The Eleventh Commandment

I have a rule in my life that really should be made the eleventh commandment: Thou Shalt Not Remain Home on a Three-day Weekend. Absolutely not. No way. Don't even think about how much you could accomplish around here in three days. Just pack your bags and hit the road.

So we're going to try some camping again. When I report back to you about this weekend's camping expedition, I hope to not include any details such as train derailments, gate closures, rain or vomiting, but I make no promises. Whenever we pull out the camper, it rains and something goes wrong. But we're excited nonetheless.

Besides, this trip is planned around Aggie football! We're camping at Lake Somerville, which is not too far from Aggieland (a.k.a. God's Country). This will allow us to take my dad to his first Texas A&M football game, which is an experience everyone should enjoy at least once in life. (Truly! It's not just a game. It's a fun-filled event of traditions!) My mom will keep the boys at the camper. What a great mom!

And because this house is in shambles, I will be taking a break from blogging next week. I feel pretty certain that not one of you would like to volunteer to come clean my windows, blinds, baseboards, ceiling fans, or toilets, so I'll be busy with that next week. I'm hoping that telling you this now will help hold me accountable. If I post anything next week, you have my permission to slap me silly.

But I will be back on Monday, September 10 to fill you in on all the exciting details of camping and cleaning. Y'all be good while I'm gone.

Gig 'em, Aggies!

Stump the Mom

Sometimes I just don't know how to answer the kids' questions. I mean, I don't know everything! Here's one that has stumped me today:

"How did God make the sea?"


"Well, He just did."

And I could see the wheels turning in his head, as if he was thinking, "Ah hah, she doesn't know everything!"

Wordless Wednesday: Mountain Men

For more WW participants, please visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Garrett's (2 1/2) favorite phrase is, "Don't be widicuwous (ridiculous)." Can't imagine where he learned it!

For other families' tiny talks, please visit Not Before 7.

"You Have Your Hands Full"

I hate that statement. I hear it a lot, when I've got all three boys in a public venue. If I'm in a good mood at the time and the boys are not embarassing me, I might reply with, "Yes, but my hands were empty for a long time, so I'm glad to have them full now." If the boys, however, are running circles around me and hanging from the grocery shelves, then I grit my teeth and smile, instead of giving these perfect strangers a piece of my mind.

But really, this mom's description of shopping with six kids takes the cake! You must go to this eBay posting and scroll down to read this seller's reason for selling this item. Trust me when I say this is an absolute must read!

And Let the Games Begin

Jack's (2 1/2) potty training has not gone well over the last 2 weeks. I knew that traveling would cause him a setback, so I've tried to be understanding.

Shortly after today's lunch, he dropped his toys and screamed, "I NEED TO GO POTTY!" I was in the middle of changing Garrett's diaper. So I told Jack, "Hurry! Get to the potty! Good job for telling me!"

Because that's where Jack's biggest problem is...he doesn't tell me he needs to go. He just goes, you know, wherever the need strikes him.

As I finished Garrett's diaper, I heard Jack tinkle in the potty, and I kept praising him. "Good job for making it to the potty! You've been dry all day. I'm so proud of you!" Even Garrett and Liam (4) chimed in.

Jack flushed, redressed, and washed his hands. That sounds great, doesn't it?! I thought so, until I saw his shirt.

As he stepped out of the bathroom, I saw that the lower two inches of his shirt were soaked. Thinking that he forgot to lift his shirt out of the target zone, I said, "Uh oh, you forgot to lift your shirt. Take it off." As he lifted his shirt, I noticed that his underwear was also wet, which told me that he didn't make it to the potty quite soon enough.

I calmly went through the whole scenario with him for the millionth time. "Jack, when you need to go potty, you stop and go right away. Do not wait until it's too late."

To which, he replied, "Liam did it."

"Jack, Liam did not pee on your shirt and underwear."

And this is where the true sibling rivalry begins.

Vacation Dos and Don'ts

Here are some dos and don'ts for your next vacation:

  • You do not want your home air conditioning to go out the night before you leave town. However, if you have a wonderful daddy that still rescues you from tight spots, call him to babysit the house when the repairman agrees to evaluate the problem in three days.
  • You do not want your 2 1/2 year-old to wake up with 103-degree fever the night before your departure. But you give him Motrin and pray that he's well the next day.
  • You do not want to take your dog on vacation with you, as much fun as it sounds to add a dog to a road trip with young children. He will only run away while in a strange city over 800 miles away from home. You also do not want him to run to a friendly neighbor that will turn him into the pound. You do, however, want the friendly pound lady to have mercy on your panicked dog search and return your dog to your arms within a couple hours. Thank you, Pound Lady! I'll love you forever.
  • You do want to find the Boulder Creek Reservoir while walking the Cherry St. Mall in 90-degree temps. Ahh, the cold water felt so good to our tired and hot feet! And your kids could spend hours throwing rocks in the running water.
  • You do want to ride the Alpine Slide at Winter Park as many times as possible. The thrill of hearing your boys squeal with delight while riding downhill at top-notch speed will be priceless. The ride is not priceless, however, so I suggest buying a half-day ticket instead of purchasing each ride separately.
  • I do not suggest taking Hubby to southwest Colorado in the middle of August, where his allergies will go haywire and leave him with migraines and sleeplessness. I do, however, suggest you travel there if you like fishing and hiking. While there, be certain to see Treasure Falls. It's an easy hike to a beautiful view. The fresh air will help Hubby to feel better instantly.
  • I do suggest that you hightail it out of southwest CO after three sleepless nights for Hubby. We quickly changed our plans to head to Colorado Springs to visit our old neighborhood and good friends. It's great fun to gather 5 kids, ages 4 and under, in one home. Really! The kids entertain themselves, and the adults can catch up on two years' worth of gossip.
  • I do not suggest getting your hopes set high on enjoying your favorite restaurant for breakfast in your old hometown. The doors just might be locked, and you might be forced to think of option #2, when your belly is growling and your children are grumbling.
  • I do suggest that you head to the Garden of the Gods. If you're in Colorado Springs with an hour to spare, you must hit the Garden with your camera. It's simply gorgeous!

  • When Hubby rushes everyone to the car quickly, don't wonder what is wrong with him. Don't assume that he is rushing to get everyone back in the car for the twelve-hour return trip to triple digit heat. No, simply ask him, "Why are you in such a hurry to get home?" He will tell you, "We're not going home. We're going to meet up with your parents at their campsite in Oklahoma. Does that sound like fun?" Oh, yes, indeed!
  • Don't get your kids' hopes up on that idea. Because you might run into an accident on the interstate that will cause you to sit at a standstill for an hour. And, when you finally start rolling again, you might run into the storm of the century in OK that causes you to stop driving only two hours shy of your destination. The kids will not understand why you can't continue to travel in torrential downpours and tornado warnings.
  • Don't promise the children that you will go camping the next morning. Because it will still be raining, and we know what it's like to camp with 7 people and 2 dogs in a 28-foot trailer!
  • When you finally arrive at home, try to remember that 40 hours in the car + 7 days away from home + your family + some unexpected mishaps + mountain air = good memories.

I'm Home...

but I'm so darn tired that I can't put two thoughts together. And it will take far more than TWO thoughts to tell you about our vacation. Tomorrow I will do my best to tell you about our trip that began with a 103 fever and a broken A/C....

All He Ever Learned...Part 2, sort of

I know that I promised I would tie Monday's post into Rick's kindergarten report card and his 36th birthday. I have tried to fulfill that promise for three days now, and the words are just not coming to me. I sit and stare at his report card, and then I sit and stare at the computer, only to repeat this one hundred times or more.

The problem is that I have a lot on my mind this week. We are leaving tomorrow for our family vacation to Colorado! The trip that we have had planned since March. The same trip that we have talked about every day since March. To say that we are little bit excited is downplaying the whole ordeal greatly. We are ready to see, smell, and experience the mountains, especially now that someone left the Texas heater on outdoors.

Thus, my mind is filled with packing and to-do lists. And not eloquent posts about my husband's life-learning experiences from kindergarten, which have led him to be a doting husband, fun-loving daddy, and God-fearing man. He is all of those, and he learned all of it in kindergarten. There, I said it. Only it wasn't very eloquent.

Now, I'm off to get ready for a much-needed family vacation. A time where I will not count calories, nor the number of fruits and veggies per serving. A time where I will try not to count the number of hours spent in the car, nor the dollars spent on gasoline. A time where I will count the number of photos snapped, the memories made, the naps taken, and the giggles shared.

Y'all be good while I'm gone. And happy birthday, Rick! I love you!

A Child's Faith

During blanket time yesterday, Garrett (2 1/2) stopped playing with his toys to read a children's Bible I had put in his stack of toys. This is the conversation he had with himself:

This is Bible. It's God's twoof (truth).

[Ruffling of pages] God said, "No eat fwoot (fruit)."

I typically try not to make much eye contact or conversation with my boys during blanket time, because it is simply our time of independence. But I couldn't resist, so I took a peek to find him looking at Adam and Eve's picture. And Garrett was wearing a silly hat all the while. I smiled as I pictured God smiling down on my baby's innocence.

During today's "work time", I gave my middle man Jack (also 2 1/2) a bucket of buttons to sort according to shapes. As he picked up each piece, he appropriately named the square, circle, triangle, and flower. When he found the heart button, he called it "life". I said, "That's a heart. Does it represent life?" To which he replied, "Yes, God's wife."

I pray that my boys' young faith continue to blossom with time. How it must please God to see His young children speak His truth so eloquently.

Wordless Wednesday: Outtake

Can't imagine why we didn't have this framed!

Not so Wordless Wednesday.

All He Ever Learned...Part I

We've probably all heard of the phrase "All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten". But did you know it's actually the title of a published book of 50 essays? It is Robert Fulghum's 1986 work that was on the New York Times' bestseller list for almost two years.

Here is an excerpt that I found on the wonderful worldwide web. (Really, what did we do without that wonderful device?!):

All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
- by Robert Fulghum

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day.

Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup - they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK . Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.

The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology and politics and sane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

So what do you think? Is there something missing from that list, or is it complete? Let's get some comments rolling!

Stay tuned for how I can tie this post into my husband's kindergarten report card and his 36th birtday this week! (At this point, my palms are sweating, now that I've promised this. I'm not sure if I can handle the pressure. I might not sleep for days now!)

And if you're interested in purchasing Fulghum's book, has used copies for as cheap as a penny! I might need to order one.

Friday Funny

When Liam was 3, we tried playing Chutes and Ladders for the first time. I knew he was a bit young, but I thought we could give it a try. He quickly became frustrated, so I put it away and told him that we'd try again another day. Liam quickly responded with, "Sorry, Mommy. I'm only a little boy."

Yes, you are, and please stay that way.

Homeschool Open House

Tiany over at Less of Me~More of Him is hosting a fabulous Homeschool Open House over the next two weeks.

For those fellow participants, let me give you a brief intro to myself and my family. My name is Ami, and God blessed my husband and me with three little men via adoption.

On your left is Garrett (2 1/2), my mini-me. In the middle front is Liam (4), whom we affectionately call The Nut, because he simply is. On your right is Jack (2 1/2), our wild man. And that white guy is my husband, another blessing from God, who works hard in order to keep me home with our little army.

Although my eldest is only 4 and a little young for "official" schooling, I made the decision to homeschool a few months ago. I've written about my reasons for homeschooling, but the ultimate reason is: God is asking it of me.

I recently tried to begin early kindergarten with Liam, but after two days, I realized that his fine motor and listening skills are not quite where I'd like them to be. Instead of frustrating both of us, I decided to put kindergarten away and resume our typical daily educational play. I'm a former public school teacher, so all three of my boys are accustomed to my sitting down with them to "work", as they call it.

In September, I will begin using Letter of the Week's curriculum to teach all three boys simultaneously. This will allow us to have an "official" school feel to our already structured learning time. I think it will also help Liam to be better prepared for our kindergarten curriculum, which is My Father's World.

Here is a glimpse into our school room.

It is our dining room, which I recently converted to the school room, since we never once used it for dining. The boys love to bring paper and crayons to their table and play together.

Would you like to know where I got our school table?!?! I know you would. I got it for FREE from a local church. Our own church did not have any spare furniture, but I called around to some other local churches and found one to give us the table and six chairs. This was a huge blessing, as it would cost hundreds to buy it on my own. So, that is my tip for all of you homeschooling families out there that need school furniture...ask your local churches if they have any to DONATE!

On the far wall is our calendar, which you can barely see in this photo. We have a daily circle time near our calendar, where we sing and discuss the day, the month, and the weather. We also review Bible memory verses and pray together. (Our calendar comes from Creative Teaching Press. I've also found to be a good source for cute songs to help make circle time more fun.)

I'm sure you noticed the large empty space at the top of the far wall. I want to somehow use that space for hanging current art projects, but I need to be careful about what I do to that wall, being that it's the very first room that guests see when stepping into our home. I don't want it to have a cluttered look, yet I want it to be more school-friendly for the boys. Any ideas on how to utilize that space?

I look forward to visiting with fellow participants of the open house. Please leave me a comment so I can hop on over to your place.