Should I leave them downstairs tonight on the couches? Or should I wrestle and fight to get them upstairs?
And here is the other one. He was delighted that his costume was such a hit.
Although we don't really celebrate Halloween, I love to keep some of the traditions from my childhood. We have the actual night covered, since our church celebrates the reformation of the church with a Reformation Party. Carving pumpkins has been our other established fall tradition. So last Wednesday, I took ALL my children, my three plus the three I keep after school, to the pumpkin patch to pick out a couple of pumpkins.
What did I do right this year?
Ok, the whole Dr. Suess Dog through the hole poem I wrote . . . not so funny now. It really happened to us today. Somebody let her out, the board blocking the whole fell over, and by the time we noticed, she had vanished. We called and called, then got in the Suburban and did what we normally did. On about the third street of our neighborhood, and after many prayers, we started getting a little panicky. My oldest son was so worried he was crying-not like him at all. Before heading out to the main road outside our subdivision (and PRAYING I wouldn't find her there!), I ran home to recover shoes and a jacket. As I got out of the car, what sound did I hear in the back yard? Barking! The little stinker had slipped back into the yard. We were so relieved that we didn't punish her.
Also, I have determined that my back porch "friend" is of the rodent variety. I cleaned out there real well today, hoping to let him know his presence is no longer appreciated. If that doesn't work, I'll provide some party snacks. Now I just have to find someone to carry him out if I have to resort to that. Uggghhhh! Just the thought of it is giving me the willies. Maybe I should get a big, fat cat!
In the days of good King Arthur
Fought those knights both brave and bold.
They would battle evil dragons,
Seek for riches yet untold.
They would rescue damsels in distress
And for right their lives they sold.
On a sunny afternoon today
This is what my eyes behold.
For little boys’ worlds are made of these:
Building castles, swinging swords,
Though their interested not in damsels,
Cups of stones are their rewards.
But the fierceness with which they battle
Rivals that of noble lords.
Of the world of men so long ago
A boy’s play still sings some chords.
Today as we were leaving to run an errand we saw it! A great, big box. Not just ONE great big box, but TWO!! So even though I was running late, I stopped and grabbed it. When we got home, we went to work. A cut here, a cut there. This box stacked on that one. Some rope through a hole, tied off. Voila! We built a castle. I'm not sure who had more fun working on it--me or the boys. But as I watched them all afternoon, I had no doubt who was enjoying it most. Tomorrow? I'm letting them PAINT it!!!
Watching the spiritual development of my children is one of the greatest blessings I get from being with them. We've been through the basic Bible story stage--where I read the same story to them over and over. Josh loved the story of David and Goliath from The Beginners Bible. Stephen loved that story too, and the one of Jonah. Andrew hasn't really latched on to one particular story, but just loves being read to.
I have watched two of my children accept the Lord. One of them was a little reluctant, but I just "knew" that he was ready. I don't like to apply pressure on children to make this decision, but this kid would put off anything that doesn't get him food or a little more Playstation time! His brother was so eager and ready, I think he prayed about five times! He has a very tender spirit, and it has been sweet to watch his tender conscience open up to the Lord. I've been through kids with doubts--am I really a believer? Do I really believe this? Again, I have gently walked them through what they believe, wanting not to give them assurance if they need to re-examine their hearts, and wanting to help them through the fear of what it means to not be saved. I wanted to help them understand that all believers have doubts from time to time, and it's Ok to question your faith now and then.
Tonight I had another special spiritual moment with one of my children. My littlest boy, Andrew has been very eager to pray lately. They have been cute, but very sincere prayers. Tonight while being tucked into bed, AJ prayed," Dear God. I know that you are everywhere. I know that you are with me, but I'm still scared. Amen." I wish I had the courage to admit that I often feel this way. It was neat to see him voicing what he believes to be true, even though other senses of his don't confirm it. This is a huge part of the Christian walk. Repeating what we know is true, even when it doesn't look true, feel true, or make sense. Andrew doesn't totally get what it means to be a Christian, but he is on the way to understanding it. It will be fun to see where he goes from here in the next few years.
My back hurts. I'm tired. My once perfectly clean house is now a huge mess (again!). Why? It's all the fault of scouting! We camped this weekend. I have BEEN camping about a hundred times. My family was big on camping when I was a kid, so we went like every summer. I was a Girl Scout, so I camped with them. (OK, yeah, I admit that Girl Scout camping is kinda wimpy, but it counts!) Since the boys have been scouting-about four years now-I've been camping a good bit with them, but the advantage I always had was that my dad did it with them. When my dad passed away in March, it really changed things for us. This was my first solo camping experience.
I thought I had it under control . . . until I found myself in the garage at 1 a.m. looking at the mounds of his camping gear and wondering what I really should pack for a one-night trip. I got three hours of sleep that night. OK, not a good start. We managed to be at the location just as the agricultural center opened. I got there before most of the rest of our pack. Great! So much for all the dads who were going to help me set up. I got the tents set up on my own, and we managed to have enough food for the evening. Then came the best part. It began getting cool. We live in Florida, and so far it hasn't been that cold, but this weekend it was finally jacket weather. So I made a run home to get everyone jackets!
The best part of the whole trip? It was short! We were home by 10:00 the next morning! So I spent the rest of the weekend putting away all the stuff, and taking naps here and there. I'm still tired and still have some stuff to clean up! So exactly why do we do all this work? I'll let you know when I figure it out.
Today we went to a friends for the afternoon to play. Since it was Columbus Day, and the private school where we attend church was off, we took today off too! After lunch, two of my three boys and five of my friend's children (she has six!) played outside. It was classic--they found a dirt mound and build castles with moats! They had places to park the Match Box cars, places to park the airplanes, army men defending the walls. It was an amazing kid-style work of art. After a while they came up with a new idea--they filled the moats with water. Before long, the moats were washing away the walls and it didn't take much before it was a huge mud puddle. By the time we left my two youngest boys were wet, muddy, and thoroughly delighted with the way they spent the afternoon.
But the fun didn't end there! After that we went to another friend's house to swim and watch a movie. I had a good time touring this friend's new home and getting some adult conversation time. Josh was thrilled to spend a little of the afternoon with his best friend Jordan. On the way home we stopped and got pizza and then watched a movie. I think we stayed up too late. Hope we can get up for school tomorrow! Hmmm . . . can't we just take another day off?
Although I have read nearly every book on homeschooling, and have homeschooled the boys myself now for six years, it has taken me two months now to realize that my five-year-old is not going to learn like his brothers. I should have noticed that he was a little different when he continually found . . . well . . . unique ways of expressing himself as a toddler and preschooler. He has written on almost everything in our house with pretty much every kind of writing implement (and a few things I didn't know you could write with!). He has climbed anything that has more than one level. And he went directly from playing with Dora the Explorer toys to Lord of the Rings! So when I started teaching him this year, why was I so shocked to discover that he wasn't going to just take to the sit-down "let's do school" stuff like his brothers did?
Two weeks ago I had become so discouraged that I was searching for something new. I really didn't want to spend money on curriculum for preschool--especially since AJ is my last one going through it. After looking at a number of programs, I finally found it. There is a website called "Letter of the Week". I printed off the schedules and ideas and last week we started. I love the fact that we are going through one letter at a time, a new one each week. Last week we read books about ants, astronauts, and animals. We had apples and apple juice animals (popsicles). We did math on an abacus, and we sang "When the Ants Go Marching Down." But the best thing we did was to memorize the poem "Animal Crackers," by Patrick Morley, and then at the end of the week we made animal crackers and had them with "cocoa to drink!" AJ LOVED school this week--and so did I.
Just as God has made unique
The snowflakes that will fall
So he makes each little child
So unlike one and all.