Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Here at the good ol' homestead, it seems we are a lot like other homesteads the world over. We honor the 'Father of the House' and totally appreciate that he goes out in to the world each and every day to provide for us so that we can homeschool, read wonderful books out loud, play games, have tether ball tournaments, bake, veg, and attempt to keep up somewhat with the housework and laundry. Hey, a guy needs clean clothes when he heads out to swim with the sharks, doesn't he? But deep down, we all know who runs the house. Mom.

Last year Anita Renfroe paid tribute to Moms with her wonderful, humorous ditty called Momsense. See it and read the words here. Recently, she was encouraged to pay homage to the men of the house as well so here's her new ditty, "Dadsense".

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Fwowers Are Still Awive!!!

You heard it here, first. Laura's flowers are still alive. The flowers on her pull ups that is. No longer are they cut short in their prime, melting in to the background, blending in to a bluish tinge where once they stood tall and proud. NO! They are alive! Growing in the Princess Garden of Potty Training Success!!! And I honestly couldn't be happier.

For months, years even, we've seen garden after garden fall to the same watery fate. I began wondering if her Pediatrician was right when he said she wouldn't walk down the aisle in diapers. I began to wonder if, in fact, she was just stubborn enough to do it just to prove him wrong. But patience is, once again, rewarded to those who can manage it.

Something clicked last week. We were waiting for her therapy session to begin early Monday morning and she was playing with Hannah, a sister to one of the other girls in therapy. Hannah is younger than Laura by more than a year and has been potty trained for a long time. However, she recently backslid a bit and was in pull ups for awhile. She's now back in pretty little panties and she was not hesitant to show them off while we waited. Laura must have thought about that for a few days because by Wednesday she was determined to go "pee pee on the potty" regularly. For the first few days I reminded her every hour or so and she went, dutifully and her flowers lived! Then by the weekend she was reminding herself and getting to the potty when she needed to. She even ditched the potty seat and was balancing herself on the potty without it. And we regularly hear "My fwowers are still awive!" coming from the bathroom as she sits there waiting. It is music to my ears. :)

We still have the need to provide extra fertilization for all of those growing flowers, but I think the days of wetting them in to oblivion is almost past us. I'm so proud of her right now I could bust. And I can't wait until she's really able to be a 'big girl' in every sense of the word!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who Is In Charge Here?

While there may periodically be a question in the boys minds about who is in charge here, it seems Laura has not a doubt about the bottom line. When home, she'll start in with the whole four year old 'please' thing when she wants something she thinks she needs, and after a few "No" statements from me, I end it by having a conversation with her as follows:

Me: I said no. What does Mommy mean when she says "No"?
Laura: No.
Me: And who is in charge here?
Laura: You are.
Me: So, I mean what I say and I'm in charge. Do you think you are going to get XXX then?
Laura: No.
Me: Then don't ask again.
Laura: Okay.

But you always wonder when you aren't with her just what she thinks. This week I found out. Apparently at therapy she was giving Miss Merri Jo a run for her money, acting all four year oldish. So Merri Jo asked her just who was in charge at home betting that Laura would say she was in charge given her determination to drive Merri Jo crazy that day. But no. Very seriously she said "Mommy is in charge."

Now, if only she could teach the boys that it is true - even when you are ten and fourteen.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Builder Extraordinaire!

It would seem that the Head Builder at the Lego Warehouse, located right here in our very humble abode, is rather predictable. If you hear that empty silence in the house, you can be pretty sure he's somewhere building with legos. And when you hear the telltale 'scratch' of a hand digging through a bunch of lego bricks that periodically punctuates that silence, you can tell whether he's in the family room or his bedroom surrounded by lego bins, working on some new creation. All in all, that's how it works around here most days after our school work is finished.

Which is why, when I came upon something new a few days ago, I was totally amused. As I walked around the corner I saw this:

If you look closely you can see that he is sitting on an old, red, Little Tykes toddler chair. Or perhaps I should say that he's 'balancing' on it. And you will also note that he needs to sit on the old, red, Little Tykes toddler chair because he's sitting at Laura's table and, as might seem obvious to most, it was made for toddler and preschoolers. We won't mention that the chairs that came with it have arm rests and his bucket won't fit in those... Also note that Laura is hanging around Matthew while he works - at her table - as she's a bit territorial about it. After all, it was Auntie Diane's when she was little and she loves it. No one else is supposed to fit at it and she enjoys autonomy in her little realm. Until now.

Matthew sat on that little red chair until he built some 20 miniature pistols, rifles, alien sub machine guns and who knows what else. And then he moved on to an armored personnel carrier so he could fill it with the dudes that carried all of that metal. Perhaps someday he'll be an engineer for the military where he can put all of this wonderful knowledge to a good use. Until then, Laura will just have to share her table. :)

Ya Think?

Sometimes, some thing or other starts out relatively innocent and then snowballs out of control. It is here that Matthew or Jonathan might insert the comment "Ya think?" but since we are no longer using it here, they'd be having to apologize and back track for a few minutes so I am ever hopeful that they'd just keep their mouth shut instead.

The comment started innocently enough. I made some statement that was indeed fact for our household, Matthew knew he'd gone over the line. In an apparent attempt to let me know he knew what he'd done, he said in a rather sarcastic tone "Ya think?" and rolled his eyes. I didn't realize just how far that would go and how often it would be repeated, and if I did I'd have shut it down right then. Since I didn't, "ya think" became something like a battle cry for semi hysterical hormonal teenagers residing here. Instead of admitting they were wrong, they'd just say "Ya think?" and be done with it.

It drove me nuts but I thought it would go away on its own. I picked my battles and thought that they would get the hint about that one by osmosis. Or perhaps even by my dreaming it they would just wake up one day and say to themselves that they totally got how full of rebellion and sass it was and they'd be stopping it that day. Yes, I do dream don't I?

Finally I could take it no more. I told them that we wouldn't be using that phrase in this house any longer and that by using it they were acknowledging that they'd need to apologize to everyone who heard it, and that perhaps some other consequences would raise their common sense head if it didn't curtail right quick thereafter.

I noted yesterday that indeed there was a much more peaceful attempt to communicate. Some of the normal, obnoxious, get your brother at all costs banter was no longer nearly as mean. Attitudes had begun to come back to some semblance of normalcy. Could it have really been that simple? Could banning such terminology from their mouths have made such a difference? Surely there has to be more to it?

No. It seems that's the only change we've made. Of course I can't discount the effects of Pastor Jeff's sermon on Sunday morning, or the ever constant prayer said over them daily during my quiet time with the Lord. But this seems to be the major change. I guess simple things really do matter. Especially when it is a matter of the heart.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sounds I Hear...

Sometimes, well usually, the boys dread something they have to do so they put it off until the last minute. Yesterday, Matthew had to write a blank verse poem for extra credit and he knew that although it was an option for his teacher, it wasn't for his Mom so he finally sat down to do it. He whipped it out in a mere ten minutes tops. And he was quite proud if it.
When the kids write, you really see just what it is they are thinking. In the past few years I've learned that they love time with us on 'the people magnet' (or bed) where we read together or watch television, I now know that they don't often remember the times we try to 'create a memory' as much as they just remember the times in life where laughter was the main sound you heard, and I've realized that even though they are growing older, they still absolutely love the time spent listening to me read aloud a book they'd never choose to read themselves. Hank the Cow Dog, the entire Narnia series, The Absolutely True Story of How I Visited Yellowstone Park With The Terrible Rupes, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Cal and the Anti-Gravity Machine, Raising Dragons and many more have been our nightly companions in the past few years and while I love reading out loud to them, it seems they love it even more. Who knew? :):)
Here's Matthew's latest masterpiece. It made me smile and it brought tears to my eyes. As you know Matthew felt very good about his effort. And it is good to know once again what is shaping his world. He's becoming a young man, attempting to find his place. And yet, he knows he belongs here. I am so proud. :)
Sounds I Hear

Outside the sounds I hear are many,
The gentle whoosh of the wind,
The giggles of kids running and playing,
The thumps of my friends playing basketball,
And when I do the lawn,
The roar of the tractor or lawn mower
Chopping the grass into little pieces.

Inside the sounds I hear are annoying,
The voice of my brother waking me up,
The whine of my sister crying or screaming
In the middle of class,
The roar of my mother telling me
“pick up your room”!!

But after all this,
The sounds are lovely.
The opening of the door when my Dad comes home,
The sizzle and crackle of dinner being made,
The silence of resting after the gym,
The laughter as we read out loud,
And finally, the sound of nothing while trying to go to sleep.