Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Grand Adventure

Recently I decided to take my little brothers on what we called a Grand Adventure. I got the name from Walt Disney's Winnie the Pooh's Grand Adventure movie when they leave the hundred acre wood to find Christopher Robbin whom they believe to be in danger. We were home alone and incredibly bored when I decided that we needed to go for a walk instead of staying home and watching movies. So I left a note for my brother Jacob, who was at work, and we left. We (my brothers Nathan and Tyler) first went to the park that is behind the elementary school by our house. We played around on the playground for a while, laughing and screaming the whole time. Eventually the boys decided that they wanted to try out the playground that was at the park. I grabbed their hands and we started out for park.

Once we got there, to our dismay we found it to be occupied by several families worth of children. Nathan was fine with going to play anyway but Tyler didn't want to. He looked up at me and I could see his disappointment and shyness. He hadn't expected there to be other children when he suggested we come to the park. I asked him if he was shy and didn't want to play with the other children. He nodded his head. After talking for a while we eventually settled on going back to the other play ground. I couldn't believe how much that little experience meant to me. I knew exactly what he was feeling. Ironically, I had the same reaction when we got to the park. I have always been so shy, but I was prepared to just push it aside for my little brothers. It made me love them all the more to see their little personalities coming out.

On the way back to the other park we found a baby grasshopper hopping across the street. I picked the grasshopper up, which I would never have done had I been younger. I always was afraid they would eat me. Another story made up by my comrades in Elementary school. We named the grasshopper Tim and carried him all the way to the other park. He stayed with us while we played until eventually he hopped away and disappeared in the wood chips. We tried to look for him, but eventually gave up. "He's good at hiding," Nathan commented.

The boys were getting bored with the playground, but I could tell that they didn't want to leave. When I was younger, being the oldest, I was always the one that made up all of our adventures. I gave them all names, rules, and a purpose. Whether it be Lava Monster, Alligator, or Zombies. I had games for every occasion and burst of boredom. I reverted back to my childhood and created a game. My game I named The Wood Chip Monster. Original I know, but it worked. Basically I named different places on the playground such things as the Sausage Web, Turtle Shells, and The Tower. I stood at the highest point on the playground and called out the names of the places. From the time that I called out the name the boys had about ten seconds or more depending on how long it took Nathan's little legs to reach the said destination before they were devoured by the Wood Chip Monster. It was amazing how much I enjoyed myself. I loved being a little kid!

After a while I noticed how pink Nathan's boyish cheeks were and decided it was time to sit in the shade. We went down underneath one of the slides and began to bury each other in the wood chips, turning ourselves into Wood Chip Men temporarily before we burst out again. As you can probably guess we were filthy and sweaty, but we were smiling and laughing as well. After a while we got bored with that and we decided to walk again. We walked down one of the streets near our house and found that one of the houses had a row of beautiful roses along the sidewalk. Tyler stopped and started smelling the roses so Nathan and I followed suit. Soon we were grading them and came up with the champions who were awarded Best Smelling Roses and Prettiest Roses. We found a lot of trees down that street as well, and the boys asked me to get leaves from every tree for them... so I did. By the end of our adventure their little hands were gripped tightly around a bundle of various quaking aspen, oak, and other sorts of tree leaves.

At the end of the street we found an enclosure with a mare and her almost grown up baby in it. When we walked up to the fence the baby trotted over to us. It wasn't long before mama came up and pushed her baby behind her and came to investigate. When she decided we weren't a threat she continued grazing but she stayed right by her baby. The baby horse was very friendly and stuck her head over the fence to say hi. I showed the boys how to pet the horse without scaring her and Nathan came right up to pet her. Tyler, who has always been a little wary of large animals, took a little bit more persuading but eventually he began petting the horse as well. They were so cute!

After a while the we decided we'd better head home. I had my phone with me and when I looked at it I realized we had been gone for two and a half hours! We headed back home. Along the way Nathan and Tyler told me that we would have to go on a Grand Adventure again another day. I smiled and promised that we would. When we got home I made the boys drink a lot of water before I turned them loose. Soon both of them were fast asleep on the couch in the living room. I felt like doing the same. It made me wonder if maybe my life as a mother would maybe be similar to my experience that day. If it was going to be like even a fraction of that day I decided I would go through anything to get to have that. I was amazed by how much I missed being a kid. I had a really good childhood. Sure it wasn't perfect, but if I can get a glimpse of that simplicity and joy again by being a mother then I know what I'm doing with my life. (Not to mention being a teacher. :) It reminded me of the song called "Return to Pooh Corner" by Kenny Loggins.

"Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon

Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore

As our days disappeared all too soon

But I've wandered much further today than I should

And I can't seem to find my way back to the Wood

So help me if you can

I've got to get back

To the House at Pooh Corner by one

You'd be surprised

There's so much to be done

Count all the bees in the hive

Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of
Christopher Robin and Pooh

Winnie the Pooh doesn't know what to do

Got a honey jar stuck on his nose

He came to me asking help and advice

From here no one knows where he goes

So I sent him to ask of the Owl if he's there
How to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear

It's hard to explain how a few precious things

Seem to follow throughout all our lives

After all's said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side

So I tucked him in, I kissed him and as I was going
I swear that the old bear whispered 'Boy welcome home'"

Anyway, that's my Grand Adventure. I know that I will never forget that day, and I'm sure that they won't either. Maybe it will be their memory of their big sister. Maybe they won't see me as a sister who was gone at work and school all the time and who didn't have time to play with them. I sure hope not. I was definitely glad to be welcomed home.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"He must see how absorbed I was by him; he must not want to lead me on… so we couldn’t even be friends… because he wasn’t interested in me at all. I wasn’t interesting. And he was. Interesting… and brilliant… and mysterious… and perfect… and beautiful… and possibly able to lift full-sized vans with one hand."

For those of you who are Twilight fans this is the last thing in the world that you should read. I will crush all your hopes and dreams of ever having a sensible conversation about this abomination so unprofessionally called a book with me simply because it is impossible. There is no way to have a sensible conversation about how an insensible book is sensible. Duh. This does not mean that I think anything less of those who read, enjoy, or even admire this... book. It just means that I will know from then on that we disagree on at least one subject and that there is no way that will ever change.

I guess that I should elaborate on why I despise a book so excepted by the world and many in it. First, that the books have horrible literary merit, yes I'm a nerd. Second, the obsession that this book has brought into the lives of average teens is reason enough for caution. But the aspect about their power that scares me is that these books possess the frightening ability to persuade good people who have high standards to unhesitatingly drop their standards to read a book full of sensuality, violence, and less than praiseworthy characters. There, now to elaborate.

The first reason is that of merit. I suddenly really don't feel like spending much time on this subject, but I will anyway. If you've read the book you know that it is cheesy. Yeah, you know what's going on, there is a climax, and even a conclusion. But does it have to be so... sentimental? The emotions are so out of this world that they seem fake. Depression is real. Sorrow is real. Love is real. But these books convey a fantastical version of these emotions that I can't take seriously. One day at lunch my brother picked up one of his girlfriends (girl that's a friend, they weren't together. ha.) copy of Twilight. He began reading the book out loud to ultimately make fun of the book. All that I could think while he was reading was that it sounded like something I would have written when I was twelve. I'm not saying that I would have written about Edward Cullen at that age, I'm talking about the level that it was written at. I'm not saying that I'm a genius because I don't believe that it is written well enough to merit me a genius. It made me laugh. That's all I have to say. Ridiculous. If you can't see that, read it again and call me in the morning.

Moving on. Am I the only one that has noticed how many people seem to have become completely obsessed with this book? I'm not talking about the readers who read the book, maybe enjoy it, and then move on to the next book. I'm talking about the readers who read the book, breathe the characters, and live the story. The readers who are stuck in a world they've created in their mind to be like Bella's sad life. The readers who have a desire to be whiny, depressed, and completely helpless. (Not to mention mindless when it comes to "bizarre, beautiful boy[s]" who may or may not be a complete waste of their time considering the fact that said person has not even met the "bizarre, beautiful boy" yet.)

Take a look at these statistics. There are over 150 million children who do not have a home. The U-6 rating for unemployed Americans is up to 13.5%. Out of every 1,000 children born in America, 50 will die from SIDS before they turn five. What's the use reading these depressing statistics? To hopefully illustrate the fact that there are a lot people in the world and many of them are going through horrible trials. Horrible trials. I can't change that. I can't take away the hurt from each of those families as they deal with the loss of their children. I can't give each one of those homeless children somewhere to call home. I can't find a job for every deserving American. Neither can you. No one can. But it makes me wonder what would happen if instead of being obsessed with Twilight people became obsessed with helping those around them who are going through trials. What if we spent hours of our days daydreaming about bringing dinner to a family who has a family member in the hospital? What if we read stories about other people who had made a difference to get ideas and inspiration on how we can help? What if we wore shirts that said "I helped someone and I loved it"? What if we were part of Christ's team instead of Jacobs? What would the world be like if our obsession was to live our lives so that it was as close to His as we could possibly get it?

My last argument is the one I feel the strongest about. Here is a quote from a teacher centered blog called Teacher Magazine.The quote is from one of the comments. It states:
"...if they're reading, I'm happy. But more than that--if they're reading Twilight, that's a bridge to all kinds of stuff! Do they like the vampires? Hello, Dracula and Anne Rice! Do they like the fantasy elements more? Golden Compass and lots of others. Twilight has debatable literary merit, but as an introduction to reading for pleasure, it's a great jumping-off point."

I understand where these teachers are coming from. I want to be a teacher someday and have often wondered what I would do to try to get children to read, but I don't believe this is the answer. In fact, I fervently beg to differ! If we need books that have graphic kissing scenes, violent decapitations, and questionable family functions to get people to read there is something seriously wrong with us. I'd rather teens not read than immerse themselves in things that will awaken emotions and engrave ideals in their minds that will create a perfect opening for temptations that proceed certain actions. Actions that if pursued are of the highest degree of severity. Are we so blind? That's like saying it's a good thing for a shy teenager to go to a party full of drugs and alcohol and saying "Well, at least he/she is learning to socialize and getting rid of their shyness." WHAT? Does that not bring red flags up everywhere? Parents? Teachers? Anybody?

It worries me exceedingly that there are good people who seem to be able to completely over look the content in these books. Not to mention the movies! Has anyone read why it is PG-13? Take away the story, the romance, Taylor Lautner (whom many seem to believe is a "hunk") and what do you have left? This is the actual explanation that it is given for the rating(for Eclipse, the movie I have been told is "miles better than Twilight or New Moon):"MPAA Rating: PG-13: for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality."I looked up a parent review as well, but I don't really want to blog everything that is in that movie. Needless to say it is not appropriate for anyone in my eyes. We've been told that we should be supporting things that are "lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy." Is that any of those? Um... I think not, but you make the decision.

I guess that I should probably start concluding my long soap box session. I've had all of these things bottled up inside for a long time. It was nice to finally get them out. Sorry if I offended anyone. In the beginning I said I don't hold anything against those who enjoyed these books. I am entitled to my opinion and you to yours. I just believe in mine, not yours. :) Just so that you know, I have not read the books. I have read the first twenty pages of Twilight, watched the movie Twilight, and watched about 45 minutes of New Moon. If this causes you to believe that my opinion is invalid, then I guess in your eyes it will be. I won't read the books or watch the movie. Sorry. Consider what I've said. Sorry for any grammatical errors. Lastly, forgive me Stephanie Meyer for voicing my opinion which is, unfortunately, dead set against you.

P.S. I do not pretend to be perfect in any of the areas I touched on (violence, sentimentality, etc.) I was just pointing out the downfalls of Twilight. :)

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