Monday, December 28, 2009

Majority Rules

When it comes to planning family activities, we tend to run a democracy at the Dunroe house. We also vote on politically sensitive issues. For example: Sitting at the dinner table the Sunday before Christmas, "Who thinks Rylee has made it off of Santa's naughty list?" The majority at the table (meaning the kids, minus Jess and I) raise their hands high and proclaim, "I do", "I do", "I do". At that time, Jessica and I remained undecided and didn't declare a vote.

Or, "Who thinks Jayson better finish his dinner or he won't play a game with us?" Unanimous response, even from Jayson (who votes in the affirmative no matter what). "I do!", five hands raised high.

On Christmas night, with nothing planned, we decided to vote on activities. "Who wants to go to a movie". Three votes for (guess which three), with the corresponding "I do's".

The movie didn't start until 9:30, so we had a dinner choice to make. Denny's or IHOP?
IHOP won out because Jess' vote counts for about 15 when she renders a "where should we go for dinner" opinion.

Near the end of dinner, there was a vote that I didn't call for.
Jayson was happily leaning back in his high chair, head hanging down behind the chair, prattling cheerfully to himself. Then he suddenly proclaims "Who thinks daddy's stupid?" To which he quickly answers, with his hand raised high, "I do!"

Unfortunately for me, three other hands shot up and Rylee burst out with the giggles.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I don't have too much to say today. Might be 'cause I ran across this as I was preparing for a job interview the other day. I found it hilarious. And true (at least for me).

The website has a ton of these and they crack me up.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Spirit

So I haven't really felt much of the "Christmas Spirit" this year. Probably for a variety of reasons--all of them my fault. I have felt it during a couple of the Christmas activities we've done with the kids, and briefly during a service project we did through work. I definitely felt it today while I was singing in the choir at church. The words of one of the songs meant a little more to me than in the past.

As my mind wandered during the Christmas song, I thought of the "glad tidings of great joy" the angels announced to the lowly sheperds anciently. Thinking of the coming of the promised Messiah as a babe in Bethlehem in hindsight, provides a very different perspective than the viewpoint of those who lived at the time of the Savior, or those who lived before His coming.

From the time of Adam and Eve, the prophets of the Old Testament had been taught from heaven about the future coming of a King who would one day deliver them from the bondage of physical and spiritual death. They in turn taught the people of their day that if they lived their lives in faith, relying on these promises, that one day, likely after their death, the promised Messiah would pay the price for their sins. They would be reliant on this Savior to allow them to rise again from the grave, and permit them to enter again into the presence of their Heavenly Father and live forever with their loved ones.

For those living in Judeah who believed in the words of these prophets, the words of the angels surely bought rejoicing and tears because everything they had believed was unfolding as they had been taught.

The angels themselves no doubt rejoiced in the message they had the privilege to deliver. Those angelic messengers were likely those who had already died, but had faithfully adhered to the teachings of their prophets--Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah. They died firm in the faith that this Savior would indeed make good on his promise to deliver them back to the presence of their Father and they were now but 33 years from this promised deliverance.

Perhaps some living in our day were also part of this Heavenly host--equally reliant on the merits, mercies, and love of the promised Savior and rejoicing in the ability to deliver the "glad tidings of great joy" to the inhabitants of the earth.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Polar Express

I was relieved to hear that Miss Allington's second grade class barely qualified, through last minute (very) obedient behavior, for a well-earned reprive from the "three Rs" (pulled straight from the "Little House on the Prairie" archives indellibly engraved somewhere on the folds of my cerebrum). Thankfully they were able to enjoy a cinematic journey to the North Pole via the Polar Express. The hard work, fret, diligence, worry, and reslutant extra effort during the month of December was paid off with a much anticipated Friday-before-Christmas miracle.

This manipulative tactic has been masterfully employed by both Tayler's elementary school teachers (at different schools). In Mrs. Thorton's first grade class, each child could earn, subsequently lose, and hopefully re-gain (seemingly with no limit on the ability to re-earn) their "golden ticket". Said ticket promised to ensure a fun-filled Friday-afternoon-before-Christmas on the Polar Express. We received a nightly report about whether or not Blaze (the apparent class miscreant) ended the day in possession of his golden ticket. Much to the surprise (and relief) of everyone in room seven (I confess I really don't know the room number), Blaze's last minute penitence resulted in his earning back his golden ticket--mere moments before showtime last year. Talk about cutting it close.

Tayler seemed to be back and forth through the month of December as to whether she was happy or sad that Blaze might not be able to join his peers. But in the end, she appeared relieved. Blaze wasn't the only child influenced by the promise of reward, and threat of exclusion. The annoyingly obedient Tayler was on her extra-best behavior in the weeks leading up to the big event.

Near as I can tell, Miss Allington's class started the month with the words POLAR EXPRESS PARTY on the chalkboard. As forgetful children would mouth off, or become extra unruly, a letter could be wiped away from the board. This time though, there was no promise that a letter could ever be re-written, once removed. This was especially terrifying to Tayler. One evening this past week however, over Jess' chicken cordon bleu (her best ever), Tayler informed us that a previously removed letter had been unexpectedly resurrected due to extraordinary obedience that afternoon. Miss Allington noted that such an even had never taken place in her entire teaching carreer (which couldn't possibly encapsule more than four prior Christmas seasons).

I felt the parental obligation to reassure Tayler that the Christmas Spirit was almost sure to result in the final "Y" remaining on the board just moments before the promised hour. "Don't worry about it Tayler, I know your class will magically be eligible for the trip on the Polar Express--regardless of your behavior". Not sure why I felt the need to inform her of the end result. Perhaps I'm a little envious that such a ploy seems to so consistently result in behavior modification at school, while the repeated, albeit inconsistent, threats of "a lump of coal" in your stocking hung by the chimney with care, seem only good for brief periods of improved obedience at home (a place wherein no other success can compensate for failure).

Jess, apparently equally envious or irritated (still difficult, after over 8 years of marriage, to unequivocally know for sure), added the following wise counsel, "Tayler, there is no way your teacher has a lesson plan prepared for Friday. You're guaranteed a Friday afternoon trip on the Polar Express." Tayler, clearly confused at either our insistence on the certainty of the outcome, or simply not knowing what the "H" Jess meant by an unprepared "lesson plan"--responded by resuming her meal.

Somewhere, I suspect, Blaze's family is also breathing a sigh of releif that their son earned his "golden ticket" just in the [Saint] Nick of time.

Rylee's Heart

Last year at this time, we had been singing a lot of church hymns at home with the intent on teaching the kids the words to some of our favorites.
Unfortunately, both Tayler and Rylee have inherited my vocal talents and we sound horrible when we sing.
None of the three of us can carry a tune.

During this period, I remember taking the kids to Blockbuster to pick out a movie.
They ventured over to the "kids movie" section, intent on each picking out a show.
From across the store, I heard Rylee singing her new favorite hymn at the top of her lungs,
"Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah". The words were clear and unmistakeable--off pitch, and incredibly loud.
I rushed over to remind Rylee to use her inside voice.
Then asked if we could just focus on quietly getting a movie and then sing in the car on the way home.
Neither ploy worked.
The kids insisted they each needed a movie, which took forever to pick out...
Meanwhile, Rylee's show just went on.

This year Rylee has a new favorite song she sings at stores.
While shopping with Jess at Target last week, Rylee sang (again at the top of her lungs)
"Last Christmas, I gave you my heart and the very next day, you gave it away"
(not exactly sure of the words from here, but Rylee certainly is)
"This year, to save me some tears, I'll give it to someone special".

I don't know why Rylee has chosen this above all of the more kid-friendly Christmas songs.
Maybe she truly feels Jess gave away her (Rylee's) heart last year.
Perhaps this year I will be "someone special".
But, judging by Rylee's insistence that she'll grow up and marry her younger brother, I bet it'll be Jayson.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life Lessons Learned Next to the Porcelain Throne

So Jayson went potty, all by himself, for the first time.
He couldn't have been more excited about it.
He and I clapped and clapped, and cheered and cheered.

He then went upstairs to explain to his mom how it all happened and even how it all works (for a boy).
I heard them clap and clap, and cheer and cheer.

It's funny how exciting a small little victory can be to a two year old. But perhaps more important, this little episode reminded me how a little positive affirmation from a loved one can go a long way.

Hopefully Jess will read this blog.

I can already picture how things will evolve around the Dunroe household.
"Sean--you took out the garbage all by yourself! Great job!"
"Thanks Hon for taking your dish to the sink! You are such a big boy!"
"Oh my gosh! You hung up your clothes (instead of laying them across the back of the recliner)!"
Then we'll clap and clap, and cheer and cheer.

(Who knows, I may even do it next time without being asked.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Before and After (well not quite)

It's been a while since I have left any musings.
Been thinking today about this past year and all the changes we have experienced.
Most noticeably, we are expecting our second little boy, and last child (as I have been informed).

I was looking at a photo of me with the soccer team I coached last year. I keep it in my office at work and I was noticing the difference from a year ago. Thought it might be a good time to post a before and after photo online. I don't plan on it being "after" quite yet, as I still have a ways to go to get down to my goal weight. But 125 pounds so far feels amazing.
I have been thinking about how much life has changed for me personally over the past year, and I may expound on that in future posts. But for now, I think I'll just post the pictures.

This was me trying to keep up with Tayler's soccer team as I coached them on the field.

This is a picture with me and the love of my life! Still can't believe she fell in love with me, but sooo glad she did!

These are photos we took last night of me holding the suit pants I was wearing in that picture above with Jess. Can't believe these used to be tight. I remember each week as I was getting ready for church or church meetings, I would say a silent prayer that they would fit. Now I say a prayer of gratitude that they don't!