Friday, November 28, 2008

Not Just Another Sappy Thanksgiving Post

I have a lot to be thankful for, but right now I really don’t have time to stop and think about it and say nice Hallmarkian things about it.

I would say that I am incredibly thankful for my wife, a healthy 19-month old daughter, and healthy (or at least very hungry) 1-month old twin boys. But right now my thankfulness, in between burping boys and chasing down my energizer bunny daughter, is more like ecstatic exhaustion.

I’m really thankful for these things, but I know circumstances change fast. I have friends who have lost children, had miscarriages, have children with serious health problems, and kids who have rebelled against their parents and God.

So, if I sit down to Turkey Day someday, and one or more of my kids are not there, will I still be able to say Thank You?

Well, there are two things that come to my mind regularly when I’m trying to remain thankful when there seems to be no good earthly reason.

When I was young and single (and some said good-looking), I worked on staff at a Bible school in Austria. The head of our school, named Hans Peter, or HP for short, had an important default setting.

Whenever something happened, good or bad, he chose to thank God. Now, I don’t have time to go into his testimony, but it’s a very cool one. Let’s just say he is a ski guide, national ski instructor and a mountain guide and a Bible teacher and I think an auto mechanic too…in the skiing obsessed world of Austria.

Anyway, the thank-God-for-everything idea seemed nice, (and Biblical) but not always practical. But as I was working on staff, one of the guys told me what had happened shortly before I came.
They were putting up a large new building on the Bible school property, and had the foundation laid. But, one of the guys, who was an engineering student, happened to get down in the basement area one day, and realized that the basement ceiling, when installed, would hit him right about at his neck.

And that was not good. It meant tearing up what had been done and redoing the job, at the cost of thousands and thousands of schillings.

The staff guy said the construction crew was super upset. HP’s reaction?

“Have you thanked God yet?”

His choice to say thank you didn’t change based on major economic (or other) problems.
TO some, being thankful regardless of circumstances may seem like willful blindness to the pain and problems of life. But, it’s actually the ability to see and understand that life goes far beyond what can be seen and felt. It’s also the ability to look beyond what can be observed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and in Detroit.

It’s realizing that saying “thank you” in the midst of devastation is not about masochism, but choosing to trust that God has a good reason for what is happening in your life, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The other thing I think about along these lines is a story I recently had the chance to write about for NTM News.

For most people in the US, hard economic times means fewer toys at Christmas, and maybe DVD’s instead of Blu-Ray. But for about three billion people who live on $2 or less a day, it means not having those little luxuries like food and shelter.

This story, called “Worship is Smiling at a Loaded Gun” has been a good reminder to me about staying faithful and thankful, regardless of economics troubles, or the random shotgun shoved in my face.

Sometimes we can learn a lot from tribal people living on the edges of what we call “civilization.” I know I have.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When Greek Mythology, Exercise and Parenting Collide

Somewhere in between changing the 1,257th poopy diaper of the day, I started to think about the common elements in Greek mythology and parenting. Yes, I had to study that stuff in high school too.

I’m sure you all know where I’m going with this. After a while, although it is wonderful, parenting tends to get a bit repetitive. And hard. Quite hard.

Which is why I’m thinking the myth of Sisyphus was written by a parent. As I’m sure you remember, Sisyphus was condemned to push a huge boulder up a hill every day for eternity, only to see it roll back down the hill just when he almost made it to the top.

Feels a lot like parenting sometimes.

But, fortunately that’s not the only Greek myth with parental application.

That’s right. I’m talking about Milo and the Bull. And the interesting thing is, historians believe that Milo actually lived. The story goes that when he was a boy his father had him lift his pet calf every day. Not so hard to start with, but when he was done, Milo was carrying around a full-size bull, and apparently he got in good enough shape to win the ancient Olympic wrestling championships six times.

That’s 24 years of total physical domination in sports-obsessed ancient Greece.

So what does Milo, the bull, wrestling, and ancient Olympics have to do with parenting?

Well, one of the most common complaints shared by new parents, besides the utter lack of sleep and multiple diaper changes, zero social life, no time to shower much less shave, etc., is having little or no time or energy to exercise.

It’s not easy, but there is a way. The way that Milo pioneered. It's time to use that baby weight to your advantage. That little 7-pounder may seem small now, but blink once and you’ll be talking about a 180-pound high schooler who wants to wrestle the old man.

And that’s no bull.

That’s why, after almost 15 minutes of research and experience, we have created the Triple Threat Exercise System.

In only 14 minutes a day, you too can shed the baby weight and get that pre-partum bod back, (that’s for husbands or wives) and start thinking about the day when you will actually go outside again. *

This system was designed with parents of multiples in mind, especially if they have an 18-month old daughter as well, but it can be modified to fit any family size.

You know you want your kids to think you’re the strongest man (or woman) in the world even after they turn three.

Come on. You know you do.

*This system is not endorsed by Chuck Norris, and you should always ask your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. (We know you won’t ask your doctor, but we just have to put that in there.) Also, there are other systems for exercising with babies out there, it’s just that ours is better, and the other ones aren't precocious enough to intelligently weave in Greek mythology.

Let’s do it. (The apparent mess of toys and baby books on the floor are put there to add realism. Our house, is of course, spotless.)

Exerce #1: Baby Bench Press. Lie on floor with baby in arms. Press up. Do 10 reps 2x.

Exercise #2: Baby Walkabout. Hold both babies (or one) in your arms and walk in place or around the house...raising your knees parallel to the floor. Try it for 5 minutes. You'll be surprised.
Variations: Calming calf-raiser. Stand on flat feet, raise heel and lower to ground. Repeat. Calms the babies and gives a good calf muscle burn.

Exercise #3: Baby Squats. Hold babies in arms, lower to a sitting position and stand. Repeat.

Exercise #4: Double Burping Quadricep raiser. Hold both babies as you burp or calm them. Put other child on shins. Raise legs parallel to floor. Repeat.

This is only the beginning. The variations are endless. Happy baby-fat burning.
Repeat for the next 18 years.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family Life

Hanging out
Asia loves holding her brothers

Asia & Daddy
Asia & Mama being goofy


Gram and the boys
The boys with Auntie Holly

Getting ready to head out the door
Tummy Time
Our little princess

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The First Week

My little darlings...
Meeting Uncle Micah....
And Uncle Bran....

Chillin' with Daddy
Asia hanging with Uncle Micah. I'm so proud...I taught her to make that face. hahaha

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Newest Little Pumpkins

There are a couple of new posts below this one...including one about our Halloween Ballerina and one about the arrival of the boys.

Leif on the left and Slater on the right.


Our little ballerina.

Typical Asia...she likes to talk.

Getting ready to twirl.

Sorting her loot.

Leif Wilder & Slater Monroe

Leif Wilder and Slater Monroe decided to join our family on October 27. Leif was born at 6:10 PM weighing 6 pounds 15 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. Slater arrived at 6:18 PM weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces and was also 19.5 inches long.
Our little family.

Getting ready to leave the hospital.