Bloggerhood Etc. 7/28/14

No Playdate

Image: DadNCharge.com

Summer is halfway over. We’ve gone on our Oregon Coast vacation, and Anna has finished both her art camp and her first Girl Scout camp. Now we have two down weeks before her next day camp, and she wants to call all her friends from school and set up times to play with them. That’s where we begin this week’s list, with a brewing controversy over the “play date.”

Best Point.Banish the Playdate” by Chris Bernholdt at DadNCharge.

Best Counterpoint.Preserve the Playdate” by Jeff at OWTK.

Best Question.Wait … I’m a Feminist?” by Carl Wilke at Big Cheese Dad.

Most Honest.Unpacking” by Alice Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Best Dad Post.What People Think When You Have Four Kids” by Rob Stennett at The Perfect Father.

Best Mom Post.Five Minute Friday: Finish” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.

Best Special Needs Post.This Day” by Kara Dedert at Not Alone.

Most Inspiring.Juliette: The Bravest Little Girl I Know” by Rachel Held Evans.

Best Question.Are You Raising Nice Kids?” by Amy Joyce at The Washington Post.

Best Idea.A Growing Movement to Spread Faith, Love,—and Clean Laundry” by Lisa Napoli at NPR.

Best Essay.Arctic Man” by Matt White at SB Nation.

Best Video.Job Interview Tips” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

“Step One: Delete Facebook!”

Award Winning Photographers

Anna and her tulip photo with ribbon

Anna’s “Purple and Pink” wins the Junior Fair Board Award.

No other awards were given in Anna's age category, but she's still proud.

No other awards were given in Anna’s age category, but she’s still proud of her work.

And Julia won "Best in Show" for her eagle photo titled "Majestic."

And Julia won “Best in Show” for her eagle photo titled “Majestic.”

Bald eagle - looking up

It lives up to its title. (“Majestic,” © 2014 by Julia Ozab)

It is Finished

Rood Screen

Photo: Watts and Co.

Every Friday is a commemoration of the Crucifixion. That is why Catholics traditionally abstained from meat, why prayers and readings on Fridays are usually penitential, and why many go to confession or confess their sins privately to God on Fridays. It is the one day each week when we remember how much Jesus sacrificed for us on the cross.

“It is finished.”

Nothing is finished without something else beginning. Just as the dawn of each morning follows the dusk of each evening, just as Sunday follows Friday, the Resurrection follows the Crucifixion.

In our fallen world, death inevitably follows life. In God’s plan for us, new life just as inevitably follows death, so as long as we accept that new life.

Each ending is a new beginning. The old is finished so that the new may begin.

May we all become a new creation in him. May our old life be finished, and may our new life in Christ begin. New. Each Sunday. Each and every day as we become more and more like Jesus, a true child of God.

Amen.

My five minutes are up, but I wanted to write a bit more about another “beginning.” Fourteen years ago today, Julia and I went on our first date. Neither of us knew it that day, but that date would be the beginning of our journey together through life. And a lot was finished for me that day too, including my loneliness,  my faithlessness, and my long wandering through a spiritual wasteland. I’ve said many times that God brought Julia into my life to bring me back to him. It’s true. And as an extra reward he also brought an amazing woman into my life who would become my wife, and then gave us both an extraordinary daughter who would teach us how much love we were both capable of giving. I am grateful for that new beginning, for that first date, and for every other date and every other day since. 

Five Minute Friday

Our Oregon Coast Journey, Part Two

Anna and the Seaside sign

In Seaside, Oregon

As part of her Brownie work this summer, Anna is taking the Wonders of Water journey. Because she’s currently between troops (for reasons I won’t go into here), she’s taking this journey over the summer with us, and our Oregon Coast trip was a big part of it.

After leaving Astoria, we drove down to Seaside to visit the Seaside Aquarium. The aquarium is small and easy to miss. It can’t compare in size or scope to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, but it features one activity that its larger cousin lacks.

Seal tank

Seals waiting to be fed.

You can buy fish and feed the seals.

Seal lying on its back slapping its fin

Seals showing off

The seals are smart and like to show off, one-upping each other with cute tricks to get attention. Clapping, jumping, rolling on their backs—each seal has a unique trick.

After we fed the seals, we walked through the rest of the aquarium.  Anna’s favorite part was the touch pools, where she and other kids could learn about the various creatures that live in the tide pools along the Oregon Coast.

touch tank

Anna touches a mollusk shell.

A volunteer stood behind the two touch tanks, pointing out the various creatures and answering questions from both kids and adults. We all learned a lot about mollusks, clams, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, anemones, and many other animals native to Oregon’s coastal waters.

We wanted to visit the beach while we were in Seaside, but it was far too windy so we stopped by the Seaside Carousel Mall instead. The mall boasts one of the most unusual carousels I’ve ever seen.

On a carousel bunny

Anna rides a the carousel bunny

Not just horses, but reindeer, rabbits, bears, sea horses, cats, dogs, pigs, and more—a menagerie of carousel animals. After three rides, we explored the various shops, including Mostly Hats, the most wonderful hat store we’d ever visited. After trying on every silly hat we could find, Anna picked out a bright multi-colored fedora that’s totally her.

From Seaside we drove south in search of a beach. After getting lost in Cannon Beach, and giving up on finding a route to the shoreline that wasn’t blocked to public access, we finally stumbled across Hug Point.

Standing on the beach

Anna and I at Hug Point Beach

The sandy stretch gave us a nice place to enjoy the ocean air and dig in the sand, before we drove down to Garibaldi to spend the night. The next day would take us to a cheese factory, a lighthouse, an octopus tree, and a pottery studio, plus more ocean views, and seabirds by the millions as we continued our trip down the coast toward Newport.

(To be continued …)

Photos of the Seaside Aquarium © 2005 by Julia M. Ozab. All other photos © 2014 by Julia Ozab.

Anna’s Coast Gallery

The Astoria Bridge

The Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River.

Sunset at Nye Beach, Newport, OR

Sunset at Nye Beach, Newport, OR.

A fish from the Oregon Coast Aquarium

An eel at the Oregon Coast Aquarium (taken through glass).

A seagull at Nye Beach

A seagull flies over Nye Beach at dusk.

A curious ladybug at Cape Perpetua

A curious ladybug on Anna’s thumb at Cape Perpetua.

All photos © 2014 by Anna Ozab.

Bloggerhood Etc. 7/21/14

Anatomy of a diaper

Photo: Lunchbox Dad

Remember when you had a little one in diapers? Those of us who look back fondly at those times are guaranteed to have all their kids potty-trained! Now on to the source of the above photo, and the rest of the best of the week.

Best Dad Roundup.29 Essential Pieces of Advice for a New Dad” by Mike Heenan at HuffPost Parents. (Reads like a “Who’s Who of Dad Bloggers”—great stuff!)

Best Guest Post.(De)Tales: Paddleboard” by Kelli at Cara Strickland’s blog Little Did She Know.

Best Travel Post.Nobody’s Leaving This Fun Family Vacation” by Evelyn Shoop at Momsicle.  (Side note: We took our coast vacations the same week and even ran into each other at Cape Mears Lighthouse.)

Best Special Needs Post.Why Are We So Afraid of Disability?” by Ellen Stumbo at Not Alone.

Best Bad Comic. “Champion” by James Breakwell at James Breakwell’s Unbelievably Bad Comic.

Bravest Post.Gynecomastia and My Traumatic Day at the Beach” by Lorne Jaffe at Huff Post Healthy Living.

Strangest Story.The Cornish Beach Where LEGO Keeps Washing Up” by Mario Cacciottolo at BBC News Magazine.

Best Question.Who Will Hold the U.S. Accountable for a Rush to Deport the Most Vulnerable?” by Shaina Aber at Ignatian Solidarity Network.

Best Parable.Jesus and the Attempted Exodus” by Mark Sandlin at The God Article.

Best Advice.Brave, Brave, Be Brave” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.

Best Commentary.Unfinished Houses” by John J. McLaughlin at America.

Best Satire.Mile-High Baseball” by Spencer Hall at SB Nation.

Best Video. “Fun Healthcare Alternatives!” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

Watching Her Bloom

Anna's Newborn Picture

Photo: Julia Ozab

We have so many dreams for our children when they are born. From the first moment we see them—those tiny, wrinkled, sleepy, screamy, adorable little people—we imagine what they might look like and be like in every stage of their lives. We can’t help it.  We know we can’t know what will come, but we imagine it anyway.

And then we watch them bloom, and they are more beautiful than we could possibly imagine.

Anna jumping

Photo: Julia Ozab

Anna is eight-and-a-half tomorrow. It’s been  almost eight-and-half years since I held her for the first time, since I said “hello” to the little girl I only found out was a girl a few minutes earlier. Almost eight-and-a-half years since we named her and began imagining what her life would be like.

Some of it was pretty close. We knew about her cleft, and her upcoming surgery, and the possibilities of more problems and more procedures in the future. But we didn’t know about her apraxia of speech, or the years or therapy it would entail, or her future struggle with handwriting.

We also didn’t know how resilient she would be, how whip-smart, how funny, how outgoing, or how deeply thoughtful and caring about all of God’s creatures.

At a coastal viewpoint

Photo: Julia Ozab

She’s bloomed into an amazing girl, and she is blooming into an amazing woman. And while it pains us to watch her grow up, knowing that each moment once past is gone forever, it fills us with joy to watch her blossom into the person she is becoming.

The person God imagined all along.

Five Minute Friday