Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Here They Are

The Top Ten Reasons I Do Not Drive A Monster Truck

10. They don't come with the LATCH system for carseats.

9. The temptation to crush cars driving in front of me going 5 mph under the speed limit would be unbearable, and I would not look good in prison orange.

8. The other parents would think I was a showoff when they saw me doing wheelstands in the preschool pickup line.

7. Adam would definitely steal my keys to go joyriding.

6. Libby doesn't have any hairbows that coordinate with...mud.

5. It wouldn't fit in the garage.

4. It wouldn't fit in the parking spaces at Target.

3. What's the gas mileage on those things, anyway?

2. Everywhere I went, I'd have to hear it: "SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY...BE THERE!!!"

1. Come on. My monogram would look totally silly on the back windshield of a monster truck.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monster Mama

I love my mini-van. I love the automatic doors. I love the (oh-so wipeable) leather seats. I love the separate temperature controls, which have saved my marriage over and over again. I super-duper love the heated seats -- yes, even in the Carolinas. And I am not afraid to use them in April if it's still a little chilly.

The kids have their own captain's chairs. No one touches anyone else. Everyone has his own space with cup holders and snack holders. It's a far, luxurious cry from Ye Olde Moonmobile -- the 1985 2-toned blue 8-passenger Dodge van I was crammed into growing up with my 5 sibs.

My sweet husband has worked hard so that his family can have such a nice ride. I, for one, am totally appreciative. So I was a little surprised to have the following conversation with Adam this morning on our way to the gym:

Adam: Moooooooom? (We're working on the whining. Really. But he's just not getting it.)

Me: Yes?

Adam: This car isn't good.

Me: What?! This is a great car!

Adam: No. This (gestures here) and this (gestures there) isn't good. Why didn't you get another car?

(Let me interject here that we got this van before Adam was even born. So I'm not sure why the only car he's ever known is suddenly such a problem for him.)

Me: What car should we have gotten? (I'm expecting him to say he wants a sweet tricked-out Suburban like he just rode to the beach in with Poppa and Gangee...it's the only thing I can think of.)

Adam: Why didn't you get a monster truck?

Me: Speechless.

**Post to follow: "Top Ten Reasons I Do Not Drive a Monster Truck"**

Saturday, August 28, 2010

He's a Grader!

When I was in kindergarten, all I wanted was to be a "Grader" (as in student in first grade, second grade, etc.) "Kindergartner" didn't sound very grown-up to me, but being a "Grader" represented the ultimate in maturity and sophistication.

Now my own little guy has joined the ranks of the glamorous ones. On Wednesday Andrew started first grade. When I asked him if he was excited to be a "Grader," he looked at me and said, "Huh?"

So I explained to him the prestige (in my mind, anyway) associated with being in a "grade" instead of just "kindergarten." And he looked deep into my eyes and said, "Huh?"

Sheesh. Maybe Adam will be my kindred spirit in this in a couple years.

Just the same, Andrew is happy to start a new school year. Here are some pictures of him on the first day of school. A certain pushy little sister (who is becoming something of a camera hog) insisted on being in each and every frame.

"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out."
Proverbs 18:15

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Little Sister

It's tough having two big brothers.

I knew from the beginning they were kind of crazy.

And they started trying to make me a part of it early on.

They like to dress up. A lot.

I don't always know quite what to make of it.

The worst is when they get me involved. I've pretty much quit resisting.

Sometimes they won't share treats.

And they have been known to mess up pictures where I am trying to be my cutest. Ahem.

They love me a lot. A whole, scary, lot.

Yeah, they can be pretty nutty. Sheesh. Boys.

But sometimes, just sometimes, the tables get turned...and my brothers get buried helplessly in the sand while I stand over them and calmly enjoy my Cheetos.

It's not always so bad being the little sister.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Six Going on Twenty-Six

The Setting
The master bathroom shower.

(I promise, this is totally G-rated. It's a family blog.)

The Players
Steve, overseeing Andrew's shower before bedtime

Andrew: Dad, can I use your soap instead of the kid soap? Then I'll smell like you.

Steve: Sure.

Andrew: Can I use your shampoo, too?

Steve: Well, you can, but if you get any in your eyes, it will really sting.

Andrew (considering): How much?

Steve (knowing Andrew's ridiculously low tolerance for even the barest discomfort to his orbitals): Kind of a lot.

Andrew: OK. I'll use the kid shampoo on my hair. And your soap on my skin. Then I'll smell like half a man and half a boy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Funny Girl

Steve: Libby, are you Daddy's girl?

Libby: Nooooo. Not Daddy's girl.

Steve (knowingly): Oh. That's right. You're Mommy's girl.

Libby: Nooooo. Not Mommy's girl.

Steve: Well, then, whose girl are you?

Libby: I Cookie Monster's girl!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sweetpea's Getting Married!

When I was almost four years old, my mom and dad had another little girl. I was glad enough to have a sister, but I was really ticked off that they didn't name her "Susan." I still remember vividly how strongly I felt about it. They got me a doll named Susan but were firm in their choice of the name "Abby" for my baby sister. Hmph.

When I was six years old, another sibling was on the way. This was back in the days when people didn't usually find out the sex of the baby before it was born. All I knew was that this one had better be a girl, and my parents had better name her Susan.


It wasn't a girl. And his name most certainly wasn't Susan.

This is how I felt about that.

Contentment wasn't my strong suit back then.

But something happened when my parents brought baby Jordan home from the hospital. I fell in love with that baby. He was such a sunny, happy little guy with an instinctive sense of humor right from the start. I called him Sweetpea, and he was my little buddy.

Three more little sisters followed Jordan. The poor kid never had a chance, surrounded by five sisters as he was. It's a miracle he ever got into the bathroom. My mom always joked that one day he would make a fine husband because we girls would have him trained so well.

Now Sweetpea Jordan is all grown up. And we just got the happy news that he is engaged! He asked his lovely girlfriend Cara to marry him over the weekend, and she accepted.

To Cara: The sisters and I have done our best with Jordan. He's a pretty good guy. One thing, though. He's been known to go to the potty outside, but that's only when we wouldn't let him into the bathroom. Or when he was really sleepy. Or when he was hanging out with the next-door neighbor kid. Of course, he was three years old. I think he's outgrown it by now. I hope he's outgrown it by now.

To Jordan: Boy, don't screw up.

Really...Jordan and Cara, we wish you all the best. We couldn't be more delighted for you!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lemonade Stand

The plans were in place. The stand was built, thanks to Dave Emrich. A date was picked. Lemonade and cookies were prepared.

This morning, our boys, their friends Sam and Charlie, and one Efficient Baby opened for business. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day!

We have friends who are in the process of adopting two little boys from an orphanage in Peru, so we had decided in advance that all the money we raised at the lemonade stand would go to the orphanage.

People were so generous. More on that later.

Here's a shot of our first customer! This guy obviously is at home in front of the camera.

We had a little lull in business, but then things picked up.

Lots of friends from church stopped by. And, of course, faithful BFF Josh and his family.

The boys had a wonderful time yelling "Lemonade for sale!" at the top of their lungs every time a car passed by. Libby yelled, too.

The boys also were responsible for serving customers and taking money. Libby wanted in on that action as well. After watching the boys collect donations for a while, she walked up to the next car that pulled up and yelled, "Money, please!" Which, of course, is everything I've ever prayed against...watching my daughter standing on a street corner asking people in cars for money. Fortunately the young moms in the car my two-year-old was attempting to hustle thought it was hysterical.

We were open for business for about an hour and a half. The boys kept wanting to know how much money we'd made. We had no idea, but in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers, "You never count your money/While you're sittin' at the table," so we waited till we got home to tally it up.

$91.65 for the orphanage. Seriously. People were so generous.

THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by our lemonade stand this morning!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Be Careful...That's an Heirloom

One of Andrew's (many) obsessions as of late is to make a hat in which to store stuff. You know, like food. And bandaids. Because you never know when you might scrape your knee and need a snack. Away from home. While wearing a 2 1/2 -foot-high cardboard hat. It's just best to be prepared.

Of course, whatever Andrew does, Adam must also. So today we picked up some posterboard, spent some time making plans, and went to work making hats.

At one point, (oh, I just love the earnestness of Andrew) Andrew told me that one day when he is a daddy, he will give the hat to his first son, and that son will give it to his son, and so on.

So I felt it important to document the origin of an heirloom.

Look, kids, here's your great-great grandfather wearing The Hat of Many Wonders long, long ago

Great-great-great Uncle Adam wearing his hat. Sadly, the hat (much like most of Uncle Adam's other possessions) did not survive into future generations. It was mysteriously destroyed in a freak accident known in family history only as "the ceiling fan incident, part one."

Great-great-great Aunt Libby insisted on having her picture taken as well. Her "hat" is probably the only *actual* heirloom in this whole post.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Growing Up

The last couple days have seen a lot of big changes around here.

First, Andrew and Adam have been taking swimming lessons for the last week and a half. We've done swimming lessons in past years, but all the kids ever seemed to learn during those lessons was how to play ring around the rosy in the water. However, something has clicked this year, and the boys are both starting to swim! I watched in amazement yesterday as Adam swam the length (well, really the width) of the indoor pool and only put a foot down once or twice! Today we went to the outdoor water park after swim lessons were over, and the boys can now go down the big slides without life jackets. (I can hear my mother sucking in her breath. Don't worry. There is a lifeguard waiting at the bottom who helps the kids swim to the edge -- much to Andrew's dismay.)

Next, Libby has been working on potty training this summer. Without going into too much detail, she's pretty much there! We've made several successful diaper-free public appearances. So today I took the step of removing the changing station from her bedroom because it looked sort of silly...

With Libby's new BIG-GIRL BED! We've had it stored in the garage for a few weeks now and finally got a new mattress over the weekend. Yesterday Libby woke up super-early and then inexplicably refused to nap all day. And I decided that it was the perfect night for FIRST NIGHT IN A BIG-GIRL BED! So we took down the crib and put up the bed.

Bye, bye, crib!

Libby in her big-girl bed! Do not ask me how long ago I bought the bedding. I've been waiting for this.

OK, let's see how this goes! Night night!

Libby did great. She fell asleep quickly and stayed in bed all night. Even better, she stayed put in the morning till I came to get her. It helps that her bed has room for a trundle underneath and is super-high. She has no idea how to get in and out yet, and I have threatened death and disfigurement to anyone who shows her. I was pretty worried about the nap today, but it went really smoothly!

It feels really strange to have all these major advances happen for all three kids in just a couple days. More than that, it feels really good to have that crib out of here!