Monday, May 31, 2010

Do little girls care about these kinds of things?

Our town is switching sanitation companies.

And why would you care about that?

Well, you wouldn't.

But to a certain little boy in our house that is Big! Exciting! News!

Mainly because we got shiny! new! red! trashcans to haul to the curb.

We first spotted them lined up by the hundreds at the city lot a few weeks ago.  Sure enough, a week or two later workers came by with several loaded on a trailer pulled behind a pickup truck and left one new trashcan in front of each house.

A few days later, we all hauled our trash to the curb one last time in our old trashcans. 

Now, you must understand that trash pick-up is always an event at our house anyway.  All activity comes to a halt as little boys stand at the living room window and watch a week's worth of garbage get dumped into the truck.  Fascinating.

This week was even better, because within a half hour or so, that same pickup truck, pulling that same trailer, that had delivered the new trashcans came back.  This time they picked up the old cans.

And all week long, everywhere we went, we had a running commentary on the status of the trashcans in each neighborhood:

"Oh look, their old one is green.  Ours is brown."

"Hey! They have their trash out in their new can, and the old one is next to the house.  Do you think they will pick up their new can?"

"I like the name of the new company better than the old one.  It sounds more trashy."

Tomorrow is the first trash day with the new company.  In addition to a new company and new cans, we also get a new day to watch our junk get hauled away.  And you can guarantee that yes, we will be watching from our living room window.  With great interest, I am sure.

Don't you wish your life was as exciting as ours?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Chair

It has quite a history.

It first came into our family almost 8 years ago.

The first two years of our marriage we lived in an itty-bitty house with an itty-bitty living room, and still managed to have room for two chairs and a loveseat.

By the time our second anniversary rolled around, the loveseat was gone and we were living in an apartment with a generous living area and 'only' two chairs to sit in.

Around this time, during an innocent trip to the mall (why were we in a mall in the first place?) we spotted the popason chair and one of us thought it was just. the. thing. that we had to have.  And even though the other of us thought the chair was Too Much Money and advised against the purchase, the chair indeed did come home to live with us.

It was a very unique piece of furniture to have.  And it was fun for cuddling up together to watch tv.  But it wasn't so great for guests... a little too casual and loungy and more than a little cumbersome to get out of.

And then one of us got pregnant.  And the chair was great for those early days of morning sickness.  But the pregnant one grew.  And grew.  And - speaking of cumbersome - The Chair wasn't so much fun anymore.

So in came our first *real* sofa set!  Two pieces!  Five cushions!  For a great price at an estate sale.  But still... we kept The Chair.  Because we had the room.  And it was fun, right?

But then came another move, and there just wasn't room for The Chair.  So we stuck a price tag on it (too high, I'm sure) and put it out in a yard sale, feeling the whole time we hadn't at all gotten our money's worth out of it, seeing as how it cost Too Much Money to begin with anyway.

Surprise, surprise: our humongous, overpriced, hard-to-get-in-and-out-of chair didn't sell.

And instead of hauling it off to Goodwill, we finagled space for it in my parents garage.  Where it sat for 5 years.

And then we had this little two-places-to-live-at-one-time arrangement that started in 2008.  And guess what?  The Chair turned out to really be just. the. thing. when we needed a little extra furniture.

Oh how wonderful it was for Daddy and his two boys to all pile up together in The Chair and read a book.  That just doesn't work quite the same in a regular chair.  Or even a sofa.

So never mind that The Chair is huge.  And travels across the floor.  And the cushion crawls and sags.  And the 'bowl' part slips around and has to be repositioned every couple of days.  Even with all those downfalls, The Chair is still great fun.  

And after using it for nearly two years in our unique little rental situation, I think we can finally say we got our money's worth out of it.  

So when the time came to empty out the rental, return the borrowed furniture and move all our stuff home, it was really, finally time to say goodbye to The Chair.

It's *real* replacement sofa set had already come and gone a few years before.  Our current living room held a Daddy recliner, a Mama rocking chair, and a worn little traditional loveseat for seating company or stretching out.  There was no place for The (huge) Chair.

So along with some other Stuff to Get Rid Of, Daddy loaded The Chair onto his trailer and we prepared to bid it a final goodbye.

But one little boy looked out the window.  And when he saw The Chair strapped onto the trailer, tears sprang to his eyes.  His voice broke as he asked incredulously, "We're getting rid of the popason???"

I think all that was missing from that point was the slow motion and the sappy music, as The Chair was rescued, and the raggedy old loveseat took its place to be hauled away.

Someday, Chair, your time will come.  But for now, we don't regret keeping you.  Not one little bit.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Incentive, creativity, and kindness

Some of my best ideas seem to come on a whim.

I can make all sorts of plans and schedules and grand ideals, and then in a moment of need or desperation or burst of creativity, inspiration comes.

One day this week there was extra laundry to be put away.  And a good bit of it.

I wanted Dale's help, but didn't want to nag to get it done.

So, before I even thought through my plan, I spouted off, "Dale, for every piece of laundry you put away I'll give you one penny to spend in my store."

Umm... I don't have a 'store'.  

I don't even have a goody basket.

So while Dale started putting away laundry (I told him he was responsible for keeping count), I started finding things for my store.

Instead of gathering up junk to hand out, I started thinking of the things he asks for that I usually say 'no' to, and came up with this list:

After around 20 items of laundry, Dale decided he was done.  Although there was a good bit of laundry left, I paid him his 20 cents and showed him the list.

He looked it over.... thought about it... and decided he needed to put away a little more laundry.  :-)

After putting away every last item, he had earned a total of 52 cents!

I was certain he'd 'buy' time on the microscope, but he chose the Light Bright instead.  But it was the next thing that was my very favorite part (even more than all that put-away laundry!) .....

He came back through later and asked to buy some candy.  I said sure, and he started digging into his pockets.  "It's going to be 10 cents," he said, "because I'm buying a piece for Alan too."

I didn't tell him I would have given Alan a piece anyway.  I just let him enjoy getting to be the big spender buying his brother a treat. :-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

And in baby news...

I left my guys alone the other night ('alone' as in Daddy & all three boys) and came home to find the following pictures on the camera:
They thought it was hilarious and were so excited to tell me all about the 'Tyler Taco'.
It seems Tyler rolled over onto his tummy with a fistful of his play-mat... thus wrapping the play-mat around himself.

In addition to rolling over any time he pleases, Tyler also loves sitting up.  Not unassisted, of course, but he very much prefers to be upright.  So much so that we often see him leaning up against his car seat straps, just so he'll be a little more upright.  Mercy, that boy must have some serious abs!

Because of his little propensity for leaning up, we've had to retire the swing a little early.  Even with the seat belt we were afraid he would lean up so far he'd tip right out of the thing!  

So we replaced it with the highchair.  Works out better all around, too.  Not only can he sit up safely, he can reach his toys on the tray, and is up more on our level when we're at the table.

Here he is after the switch playing with one of his favorite toys.
We call it his Jingle Box.
And yes, he does seem to spend a lot of time in only a diaper these days.  What can I say?  It's summer!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Because enough is enough

Little early risers have become an increasing problem around these parts.

I know, I know "early to bed, early to rise" and all that.  But that little saying applies to Mamas as well as to little boys, and this Mama likes to rise early for some time alone.

Getting up at 6:30 to discover bedrooms empty and living rooms full (of little boys) puts Mama a little on the grumpy side.  

Early bedtimes, later bedtimes, naps, no naps... we tried it all.  Is just a wee bit of alone time to get ready for the day so much to ask??

So I finally went through with an idea I saw on a long-lost blog months and months and months ago:

If the 'yellow hand' points to red? STAY IN BED.
If it points to green, you can get up and GO! 

Our bathroom is now missing a clock, but hopefully I have regained my mornings.

So worth it.

Monday, May 17, 2010


About the only kind of pudding my boys see is the banana pudding their Gramps makes every once in a while.  

I do have a box of instant chocolate pudding in the cabinet I've been saving for a rainy day to do some finger painting with pudding.  Yum! Edible paint!  But we haven't gotten to that yet.

This morning I found a box of instant vanilla and decided on a whim to mix it up for an after lunch treat.

It was a big hit!

However, it had been so long (a year? two?) since Alan had plain pudding that he wasn't too certain what he was eating, as evidenced by the following conversation, heard 'round the dessert table:

Dale: I read that pudding is made from bones.

Me: Hm.

Dale: Or maybe that is jello.

Me: Yes, I think it IS jello.

Alan, looking at his bowl of dessert: This is jello!?!

Friday, May 14, 2010

What is normal, anyway?

Photo credit: Simple Journeys

I recently perused a new blog... you know, one of those first-time visits where you check out one of the thousands of blogs you've never seen before, knowing you won't ever be back, but reading at least the whole first page anyway.

From my nosiness, I learned this blogger has a child with both physical and mental disabilities.  After my once-over I turned from the computer to tend to Tyler.  

He smiled at me as I picked him up, and I thought, "I am so blessed to have 'normal', healthy children."

And then I stopped and laughed at myself.

Since when are liver disease, feeding tubes, transplants, and a life-time of blood-work, twice-daily meds, and a constant vigilance against sickness 'normal' or healthy??

And yet, (more often than not) I see us as 'normal'.

Many occasions people have complimented us on how we handled the tougher times we've been through.

Two things on that: 

No, three: First of all, Thank you.  Your words and sentiment are very kind.  


 - We aren't anything special.  We have simply done what we had to do.  Whether it is middle of the night ER visits, plane rides to ICU, or threading a feeding tube up a baby's nose.  Those things had to be done, so we did them.  Plenty of other parents do that and more.  Or maybe they have different battles: behavior issues, learning disabilities, breathing treatments, various therapies or even coping with a loss.  You would do the same thing if it had to be done.  Nobody wants to do any of those things.  But they do them.  There often isn't much choice.

 - The strength to do those difficult things wasn't something we mustered up from inside ourselves.  It also wasn't some evolutionary parental instinct.  Sure, our love as parents naturally plays a part in taking care of our kids in both normal and extreme situations, but it isn't enough to carry us through.  We are weak.  But that's ok, because God has told us, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
It is his grace that carries us through all things, and he that strengthens us for every battle we face. "For I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
And honestly, there were (and still are, if we admit it) times that we didn't actively rely on God and his grace & strength.  During those times, it was the prayers of others that God was answering and using to carry us through.

It is because of those times that we are so much more faithful to pray for others now.  Especially for those parents that play the role of doctor, nurse, or therapist for their children, and those that are facing challenges we can't begin to imagine.  Because what my seem like the insurmountable to us, is the daily 'normal' for someone else.  

So go ahead.  Compliment them, encourage them.  They need it.  But pray for them too.  Because they need that even more.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

King Me!!

Dale has a new passion: 


He just learned how to play yesterday, and said so to everyone he saw today.

"Do you know how to play checkers? I do!  I learned last night!"

After his first game he started playing some pretty good moves... captured several of my pieces.

But I still stomped him in every game.

I once read that winning is so very important to boys, and you should let them win occasionally to build their confidence and such.  It sounds good in theory, but so far I haven't been able to bring myself to throw a game of checkers or anything else.

So far I've played with at least some mercy, and not captured his pieces every time he gives me opportunity.  Until he starts getting mine, anyway.  Then the gloves come off.

The way I see it, I better win while I can.  The tables will turn soon enough.  I've always stunk at checkers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Welcome to the Snurkus!

Our fun-unit this week is all about the circus.  To get in the theme of things we even made a circus-themed snack.

Animal cookies
Mini M&M's
Sugar Babies
Smarties (Alan's request)

Basically I mixed popcorn and the cookies and then started throwing in random things that we had on hand.

Alan was all about it, except for one thing.... 
"Circus Snack" turned out to be a bit of a tongue twister for him.

I now believe anything we mix with popcorn and eat will forever be known as...

A Snurkus Snack.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bling for your feet

I got everything I need for these at good ol' Hobby Lobby.

Plain nekkid flip flops (in all sorts of colors) = $1.99.

2/3 yard of fancy-schmancy ribbon = $4.

Paint mod podge onto the straps with a paintbrush.  Hold ribbon with math manipulatives clothes pins until mod podge dries.

Paint your toses and show them off!

Monday, May 10, 2010


We had cake.

Except for Alan.  

Technically, he 'had' cake on his plate.  But he didn't eat it.

He only ate the frosting.

And that gave him a fun little blue mustache.  

And then somebody, who will remain anonymous to protect the innocent guilty, got inspired and did this:

Didn't bother Alan one bit.  He loved it, and was ready for leftover cake frosting again later!

(No faces were stained in the making of this masterpiece.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sarah Forbes Bonetta was born an African princess in 1843.  She was captured during a horrible raid on her village when she was 5 years old.  When she was 7 she was rescued by an Englishman, Commander Frederick Forbes, moments before she was to be killed as a human sacrifice. 

Because of the circumstances of her rescue, upon her arrival in England, Sarah came under the guardianship of none other than the Queen herself.  Throughout her childhood the Queen took great interest in Sarah’s well-being and education.  

Although Sarah lived with adoptive families away from the palace, sometimes even on another continent, she was treated as a child of the Queen.  All decisions regarding her upbringing were either made by the Queen, or with the Queen in mind.  Sarah was treated with great respect, and yet vigorously trained and educated to be fit for her visits with the Royal Family.

Just as Sarah didn’t truly ‘belong’ to the families with which she was raised, our children don’t truly belong to us.  They are little princes and princesses, placed in our care by non other than the King himself.

Do we treat them with the kindness and respect we would a visitor from the Royal Family?

Are we training them to stand in the King’s presence?  

Educating them in the ways of the King?

Sarah dearly loved the families she grew up with, and they loved her, but it was always the Queen that had the power and authority to care for Sarah in every way.  As much as we love our children, are we being careful to entrust them to the One that loves them more than we ever will?  To the One that has the true power and authority to care for them in every way?