Sly as a Fox

163426_736456309098_2147573_nMy great-grandfather, PopPop Fox joined the US Navy at 16. When they found out he was only 16, they sent him home. It was 1917 and surely he would have been sent to fight where forces were needed in World War I. Instead, he had to wait until he was 18 to enlist and by the time he was trained, the war was near it’s end. By 1920 he was in Vallejo, California, serving on the USS Nebraska.

The first born of an American steel worker and a Welsh immigrant, Frank Kermit Fox was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1900. Their family moved to Philadelphia somewhere between 1907-1910 and remained there until the end of his parents lives. Grandma always spoke very highly of both her parents, and she had a special relationship with her “daddy”. They tried hard to have children, and they welcomed their first and only baby, my grandma, seven years after they were married.



By this time, they were working and living in Baltimore, Maryland, and on occasion visited his family back in Pennsylvania. My great-grandmother Fox would ask about her husband’s parents past, especially his father’s but very short answers were given. “He was born in New York.”

This is a branch that has still remained a mystery to us today. My grandma is curious about where her father’s family came from and I think I’m even more intrigued. First of all, my grandma’s grandfather, who was also named Frank Fox, married Elizabeth Ann Simmons, a widow with nine children. Nine. First question that comes to my head is, “Why?” She had been Elizabeth Ann West, born in 1871 in Wales and married John Simmons when she was very young. They immigrated to Philadelphia in 1893 on the SS Maryland with five children (?) and had the other four in the US from the records I can find (passenger list, censuses, etc.) When her husband died in April of 1899, somehow she meets Frank and they show up in Reading together by June of 1900, saying they’ve been married for six months. My great-grandfather is born in October of that year. In the next five years, they would have his two sisters, Mae and Fern. I think twelve kids is quite enough to have in a very populated city like Philly.

So what’s the mystery? We don’t know who Frank’s parents are. Or where he even was before I find him in 1900 living with Elizabeth, his new wife, and step-children. I can’t seem to find a marriage record for the two of them and the only other document that gives me any kind of clue to his past is his death certificate.

He was found off the Disston Street wharf of the Delaware River on August 6, 1939. They lived not far from there, on Tulip Street, and though it says “Inquest Pending” on his death certificate, the follow page only says “Death by drowning”. Family stories tell us that he was taking a walk along the river and had a heart attack, fell in the river and drowned. He was 72. Maybe.

What’s interesting is that it looks like someone corrected the birthdate from 27 April 1865 to 1867 and his age from 74 to 72. I don’t know why it was changed, but I noticed it. While normally death certificates are like liquid gold for genealogists, it didn’t help me at all to give me names of his parents. It only says “Not known” and that he was born in New York City. But did his wife really know it was New York City? Or just the state of New York? Finding a Frank Fox in New York is like – well, it’s just impossible. Might as well give me a William Jones to look for. That’s why I’m thankful for names like Lawrentz and Scroggs…

Seemingly a dead end, occasionally I run a search for their marriage record, or a birth record of sorts for his date and different parts of New York. A newspaper scan here and there. I don’t even know if I’m looking in the right place at all!

Then I found an entry for a Social Security Application and Claims Index for a Frank Fox. It was made in December of 1937 about a year after the first Social Security card was issued. Frank was still working an Elevator Operator at a Dying Company in Philadelphia so it’s possible he filled out an application for one. The other information this index gives me is the SS number, date and place of birth and parents names. The date was 27 Apr 1865 and place was New York City. The first three digits of the social security number told me that it was issued in Pennsylvania (where he was living at the time).

So is this enough to tell me that THIS was MY Frank Fox? My grandma’s grandpa? If I could say for sure it was, then right there in front of me I have a new can of worms opened- ancestors names I didn’t have before! If James Fox and Jane E. Bogart are my 2x great-grandfather’s parents, I would have a brand new couple to add to our tree, and then, as is the territory, new questions.

But that’s what it’s about. WHEN did Frank come to Reading? As a child or as an adult? Was he in Philadelphia first, from New York? Was he born in New York City, truly? If his parents were James and Jane Fox, were they NYC natives? Or were they immigrants? What happened to them? Why didn’t Frank never talk about them?

My next step is to reel in my imagination and find out how to prove that Mr. SS#204 is our Mr. Frank Fox, Sr. If I can do that, then I’ve helped answer questions that my 84 year old grandma has about her roots, mainly about where her father’s family came from.

I hope I can do that for her! Stay tuned!



DSC_0139My shy boy started Kindergarten today. He likes to say he’s shy, but after a few minutes and a couple of strategically placed questions or jokes that smirk starts showing.

DSC_0132He was pretty stoic when we got to school, he didn’t really want to hug us or sit down in the line. Eventually he did. Along with hundreds of other children. 🙂

DSC_0121The day passed. And he was fine. When I picked him up he was all smiles and started talking my ear off about meeting a couple new friends, eating all his lunch, the playground, no nap time, how his teacher was VERY nice and that they read the same book we read to him the night before. Also something about how he and new friend were playing “Paw Patrol” (a Nickelodeon cartoon) on the playground but all his new friend wanted to do was slide and not really follow Miles’ rules. Come on, playground kid!

  DSC_0130 I know it could have been a very different day. He’s not always going to have a good day. He got to pick out his clothes today: a new polo- black and blue, with brown shorts and his almost nearly holey shoes. He may not have a good day one day soon cause his momma might make wear matching clothes with shoes that haven’t been dragged on the pavement for months.

DSC_0134I missed this face today. But you know what? I got a heck of a lot of stuff done. I told him what Clementine and I did all the time he was gone and he said, “I’m glad I didn’t have to go to the store with you. I’m glad I was at school!”

You know what I’m glad about?

I’m glad I got some errands done and dusted vacuumed my house after a couple months of neglecting that chore. (At least the 1st floor. Of my super huge house. Note the sarcasm;-) I’m glad Clemmie sat and watched Tinkerbell while I got a few work emails sent out. I’m glad I got to drink a whole hot cup of coffee. Did I mention it was hot? I’m glad I got the plants watered. Before we got rain tonight. 🙂 Go figure. Hey, I stayed pretty sane for most of the day, so I’d say it was a productive day!

I’m glad I got to take my boy and the little red-head out to McDonald’s for an ice cream cone to celebrate and talk more about the first day of school. My Miles experiencing an educational milestone. See what I did there? Then he had to poop. Badly. I said “Hold it,” cause I didn’t want him going in McDonald’s. There’s some reality for you.

DSC_0126You know what I’m really glad about?

I’m glad I get to be his mom so I can hug him through the bad days and cheer him on through the good ones. Even when he’s embarrassed of me and wants me to park down the street when dropping him off somewhere:)DSC_0129


I shed a couple of tears as I laid there, using the sometimes starved right half of my brain. Imagining. Remembering. I saw my feet slipping on sandals, and down the stairs, over grass and pavement to the sandy path. All my leg muscles working to make my way up and over the dunes; soft, dry sand kicking up over my toes and reaching the back of my calves. I make it past the shore line brush and hear a joyful shriek of “WA-WA!” The little curly-haired red-head and I pick up shells, and feel the breaking water over our feet. She runs away from the small waves crashing, but I go in deeper. A tow-headed boy with a blue boogie board, seemingly too big for his five-year old body, calls to me, “Mommy! Do you want to ride the waves with me!? Swim with me!” We spot dolphins just 20 yards away. The air is salty and thick with humidity, but we don’t mind. This quiet sound off the Atlantic Ocean is filling our heart tanks and breathing rest into our lungs. I wade towards the shore and step out onto the shell-filled sand once more finding shiny, yet broken treasures. I keep them in a bucket and I feel like a little girl again. I feel close to God’s heart, finding and admiring sea treasures that might not catch anyone else’s eye, but I see their value. I see how the wind and rain and sea has tossed them and weathered them- some unrecognizable. Like human hearts.

2014-08-03 14.56.27  2014-08-05 11.23.372014-08-06 20.30.57

“Are you doing alright?” she asked, with her doctor’s mask and goggles with special lights on it.

“Uh huh.” I had come back from my mind’s beach sanctuary to the reality that there was drilling and scraping and pressure going on in my mouth to help alleviate a small crack in my molar that wasn’t healing itself since March. How dare it. I felt hot and weak and nauseous from the anesthesia needles and nervous at the pain that might come anyway. I felt guilty about how much aversion to physical pain I have. I feel unnecessarily guilty about a lot of things, but I thought about ebola and the children victim to ISIS and paralyzing depression that leads to suicide and hated how low my pain tolerance was to getting a flippin root canal that I even have medical insurance helping to cover. Shut up, Allison!

But wait.

Jesus cares about those fears, too.

Was that thought mere self-enabling? Or the truth? Jesus cares about my tears over being nervous in the dental chair and he cares about my heart-filling experience with my family to the beach. It will be fuel for another cold winter that lies ahead.

My shape and the degree of weathering is going to look different from the other shells. We are all accounted for though. Not one hurt or wound or death is in vain. He sees each tear. None are frivolous to Him. No one gets through this life without deep hurt of some sort. Those of us fortunate to live a life with family, friends, food, a home, a car (or more), medical care in a free country are fortunate indeed. Even with all that, subtle evils attack and lives fall apart. No one is out of an enemy’s reach, physical or spiritual.

So we can share tears. Pain, joy, whichever- it’s something that if we let others in enough, we can start to see their weathered hearts but love them anyway. Admire them, hear the stories. Learn. Mourn. Laugh. Encourage.I’m so guilty of taking this life for granted. For judging others before I know the whole story. Are you? I hope I’m not alone. There is beauty in the shells, rocks and glass that are in the middle of their journey of being smoothed and refined, though some just look beaten and rough. There is beauty in tiny grains of sand, former shells that shattered and broken or worn down next to nothing. I’m okay with feeling vulnerable and small, when I remember the One who holds the grains of sand and the stars in the sky.


The Paint Me House: Out of it’s Misery

photo 3 This eye-sore was chock full of eye-soreyness since the day we moved in across the street in 2006. It didn’t have any graffiti on it yet, but it was in horrendous shape. My neighbors who have lived around this neighborhood longer than I could tell me more I’m sure, and I’ve heard bits and pieces as to why the house at 705 was in the shape it was in, but frankly such recent history is none of my business. Whatever the reason it can’t be a happy one.

We begged the city to tear it down in 2011 and 2012 – we had our house on the market and though values on all houses were down, this pile of wood and blocks was not helping. Scrawled on it in white spray paint for the last 7 years was “Paint Me” and “Mom” and “I ❤ Ashley”. And so we all called it “The Paint Me House”. Sounded better than the Mom House or the I Heart Ashley House, I thought.

The family next door to it shared with me last fall it would be torn down in November. I guess things needed more time. And then last week flags started going up. Water line. Gas. Phone line. I was hopeful.

Yesterday the big excavating equipment was brought in. (Need an excavator? Call my sister’s boyfriend!) The kids loved seeing the show. They started away at the porch, then took a dinner break. We left for the evening and when we came back- gone! We missed it. I know I have a good picture of it from a few years ago, but I have to find it.

This morning we got a better look:photo 1 (1)

I’ve done a few posts about the history of my house, and as intriguing as that is for you readers (hardy har har) I decided to do a quick search about the beginning years of the heap of bones of a house across the street. In a way, it’s kind of bittersweet. It lost it’s dignity years ago and if I had grown up in that house and seen it meet it’s end like that, it would make me sad.

 A Brief History of 705 Eastern Avenue. Or affectionately known as The Paint Me House.

My 3 year old house on Banning watched as it was being built in 1923. Soon the Patrick McKay family bought and moved in from their house on Edgehill. Patrick immigrated to the US from Ireland at the turn of the century and made his way from New York to Akron to Ashland. He worked as a pump assembler at the FE Meyers Pump Factory. They lived right next to his wife Rosene Marie’s mother, Rosa Yeagle. They and their young family grew to have four (that I know of) children, Mary, Cecilia, Theresa and Patrick Jr.

I could find 3 of their graduation pictures from the page.

Image Cecilia graduated in 1939 from Ashland High School.

 ImageTheresa graduated in 1945 from AHS.

ImageAnd Patrick Jr. in 1949.

The McKay’s made a home in that house for more than 3 decades, and watched as their son and youngest child went off to serve as a Corporal in the Korean War. Then in 1959, his father (now in his mid 70’s) died at Samaritan Hospital. Right up the street.  I can’t find much in City Directories online or info after that to see how long Marie stayed in the house.


That was a chapter in someone’s life. It held memories of new babies, school days, war times and losses. No house will stand forever. Miles was worried that would happen to our house, but I assured him we’d never let it go that far down hill while we owned it.

Miles also consoled me when I shared my disappointment with not getting to see the actual demolition of the whole house. “Mommy, don’t worry- they can just build a new house, let it get old and then they’ll do it again! You’ll get to see that one!”

I hope not:) It would actually just be great to have green space there for a while.

See the video:

 (Sources from Census records from 1930, 1940, Ashland City Directories from 1919-1959, the Ashland County Auditors website, and the Ashland County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society’s webpage.)


Feed the Birds

photo (3)

A week or so ago (when it was a warmer day) the little blond boy wanted to get the heck out of Dodge and go ride his bike in the driveway. Almost five, I can trust him enough to stick to that large slab of asphalt that is nestled in between our house and our neighbor’s (who are like family). I kept the window open and the side door cracked so I could yell out if I needed to but mostly so I could hear the sounds of a four year old boy racing his growing collection of outdoor toys up and down the way. The little red head was asleep upstairs and I needed to clean up some things in the house before dinner time.

And then it was quiet. I wasn’t alarmed, he sometimes gets into things like the bubbles or his toy gardening tools. After a few minutes I peaked out and saw that his-sized shovel was out, dirt was strewn about and two of my terra cotta pots were now filled with soil. ‘Where did he find the dirt…‘ ah, from the flower bed of emerging daffodils, okay…’and where is my son…?‘ And there he was, with a medium sized bag of bird seed and an old broken plastic feeder I had placed by the trash can in the garage to be thrown out weeks earlier. He had taken both things out to the white rusty crook near our garden and I watched as he very carefully poured the bird seed into the top. He hardly spilled any. I watched silently. My four year old attached the top, and hung it on the crook, so very, very proud of how he helped mommy and daddy, yet more importantly that the birds now had some food to eat.

We had put that feeder out months earlier with bird seed and most of it ended up wet and packed in the tube from some bad weather. I hadn’t seen a bird on it in ages. We were too lazy to clean it out and try again. Lots of other things were on our list to get done and that was not one of them. But this time, within a half hour, I spied about four or five common house sparrows happily feasting on what Miles had set out for them.

It’s so, so, so ordinary. So simple, so uneventful. But for me, in my struggle with fighting wrong battles of parenthood, choosing to stand back and watch a little boy have a helpful and compassionate heart was a big step. Adults are always concerned with doing something. I didn’t want him to make a mess. I didn’t want him to waste bird food and therefore money if he spilled it. That feeder was broken- meant for the dump. I have no idea why I refrained from yelling at him out the window, rushing out and rescuing the bird seed from a pre-schooler’s clutches- avoiding certain disaster…but I’m glad I did nothing. Nothing but choosing to be silent and watch. And I think of it every day now. It makes me joyful and breaks my heart at the same time.

We are broken, yet seen as something worthy to be filled- just as we are. Able to give and nurture with what we’ve been given.

“Mommy- see what I did for you? I filled the pots so you can plant your flowers in them, and I fed the birdies so you and daddy didn’t have to.”

“Look, Miles, the birds are eating the food you gave them, look at them all!”


The Tornado Watch Leap Day Baby

Four years, eight months and six days ago I delivered a child that today would tell me “Mom, these pancakes are awful. Can you make good pancakes next time?” Which is weird because I make the same kind of pancake every time I decide I will offer my children something more than a banana and a fruit bar for breakfast. The honesty of children. I’ll accept it for now, but made sure to tell him his comments were rude. Normally I’m spoiled because even if it’s the simplest of meals, my thoughtful Miles will usually say, “MMM Mommy this is DELICIOUS! This is the best thing I ever had!” He especially likes the Spagettios I pry from an aluminum can.

Two years ago, somewhere in between today and tomorrow, a big little leap day baby came into our lives during a tornado watch and low 50s temps. “The Winter That Wasn’t” is what some called it- big contrast to this year’s winter! So, you see, fellow Ohioans, this winter is just making up for the past two very mild winters. I have a sneaking suspicion we will be even more appreciative of the spring that is just around the corner. Anyhow, that little tornado that was born was a little red-head named Clementine and we went from looking like this:420245_10100212133475218_1302917321_n 424877_10100232983187228_909202118_n

to this:sdc10596And then she wrapped her daddy around her little finger,

423224_10100242590359378_99649995_nand we fell in love with the little chunker.


1017686_10100898244203818_114676218_n 62405_10100909434972428_1053733356_nHappy Birthday, Clementine LaRue! God gave us a wonderful gift in you!




Things I Tell My Kids

  • Put the baby Jesus down!
  • Um, mommies have those so they can feed their babies.
  • Get that shoe out of your mouth!! (Most likely it was after we had been in a public restroom. They do it just to spite me.)
  • Pull your pants down before you pee!
  • Stop licking your brother’s face!
  • No, gummi worms are not part of a balanced breakfast.
  • Do you want someone to come take mommy to the nut house? Because I am this close…
  • She doesn’t have a wiener, she’s a girl.
  • Stop running with scissors!
  • No, germs don’t have eyes and a mouth and sing and play guitar.
  • Ask your dad.
  • Where you born in a barn?
  • Because I said so.
  • Stop throwing crayons down the register!
  • We’ll see.
  • You can do it, you’re a big boy.
  • Stop throwing your food on the floor!
  • Go to your room.
  • No more questions!
  • Eat over your plate!
  • I need a hug.
  • Yes, I want to keep you forever.
  • You are my sweet girl.
  • You are my sweet boy.
  • I love watching you draw!
  • I am so proud of you!
  • You are so great at writing your letters!
  • What a wonderful smile!
  • That is a beautiful picture.
  • You are so smart.
  • I’m so glad to be your mommy.

Sometimes I don’t realize all that I say to my kids in a day. A lot of it didn’t make the list- a lot of it is probably not very nice. Hurtful. A reaction to an expectation set and missed by a child under the age of 5. I love when I’m the mom that says the things toward the end of the list more often. That is the goal. Everyday. Meaningful, lovely words for my kids. The things at the beginning just make me laugh and the things in the middle I swore “when I have kids” I’d never say. Wrong!

Moment of truth: What things do you tell your kids? Are there things you would like to or need to tell them? Things that you should stop telling them?

We make jokes about it but the line from The Help when Viola Davis’ character tells the little girl she is kind, she is smart, she is important- THAT was being a wonderful mother to that girl. THAT was being Jesus to that little girl. All kids deserve those words- heartfelt and meant for them. All you kids-at-heart deserve those words to. I hope you spend your Thursday knowing you are important.

A Collection of Hearts

It’s just another day, but the calendar says some numbers have changed.

No matter how great of a year it was for me, for whatever reason I end up feeling relieved there is a new start. But really it’s just a Wednesday this year. I think I’m going to wake up different or have a new outlook but I wake up the same way I always do in these young parenting days. Back hurting a bit and a few “shushes” from my mouth, waiting to see if Jason would be the first to cave to the smell of a pee-filled diaper or a plea for mommy and daddy to get up, “it’s morning time!”

But when I do take the time to think back on 2013, I think about growth. I think about changes- more emotional and spiritual changes than physical.

I think about moments I have experienced joy and pain this year.

At one point this year I looked around my church congregation and thought- if the rest of the world thinks the church has it all together- it couldn’t be more wrong. If they think the church thinks it has it all together, it’s wrong. No matter how strong the front, I saw a people who have seen all the joy and pain of many lifetimes. My mind saw all of their faces and the faces of those in my life- family and friends and acquaintances. They have lost a child, pregnancies, a parent. They have lost a job, a marriage, a friend, a brother, hope. They have made tough choices, struggled through a wounded past. I thought back to last year when I was at the end of my human control of what was next in my family’s life. I felt broken. I couldn’t sing a song with my church family without weeping. Brokenness doesn’t always mean without hope or trust. I knew God would be present with us, no matter what the new path of our lives would be. I was raw. Translucent. Fragile. But God spoke, and heard it loud in my heart.

I see you.




The other day, Baby Clemmie had a cold and she and Miles were in the living room playing together. I had told him she wasn’t feeling good, so not to get too close to her and to wash hands a lot. But from the kitchen, I could hear a little boy’s voice saying “Dear Jesus, please help Clemmie feel better cause she is sick…” On his own, he decided he should pray over his little sister. He saw her – as she was and saw her need. He showed he was there for her.

One particularly nervous-breakdown of a day (I seemed to have a lot of those this past year) had me instead stilled with the love Jesus has for me. My mommy-melt down was ever so apparent to my four year old son and when I told him it was time for a nap and to go upstairs, he had stopped his defiant-ness for once that day and paused at the bottom of the stairs. He looked at me and said, “Mommy, you are a good mommy. I’m going to put a heart on your bed- to tell you that I love you.”

Miles has been infatuated with tornados, Curious George and how hearts work over this year. Hearts have been speaking to me mostly. Not that a good Curious George episode doesn’t touch my soul, but you know.

As I walked along the beach of Edisto Island in October I wanted to walk along that sand forever if I didn’t have to pee. The crashing waves weren’t helping my situation. I tried to forget about my natural necessity and take in the breeze, the billions of grains of sand I stepped on and the imprints I made. The waves, only just warm on my tired feet. And the shells. Some perfect, some broken, some smoothed or shattered beyond all recognition. I found myself asking Jesus to join me- where I was. Not for help, not for guidance, just to be with me. That’s not something I normally ask. It’s always for something. It’s always urgent and usually about trying to change me or someone else. This time was different. The environment had calmed me enough that I was past the point of tears- it seemed like I couldn’t be alone with my own thoughts most of this past year without crying- and I just said “meet me here”. I looked down and spotted the first of three shells with holes in them. I looked closer and saw the shape of holes the ocean had carved into each shell was a heart.

I saved them all in my collection I brought back to Ashland.


My other joy-filled moments of  2013 went something like this:

• Coming in to the living room to see the word “Poop” spelled out with alphabet game cards by my son. It was pure accident. But a funny one.

• Re-connecting and singing with old friends at the Ashland Symphonic Youth Chorus reunion.

• Seeing the ocean again.

• Watching Miles learn and spell out the word Kotex. A lot. An embarrassing amount of times. For the future Miles, not me.

• Finding my baby photos.

• Sending Miles to pre-school for the first year and enjoying his hunger for knowledge.

• Witnessing Clementine’s first steps and learning to play with her brother. Him being patient with her, helping her. Then not so much.

• Locating and securing a sentimental one-of-a-kind guitar for my dad with the help of so many friends and family members.

• Miles being so excited when opening his silver trumpet for Christmas.

• Jason taking me to the Titanic Exhibit

• Clemmie’s cuddles and kisses when she’s not bossing us all around with her hand motions and girly grunts.

• Started a painting.

• Dressing up like Wilma, Barney, Pebbles and Bamm Bamm as a blended family  for Halloween.

• Spending lots of quality time with my grandparents and watching them with my kids.

• Watching Miles “read” and build things from the “restructions”.

• Practicing with, then playing with members of my dad’s old band, CenterLine and making awesome rock n’ roll sounds. Loved every minute of it.

• Discovering some new-to-us genealogical information for my family

• Visiting Deal Island, MD where some of them were from.

• Realizing I reached my strength goal when brushing my teeth and my tootbrush busted in half. That’s strength, people.



I hope you have a list of things that have lifted your spirit, made you laugh and filled that hollow space in us that sometimes feels less than empty. I hope 2014 is a year that sees your heart being restored. And it starts with wherever you are, right now.



Superstitions and Transitions

Aw, a Mourning Dove on the walk in front of my house! When that bird is roaming my yard, I always smile.

This time, however, as soon as I looked at it, it decided to drop a Mourning Dove poop on that walk in front of my house. Gee, thanks Mourning Dove.

So how are you supposed to read into the personal symbol of God’s provision for you when that symbol takes a dump on your property? I don’t know. I think birds just need to get the waste out of their bodies like we do. 🙂

But then on our way someplace a black cat ran in front of us on the road.

And then the next day Jason and I were chatting in our bedroom when the full length mirror directly behind him decided to fall forward, crack him on the head and shatter at the bottom. What is that, 7 years? It’s interesting what humans consider bad luck over the course of our existence. Apparently Jason is married to an “unlucky” woman according to these:

  • In ancient Egypt, red hair was seen as so unlucky, red-haired girls were burned alive.
  • In medieval Europe, the infamous witch-hunting manual, Malleus Maleficarum, instructed that red hair and green eyes were marks of a witch, as were freckles, which redheads tend to have aplenty.
  • Also red headed women were historically seen as bad luck on ships and in mines.

Well, okay. Cancel my cruise and my mining tour.

BUT- in Denmark, it is a high honor to have a redheaded child. Check! It is said that while in Poland, if you pass three red-heads you’ll win the state lottery. So there you go.

Billy Zane, Titanic.

Billy Zane, Titanic.

During a time of year when people have fun with superstitions and folklore, there’s also a lot of transition happening it seems like, that has nothing to do with luck. Or bad luck. Our government can’t compromise well with each other, so we’re in shutdown mode. Our town is on the brink of an important mayoral election. Our church is in transition. Our home is in constant transition. And through it all I can’t help but think some really great things are ahead for each of those worlds. There is a freedom that comes with letting go of the world’s superstitions and seeing yourself in a story that is bigger and more powerful than you could imagine. Taking those setbacks, those “unlucky” situations and being stronger than the world expects you to be. I have found that in my life, when I’ve been the most broken, is when I’ve been the most reliant on Christ. And He is far more dependable than any person- or any rabbit’s foot for that matter.

Rainy Days and Thursdays

Is that thunder I hear? No. Just my daughter rocking her crib against the wall in such a manner that I think the second floor is going to come crashing down on my head. She’s almost ready for a big girl bed, so we are waiting out the “unsafe” old wooden crib that was new in 1984, and I slept in it, both my sisters, the kids my mom baby sat for, Miles, the little girl I babysat for, now Clementine. So, it’s been through the ringer. But the price was right so it is ours!

I have to share a controversial story with you and of all days it happened on the anniversary of 9/11.

Yesterday morning I rounded the kids up plus one (Clem’s birthday twin happened to be with us for the morning) to get Miles off to preschool. Always the slow-poke, I said I was getting the babies in the car, so to get his shoes on and grab his backpack and come on out when he was done.

Babies all strapped in: check! Miles comes running out, velcro straps almost tightly in place and hops in the van (yes, we traded our Edge for a van) with is backpack. I had checked it the night before and took out his papers and confirmed there were still extra socks, underwear and a somewhat matching outfit inside.
I dropped him off and in he went, saying very little like most days I drop him off and pick him up! It’s always, “MOM. I can’t tell you about school, it’s a secret.” or “MOM. I’m tired of talking, I need a break from talking. You ask me a million questions!” To which I say, “Ah, how the tables have turned.” or “MOM, I will tell you about it 4 weeks. It hasn’t been 4 weeks yet.” Okay.

I get home and the babies, who aren’t so much babies anymore, play, snack, poop, learn the art of sharing and soon enough it’s time to pick up the big kid. No problems, he gets in, backpack and all, we drive off. I may or may not have driven slower than usual because, let’s face it, having three kids who are strapped in and can’t move are kids that I don’t have to chase.

We make our way inside the house and shoes come off, and I zip open my son’s back pack. Eyes widen. “MILES!” “What?” “You CAN NOT pack your toy gun and take it to school with you!” I was mortified. His cowboy gun sling was empty and the plastic toy had made it’s way into his backpack while he was “putting his shoes” on and I was buckling in the little ones. He had also decided to show and tell his mini Etch-a-sketch, a toy tractor and a lint roller, but I was mainly concerned about the gun.

Now, it is sad that we have to worry about things like this now. But it’s the age we live in! I was surprised no teacher said something to me when I picked him up. Thank you, teachers, for giving me the benefit of the doubt! I did write a note for today explaining that I did NOT let him take the toys to school and that we had a talk about what’s appropriate to take to show and tell. He’s 4. He’s a sweet, innocent kid who sometimes likes to play with the toy gun that was a gift from someone to “shoot the aliens”. It just makes me sick that as parents we have to think about so much danger that is out there and what could be perceived as a threat. In some schools, Miles may have gotten kicked out for that. What a shame. Thank you, Miles’  preschool for being a good judge of what is danger, and what is not. Oy vey. MILES!!!!

Protecting his sister from the "awee-ins".

Protecting his sister from the “awee-ins”.