Monday, April 30, 2012

These Foreign Creatures Known As Boys

 Every afternoon about 4pm the proverbial wheels come off the bus. I know it is the bane of every parent's existence, that maddening thing we call the witching hour. Ours lasts more than an hour. Perhaps my attitude has something to do with the duration of the suffering. Let's revisit my attitude another day, shall we?
What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Steve swoops in for the evening, the boys cannot get dinner over fast enough so they can get down to this business of playing with dad. The latest favorite activity involves balloons filled with water and shaving cream. I am a girl, I do not understand their fascination with this messy, smelly activity. I guess that IS the fascination. It's messy and it's smelly and it usually explodes. Andy gets so excited he can hardly stand it. His enthusiasm is contagious.
 Admiring the magnitude of the destruction. Accept for Eli's balloon. Heaven forbid that it ever pop...
 ...or that his clothes get wet. 
 Ready! Aim! Fire!
 Andy has a dance move for every activity. It's like the celebration in the end zone after a touchdown. 
 Still clutching that yellow balloon. Is he not the cutest thing? 
 The mastermind behind the operation. Who knew I married a 10 year old trapped in a grown man's body?
He's smiling because there is a Porsche coming down the street. With his windows open. Followed by another neighbor in his BMW. It was almost too tempting to resist. Thankfully the children were watching and he felt compelled to behave. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fueling the Obsession

I struggle with indulgence. In theory, I understand that giving a child too much of something, even something that might be good for them, is not beneficial. A child who has too much can take things for granted, develop an attitude that reflects anything but gratitude and perhaps worst of all, a sense that he is entitled.
But what about an unexpected windfall? What about when something good falls in your lap?
 Steve attended a meeting at work centered on the topic of ingenuity. Every table had a fishbowl full of Legos. As the meeting came to an end, someone pointed out that the Legos needed homes. Steve came away with three gift bags full of our favorite bumpy blocks. Eli doesn't play with Legos very much yet. Not because he doesn't want to. If he goes within a five foot radius of something a brother has assembled, much snarling and griping (on the part of the assembler) ensues. He was beyond thrilled to have his very own bag of Legos.
 Usually when new Legos are added to our collection, there is a major objective that must be met. Our boys want the Legos in the box to match the picture on the outside. They faithfully follow the step-by-step instructions until their mission is accomplished. One of our children then puts the newly assembled creation high on a shelf in his room where other little hands cannot destroy it. Many, many moons must pass before he will even consider taking it apart and building something else. But a random collection of basic Legos was a refreshing concept. The boys went back to building towers and simple shelters, inventing enemies to attack said structures. I enjoyed watching them build and play, without stressing over whether or not they followed the instructions and that it looked like it was "supposed to".
Eli came back again and again to show me his bag of Legos and wanted me to take another picture. He spends quite a bit of time dumping the bag out and stacking a few blocks, then he loses interest, picks up his mess (bless him, wonder how long that will last?) and moves on to something else.
On one hand, I feel like we fueled their obsession of acquiring more stuff. Did we need 578 more Legos? Definitely not. Was it fun to see the joy on their faces when Dad brought home such a fantastic surprise? Absolutely. So for now I'm going to focus less on what I'm not doing right and enjoy a few minutes with our boys. Building a tower. Then we'll probably knock it down.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

 We had a very traditional Easter this year, but for me it felt quite new because this is the first Easter in our new house (last year we celebrated Easter at the beach). Eli never decorated eggs or participated in an Easter egg hunt before, so we have enjoyed seeing the fun activities from his perspective. I tried to avoid decorating eggs with him, actually, but he woke up from his nap and came straight to the kitchen to see what was going on. When he thought Andy was going to start without him, he sobbed. Steve managed to help him dye a few eggs but when he started drinking the dye we shut him down.
Luke was not interested in decorating any eggs but he was pretty excited to show us his missing front tooth!
 Andy did an egg-cellent job decorating his eggs. We tried the usual dye and vinegar method and also kool-aid. I liked the kool-aid better but the dye offered more of Andy's preferred colors.
 Our church hosted an Easter festival on Saturday and it was a beautiful morning. The egg hunt happened so fast I couldn't take pictures of the actual gathering, but Eli was adorable with his bucket afterward. He would shake each egg and yell, "Yay!" when he realized there was something inside. I think it was like a little slice of heaven for him: he just couldn't believe there was actually candy inside every egg.
 When all the candy was consumed, he moved on to the craft table. He loves to have tatoos on his hands. I am very grateful for Steve's mother who was able to come and visit with us on Saturday. We would not have survived the festival without her help wrangling the children, especially Eli.
 Hooray for a decent Easter photo! The boys received these giggling jelly beans in their Easter basket and it looks like one made it into the picture. That's their new fetish, bringing a prop to every photo op. I guess I should just be thankful nobody is crying.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Keeping Those Wigglers Occupied

Living with three little boys, I am always interested in a game or activity that holds their attention for more than  a few minutes and doesn't involve wrestling. I don't have any issues with wrestling, but there are occasions for a quieter, more relaxed activity. Our cousin introduced us to the wonderful game of Spot it. It is supposedly for ages 7 and up but our 5 year old is doing well so far.  Our 2 year old is fascinated with the metal tin container, of course.
This is a great game for family time, hanging out on a rainy afternoon, or waiting in the doctor's office. The objective is to spot the one matching symbol between any 2 cards in the game. Each time you spot it first, you keep the card. The one collecting the largest pile of cards wins. There are 4 variations of the game included and you can play with as few as 2 or as many as 8 players. We struggle to find a game that a variety of ages can play without getting too frustrated. It is also quick so the victory of winning and the agony of defeat are both short-lived.
Spot it is made by blue orange games and Amazon sells this game as well as others that appeal to a larger age group and/or different interests. Check it out, you will be glad you did.

Monday, April 2, 2012

We Blinked And He's Eight

 Eight years ago today (although it feels like last week) we welcomed six pounds, 4 ounces of sweet baby boy into our little world. This birthday is bittersweet for me because I'm proud of the young man he's becoming, but sad to see the little boy slipping away. I kept my fingers crossed that his front baby teeth would remain intact through tonight and I got my wish. To me when those front teeth fall out, it's driver's ed, graduation and tuition payments right around the corner. I'm only slightly irrational about this, I know. He tried something new this year: celebrating his birthday with just 1 buddy and choosing a fun activity. Steve took Luke and his friend Andrew to Frankie's fun park and then to the Lego store yesterday. It looks like the go kart track was a highlight.
 Luke driving the Number Eight. 
 Luke had school today so his brothers and I took cupcakes at lunch. Luke was bummed because he had to take some kind of assessment test today and it stressed him out. All was forgotten when he got home from school and opened a few a presents.
 He is so precious. He would cringe if he knew I called him that. 
Happy birthday, Lukester!