18 March 2008

Old Iranian practical joke?

My seeds are barely sprouting. I can say with confidence that there will be little to no grass in time for Easter. John said it's probably an old Iranian practical joke that they like to play on strangers: "Oh sure, just plant in soil and then water. You'll have grass in no time!"

Clayton's story

Today I had my second trimester conference with Clayton's teachers (Walter's teacher is tomorrow!) and they shared with me a story that Clayton wrote this week. I just had to post it here, because it had us all in stitches.
The whole class had the same prompt, which I put here in bold. The rest is Clayton's creation.

"I was walking through the Boston Common and met a leprechaun. He granted me three wishes. My first wish is that this would actually be happening. My second wish is that I would have a flat screen TV. My third wish is that I would have a Wii. Then I turned around and saw an alien with a laser gun. Sorry to stop the story but I have to talk to the scenery guy because the alien part was unexpected."

HA! The best part was that his BIG BROTHER, who is on his case all the time, genuinely laughed at this story and declared it hilarious. It is clear that he is greatly enjoying writing, especially when he can get others to laugh.

I told him, "Clayton, you are really getting to be a great writer!"
He replied, "Yeah, and a hysterical one."

14 March 2008

My Easter project and the Persian market

Earlier in the month, I read on Design Mom's blog about growing wheat grass in little containers for Easter. I've been wanting to grow some grass with the boys because it's so easy (good for me, with my brown thumb) and I think they would really enjoy it, especially Theo.

For the past week, I've been meaning to find and buy some wheat seeds. I had heard they could easily be found at a health food store, so I tried Whole Foods. No dice; they had already grown wheat grass in lovely containers.

"You see, I want to grow my own, " I told the most helpful helper at Whole Foods.

"You want to grow your own? But we have it here already grown," he replied, complete with puzzled expression.

At home, I proceeded to call a few health food stores to no avail, and then tried a local plant nursery, the same place we bought our Christmas tree the past two years. I was connected to the green house and spoke to a lovely man with a mysterious accent. I told him what I was looking for and asked if he could point me in the right direction.

"Oh, yes," he said. "Go to any Armenian or Persian market or convenience store in Watertown and they will have it."

"Really? A convenience store?"

"Oh, yes. Any store that is not regular, American store will have it. In fact, I know one store for sure that has it right now. Super Heroes, on Mt. Auburn Avenue."

Amazed that he seemed to pull the street address of an ethnic convenience store from thin air, I took down the information. After picking the boys up from school, we ventured into Watertown (it's kind of on the way home...if you go a different way) and slowly made our way down Mt. Auburn, Walter looking on the right and I on the left for the number.

We found it! "I wonder what ethnicity this store is," I said aloud as we trooped out of the car.

It was a tiny store, stuffed with huge sacks of flour, canned goods, sweetened dates, bags of nuts, boxes of cookies, huge sheets of fruit leather, jars of honey with the comb included (the boys' favorite) and a whole, smoked fish, vacuum packed in plastic (my favorite). "Cool!" said the boys. The refrigerated case was full of dairy products I've never heard of, including something called yogurt soda. I was still trying to discern what kind of market we were in, but without being obvious. I saw a few labels that said "Armenian", but also a sign for the Iranian Society of Watertown and lots of labels in Arabic (I think?).

I asked about the wheat. "Yes, we have wheat grass grown in these pots," said the store owner, an older man, whose wife was there working, as well as his teenage son and the son's American friend.

Another man, a customer behind me, said, "But it won't be ready for Easter!" He must have know what I meant to do with it!

"Oh, I thought wheat grass grew very fast, " I said.

"It does, but it won't be very tall." He had a friendly brown face, wire-rimmed glasses, and a salt-and-pepper mustache. He was smiling as he talked.

"Oh." I must have looked disappointed, for he then said, "But it is still good! It's good to grow your own! It will be about this tall," he said, holding up his forefinger and thumb to show me a height of about an inch and a half.

"That's okay," I said. "It will still last for the spring."

The wife brought me a small bag of wheat kernels and I saw that the price was a whopping $1.49. The wheat seed bags were piled in a plastic laundry basket in the corner.

As I felt that I had entered a different country by entering their store, I didn't want to leave without spending a little more money, as a sign of friendship. So we looked around for a few minutes, trying to decide on some sweet or snack that we all could enjoy. In the end, I asked the teenage son what his favorite sweets were. He pointed out several things, including baklava, and we settled on a box of something called rice cookies. They are so called because they are made with rice flour, and are decorated on the edges with poppy seeds.

We paid and said good bye. In the car, we opened the cookies. Can you guess who liked them best? His name starts with C and ends with LAY. Walter and Lucy politely tried their cookies and handed them to Clay.

Back to the seeds...tonight I planted wheat seeds in a few tin containers and in one of my silver Revere bowls (don't worry, Mom, I used the plastic insert). I'm hoping I'll have a least a little bit of grass to use for decoration by Easter!!

Also, I'm trying something that could be very cool. Instead of using that plastic Easter grass that sticks to everything and is impossible to clean up, I've "planted" some seeds in the children's Easter baskets! I stuffed brown paper in the bottom to raise the planting bed, then covered that with a layer of plastic wrap. On top of that I put two wet paper towels and then a layer of wheat seeds. Just for tonight, I put a wet paper towel on top, just to moisten them up. I'm hoping I can keep this a secret for the children until Easter. They will think it so cool!

I'll let you know how it's going...

12 March 2008

She's not heavy; she's my sister

Daylight Savings Time is really messing with my mind! Shoot, it's already 6:30 and we haven't eaten yet. And the children want to play outside until it's dark, which is much too late for a school night. I am thankful that the sun has been out the last few days, though Old Man Winter has not loosed his grip yet. It's great to see all the neighborhood children running around together again.

This evening, Theo and Clayton were outside playing and Walter was also on his way out for a quick run-around.
"Play outside, Mommy!" Lucy said. "Pease, Mommy!" Just yesterday we let her go outside with a brother as a guide and protector. She can see all the kids from our kitchen window and wants to be a part of it all.

Walter offered to take her outside with him. So he lead her to the kitchen door, went down the first two stairs and then turned to pick her up. Lucy stretched out her arms to him and he hoisted her onto his hip.

As he started down the stairs, Lucy turned back to me and said, happily, "Good brudder! Good brudder!"

10 March 2008

Alright already!

Okay, so no one of my parents' generation thinks the nose piercing is a good idea. In fact, they are vehemently opposed and have threatened to disown me if I go through with it. Not really on that last one. But my dad and my mother-in-law have both said that they think there is no way to improve on my natural beauty, and of course I have to agree. Ha ha!

Point of clarification: I'm not talking about some nose ring that makes me look like a bull or goth teenager or something. I'm talking about a tiny little sparkle right in the crease of my nose. I think it is lovely...though apparently not very socially acceptable to some.

Anyway, I really wasn't spending much time thinking about it til the negative feedback. My soon-to-be sister-in-law (is that enough hyphens for ya?) said that one can find magnetic nose ornaments. Kind of like a try before you buy type of thing...

As my friend, Kathryn, would say, "Whatevs..."

All points duly taken. As you were.

07 March 2008

Luther on the law and righteousness

Let us then be careful to learn to discriminate between these two kinds of righteousness, so that may know how far we ought to obey the law. We have already seen that for a Christian the law ought to have dominion only over the flesh. When it is so, the law is kept within bounds. But if it presumes to creep into your conscience and tries to reign there, you must make the right distinction. Give no more to the law than is right, but say, "You want to climb up into the kingdom of my conscience, do you, Law? You want to reign over it and reprove sin and take away the joy I have by faith in Christ and drive me to desperation? Keep within your bounds, and exercise your power over the flesh, but do not touch my conscience. By the Gospel I am called to share righteousness and everlasting life. I am called to Christ's kingdom, where my conscience is at rest and there is no law, but rather forgiveness of sins, peace, quietness, joy, health, and everlasting life. Do not trouble me in these matters, for I will not let an intolerable tyrant like you reign in my conscience, which is the temple of Christ, the Son of God. He is the King of my righteousness and peace, my sweet Saviour and Mediator; he will keep my conscience joyful and quiet in the sound, pure doctrine of the Gospel and in the knowledge of Christian and heavenly righteousness."

From Luther's preface to his commentary on Galatians

I am thinking of all these things as I prepare for the CTK Women's Retreat in about a month. I will be teaching about passive versus active righteousness, or, how Christ's righteousness is now our own. I am really looking forward to the retreat in general, and am praying that I can clearly organize my thoughts and effectively communicate the Gospel. If you pray, pray for me!

06 March 2008

Nostril ornament?

I'm considering getting my nose pierced. I've received positive feedback from a few women friends, and even John has said I should do it. Can you believe that? My husband thinks I should do it. I don't know why that shocks me so much.
I'm sorely tempted, but scared at the same time.

Kermit, get away from that bottle

Frogs don't drink. Did you know this? Yet another piece of fascinating information I received today, this time from my oldest son.

05 March 2008

Holes in the head

Theo had some great information tonight, provided to the lovely Miss Gehling, Walter's teacher. "I saw a gecko. It has holes in the sides of its head. Those are its ears."

In case you were wondering...

Another moment...

Another car conversation:

Walter noticed all the litter along the side of the road and was incensed by it. He said, "What is this cruel, evil world coming to?!?"
And Clay replied, in his deadpan way, "An end."

Today I was pouring out Cheerios for Lucy (her favorite meal is "chee-yos and meeook") and I noticed something dark in the bag. Oh, I hope it's not something gross, I thought. This was the big box of Cheerios from Costco, so I was expecting no prize inside. I pawed through the Cheerios and pulled out...a Playmobil knight. Hmmm, who's hiding knights in the Cheerios? I have a good idea who and his name rhymes with Knalter.

I asked him about it later and he said, "Oh yeah, I was hiding it from Theo." Creative!

04 March 2008


Just a few moments from the last few days that I don't want to forget:

We were driving home from school and off in the distance, the sun came shining through the dark, cloud-filled sky. John pointed it out to the children.
"Oh wow!" said Walter. "It looks like heaven shining down!"
We all agreed.
He sighed deeply and said, "Sometimes life is so cool like that."
Yes, it is, Walt!

I love how children bring home random yet fascinating information. They just love NEW INFORMATION! Yesterday, again on the way home from school, Clayton asked, "Mom, do you think a giraffe looks like it can run very fast?" I said that it didn't look like it could.
"Well, it can. It can actually run about 30 miles per hour!"
I did not know that. And I am so glad that I do now!

I have some more thoughts to share about the gospel, but I've got to post those when I have a bit more time.

Tomorrow my grades are due in...AHHHHH! Not ready!!!
And it's time to register for baseball and T-ball...I guess springtime really will come eventually! A cold spring (as always), but a spring nonetheless!