Sunday, February 27, 2011

Role models and creative recreation...

We took the boys to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.  There was an exhibit with little models of past presidents and other historical figures.  One display showed Abraham Lincoln sitting sedately in his theater chair.  John Wilkes Booth was shown creeping up behind him with a gun and a dagger.  Guess who Bryan wants to be when he grows up.  Awesome.

As in so many other things, Bryan decided to do fishing his own way:  bread for bait and whistle to charm the fish into coming to eat the bread.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More scenes from little rock...

Papa and Jacob playing cars

Gran and Rand

Chris and Aaron and their kids. People think Aaron is Chris' brother since they have the same hairdo.

Layla and Bryan

Gran and Jacob's sleepover

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Heart ball...

Pedicures for all the girls.

Chris and me

Mom and Dad

John dancing with Gran

Aaron and Angela

John and Karen

Dad singing the National Anthem.

I love this picture of my mom in her Heart Ball gown


Mom and Dad did a great job as hosts of the Heart Ball.

Dad sang beautifully.

Aaron made pens and a perfume atomizer for the silent auction.  They were, as usual, awesome.

My mom, grandmother and sisters-in-law looked fantabulous.

They called John "The Reverend" when he gave the invocation.

Right after that he threw a roll across the table to Chris while my dad wasn't looking.

I should be more suspicious of inexpensive heels. Ouch!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rocky horror southwest show...

We're in Little Rock visiting my parents.  I flew by myself.  With all 4 kids.  It was...horrific.  The three older boys were only occasionally midly annoying, but that morphs into unbelievably provoking when you're holding a screaming, thrashing baby.  The first flight was just difficult.  Rand didn't sleep, but he had his own seat, so we managed.  Then we had a three hour layover.  Rand still wouldn't sleep in the stroller.  Now I knew the first five minutes of the next flight would be ugly but figured he would pass out quickly.  Then I found out it was overbooked and I would be holding Rand while managing boys in two different rows.  The panic set in.  About an hour into the flight, I realized that screaming, thrashing Rand would not be sleeping on an airplane this day.  Somehow I managed to resist snatching the Jack Daniels the guy next to me was sipping.  We all survived.  Barely.  I really wanted to make it Chris' fault, but unfortunately remembered this was my idea.

Chris recounted the events an unnamed, snarky family member. 

Smarta$$:  You know it's really important in football that your linebackers have short memories.  That way when they see the huge guys they're facing, they can still say to themselves, "I can do it.  I can take him."  That's how Summer is with traveling with the boys.  Six months from now, she'll decide to take them to Johannesburg by herself.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lifegiver pink...

I posted my "mommy rules" a few weeks ago here and someone asked if I would add some geared towards girls.  I asked a friend to write a guest post for me.  She has three talented, lovely and kind girls.  She does a wonderful job of being a mother and a person.  Basically, I want to be like her when I grow up.  Here are her girl additions...

  • Read out loud as often as possible, especially at bedtime.
  • When your daughter spends an hour dressing herself and fixing her hair, be amazed. In a good way.
  • Remember that drama is part of the package.
  • Chore lists can just as easily be made into scavenger hunts with a prize at the end.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Girls have a lot to say and it's ALL important.
  • Manicures, when done together, are an investment, not a waste of money.
  • NEVER say, “there are other fish in the sea” when they are heartbroken.
  • When they ask you to play dress-up, wear the tiara and be the Queen who gives the orders.
  • Don't worry when all she eats for lunch is two strawberries.
  • Admit when you're wrong.  Apologize sincerely.

Monday, February 14, 2011


We live in a white picket fence kind of town in Virginia.  There are about a hundred kids for every grown up, so I rarely feel awkward with all my little people in tow.  However, this weekend...
  1. I took the boys to the fabric store.  My blinds are broken and I need white tulle to repair them.  The boys were totally out of control - hiding in bolts of fabric, jumping out at Rand to make him laugh, shooting imaginary guns at the quilting class, ..., and I was shopping in the wedding fabric section.  I felt like everyone was staring at me thinking, "What poor fool is marrying that woman with the four hyper-active boys."
  2. We went to a few open houses yesterday.  I thought the last house looked a little sad because there were no kids out playing, and the yards were very small.  We walked in and as I was corralling children and asking them to stop doing gymnastics in the empty bedrooms, I noticed the agent looking at me quizzically.  I thought, "Really, they didn't hurt anything - calm down."  Then he said, "You know this is a 55 and up community?"  Errr...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Football rules and ping pong ball cannons...

I love our history program (Story of the World). It's definitely written by a boy mom. Some of the lessons have parental warnings: Caution, parents, this section may be disturbing for some children. That's how I know it'll be enormously popular at my house. This week we learned that the Ottoman Turks attacked Constantinople with cannons in 1453. The lesson included instructions for making your own cannon out of ping pong balls, toilet paper tubes, paper clips, plastic wrap, tape and rubber bands.* It was a hit.

"Mommy, I think we need a new rule. No kickoffs in the dining room."

*In the interest of honesty, I have to say that this is the kind of stuff I wish we did every week, but I don't get to it nearly that often.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 7, 2011

Summer the vampire slayer...

So we watched Shrek Forever After the other day, and it stressed me out.  Shrek's world changes to one in which he'd never been born.  Fiona was a warrior princess instead of his wife and the mother of his children.  She was fierce.  She was cool.  She had a fleet of ogres following her.  It stressed me out.  What if Shrek saw Fiona, the Xena edition, and thought, "Wow.  She's edgy and interesting and ... completely different from Fiona, the mommy edition."  After the movie...
Me:  That movie stressed me out.  What if Shrek thought the warrior princess version of Fiona was a lot more interesting.
Chris:  (blank look and the beginnings of panic)  I know there's a right answer to this.  I just don't know what it it.
Me:  It's "I don't think you're boring."
Chris:  (relief that he's dealing with the version of his wife that tells him the right answer instead of getting pissed)  I don't think you're boring.
Happy forever after.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lifegiver stream of consciousness, the survival edition...

So I wrote Lifegiver stream of consciousness last week.  Then, Chris went out of town and I got the flu, along with three of the brothers.  My mothering "rules" got streamlined.

Lifegiver stream of consciousness, survival edition...
  • Feed the boys.
  • Try not to yell.
  • Use a shameless amount of TV to accomplish the point above.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lifegiver stream of consciousness...

Young Thomas and His Mother by Mary Cassett
I'm doing a Bible study right now called Five Aspects of Woman by Barbara Mouser.  One of the aspects is Lifegiver and has much to do with motherhood.  It made me think of the little "rules" you develop over time as a mother.  As I started writing, I was surprised by some of what came to mind.  Some things are more obvious.  We will go to all sporting events, awards banquets, performances,..., because my parents went to all of my stuff, and it meant a lot to me.  Some of it is less obvious.  I am generous with band-aids (against my cheapskate grain) because I read something by Anne Lamott.  She decorated a shoebox with band-aids as a symbol of her childhood where her parents didn't have much money and were tight-fisted with them.  When my kids are in therapy someday, I don't want them decorating their shoeboxes with band-aids.  If I make a dessert for an event or a friend, I always make some for the boys because a friend told me about a childhood friend of hers who was hurt because his mom frequently made desserts for others and they could never have a piece.  Some of this has come from my parents, some from books (never turn down a freely offered gift from a child comes from Anne Shirley), some from the Bible, some from wise people.  The truly stunning nuggets of wisdom (like having an opinion about Star Wars vs. Power Rangers) come straight from me.
  • Be generous with band-aids.
  • Be gentle with rowdiness, emotional anger and accidents.
  • Pounce like a she-cat on lying, disrespect and unkindness.
  • Sympathy and a band-aid go a long way.
  • Always stop what you're doing when someone wants a hug.
  • In chaos, ask yourself, "What's the needful thing?"
  • Send the boys out to the car so they don't become casualties of the running late rush.
  • Read them good books.
  • The joy of the Lord is your strength.
  • Spend five minutes with a needy child first, then cook dinner.
  • When you make a dessert for a friend or an event, set some aside for the boys.
  • Take nightmares seriously.
  • Don't try to talk them into cheering for the Aggies.
  • Don't wrestle with them.  You're going to get hurt, and it'll piss you off.
  • Wake up before them.  It's easier to be glad to see them when they're only interrupting kitchen chores.
  • Stop a child, and offer him an out when you know he's about to lie.
  • Tell them the things you love and respect about their father.
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • When someone loses their temper, ask, "Is what you're doing right now helpful?"
  • Exercise alleviates a lot of behavior problems.  An overloaded schedule exacerbates them.
  • Love covers a multitude of sins.
  • Remember boys are fragile, too.
  • Ascribe optimistic motives and emotions to new baby siblings:  "Oh, look, he's crying because you're leaving."
  • Foster their relationships with grandparents.
  • Let your husband be that guy who decides they can have ice cream tonight.
  • When asked who would win a fight between Star Wars and the Power Rangers, have an opinion.
  • Be diligent in disciplining them.
  • Have a nuclear option.
  • When they whine, make it worse.
  • Always give praise when they succeed in an area that's difficult for them.
  • Never lie to them.
  • Make sure they read the book before they watch the movie.
  • Ask for the best nurse when someone has to get bloodwork.
  • Be easy to impress.
  • Don't force generosity.  Nudge and praise it.
  • Ask, "Who are you thinking of right now?" when someone is being exceptionally selfish or exceptionally selfless.
  • Always stop at lemonade stands.
  • Always accept freely offered gifts.
  • Praise them in front of their father.
  • When the baby lays his head on your shoulder, hold him for awhile.
  • Let them defend you from imaginary bad guys.  Look visibly relieved.
  • Ask questions about Star Wars characters, lego creations and Power Ranger moves.
  • Let them use the force to open grocery store doors.
  • Be on their side when correcting them.  Don't condemn.
  • Ask, "Why did God make you a big, strong boy?" when they hurt someone.  Help them answer, "Always to protect.  Never to hurt."
  • When someone says, "He hurt me," ask, "What happened right before that?" before proceeding.
  • Do not tolerate them ganging up on anyone, especially a brother.
  • When they embarrass you in public, don't make it about you.
  • When your husband says you're being harsh with the kids, listen.
  • Running laps is sometimes a better solution than time out.
  • Respect property rights in legos.
  • Encourage lego generosity.
  • Apologize when you should.
  • Remember that no one else will mother them.
  • Let young children help.
  • An absent father cripples a child.  An absent mother unmakes him.
  • Have some sort of discipline plan.  It gets ugly when you don't know how to respond.
  • Remember Jacob was still a baby when Bryan was born.
  • Remember that you expect a lot out of David.
  • Listen to Bryan before he starts yelling.
  • Hold Rand.
  • Don't yell.
  • You'll offer your children to the god you serve.
  • Pray every morning.
  • This is a good work.
Some of this is stuff I do.  Some of it is stuff I try to do.  Some of it is stuff I hope to do.  Peace, out.

Popular Posts