Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

{Finally caught on camera}

Monday, March 29, 2010

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

This afternoon, we began a very tedious and not-at-all-fun project in the garage.

I won't explain the project other than to say it involved moving hundreds and hundreds of very small pieces of kindling for our wood stove from one spot in our two-car garage to the other side, and then stacking it in neat piles.


It was by no stretch of the imagination fun. Shane and I decided to enlist the boys' help, and they were tired of the project about three minutes in, of course.

We talked about perseverance.

We talked about doing our best at all times.

We told them over and over how well they doing.

We talked about a couple of other things that came to me as I was trying my best to keep them involved and participating.

They began to move slower and slower and slooooooooower.

Finally, I was desperate.

"Guys, remember what Mary Poppins says? What does she sing when they have a task to do that seems hard and not very fun?"


"Remember?" I said. "She sings about (cue my singing here) 'A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down'...."

No one joined in my little tune. I persisted.

"'The medicine go dooooooooooown, medicine go down'....."

I looked at the boys.


Finally, Colin piped up.

"Yeah....." he said, and pointed all around to the large pile of kindling that was still left.

"But what I really wish is that she'd come and do that snapping thing."

Friday, March 26, 2010

How we are doing: Colin

I always want to remember what these early days with Lola were like. Over the next few days, as I have time to post, I am going to be jotting down my thoughts and a few things about how we are all doing, in a separate post for each family member.

Today is Colin's turn....
Lola Claire has been such a wonderful addition to our family! With her arrival, we've all changed a bit, and there's been a lot of adjusting--but on the whole, it has been nothing but positive since she joined us.

Colin absolutely adores his sister. Whenever we go places, he makes sure to show her off--and he has even asked me if he could bring her for show and tell! He begs to hold her almost every minute. I am generally always inclined to let him hold her, as he has proven himself more than capable on many occasions!

Col is very sensitive, and, in the beginning whenever he would hold her and she would begins to cry, he was always concerned that he might have done something to make her cry. He learned quickly, though, that babies just cry sometimes--and has a very keen ability to calm her down!

He holds her very well--even managing the 'one-arm hold' when she's holding still. He is a great extra set of loving little hands for this Mommy when I need him!

He loves to sing to Lola, rock her, and bounce her in the bouncy seat. The first thing he asks in the morning when he sees me is, "How's Lola, Mommy?" and he gives her three kisses on the head every day before he leaves for school. He has even offered to change her diaper! He is a wonderful helper, bringing diapers, wipes, a burp cloth, or whatever is needed whenever I ask him to. I am so blessed have him.

One of my favorite things Colin has done: one night, when I was in the bathroom, Lola was sleeping in the bassinet. All of a sudden, I heard her begin to cry. I was not *ahem* in a position that I could get to her, and so I was stuck having to listen to her cry. Her crying began to turn to wailing--but then all of a sudden started to quiet down. Shortly after that, it altogether stopped. As soon as I was able, I got to my bedroom to check on her--only to find Colin, sitting on my bed, gently rocking the bassinet and saying, "Shhhh, shhhh, shhhh, shhhh" over and over. It had worked--she had calmed right down and went back to sleep.

I love that kid.

And I'm so glad he loves his sister as much as he does.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Cameron: "Cool! Dynamite!"

Colin: "Cameron, you don't even know what dynamite is!"

Cameron, indignantly: "Yes. I. Do! It's a stick that blows up dinos."

Please pray

Hey everyone--I have added a couple of new families under my "Praying For...." section on my sidebar. I wanted to highlight one family tonight who is in need of prayer right now.

Please, if you have two minutes, head over to The Ronne's blog to read about Kaci, the sister-in-law of a very good friend of mine--who is my age, with a new baby girl (Lola's age)--and has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. She and her family need to be uplifted in prayer, and I appreciate each and every one of you who will!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My two-month old beauty

Friday, March 19, 2010

An interesting breakfast

Cameron and Ethan ate Chicken Cordon Bleu and broccoli for breakfast this morning.

I served it for dinner last night. It was, by all accounts, very delish. Shane and Colin and I all loved it.

But it 'looked weird'.

Ethan is not a great eater to begin with and has had his issues with eating, so I have always given him a pass when he doesn't want to eat something I serve for dinner. He is excused from the table and doesn't get any food for the rest of the night.

Cameron, on the other hand, is normally a great eater, and usually doesn't give me any trouble at mealtime. And I serve a lot of different foods--we eat a large variety of things. We are not your meat and potatoes, meat and potatoes, meat and potatoes family.

Most of the time, the boys all eat very well. And, on the times that they don't, I have always chalked it up to the fact that not every body likes every thing.

But lately, I've had some trouble with feelings of ungratefulness around here. And it is really bothering me.

  • Having a million toys (waaaaaaaaaaay too many, in my opinion) and "nothing to do."
  • Being able to go outside for the first time in months, yet being 'bored' after only a few minutes.
  • Me suggesting something to eat or do, only to have it met in return with a "but I want...." fill-in-the-blank with something other than what I have suggested.
  • Getting to do something they've been wanting or begging to do, and then wanting to do something else after only a few minutes.

I think that's why I blew last night when the boys didn't want to eat their dinner, simply because it 'seemed' yucky.

Only in America do we have the abundance to be able to pass over foods simply because they are not pleasing to our eyes or our taste buds.

We have so much, when others have so little.

And most of the time, we don't even realize it.

Even with my adult understanding, I'm sure I don't even fully grasp it. I don't realize how good I actually have it.

And now, I am paying the price of that callousness: my boys don't "get" gratefulness, in part, because I have not modeled grateful behavior.

I remember a time, not so very many months ago, when we didn't have a lot of income coming in. We were eating very, very simple meals for dinner....eggs, bean quesadillas, grilled cheeses.

And yet, I can't remember a time when I have ever been so grateful just to have enough money for that week to be able to grocery shop and put any kind of food on the table at all. We would spend several minutes in prayer before eating, thanking God for providing for us for this meal, and asking Him to continue to provide for us for the next one.

And now? We may have two or even three different choices on our plates. Elaborate and delicious meals, sometimes requiring lots of ingredients. Many nights, we have dessert.

And we don't even think twice about how good we now have it.

We still pray and thank God for our food. But it doesn't come from the same place of deep gratitude as those prayers once did, when we had so much less.

Why are we like that?

Easy. Human nature. Sin. I understand that. But I don't like it when it rears it's ugly head in my children, much less in me.

I feel lately like I want to send every bit of food we have over to hungry children, and then feed my children what they would eat in a third world country. I don't even think it would take a week for them to really see how good they have it. Maybe one or two meals of next to nothing, at the most.

By the way--you don't even have to go very far to find hungry children. We have them right here in America.

They are here. They are everywhere.

And, yet, we are unsatisfied.

It came to me last night.

"We are not wasting food any more. Not a bit of it. If you boys don't eat this food for dinner tonight, I am serving it to you for breakfast. I am going to serve it to you until you eat it."

They looked at me like I was crazy. They were astonished.

I meant what I said. Every word of it.

Let me be clear here. This food was not sitting on their plates because they had eaten and were full. It was sitting on their plates simply because it was not what they wanted. Had I served them pizza or chicken nuggets or dessert--all basically junk, mind you--they would have scarfed it down.

But they didn't care for the looks of this dinner.

So, so sad. It makes me ashamed.

And, yet, I know for certain that I am not the only mother who deals with this. There was just a great discussion on Facebook about this very subject the other day. It is, in fact, where I got the idea to serve them the food they refused at dinner for breakfast the next morning.

So, I did it.

It was hard. I felt really, really terrible. I almost caved--I thought about just letting them eat it for lunch, instead. I mean, really: broccoli for breakfast?


But I knew that that would have less of an impact. I knew they would wake up hungry--and they would want my zucchini bread or a bowl or two of yummy (read: sugary--and I buy the good-for-you stuff. It's still full of sugar.) cereal.

Instead they got broccoli. And chicken.

They were not pleased. There were tears involved.

And I felt like a jerk. The world's meanest, most terrible mother.

But, sometimes, as a parent, you have to be the bad guy, and I believe that that is what many of today's parents miss--they are trying to be their children's friend rather than their parent. Being a parent means sometimes being unpopular with your children....and boy, was I unpopular this morning. But I wanted desperately to show them the importance of being thankful for what you have, rather than always being consumed with what you want. Despite how difficult it was to actually go through with the actual 'lesson', I made it.

And you know what?

They sure raved tonight over how good dinner was. Cameron complimented me several times, even going as far as saying that "This is the best meal, Mommy, the best!" *grin* They actually thanked me for making it. And they cleaned their plates. All three of them. We had a near episode with Ethan--he got down from the table after eating only a few bites--but when I showed him how I was preparing his plate to be able to reheat it in the morning for him to have for breakfast, he had a change of heart and climbed back up in his chair to finish.

Am I being too harsh?

I really don't think so. How many times have I scraped food off of plates and into the garbage? How much money is going down the drain? How much effort is being wasted on my part, trying to come up with, shop for, and prepare nutritious and flavorful meals--only to be rejected on sight alone? Shane works very hard for our money, and I, in turn, work hard, trying to find every way possible to stretch his dollars as far as they can go.

Food isn't cheap. And I'm sick of wasting it.

Especially when there are so many people who are going without it entirely.

So, we have a new 'rule' around here. I believe I will only have to enforce it every once in a while--this first time seemed to have a real impact.

Even on Colin--who only had to watch his brothers consume plates of broccoli and chicken--over his bowl of much coveted cold cereal.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Boys' room remodel

The boys' room is finally done.

Check that. It's been done for a while.

Several weeks, to be exact.

But, I haven't blogged about it. Obviously.

When I do a post about a remodel, I like to include tons and tons of pictures. I think that accurately portrays all of the steps involved--and there are so many steps involved when you are doing home improvement!

But, for some reason, I haven't had a lot of time to upload photos lately. *grin*

I finally did it, finally finally finally: Our boys' finished room!

You may remember what it looked like before....

Very dark, with old outdated brown paneling and a very teeeeeeeny closet..

Panelling ripped off, down to bare studs. Ready for drywall!

Drywall up!

Taped and mudded! (This, in and of itself, is a three-day project!)
Don't mind my pirates, playing 'swords' on the 'plank'.

By the 'Sand Man'.
Better known as Shane. *grin*
And, I still think he looks hot, for the record.

When thinking about how to 'decorate' the boys' room, we came to the
conclusion that we were going to have to do something a bit different.

Starting on wall #1

The boys are, of course, in all different age groups--and they like different things. Ethan, for example, loves Thomas the Train--but Colin would much prefer Transformers or GI Joe to adorn his walls. Cameron would go for CARS. So, rather than going with a "theme" in their room, we decided to just stick with color.

of it.

Starting on wall #2

The boys got in on the action, and enjoyed their closet painting project!

Behold: their masterpiece!

Daddy, finishing up wall #2

Lots of color--remember?
Starting wall #3....

....and then wall #4!!

Oh, did you know? My carpenter also doubles as an electrician. *grin*

How on earth, you may be wondering, are they going to tie in those four colors?
(whispered:) They don't even look good together.

Stripes, my friend. Stripes.

I have to give Shane major, major props for this one.
These stripes took a lot of time, and a LOT of patience.

Let's just get this right out in the open--I would have never been able to do this.
Not necessarily for lack of skill--but for complete and utter lack of patience.

Oh, yeah...and for complete and utter lack of skill.

First striped wall: done!

And, yes....that means he did more than one striped wall!

(We interrupt this very complex part of the post for
a project Mommy actually could do:
painting the heating vent.
Oh, yes--Ethan also helped.
We're at roughly the same skill level, painting-wise.)

This second wall was even more difficult--so I'm told--than the first wall. Shane had to line the stripes up from the first wall and tape them the entire length of the second wall exactly the same width apart. And, he had to paint them differently: what was red on wall #1 had to be green for wall #2, and vice-versa, for the color blocking effect.

I'm worn out just thinking about that process.

Wall #2: done!

There was much staining and polying (pollying? poly-ing?) of trim.

We decided to go with primed closet doors, rather than wooden ones, so that they would blend in after being painted the wall color. The boys each took their turn with a bit more painting.

After Cameron's smear job paint job, Colin gave it a whirl....

....and then, it was the boss' turn again.

The closet: painted, and shelves and organizers in!

Time to get that opening trimmed out and those closet doors on.

Ha! I had to include this, taking a very minuscule paint brush and doing touch-ups.
Awww...Lola was still baby Peanut in this picture! *sniff*
And before anyone asks...that is my birthmark on the back of my neck, not a hickie.

Putting up the door trim....

....and window trim.

The prettiest window there ever was.

Installing the light was time to build the bunk bed.

Shane built Colin a bed when Cameron was born, and he decided just to simply add to it--add a top bunk to the bottom bed he had already built!

The headboard

(You can see in this picture, it matches Col's bed exactly!)

The new portion of the bed: done!

Now to stain it....

....and install it.

Pretty cool, huh? Though it looks like it is only sitting on top--I can promise you it is attached, and attached very well! (Being the semi-paranoid Mom that I am, I *ahem* made sure of it.)

Shane built and stained a ladder....

....and a guard rail so Col wouldn't fall out.

And now....the end result of all Shane's hard work!

Love love love how this corner turned out!

We surprised the boys with new down comforters and new sheets:
Thomas for Ethan, CARS for Cameron, and Spiderman for Colin.
They were more than thrilled!

The trundle bed still fits under the bottom bunk, and the boys sleep from top to bottom in birth order: Col on top, Cam in the middle, and E Ry on the bottom!
Trundle in....

....trundle out.

It is so incredibly nice to have this project done. Shane, as usual, did such a great job (I heart that man!) The boys--and their Mommy--LOVE this new room!