving, tornado-producing storm is coming to eat the people residing just south of 70 and west of I35." Guess where we live.

Since it was moving slow and still a ways off, we kept an eye on the radar and hoped the storm would deter to somewhere NOT south of 70 and west of I35. After a while, it became patently obvious that this storm was steadily and unerringly moving our direction, so we woke the kids up and headed to the storm shelter across the street. I should also mention here that BJ had not backed up his most recent doctoral work, so we were also toting a brief case with a lap top and multiple books on St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Our storm shelter services a sizeable RV resort, so there were a lot of people (and their dogs and their cats and their hedgehogs (yes, you read that right)) sitting in a large box under the ground waiting for the slowest moving storm in history to blow over. Every 10 to 15 minutes, 50 smart phones would chime in to tell us that the tornado warning had been extended and that, yes, it was in our neighborhood, and, no, it was not planning on leaving anytime soon. After over an hour of sitting in what felt like a sauna with our three groggy kids, all the smart phones told us it was time to leave and we headed home.

It only took us the distance of crossing the street to realize that all the smart phones were wrong. Hail started falling, the wind and rain suddenly and ominously became horizontal, and our cell phones started getting multiple texts from concerned church members telling us a tornado had just touched down around our address.

We quickly turned around and drove back to the storm shelter. We were able to park close, but we still had about 25 yards of torrential rain and hail to run through with three kids and a dissertation. I took the girls and put a blanket over their heads for some protection from the hail. BJ took Shepherd and the brief case. With a prayer, we set out running.

The wind was incredible, the hail (by the grace of God) wasn't too big, and the rain was so thick I couldn't see the door to which I was running. To God's credit no doubt, the door became visible at the exact moment I needed it to, I opened it, and we all blew in drenched to our skivvies.

For BJ and I, this was, to put it mildly, a pretty crappy evening. In the eyes of our children, it was an incredibly exciting event. Despite all the fear of the evening, one story will be the one I take away and remember and tell and retell over the years. As BJ ran through the devastating rain holding Shep in one arm and his briefcase in the other, Shepherd clung tightly and repeatedly yelled, "You're awesome, Dad! You are so awesome!" Where we adults got stress and anxiety out of an evening, our four-year-old son got an adventure with a super hero. So that's our tornado story.

And just in case you were stressing about it, the dissertation did make it through the storm completely unscathed.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Let Summer Begin

Shepherd had his last day of school Friday, so today is our first day of summer break! We decided to kick it off with homemade play dough. Shepherd wanted gold, and Lydia wanted purple. Yay for summer days!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Violet's Face: Awesomeness Unleashed

Violet took a late afternoon nap, so she got to stay up 30 minutes after Shepherd and Lydia went to bed. She never gets free reign of the house without her older siblings constantly reeking havoc all around her, so she relished the time to crawl around and get 100% of Mom and Dad's attention. BJ and I might have also relished having a little one-on-two time with Violet, just don't tell Shepherd and Lydia. So here are some pictures of Violet's beautiful face being happy and joyful and all Violet-y.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Palm Sunday

When I first told my mother the story I'm about to record here, I said, "I'm going to tell you what happened this morning and then I don't ever want it mentioned again!" Of course, we talk about it all the time. So I might as well do a blog post on it.

It was Palm Sunday, and if you go to a more liturgical church, you know that Palm Sunday is kind of a big deal. So I get the kids all snazzy for this big walk down the aisle carrying palm fronds to commemorate Jesus's entry into Jerusalem the week prior to his death. Early in the service when it is time for the kids to carry down there palms, Shepherd refuses to because (said with a pout and arms crossed over chest) "I don't want the people to see me. I want to see the people." And Lydia just got mad at all the other kids for walking down the aisle because she thought they were walking to BJ. So she ran down the center aisle sans-palm-fronds yelling, "No, that's my daddy!"

Fast forward 20 minutes.

I was already feeling like this Sunday was a pretty big fail. Little did I know how much worse things could get. I had been in the nursery with all my kids, and Shepherd was in a foul mood. In an attempt to salvage the morning, I asked Shepherd if he wanted to go sit in the back of the church for the last couple of songs and then go home with Dad for lunch. He thought this was a great idea, so Shepherd, Lydia, Violet, and I headed over to the sanctuary.

While crossing the walkway between the fellowship building and church, Shepherd and Lydia raced to the door while I strolled far behind with Violet on my hip. I was only about halfway across when I realized that Shepherd was already opening the door for Lydia. I peered into the windows, and to my great horror, realized that the service was not as far progressed as I had calculated. It wasn't the final two songs. It was the middle of the sermon.

While I'm putting these pieces together in my mind, I hear Lydia yell "Daddy!" while bolting to the center aisle. I immediately start racing to the door, but before I can even get there, Shepherd says both the sweetest and worst possible thing he could've come up with: "Don't worry, Mom! I'll get her for you!" And off he goes toward the center aisle.

By the time I reached the double doors for our center aisle, both Shepherd and Lydia were at the end with BJ, who had descended from his grand pulpit to try and rein in the chaos our children where so effectively stirring up. While I'm walking down the aisle repeatedly saying to no one in particular, "I am so sorry," BJ is telling Shepherd and Lydia to go with Mom until church is over. At this point, the kid who doesn't want the people to see him decided to demonstrate Biblical wailing and gnashing of teeth: "But I'm so hungry! I need lunch!" At which point, one of our members bellowed, "I'm hungry, too!" And everyone burst out laughing. That is, everyone but me, who at this point had decided Violet was the only child I still loved.

After dragging my weeping children from the front of the church to a side exit, I took them to the playground where I hid behind a slide until about 80 percent of the people had left. I then skulked back to the sanctuary to get BJ. As soon as I walked in, my dear, sweet, wonderful friend Megan started laughing at me. Not with me. At me. And for the first time, I saw that there might be some humor in this situation after all.

I have heard A LOT of moms say that they don't go to church because their kids don't behave well enough, and I so get that. If I weren't a preacher's wife, I would probably be hiding under my bed on Sunday mornings. But now that I've experienced what must be a humiliation of historic proportion, I have a few words of wisdom from the other side. First off, if your children embarrass you to the point you want to live in a hidey hole for the next 6 months, you'll survive. My kids behaved abominably, but I'm okay. It wasn't the apocalyptic catastrophe I was certain it was going to be when I first saw Lydia head down that aisle. Secondly, chances are good that everyone else at church will be okay, too. No one at church was angry. From what I've heard, it was simply a memorable-in-a-good-way moment for everyone there. If you're at a church where people get mad about kids being kids, you should probably find another church anyways. And finally, your kids need you to be willing to be totally humiliated. The benefit my children receive from the rich relationships they have with our church members and the love with which they are showered by everyone at the First Christian Church of Ardmore is worth so much more than the cost of any humiliation I've had to endure over the years because they were somehow less than perfect. Children need to be loved at church more than we parents need our pride (this coming from the schmuck who hid behind a slide for 15 minutes.) 

So in closing, thank you to everyone at church who laughed and who loved. Your grace made it easier for me to come out of hiding. What a reflection of God's love you are.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

No Time for Diaper Changes

Violet is the easiest baby I've ever had in every way but one: she is the absolute worst baby on which to change a diaper. So to illustrate that point, here is what she did during her last diaper change all of five minutes ago.

While I was snapping on the new insert to her clothe diaper, she decided to get a closer look at the art over the changing table. I have to pen her down with my left arm while doing all of the work with my right hand. BJ takes a different approach; he repeatedly yells at her to lay down. I'll let you guess which technique is more effective.

Oh, and here is a picture of her precious face just for fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

No boundaries to her girliness...

While running around the house cleaning the other day, my sweet daughter approached me literally shaking with excitement. She was holding up her little hands and she proudly told me that she had painted her fingernails. What she had actually done was color the entire tips of all ten fingers with a maker. And, of course, it was a pink marker. I couldn't get mad at her because I was so impressed with her ability to color her right hand with her left. I'm pretty sure that level of ambidexterity is indicative of an exceptionally genius person. Obviously. Says her mother.

Here is a picture of Lydia showing off her beautiful manicure.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Oh blog, how I've missed you...

As many of you know, BJ and I moved to a new home a month ago. Since then, we've been settling and having friends over because we are so excited to have space for entertaining! But in the midst of all the excitement, I've really missed blogging. So over the next week I'll try to get caught up.

For starters, I have to say that today was an awesome day! We had our first parent-teacher conference for Shepherd. Turns out, the little boy who is mischievous and wacky at home is perfectly well-behaved, creative, and brilliant at school. I knew he is wildly creative and intelligent, but well-behaved?!?  I shouldn't brag, but I am over-the-top with pride right now. I'll shut up now before I get too irritating.

But before I do, one last thing: my 4 year old has learned to write his name! I keep it on my fridge and force unsuspecting house guest to admire it. Yes, I'm that mom.