Friday, February 24, 2006

The Liquid Domino That Was Tapped

Tuesday night, my youngest son tipped over a domino. It has had continuing results in our house ever since. The domino came in the form of a sink . . . with a stopper . . . and a running faucet. It ran and ran until I had an indoor swimming pool (what used to be my downstairs bathroom!). I was out, and when the babysitter called to tell me, I thought, oh well! A little water. I can clean it up now or in a half hour. Unfortunately, it wasn't a little water, we drained a lake! After about a hundred towels, the carpet was still wet.

The next day, after having a fan on it all night, it felt somewhat drier. Until later that afternoon, when I reached my hand under the carpet to discover the pad was still very wet. After lots of advice, and worrying about mildew, I found a friend who could help me retack the carpet down and loan me an industrial fan. The pad started drying. Problem solved. Right? Wrong.

Now the carpet is drying, but the fans have kicked up lots of other stuff from under or inside the carpet. Every time I go downstairs my respiratory system begins to shut down (slight exageration!). I am hoping and praying that once I can shut the fans off, everything will settle, and a good vacuuming with my really cool vacuum cleaner will take care of the bulk of the problem. I am hoping I will feel like the carpet is dry enough today that I can shut off the fans and let the room air out tonight and tomorrow before it gets rainy again. I am hoping I don't have to replace the carpet and that I can continue to live in my house.

And of course, I'm hoping my son doesn't find a new domino to knock over!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Stephen's Lost His Stutter

As a mom I have worried over so many things. Last year about this time, I worried about Stephen's stuttering problem. It was an unusual stutter. Instead of being at the beginning of words, he would repeat a word or two at the end of sentences. I wasn't exactly worried. My feeling was that his highly intelligent little brain was just working faster than his mouth. He just couldn't keep up! But I was receiving some outside pressure to inquire whether something might be wrong. So I made a few calls, and was told that it might be nothing and I could give it another year. Well, here we are a year later, and Stephen's stutter is gone. I wonder when he last did it. Seems like I can't even remember now the last time I heard it. There are so many other things I have worried about. But like Stephen's stutter, most of them are now gone. Andrew knows his alphabet now. Josh does chores mostly without complaining. I guess Stephen will eventually quit reversing letters. I suppose it is true that if we just give our children time to grow and mature at their own pace, most things correct themselves in time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Establishing Traditions

My mother was amazing at creating traditions in our family. We had traditions for every holiday and birthdays. Some of them came naturally from having a large extended family near where we lived, but lots of our celebrating was because Mom was such a planner and organizer. I, unfortunately, did not get that gene. I'm much more the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of planner. But it is important to me that the boys remember celebrating holidays and have some traditions to claim.

Valentine's Day has always been something I make special for the boys. I did something for them even before their dad left, but after that, I felt like we all really needed to redeem the day. I need to celebrate the love God had put in my life in them. They need reminders that when you love someone, you show it. How I wish they could see a daddy romancing a mommy on this day, but for now that's not to be. So we have our own traditions.

First of all, no matter the day, we take it off. No school. That's one of the cool things about homeschooling, we can make any day we like a holiday. We get up and there is a card and some candy waiting for the boys. Before they can eat the candy, I fix chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream. In the past I have made pancake hearts, but today I couldn't figure out how I had done it, so I made Mickey ones with a pancake mold I have. Doesn't really matter, they eat them so quick no one's impressed with the shape. Then during the day we do something fun together. Today we had passes for a free movie, so we went to see Narnia again.

It caught me off gaurd this morning as I was waking up late how excited they were about today. I guess it surprised me because this year I didn't get away to get cards and candy and treats without them. In fact, we did it last night at the last minute! But they were excited anyway. It dawned on me today, that I was setting a precedent for what they will do for their families. Hopefully they will remember as men to make Valentine's Day special because Mom made it special for them. Maybe it will score me some points with my daughters-in-law.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Miss You Dad.

Today would have been my dad's 66th birthday. He was so thrilled when he turned 65! He was finally eligible for certain benefits that were going to save him some money. He didn't get to enjoy them for long. I miss him. One year ago, we went out to dinner to celebrate, and then came home to have chocolate sheath cake-his favorite. I regret that I took so much for granted while he was here. I wish I had spent more time watching dumb war movies with him, or just sitting and talking to him. I am glad though that he got to be so much a part of mine and the boys' lives. I'm glad I had the time to grow stronger while he was here after the divorce. And I'm glad the boys got to know him. It's still a little hard to hear AJ say, "Mama, I miss Gaga!" All I can say is, "Yeah AJ, me too." It's sad I guess, that he says it a little less now. Or maybe not. Maybe it just means we are healing. But I still miss him.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I'm not sure which is more fun: watching a cool action movie WITH boys, or watching the boys AFTER to movie. We just got the new Zorro movie. Today while we were down sick (OK, I was down sick. I just needed to keep everyone else busy so I could rest!) we watched it a second time. I find myself repeatedly telling the boys to sit down during these movies. Thank goodness for DVD--I'd hate to explain to the guy sitting in front of us at the theater why he just got whacked in the back of the head with a sword! Live theater, anyone? Anyway, they barely sit through the entire movie, then afterward go FLYING outside to act out everything they just saw. And at my house, it isn't long before one or more kids are decked out in black capes and masks with swords in their hands! So here I sit watching two little boys out in the back yard performing all kinds of stunts in costume in the back yard. Definitely better than the movie! Hmmmm . . . it's a good thing we don't have a train!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Do Ya Know How Much Trouble I'm In?

Ok, I quit. I have a five-year-old who is already hard to stay ahead of. The only saving grace up until now is that he can't cover his tracks well . . . or lie well . . . so he's easy to catch. Until now. I am up late, as usual. After backing up some files, I thought I would preview part of a movie the boys want to see. So I put in on my computer. Just before that AJ had been up to make a potty run, not happy about it, so I assumed he was sleepy and would go back to sleep. But something seemed fishy. See, he's sleeping on a cot in my room, but every time I would turn around to check and see if he was asleep he was. Or was he? Finally after about a dozen checks and asking him (in a whispered voice, of course!) if he was awake, I caught him! Peeking! FAKING SLEEP!! And doing a pretty convincing job of it. I'm telling you right now, if this one learns to cover his deception, I'm in serious trouble!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Putting Battle in a Boy

I feed my boys on a bit of war. That may sound shocking to some, even scandalous. But I don't want to raise tame, harmless men. Granted, it gets frustrating at times to have to keep saying,"It doesn't matter who is the best at fixing toast!" Or,"Quit calling your brother a girl! You KNOW that isn't aloud!" BUT I want them to be fighters (just not with each other!). The world is a wicked, scary, seductive place, and I want them ready to fight for what is right and true.

The movie Braveheart has one of my favorite boys' quotes. The hero William Wallace (a true-life hero!) is facing troops of poorly trained commoners, going to battle with the well armed, well trained forces of England. England is greedily fighting for more land. The Scots and Wallace are fighting for thier home. But they face incredible odds that could easily cost them their lives. These poor farmers question the value of such a battle. At just the moment when they are ready to turn around and leave, Wallace says:

"Aye, you may die! Run, and you'll live--at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance--juse ONE CHANCE--to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they will never take . . . our FREEDOM!!!"

If Providence sees fit, my children will be free men. They will claim the promise that "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." But they will face an enemy who will try to convince them that they are not free. This sneaky, deceptive one will not actually be able to take their freedom away, but he will try to make them believe they should just surrender and let him control them. Oh, it won't be overt. He will promise them land and castles and titles. And like so many of the Scottish lords, some of thier friends will fight for the wrong side, thinking they are benefitting their country by doing so. But I don't want my boys to end up in a place where they believe they are subjects of a slave-master. I want my boys to spend their lives fighting for thier freedom, for their true kingdom. And I want them to be used to win battles for the King!

So even though I'd rather watch Princess Bride, we watch Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Spiderman. I buy them swords, guns, and superhero costumes. In spite of my preference to read to them from Anne of Avonlea or Little House on the Prairie, together we read Redwall. And we even read the gory parts of Judges in the Bible.

Yes, women should have a calming effect on men. But for now, I am raising modern knights and warriors. The world around them is trying hard enough to steal their fight. With wisdom, I am trying to nurture it. So give us a battle and here our war cry!