Friday, January 30, 2009

Laughing and Crying

Ever run across a photo that evokes a feeling so strong, your body involuntarily waters your eyes or causes your diaphragm to contract exerting a blast of air that comes out as a laugh?

That's really weird, isn't it?

I ran across this photo today, and audibly laughed and teared up, both at the same time. Not sure how that works or why.

Maybe the laugh because I'm reminded of what a ham my son is. Maybe the tears because I'm so thankful for all of my family.

If you don't have a few of these photos setting out where you can see them now and then, you really need to pull them out and start laughing or tearing up.

Oh, and I've had a few folks ask if I took these photos I've posted recently. Actually, a very talented and patient friend of ours did. She's amazing and she won't judge you when you go through the normal stress that comes from family photo events.

Noemi Hedrick is brilliant and if you are in the area, contact her about making your family look good. You can see more of her work here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Industrial-Strength Words

This is my son. He currently has no hair.

Last week he was standing before the bathroom mirror and he said, "Dad, I'm lossing dem" as he pointed to his eyebrows.

He's bald, not because he thinks it is cool, but because the cancer fighting medicine he receives evidently doesn't play nice with hair follicles.

Which is why an experience he had this week was particularly devastating. Von met a new friend at the health club while my wife worked out. And up until this point, he thought bald was beautiful. A well-intentioned little girl in the play place let him know it wasn't when she told him "I don't like your hair."

He was devastated and his facial expression betrayed the fact that his confidence was badly shaken. It probably isn't the last time in his life a girl will break his heart.

What struck me about this was that I appreciated what the little girl was trying to say. She wasn't used to a bald, white headed 3-year-old and it struck her as odd. She was being honest and translated, her comment meant, "I'm not used to seeing this and I'm not sure what to make of it."

No harm done. Back at home, mom, dad, sister's and grandparents blanketed him with affirmation of his true coolness. In no time at all, he was back to his normal self, which made me extremely grateful for family and the industrial strength potency of our words of affirmation.

Kids are honest. You've got to respect that!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Boobs in Church

They say the first impression is a lasting one. I hope that is a lie.

We met Brady and Kris at a cancer fundraiser recently and fell in love with them instantly. If you don't have friends like Brady and Kris, get some!!

They invited us to church and being new friends and all, and not really knowing them yet, we wanted to make a great impression.

They saved us seats up front next to them and a few of their friends and family. I had Von sitting on my lap during the sermon because he isn't well enough to go be with other kids.

Everything was going just great until a quit spot in the pastor's sermon. I was drawing pictures to keep Von entertained and quiet.

Lawnmower. Riffle. Glass of water. Frog. Flying Saucer.

Then he says, in that airy voice kids use when they think they are whispering but actually talking loudly, "Dad, draw boobs!"

A few heads turned and the folks immediately in front of us shifted in their seats uncomfortably.

How do I know Brady and Kris are amazing friends?

They accept the family with the 3 year old (and dad) who both appreciate boobs.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It Could Be Worse

I walked the girls to the bus stop this morning. It was -28 degrees. Without windchill factored in.

In case you didn't see it, that is a dash in front of the temperature. A dash, for crying out loud!

Which makes me ponder the marketing minds that came up with that naming convention. Why the dash? Any increment of measure describing a temperature which is precedded by a dash, can't be a good sign. A dash.... and I don't think people like it. Hey, they don't like the cold, why give them a negative association with it by putting the negative or minus sign in front of it.

Instead of just complaining about the cold, I'm going to make some suggestion for improving it.

Nobody likes the number zero. (Sorry zero, you know it's true). Couldn't they have just put the zero degree mark way colder than what it will ever get so that everything is warmer than zero? It's insulting to say you are 'below zero'. How low is that?

Or might I suggest inventing a new symbol, something that looks like a hood ornament on a fancy car, and prefacing the temperature with that. We could then call it "Mercedes Benz 28 degrees" instead of -28 degrees.

An acronym reminding them of something positive might work. "It is ICBW 28 degrees out." (It Could Be Worse).

It's -28 degrees and humans have to live here. At least give them something positive to think about while they are walking their kids to the bus stop and struggling in a coat-turned-straightjacket because of the plastic shell freezing in the wind.

The upside? I found one this week. We made an offer on a house. The realtor waived the termite inspection. Being from the South, I got a little heated at this. She said there are no termites in Minnesota.

There can't be, it's ICBW 28 degrees out!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First Day of School

Tomorrow is a big day!

It's the first day of school for our girls. We've been in denial about it for a while, but we finally embraced the reality that chemotherapy and homeschooling aren't great pals.

The girls will go into school tomorrow and Lisa will turn her attention to helping transition our home to Minneapolis and to focus on Von.

I can't wait for the family dinner conversation tomorrow night. Last time they had a first day of school, they came home and told me about having to get toilet paper from the toilet paper lunch lady. Just imagine what school in the US will be like.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Faux Hawk

It's not a great photo, and you can't really tell from the angle, but yes, it IS a Mohawk.

Mohawk haircuts have never been my thing. My wife's cousin called it a Fauxhawk because I don't have a full head of hair anymore, but if you ask me, that's just a technicality.

Von and I got the trimmers out the afternoon we were heading to Uncle Kent and Aunt Betty's house for Christmas dinner.

Aunt Betty didn't think it was a good look for me and my mother-in-law had a graceful, but mild look of concern, as it was two days before the scheduled family photo session.

In the end, it all worked out just fine because it only lasted a day. I think because it was technically a 24 hour period that I had this, I can say with honesty, "I used to have a mohawk".