Sense or Sensibility

After I laid the big boys down for bed, I heard deep belly laughter coming from their room. "Ah, how sweet," I thought.  

I didn't go into their room to correct them but just let them giggle, applauding myself for my flexible parenting and remembering what's important in life. 

Don't sweat the small stuff, right?

Then I looked on the video monitor.  I couldn't locate the little giggling boys.  

Then I went to check on them and they were busy flooding the bathroom by shoving copious amounts of toilet paper down the toilet and flushing.  


Summer Rhythm

Summer is such a delight. We've had visitors: Adam's best bud from college, my best bud from home & her girls, my dad, now my brother...

Almost every day that Adam has off, we go out to his folks' house and swim it up. They are incredibly hospitable and the boys love it there.  

Henry & Elliot began their swim lessons yesterday. They have private lessons, 30 minutes a day for 8 days.  Parents don't get to stay & watch until the last 5 minutes of class.  At that point, Henry was swimming am awesome freestyle stroke and Elliot was crying & d.o.n.e.

Adam & I have an overnight work thing coming up and so Collin will stay with my mom while the big boys stay with Adam's folks.  So far, I haven't been able to get C to take a bottle and my mom has been "encouraging" me to get on that!  I found this Tommee Teepee cup at target that is supposed to naturally transition from breast to cup-bottle thing.

Elliot hasn't napped in over a week. The kid is tired, I can tell, but you can only lead a horse to water (keep a kid in his bed for an hour), but you can't make him drink (sleep).  Upside: they sleep until 7 now!     

I love summer.  I do miss our regular buds (it's more difficult to get together in the summer and sync schedules/visitors/trips) but I love the family pool times.


Roommate Update.

Henry & Elliot have been sharing a room for a few months now and, well, it has been an adventure.

Tonight, about 10 minutes after bedtime, they were found in their closet with all of their blankets from their beds.  They had a pile of books and Henry had pulled on some jeans.  When asked about where his original pants had gone and if he'd taken them off, he replied that they had just slid off.

Another night, I walked in after hearing the sound of train tracks being thrown against the walls and manic laughter.  Train tracks were removed and now there are basically no toys in their room.

Some nights they jump from bed to bed.  Some nights they roll around on the floor.  Sometimes they are in the bathroom.  They almost always make some kind of weird noise and they laugh a lot.  Bedtime used to be a lot simpler with separate rooms but we're giving them some good material for reminiscing one day.


This One Time.

This one time, when I was a freshman in college, I had really short hair and so I decided to get extensions. Mind you, this was before extensions were so mainstream & accessible for white folks. So, my friend, Mary Hurst, and I went down 26th street to a place called Queens by La'trice one Saturday morning and I spent 4 hours in the chair. (La'trice had me pick up my extensions from a beauty supply the day before...I did not go to the right beauty supply and ended up with some interesting extensions).

 First of all, she braided all of my hair to my head (very tightly- ow). Then, she sewed the extensions onto my hair. Then, she trimmed up the extensions into a fashionable, layery cut.

 The only problem? Well, the hair did not match my skin tone. The hair did not match my ethnicity. It was like Aliyah's hair on my head (rest in peace). It just did not look right, people. Plain and simple.  (I am the one who bought the hair extensions so this was on me, not La'trice.)

I left the extensions in for approximately three days. I spent most of these three days with my hair in a ponytail. Then, my scalp was itching and I couldn't reach it except by jamming pencil lead into my skull and so I surrendered and walked down to my friend Mary's dorm room and she cut out all my extensions.

P.S. I only have one photo documenting this hair excursion. It was taken on a disposable camera and my hair is in a ponytail at a Baylor football game. I kinda wish I had some more documentation for you.


These Days.

 Life these days (subtitle: showing more of our family pictures)

Adam has less than 13 months of residency left.

My mom moved to town at the end of May and it has been so lovely for me.  I know that starting over is a great challenge but I so value having her near us.  The boys definitely love seeing her often.  The other day, she brought over Dollar General shaving cream and the boys squirted it out and then drove toy cars through it.  Genius.
I go to the YMCA to a class called Body Pump.  Have you heard of it?  It's basically an hour long class of weight training and it is so good.  I would never push myself that hard on my own in the gym.  I try to go twice a week.

We took a week off of paleo for my birthday and now are back at it.  I realized, during my birthday week, that I still have a lot of room to grow in self-control (as I shoved the most delicious sweet rolls down my throat from Chicken Express, of all places).  Now we do give ourselves a cheat day once a week, though.
I've mentioned that Adam's father is retired and Adam's mother is a teacher.  She is off during the summers and they live about 25 minutes away from us and are wonderful.  We visit them tons in the summer and swim in their pool and just enjoy general merriment with them.  Adam and I turn songs from Les Mis into songs about wasps and the rafts in the pool.  (We like to smash wasps with these little mini-rafts).  Powers, our old dog, lives with them now and he seems to like it that way.
Water guns, Pump It Up, birthday parties, Sunday church, riding bikes in the driveway, swimming pools, movie stars.


Collin Clinton.


5 months & 20 days old.

 Happy, gummy smiley kid.  (no teeth yet).

Eats solids once a day.  Loves sweet potatoes.

Happy baby but atrocious sleeper.

Seriously, kid.  The past couple of weeks, his longest stretch at night is 3 hours of sleep in a row.

 Super entertained by his brothers.  

Delights in bath time.

Likes the ergo carrier.  Not such a fan of the car seat.

Sweet, smiley Collin.


Elliot Hayden

2.5 years old.

Little sunshine. Such a happy guy.

Wants to do everything like big brother.

Loves coloring & painting. (Henry couldn't care less so this is new to me)

Will eat almost anything.

29 lbs.

Not very interested in swimming. Mainly enjoys lounging on the top step & being silly .

Super interested in animals.

Cute Vocab: Wowy-Powy (Rolly-Polly), "Nenry" (Henry), "Pick up you" (Pick me up), "Push da butt!" (Push the button)

Lovey, Dovey Bear.


Henry James

One of my favey things about blogging is being able to look back and remember. What was Elliot's first word? I don't know. Check the blog. Oh, it was Dada. Cool beans.

I'm not a scrapbooker so blogging works.

So, here's the Henry report, for my records.


4 years old.

Swims like a stinking dolphin.

37 lbs.

Loves baby Collin.

Argues a lot with Elliot. Fights over toys with Elliot. Has the most fun with Elliot. B.F.F. at bed time.

Still really into tractors, toy fire trucks, police cars & ambulances.

Great imagination. Loves pretending to be a sheriff, fire fighter, super hero, and doctor.

Intense. Booooy, howdy. Whether happy, sad, silly, sweet, or mad. Intensity.

Recently into fishing with Daddy.  Anything with Daddy, really.

loves pb&honey sandwiches and TJ's yogurt.

Wonderful, wild Henry.


Controversial Topic

I know that I was raised in Louisiana by a well-mannered southern woman and what I am about to say is considered blasphemy round them parts but I am just going to say it...

Brace yourself, ghost of Emily Post.

Can we all agree to stop writing thank you notes? I know that it's a lovely gesture of gratitude but, lately, the obligation is just a hot, steamy pile of guilt.

Maybe my question should be, "Could you excuse me from writing thank you notes for these next few years?"

My oldest son, love him dearly, is the most meddlesome child you have ever seen and, in the last 4 months, has hidden my thank you note lists and has taken to delivering my unmailed (and often, unaddressed) thank you notes to places around the house as he pretends to be a mailman.

I can't keep track. Who has received a thank you note? Which ones have I written but Henry had hidden in his various mailbags? And each time that I receive a lovely thank you note in the mail from one of my more thoughtful & organized people, it's like a reminder that I am...not so much.

So, if I owe you a thank you note, forgive me. If you owe me one, please don't sweat it. Incidentally, I could write a thank you note right now except that I'm nursing a baby in the dark.

Sorry, Mama.


Tending to My Sheep.

My days are not all roses & butterflies and sometimes I yell and want to hit trees with a baseball bat. But sometimes my eyes are opened to the beauty of these fleeting days and this unique season.

Mothering little ones reminds me of David out tending his sheep, before the whole running-from-Saul days.  David was out in nature, taking care of his sheep and meeting their needs but with lots of time for conversing with God and noticing his hand in the world around him.  This is so like mothering little folks.  They require supervision and work, but our days are slow, in ways.  Henry just turned four in April, so we aren't doing the t-ball, soccer, music lessons, boy scout deals yet.  We have a couple of low-key activities and the rest of our days are flexible.  We can dig for rolly pollies.  We can walk to the pond near our house and feed the ducks.  We can use the toy excavator to pick up rocks and put them into a dump truck.

I remember when Henry was 2 and Elliot was 7 months old.  Elliot napped twice a day,  Henry napped once and their naps were staggered.  This meant that we were locked down at the house for about six hours a day, which goes completely against my mom-nature.  I tend to want to be out and about, going and blowing.  But, though I feared being at home with little people for hours on end, they ended up being some of my sweetest days.  I felt more aware of God everywhere I looked and I look back and can see growth and specific areas that he refined in my heart during that season.

Now my boys are bigger & there are more of them. The older two require me to be a referee more often but there is still lots of space for communing and seeing God, if I open my eyes and let go of distraction. That's key: embracing quiet moments and not immediately turning to the next thing.  He is tenderly leading me (and you) as I shepherd my little guys.

...he gently leads those that have young.
Is 40:11


Family Pictures Almost Killed Me.

How I feared all of the pictures would turn out 
such a lovely expression on my face 

So, Rachel, a friend from church, is a photographer and makes beautiful photographs.  She was running a mini-sessions special and so we signed up so that we could have some pictures with old #3 (Sweet Collin) in them.

First off, getting out the door.  Our session was at 6:30 p.m. and so we did afternoon baths and prep.  I, of course, was unprepared and the boys ended up in semi-random clothes and Elliot had an ink stain on his pants.  Incidentally, these are pants that Adam bought for Henry when Henry was 3 months old.  They are Patagonia sun-protection pants and I really didn't want Adam to buy the pants because I thought that they were too expensive but Adam did and somehow they were larger than the 6 months size that they were labeled as and, long story short, our boys have worn these pants for 5 summers now.

So, Adam was right.  Good investment.

I couldn't find any eyeliner and so I ended up using Adam's surgical skin marker from the hospital (it was purple...and long-lasting).  I probably should buy some makeup.  At this point, I only own mascara, lipstick, and some concealer from 2008.

Anyways, back to the family pictures.  Rachel is a pro and knows how to work with crazy families but posing for pictures is about the most unnatural thing for little boys to do.  We were constantly threatening and bribing Henry and Elliot (Super parenting strategy!) and they were constantly running off or pretending to be asleep/dead (Henry).

Needless to say, I was totally fried after our 45 minutes session.  We stopped for Sonic ice cream for the boys and Adam and I cracked open a bottle of wine at home.  I did not have high expectations for our family picture turn-out.

But, like I said, Rachel is a pro.  I was so happy with the pictures and couldn't even narrow it down to twenty.

If you are bored, here is the gallery of all of the pictures.


Paddle Balloon

I don't have too many brilliant ideas but, every so often, my ingenuity will appear & I'll pass it along.

So Adam has a precious aunt who always sends the boys fun little care packages. And, boy...does she know what kids like. Glo sticks, 3D dinosaur books, light up trucks, stickers, etc. Jackpot.

So, in her most recent care package, she included two sets of foam paddles and a soft ball. Unfortunately, our guys still lack the hand-eye coordination to be very good at this mini tennis game. Fortunately, I had an idea.

See, because I'm not a very good housekeeper, we still have a few resilient balloons sitting around our home from Henry's birthday (April 21st). So we replaced the soft foam balls with balloons and it turns out the boys are great at paddle balloon (patent pending).

Ok, so maybe it wasn't the most genius idea ever but it's entertained us and justified my weird balloon hoarding.

PS I know that popped balloons can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested