Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We Got Bunk Beds

The boys are thrilled! We got bunk beds for their room. We've actually had them for about two weeks now, but I didn't get the pictures downloaded until now so I didn't share our exciting news. The boys all helped Daddy put them together and even though it took three times as long that way, they all have this sense of ownership and pride now and love their new beds. With all three boys in the same bedroom, they are having a blast with these beds. The first night that they slept in them, I was tucking them in and Stephen whispered to me, "Mommy!" I came over to hear him. "This is fun!" he said. I kissed him good night and whispered back, "I'm so glad!"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Night Out

Warning: this post will be quite boring to some readers, but to me, it is my life.

I got to go out tonight ... alone. I needed to run to one of the super-giant stores to replenish some supplies and I got to go alone! We only have one working vehicle right now and Fred needs it for work, so I've pretty much been at home day in and day out for several weeks now. The only exception is the weekends when we do things together as a family. But we came to the end of a lot of supplies here and I needed to go get some shopping done.

Since Fred offered to get the boys off to bed, I decided to really enjoy myself and browse the aisles tonight. Wow. I didn't even know that Canada had some of these items now! I usually only have time to grab and go - not actually compare different items! We needed some bars of soap so I decided to check out all the other scents of body wash while I was there. Vanilla Jasmine. Waterlily and Fresh Mint. Something and Cocoa. Hmmm. Too many to choose from, so I left that section empty handed. Next stop: toilet paper. Double roll. Triple roll. Extra quilted. Cashmere. Fresh scent. Satin texture. Sigh. Once again, too many types to comprehend, so just choose the same old, same old and move on. It went on like this through my whole shopping list. There was ample time to check out all the varieties of products, but since I was used to just product recognition and grabbing what I knew I wanted and running to the next item, I didn't know how to handle looking at all the options. It became so overwhelming that I just paid for my stuff and left!

While I love to have time to myself, and while I do love looking around at all my options while shopping, I must say that overall, shopping is not for me! It's not relaxing. It's not pleasurable. It's not really satisfying except that it is a break from my monotonous routine. I had a nice night out tonight in that I didn't have to worry about putting the boys to bed and going through the fuss that generally occurs around bedtime, but I have to say that I was glad to come home and have that shopping experience behind me. AND ... it was almost quiet when I got home, so it really was worth having a night out!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Humbled Again By My Son

I was working in the kitchen today when Stephen came and stood quietly next to me. I glanced down at him and he said in a barely audible voice, "Mommy, remember the other night when you told us not to put any leaves down the drain in your bathtub? Well, I put one down there and I didn't tell you the truth."

(Brief explanation here: we have an ivy plant growing next to the tub and I caught the boys pulling leaves off of it during their bath the other night. Most of the leaves were scooped out, but I saw a few still floating when I let the water out of the tub, hence the warning not to put any leaves down the drain. I had asked if they had put any down there and he told me no.)

Wow. My heart melted and I sat down on a chair and scooped him up in my arms. My little five-year-old boy had been tormented by this lie for the past few days and was trembling because he just wanted to tell me the truth! I held him and hugged him and reassured him that I loved him even more for confessing this to me because I knew it was not an easy thing for him. I told him that he did an honorable thing by telling me about it instead of holding onto a lie and that God was pleased with his truth. He sat there hugging me with his head on my shoulder not saying anything, but it was so obvious that his little burden had been lifted by confessing his sin to me.

Once again, my perspective was flipped over to see what God sees when we confess our sins to Him! He doesn't scream and yell and call us all kinds of names and push us away or reject us or anything else that we are afraid He might do! No! He scoops us up, sooths us with His voice in our ear, holds us close and forgives us! I tried to convey to Stephen that if he would have told me the truth right away, he wouldn't have had to worry about this the past few days. Same goes for me! I hesitate to confess an attitude or a wrong thought or even an action to the Lord because I'm ashamed or think He won't be pleased with me any more. How wrong can I be? He loves me even more than I loved my son when he finally broke down and confessed! It would be so much easier to come to Him immediately to make things right again, just like for Stephen.

I have been humbled and taught a valuable lesson from my son, once again.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Fred!

Today, 48 years ago, on a beautiful spring day, you were born. You were the sixth child (out of eleven total), but your mom's letter to Tante Lene that day showed that she loved you as if you were her first and only!

When we were first married, we started a tradition when we were on long trips in the car that continues even now. We would list at least 10 things that we loved about each other and usually our lists would expand and continue for the six, eight or even twelve hours that we would have together. We're on a lifelong journey together, Honey, so I want to list some of the things that I love about you today as a birthday tribute to you. This list is only the beginning of what I love, and as usual, they are in no particular order of importance!
* That you ask God's opinion before you ask anyone else's
* When you tell the boys goofy, mixed-up stories to make them laugh
* You bring home a single rose for me "just because"
* That you love having people over as much as I do
* Saturday mornings are always adventures with the boys
* You love to travel
* Your gentleness
* You know the Scriptures!
* You don't mind scrambled eggs and toast for supper
* When you pick out a DVD from the library to watch, you often pick a chick flick because you know I'll love it!
* You love helping people with their computer problems
* You are sooo pun-ny!
* It's against your nature to complain
* You are an excellent salesman
* You love me despite my emotional outbursts at times
* You are very forgiving
* You love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength
*Your memory is astounding, especially when pulling up phrases to songs from your past
* You love me!
to be continued on a regular basis with you...

Happy Birthday, Fred! I love you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And Thoughts From Timothy

Stephen was really annoying Timothy at lunch time. He kept teasing him and laughing at him for some reason. I wasn't really paying attention to their bantering, until I heard Timothy say, "Stephen!! You're so ... so ... soooo .... English!"

I'm not sure what he meant by that, and I'm not going to ask.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thoughts From Stephen

This morning, sitting on the couch, Stephen says, "Mommy, did you know that if you walked on the ceiling and stepped out the door, you'd fall right into Heaven?" Think about it ...

In the van on the way home today he asked, "Mommy, how many days have you been a lady?" (chuckle, chuckle, chuckle) When I repeated this story to our friend Dan tonight, he responded, "I guess that depends on what age you considered yourself to have matured." I think it's best we don't touch this subject. Sometimes I don't feel like I've reached that point of maturity yet!

After the question of my "lady days", Stephen asked how many more days until his anniversary. I asked, "You mean your birthday?" (We had just counted those on the calendar yesterday and I didn't think he'd forget it that soon!) No, he meant his anniversary. You know, the day he gets married! Trying not to giggle too loudly, I told him it all depended on if or when God wanted him to get married. Only God knows that number. Thankfully he accepted that and didn't persist in getting me to give him a number.

I never cease to be amazed at his brain!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Sharp Knife

Bear with me as I try to verbalize the analogy that has been going on in my head today. It's been a long and way-too-busy week and my thinking isn't exactly streamlined right now.

I was cutting carrots today for our lunch tomorrow (no, I will NOT forget to turn off the stove this time!!) and the analogy of sharp knives kept running through my mind. This knife that I was using was sooooo dull! I would try to cut the carrot and the whole thing would split into chunks instead of nice, smooth circles. After fighting this for about a half a carrot, I started to think that maybe my knife needed sharpening (do you think maybe?). This was one of those times that I wished I could run over to Grandma's and ask her how to use the sharpening stone that she always used on her knives. Instead, I tried to remember how to use my sharpening rod that came with my knife block. I did what I thought I remembered seeing one time when I actually looked up a demonstration on the Internet to make sure I was doing it right. It didn't seem much sharper, but wow! When I finished cutting those carrots it was a breeze! The knife slid so smoothly and quickly and I wished I had attempted sharpening that knife ages ago!

In comes my attempted analogy. God's word is SHARPER than a two-edged sword. My one-edged "sword" was pretty dull at first, until I sharpened it. I started to wonder if sometimes when I'm not keeping up with the maintenance of my "sword", if I start to get dull, too. Do I spend more time messing around with good Christian literature or listening to sermons or reading commentaries instead of going straight to that sharp, two-edged Sword that I start to lose my potential? If I would keep in contact with my two-edged Sword, would I be more effective?

Then I moved on in my mental analogy of another verse that popped into my mind. Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17. How thankful I am for my friends who help sharpen me, and I them. We need each other in order to be effective. If I lived in a safe little cocoon and didn't interact with my friends, how could I be sharpened? I'd be making more of a mess, like those carrots that kept breaking apart, than making something beautiful and useful. What a great verse! All the more reason to hang out with my friends, right?

So there are my thoughts for today. I'm sure they could be deeper and more correctly analyzed, but this is what I can offer at 11:00pm after a week of doctor appointments, document signing at the lawyer's to finalize the sale of a business, consultations with an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor for a little boy, a field trip, lab work, an eye exam, looking at a bunkbed for the boys, grocery shopping with the whole family (Yes, that needs to be included in the "stressful" list!), a Watkins party, and the general clean-up after a week that's normal schedule was non-existent. I had to laugh at my doctor this week when she asked if there was anything stressful going on in my life at this time. I just laughed and then said, "Nothing out of the ordinary." Gotta go sharpen my sword!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Analyzing "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything"

Are you familiar with "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything"; the ones who "stay at home and lie around"? Out of the blue yesterday Stephen said, "Veggie Tales is wrong. How can those pirates not do anything when they DO do something?! They stay at home and lie around so they ARE doing something! That song is wrong."

Hmmmm. Something to think about from the brain of a four-year-old.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cleaning for Company

Cleaning for company?! Why bother?! We were expecting guests this past weekend for the baptism weekend at church so naturally I thought it would be best to clean before they came. Sigh. Once again I say, "Why bother?!"

Stephen found out that Levi and Jaden and their parents were coming six days before they were to arrive. This was good in that he kept informing his younger brothers that our friends were coming and they all needed to keep the house clean. The boys would run around and do a "toy toss" (put all their toys in their respective places) and not fifteen minutes later, another whole gamut of toys would be strewn across the house!

Friday I was trying to clean the living room and as I was involved with that, Christopher was involved in completely emptying out the storage cabinet (which is USUALLY locked) in the kitchen. He had pulled out every coloring book, dumped every crayon, pulled out the playdough and the playdough apparatus, scattered the entire box of craft supplies which included paint brushes, stamps, scissors, pompom balls of various sizes and colors, glitter bottles, popcicle sticks, etc, etc. I didn't know what to do about the overwhelming mess, so I cried, and then I sat down next to him and put it all back while he screamed in my ear. (Oh, did I mention that before he emptied the cabinet, he also emptied the Tupperware drawer and put everything on the table because he heard that company was coming and he wanted to help set the table for supper.)

After muttering around and finally getting everything back into the cabinet, it was time for me to tackle the kitchen. I swept up enough crumbs to make a meal, and Christopher decided to see if he could get a meal out of it. He tried to pick out all the Cheerios and pretzel chunks and anything else that looked interesting. He also decided to help me by taking his broom and promptly sweeping away my pile! When I finally got to washing the floor, he decided to follow me around and smear the damp floor with his hands, like the finger painting we had done a few days earlier.

I must say that by Friday night (Tim and Violet were arriving early Saturday morning), the house looked great! I was proud of the boys for helping me so much and for Fred who did a lot of the last minute things to get our house in order and of myself for managing this whole experience without going nuts-o.

But back to my original question...Cleaning for company? Why bother?! We were gone at the Farmer's Market most of the morning and by 2:30 when we got home, somehow this pristine home was immediately returned to it's original state of chaos. How did this happen?! Well, I guess having five little boys all under the age of five running around had something to do with it, don't you think?

The good news is that our guests' family is just like ours. We believe that it's important to have a presentable home, but it's even more important to make sure our guests are welcomed and comfortable and that our children are happy and safe. Tim and Violet, your family is always welcome here, and do feel free to swipe the toys off the chairs and brush the crumbs onto the floor before you sit down. Put your feet up (but please, don't wear white socks) and let's have a good time! If I remember, I'll even pull out the vacuum cleaner before you come, because after all, you are company! Thanks for the great weekend! We hope you come again soon!