Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pink is for Girls, Blue is for Boys, Right?

Pink is for girls, blue is for boys. Right?

I guess so, but even when they were babies, I dressed my girls in things that were considered somewhat less than girly (they had a green camo outfit that was always a favorite.) I painted their rooms pale blues and greens. I chose a jungle-themed nursery followed by one with cute little bugs. I went with a gray and black stroller and a beige car-seat.

No, I haven’t purposefully steered my daughters away from trains and toward tiaras. I haven’t hidden the Barbies from 2-year-old Jedidiah and tried to force him toward toy trucks. I've tried to remain neutral.

But, honestly, it doesn’t really seem to matter.

With no urging from me, my girls want to wear fancy dresses every single day of their lives. For hours, they will sit and color beautiful pictures of unicorns, rainbows and princesses. They want to wear sparkly jewelry and lip gloss and high heeled shoes. They like to paint and make all sorts of crafts. They sit still and listen during Storytime. They like to talk. And talk and talk and talk. They love to play dress up and have tea parties. They read and play Candyland and bake cookies. They build tents in pretend jungles and they pretend to be mommy lions with lots of little baby lions. They like to sew and wear aprons and look for fairies.

Jedidiah, who doesn’t even know what a sword or a gun is yet (he’s two) turns half of the things he picks up into weapons and the other half into “choo-choos” or “aiwpwains.” One of the first words he ever said (if it’s considered a word) was “vroom.” He doesn’t care much for books, unless he’s using one as a projectile. He doesn’t like to color – on paper anyway. He prefers a nice clean wall or an unsuspecting dog. He runs at all times. He covers himself in mud and splashes all the water out of the bathtub. He loves sticks and balls. If he sees a button, he has to push it. If he sees a DVD player, he is compelled to stick something in it (usually something other than a DVD.) If it’s on, he has to turn it off. If it’s full, he has to dump it out. He wants to climb up the tallest slide on the playground and hurtle himself down at top speed.

I wonder if these characteristics have been influenced by my children's families, their peers, their church, the gifts they received when they were babies - or are their little brains hardwired to be this way?

It’s weird. My girls will wear their fancy dresses even while they’re climbing trees, making mud pies, playing Legos and watching Lord of the Rings.

And Jedidiah is 100% boy, but he loves to use the Dustbuster and help cook in the kitchen. He likes sparkly things, stickers, fluffy stuffed animals and pushing his little baby doll around the house in the stroller.

I love the way they don’t care one bit about gender stereotypes. They like what they like, period. And as for me, I’ve come to this conclusion:

So what if my girls want to take archery lessons or gut fish? Who cares if Jed thinks it’s funny to try on his sisters’ shoes or put a hair-bow on his head once in a while?

They are learning to be who they are – and that’s exactly who I want them to be.

-from my 1/27/13 post for 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Carrot airplane

Jed has become quite the little comedian in the past few days. I walked into his room to get him up from his nap and he peeked at me from under his half-closed eyelids then closed them tight and commenced to fake snoring. Then he laughed and laughed.

Then he popped my bra strap and cracked himself up over and over. You'd think he was in 5th grade instead of being 2.

Josie snuck into his room while he was playing and said, "Boogity!" He jumped and then almost cried. Then he decided he was mad instead and he shoved her out the door and said "OUT! WOOMB!"

As I was reading Jed's ABC book to him, he pointed at a picture of a carrot and said, "Aiw-pwane." I said, "That's a carrot." He said, "No, Aiw-pwane!" "No, it's a carrot." "AIW-PWANE!" Apparently it's a flying carrot.

I smell fear

After Josie and Sadie helped Jesse set 9 mouse traps all around the house and the basement (and baited with peanut butter) because of some "unsightly sightings," we caught FIVE in two days! Jesse brought a little carcass up from the basement and Adelaide wanted to look at it. She so sweetly said, "He's awake!" because his eyes were open. Jesse told her that he was sleeping (because he wasn't moving!) A few minutes later she came up to me and (SO SWEETLY) looked up at me and said, "Mommy, why do mouses sleep with their eyes open?"

Adelaide: "I smell fear."

Poor Adelaide is trying her best to RHYME but she just hasn't quite gotten it yet. Josie and Sadie were rhyming away in the car - "have you ever seen a bear combing his hair? Have you ever seen a duck down on his luck?" etc. Adelaide tried countless times but always ended up with things like, "Have you ever seen a lamp wearing some socks? Have you ever seen a bear eating some cheese? Have you ever seen a fox kissing a rat?"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Things I love

Things I love:

Snuggling with Sadie and Josie while watching documentaries on Mount Vesuvius.

Playing "Don't wake the Tickle Monster Game" with Josie, Adelaide, and Jed.

Listening to Adelaide say lasagna "Bazanya."

Sadie, in regards to marshmallows in hot chocolate -
"Which is healthier? Pink or white?" Neither. "Okay, I'll use both."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Just say yes.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how much I say no.

That word – no – just seems to naturally roll off my tongue. I’m not sure why, but it seems like my default setting is no.

I tend to say no first and ask questions later (or think about why and perhaps change to yes later.) Sometimes I have legitimate reasons for this – like maybe I’m in a bad mood. But sometimes, I’ll admit that I say no for no reason.

Why, I wonder? Shouldn’t yeses -- or yesses, whatever that plural is-- come easier? I mean, I love my kids like crazy. I want them to live joyfully and to be happy. I want to give them as much freedom as possible to make their own decisions. I want them to love learning and fill their days with things that are important to them, so why so many no’s?

Maybe I have a subconscious need to keep up with the status quo. As I say no, sometimes I think, “Why am I saying no to this? Is it really wrong?”

Usually it’s not. Usually it’s more like “The other moms don’t do it this way! My friend doesn’t do it this way! My mom, my grandmother didn’t do it this way! So I shouldn’t let my kids do it this way, either!”


Wait a minute, though. My 7-year-old is not like yours, or another moms’, or even like my mom’s or my grandma’s 7-year-olds were. Nor is she like any other child in the entire world.

If she wants to wear a Viking helmet on her head and play the banjo on the way to the grocery store, why don’t I say yes? If my 8-year-old wants to fill a dozen egg cartons with the dirty rocks she dug up outside and sort them for hours in her room, why don’t I just say yes? If my 4-year-old wants to climb trees in a tutu and poke Cheerios down a chipmunk hole with her umbrella, what exactly is wrong with that?

I want to say yes more often. I really do.

I guess that sometimes I think my kids care mainly about the things I give them. But in all honesty, they probably care a lot more about the answers I give them. The yeses.

So when are some of the times when I should start saying yes when I usually say no?

Probably the times when I hear questions like these: Can I dig a big hole in the yard with this spoon? Blow bubbles in the car? Play with Play-doh in the kitchen? Dump the clothes out of the laundry basket and use it as a boat? Be the one who makes lunch for everybody? Play the drums? Stay at the library longer? Build a tent in the living room? Read just one more story? Decorate the house for a tea party? Make Jello? Have breakfast for dinner (again)? Stay up late and look at the stars?

These things might be messy or inconvenient or even downright annoying. But when I see the looks on my kids’ faces when they get a yes, it’s always worth it.

I know that my kids and my husband are gifts from God. I firmly believe that my purpose at this point in life is to be a mom (and admittedly not very much else!) If I view them and God (since I’m a Christian) as my main priorities, then I should be able to put them first and everything else to the side, right? Everything else should be secondary.

Interruptions, messes and inconveniences (which happen at my house all the time) can be moved to the back burner if I decide to stick to my priorities. If I decide to say yes.

And even though there will always be times to say no, next time I want to catch myself and make sure I have a good reason for it.

Surprise your kids (and yourself) with some unexpected yeses and see what happens. Maybe it will be a moment of unexpected joy! And don’t we all need more of those?


-from my 1/20/13 blogpost for

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Adelaide's Antics

Adelaide, practicing the 12 disciples song: "Rupert, Simeon, Levi, Judah...."

One day, Adelaide found a little cup full of Chuck E. Cheese tokens, which she immediately started handing out to everyone in sight, saying "Money for the poor! Money for the poor!" I said, "Hey, I wish a real person was doing that!" She stopped and looked at me and said, "Excuse me, but I AM a real person!"

Adelaide is a big fan of the Yoga class we started taking. She gets a big kick out of pretending to be a tree, a cobra, lion, etc. A few Fridays ago we went to Yoga and we watched Life of Pi. She informed me the next day: "Hey, guess what? I liked BOTH of those things we did yesterday, yoga AND the movie!"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Year of Funnies

Every year we send out a family newsletter, and everyone’s favorite part always seems to be the list of one-liners my kids have come up with throughout the year.

This is part of that list; I hope these will help you start your year with a smile.

On the way to the doctor with Adelaide, I said, "Please do not toot on the
doctor this time." Adelaide: "Or he will not give me a sucker?" Me: "Would you give someone who tooted on you a sucker?" Adelaide: "Yes, if they were behind me."

Overheard during bathtime: Adelaide: "Are you scared of ovarians?" Josie: "Ovarians? You mean barbarians?" Adelaide: "Yes, barbarians. Are you scared of barbarians?" Josie: "No, not really."

Mom: "Good morning, my little sunshine." Josie: "I’m not sunshine. I’m moonshine."

Adelaide handed me a fortune cookie and said: "Here, Mom. Can you get the directions out?"

Mom: "Well, if you must." Josie: "I must."

Sadie: "God is like a genie, but better."

Adelaide, in the bathtub: "It's raining, it's pouring, the dinosaur is snoring."

Adelaide: "Mommy, sometimes you are allergic to fun."

Mom: "On top of spa-GHETTI, all covered with CHEESE, I lost my poor MEATball..." Josie: "Don't sing that song. It makes me sad."

“Blood in the Water. I think that’s what I’ll call my book.” - Sadie, after picking a scab off her knee in the bathtub.

Adelaide, while putting together a Wizard of Oz puzzle: “Hey! Here is a piece of the Ella Fa Krode!"

Josie, in response to me saying that she was a big girl: "I am not a big girl. I am a tiny woman."

Adelaide, gazing up into the blue fall sky: "Hey, look! A bird herd!"

Sadie: “Hey, Mommy, did you hear some crying coming from the direction of the
refrigerator? I think maybe it was the SCREAM cheese."

Mommy to a crying Jed, after he fell off the couch and bonked himself: "Oh,
Jeddy, what did you hit?" Adelaide to Mommy: "I think it was the ground, Mommy! I think the ground."

Adelaide asked for more ice cream after already having a whole big bowl. I said, "MORE? Are you kidding me?" She said, "Ha ha, yeah Mom. No, actually, I'm not."

Grammie tried to take Josie's picture but Josie threw her arms up in front of her face and said, "No geography, please!" Grammie: "Don't you mean photography?" Josie: “Whatever.”

My 3 girls had a "sleepover" in Adelaide's bedroom floor. I went in to kiss them goodnight and accidentally stepped on Sadie's leg. She said, "Ohhh! That's my bad hip!" She's 8.

After reminding my two oldest daughters that they need to be nice to their little sister even when she's a pest, Sadie informed me, "But Mom! She keeps persecuting us!"

Josie to Adelaide (in a frustrated voice): "Adelaide! Can you PLEASE talk inside your head?"

Reading Adelaide’s ABC book at bedtime: “Mommy, do not tell me the letters. I can do them. That’s A. That’s B. That’s C. And that one– don’t tell me—that one is 2.”

Josie, upon being told that we were out of milk: “NOOOoooo! Say it isn’t so!” Me: “It’s so.” Josie: “Well, can we make a little memorial for the milk? Like with a little cow and an empty carton?” Me: “I didn’t know you knew the word ‘memorial.” Josie: “Yeah, well, I’m just full of surprises.”

Mom: “Do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way?” Adelaide: “I want to do it NO way!”

Adelaide, after too much Halloween candy: “Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her Nerds and Milky Way….”

Josie: "Baton Camp makes me feel happy and joyous. And also less grumpy."

I hope your year is less grumpy than last year – and that it’s happy and joyous,

-from my 1/13/13 blogpost for

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Adelaide is learning to recite The Twelve Tribes of Israel by singing a song. If you’re a Bible scholar, you know that Jacob’s first son was named Reuben, then Simeon, then Levi, etc. Adelaide couldn’t think of Reuben’s name so she started her song like this: “Rupert, Simeon, Levi, Judah….”

Josie reciting The Lord’s Prayer: “And delete us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Monday, January 07, 2013

Lub in NC

When we were in NC over Christmas, Jesse discovered that his son is a Human Change Sorter. Jed snagged someone's change and stuck it down his footie-pajamas so that it fell down into his feet... dimes and quarters in the right foot and pennies in the left.

Jed was a very bad sport when he was playing an Indiana Jones game with his cousin Caleb. He wanted to use the spinner and when Caleb was trying to show him the right way to do it, Jed dumped out all the other pieces: Jed is a bad sport

When the three girls spent the night with Cameron and Caleb (they all conked out on sleeping bags in the basement floor), they had a great time - Angela let them have cookies at bedtime, though, and Crazy Cookie Josie went a little overboard, saying, "I'll have this and this and this and THIS. And I thank you!"

I liked watching all of them run down the hill at Angela's house - it was very "Little House on the Prairie-esque." 

We finished reading "The Christmas Barn" while we were on our trip and we all loved it. Sadie let Mamaw have a break from telling her stories and she told Mamaw and Papaw the whole story about the panther on the roof from the book. She remembered every little detail and it was fun to listen to her relate it with such zeal and vocal intonation. 

Adelaide had lots of fun wrestling with Scotty and with Uncle Thomas - and having tickle fights with Papaw.She is a hands-on kid, once she gets to know you. I just love her goofy laugh and the way she scrunches up her little nose - her eyes almost disappear and all you can hear is her silly cackling.

Jed decided that he likes the big water wheel that Papaw made - every time we went over to their house he had to go over check it out while he stood there with his little hands stuck down in the pockets of his camo coat. 

All three of the girls went over to Courtney's house to play when we first got to NC. They had lots of fun over there - they all three just love their long-distance cousin!

Speaking of long-distance cousins, Jed just couldn't get enough of pulling Cameron and/or Caleb this way and that way - wherever he wanted to go. Upstairs, downstairs, on the bunk bed, on the Foof in the basement, on a piggy-back ride... he didn't care, as long as he was goofing off somewhere with his cousins.

After Great Grandma's big 80th birthday bash on Sunday (the girls sang for her in front of everyone... they had a really good time hanging out with the family and helping decorate for the party), Jesse and Grampie Don headed back to Ohio and we headed to the YMCA for Hailey's birthday party. Sadie made a new friend there who seemed to be totally smitten with her. He kept following her around and when I went to sit with them during the birthday cake, he grinned and informed me, "I like root beer and country music and dancing." This is funny, because he was making sure that HE had exactly the same interests that SHE has. When I told her I wasn't sure about when we were going to go home, the little ladies' man piped up, "She can stay all night at my house!" Um... oh no she can't! :)

One morning when Jed woke up, he came to snuggle with me in bed. He was sucking his fingers (as usual) and I said, "Are those fingers good?" He said, "Mm-hmm" stuck his slobbery slimy fingers right in my mouth before I knew what he was doing. He learned to say a lot of things while we were there (as usual): Hoppit rabbit, My turn! Buckle! Let's go! Bye Josh!" He also learned a hilarious little "shuffling soldier" walk from Grampie Don - he takes dozens of little tiny steps close together, then turns and goes the other way.

Josie sang along with Papaw's guitar and then fell asleep on the floor at his house as we listened to him tell stories about when he was little - the two hogs and the umbrella and the barn loft stories - and about how he threw away my wooden clog shoes because he was so mad that they made me fall down. The girls thought that was funny!

Go kart, I know we were better than her

On New Year's Eve, the girls and Cameron and Caleb and Grammie split a bottle of sparkling grape juice. I asked Adelaide what you're supposed to say when you clink glasses (thinking "cheers"). Instead, she raised her glass and said, "Bottoms up!" 

Hailey at cfa, Josie let little boy have it when he hurt Adelaide
We went out to lunch with our "Church cousins" at Tiptons. All of the kid-cousins came along with Heather, Kristi, and Angela. It was fun... Jed sat at the girls' table, though - but he really likes his boy cousins - especially Grayson and Bryce. He does seem to like the "big boys." The girls rode home with Heather and we had some play time over there while she gave me lots of clothes. Yay!

There were lots of fun moments during our trip: dancing with Ada in Great Grandma's living room, sleeping next to Grammie on the floor on a bed made of couch cushions, Josie crashing onto the toilet with her head (okay, THAT wasn't so much fun), Josie learning to play LOTR on the computer with her dad just like Sadie learned last year at Christmas, Adelaide giving her brother the new name of "Jay-ud," Sadie searching for stuff in the yard and in Papaw and Mamaw's yard with the "Dad gum metal detector" that wouldn't detect anything....

And last, but certainly not least... I had one of those moments with Jed that makes all the work of parenting worthwhile. As we snuggled in bed, he reached over and put his soft little hand on my face and kissed my cheek and said, "Lub you."

Lub, lub, lub being a mommy. 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Resolved to be Unresolved

I've decided not to make any New Year's resolutions this year.

I think they might be a bad idea.

My Sadie will be nine in 2013. She only has only one more year until she's into double digits. My Josie will be 8. My Adelaide will be five. And my sweet baby boy will be three.


I'll be 37. And my husband and I will have our 12th anniversary. Wow.

Time really does fly, doesn't it? Whoever came up with that one wasn't kidding.

So when it comes to resolutions, I've decided that they just don't make sense for me. I can't even live a day or a week or a month at a time, so how can I decide today what's going to be important to me a whole year from now?

Looking back, it's been a rough year. Sickness, death, family problems, social upheaval, depression, health issues, financial problems, political issues, shootings, disasters, accidents, spiritual issues and a myriad of other things seem to have run rampant this past year - not only in my life, but in the lives of many. Maybe even in yours.

Times are hard. Life is hard. Being a mom is hard.

I've heard that what makes you who you are isn't about what happens to you, but about the way you choose to handle what happens to you. That's a huge realization for me.

Sometimes I feel like life is flying past me and I'm not really living it. It's just happening to me.

But if the past year has taught me one thing, it's this: we can only live in the moment. We aren't guaranteed another day. Another hour. Another minute.

And even though life is tough, there are still amazing things happening all around us.

The beauty of the sunset. A child's smile. A sloppy baby kiss on my cheek. A soft little hand in mine. A shared memory. An unexpected "I love you." A true friend. A belly laugh. A stranger holding the door for you. The smell of rain. A favorite song. A warm bed after a long day. A quiet moment.

So my goal (not resolution!) is to choose to have many good, beautiful and peaceful moments this year. To choose to grab onto those moments and really feel them - live them.

Because it's all about our choices, isn't it?

Happy New Year to you - I pray that you have a year full of good moments too.

-from my 1/6/13 blogpost for