Archive | March 2012

Not that kind of football

To my very great wonderment, Beanie, who was a hair under five pounds at birth, is now considered by our county’s parks and recreation department to be of an age to play soccer.  Her first practice and game, which were today, have been quite the hot topic around here all week; she’s had me checking to make sure her shinguards hadn’t been lost at least four times a day.  Fortunately, kids her age are not required to wear cleats, as she is such a tiny girl that there are no cleats within two sizes of her shoe size.

What the Beanie lacks in size, she makes up in fearlessness and raw energy.  Daddy and I decided pretty quickly that our best bet for capturing our littlest girl’s maiden foray into the world of team sports was to just let the video roll, as she was rarely still long enough to snap a decent photo.  Once she had been outfitted with the requisite royal blue shirt which allowed the coaches to sort the tiny people into teams, she headed off in search of soccer balls, cones, miniature goals, and about three dozen other preschoolers.

Since Daddy got to be team dad last year while I stayed home with the tribe, he generously chose to ride herd on Bugaboo, Mr. Man and Beanie so I could soak up all the sights and sounds of the first soccer practice of the four-year old league.  I must mention here that a certain soccer coach from the high school at which the practices and games are held, along with about half of the girls’ varsity squad, almost certainly have a special place in Heaven reserved for them for freely giving their spring Saturdays to help dozens of small children learn to play and enjoy a team sport.

Beanie’s jersey number is 4, incidentally.  At any rate, this beautiful lady who coaches this mob explained to them at the beginning of practice that in some places, soccer is called football because you use your feet to move the ball.  I may have forgotten to mention that Beanie is completely obsessed with being allowed to play real football, to the delight of her cousins at family gatherings, and she became rather excited when informed that she was, in fact, playing football.  It would have been lovely if she had simply transferred her enthusiasm to soccer; however, she chose instead to attempt to hike the soccer ball — several times, in fact.

I’d encourage you to watch the video if you’d like to get a feel for what went on; it’s fun to watch, and most of the kids had a terrific time.  There are four more on my channel, and I now need a new memory card.

If you’re lacking in time or bandwidth, please allow me to present a quick photo essay.

She went all Spiderman on us and tried to explain that the goal was her web.  It took my husband a while to untangle her.

The mini goals were very cool.  She had a terrific time moving them around.

Go, Beanie, go!

She brings a formidable cheering section with her.

Getting psyched up for a four on four scrimmage, and frustrated with her sticky name tag.  Youngest and smallest, remember?

She still threw herself right into the fray.  Shortly after this, she just wore out.  Yep, there’s video of that, too.

Plumb tuckered out.

She also informed us that she would like a giant orange water bottle for her birthday.  We’re thinking about it.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have enriched our lives with so many people who give freely of their time and talent so that we may learn new skills, including the skill of how to follow instructions given by people who aren’t Mommy and Daddy and the skill of playing cooperatively with a team.  Thank You for each of them, and please bless them with peace, good health, and at least as much joy as they’ve brought us.  You have given each of us a unique ministry, some special way to love each other, some gift to share.  Please help Your blessings take this lesson from the generous ladies who are sharing theirs without expecting anything in return except the company of small children on spring mornings.  Please keep me mindful that true charity is giving as You did, without demands for compensation of any kind.

The flasher

As part of reorganizing the kitchen, I’ve created a space for our sizable collection of flash cards that is accessible to the entire tribe.  Mr. Man finds this fascinating, and at nearly every opportunity, he scoots off to the kitchen and seizes a deck or two.  Sooner or later, I will convince him that they are for use on the table only, and that tossing them into the recycling bin does not constitute “putting them away.”  This evening, when Daddy came home from work, he cheerfully grabbed the pack of alphabet cards and passed a pleasant half-hour showing off his knowledge of the alphabet with his favorite loveseat buddy.

Flash cards will probably be the central part of working Mr. Man into our school routine; he will cheerfully sit in his booster playing with cards that have letters, shapes, numbers, or colors, merrily crowing the names of the ones he knows and plaguing Bugaboo to fill in the gaps in his knowledge if I’m busy with Beanie or Baby Guy.  Grandma helpfully sends me wildlife magazines, so I believe we may have a craft project in the works, making a set of animal flashcards for the big guy (which will, I am sure, later be used by Baby Guy as well).  Those could even be used as research starters for the girls . . . sorry, I’m thinking aloud again.

At any rate, setting up some more structured learning activities for Mr. Man has been on my priority list for a while, since he loves to learn but, being not quite two years old, has a tough time sitting still for any stretch of time.  He’s recently taken an interest in markers and coloring books, so, rather than confine him to his booster, I put his little “school supplies” box by Daddy’s chair with a sheet of construction paper and a coloring book opened to a still-blackline page.  He’ll hop up while his sisters are doing their lessons, scribble a bit, chortle, “I did it, I did it,” then carom off in search of adventures elsewhere in the house.  If I’m not doing direct instruction with one of his sisters, he’ll stick around a little longer, which gives me a chance to help him hold the crayon or marker correctly and show him the concept of coloring inside the lines.

Interestingly, Bugaboo’s devotional today had to do with being organized, and using time wisely so that we have time to do all the things we should do and still have time to do the things we want to do.  She, Beanie and I spent some time this afternoon talking about that, about how sometimes lollygagging on lessons results in a severe restriction on their time to explore the world or watch what little TV they’re allowed.  With all the moving of stuff I’ve been doing, I forgot that I need to make sure that Mr. Man and Baby Guy get their own pieces of “teaching time,” too — not as structured, and definitely looking more like play, but some time set aside specifically for their books, and blocks, and even flash cards. That led to the re-emergence of my pocket chart, and a quick round of time cards, so I can organize the day by hours, with the tribe’s help, each morning.

It was an interesting conversation, one which brought me some joy because both girls agreed that the most important thing in our day was our time for prayer and “Jesus lessons,” so we decided that we need to continue starting every day with those.  Bugaboo even volunteered that she should get out her own coloring book and Bible while I’m making the morning round of phone calls to Grandma and Deedaw, and offered to help Beanie do the same so that once the check-in calls are done, we can get right to work.  Beanie told me she could help by putting the school supply boxes at the correct places, and that would give us more time, too.  I love that whenever they’re given the opportunity to be helpful, they jump on it with both feet.

We also talked about the craft project that accompanied the devotional, and, after Daddy and I had tucked the boys into their beds for the night, I gave them the supplies and told them if they worked carefully and used their time wisely, they could finish the project before their bedtime arrived.  Both girls made very pretty flower gardens, and Beanie decided to draw two pictures of flowers while Bugaboo was having her evening chess game with Daddy.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have given me time to raise Your blessings in ways that are pleasing to You.  Thank You for granting them the wisdom and humility to recognize that You should be our first priority every day.  Thank You for their willingness to offer what help they can.  Please, Lord, guide me to use my time with them wisely, to find ways to give each of them time that is theirs alone, and to find ways to include all of them in everything our family does.  Thank You for all four of their love of flowers and dandelion fluffs.

Wherever you go, whatever you do

The tribe decided to pass on playgroup this morning; while I was going through the craft supplies, I unearthed a bunch of leftover craft kits and partial sheets of stickers.  Bugaboo, Beanie and Mr. Man unanimously declared they would prefer to spend the morning at home, creating wondrous works of art, and it was a decidedly pleasant morning we passed packed into the kitchen.  Even Baby Guy got into the act, chortling in his high chair with a piece of construction paper and a TaDoodle crayon.

After lunch and naps, it occurred to me that some sort of outing was in order, but I had a little too much left to do to make a trip to the park feasible.  Slurpees from the nearby convenience store, however, seemed to be a pretty good bet, as they are relatively cheap, utterly beloved by the tribe, and not terribly time-consuming.  The kids concurred with my assessment of the excellence of that idea, so into the van and off to the store we went.

As we approached the parking lot turn-in for the store, we fell in behind a van that seemed to be having extraordinary difficulty getting to the gas pumps.  The driver was elderly, and I commented to a curious Bugaboo that the nice man appeared to be having some van trouble and that I might need to help him push to get to safety.  That’s probably why she watched him while I was in the store filling a quartet of Slurpee cups with frozen cherry beverages and picking up a few chances on the MegaMillions drawing.

When I returned to the van, I secured the drink tray in the shotgun seat and started to put the key in the ignition when I heard Bugaboo pipe up, “Mommy, that man looks worried and sad.”

To my sorrow and shame, I hesitated.  I had four kids and three frozen drinks in the van, and a Herculean to-do list awaiting me at home.  Nonetheless, it was one of those moments that I hope for, when the kids see that Jesus wasn’t kidding about loving our neighbors, known or unknown, so I hopped out, locked Fran the Van, and jogged the few steps over to the gas pump.

The elderly gentleman in a torn shirt was trying to start his own van.  I looked at the number on the pump I’d seen him using and saw “$2.26.”  His van trouble was that he had coasted in with no gas, and he didn’t have enough money to buy enough gas to even restart his vehicle, much less get home.  I thought about the tightness of each month’s budget, thought about the tuitions that need to be paid, the swimming lessons we want so badly for the kids.  Then thought about the Slurpees I’d just bought, and the lottery tickets.  There are things that are more important than whether we get to go to Big Yellow M this weekend.

I asked him if he would allow me to help.  He thanked me, and when he did, I saw the stubs of his few remaining teeth.  Yep, there are lots of things more important than chicken nuggets and fries.

After I came back out of the store and started the van for our trip home, Bugaboo chirped again from the back seat, “Look, Mommy, that man is smiling!  And he’s waving to us!  He looks so much happier!  I’m glad we’re his friends.”

It took me a minute to whisper back, “Yeah, sweetheart.  I am, too.”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You told us that whatever we do unto the least of Your children, we do unto You.  Thank You for the reminder from Your little blessing, who has listened so closely and well to the love letters You left for us.  Please keep me mindful that sometimes the neighbor in need is right under my nose, and help me recall that in Your eyes, none of us are greater or less than any other.   Please help me continue to teach Your blessings that we are to be friends to any person in need, and that we should ever place the needs of others higher in our priorities than luxurious wants for ourselves.

Shelving it

I recently decided that since our kitchen is very possibly the most-used room in our house, it does, in fact, need a bit of an overhaul (thanks again, Joan).  Since it serves as our classroom, arts and crafts area, bill-paying area, game-playing area, and our (obviously) cooking and eating area, I’m trying to get it organized so that the supplies for each of those things are in a separate place.  That way, I don’t have to worry about soup landing in the marker bin, or Mr. Man hurling his rice into the sheaf of construction paper.

Phase one of this minor remodel happened today; we purchased a small bookcase over the weekend, and I put it together this afternoon.  Getting the puzzles and other assorted stuff off the rolling cart in the corner proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I originally anticipated; unbeknownst to me, Bugaboo and Beanie had been stashing little “treasures” behind it, so the yowls of protest from my daughters were of sufficient volume to rouse Mr. Man and Baby Guy from their naps (I had hoped to do most of the construction, except hammering in the back, while they were sleeping).

There I was, in a rather tight corner, trying to wrangle locking cams, anchor bolts, screws, particle board, a big piece of heavy-duty cardboard, and twenty fiddly little nails (by the way, meat mallets make great hammers when you don’t want to take the time to find the toolbox), with Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man all trying their hoveringly hardest to be helpful and Baby Guy wailing for snuggles in the living room.  I finally told the three onlookers – rather sharply – that the best help they could give me was to go play with their youngest brother.

Thankfully, they decided that was a terrific idea. While I cringed a little bit at the sound of the living room toy bin being merrily upended, I was grateful that I didn’t have to watch for tiny helpful fingers in addition to my own while hammering the back onto the bookshelf.  It came together rather nicely, at any rate, but there won’t be any pictures until I get a little more done in the kitchen.  It is even more of a train wreck than usual at the moment, but at least the kids’ school books, coloring books, flash cards, abacus, and construction paper now have a happy and organized home.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your blessings, who are so eager to help that You make me exercise my creativity finding ways for them to render the assistance they desperately long to give.  Thank You for their willingness to bring comfort and joy to their youngest sibling, and thank You for the delight Baby Guy takes in the companionship of his brother and sisters.  Thank You for blessing me with nimble hands and a strong back and arms, for eyes that can read a blueprint, for an ear that can hear a baby’s cry and the laughter of the entire tribe.  Thank You for the abundance of intellectual gifts with which You have blessed our family.  Please help us to always dedicate those gifts to Your service, and to share all that You have given with those who You blessed differently.

Little Miss Sunshine

Bugaboo and Beanie are both big fans of Roger Hargreaves’ “Little Miss” series, and since the books are quite inexpensive, I periodically order a few to add to their library; usually, I tuck them into the top shelf of the bookcase in their room and await the squeals of delight when they’re discovered.  Today, while Mr. Man and Baby Guy were napping, I invited the girls to bring me some stories and we could have a special “big girls only” storytime.

As it happened, this was the magical day when they realized Little Miss Princess, Little Miss Giggles, and Little Miss Sunshine were the newest members of their formidable book collection.  Two delightedly chortling little girls came pelting over to the couch, their treasures in hand, and tried to simultaneously leap into my lap.  Since they are both over three feet tall now, this resulted in a fairly spectacular mid-air collision and subsequent thudding to the floor of a tangle of flailing arms and legs.

Once we sorted out all the body parts and ascertained that the worst injuries were to their dignities, the three of us snuggled up on one couch cushion to enjoy a little lighthearted reading.  We saved Little Miss Sunshine for last; Beanie has been asking for that one for some time, as that is one of my nicknames for her.  It also happened to be the one out of three stories I had never read.

I will not ruin the story for those of you who have not read it, but there’s a salient line that the King of Miseryland utters near the end of the book, to wit:  “But I don’t know how to be happy!  I’ve never tried it!”

Well, now.  I went through a period of my life where I wasn’t trying to be happy.  I was trying to find reasons to take offense, reasons to be angry, reasons to resent and to hate and to blame.  For that matter, I still have days when I do that.  Being happy really is a choice, and I put the book’s lesson to good use later in the day when Bugaboo was rebelling against her math assignment.  She exclaimed, in a wretched tone, “I’m very unhappy!”  I gently replied, with the ghost of a smile in my voice, “I’m sorry you’re so unhappy.  Have you tried being happy?  You have a nice sturdy kitchen table, good schoolbooks, a freshly sharpened pencil, and Mommy right here to help you if you have a question.  Plus, the backyard is waiting for you as soon as you’re done.”

That earned me a sour little scowl, but she did the assignment, and was giggling at it (she had to draw 20 arrows on a target) by the time she was halfway through.  After she had finished, she cheerfully claimed a hug and kiss from me before cavorting off to join Beanie in ravaging the clover population in the back yard before supper.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You’ve been making it pretty obvious lately that You choose what messengers You will.  For many years, I disregarded those You sent to remind me that I can choose joy at any moment, and reject it at any moment.  Help me teach Your blessings that we can bear even irksome tasks with a happy heart, or choose to listen to Your adversary’s exhortations to resentment and anger.  Thank You for Your reminders, for Your blessings, for my soul that chooses to sing so loudly my mouth must repeat the song.

Sometimes, it’s what we don’t say

I prayed a lot last night over how I would explain the inability of some people to see past the melanin content, or lack thererof, of a person’s skin.  As it happened, the Lord answered my prayer via a note from a good friend, so in the end, I decided to simply continue what we’re already doing.

After the breakfast disheshad been cleared, we began our school day with what Bugaboo has cheerfully termed “our Jesus lessons.”  Together we read the story of Jesus’s teachings about charity, and talked about the need to love and forgive our neighbors as we wish to be loved and forgiven.  It made a big impression on the girls that Christ said that if they are approaching the altar and remember that they have wronged someone, that they are to leave and make peace with that person before they come back.  That’s some heavy stuff for tiny people whose two favorite parts of Mass are the sign of peace and Communion, where the priest or deacon always makes it a point to bless each of them lovingly.

When we’ve finished our morning reading, I  always ask the girls to explain the story to me.  This not only lets me check their comprehension, but also gives me fodder for Bugaboo’s penmanship practice.  Faith formation, spelling and penmanship all wrapped up in one package is a lesson planning win.  This morning, Bugaboo summed up the story we’d read thusly:  “Jesus told the people that God loves them all.  He told them they should love others.  They should love everyone.”  Beanie added her concurring opinion,”We even love mean people.  We can tell them to be nice.  Jesus is nice.  We should be nice, too.”

Since today is also the Feast of the Annuciation, we also spent a good bit of time today talking about the Angel Gabriel’s question to the Virgin Mary, when she gave her great answer to the most important question since that whole mess with the apple.  Later in the day, when we were stuck in the traffic that is typical for our area, I asked the girls to explain it to me again, in an effort to ward off expanding their vocabularies with my opinions of my fellow motorists’ driving skills.  With her typical directness, Bugaboo piped up, “The angel asked Mary to be God’s Mommy.  She said yes, and so God gave her Jesus and because of Jesus, everybody got a chance to go to Heaven and live with Him.”

That sparked an after-dinner craft project for this evening.  I cut out every face I could find in a couple of days’ worth of newspapers and sale ads, paraphrased Bugaboo’s answer at the top and bottom of big sheets of poster paper, handed the girls a couple of glue sticks and let them roll.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, just when I’m about to lose the simple truth of Your Word in a morass of politics and “nuances,” Your blessings remind me that the faith with which You have grace their hearts requires no qualification or equivocation.  You have called each of us by name, and You invite all to Your table, to walk in Your fellowship.   You have made us all free to take Your hand or reject it.  Help us teach Your blessings to hold fast to Your guiding hand always, and to dance joyfully in the love of You and Your law of charity.

Get up, stand up

I think it’s fair to say I’m not the only parent who’s been thinking about what to teach my children in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s senseless, tragic death.  I like iced tea and Skittles, too, and have been known to wear a hoodie in the rain.  My kids aren’t old enough to drink iced tea yet, but they all think Skittles are pretty tasty, and that a hoodie in the rain’s not a bad idea, and is easier than carrying an umbrella.

While perusing the Sunday paper after Mass today, I read this column by Mr. Jesse Washington, about things he believes he will need to teach his son.  There are lessons in this piece for most parents, and I found that the good Mr. Washington and I will both be instructing our children in the need to conduct and present themselves with dignity and humility.  I’d like to believe that we live in a world where every parent teaches his or her children the value of those two character traits, but experience, alas, teaches me this is not so.

One of the things we strive to teach our children is that when they see something amiss, something wrong, they are to speak up and call whatever they’ve seen by its proper name.  Bugaboo has a bit of a reputation at one of the local grocery stores for her comment regarding a group of teenaged girls, fresh from some sort of cheer or dance competition, all of whom were wearing spangled brassieres and hot pants.  My oldest daughter looked at me, aghast, and exclaimed, “Mommy!  Those girls’ mommies forgot to put clothes on them!”

Feel free to laugh.  Pretty much everyone who was in Wegmans that afternoon did, with the exception of the girls’ parents.  We are still working on how to point out inappropriate things without being rude.

That said, I’m making a little change in our lesson plans tomorrow.  We’ve been working our way through the Stations of the Cross, and talking about things we can do to walk more closely in friendship with Him who suffered unjust persecution and death, all so that we might be freed from sin.  Tomorrow, though, we’re going to read Matthew 22:39, and use it as our memory verse.  If you’re not familiar with the verse, it’s the one that says, “The second is like it:   You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

There are certain subjects that are very, very tough when talking to very young children.  The ways people have developed to excuse treating each other cruelly are among those, but, as with any important topic, we want to start early.  We are raising children who love fiercely enough to question a friend, a sibling, a parent, or even a total stranger when they observe a behavior that they know to be contrary to Christ’s teachings.  Responding to a person whose skin or hair differs from their own with fear and suspicion, based solely on those phenotypic characteristics, is a monumental sin.  Galatians 3 is EXTREMELY clear on this point, and this will likely be part of our lesson tomorrow as well, as 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

I would have our children grow up without Peter’s fear. I do not want them to have to listen, metaphorically, for the cock to crow on a day in which one of their brethren is condemned unjustly.  Because of this, I will teach my children that among those behaviors a friend of Christ condemns is suspicion of a person based solely on the color of his or her skin.

I want my kids to ask, “What did he do wrong?” when they hear someone speak harshly about another person.  Then I want them to explain, with great love and tenderness, that Jesus, on the cross, did not have a checklist of desirable “racial” groups, and nor should followers of Christ.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, in Your wisdom, You made Your children in all sizes and colors, no two with precisely the same appearance or set of talents.  Thank you for the never-repeating diversity of our human family, which teaches us that since we are ALL made in Your image, we cannot begin to comprehend what Your face looks like.  Your blessings cherish all of their friends, and so far, it’s never occurred to them that any kid is disqualified from being their friend because of his or her ancestry.  Help me teach Your blessings that it is pleasing to You to love all of their neighbors as themselves, and even more pleasing when they speak in defense of those who are unjustly accused.  Grant them, and me, the courage to speak hard truths lovingly, without rancor, and without compromise.

Defining “interactive”

We had a couple of errands to run this morning, and since we had a hungry houseful coupled with a taste for adventure, we took the tribe to a local Big Yellow M for breakfast.  I generally prefer to cook breakfast for everyone on the weekends, but since the errands we had to run would necessarily involve long periods of good behavior for the tiny people, we thought it advisable to eat in a venue that features a really excellent play area.  Since this morning’s weather featured periods of near-torrential rainfall, our backyard was out of the question, and one of the Big Yellow M’s near us just underwent a major renovation, including an overhaul of its play area to incorporate play structures that play music when climbed upon by children.  I wrote about it once before.

After eating hearty breakfasts, Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man proceeded to make merry in the musical playground.  Do watch the video, which will open in a new window.  I still want a set of these in our house, but that would require the building of a sizable addition.  Off to the side of the playground, there are two touchscreen terminals with what I assume are children’s video games.

I must assume this, because we do not allow our children to play video games of any kind. Some television and movies are permitted, as regular readers of this blog know, but we’re kind of tight on their screen time.  Too often, we see children their age glued to a little video screen, utterly oblivious to the actual people around them with whom they could play, talk, laugh, run, or sing.  It’s the reason we don’t have anything like a LeapPad in our house.  We recently scrubbed the hard drive on one of our computers so that our oldest can access videos that are directly related to some of her school subjects, but it has a keyboard lock.

Since we were in the play area, our kids were twice joined by pairs of little girls.  Both times, our daughters ran over the greet the newcomers.  Both times, they received a cold shoulder as the other girls, without responding to our girls’ greeting, walked straight to the touchscreens and started to play.  While Bugaboo and Beanie were somewhat taken aback, we were pretty happy to hear Bugaboo counsel her downcast sister, “It’s okay.  Making music with our feet is more fun than what they’re doing.”

There is an enormous world for our children to explore, and the infinite wonder of the reality of it is glorious.  Sure, they could play animated games with falling rocks or swooping birds, but I’d rather we went outside to see whether a rock will fall faster if rolled down a slide or dropped straight to the ground, or tried draw the scarlet cardinal or black-capped chickadee we saw and heard singing in the big oak out back.  Before they learn to use Facebook (or WordPress!), we want them to be able to carry on real conversations, using actual words, figurative language, and shadings of tone.

As my Granny, possibly the wisest person I have ever known, used to say, “God did not put us here to ignore each other.”  Before our kids ever lay hands on an electronic entertainment device, they will know that we love people and use things.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, help us teach Your blessings that it’s very hard to love their neighbors if they’re too busy to notice them, and even more difficult to give you proper thanks and praise for Your Creation if their faces are stuck to a LCD screen.  Help me set the right example for them, and remind me that as much as I love sharing the tales of my friendship with You through my blog and keeping in touch with friends old and new on Facebook, there remains no substitute for time genuinely spent with Your family and mine.

Rock on

Mr. Man, of late, has picked up a habit of bringing me rocks from our back yard and presenting them to me with a smile brimful of pride and joy.  I hug him, and kiss him (and call him George, which happens to be his name), and thank him for his gifts.  There is a corner on one of our kitchen counters reserved for these treasures, each one of which he helps me lovingly wash in the sink.

It seemed like a good day to concoct a project with some of the enormous population of rocks in our back yard, so before lunch, I sent the kids out with big plastic cups and told them to fill them with rocks.  They happily did so, and brought me two full cups in a trice.  I washed them and spread them out on old newspapers to dry while we ate lunch (peanut butter and jelly is better on homemade bread — just sayin’).

After the boys had gone down for a nap, I cut pieces off of a cardboard box to use for sculpture bases and assembled paints, glue dots, construction paper, and artificial flowers.  The girls decided the first things they wanted to make were rock gardens.  Beanie used paint for hers, and Bugaboo used flowers. It took a few minutes to convince them to use their rocks and flowers to remove the glue dots from their backings, instead of using small fingers; fortunately, I did not have to remove any glue dots from anyone’s hair.

Beanie finished first, at which time I unleashed my paper-cutting skills, which only a preschooler could love.  Little triangles glued on either side of a painted rock became “rock candy.”

I decided to make a “rock guitar.”

We have pieces cut to make a rockfish, a rock lobster, and Peter (as in, “upon this rock I will build My church”).  We’re saving those for when Daddy gets home, as he wants in on this particular craft project.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have blessed us with a world full of small wonders and nimble minds to appreciate them.  When I teach them to look at things commonly considered insignificant in new ways, I’m hoping to lay the groundwork for teaching them later that each person, each life, each event, has a value and a beauty that may not be apparent at first glance.  Please open my eyes, Lord, to the possibility inherent in each molecule of Your creation, and help me give You thanks for every ordinary thing with which You have graced my life.

I am reblogging this because I suspect many WPers will react as I did — with gales of helpless laughter at myself.

Sweet Mother

The below is a list of what happens in my brain for the next 31 minutes after I hit “publish” each and everyday.  Note:  I only have about 1 original thought per minute, the other thoughts within that minute are variations of the original-thesis thought for that correpsonding minute.


Min 1:  “Did my post suck today?  It’s been a minute and there is only one “like”.  Maybe it sucked.”


Min 2:  “It’s Sunday, people don’t read very many blogs on Sunday, that’s a low-views day according to my stats.”


Min 3:  “Oh, wait, it’s Monday.  Okay, that is also a low-views day – so is Tuesday and Wednesday and hold on…”


Min 4:  “I should’ve written about my Mom.  People like it when I write about my Mom or my Wifesy.”


Min 5:  “I don’t think I should’ve capitalized Mom in that last minute…

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