Monday, April 27, 2009

A Race, Moving, and the Zoo x 2

Here are some highlights from the past month:

On March 28th Brian and I were able to run in the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k. This is the third time Brian has run and the second time for me (I took a sabatical last year as I was pregnant). The race is a big event in Richmond, and while neither Brian or I would consider ourselves "runners," we have a lot of fun doing it and appreciate the motivation to get in shape. This year we ran together which made it especially fun. I am grateful for the health the Lord has granted us to be able to run. If you'd like to see me sweat (yes, I was running hard) you can go to this link:

As we waited to start the race a man beside me had a shirt with the reference 2 Timothy 4:7 written on it. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." I thought of this verse as I ran and since then it seems to have taken on even deeper meaning for me. Keeping the faith is not something that is just going to happen. It's no walk in the park or Sunday stroll. Like running a race, it's going to take discipline, motivation and a lot of effort. But, in the end, when we receive the crown and can lay it down at our Savior's feet, wow. Praise the Lord that, through him, we can keep the faith.

Another big event recently was a trip to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. During Grant's spring break week we ventured up to D.C. (along with everyone else we found out) to go to the zoo. Aunt Susannah was able to go with us and Aunt Tara joined up with us at the zoo. Davis stayed home to get some one-on-one attention from Gramma (a rare treat for the 4th child), giving us the best adult to kid ratio we've had in a long time! The kids had a blast and we all enjoyed the day.

I was able to go with Grant's class on a field trip to the Richmond Zoo the following week. Grant, in particular, loves animals so two trips to the zoo in a week was a real treat for him. His favorite part was when the zookeeper brought out a python for the class to see.

Carter liked the elephants.

"Grant's stag beetle"

Daddy and Aunt Tara carrying worn out little boys.

Grant, Carter, Susannah and Bryce

On April 18th we moved into our "summer house." The day went smoothly and we are very grateful for all of the help we received from family and friends. We are now functional (mostly unpacked) in the new living quarters. So far it's been a fairly easy transition and the boys are enjoying the fun backyard. Soon after we moved in they discovered a rabbit's burrow (I'm sorry to say it is now destroyed--but no bunnies were harmed in the process!), they've found a few golf balls in the backyard (the yard backs up to a golf course), have enjoyed the play set, and have turned over about 50 landscape pavers collecting roly-polies, caterpillars and worms.

The night we took the boys to "say goodbye" to the house there was a beautiful rainbow. Amazing!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A new slant on bed-wetting

One night after bath time our two-year-old, Carter, requested to take his alligator bath toy to bed with him. This is a rather large alligator toy that was originally part of the treasure hunt for older brother's pirate birthday party (it wouldn't be a real pirate party without an alligator swamp!). Obligingly, daddy allowed Carter to sleep with the plastic alligator--much better than a teddy bear any day!
The following morning our usually happy riser woke up very upset. Daddy went in to Carter's room to see what was the matter and through tears Carter announced very sadly, "Awigator peed in my bed!" You see, the hollow alligator had apparently collected some bath water and when Carter gave the alligator a squeeze it "peed" out of the hole on the underside of the toy. Oops. Carter was very offended and needless to say, the alligator has been sleeping in the tub ever since.

Friday, April 10, 2009

From a fellow MOB (Mother of Boys)...

I ran across this column by Rachel Balducci, mother of five boys.

It is a weekday morning and we are getting ready for school. The boys are getting dressed, and I'm working on bringing breakfast to the table while I make lunches.
As I walk toward the refridgerator I stumble across a boy seated on the kitchen floor. I look closer to discover that he is tied to the column that is part of my kitchen island. Should I even try to get to the bottom of this, I ask myself, and then decide no. It's probably better to just keep moving forward to get us out the door on time.
"Go put your shoes on," I say to the boy, ignoring the detail of his being tethered to our cabinetry.
"Yes, ma'am," he says and gets himself free.
I realize someone needs a patch ironed onto his one pair of clean school pants. I leave the kitchen in search of my sewing box and find that the only patch I have is blue. I use it anyway. When I am done I hold up the pants to verify that yes, you can totally see that blue patch through the khaki cotton.
"This is awesome," says my son. "Thanks mom."
I walk back into the kitchen to find another boy tied up, this time in an elaborate knot system designed to challenge his maneuvering skills.
"I'm trying to get free," he says happily. His brothers look on as he works his magic.
"Untie him so he can get dressed," I say to the oldest. And then wonder how many other women are uttering those same words to their children as they get ready for the day. Surely I'm not alone.
In the midst of all this craziness - on this day and so many others just like it - we keep on keeping on. I realize that having a family of boys is going to make my family look and act in ways unlike other families. It's not a bad thing - just different.
My goal is to ebrace our life, to enjoy this unique vantage of having five sons while I continue to strive for those same ideals Paul and I had for our family before our children were even born.
We want our boys to love the faith. We want them to have a real love for Jesus, to look to the saints for inspiration, to seek the Lord in everything. We want to use these formative years to plant seeds that will be with them forever.
Our standards and ideals haven't changed, but our approach has. Because we didn't anticipate the unique nature of our crew - and this nature certainly affects a lot.
The way we pray, what our prayer time looks like, and even the saints we are drawn to - these details will differ from family to family, based on personality and charisms and yes, gender. I realized recently that our family will likely never be charter members of the St. Maria Goretti Fan Club, and that's okay.
What Paul and I can do is tether ourselves to our boys' imagination and boyish charm and even some of that spunk and mischief - and then we can direct those engergies back toward Jesus. It might look different from what another family is doing, but we pray for the same end result - that each of our boys will have a firm, unwavering love of the Lord, and desire to seek him always.
Every family is different. This I tell myself often. I look to other families for inspiration, to be reminded of our ideals when they start to slip. I want to be around other men and women who want to raise their children in God's ways.
I have to remember, though, that I can't cross the line that separates, "seeking inspiration" to "comparing." Comparing can be dangerous, especially if there has to be a "winner."
We seek the Lord, and we embrace the family God gave us, who he made us to be. And then, with all that in mind, we travel down the path he sets before us.

Well, at least he's honest

After correcting one of my boys recently I instructed him to say "sorry."

"But mom," the boy said, straight-faced, "I don't like that word."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Potty training...on hold

Brian recently pulled the Max's Potty book off the shelf to read to Carter in hopes of sparking some interest in "going potty."

The experience led him to the conclusion that it might be best to put potty training on hold.
You see, Max's Potty is a lift-the-flap book that goes something like, "Who sits on the potty? Does a monkey sit on the potty?" Lift the flap. "No, a monkey doesn't sit on the potty!" "Does an elephant sit on the potty?" Lift the flap. "No, silly! An elephant doesn't sit on the potty. He's too big!" You get the point. Eventually Max sits on the potty, etc. On the last page there is a picture of Max with the words, "Max is a big boy now. Look what Max is wearing (big boy underwear)!"
This is when Carter lifted both arms in victory and screamed excitedly, "A shirt!"