Monday, October 31, 2005

What a Super Hero Does After a Long Day . . .

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.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fall Fun

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?

  1. I decided what I would spend and I stuck to it.

  2. I let the bigger boys do ALL thier own work on their pumpkins. I only did what I was asked to do.

  3. I let the two teams of two boys each work out their own plan for carving. The negotiations rivaled that of NATO!

  4. I bought a little pumpkin for each of the little ones and let them decorate their own.

  5. I actually took photos and videotaped!

It was the most fun I have had in a while . . . and I think the kids had fun too!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Not So Funny Now . . .

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!

Why Do Boys DO That?

We had a Cub Scout Pack Meeting tonight. At church. With lots of other people around. We were almost done, when my youngest, Andrew had to go potty. (I'll know they're almost grown up when nobody in my house calls it potty anymore!) I never send my boys to the bathroom alone-especially Andrew-so I sent him with his eight-year-old brother Stephen. When they came back, AJ's oversized shirt was a little wet. I, of course asked him how it got wet (hoping for an answer like, "Water overflowed from the sink.") Instead, the answer was, "Stephen picked me up while I was peeing." OK? Does anybody else think this is just too weird? Nobody could tell me why in the world you would pick someone up while they were peeing. Chalk it up to male brain function!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Too Much Dr. Suess

When I start thinking like this, it's time for a vacation from the kids!

There's a hole in my fence
And my dog got through.
I'm wondering now
Just what I should do.
Do you think she'll come back
If I yell,"Yoo hoo!"
If I don't get her back
Then the neighbor might sue.
I'm not really sure
If I should pursue,
Oh how I wish
That I knew!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Gold Mine in a Box!

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!!!

Obedient? or Just Plain Sleepy!

I made . . . ahem . . . certain threats. I'm finding too many edible items upstairs and throughout the house. Edible for little boys . . . and edible for bugs! In light of our current critter problem, the food problem HAD to stop! So I did what I usually do in frustration, I made certain threats. Well, the threats were taken seriously. After eating the apple . . .

AJ fell asleep clinging to the core!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More Critters?!?!

Now I think there is something living on my porch! Or at least, camping out there at night. My dog goes beserk when she is let out. I was worried today that it might be a rat--eeeewwww! But now I think it's just lizards . . . and maybe one very fat toad. There's also the black mold I saw growing outside my house . . . and the antbed right at the front of my garage (they obviously didn't know I had just bought some very potent bug spray!) . . . . Maybe I'll just move.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bugs B Gone!

One of the things I absolutely hate about living in Florida is the critters. Now, I'm not the squeamish type-roaches don't frighten me, and I'm brave enough to step on about anything. But let's face it, bugs can be downright annoying. So far in the last few months we have had roaches (but only a few, thank the Lord! They seem so hard to get rid of!), ticks (which I think we've got on the run), chiggars (only one of my kids got them-he must be the sweet one, since he is also the one I found the ticks on!), and now the boys are showing up with the occasional spider bite. Uuuuggghhh! I'm tired of all the medical panic-does this carry lyme disease? Will we have an alergic reaction? What do I do for this? But most of all, I'm tired of all the sympathy itching that I have! Why doesn't the insect killer I put on my dog work on the kids? Why isn't there one thing I can use in my house, on my dog, and on my kids? Why?

Confessions of a Little Heart

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.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

God Made Andrew Sleep!

I have come to the conviction that children past nursery age are best taught to worship God with their parents. OK, let me change that a bit. I am under the conviction that I am to train my children to worship by setting the example for them and by teaching them in a real live worship service how to worship. My two older boys do really well in worship service on Sunday; they typically participate, don't fight, aren't very distracting to others, and can even uaually tell you what the sermon was about. My youngest, Andrew, he's quite a different . . . experience in church. He did very well initially, but the last four weeks or so has been a little rebellious about being in there with me. Last week I think I had to take him out twice. Well today we were leaving before the service even began. I dealt with the discipline issues and then we prayed, asking God to help Andrew to have and obedient heart, to be able to obey and listen like Mommy said, and so on. He was doing very well. He stood and sat for hymns. He was quiet during the opening prayer. He was turning the pages in his picture Bible very quietly. OK, one more prayer. I put my hand on his Bible and whispered instructions to him so he would sit quietly while the pastor prayed. It was kind of a long prayer. Then as we finished, I realized . . . Andrew was asleep. I guess God got tired of trying to make Andrew be good, so He made Andrew sleep!

A Mom Does Cub Scouts

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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Perfect End-of-Summer Holiday!

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?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Compulsive Cleaning (AKA Help Someone's Stolen My Brain!)

I am not a neat freak. In fact, I think cleaning is over-rated. It's not that I'm crazy about my piles of paper and other stuff, it's just that I'd rather do something with a real person than take the time to clean it up. So my house tends to be a little cluttered. Well, the tick problem has cured me of some of that. I bought a new vacuum cleaner this weekend and now I'm obsessed! I want to vacuum my whole house! So far I've done three of the eight rooms, plus the hall and stairs. I think I've dumped eight or so cannisters of dirt and dust! Icky! And to think I'd lay on those floors! I wouldn't worry if it was just the vacuuming I was obsessed by, but it's the whole thing--cleaning the whole room. It actually feels so good to sit in my living room knowing how clean it is. And my boys, do THEY appreciate all the hard work I've put into cleaning that room for them? No way! They ate crackers in the living room tonight!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Dog 4 Sale

For sale:

AKC Registered German Shepherd-"Princess of Light and Roxy," answers to "Princess." Also answers to "dog."
  • Obsessive personality-must touch you with at least one paw, usually with whole body; chases tail, won't share it; hoards red rubber balls, will fetch them even from your hand (hand might be left intact).

  • Eats most anything. Prefers carrots, popcorn, and anything not picked up in the yard (including what she has left there!)

  • Cannot understand that she is seventy pounds and knocks things down when she jumps up. Has broken picture frames, objects on the counter, and has scared small children to death.

  • Barks incessantly. Has reduced the incidences of door-to-door sales in our home.

  • Darts out the front door and runs down the street at every possible opportunity. Has to be chauffered home in the family Suburban, otherwise won't come home.

  • Source of our current tick problem which has cost me the price of a new, stronger vacuum cleaner and pesticides which will probably lead to some rare disease down the road. (But thank goodness we won't get Lyme Disease-which I am told is as likely to be passed to us as a meteor is to hit our house!)

  • Is so protective of her family that their friends cannot wrestle or swing a light saber at them without fearing for thier lives!

  • Keeps us company on rainy nights, even in thunder and lightning.

  • Guards the house while we are out and at night.

  • Loves us no matter how many times we yell at her or call her "bad dog".

  • Doesn't seem to mind being called "dumb dog," and willingly takes the blame for anything..

  • Eats unwanted food groups and keeps the floor vacuumed.

  • Always acts glad to see us, whether we've been gone for a few minutes, or a week.

Never mind. I think we'll keep her!

Memories of Childhood

Some day I hope to look back to see
How quickly this day flew.
I trust that I'll be glad that we
Had such fun while we grew.

I hope I will recall the times
Of swinging in the rain,
Adventures starting with the climbs
To jump in mud again.

I may not be so free to roam
The way my parents did,
But the play I knew outside my home
Delighted us as kids.

So whether we chased a muddy dog,
Or got soaked to the bone,
Memories of giggles while catching frogs
Will warm us when we're grown.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Idividual Learners

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.