Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cultured 5 yr-old

I didn't realize just how cultured my 5-yr-old baby boy was until this morning. As I lay in bed contemplating whether or not to get up yet or stay under the warm covers, I overheard him sing, "It's snowing! ♪♫ Ha--lle-lu-jah! Ha--lle-lu-jah! ♫♪" (To the tune of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.)



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Split Pea Soup

I have had a lifelong hatred of split pea soup ever since my Mom made it when I was a kid.
D on the other hand, loves it. He recently got some Campbells split pea soup to try to get me to try it and see that it wasn't always the way I ate it growing up.
A day or two later I heard the boys talking about it.
#4: It looked like BARF!
#2: Yeah, that's why I didn't have any. I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it looked DISGUSTING! How are you supposed to eat something that makes you lose your appetite looking at it?

My sentiments exactly.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thanks

We went on a little day trip to the nearest W*lMart (just over an hour away) last Saturday to do some Christmas shopping. Since we got there around lunch time we stopped at Winco first and ordered a pizza, then did some grocery shopping while we waited for the pizza to be ready. Usually the boys can be a handful (or two) at the store, and they are especially hard to handle when we have driven a long way to go shopping. They were pretty good that day at Winco, with only a few minor incidents. Keeping in mind that we had other places to shop that day and I wanted them to have a good attitude about it, I thanked them all for being good in Winco.

#2: Thank you! (I assume for the pizza)
#1: Thank you.
#4: Thank you!
#3: You're welcome!

I think #3 was having a delayed reaction to my thanking them, but it came out sounding like he was saying you're welcome to everyone in the car.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Full Tithe Pear

Each year we have Tithing Settlement which is our opportunity to meet with our Bishop and verify our financial donations to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Today all eight of us went into the Bishop's Office together and reviewed that paying a full tithe means we donate 10% of our income to the Lord and His church. As Bishop H was talking about being full tithe payers, my first grader, who has a slight speech impediment, piped up (sporting a sheepish grin,) "We're not pears!"

Bishop H was stunned for a moment, "What?"

Still maintaining his signature sheepish grin, "We're not peyrs--we're not food!"

As Bishop H realized that 'payers' and 'pears' were homonyms in my first-grader's vocabulary, he couldn't hold back a chuckle.


I have experience and a testimony that voluntarily paying tithing, (which is used for the building and operations of our chapels, temples, and other church operations--bishops and other church leaders are volunteers,) results in temporal and spiritual blessings that surpass any loss from the financial sacrifice. After all, the Lord provides all of our living resources directly or indirectly, so tithing is just giving a little bit back to Him for building His church. The Church in turn blesses us more! There are no better investment returns than you get by investing through tithing!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Special occasions...

We have a lot of interesting conversations with the boys while we are driving places.
A while back we were on our way somewhere and we were talking about my Grandma and I told them the story about how I had felt like my Grandmother was there at my wedding. (She died when I was 14). I really love my Grandma and when I married D I felt like she was standing behind me and like I could feel her hand resting on my shoulder.
#3 was pretty interested in this story and was asking about it, and he wanted to know why Heavenly Father would make it okay for my Grandma to be there at my wedding. I told him that it was probably because it was a special occasion.
He thought about it for a while and then said, "Heavenly Father is a lot like Dad. He doesn't do special occasions very often."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

They Really Do Listen!

This weekend we hooked up the computer to the TV/Stereo and watched, via the Internet, the World-wide General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Adults soak up the five spiritual, inspiring two-hour sessions of listening to the President of the Church, other living Apostles, and other Church leaders (and listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir). However, for young kids its like sitting in church for two days watching older people stand in front of a microphone talking about 'boring' things all day long.


Although they will eventually learn to treasure this twice-per-year event for the spirit that is felt, for now we are hoping the kids will at least recognize the good feelings they get when the leaders of Jesus Christ's restored church speak.


I was pleasantly surprised when my middle son gave hints that he was actually listening more closely than I would ever have imagined:


T noticed the speakers said the word 'quote' frequently and started getting annoyed. Said, T, quote, "Why do they keep saying 'quote'?", end quote. In another session, he caught the phrase, "... said, quote, ....." and responded, "is 'quote' some one's name?!" I explained to him they say "quote" to show they are repeating the words that someone else said. Later, out of the blue he said, "The thing I didn't like about conference is they said, 'quote,' a lot."


In one session the speaker was talking about teaching, the role of the volunteers called (asked) to be teachers in the various congregations of the church, and the training resources available to them. T at least caught the topic enough to correct the speaker. The speaker said, "What are some of the principles of teaching and learning that we might identify...." T corrected him..."its principals, not principles."


I guess they really do listen even though all other indicators suggest otherwise!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hero Bride

I was very impressed with my sister-in-law who got married this last weekend.

Often times the bride and groom are so focused on each other and all the attention thrown at them, that its hard to watch out for others.

In particular, kids seem to get overlooked when it comes to weddings. (By everyone except the parents who walk around with a look of horror on their face the whole time.) Everything about weddings is so formal, and kids are not.

My middle son was looking and pointing at the wedding cake, when a concerned adult, worried he was going to touch it, warned him not to touch it. T is very sensitive. Especially when he interprets that he is being yelled at for something he didn't do or wasn't going to do.

To cool down, he went outside the building, which prompted more well-meaning adult attention. It took him a while to get over his hurt and frustration.

About an hour later, when the bride found out what happened, she demonstrated that her love of people overshadows high-and-mighty society's demand for formality. She took T to the wedding cake and said, "I want you swipe some frosting with your finger."

T hesitated as if contemplating whether it was a trap or not. After judging that she was serious, and that he had permission from the 'owner' of the event to do the thing he resisted the temptation of doing earlier, he quickly swiped his finger and received his reward for doing the right thing in the beginning amidst false accusations.

I don't know what his aunt did with the 'swiped' piece of cake. Maybe she ate it herself...but I do know that she loved my son enough to give some special attention he needed in her own special way.

For that show of love combined with other acts of selflessness that day, she is a Hero in my book.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Etuhno Mehwudge: A 6-yr-old Interviewed

Our son, K's (age 6) insights on Eternal Marriage (pronounced: Etuhno Mehwudge).



Note: Marriage and Sealing ceremonies in a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can seal a husband, wife, parents and their children together as a family unit for eternity (including after death). This doctrine is a key component of the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ...and one of the founding principles for the great interest/resources in Family History research. For more detailed information about LDS temples, please visit the official church website about temples:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mischief--The Early Stages.

Babies are so cute and innocent....
....or so they lead us to believe.
Here's lookin' at you, baby! (If you look closely you can see the gears turning in her mind as she calculates her master plan of future mischief.)

Babies are brilliant...we think they are fresh to the world, trying to figure how to use their new bodies and soaking in all the wonders of the world; but really, the first two years of a baby's life are spent calculating and planning out their 'Terrible Two" reign of terror.

Here, baby B sits in deep concentration as she plans out her seizure and control of the house and everyone in it.

Stealthy, undercover behavior executed to perfection as unsuspecting parents find joy in simple 'innocent' reactions. Its all part of the plan!
-----------------------------------
Baby B is now 15 weeks old (pictures taken a week earlier.) She smiles a lot now which is really fun. She loves music and dancing. She already turns towards the TV in a glazed trance when her brothers watch their shows or play video games (I'm pretty sure that's not hereditary??). She drools a lot, tries to stick her whole fist in her mouth...and she double-sneezes just like her dad. She loves to be outside in the fresh air. She loves warm showers/baths. And she already goes shopping all the time.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Lethal Lipstick...

I was at the store today with our eleven year old son #1 today. We ended up in the cosmetics section because I needed some nail polish. While I was looking for the clear polish he was standing next to me reading the names of some of the lipstick colors. He commented on how weird some of the names for lipstick colors were and said, "I wouldn't want to kiss a girl with lipstick that is named Fatal Red."
I replied, "Would you want to kiss a girl at all?"
"Well NO, but if I HAD to kiss a girl I wouldn't want to kiss one wearing Fatal Red lipstick."

As for me, I was just happy to hear that he wasn't interested in kissing any girls yet.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Little things make a big difference...

#4, who enjoyed the first day of school quite a bit, came home even more excited by the second day of school. In his words:
"School was great today! The corn dogs made it even MORE exciting!"
Ah, school lunches...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A New Law

"I know a good law..."

T (3rd grade) introduced his bill after a serious, but brief discussion about the government and why someone would want to be President of the United States.

"If someone has a lot of wall balls,....

" ...they should give one to me."

I see what was important to him on his first day of school today.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Applying Meanings: Obedience

School doesn't start until tomorrow, but my oldest already has math and vocabulary homework from meeting his teacher the other day. He did really well, but there was one question he answered that jumped out at me (the boxes with 'x' represent his answers):

Applying Meanings Directions: Circle the letter of each correct answer to the question below. A question may have more than one correct answer:

4. Which of the following usually learn obedience?

[x] (a) dogs [x] (b) soldiers [ ] (c) cats [ ] (d) children

No wonder parenting is such an up-hill battle.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Just because Ice Cream takes your tastebuds on a trip to Heaven with a side trip to paradise doesn't mean it fills you up. Sadly, it doesn't fill you up at all."
Today's quote courtesy of #1...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Only Smaller...

D was holding Baby B on Sunday at Church and #5 said "Baby B looks just like you only smaller! (pause) And with different clothes (pause) and CUTER!"

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Compliment?

The other day my eight-year-old, tell-it-how-he-sees-it, son got a Mr. Incredible sticker from his older brother who was rewarded for letting the nurse stick him with four immunization shots...

Mr. Incredible © 2004 Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. All Rights Reserved.

...after looking down at at the picture for a little bit, he ran to me and said, "Dad...your as fat as Mr. Incredible...you can be him!"

On the one hand, I'm not really flattered with sudden reminders of the obvious in this regard, but on the other hand, Mr. Incredible is a buff, strong super hero.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Two months already!

Baby B is two months old already!
The other day her big brother T aka #3 was making faces at her to get her to smile. He told #1 what face to make, and when #1 tried it B did not smile. #3 casually said, "It only works when her favorite brother does it."


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sweet Smile

I've been waiting for weeks to catch this with the camera...

Cures for the summertime blues

I have been collecting papercrafts on the computer for a while. Some of them are quite complicated and I may never get around to making them, but its nice to know I have them on file if I need them.

If your kids are bored this summer, here are a few of my favorite papercrafting sites.

Canon 3D Papercraft has a wide variety of paper models to download for free. You can even build a paper town complete with roads, train tracks, people, vehicles and buildings.

PaperToys.com has vehicles, animals, and several famous buildings. One thing I really like about this site is that many of their models can be downloaded in black and white so that you can color them yourself and don't have to use precious printer ink.

Making Friends is great for younger kids. There is a huge variety of paper doll patterns to be downloaded with various themes. You can download them in color or color them yourself. There are even cub scout and girl scout paper doll clothes and holiday clothes as well as different sports and other themes. We have used these in our co-op preschool and the kids love them.

Toy-A-Day is a blog done by a guy that makes simple paper toys using a basic template. His goal is to make one toy a day for a whole year. There are links to download toys on his blog. Favorite characters from movies, TV and video games can be found there and the models are easy to build. Joe, who runs the blog recently hosted a contest and asked people to design paper toys using his template. Three of our boys and I entered the contest and the boys have been having a lot of fun just using the template to make their own paper toys.

There are many more papercraft sites out there, so try one out today and beat the boredom!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Make your own beanbag balls

In my quest for ways to beat the summertime blues, I went to the website for Family Fun Magazine and looked up some crafts to do with the boys. This project was one of the first ones to catch my eye so I bought the supplies I needed and we made some today. You can follow the link to the project, or you can follow this tutorial.

For each beanbag/juggling ball you need the following:

A funnel, three balloons, (they say 11" balloons, but I used 12" and they turned out fine. I imagine that 9" balloons would work as well), and the filling of your choice. Their website called for lentils, but I used brown rice, and I have heard of people using birdseed or just dry beans as well. Rice is what I had, and it worked fine.

Take the first balloon and blow it up about halfway. Hold it closed like that for about 30 seconds and then let the air out. Using the funnel, fill the balloon with your filling. I found it helpful to squeeze the balloon to compact the filling inside so that I could fit more. Once the balloon is filled to your satisfaction (It took between 1/2 to 3/4 cups of rice for ours) make sure there is no filling in the neck of the balloon (squeeze it all down into the main part). Cut just the thick end of the neck off.

Next you will cut the whole neck off of the second and third balloons.

Stretch the second balloon over the first one, folding the neck of the first balloon over so that it will be smooth. Make sure the opening of the second balloon ends up opposite the bottom of the neck of the first balloon. Repeat this step with the third balloon, making sure the opening is once again opposite the opening of the previous balloon.

Here is our finished products. I bought themed balloons for 99 cents at a discount store. I thought it made the balls that much cooler. Its also a good idea to get multi colored balloons, that way if two people like the same color they can just choose a different color for the second balloon and you can still tell them apart.

These make great juggling balls. They are the right size and weight for it. Years ago I had bought a set of juggling balls and they were filled with flax seed. They were great, but I think flax seed is a bit on the spendy side.

We thought these were a fun project, and they are inexpensive to make and easy to replace if something happens to one. I also tried filling one up with cornstarch instead. It made for a lighter weight ball along the lines of a stress ball, but getting the filling in was much messier and more time consuming. I hope you enjoy this project!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Losing his memory...

#5 aka C just turned five. His teacher at church gives each kid in class a paper wrist band after each lesson in order to help the young kids in his class talk to their parents about what they learn on Sunday.
Every night at dinner D asks the boys about what they learned or did that day. When it came to #5's turn we asked him if he had a different teacher today. He said "Sammy's Mom taught, but she didn't give me a wrist band, so I don't remember what I learned about today."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Many Faces of An Angel

Today our daughter had her baby blessing! In recognition of this very special occasion, her aunt made her a beautiful blessing dress. She looked like an angel:

Angels can bring a feeling of peace and comfort!


Angel Smile

Singing with the Heavenly Hosts...or do I just feel tired all of a sudden.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Birthday #5!

Sweet baby boy...

One year old

On his second Birthday

Three years and enthusiastic

Four years old...so cute

I can't believe my baby boy is going to be in Kindergarten this fall!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Small Price For Fun

Yesterday we noticed a red mark on our four-year-old son's forehead.

Mom: "Did you bump your head?"

Our son promptly put on his 'pouty-face' complete with wide-pseudo-sad eyes and protruding bottom lip: "Yes."

Mom: "What happened?"

Son: "I was jumping on T's [bunk] bed and kept bumping my head [on the ceiling.]"

Then, without breaking his 'pouty-face', the corners of his mouth curved up into a sheepish smile and he added, "...it was kind of fun."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

She is HERE!

I thought about other clever ways to phrase it, but really, I am just plain tired, so bare bones it is.

Thursday at 4:00 a.m. I was sleeping soundly and I suddenly woke up to a huge gush of water. My water had broken. I sat up, woke up D and tried to stop gushing water everywhere. I was not having any contractions, but standard procedure when your water breaks is to head to the hospital. We called a friend to stay at our house with the boys, called my Mom to let her know she could come from Vancouver in the morning, and called the hospital to let them know we were coming.

We got to the hospital at 5 a.m., checked in and got hooked up to the monitor. Since my water was broken they would not let me labor in the tub, and I wasn't really in labor anyhow.

I got hooked up to an I.V. (which took 4 painful tries) and they started me on a pitocin drip. To make a long story short, I spent all day on pitocin which they kept increasing in an effort to get me to some kind of productive labor. It was very tiring, and did nothing to get me ready for birth. At three weeks early, the baby was just not ready and although the baby was head down, she was too high up in my uterus. By that evening I was feeling pretty discouraged (I had expected to have the baby relatively quickly since my last labor had been 5 hours total). They took me off the pitocin and my labor stopped so we decided to rest for the night. In the meantime they gave me a couple of doses of something to help my cervix get ready for birth, and around 1:30 a.m. I went into labor (Finally!) The baby was finally born at 4:40 a.m. on Friday the 23rd, just over 24 hours after the whole adventure started.

So...the part you have all been waiting for...Welcome to Baby B! Yes, its a girl and she was 6 lbs 15.5 oz and 19 and 3/4" long. I know what you all really want to see are some pics, so here are a couple of them to keep you happy. Baby B and I came home this afternoon and she is trying to settle in with all the noise and chaos of five brothers...
On her Birth Day...

Ready to come home from the Hospital...

Needless to say, I may not be posting very often for a while...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cool is Cool

Today at church our youngest was performing his usual routine of doing everything in his power to not go to his primary class, so I took him with me to drop something off in the van. Playing tug-of-war with him the whole way, I decided to see if he wanted to take a walk.

I took him around the block, but the sun was shining and the air was unusually hot for the north Oregon coast for this time of year. I was starting to get pretty toasty walking in the sun with my dark suit on.

Assuming he was feeling the heat too, I attempted to persuade him to go to his class, "Wouldn't you rather go and sit in the nice, cool church?"

My five-year old replied, "No, church isn't cool,...it's boring."

I guess I should stop using 'cool' in its slang form so much at home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Don't Wanna Grow Up...


Our youngest has been extra cautious about spiders lately. The innocent non-scary ones hang out in the upper corners of our bathroom all the time. If he sees one in there, he won't go to the bathroom until I capture and release it back to the wild (the backyard). He especially gets nervous when they move. He anticipates where it might go inevitably expecting it to come his direction.


Its been a while since he's complained in his quiet, whiny-scared voice about a spider.

But today, out of the blue he approached me in his high, sad little voice accompanied by a pouty face, "I don't want to be a grown-up."

"Why?"

"Because then you'll be high enough to see the spiders."

Trying to make him feel better I asked, "Don't you think you won't be scared of spiders when you're a grown up?"

Not catching the double negative, he reiterated his stance about being forever scared of spiders, "Yesss."

There was a brief pause in our conversation as if he was reflecting momentarily on our conversation. Perhaps he was realizing he couldn't escape becoming a grown-up..and that it might not be so bad.

Then he said, with pouty face and quiet whiny voice, "Do you know what I like about being a kid?....

"...because it takes so long to be a grown-up."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Spelling Bee

Last week #1 and #2 participated in the school spelling bee. #1 got first for the grade levels through 5th at the school. Today he got to go and participate in the County spelling bee. I was surprised to find out that they don't make the kids stand up and spell each word out loud like they did when I was a kid. Instead they had a list of words that they read off and the kids wrote down the spellings. Then they added up who got the most right and picked the winners that way. #1 got second place in his division for the county. I thought that was pretty cool.
He was happy to get second because 1st place would have to advance to state, and would have gone to the county fair as well, and he just didn't want to do either of those things.
Good job #1!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Examples of selflessness...

Today was my birthday. During our dinner conversation, D asked the boys what they would get me for my birthday if they could get ANYTHING they wanted to. I found their answers to be interesting, and somewhat revealing.
#1 said a new car.
#2 couldn't decide...and later decided on a new TV
#3 said a generator (which would enable them all to watch TV and play video games in the event of one of our frequent power outages here on the coast.)
#4 said a Harry Potter book (even though I already have all of them), then when he found out I have them all he said a Harry Potter CD (meaning the books on CD).
#5 said he would buy me a Thomas the Tank Engine DVD.

All in all it was a good birthday. I have realized how blessed I am to have all that I do have. While there are always things that would be useful, we are blessed to have all of our basic needs and many luxuries. Our house isn't the nicest house, but it keeps us safe and dry. What more could I ask for? I have five healthy boys and a baby on the way and the pregnancy is going well. My husband is wonderful, supportive and kind. He loves me and tells me I am beautiful regularly, even when I feel less than pretty. Truly, I am blessed.

Monday, April 21, 2008

They grow up too fast...

That was the thought that went through my head on friday when I picked up #3 from school. #2 was on a field trip, and so I picked up #3 since he had no one to walk home with him. On the way to the car he slipped his hand in mine, and instead of a tiny kid hand I realized that there was a big kid hand in mine. How long before he doesn't want to hold my hand at all? I had better enjoy holding his hand while I can.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Happy Birthday #3!

#3 was born with a lot of hair...

He has always enjoyed water, dirt and any combination of the two...


I can hardly believe he is already 8 years old!

Happy BIRTHDAY #3!!!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Conversations about growing up...

Tonight as we sat around the table eating our strawberry shortcake for dessert, #2 brought up the topic of growing up. He stated that sometimes he wishes he could be a kid forever, and sometimes he wishes he could be a grown up now. His reasoning for wanting to stay a kid involved that its more fun to not be smart. In his words..."You know how I'm really smart? I have more fun when I act like I'm not smart." This has led him to believe that being dumb is more fun than being smart...
#3 piped up and said, "The number one reason I want to be a grown up is because then I can do whatever I want...except at work, and number two grown ups don't get throw up sick as often as kids do."
Then #4 and I had the following conversation...
#4: I want to be a grown up so I can play the Wii whenever I want to.
Me: That's assuming you get a job and buy a Wii of your own.
#4 (with big, innocent eyes): But I'm going to live here for a while after I grow up!
What a smart kid...planning to grow up and mooch off of Mommy forever so he doesn't have to act like a grown up. Of course #2 told him he won't feel like he wants to live here once he is a teenager.

Through all of these conversations D was just shaking his head and mentioning how hard it is being a grown up. D spends the most time of all of us doing things he has to do for work, for church or for other things, and he plays the Wii less than any of us because he is always so busy being a grown up.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Odd Spring Break

For me spring means brighter days, warmer weather, and reviving life. Already we've seen crocus blooms and daffodils. The sun play longer. The grass is ready to mow. The trees' leaves are beginning to show.

This past week was the much anticipated Spring Break. However, the Spring part of Spring Break seemed to elude us...





...almost.


What comes to mind when you think of Spring?

#1 (11): Easter
#2 (10): Flowers
#3 (8): Boiyiong
#4 (6): Spring Suit Mario
#5 (4): Spring Vacation

What did you do to celebrate Spring during Spring Break?

#1: I played in the snow
#2: I played the Wii
#3: Play on the Wii all day
#4: Show people the Wii
#5: I forgot

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wii Unity

I have always been pretty much an anti video game kind of Mom. Nothing against video games, just that I knew that my boys would become obsessive over owning a game system the way they have obsessed about their computer time. The way we have it arranged is that they each have one day a week that they get computer time, and they get two hours. Two hours seems like a lot, but when its only one day a week it really isn't.
Last year we had a chance to play a nintendo wii at Grandpa's house. The boys of course, loved it, and we were surprised that we enjoyed it too. The boys knew better than to ask about getting one though because I had vowed we would not ever get a game system. A lot of time and thought went into the decision to change my mind though. At Christmas the boys received Christmas money, as did D and I. We decided to save our money up to get a Wii. However, we didn't want to just go out and get one and by this time they were pretty much sold out anyhow. So we saved our money and we devised a points system. Each of us in the family needed to earn 1000 points in order to be allowed to play on the wii. We set our money aside and finally bought the wii at the end of February, but left it in its packaging as none of us had reached our 1000 point goal yet. D set up a chart in Excel with a graph that showed how many points we each had and we would update points for that day in the evenings at bed time. The boys earned small amounts of points for getting ready for school on time, laying their clothes out the night before, brushing teeth, taking showers and etc. They earned points for doing their homework and they earned points for doing chores. Eventually they would ask if there was something they could do to earn Wii points. We came up with special projects, extra chores and etc. Only one of five of our boys knew how to tie his shoes. Mostly because I have always gotten them shoes that either velcro or have elastic in them, and partly because of fine motor skill problems. We offered 50 points if they could learn how to tie shoes. Now four out of five know how to do it (we aren't too worried about the four year old yet) and the one that already knew earned points for teaching his brothers how. The four year old earned points for learning to write his own name, and there were many chores and a lot of hard work on everyone's part to earn points. D and I did extra cleaning projects around the house, and were motivated to do things we had been putting off. We were also motivated to earn our points first so that we could get to understand the system before the boys started playing. Now everyone except for one has earned all of their points, and the one left will probably earn the rest of his points by the end of today.
We are resetting our 1000 points and once everyone has earned the 1000 again we will buy a new game for the wii that we decide on together. One of our rules is that it has to be a multiplayer game. Part of what changed our mind about getting a game system was that the wii allows for multiple controllers and we can have a lot of family members play at the same time. There are also a lot of E rated games available. Playing on the wii is not going to be an every day occurrence, and D and I will decide when we will have special family wii days and fun things like wii tournaments that we can all participate in. We are looking at it as a way to bring our family closer together, and to teach all of us about the value of hard work with our points system. So far it is going well.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Clean Air

How often do we joke with our kids that its extra protein when they get grossed out by a bug in the picnic punch, yet we wouldn't dare drink it either? Nor would we eat our macaroni salad with a utensil that fell in a mud puddle.

We are careful about putting contaminated things in our mouths, yet we may not be as careful about what contaminating things come out of our mouths.

At least with contaminated food, we can throw it out so another person is not afflicted; however, once the words escape our mouth, there is no way to retract them and prevent them from contaminating the ears of all who directly or indirectly hear them.

S (second oldest) was complaining the other day about how he said prayers everyday for help to resist the temptation to swear and to get the bad words out of his mind because at school "all the boys", including his church friend, say bad words. I'm proud of him for choosing to not swear.

Then yesterday, I saw a national News clip about a 14-yr-old boy who started the No Cussing Club (NCC) and convinced his Mayor to establish a No Cussing Week.



Anyone can join the NCC by visiting their website: http://www.nocussing.com/. I am pleased to say, I'm following my son's example and the example of this 14 year-old boy and our family joined the No Cussing Club! I printed out our certificate and I will take a copy of the certificate to put up in my office at work.

Imagine how much more intelligent people would sound and how much better attitudes would be if everyone stopped swearing and cussing!

Here's the link to a fun video the 14-year-old founder of the No Cussing Club put together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTNv2dOBFJk

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Childhood fears...

Puberty seems to be a fairly frequent topic in our family these days. This last week we were visiting family...
#2: When I go through puberty, I won't be myself anymore.
Me: Who will you be then?
#1: He'll still be himself, just an angsty version of himself.

Then last night #4 came downstairs to use the bathroom after bed time. He said he was afraid to go alone and wanted one of us to stand outside the door and wait for him. In the past it has been a fear of werewolves that kept him from going to the bathroom alone after dark. We fixed the problem by putting a new curtain on the window so he couldn't see the dark outside. I asked him what the problem was since the curtain was up and he said in a very sincere and frightened voice, "I'm scared...of PUBERTY."
I couldn't help it, I busted up laughing. He didn't find it amusing and went on to ask his Dad if puberty is real or not. D replied that it was.
We later found out that #2 had told #4 that puberty is a monster under his bed, so we had to explain to him that puberty is something that happens to your body when you get to a certain age.
"What does it do?" He asked us. We gave examples of zits, growing a beard (for boys) and etc. and I mentioned that it would probably make him like girls.
"I don't want to be a girl!" There was true fright in his voice. I told him he wouldn't turn into a girl, but he might want to marry one after puberty. His eyes got huge and he said "Uh oh!"
I am not sure we calmed his fears, we may have made them worse. Maybe the monster under the bed is easier to deal with than growing up to like girls and get married.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy Birthday #1!

#1 aka J is turning 11 today. Here are a few pics from over the years...
Baby boy!

Three and a half years old

Awww...Six years old

Cub Scout...Eight years old

Last Summer, age 10



Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dinnertime conversations...

#4: All babies start out fat and chubby.
#5: No they don't! Babies start out as a spiky ball!



Earlier that day I had taken #5 to Costco where he flipped through a children's book on the human body. There was a section on the beginning of life, which included a small picture of an egg being fertilized. #5 who is only four years old, pointed to the picture and asked me what that was. I replied that that is how a baby starts. He must have remembered and it stuck in his head. Thus, babies start out as a spiky ball!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hydrothermia

We were at the beach yesterday looking at tidepools and taking some pictures. D went ahead of us and climbed up on some tall rocks so he could take pictures. We waited for him to get done. For a long time he was standing there silhouetted against the sky while he took some pictures of a lighthouse out at sea.
#4 noticed D and asked me: Does Daddy have hydrothermia?
Me: No, Daddy doesn't have hypothermia.
#4: Then why is he just standing there not moving?

I thought it was cute that #4 thought Daddy was too cold to move. It was cold, but pretty warm for February.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Relish In Old Bottles

After reading the label on a bottle of pickle relish, #2 expressed disgust it had been around for over 100 years. We explained that the company that made the relish was 100 years old, not the product.

A brief moment later, #1 said, if the relish was 100 years old, it would be called relic.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If it weren't for puberty...

#2: If it weren't for puberty I couldn't wait to be a teenager. Then I could drive...

Gold nuggets of wisdom my friends...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Brotherly Love

From T's (7-yr-old) personal prayer tonight:

"Please help me to not get hurt; Please help my family to not get hurt,...

[a crooked smile crept up on his face]

"...except for J" [his oldest brother]

Who needs Calvin and Hobbes when you can live it every day?

Dinner Conversations...

Every night at dinner DMo will ask the boys what they learned that day. Sometimes they they can't come up with anything, but usually they have at least something they remember talking about or learning about at school.
The other day #1 said that he learned about the horrors of puberty in health class so we asked him what some of them were. He mentioned things like pimples, and B.O. #2 piped up that starting to like girls would be one of those things too.
I pointed out that #1 is almost 11 and that the horror for him could start soon. DMo mentioned that he was messed up back when he was 11, and that he cried over all kinds of little things. I made a comment that he must have done all his crying back then because I have only seen him cry once in the last 13 years. #1 was curious and asked me when I had seen Dad cry, and I replied honestly, "When you were born."
Somehow it came out sounding wrong, and everyone (including #1) busted up laughing.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

4 Year-old Spelling Lessons

Today our 4-year-old told me very proudly and excitedly:

Now I know how to spell CTR!

C-T-R.

[note: CTR stands for 'Choose The Right.']

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our newest Mischief Maker

We had an ultrasound on Friday. This shot is of the baby's face. As usual with ultrasounds the details are a little bit on the fuzzy side, because ultra sounds are in 2D and just represent a cross section. With this particular shot we got lucky in that you can see the baby's eyelid and that the eyes are closed. Other details that are easy to pick out are the eyebrow bones and the shape of the skull. We are almost to 21 weeks! Only 19 more to go!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Deep Thoughts by T

As church began this morning my second-grade son was surprisingly calm and quite sitting on my lap.

Suddenly in the middle of the opening hymn, he looked up and said confidently:

"I think there's no such things as bottomless pits."

...Didn't see that one coming.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The "You've Got Your Hands Full" Rating

I've learned to determine how well an outing with the boys went based on the "You've Got Your Hands Full" rating. Just like the popular TV shows where the audience gets to vote for the winner, the "You've Got Your Hands Full" rating is determined people around us. Just like golf, a low score is better.

The votes come in about three degrees:

1. The courtesy vote. (Sometimes called the "I can't believe you have so many kids" vote, or occasionally, the 'been there done that" vote.) This is not really a count against us--its like the freebie vote. As we walk through the store with kids hanging all over the grocery cart, or doing everything but walking in a straight line towards our destinations, almost expectantly someone (usually a couple or a mom) kind of chuckles and says, "You've got your hands full."

2. The silent vote. Most of the votes are of this type. This vote is cast when a clear reaction occurs by an innocent bystander after noticing us. Sometimes the reaction is a look of disgust as if to say, "can't you control your kids?" Most often, though, it's a silent look of compassion for the suffering we parents go through when no power on earth can get our kids to cooperate. Sometimes its combined with a crooked smile, as if to say, "glad it's you and not me."

3. The vocal vote. This is the most powerful vote. This is where people straight-out say, "You've got your hands full!" because its too impolite to say what they are really thinking. These are the most painful votes for parents to endure...and usually lead to social isolation until the kids move out and finally understand for themselves what parents have been telling them their whole lives.

Example:

One dark and stormy night shortly before Christmas I ventured out to Costco alone with my three youngest boys. (note I didn't even have all five boys) Our goal was to get two or three simple items--an easy in-and-out job, no problem.

The mission started out very successfully, then suddenly, we turned the corner and there were samples!!

Like a fish to a shiny lure, (including the big googly eyes) my three young boys flocked to the table like metal shavings to a magnet. Tilting their heads up and looking down their noses to see what treat they might find, they realized it was cheese spread--the gross kind, but different flavors. In a flash, with lightning speed, my youngest started grabbing crackers, saying I don't like that, putting it back, then grabbing a different flavor.

Meanwhile the other two, bailed at sight of the 'disgusting' samples and started down the aisle on their own aimless path. The poor lady preparing the samples gave a half smile (vote #1--silent vote) as, one after another, she grabbed the now contaminated crackers and put them in the garbage. I couldn't tell if she was frustrated that he kept grabbing them or if she was kind of excited to get rid of more of them so she could go home. I could feel the piercing eyes over my shoulder from passersby as they watched with dread as my son slowly wiped out their chances of getting a sample. (at least 2 silent votes)

The trip went down hill from there. It seemed like years trying to drag (physically and verbally) the three boys the last fifty feet to the check-out while they begged to look for more samples. After all its not fair that they didn't like the last sample. (I'm sure we got at least two more silent votes.)

Finally we made it to the counter. The boys were very clever here. They knew I would be distracted by the purchase transaction and wouldn't be able to step away once I was committed to the transaction.

So as the lady rang up the sale and I tried as fast as I could to swipe the card and get out, the boys decided to tease and chase each other around. They were loud and even started hurting each other. Here I was helpless trying to move-on so I could do something about it.

The checkout stand at Costco has to be one of the worst places to for kids to act up. You have a huge line of people all focused at the same target. Not only do they have a front row seat to the drama performed in front of them, but you are the one thing blocking them from their ultimate goal--to get out and go home.

So the dilemma is do I hold up all these people to chase my kids around, or do I pray the kids will maintain some degree of caution and responsibility so I can finish and let these poor folks behind me move on. That's quite the dilemma--with little or no time to analyse your decision!

In the end, the two ladies helping at the checkout stand each said, "You've got your hand full"--and one of the customers behind me in line said, "You've got your hands full." (3 painful vocal votes.) That doesn't count the myriad of silent votes on that long embarrassing walk, with the groceries and struggling kids in my arms, from the check out to where that lady draws that ironic smiley face on your receipt.

Total: 8+ "Sorry, you are not a winner, try again."

Nope! No Thanks.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Some Disneyland Pics

Posing with their Mickey Mouse Suckers

Cinderella decorates for Christmas


This was on the last day in the parks, can you tell I am tired?


One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Lego Store...