31 October 2012

Of the Costume Conundrum

I kind of maybe really enjoy coming up with fun Halloween costumes.  Not since the days of plastic smocks and cracking masks have I ever longed to simply purchase a costume.  The fun for me is in the creativity.  So, when Micaiah told me what she wanted to be this year, I was kind of excited about the prospect for a family costume.

True, I might have thrown together the details at the last minute, but it's because I knew we had what we needed.  Re-purposing our own clothing to create the perfect ensemble?  Priceless.

Problem?  Apparently no one knew what we were going for.  Do you?

Tromping around our church's Fall Festival on Sunday evening, beaming with pride at my old swimsuit made new as Mama Bear's dress, my spirits fell when we began hearing guesses.  Dogs?  Mice?  Farm animals?

Clearly my creative spin was not quite as clever as I had envisioned - even the well-read among us missed the Bear Family references*.

Micaiah, of course, was all too happy to remind them, "I'm a Berenstain-Berenstain Bear!" (she always says it twice and it always sounds a little more like "Bouncy, bouncy bears"), but I was taken back to my high school days (my theory was we're never too old for free candy - apparently others don't feel the same way), my face painted entirely in blue, with blue turtleneck, white skirt and white gloves and only the one inebriated door-opener who called me for what I was, "Hey, look!  A smurf!"

Really?  Am I so bad at costuming that one has to be under the influence to recognize my work?

Apparently so.

Oh well.

At the very least, Micaiah was thrilled to wander around, collecting her sugar, declaring to the world that she was Sister Bear and her parents were Mama and Papa Bear.  And that's all that really matters.

Joey, by the way, was the male version of the littlest Berenstain Bear: Honey.

*To be fair, nearly everyone who was told immediately recognized us and announced, "Of course - now it makes sense!"  I was more sad that it wasn't more obvious without a caption.

1,000 Gifts:
994. A pocket of electricity for loved ones
995. Warm days and cool nights - fall is here
996. The full moon behind hazy clouds
997. The light of the moon, orangey as it rises
998. Our children, discovering for the first time the changing colors of the "waterfall" - the wonder of the Fountain for a new generation
999. Paper airplanes - the simple joy of every day
1000. "God, I love you. . . I just told him." - Micaiah's response to being told we obey to show Him we love Him - evidence of a child-like faith
1001. Emmett's constant declaration: "A spaceman's got to do what a spaceman's got to do!" - such assertiveness from our shy one

23 October 2012

Of Memories

I sat yesterday morning, in the coolness of the dawn, with the warmth of a fevered baby's head resting on my chest.

We sat, the two of us, in a chair settled on uneven ground in the small piece of land we call our own, the one protruding ever so slightly from behind our home.

The two of us, snuggled together, facing east as the first brilliant strokes of color emanated from the skyline just over the fence, behind a tree, still black against the dawning rays.

Slowly and ever so brilliantly our two pairs of eyes watched the colors of the morning emerge.

I thought of my camera.

Should I grab it?  Shouldn't I capture this beauty in its lens?  Because who can allow such exquisite handiwork to go to waste?

But then, is it really wasted on our two pairs of eyes?

Is not appreciating it, this one moment in time, enough?

Will God not be so good as to produce another sunrise tomorrow?  And the next day?

Are His mercies not new every morning?

And yet I strive, ever backwards, like cupped hands trying to stop the water flowing, trying to hold on to just a little, as if this will be the last sweet sip ever offered before the stream is cut off forever.

I try to capture it all, remember it all, hold on to it all.

Because each moment is precious.

But, then, if this moment is so precious, can I not trust the next to be just as precious?

Can I not trust that the moving forward will bring new beauty, new moments, new mercies?

I can get stuck in hoarding the memories rather than living the moments.

Will God not be so good as to bring another blessing tomorrow?  And if tomorrow never comes - was today wasted?

Certainly not.  Let not any day enjoyed, lived, and shared, be considered a waste - no matter the work left undone, the tasks neglected or the minutes missed.

Every day is grace.  Don't miss it.

1,000 Gifts:

989. The first blushes of pink on the morning clouds
990. The way clouds float in layers - one speeding along, the other standing still
991. A sickie baby snuggled in my arms as we watch the sunrise together
992. Children chasing after one another in joy
993. My kids, all three, giggling together

21 October 2012

Of Her Genuine Prayers

Philip and I have prayed with our kids every night before bedtime since the day they were born.  It's one thing I feel we actually get right in days fraught with failure.

However, while we regularly voice prayers over them, they do not typically speak their own.

There have been periods of time when one or the other or both of our older ones would repeat after us.

There have been times, recently, when they have frantically, excitedly, sputtered out a modified version of sissy's prayer, "A,B,C,D,E,F,G.  Thank you, God, for bedtime. Amen" (I often feel if they really thought about what they were saying, they would not be quite so grateful for bedtime, but we're still working on the sincerity issue).

The idea, then, of Micaiah speaking to God thoughts and gratitudes from her heart is a concept we're still waiting on.  We have heard maybe a handful of self-motivated conversations between her and God in her short four years.

So, tonight, when she began to pray on her own, without the alphabetical opening and without even mentioning "bedtime" in her list of gifts from him (maybe she's started to truly consider her words), my heart swelled.

"Thank you, God, for everything you made" - she's thankful for creation, and all of it, so incredibly sweet - "and for my friends and for my whole family" - glad to hear not only is she thankful for all of us, but she's decided to take the all-encompassing route, rather than the toddler-tendency to list each member individual - "and for the baby that came out of Mommy's tummy" - now I was truly grinning with my eyes clinched shut, apparently Joseph wasn't included in the "whole family" clause; also, she's never going to forget where he came from - "Amen."

It's the rarity of these moments that makes them so incredibly precious.  I love hearing the overflow of her heart.

1,000 Gifts:
979. Arms to hold me on a weepy Saturday
980. Baskets filled with bright green lettuce and brilliant red tomatoes
981. A squirrel skittering along the wire spanning the street
982. Fall leaves fluttering
983. A bright orange package shipped in the mail
984. Circus games on a warm fall morning
985. Hot dogs under the "big top"
986. A lazy Sunday afternoon, snuggled in bed, reading, holding kids and napping
987. Tabletop games, popcorn, and baseball on TV

19 October 2012

Of Saying No

I'll be honest, we are not a baby-signing family.  I kind of wish we were.  I have a book of signs for babies.  We've watched Signing Time quite a bit.  But I lack the consistency.  As in, I usually forget to accompany my words with a physical motion of any sort.

Our older two both eventually learned "More," "Food," and "Please" so we could survive feeding time.  Anyone knowing our kids wouldn't be surprised by that combination of words. (Don't worry, we did teach them "All done" too).

Otherwise, nothing.

Joseph, however, seems to have figured something out.  Even if it's not technically correct.

When he reached the age of six months, we considered this to be the appropriate age for his first swats - nothing serious, just a small slap to the back of the hand when he touches something we prefer he wouldn't or to the leg when he's heading into a room where he doesn't need to be.  A firm "No" accompanied by a little swat (not even enough to draw a whimper) are typically all it takes for him to switch directions.

Eventually, though, much as I remember his older sister doing, upon hearing the word "No" as he crawled away, he began to stop, sit up, look at me, and slap his lap.  He knew what I was saying.  And he wanted me to know it (also that he could handle the discipline himself, thankyouverymuch).

Today, though, was the first time I had noticed a similar reaction when caught touching what shouldn't be touched by baby fingers.

"Joseph, no." I stated.

He looked at me, clapped and smiled, so proud of himself.  He was slapping his own hand, his own way.  And it was darn cute.  Philip agreed when he saw the same thing later that evening.

Now, he won't clap just to clap.  Only when we say "No".  As if it's a Sign.  Clearly that's what that little two-letter word means - "Let's Clap!"

What was really great, though, was later in the evening when Philip was antagonizing his littlest son (frustrating the children seems to be one of his favorite past-times) by putting his daddy hands all in Joseph's face.  And then Joseph clapped.

"I think he's telling me no!"

I think so, my dear.  I think so.

1,000 Gifts:
975. What once was lost, now is found (My camera is back!)
976. Melting crayons into something new
977. Creating a care package - mailing love
978. Her licking a stamp - apparently the old is not lost.

After a hard-core effort this evening, my camera was finally found, after I remembered we took photos at an air show two weeks ago and I hadn't seen those pictures - erego, it was misplaced at the same time.  Sure enough, it was found in Philip's coat pocket.  That's what happens when the temperatures drop suddenly and then pick back up, leaving the coats in the closets for weeks.

At the air show, me and my boys.

Love this face.

Standing on his own for the first time!

He loves his brother.

One of the few moments they were paying attention to what was happening in the air.

Joey and I were interested, at least.

15 October 2012

Of Our Determined Boy

This youngest kid of ours - he goes for what he wants.  If it's just out of reach he will not give up until he has found a way to get his hands on the desired object.  If there is water in his brother's cup, he will try every possible angle until he has figured out how to get the liquid in his mouth.  If there is anything, - a stick horse, a slinky, whatever - between the boy and his toy, that item will be tossed aside without a second thought.  Don't try to distract him.  He's on a mission.

That boy.

Case in point: His first time to his feet - all because there was a toy in the corner of that chair and he just had to have it.

Is this the one?

Got it!

And . . . straight to the mouth.

This tongue his is trademark, always out, always wiggling around.  Silly goose.

1,000 Gifts:
971. Reminding myself I'm not a failure.
972. Having it all ready on time.
973. The squeaks of a little boy's hands on the balloon - and the squeaks of happiness from his mouth.
974. A column written

14 October 2012

Of Eternal Conversations

As a part of our home-schooling efforts, we generally share a "verse of the week".  This past week, Micaiah's verse was Matthew 16:15, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures."

While she traced a few of the words on her coloring sheet with clipart of the earth on it, I pulled out our inflatable globe to discuss the continents with her:

"And this is Africa, where Aunt Dia went, and Europe is over here - that's where Aunt Becky and Uncle Gary live [these are Philip's aunt and uncle who currently serve as missionaries in England)].  And God wants us to go into ALL the world," I explained, indicating the entire ball in my hands, "to preach the gospel - which means to tell them about Jesus.  That's why Dia went to Africa - so she could tell people about Jesus - and that's why Uncle Gary and Aunt Becky live in Europe - so they can tell people about Jesus."

At this, Micaiah stopped her coloring and looked at me with interested surprise, "Is Jesus real?!"

I could see in her face this confusion over the fact that anyone would travel to or live in a completely different place just to tell people about this Jesus who was in the stories Mommy and Daddy read and the teachers at church talk about.  Until this moment, I understood, Jesus had been no more real to her than Santa Claus or Rapunzel - great characters in books and movies but nothing more.

"Yes," I said, "Jesus is real."

Excitedly she responded, "I want to see him!"  What she was really asking was, "I mean, seriously, if this guy is real, why haven't I met him?!"

"Well, he is real, but he lived a long time ago.  He doesn't live on this world anymore," I indicated the ball in my hands, "He lives in Heaven, with God."

"I want to see God and Jesus!"

"Well, we can't see them now.  They live in Heaven.  But, if we believe in them and do what they say, then someday, when we die, we will get to be with them in Heaven."

"I don't want to die!"  Suddenly she was scared and I realized the error in proselytizing a pre-schooler.

And while the topic might have gotten a little scary for her, it was a good conversation (up until she began focusing on the death part).  It was one of those moments that made me realize just how important my job, between the washing of the dishes, the folding of the clothes, the enforcing of the naps and the changing of the diapers, really is.  These children are my ministry.  And nothing could be more valuable.

1,000 Gifts:
966. Eternal conversations
967. A twirling dress
968. My husband, the official snuggling buddy of the two-year-old classroom
969. An old camera revived (while the other is still in the land of the lost)
970. Fancy desserts (at home)

The photo I would have posted on Friday - stained glass cookies hanging in the window (until it's time to eat them, of course).

Micaiah, wearing Aunt Dia's old dress from Mexico (I believe?).  She looked adorable.

Emmett wanted his picture taken, too.  And, apparently, so did Diego - the orange kitty who has adopted us.

Last but not least - Joseph.  Our little one-toothed, crawling, eight-month-old.

12 October 2012

Of Understanding the Neat Freak

A number of years ago I watched my first episode of Jon & Kate Plus Eight.  I am not now, nor have I ever been an avid viewer of the show, which probably has a lot to do with that first experience.

She was hiring a housekeeper and I found her standards to be completely unrealistic - meaning she required more than the bare minimum I consider acceptable and, thereby made me feel guilty about my own pathetic cleaning efforts which led to the old standard female-fallback - annoyance and disgust.  Because being inspired to raise my own standards would have just been too much work.

What woman, I wondered, with eight kids underfoot, really has time to care about getting on hands and knees to scrub the dining room floor daily?  This woman was too much for me.

Fast forward my life to three kids later and I'm feeling all sorts of sorry for that judgment (well, ok, I feel bad, anyway, for judging, but that's an issue God and I are working on; for now we'll focus on the point of this story).

Lately I've been patting myself on the back for the mere act of sweeping once a day instead of my former goal to shoot for, which was once a week.

Stop judging - it's not nice.

I was feeling pretty darn good about myself, really, while trying not to brag - because that's not nice, either.

And then this afternoon, as we ate lunch, my littlest guy, who is generally allowed to roam like wild bison (we don't call them buffalo in these here parts), as long as he keeps his act together and makes good choices, found his way under the table where the rest of us sat, and spread himself out prostrate on the ground to - yes, I'm serious - lick the floor.

Apparently there were still remainders of chips and cheese from last night's Doritos Locos Nachos (our home-made take on the wonderful Tacos one can purchase in the Drive-Thru - we're still not judging, remember?  That includes my nutritional choices), and this little guy was not letting this golden opportunity slip through his fingers, or his one tooth.

Clearly my once-a-day efforts are still lacking.

Thus, as I swept these small particles together while the kids napped, thinking how I might need to be pulling that broom out a little more often than I have been, I suddenly recalled that crazy, Type-A, Neat Freak on TLC.

She had six of these scroungers wriggling on her floor.  At once.

And it all made sense.

Perhaps my hands and knees could use a little more time on the floor, as well.

So, I'm sorry, Kate.  I just needed to say that.

I still don't think it's necessary to dust behind the movies on the shelf, but I'll let that one go.

1,000 Gifts:
962. The way her little feet curl up like a monkey's as she holds her workbook in her lap
963. Sitting in a circle on the floor, crushing candies for the greater good
964. Stained glass cookies shimmering in the window
965. A tent in the living room

For those of you missing the photos of the day, please note how my heart is breaking that I have no photo of those precious heart-shaped cookies hanging like a banner along our dining room window.  My camera is currently missing and, should it choose to return home, will return to much rejoicing and, possibly (but probably not) a fattened calf.

10 October 2012

Of Opening My Eyes

Through my current Bible Study of Beth Moore's "Mercy Triumphs" we were recently asked (in the workbook, not in person - I don't feel like this is going to be next week's small group discussion question) what one thing was we've been desperately wanting and know is possible because we see others who have it.  She was drumming up fodder for a discussion on jealousy, if you couldn't tell.

At first I didn't know what to say.

Physically I have all I need.  There are silly things here and there I think would be nice to have - a guest room, a front porch, extra hours in the day.  But no glaring lack came to mind.  No bitter jealousy over that job, that family or that perfect kitchen.  I am, overall, satisfied with the blessings we have been given, knowing we have more than enough.

But then one word in the following paragraph brought all my desires flooding in: "relationship."


That was it for me.  Friendship.

Don't get me wrong.  I have friends.  I have beautiful, wonderful friends.  I have friends with whom I can talk for hours if you get us all in the room together, I have friends with whom I can chat on the phone occasionally (I'm not much of a phone girl unless it's my only option), I have friends I see at church, I have friends on Facebook and I even have friends living within 50 yards of myself.

But I hold myself back.

I'm afraid of getting too attached because it seems every time I allow people in, life happens, separation occurs and I have to start all over again.  And I get weary.

What I really wanted - what I tried to communicate in that small space on the blank page - was a friend I knew I could call at any hour of the night (should the need arise), a friend who just knows when I'm having a bad day and will bring me a frappuccino to soothe my soul, the kind I don't feel bad about asking to watch my kids so I can go to the dentist or who I can call because there's a chick flick playing at the dollar theater (that now charges $2, but will always be the dollar theater in my mind).

That's what I want.

God spoke to me two things:

1) What I was looking for in one human being was everything He wants to be for me.  He is my confidante, the one Who lifts my soul and knows me better than I will ever know myself.  He is there, day or night, and will never scoff when I call on Him.  He wants to know me, He wants to me to trust Him with my kids, and He wants to spend time with me.  No, it's not the same, exactly, but He's not going to put someone in my life that I would potentially use as His replacement.  He should always be my first source of comfort and strength.

2) What I was looking for in one human being God has already given me in so many different, magnificent people.  Sometimes I get picky.  Sometimes I get jealous.  I want the cliched "best friend" - you know, the one who would wear the other half of my broken-heart necklace if we were still in middle school.  But God is continually, even just in these past weeks, opening new doors of friendship for me.  Deepening relationships that already exist and carrying new opportunities to my doorstep.

How could I possibly long for more?

So, instead of longing for that one perfect friendship, I'm taking a different route.  I'm making the deliberate effort to be the kind of friend I had so desperately (and so long) longed for.

Crazy how pouring myself out brings in so much more richness of fellowship than I ever found when I was looking to be poured into.

I love how He does that.

1,000 Gifts:
957. Lunch with friends
958. Strawberry milkshakes (for the kids)
959. Chatting, just chatting
960. Being open
961. Hugs and kisses

09 October 2012

Of Wearing it Down

When I was in middle school I still had my hair done daily by my mother.  And by "done" I mean pulled into a ponytail.

Ok, let's be honest, she was still doing it for me in high school.

I'm sure a lot of this stems back to her "helpful" nature for which we often tease her.  The nature that led her to look at my poor attempts at self-styling and assure me, "That looks great, honey.  Do you want me to help you?"  Eventually I realized it was just a lot faster to hand her the brush and skip the facade - I was never going to be able to handle a bump-less ponytail.

Thus, one day in seventh grade, I sat at the black tables of the science classroom and, for whatever reason, some hairs escaped their holder.  I was doomed.  I pulled the elastic out and tried, in vain, especially with no mirror, to capture every one of the millions of hairs on my head and tame them into submission.  Pulling them all together, I turned to the outspoken, no-nonsense acquaintance sitting next to me and asked, nervously, if it looked ok.  I could not be seen with bumps.

Her response was to pull the elastic out of my hair once more, hand it to me and tell me, "I like it better that way."

Wear my hair down?!  Well, that's just not something I do.  As mentioned, there are millions of them (seriously, I have an obnoxious amount of hair - as noticed by every hair-dresser ever) and they just get in the way.  I don't wear it down because I get tired of pushing it from my face.  All. Day. Long.

But someone thought it looked good that way.  And no one (besides my mother, of course) ever told me I looked good any way.  So, for that afternoon at least, I wore my hair down.

Throughout the years I have tried various styles, but almost every day, no matter how it starts at the beginning, I end the day with my hair pulled back.

It still drives me nuts.

Thus, a week or so ago, as Micaiah and I sat on the couch during a family game night of Mario Party, I relaxed, in my pj's and ponytail (which is still bumpy, but I have long since gotten over it, recognizing my curly hair is not destined for bump-less-ness - and not wiling to drive eight hours to have my mother "help").  Suddenly, as she observed my face, she announced, "You need to keep your hair long."

I was confused a little until she pointed to my up-do and repeated, "It needs to be long. I don't like your ponytail!"

Well, apparently I have once-again encountered an outspoken, no-nonsense girl with very strong opinions about my styling options.

And now I'm the mother consistently pulling her hair up - only she's more independent than I was (hard to believe, really), as she declares, "No, Mommy!  Girls wear their hair long!"

So we have.  Well, I more than she.  But I'm doing it on her behalf.  I hope she appreciates this.  Because I don't wear my hair down for just anyone.

But I am a girl - and this is, apparently, how we do it.

1,000 Gifts:
949. Being the kind of friend I look for
950. Recognizing He has always been everything I have ever longed for
951. Friendships on the horizon
952. Being on the same page
953. Talking things out
954. Bees, many of them, flitting from flower to flower, pollen on their legs
955. A defenseless wasp, skittering away
956. Learning of His Creation

We painted pumpkins last week with Aunt Dia.  I did the swirly one for me and the polka dots for Joey.  Philip did the awesome Jack-o-Lantern face.  Micaiah's is all drippy (I LOVE it) and Emmett's is green, because that's what happened when all his paints blended.  So fun.

05 October 2012

Of Choosing Our Way

Before heading to bed last Saturday evening, a tired girl cried to us about one of umpteen things she was upset about not getting to do.  In frustration, we relayed to her all the fun things she had done – going to the science museum, watching a fire-nado (in a controlled demonstration, of course), having fun chicken for lunch, playing in the restaurant after lunch, picking out new toys with her $3 Birthday coupon from Toys R’ Us, picking a pink donut with sprinkles and eating it when we got home, playing her favorite video game and enjoying time with her brothers.

I mean, this was a fun-filled day, so jam-packed with goodness we had to cut out nap time to fit it all in (an action that was most likely leading to the current melt-down).  And, yet, as we discussed it all, she cried, not because she didn’t have fun, though she did, but because none of it was this one thing (whatever the one thing was in that particular moment) she wanted to do.

And we were angry.  Angry that we had put in so much effort and received so little appreciation.

On contemplating it all, long after the melt-down, long after the frustration had subsided and long after the sleepy girl was slumbering in her bed, I pointed out to Philip that while we had a really good day and she was able to do all these great things we had planned, she didn’t get to choose any of it. 

These were our plans.  Our plans we made with her best interest and desires in mind.  Our plans for her good, for her joy.  But still, they were ours.  They were not her plans.  Her plans were often shot down – for many good reasons, but none that she could see.  And her anger and disappointment seethed in the midst of a mound of blessings.

How often is this me? 

Throughout my life, faith has been a spiritual gift.  I know God’s way is perfect and I have sought His will at every turn.  Sometimes it took me where I wanted, sometimes I wasn’t so sure.  But still I followed.  Because I trusted His plan.

Yet, there are times when I look back and I wonder.  What if?

What if I had followed my plans? 

Sometimes there’s a small tug in my heart for my past.  The paths untraveled.  And, unfocused on the hoard of blessings surrounding me, I look beyond it all to the one thing beyond my grasp.  The thing I chose and was denied and I pout. 

It was fun.  It could have been great.  It made me feel good.  And it’s calling me back.

But the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).

It’s all a siren song.  Luring me to my death.  A drowning in the what-if’s so much that I can’t reach the surface of the sorrow to see what-is still waiting for me on the shore.  Or that’s what it would be if I let it – if I give in to the deadly melody.

But when I turn away – when I recognize what I have been given.  What I did not choose for myself but something better than which I could have never imagined.  When I ask myself to complete the statement, “My life would absolutely be better if ________________ were different,” I have no answer. 

I look into the faces of these beautiful children.  I see a husband who loves me more than I deserve.  I sit in a dry home, protected from the rainy morning.  I wear clothes that are whole and unstained (for the most part).  I drive a car that fits all our needs perfectly.  But more than any of that, I own the love of a Savior Who gave up everything for me.

Life, life as I have known it, following God’s leading at every turn (with, yes, a few mistakes along the path, those times I decided the what-if was more tempting than His way), is absolutely the best life imaginable. 

And my plans had nothing to do with it.

Micaiah, following the Treasure Map Daddy made for her this week - the "treasure" was her Bible - may she always be so determined to follow the path to Truth.

939. A swept floor (two days in a row)
940. An unasked-for offering for much-desired help
941. Jesus clothing the 5,000 (or three, or six, or whatever)
942. My Little Explorers
943. Her holding her baby brother's hand as they sit in the backseat
944. Hugging that middle boy close as he plays
945. Neighbors who look out for us
946. Picture frames in the mailbox - because they knew what we needed
947. Lunch outside with a new friend
948. A pile of painted pumpkins

02 October 2012

Of Dating my Mate

Like most wives, I'm a big fan of date night, but, like most young couples, we're lucky to scrape together enough money to go out, let alone the sitter that goes with it - which means we're generally left to either mooch time off our friends and family (when available) or being content with Netflix and home-popped corn.  It's not bad, of course, but for some reason it never occurred to me that dating my spouse at home could actually be spontaneous, fun and creative.  I mean, really, we spend all our time at home - what else could we possibly find to do here?

Then I discovered (via Pinterest, of course), an amazing blog entirely devoted to creative date ideas.  I was in love.  And when I saw a date idea based completely on silly science experiments, I knew that was the kind of experience my husband needed.  Acting like a kid while watching crazy scientific reactions?  Well, that's just the kind of nerds we are.

And instead of just looking at it and thinking, "That's such a cute idea.  That would be fun to do someday,"  I thought, "We're going to do that and we're doing it now." - Ok, so there may have been a little more delay in my putting the date on my mental calendar, but the fact that I moved out of the thought phase and into action is a big step for me.

After a little research, both on the initiating blog and on Pinterest, I had my experiments chosen and I was ready for fun!

So, on Friday morning, I printed the invitation (bonus: my computer accidentally printed it in black and white, so when I re-traced it in marker to add flair, my man totally thought I drew it all by hand - yeah, that's right, honey).

Then, the kids and I went on a Wal-Mart run for supplies and left this in Philip's car at work as a surprise for him to find when he came home for lunch.  The Reese's Pieces may have had nothing to do with our date, but I knew they would make him beyond happy.  And I don't know where to find beakers, but I felt this vase looked "science-y". He was intrigued and a little confused (and, yes, happy, because he had candy).  

And since we were in the surprising mood, we stopped by Aunt Dia's office to brighten her day (which was entirely Micaiah's idea as we passed the flowers in Wal-Mart and she declared, "I want to get flowers for Dia!"  She insisted on the pumpkin, too - which Emmett is thinking is a little heavy in this photo).

As the kids napped, I gathered all the supplies for our chosen experiments and put them in fun gift bags - because everything is more exciting when you get to unwrap it.  I left it all on the counter to taunt him until the kids wene to bed.  The goggles may not have been necessary, but they kept him guessing.

For dinner, we had Mexican Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers - which looked kind of like little explosions.  This may or may not have been entirely a coincidence, but it worked out nicely.

After we tucked all the little ones in, it was time for some one-on-one fun!  I first did the trick of serving him water from the tap that changed colors in his glass.  Philip was concerned he'd be able to taste the food coloring - he has overly sensitive taste buds (slightly rolling my eyes).

Before we moved on, we had to put on our safety gear just in case (okay, really just because we had them and, when you have safety goggles, why not wear them?!).

Then he began to open up his surprises . . .

First up, a Mentos and Coke explosion.  Only lame me didn't read the directions fully before going to the store and didn't notice the emphasis on Diet Coke - the experiment was much more sad than exciting.  Good news?  I couldn't find just a single sleeve of Mentos, so we have plenty more to try again next time.

The next experiment fared a little better - creating a lava-lamp-like reaction with oil, water and salt.  This one was rather fascinating.

The third "experiment" was creating secret messages out of lemon juice.  Again, lame me forgot to get real lemons - note to self: lemon juice in a bottle is NOT the same thing.

While we waited for that to dry, we moved on to creating soap foam in the microwave.  I was so excited about this one and glad we saved it until last.

Look what Ivory soap does in the microwave!  The fun part?  You can still use it as soap!  Coolest ever.

We were still waiting for the lemon juice to dry, so we played Mario Party, as Toad and Toadette (because they match and we're cool like that), because we had just discovered that evening that you can do a two-player duel on Mario Party - it's not like we've owned the game for five years or anything.

And, finally, we revealed our messages - or tried to.  But after using both the iron and Philip's super-hot painting lamp, we could only see half the messages, at best.  But I got a really neat photo out of it, so I count it as a win.

Shopping list for next time: Diet Coke and real lemons.

The next day, we continued the theme by taking the whole family to the Oklahoma City Science Museum for Smithsonian's Free Museum Day (it's kind of our annual tradition).  There, Joseph loved the Science Live show.

Micaiah did, too.

Plus, she got to paint her own face.

And Emmett made new friends.

And we topped it all off with Chick-Fil-A for lunch, Toys R' Us (to use Micaiah's birthday coupon), Krispy Kreme donuts (hey, when you made the drive to Oklahoma City, you're going to make the most of it) and video games at home - I'd say we all had a fantastic weekend. 

Let's do this again, sometime, shall we?

01 October 2012

Of Weekend Growth

- On Friday, Joseph began crawling on hands and knees.  Like a big boy.  A full two months earlier than either of his siblings.

- On Saturday, he hurt my finger with his brand new tooth.

- On Sunday, Micaiah decided she will be using the quarter and nickle she recently found on our bathroom floor to purchase herself a car for her sixteenth birthday (since I told her she couldn't have one for her next birthday - we figured she should be able to drive a car before she owns a car).  It will be big like Mommy and Daddy's and she will paint it like a rainbow - because Mommy and Daddy won't let her paint theirs.

- Emmett is now tall enough to push the buttons on the elevator at church, including the tippy top one to go to the first floor.  As little as two months ago he was only able to reach the Door Close and Emergency buttons - so it's much less worrisome now that he can push something useful - but when did he get so big?

- Micaiah told me she had a squash and she was going to put it into the washing machine because it was a "clo."  I was confused for a second (beyond the idea that an imaginary squash was going in our washing machine), until I realized she had just singularized the word "clothes" - smart girl, that one.

- On Sunday night at dinner, Emmett said he wanted to pray "A,B,C" - so we said ok - which usually leads to him deciding he can't do it on his own and passing over the job.  Last night, though, he did it.  He sang the whole prayer.  We were thoroughly impressed.

Playing Mario Party on Saturday night.  These three are my favorite kids in the world.

1,000 Gifts:
929. New teeth
930. A little hand reaching the top button
931. Impressing me with her English language generalizations
932. His memory improving
933. A husband who does what he says
934. Dating my mate - without even leaving the house
935. A family that doesn't mind waiting in the car
936. Raindrops falling on my head
937. Chicken Noodle Soup
938. A new month