Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Morning

On Santa Claus

Riley had a pretty unpleasant experience of being "told the truth" about Santa when he was fairly young. He was heartbroken. In addition to being disappointed, he felt lied to. Trust has always been hugely important to me, and I had thought of myself as a fairly authentic, honest, and trustworthy parent up until that point. We had never used Santa or his elves as a way to manipulate behavior: no elves peeking through windows, no naughty/nice lists, no threats of phone calls to Santa or lumps of coal. Still, it felt terrible to have, despite my intentions of playing and making magic at Christmas time, instead broken my child's trust. Over the weeks and months that followed, we talked a lot about what Santa means to people, the stories of Saint Nicholas, love, trust, and wonder.

Since then, even when Maya and Seth were still little, our approach to Santa has been more "Yes, Virginia There Is a Santa Claus" than a literal one. We treat Santa (and the tooth fairy and Easter bunny) as a story, a character we get into when we are gift giving, decorating, wrapping presents, and most especially when we're sneaking around plotting surprises for each other. When any of us shop for surprise Christmas gifts for each other, we don't call it "helping Santa," we call it, "being Santa." It's about making magic for each other, and it's something we all get to enjoy doing.

This year, Riley (12), Maya (9), and Seth(7) talked about maybe wanting us to put out presents on Christmas Eve before they went to bed. In the end, they decided it was more fun and exciting to go to bed with nothing under the tree and leave room for the magic of Santa.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nashville Parthenon

One of our favorite scenes in the first Percy Jackson and the Olympians book was the battle scene at the St. Louis Arch. We were really looking forward to seeing that one in the movie. As it happened, that scene was changed. In the movie, Percy instead battles the Hydra inside a replica of Parthenon located in Nashville, TN.

We had no idea this was in Nashville until we saw the movie. It was originally built in 1897 for Tennessee's Centennial Expo & is a full-scale replica of the original in Athens. So, we took a detour through Nashville on our way home from Atlanta to check it out.

Outside our hotel in Nashville, TN, April 2010:

The Parthenon:

Full-Scale replica of the original Parthenon Athena:
Direct casts of original Parthenon sculptures were all along the sides of the main room:

Hiding -- you know, in case the park staff turn into the hydra!

Poseidon and Athena, battling for the city of Athens:

Athena's shield:

Playing outside the Parthenon at Centennial Park:

Dreams Come True

I've been working on making blog books, one for each year since I started this blog. It's been fun reminiscing through the last 3 3/4 years, and it's motivated me to catch up on posting pictures from this year and to reunite with my SLR camera, which I haven't used since leaving behind its battery charger on one of our trips.

I came across this post from March 2007. I was writing about how much I loved watching the school bus go by our house in the mornings, knowing no one from our house would be dashing out the door to get on it. Matt left a comment that he did still have to dash out the door every morning. I responded that I knew we could change that if we really wanted to. I love looking back on that now that we did change that, and he has this job that allows him to work from home and to travel around, and that we get to travel with him so much. After lots of false starts, job changes (sometimes with much lower income), and frustration, I'm very thankful that we can now spend so much more time together -- all 5 of us -- because he kept not only wishing for and wanting that dream to happen, but also walking toward making it happen.

Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain Park
near Atlanta, GA
March, 2010

Before our hike we ate lunch at a great little cafe run by Ms. Mimi, who we all loved. She was so friendly and fun! The food was so good and very "deep south," but I was also able to find things I could eat that were vegan. We cannot remember the name of her restaurant. It isn't the "MiMi's" chain. I don't think it's one of the ones on the Stone Mountain Park website. We're going to look for it when we go back to Atlanta later this year, but if anyone reading this happens to know what it is, please let us know!

A short, 1-mile hike to get to the top of Stone Mountain. Here's Maya, getting off to an enthusiastic start.
Trees growing up through the stone

1 mile starts to feel pretty long when you're going up:

Pretty excited, looking like we're near the top:

Then...OH, NO!!!! There's more!
The steep ascent to the very top:

View from the top:

On the edge:

Exploring the mountain top:


"I think I found a giant alien butt print!!!"

Starting the trip down:

Stopping to rest while Maya chats with a friend.
I love the color combination of deep blue sky and dark green treetops.

Look closely at the top of this tree in the center:

Flowers growing in the shallow, dusty dirt:

It's all relative. 1 mile *down* the mountain was fast and easy: