Thursday, November 30, 2006

'Tis the Season

i don't know if any of you have noticed this, but the season of buying things is well underway. any time i step into a store or turn on the tv--music, ads, lights, camera, action! if chris *really* loved me he would buy me a heartstone diamond necklace, and if i really loved *him*, i would get him the newest cool cellphone that can make phone calls AND breakfast with the touch of a button. the other day i came in to the room while an ad for a minivan was on, and i found myself dancing to the music--besides the obvious scariness of a minivan commercial being targeted at my demographic (now that i am Really Old), it struck me how easy it is to be sucked in to the idea that if i just had this One More Thing, i would really be "much happier."

i have been thinking about this for a while. on one of the message boards that i like to read, some of the people there have been talking about this thing they call The Compact, explained through this quote, taken from a blog on the subject:

1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact; 2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er); 3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)"

essentially, these people forming a Compact have all made a commitment that for one year they will buy nothing new, except food and health items. instead of going to target or the mall when something is needed, they have commited to finding it secondhand, or going without if the item turns out to be unneccessary; in this way, they are seeking to reduce the amount of resources that are consumed by their lifestyle and to examine the role that consumerism plays in the culture around them. buying nothing new doesn't seem that revolutionary, until i think about it for a while, and maybe you can too--how many things as i look around my room were bought new, when they didn't have to be? how easy is it to walk into target with a list of things i "need", and walk out with 1 or 2 or 5 more things that i didn't know i "needed" until i was walking around the store? while i am not ready to be as committed as some of these people are, the idea of being that mindful of my role in using global resources is intriguing. if you haven't seen it already, there is a very thought-provoking quiz that you can take to see where you rank in your use of natural resources--the results may shock you, as they did me.

rehearsals are underway for the christmas choir, and one of the songs that we sing always strikes me as i think about this subject. the name of the song is This is My Everything, and the words read:
"All that I love, all that I prize,
all that I cherish more than my life,
all is surrendered. I will be poor, for Your glory.
Resting in all You are, trusting Your loving heart,
'Cause this is my everything, this is my offering.
All that I have I bring. This is my offering."

the line that sticks out to me the most is "i will be poor for your glory". i am not poor. i never have been--even when money is tight, i would never consider myself to be poor--and i wonder what it would mean to truly be poor for the glory of God. how radical would that be, to truly give up on material things in order to serve God more fully--like the compact, but with an eye trained toward an eternal goal. and additionally, to trust that God would be faithful to provide for what i need, that i could rest in who He is and His love for me, rather than my own ability to *aquire*. especially at christmastime, when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, a man who lived "poorly" by the world's standard, it seems that i could do more to pattern my life after his example. and i'm guessing it doesn't involve the newest ipod, no matter how cool the commercial is.
Photo credit: Flickr user "eston"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Stomach Flu: the Gift that Keeps On Giving

well, happy thanksgiving to everyone....we went to visit my folks in colorado springs this weekend for the holiday, and nicholas brought an extra special gift with him: the 24 hour flu. poor kid spewed all over the dining room--and me, and my dad. fortunately, this was wednesday, not the Big Day, but he was pretty sick through most of thanksgiving anyway.

act II--chris succumbs. friday night, chris falls ill, and we decide to separate the troops. (i.e. jonathan and i abandon the downstairs for safer ground during the evening's festivities.)

act III--mom and dad share the love. cut to the estoll family making a hasty exit and running for the hills. we make it home with no vomit in the car, and even manage to have an uneventful day on sunday, recuperating and working on christmas decorations. we begin to feel cocky.

act IV--jonathan will not be left out. so, this morning, young one #3 awakens with a smile and a fountain of sickness. i can see no way for daniel and i to is only a matter of time.

Friday, November 17, 2006


so now that i am all techno-savvy (ha!) i have recently learned about this website where you can list the blogs that you read regularly and it will notify you when a new post is made. saves that rat-in-a-cage feeling of having to keep checking back and checking back to see if someone has posted anything new. and since i am so enamored with this new world of blogging, i am trying it out. it is really fun! it's like having mail in your mailbox, or maybe a magazine or something. anyway, check it out! and put me on there! :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006


so, jonathan is the smiliest baby i know. and believe me, i know a few. it's hard to make it in the mom world without fellow mom friends with their own smiling babies, so i believe that i have a good basis for comparison. now, you may think that i am biased, and that is your perogative, but i am telling you the truth. case in point: i came home last night from working and choir practice, and had been away from him for about 5 hours--much longer than i have been in the past. he was sitting with chris on the couch, barely hanging on to his good nature, but when he saw me he didn't cry like i would expect from a baby who has exhausted his good will--instead, he looks at me with this smile like "i really want to cry but i am happy to see you"-- this shaky little "heh heh heh" sort of greeting.

i think that perhaps this smiley nature is the result of being a third child, the third boy in a row. he is easygoing, merges in with the flow, and generally seems to be content to be along for the ride. my midwife, jennifer dossett (awesome midwife, by the way, highly recommended) told me when i was freaking out about the stresses of the past year that her third child came in the midst of a very chaotic time in her life as well, and is by all accounts the most mellow and easygoing of all her children. proof that God has a sense of how much we can handle, i guess.

the other thing that jonathan is doing lately is this scooty-grabby maneuver when something is out of his reach. he has been rolling on to his stomach for months now (must. update. baby book.), but gets really mad once he's there because a.) he can't roll back over, and b.) those darn toys keep moving out of his reach. thus, the scooty-grabby. which he does, yelling all the while at the toy for the injustice of it all.

and for all of you out there who have written off the smiliest baby title because you think that i am hindered by my momness, i will have you know that just today someone else told me the very same thing about him. so there.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Library Tyranny

first, let me just say that i love the library. i have always loved to read, and going to the library allows me to browse and sample at will from thousands of different books. when i was a child, we would go to the library once a week in the summer, and i would leave with stacks of books, only to come back for more a week later. when you go to a library, there's no worry about buyer's remorse...if you don't like something, you can always return it. plus, it's all free -- all the fun of a shopping spree, minus the guilt.

free, that is, until you face this sneaky little nuisance called the Library Fine. now, i'm all for the idea of not letting people just check out books, willy nilly, without regard for who may be waiting to read next, and library fines address that problem. they keep people accountable, and keep the supply of information available and flowing from one person to the next.

however, the Library Fine is also my nemesis. you see, i am not the most organized mama on the block, and our library trips are not of the weekly variety. there are some days when i am still feeling lucky if all the children are fed and clothed, let alone trying to round up all the books and coats and shoes, then venturing into a (supposedly) quiet environment where people whisper to each other, and most certainly Do Not Yell, Run, or Jump. with 3 boys, that can sometimes be a recipe for a meltdown. also, my scatterbrained nature (i prefer "creative") often leads me to be a few days late on the renewal uptake.

which leads me to the reason for this post. you see, i have been slowly working my way through a book (i know! a book!) and over the course of the last month am almost done with it. however, the library only lets you check things out for 3 weeks, and i keep forgetting to renew. so, today i went online to renew it. (yay me!) feeling resourceful, if a bit sheepish knowing that i would owe about a dollar in fines, i logged in to my account.....only to find that i owe the library OVER 20 DOLLARS!!! apparently, there is this book that we checked out for the kids right before we moved which has been MIA for a while. but, we had gone into the library to confess, and they gave us a grace period to find it amongst all the boxes. apparently the library's version of grace does not include monetary mercy.

so much for my frugal pastime....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Preschool Similies

nicholas' newest phrases of note: "mama, i can run faster than a cheeto", and "mama, i'm as hungry as a rocket." (a poet is born....)

daniel's current rationalization: i say, "daniel, please help me with this." he says, "i can't, 'cause i'm a daniel." (how can you argue with something like that?)

jonathan's latest obsession: noodledog, and anything that i am eating or drinking. today, he almost had my cup right where he wanted it.