Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Singers

My husband is a singer/songwriter and musician.  Everyday, he practices one of the instruments in his office or writes lyrics on his notepad.  The boys have always been around musical instruments whether it is at our home, Abuelita's (Grandma's) house, or Grandma & Grandpa's house.  Music is a big part of their lives.

The other day, Son #1 and Son #2 were especially inspired to sing.  They ran in circles around the living room belting out the lyrics to one of their dad's songs.  My husband's song played softly in the background as if to accompany their loud yet out of breath voices.  They didn't know the entire song so they filled in the blanks with their own made up words.  Son #2 sang joyously as Son #1 chased him.  Shrieks of laughter filled the instrumental sections.  Soon the song ended and it was time for a bath.

Son #1 climbed into the bath tub first.  He invented games with the boats and played a song on the water flute.  My husband and I sat in the living room watching Frasier while Son #2 connected train tracks on the floor.  Then, we heard a sound from inside the bathroom.  We turned off the TV and listened for a moment.  Son #1 was serenading the duckies with songs from school.  My husband and I giggled mischievously as we eavesdropped on the impromptu concert.  Eventually, the water in the bath got cold.  Son #1 washed up quickly and hopped out of the tub.  The concert was over for now.

After Son #2's bath and a few stories, we all relaxed in the living room together.  Son #2 crawled onto the sofa and lay his head on one of the arms.  My husband turned on the evening football game.  Son #1 watched intently while Son #2 relaxed on the cushions.  My youngest son's eyes drooped off and on until they finally closed.  Then, he turned over to his side and covered himself with a quilt.  My husband and I nodded to each other acknowledging that our son had fallen asleep.  A commercial with a catchy tune rang out from the television.  As the tune was ending, Son #2 sat up from his sleep and sang the last phrase of the jingle.  He smiled to himself and then went back to sleep.  We all looked at each other in shock.  Then, we laughed hysterically.  Apparently, my sons sing in their sleep.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Da Bears

I love the Cowboys but I also love the Bears.  I grew up watching Walter Payton, the Fridge, and Jim McMahon tear up Soldier Field in the 80's.  Those were the glory days.  My dad and I were usually glued to the old TV with a bowl of popcorn.  Popcorn would fly through the air as we shrieked with all our might.  Walter Payton was my favorite player on that team.  He was an unbelievable running back whose signature stutter step wowed fans and opponents alike.

In the 90's, Saturday Night Live did a skit about "Da Bears" and "Da Bulls"  The skit is hysterical.  (Da Superfans)  My husband and I mimic it often.  Of course, the kids think my husband and I are silly.

One afternoon while watching our usual Sunday football games, my husband and I began to joke around about that skit.  I giggled.  "Oh don't cha know.  I love da bears."

My husband cracked up.  "Ya.  Da Bears are cool."

My husband asked.  "So.  What will da Bears do today?"

"Oh. Ya know."  I responded.  "Dere likely to put up aboot 800 points for da game."

"Ya.  And dere opponents will score nothing."  My husband countered.

Then, I sang out.  "Daaa Bears."

The boys were listening to our exchange.  Son #1 rolled his eyes and laughed.  Son #2 crawled up onto the rocking chair where I happened to be sitting.  From behind me a tiny toddler's voice rang out.  "Daaa Bulls."

My husband and I turned to each other in surprise.  Then, we belly laughed for a good while.

Kids will imitate anything.  Fortunately, my husband and I were mocking a funny but fairly clean skit.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Time in Days Gone By

The Christmas and winter season always brings to mind warm and cheerful memories. 

When I was six, my parents used to rent a cabin for about a week in Yosemite during those snowy winter months.  In my mind, I can visualize our VW Bug following the narrow, winding mountain road to our destination.  Once, one of my uncles road up with us.  He was much younger than my dad and related to his older nieces/nephews as a cousin. 

When we reached the cabin, my mom carried my little baby brother into the old wooden A-frame.  My dad immediately began to form snowballs and throw them like fast balls at my uncle and I.  A vicious snowball fight ensued until we eventually ran out of steam.  Then, it was time to unload the suitcases from the trunk.  My dad carried in the luggage while my uncle brought out the snow saucer. 

My uncle and I jumped on the saucer and slid down the icy drive.  The road  was fairly steep with a sharp corner.  However, we were positive that we could stop before the bend.  The saucer picked up speed as it hurled itself down the mountain.  My uncle panicked as he saw the upcoming grove of Ponderosa Pines.  He leaned with all his might to the left trying to avoid the sharp bend.  I think he hoped that the tall bank of snow would gently stop the saucer's wild slide.  He was wrong.  As we hit the bank, we launched into the air.  The airborne saucer struck one of the pines.  The force of the collision sent us flying into the forest.  I sat up from a particularly fluffy mound of snow.  My uncle struggled to his feet.  He looked at me with fear in his eyes and whispered.  "Don't tell your dad."

Now, you can tell that monkey business runs rampant in my family. 

Son #1 can get into mischief like a champ.  Last year, we took Son #1 skiing.  He learned to ski when he was three and is fairly confident in his abilities.  That confidence turned out to be his down fall.  We were cruising down a gentle green trail in traffic when Son #1 asked.  "Mommy, can we go down that run?" 

I peered over the steep edge and shook my head.  "No Baby.  That's a black diamond.  You need to get better at your turns before trying that run." 

Son #1 nodded his head but looked unconvinced.  He scooted closer and closer to the edge.  My husband and I warned him not to get too close but Son #1 would not listen.  Then when our heads were turned, Son #1 leaped off the edge.  I turned to see my oldest son rocketing over moguls.  So far, he had not fallen.  I was irritated but also slightly impressed.  Then as luck would have it, his ski caught an edge that shot him toward a grove of pine trees.  My heart shot up to my throat in fear.  My husband screamed.  "Fall down!"

Fortunately, Son #1 listened and slid on his rear straight into a tree.  My husband and I raced to the spot where he lay.  Son #1 wailed loudly as I approached.  I threw off my skis and scooped up my son.  From our precarious perch on the mountain, I inspected Son #1's head, eyes, trunk, and limbs.  Everything looked fine.  Son #1 was pretty lucky.  He dried his tears and then gazed into my eyes.  Solemnly, he asked.  "Can we try that black diamond again?"


Before you conclude that mischievousness comes from my side of the family,  let me tell you a story about my husband when he was a toddler.

My husband's parents can bake with the best of them.  During the holiday season, the counter space is lined with delectable treats and pastries.  As a toddler, my husband had a sweet tooth.  He was also an insatiable climber.  Nothing good could come from having those two traits.

One afternoon as goodies cooled on the kitchen counter, my in-laws searched for their middle child.  He was nowhere to be found.  They looked in his room, in the living room, and other areas of the house.  Then, they heard strange noises coming from the kitchen.  Surely, he wouldn't be in the kitchen.

Upon entering the kitchen, they saw a peculiar sight.  On the counter among the pastries and goodies sat a happy little boy.  His hands were held up with delight as he inspected the delicious treats.  His eyes sparkled with anticipation. 

There is a picture documenting this misadventure.  My husband swears he can almost remember that day.

These days, Son #2 is a toddler.  He is usually dancing on our kitchen table, climbing up our refrigerator, flinging objects off their shelves, or running naked through the church.  Mayhem follows where ever he goes.

Today, he was intent on getting into the garage.  Earlier, my husband and the boys played with a mini John Deer tractor in the front yard.  Son #2 shrieked with joy as his older brother drove up and down the sidewalk.  Sadly, all good things must come to an end. 

My eldest son trotted obediently into the house with cheeks that were cold and rosy.  Son #2 was not as compliant and followed my husband unwillingly up the driveway.  Once in the house, Son #2 chattered about going back outside.  I listened to his complaints.  Then, I patiently explained that we needed to wait before riding the tractor again.  Son #2 would not hear of it and repeatedly tried to escape into the garage.  One time, he succeeded in climbing onto the seat of the tractor.  Unfortunately, he was without a jacket and shoes.  So, I scooped him up and brought him back inside to the warmth of our house.  Then, I locked the garage door.  His mischief had come to an end.  (or so I thought)

The next thing I knew, Son #2 was laying on  the laundry room floor eating cat food.  I placed my head in my hands.  Why couldn't he stay out of trouble?  Then, I picked up my little son and carried him into the living room.  I said.  "Eww.  Don't eat cat food.  That's yucky."

Son #2 crunched away on a salty morsel.  Then, he stopped and removed the half eaten morsel from his mouth.  He handed the slimy speck to me and repeated.  "That's yucky."

Christmas really is a special time of year for monkey business.  Whether you are traveling across Wyoming in a blizzard, lying on your back with your skis in the air, shaking your rear at traffic stuck on an icy highway, or peeking at presents in the stockings, may your Christmas be merry and your holidays be bright.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours.

(sweet Christmas song below)

Sammy Stumph


Monday, December 23, 2013

Oh No! The Tooth Fairy!

In our house, the tooth fairy is an enigmatic creature that appears randomly regardless of when a tooth has been lost.  In our house, the tooth fairy morphs from a mom to a dad depending on schedules and obligations.  The tooth fairy is also very forgetful.

On more than one occasion, the tooth fairy has forgotten to place a dollar underneath Son #1's pillow and retrieve the lost tooth.  Usually, the tooth fairy remembers while at work or on the drive over to work.  Then, a frantic call is placed to the parent still at home.  The tooth fairy's excuses run the gamut of ridiculousness.  Once the tooth fairy was stuck in traffic and had sent an email to notify Son #1 of the dilemma.  Another time, the tooth fairy was traveling out of state and would surely arrive within a few hours.  Once, the tooth fairy sneaked a dollar under Son #1's pillow while the boys were watching cartoons after school.  The tooth fairy is a sly and sneaky critter.

One bitterly cold Thursday, Son #1 lost a tooth at the end of the school day.  Son #1 was racing from his teacher's classroom as I walked into the school building.  I smiled and patted his head.  He shouted.  "Hi Mom!  I lost my tooth!  See!  I'm going to get my stuff in the gym!"

I smiled and said.  "OK."  Then, I strolled to the office to take care of some business.

Son #1 sped back from the gym with his backpack and jacket.  At the office, the secretary placed his tooth into a tooth locket.  Then, she helped him pull it over his head.  Son #1 proudly stated.  "I can't wait for the tooth fairy to give me a dollar!"

I assured him.  "Oh yeah.  Just put it under your pillow.  The tooth fairy will get you your dollar."

From the school, we drove to a department store.  I needed to begin shopping for presents before the impending ice storm descended upon us.  Son #1 and I hopped out of the car into the arctic air.  We rushed toward the warm building, on a mission to purchase a gift for Abuelita.  After searching through the store, we found the perfect gift.  Upon paying for the gift, we braced ourselves against the biting wind and headed for the car.  As Son #1 jumped into the car, I heard him cry out.  "Oh no!  I lost my tooth locket.  It slipped out of my hands and I can't find it anywhere." 

I quickly scanned the ground outside of the car but found nothing.  Then, I asked.  "Did it fall in the car or outside?"

Son #1 answered.  "It fell in the car."

Relieved, I responded.  "OK.  If it fell in the car, we should be able to find it at home."

At home, Son #1 searched the back seat but could not find the tooth locket anywhere.  After he had gone inside, I thoroughly searched my entire car but came up with nothing.  I was baffled and then incredibly sad.  I had a feeling that the tooth locket had fallen outside of the car at the department store.  Maybe, it had fallen underneath the car in a place that was difficult to find.  I felt terrible for Son #1. 

Son #1 took the loss of his tooth locket fairly well.   He is such a positive, happy-go-lucky child.  Son #1 smiled sweetly and said.  "It's OK, Mommy.  We'll find it."  Then, he scurried off to play.

As evening fell, the icy rain and sleet began to entomb our little world.  I commented to my husband.  "Now, we'll never find his tooth.  It's probably frozen underneath a layer of ice in the parking lot."  My husband agreed with me as we watched the limbs of our trees slowly bend with the weight of the freezing rain.  However, Son #1 was unconcerned with his missing tooth and gazed at the icy world before him with wonder in his eyes.  "School would definitely be canceled the next day."  He thought.

The next morning, Son #1 shrieked with delight as he peered out of his bedroom window.  Our world had been transformed into a winter wonderland.  Quickly, he devoured his breakfast.  Then with the speed of light, he dressed in his snow clothes and ran outside to play.  Son #1 slid, dug, and threw ice in every direction.  Every now and then, he would come inside to drink hot chocolate and warm his inner core. 

The icy backyard looked like fun so I pulled on my own snow clothes.  Then, I crunched across the ground to where Son #1 was kneeling.  I knelt down beside him and asked.  "What are you doing?"

Son #1's voice wavered.  "I'm looking for the tooth fairy.  She was supposed to come last night but then it snowed.  Now she's trapped in the ice and I think she's going to die."  He dug frantically through the layers of ice covering our backyard.  Poor baby.  

I comforted him.  "I'm sure that the tooth fairy is fine.  I think she text-ed your dad and said that she's just running late because of the weather."

"Are you sure?"  Son #1 demanded.

"I'm sure."  I replied with a straight face.

Son #1 relaxed.  "Phew.  I was worried.  I thought she got buried under the ice.  Will she be here soon?"

"She'll get here as soon as she can."  I said and prayed that we might find his lost tooth.

Simple prayers do get answered.  We found the tooth a week and a half later underneath the driver's seat in my car.  Two days after finding the tooth, the tooth fairy got around to delivering Son #1's dollar.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sunshine Award for Bloggers


The Sunshine Award:  An award bestowed to bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others.

I would like to thank Bonnie of http://adalinctolife.blogspot.ca for nominating me for this award.  One of my favorite things about Bonnie's blog is her list of favorite books.  Bonnie's list inspires me to run to the library and search for them.  There are several that I know my boys will love.

The Sunshine award rules 

  • Thank and recognize your Nominating Blogger
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions given by your Nominating Blogger
  • Pick 11 Blogger Nominees
  • Post 11 questions for your nominees (you can not nominate your Nominating Blogger)

 Eleven Random Facts
  1. I used to play hide and seek in the orange fields when I was a little girl.
  2. In college, I hitch hiked in Europe.
  3. My ultimate dream house is a cave in Kauai on the beach beside a scuba shop and a surf shop.
  4. My down fall is chips and salsa.
  5. I think Pete the Cat is hilarious.
  6. Dumb and Dumber cracks me up.
  7. Horror movies give me nightmares...still.
  8. I want to plant a lot of broccoli in the garden next fall.
  9. I love the Cowboys in good years, mediocre years, and bad years.
  10. Grapes are delicious.
  11. I'd like to learn how to play the trumpet.

Questions from Bonnie

1.  What is your favorite song right now to lift your mood? 
Mexico by James Taylor
 2.  What is last book your read that you would recommend?
Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Richest Caveman by Doug Batchelor
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
The Bible
 3.  What is the one thing you do if you have a 1/2 a day to yourself?
Scuba Dive
 4.  How long have you been seeing your current hairdresser?
Hairdresser?  Oh wait...you mean my scissors.
 5.  What is the one thing you would tell your 18 year old self?
Fast cars and boats don't make a relationship work.  Also, go overseas as a student missionary.
 6.  If money was not a problem, where in the world would you love to see?
Great Barrier Reef 30 to 100 feet below the surface.
 7.  What is your favorite thing to do with your family during the holiday season?
Play, ski, snowboard, eat tamales
 8.  How many loads of laundry do you think you do in a week?
 9.  How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Ten to Fifteen
 10.  What is your favorite dessert?
Raspberry Ice cream
 11.  As a teenager what kind of music would someone find on your mixed cassette tape?
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk, and Folk Music

Blogger Nominees for the Sunshine Award:

 Dina Farmer:  http://blueberriesandbokeh.wordpress.com

 Elisa:  http://confetticakes.blogspot.com

 Kim:  http://mykentuckyhome-kim.blogspot.com/


Paul Margerison:  http://thediving.blogspot.com/

Richard Boutelle:  http://theskitraveler.blogspot.com/

Erica:  http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/

Sara Green:  http://www.motherfluff.com

Echo:  http://domainofthemadmommy.blogspot.com/

Lisa Lewis:  http://www.lisalewismd.com/


My Questions to the Nominees:

  1. What is your favorite memory as a child?
  2. Who inspires you?
  3. What language would you learn if you had the time?
  4. What makes you laugh?
  5. Describe your perfect day.
  6. Describe your first car.
  7. How did you furnish your first place when you moved out of your parents' house?
  8. What is the best practical joke you have ever played?
  9. What is your favorite board game?
  10. Where is your favorite place to camp?
  11. Which vegetable would you have reclassified as a poisonous weed?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Games in the Snow

This weekend, my boys played out in the snow.  Outside, it was 14 degrees with a thick layer of ice covering our entire yard.  On top of the ice was a thin layer of snow.

The boys bundled up in their snow pants, jackets, hats and gloves.  Then, they carefully tiptoed onto the ice on our back porch.  Once off the back porch, they explored every inch of the back yard.  They poked at icicles, scooped snow, and pounded on the layers of ice entombing everything in the backyard. 

After a while, I decided to join them and teach my youngest how to ski.  Son #1 has been skiing numerous times but hopped into my ski boots first.  He scooted around the yard joyfully.  Sometimes, he would get stuck and call for help.  Once he was freed, Son #1 would glide across the ice and snow again.

Son #2 watched my eldest son ski eagerly awaiting his turn.  Finally, Son #1's turn on the skis was up.  Son #2 toddled to my empty ski boots and lifted his foot with anticipation.  I removed his shoes and popped him into my boots.  Then, Son #2 began to glide across our yard with help from behind.  Son #2 giggled with glee as the icy world whizzed by underneath my skis.  All too soon, his turn was done.  Son #2 was sad but his cheeks were rosy with cold.  Quickly I gathered both boys into the house to warm them up with hot chocolate.


The next day was just as cold and icy.  Son #1 dressed in his snow clothes quickly and rushed out the back door.  He could not wait to play in the ice and snow again.  Son #1 immediately began to break away large chunks of ice.  Soon, he had a good sized collection of large ice fragments in a pile on the ground.  I peeked from between the blinds and wondered what my eldest son had in store for the icy, misshapen blocks. 

Soon, Son #1 knelt on the ground and began to race these pieces of ice across the ground.  He made little engine noises for each chunk as they skidded around in intricate patterns.  A very complex racing game emerged from his collection of ice.  There were good icy guys and bad icy guys.  Each played a role in his little drama. 

I chuckled to myself.  Son #1's game reminds me of a game my dad used to play when he was a little boy.  Apparently, my dad acted out World War II with sticks in his backyard. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Where's your Mommy?

Son #2 is finally potty trained.  He does not refuse to sit on the toilet.  He does not soil his training pants with abandon.  He does not rip off his soiled diaper and run through the house naked.  I do not happen upon disgusting accidents in unfortunate places.  All is well in my world.

Now, I can take Son #2 anywhere and feel confident that my young son will stay dry.  I've taken him to the grocery store, the park, and church in regular underwear.  I feel like I've conquered the world.  Of course, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my husband.  He is my partner in the madness that is potty training.

The other day, we had Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's house.  Son #2 wore a pull up to my sister's house but consistently used the guest restroom to relieve himself.  He was so proud every time he used the restroom.  Afterwards, my young son would shout out.  "Oh wow!  I did potty!  Oh look!  There's poo poo in the potty!"  Whereupon, I would congratulate him enthusiastically.

Soon, dinner was served at the dining room table.  We happily devoured our meals.  Some went back for seconds and thirds.  Then, we settled into the living room chairs to watch the Cowboys play the Raiders.  Midway through the game, I got up to use the restroom.  Son #2 toddled behind me and asked.  "Where going?"

I knelt down and said.  "I'm going to go potty.  Go sit with your Tia (Aunt)."

Son #2 wandered back to the living room and immediately burst into tears.  Tia pulled him into her lap and asked.  "What's the matter?"

Son #2 wiped the tears on his cheek and responded.  "Mommy gone."

Tia asked with a bit of concern.  "Where did Mommy go?"

Son #2 paused for a moment and then answered.  "Mommy go poo poo."

I wonder if my family will cheer for me when I'm finished on the potty.