Thursday, June 27, 2019

Sam's Theory of 1-Year-Olds and Doors

Summer has been lots of fun so far!
I am trying to make the most of the time I have with all the boys together,
so blogging will probably be quite sporadic for the next couple of months.
I'll try to hit the highlights.

For now, I just wanted to drop in and share a groundbreaking discovery.
I studied various theories of human development in depth throughout high school and college.
Some of them resonate with me more than others,
but NONE have even come close to this one at accurately describing and explaining the behavior of 1-year-olds.

We shall call it:
Sam's Theory of 1-Year-Olds and Doors.

Thus it stands:
Whenever and whithersoever a door opens, a vacuum force is immediately initiated from the other side of the door. The aforementioned force exceeds the potential ability of a 1-year-old to withstand such and therefore (due to insubstantial mass) he/she is immediately suctioned to and through the door if a supervising adult does not intervene.

Case in point:
(these pictures were all snapped within moments of each other as doors were opened throughout the house)

In all seriousness, I'm so grateful for a husband that gives me reasons to LAUGH at the everyday frustrating moments we encounter in our family. Vacuum suction...start imagining it every time your toddler goes running the second a door opens. It just may make your life happier, too!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


About a week and a half ago,
I was sitting on the floor in the boys' room sorting Legos (an endless task).
From the corner of my eye, I spotted movement, so I glanced up and saw a somewhat large brown spider crawling quickly toward me.
I REALLY don't like spiders (although having kids has mostly forced me out of my irrational fear of them),
so I quickly grabbed a large Lego and smashed the little visitor.

After smashing it, I began looking closer at it and thought it might be a brown recluse spider.
I grabbed the cell phone camera microscope Sam's mom gave him and took a close-up picture and then began comparing it to pictures online, noting the violin shape on its back and the three sets of two eyes--a defining feature of brown recluse spiders.
And then I began to panic a little bit because my picture looked an awful lot like the ones I was seeing online!
(Top picture from here, bottom picture is mine)

Of course my imagination started going crazy,
especially since I thought brown RECLUSE spiders were supposed to be reclusive!
Why wasn't it in the attic, or a dark closet, or some untouched corner of the garage??
Why was it running across the floor of my boys' bedroom in bright light?

I quickly texted our landlord and asked her to send the pest control guy to come spray.
6 days later
(days that were filled with me shaking every linen I touched before folding it, warily searching the corners of rooms, and researching the problems that came from bites)
the pest control guy knocked on the door.
I let him in and almost immediately told him about the spider.

"Wolf spiders and brown recluse spiders look exactly the same," he said. "The only way to tell them apart is to flip them over and look at the eyes."
I explained that I had looked at the eyes, but it was clear that he was skeptical.
Our house just doesn't fit the mold to have brown recluse spiders.
I told him that I had taken a picture and would show him.
And I admit, I felt a little triumphant when he glanced at my picture and immediately said, "Yeeaaaahh...that's a brown recluse."

I begged him to watch for signs as he sprayed the house,
and when he finished he told me he hadn't seen signs of any problems besides quite a few spiders on the outside of the house and signs of a few water bugs in the attic.
He reassured me that the poison would take care of any rogue spiders and as he left he said,
"If you see so much as an ant, call me!"

I could breathe easy once again.
Except I'm still scared of ticks, and all the health problems that come from them.
They are abundant in Tennessee.
My friend told me that when she was young she was walking through some tall grass on the side of the road and later discovered over 40 ticks in her legs!!!!
I'm pretty sure I need to deal with at least one so I can get over my fear.

In the meantime, I'll pat myself on the back for having lived through a black widow and a brown recluse.

Friday, June 14, 2019

A Happy Day

Today was a happy day.

We started the day with an early-morning walk/bike ride/scooter ride with my sweet friend and her adorable baby. The bike path that connects to our neighborhood and circles the lake is one of the best things about living in this house!
After we got home and did chores, we headed over to some more wonderful friends' home for a swimming play date.
We had a blast playing in their lovely pool surrounded by beautiful flowers.
When we got home we cleaned up and took care of a few things here before we headed out to claim our free smoothies at Tropical Smoothie Cafe in honor of National Flip Flop day.

On the way Lincoln posed the question, "Would you rather look like a coward or play in a construction site?"
Because these are obviously very important topics to make decisions about.

Now my favorite lemon cookies are in the oven and the boys are in the middle of a soccer game.
I'm just about to inform them that they get to stay up late tonight and catch fireflies!

I also just got REALLY grumpy at Lincoln for pouring dirt all over Maxwell's hair,
but we'll just focus on the positive, shall we?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Remembering the Struggle

I knew last night's Family Home Evening was going to be a doozy before we even started.
As we gathered everyone, I took a deep breath and said to Sam something like, "Here we go...this is going to be rough."
But even I underestimated how challenging it would be.

Benson had been crying for much of the evening, and his cries continued to punctuate the songs and scriptures.
One boy was taking ten minutes to complete the simple task of putting his pajamas on, so we ended up starting without him.
When he joined the group, tormenting immediately began amidst the brothers.
I separated them and, when I told Lincoln where to sit, Maxwell ran over and took the spot before Lincoln could claim it.
We had to re-start our family theme about three times before we could all say the right words together.
Maxwell ran over to the piano and yanked one of the handles out of the lid.
In an effort to keep Maxwell and Benson quiet, I had a bag of Craisins out and I supplied them each with a steady stream. But then, just as I was beginning my lesson on the Holy Ghost, Benson (who had jammed way too many Craisins into his mouth) climbed up on the living room table and, standing upright, spit slobbery Craisins out one at a time until his mouth was empty and the living room was sufficiently stickified.
After we cleaned up that mess, I continued my lesson as Maxwell climbed up to the kitchen table and tried to play with all the props I had set out to use for my lesson.
After we got him down and back into the living room, I got perhaps another minute of teaching in when I glanced at Maxwell and saw that blood was suddenly dripping from his nose and was quickly covering his hands! I stopped in shock and he looked at his hands, saying, "Look! I got strawberries!"
Sam quickly scooped him up to wash him off. Maxwell chose that precise moment to exhale hard through his nose, which splattered blood all over his and Sam's white Sunday shirts.
At that point I paused the lesson, sent the boys up to get ready for bed, and put Benson to bed.
Finally, Maxwell's bloody nose was under control, Benson was asleep, the bloody shirts were changed, and the boys were ready for bed so we once again gathered everyone. I got a bit grumpy when the boys wanted to keep playing for just a little longer and, after I delivered my mini-lecture about how the Sabbath was for learning about Jesus and that should be a much higher priority than toys, Talmage said, "Okay, but next time can you tell me that without saying, 'No' so many times?"
We wrapped up the lesson and I tried to bring the Spirit as I told them about different experiences I had had in my life with the Holy Ghost leading me and guiding me.
That's just the way things go at our house sometimes.

This story has no real point, but I want to remember what being a mom of five little kids is like--the good times and the harder times.
I have a tendency to delete bad memories and look at the past through rose-colored glasses.
While this can often be a useful trait,
I've learned that there is also great value in remembering our struggles.
Even if sometimes the struggle is as silly as soggy Craisins, a bloody nose, and irreverent kids.

Monday, June 3, 2019

A Little Farmhouse Getaway

Sam's birthday was on the 26th of May!
(That was the Sunday before Memorial Day.)
And it just so happened that my sister, Breanne, had planned to drive out and see us for Memorial Day weekend.
So when she called me a few days before her visit and suggested that we make the 3.5 hour drive to Huntsville, Alabama to see the US Space and Rocket Center and then stay in a little farmhouse Airbnb, I thought it would be the perfect surprise for Sam's birthday.
I've never surprised Sam with a trip before, and the family trips we've taken together have been VERY limited, so I was actually pretty nervous.
It's a super crazy time for him at work right now and he's working most evenings and Saturdays, so I wasn't sure how he would feel about leaving town for Memorial Day.
I sent him a quick e-mail after Breanne proposed the idea, asking what his plans were for Memorial Day,
and I was pleasantly surprised when he told me he wanted to spend the whole day with us and not work at all!
I checked and double-checked possible issues before I felt confident enough to go ahead with plans.
But I was still jittery about the surprise.

On Sunday evening we had Sam's birthday dinner (steak fajitas) and then we opened presents!
I had printed some pictures on a paper and when I explained what we would be doing he was excited!
I was happy and so relieved I had taken everything into account.
My parents gave us a family membership to the Pink Palace (Memphis' science & history museum) for our birthdays, and that membership gets us into 360 science museums in the country for free, including the US Space and Rocket Center!
We followed up presents with oreo cream cheese layer cake and Blue Bell (of course).

Monday morning we woke up, loaded up, and hit the road.
The US space exploration facilities are divided into three areas:  Houston (mission control), Huntsville (rocket building), and Merritt Island, Florida (launching).
We've now gotten to visit 2/3 of them!
The rocket center was really fun and fascinating with rides, rock climbing, rockets (namely the Saturn V), simulators, and TONS of cool exhibits.

This ride was for kids under 8.
It started off all well and good...

but then the kids got a little spooked as it repeatedly raised them high into the air and dropped them in jolts (a lot spooked, in Maxwell's case).

Talmage went on the Moon Shot with Aunt Breanne. It was his first time riding a non-kiddie ride and he barely made the height requirement. Phew! He loved it.

We all loved going on the G-Force simulator!
Something happened to Wesley and I and as the force built we started laughing and couldn't stop! The pressure on our abdomens made us laugh...and laugh...and laugh as we spun around wildly, suspended in the air and plastered to the wall by the force. When we tried to lift our arms they flopped around like noodles as they slammed back against the wall. We were all highly entertained.

Breanne volunteered to stay with Benson while the rest of us went into an airplane simulator. It shook us around while showing us a movie and the combined effect made it feel like we were flying a stunt plane. Maxwell started out yelling, "It's too scary fer meeee!!!" and then thought the second half was way fun.
Then the kids tried out the Mars climbing wall with Aunt Breanne.

We left the park late in the afternoon and headed to this adorable farmhouse to stay the night!
We were delighted when we saw that the barn cat outside had two little kittens with her!
They were surprisingly tolerant of the kids and they were thrilled.

Breanne kindly bought pizzas and we had a pizza party for dinner.
The kids ran around the house, which was full of charming little nooks and crannies, playing "sardines."
(Have you played it? It's a classic backwards hide-and-go-seek game I loved as a kid!)
That night we set up our hammock and did some star-gazing. Sam and the kids played croquet in the dark and somehow we managed to not lose any balls.

The farmhouse was so peaceful and the furnishings were so quaint!
I felt very much at-home there.
I wandered around admiring the flowers and the MASSIVE magnolia tree that was bursting into bloom in the front yard and Breanne and I sat reminiscing about our grandparents' farmhouse and the memories we made there.

The next morning we woke up bright and early and loaded up the car while watching the sun rise over the farm fields.
We packed the kids in and pulled out before 6 am so we could get Sam back to work before too late in the day.
It was such a lovely getaway and I'm so glad Breanne took the initiative to plan something exciting for us homebodies!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The End

We had our traditional root beer floats to celebrate the last day of school last week.
It always feels like the perfect welcome to Summer to me!

Also, first day/last day:

Talmage's class had sport jersey day and the kids desperately need haircuts.
It has been such a fantastic school year!
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