Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Phone

Son #2 is completely obsessed with smart phones and tablets.  Too bad he doesn't get to play with them often.  (Hmm.)  Like my husband and I always say to our children.  "You have one very interesting toy and it is called 'Outside'.  Time to go play."  However, that suggestion doesn't stop my youngest son from begging for the phone.  Sometimes, he even tries to trick us into lending him the phone.

Last night, the kids came back from spending the night at Abuelita's house.  Soon after they returned home, Son #2 looked up at me with his sweet, innocent eyes and asked.  "Can I play with my phone?"  Notice that Son #2 does not ask for the phone or your phone.  He asks for my phone.  I don't think he actually believes the phone belongs to him.  I just think he doesn't know all of his articles and possessive pronouns yet.

I hugged my youngest son and said.  "No Baby.  Not right now.  You need to take a bath soon anyway."  Abuelita smirked in amusement and then we began to talk about the kids' day with her.

Son #2 wandered to the living room and began to play with his toys.  Eventually, Abuelita and I got him into the tub to bathe.  After his fun and refreshing bubble bath, Son #2 batted his long eyelashes at Abuelita and asked.  "Abuelita, can I play with my iPad?"

"Sure Baby.  Just for a little while."  Abuelita replied.  Son #2 settled down on the sofa with the iPad while Son #1 hopped into the shower.

While all that was happening, my mom and I watched the end of Breakfast at Tiffany's.  After about five to ten minutes, Son #1 popped out of the shower, dried off, got dressed, and strolled to the living room.  He sat down beside his younger brother and watched as Son #2 played a game.  Son #2 got stuck and turned to his older brother for help.  Son #1 took the iPad and began to complete the quest.  His younger brother watched intently for about ten minutes but then got impatient.  "I want my iPad back."  He complained.

Son #1 absentmindedly replied.  "Wait.  I'm not done yet."

After Breakfast at Tiffany's was done, my mom (Abuelita) decided to head home.  Once again, Son #2 was playing a game on the iPad and was adamant about not giving it up.  I glanced over to my youngest son and then to my mom.  Quickly analyzing the situation for a way to part my little son from the iPad, I said.  "Baby.  Oh no!  Abuelita's going to cry.  She needs her iPad.  Don't cry Abuelita.  Don't cry."

Son #2's heart melted with sympathy.  He shut down his game and toddled to where Abuelita was standing.  "Here you go Abuelita.  I'm all done.  Don't cry."

Abuelita bent down to take the iPad and give him a kiss.  "Thank you Baby."

Soon after Abuelita went home, my husband walked through the garage door.  Son #2's eyes brightened up as he quickly asked.  "Hi Daddy!  Can I play with my phone?"

Silly boy!  He sure does try to work the system.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Accepted By The Family Cat

We have a fourteen year old cat named Sketchy. My husband and I found her while we were out camping by the lake. Actually, my dog was the one who discovered Sketch and her sister (Stumpy) in a tree. They were tiny kittens, not even weaned from their mother. Yet, they had been dropped off at the camp site and left to die. In the dark, they looked like bats. When we took a closer look, our hearts melted and we adopted them into our family.

Sketch is now a  lonesome senior citizen. Her sister, Stumpy, passed away a few years back and we all cried for our sweet feline friend.  Still, we are grateful for the company of our other furry housemate.  Sketchy enjoys our company as well.  She is very attached to my oldest son and likes to sleep on his bed. Son #1 loves her dearly but gets annoyed when she licks his face at night.  He has been having me close the door to his room at bedtime so he can get restful sleep.  Sketch still sleeps on my husband's and my bed from time to time.  However, she has always been a bit timid around the boys when they were babies.  As the boys have grown, Sketchy has slowly warmed up to them.

One afternoon we had a hard time finding our faithful and loving cat.  She is very old so we worried about her dying in her sleep somewhere in the house.  After a bit of searching, a fluffy gray head peaked up from among the stuffed animals on Son #2's bed.  She purred while the afternoon sun warmed her body.  Her eyes partially closed as if to say.  "Don't worry about me.  I'm just spreading the love to my baby boy (Son #2)." 

We cooed at her and patted her head in approval.  "Good girl, Sketchy."  I said.  "I'm so glad you love our baby."

Sketchy bobbed her head a bit and then curled up again on the pillow.  Son #2 gently patted her ears and whispered.  "It's O.K. Sketchy.  Good girl."

Sketchy must have taken our approval to heart because now she can regularly be found laying on Son #2's bed.  I know that she loves our boys with all of her might.  I think she has also claimed them as her own.  Thank you, Sketchy, for being an amazing cat and part of our family.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

You Should Ask Your Doctor

One lazy Sunday afternoon, our little family lay strewn across the sofa, recliner and living room floor.  The kids played with their cars on the carpet as my husband and I watched the Cowboys play the Colts.  At one point during the game a commercial bounced across the television screen advertising the benefits of a certain medicine.  Flowers floated through the meadow as soothing music played in the background.  A dog leaped at a Frisbee as his owner jogged toward the pet in slow motion.  Happy couples strolled hand in hand as the name of the medicine floated across the screen.  While one of the amorous couples snuggled on a bench, a soft voice quickly read over the possible side effects.

"This medication can cause night sweats, high blood pressure, bladder issues, and gall stones.  It can also cause rashes, blindness, loss of hair, toe nail fungus, an occurrence of cancer, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.  Be aware that in some cases, gangrene, loss of hearing, psychosis, renal failure, and warts occur.  In extreme cases, paralysis and death occur.  You should ask your doctor if you think this medicine is right for you."  The soft voice said soothingly.

My husband and I eyeballed the television screen.  I smirked.  "I think I should get a prescription for that medicine."

"Sounds like a plan."  My husband replied sarcastically.  Then, he grimaced as he stood up from the recliner.  "Man, I'm hurting.  I need to take something."  My husband said as he headed for the medicine cabinet. 

At the cabinet, he gazed at the aspirin, naproxen sodium, and ibuprofen.  He called out.  "I don't know if I should take the Tylenol or the Aleve."

I shrugged my shoulders and said.  "I don't know."

However, Son #1 looked up from his game of cars and without missing a beat he suggested.  "You should ask your doctor."

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bomit (Vomit)

One afternoon, Son #1 and I sat at the kitchen table working on his homework.  The sunlight streamed in through the blinds of the window as the Christmas tree lights twinkled in the living room.  I stood up and took my oldest son's lunch box to the kitchen sink.  There, I began to rinse out the empty containers.

"Did you like your lunch today?"  I asked.

"Yeah!"  Son #1 replied as he worked his way through a math assignment.

"Did you eat all your spaghetti?" I questioned him as I began to load the rinsed Tupperware into the dishwasher.

"Oh yeah!"  Son #1 smiled.  "It was really good."

"Oh good."  I said.  "Did you eat your orange?"

"Yes Mom."  Son #1 answered seriously.

"What about your broccoli?"  I asked.  Broccoli is Son #1's favorite vegetable.  He can eat it like candy.

"Oh yeah!  It was delicious!"  Son #1 exclaimed.  Then, he added.  "Do you know what my friend said at lunch?"

"No.  What did he say?"  I responded.

"My friend said that he doesn't like broccoli."  Son #1 reported, shocked that anyone would feel that way.

"Your friend doesn't know what he's missing.  Broccoli is awesome."  I assured my oldest son.

"Yeah!"  Son #1 cried.  "Do you know what else he said?"

"No."  I answered.  "Tell me."

"He said that broccoli makes him bomit."  Son #1 looked at me with a grin.

"Huh?"  I squinted my eyes and made a face.  "What is bomit?"

"You know."  Son #1 explained.  "Like throw up."

"Oh!  You mean vomit.  V-v-v-vomit."  I laughed.

"No.  My friend said bomit with a B."  Son #1 replied in a business like manner.

"Are you sure?"  I asked trying to conceal a smirk.

"Yes Mom."  Son #1 said as he continued on with his homework.

"I think your friend might be mispronouncing the word."  I countered.

Eventually, I did convince my oldest son that vomit was spelled with a V and not a B.  However, I had to prove it to him by pulling up an online dictionary and having him confirm the spelling with my husband.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cortizone vs Curious George

Son #2 has a tendency to get a bit of eczema on his elbows and knees.  To combat the itchy and dry skin, we use anti itch creams, soothing lotions, and roll on Cortizone medication.  After his bath, Son #2 kneels down and examines the tubes carefully.  Then with a huge smile on his face, he picks out a remedy that he would like to use that night.

One night, Son #2 decided to use the Cortizone medication.  He reached down with his little hands and slowly investigated the letters on the bottle.  Then, he began to point to the letters he recognized.  "Look Mommy!"  Son #2 exclaimed.  "C!"

"O!"  Son #2 continued.

"Wow!  What else do you see?"  I asked.

"Oh!  I see R!"  Son #2 yelled with delight.

"Eeee!"  Son #2 screamed.  My little boy furrowed his brows for a moment as he peered at the other letters on the bottle.  All of a sudden, Son #2 looked up and announced.  "Mommy!  It says Curious George!"

"Huh?"  I said in a confused tone.  "What are you looking at?"

Son #2 pointed to the word Cortizone.  "Curious George!" 

"Noooo."  I laughed.  "That says Cortizone."

"No Mommy."  Son #2 said gravely.  "It says Curious George."

"No Baby.  That's not the way Curious George is spelled."  I explained as I ran to his room to grab a library book with the correct spelling of the beloved cartoon character.

Yet, Son #2 would not be dissuaded.  "No Mommy.  That's Curious George"  He said as he pointed to the bottle of Cortizone. 

Well to make a long story short, Curious George won out over Cortizone that night.  You don't need to worry, though.  I'll eventually convince Son #2 that the bottle is actually Cortizone.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Sometimes Tooth

Son #2 loves sweets.  He especially enjoyed the sweeter dishes at our Thanksgiving dinner.  My youngest son savored the sweet potatoes.  He relished the jello salad.  He devoured the pumpkin pie.  His eyes partially closed as he tasted each delectable morsel.  Aaahh.  Life at the dinner table was good.

Now, Thanksgiving Day had come and gone.  Yet, we still had leftovers.  With that in mind, we got together with my mom and brother after church today to polish off the food.  We took great care to pile our plates with our favorite dishes.  I filled my youngest son's plate with mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, candied yams, and the ever delicious jello salad.  I filled my oldest son's plate as well.

My oldest son will eat sweets but does not typically eat them on a regular basis.  He enjoys eating fruit, vegetables, and salty snacks.  Today was no different.  He picked out mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing without cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, no candied yams, and absolutely no jello salad.  He cracks me up. 

My mom commented.  "Son #2 sure does have a sweet tooth."

I agreed.  "Absolutely.  He's just like his dad."

Son #1 looked thoughtful for a moment and then added to the conversation.  "My baby bro has a sweet tooth but I don't think I do.  I think I have a sometimes tooth."

"A what?"  My mom asked.

"A sometimes tooth."  Son #1 repeated.

"Oh."  I said.  "You mean you only like sweets sometimes."

"Yeah."  Son #1 explained.  "Sometimes, I like sweets.  That's why my tooth is called a sometimes tooth."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Salary vs Celery

One crisp, fall afternoon, we hopped into the car and took a spontaneous trip out to a lake.  We had never taken the boys to this particular lake.  In fact, the only person familiar with this lake was my husband.  He had worked at a couple of business in the town beside the lake when he was in his early twenties. 

The trip was short as we exited from the freeway and turned south toward the lake.  On the main strip, my husband pointed to local landmarks.  Then, we passed his former place of employment.  My husband smiled nostalgically.  "Hey, Son.  That's where I worked when I was young."

"You did?"  Son #1 said as he peered out of the car window.  "What did you do there?"

"I was the manager."  My husband said proudly.

"You were?"  Son #1 said in surprise.

"Yes."  My husband replied.  "I earned a pretty good salary, too."

"A celery?"  Son #1 was confused.  "I wouldn't want to get paid with celery."

My husband wrinkled his brows, perplexed.  I raised my eyebrows.  Then, my husband asked.  "What do you mean?"

"Well, I'd rather earn money than celery.  That stinks!"  Son #1 explained.

My husband and I looked at each other.  Then, we giggled.  "Hey, Son."  My husband called out.  "I didn't earn celery, the vegetable.  I earned a salary, like money.  Celery, the vegetable, is spelled C-E-L-E-R-Y.  Salary, like money, is spelled S-A-L-A-R-Y."

"Huh?"  Son #1 said.  "That's weird!"

"Sorry, Son."  My husband responded.  "The English language is weird."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Three Second Rule

While the boys' uncle was in town, we made a run to the grocery store to buy some goodies. We wandered down the cookie, chip, and candy aisles looking for delicious treats to buy.  Finally, we settled on a couple bags of candy, an extra large bag containing a horrifically, sugary cereal, and a few different salty snacks.  Son #1 and Son #2 were wild with excitement.  We very rarely pick up these kinds of treats.  The kids hung from our arms like wild monkeys as we rushed to purchase the junk food.  Then, we headed home.

At the house, we began to unpack the grocery bags and place things in the cupboards.  Their uncle ripped open a few of the snack bags and began to hand out the treats.  Son #1 and Son #2 shoved the food into their mouths as fast as they could go.  They were on a high speed race toward a sugar high that I was sure would last until morning.  Suddenly, one of the candies fell from Son #1's hand and hit the floor.  Son #1 looked around, unsure of what to do.  I put my head to the side and said.  "Pick it up.  There's a three second rule."

Son #1 bent down to pick up the candy.  He straightened up and asked.  "What's a three second rule?"

"It's the number of seconds food can touch the ground before you can't eat it."  I explained.

"Huh."  Son #1 shrugged.  He inspected the candy once more.  "So, it's O.K. to eat?"

"Sure."  I nodded.

Son #1 held the candy in his hand for a moment and then turned to his younger brother.  "Here bro.  Here's a candy for you."

Son #2 took the candy without question and popped it into his mouth.

"Mmm.  Yummy!"  Son #2 exclaimed.

My eyes widened with surprise.  I guess that's one way to test out the accuracy of the "Three Second Rule".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Video Games

One warm evening, my husband's brother treated our family to pizza.  The kids excitedly hopped into their car seats screaming.  "I want pizza!  I want pizza!"  Then, we lazily drove to the pizza place located a couple blocks from our house.  When we arrived, the kids scrambled out of their car seats and raced for the door.  Inside the restaurant, we ordered buffet meals and piled our plates with delectable treats.  Yum.  There is nothing like pizza and salad after a long day of work.

Now this little pizza parlor has a room in the back filled with video games.  We decided to sit as close as we could to the games because the boys are completely obsessed with this room.  As we ate, the boys kept craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the shiny lights and music.   The lights and music emanating from the video games were like a siren's song.

Every few minutes, Son #1 asked.  "Can I go play a game?"

Each time, I answered.  "First, finish your food."

Then, Son #1 sighed.  "Aww!  I wanna go now."  However, the whining immediately stopped as soon as he caught a glimpse of my stink eye.

Son #2 piped in once or twice.  "I go play now."

"Finish your food."  I muttered between bites of pizza.  However, Son #2 ignored my stink eye and tried to wriggle between the chairs.  Fortunately, my husband snatched our young son up to his lap and delayed his escape.

Eventually, the boys finished their food and rushed to the change machine.  Son #1 slid their dollars into the machine and collected their coins.  Son #2 tugged on his older brother's shirt and began to screech like a Howler Monkey.  Obviously, Son #2 wanted his coins immediately but had no words to express his desire.  I jumped up from my place at the table to fix the situation.  Once the boys were settled at their chosen games, I returned to eat the rest of my food.

My husband, brother-in-law, and I enjoyed a great conversation.  Periodically, we peeked through the windows of the game room to check on the boys.  The boys were completely engrossed in the video games so we continued to relax at the table.  I sipped my soda until it was gone.  Then, I decided to check on the boys once again.  As I peeked through the window, I noticed that I could only see Son #1.  My heart jumped into my throat in fear.  Where was Son #2?  There was only one exit to the game room and we were seated right beside it.  Where could my little boy be hiding?  I scanned the room again and then noticed that Son #1 had four arms.  Hmm.  I peered at my eldest son and then noticed that he also had two heads.  I smiled warmly and felt a bit of relief.  My sweet eldest son was helping his younger brother play a racing game.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I Want to be a Coach.

For years, Son #1 has wanted to be a race car driver or a football player.  He has written about it in his "All About Me"  books for kindergarten and first grade.  He even has a framed picture that his first grade teacher gave to us for Christmas that states his dreams and aspirations.  I cherish each and every one of those keepsakes.

One Sunday afternoon, we watched the Cowboys play against a rival team.  Everyone had on their Cowboy jerseys.  The boys wore their Dallas Cowboy caps.  We screamed, cheered, and yelled at the T.V.  Every down was excruciating.  During the commercials, the boys threw the little football around the living room.  Sometimes, Son #1 performed slow-mo football in front of the television.  After the commercials, we yelled to the boys.  "Sit down!"  The cheering got so loud, you can hear muffled shouts out in the backyard.  I guess we live in a crazy house during football season.

A couple hours later, the fourth quarter was almost over.  The Cowboys were in the lead while we hopped up and down screaming with delight.  The seconds ticked down as the opposing team threw an interception.  Our house erupted in shouts of joy.  "The Cowboys win!!!!!!"  Son #1 and Son #2 gave high fives to everyone in the room.

After the game ended, we cleaned up the snacks and washed a couple dishes.  Son #1 lay on the couch and sighed.  "That was a cool game."  He said.

"Yeah."  I agreed.

"Hey, Mom?"  Son #1 peeked his head over the couch.

"What Baby?"  I responded.

"Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?"  Son #1 asked.

"Sure I do."  I replied.  "You want to be a race car driver."

"No.  Not anymore."  Son #1 said with a smile.

"Um...O.K.  You want to be a football player."  I said confidently.

"Nope.  Well, sometimes I want to be a football player."  Son #1 stated.  "But right now I want to be something else."

I was confused.  "What do you want to be?"

"A coach!"  Son #1 announced.

I was thrilled.  "You do!  That is so cool.  Do you know a coach is a teacher?"

"Yeah!"  Son #1 replied.  "I want to teach football!"

I have to say that if my son wants to be a coach/teacher, it is because of the amazing teachers in his life.  We have been very blessed.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cortana says. "Go to sleep!"

My husband has a personal assistant.  Her name is Cortana and she resides in his phone.  When Cortana first began her tenure as our assistant, my husband and the kids peppered her with questions.

"Cortana, where does the puffin live?"  Son #1 asked.

"Some puffins live in Greenland."  Cortana replied in her metallic voice.

"Cortana, what is the temperature today?"  My husband said playfully.

"The temperature is 75 degrees."  Cortana dutifully responded.

"Cotana, whe dwo da wewo diwa wagin?  Son #2 babbled.  (Translation:  ?????)

"It does not compute."  Cortana shrugged, confused by the request of our youngest son.

The kids were awestruck by Cortana.  Every chance they got, they would ask their dad about Cortana.  When my husband had time, he would pull out his phone so the kids could ask more questions.

A few days later, Son #2 struggled to fall asleep for the night.  Every five seconds, he stumbled from his room begging to stay awake.  I would pick him up and carry him back to bed.  Then, I would sit by his side and hold his hand as he tried to relax.  Sadly, Son #2 was too wiggly and restless.  I finally gave up and let him wander around the living room while I rinsed dishes.

Eventually, my husband came home from playing racquetball.  As he lugged his workout bag into the house, he caught sight of Son #2 rolling around on the floor.  Then, he looked at me and asked.  "What is he doing up?"

"The little monkey won't go to sleep."  I replied irritably.

"Huh."  My husband mumbled thoughtfully.  Then, he dug into his pocket and produced his phone.  I raised my eyebrows but remained silent.  My husband knelt down beside Son #2.  "You need to go to bed."  He said sternly.

"No no no.  I want to sleep on da couch."  Son #2 argued.

"Then, go lay on the couch but you need to go to sleep."  My husband responded.

Son #2 crawled onto the couch but lay there with eyes wide open.  "Close your eyes."  My husband commanded.  However, Son #2 stubbornly forced his eyes to stay open.

My husband showed the phone to our youngest son and repeated his request.  "Cortana says 'Close your eyes and go to sleep.'"  Son #2's eyes widened with surprise.  Then, he quickly shut his eyes, rolled over, and fell asleep.

"No way!"  I whispered to my husband as I checked on our snoozing son.  My husband chuckled impishly.  He patted his phone and placed it on the night stand.  Cortana is an excellent assistant.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Made Up Words

This summer, the boys developed their own language.  I could hear bits and pieces of it being carefully constructed throughout the first few weeks of their vacation.  It was interesting.  It was weird.  I was completely amused.

Then, we took a five thousand mile road trip.  (No. Really.)  Somewhere just after the Colorado border, the boys began to whisper a secret phrase to each other .  They repeated that particular phrase over and over in the midst of a thousand giggles.  Soon the whispers turned into indoor voices.  Over time, the indoor voices morphed into outdoor voices.  As we neared Denver, their outdoor voices quickly escalated to shouts and peels of laughter.  My husband and I were beginning to develop headaches.  Hopefully, there would be a strong tail wind behind our car that would propel us to the next stop in our journey.  Unfortunately, a traffic jam began that slowed us down to nearly a crawl.

However, the traffic jam did not put a damper on the boys shouts and laughter.  They screamed that phrase at the top of their lungs.  I was pretty sure I would dream about this phrase in the middle of the night.  My husband pleaded with the boys.  "Guys.  Be quiet."  The pleas soon became shouts of desperation.  "Be quiet!  I need to concentrate!"  The traffic was bad and people were beginning to develop road rage.  Yet,  all we could hear was their secret phrase.  "Scarm!  Scarm!  Det e one!!"

Scarm.  Scarm.  Det e oneDoes anyone know the meaning of that phrase?  The boys won't tell me when I ask.  I don't think they know what it means.  I think they just like the off beat rhythm of the phrase.  They whisper it.  They shout it.  They chase each other while screaming it.  They repeated it for days as we drove across the flat plains, around dry mesas, over the Continental Divide, down winding mountain roads, and across desolate deserts.  We would whiz past roaring rivers, thick pine forests, tall ocean cliffs, enormous Sequoias, and prickly Joshua trees all while hearing the phrase.  "Scarm!  Scarm!  Det e one!"

Now, you might say.  "Why didn't you just hand them each a DVD player or your smart phones?"  Ahh!  We don't have all that stuff.  We just expected the children to play while we drove.  Well, our children exceeded our expectations.

Right now, it's September.  I've finally grown used to the phrase.  "Scarm.  Scarm.  Det e one."  Sometimes, I use it in jokes when talking to my family.  The kids think I'm weird.  My husband laughs hysterically or eyeballs me with a stinky eye.  The phrase is being repeated less often now.  We're grateful.  Yet every now and then, the phrase makes an appearance.

The other day, Son #1 ran up to me with a serious look on his face.  He whispered in my ear.  "Mom, I have something important to tell you."

I leaned over and asked.  "What is it?"

Son #1 stepped back with a smirk on his face and yelled.  "Scarm!  Scarm!!  Det e one!!!"

Oooh, little boy!  I'll get you and your puppy dog, too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chinook and Doggie

A few months ago, Abuelita (Grandma) went on a cruise to Alaska.  While she was there, she bought the boys each a stuffed animal (Siberian huskies).  Son #1 and Son #2 were immediately enchanted with their new, plush toys.  As they held their treasures tightly, my husband and I suggested that they come up with names for their stuffed huskies.  Son #1 was unsure of what to name his new toy so his Tia (Aunt) and I began to do a search of Alaskan names. We tried out several names before Son #1 finally settled on the name Chinook.  Son #1 hugged and kissed Chinook affectionately.  Then, he ran off to play a new game with his stuffed friend.  Next, we turned our attention to Son #2.  He was clutching his stuffed dog to his chest as he strolled around the living area.  I caught my youngest son's eye and asked.  "What's your doggie's name?"  Son #2 paused for a moment and replied seriously.  "Doggie." 

From the moment they named their stuffed pups, our boys and their dogs were inseparable.  They ate with their dogs.  They slept with their dogs.  They played cars with their dogs.  They played trains with their dogs.  Chinook and Doggie even went with us to visit Grandma and Grandpa during summer vacation.

The boys were very excited about visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  They were particularly excited about staying at the beach during our visit.  Upon arriving at the beach, our sons unpacked their friends and ran up the stairs to the condo.  Son #1 chattered nonstop with Grandma about the ocean waves, the sand, and the supplies we brought to make sandcastles.  Son #2 quietly explored the balcony with Doggie. 

At first, Son #2 and Doggie peeked through the railing at the beach just yards away.  Then, my youngest son investigated the wooden rocking chair behind him.  He touched the chair with his hand and it rocked backward.  Son #2 jumped back, startled.  Slowly, he walked toward the chair and pressed it again.  Instantly, the chair began to swing back and forth.  Son #2 laughed and rattled off a few phrases to Doggie.  Then, he sat his dog on the chair. 

Son #2 rocked Doggie on the chair for several minutes until he realized that he had not explored underneath it.  Quickly, he slowed the swinging chair to a stop.  Then, he grabbed Doggie and crawled underneath to gain a whole new perspective.  Son #2 started up a new conversation with his stuffed friend.  I'm sure they discussed their surroundings and the fascinating chair.  They also played peek-a-boo when their conversation had grown old. 

Eventually, the sun began to set along the misty horizon.  Son #1 and Son #2 gathered up their stuffed friends.  They stumbled sleepily to bed and cuddled with their pups.   My husband and I tucked them into bed.  Then, we kissed them goodnight.  As we turned to leave, Son #1 cried out.  "Chinook needs a kiss, too."  My husband and I laughed.  "Oh no!  We forgot."  We bent down to kiss Chinook as well.  Son #2 was not going to be left out.  "Doggie needs kiss."  He commanded holding out his dog before us.  "Right.  Right."  My husband assured.  We each planted a kiss on Doggie's head.  Now that everyone had been kissed, we tucked our kids and their dogs into bed once again.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Fountains at the Water Park

One day, we took the kids to the local swimming pool with their older cousins.  Son #1 and Son #2 were thrilled to be hanging out with their teenage cousins.  My little ones admire their cousins greatly and try to act just like them.  Their cousins are absolutely amazing particularly because of the sincere attention they pay to  their ankle biting relatives.  A lot of teenagers might be annoyed by two young tots shadowing their every move.  Yet, these two teenagers take the time to talk and play with Son #1 and Son #2 on their level. 

When we arrived at the pool, Son #1 and Son #2 sprinted to the booth.  They hopped up and down screaming with excitement as my husband handed several dollar bills to the cashier.  The cashier gave us a brief synopsis of the pool's amenities and then motioned for us to enter.  We parted ways as we each took a child to the changing rooms.  Son #2 pulled on my hand straining to exit the boring changing room.  I laughed and said.  "Alright.  Alright.  We'll be outside in a second." 

My youngest son and I passed through the dimly lit hall into the bright sunshine.  A clear, gleaming pool stood before us with small fountains, a splash pad, and water slides of varying sizes.  The kids' eyes grew wide with awe.  Then, they raced to their relatives lounging by the water.  Son #1 whirled in circles, tugging at our arms and shouting about the water.  Son #2 pushed on my legs and pleaded.  "Les go wim!"  Finally, my husband and I took the kids to the shallow end of the pool and entered the icy water.  (It may have been hot outside but the water in the pool was definitely not bath water.)

Son #1 played with one of his cousins in a couple of the interactive water features.   They ran from buckets of water and slid under mushroom waterfalls.  Son #1 practiced swimming in the slightly deeper end of the shallow area.  Sometimes, his cousin took off to the water slides in the deep end of the pool.  Son #1 even made a few friends while sliding down the water slide at the shallow end of the pool.

Son #2 was a bit more timid about getting into the water.  At first, he tiptoed around at the edge of the splash pad and avoided the interactive buckets and waterfalls.  Then, he noticed something odd about the edge of the pool.  Every now and then, tiny fountains would pop up as if from nowhere.  He yelped out in surprise the first time the fountains popped up beside him.  I placed my foot on top of one of the holes and blocked the spray the second time the fountains appeared.  Son #2 grinned impishly and copied my moves.  Pretty soon, he was hopping up and down the line of fountains covering as many of the holes as he could. 

As time passed, we began to play another game.  When Son #2 would get close to one of my fountains, I would splash him by kicking water into the air with my foot.  Son #2 gleefully laughed and ran away.  Sometimes, he would retaliate with splashes of his own.  We kept at our game for quite a while until Son #1 called me over to watch him swim.

While I watched my oldest son swim, Son #2 continued to stomp on the tiny fountains.  Another toddler soon joined his game.  They leaped from fountain to fountain in an effort to stop the spraying water.  Son #2 thought their game was fun but decided to ramp up the excitement.  The next time the little friend came near, my youngest son swept his foot across the water to splash him.  His young friend looked confused.  I strode across the pool and admonished my naughty son.  "No splashing babies!  O.K.?"  Son #2 looked at me sincerely and said.  "O.K."

The two little ones continued to play peacefully until Son #2 splashed him again.  I gave my youngest son the stinky eye and shook my finger at him.  "That's not nice."  I said sternly.  Son #2 meekly replied.  "I sorry."  Then, he resumed playing nicely with his friend.

Some time later, I noticed that Son #2 had splashed his tiny friend again.  This time, his friend decided to get even.  The little one swiftly scooped water up into the air and skillfully splashed my youngest son.  Son #2 looked shocked for a moment and then began to cry.  The little boy's father quickly came over to scold his young son.  Before the little one could get into trouble, I ran over and explained.  "My son splashed your little one a few times before your son finally splashed my son.  I was actually hoping your son would get him back."  The young father and I laughed at the situation. 

After the father and his son were gone, I picked up my baby and wiped his face.  "See what happens when you splash other people?!?"  I said in a playful manner.  Son #2 grunted and wiggled down from my arms.  The little rascal had not learned his lesson because he began to splash at me once again.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Mini Shopping Carts

Grandma and Grandpa live in a college town that is dotted with charming mom & pop businesses and mid century bungalows.  The town is surrounded by fields of onion, wheat, corn, grapes, and various orchards.  The grocery store lies on the main road within walking distance from their house.  My husband graduated from the high school in this town and has fond memories of the many people who still call this town home.

While visiting Grandma and Grandpa, we decided to swing by the grocery store and pick up some fruit.  Being that it was a hot day, we decided to forgo the walk.  The kids hopped into the air conditioned car and buckled their seat belts.  Then, we leisurely drove to the store.

Once at the store, the boys spied the mini shopping carts tucked in with the other carts.  They ran and screamed.  "I wanna little cart!  I wanna little cart!"  Son #1 sprinted along the front of the store and quickly selected his cart.  Son #2 raced as fast as his little legs would go but fell behind his older brother.  Seeing that his big brother had beaten him to the carts, Son #2 threw himself to the ground and began to wail loudly.  "Brudder got der first!  I wanna get der first.  You go back wite now!"  Son #2 shouted from the floor.  My husband and I shooed the kids over to their respective carts quickly as people turned to view the ruckus.  We smiled wanly and then tried to disappear into the produce section.

When the excitement had been forgotten, we perused the fresh fruits.  I wanted bananas.  I also wanted strawberries and blackberries but after some discussion we remembered there some back at the house.  My husband and I wandered around poking at various types of fruit while the kids jostled the carts down the aisles.  Finally, we decided to pay for the fruit we had selected.

My husband motioned for the boys to follow us.  Son #1 and Son #2 spun their carts in our direction and raced down the aisle like NASCAR drivers.  Just before they reached our shins, they skidded to a stop.

Son #2 breathlessly laughed.  "Again!  Again!"

Son #1 responded with a smile.  "Not yet.  We have to go."  Then, he turned to me with an angelic gaze and said.  "You can put the fruit in our carts.  We're really careful."

"Umm.  I don't think so."  I shook my head and eyed my fragile bananas.  "I'll just carry the fruit if you guys don't mind."

"Awww!"  The boys replied in unison.  Then, they squealed the cart tires all the way to the check out counter.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What are you doing?

While we were relaxing at Grandma and Grandpa's house, our little boys played with a box of toys in the living room.  Son #1 sorted out the jet airplanes and began an intricate game of fighter jet attacks around the coffee table.  Son #2 methodically pulled out a wooden train track set and held up a piece of the track in his hand.  "Help me?"  He asked.

I leaned over in the chair and reached for the pieces.  "O.K."  I said happily.  "I'll help."  Then, I knelt on the floor and spread out the tracks. Son #2 handed the pieces to me as I put the train track together in a figure eight shape.  When the last track was connected to the group, we cheered with delight.  "Yay!  We did it!"  Then, I asked.  "Where's Thomas the Train?"

Son #2 searched through the engines until he found his favorite train.  Then, he shouted.  "Here it is!"  Quickly, we placed the train on the track and proceeded to play a fun game of trains in Sodor.  Son #2 immediately became engrossed in the game.  Eventually, he pushed my hands away.  "No Mama.  I do it."  He said firmly.

I retired to the chair once more and settled in to watch a show with my husband.  Both of the boys continued to play their games on the floor.  Thirty minutes passed.  The games had not ceased.  An hour passed.  Finally, Son #2 grew tired of playing with the trains and went to explore the kitchen.  He looked under the table and at the magnets on the refrigerator.  He played with a towel on the oven door handle.  Then, he began to open cabinet doors.  My husband glanced into the kitchen and said.  "Son, close the cabinet doors."

"O.K."  Son #2 replied.  However, he continued to open and close one particular cabinet door.  As the door would close, our little son would give it an extra shove just to hear it make a noise.  I popped my head around the corner and said.  "Son, you heard your daddy.  Leave the cabinet door alone."

"O.K."  Son #2 replied.  Still, he did not stop.  The little rascal continued to slam the cabinet door.  My husband wrinkled his face irritably and then asked loudly.  "Son, what are you doing in there?"

Son #2 cheerfully replied.  "Daddy, I'm banging!"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Brother's Eyes

I love summer.  There is nothing like relaxing with my kids on a hot summer day.  There is always a new place to visit, person to befriend, or thing to discover.  It's magical.  It's especially magical when you are a young child.

The other day, my kids and I sat at the kitchen table in Grandma and Grandpa's house eating a simple lunch of sandwiches and smoothies.  It was a beautiful, summery afternoon with birds flitting their wings in the birdbath.  The large shade tree draped its branches over their grandparent's house as the breeze gently pushed the leaves up and down across the eaves.

Son #2 was enchanted by the rustling leaves.  He absentmindedly sipped his drink.  With his chubby hand, he reached about his plate feeling for his sandwich all while still staring out the window.

Son #1 smiled as his younger brother nibbled at his lunch in a distracted manner.  My oldest son quickly swallowed the bite of food in his mouth and then pointed to his little sibling.  "Silly baby.  He's not paying attention to any of his food."

I giggled at Son #1's comment.  "Yeah.  I guess something outside has his attention."

Son #1 glanced out the window and asked.  "What is he looking at?"

"I don't know."  I replied shrugging my shoulders and wrinkling my brow.  I took another bite of my sandwich and drank a bit of my smoothie.  While I ate, I watched my youngest child intently gaze out the window.  What could be so fascinating?

Son #1 quietly finished his sandwich.  Periodically, he raised his head to look out the kitchen window.  I could see the wonder in his eyes as he strained to see the things that had so amused his brother.  Finally, Son #1 sighed.  Then, he turned to me and said.  "I wish I could see through my brother's eyes."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wake Up, Mommy!

I miss staying up late and sleeping in until mid morning.  Once we began having children, sleep went right out the window.  We eventually got them into good habits.  However, we never did salvage our time to sleep late. 

It all stems from the time we taught our oldest son about going to bed early.  He did not like to go to bed at all.  So, my husband came up with this little jingle that said.  "When the sun comes up...time to get up.  When the sun goes down...time to go to sleep."  Son #1 loved the jingle and would repeat it often.  He also internalized the jingle and began to get up at the crack of dawn.  Then, he would come to our room to make sure we were getting up as well.  Son #1 would sing.  "When the sun is up time to get up!"  Ack!  I just want to sleep!  Fortunately, I have made peace with the fact that I will almost always have to get up early.  However, there are rare moments when I do get an extra hour of sleep.

When Son #1 was four, I would have him sit at the foot of my bed with a pile of books whenever I tried to get a bit of extra sleep.  He would read and look at pictures for ten minute increments while I blissfully kept my eyes closed.  After a while, Son #1 would get up from his spot on the floor and tap my arm.  "Mommy, wake up."

"Mmmm."  I would grunt.  "Ten more minutes."

"You said that the last time!"  Son #1 would complain.

"Ten more minutes."  I would continue to mumble sleepily.

"Alright."  Son#1 would say in exasperation.  Son #1 would plop down onto the floor and flip through his books irritably for a moment.  Finally, he would pick up something that looked interesting and continue to read.  Then, I would continue to sleep until the next time my little boy got tired of his books and tried to wake me again.

Now, Son #1 is more independent and will play in his room in the morning once he awakes.  Son #2 has taken his older brother's place tapping my arm and pulling at my eyelids as I try to get an extra hour of sweet, precious sleep.  The other morning, I peered through half closed eyelids at the clock on the shelf as my youngest son patted my face.  The clock said 6:50 a.m.  My baby began to pull the comforter off of my arms.  "Mmmm.  Let me sleep."  I muttered.

"Mommy, get up!"  Son #2 demanded.

"Shhh!  I'm trying to sleep."  I whispered.  "Go play.  Ten more minutes."

"O.K."  Son #2 ran to get his trains from the other room.  He happily chugged into my bedroom and drove the trains across the furniture.  "Choo choo!"  He puffed loudly. 

I pulled the covers closer to my head and squeezed my eyes shut.  I needed more sleep.  "Shhh!  Your dad and I are trying to sleep."

"O.K. Shsss!"  Son #2 replied.  He continued to race his train around the room albeit in a more silent fashion.

I fell asleep and began to dream again.  Midway through the dream, I felt a little hand poke my eyelids.  I clumsily swatted the hand away but did not open my eyes.  "What?"  I asked.

"Wake up, Mommy!"  My youngest son commanded.

"No."  I responded defiantly.  "Ten more minutes."

Son #2 would not be dissuaded.  "No Mommy!  Get up!" 

"No.  Ten more minutes."  I implored.  Then, I thought of a new tactic.  "Where are the helicopters?"  I asked trying to redirect him to a new activity.  Sadly, that tactic failed.

"NO HELICOPTERS, MOMMY!"  Son #2 shouted.  "GET UP!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Son #2 has been learning to identify different parts of the body.  We have a game that we play often.  I'll say.  "Show me your nose."  Then, Son #2 points to his nose.  I'll ask.  "Where's my nose?"  Then, he puts his finger on my nose.  Sometimes, I mix it up a bit by pointing to my mouth and asking.  "What's this?"  Most of the time, Son #2 will shout out.  "Mouf!"  We have a lot of fun playing this little game. 

When this game first began, Son #2 could only identify the ears.  He learned about the ears first because he used to hold my ear while I rocked him to sleep in the rocking chair.  His sleepy, little eyes would blink open and then close while he grasped my ear lobe with his tiny fingers.  I would laugh and whisper.  "Do you have my ear?"  Son #2 would pull at my ear and mumble.  "Earw."

Now, Son #2 is getting quite good at identifying different parts of his body.  However, he still loves to pull on my ear randomly throughout the day.  Sometimes, he reminds me of a honey bee in the vegetable garden flitting from flower to flower.  All of a sudden, the honey bee will abandon his game in the garden and rush over to a spot of honey hidden between two pieces of siding on the house.  There is no bee hive.  (We've checked.)  Yet, the bee sits on this spot of honey for a moment.  After the moment has passed, the honey bee will return to the garden to fly among the flowers once more.  I can only guess at what the bee is doing.  In my imagination, I can picture the bee playing among the flowers until it realizes that it needs to check its surroundings.  Then, it rushes over to the honey spot almost as if checking a map.  I can hear it buzzing.  "Bee #2 checking in.  Looks like everything is all clear.  Returning to the flowers.  Over and out."

When my youngest son stops a game to pull on my ear, I wonder if that is his way of checking in with the grown ups.  He will usually tug on one of my ears and then turn my head to pull on the other.  Then, he smiles at me with an impish grin and says.  "Ear?  Ear?"

I nod and assure him.  "Ear."

Then almost like the honey bee, he runs off to play with his toys again.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Abuelita is 93!

One Saturday afternoon after a fabulous meal of enchiladas at my mom's house, Son #1 sat with his Tia (Aunt) on the landing of the staircase.  We had just gotten done eating cake and ice cream in celebration of two birthdays.  The presents had been opened and the cards had been read.  One of the birthdays was mine and the other was Tia's.  Son #1 was curious about our ages and asked innocently.  "Tia, how old are you now?"

Tia smiled and said.  "I'm thirty."

"Oh!"  Son #1 exclaimed.  Then he looked at me repeated his question.  "Mommy, how old are you?"

"I'm thirty-eight."  I answered sweetly.

Son #1 thought for a moment and then questioned.  "Who's birthday is next?"

"Well, your baby brother has a birthday next.  Then, both of your Tios (Uncles) have birthdays.  After that, Abuelita has a birthday."  Tia replied.

"I know my brother is going to be three but how old are my Tios going to be?"  Son #1 asked with a puzzled look on his face.

"One of your Tios is turning thirty-eight and the other is turning thirty-six."  Tia responded.

"O.K."  Son #1 paused to absorb this information.  He fidgeted with his fingers as his mind processed everything he had learned.  You could see his mind analyzing our ages and forming conclusions.  He hadn't asked about Abuelita's age yet but he did realize that she was his grandmother.  Son #1 also knew that his dad had a grandmother that was in her mid nineties.  He thought for another moment.  Then after a couple more seconds, his face brightened as he cried out.  "After my Tios' birthdays, Abuelita has a birthday!"

"Yes.  You're right."  Tia said calmly.  She smiled and wrinkled her nose at me in amusement.  "How old do you think Abuelita will be on her birthday?"  Tia asked.

"Abuelita will be ninety-three!"  Son #1 shouted with excitement.

Poor Abuelita.  She can't catch any breaks.  A few months ago, Son #1 practically fell over when he found out that "Abuelita" means grandma and is not her actual name.  Now that he knows she is a grandma, he thinks she is almost one hundred.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Wanna Do It!

Son #2 admires his older brother and wants to be just as independent.  Sadly, Son #2 is only two years old.  His older brother, Son #1, is an agile seven year old that jumps, climbs, runs, rides, scales, and slides across many different things inside and outside of the house.  Of course, Son #2 wants to do it all, too.  When I try to help my youngest son, he screams.  "No!  I wanna do it!"  He is even becoming more independent about using the restroom or taking a bath.  I'm very proud of his new found independence yet sometimes I wish he would let me help him.

A couple days ago, Son #2 danced into the living room holding the front side of his pants.  "I need to go potty."  He announced with a little smile on his face.

I jumped up from my chair and cried.  "Run, Baby!  Hurry!  Let's go potty!"

Son #2 ran quickly to the bathroom and waited at the door until I turned on the light.  Then, he pulled down his pants and underwear.  I began to lift the lid of the toilet when my youngest son yelled.  "No!  I wanna do it!"

"Fine."  I said as I rolled my eyes.  "You do it."

Son #2 pushed the lid up and cheered.  "I did it!"

I smiled sweetly at my young son.  "Hurray!  You did it!  Now, get on the potty."

Son #2 scooted onto the toilet and proceeded to poop and pee into the toilet bowl.  He grinned proudly.  "I did it!  Oh! Wow!  Look at the poo poo in the potty!"

"Good job!"  I said.  "You're such a big boy!"  I helped him wipe and then I reached around him to flush the toilet. 

Immediately, Son #2 scowled and fussed.  "No, Mama!  I wanna do it!" 

"But it's all gone.  You can flush the toilet next time."  I consoled as Son #2 wiped tears from his eyes.

Son #2 slowly pulled his face up from his hands.  He looked into the toilet bowl once more and then shouted angrily.  "I want my poo poo back!"

Monday, June 30, 2014

Go to Bed!

One summer evening, Son #1 and Son #2 decided that they wanted to camp out in our youngest son's room for the night.  The boys dragged out their sleeping bags, special blankets, and pillows.  Son #1 brought in his stuffed Snoopy while Son #2 cuddled with Pete the Cat.  I sat down on the floor with their devotional book and a fun story book.  The boys snuggled under the covers as I read.  Then, we prayed and gave each other kisses.

Son #1 pulled the blankets up to his chin and hugged Snoopy tightly.  He closed his eyes and whispered.  "Good night, Mommy.  I love you."

I kissed his cheek one more time and said.  " I love you, my little Coo Agoo"

Son #2 wiggled around under his covers.  He reached up with his tiny hand and asked.  "Ear? Ear?"

I leaned down and let him hold my ear for a second.  Then, I pointed to my cheek with my finger.  "Kiss?  Kiss?"  I requested.

Son #2 pursed his lips and planted a kiss on my cheek.  I kissed his chubby cheek and whispered.  "I love you, Baby Jangly June."

As I walked out of the room, I reached out to turn off the bedroom light.  Before the light went off, I turned to blow kisses to my sweet boys.  The boys began to bounce around and I warned them in a growly voice.  "Lay down.  Go to bed."

They immediately lay down and apologized.  Then, Son #2 picked up Pete the Cat and placed the stuffed animal on his bed.  He covered Pete with a soft blanket and scowled.  "Go to bed!"  He scolded loudly.  Son #2 crossed his arms, sat on his sleeping bag, and wrinkled his brow. 

Irritably, Son #1 admonished his younger brother.  "Be quiet!  I'm trying to sleep."

Son #2 replied to his older brother.  "You go to bed!"

From under the covers, Son #1 muttered.  "Shut your pie hole."

Before things went completely awry, I turned off the lights and reminded my boys.  "Shhh!"  Then, I quickly ran to the other side of the house before they could argue again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Valentine's Day Flowers

My family is your typical one income family with a couple kids and no extra money.  We are blessed by God to have enough income to pay our tithe and offering, save for a rainy day, pay our living expenses, pay for medical expenses, and treat ourselves to one fun thing or activity.  Our budget is incredibly tight.  I don't mind.  We just have to exercise our imaginations when we want to be romantic. 

This last Valentine's Day, my husband and I laughed about our simple plans.  The kids wanted to make a heart shaped pizza and get some flowers.  We could afford to make the pizza but flowers were a bit pricey.  So, we came up with a fun idea.  I happened to have pink construction paper, scissors, and a bag of pipe cleaners left over from some school project.  I called the kids over to the table and told them to draw as many big and little hearts as they could on the pink sheets of paper.  The kids looked at me like I was crazy but complied.  Son #1 immediately began to draw the hearts as fast as he could go.  Son #2 held the pencil in his hand and cried.  I asked.  "Do you need help, Baby?"  Son #2 shook his head up and down as tears welled up in his eyes.  I placed my hand over his and we began to draw hearts together.

When the boys were finished with their hearts, I told them to go play.  Once they were out of the room, I cut out all the hearts and punched a hole at the bottom of each heart.  Then, I stuck a pipe cleaner through each hole and made a knot at the end of it.  Silently, I dug around a bottom cabinet for empty vases.  Finally, I arranged a group of hearts into each vase.  When my husband and the boys came out from the other rooms, they gazed at each vase of "flowers" in amazement.  We were able to have flowers for Valentine's Day after all.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Whoa Whoa Whoa...

Two year old children have the distinct ability to fling themselves backward whenever they encounter something disagreeable.  Son #2 is no exception.  This habit of throwing himself back regardless of who or what may be behind him began at the ripe old age of one and 7/8ths.

If his little mug contained something that was not to his liking, he threw himself backward.

If his older brother took a toy away from him, he threw himself backward.

If he didn't get a cookie first before his brother, he threw himself backward.

If he didn't know someone and was scared, he threw himself backward.

If he was told not to touch something, he threw himself backward.

There were and still are an endless amount of scenarios that could make my young son throw himself backward shrieking "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" on his way down.  There are an even larger amount of reactions that I display when his tantrums occur.  When he hits his head on the way down, I snuggle and comfort him.  Other times, I rush to catch him before any damage is done.  However when he cautiously throws himself to the floor and catches himself before injury occurs, I eyeball him and voice my disapproval.  Inevitably, I talk to him about being patient or listening and obeying depending upon the situation.  We always end with a hug, a kiss, and a child's promise to end the fits.

Do I believe the tantrums will end? 


Eventually in a year or two, we'll be able to have a conversation instead of "Special Cry Time" performed by my two year old child.  I look forward to the day when I don't have to stick my fingers in my ears to drown out the naughty protests and demands when Son #2 does not get his way.  Yet, I shrug my shoulders and accept the fact that my two year old wants independence but does not know how to explain himself.

I think he is slowly learning to control his temper.  With time, he'll find better ways to communicate his displeasure.  I'll be curious to see if he can learn to construct well thought out arguments minus whining and complaining.  As my mom always says.  "It's only a phase.  When this passes, something else will take its place."

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Bike Ride to the Park

Several weekends ago, Son #1 and I decided to take a bike ride to the park while his younger brother napped.  We silently tiptoed to the garage and carefully opened the garage door.  Then, we wheeled the bikes to the driveway and gingerly shut the garage door.  I smiled at my oldest son and cheerfully asked.  "Ready to go for a ride?"  Son jumped onto his bike and replied.  "Oh yeah!"

Before we started our ride, Son #1 and discussed the rules for our ride.  "Alright Son, before we go you need to promise me that you will stay right behind me as we ride.  We're going to be riding on the road so we're going to need to follow road rules."  Son #1 agreed seriously.  We reviewed riding on the correct side of the road, following road signs, being aware of cars, and signaling for turns.  Son #1 absorbed all the information with a growing feeling of increased responsibility.  He proudly agreed to follow our rules and then pedaled off  behind me to the first stop sign. 

It was a beautiful day for a ride to the park.  The temperature was in the seventies and there was a cool breeze lilting above the trees.  Son #1 and I rode past all types of houses through a couple neighborhoods.  As we rode, the architectural style of the houses changed representing the decade in which they were built.  Small, new trees gave way to expansive, shade trees.  In the distance, a tiny park was tucked in between two older homes. 

As the park came into view, Son #1 and I sped up in excitement.  When we pulled up to the gate, we hopped off our bikes and steered them toward a picnic table.  Son #1 lounged on the bench and drank from his water bottle.  We talked while we rested and sipped water.  Then, Son #1 shouted.  "Let's go play!"

Son #1 and I sprinted to the playground.  We swung on the monkey bars and slid down the slides.  We rode on the various vintage playground toys.  We laughed and played until we were completely worn out.  Then, hunger pangs reminded us that we needed to return home.  Slowly, my son and I walked to our bikes.  We guided our bikes to the road and hopped on them for our ride home. 

I called out to my eldest son as we peddled back to the house.  "Did you have fun?" 

Son #1 yelled out with delight. "Yeah!  I wanna do this again!"  "

"Me too!"  I responded as we sped toward our house.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Only A Dad
by Edgar A. Guest (1916) 

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

For my terrific Daddy (I miss him)...

...And my two sons' wonderful father

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Quack Quack in the Mug

Son #2 loves to play with his bathtub toys.  He has a couple rubber duckies, a tug boat, and a set of water flutes.  Bath time is very exciting with these toys in the tub. 

One evening, Son #2 finished his bath and hopped out of the tub.  He huddled in his towel on the bath mat and tried to stay warm.  Water dripped off his hair and back soaking the fluffy rug underneath his feet.  I rubbed the extra water droplets off of his little arms and legs.  Then, I helped him put on lotion and his pajamas.  Finally, we combed his hair and brushed his teeth. 

Son #2 felt shiny and clean as he ran around the living room like a maniac.  His older brother was in the process of taking his own bath when Son #2 flew into the bathroom and stole a rubber ducky.  Son #1 shouted out.  "Hey!  I'm naked here!  Get out of the bathroom!  I need privacy!"  Then, he quickly locked his younger brother out of the bathroom.

Son #2 pounded on the bathroom door and growled.  "Brudder!  Popen da door!"

Son #1 yelled back smugly.  "No!  Now, go away!"

They argued back and forth for a time until my husband and I distracted the youngest from his tirade.  "Baby!"  I called out.  "Are you thirsty?  Do you want a Ba?"  (Translation:  Ba is currently organic soy milk.  Son #2 has a mild milk allergy.)

Son #2 paused at the bathroom door and pondered the question.

"Come on, Little Son.  Let's get something to drink before bedtime."  My husband beckoned.

Son #2 clasped the rubber ducky to his chest and rushed to the kitchen to get his mug.  I poured the "Ba" into his mug as Son #2 steadied it above his head.  He brought the mug to his lips and savored the first gulp.  With a look of satisfaction on his face, he meandered to the couch and relaxed with the ducky and drink. 

I continued to help my oldest son with his bath while my husband chatted with our youngest son.  Eventually, both boys were bathed and dressed.  Each had brushed their teeth and were settling down for their evening devotional before bedtime.  I hung up wet towels and placed the bath toys on the rim of the tub.  Then, I noticed that one of the bath ducks was missing.  I asked my youngest son.  "Baby, do you remember where you put the ducky that you had in your hands?"

"Huh?"  My youngest son responded.

"Where is the other ducky?"  I asked with an exaggerated shoulder shrug.

Son #2 clapped his hands together and exclaimed.  "Oh!  I find it!"  He scurried around the house until he located the ducky.  Once the ducky was discovered, he proudly returned to the living room and announced.  "Wook!  I did it!  My quack quack's in the mug!"

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Flower Pot

A few weeks ago while school was still in session, Son #1 brought home a painted flower pot with a tiny plant as a Mother's Day gift.  I was delighted.  I carefully took his little gift into my hands and began to examine the art work.  The clay pot was painted a brilliant, deep blue.  In the middle of the pot, Son #1 had painted a bright red flower with dark green leaves.  I smiled to myself and then peered at the plant.  So far, the plant was only a tiny seedling.  I asked my eldest son.  "What did you plant in the pot?"

Son #1 replied.  "A flower!"

"Cool!  I love flowers."  I responded.

Son #1 beamed with pride.  "Yeah.  We made it at school for Mother's Day.  I got to paint the pot and then put dirt in it when it dried.  Then, I got to plant a seed and water it.  Oh and it grew!"

"Wow!  That is really awesome."  I hugged Son #1 tightly.  "Thank you!  I feel so special!"

Son #1 returned my hug.  He smiled and then replaced his smile with a very serious face.  "Do you know why they call this a flower pot?" 

I made a silly face and said.  "No.  Why?"

Son #1 was shocked.  "You don't know why they call this a flower pot?!"  He glared at me, surprised that I did not know everything.

 "Nope."  I replied with a laugh.  "Why do they call it a flower pot?"

"Well, let me tell you."  Son #1 explained.  "It's a plant that grows into a flower.  That's why it's called a flower pot!"

"Oh!  Now I get it."  I said with wide eyes and a grin.

"Good!"  Son #1 yelled as he ran to his room to play.  "Now, don't forget it!"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Race Around the Picnic Table

A couple weekends ago, our little family decided to go have a picnic by the river.  We hopped into our car and headed out into the countryside.  Son #1 and Son #2 fought and played in the back seat.  My husband and I tried to ignore the noise.

The afternoon was cool with rain clouds on the horizon.  However, we drove on to our destination undeterred.  Soon, we came up to the bridge crossing over our favorite spot on the river.  The kids were so excited.  It had been a while since we had played at this popular little bend.  My husband turned the wheels onto the dusty dirt road and wound his way down to the rocky bank.  As we approached the water's edge, we noticed our favorite place to play had been invaded by pipes, concrete, and a back hoe.  Needless to say, we were very sad and a bit disgusted.  My husband turned to me with a perturbed look on his face and said.  "Let's get out of here!"  I agreed quickly and we were off in search of a new destination.

After consulting our mental maps of the area, we decided to visit a little river just west of our location.  Before we had the kids, we used to hike along its bank on random, summery afternoons.  Once, we even rafted down the river using a blow up mattress and a couple of canoe paddles in honor of the movie Deliverance.  When we finally reached our new destination, we noticed that the river was completely dry.  Now, we were annoyed.  We should have known that the drought had wreaked havoc on the local streams and rivers.  Yet, one would think there might at least be a trickle of water in the river bed.  I turned to my husband and said.  "Where do you want to go?" 

He shrugged his shoulders and stared out the window.  Then, he turned to me with a smile and asked.  "Do you remember the rest stop on that hill out in the distance?" 

I grinned and replied.  "Yeah.  Do you want to go out there?"

He winked at me and pulled out onto the road again.  "Sure." 

Raindrops began to fall onto the windshield as the storm clouds gathered ominously on the horizon.  From the back seat, Son #1 piped up.  "Let's see if we can see any tornadoes while we're there."

When we arrived at the rest stop, the kids hopped out to play.  I set up our lunch on the picnic table as the kids raced around the shelter.  Son #1 began to lap his younger brother.  Realizing that he was falling behind, Son #2 devised a plan to beat his older brother. 

Son #1 shouted.  "Ha ha!  I'm winning!"

Son #2 responded.  "No Bruder!  I wimming!"

Son#1 shrieked.  "Oh no you're not!"  Then, he put on the steam and raced around the corner. 

Son #2 pouted but then cut through the picnic area just in time to jump in front of his older brother.  "I wimming!"  He cried with glee.

Son #1 was out of breath as he laughingly called out.  "Look Mom!  Look Dad!  My baby brother cheated!"

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Scissors

There is a book called "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten".  Never has a more accurate book title been written. 

When Son #1 was in kindergarten, he would come home and expound on the bits of wisdom imparted to him and his classmates.

Before handing out exciting items, everyone knew..."You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."

Before starting a writing assignment, the children understood..."You write with your pencil in the book, not on the table."

When on the playground, the kids realized..."We do not karate kick our friends.  It's just not nice."

Just a week ago, Son #1 finished first grade.  He and his friends met at their Sabbath School class the next day at church.  They were so excited to see each other again.  The noisy group of friends marched into the room and shouted to each other about their exciting summer plans.  Their Sabbath School teacher finally calmed them down and began their fun Bible activities.  The kids delved in eagerly. 

Eventually, time slipped away and their class ended.  Son #1 hopped out with a huge grin on his face.  He talked a mile a minute about all his friends.  My husband smiled and responded cheerfully.  Then, my husband furrowed his brow and peered at my eldest son's hair.  "Hey!  What happened here?"  He asked.

Son #1 replied nonchalantly.  "Oh!  I cut my hair with the scissors."

My husband gritted his teeth and brought Son #1 to me.  Then, he said.  "Tell your mom about your hair."

I winced before asking.  "What did you do to your hair?"

"I cut my hair with the scissor!"  Son #1 repeated happily.

I paused with a smirk and then asked once more.  "What was it that your teacher said in kindergarten about the scissors??"

Son #1 sighed.

"Scissors are for paper and not for hair."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Warm Boots

One cool, spring night, I bustled around the house hastily rushing the kids to bed.  I was in a hurry to speed over to my mom's house because we were in the midst of a huge sewing project.  Son #2 jumped on the couch like one of the Five Monkeys while I tucked Son #1 into his bed.  He snuggled with his stuffed Snoopy as I sat on his bed reading a chapter from his Bible Stories book.  My boots leaned against  the mattress and I tucked my feet underneath the stuffed animals for warmth.  As the story came to a close, I heard Son #2 cry out from the living room.  Most likely, my monkey had fallen from the couch.  I patted Son #1's hands and said.  "Let me go check on your brother.  I'll be back in just a second."

Son #1 replied sleepily.  "O.K. Mommy."

I walked quickly down the hallway and found my youngest son weeping on the floor.  When he saw me enter the room, he held his arms up and cried.  "My hurt!"

"What happened?"  I asked as concern filled my voice.

"I fell."  Son #2 whimpered pointing to his forearm.

"Oh no!  Are you O.K?"  I inspected his arm.  He wiggled it around in several directions which soothed my fears immediately.  Then, I kissed the boo boo and instructed my youngest son to stop jumping on the couch.  Son #2 promised to behave himself and ran to his room.  Finally, I returned to Son #1's room to pray with him before he fell asleep.

When I entered my eldest son's room, I noticed that my boots were missing.  I furrowed my brow and tried to mentally retrace my steps around the house.   

Where could I have put my boots?  

Did I misplace them?

I know I'm forgetful but this is ridiculous.

Son #1 saw the confused look on my face and giggled.  He hugged the blankets to his chin as his eyes danced with delight.  Then, I noticed that the outline of his feet under the covers were unusually large for a child his size.  I raised one eyebrow suspiciously.  "Where are my boots, little boy?"

Son #1 snickered.  "I don't know."

"I bet you do know!"  I narrowed my eyes.  My lips twitched as I tried to conceal a smirk.  Then, I ripped off the covers to reveal my boots on my son's little feet!

"What are you doing wearing my boots?!"  I laughed.

Son #1 responded  without missing a beat.  "I was keeping my feet warm!"

I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

Hmm...I haven't written anything in almost a month. I've been a little consumed sewing a costume with my mom. However, we are finally done creating this awesome renaissance outfit. Hurray!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Rogue Okra

This is our second year of planting and maintaining a vegetable garden.  Our garden consists of five large wooden boxes filled to the brim with top soil and cow manure.  One box contains herbs and lettuce.  Another has neat rows of onions.  The third has potatoes and bell peppers.  The fourth box is beginning to show signs of zucchini and okra sprouts.  The fifth box has just been planted with cucumber and tomato seeds.  The boys love to help plant seeds and pull weeds.  By the time they finish helping in the garden, they are covered in the dark, rich soil.

A few weeks ago, Son #1 and Son #2 were helping us sow seeds in the first and fourth boxes.  They carefully dug holes with their fingers and gently covered the seeds.  Periodically, their dad would shout.  "Get away from the fire ants!"  The boys would obediently scamper away. 

We finished pulling weeds and planting lettuce seeds in the first box.  Then, we moved on to the fourth box.  The kids jumped up and down, begging to plant the zucchini seeds.  We patiently helped them space out the seeds in the box.  Next, we opened the package of okra seeds.  My husband and I discussed where to plant the seeds while the boys investigated the onion plants. 

When we had made our decision, we called Son #1 and Son #2 over to the box.  They held out their little hands as we placed a seed into their palms.  Son #1 meticulously dug his hole and placed the seed inside.  He carefully covered the seed with the extra dirt and smiled proudly.  However, Son #2 threw his seed into the middle of the box.  Then, he laughed with delight and shouted.  "I DID IT!"

My husband and I looked at each other in shock.  We searched the box thoroughly looking for the wayward seed.  I smacked my palm to my forehead.  Our grand and organized plan for the garden was awry.  My husband got up from his knees slowly.  Then, he wryly commented.  "Well, I guess we're going to have a rogue okra plant in the middle of this box.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Underwater Cartoon

One afternoon, the boys tackled each other repeatedly as they sprinted over furniture in the living room.  My husband and I sounded like broken records as we called out.  "Stop tackling your brother!"

"Hey!  Quit jumping on the couch!"

"You guys are going to get hurt!"

"Go outside!"

All our practical "suggestions" went in one ear and out the other.  The boys continued to race around the house as if they had been given espressos and a brand new puppy.  Suddenly, we heard a crash.  Then, a little voice began to cry.  Son #1 sheepishly peered around the corner as Son #2 jumped up and down sobbing hysterically.  My husband and I listened sympathetically to their sad and dramatic story.  We nodded our heads and furrowed our brows.  When our sons were finished telling their story, we lectured them on the importance of obeying your parents.  (See requests above.)  The boys hung their heads as we asked them the final question.  "Are you going to obey  next time we tell you to stop the monkey business?"

"Yes."  Son #1 replied quietly.

"Yeth."  Son #2 echoed.

"Good!  Now stop running around the house."  We stated firmly.

The boys walked to the living room and began to quietly play with their cars.  Soon, they were investigating the jogging stroller parked in the entry way of the house.  Son #2 climbed into the seat.  Son #1 buckled the harness gently.  Then, Son #1 began to push his younger brother around the living room.  One thing led to another and soon the boys were flipping through channels looking for cartoons.  Lingering tears trickled down Son #2's right cheek.  All of a sudden, a cartoon with colorful, singing fish in an underwater world appeared on the screen.  Son #2 laughed aloud as his tears disappeared.  Son #1 poked his head into the stroller and quipped observantly.  "I guess diving shows make babies happy when they get hurt."

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Moon

Saturday evening, my mom and I took the kids for a walk around her neighborhood.  The air was thick with the scent of fresh rain.  Puddles dotted the intersecting roads and sidewalks.  The sun was slowly setting in the distance leaving streaks of orange and pink underneath the fluffy layer of rain clouds.  My sons stomped their feet in the water as we strolled through the streets.  We investigated the newly constructed houses and peered at the rolling hills beyond the neighborhood.  We even stopped to talk to neighbors along the way.  As we meandered past a tiny park in a cul-de-sac, Son #1 looked up into the sky and shouted excitedly.  "Look, Mom!  I see the moon!"

A crescent moon hid behind the wispy edge of a cloud.  It appeared briefly in the dusky sky before being covered by another thick rain cloud.  Son #1 gazed up at the moon in awe.  His hands were tucked into the pockets of his jacket but his feet danced with delight.  "Did you see it, Mom?  Did you see it?"  My eldest son asked as he wriggled with joy. 

"Oh, yeah.  I saw it."  I said sweetly.  "It was really pretty."

Son #2 began to look around.  He was curious about our conversation and wanted to join in the fun.  My youngest son watched as his older brother tilted his head back to peer at the moon again.  The thick clouds rolled away once more to reveal a sliver of the moon.  "I see the moon again!"  Son #1 called out.  Son #2 leaned back as far as he could and scanned the sky for the elusive moon.  Then, he caught sight of it and cried.  "Oh!  Look!  Da moon!  I see da moon!"

As we walked back to my mom's house, the boys repeatedly tried to spy the moon.  When they were successful, they would call out.  "I see the moon again!"  It became a game of hide and seek as the clouds obscured the moon for minutes at a time.  Eventually, the clouds would move on in the sky and the moon would reappear as bright as ever.  Finally, we arrived at my mom's house.  The boys were exhausted from our walk around the neighborhood.  They rubbed their eyes sleepily and climbed into their car seats.  Once they were buckled in, we drove off to our own home.  As I drove, I could hear them whisper to each other before falling asleep. 

"Do you see the moon?"  Son #1 said quietly to his younger brother.

"Yeah.  Da moon."  Son #2 replied dozing in his car seat.

The moon's light gently provided a slight glow in the night sky.  The boys slowly drifted off to sleep.  Soon, all that could be heard was the tires rolling down the road and their soft breathing.  Their little faces leaned onto the seats as the moonlight once again disappeared behind the clouds in the sky.