Friday, December 25, 2015

The Lord's Prayer

One evening while Son #1 and I were having worship, we discussed how Adam and Eve talked to God in the Garden of Eden.  Son #1 was enthralled and began to brainstorm about the endless topic possibilities.  We imagined that Adam and Eve spoke to God as a friend.  Yet, we also envisioned that they revered and loved God because he was their Creator.  Son #1 and I also talked about how God might have designed the Garden of Eden.  My eldest son and I laughed as we pictured the animals playing among the trees and bushes.  Then, we thoughtfully contemplated the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of  Good and Evil.  Son #1 turned serious for a moment and then asked.  "How do you think Satan talked to God?"  I wrinkled my brow and scratched my head.  "I'm not really sure.  I'm sure that it's not very nice.  Let's not focus on how Satan would talk to God.  Focus on how Jesus talked to God his Father."  Son #1 placed his hands on his chin and toyed with his blanket.  I reached for his Bible and turned to the Lord's Prayer.  "This is how Jesus talked to God the Father."
'Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,

Son #1 listened as I read aloud and then said.  "Mom! How do you know about the Lord's Prayer? "

"Huh?!"  I responded with a laugh.  "I learned about the Lord's Prayer when I was a little girl."

Son #1 was surprised.  "Wow!  I didn't know you knew the Lord's Prayer.   We say that every morning in class!"

I smiled and gave my oldest son a hug.  "I'm so glad that your teacher tells you about the Lord's Prayer.  You are a very lucky little boy." 

Son #1 kissed me on the cheek and I tucked him into bed.  He said a prayer and then snuggled under the covers.  "Goodnight Mom!  I love you!"  He called out.

"Goodnight.  I love you, too!"  I said as I blew him a kiss. 

Slowly, I closed the door to his bedroom.  As I walked down the hallway, I reflected on my life.  God has given me so many blessings.  I am blessed with my family, relatives, friends, and my life.  Now, I pray that God will help me be a blessing to others.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Swimming with Cousins

When I was a little girl, my brother and I used to go over to my cousin's house to swim.  They had a big pool with a diving board that was regularly invaded by various extended family members.  Each time an invasion occurred, the glassy water would morph into a choppy sea of waves.  Once in the pool, everyone would join a game of Marco Polo or Shark.  Sometimes, the teenagers would tease the younger kids by dunking them under the water.  Shrieks of laughter would ring out across the backyard.  You could definitely tell we were having a good time.  Many years have passed but every now and then I'm reminded of those carefree and silly days. 

This last summer, Son #1 and Son #2 went over to their cousin's house to swim in the pool.  Son #1  tore across the lawn with his towel slung over his shoulder.  Several yards behind, Son #2 and I skipped along side the house to the backyard.  Just as Son #1 was about to hop into the pool, I called out.  "Did you put on your sunscreen?"

"No."  Son #1 responded as he wandered in my direction.  I lathered the sunscreen onto my oldest son and then shooed him off toward the pool.  Then, I turned my attention to Son #2.  My youngest son was hopping up and down impatiently.  Quickly, I slathered sunscreen onto Son #2, buckled his life jacket, and gently guided him into the water.  Their cousin hopped into the water as well.

The first game began as their older cousin swam after the boys pretending to be a sea monster.  Son #1 and Son #2 screamed with delight while their older cousin dove under the water.  My eldest son paddled with all his might trying to escape his cousin stealthily stalking him from the bottom of the pool.  My youngest son splashed about in the middle of the pool completely oblivious to the drama that was about to unfold.  All of a sudden, their cousin rocketed to the surface and lifted Son #1 high into the sky.  Son #1 laughed and flailed helplessly.  A split second later, my eldest son was released and plummeted into the water with a giant splash.  Son #2 clapped with glee.  Son #1 sputtered and spit as he hung onto his cousin's neck.  His cousin asked with a grin.  "Are you O.K?

"Yeah."  Son #1 replied as he wiped his face.  For a second, it looked as though the game was done.  Then, my oldest son shouted.  "Let's do that again!"

The game continued on for quite a while.  Son #1 and Son #2 hung onto their older cousin's neck as he bobbed and dove about in the water.  The boys shrieked with joy while water splashed on their faces.  Periodically, they stopped for drinks, snacks, and a moment to catch their breath.  Soon, they tired of this game and began another.  The sun beat down and eventually they were exhausted.  Finally,  everyone crawled out of the pool and headed for the shade.  The afternoon was coming to a close.  Son #1 and Son #2 waved goodbye to their older cousin.  Then, slowly they closed the gate to the yard.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Observation

The kids were safely snuggled into their seat belts as we drove away from the restaurant outside of Boise.  As we entered the freeway, Son #2 drifted gently to sleep lulled by the sound of the tires on the concrete.  Son #1 stared out the window and watched the cars pass by in the fast lane.  I fiddled with the dials on the radio as my husband turned on cruise control.

Once we settled into a comfortable speed, my husband struck up a conversation about semi trucks with Son #1.  They talked about various semi truck tractors and the types of trailers they were hauling.  Son #1 had a million questions to ask.  "Why are there flaps sticking out of the back of that trailer?"

"The flaps help reduce air turbulence behind the trailer and makes it more aerodynamic.  It helps the truck get better fuel mileage."

"Oh!"  Son #1 said thoughtfully.  Then, he asked again.  "How do they keep the big stuff from falling off the flat bed?"

"The truck driver straps it down.  Do you see all those straps?"  My husband pointed to the straps holding down the over sized equipment on the flat bed trailer.

"Yeah."  Son #1 replied.

"The driver has to make sure all those straps are tight and secure before he can drive down the road."  My husband explained.

"Oh.  That's cool."  Son #1 said as he peered out the window.  Silence followed for some time.  We listened to the music on the radio.  Fields of onions, potatoes, and alfalfa stretched on for miles across the agricultural landscape.  Soon, we passed another truck and trailer.  Son #1 stared at the trailer's Great Dane logo.  "I wonder how many dogs are in that truck?"

"Huh?"  My husband responded.  He glanced at the trailer and  laughed.  "Oh.  There's no dogs in that trailer.  That's just the name of the trailer company."

"What?!?  There's no dogs in that trailer?!?"  Son #1 echoed in amusement.  "That doesn't make any sense!  Then, why did they name it after a dog?!?"

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Compliment

A little while after removing the booger from my hair (see previous post), we finished our comfort food at the restaurant.  The boys slurped their drinks and wiped their faces.  My husband and I picked at the crumbs on our plates.  This stop on our long road trip had given us a bit more energy to complete the journey.  After paying our bill, we reluctantly got up from the table and inched toward the door.  The boys held their boxed leftovers and complained.  "Aww.  I don't want to get into the car again.  I'm tired."  Son #1 whined.  "No more car!"  Son #2 chimed.

"Sorry guys."  I said with a yawn.  "We have to get in the car.  We are not at Grandma and Grandpa's house yet."

"If we don't get in the car, we'll have to live here."  My husband teased.

The boys' faces were stricken with fear as they raced to the car door.  "No! No!  We want to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house!"  They yelled.

"Then, get in the car!"  My husband laughed and we hurried the boys into their seats.

"Mom?  Can you help me?"  Son #1 asked.

"Sure."  I responded.  "What do you need?" 

"I need help getting my seat belt buckled.  My hands are full."  Son #1 explained.

"Sure.  Sure."  I said as I buckled the seat belt.  "How's that?"

"That's good."  Son #1 said with a smile.  "Thanks mom.  You're a good mom."

I leaned over and kissed his forehead.  We hugged.  There is nothing like a sweet compliment from your child to brighten your day.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Booger

After gassing up in Mountain Home, we continued on our journey to Boise.  Everyone in the car was ravenous so my husband scanned the side of the freeway for a restaurant that served comfort food.  Ten minutes passed before we finally saw something that peaked our interest.  My husband quickly exited and pulled into the parking lot.  Then, we happily went inside.

The boys squirmed in their seats as we reviewed the menu.  "What do you guys want to eat?"  I asked.

"Hmm.  I don't know.  Let me see."  My oldest son replied.  Son #1 studied each page of the menu thoughtfully.

I turned to my youngest son and questioned.  "Do you want pancakes or sandwich?"  Son #2 giggled and wiggled.  He was not paying attention to anything I had to say.  I opened the menu and showed him the pictures of the food.  "Show me what you want."  I said with a smile.

"Hmm.  Let me see."  Son #2 replied.  My youngest son checked out each picture with delight.  Finally, he settled on the pancakes.

"Have you decided what you're going to order?"  My husband asked Son #1.

"Yeah.  I think I'm going to have fries and mozzarella sticks."  Son #1 responded.

The waitress approached our table and wrote down our choices.  Within a few minutes, she was back with our drinks.  My husband and I casually sipped at our sodas as we talked about nothing in particular.  The boys bounced on their seats and stared out the window.  Periodically, they would chime into our conversation.

Suddenly, Son #2 had to sneeze.  He leaned back as he rubbed his nose.  Then, his body pitched forward.  "Achoo!"  He yelled with his eyes squeezed shut.

"Are you o.k?"  I asked.

"No, Mommy.  I have a booger."  Son #2 murmured.  I reached for a napkin to wipe my young son's nose.  I also reached for my pony tail holder so that I could pull my hair away from my face.  As I popped my hair into a loose top knot, I felt something slimy.  I grimaced with horror and thought.  "Please don't let it be a booger." 

Before I could take care of the slime in my hair, I carefully cleaned Son #2's face.  Once Son #2 was presentable again, I reached for another napkin.  Slowly, I removed a rather large booger from the top of my head.  Then, I pulled my hair into a fresh top knot.  To my disgust, I felt another glob.    "Honey, is there another booger in my hair?" 

My husband checked my hair with a look of glee.  "Yeah.  Just move your hand a little to the right and you'll get it."  He laughed.

Son #1 leaned over the table to peer at my hair.  "Almost got it, Mom.  Almost.  Almost.  You got it!"  He shouted triumphantly.

Just as I was about to pull my hair up for the third time, Son #2 urgently announced.  "I got to sneeze again."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Road Trip

Several weeks ago, we decided to take a road trip across the country to visit family.  You may notice that this is a recurring theme in my stories.  You may wonder why we don't just fly.  That is a very good question.  Maybe, flying is too expensive for us right now.  Maybe, we want the children to experience different parts of the country.  Maybe, we're crazy and like to exhaust ourselves.  Maybe, it is all of the above.  Regardless of the answer, you will find us winding along our favorite mountain roads again.

Thirty hours into the road trip, we were hungry for real food from a restaurant.  Surprisingly, we had eaten fairly healthy food along the way.  My husband and I tried to stop at regular meal times for the boys.  We also tried to make time for play as we traveled through the various states.  So that we didn't completely run out of energy, my husband and I would trade off driving every several hours.  The lucky one in the passenger's seat would try to rest during that time before having to drive again.  On the thirtieth hour of the trip, I found myself in the driver's seat listening to a George Strait CD and cruising down an empty highway.  It was almost supper time and everyone was hungry.

I nudged my husband to wake up.  "Hey.  Where do you want to eat?"  I asked as we raced by fields of corn, wheat, and alfalfa.  I could see mountains in the distance and a large river winding around the foothills.

"Ugh.  What?  What?"  My husband mumbled as he slowly opened his eyes.

"Where do you want to eat?"  I repeated.  "The kids are hungry."

My husband sat up in his seat and rubbed his face.  The kids were playing with their toys in the back seat.  As we discussed the options, their heads perked up to listen to the conversation.  "We could eat in Mountain Home."  My husband suggested.

"We could."  I shrugged.  "I don't really want to eat in Mountain Home.  It would be nice to get further down the road.  Do you want to eat in Boise?"

"Yeah.  That sounds good."  My husband agreed.  "There's more options in Boise but let's get gas in Mountain Home.  We're almost out."

"O.K."  I said.  "Where in Boise do you want to eat?"

Before my husband could answer, Son #1 popped up from the back seat with a look of alarm on his face.  "What?!?  We're going to eat poison?!?"

My husband and I burst out laughing.  "No!  We're not going to eat poison!"  My husband chuckled. 

"We're eating in a place called Boise."  I explained.

Son #1 furrowed his brow.  "Boise."  He murmured.  "Not poison."

"Yes.  Boise."  My husband confirmed.

"Not poison."  I emphasized with a giggle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Las Mananitas

When I was a little girl, members from our church used to serenade families for special occasions.  The groups would start in the wee hours of the night.  It was a great way to wake up.  My brother, sister, and I would rush to the door with our parents to listen to our friends sing.  On one particular Mother's Day, the group sang a song called "Las Mananitas".  As the guitarists accompanied the singers, the stars twinkled in the dark sky.  Off on the horizon, a dim glow proceeded the sunrise.  Now when I think about it, the memory of those early morning serenades seem to brighten my day.

One evening, the kids had just finished bathing and getting ready for bed.  They were playing with their cars in the living room while I watched a documentary on PBS.  I rinsed dishes from our dinner and loaded the dishwasher while the narrator described the plight of children from impoverished countries traveling alone to find a better life.  Several children were interviewed at various stages during their journeys.  Their stories captured me and pulled at my heart.  At the end of the documentary, a mariachi band began to sing "Las Mananitas".  I was undone.  I had not heard the song in years.  As nostalgia swept over me, I danced with my boys around the kitchen.  When the song was finished, the kids cried out.  "Again, Mom!  Again!"  I grabbed my phone and pulled up a video of the song on YouTube.  Then, we began to dance again.

The kids and I danced to "Las Mananitas" several times.  At one point, Son #1 did a tango across the house with Son #2.  They laughed and squealed as they bumped into furniture.  A few times, I had the boys stand on my feet as we waltzed to the guitars and trumpets.  We spun and twirled around the kitchen floor until we were completely out of breath.   Then, we all collapsed onto the chairs around the table. 

Son #1 gasped.  "Mommy, I'm thirsty." 

Son #2 reached out with his hands and said.  "I want water." 

I opened the cabinet door and pulled down three glasses.  Carefully, I filled the glasses with ice and water.  Then, I passed the drinks out to the boys.  We sipped our water quietly for a while watching the sun sink into the horizon.  Soon, the boys' eyelids began to droop.  They were getting sleepy so I walked them to their beds.  After tucking each son into his bed, I went to the living room and listened to the "Las Mananitas" once more.  As the last notes drifted into the air, I smiled at the memory of my brother, sister, and I peeking around our parents' legs while friends serenaded us in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fire Fire Fire

Earlier this month on the Fourth of July, a group of family gathered at my sister's house.  We cooked fajitas, ate pie, played outside, and eventually lazed around the house during the heat of the day.   As evening drew near, the guys each dug out their personal stash of fireworks.  Then, we all ran to the back of the house to set up for our firework display. 

While the guys were busy playing with artillery shells, my sister's father-in-law helped set Son #1 and Son #2 up with sparklers.  Son #1 was nervous about holding the sparklers at first.  With a bit of coaxing, he slowly began to have fun.  Son #2 was excited about holding his sparklers.  He felt like such a big boy playing with sparklers beside his older brother. 

My husband cracked jokes in a Beavis and Butthead voice.  "Heh heh.  Uh.  Fire, fire, fire." 

Son #2 listened intently as his dad goofed off.  Then, Son #2 imitated his dad in a small voice while waving a sparkler in each hand.  "Fire, fire, fire."

Time passed by slowly as we relaxed in lawn chairs.  Neighbors all around the countryside put on their own firework shows as the guys lit shells, spinners, and roman candles.  Soon, the supply began to dwindle.  My husband dug around his box of fireworks and brought out his endless supply of bottle rockets.  He carefully set up the first rocket and lit it with his lighter.  Quickly, he rushed away to a safe distance.  The rocket shot noisily into the air.  Son #1 was intrigued.  The next time his dad went to light a bottle rocket, Son #1 was right by his side. 

While the guys lit bottle rockets, the girls sat in chairs relaxing and talking.  Son #2 settled into his chair with a bottle of water and a bowl of ice cream.  We gazed at the stars as fireworks periodically burst in the sky.  Suddenly, my sister turned to my mom and said.  "Oh, look.  The clouds have burned off."

Son #1 looked up into the night sky with confusion written on his face.  A look of shock spread across his face as he watched his dad light a few more bottle rockets.  Then, Son #1 cried out in dismay.  "My dad burned up the clouds?!?"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Rollerblading Lesson

A few weeks ago, Son #1 and Son #2 raced from the breakfast table to grab their roller blades.  Son #1 slid his on with ease while Son #2 yelled.  "Help me, Mommy!" 

I walked over to the entry way where Son #2 stood.  "Alright, I'll help you.  Sit down so I can get your socks on your feet."  I said hurriedly.  It was around nine o'clock and the morning air was still cool.  We wanted to get as much outside time as possible before the heat and humidity became oppressive.  I slid the roller blades onto my youngest son's tiny feet.  Then, I secured his helmet onto his head. 

"Mommy,  I want my gloves."  Son #2 squeaked as he pointed to his hands. 

"O.K.  Let me find them."  I replied.

"I've got them!"  Son #1 yelled as he glided from the bedrooms to the front door.

"My gloves!"  Son #2 cried out with glee.

"Thanks, Son."  I said to my oldest boy.  "That was really helpful."  Son #1 leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek.  Then, we helped Son #2 onto his wobbly feet.  Carefully, we guided Son #2 through the doorway, down the driveway, and to the sidewalk that ran in front of the house.  Once Son #2 was comfortable, Son #1 raced off to the end of the street.  I tried to take my youngest son's hand in an effort to help but he pushed it away in disdain.  "No, no, no!  I do it by myself!"

I shrugged my shoulders and sat under the shade tree.  Son #2 smiled at his new found independence and proceeded to inch across the concrete.  As Son #2 moved unsteadily about, Son #1 skidded to a stop in front of him.  My oldest son watched his younger brother for a moment.  I could tell he was analyzing the situation and trying to come up with a better strategy for his brother.  After some time, Son #1 tapped his brother on the shoulder and asked.  "Do you remember how Caillou roller blades?"

Son #2 shook his head.

Son #1 bent down to look his brother in the eyes.  "First you push and then you glide."  My eldest son explained.  "Watch me.  First you push and then you glide."

"Oh!"  Son #2 responded while nodding his head.  My youngest son slowly began to imitate his older brother.  At first, he was unsure of himself.  Yet after watching his brother a few more times, he began to get the hang of things.

We spent another hour skating in the front yard before the heat became unbearable.  Once inside the house, the boys drank ice water and lay on the couch.  I flipped on the T.V. and changed the channel to PBS.  Sesame Street was on and soon the boys were engrossed by the songs.  At some point during the show, Elmo and some kids decided to roller blade in the park.  Son #2 was delighted.  Some of the kids could skate well and others were just learning to roller blade.  All of a sudden he turned to me and shouted.  "Wow!  That's just like me!"

"That is just like you!"  I responded with a smile.  "You were learning to skate just like the kids on Sesame Street."

"Oh yeah!"  Son #2 giggled as he watched the kids slide around in the park.  "I skate, too!"  As the show continued, the boys slowly lay back on the couch with their eyes partially closed.  Soon, they were completely relaxed after a fun morning outside.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Basketball Hoop in the Tub

During halftime of the NBA Finals Game 6, I decided to bathe the boys as quickly as possible.  Son #1 raced to the bathroom first and took a three minute shower.  The mirror in the bathroom did not have any time to steam up before Son #1 came tearing around the corner wrapped in a towel.  "Hurry and get dressed before the half is up!"  I yelled at my oldest son.

"I'm hurrying, Mom!"  Son #1 yelled back as he zipped to his room to find his pajamas. 

I scrambled to find my youngest son.  "Baby!  Where are you?"

"In my room!"  Son #2 called out.

"Time for a bath!"  I said hurriedly.

"Five more minutes!"  Son #2 replied unconcerned.

"There's not enough time for five more minutes."  I said as I scooped Son #2 up into my arms.  We rushed to the tub and began to fill it with water.  Son #2 fussed and tried to wriggle away.  "Sorry little boy."  I said as I pulled his shirt off of his head.  "You need to take a fast bath before the game starts."

"O.K.  O.K."  Son #2 answered irritably.  He climbed into the tub and began to splash about with his toys.  I soaped up his hair and body quickly.  Then, I rinsed him with the blue cup beside the tub.  Son #2 wiped his face with a wash cloth.  As he removed the cloth from his eyes, he looked up at me and asked.  "Five more minutes?"

"Sure."  I responded.  "You can have five more minutes to play."

Son #2 cheered with delight and then fished around for two bobbing racquetballs.  Once he found the balls, he searched through the bubbles to locate a giant sized bubble wand.  For a second, my youngest son analyzed the toys in his hand.  Then, he placed the bubble wand onto the faucet.  Son #2 scooted to the far end of the tub away from the bubble wand, carefully position one of the racquetballs, and shot the ball into the air.  The ball gracefully arced over the bubbles and rubber duckies toward the bubble wand hoop. 



I rushed into the bathroom to see what had happened.  As I skidded across the floor, Son #2 launched another ball to the bubble wand hoop.  The ball fell like a rocket onto the faucet and bounced insanely from one side of the tube to the other.  "What are you doing?"  I asked.

"I playing."  Son #2 replied cheerfully.

"What are you playing?"  I continued.

"Basketball!"  Son#2 hollered as he continued to shoot hoops across the tub.

"Ohhh!  Cool!  I get it."  I said with a laugh.  "Are you the Warriors?"

"Yeah!"  Son #2 roared as he pumped his fist.  "I winning!!!!"

From the living room, I could hear my husband and oldest son screaming wildly as the Warriors made another basket.  The Warriors were winning the game and my baby was winning his game.  All was right in our world that night.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Tire Change

Recently, my husband has been restoring every part on his car.  I'm not exaggerating.  My husband is on a mission to clean, revamp, or replace all removable portions of the car.  Over the last couple of months, he has taken the entire car apart until only a shell remained.  Of course, the boys are thrilled with the prospect of putting the car back together.  However, the boys are only allowed into the garage when my husband is working on an easy task.

One day, my husband was finishing up his work on the transmission and the drive axles.  He was just about to place one of the tires onto the wheel bolts when Son #1 peeked around the garage door.  "Dad, can I help?"  He asked shyly.

My husband grunted.  "Sure.  Sure.  Come on in."  Son #1 bounced into the garage hopping over tools and car parts.  My husband was immediately alarmed by all the commotion and sharply instructed our son.  "Hey!  Stay still.  Don't touch anything."

Son #1 froze and then gazed at his dad.  "What do you want me to do?"

My husband sat on a chair for a second and removed the gloves from his hands.  "Well, you could help me put on a tire."

"Oh yeah!"  Son #1 cried.  "That sounds awesome!"  Then, he reached out to grab a few stray tools on the floor.

"Whoa!  Hold on a second.  There is a process that you have to follow."  My husband said.  "Let's get the wrench from the shelf behind me and then we'll get started."  Son #1 followed his dad dutifully and picked up the wrench.  Slowly, they walked over to a tire.  "Now, I need you to help me lift the tire onto the bolts."

"Huh?"  Son #1 scratched his head and made a silly face.  "You want me to lift the tire?"

"Yes."  My husband replied while ignoring our son's crossed eyes.  "Alright.  Grab that side and we'll lift the tire.  One.  Two.  Three.  Up!"  They carefully placed the tires onto the bolts.  "Go get the lug nuts."  My husband commanded.  Son #1 scrambled to the lug nuts and brought back the correct amount.  "Good job.  Now, we need to put these nuts on the bolts and tighten them with the wrench." 

Son #1 watched intently as my husband placed the nuts onto all the bolts.  He began to tighten the nuts that sat at opposite ends of each other in equal increments.  Quietly, Son #1 tapped my husband on the shoulder.  "Dad, can I try?" 

"Sure."  My husband replied.  Patiently, my husband helped Son #1 hold the wrench properly and tighten the nuts appropriately.  Son #1 smiled at his dad feeling very accomplished. 

Slowly, they worked together until all the tires were back on the car.  Then, my eldest son burst into the house shouting.  "Mom!  Mom!  I helped Dad put the tires on the car!"

"Wow!  That's so cool!"  I replied with a smile.

"Next time, I'm going to help dad with something else!"  Son #1 yelled with excitement.

"When I get to something easy, I'll let you help again."  My husband said encouragingly.

"Sweet!!!!"  Son #1 screamed as he ran to his room to play with his cars.  From his room, we could hear him pretending to fix his own cars before an exciting new race.  My husband and I grinned at each other as we listened to him play.  Son #1 was completely intrigued with cars both big and small.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Flying!

Son #1 and Son #2 are at the stage where they constantly fight and argue.  Son #1 enjoys teasing his brother unmercifully.  Son #2 enjoys reciprocating the torture.  The mornings are usually peaceful considering both boys are well rested.  However, the evenings are incredibly loud due to extremely cranky children.  They scream.  They shout.  They chase each other down the hallway.  They pretend to punch each other.  They slam doors.  My husband and I are going crazy.  My only consolation is that this is only a phase.  It will end soon.

One typically noisy night, Son #1 and Son #2 ran from room to room screaming at the top of their lungs.  From time to time, my husband and I would separate the children.  We doled out punishments and sent them to their rooms several times.  Still like two strong magnets, the children were drawn back to each other and their ongoing brawl.

Son #1 screamed.  "Get out of my room!!!"

Son #2 kicked his brother's door and yelled.  "Popen da door!!!"

"Leave your brother alone!"  I ordered as I marched my youngest son to the living room.  One minute of silence passed.  Then, my oldest son charged from his room to the living room and tackled his younger brother.  Son #2 wailed in despair as he cried out.  "Brudder hurt me!  I so sad!"

"Son!"  I said irritably.  "That was really mean.  You need to say sorry!"

"But I didn't do anything!"  My oldest son replied.

"You just tackled your brother.  Go say sorry!"  I demanded.

Son #1 put his younger brother in head lock and muttered.  "Sorry."

"That is not the way you say sorry.  Give him a hug and kiss and say sorry like you mean it!"  I commanded.

Son #1 gave Son #2 a gentle hug and kiss.  "Sorry Bro."  He said with sincerity. 

Son #2 hugged his older brother back for a brief moment but then screamed in anger.  "Don't touch me!!!"  His little fists beat his older brother's back.

Now, Son #1 was crying.  I glared at both of my boys.  "Little Son!  That is not the way you accept an apology.  You go say sorry right now!"

Son #2's lip quivered.  Then, he broke out into a sob.  "I sorry."  He said as his lips trembled. 

"You guys need to hug."  I said crisply.  The boys hugged tenderly.  "Give each other a kiss."  I instructed.  Son #1 and Son #2 kissed each other on the cheek.  "O.K.  You guys need to stop fighting.  You need to love each other.  You guys are brothers and when you grow up you'll be best friends.  Treat your brother with kindness."  I lectured as both boys wiped their tears.  "You can go play." 

The boys scampered off to their rooms.  Two minutes passed before screaming could be heard from the hallway.  Then, two wild minions whizzed by my legs while pummeling each other.  "I thought I told you guys to stop fighting!"  I yelled.  "Fine!  I've had it!  One of you is going in the bath!"

Quickly, I chased after the two Tasmanian Devils.  Son #1 raced ahead of his younger brother to his room.  He scurried inside and slammed the door shut.  Son #2 was not as wily and I was able to scoop him up into my arms.  Son #2 did not give up so easily, though.  He hollered.  "Put me down!"  I ignored his complaints and swung him around like Superman.  This caused my youngest son to laugh.  I continued to zoom around the house as we made our way to the bathroom.  Son #2 squealed with delight.  "Again!  Again!  I flying!!!"

If only, I had the strength and energy to swing my children around the house all day.  They would never have time to fight.  I guess I'll have to take Popeye's advice and eat my spinach.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ahoy Matey!

My kids love to take bubble baths.  To be really honest, I love it when they take bubble baths as well.  There is nothing better than filling up the tub with bubbles and toys.  The kids think it is such a treat.  It is also a great way to keep them entertained. 

One evening, Son #1 filled up the tub for his bath.  He sang loudly as he load the bath toys into the water and poured a generous helping of bubble bath into the water.  Then, my oldest son hopped inside the tub.  I came into to the restroom help him soap up his wash cloth  and place shampoo on his hair.  Once I was done, Son #1 shooed me away so he could play.  Before leaving the restroom, I said.  "Don't forget to wash.  I'll be back to check on you in ten minutes."

"O.K!"  Son #1 shouted happily.  When I was gone, he continued to sing songs that he had learned from his music class.

As I walked away from the bathroom door, I patted my husband on the shoulder and said.  "Listen to him sing.  Isn't he cute?"

My husband paused from his task at hand and listened to our oldest son sing.  Then, he smiled and said.  "He sure does love to sing."

My husband and I busied ourselves with chores around the house while our oldest son played in the tub.  Periodically, one of us would pop our head through the door to check on our silly boy.  Son #1 would peer at us from behind a toy and grin.  Finally, ten minutes passed and I went in to help Son #1 get out of the tub.  As I entered, Son #1 formed one of the toys into a telescope and yelled. "Ahoy Matey!"

"Argh you scurvy sea dog!"  I growled in response.

Son #1 laughed.  "I'm not a scurvy sea dog."  He said between giggles.

"Well if you're not a sea dog, I guess I'm not a matey!"  I replied with an impish grin.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The "River"

Several days ago, Son #1 and Son #2 asked to play on the Slip & Slide.  My husband and I fished the slide and accessories out of the garage.  Then, we proceeded to set the whole thing up.  Son #1 and Son #2 ran to their rooms to change into their swim trunks.  Before going outside, I slathered them in sun screen.  Finally, we turned on the water.

At first, a small fountain trickled from the slide.  I adjusted the stream from the faucet and larger jets of water shot up.  The boys were amazed.  Son #1 grabbed his water board, backed up a few feet, and took a flying leap into the stream.  He slid halfway down the slide and skidded to a stop.  Obviously, the slide wasn't wet enough.  I turned the water up another notch as my husband encouraged our oldest son to try it again.  Son #1 tucked his board under his arm and returned to the starting point.  Then, he sprinted to the slide, leaped into the air, and hurtled across the water.  This time the slide was wet enough as Son #1 came crashing through the last puddle.

Son #2 jabbered excitedly as his older brother tested out the slide.  As soon as everything was working correctly, we ushered our youngest son to his board.  He picked it up and ran to the starting point.  He tentatively jogged to the edge of the stream, placed his board on the ground, and then pushed it down the stretch to the final puddle.  We all cheered as he reached the end.  Son #2 straightened up and shouted with his fists in the air.  "Yeah!"

For the next couple hours, the boys took turns skidding down the slide.  Water flew everywhere as they splashed and shrieked.  Even our border collie joined in the fun, racing back and forth across the yard.  Eventually as the sun moved toward the horizon, the boys' quick sprints turned into slow jogs.  Exhaustion permeated their facial expressions as they began to rub their sleepy eyes.  I brought out the towels and wrapped them up before bringing them into the house.  Son #1 and Son #2 were so tired they lay on the couch the rest of the evening.

The other day, Son #2 tapped me on the shoulder.  "Mommy?  I wanna play with da river."

"The river?"  I asked wrinkling my brow.

"Yeah.  Da river with da slide."  Son #2 explained.

"Oh.  You mean the Slip & Slide."  I said.  "Well, it's raining today but we'll get it out soon."  I assured my youngest son.  "Don't worry."

"O.K. Mommy.  We'll play with da river soon."  Son #2 said and hurried off to his room to play.

I giggled to myself.  We definitely have to play with the "river" again and soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bubbles and Pops

Son #2 has his own language to describe the things.  For the past month, I've been writing down the unique phrases that he uses.  Whenever I hear something new, I have to pause and ask for more information.  Sometimes, Son #2 will keep repeating the phrase.  Sometimes, he will just lead me to the item he is requesting.  Either way, he eventually gets his point across.

In the bathroom, Son #2 is a very curious little boy.  Sometimes, he likes to see how things work.  He is particularly curious about the toilet.  One day, he asked for Pops.  I wrinkled my brows and asked.  "What?"

My little son tried again.  "Can I see Pops?"

"Pops!"  I exclaimed in a silly voice though I had no idea what he meant.

"No, no, no.  That's not right!"  Son #2 corrected.  "I want Pops."  He said as he pointed to the top of the toilet.

"What is Pops?"  I called out to my husband.

"Pops means he wants to see the inside of the basin behind the toilet.  Lift the lid for him and then flush the toilet."  My husband instructed.

"Huh?"  I responded in confusion.

"Just trust me."  My husband said.

"O.K."  I replied with a weird look on my face.  So, I lifted the lid on the basin behind the toilet.  Son #2 peered inside.

Then, my tiny son shouted.  "I wanna Jump!"  Immediately after making his announcement, Son #2 hopped toward the handle of the toilet and flushed it as he jumped.  My little boy stood on his tiptoes and watched as the basin emptied and then filled back up with water.  "Again!"  He cried.  I shrugged my shoulders and did it a couple more times.

There are also a few interesting words that Son #2 uses during meals.  One day, Son #2 gazed at me with his big eyes and said.  "I want Bani."

"What do you want?"  I asked as I knelt down to his level.

"Bani."  He replied impatiently as he ran to the refrigerator door.  From there he began to pull on the handle and throw a small fit.

"Hang on a second.  You don't need to throw a fit.  Let me open the door and see what's inside."  I said as I pried his fingers off the refrigerator handle.  I opened the door and Son #2 tried to scramble up the shelves like a spider monkey.  "Show me what you want."  I said in a no nonsense voice.

Son #2 pointed and jumped at the vanilla pudding.  "Bani!  Bani!"  He yelled.

"Oh, you want vanilla pudding."  I said with a smile as I brought down an individual cup.

Son #2 screamed with excitement.  "That's right!"

After those two incidents, I began to work on my toddler dictionary.  Please see below.  The dictionary is not and may never be complete.  Words are found in alphabetical order.

Apple Sing - noun the "Phonics Song" on the smart phone  example:  I want Apple Sing.

Bani - noun vanilla pudding  example:  I want Bani.

Boing - verb to jump while pushing the handle to the toilet synonym:  Jump  example:  Boing!

Bubbles - ???

Da Float - noun neck  example:  Dis is Da Float.  (said while pointing at neck)

Feed - verb eat  example:  I want to feed.  implied meaning:  Can you feed me?  I need help.

Jump - verb to jump while pushing the handle to the toilet synonym:  Boing  example:  Jump!

Pops - noun the inside of the basin behind the toilet  verb Lift the lid and flush the toilet  example:  I want Pops.

Pwivacy - noun the rare and precious time spent alone  example:  I want pwivacy.

Run - verb the action of running to the person holding your clothes in order to get dressed.  example:  I wanna run.

Snugger - noun stomach  example:  My snugger hurts.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Ribbit Dance (The River Dance)

One afternoon while hanging out with family at my mom's house, the conversation meandered to the subject of the River Dance.  We cracked jokes, performed our own clumsy interpretations, and generally made ourselves look silly.  Son #2 listened intently as we continued to talk about the River Dance.  All of a sudden, my little son jumped into the conversation.  "I do da Ribbit Dance!"  He cried.  "Ribbit!  Ribbit!  Ribbit!"  Son #2 hopped across the tile floor like a frog chasing a fly.

My sister giggled and asked.  "Did you say the Ribbit Dance?"

"Yeah!"  Son #2 croaked.  Then, he continued to hop around the living room.  "Ribbit!  Ribbit!  Ribbit!"

"Psst!  Check this out."  My sister whispered and pointed discretely to my froggy, young child.

I poked my head around the corner and laughed.  "What are you doing?"  I asked my little son.

"Da Ribbit Dance!"  Son #2 yelled with enthusiasm.  He continued to bounce from room to room all the while croaking as loud as he could.  "Ribbit!  Ribbit!  Ribbit!"

Silly boy!

Son #2's dance was so infectious that we could not help but join in the fun.  Pretty soon, we were either croaking or hopping along with my youngest boy.  Son #2 croaked even louder between bouts of laughter.  Next, Son #1 encouraged his younger brother to fly through the house while shrieking like a manic frog.  Soon, two frog children were bounding across my mom's house as if leaping from lily pad to lily pad.

My children are ridiculous!

Eventually, the leaping and bounding began to get out of control.  Slowly, we helped the children calm down.  Their flying leaps turned into gentle hops.  Their raucous croaking turned into quiet chirps.  The froggy children looked tired so we began to get their shoes on their feet.  However before we left my mom's house, I turned to my youngest son and said.  "Show me the Ribbit Dance again."

Son #2 grinned and replied.  "O.K."  Then, he hopped with all his might out the front door to our car.  "Ribbit!  Ribbit!  Ribbit!" 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Breakfast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Popsicles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Did Bob the Builder Teach Us That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Cat and the Lincoln Logs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

King of the Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Les race!"  Son #2 responded gleefully.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mowing with Dad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My husband laughed.  "Good!  Follow me!"

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

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Playing in the Snow

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

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

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

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

"I wanna go ski."  Son #2 called out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 2, 2015

I Crying

Last weekend, my sister and brother-in-law whisked the kids to my mom's house.  I was sick with the flu and wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed with a cup of hot tea and medicine.  The kids were terribly excited to go with Tia (Aunt) to Abuelita's (Grandma's) house.  In their excitement, they ran screaming to Tia's car.  I shivered in my blanket and giggled with joy as the car pulled out of the driveway.  There would be nothing but silence for several hours.

At Abuelita's house, the kids sat down for a fun lunch filled with pancakes, eggs, and potatoes.  After scarfing down their food, Son #1 and Son #2 raced up to the game room.  They pulled out cars, board games, and Veggie Tales movies.  Soon, they were perusing their collection of goodies.  Each searched for their favorite toy.  Son #1 immediately began to amuse himself with the toys upstairs.  However, Son #2 remembered the toy closet downstairs and carefully made his way to it.  Once inside, Son #2 began to pull out the toy kitchen from the closet.  When toy kitchen was in the middle of the downstairs living space, Son #2 cheerfully "cook" a meal.  The kids played peacefully for quite a while.  Eventually, they began to get tired and wanted to do something more sedentary.  Son #2 bounced over to Abuelita and asked.  "Can I play with my iPad?"

Abuelita smiled at her grandson and said.  "Sure.  You can play with my iPad but you have to sit on the couch upstairs." 

Son #1 overheard the conversation and yelled.  "I wanna play, too!  I wanna play, too!"

"O.K.  Both of you guys have to share.  Son #2 will go first.  Then, it is Son #1's turn.  O.K???"  Abuelita instructed.

"O.K."  The boys responded in unison.

Son #1 and Son #2 snuggled together on the couch upstairs with the iPad.  Son #2 played a game of Minions first.  Then, Son #1 played a racing game.  All seemed to be going well so my mom walked down the stairs back to the living room.  My sister and brother-in-law lazed by the fireplace.  My mom sat back on the couch and smiled.  The kids were relaxing in an upstairs room and the house seemed very peaceful.

As the kids played, my mom, sister, and brother-in-law chatted on the couch.  They talked about their jobs, church, current events, clothes, funny stories, sports, and the latest gossip.  While in the middle of a particularly interesting conversation, they heard fighting coming from the game room.  My mom sighed.  My sister and brother-in-law rolled their eyes.  Lately, the boys fought about everything.  Hopefully, they would learn to share and work things out.  My mom, sister, and brother-in-law continued their conversation but the fighting did not stop.  From the game room, the boys' sharp words shattered the calm.

"It's MY turn!"  Son #1 screamed.

"Give it BACK!"  Son #2 roared.

"You're MEAN!"  Son #1 yelled.  "You're hogging the iPad!"

"It MY iPad!"  Son #2 shouted as he pulled the iPad away from his older brother.

Son #1 shrieked in anger and grabbed the iPad out of his younger brother's hands.  Son #2 balled up his fists and pummeled his older brother on the back.  Son #1 retaliated by popping him on the shoulder.  Son #2 wrinkled his brow.  His lips quivered and tears began to roll down his cheeks.  He let out a long, pitiful cry and ran down the stairs to find Abuelita. 

As Son #2 neared the bottom of the stairs, his crying increased with intensity.  Abuelita eyeballed him from the corner of her eye but wisely decided to ignore the show.  She knew that Son #2 was not the innocent victim but had played a significant role in the scuffle with his brother.  When Son #2 realized that he was being ignored, he stepped in between his Abuelita, Tia, and Tio (Uncle).  Then, he began to sob brokenheartedly.  Son #2 squeezed his eyes tightly as if to produce more tears and garner the sympathy needed to rip the iPad away from his older brother.  Abuelita, Tia, and Tio continued to ignore Son #2's attempt at manipulation.  Finally, Son #2 could stand it no longer.  He place himself directly in front of Abuelita, squeaked out a few crocodile tears, and sorrowfully announced.  "I crying!"

Abuelita patted Son #2 gently and asked.  "Why are you crying?"

Son #2 tattled.  "Brudder took my iPad!"

"It's your brother's turn."  Abuelita reminded.  "Aren't you supposed to be sharing?"

Son #2 crossed his arms and pouted.  Abuelita took his little hand and led him up the stairs to where his older brother was sitting.  Then, she carefully placed her youngest grandson on the couch.  Son #1 looked up from his game into Abuelita's eyes.  Son #2 also looked at Abuelita expectantly.  Then, Abuelita spoke.  "Both of you need to share.  Right now, it is Son #1's turn.  Son #2, you can sit beside your brother.  Now look.  You're both sharing.  Isn't that nice?"  Without waiting for an answer, Abuelita strode to the stairs and glided to the living room.  Son #1 and Son #2 watched her disappear with their mouths hanging slightly open.  For the rest of the evening, my two sons sat together peacefully sharing the iPad.  Abuelita had established that she was the queen of the castle.  Troublemakers beware.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Three or Four

My youngest son is a sweet, sensitive, yet rambunctious three years old.  He loves to sing and make noises as he plays with his toys.  Sometimes, he will get rowdy while singing and begin to growl out the lyrics.  Other times, he will race through the house with zooming jet planes.  My husband and I are constantly picking up the same ten toys around the living room.  My husband and I can also be found kneeling on the floor beside our youngest child listening to his latest adventure.  Sometimes, we comment on the exciting things he tells us.  Sometimes, we ask him questions.

One sunny and wintry afternoon, I asked Son #2.  "How old are you?"

Son #2 stopped mid run through the kitchen and replied.  "I four."  He proudly held up four fingers to confirm his answer.

"Hmm."  I said and bent over to count the tiny fingers.  "One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  You're right.  That's four fingers but you're not four.  You're three."  I knelt down and held up three fingers as an example.

Son #2 eyed my fingers and then counted.  "One.  Two.  Free.  You wight, Mama!  You free."

"No no no.  I'm not three.  You're three."  I laughed as I helped him form his hand into three upright fingers.

Son #2 looked at his three fingers and giggled.  "I not free.  I four!"  With that exclamation, he promptly changed his hand to four upright fingers.

I chuckled in amusement.  "Nuh uh!"  I said in a playful voice.  "You're three!"  Again, I held up three fingers.

"No Mama!  I four!"  Son #2 squealed with delight.

We went on like this for quite a while.  Finally, I was able to convince my youngest son that he was three years old.  Also after a bit of practice, Son #2 successfully held up three fingers when announcing his age.  I was so proud of my little boy.  Quickly, I jumped up and said.  "Go tell Daddy how old you are!"

Son #2 ran to his dad's office as fast as his little legs would go.  From outside the office, I heard the following conversation.

"So, how old are you little son?"  My husband asked kindly.

"I four!"  Son #2 shouted out with a small touch of defiance.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Great Debate

As is our custom at bedtime, I had the boys bathe, dress in their pajamas, brush their teeth, and listen to a Bible story.  After our regular bedtime routine, the boys said their prayers and hopped into bed.  Then, I kissed them on their cheeks and crept out of their rooms.  From each room, I could hear their sweet little voices call out.

"Goodnight Mommy!" 

"I love you, Mommy!"

"Goodnight!"  I replied with a smile.  "I love you, too!"

I tiptoed to my room and turned on the computer.  There was a stack of papers that desperately needed organization.  As I sat in my chair to peruse the pile, a little boy peeked around the doorway.  "You need to go back to sleep."  I said as I eyed him from the corner of my eye.

"I need to go potty."  Son #2 whispered from around the dark corner.

"O.K."  I sighed.  "Let's go potty."

Son #2 pranced to the restroom.  He pulled down his pants and underwear.  Then, he sat on the toilet and proceeded to potty in the toilet.  He grinned at me proudly.  "I did it!  I did potty in the toilet!"  He cried.

"Good job!"  I cheered.  "Now, flush the toilet and I'll help you get dressed."

Son #2 obeyed quickly.  With the toilet flushed and my little boy clothed once more, we turned the water on at the sink to wash his hands.  Son #2 poured a huge glob of soap onto the palms of his hands.  He rubbed the soap across his fingers with delight and then watched the water from the faucet rinse the soap away.  When he was finished, my youngest son looked at me thoughtfully and said.  "I need to go potty."

"What?  You already went potty."  I countered.

"I need to go potty."  My youngest son insisted.

"Fine."  I rolled my eyes.  I knelt down to help my son onto the toilet again.  Once he was finished sitting on the toilet, we flushed, dressed, and washed his hands for a second time.  "Good job going potty again."  I said encouragingly.  "Now, let's go to bed."

"O.K."  Son #2 replied with a laugh.  As he crawled into bed, my youngest son whispered.  "I need to go potty."

A black cloud of irritation began to form over my head.  I wrinkled my nose and squinted my eyes at my little monkey sitting ever so innocently in his bed.  "You just went potty.  There is no more potty in your rear."  I argued.

"I need to go potty."  Son #2 responded with determination.

"Fine.  Let's go potty."  I said as I led Son #2 to the restroom for a third time.  This time as he sat on the toilet, my youngest son sang and played with his bath time toys.  I leaned against the sink waiting for him to use the restroom.  As time passed, I began to wonder if my little guy was constipated.  "Baby, is the poo poo stuck in your butt?"  I asked.

"No."  Son #2 smiled.

"Do you need to go potty?"  I asked again.

"No."  Son #2 continued to play.

"Then why are you sitting on the potty?"  I continued.

"Because I playing."  Son #2 said seriously.

"Alright."  I said in a no nonsense voice.  "Time to get off the potty and go to bed."  Son #2 hopped off the toilet.  We dressed, washed hands, and jumped back into bed.  "Goodnight."  I whispered as I kissed my youngest son's forehead.

"Goodnight, Mommy."  Son #2 said as he fidgeted with his stuffed animals.

I returned to my computer and began to sort through the unopened envelopes.  Soon, I was completely absorbed by the work laying on my desk.  Ten minutes passed uneventfully.  Then, I heard a pattering of little feet running across the house.  "Go back to bed!"  I called out from my room.

There was no answer.  The only noise I heard was a persistent scampering across the living room and kitchen floor.  I called out once more.  "Go back to bed!"

From around the corner of the door frame, Son #2 peeked into my room.  "I need to go potty."

"Again?"  I asked.  "Are you sure?"

"I need to go potty."  Son #2 insisted.

"O.K. Let's go potty."  I said as I got up to accompany Son #2 to the restroom.

For the fourth time, Son #2 sat on the toilet.  He asked to hold two of his duckies.  I complied as I wondered about my youngest son.  Was he getting sick?  Was he constipated?  Did he have some sort of infection?  I decided to let my little one sit for a while on the toilet just to see if that might help his situation.  While I waited for my youngest son to use the restroom, I washed a few dishes and put away a bit of clutter.  Then, I returned to the restroom to check on my youngest child.

There sat my child on the bathroom floor playing with his bath time toys.  Son #2 was making quacking noises for the ducks as they splashed about his imaginary pond.  I bit my lip before I asked.  "Do you need to go potty?"

"No."  Son #2 responded.

"Are you sure?"  I asked again.

"Yes."  Son #2 said politely.

"What are you doing?"  I asked a third time.

"I playing!"  Son #2 yelled cheerfully.

"It's not time to play."  I said firmly.  "It's time for bed."

"I not tired."  Son #2 replied.  "I playing."

"Get to bed!"  I commanded as I helped him dress and run to his room.

"I not tired!"  Son #2 yelled from under his comforter.

"Go to sleep!"  I responded with irritation.

"Fine!"  Son #2 muttered into his pillow.

I returned to my room to contemplate whether or not Son #2 was trying to manipulate me.  It seemed as though his master plan that night was to stay up as late as possible.  Hopefully, I had foiled his plans.  After a few minutes, I returned to my work.  Once again, I was completely engrossed in the task at hand when I heard little feet skittering across the kitchen floor.  This time, I did not stay in my room.  I immediately got out of the chair to investigate the kitchen.

When I turned the kitchen light on, a naked child streaked by my legs.  "Why are you naked?!"  I yelled.  "Get your clothes on and get back to bed!"

"No!"  Son #2 chugged.  "I racing!"

"You're naked!"  I called after him.

Son #2 giggled.  "I playing!  I racing!"

"Where are your clothes?"  I huffed as I chased my naked child across the house.  "You need to get your pajamas on again."

"No no no no no."  Son #2 chortled.  "No clothes.  I naked!"

Eventually, I found the missing pajamas and redressed my child.  As we walked hand in hand to bed, Son #2 tugged at my pant leg and whispered.  "I need to go potty."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Handwritten List

Son #1 and my husband were preparing to go to Lowe's.  There were several things in the house that needed to be fixed.  Before leaving the house, my husband sat at the kitchen table to write out his list for the shopping trip.  Son #1 jumped around as if he had ants in his pants.  He was thrilled to be going with his dad.  My husband muttered to himself quietly as he added more items.  "Hmm.  We need some 2x4s and some concrete."

Son #1 peered at the list as his dad wrote.  My husband continued to scrawl the items needed across the paper.  Son #1 wrinkled his nose and asked.  "What does that say?"

"Dirt."  My husband responded.

"Oh."  Son #1 mumbled. 

Son #1 continued to watch as his dad completed the list.  The wheels in his mind began to turn.  I wondered if he was mentally comparing his handwriting, the handwriting examples in his lessons, and his dad's handwriting.  Why can't I read my dad's handwriting?  Son #1 thought.  Why does the handwriting in the lesson look so neat?  Why is my dad's handwriting so messy?  Will my handwriting look that way when I grow up?

My husband frowned and furrowed his brow as he reviewed his list once more.  Then, he stood up and said.  "Alright Son, it's time to go.  Go get your jacket and meet me in the car."

Son #1's head bobbed up from the table.  However before he ran to retrieve his jacket, my oldest son gazed at the list and asked.  "How can you read your handwriting?"

My husband glanced down at his oldest son and laughed.  "I just can."

"I can't read it at all."  Son #1 continued.

"You can't?"  My husband said with mock surprise.

"No!"  Son #1 exclaimed.  "It's messy."

"Well."  My husband drawled.  "Don't worry.  Yours will look like this when you're my age."

"Nuh Uh."  Son #1 argued.

"Wanna make a bet?"  My husband chuckled.  "Go get your jacket and get in the car."

With that, Son #1 ran from the room to find his jacket.  Then, he hopped into the car eager to run errands with his dad.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Ants and the Worm

A few weekends ago, several of us packed up our tents and outdoor gear for a camping adventure at the lake.  It was a promising weekend with daytime temperatures in the high sixties and nighttime temperatures in the low thirties.  A strong wind blowing off the lake cooled the evenings down pretty quickly so we spent a lot of time by the campfire.  The boys loved every second of our camping trip.  They roasted marshmallows, chased each other around the campsite, explored the lake shore, and climbed everything in sight.  At night, they crawled into their sleeping bags exhausted.

One morning after breakfast, Son #1 and Son #2 hopped across the rocks by the parked cars.  After a while, Son #1 grew tired of their game.  He called out to his younger brother.  "I'm going over to the fire!"  Son #2 looked up for a brief second to acknowledge his older brother and then continued on with his game. 

Slowly, Son #1 meandered over to the enclosed picnic table and sat on the edge of the concrete slab.  He put his head in his hands and poked at the dirt with his toe.  His toe stirred up an ant pile underneath the concrete.  His toe also disturbed a tiny worm's hiding place just inches from the busy ants.  I leaned forward in my camping chair and suggested to my eldest son.  "You might want to move.  Those ants look mad.  I wouldn't want them to bite you."

Son #1 stood up and squatted a safe distance from the swarming ants.  He poked at them with a stick as I watched nonchalantly.  Then, I noticed the worm had wriggled into the path of several angry ants.  "Oh no!"  I shouted.  "The worm's getting attacked by the ants!"

Son #1 peered down with interest.  "No way, Mom!"  He called out with a touch of worry in his voice.

"Look!  I'm serious.  See the worm!  He's right in the middle of the ants."  I exclaimed.  "Go little worm!  Hurry!"

"Yeah!  Hurry worm!  You're going to get eaten!"  Son #1 yelled. 

We knelt down to get a better view of the drama.  The worm was deep into the heart of the ant colony's territory.  A group of well organized ants marched toward the worm.  Soon, the worm was fighting off the ants with all his might.  However, the ants were relentless in their attack.  They nipped at the worm and dug their mandibles into the worm's body.  My son and I were gripped by anxiety as we feared for the worm's life.  Incredibly, the worm fought off the small army of ants and escaped into the loose dirt.  My eldest son and I cheered.  We were so relieved.

Later that morning, Son #1 told the story of the ants and the worm to his dad, aunt, and uncle.  He pointed out the ant pile and described the worm's escape.  They were amazed by the little worm's grit and tenacity.  If you think about it for a second, the worm taught us a life lesson.  Even when things seem impossible, never give up.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Master Chef Son #1

Son #1 will be an amazing cook when he is an adult.  He has been interested in cooking since he was a toddler.  Every time I go into the kitchen to bake or make a meal, Son #1 is there beside me wanting to help.  Sometimes, I let him help me,  Sometimes, I'm in a hurry and I have to tell him that he can't help that day.  Son #1 is usually a little sad when he can't help.  However, he is always very excited when he can help.

One of Son #1's favorite shows on television is Master Chef Junior.  He studies the children as they chop, slice, blend, fry, saute, bake, and arrange an exquisite plate of food.  He usually cheers for the chefs that are around his age.  I think he identifies with them and hopes that they will find a way to win in spite of being the youngest kids on the television show.

After one particularly captivating show, Son #1 decided that he was going to make supper.  I was thrilled.  Son #1 opened the pantry door and began to inspect the food on the shelves.  He put his index finger to his chin and tapped it slightly as he pondered his choices.  Once a few minutes had passed, my oldest son reached up to a middle shelf.  He wrapped his fingers around two boxes and brought them to the kitchen counter.  Then, Son #1 announced.  "I'm going to make macaroni and cheese for supper tonight!"

"Mmm!  That sounds yummy!"  I said with a smile.

Son #1 grinned and started to read the directions.  He knelt down to search a cabinet for a large cooking pot.  Carefully, he filled it with water but he could not carry it to the stove.  "Mommy!"  Son #1 called.  "The pot's too heavy!  Can you help me?"

"No.  I wish I could help you.  I can't lift it because I just had surgery.  Let me get your dad."  I replied.  I peeked into my husband's office and said.  "Hey, Honey.  Son #1 needs you to carry a pot of  water to the stove.  I can't lift it because it's too heavy."

"Hang on."  My husband said absentmindedly.  Quickly, he wrapped up a few tasks on the computer and came out to the kitchen to help.

As soon as my husband entered the kitchen, Son #1 pleaded.  "Dad!  Help me get this pot to the stove.  I've tried and I've tried but it's too heavy."

"Sure!"  My husband said cheerfully.  Then, he watched curiously as Son #1 turned on the heat to the appropriate level.  My husband and I talked about our day as we waited for the water to boil.  Son #1 ran off to play in the living room.   Periodically, he popped into the kitchen to peer at the water in the pot.  Finally, the water boiled. 

As Son #1 added the noodles to the pot, my husband advised.  "You'll want to stir the noodles every few minutes so they won't stick together."  Son  #1 nodded his head seriously and began to search for a wooden spoon in the drawer beside the stove.  Once a wooden spoon was located, Son #1 climbed onto a chair and followed his dad's instructions.  When the noodles had softened, my husband helped our oldest son pour the noodles into a colander.  The hot water drained quickly from the noodles.  Then, the noodles were placed back into the pot. 

Son #1 looked at the cooked noodles in the pot and asked.  "What's next?"

I responded.  "Look at the instructions."

Son #1 picked up the macaroni and cheese box.  He read the instructions aloud.  "Add 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of milk."

"Don't forget to double that."  My husband reminded.  Son #1 opened the refrigerator door.  My husband help our oldest son carry the ingredients to the counter.  Then, my husband helped our son measure out the proper amounts.  Slowly, Son #1 stirred the ingredients into the pot.  Finally, Son #1 added the cheese.  As soon as he finished mixing in the cheese, our oldest son announced.  "The food is ready!"

My husband, Son #1, Son #2, and I grabbed our plates.  We served ourselves a wonderful portion of rich, creamy, macaroni and cheese.  When we took a bite, we all agreed it was delicious.

Son #1 is completely inspired by these young chefs on Master Chef Junior.  At different times during this week, he has helped me make tacos, blueberry muffins, and rice.  I'm starting to get spoiled.