22 December 2009

The Writer in the Family

I told a friend that you can tell our Christmas letter was written by the writer in the family (that would be me) and not the scientist.  I don't think scientists generally use words like "morass".  Not that it's so long, it's just more of an English Major kind of word.

Anyway, all those notes I've been sending hither and yon have really gotten me in the mood for writing letters, and since the budget can't handle another postal onslaught yet, and because I hope that many people who stop by my blog will fall into either one category or the other, here's one I wrote today:

Dear friends and family,

     People always say that God never gives us more than we can handle - the corollary statement being, of course, that one wishes his opinion of one was not quite so high.  With David's long hours, repeated family illness, my recent miscarriage, and my teething nearly-2-yr.-old, I've been "on my last nerve" for a while now.  This Fall I've begun to truly understand those who look forward with such hope to that sweet invitation "Enter, now, into thy Father's rest."  Because rest simply hasn't been a part of my recent existence.
     But God...that wonderful phrase.  He does see.  He does know.  And just as my house began to burst at the seams with the uncontainable energy of my children, the snow began to fall.  You'll pardon me, I'm certain, for viewing this as a personal gift.
     The first morning they woke up to snow on the ground, they couldn't get outside fast enough.  Monkey1 had been asking for a snowball fight for over a week, and the fact that the snow was barely a dusting didn't slow him down at all.  Of course Monkey3 had to be suited up and sent out, too.  And a blessed silence descended on my home.  I remember playing in the snow for what seemed hours as a child, but I never appreciated what a gift that was to my mother until now.
     I've just run out to heft the second layer of snowman to its rightful place, and now I'm sitting in silence broken only by the ticking clock.  Bliss.  (Incidentally, as we peeled wet layers off our children when they returned indoors that first morning, we realized Monkey2 had been in such a rush to get outdoors, she had put her snowsuit on over nothing but her pull-up.)
     This has been a difficult season for so many people, and a period of rest is hard to come by.  Let me encourage you to lean hard on God through difficult times.  Know that he will carry you when another step seems impossible.  I've been there.  And when those moments of rest appear (all too briefly, at times!) don't grasp them too tightly.  There will be another.  As my moment passes (and the children begin pounding at the door) I will move forward to the next thing, trusting that rest will come again just when I need it most.
     If you'll excuse me now, I have a young man requesting details for blowing up "snowmans."  :-)
     God's grace and peace to you all.

~The Rambling Housewife

16 December 2009

Christmas Decorating Mishaps

This post over at Rural Revolution made my day.  What a funny story!

15 December 2009

Christmas Letter

I know there are mixed feelings regarding Christmas letters.  I have always enjoyed getting them, seeing pictures of each family, and reading their news.  Maybe my parents' friends just didn't take many exotic vacations, but I've never seen them as simply a platform for bragging.  Rather, it was a nice way to catch up one's entire circle of family and friends, without having to write "Jimmy lost his first tooth!" twenty times in a row.

The first year we were married we were far too broke to contemplate sending any sort of Christmas card or letter to all our friends and family.  The second year, I went a little crazy and handmade over fifty Christmas cards, sending each one out with at least a small note.  That was before I had children.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and of course the Mad Scientist started grad school the next year, so the combination of a tight budget (again) and knowing there was no way I could possibly replicate my feat of the previous year meant that I actually haven't sent out anything at all for...four years now.  Is that right?  Wow, that's atrocious.  No wonder none of our friends send us a card anymore.

But this year, big changes are in the air, so I bought some Christmas stationary and wrote a letter, just a quick update, to let everyone know what is going on in our lives.  I hope we hear back from them.  My mailbox has been looking so forlorn, with nothing in it but bills and junk mail...

Here's my Christmas letter (names have been changed to protect the guilty parties)

Dear friends and family,
                Our life has felt like a slow plodding the last few years, trudging along through the morass of grad school.  Much like the wise men, we have traveled such a tremendous distance, trusting that God had put us here for a reason, and that we were following his leading.  Suddenly, the end has appeared, and we have moved into a frenetic pace where everything must be done yesterday.  It’s exhausting, and somewhat frightening.  Six months ago I knew what my future looked like – an indefinite period of long hours and little pay, small children, and a perpetually messy house (despite my best efforts).  It was difficult, but there was joy there too, day to day, and at least I knew what to expect.  Now everything is uncertain, and I’m reminding myself that this is a time for excitement, and not panic!
                The Mad Scientist meets with his committee this week to ask, “If I ask you to marry me, will you say ‘yes’?”  (I was the last person he said that to.)  In other words, if he presents his thesis, will they graduate him?  We expect the answer to be yes, and he is actually scheduled to walk in the graduation ceremony on Sunday.  It’s marking, not quite the end, but the beginning of the end of this chapter in our lives. 
                He has been offered a post-doctorate position in Germany.  We will leave in early March and be gone approximately 3 months.  I will return at the end of May for my youngest brother’s wedding, and the Mad Scientist will be home soon thereafter.  We have no idea what is happening after that, and would appreciate your prayers in that area.
                All the children are well, and growing up so quickly.  Monkey1 was 5 in October, Monkey2 will be 4 in July, and Monkey3, my little Wild Man, will be 2 in March.  I started home schooling Monkey1 this year.  It was the only logical response to his perpetual questions, and really just put an official title on what I was already doing.
                I started a blog several months ago, and if you’d like more frequent updates on our life, that is the place to check.  The address is www.kitchensinkinc.blogspot.com.
                We have been blessed so much with family and good friends.  We think and speak of each one of you often, and hope you will take time to send some news our way, as you are able.

The Rambling Housewife

13 December 2009

I'm the Julenissen

In Norway, the julenissen are little gnomes, and they help decorate for Christmas.  I wished I could import some, the winter I was pregnant with Monkey2.  I was overwhelmed, and hadn't really bothered doing much for Christmas.  We had just moved, and Monkey1 was a handful I had trouble dealing with in pregnancy-induced haze of exhaustion.  So Christmas got put on a back burner.

Then I went to my Mom's Night Out, which is hosted by our senior pastor's wife for the young mothers in our church.  And her house was beautiful (as usual), and I came home with a different perspective.

Catherine Marshall, in her novel, Christy, talks about one character whose house was decorated beautifully.  She says Miss Alice used simple things, such as a bowl of apples, but always with an eye toward enhancing their beauty and accenting the room with color and form.  And she says, "manlike," the men didn't notice these small touches of grace and beauty.  But she could see them respond to them when they entered Miss Alice's home, just the same.

I determined to be like Miss Alice.  I, too, could choose to create an atmosphere of beauty and simplicity, using what I had available, to bless my family.

It being Christmas, (but the budget being very tight) I thought about how I could add a few extra touches.  That year, I went to Big Lots and purchased a few candles and some inexpensive spools of ribbon.  Then I used some small figurines we had gotten from my husband's grandfather's house, and decorated for Christmas.   And the Mad Scientist noticed, and was blessed.

The next year, last year, I got some more ribbon, and we put up a tree.  I spread about a few more candles I had found at Goodwill, and some small oil lamps I found someplace.  And the house was beautiful, with just those simple touches.

This year, the monkeys were old enough to enjoy decorating for Christmas, too.  I determined to let them be a part of it (and not to crab at them if things didn't go the way I thought they should...no matter how hard I had to bite my tongue).  I bought to gingerbread kits at Aldi's, and during Monkey3's nap we (read: they) decorated them.  They had fun, and I didn't crab at all.  I was very proud of myself.

Then, The Nester announced she was hosting a holiday decoration house tour at her blog.  She posted a tutorial on using what you have, and linked to someone (wish I could find that link!) who made beautiful things...from dollar store stuff.  Now, THAT I can do!  So I was totally inspired.  Not only that, I also had a deadline, so I was a woman on a mission!

Thomas Edison said all you need to invent is a good imagination, and a pile of junk.  I had the Nester filling in the imagination part for me, so I hit the dollar store for my pile of junk.  This is how you make Christmas pretty on a budget.  Here's my pile of junk:

Lots of glass jars:

Lots of ornaments (I was trusting they'd look great, once they were in the jars):

I pulled out my trusty glue gun, and got to work.  Here is what I came up with.  First, I glued a big vase onto a little one, and a small vase onto a sort of glass ice cream dish-type-thing, and filled those and one apothecary jar I had with ornaments:


Those went up on the china hutch in the schoolroom, with the gingerbread houses.  The globe is stored there year-round, but I don't think it's inappropriate to include a globe in the Christmas decor.  The dining room is where I hang my art and things that have come from various places all over the world, and the globe in this season reminds us that Jesus came for the whole world:


So that is a touch of Christmas in the dining/schoolroom.  In the living room, here is the advent log I told you about in this post.  It's on a shelf over the sofa.  The ribbon is from two Christmases ago, purchased (I believe) at Big Lots.  (I learned how to make bows while working at Michael's craft store.)

On top of the bookshelf, I put the ceramic Christmas tree with the little tiny lights, which was left in our basement by the previous owner.  I love it, and so do the Monkeys.  They all helped put in the lights.

There's also a large cinnamon candle, left from my Big Lots trip two years ago.  The table by the front door got my trifle dish, plus all the shoes from St. Nicholas Day.  Also a painting that I absolutely love, of St. Nicholas worshiping the Christ Child.

And the other cinnamon candle.  I believe I got the cloth at a thrift store.  I'm going to hang a wreath on that wall, but tonight it was either make the wreath or put up the blog post.  You can tell what I chose.

The alcove just off the living room is the other room that is currently decorated.  Saturday morning we drove to a town a few miles over, to pick up a t.v. cabinet I had found on Craig's List.  No more coats looking messy on overloaded pegs, but the top was so bare!  So I dug through my fabric stash, and put some boxes and things under it to add different heights.  Then I got out the box of ceramic figurines, some more glass jars, and my oil lamps.  Also the candelabra (definitely my most expensive piece of decor) that was a gift from my mother-in-law.  I put my Peruvian Nativity set front and center.  It was super discounted at Ten Thousand Villages because Mary had been broken and then repaired, but I don't think you can tell:

You can't tell in that picture, but the fabric has little red and gold hearts all over it.  Perfectly appropriate for Christmas, and I can leave it up there for Valentine's Day!  Here's a view of the whole armoire (or at least most of it):

Oh, poor thing.  It's just crying for a tassel on that knob, but I had to make do with a beeswax angel I already had.  It smells nice, and really doesn't look bad at all.

Now, the tree.  The Nester said that a Christmas tree should have a theme.  I went with "Child-Friendly."  We used my ornaments that I got every Christmas growing up, plus a few more we've collected along the way.  We strung lights, and I helped the children make popcorn strings.  (They got tired of it before we had enough to cover the tree.  It fits right in with my theme.)  At the top I put a small bow wired onto a large bow to make a bow full enough to look decent on this rather large tree (about 8 ft.).  But before I show you the finished product,  I have one other picture to show you.  This, my friends, is what happens when you tuck your tree into a corner, and put your lights and ornaments mostly on one side:

Yes, that would be our fully decorated tree, on the floor.  Fortunately, nothing broke (except one angel wing, but I can glue it.)  Boy, that is NOT a noise you want to hear!  But we stood it back up, and I put everything back on.  (I bet I'm the only person who has decorated the same tree twice this year!)  And the finished product is quite nice, even if not completely "themed."  :-)

Note Monkey3 peering around his door, trying to see what is going on.  For a tree skirt, I used a quilt that was a gift from my mother-in-law.  I don't remember if she made it, or perhaps her grandmother pieced it.  There are a few other small touches here and there.  I still need to make the wreath, and there's a large dresser in our bedroom that I have to get cleaned off so I can put up our German Pyramid.  But for the most part, the house is decorated.  I spent $40 at the dollar store, and didn't use everything I bought so some of it will go back.  This year, I'm the Julenissen, and my family gets to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.  They'll notice the detail, though, because I'm going to drag them around the house and point out every little thing!  :-)  This Christmas, make merry for your family and yourself with some simple decorations.  It doesn't take much time or money, but the results are beautiful!

This post is linked to Sharing Christmas at A Day With the Demos, and The Nester's holiday home tour:

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

11 December 2009

Anatomy of a Tantrum

It's important to recognize a tantrum quickly, because the sooner you can intervene, the more likely you are to be able to head it off.  So, for the good of mankind, here is the basic progession to look for - First, the child will fling himself on the floor (occasionally checking first to be sure the landing will be soft, but not necessarily).  Note the glance to be sure I am paying attention:

Next, the child will gasp, scream, weep, and possibly flail, as though he has completely lost the ability to control himself, and is simply overcome by the injustice of the situation:

Don't allow yourself to be taken in, however.  He is not, in fact, overcome and lost to the world because of the depth of feeling your injustice has provoked.  He will prove this by attempting to prevent documentation of the aforementioned ridiculous behaviour (naturally without breaking character as the most put upon child in the history of mankind.  I'm dealing with a professional here.) by looking away from the camera (only after he is sure you are watching):

That's ok though.  I have enough evidence to wreak my revenge, as soon as he starts dating... (insert evil chuckle here).

For the record, I try to stop the tantrums as the child is en route to the floor, in step one.  Not succeeding at that, completely ignoring them is my next coping mechanism of choice.  Or, occasionally, grabbing the camera.  What I do NOT do, is run around in a panic, trying to fix whatever started the tantrum. 

I'm still learning how to deal with these.  Monkeys 1 and 2 didn't pitch fits like this.  I really need to perfect my technique quickly though, because they've started indicating some interest in trying Monkey3's method. 
Any advice will be appreciated, pondered, and possibly even followed.  :-)

10 December 2009

Somebody Get Me a Stick

I have three children (I may have mentioned this before) under the age of...well, under the age of Five-and-a-Half, let's say.  This means that I have totally insane quantities of laundry.  I use cloth diapers, cloth napkins, and rags in the kitchen and for cleaning, rather than paper towels.  (My contribution for the good of the planet; you can all thank me later).

All of this means that my laundry breeds in dark corners, and threatens to consume the entirety of my living space on any given day.  Don't believe me?  Take a look at this:

This is my laundry, a mere three days after returning from New Hampshire, where I washed all the clothes except what we were actually wearing, the day before we left.  Actually, this isn't all my laundry, because it doesn't include sheets, towels and rags, or diapers.  And that picture doesn't even show the true extent of it.  Let me show you a different angle:

Yes, the pile is a basket, overflowing with I know not what.  (It can't be clothes.  Five people do not produce that many dirty clothes in three days anywhere short of, perhaps, a working cattle ranchPW, I feel for you.) And the hamper?  Well, that's overflowing, too. 

Do you know that women used to beat their clothes with a very large stick, as part of the routine cleaning process?  I've said before how grateful I am for my modern conveniences, but some tiny part of me thinks that may have felt just a wee bit satisfying.  Just imagine, Ancient Woman, off to beat her laundry into submission.  She didn't have to spend time at the gym keeping her arms toned, either.

Getting Ready: Advent

Advent is the season of preparation and waiting for Christmas.  It begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and lasts 'til Christmas Eve.  Then there are, officially, twelve days of Christmas, which end on Epiphany, Jan. 6.  This is the day we remember the Visitation of the Magi.

Many families will have an Advent wreath, with one candle for each Sunday.  Frequently in churches a brief devotion is read, and the appropriate candles lit, before service begins.  In my family, we did things just a bit differently.  (You knew that was coming, didn't you?)

We had an Advent Log.  It had a candle for each day.  Purple, the color of penitence, is used for the weekdays, and white for Sundays.  Every evening we would read a (very quick) devotion.  We used this book, Celebrate While We Wait.  It's written for families with young children, so the readings are very short.  Then there are also suggested Bible readings, songs and hymns, and some activities, which you can use as the children get older.  My parents still do these readings every year, with whatever "children" happen to be around.

The problem, in my house, has been the log.  The last few years, I used styrofoam blocks that the Mad Scientist stuck together and drilled out.  I filled them with evergreens, and they looked very nice, but they weren't the birch log of my childhood.  You may not know this, but birch is rather scarce in the Midwest.

I was completely delighted, earlier this summer, when the Mad Scientist presented me with my very own birch log.  Now it only needed to be prepared to hold candles:

This involved some calculations, which made me very glad I didn't have to do it myself.  The log was a bit shorter than the recommended length, so we really needed to get the spacing for the candle holes right.  The Mad Scientist invited a Chinese co-worker over to "help us decorate the tree."  He's never experienced an American Christmas before.  I'm sure he left thinking we were all completely insane.

I'll be putting up a post with the finished decorations in time for The Nester's holiday house tour, on Monday.  You can see the finished result then.  Meanwhile, the Monkeys helped decorate the tree.  Our lights didn't work, and when the men ran out to the store (only the second emergency trip of the afternoon) they didn't bring home enough lights.  So we only decorated the bottom half:

And I promised them all cookies.  It's a good thing I had some already stashed (Mom sent me home with a box of the secret-family-recipe Sugar Cookies).  Want to know why?  Sure you do:

Yeah, those are supposed to be Mexican Wedding Cakes.   It turns out, if you double all the other ingredients, you really need to double the flour, too.

But a good time was had by all, and now, (only two weeks late) we are prepared for this season of Preparation.

09 December 2009

Totally Flabbergasted

I am completely astonished to realize that people "out there" are actually looking at my blog.  I mean, I only put that counter on four days ago, and already it's counted over 100 individual visits.  (Side note, that thing is really cool.  If you have a blog, click over and check it out, because it is really neat).

I had no idea.  I just assumed that my little blog was sort of lost in some tiny corner of that big cyber world out there, and no one but my family, and a few friends, had seen it.  I feel so motivated now that I can see people are actually reading this thing! 

So, now it's your turn.  Drop a line, say "hi," and tell me what you think I should post on next.  What prompted you to stop by, and did you find what you were looking for? 

Come on, don't just poke your head in the door.  Stop and chat for a minute!

St. Nicholas Day: or "How we do the Santa-thing"

It's always a matter for discussion at this time of year:  Do you "do" Santa?  Why, or why not?

My family has German heritage, and we always celebrated St. Nicholas Day.  It falls on December 5th, but my mother was annually caught unprepared, so I grew up thinking it was on December 6th.  In countries all over the world, children put out shoes (or stockings, this is where that tradition got started) so St. Nicholas can come and fill them with treats.  Alternately, if you've been naughty, he might leave coal, potatoes, or switches, depending on the country.  St. Nicholas was a bishop in the early church, in Myra (modern-day Turkey).  He is where the Santa Claus myth began.

We have found that celebrating his day separately is a nice way to enjoy the historic and fun aspect of "Santa Claus" without confusing our children about why we celebrate Christmas.  This page has lots of ideas for activities and crafts that you can do to learn more about St. Nicholas.

We dutifully put out our shoes, and found a grand surprise the next morning!

Now, we have explained to the children that Santa Claus is a game some people like to play, and, similarly, they know that it wasn't actually St. Nicholas who put the gifts in their shoes.  The chocolate St. Nicholas figures were from Tante Anja and Onkel Markus, and were a big hit:

And the play dough set was a gift from Grandpa and Bestemor, and has provided hours of entertainment, making me feel that the bright blue dried dough in the cracks of the diningroom table is completely and totally worth it.

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.  Hop over there for other good ideas.

08 December 2009

Burning a Hole in his Pocket

There is a private preschool near us that does a consignment sale fundraiser twice a year.  It's a really nice set up, because the consignors get a bit more for their things than they probably would at a yard sale, and the preschool has built up the reputation of the sale enough that it's become pretty popular.  They go over each item and reject any that are stained or extremely worn, so people know when they shop there they will be able to get a good bargain on nice things.  Mostly I just hope I'll make enough money to cover what I spend.

The sale happens twice a year, spring and fall.  I have had a large toy in my house, which finally made it out to the fall sale this year.  It was big, and one of the type that makes noises (I can't stand noise-making toys; I really believe they're the bane of parents everywhere, and can't understand why so many get sold.  Who buys these things?), and I had stashed it in an out-of-the-way corner just waiting for the sale to come along.  I planned to sneak it out to the car, with no monkey the wiser.  They hadn't seen it, or asked for it, for six months at least.  Well.

I didn't get it out to the car the night before the sale drop-off.  And Monkey1 had a total meltdown when he saw it on the way out the door.  I was running late, so the Mad Scientist was left to deal with it.  I had an attack of MommyGuilt on the way there, however, and called home.  "Sweetheart" I said in my most reasonable voice, "you haven't seen or played with this thing for months, and you never missed it.  We don't have room for it."  Etc., etc., because Monkey1 was undeterred.  He wanted to his large, noisy toy back, and was completely unswayed by my pleading reasoning.  Until I hit on the magic words.  "I think I can get a lot of money for it at the sale." I told him.  And just like that, he said "Ok."  And that discussion was over.

I had already told him that he could have the money for any of his toys he was willing to part with.  Those, together with the one I failed to be stealthy enough with, added up to about $20 once the consignor's fees were subtracted.  Monkey1 also got some money for his birthday, and he has been just itching to spend his wealth ever since.

First he wanted Diesel10, from Thomas the Tank Engine.  Then he wanted a racing car track from Wal-Mart, which I vetoed in spite of his assurance that he wouldn't mind if it broke within days of the purchase.  He simply couldn't wait to spend this money (in his defense, it's the first time he's had money of his own.  And he did very cheerfully put slightly more than 10% in the Salvation Army bucket for his tithe).  And so when he began pleading to be allowed to purchase yet another really cool thing he couldn't live without, the Mad Scientist and I finally gave in:

He's very, very pleased with his new toy, and I'm relieved that I don't have to hear any more about what he wants to buy.

He's actually been sharing very nicely with his brother and sister as well.  And I suspect that the Mad Scientist is really quite pleased with the way it has all worked out...

Just a hunch.  :-)

07 December 2009

First Haircuts

It has been mentioned more and more lately, that Monkey3 really could use a haircut.  And so, while the Mad Scientist was in L.A. (a couple of weeks ago, now) I finally broke down and gave him one.  That first haircut is so hard.  It's when my little boy really turns in to a little boy, and isn't my baby any more.  I have a hard time with that (plus both my boys have been pretty squirmy) so I delay it as long as possible.  But at last, I suddenly decided that it needed to be done.  Carpe Momentum:

He so precious!  Just look at those beautiful curls!

Ah, but all good things must come to an end...well, actually, that's not true, but we're not getting into theology here.  I was telling you about Monkey3's hair.  All gone  

My only consolation is, he's just so darn cute.  And it's really quite a nice haircut, even if I do say so myself.  :-)

Now, I had been wanting to cut Monkey2's hair as well.  Just a nice little crop, about chin length, to straighten it up a bit.  Because the layers were sort of hard to deal with...

I didn't want to go too short though.  I loved her long hair, and thought a nice trim would be perfect.  But no, she wanted none of it.  Until I finished with Monkey3.  I casually queried, "Would anyone else like a haircut?"  And she piped up, "Yes, JUST like Monkey3's!"

I was traumatized.  I tried to talk her out of it.  I loved her long hair!  But finally she explained that she wanted it out of her eyes, and off her ears.  And I remembered that I always swore my kids could do whatever they wanted to with their own hair, because there are more important things in life to draw a line in the sand for.  Or against.  Such as tattoos.  So, chop, chop, off it all came.  (I may have teared up, just a little bit)  (I got control of myself quickly though.)  And really, when I looked at it objectively (which only took a few days) I think hers is pretty cute too.


Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results.  They're such good-looking children, really, it's hard to mess things up too much.  :-D  Although I haven't really solved the gender confusion issues.  Now instead of people complementing me on my adorable toddler girl with the long blond curls,  people keep telling me how nice my three boys are.  Can no one see any gender clues besides hair length?  Seriously!

04 December 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Back from a lovely visit with my family in NH, and the laundry is already out of control.  I don't understand how that happens.  I washed everything except what we were wearing the day before we left my parents', and now, two days later, my laundry basket is completely overflowing.  My dear husband looked at it last night and said "Huh.  You've only been home for one day, and you're already behind on the laundry." 

Then I hit him really hard with a pillow, and put on the baggiest, least sexy pajamas I could find.  :-)

I'm attempting to get somewhat back on track with something resembling a schedule, and school, but the monkeys got used to running all over the place at their grandparents' house.  My parents have a HUGE backyard, plus a barn full of goats.  The children loved the goats.  And the ducks.  And the chickens.  I loved that I didn't have to work nearly so hard keeping them all busy. 

But now we're home again, without the cohort of animals to keep them all entertained.  What's a mother to do?  I took them out to the play area at the mall today.  I took my knitting.  I didn't let them ride the carousel first, so Monkey3 (you knew it would be him, right?) didn't spend the entire time trying to escape from the play area back to the carousel...like last time.  I can be taught!

So I got to knit for almost an hour, and the monkeys wore themselves out.  It was great.  We went to Wal-Mart afterwards, and then Monkey3 fell asleep in the car on the way home.  So soundly, in fact, that I carried him into the house, put him in bed, took off his coat, and removed both boots without waking him up.  It was a beautiful thing.

Now, I'm off to watch an educational film with my beloved.  I'll leave you with a quick Monkey Moment - The oldest two monkeys were playing pirates today, and I overheard this conversation:

M1: (very excited and emphatic) I'm Captain Hook, and you're Captain Stick, and we're gonna learn to work together!

M2: (in her "delighted little girl" voice) Yes, we are!

M1:  We can't fight each other!  We have to work together to fight good guys and steal their treasure!

(an opinionated housewife wonders where she went wrong as a mother)

03 December 2009

Thinking Through the Options

Monkey1 likes to contemplate things, and think through everything carefully.  He doesn't like being rushed, or having to make snap decisions.  (He takes after the Mad Scientist that way.  I am the snap decision maker in the family.)  So it was not completely a surprise tonight when he announced to the Mad Scientist a decision he has apparently come to on his own, after much pondering.

They were in the bathroom at Chick-Fil-A (WHY do these sorts of conversations always happen in public restrooms?!) where he had refused to use the urinal.  Now, this oldest son of ours has been presented with two options (one from each parent) for cleaning his equipment after he's done using it.  After seating himself on the throne he solemnly announced that, when he makes "tinkle,"

"I really prefer to wipe, instead of just shake off the drips.  Toilet paper is more useful, and quicker."

I swear that's practically word for word, and coming so very seriously out of a five-year-old, that's pretty funny.  I will just add that, as the parent who does the laundry, I'm very pleased with his decision.  Isn't life with boys fun?  :-D