Friday, April 30, 2010

A Real Chick Magnet

So Andrew walked in the door from school yesterday all hopped up on the events of the day. One of the first things he said to me was, "Hey, Mom, all the girls want a chick magnet!"

I was a little taken aback at my innocent six-year-old boy discussing chick magnets. And more than a little irritated at the wanton six-year-old girls in his class who apparently introduced the concept to my firstborn's tender mind.

Andrew continued, "But I got a chick magnet."


Rummaging in his backpack, my son proceeded to pull out this:

Oh. A chick magnet. Bought with "bunny money" in the kindergarten classroom reward store.

Carry on, then.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


The number one thing that has kept me up at night for the past four or so years? Figuring out how to stay one step ahead of Adam. To be sure, Andrew and Libby have given me and Steve their fair share of fits, but on the whole they've been pretty tame customers. Adam, on the other hand, has been on a mission since the beginning to test and sharpen every parenting skill we possess (and lots we don't). Prison Crib breaks, the (pre-potty-training) nudist phase, the Great Shoe Protest of '07, just to name a few... How many nights have I lain awake searching my mind for the answer to the challenge du jour? Too many to count. But, ah...the joy found in those (divinely inspired, I know) "eureka!" moments. Duct tape! Clothing buttoned up backwards! Double knots on everything! A few days of elation and respite, and then on to more late nights of mental chess moves as we take on Adam's latest challenge.

Lately, as Adam has gotten older, the issues have become less about the physical actions themselves and more about the attitudes/heart conditions behind the actions. The Christmas/birthday season this year really threw poor Adam for a loop. Without going into detail, Steve and I have been praying and searching and scratching our heads for months trying to figure out something that would click.

About a month ago I went into a teacher supply store. Ugh. Those places give me the willies. All that...bright...crafty...visually assaulting...overwhelming...stuff. It's the same feeling I get when I think about scrapbooking. *shudder* But I was with friends who wanted to pop in, so I went along to be social. And I found one of those pre-printed chore charts. On a whim, I picked one up. We'd tried them before with Andrew, who did not give two hoots about them. I don't know why I never thought to try a chore chart with Adam, especially in light of the Adam/Andrew Axiom: Andrew and Adam are opposites in EVERYTHING. What one likes, the other doesn't. What works for one, doesn't for the other. One's strengths are the other's weaknesses. For some reason, though, I forget and re-learn this axiom over and over again. I blame it on Mommy Brain.

Well. Guess who is a FOOL for checkmarks?

Oh, yeah. I have never seen Adam so motivated and cheerful and eager...for checkmarks. Checkmarks. At the end of each week, if he has kept up with his checkmarks, he gets a treat (TBD by Mom and Dad). Last week Adam and I went to Dunkin Donuts for a donut of his choice. At that point Andrew decided this was a bandwagon he'd like to hop on and kept some checkmarks of his own. So last night, after another great week of willing, helpful attitudes and actions and lots of checkmarks, the boys and I headed to Sonic to collect on the week's end treat. (For some reason the boys are fascinated by Sonic every time we drive by it.)

Checkmate. I'm by no means a master, but I'm kind of enjoying the game.

** Author's Footnote: I should state for the record and for the sake of complete honesty that Adam has just spent the majority of the time of the composition of this post screaming, acting ugly, and being sent to his room. I guess nothing's foolproof...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Let the Games Begin

What could possibly cause me to sit like the rain...on a Saturday 8 am?

Um, Nothing.

Except this:

And this:

I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm not athletic. I've never played a team sport, unless you count the spring I spent being the champion player making daisy chains in the outfield of the tee-ball team I somehow landed on when I was about seven. My mom always told me, "If you can't be a jock, be an athletic supporter." Wokka wokka. Really, I've never even been good at that.

But I am a boy mom. And ever since Andrew was born six and a half years ago, I have known my days of avoiding sports altogether were numbered. I may not want to play or watch any sports myself, but that's not to say I don't want my kids to have the valuable experience of playing team sports.

So Andrew and Adam are both playing soccer this spring. Andrew practices and plays on Saturday morning; Adam practices and plays Saturday afternoon. All five of our family members went to the boys' games last week. However, four hours, one Code Brown (thank goodness Libby had a change of clothes in the diaper bag), and six hundred "When is it time for my game?s" from Adam later, Steve and I decided to divide and conquer in the future. This morning it was my turn to attend soccer games while Steve stayed home with the players on the bench.

Andrew's game was first. I laughed so hard I almost cried. The naive generous coach made Andrew goalie right off the bat. Every time the ball came anywhere near the goal, Andrew got so excited he started this strange hopping/skipping around like a crab on the ball rolled right past him into the goal. (He gets that from me.) That was the case until he somehow blocked a goal with his face. (That's when I quit laughing and started thinking we should really look into chess.) But Andrew got right back in the game after a check of his face and a quick hug. So impressive! And then he resumed his "happy crab" antics for the rest of the game. Good times.

Adam plays with the 3 & 4-year-olds. God bless that coach. What a great young man, herding all those cats preschoolers around the field with such a sense of fun. All I can say about Adam is that this kid is a beast. He stands a head taller than everyone else on the field. He is big for his age but young for his age at the same time. He scored six or seven goals (admittedly one was in the wrong goal) -- just kept running away with the ball. For Adam, soccer is very much an individual sport right now. Clearly "teamwork" will be the theme of many conversations this spring. But, boy, is he ever focused on the field! (He most definitely gets that from his father.)

Happily, by the time Adam's game rolled around, things looked more like this:

Look, Mom! I'm an athletic supporter.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bibby Ooo-Hoo

That's what Libby calls herself these days -- Libby-ese for "Libby Lou Who."

She is quite the character.

Recently she picked up a pair of character-themed boys' underpants and yelled, "Spongebob!" (Really, she yelled, "Shunjjobb!" but I knew what she meant.) Yikes. I realized my 22-month-old could correctly identify Spongebob but had no idea who Elmo was. Definitely not appropriate. So we have spent some time learning about Abby Cadabby (L's favorite), Big Bird, and Elmo. Libby loves reading her Elmo books. She really does not watch TV but will occasionally sit down for some "Play With Me Sesame" that I DVR'ed for her. She likes to be accessorized while she watches.

Libby also enjoys talking on the phone. Recently I got a new phone, so she inherited my old one. She could not be more delighted to own a "real" phone. The fake ones don't fool her for a minute. The past few days she has been picking up her phone, holding it to her ear, and saying things like "Jaaabwa gaashaaa adwaaa...Hi, Abby...mmm hmmm, mmmm hmmm...zzaaadaaa oikadoik daadaaadoi...Hi, Abby...mmm hmmm, mmm hmmm..." I certainly don't know where she got that.

Bibby Ooo-Hoo, we love you!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I would be remiss if I did not document a very important part of our lives during this season. Recently a fascination with certain little items has gripped the nation, and my children have joined in. They are featured in our discussions. They go with us to school. They attend church with us. They are a big part of neighborhood play time. They help us learn colors, counting and shapes. They bring children to sweeping heights of joy, and they cause blistering fights and bitter tears...all in the same afternoon.

Yes, I'm talking about silly bands.

They've been a part of our lives for the last couple months. I don't know where they came from, but they were an immediate sensation in our house. Silly bands are little rubber bracelets that are shaped like dinosaurs, zoo animals, food, musical instruments -- anything you can imagine. Cool neighbor Josh even has Bible-themed silly bands. If I were to dig up Batman or Star Wars silly bands, I would most definitely win Mother of the Year. Possibly Mother of the Century.

On any given afternoon, you can find all the neighborhood children gathered around the utility box in the neighbor's yard earnestly trading silly bands for all they're worth. There are some shrewd little bargainers out there at the Silly Band Tradin' Post. It's not a place for the weak or gullible. Younger customers are encouraged to be accompanied by a parent.

What cracks me up most is that Libby keeps stealing the boys' silly bands and wearing them. She is obsessed. She calls them her "Siy-yies" and shows them off to anyone who will look. She cries when she can't find any and surrenders them only at bedtime (and then with the greatest of reluctance).

I was further amused when the boys and I attended a picnic for the college students at our church on Sunday. The boys were wearing silly bands practically up to their elbows, and all the college students thought they were so cool -- college students wear them, too! Wow, these things unite everyone ages 23 months through 23 years! I was half-expecting Andrew to rig up a temporary trading station and open up for business then and there at the picnic. Good thing he didn't. I would've hated for him to have taken all those poor college students to the cleaners'.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Go Fly a Kite

More spring fun! Here are the boys flying the kites Grandma Betsy the Easter Bunny brought:

Adam's froggie kite

Andrew's parrot kite

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Back to the Zoo

This spring has been unbelievably gorgeous. Warm weather, sunny skies, and green exploding everywhere (thanks to the wildly high pollen counts). So it was the perfect time to head back to one of the kids' favorite spots -- the zoo! This year was fun because Libby could walk around a little bit and enjoy it like a "big kid." It was also fun because our friends the Streckers were able to join us. Andrew, Adam, and Libby were excited to explore the zoo with their buddies Michael, Adah, and baby Maggie.

Ready to have a good time! What a beautiful day. I heart the Carolinas!

One of my favorite pictures from our day -- the kids eating lunch overlooking the river.

Adam, Andrew, and Adah checking out the spider monkeys. Those were some loud monkeys.

Andrew on the carousel

Standard solemn expression notwithstanding, Libby's favorite part of the day -- first ride on a carousel!

Andrew's favorite part of the trip -- hanging out with buddy Michael
Adam's favorite part of the day -- feeding the "camel." (I know. You try telling him it's a goat.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Focus

We had a lovely Easter this year. For the first time in a long time, we were able to go to our own church and then go to Poppa Keith and Grandma Betsy's without worrying about a baby missing a critical nap and melting down. Cousin Mary Caroline was there with Aunt Abby and Uncle Adam, and so were Aunt Lindsay, Aunt Gwen, and Aunt Whitney. Grandma Betsy The Easter Bunny left some wonderful baskets for the kids -- they had a great Christmas Easter.

My adorable children and their adorable cousin were dressed in adorable outfits. The weather was beyond perfect for outdoor pictures -- 80 degrees and sunny. No one was too cold or too hot. No one was hungry or uncomfortably full. No one's shoes were hurting. It was a good day for everyone. True to form, the majority of our pictures looked like this:

or this:

or (sigh) this:

This is (seriously) probably the best Easter 2010 photo we got:

Not all the photos were awful. We did get some cute shots. Couldn't you eat this up?

Love the sweet look on Adam's face here. Notice Andrew is carefully cropped out. You can guess the reason.

Libby's not too thrilled but at least not actively unhappy:

Poor Mary Caroline was in need of a nap but gamely tried to be a part of pictures:

Well, at least the Easter cookies stood still!
I just read a magazine article (I think in Southern Living) that suggested the reason most Easters are so cold is that God is reminding all the people who end up freezing in their Easter finery that Easter isn't about that. Amen. Easter isn't about my adorable children, their adorable cousin, and certainly not their adorable clothes. It isn't about the perfect family Easter picture. (Whew. That's definitely good news for us.) It actually makes me kind of glad to see our crazy, imperfect family captured in crazy, imperfect pictures this Easter. It puts Easter -- the real Easter -- into focus.

Christ is risen indeed.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Meaningful Easter Moment

Tonight's Bible reading: Matthew chapter 27 -- the story of the arrest, crucifixion, and burial of Jesus.

Me (after reading and discussing the passage with Andrew, who really was comprehending and asking intelligent questions up to this point): ...and that's what we remember tonight. That this day, many years ago, Jesus had already died on the cross and was in the tomb.

Andrew (snuggling his head against me trustingly): Mom?

Me (expecting another deep theological question): Yes?

Andrew: Does the Easter Bunny bring our baskets tonight when we're asleep?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Catching Up

This has been quite the busy month around here. My little online family journal is so wildly far behind that I can't hope to catch it up properly. Clearly the only recourse is to do a quick March recap and start anew in April.

So here, in brief, is a snapshot (or two or sixty) of all the reasons I've been too busy to blog:

Training the children to be rednecks/biker chicks

Trying to keep Libby from running away from home. Here she is with her collection of lunch bags. She thinks they're purses and calls them her "bye-byes." She has several adorable little purses of her own, but no amount of cajoling can persuade her to abandon the lunch bags.

Borrowers' Dinner. Steve and Andrew finished the book The Borrowers and were ready for movie night. So we "borrowed" dinner and buddy Seth from our friend Miss Jen for the evening. Fun times!

Girls' Weekend! Friends Jen, Elizabeth, Anna Barrett, and I met in Durham for an overdue reunion with AB and a much-needed getaway. The weekend could be summed up in two words: shopping and food. We had a great dinner at The Melting Pot, where, as Anna Barrett so aptly put it, "We ate for three hours." **I would also like to state for the record that, despite my larger-than-life appearance in this picture, I am not 8 months (or any months) pregnant, nor have I suddenly gained 40 pounds. I do not know WHAT was going on with that shirt.**

And, finally, new floors! We removed all the old flooring and put down hardwood in the front half of the house -- living room, dining room, hallway, and powder room. Steve helped our friend from church (who works in construction and knows how not to mess up these projects) lay the new floors. It is like having a whole new house!

And finally...just for fun, some adorable pictures of THE RETURN OF THE PIGGIES!