Thursday, August 31, 2006

Where'd she go?

Between volleyball practice, games, tournaments, school, and her work at the ice cream store, we don't get to see Sutton much. I was so glad another mom sent me these pictures from the last few games. (Thanks Janet!)

She loves the sport and it keeps her out of trouble. Check out #13...we think she's pretty fabulous.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Learning the ropes

Landon (walking up to mom with a mouth full of something): "Hi, Mommy!"

Mom (suspicious at his friendliness, especially since Daddy's gone and Landon is never happy about that.): "Hi, Landon. What's in your mouth?"

Landon: "Nuffin."

Mom: "Something is in your mouth. What is it?

Landon (barely able to speak, his mouth so full): "Gum."

Mom: "Where did you get gum?"

Landon: "Up dere." (pointing to a top cabinet in the kitchen...ugh.)

Mom: "You are not supposed to get up there, Landon. And it looks to be a whole lot more than a single piece of gum. How many pieces of gum are in your mouth?"

Landon (holding up his fingers): "Two."

Mom: "That is more than two pieces of gum."

Landon: "Daddy said so."

Mom: "Dad said you could have gum?"

Landon (gesturing largely with drool running down his chin): "Yes, a whole bunch !"

I think he learned that trick from his brother.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Standard procedures

Homework is an interesting time in our household. Each child's homework routine is as unique as the child.

Sutton likes to do her homework quickly, as soon as she gets home, and often days in advance. She will worry and brood until the assignment is complete and turned in.

Reagan will talk about the homework, the teacher who assigned the homework, the friends in her class in which she received her homework, and what snack she could have until she actually begins the homework.

Keaton will refuse to believe she has homework, but once convinced, we have to follow certain rules. We have to turn off any and all artificial sounds in the house. She has to have her papers in front of her, her pencil sharpened, the directions read and re-read to her. And you better watch out if she makes a mistake because her frustration is venomous.

Hayden has to have a "helper" of some sort with him for every second he is working. He wants to do his homework as he sings the Jimmy Neutron song (or any other song he can think of at the time), tattles on friends at school, inquires time and again about dinner, complains about his brother, and corrects his helper who is often armed with several advanced degrees.

Landon loves homework time more than any other time of day. He gets to do what everyone else is doing and feels very successful. His favorite task is, "Mommy, me write you name?" He does a beautiful job of it, too.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Trouble ahead

This morning before he left for school, I went over Hayden's graded work with him from last week. He had 100's on every paper but one, where he missed a single problem.

I showed him the graded paper and explained that he missed that math problem because he hadn't circled the correct number of ducks. He was supposed to circle seven ducks and he only circled six.

Mom: "Do you see why you missed that problem?"

Hayden (defiantly): "No."

Mom: "Well, you didn't circle the correct number of ducks."

Hayden (more defiantly): "Yes, I did."

Mom (pointing to the ducks individually): "No, babe, you were supposed to circle seven ducks and you only circled six., two, three, four, five, six and seven."

Hayden: (silence)

Mom: "Do you see now why the teacher marked that problem incorrect?"

Hayden: "No."

Mom: (heavy sigh, knowing stubbornness was rearing it's ugly head.)

Hayden: "She's wrong."

Mom: "Who's wrong, Hayden?"

Hayden: "That teacher. She's wrong. That answer was right and she said it was wrong. So I'm right and she's wrong."

Good luck with that one, smart boy. Mrs. Constance is gonna love the taste of you.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Roughin' it

Within an hour of our upstairs unit going out, the house was uninhabitable. We packed quickly and were ready to go when Jimmy arrived from Florida.

We had a penthouse suite on the top floor of our hotel that gave everyone a place to sit and luxuriate in the coolness for a couple of hours. We popped popcorn and were able to partake in the complimentary snacks.

We talked about going out for dinner, but the thought of going back into the heat was very unappealing. We chose to eat downstairs in the hotel restaurant so as to enjoy uninterrupted coolness.

Per our normal Clampet mind set, we had a coupon for "Buy 2 adult entrees, Get 3 kid's meals free." Neither the waitress nor the restaurant manager had ever seen that particular coupon, but begrudgingly honored it. Sutton said the restaurant probably never had to worry about it before because, really, how many people bring five kids in there? True.

Swimming was next on the agenda. Fortunately, the pool was indoors with a hot tub. And yes, as crazy as it sounds, and believe me, I heard about it, I spent all of my time in the hot tub. It just felt good.

When we thought they were all good and tired, we took the kids back to the room. Landon, seen above, had his portable DVD player so he could listen to his Wiggles while the rest of us didn't have to.

We ordered room service dessert, shown below, that luckily, ended up being comped because they lost our order. In our Clampet world, free is good. We went to bed stuffed, cool and happy.

Jimmy met the AC guy back at our house at 6:00am this morning to get the downstairs unit working. Still no luck on the upstairs unit that has run non-stop for the past 11 days, trying to cool the whole house. It's burned out and tired. We are on the schedule again for 6:00am tomorrow in hopes of repairing the second unit.

Until then, looks like all the kids will be sleeping downstairs with us. No penthouse suite, swimming pool or room service here. But things are looking good for visiting Sutton at work later for half-price ice cream.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Runnin' away

The AC guy came this morning but can't seem to fix it. He will be back tomorrow morning at 6:00am when it's cool enough to go into the attic and do some more checking. Evidently 140 degrees in our attic makes it a little too warm to concentrate...we'll wait until morning so as not to kill the poor guy.

11 days and counting. This is not fun. The high today is estimated at 103.

Now that there doesn't seem to be any air at all blowing upstairs either, we are outta here. We can't live in this heat for the rest of the evening and sleeping in this oven tonight isn't an option. I'm throwing in the towel. We are headed to a hotel; complete with a swimming pool, free breakfast, and all the AC we can stand.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Parental progress

We made it to school with time to spare this morning, allowing Hayden to complete his before-school tasks. He is required to carry his own backpack into school and to place it on his hook in the classroom. Unknowingly, Jimmy had helped him one morning and Mrs. Constance, shown at left, quickly set Jimmy straight, telling him that Hayden's family already needed some work; that those were Hayden's responsibilities and Dad needed to stand back. Jimmy says he got the first failing grade of the school year. The verbal lashing also rendered Hayden's stunned dad speechless, a highly unusual state for those of you not familiar with the obvious extrovert.

This morning I was cautious, especially after our near-tardiness of yesterday. Hayden carried his backpack, placed it on the hook and then preceded to fret that he needed to get his desk ready before chapel, a necessary task I was unaware of. I instinctively went to help him and then quickly thought better of it, as Mrs. Constance might be lurking about and I didn't want the second failing grade of the school year. I stood close by only to have Hayden proclaim, "Stand back, Mom. This is my besponsibility."


We hesitantly walked into chapel were Mrs. Constance was already lining every child up. Hayden sat down but she wanted him to move further to the left. He moved quickly, without blinking. (If I had asked him to move, he'd still be sitting in the wrong place.) The lady demands an immediate, correct response.

I watched as she also gave Keaton some specific directions without even a hint of a smile. Keaton, too, unwilling to tangle with such a formidable figure, scampered, hoping to promptly remove herself from the center of attention.

Landon and I turned and began to sneak out when I hear, "Excuse me! Excuse me!" My heart skipped a beat as I tried to convince myself that the voice wasn't Mrs. Constance and she wasn't talking to me.

"Excuse me!" the voice seemed closer and more stern.

I turned with a smile, hoping to disarm this teacher-on-a-mission while running through a mental checklist of any possible Mrs. Constance rule infractions.

I think I forgot to breathe as she came up to me in her business as usual demeanor, leaving the whole grade school teacherless. This must be bad.

"Mrs. Jones, I just wanted to tell you...," (I brace myself for the uncertain, definitely unsavory, message to follow), "...what an outstanding job Hayden is doing."

Huh? For real? My Hayden who screams and hollars and refused to learn his Bible memory verse last night, and balked at completing his homework until I bribed him with chocolate chip cookies. (I know, I'm a pathetic excuse for a mother with that move.)

I think I responded to her and thanked her for the unexpected compliment. I'm not sure, though, as I had to wait several minutes for the blood to return to my brain and the strength to return to my knees.

Mrs. Constance was nice to me. I can't wait to tell Jimmy that he still has the only failing grade of the school year.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I am thankful that... less than 48 hours my air conditioner guy comes to fix the AC. (Notice how I haven't been whining the past couple of days about the suffocatingly, miserable heat in my home that we've been dealing with for nine, long, agonizing days...see, I've spared're welcome.)

...Jimmy made it to Orlando FL safely after several frustrating delays.

...God created Pop Tarts. I know, I know...they are not healthy. They are, however, devoured quite efficiently by small children while their mother dresses and they leave a relatively clean eating environment.

...we weren't late to chapel this morning. I'm thankful for this because after trying to dress a couple of little boys who wouldn't hold still, fixing everyone's hair, and dealing with bumper-to-bumper school traffic, we were so close to being late that we were all four, (Keaton, Hayden, Landon, and I) running like crazy to make sure Keaton and Hayden were seated before the pledge started. Fear sets in because Mrs. Constance, Hayden's kindergarten teacher whom all parents fear, won't hesitate to reprimand us all. As I ran in, I got several knowing glances from other parents, panting and fresh off their own 50 yard dashes, hoping to side-step any possible unpleasant Mrs. Constance encounters. Target has a Starbucks.

...Landon, who had already drunk his icee and had sneakily absconded with my favorite indulgence, only spilled the last third of said Frappacino in the seat of my car. "Thankful?" you ask. Yes, because there just happened to be a sweatshirt in the floorboard I was able to use to clean up the mess while driving. Catastrophe averted.

...the spill required me to clean out the floorboard of the suburban and I found, a sock, several french fries, an open peppermint glued to the carpet, half a cup of juice, and 12 little boy cars. Thankful? Yes, there was no old dirty diaper, no dried vomit in the car seat, and yes, both have been found before.

...we had a couple of drops (no, really, it was only a couple of drops) of rain this morning that kept the sun at bay and allowed a 2 1/2 year old boy, who has been cooped up in the house for weeks, some outside time to get his wiggles out. I think he was a little shocked and not sure where to begin, so the poor kid chased a wasp screaming, "Come here fly!" We've got some work to do, I think.

...even when he's driving his Little People car (as seen above), Landon refuses to pull out of the garage without his seat belt on.

...I have two Zingers left. Jimmy got them at the Hostess day-old bakery and they are a piece of heaven. Unfortunately, having only two left means I ate the other 8 as I've been hiding them and no one else knew where they were. I'm still thankful though; fat and thankful.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Responses may vary

Mom to Sutton: How was your day?

Sutton: Good. I think I got 100 on my first quiz in Algebra II. Ummmm...I think that's about it.

Mom to Keaton: How was your day?

Keaton: It was bad. I hurt my leg.

Mom to Hayden: How was your day?

Hayden: Good. I'm hungry. What's for dinner.

Mom to Landon: How was your day?

Landon: Good. Mommy hab a good day?

Mom to Reagan (hesitantly and trying not to grimace): How...was your day?

Reagan: Oh, I had the best day EVER! I got a 100 on my quiz. We don't get our PE lockers for a while yet even though the 7th grade got theirs in March! Can you believe that? A boy kept tooting really loud (and it was really stinky) in my science class today and he got told by the sub (who is the same one we had at CES, remember Mom?) to go to the bathroom AND he got a d-hall. Oh and we, you know, my four friends and I, have made a new club named D.A.R.T.H. by using the first letters of all our names. I think we need to get matching Star Wars shirts. Wouldn't that be cool Mom? Do you want me to take private voice lessons at school? The teacher said it was $16.50 and I told him I didn't know if you would go for that. Oh, and today I totally forgot my lunch at home so I had to get in this REALLY looooong line in the cafeteria and then my friend came by and said, "Do you want to stand with me to the other line?" and I said, "Oh my gosh I didn't realize I was in the pay more line!" You know the one where you have to buy everything individually and so you have to pay more. So I went to the other line and got frito pie, baked potato, fruit, bread AND a chocolate milk for $2.00! I only had a few minutes to eat my food so I won't be forgetting my lunch tomorrow, that's for sure! I really wish I could get some more bermuda shorts because that walk home is killer. I need to call Whitney and see if she made the 7th grade volleyball team. Oh and guess what!? What are we doing October 7th? Because I got invited to go see that Blue Guy group and I don't even have to pay anything because Allie's parents got the tickets and they said she could invite one person and I was it!

Editorial note: I don't make this stuff up.

Two little red-heads

Jimmy, Landon and I got to visit with our new niece, Dayden (Landon's hair-twin), I spoke about a few weeks back. With all of his siblings and cousins around then, Landon didn't get to hold her--much to his disappointment. This time he was the only child so he got to do it "ALL BY MESELF!"

Daddy helped him when Landon was a little apprehensive about holding her hand. Later, their mutual adoration shown through.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

You know it's hot when...

You put on makeup in the morning only to watch it slide down your face.

Cleaning up the living room sends you immediately to find a towel to sop up your wet spots.

The iron is almost hot enough before you turn it on to iron the clothes.

You haven't used the "hot" water in a shower for six days because the "cold" water is warm enough.

Your willing to risk the inevitable ridicule you will sustain by wearing shorts and showing your white legs.

You can't put your laptop on your lap because the heat from it is agonizing.

The kids are tripping over each other to get to school each morning because it's cooler there.

You look forward to the return of those cool, breezy days in the 90's.

You have fantasy dreams about your 76 year old AC guy.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Blistering, sizzling, sweltering, and just plain HOT!

Hayden's expression in this picture depicts fairly accurately the collective mood in our house without air conditioning. The temperature on my suburban said it was 106 degrees outside just before we walked in and it's only 1:00pm--it will get hotter this afternoon.

We are on our fifth day without AC and tempers are flaring. I admit I'm probably the biggest culprit. But as someone who hates loud, continuous noise, these box fans screaming hot air at me, attempting to rival The Wiggles, or Barney, or whatever stupid wonderfully educational TV show happens to be on at the time, blaring their disgustingly happy tunes across this desert we call a living room, is definitely bringing out the witch grump in me. Can you tell?

We get in the car and drive around just to cool off. I've stuck my head in the fridge a time or two. I set the margarine out this morning and within minutes it had melted in the tub. We try not to move around too much and conserve our energy; so while the heat is making the grown-ups lethargic, I swear it's like an adrenaline shot to the kids. The boys, especially, run around sporting nothing more than underwear and wet heads, happy as clams.

Jimmy, Landon and I went to Plano today to pick up a new compressor and some other parts and now we have to wait for the AC guy to make room for us in his schedule to fix the unit. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week. (What's his problem!!?) I know he's busy. Until then, we will continue to sleep with four fans pointed directly on us at night, wearing as little as possible and not moving.

I am currently enjoying the peaceful, yet steamy, quiet of no box fan noise and no TV. I prefer the silence rather than a luke-warm breeze at the moment anyway. Tonight, however, if I have to listen to the fans and Sesame Street, I will try to keep from attacking speaking very strongly to our two littlest, underwear-clad, wet-haired, Big Bird admirers, who are probably just as sick of in love with their grumpy mommy as she is with them.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A little help from his friends

Sometimes a boy needs a bit of reassurance. While adjusting to his new "Big Boy Bed," this little one needed Grover, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster to drift off to dream land. If you look carefully, you can also spot a pig and a cow sitting atop his tummy.

Evidently, his new bed is a little less scary with these buddies around.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Reagan, shown here with my father, loves to ask questions. Actually, she just loves to talk, to chat, to debate, to dialogue, to keep a person interested in something, ANYTHING, she wants to discuss; no matter what the circumstances.

I took the little chatterbox with me to Sutton's five volleyball matches in the last 24 hours; just Reagan and me, in the car, in the stands, back in the car, back in the stands, eating breakfast, back in the car, back in the get the picture. LOTS of Reagan/Mom bonding.

She loves individual Mommy-time and she deserves it. But if there is a lull in the conversation, she is going to find a way to fill that void. Actually, there doesn't even have to be a lull in the conversation, she has a need to be heard and makes sure she is.

Our time together has been spent like this:

Questions #1-#500 The first volleyball match
Included questions such as:
"Where's Sutton?"
"What's that girl's name?"
"What happened?"
"Does my hair look funny?"
"Could I buy some bottled water?"
"Feel my hands."
"Are we home or visitors?"
"Who is #4?"

Questions #501-#1000 The second volleyball match
Included questions such as:
"Did you see that guy?"
"Are we going to eat here?"
"Who is #8?"
"How tall do you think that girl is?"
"If we win, what happens?"
"Are we home or visitors?"
"Did you see that?"
"You think Whitney will be here soon?"

Questions #1001-#1500 The third volleyball match
Included questions such as:
"Where is that Tro-han team from?"
"What's a Tro-han?" (Actually, they were the Trojans...she was not sure about that "j" sound.)
"What's so funny?"
"You sure I can't buy any bottled water?"
"Okay, okay, but where is the water fountain?"
"Are we home or visitors?
"What is that referee saying?"
"When I play volleyball, will you come too?"

Questions #1501-#2000 The fourth volleyball match
Included questions such as:
"Are you cold?"
"When will Whitney get here?"
"Are we home or visitors?"
"Was that too loud?"
"Did you eat breakfast?"
"Who is #21?"
"Did we just serve?"
"Did you see my blister?"

Questions #2001-#2500 The fifth volleyball match
Included questions such as:
"Where's our libero?"
"Are we home or visitors?"
"Did I step on your foot?"
"Did Sutton hit that one?"
"Does my hair look okay?"
"Are we doing anything tonight?"
"May I go play with Morgan?
"Is it over already?"

Questions #2600-Please make it stop! The ride home
Included questions such as:
"Are you okay?"
"Do you feel sick?"
"Why aren't you saying much?"
"When do we go back?"
"Are you sure you feel okay?"
"Want me to change the radio station?"
"Is it time for lunch?"
"I know quiet is good. I don't talk too much, do I?"

But she'll never have to ask if I love her, 'cause I do...questions and all.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The good news is...

...our air conditioning guy came. The bad news is that he can't fix it.

We'll know more next week when the warranty people get back with us.

On a happier note, I know I promised Keaton I would take no more back-to-school pictures, but I couldn't help it. She looks too cute:

Reagan walked into the house from her bus stop today (in the 105 degree heat), but she's still chipper!

And this is what I discover if I ever turn my back on the two-year old. He found a stool, stepped onto the kitchen counter, opened the cabinet door, and searched through the cups; hoping to help himself to some juice.

His newest, and most emphatic request is, "Do it me-self!" And he does.

It's hot

It was 104 degrees here yesterday, on it's way to 105 today. We didn't have air conditioning all day yesterday or last night. The AC man will be here at 11:00.

What made it all worse is that we didn't have cable all evening. No big deal since we don't watch TV during the week, but I had no internet access.

Take away my AC, take away my food, you can even have a kid or two-but please don't take my internet!

(Okay, I was kidding about taking a kid or two; I really kind of like them.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

All alone...ahhhhh

Jimmy got home last night so my morning ran much smoother with the extra set of hands. He even makes breakfast and changes diapers so I really have it easy.

Reagan has to be at her bus stop by 7:10 so she left by 7:00. I realized about 7:03 that she'd left her lunch and I drove it to her. She asked me to please not leave her at the bus stop though, as an "older" boy was the only one there (7th grade) and she was too embarrassed. I waited with her until a girlfriend showed up, then all was well. She was so busy girl-talking that she didn't even notice me telling her goodbye and blowing kisses. I'll bet I looked pretty stupid talking to myself and sending flying kisses out the window to no recipient.

Sutton was the next to leave. She provided me a stack of papers to go through and sign, a request for a check for tennis shoes she has to have for the volleyball team, a quick run down of last night's matches that were out of town, a kiss on the head, and then she was gone. She didn't get home until long after I went to bed last night. I miss her.

Oh, she did squeeze in a funny story about how the school has her name spelled wrong on the main roster sent to all teachers. In her first class, they had a substitute teacher. When the sub was calling role, he kept calling, "Sutto. Sutto." No one was answering, so he said it louder and louder until Sutton realized she was Sutto; they had left off the "n." The same thing followed in her next two classes; "Sutto. Sutto." She got smart and mentioned it ahead of time to the final few teachers. Many classes had a laugh at her expense.

Keaton and Hayden allowed me one more day of pictures; "Then that's it, Mom." I evidently put our two subjects in the wrong part of the room as Daddy said to put them in front of the piano (his first baby; his pride and joy), but he had to move the flowers because "they don't match the kids' outfits;" an obvious jab at me and my condemnation of his clothing choices (No, honey, for the millionth time, you can't wear striped pants with your Hawaiian shirt). This is his reward for picking on me:

Please notice his color choices. Do you see why I check his clothes before he leaves the house? And doesn't he look sweet with those pretty pink flowers? (Don't mess with me, buddy. I have a camera and a blog!)

Hayden and Keaton suffered through one more photo session. Landon, who was not going to be left out, soon joined the fun.

Jimmy took Hayden and Keaton to school and invited Landon along to go with him to a doctor's appointment.

I'm here alone. There is no TV on and all I hear is the sound of this computer. I'm trying to decide what to do with myself. I could clean the kitchen, but that's no fun. I could start the mounds of dirty laundry piled in the laundry room, but that can be done later.

I think I'll take a myself, with no two year old with his face pressed to the glass supervising me, squeezing toothpaste on the shower door, or forcing me to dodge the balls he has currently discovered he can launch over the top of the shower. Who knows, I may even have time to shave my legs before the boys return. A real shower with time for soap and a razor? That would be the real treat.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I know I'm a little biased...

but these are some cute kids!

The school bell (FINALLY!) rang

This morning actually began last night. I had everyone's clothes ironed, lunches made, backpacks packed, little bodies bathed, jammies on and most of the kids in bed by 7:30.

I was feeling pretty cocky. All I had left to do was make sure Sutton got herself ready for today (she's 16, so there's not much she'll even let me do), and get Landon to sleep. I wasn't worried. In fact, I was looking forward to an early bedtime myself.

Three hours later, Landon was still awake and very fussy; not wanting to sleep in his new "Big Boy Bed." We've had such a time getting him to stay upstairs in his bunk bed with Hayden that we bought him a toddler bed that we put next to our bed downstairs.

The first night he stayed in it and all I had to do was hold his hand every few hours so he could go back to sleep. Last night he wasn't going to be appeased so easily. We butted heads for three hours. He fell asleep about 11:00 only to rise again at 3:15am.

We've been up ever since.

So this morning he was grumpy. (Okay, I admit it, I might have been a little grumpy too.) Fortunately the other kids can dress themselves so that part went smoothly. Breakfast was eaten, teeth brushed, shoes on...and we still had 30 minutes until anyone had to leave.

Normally I'd be thrilled with our prompt preparedness, but Hayden decided to sing, at decibels beyond my level of tolerance, a new kindergarten song he made up. It consisted of, one word and one word alone, oddly, it was...KINDERGARTEN! (Go figure.)

Such was the theme throughout the morning.

Mom: "Hayden, you need to eat your banana."
Hayden: "Yes, because I'm in kindergarten."
Mom: "Hayden, please brush your teeth."
Hayden: "I'm going Mom, because I'm in kindergarten, you know."
Mom: "Hayden, have you seen your brother's ball?"
Hayden: "No, but I go to kindergarten today. Did you know that, Landon?" continued all morning. At least he was excited.

Sutton took Reagan to school and I took Keaton and Hayden. It was so sweet to watch them enter their classrooms, excited and eager to begin the school year. That thought was short-lived, however, as I tried not to run over the other mom's on my way out the door with Target for that frappaccino and icee and then home, to take a nap. (Um, him, not me...really!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

The great countdown

In 16 hours and 13 minutes (I'd count the seconds if I could calculate them) four of our five children will be in school...full time...busy...not fussing with each other...not calling "Mom!" every few seconds...not needing a drink...not needing a snack...not needing a ride to someplace else.

In 16 hours and 13 minutes I will be home with ONE child and the teachers at school will be enjoying my other children's company (surely they will!).

In 16 hours and 13 minutes those children will be perfect angels in those teachers' classrooms, as my kids always save their less-than-pretty sides for me.

In 16 hours and 13 minutes Landon and I will head to Target (the "Slurpee store" as he calls it) for our celebratory toast; his Icee and my Grande Mocha Frappuccino with no whip. We will salute our impending time together, the lunches we'll soon have with Daddy, and the quietness awaiting us at home.

In 16 hours and 13 minutes I will thank God for allowing me to make it through yet another summer with my angels, ask for forgiveness if needing a break from them makes me a bad mother, and say a special prayer of thankfulness that I can be Mommy to five of the most wonderful children He has ever created.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Hayden: "Mom, May I have some gum, please?"

Mom (getting up to get gum): "Yes, you may."

Landon (following, so he doesn't miss out): "Gimme gum!"

Mom to Landon: "Use your manners. What do you say?"

Landon (proudly, knowing this answer): "Gimme gum, peese."

Mom: "Landon, you say, 'May I have gum, please?'"

Landon (thinking to himself, "Like I said..."): "Gimme gum, peese."

Mom (kneeling down to Landon's eye level): "Okay, repeat after me...May I..."

Landon (repeating slowly because he really wants that gum): "May I..."

Mom: "...have some gum, please?"

Landon: "...have gum, peese!"

Mom: "Good! Now you say it."

Landon: "May I... gimme gum, peese!"

Mom (heavy sigh): "Never mind; here's your gum.

Landon (thinking, that was too easy): "Thank you, Mommy!"

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Chief cook and bottom washer

We are in the thick of potty training. It's not pretty and it's not fun. Actually, it's probably one of my least favorite parts of parenting, ranking right up there with vomit clean-up and suppository insertion.

I'd like to just ignore the need for it. I mean, I didn't graduate from high school with anyone not potty trained, so obviously it happens eventually. I could just keep putting him in diapers until he goes to school. He would certainly, by then, take control of his own situation when the other children made fun of him.

But, alas, my graduate school counseling professors would probably frown on my parental short-comings, as well as the obvious potential long-term negative emotional effects on my child, so I will forge ahead into the dirty, mucky, thankless job.

Landon eased into the whole "Big Boy Potty" concept quite suspiciously. In fact, the picture far left shows how we both began this journey; unsure and ignorant to what would lie ahead. He started out by putting his sister's panties on over his diaper, followed by their shorts. More panties and shorts were then added to the head region, resulting in several turbin-like get ups that were fun to look at, but less than helpful when potty training.

We eventually coaxed him into the "Big Boy Pants" seen in the next photo. He adores those. Not only do they feel soft and less plastic-like than his diapers, but the added bonus to a two year old boy is...well, let's just say that we spend much of the day saying, "Put that back in there!"

Today he has driven me to the brink. We've been through three pairs of underwear, had three baths, and have cleaned up numerous "tinkle spots" throughout the house. The baths are the result of unexpected "poop encounters;" unexpected to me only, as he knew what was coming.

I've started several loads of laundry and am in the process of trying to bleach the last two pairs of "Oops Mommy wook what happened!" underwear. I had to excavate them from his soiled bottom without tainting his recently washed legs; an art form for experienced moms and dads. I was somewhat successful, but baths followed nonetheless as I am paranoid of him getting sick from dirty, poop-covered hands.

In between carpet, potty, bath, and laundry runs, I've managed to wipe big brother's bottom as well. He can do all but the 'wiping sufficiently' himself so the job isn't too bad. Standing there with Hayden, trying not to breath, I realized that I have several more years of this and I better quit belly-aching and just do my job with a smile. And besides, the added practice in holding my breath for long periods of time will be helpful in my eventual training for deep-sea free diving(?) (Never mind, I'm getting loopy from all the ammonia in the air.)

In reality, we've hooted and we've hollered and we've high-fived. We've had small successes and Landon is feeling proud. He loves his big boy pants and he is becoming more proficient in tinkling by himself. Our next lesson is in aiming at the water. Well, actually, our next lesson is in convincing him he doesn't need to point "it" straight up so he can watch what is happening, or during his next bath I'll be washing his hair and face, instead of his bottom.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Parenting 101 (the class I missed)

Sutton has had a debit card tied to her checking account for almost a year now. We've had few typical teenager, wow-I-have-my-own-money-and-full-access-to-it, kind of problems since she received it. Once, she gave her account number to a sales person over the phone and we had to cancel the card. Another time she misplaced it, forcing us to cancel the card again. These were not huge complications. We just explained to her the possible repercussions of a lost card and how others could use it and take her money. We mentioned, as well, to never give out her card information over the phone and why. These experiences did force her, and us, to be more cautious regarding her use of the card.

As a parent I am learning that, no matter how mature and confident your child may seem, sometimes you still need to "spell things out" for them.

Last night we discovered that Sutton's account was overdrawn for the first time. Since hers is a student account, we have access to her transactions online. As of 10:00 pm she had already been hit with one overdraft fee with three more pending. This morning when I told her about the negative balance, her face went white.

We discussed the fact that the $7 movie she went to last night was, in reality, going to cost her $26 with the overdraft fees. She paid $4 for a friend to get something at the concession. That generous act will cost her $23; a lot of money to someone making only a fraction above minimum wage.

She sank lower and lower into the couch.

I said to her, "Sutton, have you not kept track of all the things you've been buying lately?"

She said, "No Mom. I haven't been keeping track because I've been so busy; but I figured the card wouldn't work if there was no money in my account."

You see, we never thought to tell her that the card would, indeed, work even when she was out of money. I assumed she knew that. She's a smart girl who makes good grades, has a car and a job. Other parents always compliment her on her maturity. But I didn't s-p-e-l-l it out.

Today I did. She's been told now that if you have no money in your checking account, the debit card will still work and you will owe the bank even more money in penalties. I said it several times actually, just to be sure I had explained it sufficiently.

At times I feel like I've got this parenting thing down, only to have one of the kids prove me wrong. My lesson for today: I can't assume and I must spell. Our job as parents is to cover all the bases and, I guess, the dugout. I've determined that sometimes parenting is not just teaching your children the hard stuff, but it's also not forgetting to teach them the easy stuff.

Maybe someday I'll learn.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Haircut hang-ups

Haircuts have long been a stressful event for the Jones boys. Hayden screamed during his first one and bellowed every subsequent time until he was about 3 1/2. Landon didn't scream the first time, but made up for it from then on.

We had a breakthrough today with a dry-eyed Landon who was oh so big and proud of his "hair-tut." It's old news to big brother who was more interested in the video game he was playing.

Reagan looks so pretty and very much like a soon-to-be 6th grader.

Being cute...

just wears a boy out.