Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick-or-Treat

I think maybe they have teeth missing in the same spot!

Despite the fact that Code-man just cut him open and
ripped his guts out, these guys are great pals...

Ooooo....spooky!

I'm not sure where Logo came up with the idea
that he wanted to be a wizard, but a wizard he is! 
I'm not sure what that crazy man in the middle is supposed to be...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It is mind-blowing to me that my last baby is 3 years old already.  That makes him officially out of the realm of "baby," even out of the realm of "toddler," and smack-dab into "preschooler."  Already.  Wasn't it just yesterday when I was holding this tiny child, who couldn't even hold his own head up, in my arms?  And now look at him!  He can do so many things for himself, and while right now he still does need me very intensely, I can see how this is going.  Pretty soon he, like his brothers, will be independent in most areas.  Which is, of course, what I want--I certainly don't want to be brushing my kids' teeth and tying their shoes before they head out to work each morning--but oh, there is something so special about being the one thing standing between an innocent kidlet and the big, cruel world--about having a little person depend upon you for every little thing that sustains them.  I'm going to miss it.
We wave at the Waste Management driver every Monday morning...
speaking of which, Logo had better hurry home, so he can put the waste recepticals out

Yum!  Garbage!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cutie-patootie

Here are a couple of the poses from Bubby's almost-3-years-old portrait session this morning.
Honestly, have you ever seen anything so cute?

To view them all, follow this link.
I decided to finally change sheets this morning--it's time for cozy flannel on the big bed :-)  It's actually only been 2 weeks since there were clean sheets on my bed, but I'm not really sure how long it's been for the boys--their sheets didn't stand up on their own or anything when I removed them, so not too terribly long. 

All of the boys I gave birth to were in the shower when I went in to ask the younger two which sheets they would like on their beds.  After ascertaining that Logo would like sports, and Bubby would like Cars, I was walking away to dutifully pull out said sheets and apply them to said beds, when I overheard my first-born comment to his brother (insert your best pre-teen angst/drama here), "oh, I am soooo glad I don't have to deal with that."  Pausing, I heard MC echo my thoughts, asking, "what do you mean?"  "Well," Code-man replied, "I get to change my own sheets, so I get to decide when and how I want to do it."

That sure put a smile on my face, to hear my little growing-up boy taking responsibility for one little task that needs to be done.  See, that's the goal, really: to take these helpless, vulnerable creatures, and turn them into independent, self-sufficient, self-sustaining citizens.  This small step forward is a victory along that path to adulthood.  I, personally, don't think it's a such horrible hardship to have to decide which sheets to put on my bed, especially if someone else is going to be doing the put-ing, but I'm happy to have relieved Code-man of this perceived burden.  I'm wondering if I should let him do his own laundry, too?  Make supper?  The possibilities...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Today, Bubby, Pal, and I read this cute book, The Pumpkin Patch Parable, by Liz Curtis Higgs, suggested by my MOPS group's Moppets coordinator.
The Pumpkin Patch Parable: Special Edition (Parable Series)
If you haven't read it, I encourage you to request it from your local library.  The story goes like this:
Once there was a farmer, who planted many different kinds of vegetables on his farm, but the best were the pumpkins.  He planted the seeds and the pumpkins grew.  They were all different shapes and sizes, but they were all pumpkins.  At harvest time, the farmer chose one special pumpkin.  First, he washed all of the dirt off the pumpkin, then he cut into the pumpkin and took out all the yucky squishy stuff--he took it to the compost pile, never to be seen again.  Then the farmer gave the pumpkin a new face, with triangle eyes, a square nose, and a big wide smile.  Next, the farmer put a candle inside his pumpkin and lit it.  The pumpkin glowed and lit up the night.  The story continues, "all the neighbors knew that, once again, the farmer had turned a simple pumpkin into a simply glorious sight."

Of course, it says right in the title that it's a parable...have you been following along with me?  Let me give you a hint.  The last sentence of the story reads: "In the same way, God the Father offers his children the chance to be made new, full of joy and full of light, shining like stars in a dark world."

So, let me spell it out for you.  When the farmer washes the pumpkin, that's like us being washed in the waters of baptism.  When the farmer removes the squishy pulp, that's like God taking away all the yucky stuff in our lives--our sins--away, never to be seen or thought of again.  The pumpkin's face symbolizes us becoming new creations in Christ, and the light from the candle is Jesus' light shining through us for the world to see.

So, of course, after that, we had to carve our own pumpkin.  First we washed it, then cut open the top and took out all the slimy squishy stuff...
Check out Pal's expression!  She was not liking this part--that was some slimy gunk in there.  Next we gave our pumpkin a new face, and placed a lit candle inside, so that the light shone out into the world.

I'm not sure how much of that Bubby and Pal will retain, but I certainly got a warm fuzzy feeling :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Harvest Festival

Code-man and Logo didn't have school yesterday, so we went to a tree farm for some harvest fun.  Pretty much the first thing we did after our arrival was take a short hike on the "Spooky" Trail.  Bubby thought it was too scary the first time through, but later on in the day he wasn't as freaked out.  Found this Webmaster along the way: 

This 40 foot slide was also along the path--we spent a lot of time here, going back several times during the day, and sliding down in various combinations and positions.
 Along the trail there were a couple of small mazes with games and activities inside, like pumpkin bowling and gourd mini-golf.  Code-man (well, all four of us, really) enjoyed playing this game, called bank-shot:
 

My little monsters :-)
I think it's finally sunken in, for Code-man, at least, that sometimes you do things just because it'll make your mama happy--for instance, posing for a cheesy picture (I think he's waaaaay ahead of me on this realization--I didn't get it until a couple of years ago).

The main attraction was the corn maze, which wasn't so big that I had to worry about the children (at least the bigger ones) really getting lost, but big enough that we had a fun sense of adventure, and I had no clue where I was, or where Code-man and Logo were, most of the time.  Code-man brought the GPS with him--it was fun seeing where we had been, following the blue line on the screen.  And by the way, that was some MONSTER corn--I have never seen corn that tall!  It was taller than the 4 of us combined.
Of course we couldn't leave without getting some pumpkins...go, Bubby: you can do it!
Bubby found some corn in the maze--it's this photo just priceless?!
We also did some bouncing in inflatables, climbed through straw tunnels, played on a huge play set, and watched the pumpkin cannon go off.  It was a beautiful day, and a lovely place to spend it. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kalahari weekend

Last week, our kids had only 2 days of school, so Sawblock surprised us with a trip to Wisconsin Dells.  We left Friday morning, and went to the indoor theme park at Kalahari that afternoon and evening.
There was a rock climbing wall (from the left: Sawblock, Logo, Code-man),

a ropes course,

 

















 mini-golf,
 and go-kart racing,
 as well as lazer tag, a ferris wheel, carosel and a few other "kiddy" rides, and a large indoor play/climbing area (like you would find at a McDonalds, but much larger).

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn--this is the view from our balcony.
 We spent Saturday at Kalahari's indoor waterpark.  I didn't get very many pictures, because it's a little wet in there, and I was having too much fun to stop and grab the camera (although I did see a young woman go down one of the waterslides holding her camera), but here are Scott and Cody on their first body surfing attempts of the day.  They improved as the day progressed.




















Wednesday, October 20, 2010

While I'm Waiting - John Waller

Here's a video of the song I talked about here. I love that in the beginning, it's dark and slowly lightens to reveal a dark, cold, forlorn winter landscape as Mr. Waller sings:

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait.

Because so often, in those waiting times, it feels so dark, so cold, so lonely. Waiting feels like winter. And just as every year winter gives way to the blooms of spring, so too, our times of waiting will burst forth into times of joy--it is by walking through our darkest times back into the light that we can experience our greatest joy.

To me, this song is about trust. Trusting that God will see us through our darkest times, and giving up our own desires about when and how. Knowing that God is there, even if it doesn't feel like it, and worshipping through those cold, dark days, even if we don't feel like it.

Growing up

So, today I did something that I haven't done in a very long time, and actually never thought I would, again.  I made up a bed in a loft.  And then I told Code-man that he's on his own from now on :)

Here's a picture of Code-man's new bed...some people wanted to see pictures, but there really isn't much to see.  It's pretty high--taller than me.  When I went in to pray with him tonight, I couldn't put my hand on his back or head, as I have done pretty much every night for the last 10.25 years.  It made me wonder how much longer he and I will pray together at bed time.  Actually, if things keep going the way they have been, pretty soon I'll be going to bed before he does.  My baby is growing up.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
A few weeks ago, Code-man told me about a conversation that he had with one of his friends.  They were talking about how when they were younger (like waaaaay back in 3rd or 4th grade), the 5th graders all looked so big, and seemed so old, and they couldn't wait until they were in 5th grade.  It was almost as if 5th graders had taken on superhuman status in their 3rd and 4th grade minds.  But now that Code-man and his friends are 5th graders, they just seem normal to themselves.  They were saying, "we're not as big as those other 5th graders were," and commenting on how it's not quite as much fun as they thought it would be.

I kind of feel that way about being a grown-up.  When I was younger, the grown-ups looked so big and seemed so old, and I thought it would be fun to be one, in fact, I couldn't wait.  But now that I am a grown-up, I kind of can't believe it.  Seriously?  I'm responsible for the well-being of, not just myself, but of 3 defenseless kidlets?  Who thought that would be a good idea?  Really!  It seems ridiculous to me (but then I wasn't really the one deciding that I was a good candidate for grown-up-ness).  I would so much rather have someone else be the grown-up. 

Ah, but the fact remains that I am, alas, a grown-up, and as such, I am supposed to be in charge of those little'uns.  I guess it's a good thing that they're less complicated when they're babies.  When a baby is upset, he will cry, and then a consciencious care-giver need only run through the list of possible factors: hungry, tired, lonely, wet/dirty diaper, gas.  We make mistakes and we grow and learn along with our children.  And as they grow, the factors become more complicated; the potential influencers: myriad.  Hopefully (and I emphasize the hopefully), by the time we get to the point where there's more at stake, we will have made enough mistakes, and learned enough, that we will somehow (somehow) stumble upon the right thing to do, so say, or even, not to do.

But oh, I feel so inadequate.  How does one ever know the "right" thing?  I am so not the right person for this job...and yet, I'm the only person for this job.  And so, we carry on.  All we can do is our best. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Big Ugly Frog

No, I am not referring to the frogs that we sometimes find in our patio furniture (usually *before* we sit down), or the ones who like to hang out in and around our gas grill, or to the one that apparently decided to climb our sliding glass door a week or so ago (was he looking for a place to hibernate?)--they are big and ugly, but those are toads, not frogs.

When my husband's maternal grandmother passed away several years ago, the task of disposing of her belongings fell to her children, including my mother in law, Beaver-ly.  As we were going through the house and garage, Beaver-ly found this incredibly ugly green ceramic frog, with a large mouth opening that was supposed to hold a Chore-boy (which, if you don't know, as I didn't until about 10 years ago, is a scrubby sponge)--the frog was meant to be a kitchen decoration/tool.  I believe it was found in the garage--I certainly would have relegated the thing to the garage or basement--but I could be wrong.  We laughed and reminisced, and Beav put the ugly frog in the pile of items to be donated to some unsuspecting charity thrift store, I thought.

But I was wrong.  My fun-loving and tricky mother in law wrapped that monstrous thing in a dish towel and stuck it in a bag of items that Hubby and I were taking home with us.  When I got home and discovered the stow-away, I laughed so hard...and this is how it began.  For the next few years, when we had the frog we would bring it with us when we visited Hubby's family and leave it somewhere on the property, where it would be discovered, hopefully after we were long gone, and they would do the same, when they came to visit us.  I think we even named the little guy, but I can't recall what his name was.  It was a fun little game, and a nice way to remember Hubby's grandma.  And then he disappeared.  It's possible that the last time he made the trip from West Virginia to Michigan (or vice versa), he was hidden so well that we just never found him again--I'm not sure, I just know that he's no longer with us.

So now you might be thinking to yourself, that's a sweet story, but why, pray tell, are you relating it at this time?  I'm not sure what made me think of the ugly green frog right then, but this summer I did, and I asked my mother in law if she knew what had happened to it.  She didn't.  We laughed and reminisced, and that was the end of it, I thought. 

Until, not too long ago, my father in law came to visit, and when he left I found this little guy sitting by my sink


(OK, that's not exactly how it happened, but the frog was by our kitchen sink after B.J. left).  Wasn't that a sweet thing for Beav to do?  I haven't decided yet whether he'll be coming with us the next time we visit my in-laws--this guy is a whole lot cuter than the original froggy was.  Thanks, Beaver-ly :) 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Waiting

About a month ago, my friend J found a lump in her breast.  The needle biopsy was inconclusive, so she went ahead and had the lump removed last week.  And now, she's waiting.  Waiting for the pathology report to tell her if she has cancer.  Waiting to have the information she needs so she can decide her next step.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting...
 
I think we're all waiting for something, aren't we?  The thing for which we wait may not be as potentially devastating as my friend's test results may be, but we're all waiting for...something, maybe even several somethings.  Right now I'm waiting for Bubby to fall asleep.  I'm waiting for Hubby to return from work.  I'm waiting for an answer to prayer.  I'm waiting for my children to start cleaning up after themselves without being told.  And I, too, am waiting for J's test results.  Waiting.  Always waiting.  It is so hard to wait.

I think the hardest part about waiting is that there's nothing else we can do.  Once J has her test results, she can take action, or at least formulate a plan, or not, because she may no longer need a plan, if the results are what we're hoping for, but in this time of waiting, all she can do is...wait.  We are such action oriented creatures, we humans.  It's as if we believe that as long as we're doing something, anything, we are in control; we can control outcomes.  And yet, experience shows that most of the time, the something, anything that we do does nothing more than to increase our anxiety about whatever it is for which we wait.

Have you heard "While I'm Waiting," by John Waller?  This, I believe, is how we should wait: hopefully, patiently, peacefully, faithfully, even though waiting is difficult and often painful, walking through our times of waiting in obedience and in confidence, knowing that God is present in every moment, God is in control, and that God will see us through to the other side.  And if we must do something, anything, we should serve God and worship God as we wait.
I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait


I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race Even while I wait


I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5



Friday, October 8, 2010

Chihuahua

As some of you know, I am a working mama now.  I care for 3 year old Pal half-time.  Bubby and Pal have become great friends--they love to run and jump and giggle together, and Bubby even seems more clingy on the days Pal is not with us: he seems to be missing his playmate.  Today is another gorgeous day, and we headed off to our favorite local waterfall this morning.  I couldn't believe that I had once again forgotten just how steep that hill is, and I must admit I was feeling some of the same feelings that I felt on this day (2nd half of the post) as I attempted to get the children to focus on walking and/or riding in the stroller instead of listening to the leaves fall (oh yes, they were).  Oh, but what a lovely day, and a lovely place to spend a part of it.


 Both of this kids walked up (and back down) that massive staircase.  I was so impressed with both of them.  I kept telling Pal, "you can do anything if you believe in yourself," and, "you're a strong girl," hoping that my few choice words would stick and see her through her growing up years (I don't think I have anything to worry about, since her parents are fabulous).
 As we were walking back toward our vehicle, a couple passed us, walking their dog.  He looked like a German Shepherd to me, but Pal insisted that he was a Chihuahua (yes, she did...and after a few minutes of bearing the onslought of her insistence, I admitted that his ears did look somewhat Chihuahua-ish).  After that, as we were walking up that long, steep hill, Pal and Bubby would stop and peer intently up the trail, and then they would whisper, "I think there's another Chihuahua coming."  It was so, so funny--oh my word!  There must have been at least 20 Chihuahuas lurking on that path and in the surrounding woods.
I had to include this pic, since all the others were of the kids' backs--I did tell you they love to run together (and they are fast)!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
This morning 2/3 of my children did not have clean pants to wear.  When I asked Code-man why he and Logo hadn't brought their dirty laundry upstairs yesterday (which is one of their Thursday morning tasks), he told me he didn't feel like it!  Well, Code-man, that's good, because I didn't feel like washing it either :)

Unfortunately, mama gets the raw end of the deal yet again, because I'm the one who's going to be reported for child neglect if those kids show up at school naked (or even extremely dirty, if it's often enough)... I don't know that they'd accept "natural consequences" as a good enough excuse.

(I can't get spell-check to work, so sorry, folks, if onslought is misspelled.  It looks misspelled.  Hope you can figure out what I meant)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010







     


 

Here's a fun little project I've been working on.  I cheated a little on the M, but you get the idea :)
I do not know what is up with that F...it will not behave and I have futzed with it enough for today.
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