Sunday, January 29, 2012

Servant of Christ

Since we moved back to Minnesota 3 years ago we've gone to church here in Champlin at Servant of Christ Lutheran.  It's a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America synod, which is the most liberal synod of the Lutheran church and very progressive in general.  There are other synods such as Wisconsin Lutherans and Missouri Synod that are very socially conservative and might as well be the same as those crazy Catholics that I went to school with for so many years ;-)

I was fortunate enough to have been raised ELCA Lutheran (because we all know Far Far and Far Mor Sjolund don't mess around with any close mindedness) and now as an adult I'm so happy to have found an awesome church so close to home to raise Eva in.  If you're interested in a run down of the ELCA's stance on all major issues go here - 

Our church is currently in the middle of "The Story", which is a 40 week session leading up to Lent where we study the Bible from beginning to end one Sunday at a time.  It still amazes me for all my years of parochial school how many facts of the Bible I still don't know or have forgotten.  Like King Solomon, the wise king who knew that the mother who offered to give up her child instead of having it cut in half must be the real mother, had 700 wives and 300 concubines!  Daaaaaaaamn Gina.  It all helps to remind me that being a Christian is not a passive act, God calls us to seek His word and never stop learning and growing in our faith.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  I just ordered Eva her first big picture Bible geared towards pre-schoolers and I bet there will be some stories, which I have totally forgotten, that will be nice to hear again. 

Our service always closes with this benediction and I love it so much:
May the Lord grant you joy that radiates from the inside out, Love that erases barriers and heals wounds, Courage to walk to the path of peace and patience to outlast the troubles of the day.

What's a Sunday without church donuts?

Our church is full of young familes and kids, running and laughter are normal staples :-)

Eva & Riley playing tag, Sunday school BFFs

Pigtails a' flappin

kiddy table just for Eva at brunch

hard at work with Baba


Saturday, January 28, 2012


"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are." ~Marianne Williamson

In the middle of showing me her ballet positions :-)

Why I Blog

Jason often wonders (and by wonders I mean complains) about my blogging.  I tell him, "Eva has fans, they need to see her!"  I'm only half serious as I realize there are blog followers out there who care about Jason and I as well but if I'm being honest, I mostly keep the blog for myself.  Eva is growing so fast I can barely keep up!  One day she's a tiny infant and now I have a gangly almost 4 year old in front of my every morning talking about her plans for the weekend with her "best friends"...

So I keep this blog for you all, so our family and friends all across the country can watch Eva grow.  But I keep it for me as well; so that when she's 12 or 18 or 21 or 40 and I say, "I remember when" I can look back at the memories I've captured and truly mean it.  I keep the blog so that Eva won't go from baby to college without me having any photos to use for her wedding slide show (cough.... Baba... cough cough)

I keep the blog so that I can capture every amazing moment of this ride called motherhood.  I love you Eva Alexandra, with all my heart, and when you are older and you look back on this blog (or whatever cool technology platform it has morphed into) I hope you can see through my photos that you are my greatest joy and accomplishment. 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Truth About Love

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. ~Louis de Bernieres

Library Story Time

The library system in the Twin Cities is pretty awesome, but then again, I think most things in the Twin Cities are awesome :-)

Last night we went to family story time at one of our local libraries with my friend LaRae and her two kids.  The librarian read a number of books, did a few song and dance combos with the kids and then everyone did an art activity that related to the books they'd read.  Then we picked out a big new batch of books to bring home including Madeline, Babar and Paddington- gotta love the classics!  Book reviews coming soon.

Moose antlers!

Eva and Brookie

Monday, January 23, 2012

Daddy + Eva = Besties

Nothing big to report from the Parks household today... we're having mozzarella stuffed meatloaf and sour cream and chive mashed potatoes for dinner... but other than that I see that we're almost up to 8,400 blog views.  This means you all are becoming accustomed to frequent posts, so I don't want to let anyone down by slacking off in the new year.

Here are a few random photos of Eva & Jason, best buddies of the century!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Eva's Book Review- January

My New Year's resolution of reading to Eva for 300 minutes a week has really been enjoyable.  She's always loved being read to but I'm actually having a blast now as well.  Except for Fridays when I go straight from my day job to my night job, we snuggle up every night in our big recliner chair with a huge pile of books and read and read and read and read and then we read some more.  Being that she's becoming such a literary expert, we've decided to start a section of the blog called Eva's Book Review (witty title, huh?)
For this week we'll focus on our current favorites.  We encounter a book every now and then that doesn't thrill us, mostly because it's either too simple or complex for Eva's developmental level, but most books are a just fine.  The following books are fantastic:

5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
I wasn't sure if Eva would like this one, it has some very adult undertones of giving of yourself until it hurts and the sense of loneliness when you're children grow up and leave.  And it doesn't have any pink or princesses, which never bodes well with Eva.  Perhaps she is more perceptive than I give her credit for because she loves this book, we re-read it at least twice a night, and she'll say things like, "Her [the tree] is sad cuz the boy can't play wif her anymore and he only wants money" or "Mommy the boy shouldn't wait til he's too old and skinny to come back."  If only we all didn't wait until we were too old or too skinny to realize what truly matters...

4. A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman
Corduroy was my all-time favorite growing up and was the first book I ever "read" by myself to my mom, so I love when Eva "reads" it to me now.  We have "Corduroy Lost & Found" which is also a great book.  I like that the main character is a girl of color, part of me is so afraid that Eva is going to grow up in this white bubble we call Champlin that she won't know what the real world looks like.  At least things are looking up since she switched schools; her best friend is Kashmalah, a girl whose family recently moved here from India. 


3. Way Up in the Arctic by Jennifer Ward
This is a book we found last week at the library that we're having a lot of fun with.  It's a rhyming + counting + baby animal book, what's not to love?  I remember hearing an article awhile ago on NPR about a study that was done on preschoolers and counting; some of them were counted to/with (i.e. an adult sat and helped with associate the word "three" with 3 items) as little as 1-2 times per week while other as much as 500 times per week!  I think both of those are extreme and don't plan on doing either but this book makes practicing counting fun.  Eva's biggest gripe about this book?  There are no daddies.  The whole book is phrases such as, "'swim' said the mama, 'we swim' said the three, so they danced and they pranced on their ice floe in the sea" and so on.  Eva is a HUGE daddy's girl and doesn't like when books/shows/games/dolls/movies leave daddies out, I guess that makes me happy :-)

2. Ella Bella Ballerina and the Swan Lake by James Mayhew
This is another library book that Eva and I can't get enough of.  After each time through, Eva has to get up out of our chair and show off her ballet moves.  It reminds me of Black Swan with the good swan princess Odette and the evil Odile and a few pages might actually scare some little kids but Eva seems not to mind.  "Mommy, her's the pretty one and her's the not nice one."  Apparently beautiful people are nice and ugly people mean... we'll have to work on that line of thinking!

.....  and our number one book is......... drum roll please.....................................

 1. The Fancy Nancy series by Jane O'Connor
Okay, I admit, these books rock my world, and not just because they are about a sassy, spunky, preschooler fashionista like my Eva, they rock my world because the whole premise of the books is expanding your vocabulary with "fancy" words.  Delectable for yummy, enormous for big, reply for answer and so on.  The fun and easy way that all of the Fancy Nancy books introduce new words is wonderful.  So wonderful that Eva's 4th birthday is going to be Fancy Nancy themed :-)

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."~ Emilie Buchwald

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Zumba in the Club

Zumba is the latest fitness craze.  I take it at least once or twice a week at my gym; it's a combination of Latin and hip hop styles of dance set to certain songs and you dance you're butt off and it's an insane work out.  A bar in Fridley offers "Zumba in the Club" once a month.  I had to work last Friday night so I didn't get to do the whole 90 minute Zumba session but I met up with some girlfriends towards the end and we drank and danced all the same.  Next month I'm specifically requesting the night off so I can get my boogie on!

Normally our friend Tina would have joined us for Zumba but she has jumped the Minnesota ship and moved to sunny St. Petersberg, Florida!  I am a mixture of happy for her, jealous of her and mad at her, since now Jason won't stop talking about moving somewhere without snow.... :-)

Double shots always up your Zumba game!

Sad and lonely Erin doing her sex robot move withouth Tina lol

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tattoo Convention

As I mentioned the other day, this weekend was the Minneapolis Tattoo Convention.  It was held downtown at the Hyatt and myself, Jason, Eva, Baba, Maria, Noah and Justin all went.  Maria and Justin were lucky enough to get amazing new tattoos; I had no idea tattoo artists actually did work at the conventions, I thought it was just photos and such- silly me!  Anyway they both got really good deals, we're talking less than half as expensive as the tattoos would have normally been in a shop, so Jason and I plan to save up next year (and actually have something agreed upon!) and take advantage of the great deals.  Eva loved seeing all of the people and dancing her butt off near the stage when the side show (i.e. freak show) was not on.  I hope she grows up appreciating beauty in all forms, traditional and unique.

Oh and Baba got her belly button pierced! No joke!  She has to stop being cooler than me, it's really ruining my street cred ;-)

Burning off energy wrestling with Uncle Noah

Pure happiness on her little face!

I told you she did it!

Button Baba purchased... I told you, she has got to stop being cooler than me!

Hugs for Uncle Noah
Justin beings his tattoo

Halfway through

Auntie Maria pre-tat; I'll post updated ones of the finished one later

Eva watching Auntie Maria

Dance party with Eva

P.S. her shirt says "Love to dance" :-)