Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Breakfast

Sometimes, my kids drive me crazy with their constant fighting and screaming.  My two boys are very competitive.  They struggle for dominance in all aspects of life.  However, there are other times when my boys do things that completely surprise me and bring cheer to my soul.

One Saturday morning, the sun peeked in through the blinds.  I lay under my covers and stretched my limbs.  I did not want to get up.  Yet, I needed to get up or else I would not get the kids to Sabbath school on time.  "Ugh.  Mornings are so hard."  I thought to myself.  Slowly, I crawled out of bed and into the shower.  Even with hot water pouring over my head, I could not shake the cobwebs from my brain.  After my shower, I roamed about the bathroom in a zombie-like state. 

As I leaned toward the mirror to put on mascara, I heard little voices coming from the kitchen.  "Oh no!  The kids are up.  I'm not ready for them to be up."  My mind complained anxiously.  I fully expected them to fight over some toy in the living room or place each other in headlocks while running down the hallway.  Either way, the peace of the morning seemed over.   I hurriedly finished applying the mascara and threw my hair into a pony tail.  Then, I tiptoed to my bedroom door. 

From my door, I saw the most amazing sight.  Son #1 and Son #2 were dressed in their Sabbath clothes.  My youngest son sat patiently at the table while my oldest son served Cheerios into two bowls.  They spoke kindly to each other as Son #1 opened the refrigerator door to retrieve the milk.  Son #1 carefully poured milk into each bowl and then returned the carton to its shelf in the refrigerator.  Then, my oldest son placed both bowls of food onto the kitchen table.

Both of my boys bowed their heads and Son #2 began to pray.  "Deaw Jesus.  Tank you for da food.  Tank you for tomowow.  Bada bada bada  Amen!!!!"

The boys began to eat their food and chat about their morning.  Suddenly, Son #1 popped out of his seat.  "Oh!  I forgot worship!"  He shouted.  His younger brother began to babble excitedly as Son #1 grabbed the Bible from the counter.  When my oldest son returned to the table, both of the boys settled into their seats.  Son #1 opened the Bible to the book of Psalms and found one of his favorite verses.  He sweetly read the verses to his younger brother.  Son #2 listened intently, quietly chewing his cereal.  Once the worship was complete, Son #1 carefully placed the Bible back onto the counter and returned to his seat.  The boys continued to talk and eat until they had finished all their food.  Finally, they placed their dishes in the sink and made their way to the bathroom to brush their teeth. 

From my hiding place behind the door, my eyes grew misty and my heart burst with love.  It was wonderful to see the boys behaving well.  I was also thrilled to see them developing their own personal relationship with Jesus.  This is a morning that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Popsicles

One sunny weekend, the boys and I made juice popsicles in our plastic popsicle holders.  First, we began by digging out the pitcher from the bottom cabinet.  Son #1 quickly opened the cabinet door and spied the needed pitcher.  Son #2 hopped up and down beside the freezer door as I searched for the frozen orange juice concentrate.  As soon as I found the orange juice concentrate, the boys dragged kitchen chairs to the counter and climbed onto the seats. 

"What are you guys doing?"  I asked playfully.

"We're going to help you make the popsicles!"  Son #1 shouted with excitement.

"I make popsicles!"  Son #2 echoed with delight.

"Alright."  I said as I relinquished the ingredients and stepped back to monitor their work.  "Are you guys ready?"

"Yeah!"  They both screamed.  Son #1 began to remove the lid to the juice concentrate while Son #2 jumped on the chair.  As soon as the lid  was taken off the juice concentrate container, I helped my oldest son squeeze the frozen contents into the pitcher.  Son #1 grunted as he tried to shake the frozen orange juice out of the tube.  "Mommy!"  He yelled in frustration.  "I can't get the orange juice out!"

"Hmm.  Let me help you."  I replied as I grabbed a spoon from the utensil drawer.  Together, we scooped the remaining contents of the tube into the pitcher.  Once empty, the tube was ready to be filled with water. 

Son #2 was dancing impatiently on the chair waiting for his turn.  He eyed the empty tube and chattered.  "I wanna pour da water!  I wanna pour da water!"

"O.K.  You can pour the water."  I responded while turning on the sink faucet. 

Son #2 cheered and held onto the small container with both of his chubby hands.  "I did it!"  He said proudly as he poured the water into the pitcher.

"I wanna do the next one!"  Son #1 said as he tapped me on the shoulder.

"Alright Baby."  I instructed my youngest son.  "You need to give the juice can to your brother."

Son #2 pouted for a moment but was persuaded to give up the container.  Son #1 smiled and thanked his younger brother.  Then, he proceeded to meticulously fill the can to the top.  Once full, Son #1 poured the water into the pitcher.  Finally, it was my turn to add the last can of water.  I quickly finished my task in order to have the boys mix the contents of the pitcher together. 

My two boys grinned as I handed each of them a mixing spoon.  They took turns mixing the concentrate and water.  Periodically, I could see the boys peeking into the pitcher to see if the frozen orange juice had dissolved.  I giggled to myself as I watched them work as a team.  Sometimes, there was a bit of shouting but it was resolved fairly quickly.

Eventually, the boys finished mixing the contents of the pitcher.  We carefully poured the orange juice into the popsicle containers and placed them in the freezer.  Then, the boys ran outside to play.  Several hours later, I removed two refreshing, orange popsicles from their containers and presented them to my little boys as they played in the backyard.  They both screamed with joy.  Son #1 and Son #2 immediately began to lick the frozen orange treat.  They sat beside each other on the concrete patio silently eating their popsicles.  After some time, Son #1 finished his popsicle and ran to the grass to play.  Son #2 quietly watched his brother as orange juice dripped onto his hands.  With his eyes half closed, my youngest son savored the remains of his popsicle as the warm sun melted it onto his clothes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Did Bob the Builder Teach Us That?

The other day, I spent the afternoon tilling the vegetable garden and mowing the backyard.  I also transplanted my oregano and sage plants to a more aesthetically appropriate location in my yard.  By the end of the afternoon, I was covered in dirt but proud of my accomplishments.  Before going inside to shower, I turned to survey my work.  The soil was turned.  The seeds were planted.  The garden had been watered.  The grass had been cut.  All was right in our yard.

Once clean and dressed, I wandered the house picking up random clutter.  I stopped inside Son #1's room and peeked out his window at the newly transplanted herbs.  As I looked out through one of the window panes, Son #1walked into his room and tapped me on the shoulder.  "Mom?  What are you looking at?"  He asked quietly.

"Oh.  I'm just looking at the sage and oregano."  I replied as I pointed out their locations.

"They look good, Mom."  Son #1 commented casually.

"Thanks."  I said nodding my head in agreement.

Son #1 and I stood at the window observing the landscaping.  Then, my eldest son sighed, knelt down, and peered out the window.  I wondered what had caught his attention.  Son #1 was completely transfixed by this particularly interesting item.  Finally, my eldest son stood up and stated seriously.  "Mom.  The ground outside of the house is lower than the ground inside the house."

I squinted my eyes as I studied the ground outside the house.  Then, I turned to my eldest son and restated.  "So you're saying that the ground or the dirt outside is lower that the carpet that sits on our house's foundation."

"Huh?"  Son #1 responded with a confused look on his face.  "What's a foundation?"

"Well, our foundation is a slab of concrete.  That's what the builders used to begin building our house."  I explained.

Son #1 wrinkled his nose as he thought about foundations, concrete, landscaping, and construction.  He gazed out the window once more.  My eldest son was lost in his thoughts for a moment before he turned to me and asked.  "Did Bob the Builder teach us that?"

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Cat and the Lincoln Logs

We have a fourteen year old cat named Sketch.  Most days, she lays by the windows and sleeps in the sun.  She is very friendly and loves to be scratched between her ears.  At night, she'll cuddle up with one of our sons as they fall asleep for the night.  Sketch is a very sweet indoor cat.  However, she has one small flaw.

Sketch enjoys stealing small objects.  We discovered this one day while moving the sofa to deep clean the carpet.  As my husband and I scooted the sofa away from its usual resting place, we spied a treasure trove of our missing items.  A tube of lipstick, a bolt, a few pencils, and some other random objects were strategically nestled in her favorite hiding spot.  My husband and I were shocked.  We scolded our cat and retrieved our items.  From that day on, we eyed our naughty cat suspiciously when she got too close to one of our possessions. 

A couple days ago, the boys were constructing small buildings with their Lincoln Logs.  The logs were strewn across the living room floor as they created one and two story dwellings.  As soon as they were done, Son #1 knelt down to inspect each building carefully.  Son #2 grabbed a plastic bear, dog, and little man.  Our youngest son crawled to the Lincoln Log neighborhood and gently placed each toy near one of the houses.  When all had be inspected and approved by both of our children, my husband and I were called over to look at their creation. 

"Hey.  That's pretty cool!"  I said as I bent over to check out the tiny houses.

"Good job, boys!"  My husband exclaimed.  Then, he gave the kids high fives.

Son #1 yelled out excitedly.  "Look at this house!  It has a garage for the car and an upstairs so the bear won't get the person!"

"Ya!  Da bear is owtside!  Is scary!"  Son #2 agreed in a loud voice.

"Oh yes.  You're right."  I said gravely.

After showing my husband and I the houses, the boys trotted off to their rooms to place a car racing game.  Shrieks of laughter and also periodically shrieks of discord could be heard from Son #2's room.  Then, we heard the growl of pretend engines as the boys raced their cars up and down the hallway. 

While the boys were playing, Sketch slowly crept into the living room.  My husband and I were relaxing on the sofa.  I looked up from my magazine and asked.  "What do you think the cat is doing?"

My husband peeked over the newspaper and replied.  "I bet she's going to steal something."

Sketch arched her back and stretched her front paws forward.  She yawned and swished her tail casually.  However, her ears were tilted toward her whiskers and her whiskers were pointed at the toys.  I squinted my eyes as I observed her body language.  "Ske-e-e-tch."  I admonished.  "Don't you dare."

Sketch twirled in a circle and meowed innocently.  My husband disregarded her innocent meow and scolded.  "Sketch!  You leave those toys alone!"

Sketch flattened her ears, tucked her tail, and scrambled to the door of our bedroom.  As soon as the cat disappeared, my husband shouted for Son #1 and Son #2.  "Boys, come pick up the Lincoln Logs before the cat steals them!"

The kids scurried out of their rooms and hurriedly began to clean up their toys.  As they cleaned, Sketch quietly peered out from behind our bedroom door.  Disappointment could be seen in her eyes.  Clearly, she wanted to play with a Lincoln Log but her plans had been foiled.  However, I'm sure she'll soon be scouting out a new location for her next toy heist.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

King of the Rock

A couple of weeks ago, several members of our immediate and extended family took a road trip to a nearby mountain town.  During the day, we skied down the slopes like lunatics trying to keep up with Son #1.  In the evenings, we took leisurely walks through the charming town.  Son #1 and Son #2 found the walks to be very exciting.  There were so many things to explore, climb, and inspect.

On one particular walk, my mom and I strolled with the boys past shops in the cold mountain air.  An icy breeze nipped at our cheeks as the boys jumped on large boulders strategically placed in the landscaping.  Son #1  bounded easily from rock to rock.  Son #2 analyzed every step that Son #1 took before attempting to climb the very same rocks.  The boys shrieked with laughter as they played their little game. 

Suddenly, Son #1 saw a huge boulder at the edge of a parking lot.  He sprinted to the rock and scrambled to the top.  My eldest son pushed his chest into the air, extended his arms high over his head, and cried loudly.  "I'm the king of the rock!"

Son #2 took notice of his older brother and raced to the large rock.  He stretched his hands over the top of the boulder, dug his knees into the sides, and dragged himself to where his brother stood.  Carefully, he balanced his weight as he slowly extended his arms above his head.  "I da king of da rock!"  My youngest son roared.

Son #1 hopped down from the boulder and leaped to another.  He glanced at his younger brother with a cheerful smile and yelled again.  "I'm king of the rock!"

Son #2 laughed with delight.  Then, he held his tiny hand out and shouted.  "Help me get down, Mama!"

As soon as I placed Son #2 onto the sidewalk, he raced to the next rock and crawled to the top.  With great care, my youngest son stood with his hands reaching to the sky.  "I king of da rock!"  He screamed.

Son #1 giggled and said to his brother.  " I bet I can beat you to the next rock."

"Les race!"  Son #2 responded gleefully.

"On your mark.  Get set.  Go!"  Son #1 and Son #2 began to race but had to stop because it was too dark to run like wild minions.

"Come back and hold our hands!"  My mom and I called out to the two little monkeys. 

"Aww!  Do we have to?"  Son #1 complained.  "We were racing!"

"Yes.  You need to hold our hands.  It's too dark right now."  I explained.

Son #2 squirmed and wiggled trying to avoid grabbing my mom's hand.  Son #1 pouted and placed his hands in his pockets.  Eventually after a bit of discussion, the boys did hold our hands as we continued to walk down the street.  Soon, the boys yawned and rubbed their eyes.  It was getting late so we turned back toward the hotel.  As we walked down the moonlit sidewalk, the boys spied one last rock to climb.  They sleepily clambered to the top of the rock and called out once more for the town to hear.  "I'm king of the rock!"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mowing with Dad

A few weeks ago, my husband stepped out into the front yard to mow the lawn.  Son #2 tagged along to peek at the mower.  As my husband fueled up the tank, Son #2 chattered away with excitement.

"Daddy, you gonna mow?"  Son #2 asked with wide eyes.

"Sure am."  My husband replied as he attached the bag for grass cuttings.

"Oh wow!"  Son #2 exclaimed.  "I wanna mow, too!"

My husband grunted absentmindedly as he inspected the mower one last time.  Then, my husband pulled back on the starter and began to cut the lawn.  Son #2 was amazed at the loud noise.  He placed his hands over his ears and shouted to my husband.  "Too loud, Daddy!"

My husband could not hear a thing as the engine of the mower roared.  He motioned for our youngest son to stay close by as he pushed the mower across the lawn.  Son #2 obediently ran after his dad.  Periodically, my little boy patted the branches of bushes or peered at the naked limbs of a small tree.  Then, Son #2 got an idea.  Quickly, my little boy ran back to the garage and grabbed a dolly from among the tools.  Using his tiny muscles, Son #2 pushed the dolly forward with all his might.  Eventually, my little boy got the dolly onto the grass.

Son #2 followed my husband with his own "mower" turning at the appropriate times.  My husband looked back at his youngest son and gave him a thumbs up sign.  Son #2 yelled.  "Look Daddy!  I mowing!"

My husband laughed.  "Good!  Follow me!"

Son #2 followed his dad without deviating from his path.  I happened to be outside while this all took place and snapped a couple pictures.  For a second, I was transported back in time to when my oldest son would follow my husband with his own "mower".  I could visualize Son #1 toddling behind my husband with a sit-to-stand walker shouting.  "Look Mommy!  Look Daddy!  I mowing!"  Once again, a wave of nostalgia passed over me.  Then, I leaned against my car with a sigh and thought.  "Kids grow up so fast."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Playing in the Snow

We have had snow (and ice) off and on for a couple weeks.  Nothing makes me happier, than looking out my window into a yard covered by a fresh blanket of snow.  The clouds hang low in the sky and create a grey, dreamy haze.  At night, the moonlight bounces off the snow drifts  lighting up our neighborhood like a winter wonder land.  Then, the sun comes out.  Sun rays cause the snow to gleam with intensity.  I love winter and I love snow.

The boys love the snow as well.  Each time the first few snowflakes begin to fall, the kids beg to put on the skis and ski in the backyard.  Usually, we'll ski in the backyard if there is good snow cover.  If the yard is mostly ice, then we just play.

The other day, sleet began to fall.  Son #1 and Son #2 sat by the window in the living room with their noses glued to the window pane.  Their eyes lit up as the ground filled up with ice.  "Mom!"  Son #1 shouted.  "I bet they will cancel school tomorrow."

"We'll see what happens."  I said cheerfully.

"I wanna go ski."  Son #2 called out.

"If there is enough snow on the ground, I'll bring out my skis."  I responded.

"Hurray!!!"  The two boys cried out together.  I laughed as the kids continued to watch ice bounce off the grass.

A few days later, a layer of snow covered our grass.  The boys cheered as they gazed at the winter wonderland before them.  I fixed a hearty breakfast, dressed the boys in their snow clothes, and shooed them out into the backyard.  Socks, the dog, scampered after them as they stomped across the small mounds of snow.  After I ate my breakfast, I threw on my jacket, grabbed the skis, and ran out to play with my kids.  Son #1 and Son #2 screamed as I closed the back door.  "The skis!  The skis!"

I gazed at my two children hopping up and down in the snow.  They were so excited.  To avoid any fighting, I suggested to Son #1.  "Hey, let's have your little brother ski first.  Then, you can ski after him."

Son #1 thought for a moment about my suggestion.  Then, he smiled and agreed.  "Yeah!  That sounds good."  Quickly, Son #1 turned to his brother and said.  "Bro, go get into the ski boots."

I lifted my youngest son off the ground and removed his shoes.  Carefully, I placed his feet into my ski boots.  Once he was secured into the boots, I began to push him across the yard.  Son #2 screeched with delight.  "I skiing!  I skiing!"

When Son #2 had skied a couple laps around the yard, I called out to my oldest son.  "O.K.  Now it's your turn."  Slowly, I lifted my little baby out of the ski boots.  As I held him in the air, I dusted the snow from his legs.  Then, I slipped Son #2's shoes onto his feet.  Once the shoes were on his feet, Son #2 quickly wriggled out of my arms back into the snow. 

Son #1 tugged on my jacket and asked.  "Can you help me get into your ski boots?"

"Of course!"  I said with a smile.  Son #1 held onto my shoulder while I removed one of his shoes.  He carefully stepped into the first boot.  Then, he lifted his other foot so I could remove the second shoe.  Once his feet were secured into the ski boots, I gave Son #1 a push across the snow.  He skated smoothly from one end of the yard to the other end several times.

Eventually, the snow melted away. However, winter was not over yet.  Today, we were blessed with another round of snow.  Overnight, a strong wind blew the snow up against the house creating a good sized snow drift.  The boys shrieked with joy as they ran out to play in the snow again.  This time, they created forts and oblong snowmen.  They even drove their toy cars through the snow tunnels inside the forts.  By the time the boys finished playing, their cheeks were bright red and their shoes were soaked.  Once inside the house, they stripped off their snow clothes and collapsed onto their beds in exhaustion. 

Note to Self:  Playing in snow = a great nap for the kids 
(I REALLY love snow!)