Monday, July 31, 2006

Not enough boys

I think Landon is having a hard time being the only boy in a house full of women this week. Daddy is in Hawaii and Hayden ("Bubba," as Landon calls him) is at Granna and Pawpaw's all week, so little Landon is trying his hardest to single-handedly replenish the testosterone temporarily absent due to Daddy and Bubba's travels.

I knew he needed to get out of the house some today so we all went to pick up some school supplies. He ran from one end of the store to the other but no real damage was done so I reluctantly agreed to one more stop.

At the next store he ran, yelled, screamed, hollered, and sang at the top of his lungs. He chose to serenade the other customers and employees with a song that involves the loud screetching chorus of "JESUS! JESUS!" No, he wasn't reading my mind as I asked for divine assistance. Unfortunately, those are the only words he could remember from the "Jesus Loves Me" song, a sweet melody when sung by any other child.

He finally talked Keaton into pushing him around in a store buggy. It started innocently enough but soon escalated into his loud demands of "No! Stop! KEEKON! That way! More! More!"

We gave up, came home and had a guest drop by. Miranda, a dear friend who I hope will be gentle if she ever shares her Landon-encounter from today, was exposed to the epitome of a two year old in desperate need of a nap. He was loud, took every one of Keaton's new birthday items as his own, screamed if she dare try and retrieve them, jumped on Reagan's head, rolled over on her attempting to wrestle, and tooted so loud repeatedly that we were all embarrassed. He thought it was oh so funny.

After Miranda left (she was gracious and didn't run to the door or speed out of the drive) Landon slept for three hours. When he awoke he began all over again, each of us taking turns at trying to keep him happy. He wanted to color but ended up pouring a whole bottle of glue on the counter. We chased him after he absconded with markers and headed to my furniture. He giggled, we panted. He pooped, I attempted to clean him up but he wasn't happy with what was on TV so he wiggled, laughing as I attempted to keep us both clean. He wanted three different snacks and four cups of milk. Oh, and gum was on the list after he had exhausted all other snack options.

At 8:00 he came and sat in my lap. He snuggled and smiled and told me he loved me. He humbled me and reminded me of how thankful I am for such a wonderful gift. Thank you God for my healthy little boy who can run and sing, who enjoys playing with his sisters, who is bright and lively. Thank you God for my little one whom I can kiss and cuddle and tickle until he can't breathe. Thank you God for my little boy who, even when he smells like a wet puppy, smells so sweet that I savor the fragrance long after he walks away. Thank you God for this precious boy who misses his Daddy and his Bubba and doesn't know how to tell me. He makes me smile a million times a day, yet thinking of my feelings for him makes me cry as I type this.

Motherhood is a blessing; a frustrating, difficult, demanding job I couldn't love more.

Gettin' jiggly

Unnamed daughter: Mom, why do your arms jiggle when you drive?

Mom, hesitantly, to unnamed child: What are you talking about?

Unnamed daughter: Sometimes when you move the steering wheel kinda fast, your arms jiggle underneath.

Mom stares incredulously at child, searching for ANY words.

Other beautiful daughters jump to Mom's rescue and tell unnamed daughter she's being rude.

Unnamed daughter sheepishly sits back in her seat making a mental note NEVER to mention mom's jiggly arms again.

Mom makes a mental note to get her jiggly arms to the gym.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

To the birthday girl,

You are the sole brown hair/brown eyed child in a house full of blond hair/blue eyed children. You are unique in many ways. You can find humor when others see little and make friends when they least expect it. I look forward to watching you navigate through life and eagerly await your inevitable successes. You are so special, a true gift who is loved beyond words. You tell others, when asked your number in the family, that you are "smack dab in the middle." Know that while that may be your position in this sibling group, you will always be ahead of your peers with your kind, genuine heart. Happy birthday to my favorite nine year old.

Almost over.

Birthdays in our house aren't usually birthdays. They are usually birthweekends or in the unfortunate event that the actual birthday is on, say, a Wednesday, our children usually figure out a way of eking out at least a birthhalf-week, just to make the celebration longer than a mere day.

If you've read any of my previous posts, you've seen that Keaton was successful in turning a birthday into a whole weekend. We continued our festivities today by going to Red Robin after church. As much as she "complained" that she didn't want all the wait-staff to present her with the birthday chocolate fudge sundae and sing, rather loudly, the Happy Birthday song, Keaton "managed" to seem completely thrilled with the attention...such a convincing little actress.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

At long last...

Pawpaw thinks he may have finally found the perfect sized plate of food.

Nowitzki kiss-ki

Sutton has her life prioritized much like any normal 16 year old, I guess. Her faith is important, she is so proud of her family, and has a really nice group of friends. She's excels in school and is very dedicated to volleyball. Thankfully she's not into boys and partying...yet.

There is one relatively harmless obsession and he is pictured with her above. She and her friend, Katie, argue over who will actually marry Dirk. They've even probed their family histories to see who, in fact, had the strongest German heritage, thus making her the more proper match. The gloating over the phone was hilarious to listen to as Sutton related her German lineage to the ever defiant Katie.

Fortunately for us, this is as close as Sutton will probably ever get to Dirk because as I've explained to her, he's just too old. Mom's old school ideas have done little to diminish the ever fiery torch Sutton holds for her big German, basketball-playing crush. However, she's content at this point to take pictures with his poster and no doubt will present a big 'ole 8x10 framed copy of the kiss above for Katie's bedroom wall.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Keaton's birthday part 3...swimming!

We made our own ice cream sundaes for dinner. Not at all healthy, but Keaton is one happy little girl. What a day.

Keaton's birthday part 2

After the circus we all went for a Mexican lunch. Later, while the boys were sleeping, the girls and I took Keaton to get her ears pierced. The same little girl who was cocky and confident before entering the store, quickly became apprehensive and weepy once the ear piercing "gun" was brought out. Weepy turned into a full blown panic attack and near hyperventilation once the first ear was done and she realized she'd have to do it all again on the second ear. She would have bolted had I not knelt right in front of her and refused to allow her to go through life with one pierced ear.

She looks lovely and is so proud of BOTH her earrings.

Keaton's birthday, part 1

Keaton turns 9 years old on Sunday, Jimmy leaves for Hawaii tomorrow, so we decided to celebrate Keaton's big day today while Jimmy is still here. The plan was to begin our day with the whole family going to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus, followed by lunch, getting her ears pierced and swimming. We got up, got dressed and were all heading to the car in the garage when Jimmy told us to go to the front of the house instead.

Outside sat a limousine complete with a red carpet to take us to the circus. Keaton was beaming. And yet again the "Clampett's" went to town; only this time in style.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Alligator please?

Granna and Pawpaw came this afternoon and after my day of shopping with the girls, I was excited to hear that we were going to Pappadeaux seafood restaurant. I'm not a big seafood eater but if I don't have to cook, I'll eat just about anything; a statement spoken so boldly until we got to the restaurant and Jimmy ordered fried alligator as an appetizer for us. I felt my nose immediately crinkle, Reagan and Keaton's eyes popped and Hayden began to cry. Jimmy immediately backtracked and told him it was chicken so as not to freak him out any further.

We all tried to change the subject and focus on the bread the waitress brought. When the alligator came, Jimmy told Hayden again that it was only chicken and that he would like it. Hayden happily and naively ate several pieces and eagerly asked for more when finally the guilt overtook me and I had to rat Dad out. I explained to Hayden that what he was eating, and really liking, was actually alligator. He looked to Dad hoping Mom was the joker here but Dad admitted that it was, in fact, alligator Hayden was eating.

It was as if everything around Hayden ceased to exist. He began staring straight ahead, his little mind trying to wrap itself around such an unbelievable concept. He stared for a good 30 seconds without moving, without blinking. When he finally looked up, he said excitedly, "Dad could I have more of that good alligator?"

Reagan's (almost) Perfect Day

As I've said before, Reagan, shown here with my mother, loves clothes, shoes, accessories; basically any kind of fashion. I would say she's a typical 11 year old, pre-pubescent, but Sutton was never this way so I'm not sure which child is more characteristic of the age group. Anyway, today Reagan knows Hayden will be in school, Dad will have Landon at Pump-It-Up (an inflatable kids play zone), Sutton will be at school working out, Keaton already has her school clothes, and the grandparents coming today won't be here for a few more hours, so today would be the PERFECT day for Mom to take Reagan school clothes shopping.

The not-so-perfect part of this day for Reagan is that she knows Mom who is a self-proclaimed, borderline, anal retentive person, will not leave the house unless it's in company-ready condition in case the grandparents get here early. Stinks for her but she's a trooper and is willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve her clothes-buying goal.

So far she has swept and mopped the kitchen, cleaned the dishes, started the dishwasher, folded laundry (and put it away), cleaned her room and bathroom, AND is being nice to Keaton, a true testament to Reagan's eagerness to shop. We are accomplishing things around here.

However, I am being glared at as she walks by for being on the computer and not being dressed yet so I will go now. I know I'm dragging my feet as shopping with daughters at this age isn't always a treat.

I will cross my fingers that we will find appropriate length shorts for long-legged girls, shirts long enough to cover her lengthening torso and clearance racks filled with her size. That would make both our days perfect.

Making a bed/ making a point

Keaton to Mom: There is nothing else to do other than make your bed so I'll sit here and read until you get that done.

Mom to Keaton: Or you could help me out and go make my bed while I finish what I'm doing. That would be very helpful.

Keaton: Well, I've already made my bed so I think that's enough for me.

Mom: Okay, so when I make my dinner tonight, that'll be enough for me.

Keaton: (Gasps) I'm going right now. (runs to Mom's room)

Nice try sista.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Just look up

A dear friend of mine and a wonderful counselor, Dr. G., once told me that when things get unbearable, when your circumstances are just more than you can handle at the moment, or when you just can't make sense of things and are feeling completely lost, look up. I questioned him as to why such a simple act could ease my heart and calm my mind. His answer makes perfect sense. If you continue to look at your surroundings, you can become overwhelmed and even more distracted by what you see. If instead you choose to look up, you are looking beyond the trouble and the distractions, and you are looking toward God and putting your focus on Him, while handing Him those problems. It works beautifully.

I know how much that simple act has helped me over the years with whatever was bothering me and calmed many a storm brewing within. What I didn't expect was that the same advice would have such a practical use once I had sons.

Our girls were relatively easy to be around and, for the most part, still are. Boys, on the other hand, take a level of patience I'm still not sure God provided me. They burp, toot, wrestle, fight and tinkle on most anything. I can handle those things; I had a brother and a dad. What I have a hard time with is them taking MY things.

I have "lost" hairbrushes, combs, toothbrushes, socks, jewelry, Tupperware lids, cups, forks, spoons, my WALLET (!). All of those things were searched for and eventually found. I was okay with that...really.

The last straw came when my favorite black flip flops went missing. I searched, had the girls search, had the boys search, nothing. I had to change some outfits I packed when my mom and I went to Atlanta because I didn't have the black flip flops to match. A very "girly" problem but irritating just the same.

A week after my trip and after several more search parties came up empty, I found my beloved flipflops. They had been tossed one by one to the top of my closet, on top of my shampoo/conditioner stash. I found a chair to stand on and as I retrieved my special shoes I noticed other items our family had been missing. There were long lost socks, a sandal, a dirty pair of Spiderman underwear. What had those boys been doing?

I decided to check other areas of higher elevation in our home and was quite pleased with my discoveries. There was an errant toy on top of the buffet, a sister's earring above the medicine cabinet, the entertainment center housed a ball and a slightly used Tupperware dish while poor missing Woody-the-cowboy was perched, quite uncomfortably it seemed, atop the toilet bowl cleaner in the laundry room.

More missing items were found as I (and my step stool) made our way through the house. I thought I had rescued all unaccounted for objects and was feeling quite glib until several days later I noticed a putrid odor oozing from my closet. Evidently during my previous investigation I failed to notice the hidden sippy cup on the top shelf thrown behind the deodorant. It was full of a little boy's milk from many days before.

Dr. G was right. I will continue to look up when faced with difficulties in my life. However, now it's so nice to know that in the process of handing those problems over to God, I might just luck out while peering up and find that tube of under eye cream I KNOW Landon had last week.

Track Club is over

Keaton, who aspires to couch-potato status, must be kept busy and away from any TV at all times or her mind turns to complete mush. In hopes of occupying her idle time in the summer, we signed her and Reagan up for Track Club...for the whole summer. Reagan was thrilled and each night would pick out her clothes for the following day's activities at the track.

Keaton has growled at me each day as I drive her to track and after 2 hours in the Texas heat, it has become overwhelming evident to me that she is ready to trade me in on a better Mommy model. One smile did sneak out of her the day she informed me that the coaches had assigned designated "vomit spots" around the track that were in essence places where the kids could throw up so as not to cause potentially stinking blobs of up-chuck the kids would then have to run around. She definitely has a unique sense of humor.

The second smile came today when track club was officially over. When I asked her if she was glad she was through, her reply was shocking. She said, "I'm kinda sad. I'm gonna miss my friends. I hope I'm not gonna get bored." Reagan, of course, is planning next year's track club schedule. She's our perky one who finds joy in most everything.

The girls stayed busy for a couple of hours each day. They stayed healthy and fit, drank lots of water and made many new friends. They even participated in a track meet. Granted, as Reagan competed, Keaton held an umbrella like a pro to stay out of the sun, but she was there and had fun; even if it was just playing cards with her new friends.

Maybe next year I can sign all the kids up for track club. The boys would definitely enjoy the vomit-dodging.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Overheard in the backseat

Hayden: You can eat snow

Landon: Huh?

Hayden: You can eat snow?

Landon: What?

Hayden: LANDON! I said, "You can eat snow!" It's just water. Right Mom?

Landon: Oh.

Hayden: It's not dirty water like bathtub water. It's like glass water. It tastes good. I tasted it when I was three. Right Mom?

Landon: Three?

Hayden: Yep. Maybe when you grow up and are three you can taste it too. It's clean.

Landon: Oh.

Here I go.

After reading blogs for over a year now and being encouraged regularly by several friends, I have decided to take the plunge and blog. My purpose here is nothing more than to chronicle some of the goings-on in a busy family with five active kids. I'm really good at taking photos of the kids and our family activities; however, I am TERRIBLE at printing those pictures out and putting them into albums, and I'm even worse at documenting funny things said. I've failed Mom 101 as far as keeping baby books up to date so I guess I'm hoping this blog will ease some Mommy-guilt and allow me to redeem myself, if even the slightest.

My family is what matters to me and will, in all probability, be the only theme of this blog. My husband and I have 5 children. Our oldest, Sutton (16), will be a junior in high school when school begins in a few weeks. She is driving and we are surviving. She plays volleyball for school and for a club so we spend many hours in gyms across the country. She also has a part-time job at "the ice cream store," as the younger kids call it, and we all love to visit her there.

Reagan (11) is entering 6th grade and is our little fashion maven who regularly chooses her siblings' attire and comments, often unsolicited, on my choice of clothing. I just remind her that I'm old and she usually leaves with a sigh. She also plays volleyball and is turning into a pretty good little singer.

Keaton (almost 9) will enter 3rd grade in a few weeks. She will be attending a new school where she will wear uniforms and thankfully she is as excited as I am. School shopping was a breeze with her. She loves volleyball, is the family comedian and our resident drama queen.

Hayden (5) will begin kindergarten soon. He's quite the handful who is all into superheroes and antagonizing his little brother. We've kept him in school all summer so his very active mind and body could stay productive and out of really worked, most of the time.

Landon (2) is the baby of the bunch. He's all boy who must be supervised at all times. He loves anything his big brother loves and will do anything his big brother does. They are quite the team of destroyers. Landon has discovered swimming, or rather jumping like a madman from the diving board whether anyone is there to catch him or not.