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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Does the bickering ever end?

I am endlessly seeking a way to end the ceaseless bickering that goes on between my sons. If you have children of any age able to communicate verbally, I am certain that you know my pain. I cracked up recently at two specific ridiculous arguments between the boys. One happened on the way home from the airport after the boys had returned from a week-long visit to their dad's house in Utah. They were recounting all of their adventures of the past week but mysteriously neither one of them could agree or support the other about 75% of the details. If one said they went ice skating downtown the other insisted it was in Park City-you get the idea. After about 10 minutes of this I finally asked, "Hey guys, did you guys have any fun at all or did you just argue the whole time?" Amazingly, this incited another war of yeah we did argue-no we didn't-yeah we did... Unbelievable-arguing about whether or not they argue!

So the next one was even funnier. I wish I could even remember what started this conversation but it was about something that had happened at school. McCall has reached a point where I am constantly taken aback by his surprising wit and mental ability which does often lead him to produce a convincing argument based purely on his view of the world and with some disregard for fact at all. Oddly, this can sometimes be confusing for adults because he does make you think about the strangest things. He also has learned that calling an idea an "opinion" can excuse any actual need to support it with fact. So one of his favorite methods for weaseling out of a situation where he has said too much is by saying, "Well, that's just my opinion." While I can't remember the "thing" he was disputing yesterday, the conversation to a point where McCall said very calmly (even though the entire point of his discussion was to rile his brother) "Well, that's just my opinion." Landry had had enough of his arrogance and said right back to him, "Well, your opinion makes my opinion mad!"

I think I may have a future debate team on my hands!

So, I have to know...
Do your kids duke it out daily?
Are you prone to a verbal battle?
Does conflict cause you to shut down? (I'm a serious avoider.)
Do you have any great methods for putting out these "fires" and creating peace in your home? (Landry prays daily no to fight with his brother...McCall doesn't.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

So Grateful

1st day of SoCal wildfires #9
I was reminded today by a good friend that I need to let everyone know that our family and home was safe from recent southern CA wildfires. Yes, we are safe in spite of a few scary days of recommended evacuation. I am ever so grateful as the news keep showing neighborhoods in ruins and families with nothing left. The thing I am impressed by is the constant message that these people are just so grateful to be alive and have their loved ones with them. I think we all believe that we would feel the same way in the face of complete devastation of all of our precious worldly possessions but I don't think we can really understand how it truly must feel. I try so hard not to be materialistic but I can't help but feel a sincere pang of sadness when I think of the possibility of losing many of my beloved belongings that have become sentimental items and have so many precious memories attached.

I was so moved by one story shared by a friend at church. She had read a story in the newspaper about a husband and wife in Rancho Bernardo (which was incidentally an area where we almost bought a home) who were trapped in their swimming pool for 3 hours while their home burned as they watched. Several years prior the man had lost his mother and had become very bitter and angry over the loss. Before her death she had written a note to him in the front page of a book including the words, "I will always be your guardian angel...". After the fire while sorting through the ashes the man found this one page with singed edges. He was completely changed by this and finally found peace with the loss of his mother and the loss of their family home.

I remember the feeling as we packed up one car full of kids and photos and journals and not much else and I walked through the house thinking to myself, I really do have everything that is really important. It took us 4 hours to get to a nearby city to stay the night with friends and the part of the fires that was close to our community was contained before we even reached our destination. I didn't have to fear that our home would be gone when we returned but this experience has changed me and really made me so grateful.

Here are some practical things for you to think about:

* Are you prepared with your 72-kit for each of your family members? (I had not updated to include baby Griffin's needs and had to rush around to make sure that I had diapers, baby food, etc.)

* Do you have your albums, journals, family history, etc. in a central location that you could grab quickly in the event of a swift departure? (I did not and had to spend a long time running around the house gathering)

* Do you have a plan for a location for your family to gather out of town? (We did not but my mom helped with a quick solution and a few phone calls.)

* Have you ever spoken to your children about natural disasters and how they affect communities and what will happen in the event one occurs in your community? (Thanks to recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, we have been given ample opportunity to discuss this sort of thing at dinner and while watching news so our children understood what it meant when I said, "Get your backpack and pack your special things." By the way-I cracked up at what they chose: Pinewood Derby trophies, a coconut sent by mail to them at Grandma and Grandpa's while Mike and I were in HI, tattered "Bones"-McCall's beloved stuffed puppy, and pictures of our dead dog Jackson were just a few.)