The Culprits

Friday, October 19, 2012

Code Name: Operation Mom

I probably don't need to say much about this picture, since it's fairly self-explanatory if you look closely. I'm sure you see things like this all the time. However, as the reader, you might like a little clarification.

I had just finished playing keyboard, earlier this evening, with our church's Celebrate Recovery Band. I was sitting next to a girlfriend, listening to a great speaker giving a moving testimony, when I got a phone call (my phone was on vibrate, lest you think I am some heathen who forgets to turn her ringer off during church) from the preacher's wife. I knew this was likely a bad thing because she was teaching the kids' class. My kids' kids' class. I snuck out of service & went to see who might be bleeding profusely this time. It was Titus (boy #5), but there was no blood anywhere. His teacher said, "Come take a look." I thought, since there was no blood, that there might be some internal injury, so I readied myself to start checking his pupil dilation for signs of concussion. It was an internal problem alright....but not in the way I had thought. Yes, you read the incident report correctly. Yes, he had torn a little piece of rubber off of his shoe. Yes, he had placed it into his ear canal. Why had he done this, you ask? Well, because, you see, he had torn a little piece of rubber off of his shoe. The classroom was out of trash cans (I can only assume) and he didn't know what to do. Then, it suddenly dawned on him that he had just the thing! He had a very convenient, very tiny hole, in his very own head, that the little piece of torn shoe rubber would fit into perfectly! (It makes sense when you think about it.) But it didn't end up being the enjoyable experience he had thought it would. He was fairly upset & panicked when I got to him. First, I tried to pry it gently out with the curve of a paper clip. Wouldn't budge. I was afraid to really dig around in there & either hurt his ear, or shove the rubber chunk further in. I was desperately trying to avoid an annoying hours-long visit to the ER. I've had my fair share of those. They've lost their charm. I try to "fix things" myself as much as possible, if it's not a broken bone, or some life threatening thing. Butterfly bandages have saved us big bucks in ER bills. Stitches shcmitches. I had the brilliant idea, in my desperation, to take Titus into the bathroom, where no one would see me perform Code Name: Operation Mom. I put my lips around his ear canal area, created an air-tight seal & tried to suck the thing out. That's when it occurred to me that I should probably wash his ears more often. The thing still wouldn't budge. Titus did, however, acquire a lovely hickey inside of his ear. Almost resigned to needing to go to the ER after all (and a little embarrassed about possibly having to explain the ear hickey to the doctor), I took Titus, whose panic was ever-rising, back to class to get the other boys & get ready to leave. Fortunately, his teacher had found some tweezers in the first aid kit, during my absence. It took me 20 seconds flat to get the torn shoe rubber out of his ear canal with those tweezers. Titus was as happy as a mother who had just given birth. Gasping, giggling, laughing and hugging ensued. The poor kid. All ended well. I was able to go back to my group & the kids were able to continue with their class. I really appreciate the preacher's wife, & the other teachers, for all that they do for my children, but I think I might talk to them about buying a trash can for the classroom. ;-)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Making Friends

My boys like to make stuff... this handsome stick fellow here.....
......and this cool Nerf-gun-warrior-buddy-guy......


......and like this cute little super-stick-hero-baby-dude......

.......and like this ginormous family of stick friends.
Why, you ask, did they spend hours outside, making these adorable stick friends?
So they could engage them in battle, naturally.......
.....and kill them all. Of course.
When they brought me this cute little "friend" (into my house!!!), they wanted to keep it, and love it, and pet it, and take it home, and call it George. I said, "No" calmly (only squealing and shrieking slightly).......and had them set it free down by the canal.

Even though I am a mean mommy and don't let the boys keep the furry "friends" that they find, I am still cool, right? Aaaaarg. Yeah.
No, we did not celebrate Halloween early. It was "pirate night" at Pioneer Club last night. The nice thing about Pioneer Club is that most of our little friends there do not have long, creepy tails. They don't scurry under my fridge, eat all my cheese, poop in my pantry, nibble on my toes while I sleep, and give me fatal blood-born diseases in the middle of the night. The unfortunate thing about Pioneer Club is that it might be frowned upon if we try to annihilate our Pioneer Club friends in battle. I guess that's why we need our stick friends.

A quick shout out to Nanny & Papa, who came from WA for a lovely visit over the weekend. Love you guys!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


When last the Boy Crazy saga left off, we were saying goodbye to boy #2, who was leaving for church camp. Since then, boy #2 has returned home from church camp, talked about what an amazing time he had at afore-mentioned church camp, crashed shortly thereafter, and slept solidly for practically 3 days straight. The next week (3 days later), we said goodbye to boy #3, who left for preteen camp. Boy #1 also went with him to be a junior counselor. Knowing that boy #1 would be there to watch out for boy #3, made their mama feel better, but she was left alone, with only 4 boys to keep her company, for five. whole. days. She survived, but just barely.

In between the comings and goings of boys numbers 1, 2, and 3, boy #5 had a birthday. Titus turned 6 years old. We had a party with cousins, aunts, and Grandma. Abigail crowned him king for the day, naturally. King Titus received several lovely gifts from his Grandma, Aunts,and parents, but seemed especially excited about the birthday cards. 

Other exciting Summer happenings:

A. Gideon lost his first tooth!

B. More visits were made to our refugee friends for story times.
Apparently showing off for the camera is fun for kiddos from all cultures.

C. Too many awesome Summer outings and camp outs with friends to blog about. 

One camp out was a "boys only" camp out, and the mama was left completely alone in the house, over-night, for the first time....E.V.E.R. She could have gone to band practice, she could have stayed the night with a friend, and she could have gone to a fun BBQ. Instead, all she did was stay home, cry, and watch shows on Hulu. She is embarrassed and doesn't want to talk about it.

D. Gideon lost his second tooth!

E. I/she jumped in with the SweetTarts for a Saturday morning gig in the park, for our community clean-up day. In case you didn't know, I haven't done much with them lately, due to life, kids, etc...Turns out I don't have as much time to be a rock star as I thought. But I thought I'd get one last hoo-rah in before the school year started back up. My sweet sister-in-law, Jubilee, who just moved here from WA (and brought my adorable nephew with her), watched the boys for me that day, and again, the next week end, when I went on our church's ladies retreat. I did much better without my kiddos & hubby that weekend, since I had so many neat gals around me. I definitely needed that weekend. I came home feeling refreshed spiritually & emotionally closer to God, and to other women. So, thank you, Auntie Jubilee!!!

We are now in the full swing of the new school year. Our home group (aka: Bible study) started up again on Tuesdays, and we love it. Justin is leading it & he does a great job. The kids & I are going to Pioneer Club on Wednesdays, where they get to have a blast, and I get to teach the 2 & 3 years olds. There is high school youth group on Mondays, middle school youth group on Tuesdays, Celebrate Recovery on Fridays (where I am privileged to be part of the official, new "CR Band"), and, of course, church on Sundays. I'm desperately trying to get the boys' school lessons done during the days, and not let them get behind....this time. I sometimes feel like I'm failing my kids by not having them all in sports, and music lessons, and such....but, seriously, when would I do it??? I don't honestly know how anyone does it. Justin is also involved in our church's Men's Fraternity, which is an awesome thing, but is so very early in the morning that I am barely breathing when he leaves the house. He is working like a dog, as usual, to support all of us. He is also constantly working on our cars, with their various issues, on his days off. The poor guy needs a break. I think he still wants to take us out on one more camp out before Winter hits. I want a million dollars. I'll let you know if either event comes to pass.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Camp!

This is the time of year that the boys probably love the most. It's the time when they get to ditch their brothers and parents, to hang out with friends for a whole week at church camp! Since I have a high-schooler, a middle-schooler, and a pre-teen.....there are three different camps. That means that, for three weeks in a row, I only have 5 boys. Sigh. I'm finally starting to get....sort of, kind of, a little bit....used to my older kids going off in different directions, and not worry so much. That doesn't mean I like it, of course, but I do know that they are having a blast with all their friends, that they are in excellent hands, and that they are spiritually benefiting from their camp experiences, so that makes me happy for them.

Over the weekend, Seth came home from high school camp. He had such a blast, as usual. He got to play bass in the worship band all week long. My son is so cool. I was never that cool in high school. I just love when he comes home and talks my head off about how awesome camp was.

Then, this morning, I dropped Jarod off at church, so he could hop on the bus for his week of middle school camp.

Jarod was so happy his buddy was going. He's not quite the social butterfly that Seth is, and still isn't quite comfortable in his own skin yet. He was not about to hug his friend for a picture! Nor did his little friend want to hug Jarod for a picture. Nor did Jarod want to hug his mama in front of his friends. They were both way too cool for such things. So, naturally, I planted a big ole smooch on his cheek, in front of his friends, when I said good bye. Don't worry. It's character building for him to be embarrassed by his mama. Eventually he will succumb to the reality that I'm never not going to be embarrassing, and he'll just learn to my accept public displays of affection as a part of life, like Seth has. Because mamas are just embarrassing, but ya gotta love um anyway. Life lesson right there.

This is the massive group of middle schoolers (!!!holy moly and bless the youth leaders' brave souls!!!) heading off to camp today.

Got a picture of Jarod just about to step onto the bus. His little brothers were yelling very important reminders out to him, like, "Don't forget your sunscreen!" and, "Don't forget to eat!" and, "Don't forget to pray at night!"......

......which, of course, degenerated into, "Don't forget to go pee!", and "Don't forget to poop!", and "Don't forget to wipe!" Because everything comes down to those three things in the end, don't they? Especially if we're needing a topic for conversation at the dinner table. I assume that this embarrassed Jarod (ironic, considering they learned much of their humour from him), but I'm not sure because he disappeared under the window, way down in his seat, for some reason. Maybe he dropped something on the floor.

The bus didn't take off for a few minutes, and I had put an unfortunate end to the helpful camping hints, so the little boys entertained themselves another way, in the mean time. A friend pointed out how helpful my kids would be on a tropical island. They could pick coconuts and bananas for me.

I also left Seth at the church all day, today, to hang out with his friend and then to go to youth group later. I only have four boys today. It's so strange. I don't quite know what to do. Next week, I lose Micah to pre-teen camp. Boo-hoo. But, after he comes home, we'll be a whole family again. Soon after that, our refugee reading program will end, and school will start. Summer is flying by!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tea Time

My boys (the too-cool teenager excluded, naturally) decided to have a tea party. All on their own. I like tea. I've been drinking a lot of herbal teas lately. The boys, especially Jarod, have been drinking a lot of tea with me. Jarod, to be perfectly clear, was sure to inform me that they were NOT having a tea party, but were, in fact, having "tea time", which is vastly different. They even lifted their pinkie fingers and spoke with British accents the entire time. We didn't have any scones, so they ate popcorn instead. I made them watercress sandwiches, except that I was plum out of watercress, so they had to eat baby kale sandwiches. And they loved them! Weird. They did not, however, dress in their Sunday best, which I believe is proper etiquette for tea time. Or am I just thinking of the stereo-typical-girl-tea party? Nor did all of them come to tea-time fully dressed, and some were still in their PJs. And who knew that proper tea time etiquette included pinkie-finger-lifting while eating sandwiches? Not I! But what do I know about proper tea-parties? I mean....tea time. Proper etiquette, or no, this was a very fun, and very manly TEA TIME. Not tea party. Nope.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

We Didn't Start the Fire

Since I know that my loyal readers (all 2 of you) never, ever tire of seeing endless pictures of our camping trips, I thought I would post a few more for your viewing pleasure. Earlier in the week, we loaded everyone up & went out again. We found a perfect spot along the creek, with a swimming hole. The water was the perfect temperature to cool a body off on a hot day, without freezing the bones. The boys & I pretty much stayed in that water the whole campout. The older boys spent much of their time floating down the creek (it was more like a small river) with their bodies, then pulling themselves back up the stream, against the currant, and against the big rocks, just to float back down again, all the while shouting, "WEEE!!!! OWWW!!! WEEEE!!! WOOO-HOOO!!" and, "OUCH!!! WEEEEEE!!!!" This painful entertainment went on for hours and hours. Even Seth, who claimed that he would rather have been somewhere else, hanging out with his friends, had himself a jolly good the stream, playing with (gasp!) his brothers....not that he would ever admit it to anyone. They invited me to join them but I declined. I had just as much fun watching them from my nice, calm, swimming hole, with the little boys....and I sustained fewer bruises. I know, every party has one.

Floating downstream...

Under the bridge....

Trying to drown Mommy

Fun with Daddy

Dousing big brother

Slap jack break...

Potty break....

Daddy & the big boys got a little target practice in.

During our campout, we saw several helicopters, with buckets of water, on the way to some distant forest fire.. so we assumed. On the last day of our campout, however, in the afternoon, we saw lots of smoke starting to come down the hills towards us from every direction. No rangers had come by to tell campers to evacuate, but we figured we had better start packing up anyway....just to be safe. We left and, after we had driven a few miles, we saw this:

It turns out that there had been three separate fires burning in the forest, for a couple of days, and that they all came together, on that last day, to create one 250-300 acre forest fire. Some homes in the national forest were threatened, but I think the fire was contained fairly quickly with no harm done to them. When we got home, a fire fighter friend of ours noted how it was a little too coincidental that there had been a forest fire, at the same time (& general area) that we were out camping. I can see how that would look a little suspicious, but it wasn't our boys who started it! This time....