Happy Landon

We’ve recently had one of those times in our family, every year it seems, when we seem to just be tag-teaming each other with some sort of sickness. We’ve had ear infections, sinus infections, chest colds, head colds, Penny had a touch of pneumonia, I had the first case of the flu in Charleston County, and it just seems to wear us down in general.

Even little Landon had his first mild ear infection at 4 months. But he’s different… he hasn’t yet learned to moan and groan about his general aches and pains. Sure, he fusses a little here and there, but our whole family has been so encouraged by his happy demeanor, even when he’s sick. His smile is also contagious and we’ve all agreed that we need more of those around here lately.

Here are a couple more photos of him, learning how to bite his big toe… he’s a flexible kid!


Finding Life in the Garden

It’s October now and, even in balmy Charleston, our garden is about done. As I think back on this year’s version of our Garden Project, it occurs to me that there are parallels to be seen in gardening and life. Jesus seemed to be fond of showing people the deep truths of life in the simple and familiar things that we experience and work in every day. Stories of mustard seeds, sowing seeds, pulling weeds, fig trees… God even started everything off with a Garden.

I don’t have any intentions of matching the theology of Jesus, but here are a few things I’ve noticed that gardening has in common with life:

  • Timing is everything.
  • Embrace our partnership with God. There is a part that only He can do and there is a part that He asks us to do.
  • Follow the instructions. Invest in watering, weeding and care. If we are faithful, the harvest will nearly always be great.
  • Sometimes, even when we do everything right, something goes wrong doesn’t go the way we had hoped and we don’t know why. This is the providence of God.
  • Don’t forget to witness and value the miracles that abound in everyday life.
  • Sometimes God will surprise you. When you think the bell peppers aren’t going to make it, they produce a bumper crop.
  • Some of the best things in life happen in the morning.
  • Pull weeds early on. It’s much more painful and difficult once they’ve taken root.
  • It all starts with good soil. It may not smell great, but…
  • There is value in patience. Some things cannot be rushed.

Lord, help us to see YOU in all that we do. Show us the deep things of life in the simple. Help us to invest our hearts in our families, kids, jobs and… gardens – the way You invest in us.

Oh, the things the flu will make you do…

So, I got the flu. I only catch it every 4 or 5 years, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. Got it the middle of last week and, with the help of my new friend, Tamiflu, I think I’m on the mend now. As soon as it was verified as the flu, Penny bugged out to Nanny’s (Penny’s mom) in Bonneau with all four kids. I did get a nice, “Hope you feel better… We’ll be praying for you!” from the garage as they were leaving. Actually, she did feel really bad about leaving me, but I insisted ’cause – we didn’t want them to get it, right?

Wrong. Now the girls are the only ones left at Nanny’s and Penny, Logan and Landon are back in the sick-house with me – everybody moaning and groaning from fever and pain, except Landon, so far. We’ll get through, I reckon. God brings humor to our home in opportune times to help us do just that…this scene unfolded this afternoon.

Logan hates taking his medicine. Tylenol. Motrin. Decongestant. You would think we are giving him cotton candy flavor chalk ground up in water. I even tried it and it tastes really good.

Well, today was the day for the showdown between me and Logan. He had a fever and we absolutely had to get the medicine in him, no matter what it took. I kept my cool and encouraged him for over 30 minutes, listing all the benefits the medicine would have for making him feel better, how good it tasted, how it would only take a few seconds if he just drank the medicine… only to be met with weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, mostly from Logan.

So, finally, I crossed that line. I threw all rational thought about family economics and the laws of parenting out the window and I said flatly, “Logan, I will give you TWENTY… FIVE… DOLLARS… if you drink this medicine right here, right now.”

Let me just interject and offer sincere apologies to our parents, our friends who actually practice good parenting, and our parenting mentors, Gary & Anne Marie Ezzo – you all taught us better.

Logan’s eyes brighten and he knew he had me. But here’s God’s humor sent down from above…

Logan says, “Well, Nanny gives me a quarter. Will you give me TWO quarters?”

I bit my bottom lip so hard it hurt and I looked down like I was thinking over the counteroffer. I finally looked up and said, “Deal.” He drank his medicine with a smile on his face and left me thinking about how things might play out six hours from now when we had to do this all over again.

Anyway, I wish you all good health and relatively sane parenting. Pray for us…

Introducing – Landon Douglas Locklair

We are overjoyed to welcome Landon Douglas Locklair into our family! He was born today, July 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm. He weighs 7 lbs 12 oz and is 20.25″ long. Penny and I went to the hospital this morning and had a smooth relatively quick delivery. We are thankful, relieved, ecstatic, and exhausted all at the same time. We will have more photos to come, but this is one of my favorites so far. Thanks for your prayers! They have been answered in so many ways.

Garden Project: Phase III – Tending the Garden

This is my favorite part of the garden project. Watering the plants. Stirring the soil. Pulling the weeds (which are very few with this new mushroom compost). Watching the miracles of growth. Watching the plants climb, flower…tiny little vegetables forming. There is something therapeutic about it all – partnering with God…a little.

Here are some photo updates:

Garden Project: Phase II – Planting Day

We have been preparing for our garden for some time now and Planting Day finally arrived. We always plant on the Saturday after Good Friday, which puts us a little later in the season this year, but no worries. We had to clean out the winter growth from garden bed. Our good friends Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo made a generous donation to our venture this year – a truck load of rich organic mushroom mulch! I snapped a few shots over the past couple of weeks and then set up an interval timer series with my Nikon D200 on a tripod while we were actually planting the garden.

This year, we are just planting basic, staple vegetables – zucchini squash, yellow straight neck squash, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, sweet red peppers and cantaloupe. We may try some smaller raised box beds on another part of our yard that gets full sun nearly all day. Our sycamore trees have gotten tall and are shading our garden bed more than I like, but they still get 5-6 hours of full sun. We’ll post updates as things grow…

Logan’s Day at the Children’s Museum

Recently, the girls had an opportunity to attend a friend’s birthday party at the Charleston Museum. Penny went with them and Logan and I went around the corner to the Children’s Museum were we also have a membership (go Groupon!). He and I don’t get to spend one-on-one time as often as we’d like and we had a great time. Nowhere to be. Nothing else to do. No one else to pay attention to. We just did whatever Logan wanted to do. No limitations in the craft room. No rushing through the little grocery store. Played pirates to our hearts’ content. It was a great day!

On Being Fashion Police for Our Daughters

Penny and I were, on a rare occasion, casually strolling by ourselves through a department store looking for a few things for our girls to wear. I passed by a rack of clothing in the shorts department, and then another… and I noticed an alarming trend. Because I have no sense of how kids’ clothing sizes work (and don’t even get me started on kids’ shoe sizes) I asked Penny, “How old are the girls that buy and wear these shorts?” She looks at a couple of tags and told me with a serious face, “Well, the shorts on these racks are sized to fit girls between 7 and 16 years old.”

I dropped my jaw and found myself just…… angry. 

But I didn’t know, at the time, with whom I should be angry.

  • The fashion designers?
  • The clothing manufacturers?
  • The retail stores?
  • The parents who buy these shorts for their kids?
  • The teachers and mentors who allow such shorts to be worn…anywhere?
  • The kids who want to wear such clothing and promote the look as popular?

You know, I’m 47 years old. And I realize just by virtue of the fact that I use the word “hip” when I tell you that I am not “hip” anymore, that I am indeed not at all “hip”…anymore. Or cool. Or the bomb (?), etc. I realize that I am becoming my father and he told me and my brother and sisters that we would understand one day, when we had children of our own, why he wouldn’t let us bring to fruition many of the hair-brained, stupid ideas that we constantly conjured up in our little heads. Those days are here now and I am discovering more fully every day that my dad was a genius!

So who’s to blame? Who deserves the weight of my anger and frustration and disbelief? A short, true story may illustrate…

When I was in college, I worked for a little copy shop downtown and one day we got an order to design and print some small table tents for a local restaurant for that evening’s special on “Crab Cakes.” (By the way, I know it seems very convenient for the purposes of my story, but it’s a true story, so I must confess that I was out of town when this series of events occurred and only got the story when I returned.)

The rush order was taken at the front desk from the restaurant representative. As far as we know the order was taken correctly at that time. The order went to the desktop publishing department where it was typeset in all caps and set 2 to a page. The job was then photocopied onto neon yellow card stock, trimmed down and folded into table tents. The delivery person picked up the order and delivered it to restaurant about 6 blocks away. A waiter received the finished table tents and immediately distributed them around all the tables in the restaurant. Within minutes it had to be a customer of this popular dining establishment to point out what a half-dozen people had missed – that all the bright neon yellow table tents happily informed shocked customers that the special fare of the evening was indeed “CRAP CAKES!”  Let’s just say that it all rolled downhill from there…

I do remember the next staff meeting was not pretty, but it pointed out the answer to my earlier questions – EVERYONE is to blame. Because at any point in the process, someone had an opportunity to stop the horrible wrong that was being carried along by blind or uncaring worker bees.

And so it is for this fashion monstrosity.  I’m interested in opinions and solutions that others might have on the topic. For me and my house? Well, we certainly won’t be buying any shorts like this for our eight- and ten-year-old girls, so… voting with our dollars and all that. I will be going to department store managers to start a dialogue on what they think about their own children wearing these type of clothes. I’m still working on the rest of The Plan…

The Bible calls us to modesty in I Timothy 2:9 – “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,…” I know this makes me sound like one of the “black and white guys” in the movie Pleasantville with their seemingly unreasonable set of rules, but we have to protect our children from being seen as sex objects. I affects their view of us as parents, of themselves in their own eyes and the eyes of others. How can we change a culture to have them respect their bodies?

Shrimp & Squash with Wild Brown Rice

I had to work late one night recently, so Penny and the kids took the opportunity to have dinner her mom and grandmother in Bonneau. I am the sole seafood fan in the house, so I thought I’d make a new shrimp dish I’ve had rolling around in my head for the past couple of weeks. I have been changing my eating habits to be healthier and I’ve lost about 12 pounds so far, but more importantly, I feel so much better! So this dish is a result of my changed thinking.

PREPPING: I purchased some wild-caught shrimp from our local Publix market, along with some shredded parmesan cheese. When I got home I diced a small zucchini  and a small yellow squash. I also diced a third of a large bell pepper and a third of a large sweet red pepper (they were on sale…). Then I chopped half a stick of celery and a half dozen baby sweet carrots. Lastly, I cut about 10 cherry tomatoes in half.

COOKING:  This part is all about timing…You don’t want to over cook anything or it will get mushy. With a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a tiny pat of butter in a medium hot frying pan, I sauteed the peeled shrimp, which I had cut in half to be more bite-sized. Add a liberal amount of Mrs. Dash Table Blend and a smaller amount of ground red cayenne pepper. Cooked just until the pink was starting to appear – 2 or 3 minutes. Then I added the squash, peppers, celery, carrots, more Mrs. Dash and fresh-ground pepper and stir fried for about 2 minutes. Then I added the tomatoes last. Stir fried for another 2-3 minutes and added some shredded parmesan cheese. Stirred a couple of times, removed from the burner and put a glass lid on the pan to keep hot.

I confess that in this one instance, I had forgotten to cook my brown and wild rice, which would have taken about 20 minutes or more. So, it was Uncle Ben’s 90-second brown and rice medley to the rescue! It has a bit more sodium than the one I usually cook, but it tastes great.

EATING: I had cut back my soda consumption to once a week, so I took the opportunity to drink a hot (spicy) Ginger Ale with the meal and it was perfect.

VARIATIONS:  There are lots of variations you can apply to this general recipe:  use chicken (cook a little longer initially), change up the veggies, add the cooked rice in the middle and stir fry, try your own favorite spices, serve over angel hair pasta, add a little white sauce… feel free to get creative and enjoy!

Valentine’s Day Sabotage

Sabotaged by a 4-year old. I doesn’t make me feel any less outsmarted to think of him as “almost five.” Here’s his latest…

I got Penny a card for Valentine’s Day and wrote a nice, long heart-felt love note to her inside. We’re not huge Valentine’s Day folks, but this year, I thought I’d take it up a notch…you know, from nothing. I was so pleased with my note and placed it at the perfect angle next to her toothbrush in the bathroom, where she was sure to see it when she awoke.

However, I went to bed late and the girls got up early to make Mommy breakfast, so Penny got up before I did. More importantly, Logan got up before I did. Big mistake. Penny comes in and gently asked if I had gotten her a card with a yellow envelope. I smiled and said I had and asked if she liked it. She smiled right back and said that she did – when she finally found the card underneath the kitchen table and the envelope next to the bathtub on the floor!

Logan! Seriously, dude? He said that he liked the card too and thought it was for him. Anyway, good laughs for the day…until our next holiday. What is that, St. Patrick’s Day?