Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Josiah The Gypsy

I posted a status to my facebook page, stating that Josiah was a gypsy. One of my friends commented that there was obviously a story behind my statement, and by the way, what a great title my status would make for the book. I took her words to heart, and sat down to pen this little ditty. Every word is true.

A little boy, no more than 2,
Whose mama loved him, through and through
Was often called, by that same mom
A crazy, little gypsy bomb.
Josiah Boy (JB for short),
Loved to play all kinds of sport;
Like drawing on white walls with pen
Though Mama always scolded him.
Broken toys and books were found
Strewn across the house’s ground,
And Mama cried from every room,
“JB the gypsies must presume
That I will love you even though
You bring to me unending woe.”
Her youngest son would turn and grin,
Melting Mama’s heart within.
So, he again would race away
Finding somewhere new to play.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Other Leah & Mary

I overheard the following conversation yesterday...

Mary, we broke Princess Mirabella's special jacket.

No, we didn't.

Yes, we did. Remember, we pulled off the sleeves.

No, we didn't.

Mary! It is broken, and we did it.

No, Leah, that was the OTHER Leah and Mary.

Oh. Okay.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why Big Families Are Easier

I read this little ditty, written by Matthew Archbold,  on my friend Julie's blog. It so humorously captures the (in)sanity of our home.

Why big families are easier:
Patience. I never have to teach patience. My children know that I can’t drop everything for them if I have a baby in my arms.
Work Ethic. My children have learned to work because there are always chores to do in a small house packed with little messy lunatics. And they all learn quickly that sometimes they have to clean up a mess even though they didn’t make it.
Humility. My children have learned it’s not always their turn. They’ve accepted they can’t always get their way because other people have to get their way sometimes. They’ve learned that some children are better at certain things than they are.
Foreign language skills. You can learn a lot of Spanish by watching ten years of Dora the Explorer that you just can’t pick up in two. And now with the Diego spin off I’m practically fluent.
Laughter. The children have learned to laugh at the insane non sequiturs of younger siblings. They’ve learned that laughing just feels better when seven people are doing it along with you.
Competition. Do I really need to go into this? Everything is a competition in big families. The children compete over who reads faster, who drinks their milk faster, who gets to the bathroom first…etc. Everything is a competition and they’re all keeping score.
Balance. The floor of the front room of my home is a minefield of toys and childhood paraphernalia. Just walking through the room requires great skill and balance. I’m absolutely convinced my two year old will be a favorite for Gold on the balance beam in the 2016 Olympics. (She might have to lay off the cookies a little but I’ll deal with that later.)
Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you just give it to the baby because you want a little quiet. Not all the time. But sometimes.
Just say “No.” Being able to say “no” may be the most undervalued skill in this world. The need to be liked is pervasive. The need to be cool even more so. Having brothers and sisters teaches children to say “no” about 143 times a day. It’s a good skill.
Praying. They learn that nothing beats praying together as a family.
Nature/Nurture. Having many children has taught me that nature has a lot more to do with who my kids are than nurture. This is helpful, especially when your children misbehave you don’t have to feel bad about it. Just say “Stupid nature!!!” and blame your spouse’s genes.
Name calling. You can occasionally call your child by the wrong name and still not be considered a terrible parent. They know who you mean just from your tone. Sometimes if you need something done you can call the wrong name and someone will still show up. That helps.
Spying. My children have learned that they can’t get away with anything. I have spies who look a lot like them who are willing to drop the dime on them for anything. Even at school I’ve got a child in just about every grade. If they do something I’ll hear. That keeps them nervous. And I like keeping my kids a little nervous.
Friendship. The children have many friends. They’ve got girly friends, crying friends, fun loving friends, consoling friends, and crazy friends. And they all have the same last name. And they’ll be there forever for each other. No matter what.
Love. I think my children have learned to love because there are others around them to love and who love them. I honestly can think of no better way to teach children to love than siblings.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


You know those stories that you share, sides splitting with laughter, from your childhood? Not the ones that were funny at the time, rather the ones where you were thoroughly "busted". However, the striking absurdity of the moment bleeds through the years, and the hilarity simply can not be denied. I have a few from my own childhood. I have heard several from my friends and husband. And I know that through the parenting of my seven little people I am again experiencing them...

Today was just such a time.

The rain is slowly driving my entire family crazy. Through this time I have worked hard to maintain balance in my expectations. After all, the kids can't get outside to unleash their energy. Loud noise and rambunctious activities are going to be the norm. After an exceptionally boisterous morning I prepared to move into a rowdy afternoon, so you can imagine my surprise when Phoebe and Josiah both went down for their naps without any fuss. With the two little ones fast asleep, a break in the weather for my three middles to get some much needed outdoor time, and my older girls working on school I was lulled into a false sense of security.

I enjoyed the blissful quiet, making much needed use of it managing our banking.

A couple of hours later I needed to grab something out of the garage. The older girls were playing on the computer, Josiah and Phoebe were still napping and presumably the middles were somewhere outside.

I opened the garage door, and simply stared at what my eyes beheld.

Caleb, Leah and Mary decided the garage needed to be cleaned. However, instead of actually taking care of their messes, throwing away old art projects, finding the long lost matches to shoes shoved in the corners they thought the floor was in need of mopping. Okay, I am willing to admit that from time to time a thorough cleansing of said floor might be in order. But remember, this is the middle of winter, and it is raining outside... translated: Not The Right Time To Mop The Floor. Add to this the ever charming ingenuity of my scheming children and you get things like: mopping using rain water; mopping with paint rollers; mopping more than simply the floor.

Yes, indeed, I will one day hurt myself laughing silly over the mighty spectacle of my garage covered in rainwater run-off from the upside down lid of a large plastic container used to house outdoor toys. It will seem hysterical that my son thought using the meticulously cleaned roller brushes as a "mop" to roll water (carefully procured from the upside down lid mentioned above - which, it should be noted, had been brought into the garage and perched on a card table for convenient reloading) over the floor, carpet, suitcases, needing-to-be-broken-down cardboard boxes, refrigerator, washing machine, and card table was a good idea. Indeed, Mary's decision to sweep the area I use as a laundry room with her shedding, straw broom will send me into irrepressible giggles afresh. The sheer determination to touch every exposed surface with dirty water will be humor defined.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Accidental Slap

I love it when my kids confess... especially when they haven't been "caught" first. Leah just came inside, already crying with shame over what she needed to share.

I accidentally slapped Mary...

*I stare at her with the What-More-Do-You-Need-To-Say look. She takes a deep breath, between sobs, and continues.* the head...

*More staring, deeper breathing, harder sobs.*

...with my baby doll...

You accidentally slapped Mary in the head with your baby doll?

...because I was angry.

I think the term, "accident" is perhaps too liberally applied.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Oatmeal. Apparently it is all the rage. I first noticed the advertisements for, "Slow-Cooked, Steel-Cut Oatmeal" several months ago while standing in line at a Jamba Juice. Then, so as not to miss out on the latest health-nut obsession, Starbucks introduced their version of cooked, oaty perfection. Still, between Jamba Juice and Starbucks you are handling a boutique crowd - one that is generally thinking beyond the quick fast-food fix.

Whoa! Then I saw the advertisements for oatmeal at McDonald's!

McDonald's? Really?

Yep, even the MacDaddy of fast food is trying to cash in on the health conscious craze sweeping through the breakfast options.

The reason I find all this particularly amusing is not because I doubt the validity of oatmeal's claims to be a delicious, hearty, and nutritious breakfast item. I chuckle because my own family began eating slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal long before it was trendy. We started utilizing this robust, steaming bowl of goodness as a means to stretch our dollar while providing nutrition far beyond the typical breakfast cereal. And since so many of my children suffer from allergies particularly noted for breakfast preparation (read: eggs and dairy), oatmeal seemed the ideal solution. Only Mary, and her severe allergy to oats, is left out of our morning ritual.

We like ours with sukanat and cold-pressed flax seed oil.