Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The last few days, rain plummeted from the sky. The boys and I darted between rain pellets during our rare outdoor excursions.
This afternoon, the rain transformed to white flakes. This time, the flakes accumulated, blanketing our yard in ivory. The two youngest boys bundled up in wool hats and mittens, snow boots and puffer jackets. They dashed between the flurries, turning their heads towards the sky with mouths opened wide. They caught flurries on their tongues and devoured the slippery flakes.
My day unfurled in a flurry of errands and appointments. While they raced between flakes, I drove through them. While they devoured ice, I purchased groceries. While they smiled at the weather, I cringed.
I eyed the boys with a mixture of jealousy and admiration, remembering the euphoria of being a child on a snowy day.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The boys and I took a weekend excursion down to Evansville. They loved the Children's Museum of Evansville (cMoe).
The boys decorated the Christmas tree with much enthusiasm. They enjoyed looking at old ornaments and talking about the memories tied to each special one.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Here's what I wrote:
The boys and I unearthed the Christmas boxes, buried deep within the recesses of our basement. We spewed the contents on the floor. The boys eyed the evergreen wreaths, nativity scenes, and peppermint scented candles. They inspected each item, tossing out Christmas memories as they played.
My two-year-old son Collin picked up a nutcracker. It looked regal, clad in a deep purple jacket with crimson cuffs. A bejeweled metallic crown perched on its head.
Collin gazed at me and said, “Is this Jesus?”
I smiled, and shook my head.
“No, that’s not Jesus,” I replied.
Then, I picked up a Fisher Price plastic baby Jesus, part of a children’s nativity set. The baby figurine lay in a wooden box, nestled among the plastic hay strands.
“This is Jesus, “ I said as I pointed to the baby.
Collin looked perplexed, and insisted that the regal nutcracker was Jesus.
I understood his confusion. I’m sure he’s heard about this majestic Jesus, “King of Kings, Lord of Lords.” Certainly, this tiny baby didn’t fit his mental image of a savior. Wouldn’t Jesus look more like a king?
It got me to thinking: Why did Jesus come into Earth in such a humble fashion? Couldn’t He have chosen a more regal entrance, a more dazzling form?
But, his entrance to the world, in a form of an infant, showed his humanity and humility. As John Saward said, “The Son of God became little to make us great, and yet He also became little to help us to be little, to be high in sanctity by becoming low in humility.” How grateful I am that He came as He did.
Two-year-old Collin won’t understand all this quite yet.
I gathered Collin onto my lap and pulled out a Christmas picture book. We read about Jesus the infant, born in a stable, placed in a manager.
Right now it’s just a story to him; someday it will be more.
We celebrated Grandma's 90th birthday and my niece, Savannah's first birthday.
During the party, Caleb kept busy working on Lego creations.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
A mom of an only child told me her son begged for siblings for years. Then, he visited a home with five kids. Her son was so overwhelmed with the commotion that he ran around alone outside just to find some solace. After that, he never asked for a sibling again.
I suppose I can relate to that little boy. There days I'd love to run around outside, hiding from the clamor and commotion that flows from a big family. At those time, I understand the phrase, "Silence is golden."
But, on Thanksgiving, the sounds that radiates from a house full of family is divine. The cries and coos of babies. The giggles of cousins. The laughs between siblings. The stories from grandparents. The praises of parents.
Although I spent the greater part of the last two days preparing and cooking, I think the food was secondary to the sounds of family.
No sweeter sound.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Thanksgiving tables all dressed and ready for tomorrow.
With the tables occupied, the boys enjoyed a picnic dinner on the floor.
Tomorrow, I'm set to host my first Thanksgiving meal. Thanks to the help of my mother and mother-in-law, I think we're ready. The boys (and I) are very excited for Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Collin and his friend, Nora, play with the parachute during library story time.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
The stuffed animal zip line concocted by the boys.
The battle scene. The boys explained it was the army versus the navy. I informed them those two groups fight on the same team. Chris interjected, "Unless you're talking football."
Mix a little free time with one distracted mother. Add four young boys with vivid imaginations. Stir well and, viola...ingenuity, Wood boy style.
This morning, I primped in the bathroom, checking periodically on the boys. Again, those familiar warning bells blared when silence blanketed the house. I peeked downstairs and noticed the boys had rigged a ball of yarn between door handles and banister knobs. Petrified looking stuffed animals, attached to paper clips, dangled from the string. Connor manned one end of the string and maneuvered the stuffed animals along with a rigged pulley system.
I scanned the living room, criss crossed with blue yarn, and asked the obvious, "What are you doing?"
To which the boys eagerly replied, "Making a zip line for our stuffed animals."
Of course they are.
I suppose I should be happy their creative juices flow so freely, especially when working as a group. Haven't other inventive brothers revolutionized the world? Think Wright, Manning, Bush, and Jonas (to name a few).
But I'm wondered why creativity isn't synonymous with tidiness.
Friday, November 18, 2011
I washed dinner dishes in the sink, grateful that for once the house was silent. The boys had all filtered upstairs and were quietly playing together.
How nice, I thought. They're playing so well together.
Then it clicked, They're playing together...so well......what's wrong?
Just then the silence was pierced with giggles and squeals that cropped up from the upstairs bedroom and meandered down the stairs.
Warning bells blared in my head.
I bolted into the boys' room, and spotted two-year-old Collin gripping the railing and dangling from his older brother's top bunk. His feet sliced the air and his face radiated pure joy. Older brother, Connor, sat Indian style directly under his airborne brother. Connor outstretched his arms, anticipating serving as the landing gear for the inevitable plunge.
I cried, "What are you doing? He's only two? He could get hurt."
Then, I snatched my fearless toddler and placed him on the floor.
Both boys scowled at me with a look that said, "Safety's such a downer."
I gave them a swift talking to, and prayed that from now they'd play with two feet firmly planted on the ground.
As I resumed dishes, I thought about how different Collin probably plays from the average two-year-old. As the fourth son of four boys, he learned early: If you want to hang with the big boys, you better play like a big boy. So, he bypassed the baby pools, Sesame Streets, and blocks for deep ends, Star Wars and Legos. While other two year olds skimmed down the slides, he whizzed along on skateboards. While many two year olds soaked in the alphabet, he learned about superheroes.
As much as I'd like Collin to fit that stereotypical toddler mold, I have a greater desire for him to build strong relationships with his older brothers. Building those relationships require gumption and endurance, hopefully common sense too.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
"Good," he announced,
"Good," he announced,barely looking up before offering his perfunctory response.
Grasping for more, I peppered him with more questions about everything from school lunch to his school bus companions. For me, our breakfast was not a social occasion, but a fact finding mission. Connor had been shutting me out from his little world. I thought a date over a breakfast sandwich could reopen that door.
As the morning progressed, I'd say at least the door is cracked. Connor divulged a few tidbits from school and a some silly anecdotes. I soaked in all his words, trying hard to focus on all the details.
As we walked out, I draped my arm over his shoulder, grateful for a start.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Some of my fondest childhood memories stem from big family holiday dinners. My Grandmother Joseph whipped up wonderful holiday dishes, but none more memorable than her homemade cinnamon rolls. She always timed it just right so the rolls popped out of the oven just minutes before saying grace. After the amens, I'd rush towards the rolls and toss one onto my plate, still warm. I'd quickly smother my Aunt Linda's homemade strawberry preserves on the tip. Within nanoseconds, it was devoured and I was back for more.
After my Grandmother passed, my aunts and my mother carried on the tradition, with a modern twist. They introduced a box mix to the recipe that eliminated a few steps, but still required loads of TLC. Today, my mom passed the baton to me, the next generation of family cooks. She taught me the skill of making (practically) homemade cinnamon rolls. It felt like a rite of passage in some ways. Like, I'd officially graduated to the big girl table.
Our lesson began this afternoon. My mother waltzed into my kitchen, clutching two box mixes and a bag full of kitchen utensils and supplies. We both pulled on kitchen aprons as she strewed the staples across the counter. We chatted in between mixes, rolls, kneads, and cuts. At the end, 24 perfect cinnamon rolls lined two metal pan. We covered the pans in aluminum foil and placed them in the freezer until Thanksgiving.
As we pulled off our aprons, I couldn't help thinking about my Grandmother. I imagined she'd be tickled to know cinnamon rolls still grace the holiday table. But, I suppose she'd be most pleased to hear the table was surrounded by family.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Boy Scout Camp
Tonight, we congregated around the kitchen table. A pizza box sat in the center, and the six of us eagerly devoured the slices. It was a reunion of sorts for our family, as the whole of us was split down the middle for the last 24 hours. Chris whisked the older boys down to southeastern Indiana for Boy Scout camp. I escorted the little boys to South Bend to visit Chris's parents.
We swapped memories of the weekend:
Grandma Wood's chicken tetrazzini
Sloppy Joes in the mess hall
Notre Dame Basketball Game
Twillight Nature Hike
Popcorn at the game
S'mores around the fire
Sleeping with mom
Sleeping in a yurt
South Bend playground
South Bend's Healthworks
Bow and Arrows, BB guns