Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day of School

We are a multi-school type of family with kids spread all over the place. Each year CrazyMom and I put our heads together to figure out what would be the best option for each of our children. This year Miss Bookworm and Ed will be homeschooled, F.G. will be in a public school, and Buddy, Little Foot, K.D. and Anna will be at the private school where I teach.

We (almost) always snap a few photos as we send them off to school on the first day. It is fun to see these photos over the years to see how the kids change physically, but also to see how excited they are each fall to kick off a new school year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Anna's "Gift" to Ed

“Mom, I want somebody to sleep with me,” Anna was saying as CrazyMom put her to bed. It is part of the nightly routine for Anna. We tuck her in bed and pray with her being sure to include the phrase “no bad dreams, only good dreams” verbatim. Then she tells us how much she wants somebody to sleep with her and where their bed could go in her room.

But this night Anna got an idea.

“Mom! I know! Tomorrow is Ed’s birthday and I will let her sleep with me!”

Ed was a great sport about her birthday present and spent a night on the floor next to Anna.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cactus Rolling

As soon as I heard CrazyMom’s scream coming from the bathroom, I knew I had done a very stupid thing. In fact, the scream carried with it certain unique tones that instantly conveyed to me that this was clearly the stupidest thing I had ever done in my life.

It was not until many years later that I learned the name of my folly. It is called cactus rolling. A psychologist that spoke at a training seminar that I was attending told a fictional story about a group that was on tour of a botanical garden. When they were in the desert section, a man from the group suddenly threw himself headlong into the cacti and started immediately yelping in agony. A few minutes later when the medics had him on the gurney and were about to roll him away, another guy from the group asked the question that was on everybody’s mind – “What were you thinking?”

“I don’t know,” replied the man. “It seemed like a good idea at the moment.”

We have all gone cactus rolling before. We have what seems like a good thought, we act on it, and in the briefest of moments we realize that it was a really, really bad idea.

CrazyMom’s scream was the brief moment where I realized my folly. This happened back when we only had Miss Bookworm who was two years old and Ed who was five months old. While CrazyMom’s parents were visiting us, she was beginning to think that the unlikely had happened – that she might be pregnant again. Now we loved children even back then, but it was a little soon for us to be cranking out child number three.

CrazyMom did not want to take a pregnancy test while her parents were there knowing that I always liked for us to have some time before we went public with a pregnancy. After a few days the morning came for CrazyMom’s folks to go home. When they pulled out of the driveway, CrazyMom promptly went upstairs to take her pregnancy test and a shower.

When I heard the shower come on, I knew it must have been negative. I also knew that while the first line for the test shows up right away, it sometimes takes a little while for the second line, which indicates a positive result, to show up. So, an idea came to my poor little noggin. I picked up a trusty blue pen, slipped into the bathroom, added a blue line to the little window on the pregnancy tester changing the “-“ to a “+”, and slipped out again.

I was standing outside of the door grinning from ear to ear when I heard the water shut off, the curtain being drawn back . . . and then the scream. My grin turned to terror as I realized my folly. I burst into the bathroom to start undoing the shock that I had induced and I found CrazyMom still standing in the shower with her face buried in her towel.

Lucky for me, she was unarmed.

As you already know, our marriage has survived this and some of my other cactus rolling episodes. One of the great lessons I have gotten from this is that if a mature adult like me still goes cactus rolling, then obviously my children will too. When a child does something that is so utterly senseless and injures another child in the process to boot, I am tempted to yell at them WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?! Rather, I should make it a teachable moment and say, “I bet it seemed like a good idea at the moment, didn’t it? That is what we call cactus rolling. Did I ever tell you about the time I had this trusty blue pen . . .”

Saturday, August 1, 2009

When Low Capacity Leads to High Capacity

For Mother’s Day, I got CrazyMom a copy of Mary Ostyn’s book A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family. Evidently one of the things that Mary promotes is a high-capacity front-load washer and dryer. This idea has resonated with CrazyMom, but it is important to point out that these are expensive items and that we already have a functioning washer and dryer.

On Friday morning CrazyMom was driving me to the doctor to have a medical procedure done that involved me getting knocked out for a short period of time. As we were cruising down the interstate, CrazyMom started to explain to me how she started a fund to save up for a high-capacity washer and dryer. I did a little calculation in my head and figured it would take her about a decade to save up enough money, which was great since in a decade half of our kids would be out of the house and we would no longer need them.

Late Friday afternoon I got a call on my cell from my doctor to see how I was doing. I told him that I was recuperating just fine, leaving out the fact that I was standing at a counter in an appliance store purchasing a high-capacity washer and dryer rather than resting at home.

On the way home from the store I was feeling surprisingly happy despite the amount of money that I had just spent to replace our functioning washer and dryer. Looking over at my beautiful bride I said, “Would you have ever thought this morning that we would have purchased these appliances today?”

CrazyMom smiled back. “No,” she said . . . and then she dropped the bomb . . . “especially since the anesthesiologist said that after going under you should not make any big purchases today.”

So that was it. I was operating at a low capacity which is why we ended up with a high-capacity washer and dryer. That CrazyMom is a crafty lady. At least she did not take full advantage of the situation. It is hard to believe, but I also wanted to get a new refrigerator while we were there. Luckily, CrazyMom talked me out of it.