Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just Like Me

I often wonder if any of my sons are like me.

Lately, I scanned my baby pictures looking for some facial resemblance to my sons and didn't find much.

Occasionally, I glimpsed a certain expression and would exclaim, "There! They look like me!", but then I would turn to another picture of myself and think that no, I must be mistaken.

I put my baby pictures away with a sad, little sigh. I didn't want to believe that the ones I had carried inside me for nine months and labored through excruciating pain didn't have one iota of resemblance to me.

Today, I was enjoying a conversation with Doc upstairs when I heard, "Grumpy!"

I must explain that it wasn't a short, sharp yell. It was long and drawn out. It had the feeling of utter exasperation permeating throughout the word. It sounded as if the lungs were expiring as much carbon dioxide out of them as possible. It spoke of anger and frustration.

It was spoken by his older brother, Bashful.

And he sounded just like me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups



I was speaking with a very nice woman from my church about canning peaches. This tip isn't about canning peaches, but that's where this conversation started.

I happen to love the idea of canning. I just don't know how to do it. One day, I keep telling myself. One day.

In the meantime, she gave me some tips on how to use the produce that I buy. Of course, freezing the fresh fruit was one of the tips and I confessed that I already knew about that little bit of heavenliness.

She wasn't finished.

She also told me that I could boil my fruit until it was soft and puree the goodness in my food processor or blender. Next, unroll some plastic wrap onto the counter and pour the pureed fruit onto the plastic wrap. Spread it all out and then let it dry.

Cut it into sections and roll them up. Voila! Homemade fruit roll-ups!

I have to tell ya'll. I was amazed.

For more WFMW tips, go to Rocks In My Dryer.

Dark Sundays

Every Sunday morning, I wake up at 6am. I have to set the alarm clock because the Lord knows I could never wake up in time on my own. For the past two Sundays, I've been waking up in the dark.

Joy of joys.

I'm not really complaining. Really. It's just a little disconcerting. It takes coffee and a hot shower to wake up and after a little while, I begin to wake the boys.

The experience of waking in the dark has them bewildered, but they are my little troopers. No one cries or complains at the indecent hour.

The quietness of the early morning is instantly shattered by the happy chatter. Constant questions repeated over and over are asked in order to jar my sleep-deprived brain into answering.

After rushing them through a breakfast of cereal, I hustle them upstairs to wrestle them into their clothes and put some semblance of order to their hair. Brushing of the teeth is a must.

By 7:30am, I slam the front door shut with a prayer that I haven't forgotten anything. Most days, I have forgotten something and must unlock the door in order to retrieve said forgotten object.

Occasionally muttering under my breath and most Sundays growling, "Argh!", I peal out of the driveway to begin what has become a routine weekly trip to the mountains.

Every Sunday, we drive two hours to our church.

After these months that have flown by, the trip doesn't seem so long anymore. This past Sunday, it was even a little fun.

I looked in my rearview mirror to see a blond, curly head bobbing up and down in time to Alvin and the Chipmunks sing a song about a bad day.

When I see that, it's just about worth it to get up in the dark.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Snow

A little known fact about me is I love snow.

You probably know by now my love for classic literature and my addictive need for chocolate, but you may not realize my utter fascination with the white stuff that comes from the sky.

I eagerly await the season that brings this particular precipitation. When my husband and I first came to southern Colorado, we were utterly dumbfounded when it started snowing near the end of September. We had never seen the like. Snow in September? Crazy, but I was still entranced.

I hate the cold, but I realize that without it, there would not be the heavenly frozen flakes falling quietly and gently to the ground.

When the snow falls so much that I can't see the ground anymore, I love to go outside and just stand there and listen. It's amazing how quiet it is.

There are no birds singing. The amount of cars going by has slowed down and only occasionally do I hear one slashing down the road. The wind has died down and all is still.

All but remains is the gently falling snow and the mountain of the wet, fluffy stuff growing up to my knees.

The time has come to fall backward and make snow angels, build snowmen, and sled down the hill. The quiet is broken by the screams of laughter coming from my children as they throw snowballs at each other and their "outraged" mother.

After some time, we begin to tire. It is time to go inside to the warmth of the house and hot chocolate. Time for a good book and an afghan thrown across my shoulders. Time to look out the window from my nice, cozy chair and smile at the white beauty.

Yes. I love the snow and I look forward to it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No Bite Cupcakes

My boys love to eat. They are always thinking of their stomachs and what's for dinner. My Happy, though, is the one who is game for everything. He is the one who eats salad while the others turn up their noses.

I thought the boy ate everything....I was wrong.

A couple days ago, I thought I'd celebrate the beginning of fall and make a batch of pumpkin cupcakes.

They turned out pretty good, all moist and pumpkiny. All the boys loved them. Except Happy.

The first cupcake ended up nibbled on and placed strategically where the baby could dig his chubby fingers into it and leave crumbs all over the family room floor.

The second cupcake was also nibbled on and then hidden in the couch.

I told Happy that he wasn't allowed to have anymore cupcakes since it was obvious to me that he didn't like them.

He protested. Of course, he liked them.

I realized the boy didn't want to not like them. It seemed a sacrilege not to like something that had sugar in it.

I assured him it was okay not to like the cupcakes. Even his father spit out the one bite he had into the trash.

There was no way he was going to accept this, though. He was going to like these cupcakes even if he had to choke them down.

They had sugar in them after all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Choking on Candy



When Grumpy was just a little guy, we went on vacation to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

One night, my mom gave some hard candy to Grumpy to give the rambunctious child something to do. He sucked on it for a little while and then proceeded to choke on the dang thing.

This was a life-threatening kind of choke. The kid couldn't breathe. I just sat there in shock, but my mother immediately grabbed him, bent him over her lap, and slapped him on the back. The piece of candy promptly fell out. She told me she had just finished a CPR class and that's how she knew what to do.

To this day, I joke with her that she almost killed him and then saved his life.

That day became an immediate and profound impression on me. It was something that gave me the knowledge to deal with a very scary situation years later.

My fourth child, Happy, was around a year old when he picked up a penny off the floor and popped it in his mouth. We forever have stray pennies that I am constantly picking up. Whenever I spot one, I sound like a grouchy pirate yelling, "Aargh!" as I bend down to pick it up and dispense with it.

Of course, the child started choking which brought my attention to him. I then did something that you should never do- I stuck my finger in his mouth in order to get the penny out. The penny only slid back further.

I began to panic when the past flashed before my eyes. I grabbed Happy, bent him over my lap, and slapped his back. The penny fell out and he stopped choking.

The relief. Oh, the relief.

My WFMW tip is to take a CPR class. If not, remember this tip. It could save your baby's life.

For more WFMW tips, go to Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Cherub in the Photograph

Baby Sleepy is gone forever.

You might say, "You shouldn't say that. He's not gone. He's still there with you." I can't help it, though.

I was grabbing papers that had been stashed away in our old van. We needed to clear it out in order to trade it in for the new car. One of the things that had been forgotten was an old picture.

The picture was about five years old. In it, Bashful, Grumpy, and Sleepy are all smiling at the camera sitting on the grass in front of our townhouse in New Jersey. Bashful still has that same sweet face. Grumpy looks younger, but I could still see the resemblance.

It was Sleepy who made my breath stop in my lungs and I gasped for air. I could not recognize that sweet, baby face. I fought tears as I realized that the baby soft blond hair was gone. The chubby pink cheeks were in the past.

These days, I am teaching my six-year-old Sleepy to read and write. The baby fat has melted away and he has become long and lean although he is still kinda short. His hair is brown and there are freckles on his nose now where there weren't any before. He is even learning how to ride Grumpy's old bike.

There is very little resemblance to that cherub in the photograph. I study that picture often now scanning it for something that I can hold onto, but the past has slipped through my fingers.

They say, "Cherish these moments because they will be gone before you know it," and "they" are right.

A Titus 2 Woman

One night, we had friends over for dinner. The meal was finished and the men were cooped up in the den. There was clinking of glasses and smoke was wafting underneath the door. Every now and then, I would hear raised voices and knew they were having a rousing good time talking about theology, philosophy, and politics.

I was in the kitchen with my friend and we were also having a good time talking about everything under the sun. My friend was making herself at home in my kitchen. We had already done the dishes together, but at one point, she got down on her knees and began organizing my drawer full of plastic bowls and lids.

I was sitting on a stool at the kitchen counter and watched her with fascination. My eyes were glued to her every move when I said, "You know, you don't have to do that." She informed me that this was her way of feeling comfortable. I could tell how much she was enjoying herself, so I just sat and watched.

When I first met her, I thought she was friendliness itself. The more I got to know her, though, the more I realized her other qualities. I attached myself to her because I admired the joy she took in keeping a clean house and organizing her bills. I wanted to learn from her and I did.

I learned how much happier I am when my house is clean. Not just the carpet vaccuumed and the floor mopped, but the walls cleaned, my refrigerator scoured, and the baseboards washed. I took joy in breathing in deep of the Murphy's Oil Soap scenting the whole house. I began to notice my closets and began organizing them. I realized how much more content I am when I am organized and everything has a place.

Her submission to her husband and care of her children was a thing of beauty for me. Because of her example, I began to realize other needs for my husband and children that I didn't notice before.

The thing that stood out the most in this woman, though, was her thirst for knowledge of God. She took joy in learning the Scriptures and talking about it. I remember going over a particular passage with her and realizing the truth of it.

Her inner beauty was something that I wanted for myself. I learned many things from her, but most of all, she taught me what it means to be a friend.

She often mentioned that she wants to be a Titus 2 woman. You are, sweet friend, and that is my wish as well. I thought of her as I was driving home after church one Sunday. Since that night in my kitchen, she has moved away with her husband and children, and I miss her dearly. Even though we are apart, my life will forever be changed for the better. She was an example to me in so many ways. May we all endeavour to be a Titus 2 woman.

Titus 2:3-5- "the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rain = Love

Every time I look out the windows of our home, I see a great big sky. It stretches for miles and most of the time it is bright blue with a few wispy clouds floating by. Because the sky is so big here, I can always tell when a thunderstorm is on its way or if it's casting its shadow in a different town.

The other day, I saw the dark clouds hanging over the mountains in the distance. I was in the family room with Sleepy at the time and I decided to ask him a science question even though we have not discussed this particular subject in school yet.

"Look, Sleepy! It's going to rain!" I said with excitement. "Uh, huh," he answers. As we look out the window together, I asked him, "How do you know it's going to rain?"

"Because we need rain," he replies. "But, how do you know it's going to rain?" I insisted. "Because God loves me," he answered frankly.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Guilt-Free Days

There was a time when I felt guilty for giving my sons chores to do. I know. What was I thinking, right? Right.

I don't know why I felt bad whenever I asked them to make their beds or clean their rooms. It was a relief to tell them to clear off the table and empty the dishwasher, but this nagging feeling of guilt wouldn't leave me alone.

Not anymore.

Those days of guilt are gone forever. I am guilt-free!

Why this change all of a sudden, do you ask?

I've always known my sons were not perfect. Whenever they get together, they tend to goof off and turn into total idiots. When they get bored, though, that's when they get stupid and all logical reasoning flies out of their heads.

I must first set you up for the reason of my guilt-free days.

We got a new car. Yep. You can guess where this is going. We like our new car. It seats seven, anti-lock brakes, AWD, you name it. It has the works. We even like the new car smell it has inside. I no longer daydream about falling off the mountainside during the wintertime. The thought of snow in the mountains doesn't bring the shakes anymore.

We believed that our nice, new car would be safe in our driveway. That ended up not being the case.

Yesterday, I was informed by my oldest son that Grumpy threw a rock and it broke the windshield of our nice, new car. Eventually, I got the entire story out of Grumpy.

Bashful was bored. This is never a good thing. So, trying to think of something to do for fun, he thought of the clever pasttime of throwing rocks over the roof of our house. He included Grumpy in his little hobby. Bashful positioned himself in the front of the garage and Grumpy positioned himself behind the garage. Then they let 'er rip throwing rocks over the roof.

I can just imagine their little he-he's as they laugh about their fun.

They are not laughing anymore. I have informed them they are grounded forever and there is one more thing.

The payment for a new windshield is coming out of their behinds. These boys are no longer the carefree little boogers they used to be. They are going to be very busy from now on and they are going to be my little workers.

Nope. There is no more guilt.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Polka-Dot Laundry


Today's WFMW is backwards. This is my chance to ask anyone out there a burning question.

I must first set the scene, so bear with me.

A few days ago, I put a load of laundry in the washing machine. Almost all of the clothes were the boys' except for one of my shirts.

I washed the clothes and then put them in the dryer. Later, as I pulled out some clothes to fold them, I noticed that they all had mysteriously changed. What had once been solid colors on shirts and pants, there were now polka-dots- black ones.....everywhere.

I found the dad-blasted black pen sitting amongst the rest of the clothes in the dryer. The entire load of clothes had been ruined. Every last piece of clothing had big, black dots all over them.

What to do? What to do?

I tried washing them again...two times. No can do. I'm wondering if I have the time and patience to sit down with each piece of clothing and spray stain remover on each spot.

Aargh!

Has this happened to anyone? Are the clothes salvagable? Can they be saved or should I just toss them?

Wanna-Be

Here's a little known fact about me: I hate carnations.

Those things are wanna-be roses, people. It's like a knight who wants to be a king, like a lady-in-waiting who wants to be a queen, like a creek that wants to be a river, like jello that wants to be creme brulee, like a cat that wants to be a lion, like a...well, you get the point.

Right off the bat, my husband has given me roses from the time that we started dating. It's a good thing because if he had brought me carnations, my estimation of him would have dwindled...just a little.

Recently, he found out my aversion to carnations when I loudly protested to his declaration that "carnations are pretty".

Don't make me puke.

Brain Freeze

I have sadly neglected my blog of late....

School has started for us with a vengeance. Teaching three boys, keeping an eye on the impish three-year-old, and passifying a demanding infant is beginning to take its toll.

The other day, I was reading something when Grumpy came to me with a question. After he finished his question, I looked up at him. I wasn't really looking at him. It was more like looking through him.

When I realized he was standing there waiting for my answer, I quickly blinked and had to think for about five seconds to answer him.

Most of the time, I will give the boys something to do on their own. One of them will come to me and say, "I'm done, Mom!" and I will have to wrack my brain and think what it was I told him to do.

I can't even remember what people say to me five seconds after they've said it.

I do believe I am entering the period known as "dementia".