Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Smart like Ben

A few weeks ago Zane was learning about Benjamin Franklin. Here is an excerpt from Zane's history book:
It did not take his father long to realize how bright his youngest son was.

'That boy will make a fine minister. With seventeen children, I cannot afford to send them all to school. But I will try to send Ben.'
At the time, I wondered out loud what it would be like to choose one of your children, based on how smart they are, to go to school because you couldn't afford to send them all. Zane said, "I'd probably have to go." He's pretty sure he is the smartest of all three boys. I told him that I don't know which boys is the smartest, but I might not send him to school because he says he doesn't like it. I told him that I would rather send a boy who wants to learn.

Today, as I'm writing this, Luke said to Zane, "You think you're the smartest boy in the country." Zane, with a pondering look, said, "Maybe."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Church Clothes

Yesterday, after Zane got dressed for church, I noticed that he was wearing faded blue jeans and asked him to change. He said,
"Mom, church isn't about looking good, right? It's about Jesus."
Who can argue with that?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Charpie Spice

Cade said the other day, "I don't like babies, except William [his cousin] and Charpie Spice." Our friends, Ken and Charissa Charpie, make a special seasoning that they've dubbed Charpie Spice. The boys love that spice. It's the only way I can get them to eat some foods. On the day that Cade made the statement above, he couldn't remember the name Linus, Ken and Charissa's son, so he called him Charpie Spice. I officially recommend that Ken and Charissa begin using this new nickname for Linus. Just keep him away from British pop-music bands...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Whoa, Martha, back up!

A few years ago I was given Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook. Although the book has useful information, I wouldn't have bought it for myself. I didn't want Martha's expectations swirling around in my head. Ignorance is bliss.

My bliss lasted until page 24 of the 744 page book.

First the good news. I actually do pretty well at Martha's Six Things To Do Every Day: (1) make the bed, (2) manage clutter, (3) sort the mail, (4) clean as you cook, (5) wipe up spills while they're fresh, and (6) sweep the kitchen floor. If only she stopped there I could, on occasion, pat myself on the back. I really wished she had stopped there.

Now the bad news. Next comes her Weekly Homekeeping list. [To be fair, the lists are meant to be a general guideline and the reader is encouraged to tailor them, but I think it's more fun to mock them.] The weekly list is where my grade starts to plummet. Actually, I failed before I even made it out of the kitchen. Here it is; Martha's Weekly Homekeeping list for the kitchen:

~Wipe surfaces, including sink, countertops, the outside of the ventilation hood, refrigerator and cupboard doors, top of refrigerator, appliance exteriors, shelves, and furniture

~Wipe the inside of the oven, microwave, and toaster oven

~Flush drain with boiling water

~Discard foods and beverages past their prime

~Dust light fixtures

~Wipe the inside and outside of trash and recycling bins

~Vacuum and mop floor

Whoa, Martha, back up. Wipe down the cupboard doors! Honestly, even if I had a staff of people working for me, I still wouldn't think it necessary to do that each week. Not to mention the top of the refrigerator and inside/outside of the trash bin. And the light fixtures? Weekly. Really?

I'm glad that Martha will not be visiting me.

Today, I decided that it was time to dust the master bedroom. Why? Because it is my weekly routine, like Martha recommends. Nope. Because the dust was thick. I could have easily written "wash me" in the layer of dust on top of the chest of drawers [and then made a plaster cast of the words].

I think that it is more gratifying to wait until something is a little dirty [or, in the case of dusting, a lot dirty]. Then, after you clean it, you feel like you've really accomplished something. Plus, in my opinion, if your house is immaculate people begin to feel uncomfortable. Even the people who live in the house. And, if you get the reputation of being an OCD type of cleaner, people become less comfortable inviting you to their home. I know a few people who cause me panic at the thought of them dropping by.

There seems to be a fine line between keeping a house comfortably clean and becoming a slave to your home. Another Martha quote:

Manage clutter: Whenever you leave a room, take a quick look around for anything that isn't where is should be. Pick it up and put it where it belongs. Insist that everyone in the household do the same.

This is, for the most part, a habit for me; however, I get tired of looking around to see what needs to be done. Sometimes it feels like each room of the house is wrangling for my attention and I just want it to be quiet. I certainly do no want my kids to feel that way. I want them to enjoy this house. I'm okay with finding Lego's in every room. I'm okay with the couch cushions becoming forts/motorcycles/islands. I do teach them to pick up after themselves. At least once a day I have them put things back where they belong. But I don't want to "insist" that they are always on the lookout for anything that is out-of-place. How sad.

That said, I must confess that I have a hard time allowing anyone else to see my house messy. Funny, huh? It contradicts what I believe; that a house should look like people live in it. That it is more welcoming that way. Unfortunately, those Martha-like expectations pop into my brain and persuade me that less-than-perfect isn't good enough. I'm working on finding the balance; enjoying more company and caring less about the condition of my house.

But for now, I'm off to wash the cupboard doors...

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Cake for Cade

For two years Cade has wanted this rainbow cake from Costco for his birthday.

What Cade didn't know is that I am not much for store bought cakes; I prefer to make the boys' birthday cakes. The first year Cade asked for the Costco rainbow cake, I made each cupcake [that fit together into the shape of an alligator] a rainbow-ish color. Sounds a little strange, huh? It was. I didn't say that my cakes look better than the store bought ones. [Did I mention that the cupcakes were zucchini cake?] Unfortunately, I don't seem to have a picture.

Joy offered to make Cade's next birthday cake. [No, not because of the rainbow alligator zucchini cupcakes.] She said that she doesn't get to make many birthday cakes and wanted to help out. [Okay, that does kinda sound like a nice way of saying that my cakes need help. But, it wasn't. Was it?] She stayed up all night creating a masterpiece rainbow cake. It was amazing; the picture doesn't do it justice.

Cade really liked Joy's cake, but later told me [when I inadvertently took him by the cake section during a Costco grocery trip] that he really wants THAT rainbow cake. I will, and you're my witness, buy it for him this year! No homemade cake for him. If I don't buy him that cake ... may a shark bite MY nose.

Special People

About 1 1/2 years ago our church assigned each of my boys a "special person" to pray for them and send them a letter once a month. What a blessing each of these ladies have been to my boys [and me].

Luke and Louise. Louise doesn't go to our church anymore, but we still go see her. Our trips haven't been as frequent as I would like, but I'm planning to do better. She lives on the 18th floor of her building. We really enjoy seeing the city from her apartment windows. Louise is a sweet little lady.

Zane and Bessie. Bessie fell in love with Zane the first time he smiled at her. He was ten months old and we had just moved to Eugene. Bessie has treated us like family every since and blesses us so much. Everybody needs a Bessie.

Pearl and Cade. Cade loves Pearl; he has said that he would like to marry her. He looks for her every Sunday and goes to give her a huge hug. The kind of hug that leaves everyone who sees it smiling. "Pearl" is actually a nickname that her father gave her when she was little; he knew she was a treasure. We agree with him wholeheartedly.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Sweet William

My nephew, William, is staying with us this weekend while his parents are at a marriage retreat. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to take all four boys to the studio for pictures and scheduled the photos for today. Everything leading up to the appointment was going very well; I had outfits picked out for the all the boys, they had lunch, dinner was ready for when we got back, and William had a two hour nap right before we left and woke up in a great mood! I was hopeful that things would go well. Once we got to the studio William became very serious and reserved. I had the photographer take picture of my boys first so that William could see what was happening and get used to the idea. Nope. I tried showing him the pictures of the boys on the monitor and told him he could see himself too. Nope. I told him I wanted to surprise his Mommy. Nope. I told him that his blankie wanted to be in the picture. Nope. Just the mention of pictures brought him to tears. Poor little guy; he was a puddle on the floor. Fortunately he perked right back up as soon as we left the studio. I guess I didn't traumatize him too much.

Here are some happier times during his visit:

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