Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter! In the FRONT ROW

Today is Easter.

Our first official holiday as parents; which is of tremendous significance.
I think. My mind is fuzzy.

Wow. We are totally exhausted and Syd wasn't even up before the sun searching for an Easter basket. We were though, whew.

(Not searching for an Easter basket … up before the sun … see, we ARE tired!)

Leon gave his traditional Easter "Kid Talk" (he calls today the "Super Bowl of Kid Talks"); Sydney and I made it to 8 o'clock church in the snow (yes, it was snowing!), decked out in our spit-free, new duds (Mommy only had to dress and redress Syd twice. Thankfully, Sydney found this process hilarious and giggled the entire time as Mommy attempted to pull her little head through the voluminous layers of her too cool dress ... this was appreciated since typically she yells as if being divested of her skin, not her clothes.).

At worship, we sat quietly in the FRONT row (that's right, Daddy saved seats in the FRONT ROW ... nice, with the entire choir staring at us!) and appreciated the "big" music (orchestra, choir ... big tympani is always fun with an 11-week old!).

For dinner, we ate lamb (yum-o for an Emeril recipe) and delicious carrot cake (Mommy and Papa Staude were back in solid form after the last two holidays, when Mommy was on bed rest) and crashed out with Gammy and Papa and watched the Swiss Family Robinson (which Gret had never seen; and halfway through, sleep-deprived Gret says, "Why do they keep referencing the Alps and such ..." ... "Uh. Cause they're SWISS." ... "OHHH, SWISS!" says Gret) ...

It's been a good day. What's on the Hallmark channel tonight? We're planning to head for the hay when Syd does.


And next year we have to hide eggs. And find them. And prepare a basket. And hide THAT.

Truthfully, I can't wait!

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I Just Don't Wanna ...

Lately, there seems to be loads of blog-worthy life action happening here at Chez Jameson. Countless times, I have caught myself pondering something meaningful, or silly, or mundane, or profound (at least in my estimation). From whether or not there should be a “redo” primary in Michigan (why can’t we FOLLOW rules, people?) to what makes me love Hannah Montana (sad, but true), to the awesome conversation about female modesty I had with a group of 17-year-olds a few nights ago … there is lots to consider and (shocker here) lots to preach about …

Where are all these essays on life, you may wonder? I mean, my blog is hardly jam packed these days with long tomes that hold forth on these and other meaningful topics …

Well …

Some are still on the brain. Others were forgotten as quickly as they were considered. Some have been tabled as the day-to-day catches up to my musing. I’m not entirely sure what this means; the fact that things that seem so important and worthy of commentary lose a bit of their “umph” by the time I find a few spare moments in the evening hours.

Maybe it’s the five a.m. wake-up each day. Or the energy it takes to plan for a simple outing to the grocery store, which used to be something done without thought and now requires more planning than a military strategist waging a campaign (diaper bag, check; purse, check; cell phone, check … BABY! Go get the baby!)

Maybe, just maybe it is the subtle shifting of priorities and opinion: hmmm, wax on at the blog OR snuggle Sydney and watch The Parent Trap on Hallmark channel with Leon? …

It’s not that I’ve lost “my voice” per se. (On the contrary, I seem to hold forth on all matter of subjects while feeding Sydney … she agrees with me entirely, how nice! ), but when the day draws to its close and there is a window of time to key in rambling musings (which, let’s face it, pretty much defines most blogs, which are on the whole a shockingly narcissistic exercise for most of us in contemporary culture …) I just … well, I don’t wanna.

To pose the good Lutheran question: what does this mean? Thoughts anyone?

I suppose it’s a phase or something. New Mommyness, new professional aspirations … change is my new common. And perhaps this lack of drive to express my view to … well, pretty much anyone who decides to read my silly blog is really connected to this deeper sense of life being in FLUX. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about ANYTHING … maybe, I don’t know … perhaps.

In the meantime, I’m gonna give myself permission to just “not wanna” ~ I think that’s healthy and there are probably loads of deep insights to take from that. But for my part, I’m just going to enjoy this time “off” … I’m sure I’ll be back with loads of opinions in no time at all.

+Onward and Upward

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Little Boy Blue and the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon ...

Life has thrown quite a few curve-balls lately. Long story short ~ I was provided with a super opportunity professionally, turned it down ... Leon and I initially felt "okay" with that decision, but within a few days I was extended a second shot at that same opportunity. ... And we took it.

We being the family: Leon, Sydney and me (and Bailey, too, I suppose).

Effective May 2, I will bring to a close six wonderful six years with LCMS Youth Ministry, and will begin a new chapter as the Public Relations and Corporate Communications director for Concordia Publishing. I'm not entirely ready to put how I "feel" about leaving LCMS into words ... and the excitement of the CPH position is still too new as well ... but needless to say, this decision has weighed on our minds.

And we just want to be new parents! That "weighs" enough.

Today, I came home with these and other heavy thoughts on my mind. So many details and projects to wrap up ... so many emails to draft and send ... and the pressure is on to define our child care needs and figure out how in the world we can ever feel "okay" about leaving Syd ...

It was oppressive and exciting and worrisome and anticipatory ... (my graduate advisor tells me that these conflicting emotions are perfect and will prevent me from acting out of hubris as I begin my new role professionally, and more significantly as a Mommy ... OK ... I can buy that!)

Still, I wanted to release the pressure of these weighty considerations. What to do?!
Instead of wallowing in the mire of these mental bogs, I decided to simply BE with Sydney.

So, we smiled. And worked on our cooing.

And blew some spit bubbles and stuck out our tongues.

We laid on our tummys and worked out by lifting our heads and shoulders.

We muted CNN ("Be silent, Lou Dobbs!") and sang Nursery Rhymes and some simple songs (big smiles for Hickory Dickory Dock, Pat-a-Cake, and Twinkle, Twinkle).
And suddenly, this big, intense day and these big insane decisions and these faux-Pentagon-eqsue stressors were reduced to their proper weight ... in light of the power of simple repetition, silly inflections and goofy mannerisms (yes, I act out the ryhmes and songs as we play ... so picture that for just a moment ...) and all was right with the world.

At least for tonight.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The "Grassroots."

“PRESIDENCY, n. The greased pig in the field game of American politics.”
~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

I had a fantastic experience this past Thursday night.

It was common.

It was refreshingly unpretentious.

It was fun.

It was astonishingly grassroots and really "American."

Monster truck rally, you guess? Enjoying an apple pie and some fireworks at a picnic, perhaps? Watching American Idol?


My Dad and I attended a political caucus for our congressional district; he to observe the process as an AP government teacher and me? Well, because I like politics. I like hanging out with my Dad. And I am a new mom, who was extended an invitation for an "evening out".

I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but midway through the somewhat chaotic proceedings I leaned over to Dad to whisper, "It's exactly like Girl's State." (which I attended decades ago ... wait a second, that's not an overstatement. It really was decades ago. Good grief.) Depending on how you looked at it, my comparison was either a fantastic credit to how the Girl's State organizers designed the program, or a bit of a comment on how the chairman was running the caucus .

Regardless, it was American politics "at work" and it was great.

What I saw was a fascinating cross section of folks; a real "slice" of Saint Charles County life to be sure. There were well dressed business people, clearly coming directly from work. There were blue collar types. There were eager, intense, sort of socially awkward adults (who reminded me of the high school student who desperately wanted to be elected to the student council because he (unlike his or her often more "popular" and electable peers) actually was passionate about issues). There were people who seemed "dressed" to mimic the style and attitude of their candidate of choice, which I found somewhat unique (those supporting one candidate in particular were wearing a wide range of well coordinated pants suits with impressively unique chunky jewelry ... if you haven't guessed the party affiliation ... well, that is troubling!)

Some had made small flyers explaining why they would make a great delegate for the district. Others were just there to soak in the atmosphere. A few older folks, it seemed, had been attending for years and this familiarity made them extremely comfortable in voicing their opinions, which was loud, slightly obnoxious and totally great.

As the caucusing began and the group divided based on their candidate of choice, the energy in the room picked up. It was exciting to see young adults, middle aged parents, and senior citizens focused on their ballots, discussing and deciding how to best represent the group at the next stage of the process and at the statewide convention. To see the grassroots at work. As a former high school history teacher, I felt a certain sense of vindication. Here, at least, was a smattering of folks for whom all those lessons and debate and congressional reenactments was paying off! Idealism is a heady feeling.

You see, I watch an awful lot of CNN. And by this stage in the game, the candidates and their campaigns are (as they must be) fairly well oiled machines. The comments are polished (for the most part). The stage is "grand". The posters are machine made, the buttons on backorder, and the speeches are written with incredible skill and extensive research. "Stumping" is no longer an extemporaneous surge where a candidate holds forth with spur-of-the-moment passion, but a well planned series of events coordinated with the media and executed with the precision of a drill sergeant commanding troops. It's impressive and slightly intimidating.

But it all starts, and is driven by, totally unassuming roots. A group of folks, gathered in a spare banquet hall in small town, suburban town or large town America; with handwritten instructions on wall sized Post-its; led by a chairman who stumbles over the words of the party instructions for the caucus and encourages us all to "conjugate" in our respective corners; with eager voters and laid back side-line spectators raising their hands, miscounting votes, calling the party headquarters for clarification and voting for the delegates who will move on to show the support of this one district for the well polished candidate appearing on T.V.

That's the sort of idealism that needs to return to American politics; this enthusiasm of "regular" folks, taking the initiative to believe that they can be (and already are) a valuable and necessary part of the process. It's an opportunity to get behind "change we can believe in."

My Dad and I left with more than we bargained for and will both be part of the next stage in the process for our district. I am looking forward to that. We also are able to now attend the statewide convention, which one eager young, sort of atypical political looking type declared to be "just a whole lot of fun."

Fun? American politics are fun again? Who would have thought.

"Because of our flight from public life, our common citizenship no longer fosters a sense of community or common purpose ... We have less and less to do with each other, meaning that we feel few obligations to each other and are less and less inclined to vindicate each other's rights. ... Most of the problems of our political life can be traced to the failure of the dominant ideologies of American politics, liberalism and conservativism. ... On issue after issue, there is consensus on where the country should move or at least on what we should be arguing about; liberalism and conservativism make it impossible for that consensus to express itself."
~ E.J. Dionee, Jr., Why Americans Hate Politics