Monday, July 21, 2014

The "Summer-Killer" Plague

I used to roll my eyes at "tummy bugs".
Innocent little viruses that come and leave within hours, and rarely effected our household...if ever.
At most you eat a few saltines, sip some ginger ail, and get to watch some extra tv. Over and done.
But then the "Summer-Killer" plague of '14 rolled through.
This was no ordinary "tummy bug". It didn't just involve a change of sheets, an extra load of laundry, or even a toilet scrubbing.
This involved knocking you clear off your feet, leaving you suffering with whiplash, vertigo, and amnesia; only sorta kidding.
The plague didn't just affect tummy, it made sure it toured every part of your being from scalp to toes while distributing parting gifts of fever and chills.
And it made sure you could not leave a horizontal position...ever. It wore out its welcome with almost a weeks worth of immune system stomping dance parties.
I've had debilitating migraines since childhood, been through natural unmedicated childbirth three times, had stitches, surgeries, car accidents, and sports injuries and nothing, I repeat, nothing, compared to the "Summer Killer".
Beware people, it's out there, it's nasty...run. 
But now that our summer had to take a little pause while we did those loads of laundry, sheet changes, and bathroom cleanings, it's time to jump back in full swing...

Hiking, splash parks, popsicles, lightening bugs, knee scrapes, baseball, playgrounds, slip 'n slides, watermelon, bare feet, wave jumping, bug catching, mud splashing, sprinkler soaking...here we come!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Where In The World Are The Clarks?

I'm not going to pretend my blogging appearance has been a tad spotty as of late.
I could come up with a ton of reasons why and to the diehard blogger they would sound like pretty lame excuses.
Like, I haven't had time to blog because we loaded three kids, a weeks worth of clothes,and a year's worth of "missing" into the back of our car and headed over 600 miles to middle America.
I haven't had time to blog because we went to baseball games and ate hot dogs, spilled mustard, lost favorite water bottles, and totally nailed a pitch perfect rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch.
I haven't had time because we had crazy parental judgment lapses and let three preschoolers "run the bases" with hoards of older kids after the game resulting in a rogue three year old skipping the bases and going straight for the pitchers mound...
...and a 4 and 5 year old slightly panicked at not seeing their parents anywhere among the throng of other moms and dads waiting for the some 200 kids exiting the field. But bases, and pitching mounds, were run.
I haven't had time because we literally didn't stop soaking up every minute with cherished friends. We ate when we found time, slept where we dropped, and partied late into the night with babies and Redbox.
I didn't have time because we spent the evening in a boys' backyard wonderland where friends set up every spraying, splashing, mud-making, water drenching apparatus known to make a kid shriek with summertime glee.
I didn't have time because we were getting daily doses of Vitamin D, picnic lunches, splash parks, and Sonic Happy Hours, yes that's plural.
We didn't have time because we were busy celebrating our J-Man's third birthday right down the road from where we first gathered him into our arms. His perfect day started off with original glazed, lead to our favorite library train dream land...
...continued to "The Chip Place", a few hours at a favorite park, and a very needed afternoon nap, which are quickly becoming more extinct and I am in no hurry to see those dissapear; remember the whole "lack of time" thing?
I didn't have time because "three" came quick, too quick. Jefferson just turned into a little man and instead of blogging about it, I lived it with him.
I didn't have time because of swimming...enough said. Oh, and sunscreen application, water wing inflating, water up nose choking, and fearless pool side jumping.
I didn't have time because there were gardens to be explored, fish to be hand caught (attempted, and thwarted), snacks to be devoured, boys to be chased, elevator buttons to be smashed, arguments to be quelled, and jokes to be made.
I didn't blog because there were things to blow up, fuses to ignite, fire to play with, and explosions to make.
There was no time to blog because there was a birthday party to throw, for five little boys who ache to be with each other on their special days. Since miles and time hinder wishes, we made it come true in a surprise birthday party for them all with cupcakes, and presents, and candles and sheer joy.
I didn't have time because there were bouncy houses with slides and three year olds frozen in fear at the top. I threw off my sandals and climbed to the top to show my little man the bravery he really had to come down.
Time to blog was lost to glow sticks, and picnics in a field, concerts and sparklers. Time was filled with fireworks and little boy shrieks, little faces momentarily illuminated in white and gold as America was celebrated late into the night.
Time was filled with falling asleep watching movies, devouring entire bags of kettle corn, grocery shopping, lost toy hunting, three loads of dishes a day, dozens of loads of laundry, little boys whispering into the night, praying together, hugs and tears, laughter, and memories to last until the next time.
Excuses for not blogging? Maybe, but time was not to be found because my time was wrapped up in real life and the fleeting days of memories waiting to be opened and cherished. And right now I hear little boys engaged in a mighty green army men battle, so my time here today is done as I head to the war front :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

J-Man Hits Three!

My precious Jeff-Baby, I kissed you goodnight as a two year old baby and you awoke in the morning 6 inches taller, 1000 words smarter, and 18 years older.
The morning you turned three we were less then 20 miles from the hospital I first wrapped you in my arms as a tiny red-faced newborn, and my breath caught again exactly three years later as you whispered, "Mommy, I not your Jeff-Baby, I you Jeff-Man now."
You are a man, one growing in wisdom and stature, and favor, with God and men and your Daddy and I couldn't be more proud of you, our sweet and brave son! To carry on our birthday tradition, here's our yearly interview...
What's Your Favorite Color: Byoo! (Blue)
What's Your Favorite Toy?: Uh, all my choo-choo's, and yo-ho, and castle, and yight sabers!
What's Your Favorite Movie: Yighten McKeen! (Lightening McQueen)
What's Your Favorite Food?: Chiggen Nunyets (Chicken Nuggets), and cheese...can I have some cheese? I want some reawwy bad!
What's Your Favorite Game To Play: Run races!
What's Your Favorite Snack: Froo Snacks!
What's Your Favorite Song: *Yells* Jesus is My Superhero!!
What's Your Favorite Book: Capatillar (The Very Hungry Catapillar) and Oops book! (Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boyton)
Who's Your Best Friend: My Bubby (Harrison), my Mooney (Wilson), and Jaden!
What's Your Favorite Thing To Play Outside: Baseball! I hit ball reawy hard wif my bat and get homeruns!!!
What's Your Favorite Holiday: A what? Oh, My birfday! And Kissmas! And fireworks on America's birfday!
What's Your Favorite Thing To Sleep With: My byoo blanket and doggie with the hat on.
What's Your Favorite Thing To Eat For Breakfast: Froo Snacks! (uh, you've never had those for breakfast)...and candy! (Nope, not that either.)
What's Your Birthday Dinner: Pizza, in a box! (delivery, not homemade...silly boy :)
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up: Uh, a man!
What's Your Favorite Thing To Watch On TV: Yo-Ho!
What's Your Favorite Fruit: *More yelling* Wahvermelons!!!
What's Your Favorite Animal?: Giraffes! (I did not see that coming!)
What's Your Favorite Thing To Drink: Root beer! Oh and chokate milk...and coffee..and water...with ice in it!
What's Your Favorite Bible Verse: "He'll gib shalom in da land, lay down to sleep, won't be 'fraid of nobody! Vatiticus 26:6" - Leviticus 26:6
Happy Birthday to my outrageous, courageous, and fireball baby! You keep us laughing, guessing, and on our toes; and we wouldn't have it any other way. Our family is richer and stronger with you as our second son and it's we who are gifted every year because you, Jefferson Lee!
We love you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pinterest Saved Our Yard

Right outside our back gate is a little boy's wonderland; a dense forest ripe with explorations and adventures.The thick tangles of underbrush cascade down into a stone lined stream with crawdads and minnows.
But it is nowhere near as serene as these words make it seem. The pools that collect along our lazy stream are teaming with mosquitoes which quickly find their way up and over our back gate.
The abundance of that promising meal bring unnaturally large man-eating spiders by the millions, pouring under fence and foundations, claiming backyard real estate under our benches, swings, grill, and doorways.
 Slugs and snails have fought valiantly and laid claim to their own little oasis, my garden. And I'd be amiss if I left out the wasps and bees which have been hard at work boring into deck boards and fencing creating tidy little homes for their sting-happy families.
  After bites, stings, eaten plants, destroyed wood, close encounters, and my boys confusing the dense layer of weeds with real grass it was time to go head to head with nature. With the help of Pinterest believe it or not, we saved our backyard and are living happily outdoors without expensive treatments or harmful chemicals.
First, I've saved my garden from slugs and snails by spreading each morning's coffee grounds on the soil around my plants. The abrasive surface restricts their progress towards making my produce their dinner. For my containers I lined the edges with petroleum jelly which they (and other bugs) can't climb up and through.
Wasps, bees, spiders, and mosquitoes are not a fan of peppermint. A few drops of peppermint oil mixed with water in a squirt bottle has cleared our corner of the great outdoors of these unwelcomed guests. Because it's completely safe and non-toxic I can spray it on play areas, swings, doors, thresholds, benches, etc and they stay bug free.
 Weeds have also hit the road making way for real grass with this recipe I found. Just like in the link, I sprayed in the morning and by that evening they were gone and have not come back. Our brick walkway is no longer boasting stubborn sprouts through the cracks either. 
This summer has taken a whole new direction with backyard fun now that I don't have to worry about one of the boys being carried away by a rogue arachnid army. So thank you Pinterest for saving our yard.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Simplified

Let's just assume no one reading picked up on my subtle hinting as to how much I dislike cold.
So in case you missed it...all winter long...we are head over heels, heart on our sleeves, in love with this time of year.
Part of the reason is how much we love being outside. From morning until night we are overdosing on Vitamin D.
Summertime can become a chaotic wrestle of schedules and events, but we purposely put on the brakes.
My greatest childhood summertime memories lie in the simple moments and now the boys and I are soaking up our own days filled with simple.
We made our summertime bucket list and have been crossing off the wishlist one by one.
There are no amusement parks, concerts, pool memberships, or camping trips on our list, but those kinds of things are definitely not missed.
Our bucket list boasts the best and richest parts of summertime.
Catching fireflies, swimming in our backyard "pool", making popsicles, listening to cicadas and tree frogs at night...
Playing in rainstorms, painting outside, water-gun fights, water balloon fights, making play-doh, day trip to the beach...
Make lots of homemade ice cream, eat outside, day hikes, grow a garden, ride bikes, and play baseball with Daddy.
God has placed us in a time for embracing the simple. While there are days we wish the numbers in our bank account would jump a little we are truly content with "simple".
This past year we have found the rich treasure of just being still; the value and joy in soaking up every moment of being together.
 And sitting with my boys at sunset watching bats flutter in the damp night air and fuzzy twinkle lights dotting the woods inviting the boys to catch them, in that simplest of moments, I feel so incredibly rich.