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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where Are The Stars?

Our youngest, S4, has a fascination with stars. When we are out in the evening, he must search the sky for the first star. Once he finds it, he points excitedly, jumps up and down, shows it off to anyone near him as if we have never seen stars before and then breaks into song….

“Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are……”

It’s the cutest thing ever.

Follow the stars over to Praise and coffee ( http://praiseandcoffee.blogspot.com/2009/10/october-praise-and-coffee-giveaway-and.html) to read the rest of this blog! Thanks!

Is Your Sandwich a Girl sandwich or a Boy sandwich?

Ever since the colored toes incident (http://denisedykstra.blogspot.com/2009/08/colored-toes.html) I have been asked a million times, mostly by S4, what is girl things and what are boy things. You may think I exaggerate it a bit, but, it seriously has become a constant question war. Truly.

For example....

S1 asked if I would make him a tuna fish sandwich for his lunch. So, I made him, his Daddy and S3 a tuna fish sandwich. S2 must have a peanut butter and honey sandwich every day of lunch, no change at all to this, it MUST be peanut butter AND honey, I don't even bother to ask him anymore if he would like anything else. It is a tear filled panic day if he realizes he forgot his lunch and must eat the school lunch, it's as though by eating it it will weaken and poison him for forever. Anyhow, I made the tuna sandwiches.

At lunch time at home, I asked S4 if he wanted a tuna sandwich.

"Is that a boy sandwich or a girl sandwich?"

"It's both."

"I think it's a girl sandwich."

"No, your daddy and brothers are having it for lunch."

"Hmmm, I think it's not good. It makes me nervous. I think I want a hot dog."

Why argue? We had hot dogs. But I didn't eat a tuna sandwich either, if he seen him moma eat it it would forever be a girl sandwich.

Just a peek at conversations at our home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Too Busy to do Something Boring

After a full week gone every single solitary day, Monday had arrived to find me exhausted and a house that looked disastrous. I mean, it was a “I have no underwear, Moma” “Get your brother’s and wear it.” “He’s out too.” “Check the basket.” And then the search among the mountain of laundry in one basket leaned against the wall so the clothes reach nearly over their head begins.

I sure hope some other mom out there says this to their kids.

So, Monday arrives and I have got to clean. I can’t even open the fridge without something falling out. I brewed the coffee extra extra strong (confession, it’s always this strong. If I brewed it differently I could never drink it, and I would never be awake) and set to task.

I let S4 watch PBS, he spread out on the couch and watched to his hearts content. No one to share the blankets with, no one to get in his way, no one at all but himself, Elmo on TV and the dog.

When it was time to turn Clifford off (I just absolutely cannot let him – or any other child – watch Barney) I was in the middle of the kitchen floor scrubbing the dickens out of it.

“Moma” he declared, “this place is boring. Can we go to Owen’s house? I think he wants me to come over and play with all his Lightening McQueen toys.” I sighed deeply because it goes like this every day since the boys are back in school. It always starts with “this is boring” and then he lists all the possible people we can visit. I list all the possible things he can do to which he always says “no, that will make me boring.” But it always happens that the list of things that will “make him boring” is more boring than doing the boring things he was listing and he will head off to play. Alone.

People ask me all the time how S4 is doing with all his brother’s gone. I always say I am thankful he plays so well by himself. And it’s true, once we get past all of this, he does play well by himself.

It’s just getting past this phase.

So on this day, S4 set up blocks to make a soccer field for his little people. Until the dog knocked it over. Then he drew pictures until the whole refrigerator was covered. Then he built a fence for his horses, until the dog knocked that over to. In defense of the dog, all these block built things were right in front of the doorway, the one and only way into the room.

At this point, S4 had reached bottom. A boring house. A cleaning freak moma. An insane dog. He comes around the corner with a deck of ‘go fish’ cards, cards I don’t even know where he had them kept because he had the full deck even. “moma?” he asked pitifully. And you have to realize, of all the boys, S4 can seem the most pitiful. “Will you play cards with me?”

I had too much to do to stop. And the idea of playing “Go Fish”, well, as awful as it sounds, just did not sound like much fun. I looked at the living room floor. You literally could not find a clean spot on it. I seen the pile of laundry, that at the bottom was sure to have enough grundies to cover my boys bottoms for a few days, I looked to the kitchen where dinner still had to be made. And then I looked at my littlest boy and said “Okay, one game.”

So we kicked ourselves a little circle clear and played cards. The little stinker won, his glee was contagious. He did not ask to play another game, instead he asked if I could teach him to vacuum when he seen me working on it. Now that, you all must agree, IS boring! But he was thrilled.

With the vacuuming done and the cards all put away for some other time, S4 followed me to begin dinner. But first he gave me a big huge hug, the kind where he hangs from my neck and squeezes me so hard I see stars. “Thank you for playing cards and learning me to vacuum, Moma. I love you. I think you pretty.”

And I nearly missed all that. Because I was too busy to do something boring.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guest Post...and it has no title too! (Chicken Tears and Little Boy Fears)

One of my very dearest, bestest friends wrote this. I had to post it...she actually sent it to me to post. But because she couldn't think of a title and she thinks of the BEST titles, I have not a title for you....

Maybe Chicken Tears and Little Boy Fears.........

One of my newest chicks stood in the lilac bush, sadly clucking to herself. I felt a pain in my heart. Eight of the nine other chickens hate this chicken. When they see her, they jump on her back or peck at her until she scurries away. If chickens could cry, this one would have been. The only other chicken who will tolerate her is the one she came to our home with, but even he would rather be with the other group.

We named this one Vulture, because that is what she looks like. Although she’s very sweet, her looks are ominous. Perhaps that is why she disappeared for two days. I looked and looked for that little chicken and feared her dead. Then on a hunch, I had my husband move the giant pile of brush in our garden with the tractor. We figured if she was stuck in there she’d die anyway. So the fact that moving the pile could kill her was a chance we were willing to take; she flew out of the pile unharmed. Was living under a wood pile better than the life she had with the other chickens?

As I broke up yet another chicken fight and watched her “cry” in the lilac bush, I thought about my son. He just started first grade. I homeschooled him for three years, this is his first year in a traditional school. He has had social issues since infancy. Even as a baby, my playtime interaction with him could cause an outburst of tears. He is different to be sure. I worried about him from the second I dropped him off at school.

“Mom, I feel like none of the other kids see me”, he said. His little lip was quivering and tears welled up in his eyes. Any pain I had felt for the chick was quadrupled when it came to my beautiful child. We had the talk about making the first move and asking other boys to play with him. He’s scared that if he does, they’ll reject him. I know all too well what is to come in these primary school years. Let’s face it, kids can be cruel. They may not physically abuse him, like my poor little chicken, but because of his differences he could be emotionally scarred by their teasing.

This is one of those times in life when I just have to trust God; I can trust that He will take care of my boy at school. I pray that He will keep an eye on my son the way that I keep an eye on my chick, only in a perfect way that I cannot compete with. The boy and the chicken will soon grow up and be able to take care of themselves. The difference is I won’t need to keep guarding the chicken its whole life, but I will be asking God to take care of the boy for a life time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trying to Blog...but life gets in the way! (and a story about boogers)

I have been desperate to blog. However, I have zillions of tomatoes that have taken over my life and I have been so busy canning. While canning, I continue to think of blogs to write...my mind is overflowing with stories for all of you! One of these days I will get a break and then I will write and write and write and I cannot wait!

Today, we had a late start to the day because I took all the boys into town for their flu shots. Well, the mist, not the shots because if it's shots I have to have the entire nursing staff hold the boys down.

That is not an exaggeration.

Anyhow, I told our favorite nurse (Hello Nurse S!) this story and I can tell it's one I'll be sharing a bit more today so I figured, hey, I'll drop by my blog, tell ya'll what we have been up to and then share this funny story.....

Yesterday, my hubby and I were making salsa. We had a guest speaker at church and while the two youngest boys had been sick earlier in the weekend they seemed fine now and I really wanted to hear the speaker so we all loaded up to church. However, we were planning on making more salsa as soon as we got home so I hollered to the boys to get cleaned up and then get in vehicle to go.

I never checked them. I should know better by now.

We get to church (late, as usual) and I look down the pew at our boys. It was hard to miss S4's super ripped jeans and dirty shirt. But it was downplayed boy S3, covered in mud, shoes on wrong, clothes all dirty. I leaned over to tell my husband to look at HIS son and he sorta snickered. Then I watched as S3 stuck his finger up his nose to look for and dig out a booger (this completely and totally grosses me out, by the way) and I leaned over to tell my husband to look again at S3. I would have leaned over the other three boys to slap S3's hand down but his finger was so far up his nose, I was afraid it'd hit his brain. Then I watched in horror as HE ATE THE BOOGER !!!!! I was trying not to choke, my husband was trying not to laugh and our boys were looking at us as if to say "get a hold of yourself".

So, while you have not heard from me lately, keep in mind that my boys have still been doing insane things for me to share with you.

As soon as this busy season slows down, I'll fill you all in.

But, hey, if you can't read my blog, check out THIS blog. I just kinda found it and really enjoy it a lot. I have even posted some her blogs on facebook, she is that good! If this woman lived near me, well, I think I would have a canning partner...if she was done counting cows.

http://cohagenchronicles.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Clean Living - Luck Has Nothing to Do With It

My husband asked me not to write this one, then he gave me a title. So, since he gave me the title, I feel obligated to now share the story!

First of all, to fully understand this story, you must have a good image of my husband. He is over six foot tall, he just shaved his head again this weekend, he has a long red goatee and when he has his dark sunglasses on he looks a bit scary. I have seen women lock their doors when he walks by at the gas station. Usually, my handsome husband wears one of those super bright safety green or safety orange shirts, working road construction such shirts make a lot of sense. He is very hard to miss. To top this look off, he drives a beat up Buick that is his pride and joy. It rumbles and is rusty and he loves it dearly. He says there is no smoother ride, and he is always looking for a newer one to replace his old one. Out back in our field, we have his first Buick that served him well until it finally fully died. He loved it too much to get rid of it, besides; he calls it his ‘parts’ car.

Got a good image of him?

This Labor Day weekend he had to work at his construction job on night shifts from midnight to noon. On Monday, he was done with his shift when the bosses needed him to do a few odds and ends which got him headed home around two thirty. At this time, he was starving hungry. The boys and I had long before eaten lunch and he decided to stop at the grocery story a mile and a half down the road from our house to get some food at the Deli.

Here on our farm we are just outside of a much loved tourist stop. People flock here on any holiday weekend and since this weekend was so nice and it was the last weekend of the summer, the place was packed. We are feeling like old cranky locals complaining about the traffic and so forth. The cops keep a close eye on our newly (this summer) completed road and we are thankful for them, we don’t need speeders. Besides that, the slower people go the more likely they are to stop by our farm stand for our fresh, literally home grown produce.

So, my overtired husband stops into the Deli to get a hot lunch for his starving tummy and has to fight all the tourist loading up on beer and ice and grill meat for their lake fun and all he wants to do is get home. He jumps into his Buick and can nearly taste his hot lunch he will be eating in 1.5 miles down the road.

When he was .5 miles from our home, he passed a cop headed down toward all the touristy area. Except this police officer hit his brakes and turned around quickly to follow my husband.

He forgot to put his seat belt on.

He had worn it all the way home but when he got into the car to head home from the store, he had just plumb forgotten it and the cop could easily see that with his bright safety orange shirt on.

He pulled into the driveway since the police officer hadn’t even turned his lights on yet and since he was home, he just drove all the way up to his normal parking spot beside the house.

This is not an advised thing to do. Police officers don’t appreciate such actions.

But, we did not know this. The police officer sped into the driveway, pulled behind my husband who was about to get out of the car when the office warned him to stay still.

Well, from my perspective, I had had macaroni and cheese with the boys for lunch and that makes my teeth feel scummy so I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth because I just couldn’t take the nasty feel any longer when I heard the boys holler “Daddy is home! Daddy is home!” and then there was complete silence, which is highly unusual. I heard the kitchen door shut and S2 peeks into the bathroom door and says in a little voice “A police is in the driveway for Daddy.”

Images of the boys asking the police officer if he knew Roscoe Peco Train or if he had ever chased a car like the Dukes flashed in my head and I couldn’t get the toothpaste spit out of my mouth fast enough. I hurried out the door and there my husband is, leaning on the roof of his car, eating a potato log, while the police officer sat in his car. Surrounding my husband were four wide eyed, silent boys and one nine year old boy who had just moved in next door in our rental house. “What is he going to do, Daddy?” S1 asked.

“Well, I forgot my seat belt so I’ll probably get a ticket.”

The nine year old boy’s 15 year old brother comes out to check the situation out. “Don’t you think he could just give you a warning?”

“ ‘Fraid not,” my husband sighed.

I tried to get all the boys away from the scene. I lost S4 in the process and when I went out to find him loading rocks in a bucket to show the police officer all the cool rocks he had found, the rest of the boys all crept out to hang out with their daddy. It was if they were sure that he needed some support from them.

I looked at my husband, weariness heavy in his eyes and just sheer irritation that a fluke moment would cost him a ticket in front of all his boys.

In the end, perhaps because the boys looked so sadly, the police officer let my husband off with a warning…with a warning. “I will not let you off again, I guarantee you.” He assured my husband. He also gave him a brief instruction on never getting out of a vehicle or pulling into your home. My scary looking husband had looked like he was going to bolt and run and when my husband had handed over his license, the officer asked him “what am I going to find on your record?”

“Not a thing.” My husband assured him. He was right. There is not a thing on his record. Not even a speeding ticket.

My husband, truly shook up over the incident, sat down to eat his lunch and then he planned on getting our out door wood burner going so we had hot water for the day and then he was headed right to bed.

When he went to check the stove, we found a pipe had burst and he had to fix that before he could go to bed. I felt so bad for him I could have cried for him! He headed down to the hardware store to get the parts he needed before they closed, making certain he was buckled in tight.

As he was leaving the hardware store, the clerk (who knows us well, we are locals after all!) told my husband, “Watch out for cops, they are really watching everyone today.”

My husband retold the clerk his story. “You are the luckiest guy!” the clerk told him. “I have never ever heard of someone getting out of a seat belt ticket.”

“It’s not luck,” my husband told him, “It’s clean livin’.”

And probably a bunch of sad scared looking boys.

My husband got the pipe fixed quickly, took a hot shower, crawled into bed by 4:30 that evening and he slept till 5:30 the next morning. And every time we have headed out since then he hollers out to us, “Make sure you have your seat belt on!” and shows me his all buckled.

This is not a lesson we will forget quickly.

And to my husband, Love you! Thanks for working so hard all weekend! Hope you like how this blog turned out, thanks for giving me the great title! J

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to School

With four boys, I never know what to expect. Never Ever. Well, I take that back, they will always be hungry and dirty, no matter how much I feed them or how much they bathe.

Today was the first day of school. Yesterday, when I told them that THE DAY was approaching, S3 (who is starting kindergarten) ran upstairs, got his back pack and was ready to go. S2 (beginning second grade) began to cry, summer was over and he wasn’t ready for that. S1 (beginning fourth grade) just took it in stride.

I have had a countdown on the bathroom mirror, but about seven days ago I gave up on it. Any days less than seven depressed me so I thought maybe if we left seven up there, summer could last longer.

It didn’t work.

The first day of school was gloomy and drizzly. Perfect first day. I was feeling all sad about the beginning of the year and facebooked just that.

Almost instantly, I was facebooked back by the exact same news broadcaster I was watching on my kitchen TV. “Hey! Can we get a photo of the boys ready for school? We will post it on air,” she asked.

Do you think my boys would toss up such an experience?

So, when the bacon and eggs were done cooking I hollered up the steps to waken the sleepy boys. In my best “Good Morning Vietnam” impression I yell “Good Morning boys! Time for school, up and at ‘em!” I think it is a cheery way to wake up, they do not seem to agree.

They stumbled down the steps, bleary eyed and S3 wondering why on earth it was so dark out and they had to be up already. When I told them the news wanted their first day school picture, the air was suddenly electrified with their excitement and the sudden importance they felt that the news wanted them.

They ate their breakfast fast and then we hurried down the driveway as though they would wait for the bus stop and snapped a few pictures. S3 was very excited that his bright shoes that flicker amazingly bright green lights were on his feet to light the way to the end of the driveway. He doesn’t know how we all existed before he got his cool new Skechers! While they finished brushing their teeth and washing their face and taking care of breakfast dishes, I uploaded the photo and sent it along to our favoritest news broadcaster. We were all so excited it didn't matter when two water bottles of the three packed for school were unscrewed to make sure Moma had screwed them on tight and spilled all over the floor. Never fazed us, we were all so excited!

We waited and waited and waited and waited until the very last latest moment and never seen the photo on the TV. We had to rush to school, we rushed to drop the boys off and snap all the appropriate photos in front of lockers and then I ambled on home with a protesting S4 who did not get to go to school, who does not have a lunch box, who does not want to go home etc etc.
My husband called to check in on me because he knows I am a crying mess the first day and week of school. As I was talking to him, here on the news flashes my boys photos and I begin screaming and jumping up and down and I quickly snapped a photo of the boys on tv.

My husband thought someone was breaking in.

But all that excitement of the morning, well, it made this first day of school so memorable and fun. The boys think they are celebrities. My mom was able to DVR it (wouldn’t a DVR be great?) so they can watch it soon. It makes their first day not so painful…so a million thank you’s to our local news cast and our (was anyhow) favorite news cast.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Am I a Christian Now?

We were all sitting around the dinner table, eating a regular dinner on a regular night. Except, with four boys, our conversations run the gamut of all sorts of subjects…important and ridiculous. But it’s conversation, as a family, and for half an hour we eat and talk and it is the most important time of our family’s day.

On this dinner occasion, the older two boys were asking about why they couldn’t be baptized in a river or creek because that is what Jesus did and they don’t want to be in a bathtub, they want the ‘real’ thing.

Which lead S3 to ask if he was a Christian too? We had been talking with him a lot lately about this, he has the concept, and he just hasn’t said the prayer. So, there at the dinner table we began to ask him…

Why did Jesus die on the cross? Do you believe what God did for us? Do you believe in God? Why do you want to be a Christian? The older two boys were asking more questions than us! S3 just kept saying “I don’t know what to say.”

When my husband asked S3 if he had ever sinned S3 looked solemn. “Yes,” he admitted sadly. “I think I have sinned some. Maybe, well, I think I have sinned a whole lot of things.”

S4 chimed in, “He has, Dad. One time, he………..” and he proceeded to tell us all the bad things his older brother had done in that afternoon, that day, that week, that month…I had to shush him.

What was silly and sad was that S4 was listening to it all and so did not want to be left out.

“All you have to do is pray and ask when you believe,” S2 explained to his little brother.

S4 says “I’ll pray! I’ll pray!” He bowed his head, “Dear God, thank you for this day. Amen.’ Am I a Christian now?” he asked excitedly.

It was so hard to be truthful and tell him no.

S3 wanted to pray but wasn’t sure so he played for the rest of the evening and later, when it was time for bed, he searched his Daddy out and asked him to pray. He wanted to be a Christian so badly. So, my husband prayed with him and a beaming five year old flung his arms around me to tell me he was a Christian now. His joy was contagious and sweet.