Friday, August 16, 2013

Eyes straight ahead

I walked into the bathroom to put up some clean towels. My 8 year old was going to the bathroom.

T: "Look Momma! I'm peeing with my eyes closed."

M: "What?!"

Laughter. A proud smile.

"Uh, The seat is down. There's pee on the seat."

T: "Not much." Pointing. "Just a little over here."

M: "Well, I don't want to sit on that. Here (handing him tissue), wipe it up."

T: "I don't want to touch it..."

M: "Neither do I. Go to it."

Starting this coming week, the boys are going to take a more active role in cleaning the bathrooms. I am certain the chore is going to be met with complaints and lackadaisical effort. I am determined. These wonderful boys of mine need to be more careful. No more proud moments peeing blindfolded (or with eyes closed, as the case may be). 

If you have boys, or if you know one (even if he is a child turned man), you have to read this: 15 Rules for Peeing.  You may chuckle to yourself. You may laugh. You will grimace. But most of all, you will remember that boys think differently. Boys of all ages need bathroom rules. And, Rule 16 would have to do with not peeing in the shower.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday Thanks Tank #199

I am thankful for these things and more:

coffee in the morning
a successful frugal shopping trip
a recent camping trip
southern living magazine
a bouquet of flowers
a family hike
2 pregnant friends
a good visit at the allergist's office
a 2nd practice that went better than the 1st
homemade popsicles
my son's trip to camp
discovering photos that other people took of my son at camp
a rare afternoon of showers
the smell of rain
18 years of marriage

Friday, July 19, 2013

Trying to Keep Up

My baby, my first baby, is not home. Jonathan is experiencing his first full week away from home. I am experiencing my first week without one of my kids. It feels strange, wrong, wonderful and exciting all at once.

I keep having the odd feeling of something not being quite right. I keep telling myself, "This is it. This is the beginning of letting go." But I also know that letting go started a long time ago. I cannot believe he is so independent. He cannot be on his own at camp. How is that possible? Never mind that I was younger than him when I went to my first summer camp. It just such a different feeling from the other side. Is this how all parents feel? Is this how my mom felt? My other kids have been missing their big brother. I've told them more than once that Jonathan is having a great time and while he probably misses us at times (like at night or early in the morning), he won't admit to it when he gets home. I'm telling them that because I am reminding myself.

He's reached that age where being with your parents is not cool. Affection toward your parents in public? Out of the question. I hugged my boy in the privacy of my own kitchen before we took him to the drop off point. I hugged him tight. He hugged me back. He hugged me. In parking lot, he smiled at me. His eyes met my eyes. He said bye. My heart was bleeding. I exaggerate. I do. But, I was one of the last parents lingering in the parking lot. My husband had to suggest that we go ahead and leave - as to not be the very last parents hanging around as they loaded up and drove away.

He is stretching for independence. Running toward it in my eyes. Standing firmly in it, in his eyes.

This is a milestone for me. It's huge. It's small. I know that there are many more changes to come as he become a teenager next year. I know there are so many more milestones for me as he grows into a man.

I keep thinking about other mothering milestones I've experienced with my first born. I remember the surprise of emotions when I packed his first lunch for school (The Packed Lunch). It's been 6 years. 6 years!

He's grown. Of course he's grown. But, the hard part is realizing that along with getting bigger, he is growing up.
September 2007

June 2013

I am trying to keep up- recognizing the changes, loosening the grip, being readily available, and dedicated to prayer.

All the while, this week has kept me wondering about him: Is he having fun? Is he tired? Is he being picked on? Is he eating? Is he brushing his teeth? Does he miss me? What is he doing? Did he get sunburned? Will there be any pictures of him taken during the week? Did he pack everything he needed? Did he play paintball? Is he happy?

Motherhood is such a journey.

Speaking of a journey- I cannot wait for my son to get home tomorrow.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Such a mess~ Thursday Thanks Tank #198

It's Thursday. Where did the week go? This summer has been flying by...I cannot believe there are only 3 weeks of summer break left. I am very thankful for summer break. I've enjoyed time at the water park, running, chauffeuring my son to and from soccer camp, having neighborhood kids over, going camping, chauffeuring my kids to and from swim lessons, having the whole family at VBS -working and participating, late evenings, slow mornings, eating outside on the patio and more... tonight we are headed to the drive-in movies. I love summer. I am thankful for the relaxed schedule and my messy house. My house is so incredibly messy right now because I have been taking more time off than normal to have fun with the family. The living room is a spread of toys. The kids are in the middle of it right now. We were going to clean the toys up today but we decided -after very little deliberation- it could stay until tomorrow. I am behind, so behind,  on cleaning clutter piles, doing the laundry, cleaning the floors... okay, I'm not even going to keep thinking about all of the things I am behind on. The mess- this current mess- is just a sign that my time has been filled with more important activities. Oh, I do find it hard to relax in the mess... but somehow -much to my amazement- I've manage to keep up with the important and let go of what can be put aside. It is summer and I am enjoying it as much as I can. The mess can wait. I anticipate another night when my husband and I call the kids to "come quick" because we hear the ice cream truck. I look forward to the next night of talking to my husband as we sit on our front porch swing. It will get dark as we talk. The kids will be running around outside in their bare feet that are so dirty they look black. They will be up later much than they should. And, it will be wonderful.
I love summer.

I am thankful for summer break.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lake Tahoe on the 4th~ A few favorite moments

After the Run to the Beach Trail Run at Kings Beach.

Zephyr Cove is a happy place.

I love the smiles I saw at Zephyr Cove.

My beach babe building a castle at Nevada Beach.

Mr. Sandman

Sunset at Nevada Beach

Our view of the Lake Tahoe fireworks from Nevada Beach was outstanding. (cell phone photo)

Family photo at twilight.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

One location, worlds apart, united by a need for love.

Tonight at VBS:

A mom yelled at her son during the session opening. It started on the way in from the line up outside and continued into the sanctuary of church. She wasn't really yelling. It was just really loud admonishment that couldn't be ignored by bystanders. He needed to be grateful. He needed to put on a happy face. Sometimes it takes a lot to make him happy. Could he just be okay? She needed to go. It was the one night she needed to be somewhere. Okay, FINE. Just one more song. Look at all of the other happy kids. The longer she stayed, the later she'd be. She just wanted to go to her Bible Study. He wanted her to stay and hear the songs.

Tonight at VBS:
A teenage kid stole an iphone. The evidence is based on the find my iphone app and where he was when the phone was turned back on. The find-my-iphone app pointed to a bus stop where he was waiting to take a bus to his group home. He was volunteering at church to get community service. His family life is complicated. He doesn't have the love of a family. From what little I know, his mom is a drug addict who isn't in his life and his dad left him and his brother with a girlfriend. The girlfriend (who is a member of the church) has legal custody of the teenager's brother but the teenager is in a group home and has services of social workers.

Two boys, worlds apart, in one location.

The boy that was yelled at was in my 1st grade group at VBS.
The iphone was one of ours. We lost an iphone. I have a heavy heart.

Two worlds collided. Such extremes. Two boys who desperately desire love.

Tonight, my boys and I prayed for a teenager whose needs are vast.
Tonight, I am struck by the diverse needs around me.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Going for the Great

In March, I ran my first 5k: The Reno Leprechaun Chase. It was exhilarating. I ran well- or better than I expected.

Something's happening to me and I can't explain how it's happening- even to myself. I'm really enjoying running.
When I don't get a run in, I feel sad.
I find myself searching for local races by month.
I am not sure where this running journey is going to take me. I just know, I can't stop.
I'm loving it.
I enjoy running.

In May, I ran my 2nd 5k: The Reno Moms on the Run race. It was awesome. The race was on Mother's Day. My family came to the race to cheer me on. I had a slower time. Still- I raced and I loved it.

My husband dyed shirts pink and the kids told him what they wanted to write on them. Sweetest thing ever!

Shortly after that race, my oldest son asked if he could run a race.

We've been running together in the evenings. It's incredible. The time together after our runs is especially sweet. After a few weeks of running, his desire to run is strong. It's exciting to see. I couldn't run with him last night because I had a date with my husband. My son ran on his own during the day.

He runs his first race on Sunday. It's our first race together. I am excited for this run because my times during training are getting faster. I am excited for my son. I look forward catching up with him at the finish line.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday Thanks Tank #197

I am thankful for these things and much more:

early morning runs
evening runs with my 12 year old
new shoes
the corner lemonade stand put on by the kids on our street
a successful (fairly quiet) trip to the library with all 4 kids
a new cooking light dessert recipe that the whole family loves
summer break and slowing down
camping trips on the calendar
date night
my dad
selling things on craig's list
finding a great deal on craig's list
having passes to the local water park
date night - oh wait, I already mentioned that one...

I'm headed out to enjoy a kid-free evening.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Food Fight!

My son has asked to have a food fight since he was five years old. He doesn't even remember it but his desire started after watching the food fight in the movie, Hook.

We decided a food fight would be a good way to celebrate turning 12.

He agree to let his his friends smash his face in a cake to start off the fight. As we sang happy birthday, his friend treated him to some cake.

Then it was all out war.

My son was very happy.

When the food fight was over, we brought out a cooler of water balloons. This was an excellent way to finish the fight.

The balloons were fun but they didn't wash anything off the kids.
My husband had fun working on that.

Before and After:

(The boys thought the food fight was epic. My five year old daughter, on the other hand, said it was the "worst party ever." Getting splattered with food proved to be too much for her.)

Food Fight Tips and Lessons Lessons Learned:
  • Be prepared for a lot of clean-up.
  • Use drop cloths. We taped plastic sheeting for painting on our garage door and on the sides of our house. We also draped it over the bushes and flower beds next to the driveway.
  • Expect the possibility of an impromptu block party. Our neighbors, even neighbors we don't know that well, came outside, laughed, and watched the fun. 
  • If you have flour in your food fight, you should have the kids wear goggles. We considered goggles but my 12 year old did not like the idea. Getting flour in your eyes is not fun. 
  • Spaghetti noodles are fun to throw. They are not easy to clean up. If you use noodles, they need to be cooked al dente. Even then, they will be difficult to wash away and clean up as they get soggy.
  • Sodas are fun to shake up and spray at other people.
  • Have a cake to start the food fight. One of my sons says it was his favorite food to throw.
  • Water balloons are a nice way to end the fight. The food was gone, the kids were a mess, and there was a little lull in the mood. The water balloons were the perfect ending.  But note, they will do nothing (nothing) to clean up the kids.
  • Have a plan for washing the kids. Have everything you need ready. If you don't think of everything (or even if you do) you may be washing smears of food off of door handles and door frames. (Washing hands before coming inside should be a must. I could still smell mustard in my entry way for a day.)
  • Have a plan for washing the kids. Have everything you need ready. (Did I already say that? I was tending to my crying daughter and desperately wished I had been more prepared for cleaning up the kids.)
  • Go to the dollar store for food. I bought ketchup and mustard and other items that are usually more expensive at our local 99 cent store.
  • Raid your pantry for food. 
  • Food we used in the fight: cake, spaghetti with sauce, jello, beans, whipped cream pies, soda, mustard, ketchup, mashed potatoes
    • Cake- I made an extra cake just for the purposes of starting the food fight. 
    • Spaghetti- we added some sauce to make it more fun. Cook noodles al dente. Be warned again, noodles are hard to clean up.
    • Jello- I raided my pantry for jello and while it was colorful, it wasn't that fun to throw. (I think pudding would be better.)
    • Beans- Baked beans and black beans. We had beans because I had them on-hand in our pantry. 
    • Whipped cream pies- My son really wanted to throw pies. Pies are expensive. I bought several aluminum containers and the cheapest off-brand cool-whip to make our "pies." The boys reused the containers to scoop up other food and throw food pies at each other.
    • Soda- Spraying soda is fun.
    • Mashed potatoes. Use instant potatoes. Instant potatoes are easy to make. Plus, a box of instant mashed potatoes makes a lot of potatoes.
    • Ketchup and mustard- I couldn't let the food fight happen without ketchup and mustard. The mustard stained the shirts (the only thing that did) and was hard to clean up (off of bath mats and the like). I might skip mustard if we ever do this again. 
  • If you have stained shirts, you can bleach them and re-color them with color dye from a craft store. That is what we did and it worked perfectly for pink shirts to wear to local cancer benefit race on Mother's Day.
  • Take pictures and video. Get pictures printed for the kids involved. All of the boys had a blast but seeing their faces when they looked in the mirror afterwards was priceless. Provide the kids with pictures so they can remember how much fun they had and prove it to their families and friends.
After the kids were cleaned up, we had my son's real birthday cake and a night of playing video games and wrestling ensued. More than once, I heard one of the boys say, "That was epic!" 

I am linking up with We Are That Family's Works-For-Me-Wednesday. The food fight was a blast. I thought it would be good to share what worked well. Email if you have any questions.

Friday, June 07, 2013


It's summertime.
Summer doesn't officially start until June 21st but summer has arrived at my house. School is over for the school year. We are letting the kids stay up a little later. They are sleeping in. We are eating more fresh fruit. We had a water balloon fight on Wednesday. I got soaked and it was fantastic. The kids also had a water gun fight. We are headed to the water park today. We've been eating popsicles and ice cream on cones. We eat dinner on our back patio. The kids had a lemonade stand with some neighborhood friends yesterday. My husband and I sat on our front porch swing this morning before the kids woke up.

I'm loving the start of summer.

Make no mistake...

School is over for the school year. I am adjusting to having all 4 kids home, plus whichever friends stop by. The kids are staying up later so I have less "me time" at night. The kids sleep in but fight over who woke up first, or even who won because they got the most sleep. I am sad when I have to throw out berries that got mushy before they were eaten. The water balloons had to be swept up. And, sometimes kids get tired of getting sprayed with cold water. I'm anticipating at least one kid not being ready to leave the water park when it is time to go. Popsicles melt and ice cream falls off the cone. Sometimes we see bugs or (gasp) bees outside when we eat dinner. My kids didn't think the money was split up fairly after the lemonade stand. I might have mentioned yard work when I was sitting with my husband on the porch swing.

Summer isn't perfect. It's packed full of fun.  It's wonderful. And, it's real life.
I'm gonna enjoy every minute of summer as best I can.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Words: Parmesan cheese

I made a coconut cake for the first time yesterday. My husband loves coconut.

"Why is there Parmesan cheese all over the cake?!" David, age 9

I used this recipe: Coconut Cake. It was delicious (and I don't like coconut very much).