Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Real Waterfalls

Since it had been a few weeks since our last adventure and the boys insisted there is still a river a lava somewhere around here to be found...
...It was time to head off on another adventure as we continue to explore every square inch of this crazy clashing of history and politics, otherwise known as our nation's capitol.
And while DC holds every tourist allure, it's been nice to step off the Hill and look for lava rivers in other places that don't require security checks and pat downs.
So all I had to read was the word "waterfall" and we were packed and out the door (also it was Mother's Day and that may have had something to do with how compliant everyone was to go hike six miles over rocks and marsh.)
We ended up having to ditch our stroller since for some reason the phrase "3 mile hike to falls" didn't register to us that it may not be wheel-friendly terrain. But nothing a baby carrier didn't solve and God kept our tethered stroller safe until we backtracked for it. 
And my hair tie snapped leaving my sweaty, baby carrier shrouded neck covered in the equivelent of a fur coat, but nothing a marsh reed couldn't fix. I'm telling y'all, with my incredible hair accessory finds in the wild I'm ready for "Survivor".
But the boys' faces of their first glimpse of the thunderous falls were priceless and worth every mile and rock climbed. It was the perfect magical moment of stillness as I sat on boulders above the falls, surrounded by my men willing to wade mud and tie grass around my ponytail, that made this Mother's Day truly one of the best.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bigger, Better, Faster, Further

Everything is a competition in this house...I mean everything!
Sneezing, bites of food, dirtiest toenails, best punch, furthest throw, fastest stair climb (or fall), loudest scream, and biggest scrape are just some of the competitions that have take place...just today!
And from what I hear, testosterone and competing kinda go together, so I don't think the "one-upping" is going anywhere.
And as if the male competitive drive wasn't enough, these boys have genetics aiding in their rivalries.
Both Matt and myself may or may not be ultra competitive. In fact there may be some games we just don't play anymore because we want our marriage to stay a happy place :)
So you add all the levels of "game-on" these guys have going for them and it's no wonder they are competing to see who can use the bathroom the longest.
Sometimes the competition drive must override the common sense drive though.
There's been a few "what were you thinking?!?!" competitions I had to nix due to the lack of sound logic.
Like their "who can stare at the sun the longest", "who can fall down on the cement sidewalk the hardest therefore getting the biggest scrape"...
..."who can throw more dirt bombs at the neighbor's dog," and today's "what's the biggest thing we can break with a fire extinguisher".
So I try to redirect their natural bent to one-up by providing safer (and slightly more beneficial to me) alternatives.
Like who can put away all the matchbox cars the fastest? Who can relay race the shoes back to their closest the soonest? Who can load the grossest dishes in the dishwasher? And for goodness sake, who can aim the best in the bathroom?
But it does make me think their future coaches and teams will be more than happy to have these guys' drive aiding the plays.
And I'll be more than happy to see them competing for a game win instead of "who can catch the biggest snake?" :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rendering

We spent this past weekend at a national homeschool convention. I'm not gonna lie. 
I was a little skeptical as to why we were going. I'm not dealing with anxiety over teaching my kids to read. I'm not running out of ideas to keep little hands busy. And I'm not struggling with a teen who won't finish his calculus homework...yet (all of which were offered classes.)
But it didn't take long into the first night before we really knew why we were there. And it's because everyone running a race gets tired after while. Every one needs a breather. And if you have ever spent a fraction of a second around home education then you know it's a marathon every day...even if you have barely started.
And this place, this gathering of families all running the same race, offered that breather. Those moments of passing another family and knowing they totally get you. They've got the same frustrated perfectionist, overly sensitive creator, and wild terror in their classroom every day too. 
But more importantly were the moments of fires being refueled, reminded, re-engrained as to why we do this. Why we have piles of construction paper and glue sticks, why the dining room sees more school books than four course meals, why we get asked "why?" all the time.
And after this weekend, the "why's" don't bother me. The purpose of our teaching them started the moment we knew of their being knitted in secret. Our parenting goal was to disciple men after God's own heart to become mighty leaders and Kingdom builders.
And education...the learning ABC's, how caterpillars make cocoons, weights and pulleys, tides and currents, seasons and time, adding and subtracting, creation and redemption...education, all of it, is discipleship. It's the days, and weeks, and years filled with the opportunity to further grow valiant warriors for Christ. 
"Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's"- the fingerprints of God are all over these precious men, and they are His. Which is why it's daunting, humbling, exciting, and a blessing to be doing this school at home thing...even if we have to dissect frogs on the kitchen counter one day :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

That Day We Found Adventure

God knew I needed boys for countless reasons, but one is for my never ending thirst for adventure.
That sounds way more romantic than it is...it's really because I just get bored staying in one place.
And one thing boys do very well is NOT stay in one place...like ever.
So with warmer days, grand imaginations, and growing little guys we set out to explore...an island.
Ok, I said we used grand imaginations. With Jeff's insistence we'd run into pirates and Harrison on the look out for volcanoes I have no doubt they posses very healthy imaginations.
Seeing this island is all of a two mile hike around and a stones throw from the Kennedy Center the concern of lava close by isn't on anyone's radar.
But there's fish, frogs, mud, and rocks along paths and trails that make you forget DC is right over your shoulder.
Oh and just in case you were contemplating a trip yourself, just a heads up to all stroller/wagon users...tree roots and fallen logs create one game show worthy obstacle course.
But we made it around and back to the center of island where my boys proceeded to pose as Roosevelt and draw way too much attention.
And while one boy was goofing off, one was trying to jump into empty fountains, and one was eating gravel we found out they were offering opportunities to become a junior ranger.
Harrison rose well to the occasion and plugged away for the next hour completing tasks and tests to earn the coveted ranger badge.
Jefferson also worked as hard as any 2 year old I've seen and earned his badge, but you can tell which one took his new station seriously.
My J-Man is all about the fun and party and Harrison was all business with his new badge and title which gives a fun glimpse into growing personalities.
But junior rangers or not, we left Roosevelt Island with a good dose of adventure, lots of great memories, muddy shoes, and didn't have any trouble with lava. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...and Me

There are moments during our action packed days that I just have to sit back and take it in.
Is this really what I get to do all day?
How did I get so blessed that all I have to do all day is play?
Ok sure, there's a lot of messes and chaos involved...and a few snakes, frogs, and skinks.
But the endless laundry, dirty pans, crumb covered floors, and muddy tracks all mean a very good day.
And spending the whole day playing, learning, creating, exploring, and growing with the three gifts I've been given leaves my heart full in wonder that this is the blessed life I lead.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Major Leagues

Matt recently started playing softball for our church league.  
But don't tell the boys that.
 To them their Daddy steps up to home plate at a major league ball park.
It's not just a bunch of Daddies and business men in t-shirts on a little league field...
They have season's tickets to the home team and they are among thousands of the most dedicated fans filling the stands.
Loaded with cracker jacks, sun flowers seeds, and gum, these guys make up the loudest cheering section.
And every swing their dad takes, every base run, every pop fly, strike, score, slide, and steal only makes their Dad that much more amazing.
And sitting back with my little guys watching the game through their eyes, I can totally understand what they see.
In a world full of minor league dads, they definitely have a major league man to cheer for, learn from, and be like...and because of that, we've already won ;)