Life Lately

On my first flight ever on @flyfrontier. Please send up the prayer chain. Also there are two children behind me who are already playing “flip the tray table” which, listen, I get happens, but the mom has not corrected them once and so I did it and they stopped. 😬 When I say that all children are our children I mean that globally and politically but also on airplanes. 😂

 

A huge thanks to @angellimousineoc for driving the boys around in style today (and for allowing me to drive separately, alone in my own car, in blissful silence.)

The teenager version of parallel play at @playlive_nationmv. They had a blast playing fortnite all in the same room. So much smack-talk. And I especially appreciate the enthusiasm of the staff took in making “happy birthday” as embarrassing as possible. 👍🤣

 

Jafta’s great birthday adventure started at @arrowtag OC. They had a blast shooting arrows and teaming up against each other. A great teen party option though I might have to come back with friends …

Home safe and sound and feeling so grateful for this experience with my kids. Don’t let the breezy photos fool you … it was hard work. We had long flights and jet lag and a tiny room and every one of us was exhausted. We got lost a lot, we were cold, we had long days and walked until our feet hurt. Everyone had a meltdown at some point. But overwhelmingly, we had a blast. There is nothing I love more than experiencing new cultures and places with my kids. It stretches and grows each of us to be in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar habits and norms. We can take what we like and apply it (collectivism was an apparent cultural difference and made quite an impact) and we can discuss what we appreciate about our own norms in contrast. My kids loved the experience and we are already dreaming about how cool it could be to visit a new country every year. My kids are troopers and they rose to the occasion on this trip despite the fatigue and lack of personal space. I am so glad to be home and sleeping in my own room but so glad for this bonding experience with my crew.

 

 

Our last morning in Tokyo spent at the red gates at Hie Shrine.

Life Lately

From New York to France to Spain to Tokyo, showing up to support @aus_rivers is a tough job but I do it out of the goodness of my heart. Now working on a list of new countries I’d like him to get gigs in where I can come “support” him more.

Joined by by dad and his wife today, taking in the Imperial Palace and Zoji Shrine before my nephew’s show.

🥂 🥟 🇯🇵 (This is my best emoji work yet)

Why yes I did leave my children unattended at a stupid American fast-food joint while I walked across the street for delicious ramen.

I think the @sensojitemple has been my favorite thing in Japan so far.

Harijuku and shrines and conveyor belt sushi and gardens and hedgehogs and Shibuya Scramble and street food and ice cream. What a day.

Bound for Harijuku

Jafta is in foodie heaven for his 14th birthday. #foodiejafta

Living that Tokyo life.

A quick 11 hour flight to Tokyo. 😳 I’m already tired. Planning a big trip the day after Christmas: would not recommend. The older three are seated far away from me and I’m not mad about it. We are coming for you @mybroadwaydream!

To quote @markhowerton: “Yes, matching pj’s. We’re divorced, not barbarians.” 😂 (Though he also might have said that second photo where Karis was blocking my head was the ideal shot.) Merry Christmas!

It begins

I went to a Christmas Eve service with my kids and ex-husband today. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a Christmas Eve service, for a variety of reasons, least of which is the fact that Mark and I try to spend that day together for the kids and there is nothing more awkward than going to church where that act of walking in the door together springs into action a number of people excited to pastor us back into marriage, rather than accepting us as we are – a divorced couple not needing to be saved by any meaning of that word. I’ve also ambivalent about church in general for some time. I think, like many of us, I’ve been hurt by both the people of the church and the behavior of The Church of late. I’ve been angry about how the church had responded equality, to sexual abuse, to women’s issues, to politics. I’ve felt out of place and disenfranchised. And yes, I know. #notallchristians. But it’s sometimes hard to identify with the ways that our faith can be used to hurt others.
Tonight I drove by a mega-church with giant expensive road signs and greeters in Santa hats trying to convince people to turn in. I was part of a church like that for many years. I played parts in the Christmas productions. I sang the solos. I passed out the rave cards to neighbors. I never imagined I would one day be a person without a church, who would drive by the enthusiastic greeters and wince.
We went to a progressive church tonight where we know the pastor but the liturgical style is not familiar to me. I miss the charismatic worship of my old church history but I don’t miss the judgement. During “pass the peace” I didn’t know what to do, and the lady in front of me didn’t either and said so. And then she cried through all of the songs. I don’t know her story except that I could see there was some church baggage. I wondered how many of us felt that today.

I don’t have a bow to wrap this story with. This season is hard for a lot of us. I still wonder and marvel at the person of Jesus. I sang Silent Night with my family and in a room full of people and felt a sense of community and corporate peace that I haven’t in while. I miss church and I don’t. I’m okay with it and I’m not.

18 years of Christmas Eve brunches with this crew. Missing you @timtaber @tracy_albrecht_taber

Life Lately

I brought my A game to the white elephant party. But India was the real winner.


Our annual Buddy the Elf spaghetti bar …

This pretty much captures their respective personalities. #winterfestoc

My daughter took the store-bought cookies out of the plastic and put them in a Tupperware with a hand-written note to make them look homemade. I swear I did not teach her this. Also #glutenfree for extra throughfulness. #enneagram3daughter#opticsmatter

I guess she was cold enough at the concert last night that she broke down and wore pants today. IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Dear concerned teachers, neighbors, and friends … yes. She does own pants. And yet despite how cold it may get this winter, she will not wear them. I’ve giving up trying. Perhaps if her legs get cold enough she will break down but she’s on a several year no-pants streak and we just all have to accept her autonomy I guess.