Thursday, May 23, 2019

Awards

This week has been filled with end-of-school-year activities.
We are SO EXCITED for Summer break!
We've got some exciting things in the works.

We attended the boys' awards ceremonies this week.
It is always so fun for me to see them interact with their peers and teachers in the school environment!
(Pardon all my scribbles on the pictures...I decided to keep this blog public for a number of reasons, but I try to keep personally identifiable information to a minimum.)
The boys have grown so much this year.
It's amazing to see how our kids work with different teachers and how their unique strengths benefit the boys in different ways.
Both teachers have gone out of their way to try to challenge the boys, and for that I am incredibly grateful!



 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Chocolate Chips and Yogurt

The other day Benson and Maxwell went missing.
After a quick search of the house I found them hiding in the food storage closet,
chowing down on chocolate chips, which were spilled all over the floor around them.

"Benson spilled them!" Maxwell quickly reported.
"Did you open them?" I asked him.
"Benson spilled them!" he said again, insistently.
"But did you open them?"
"Yes, and then Benson spilled them," he finally admitted.
Nothing like a little teamwork.

A few days later Maxwell set his yogurt down where Benson could get it.
Unbeknownst to me, in the few minutes of quiet as I put groceries away,
Benson was happily eating Maxwell's yogurt, then spilled it and smeared it all over the floor,
then stepped and sat in it,
then walked through the house leaving little yogurt-prints all over.
I picked him up to wash him off without realizing his backside was covered in yogurt, too,
so I ended up with a lovely yogurt covering as well.
I walked over to Maxwell's tricycle, which had migrated inside and was surrounded by yogurt.
Once again, nothing like a little teamwork.

I have a feeling these two are going to give me a lot of adventures as they grow.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Dear Apprentice


Today I was cleaning up the back patio
and there, in the midst of rain boots and outside toys,
was a wrinkled paper on which was written the following:

Dear Apprentice,
I got your message.
Viro broke from my Encase spell. He killed Emus.
Viro is coming for you. Only safe place is Mount Magitron.
Stay safe,
Talmage the Great

The boys seriously come up with the most epic games.
When I was young I loved to play make-believe, and my sisters and I would play for hours in our made up roles.
These days I find it really difficult to imagine so effortlessly.
And, to be honest, I don't find it very fun. I struggle to "get into it."
I'm so glad the boys have each other to play with.

Another gem I found from Talmage:
If only this actually happened!!

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Simplest Things

One of the beauties of having young children is that they find joy in the simplest things.
I was reminded of that again today as we dropped off our recycling.
Our town doesn't have curbside recycling pick-up,
so every week or two I load it all up and we take it to the drop-off dumpsters.
Lincoln and Maxwell love to help me unload it.
Their excitement about the big metal stairs that lead up to the dumpster opening is almost tangible.
Their concentration as they carefully drop boxes and papers into the dark, gaping mouth of the dented metal box is evident on their faces.
Stretching on their tiptoes to drop our trash into the dark cavern that towers above their heads must seem like an enchanting mystery to them.

To me, it's just a simple task--part of the daily grind.
It's even a hassle at times.

But when I take a step back and see those little moments through the eyes of my children,
my joy and contentment increase drastically.


After we dropped off the recycling, we headed to one of our favorite parks.
I took special note of Maxwell's shock and then the enormous smile that spread itself across his face when he found an especially big stick.
I delighted as Lincoln coaxed me to climb to the top of the hill with him to enjoy the spectacular view, where we could even see the swing we had been sitting on moments before! His reverential awe made it seem as though we were standing on top of one of the world's great peaks instead of a gentle rise 100 yards from the playground.
I took in the way Benson teetered and tottered down the sloped path, trying desperately not to lose his balance while simultaneously jerking his hand away from mine in independence when I tried to help him.
We raced our sticks under a bridge, tossing them into a stagnant trickle in a drainage ditch.
Their anti-climactic speed made no difference to Lincoln when his stick emerged first on the other side.

There is something about being outside that grounds me, as a mother.
When I am away from spilled milk and dirty laundry,
from traffic jams and advertisements,
from papers to be signed and bills to be paid and customer service numbers to be called,
my soul is calmed and I am at peace.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Chocolate for Breakfast


Is it strange that many mornings we eat chocolate in some form for breakfast?

I've learned a lot of ways to make nutritious food taste more like a treat.
(A little chocolate goes a long way!)
But that's not necessarily a good thing.
In our house of, ahem, selective eaters, it means that probably about half of my kids' calories come from the following foods, combined in various forms:
peanut butter
oatmeal
cocoa
milk
ground flaxseed
bananas
honey
protein powder
applesauce
chocolate chips

(Note the striking absence of vegetables...)

Those are pretty much our stand-by foods--at least for snacks.
Some of our usual breakfast recipes:
Breakfast Cookies (I use applesauce instead of a banana and chocolate chips instead of raisins.)
Oil-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (I add a handful of chocolate chips...are you seeing a theme here?)
Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal (I leave off the powdered sugar glaze)

Cereal fills my kids up for approximately 7 minutes so we try to go for heftier breakfasts.
What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Mother's Day


Mother's Day included:
-yummy breakfast made by Sam
-gift of beautiful music
-stunning bouquet of my favorite white lilies and white roses
-sweet words, written and spoken
-"free music and hugs booth," created by Wesley (free deliveries, too!)
-homemade Guru's cilantro-lime quesadillas, also made by Sam
-Talenti gelato
-talking to my mom
-leading the Primary kids in sweet songs
-perfect weather
-everyone humoring me for a 2-minute photo shoot in front of the house
-news of my grandfather's passing
-researching flights to Utah (ultimately decided not to fly out)

All in all, it was a beautiful day. Being a mom is really, really hard sometimes and it's nice to take some time to reflect on the importance of that role and my gratitude for the influence the moms in my life have had on me.
I was glad for the chance to think more on my grandpa, too, and the lasting legacy he left behind.
I am going to miss his laugh, his wit, his ready smile, and the bright twinkle in his eye.
I'm so grateful we got to see him at Christmas time.
His influence is eternal!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Just in Case You Were Wondering


Just in case you woke up this morning thinking to yourself,
"I wonder what crazy thing Kaitlyn's boys did today..."
I thought I would satisfy your curiosity.

Evidently, at some point in the night,
one of the boys (no one knows who)
needed to use the potty and, not really being awake,
thought one of the Lego storage drawers was the toilet.
!!!!!

Talmage shouted down to me in the morning,
"Mom! Someone went potty in the Lego box! I thought it was water, so I licked it, and it tasted salty!"
Sure enough, upon further investigation, the putrid smell of urine overwhelmed me and the Legos got a bath.

And that concludes today's episode of Random Events with 5 Boys.
Join us next time for "What Happens When a Sippy Cup of Milk is Left in a Backpack for 2 Weeks and Then Leaks!"

Friday, May 10, 2019

It's Great to be Eight


A few weeks ago Wesley and I went to "It's Great to be Eight," a meeting geared toward helping prepare the kids turning eight this year for their baptisms.
Watching Wesley and his Primary classmates together was so sweet.
Eight is such a special age in our church!
Baptism is at age eight because by then kids are old enough to know right from wrong and they become accountable for their choices.
They each make the decision independently to be baptized and make special promises to Heavenly Father to keep the commandments, always remember Him, and serve God and others throughout our lives.
Wesley is preparing for his baptism by reading the Book of Mormon each night--he's set to finish before his baptism!

The meeting had a rainbow theme and, in addition to the cute decorations and themed refreshments (cutest little rainbow fruit kabobs!), each child was given an enormous rainbow lollipop wrapped up with a bunch of Rolos...you know, like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
Wesley was delighted.
Me?
Well, I am not fond at all of sticky candy.
In fact, I cringe at the very sight of lollipops.
Even so, I just had to get some pictures of him with his giant candy!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Funny Kids


I just love seeing the way my kids' minds work.
Almost every day one of the kids says something hysterically funny,
and recording some of them here allows me to reference their funny statements later on.
The older boys looove looking back at funny things they said as toddlers/preschoolers!
Here are a few more funny moments we've had lately:

-Benson was falling asleep the other day while sitting in his high chair. Maxwell saw him and shrieked with delight, "Benson's saying his prayers!!!"

-One day Maxwell was feeling really sad and cried constantly throughout the day. Finally, toward the end of the day, Talmage said, "Mom, Maxwell would be a very good actor for a movie about the Great Depression."

-Lincoln got in trouble the other day for doing something I have reminded him repeatedly not to do. He said, "I try to remember, but the wind comes into my brain and whips the sticky note away!" The image of his little mind covered in sticky notes, valiantly trying to remember how to behave in hundreds of ways, was too cute! (It's made even funnier by the fact that I never use sticky notes as reminders...I'm not sure where he picked up on that idea!)

-Yesterday I was in the bathroom getting ready. Maxwell walked in, stared at me very defiantly with smoldering eyes, his arms tucked tightly behind his back, and said, "I don't have any sumfing, Mom!" Obviously this cued me in to the fact that he did indeed have some "sumfing" hiding behind his back...he had broken into Talmage's lunchbox and stolen a fruit leather, cut open the packaging, and was eating it!

-Talmage loves to make up jokes. My favorite?
What do you eat when you're annoyed?
A sheesh-kabob!

-I have begun the process of weaning Benson from his binky. With the others I stopped cold turkey, but I decided to try snipping the end with him. The other night before bed he popped it in his mouth, then immediately spit it out and began inspecting the new hole in the end, sticking his finger inside the binky. After about 30 seconds of soberly looking at it he furiously yelled at it, "DOP!" (Stop!) and then began shaking it back and forth vigorously.

-I don't have any sassy moments from Wesley at the moment, but I'll share a sweet one from him! He recently wanted to fast for the first time. We encourage our kids to begin fasting as long as they can on Fast Sunday (once a month) beginning at age 8. But Talmage was feeling a bit disappointed when he woke up and was reminded that it was Fast Sunday, so Wesley decided he wanted to fast with him. All on his own, he decided to fast for a boy in his class who doesn't have friends and acts out a lot. Wesley said he had tried to be his friend but the boy said he didn't want any friends. The day after Wesley fasted for him, the boy had to start going to the office each day to take medication, and Wesley was assigned to be his buddy to walk with him to the office. It gave Wesley an additional opportunity to show him friendship each day! It warmed my heart to see his desire to be kind and the way Heavenly Father answered that desire.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Caution Tape

We all burst out laughing (including Talmage) when we looked at the picture Talmage's teacher sent me from a school pep rally:

The kids were evidently told to scream as loud as they could and Talmage took that charge seriously.
This boy is such a thinker and he is intense about everything he does.
He is an inventor and makes things out of paper, cardboard, tape, straws, milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, and whatever other supplies he can scrounge up constantly--almost every day.
On Monday I was in my bedroom when I heard a crash and the telltale sound of a plate shattering.
I took a breath and waited for a child to come report.
Sure enough, Talmage's sheepish face peeked into my bedroom moments later and he reported that he had accidentally knocked a plate onto the floor.
"Okay, are you going to clean it up?" I asked.
He answered in the affirmative and set off to take care of the mess.

A while later I walked into the kitchen and, to my amusement, discovered that before he had cleaned up the broken plate, he had made caution tape and taped it over the entrance to the kitchen, along with a sign that said,
"BROKEN POTTERY AHEAD. CAUTION."

He also amazed me last fall by pointing out a mathematical property he had discovered--
the product of a number squared is always one number more than the product of the numbers one less and one more than the original number. 
For example:
2x2=4
3x1=3

9x9=81
8x10=80

20x20=400
19x21=399

I asked him how he figured that out and he said he was just thinking about multiplication one day and it occurred to him.
What?!?
We now refer to this idea as the "Talmagean Theorem."

Field Day here is just as intense as my boy, with try-outs, matching shirts, a parade, an awards ceremony, and fierce competition.
It was fun to watch Talmage and Wesley compete!
The room mother for Talmage's class sent pictures of him and I had to smile at the intensity displayed on his face in every single photo.
This boy puts his whole heart into everything he does!
He amazes me.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Copyright Infringement


This is my favorite time of year here in Tennessee.
Springtime here is really quite blissful.
The heat and humidity haven't shot up yet, the trees burst into bloom everywhere, and the wildlife is lovely!
I am busy making plans for Summer, including
a weekly bookclub for the older boys and I,
building a backyard obstacle course,
ice blocking,
a camping trip,
and a 30 mile bike ride for my 30th birthday.

Planning is always so exciting for me!

The other day Lincoln was drawing with sidewalk chalk and he found a way to make "gray chalk," by scribbling a bunch of chalk down and mixing the powder with a handful of dirt.
He was showing me his invention and then suddenly asked,
"But what if someone somewhere else has already invented gray chalk? Do you think I will get sowed?"

I held back my laughter and explained that he couldn't get sued even if someone had already invented it.
Then I asked him where he learned about getting sued.
His answer was the same as it usually is:
"Talmage told me about it."
Apparently they've been having discussions about copyright infringement...it's pretty important for a 5-year-old to know about, you know.

Last night when I discovered that Lincoln had splashed water ALL OVER the bathroom I explained to him that I was feeling really frustrated about it.
"Did you know that could destroy our house?" I asked,
imagining peeling paint, water dripping through the floor, and marks on the ceiling.
He nodded sadly
and said, "Talmage told me...it could get so moldy that the entire room could collapse and fall into the rest of the house..."

I didn't bother to correct the picture that painted for him.
After all, peeling paint is almost as terrible as the second floor bathroom collapsing, right?!?

Our boys' conversations are pretty much my favorite.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Harvest Without the Work

I spent the morning picking strawberries with the three littler boys
and the afternoon making stacks and stacks of strawberry-lime jam.
Every time I visit a farm, a sense of great peace and well-being descends upon me.
I guess, although I never lived on a farm growing up, the farm-girl genes in me are still going strong!

Sam and I want so much to have a backyard mini-farm.
I have visions of our boys spending summers tending our orchard and then earning money at a roadside produce stand.
Depending on where we end up settling down, that may not be a reasonable option.
We may have to resign ourselves to a few fruit trees and a big garden
and that will be okay, too.
And, as I'm reminded by the mud that clung to our shoes, it will be a lot cleaner, too!
Sometimes my romantic ideals fail to take into account a whole lot of yuck involved in my dreams.
For now, I suppose I should be content to visit farms and enjoy the fun of reaping the harvest.

Halfway through our visit the rain started coming down.
We stayed for a while, and then the wind started making an eerie rattling noise that indicated that something massive was about to begin.
We made a dash for the car and drove home through buckets of rain and wind and lightning that struck frighteningly close. The car kept hydroplaning and I was pretty white-knuckled as I drove.
But the strawberries were totally worth it!

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