Sunday, May 30, 2010

Showtunes and Such

In the car on the way to church today Dan and I broke out into show tunes, as we have a tendency to do. See we were talking about getting Twelve to talk to a cute girl in his Sunday school class, and Twelve told me to stop trying to be a matchmaker. Naturally, Dan and I looked at each other and started singing "Matchmaker," which launched into "If I Were a Rich Man." Twelve covered his ears and screamed at us to stop, as he usually does. We stopped just short of "Sunrise, Sunset," but only because we were tired of his complaining.

I told the boys that we were going to have a Brewer Family Musical Marathon this summer. We listed all the musicals we wanted them to watch: Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, West Side Story...

Then Twelve jumped in and said, "Oh yeah, West Side Story. It has gang violence. We'll totally watch that one."

Where did we go wrong?

Then, on the way home from church, we were talking about their friends and their friends' parents. Twelve was talking about how one boy's dad seemed older than the other boy's dad. I said, "Well, people probably think that your parents are old too, honey." Twelve said, "Well, Mom's not old."

Maybe we didn't go so wrong after all.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

In Which I Lose My Spine

We have a saying here at Casa de Princess. Whenever someone is getting really whiny about something and losing the ability to make decisions, think in complete sentences, and/or stand under his/her (but usually her) own power, we say that person is losing his/her spine. I lost mine tonight.

We have to fill out these Spiritual Gifts Inventory pages for the membership class at church, so naturally I waited until the night before the class to complete it. It took me a solid hour of whining, questioning, and second-guessing every answer before I finally finished it. I can honestly say I would prefer to gouge out my eyeballs with hot cinnamon toothpicks than complete another "gifts" inventory ever again in my life. WAH! I've become spineless and whiny! It was so hard! I have no idea what I'm good at and in which area my "gifts" lie. Except that I can tell you, unequivocally, that I suck at self-analysis.

I kept trying to answer the questions the way I thought the test creators expected people to answer them instead of my first reaction. I over-analyzed every question, even the totally lame ones. I'm pretty sure I caused irreparable brain damage from thinking too hard. I do not like to examine my spiritual strengths and weaknesses AT ALL.

Although, now that we're finished, I'm pretty sure that I'm a Beaver and Dan's a Golden Retriever.

That seems to fit, doesn't it? Maybe there's something to this inventory after all. But don't ask me to do another one. Ever.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

The best Mother's Day gift is when other people tell me how great my kids are. Here's what Nine's Sunday School teacher said when I picked him up after class today...
Her (stepping out into the hall to talk to me): I just have to tell you...he's such an unusual child.
Me (wary, because this doesn't sound like it's going to end well): Um, yeah. I know.
Her: No, I mean it. He has such humility. You just don't see humility like that in a child his age.
Me (perking up when I realize that she means unusual in a good way): Yeah! I know!

He also surprised her when he used one of last week's spelling words (incomprehensible) in a sentence. They were talking about the flooding and he said, "It's incomprehensible to me that our house was completely dry, but right across the street, our neighbor's basement was flooded."

My sweet Twelve held the door for me everywhere we went today. And I mean everywhere. Every door. I'm pretty sure he tried to hold the ladies' room door for me at one point. Then he said, "So I guess this should be called National Suck-up Day for me, huh?"

Then my sweet husband presented me with a gift certificate to Village Day Spa and a matching one for my mom so we could go together! How awesome is he? Can you say, Son-in-Law of the Year? He took the boys out to see Iron Man 2 so I could have a couple of hours of peace and quiet at home alone. Of course, I'll spend the entire time doing THEIR laundry, but it's a sweet thought.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone who is a mom or has a mom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

thank you, GLEE

Today was another silver lining kind of day.

Nine had his audition for the school talent show, and his daddy said he was awesome. I'm so proud that he loves to sing and isn't a bit nervous about performing in front of people.

Then tonight Twelve had his spring chorus concert. I never thought I'd hear songs originally performed by Michael Jackson, Queen, Bobby McFerrin, Ben E. King, Bill Withers, Natalie Cole, and Journey all in the same show. I have GLEE to thank for that, since they've made old songs (especially BAD ones) cool again. They also made choreography look cool too, and the kids tonight had moves for every song. It was so much fun.

I discovered something else too--my white boy got moves. He has rhythm. But he still rolls his eyes at key points in the songs, which just proves that he's still very TWELVE.

There's nothing better in this world than watching my boys perform.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

You Say It's Your Birthday...

Sometimes when there's so much to say, I get really quiet on the blog. I guess it takes time to process devastation. Minor annoyances, however, are easy to verbalize. :-) But today I am very happy. Here's the silver lining post of the week...

Today was my birthday and it was awesome. My students brought me very sweet and thoughtful gifts. One boy brought me a gift bag which he called the Brewer Essentials Bag because it had all my favorite things inside: coffee and chocolate (my two favorite food groups) and binder clips and Post-it notes (because he knows I have a major office supply fetish). If he'd thrown in a Sharpie or two, I would've needed to lie down for a minute.

Then Dan showed up at lunch with a "Birthday Girl" balloon, birthday pin, and cookies for my whole class. He also brought a Disney "Birthday Princess" tiara. Here's what's a little bit pathetic...I was already wearing one. My teammates brought me chocolate cake and wonderful gifts. My room mom brought more balloons, another gift, and cupcakes for the whole class.

We had the family birthday dinner last night at Mom's house, so I had awesome leftovers today for lunch. Then Mom and her neighbor took me out to eat at my favorite Mexican restaurant for Cinco de Mayo. Mmmm. Chimichangas. The staff brought me a dessert and made me wear a giant sombrero. I wore a shirt and earrings that Mom gave me. Way too much fun!

But the best present of all was that Dan and Ryan went to church tonight to volunteer with the clean-up for flood victims. (
Aaron is going to help me take some cleaning supplies over to City Hall to donate, since he was too young to help with the actual work. ) They ended up working at our neighbors' house across the street. Their basement was flooded, so my men moved furniture and boxes, ripped out carpet, the carpet pad, and the wood strips underneath.

I love knowing that I am surrounded by such Godly men. That's the best gift of all.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nashville Area Flood

"The devastation is just beyond the point of believability."

That's what one local newscaster said of the damage in middle Tennessee after receiving between 15 and 20 inches of rain in only two days. To put things in perspective for those not familiar with the climate here, that's more rain than we would normally get for all of May and June combined. That's about 28% of our annual rainfall amount, and we got it all in TWO DAYS. The Cumberland River finally crested last night at 51.96 feet, which is a record in the modern era since the TVA built dams to avoid this kind of situation. Now, slowly, the clean-up begins.

Hundreds of families have lost everything they own. Entire communities are still underwater. Tens of thousands were out of power and thousands still are. The damage to property is in the billions, and that number will continue to climb as the water recedes. Shelters are set up all over the mid-state area to accommodate the impossibly large number of people who suddenly found themselves homeless after this weekend. Water treatment plants are underwater and residents are advised to conserve water however possible. The infrastructure of the mid-state area is in jeopardy with roads, bridges, and other structures under so much pressure from the raging water. Schools have been closed all across the middle Tennessee area for two days, and those closures will continue this week.

"Well, why didn't they have flood insurance?" you might ask. Because these areas were not even in a one hundred year flood plain. We're talking about areas that have never flooded in the era of recorded history. Some of the people in the Bellevue area, where hundreds of homes are totally submerged up to the roof, even tried to purchase flood insurance when they bought their homes. They did not qualify for flood insurance because the area was not considered at risk of flooding. No one could have seen this coming.

Ordinarily, people would turn to government agencies for help during a crisis like this. But guess what, many of those agencies were in danger themselves: the Red Cross building, Nashville Electric Service, the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Department of Human Services, and several other government offices were underwater. People couldn't even go to the stadium where the Titans play to seek shelter, because LP field itself was underwater.

Historic buildings are suffering massive destruction. Tourist attractions like Opryland Hotel, the Schermerhorn, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Opry House, and many more are underwater. We had an interstate underwater and more than 170 cars had to be towed from it when the water receded. Heck, a freakin' portable classroom was floating down the highway and imploded when it collided with a tractor-trailer truck and it was all caught on camera!!

And where is the national news coverage? The only national reporters I've seen around here are from The Weather Channel. Everyone's heard about the car bomb in Times Square and the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, but I've seen several people on Facebook who have no idea that we have our own natural disaster right here in Tennessee.

Seriously? Where's frickin' whiney, liberal NBC news? When the final damage estimates are in, I'll bet this will be more costly than the damage New Orleans suffered when Katrina hit five years ago. Where is the media? Why is this not a bigger story in the national news? I'll tell you why.

Because Tennesseans take care of their own.

I'm so proud of the way my hometown (and the entire state) have responded to this emergency. Within hours of the start of the flooding, residents of Knoxville were coming to the Nashville area with boats and emergency supplies. Locals did not blame the mayor, the governor, or the president. They pushed their sleeves up, dug in, and got to work trying to save our city. Inmates at the prison were out sandbagging around buildings, trying to protect them before the water rushed in. People whose homes were underwater did not sit around whining and expecting the government to rush in to save everyone else once they themselves were brought to safety. Even though they'd lost everything, they helped their neighbors who'd also lost everything. They didn't wait for someone else to do the rescuing.

No, they rounded up boats and searched the hardest-hit areas trying to save other people in need. They didn't say, "Oh, poor pitiful me. My house is underwater." They said, "That's all stuff. We're just glad we all got out safely. People are more important than things." Now let's help more people get to safety. Nobody said, "Where's FEMA? Where's Obama? Why isn't anyone helping us?" Neighbors helped neighbors. That's the way it should be. Heck, that's Biblical, folks!

That's Tennessee. The Volunteer State. The state I'm proud to call home.

If you want to donate to help my fellow Tennesseans, please do one of the following:

  • Visit and click DONATE NOW to make an online gift
  • Mail a check to the Nashville Area Red Cross, 2201 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203
  • Call (615) 250-4300 to make a donation by phone
  • Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation on your mobile phone