Monday, July 29, 2013

Boys on a Battlefield

The five of us spent Saturday roaming the fields of Gettysburg. And while Matt and I soaked up the history, the sacrifice, the valor, and defeat, the boys saw it a whole different way.
Their eyes surveyed the battlefield as fast as their little feet could hurry them through cannon lines and over stone memorials and their minds worked just as hard to keep up as the questions came pouring out.
You said this was a battlefield...where's the fighting?...
...where's all the soldiers?...
...where's the guns?....where's the swords?...
...why are the cannons empty? They won't work without being loaded!...
...Why are all these people just walking around a battlefield? That can't be safe....
...How did they know when to stop fighting?...
...How did they fight with all these statues in the way?...
Our trip to Gettysburg was one of our favorite trips with the boys so far. It was a day rich in history, learning, appreciating, and teaching.
While they don't yet understand the solemnity of the fields they walked, our time there laid a foundation in their imaginative minds of passion for history and the acknowledgment of sacrifice. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Post Traumatic Spider Disorder

If that's not a certifiable diagnosis, than it needs to be identified, labeled, and included in curriculum in medical schools across the country stat.
Because I don't care who you are, when you see a monster like this literally jump at you from inside your dryer, you will soon be suffering from post traumatic spider disorder.
I was never one to claim arachnophobia. I mean I have helped clear out black widow nests before. But when I was pulling fluffy clean laundry from a dryer and this beast attempted an all out attack, I now have symptoms WebMD has never seen the likes.
If there's, a fuzzy on the floor that suddenly moves in the breeze, a suspicious piece of dark balled up paper, a black tangled thread under the table, I'm all out sweat and panic, running from the eight-legged monsters my brain convinces me they are.
Maybe it's a side effect of Post Traumatic Spider Disorder, but I'm doubtful this beast acted alone and a million dollars won't make me go into the laundry room by myself. I'm certain it has accomplices ready to pick up where this one left off.
These are no peaceful arachnids either. These are highly trained mammoths conditioned to sense no fear. He did not go down without a fight and they clearly have no limitations or boundaries as he was in my sealed dryer! That tube he is in is about 5" long and he was strong enough to move the hinged door back and forth!
I know I may look idiotic batting at lint balls and jumping with peripheral movement, but before I completely loose all coolness cards answer me this...
How do I explain to a 4 year old who's worse nightmare is getting eaten by a gigantic spider that no such arachnid exists with a beast like this roaming our laundry room?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Angels Unaware

I made him wear these shoes. He hates these shoes. They fit alright, but they make him trip. His other sandals are just too small. There were no other options and we needed to hurry to just run a quick errand and get back for lunchtime.
He was talking about silly things, chattering alongside me through Target. He tripped. Suddenly he was flying through the air beside me and his face smacked into the metal shelf. He laid still on the cold linoleum and I saw blood. Wils was screaming, Jeff was calling me. Dozens of people ran towards us. Angels, every one.
One took Wils. One took Jeff. One picked Harrison up and cradled his head. He took his shirt off and used it to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. He scooped up my shaking little man and ran him to a clinic inside Target. His name was Gabriel. He is one of our angels today.
We sped to the ER. I stared at those shoes. I should have just let him wear the brown leather ones that clashed horribly with his now bloodied Star Wars t-shirt. I listened to the doctor and nurse talk. If he had landed a little lower on his face it would have been much worse...much, much worse. I don't want to entertain that thought.
Harrison is given a cape. It's really a pillowcase used to restrain his arms. I know they won't need it. He's brave beyond words. He is perfectly still as they load his eye with lidocain and begin closing him up. Five internal stitches, 17 external. He cracks jokes about maybe his face bone is broken too and they should x-ray him just in case. 
He is thrilled his sewn-up eye is stitched with blue. He chows down on his popsicle reward and I'm given a moment to count the angels. The 10 Target employees that entertained my other two amazing boys. Gabriel who literally gave the shirt off his back. The paramedics called to the store and drew a map to the hospital for me.
I know there are worse injuries. I know the ER had life and death cases in the rooms around us. I know the floors of the hospital above us are filled with rooms of grieving families. I know a busted eye is trivial, stitches are routine, and this is a part of life with boys. But I count my blessings. I count every person today designed by God to be there when this Momma's sense flew out the window when my hurt little boy crumpled to the floor.
This is a proud boy sporting his war wound. This guy now has a story he can't wait to tell over and over. This kid has got some angels looking over him because I saw them today. This kid told me angels helped him fall. He said if God hadn't sent them it would have been worse. I'm thankful it was just stitches. I'm thankful it was just a busted eye. I'm thankful for people willing to hold babies, give their shirts, and be angels unaware. But now I hate those shoes too.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Invasion of the National Gardens

Want to know what happens when you take wild and crazy testosterone bundles into the tranquil environment of the meditative National Botanic Gardens?
Well, I can tell you what doesn't happen when you mix boys and foliage.
For one, paths are not followed. While adults and employees prefer the designated walk-ways, boys come pre-wired to forge new trails and promptly search out short cuts, secret routes, and rugged terrain to explore.
2. Signs are not followed - While the gardens didn't display (at least noticably) any "DO NOT TOUCH" signs, these also would be overlooked by any boy in exploratory mode. How else does one learn that a prickly cactus does indeed prick, almost identical to the way it looks in cartoons?
And on the subject of not touching...while fountains provide a peaceful white noise to the grown-ups, those still in the growing up category are itching to test the waters, balancing precariously on the cement walls of the inviting waters to dip fingertips, elbows, or take a fully clothed plunge if not stopped before. 
(Take note of the gash on Jeff's cheek - it will come up again later.)
Clearly the National Botanic Gardens have encountered this before and provided a water outlet for inquisitive kiddos. Also just as clear, it was invented by interns not yet parents complete with large loose boulders and medal weapons spades.
3. Boys will not calmly tour plants for hours without food. So what's a hungry guy to do admist vegetation? When you come to the edible plants exhibit, help yourself. I'm sure the "Botanists of Tomorrow Club-National Chapter" will appreciate their prized lone pineapple being attacked by a starving toddler. The plant won; remember that gash?
4. Not sure if there was a NO FOOD OR DRINKS sign...I'm starting to see a reoccurring theme with not noticing signs, but I figured if their pineapples and mango trees were to escape unscathed by ravenous young males I should pull out the snacks. I figured the horticulture interns would thank me in the long run.
5. Benches are not just for sitting and taking in the serene rainforests surroundings. While plant enthusiasts mediated in the jungle setting, my snack filled, fountain drenched, plant attacked little men promptly declared rest time and stretched out to catch a break. This gave me a full 18 seconds to take a breather myself before we continued to conquer tour the gardens.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

3 Month Wils

My handsome baby Wils, you are three months, three! How did that much time go by so fast already? You have made the jump from infancy to babyhood and if you have anything to do with it, you will be all boy by next month and skip all this baby stuff.
You are the sweetest, most laid back kid ever. You love a nice nap in your own bed, but you are perfectly fine to grab needed sleep anywhere we may be on the run, and with your brothers that could be anywhere! You love riding in the sling and moby wrap, though these days you like being wrapped up facing out so you can see the world.
You have a check-up coming up soon, but for right now all I know is, you are a big guy! I love every little roll and dimple on your arms and thighs and could kiss those chubby cheeks all day. You are in size 2 diapers and wear mostly 6-9month clothing, though you would be most happy in just a diaper. You learned how to drink out of a straw yesterday and you love it. We also started you on rice cereal and you are an eating champ!
They say sleeping through the night is when a baby goes 6-8 hours and if that's the case you've been doing that for about a month. But I define it as going to bed with your brothers and waking up in the morning when I do. So you did that for the first time last night...11 hours! So proud of you! You love "talking" and will chat anyone's ear off willing to listen to you. You also just started a love of Peek-A-Boo this week and "singing" along with us. You are most happy sitting in the exersaucer so you can observe the chaos of your family:)
You have captured our hearts Wils and it's hard not to be swept up in that bright blue gaze of yours. I see you eying your big brothers and anxiously trying to join in their rabble rousing and I know you will soon enough! We love you so much our big 3 month old and pray you continue to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and men!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rules for "Sprinklers"

You'd think the massive Capitol Hill explosions would be enough to satisfy to intense male urge to blow stuff up.
But no. Matt felt compelled to stop at a roadside fireworks stand and buy a "few" fun igniting treats for the boys.
It was a lot easier when the boys were immobile and were content to sit and watch Matt demonstrate the festive explosions.
But now they are all about "doing it themselves" and fully believe they have the same competence as their Dad in their handling fire skills.
But sprinklers (aka sparklers) are not for the faint of heart when being handled by a preschooler and toddler who have still yet to grasp the concept of spacial awareness.
The "sprinklers" were whipped all around leaving their flaming tails behind in erratic patterns and coming far too close to clothing for my comfort but I figured the kiddie pool nearby could be useful if needed.
We may have learned a few lessons as the boys participated in every kid's favorite part of July 4th. Like, separate each "sprinkler" waving kid by at least a football field.
Also, fingers and feet don't really do well upon coming in contact with the charred remains of a finished off sparkler, so maybe have a filled baby pool on hand anytime boys and flames are involved.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Things of God According to Harrison

I have no idea how to put into words how special it is to not only have been blessed with Harrison as my son, but now as my little brother in Christ. I get the extreme pleasure of watching his passion for growing in His walk with God and I am learning a ton through his 4 year old viewpoint.
I can see why Jesus made so many references to these precious little ones and welcoming their presence. I love hearing their insight and questions and I am growing in a whole new way right along with them. Here are some of Harrison's recent theological insights.
On Hearing God: Sometimes I wonder what God's voice sounds like when he talks. Toby Mac says God roars like a lion. I think he also sounds like thunder. I think He could be scary sounding but you want to hear him anyway 'cuz you love Him.
On Temptation: Mom do you ever feel temptation? That's when something inside keep telling you to do something you shouldn't do. So when I hear my temptation I tell it to go away and it has to 'cuz Jesus is inside me and He's stronger and fights that temptation away!
On Life in Bible Times: Wouldn't it have been faster for Jesus to take an airplane instead of a boat? Or a spaceship? That would have been even faster! But I guess if He wanted to go faster He just would have gone faster since He is God's son, and people didn't even know what a plane was.
On the Miracles of Jesus: Walking on water is cool, but I think it's really cool to walk on walls! I know Jesus could do that if He wanted to. And He could pick up cars and buildings and throw them really far! He can do anything 'cuz He is the strongest in the whole World!
On the Battle of Jericho: If I was Joshua I wouldn't just walk around, around, and around the whole city for a week. I would just bomb it and conquer it on the first day.
On Heaven: I'm so excited I get to live there one day. Can you really walk on gold streets? And I won't want to take any of the treasures just for me since I'll live there always and I'll only just want God. 
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