Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And Then There's Josh . . .

OK, I've just gotta brag on my teenager today.

We are at the beginning of a crazy week. We are taking care of four young children all day for some friends. Today and tomorrow we also had our regular little girl (but only one of the four--the cranky teething baby!). I thought this week was Spring Break, so no cleaning, but I was wrong, so we still have our cleaning and most of our "usual" activities this week. Today was Scout day with back-to-back scout meetings. I honestly didn't know how I would even start cleaning before 8 pm.

But JOSH decided to stay at the church for his play rehearsal (even though he didn't have to be there today), and then to go ahead and start cleaning for us afterward until I could get up there to help. By the time we did get there, he had finished more than half the work. I had maybe an hour's worth to do, and the other boys had nothing. Who is this masked hero? Is this the guy whose secret identity is a couch potato? Hmmmm . . . must be something in the water. I gotta get me some of that water.

Monday, March 24, 2008

One More Book Down

I'd better get to work or plan on reading like crazy this summer!

I did finish one more of the books on my list with AJ. We read The Velveteen Rabbit. I knew he'd really like this story. He has a stuffed rabbit that his grandad gave him. It has seen a lot of action over the years, and I occasionally have referenced it "becoming real." After we finished the book, which AJ really loved, he immediately found his rabbit and carried it around for days.

Anyway, I can knock another one off my list. Now to get to work on some of the longer books!

To My "Baby" Boy:


You aren't a baby anymore. Still, sometimes I am so glad that you occasionally delight in things appropriate for your age. You still love Webkinz and Build-a-Bear. You are still content to play with the little superhero figures that look cute. And I realized tonight that Monopoly is your favorite game. Your jokes are still silly, and your conversation when your brothers aren't around is delightfully immature, and I'm relieved. It's just that you have no idea how much older than you your brothers really are, and you try so hard, so often to be like them. I don't want you to lose these years of being a little boy.

I can't believe all you are doing. Someone told me today how much they enjoyed hearing you talk about the work we are doing each day at the church. You were telling her how hard you have to work, and how fast. It always amazes me how when it's just you and me, you manage to get it done even more quickly, and to do Stephen's jobs too! Of course, it frustrates you that I don't give you as many choices in jobs as your brothers, but I suppose you really can't understand that you are just not as reliable in vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms yet. This year you have learned to add big numbers, read unusual words, ride your bike, take care of your dog, count your allowance and determine if you have enough for a purchase, and so much more! Your favorite place is outside in the back yard, or your bedroom listening to "Hank, the Cowdog" or "Junie B. Jones" stories. It tickles me that your favorite fictional characters: Junie B., Hank, Curious George, and Fudge, are all just like you!

I've worried about you this year. I especially worried about your reading. When you were evaluated last year, the teacher placed you a year behind in reading and suggested I hold you back. That seemed silly to me since we were homeschooling, so I started investigating what might be preventing you from learning better. You have been diagnosed with ADHD and the Physician's Assistant also detected some potential auditory processing problems. In spite of all that, you have progressed in reading, and although you are still slow, you are able to read real books now, as well as food labels, signs, magazine covers, and lots more things I don't really want you to read! You love to be read to, but I'm afraid I don't do it enough. I have tried to pick out some "classic" kids books that I think you would like--Charlotte's Web, Mr. Popper's Penguins, various classic picture books, and others, and you have enjoyed them all. Right now we are reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Your friendships still tend to be with your brothers' friends. I have tried to encourage you to play with other boys your own age, but you aren't that interested. Not that you don't enjoy time with boys your age, you just don't yearn for it or consider it often. I figure in time, God will bring into your life a special friend mostly your own.

One of my favorite things about you is your very tender heart. You love people--really love people. You easily see their needs and are quick to pray for them or devise a way to help them. One of the hardest things to teach you has been to wait and ask if you can help, because often your "help" doesn't take into consideration the potential complications it brings to the "helpee." Nevertheless, you have a real gift for ministry, and I love that you are so tender to people.

It is hard to believe you are eight today. You have grown so much. I was watching you sleep last night and thinking how long your legs are. When did they get like that? If Stephen doesn't go through a growth spurt soon, I'm afraid you will catch him in size! Oh, my sweet boy! It is such a privelege to be your mom and to teach you so much. I can't imagine life without you and am grateful for every long day of listening to you chatter on about your interests! I love you so much. I hope you had a wonderful birthday, and I can't wait to see what God is going to do with you this year.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Eight Years Ago . . . .

Eight years ago today, I was about to head for the hospital. Andrew was a couple weeks early, but my water broke anyway. Even though there was no labor, the OB nurse wanted me to get checked out at the hospital. So we went. I was miserable all night. AJ hadn't even dropped all the way, so they wouldn't let me out of bed to prevent the cord from prolapsing. The fetal heart monitor would move every time I did, and a nurse would come in a harrass me to find the heartbeat again. Finally, very early in the morning, the doctor approved me getting up and walking. I hadn't been back in bed an hour when the nurse came in again to harrass me, only this time she couldn't find AJ's heartbeat. Quick decisions were made, and I ended up in the OR; AJ was delivered by emergency C-section. I don't even remember much from that day--except being very irratated that I couldn't see my baby all day (they had trouble getting his temperature up, and I was chained to the stupid bed). I joke that AJ almost killed me (I was bleeding internally and he wasn't getting enough blood).

A friend and I were just musing that our kids have all come into the world in ways consistent with their personalities. Josh was slow and late and took his time, but was very little trouble. Stephen was in a hurry, but came like clockwork. AJ came dangerously and caused a lot more trouble than the others. He has been very worth all the trouble he caused then, and all he's called since then. He brings so much adventure and fun into our lives.

Tomorrow he will be eight. What happened to my baby? Where did he go?

So Much More Than School

I've been beating myself up over school a lot lately. This year our academic efforts aren't going that well. I feel like we're not getting done all I had expected . . . all I had wanted. Then occasionally, I realize how much more my kids are learning by being home with me.

Did I mention we are working now? We are cleaning classrooms at the academy our church runs. It's a tough five-day a week job, but it only takes a couple hours a day if we all pitch in. It was such a blessing to get the job, and it came at a time when I really needed the money. I was really fighting worry over how to pay the bills (still am, but not as much). The great thing is that I pay the boys to help me. I have a pay schedule where they get a certain amount for different jobs. It gives them the opportunity to work different jobs on different days, and to decide whether they really want to work hard to earn a little more or just to get by with minimal work. It also has put them on someone else's schedule, and we have to do this every day whether we feel like it or not. They also don't get paid if I go back and check their work and it's not done correctly, so they are doing a very thorough job. I realized that they won't be teenagers or young men who go to work and don't have a clue how to mop a floor or clean a bathroom, and resent being told what to do by a boss.

We are also still keeping kids a bit. One of my greatest delights is to see my teenager sitting in a corner at a Scout function or at church carrying on a real conversation with a preschooler, or a little kid. He never looks bored with the conversation. He also carries on conversations with grown-ups--more than the obligatory grunts and nods--of course, it's better if that grown up knows a little about Marvel superheroes (Right, Bill?). They are also learning to care for little ones. Often they make our little girl lunch, or help entertain her. Will they be better daddies because of doing this? I hope so.

The one thing I'm not doing so well at is focusing their hearts and minds on God's involvement in our day, and yet I wonder if I'm doing more than I realize. They have prayed with me for income, for the ability to continue homeschooling, for others we love, and they have seen answers.

Anyway, I'm just reminded again that they are learning, even from my failures. They aren't just schooling for the idol of career or success, they are schooling for real life. And I'm reminded that whatever I do wrong, God is soveriegn, and will teach them everything else they need to know. That is where my real hope is.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Yes, even teenagers can say funny things!

"Coroboration: making the truth fit your story. I know that big work 'cause I learned Logic."

He said it with a smile, so I knew there was some humor injected into his "definition."