Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Holidays

Christmas is quickly approaching and I wanted to share our best wishes to all of you for a very merry Christmas and an extraordinary holiday season. David drew these pictures of Santa and Rudolph, and I thought they were very fitting to serve as our "online" holiday card. He asked us to set up a table to display them under the Christmas tree so Santa and Rudolph would be sure to see them. We convinced him that it would be safer to put them out Christmas Eve with the cookies for Santa (otherwise his brother might decide to draw on them or eat never know with that kid!)

We have already started our Christmas extravaganza. At Thanksgiving, we celebrated Christmas with Brian's mom in Mobile. Nathan had asked for a drill for Christmas, and he got one from Grandma Barbara. It was great when he opened it because he was so excited. Once we got it out of the box, he kept saying, "Now we have to break something so we can fix it!"

He played with it for awhile at her house and kept looking for the holes that it was supposedly drilling. On the way home, I asked him what he would want for his birthday and/or Christmas now that he had the drill. He said, "That drill is pretend. I want a REAL drill." Yeah...I bet you do Nathan. That is not happening for another 20 years (or at least until you move out.) I don't want everything broken just so you have something to fix.

We let the boys open a few presents from us yesterday. With Nathan's birthday on December 23rd, this time can be an overload of presents from family. This year we decided that we would spread it over a few days and give them a chance to enjoy playing with what they get a little more.

We hope you all have a great holiday season. May God bless your family richly as 2006 ends and 2007 begins.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Last night I received an email that Rhonda Frazier, a good friend of mine, had passed away from Alzheimer's disease. She was 34 years old and a single parent of a little boy named Clay. I ask all of you to please remember Clay, Rhonda's parents, sister and brother, and the rest of her friends and family in your prayers.

I met Rhonda at church when I was 7 years old. My family had just moved to Eugene, Oregon, and Rhonda became a very good friend. There were four of us girls that became pretty tight friends and we did a lot together during those 3 years my family lived in Oregon. Those were good times!

When my family moved to Texas, Rhonda and I kept in touch through letters and a very, very occasional telephone call. (And yes, if you know me, you know that Rhonda probably wrote more letters to me than I did to her!) When I was at Harding, Rhonda came and spent almost a week with me. She decided to transfer to Harding the following year, and would you believe that housing assigned us as suitemates even though neither one of us knew anything about it? I still remember Rhonda the look on her face when we found out that we would be suitemates.

Rhonda was an extremely talented person. She lived life fully and completely. She involved herself in everything and was so good at all that she did. Whenever I would think of Rhonda after we moved from Oregon, I would always think of the saying (or Brownie Song) or whatever it is:

Make new friends but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.

I don't know if my mom used to remind me of this after we moved to make me feel better, or what? All I know, is that Rhonda was pure gold.

Monday, December 11, 2006

From This Day Forward

It has been a long time since I have posted. Life has been very busy. The family has been sick, and it seems like we are constantly running in one direction or another. I knew I had to make time to post today though.

Seven years ago today, a very special man took on a very hard job. That job was being married to me! Today is our wedding anniversary, and if he asked me to do it all over again today, I would do it in a heartbeat.

For better or for worse...We've had a lot of "better" and even in 7 short years of marriage, we have had some "worse". That first year of marriage brought many difficult times that were faith building and bonded us for life. We have laughed together and sometimes even cried together through the years. There are probably some things that we wish we could go back and change...but all those times brought us to today.

For richer and for poorer...We have been poor. We have wondered how things would get paid, but God always provided. He provided through generous people. He provided through some creative answers. He provided by helping us learn to become a little more content and understand that even when we felt poor we were really very rich. Even now, God has also blessed us with wonderful jobs and a dream house. More important than those things is the love that fills that house and the joy we get from the people we work with every day.

In sickness and in health...This one has been a tough one for us. God never promised perfect bodies and the struggles that have come in the health area haven't always been easy, but we can laugh and love...what else matters?

To love and to cherish...I used to laugh when "old" people would say that those warm and fuzzy feelings go away and there has to be something more to keep a marriage strong. Now, I know that it is true...sometimes. I still have the warm and fuzzy feelings for Brian, but they come more now as I watch him be a good daddy to my boys. It comes when I see him touch the life of a teen or someone else. And, it still comes when he is sweet to me like he was today when he sent me 7 roses and told me that he has enjoyed the last 7 years and looks forward to the next 70. Those moments are pretty special! While I am not always one of those sappy girls, I hope he knows how much I cherish and love him...even when I am giving him a hard time!

From this day forward 'til death do us part...I don't always tell him and I am sure that I don't always show it, but just so that it is clear...I am blessed for having married Brian. God gave me a gem of a husband, and I wouldn't trade him for the world. He is my best friend, my confidant, and my number one supporter. He even does laundry! I couldn't ask for more.

So Brian, thanks for asking me to be your wife and then going through with it! I will never forget...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Raising Boys

This post is dedicated to Ashley, a friend who is expecting a baby boy just any day now. I have had several friends recently who have either had or adopted baby girls, and I honestly don't have a lot of advice about how to raise girls, other than to love them to pieces. Boys though...I can give all sorts of advice about raising boys. So Ashley, here is what you need to know about raising a boy:

1. Boys can be really gross. They have a huge fascination for burping...especially in public. While embarrassing to admit, I found a way to stop it though. I had a burping contest with my boys, and I won. The fascination is gone, and I am cool. So remember, you can gain respect with the small things and sometimes it pays to join in on the "fun".

2. Don't ever turn your back. Boys have this sense built into them that lets them know the minute you turn your back. When you do turn around, they will hit their siblings, run away, break a lamp, hide your car keys and do much, much worse things than these. The funny thing is that when you turn back around, they act like nothing has happened (unless they ran away...then you just can't find them).

3. You will never be fast enough. Little boys are quick, and they are squirmy. If they know that they are about to get in trouble, they will squirm out of your grasp, make a break for it and then run around as you chase them through the house, the backyard, the church building or McDonald's. They know that if they can just get you tired enough, you won't have any strength left to discipline them. I guess that makes them pretty smart too.

4. Boys hate the color least that is what my boys tell me. They try hard to be macho and tough guys, but they will scream like a girl when they see a bug on the bathroom floor. (Then they will proceed to smash it to smithereens with your favorite pair of shoes.)

5. Boys are truly gifts from God. I know...ALL children are gifts from God. Daughters are just as much a gift from God as sons are, but since this is about raising boys, I will focus on that for now. Ashley, when you look into the eyes of your baby boy for the first time, know that you are looking into the true and perfect image of God. From that point on, God is entrusting you to raise this tiny little boy to be a servant for Him. Your son will be the spiritual leader of His home and a servant leader for His Kingdom. Embrace and encourage his talents, correct his faults, and commit him wholly and totally to the Father. It is a huge responsibility, but it has many rewards. May God bless you guys as you raise this boy.

Oh...I almost forgot. Always have a cloth of some kind handy when you are changing his diaper. If you don't, you will be "christened" every time! From experience, their aim is pretty good and distance is amazing...just ask the lady coming out of the stall at Home Depot back in June of 2001.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Our Family Portrait

We now have a new family portrait by our favorite artist. What do you think?

As you have probably already guessed, David is our wonderful and favorite artist. Just to make sure you understand his art, I will provide a few explanations.

David is on the far left sporting his favorite #6 Wildcats football jersey (and for some reason is bald...maybe he was anticipating his haircut today). Then you have me wearing a blue Broncos football jersey with the number 7. Nathan (who looks somewhat like a caterpillar in the beginning stages of building a cocoon) is wearing his red shirt with black and yellow stripes and is also quite bald. Finally, we have Brian on the right. Brian is also wearing a Broncos football jersey and has very large and very yellow ears. is a perfect rendering of our family!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Halloween Recap

It's been a long time since I have posted, so I have a lot to cover! First of all, we survived Halloween. David was his favorite high school football player, Luke Tribble, and Nathan was a pumpkin WITH A STEM. (Big emphasis on the with a stem part!) The boys enjoyed trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, and we also went to the houses of some good friends and most importantly, Luke Tribble.

The boys had asked me what I was going to be for Halloween, and I told them I was going to dress up as a mommy. David said, "You can't do that! You should be a princess." I asked Nathan what he thought I should be and he said, "A toaster." I am not quite sure how to take that.

This was the year that I really tried to work on Halloween etiquette with the boys, and that wasn't easy for two boys who say it like it is. At one house, the boys got candy and a pencil. As we were walking away, David asks loud enough for the lady who gave it to him to hear, "WHY did they give us a pencil?!" I tried to recover the situation by smiling big and saying, "What a great thing to get at Halloween! It is a special treat and you LOVE to draw! I wish I had a pencil like that!" As soon as the door closed, I hissed, "THAT was NOT nice. I don't care what they put in your bag. You smile. You say thank you, and unless you have something good to say, you keep your mouth shut!" (Don't you remember speeches like that when you were a kid? I am not exactly sure just when I became my mom, but her little speeches just flow out of me in situations like that!)

Just across the street from that house, Nathan thought the lady gave him a package of soap for some reason and launched into a "soap and water can make you very clean" lecture. This time, I just smiled and said thanks and quickly rushed him away from the house. Additionally, any time anybody commented on Nathan being a pumpkin, he would have to correct them and say in an exasperated voice, "I am a pumpkin WITH A STEM!" The very hardest part about trick-or-treating with Nathan was that he wanted to go inside everyone's house when they opened the door. So, we would have to quickly grab him before he made a mad dash to get inside.

By the end of trick-or-treating, the boys did get the hang of saying thank you at each house without being prompted, and Nathan even decided to step his thank you a notch and started telling everyone gracias after they gave him candy. They had a great time and Nathan fell asleep on David's shoulderpad on our way home. All in all, it was a great night!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Candy

The Halloween candy began its inflow into our house today. David had a fall party at school today and brought home two big baggies full of all sorts of treats. As I went to empty the candy into our candy bowl (that I keep hidden away from little fingers until it is time for a treat), I realized that we still have candy in the bowl from LAST Halloween and Valentine's day.

Without even thinking, I mentioned to David that it might be time to dump the bowl and start over with this years candy. He got a horrified look on his face and asked me, "Does God like it when we throw away candy?"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"David Goes to School"

David has a new favorite book called David Goes to School by David Shannon. This author has written several "David" books about what he heard from adults when he was a child. I think many of them are very fitting for our David too:

"Pay attention David"


No David!"

All the "David" books are pretty cute and they do end on a positive note so that no child will be harmed with negative thoughts for life! In addition to this series, we also love David Shannon's The Bad Case of the Stripes.

Since the book is new, we have only read through it twice at home. Yesterday, David took his new favorite book to school to show his teacher. Apparently, she read it to the class, and David was quite proud about that. When he got home, he told me that he wanted to read the book to me. Seeing that David hasn't quite learned how to read a book yet, I thought this would be pretty good. He started out on the first page (that had lots of words) and he said, "I never start reading on this page." He then turned to the second page and began reading the whole book to me. It is funny that it is much easier to read a book when you look at the pictures rather than words!

He "read" us the book twice and then Nathan asked to look at the book. Nathan flipped through the book once and then he decided he was going to read the book to me too. He told me that he didn't ever read the first page and then proceeded to read me the book exactly as David did. David was pretty proud that he taught Nathan how to read in less than an hour.

What can I kids are great memorizers! This is a good thing because they will be able to help me remember where I parked the car when we go to Wal-Mart or that one thing I needed to buy at the store but forgot to write down. On the flip side, they also remember every last thing I say, such as "Maybe we can go to McDonald's next Tuesday" or "We'll talk about buying that for you when it gets a little closer to your birthday." I guess the key is teaching them to use it for good to help me rather than for the evil side of using it against me!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sticky Kisses

Before Brian or I leave the house, the boys always make sure that they have given us a hug and a kiss. Now, as a realist, I understand that this will not last forever. I don't think there are too many teenage boys who will kiss mom before she leaves for the grocery store or kiss dad before he leaves for work. I wouldn't mind it, but I am not holding my breath. So, I enjoy all the hugs and kisses I can get from these little guys right now....well, usually I really enjoy all the kisses.

When I was leaving to teach class on Thursday, David and Nathan came running to me to offer these precious hugs and kisses. The only problem is that they had been sitting at the table licking on suckers and I knew that their mouths would be all sticky. Nathan gave me a big hug and then kissed me on the cheek. Unfortunately, all the stickiness ended up on my cheek.

So, I got smart with David. I felt the outside of his mouth before he gave me a kiss and realized it was really sticky too. So I washed his mouth off with a wet paper towel. After patting it dry with a dry napkin, he gave me a kiss. I started to turn to leave, and he yelled, "Wait Mommy! That kiss wasn't slobbery enough. I have to do it again." I let him give me another kiss and it was definitely slobbery enough. Wiping my cheek as I walked out of the door, I wondered where that had come from.

Later that night, I was putting the boys to bed. David and Nathan always give each other hugs and kisses before bed (something else I don't expect to last forever). Nathan gave David a kiss, and David said, "Nathan, you have to do it again. That one wasn't slobbery enough." When I asked him why they had to be slobbery, he started laughing really hard and then said, "That makes them more fun to wipe off."

Such a silly kid!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Things I have learned in the past week or so...

I have learned a great many things in the past week. None of them should be new revelations, but for some reason they have been. I will share them with you.

1. Three year olds don't like the process of getting splinters out of their hands.

Nathan got a really big splinter stuck in his hand, and it took us about 30 minutes to get it out. Although I would classify Nathan as a tough kid, he does not take kindly to the use of tweezers or a needle to remove splinters. By the time all was said and done and the splinter was removed, Nathan was no longer friends with Brian or me for a good hour or so. I can't say as I blame him for not liking us, but as a parent, it still makes you sad.

2. If a five year old sees his brother go through the ordeal of getting a splinter removed, he will hide the fact that he also has a splinter.

Can you believe it? Two splinters in one week. After watching his little brother suffer at the hands of his dear parents, David thought the wise thing to do would be to NOT tell us that he got a splinter. At one point, he asked me what would happen if someone got a splinter, to which I replied that the kid's mommy would need to look at it and see what needed to be done to get the splinter out so that the kid's hand would be well. The whole time this conversation was taking place, David had his hand inside of his sleeve. (As if mom wasn't bright enough to figure that one out!) David's splinter came out much easier than Nathan's and everyone was still friends when it was all over.

3. Kidney stones REALLY hurt.

Sounds obvious, huh? I experienced this first hand last week, and NEVER want to experience it again! Thankfully, the stone is gone and I think I am back to normal. Honestly, I am not sure which was worse...the kidney stone or the fact that the pain medication and phenergan administered through my IV lasted for about 3 days. I know that I am sensitive to medicines, but I never realized exactly how something like that would effect me. On our way home from the hospital, Brian stopped at Sonic to get me a sprite (with good ice) to settle my stomach, and two girls from our youth group were there with a bunch of their friends. You can picture how embarrassing that was for Brian as I kept nodding off in the car because of the medicine. I can just imagine the girls saying, "Yeah, there is my youth minister and his, I don't know that guy with the woman who is drooling!"

4. Clorox Bleach spray will ruin your paint.

I know...this should be an obvious thing for most people; however, I was just trying to clean up a very nasty mess made by Nathan during naptime and really didn't think it through. Unfortunately, Nathan thought it would be a good idea (or something) to poop in his pull-up during naptime and then spread it around his room. I don't know why he did this, but it was absolutely gross. When he came out of his room when naptime was over, he said, "Mommy, I have a small problem." I didn't realize that this meant I was going to have a big problem. I cleaned up the kid, and then I cleaned up the room ruining the walls in the process. I guess it is a good thing that I've been wanting an excuse to paint Nathan's room. I sure have one now!

5. Life is busy...but it's all good.

Last week was a crazy week. It was tiring, overwhelming and even a bit painful. However, I am thankful for good friends and a great family. Sometimes it takes those bad weeks to remind you of how good life is at other times. I spent a lot of last week shaking my head and thinking "What in the world!" but I also spent time praying...sometimes for peace, sometimes for contentment, sometimes for perseverance, sometimes for patience, a lot of times for no more get the picture. It was a week of perspective, and that is quite often a very good thing!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Handy Manny

Disney has launched another TV show called Handy Manny and the boys really like to watch it. The show sort of has a "Bob the Builder meets Dora the Explorer" story line. It is about a Spanish speaking handyman and his talking tools who work as a team to help everybody fix their broken stuff.

So far, the boys have learned some new Spanish words including the Spanish word for work and washing machine and have been working on incorporating those into their daily vocabulary. Both boys will act out the show with their play tools, but Nathan has even taken it to a greater extreme. He has started trying to fix everything in the house...regardless of it is really broken or not. He calls his tools by name (the names of the tools on the show, of course) and wanders around the house hammering this and sawing that.

When we first started watching the show, he would go around and say, "OH NO! The chair is broken. Who are we going to call? I know who to call...Handy Manny!" One day we were in the bathroom at Target and there was toilet paper on the floor. Nathan started in with his "OH NO! There is toilet paper on the floor. Who are we going to call?" To which I interjected, "I know who to call...Handy Manny!" Nathan just glared at me and said,"NO...NO....NO! YOU don't say that!" And then he said, "OH NO! There is toilet paper on the floor. Who are we going to call? (looks at me and glares and then says) I know who to call...Handy Manny!"

Yesterday, I realized that his fascination with Handy Manny reached a whole new level. On his way home from Carpenter's Kids, he told us that he had to get home so that he could break the TV. I asked him why in the world he would want to break the TV. He responded, "I will break open the TV so that I can get inside and talk to Handy Manny!" The frightening thing is that I would not put this past Nathan. He is now under 24/7 surveillance and is not allowed alone in the living room, especially when Handy Manny is on TV.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Blast from the Past

My youth minister from high school is in town, and I have gotten the chance to spend some time reminiscing about old friends and good times. Danny and his wife, Amy, were very influential to me in my teen years and they have remained very good friends throughout the years. They are the type of friend that you just pick up where you left off with them no matter how long it has been since you have seen them or talked to them.

Whenever I think of my old youth minister, one story ALWAYS comes to my mind. I have debated putting this on here, but it is a great story.

While on a high school retreat, my youth minister and I decided to play a game of chicken. In our version of chicken, you stand opposite of your opponent with your feet spread apart. You then take a pocket knife,throw it and try to make the point of the knife stick in the ground. If you get it to stick in the ground, then you get to tell the person which foot he/she has to move. The goal is to get the person to move his/her feet closer and closer together until the person says chicken and you win. This is not your typical youth group retreat game, but everyone seemed to be getting a pretty big kick out of watching us do this so we thought it was fun.

We hit a point in the game where my feet were only about 6 or 7 inches apart. At this point, any reasonable person would have said chicken. The key to that statement was a REASONABLE person. At that time in my life, I was very competitive and wasn't going to give in and lose without a fight. So, I told him to throw the knife. My wise youth minister told me that I really needed to say Chicken, but I wouldn't and didn't listen and told him to throw the knife. My guess is that I really thought he wouldn't do it and that he would probably quit the game leaving me the winner; however, I am not positive I even thought that. All I knew was that I was going to win.

Well, the youth minister threw the knife, and unfortunately, instead of sticking in the ground, it stuck in my foot. I can still see the look of horror on my youth minister's face. Right there, he saw his judgment and job go down the tubes. The preacher's son had a horrified look on his face too; however, it wasn't for the same reason. He yelled out, "Don't tell my dad about this. I wasn't supposed to bring his pocket knife and I am going to be in so much trouble."

I just quietly sat down and pulled the knife out of my shoe (and foot). It didn't do much damage, and we got it cleaned up and put a bandage on it and I was good as new.

In all honesty, here is the best part of the story though. My youth minister felt horrible and dreaded seeing my mom. Obviously, most parents are going to have a cow if you stab their child, especially when you are a youth minister. So, he had reason to be afraid.

I told my mom about it and do you know what she said? This is not an exact quote, but here is the gist of it. "Stacey, what were you thinking? You have got to learn that you cannot let your competitiveness and pride override good judgment. The simple fact that you would not back down is evidence enough that you deserved to get a knife stuck in your foot."

Wow, what a lesson I learned that day! She made a big point that I could not blame anyone but myself, even if someone else showed poor judgment too. I can't say that I have always practiced this learning. I definitely have to work on my pride and competitiveness on a daily basis, and I would much rather blame someone else...who wouldn't? However, I still see the look on her face and the words (basically) that she said to me. I hear them after I act prideful. I hear them after I blame someone else for something. Now, I just need to work on doing something about that!

My youth minister still cringes about and takes full responsibility for this incident. Thankfully, I did not have a mother who was prone to overreacting and try to get him fired because he has gone on to do many great things at several churches. He has served as a minister and an elder and an advocate for serving God with all of your being. I respect him and his family a great deal. I think my mom talked to him, but I don't have any clue what was said. While I think it is a very bad idea to stab members of your youth group and do not advocate stabbings of any kind, being stabbed by my youth minister played a big role in growing me as a person and a Christian. (And thankfully, there probably aren't a lot of people who can say that!)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Insult to Injury

Brian is still sad from Alabama's loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks (or pigs, as David calls them.) He came home from the game upset, depressed and in shock. Little did he know that life would get even worse for him.

You see, David was supposed to go to the game with him. However, we were having some pretty nasty storms and they were predicting a 60% chance of rain during the game in Fayetteville. Since David had just gotten over strep throat, mean ol' mom had to put her foot down and say no to the football game. Brian wasn't happy about it because he wanted to take his son that loves Alabama to his first Alabama football game, but he agreed it was best for David. David, on the other hand, was not happy about it at all. I promised him we could watch it on TV and that seemed to appease him...or so I thought.

Somewhere during the Arkansas v. Alabama game, David switched his allegiance to Arkansas. I tried to talk him out of it. I assured him that people in this family only liked Nebraska or Alabama, but it just didn't work. He said that Arkansas was his most favorite and bestest team. And ever since Saturday, he has been rubbing that in Brian's face.

Brian is heartbroken. He thought this would be something special that he would share with David. I told him to let it go for now and hopefully he would outgrow it. If not, at least there is still hope with Nathan. The problem with that is that leaves me without a Nebraska fan. Sometimes life can be so cruel!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nick words?

I love to call my kids by all sorts of crazy names. I do it to make them laugh and to have a lot of fun with them. I have been known to call them "Guacamole", "Little Mister", "French fries" and on an on. (Yes, I KNOW it is weird!)

Last night, it was time for bed, so I said to David, "Come with me, my chick-a-dee." After I said it, I thought that chick-a-dee my sound a little girlie for my boy, so I then said, "Come on little chick-a-roo. It is bed time for you." (Not only do I come up with fun names, but I can also make them rhyme with stuff!)

David looked at me and said, "Is that one of those nick words?"

I responded with a "What???!!!" To which he replied, "You know...a nick word." I thought he might be talking about a word that our good friend Nic might use, so I asked him about that. He responded, "NOOOO! You know...the words that people use to call you by instead of using your name."

Then it hit me...nickname. I explained that it sort of was, but that nicknames ususally last longer than the names that I come up with and use only once or twice. I then asked him what he would like his nickname to be and he replied, "I think it needs to be Luke!"

Funny kid!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

So Pitiful...but Oh So Sweet

David is sick. He has strep throat and is enjoying a life of pampering right now.

When David gets sick, he always runs extremely high fevers. A 103 or 104 degree fever is nothing for this kid. So, when he came into the living room Tuesday night burning up and complaining about a sore throat, I knew that it was going to be a long couple of days.

On Tuesday night, he asked me to rub his back to help him get back to sleep. Although he REALLY wanted me to rub his back, at one point, he told me that I probably needed to stop. When I asked why, he said, "I don't want you to get sick too." I told him that I had taken care of him many times when he was sick and I was pretty sure I wouldn't get sick. He then proceeded to compliment me on my back rubbing skills telling me that I was doing a great job.

Yesterday, he continued his sweetness. At one point, he asked for a drink. When I gave it to him, he said, "Thank you for taking such good care of me mom." This was the same child, who, earlier in the week, would demand "Get me a drink now Mom!"

I think he is well on the way to his normal self today though. He has already had some pretty good scuffles with Nathan and is walking around the house with toy tools stuck all the way around the waistband of his shorts. I am going to assume that this is a sign that he is well and pretending to be a carpenter. Otherwise, his medicine he is taking is way to strong!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A day in the life...

I was sitting in the living room working on some homework, and I hear Nathan say, "Oh NO!" This never is a good thing, so I ask, "Nathan, what's wrong?" He replied, "I'm stuck."

Now, this generally means that he has wedged his body between two very large stationary objects and he can't seem to wiggle out. That was not the case today. He walked into the living room and had one of those little potty training toilet seats around his neck. He had found it under the sink in his bathroom, and had decided it might be kind of fun to try on. Now, he was desperately trying to get it back over his head to get it off, but it just wasn't working. I finally worked it off of his head and strongly advised him NOT to put things on over his head except for shirts and pajama tops. I am sure that advisory will last all of 30 minutes...or at least until his ears quit hurting and fall back into place.

In the middle of all this, David walked up to me and handed me a piece of paper. On this paper he had written "AWiLVLEFBS". As I am reading it, he asked, "What does it say?" So, I read off the letters to him and tried to hand it back. He then says, "No mom. What word does it say?" I looked at it again and tried to make out some kind of word that he would know. I was guessing that he had tried to write a word he had seen and didn't want to spoil the fun. Finally, I gave up and said, "Why don't you tell me what it says?" He looked at me like I am nuts and said, "Mom! How am I supposed to know what word it is? I can't read!"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Program

David's class has had a ribbon-cutting ceremony and program at school the past two days. They have been doing a construction unit where they have done a blueprint of themselves. Mrs. Tammy has turned each of these precious pages into a great keepsake book. In it, the kids have drawn pictures of themselves, made pages with handprints and footprints, and even drawn a portrait of God. David's portrait of God showed Jesus dying on the cross. The kids each got to take the book to his or her parent, cut the ribbon around the book and then show everything in the book. It was a pretty special moment and I just think that we will keep that book forever.

At the program, the kids recited some of their memory verses, sang some songs and did some chants about the months and the Fall season. It all ended with a slide show.

In the past, David has been very timid at school programs. He, as a general rule, does not participate and pretty much stands there with a deer-in-the headlight look. Well...NOT ANYMORE. David is now the life of the program. You know those kids that are loud, talk too much and sing really, really loud? That is our new David.

Since they were doing this program for two days, Brian went yesterday and I went today. Apparently yesterday, David was even a little more outgoing than he was today. At one point, when everyone was supposed to be singing Jesus Loves the Little Children but they were all singing Jesus Loves Me, David stopped them and said, "That isn't the right song!" in the most "teacherly" voice possible. I guess he then got them on the right song. When they were done, he said, "Okay, now let's sing Jesus loves me." (So much for letting the teacher be in charge!)

Today, he only made a few comments and only corrected the teacher once. Oh my!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

David's Hero

David has a new hero. It's not Superman. It's not Spiderman. Nope...this superhero is much better. David's new superhero is... (drumroll please)

Luke Tribble!

Okay, so now some of you are asking who Luke is. Luke is the quarterback of the Wildcats and one of the big kids in our youth group. In David's newfound love for football, he has taken to idolizing Luke.

Last night, we went to a Wildcat football game. On our way to pick up Brian for the game, David asked me if I knew who is favorite player was. I responded that I didn't know and asked him to tell me. He responded, "Luke, the big kid, is." Little did I know what having a favorite player meant to David; however, everyone sitting in the stands by us soon found out. David spent the whole time telling us what Luke was doing in true commentator fashion.

"Look, Luke has the ball."
"Luke kicked the ball."
"Luke took his helmet off."
"Luke is tying his shoe."

This went on the whole game...and I do mean the WHOLE game. I was thankful that Luke's grandma, aunt and uncle were sitting in front of us because anyone else may have tried to duct tape his mouth shut.

After the game, Brian took David onto the field, and he got to talk to Luke and get his picture taken with him. Luke knelt down by David and talked with him. It was a pretty special moment for our little guy.

On the way home, David talked all about Luke and asked all sorts of questions about him. At one point, he asked me what kind of car Luke drove. When I told him I didn't know, David thought it would be a good idea to go to his house and ask him. (Kind of scary, huh?)

I couldn't be happier with David's choice in a hero. Luke is a great kid. After all, how many seniors in high school would kneel down on the ground to talk to a 5 year old after shutting out another team? My guess is not many. For that and many other reasons, I am thankful that Luke is David's new favorite football player.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What was once lost....

Has been found! I was not supposed to blog about this at the request of my husband, but since I talked nice about him last's fair.

Awhile ago, my dear husband misplaced his ring. I was pretty sure that he had lost the ring either in his office or at home. I could vividly picture him placing his ring on the counter and having the help of a little guy named Nathan to aid in the losing process.

On the way home from Nic and Mandy's wedding, he commented on losing his ring and wanting to replace it. He made the comment that it was better that he had lost his ring than if I had lost my ring. (Guys, that's not a smart thing to say to your wife (especially after she has been to a wedding and is feeling kind of sappy!) I was a little put out by his comment and reminded him of the whole "This is a symbol of our everlasting, never-ending love" line in the wedding ceremony. However, I conceded that it would cost a lot less to replace his ring.

Before our wedding, I had the jeweler inscribe the words "I will never forget". It was a special phrase that simply began because of the fact that I am quirky. Before we married, I would always start my stories with the phrase "I will never forget when..." and then proceed to tell the story. I don't know if I still do it or not, but it became one of those silly, special phrases for us. I thought it would be very fitting to engrave it on the inside of his ring and remind him that I would never forget why we got married.

In the process of talking about getting him a new ring, we talked about whether or not anything should be engraved in it. I finally told him that I had decided on the perfect thing to engrave. The first ring said, "I will never forget" and the replacement should very fittingly say, "But I guess you did!"

Lucky for him, I found the ring though. He had apparently put it on top of the armoire and it had been pushed out of view by the very short people that live in this house. I found it while I was dusting the top of the armoire today and have yet to decide if I will give it to him before or after he reads this blog!

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Great Day

Yesterday was a GREAT day. We started the day with Brian, Nathan and I dropping
David off at school and then heading to the open house for Nathan's "school". While parents wrestled two, three and four year olds during the general meeting part of the open house, we all half listened to the rules and were introduced to the teachers. Nathan was quite emphatic that he was still going to Miss Pace and Miss Jessie's class until he realized that his classroom had a horse he could ride on. He quickly forgot about Miss Pace and Miss Jessie and was ready to move on to one of the three year old classes!

After open house, Brian, Nathan and I went to the golf course. I thought this would be an easy thing because I knew Nathan would love riding in a golf cart and that would be a really neat treat for him. would have been great except he quickly figured out how to unlock the parking break and we couldn't leave him alone in the cart. We debated about playing and I was trying to convince Brian to play and we could just ride along with him, but Brian felt bad about doing that. So, we took turns playing the holes, and I FINALLY got to try out my new golf clubs that Brian got me for my birthday. I had so much fun and have definitely found a new hobby.

After golfing, we ate lunch, ran a few errands and then went and picked up David from school. We had planned on going to a football game of some of the kids in the youth group, but Nathan fell asleep on the way home. So, instead of all 4 of us going, David and Brian went to the game and had some father-son bonding time. They left the game to come get me and Nathan, and then the boys all dropped me off to teach my Thursday night class. They then went and had some guy time together, including a stop at the infamous Frozen D's for ice cream.

The boys went to sleep happy and pleased to have spent so much time with their Daddy. They love being with him and he loves being with them. I am thankful that the boys have such a good daddy and I am married to such a good friend. We all enjoyed being together and spending the day as a family. I hope that lasts forever!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sweet and Sour

Yesterday started out on a pretty sour note in our house, but it sure ended up on a sweet one.

Yesterday, before school, I was in David's room urging him to finish getting ready for school, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something purple on the floor. I looked and realized that someone had colored the carpet with a purple crayon, and unfortunately, it was not a very little spot. I immediately thought Nathan had done it, but I did think to ask David before casting blame. When David admitted he had done it, I was shocked. Trying to overcome my shock and anger, I asked him why he did it and he started crying. I called to Brian to come in the room and see it, and the poor little guy started to sob. (He was pretty pitiful, but when you are mad, pitiful doesn't affect you much!)

For his punishment, he is going to have to help clean up the carpet as soon as I can figure out the best way to get purple crayon out of the carpet. Nathan kept his doodling to David's door, so Nathan will be responsible for cleaning up the door. Plus, the supply of crayons have been removed for now, and both will have to ask for crayons if they want to color and will only be able to do it under strict supervision.

On our way to church last night, David decided that he wanted to give each of his teachers some money. When I told him that he didn't really need to do that, he said, "But Mom, God wants us to share what we have." I started to say that God didn't mean share our money, but then realized what I was saying. Of course God wants us to share our money. He wants us to share everything we have with all people...even the ones who don't need it or we think don't deserve it. I realized that what I said to him at this moment could make a big impact on how he viewed sharing his money with others. Even though I knew that his teachers didn't NEED the money, I didn't want him to walk away with the idea that we weren't supposed to share our money. So, I told him that he was absolutely right and we talked about how important it is for us to share and how much it makes God happy when we share. David ended up giving one of his teachers a nickel and one of them a quarter.

When I picked him up from class, they asked what they should do with the money. I told them they should keep it and explained why he wanted to give it to them. They both gave him a hug and called him a sweet boy. He left church beaming!

As I put him to bed last night, I told him how proud I was of him for sharing with his teachers. I also told him how proud I was of him for behaving well at school. Then, for the next 30 minutes, we talked. He told me everything he liked about school and what he didn't like. He told me why he was sad when we left him at school in the morning. We talked about God and Jesus and what they want from us. It was an incredible moment. My little boy is growing up quickly and these moments reinforce that, in spite of those sour moments, he is learning what it means to be a man of God. While he is still learning in small baby steps right now, each decision he makes reinforces good choices and the consequences of poor choices. It humbles me and kind of scares me, but it also brings a joy to my heart that cannot be taken away by the day to day struggles we encounter...including purple crayon on the carpet.

As I left his room last night, I saw the purple spot. Seeing it still makes me shake my head, but it doesn't make me angry anymore. It is a teaching moment on my part and a learning moment for David and honestly, also for the rest of us in this house. We all make mistakes, and we all make poor choices. Even more than that, we all have to clean up our messes. David will learn that today, and my guess is that this may be something he remembers for a long time.

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Bathroom Stories

I have decided that too much of my time is spent in bathrooms with small children. I think it is frightening when the funniest moments in your life (or the most embarrassing for that matter) occur in bathrooms across the United States. And...well, if I am totally honest with myself, I can easily admit that my life could often be described as frightening!

On our trip this weekend, we had to make a stop for the boys, and Brian and I decided to divide an conquer since we were on a pretty tight schedule. Brian took David into the Men's bathroom, and I took Nathan into the Women's bathroom. Now, Nathan is getting to the age where he will ask, "Is this the boy's bathroom?" Before, I always used to say, "Nathan, this is the girl's bathroom, and it is okay for little boy's to go into the girl's bathroom with their mommies...and on and on." Now I just say, "Yep, it is the boy's bathroom and the mommies' bathroom." It sure does save a lot of tears and arguing!

Nathan's "thing" that has to occur EVERY time I take him to the bathroom is what I call the "Little Potty" discussion. He has noticed that handicapped stalls generally have bigger toilets than the other stalls, and he does not like to use the bigger toilets. So every (and I do mean EVERY) bathroom trip, we have this exchange (with an occasional variation but the same general questions each time):

Nathan: Is this a little potty?

Me: Yes, this is a little potty.

Nathan: Is this a very little potty?

Me: Yes, this is a very little potty.

Nathan: Is this a very, very little potty?

Me: Yes, this is a very, very little potty.

Nathan: Is this a very, very, very little potty?

Me: Nathan, yes, this is a very, very, very little potty. NOW FINISH GOING THE BATHROOM!

Nathan: Are there five little potties?

Me: No, there are 3 little potties and 1 big potty (or whatever applies).

Nathan: Oh! Are there circles in here?

This leads us to counting every last bolt that holds the stall together, as well as any other circles. This very quickly leads me to say,


He eventually finishes and then he picks the exact sink and soap dispenser that he thinks he needs to use, and we wash his hands. He does not ask Brian these questions if Brian takes him into the Men's bathroom, but I think the whole urinal thing totally throws off his concentration and he forgets about the size of the toilets! (Lucky Brian!)

Brian's experience with David was pretty funny too. David talks the entire time he is in the bathroom, and I mean the ENTIRE time. Heaven help you if you take David to the bathroom, and he needs to do more than just go potty. On our stop, this was the case, and Brian came out of the bathroom frazzled and shaking his head. From what I understand, here is a short excerpt from their bathroom experience:

David: Daddy, people have written all over this door.

Brian: Oh.

David: Here are the letters they wrote. F...U...

Brian cuts in: DAVID! STOP NOW!!!

All I can say is "OH MY!" People have written all these books on raising kids and child development, but I have NEVER read one that has a chapter called "Taking your Child in a Public Restroom." Isn't it only fair to warn us what is going to happen to our lives?! If I ever decide to write a book, I think I am going to title it that. I sure have enough examples of what you don't want to happen to fill a book!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wedding Bells

We had the privilege of going to one of our "old" youth group kid's wedding this weekend. Nic asked Brian to perform the ceremony, and it was really neat for Brian. It was the first wedding he performed, and it meant a lot to him that it was Nic and Mandy's wedding.

And let me tell was beautiful. It was at The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. There was a conservatory with windows that had a breathtaking view where the reception was held. The wedding was on the balcony of the conservatory, and my only complaint about the wedding is that it was HOT out there!!! They asked Brian to keep the ceremony short so everyone would be able to get back in the air conditioning (and he did). However, I would have sat out in the heat for hours just to see them get married and their obvious love for each other.

The boys were quite intrigued by it all, although I have decided that Nathan's naptime is not the most ideal time for a wedding! :-) David thought that "The Kiss" was pretty funny since Nic dipped Mandy and kissed her. Both boys thought it was great that they smeared cake on each others' faces but also thought it was pretty gross that they kissed with cake on their faces! I thought it was pretty sweet when David leaned over at the reception and whispered in my ear that he thought that the wedding was pretty fun. He also whispered, "That wedding girl is really pretty. She's just beautiful." He then wanted me to tell Mandy, which I did. Every bride needs to know that all the boys think she's beautiful on her wedding day, right?

What is it about weddings that just make you feel kind of sappy? Being at Nic and Mandy's wedding made me think about the day I married Brian. I love thinking about that day because I thoroughly enjoyed our wedding. It was wonderful! It also made me think about everything we have been through together and how through it all, he has always been and still is my best friend. There is nobody else in the world I would rather be with. When I have free time, he is the one that I want to spend it with. When I am not with him, I really miss him. (I is sooo sappy, but I can't help how my heart feels!) And yes, the day to day routine can get kind of old, and I can really take him and all he does for our family for granted. I can even get annoyed with him and vice versa...although I am not sure why?! ;-) Those feelings never last though, and we always seem to end up closer after we have talked through our disagreements. When it is all said and done, if I had to do it all over again, I a heartbeat!

Monday, August 07, 2006


Oh the sweet sound of bumblebees. It takes me back to the amusement park where my children rode all the neat little kids rides, including the bumblebees. I promised I would share some more specific stories from our trip to Florida, so here is a good one.

The bumblebee ride was pretty tame. The kids would sit in a bumblebee and it would fly up into the air and then come back down and the whole time the whole ride was turning in a circle. Both the kids were tall enough to ride alone, but it is kind of scary putting Nathan alone on that type of ride. He rode on one like it in Pennsylvania and he spent the ride trying to unplug his airplane. We just never know if he will try to jump out and fly or what, so this time, we erred on the side of caution and one of us flew with him.

The first time the boys rode the ride, I went on it and rode with Nathan. By the time they wanted to do it again, I was kind of tired of going on all the little kids rides, so I let Brian go on it with them. Well...I sort of made Brian go on it with them.

You see, Brian does not like amusement parks. He doesn't like the rides and he especially doesn't like rides that go fast or spin around. I really didn't think the bumblebee ride would be a big deal, but after he got off the ride, he said, "That right there is my limit! It was almost a little bit too much for me."

Just so you can see how fun the bumblebee ride was, I thought I would share this picture of Brian on the ride. I have decided that I will leave all the boat rides to him, and I can take care of all the bumblebee rides in the future. That sounds like a fair trade to me!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Watch Out Bushes!

My husband learned a very valuable lesson today. From this day forward, he will never let me use the electric hedge clippers again. He was going to mow the lawn, so I thought I would be nice and help out by clipping the hedges. I offered to mow and would have done a pretty good job because I know how to mow. I thought I knew how to cut shrubs, but anyone brave enough to drive by my house will be able to see that I do NOT know how to trim shrubs.

I started out with a shrub that I really don't like and was going to trim it into a nice smaller shrub. I didn't realize that it was entirely brown under all the green. So know I have a nice rounded brown shrub by my garage. (Wonderful!)

Then, we have (excuse me...HAD) these long shrubs with some little shrubs in front of them. The little shrubs looked like a mass of tumbleweeds, so I thought it would be good to clip those way down. Now we have three masses of little branches sticking out of the grown just waiting to injure some small child who dares to take a step in the flower bed. They look like some kind of torture device from the 1700's that would definitely make someone talk!

Well, when I ever-so-crudely chopped those down, there was a big hole under the bigger hedge that was behind it. Now, I really don't like this hedge/bush thing either. It is a big rectangular mass of limbs and leaves that desperately needs to be cut back and gently manicured into a beautiful bush. So, that is what I tried to do. When Brian came to see my progress, I wasn't sure if his reaction was from shock, dismay or utter denial. He wasn't too happy that the long hedge ended up being two bushes with great big holes in it. I think deep down inside I thought that if I ruined them, we could pull them out and go get some really nice, cute little bushes. Brian told me that we couldn't re-landscape our flower beds today and that I should probably try to fix them.

So, I kind of did...MacGyver style. I couldn't make the two bushes become one again, but I did figure out a way to fill up all the holes. I took all the branches that I had cut off and put them back into the bush to fill the holes. Yes, I know...they will die. Well, it is August, right? Fall is just around the corner and all the leaves are going to die anyway. So, they won't look out of place for too long. When all the other leaves die, I will cut back all the bushes and start over with beautiful new (little) bushes in the spring. How's that for creative? (My poor husband just shook his head when I told him about my solution!)

In the meantime, they still look pretty rough. People can just drive by, point and laugh at my bushes. I am good with it. As a bonus, I did find a few bricks, a cinderblock and lots of wiring hiding under these bushes. By the looks of the bushes, they have been there awhile. In all of this, I may have found my true calling. Maybe I should start my own business for people who want to kill all their bushes.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Home Again...and trying to catch up!

We are home again! We left July 21st for Perry, Florida with some of the youth group on a mission trip and had an incredible experience. I love the kids in our youth group. I don't think they always understand the depths of our feelings for them. In all honesty, we love them as if they were our own children, which means that we are proud of them when they do really well, sad with them when they are hurting and sometimes even disappointed in their actions when they mess up. (And like kids with their parents, that probably works both ways!) Most of all, we love them for who they are...and let me tell you, every single one of them is completely different.

This group was absolutely incredible though. They worked hard and got along very well. I would take every single one of them on a trip with us again in a heartbeat. We survived a nasty stomach virus that took out 7 of our group. (I think that is the right number; it is easy to lose count when they are dropping like flies.) We survived a bus with bad airconditioning on some VERY HOT traveling days. They didn't complain and even better than that, had good enough attitudes to start singing songs praising God on the very HOT bus! What a group!

I cannot tell you how tired I am though! We decorated the church building Sunday night and Monday during the day and held VBS every night. Our days were spent having fun as a group. We went to the beach, an amusement park, a state park where we took a boat ride, and a mall. Here are a few things I learned on the trip:

1. If you go to the beach, be sure to adequately put sunscreen on all exposed body parts after you have lathered up your children. I applied SPF 60 (yes, you read it kids are pale, what can I say?) on the boys, and to most of my arms, part of my face and apparently random parts of one leg. Needless to say, I had a really bad sunburn on my left leg and my right leg was rather spotted. The tops of my hands sunburned and my cheeks and nose were pretty red too. When you are already funny sure don't need to look like a spotted, sunburned freak!

2. The tilt-a-whirl is kind of fun once, but don't push it by doing it twice in a row after the age of 30. Now don't get me wrong...I LOVE fast rides. Put me on a roller coaster and I am happy for days! However, ever since I hit 30, rides that spin in circles and I don't mix very well. Sometimes, if the carousel is going too fast, it is just too much for me. I would love to say it is an inner ear thing, but I think I am just turning into a wimp! All the spinning rides were worth it though simply because my boys loved them. When I was riding on a teacup-like-ride (that was actually a dragon) with the boys, David said, "Quit spinning it mommy. You're making me blurry!" For the laugh that gave me, I would ride any spinning ride with my kids!

3. If you are not a boat person, it is probably best not to go on a boat ride in alligator and snake infested waters. I was trying to be brave for my children and show them that these things aren't scary, but I almost lost all sense of calm when our boating guide saw a very large alligator and tried to steer closer. I was sitting at the front of the boat and not real excited about seeing the alligator (or any of his friends that might be hiding in the murky waters) up close. However, I did not have a heart attack and was once again able to get back on dry ground where there were no vermin with large teeth.

All in all, it was a very good trip. I will share a few more specific stories in the next couple of days. Brian's mom, Barbara, is here visiting and we have some fun things planned, but I will definitely try to update more now that we are home.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Few Words of Caution

I just want to share a few words of caution with all of you. (If you have a weak stomach, you may want to pass on this one.)

1. If a child comes to you and says, "Those yellow things keep making my underwear wet," you really should investigate. If you don't, before you even know it, the small child and the floor will be covered in diarrhea.

2. If that same child comes to you and says he has a frog in his mouth, don't assume that he has a scratchy throat or that a glass of water will take care of it. Otherwise, you will be cleaning the vomit off of the child, the bed and the floor.

3. When your youngest child gets a stomach virus, within 24 hours someone...oh wait...probably you and your husband will get it.

4. If you and your husband get the stomach virus at the same time, there is no one to offer sympathy, hold a washcloth on your neck as you throw up or feed the children. (However, kids can survive on foods that don't smell such as cheerios, crackers, etc. for one day.)

Yes, we have been hit hard with the stomach crud at our house. It always happens when life is busy and at the worst time. The worst part about it is that this is the first time Brian and I have had something like this at the same time since we have had kids. The boys weren't real understanding of the fact that it was painful for us to get out of bed, let alone impossible to handle the smell of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. However, everyone survived and the boys were adequately fed "smelly" food today.

Now, we are left hoping that David does not get the virus and that it has left our house for good. Every time he gets a strange look on his face, I push him towards a garbage can and ask him if his stomach hurts. He just looks at me like I am crazy (nothing new there) and tells me he is fine. I guess only time will tell if he gets it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bi-Lingual Children

First, David's swallow study went well, and he has no physical problems in his throat that are causing eating problems. The speech pathologist was able to share some other possible reasons and suggestions for the problem, so we will be working on ways to evaluate those with an occupational therapist and explore some creative new methods for helping him to eat more foods.

On to a different seems my children are becoming bi-lingual. The influence of Dora the Explorer over the years and the newer show, Go Diego Go, has helped the boys pick up some Spanish phrases. For example, one day Nathan got stuck while he was doing something and started yelling, "Ayude me! Ayude me! Help me! Ayude Me!"

The boys also use the Spanish words arriba and abajo when we are driving and going up and down hills. As we drive up the hill, they yell "Arriba!" When we go down the hill, "Abajo!"

A couple of days ago, we were watching Go Diego Go, and David decided that it was necessary to translate for me. When Diego said, "Hola," David told me that it meant hello. He also translated the Spanish name of an animal, a color and one more thing I can't remember. At one point, the character Diego said a complete sentence in Spanish. David looked at me and said, "Oh, that poor little animal is hungry." Right after that on the show, Diego translated his own sentence and said, "This poor animal is hungry."

Needless to say, I was quite shocked and was quite proud that David was gaining such a command of the Spanish language. At least I was until I found out that David had already seen the show. (Little Cheater!) What a let down! No...not really. I am thankful that they have picked up some of the Spanish language and hope that I can do more to help them become bi-lingual. I would really like them to learn several different languages because I think it will help them in their lives. However, I don't think I am going to let them learn the same languages because I am afraid of how they would use it against me!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


This morning Nathan and I had a very interesting conversation. It all started because I asked him if he was excited to see his friends at church. Nathan is the only boy in a class full of girls at church and he loves all of his "girls". He has been known to not let Ellie, one of the little girls, leave class until he gives her a hug and a kiss. So, I was kind of surprised when he responded with a simple "No" to my question. He then continued with this.

Nathan: I am excited to see Daind-gels. (That's the closest spelling I can get to what he said.)

Me: Daind-gels?

Nathan: Yes, Aind-gels.

Me: Oh, do you mean ANGELS?

Nathan: Yes, Daind-gels...Aind-gels...Angels. (He finally got the pronunciation right.) I am going to see David's Angel.

Me: Oh, David's angel. Where is David's angel?

Nathan: (Pointed up in the air) David's angel lives in our house.

Me: Oh! That's good.

It kind of makes you think, doesn't it? This is especially touching to me today because David is having a swallow study tomorrow. In all honesty, I know that it isn't a big deal in terms of what others have gone through with their kids, but it is a big deal for us right now.

Ever since he was a baby, David has just had trouble eating and gagging on food. He would even gag if you didn't put the bottle in his mouth just right. He gagged on baby food and real food, good food and bad food, foods he liked and foods he didn't like and so on. He has had phases where he has done better and eaten well and phases where it seemed like we were starting from scratch. We hit a point this past Spring where it got bad again and he ended up losing 5 pounds in 3 months, which is a big deal when you are 5 years old. So, this test is being done to try and find out if there is something in his throat or swallowing that is causing the problem.

David and I have talked about the test a little and he knows that he is going to have some x-rays of his mouth done. The other day he was praying and he thanked God for the x-rays. It was pretty sweet. Yesterday, he asked me if Nathan could be with him because Nathan might be scared about the x-rays and it would be good if Nathan could see how brave he is.

I am thankful that Nathan reminded me today that David has someone watching out for him. He has a God that will send comfort and strength to help him through this even though it may not be very fun. I have a feeling that "daind-gel" will be watching over all of us tomorrow!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Oh the Things You Can Do With a Water Hose

The boys are so glad to be home and have been living it up by playing outside. They have had water fights, watered all the plants, hosed down the swingset and anything else you can do with water. At one point, they even made a water slide out of the slide on the swing set. I made the slide a little more fun for them by adding some dishwashing soap to it. (Who needs to buy a slip and slide?!)

However, I was once again reminded that boys will be boys. Nathan discovered that if he pushed the hose against his swimming trunks the water would squirt in just the right way to make it look like he was taking a leak. Needless to say, the boys spent about 30 minutes taking turns doing this while I kept trying to find ways to distract them from this not so polite choice of fun. I knew if I made a really big deal about it, they would do it EVERY time they went outside. So, instead I just kept saying things like "Boys, don't you want to slide down the slide again?" and "That tree really needs to be watered. Why don't you guys water it for me?" It didn't work, and eventually I told them to stop which resulted in hysterical laughing and silly comments by the boys.

And this is my life living with all boys! OH MY!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

We're Home!

No, we have not fallen off the face of the earth! We have spent most of the last month on the road with limited internet access and little time to blog.

The boys and I started our travels heading to Nebraska to spend time with my family while Brian took a group from our youth group to Wilderness Trek in Colorado. The boys had fun spending time with Grandma Sandy and playing with their cousins, and I had fun getting to know my nephews and niece a little better and getting to be with my mom. I love where we are at right now, but it is hard being away from my family and only getting to see them twice a year. It was neat for the boys to get to play with their cousins and hang out at the farm where I spent every summer of my life while I was growing up.

Another highlight of our trip to Nebraska was going to see the movie Cars. David sat mesmerized through the whole movie. Nathan liked it pretty well too, although it was a tad bit long for him. At one point during the movie, one of the characters said, "Oh my gosh" to which Nathan yelled "He said a bad word!" Of course, the theater was quiet when he said it so everyone heard it.

After a week in Nebraska, my mom, the boys and I headed back to Arkansas so that we could be with Brian for Father's Day. The boys made those coffee mugs with the paper inserts for Brian and also gave him some golf balls. While we were shopping for a present for Brian, the boys and I were talking about what he would really like to have. As we passed down the aisle with the vacuum cleaners, David said, "Daddy likes to vacuum. We should get him a vacuum cleaner." Nathan chimed in with "A blue vacuum cleaner." David then said, "Yeah, a blue vacuum cleaner because Daddy's favorite color is blue." It took a few minutes to talk them down from the idea of getting him a vacuum cleaner, but they eventually decided that he would like to golf more than he would like to vacuum.

We spent less than a week at home with most of the time spent getting ready to leave for a mission trip to South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. We went to Pennsylvania to do a Vacation Bible School for the church there. The people in South Williamsport were great and we had a lot of fun with the kids at VBS. Besides that, Pennsylvania is a beautiful state. We spent many of our free afternoons driving around taking pictures of covered bridges and old barns and looking at all the areas that had been flooded while we were there. (No, it doesn't take much to amuse people from Arkansas and Nebraska!)

After our week there, Brian, the boys, my mom and I took a short side trip before coming home. We headed to Lancaster County in Pennsylvania and spent a couple of days in Amish Country. We rode on the train in Strasburg, took a buggy ride to see Amish farms, and took the boys to an amusement park called Dutch Wonderland. We also shopped at outlet stores and spent too much money!

We finished off our Pennsylvania sight seeing by stopping at the Flight 93 Memorial. What a neat place to remember some very heroic people. Before we got there, we explained to the boys about what the people on Flight 93 did and the sacrifices they made. It was pretty tough for a 3 year old and 5 year old to understand, but I think that at least David understood part of it. They were both pretty quiet and respectful while we were there. At one point, Nathan asked where the people on the plane that crashed were. I told them that they had died, and in a very sad voice, he said, "But I want them here." I love the way that kids have a knack for voicing the way everyone feels.

After that stop, we started our long trip home. In an unfortunate incident, our travel size DVD player stopped working, which made a long trip home even longer for the boys. They did pretty good without it, but Nathan kept getting a little loud and David would yell, "Nathan stop being so loud. You are cracking me out!"

Our trips were great and getting the chance to spend time with my mom was good for my soul and sanity. Even with both of those good things, I must admit that it sure is nice to be home though. My mom left for home today, and I think she is also ready to be back in her own home and sleep in her own bed.

So, that is what we have been doing for most of the last month. I have missed sharing stories on my blog and will try to share some of the funnier moments in more detail over the next few days.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Poopy Diaper Story...Just SMILE

A good friend who is also the father of Alan, the boy in our youth group that David and I took food to while his parents were out of town, linked to the David Strikes Again post in his blog. When he told me he was going to link to my blog, I told him that people might not think so much of his choice of links because I have a lot of bathroom posts involving poop.

Well, as good friends do, he linked to my blog anyway (poop and all), and I couldn't help but be reminded of the best poopy diaper story of all time. It is an old story, but it is a classic in our family and is worth sharing.

Nathan, who was probably 1 at the time, was sitting next to me on the couch, and he was holding a yellow, craft foam smiley face that was part of an Oriental Trading Company craft. Before I could even stop him, he popped the smiley face in his mouth. I tried to dig it out of his mouth, but unfortunately the smiley face had already begun the great journey into Nathan's digestive system.

As a parent, I faced the great dilemma of wondering if craft foam is toxic or dangerous in any way. So, being the amateur parent that I was, I called the company to ask them if their craft foam was toxic. (And yes, I am sure that they still talk about and laugh at the crazy lady that called to find out if craft foam would injure her toddler!)

Needless to say, Nathan had a little bit of a stomach ache that night. The next day, it came time for the first diaper change of the day. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the diaper and there sat the smiley face. (Brian is still jealous because he never had a diaper smile at him!)

David, who had just turned three, was quite curious as to why I was laughing so hard and came over to investigate. He looked at the diaper and saw the smiley face in it. With a look of utter awe on his face, he asked, "HOW DID HE DO THAT?!"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Good Day for the Soul

The past few days have been very chaotic at our house. A friend of mine from college and her two kids came to stay for 5 days, and our house has been a flurry of activity with kids playing and other friends stopping by for a visits. At one point, we had 9 kids between the ages of 3 and 8 at our house. I never realized how 9 kids could have such different personalities or how much the energy level could increase with that many kids in one house!

It is always good to see old friends; however, I tend to get a little stressed with how my kids act. They are good kids, but I will be the first to say that they are not perfect and that those imperfections seem to shine through more often when they are out of their routine and not getting much sleep. David tends to get whinier, which can grate on anyone's nerves, and Nathan just gets a little naughtier.

This past weekend, Nathan used the "shock and awe" approach with our guests, although it might be better to use the term "shock and horror" for his antics. Soon after our guests arrived, I think he realized that they weren't comfortable with a naked child meandering through the house, so EVERY time he went into the bathroom, he would come out of the bathroom short a pair of pants and underwear. Thriving on the looks of horror, it continued the whole time our guests were here. Since they left, the fun of horrifying people is gone, and he has returned to his clothed self (most of the time!)

Our company left yesterday and we headed to the Petit Jean state park with some of the youth group. We had so much fun. We climbed rocks and walked some of the trails. We had a picnic lunch with all the big kids. The group then hiked down the mountain to see the waterfalls. It was supposed to be a 2 hour hike and I wasn't sure if it would be easy enough for the boys to do, so we stayed at the picnic area and hung out while the rest of the group went to the falls.

I must say that days like this are good for my soul. The boys and I had so much fun together. They played on the playground. We walked by the lake and talked about how lily pads float and looked for fish. We tried feeding the fish Fritos, but I guess fish aren't big on corn chips because we did not have any takers. We found a little toad and the boys watched it until Nathan tried to encourage the toad to jump by poking it with a stick and accidentally gored it. (Not a pretty moment or an easy one to explain to a 3 year old and 5 year old!) Except for the frog incident and some minor scratches and a splinter, the boys had a blast.

For me, it was fun seeing all the good in my kids come out. Sometimes I forget to see all those good characteristics in my kids, especially during times that are a little more stressful or when we are not in our normal routine. I loved seeing Nathan hug and kiss the little girl at the playground after she got hurt even though he had no clue who she was. I loved hearing David tell me everything he knows about frogs and listen to his stories about how everything in the world works. Most of all, I enjoyed seeing my kids be kids and play their little hearts out. They were so tired that they were both asleep pretty quick once we got back onto the bus to go home. And just to be totally honest, I will admit that I also enjoyed the fact that they slept on the way home! :-)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

David Strikes Again

Here is another funny David moment. One of the kids in our youth group is at home alone this week while his parents are on a trip. I made some poppy seed chicken for him so he could have some home-cooked food while his mom was gone, and David helped me take it over to him.

Here was our conversation on the way to deliver the food:

David: Now, who are we taking this food to mommy?

Me: We're taking it to Alan.

David: The big kid, Alan? (That is how we distinguish all the kids in the youth group.)

Me: Yes

David: Are we taking food to his mommy and daddy too?

Me: No, just to Alan. His mommy and daddy are on a trip.


Me: Yes, but he is older David. He is old enough to stay home by himself.

David thought for a second and then asked: Can he get a drink all by himself when he is thirsty?

Me: Yes, he can.

David: Can he choose to eat whatever he wants for supper?

Me: Yes, he can.

David: What are we taking him for supper?

Me: Poppy seed chicken.

David: With rice?

Me: Yes, with rice.

David: If he is old enough to choose whatever he wants for supper, then why would he choose rice?!!!



We pulled up to church last night and David became very concerned and asked,"How is Alan going to get to church?" Brian told David that Alan would drive his truck to church, and David responded quite dramatically, "HE IS OLD ENOUGH TO DRIVE??!!!"

(If the length of time we have been driving determines how old we are, then I guess I am ancient!)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Who is in Charge of Groceries?

Yesterday, the boys and I went to Wal-Mart. That right there is pretty much enough said, right?

As soon as we stepped foot in the store, the boys begged to go look at the toys and the fish. We browsed through the toy section first after I told the boys we were ONLY looking and received promises from both that they wouldn't ask for anything. Instead of asking if he could have the toys, David just kept saying, "That is a neat (insert name of toy). Maybe if I am lucky, I will get one of those someday."

After looking at all the toys and at the fish, we headed to buy groceries. Since David has very "specific preferences" about food, he soon began to realize that he didn't like what I was putting in the cart. So, when I put some lunch meat in the cart, he said, "Daddy didn't tell you to get that." I just gave him a strange look and kept shopping. He continued on with "You aren't following Daddy's instructions very well" when I put some green beans in the cart. At one point, he shook his head at me and said, "Daddy is NOT going to be very happy!"

Now, I really believe that it is scriptural and important to be a submissive wife, but my response probably didn't portray that idea very well to my son. I leaned down and looked David in the eyes and said, "David, Daddy is not in charge of groceries. I am in charge of groceries. Daddy will like whatever I buy!" David just crossed his arms and sighed. We finished our shopping and David didn't say another word about any of my choices.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Journey

I haven't been blogging because we have been traveling. On Friday, we headed to Ft. Worth because Brian's cousin, Chris, was graduating from high school. The trip was fun and VERY eventful. I was trying to find a quote that I once heard about a journey that would sum up our trip, but I couldn't find the one I was looking for. In the process though, I came across these two quotes that help adequately explain the weekend.

"Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions." - Peter Hoeg

"In America, there are two classes of travel: First class, and
with children." - Robert Benchley

On Friday, we headed out in the afternoon to Ft Worth. After several peaceful hours in the car, we decided to stop for a nice supper at Cracker Barrel. Lucky for us, the peaceful weekend stopped there. Nathan gagged on some food and threw up EVERYWHERE. Since we are experts in small children gagging and throwing up, Brian and I have a system already worked out. He is the napkin hander guy who passes napkins to me, the pounder and catcher girl who is responsible for pounding the small child's back and catching whatever comes out of his mouth. Unfortunately, we only had four napkins and Nathan apparently had a pretty full stomach. Needless to say, life got very messy.

To add insult to injury, the "nice" lady at the table behind us made some very rude comments as if Nathan had purposefully thrown up to ruin her day. I wanted to get in her face and put her in her place, but the need to take care of the situation at hand won out. I got Nathan cleaned up and then realized that he had gotten my clothes dirty too. So, I changed clothes in the van (very discreetly!) while I waited for Brian and David to make their way out to the car. Then we were off again for another "peaceful" car ride.

At least it was peaceful until Brian was pulled over by the state trooper. Did you know at night you can only go 65 mph in Texas? David was quite excited about the policeman and the flashing red and blue lights behind us. He even asked us if the policeman was there to show us the way to Dallas. That lightened the mood a little bit. The trooper gave Brian a warning (which lightened the mood even more) and we were once again on our way to Ft. 65 mph.

Saturday was a good day. We spent time with Brian's aunt, Becky, and cousins, Chris and Meagan. We enjoyed getting to visit with them during the day and then went to Chris' graduation that night. It was a nice graduation, but a little on the long side for the boys, especially Nathan. At one quiet point in the graduationceremonyy, Nathan gave an overdramatic and very loud sigh, which brought about some stares, smiles and laughing from the people seated around us. (They were thinking the same thing...Nathan just had the guts to verbalize it!) Overall, they did a good job, but at the end of it, were more than ready to leave.

Sunday was another great day. We spent the afternoon with Becky, Chris, Meagan and Becky's husband Pat just hanging out at their house. The boys decided to put their feet in the pool and pretty soon they were wading on the steps of the pool in just their underwear. Nathan decided it was time to be a little braver and stepped off the step into a section of the pool where he couldn't reach the bottom. This led to me jumping in the pool to rescue him. (Did I mention I was wearing my jeans, T-shirt, socks and shoes?) And for the record, I don't think I will ever forget the look of fear in his eyes when I pulled him out of the water. I just wonder what was going through that little mind of his during that moment.

Anyway, since I was already wet, I stayed in the pool a little longer and took Nathan for a swim. I didn't want him to be afraid of being in the water, so I helped him "swim" for a little while and then all of us that were soaking wet dried off and put on new clothes. We spent the rest of our time at their house relaxing in the shade and playing with the dogs, which was a HUGE step for David since he was terrified of the dogs when he first saw them.

That is pretty much a highlight of our journey. There were a few other things in there like a movie and a shopping trip to buy me some new clothes to wear home since Nathan kept sabotaging mine. In spite of some of the "moments", it was a very good trip. Although, I will admit, it is always nice to be home.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Where's the Manual?

Nobody warned me that raising kids was going to be so confusing. I love my children very much, but sometimes, I just don't know what to do with them. Yesterday, I received a call from school about David. Not only had David been moved to red (green is good, yellow is a warning and red is really bad) during naptime, but he was caught wandering around the room...TWICE...trying to find people to talk to. Then last night, he and Nathan did something that David knows is wrong and from what I gathered, David was the instigator and the leader in the whole thing. So, then I am stuck with the ultimate parenting dilemma...what punishment do I dole out to make sure both of them know I am not happy with their actions and to prevent it from happening again? After I finally decided how to discipline them and took care of that part, I spent the whole night wondering if I had done the right thing (while they slept peacefully and didn't think about it again!)

Then this morning, I was reminded about the blessings that little instigator bestows. Brian dropped David off at school and was approached by Jacob's mom. Jacob is a little boy in David's Pre-K class that was born with an extra chromosome. He is THE SWEETEST little boy, and David and Jacob have become the best little buddies over the past year. Jacob's mom apologized for asking any personal questions but said she had heard that we were keeping David in the Pre-K program another year rather than sending him to kindergarten and wanted to know if it was true. Brian told her that it was true, and she was so excited that they would be together for another year. She then proceeded to tell Brian how David had been such a blessing for Jacob. She talked about how well they play together and how David has helped Jacob.

Now, the decision to keep David back and not send him on to Kindergarten has been soooo hard for us. We have been back and forth on what to do. We have prayed and cried (well, I have cried) and gotten frustrated with each other and ourselves on what to do. I think we have found peace in our decision now, but Jacob's mom made something even clearer today. David and Nathan aren't here to live life as I have planned or Brian has planned. They are here to live life as God has planned, and He is already using them. I always concentrate on what I am supposed to be doing to mold them to become Christian men, but I forget that they are also already molding me and the people around them.

Knowing that still doesn't make all those tough decisions easy, but it really does help put everything in perspective. I would still love an owner's manual that tells me what to do in every situation, but that would be too easy and probably a little too boring. So for now, I will stick with teaching them through God's word and with a lot of prayer. Even more than that, I will work at trying to seek out those blessings every day so that I can focus on the goodness in my children rather than those moments that are quickly making me gray and tired.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I am a player...I am a BASEBALL player

David played in his first T-Ball game tonight. Now for anyone that knows David, it is a given that if it involves throwing a ball, David will love it. Right? Well...not really.

At the two T-Ball practices, David ended up in tears and attaching himself to either Brian or me. For a child that is talkative and a bit of an attention seeker with the youth group, he is quite shy and timid around kids his age. Add to that the confusion of 14 five year olds on a baseball field, and you just don't have a positive experience in David's eyes.

In addition, his only other team experience was soccer last year, and that was even worse than the baseball practices. We would literally bribe him to just get him to stand on the soccer field for the game. It wasn't that he didn't like soccer. He loves to kick around the ball. It was all because in the first game, he headed to the wrong goal and the parents laughed. It wasn't even intended in a mean way. Everyone was just laughing at the fact that David was kicking the ball towards the wrong goal and a herd of 4 year olds were following behind him. The embarrassment of that situation coupled with the fact that 5 other little boys were constantly running towards him (one time resulting in a head on collision) ended the desire to play soccer for David.

So, this T-Ball game was a BIG deal at our house. Brian and I didn't care if he ever touched the ball, hit the ball, or if he ran the bases backwards. ALL that we cared about was David staying on the field and having fun. For a rather competitive mom, that is not an easy thing to say, but honestly, I really just wanted him to enjoy the game.

And he did! You would have thought the kid hit a thousand homeruns by the smile on his face and my face when the game was done. (Unfortunately, Brian wasn't able to go because he is still sick.) David hit the ball both times at bat. He ran the bases well...except for when he forgot to run from second to third even though the coaches were all yelling, "Run! Go David! Run David!" (I blame that on the fact that the batter's helmet was too big and he couldn't see without holding it up though!)

While his team was in the field, he played in the dirt, and one time even sat down. His coaches tried to coax him up, and when they couldn't, his head coach went and sat down on the field next to him as the game went on around them. The coach sat there and talked to him, and eventually David stood up and "played" the rest of the game. When the game was done and we were walking to get his free snowcone, David looked at me and said, "I love my team! I played baseball and that was so much fun!"

I could have cried right there. It touched me to the depths of my heart to see him proud with himself. I am so thankful he has a kind-hearted coach willing to sit down on the ground to encourage my child to give his best effort in a loving way. One of the moms pointed to them sitting on the field together and said, "Now that is a good T-Ball coach. That is what it is all about right there." I couldn't agree more.

When we got home, David asked me where his hat was. He said he had to put it on to show his dad that he was a player. As he climbed out of the van, he said, "I am a player...I am a BASEBALL player." Then he repeated "I am a Baseball player" over and over until we went inside the house.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

At the End of My Rope...But Still Laughing

Have you ever reached the point where you are really busy and life just gets even more hectic by certain turns of events. Well, I am there right now. It's finals week. I am frantically grading proposals and finals and trying to get grades done. Brian has been very sick with some kind of stomach virus that I am praying no one else in the family gets. We are honoring our seniors this Sunday at church and not only is Brian in charge of it, but I have to prepare the meal for around 80 people. Then you have to throw into the mix a T-Ball game and practice, making calls to relocate our home Bible study, trying to find a sub for our home Bible study, as well as all the usual things that go along with raising two busy boys. Needless to say, life is a little on the stressful side in the Lewis house.

BUT, I am seeing blessings in the small things right now. A dear, sweet woman from church is getting the brisket and stuff for side dishes from Sam's to save me a trip to Little Rock. She is also my back-up cook in case I get the nasty stomach virus. David and I had a fun time making a thank you note for the little girl who gave him the shaker last night after church and that was a lot of fun.

Probably the best blessing so far though, came in the form of Nathan just being Nathan. I was working on proposals upstairs when Nathan popped his head in to tell me hi. I noticed that his hair was all wet and asked him why his hair was wet. He started looking for an escape route at that point and I knew something was wrong. So, I took his hand and asked him to show me how he got his hair wet. He hesitated and then asked if he was going to get in trouble. That was enough to let me know that this wasn't going to be a pretty adventure. I told him that he REALLY needed to tell me the truth, and he finally took me to "the place".

Can you guess where he led me? (If you have read very much of my blog, you know.) He took me straight into the bathroom and pointed to the toilet. I asked him how he did it and he started to show me how he dunked his head in the toilet water. At this point, all I could do was shake my head and get him in the tub for a bath. I cleaned the kid up and sent him on his way to play, and then I just laughed and laughed and laughed.

I am not sure if I was laughing to keep from crying, laughing over the fact that my child is obsessed with the toilet, or laughing because I really need a good night's sleep and am overloaded on caffeine. Regardless of the reason, it sure felt good.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

WHAT Did You Learn at School Today?!

Brian and I were talking to David yesterday and asking him all about his day. He has yet another girl showing interest in him. She colored a picture of a ladybug and catepillar out of a coloring book for him last week at school, and yesterday he brought home a shaker (you remember the paper towel cardboard tubes filled with beans shaker, don't ya?) that she had made for him. Her mom sent me an email and told me that Emily had wanted to make a craft for him because he had been playing with her and she thinks he's great. (We think Emily is pretty smart!) His teacher also told me that she has been following him around and trying to hold his hand a lot. When we ask David about her, he just kind of ducks his head down and gets embarrassed. It's pretty cute!

After hearing about the girl situation at school, I asked him what they learned about in school. He started in with, "I don't know. I don't remember." Now, I KNOW that this child remembers everything. He can tell me about something that happened when he was 2. So, I usually don't let him get away with this little avoid-the-discussion tactic. I continued by asking, "Did you learn about flowers?"

David: "No."
Me: "Did you learn about kites?"

At this point he started to get into my little game and asked, "Do you want to know what we learned about? We learned about frogs and...and sex." To which I practically yelled, "WHAT?!" My head started to spin and I was thinking, "What in the world are they teaching my sweet, innocent little 5 year old."

David gave me the strangest look and replied, "Frogs and...and sex, you know dragonflies and other little bugs."

Then it hit me... Frogs and INSECTS. (Note to self: work on pronunciation of the word insect with David.)