Sunday, February 28, 2010

In Which She Learns Contentment

Yesterday was a blur. A day in which I can barely remember anything.

And what I do remember, is not good.

It started out smartly enough though. The kids had breakfast and more food went into their mouths than on the floor. That's a good start right there. I guess I was fooled into thinking that it was going to be a "good" day as indicated by breakfast's success. How wrong I was.

I was feeling nostalgic as I sipped my chai and had the I-want-to-have-another-baby-now syndrome. Feelings of "why can't I have one NOW?" crowded my thoughts and I felt discontent. Which is not good because from my experience, if a person can't be content with what they HAVE, they'll never be content when they get what they WANT because there's always something else to have. To want. To get. To be. To go after. And the pursuit of contentment is usually the last thing on the list of those kinds of people. Actually, I don't think it's even on their list at all, come to think of it.

So I purposed to work on this lacking attitude in my heart and went on with my day.

As I entertained a phone call from a dear friend who also has small children of her own, I observed out of the corner of my eye a young, wedding-dress-clad (her daily attire of choice) female child flitting quickly to the bathroom with blue hands. Very blue hands. Very blue as in dripping-with-blue hands.

Blue was quickly covering the entire bathroom sink, that's how blue her hands were.

I composed my dignity on the phone and flew on 2 quick-footed-feet to the place where the blue was sure to have come from: the basement.

The Blue Source was no where to be found. And at that point I began to panic and immediately got off the phone. Just then, I found an opened can of Blue Stuff sitting on the the Little Tykes table in Janae's cute little room. Basically, the Blue Stuff was only about twenty-four-inches off of the brand new carpet in Janae's cute room.

And through sovereign and spiritual intervention which I have yet to understand, there was no Blue Stuff dotting or trailing anywhere out of that can of paint; except on the hands of my wedding-dress-clad female child. Who was at that moment getting paint all over the bathroom sink. But the walls, carpet, doors, furniture, siblings, pets, food, shoes, hair, etc., were all Blue Stuff Free.

As I gathered the screwdrivers sitting next to the Blue Stuff that had been used by my clever daughter to pry the lid off the paint can, I quickly put the paint away and scampered back upstairs. In the process of that I spied a piece of glass on the floor that was apparently lonely and waiting for the trash can.

Thinking it to be a wise time to return the call to my dear mother-in-law who had called (as indicated by my caller ID) during the last catastrophe and phone call (it's funny how often catastrophes and phone calls are simultaneously played out), I picked up the phone and dialed the number.

By that point, the bathroom was vacant of the female child and in her place stood a swimming-trunk-clad-male child wearing inter tubes and other fancy swimming paraphernalia. He was just getting in the rapidly filling-with-water tub and looked at me as if I lost my mind when I asked him what he thought he was doing... "Swimming, Mom."

I made a mental note to black-magic-marker "No Swimming Allowed" on the side of the tub but decided it would be futile since the swimming inclined members of our household are yet a little uneducated in the reading department.

Comforting myself that the kid wasn't drowning, wasn't splashing water, wasn't eating soap, wasn't using soap, wasn't wasting soap and wasn't cutting himself with a razor, I ignored the impulse to remove him from the tub. I just did the Bug Eyes Out And Sigh And Say Okay thing.

As I nonchalantly chatted with the grandmother of my adventurous children and listened to her laugh at their antics as I dialogued them through the phone to her, it became too much to stay on the phone and have a swimming child in the bathtub when I observed that my computer had been sabotaged. So I got off the phone and reclaimed rightful ownership of my computer.

But I couldn't reclaim proper function of my computer. Everything was messed up. Caps Lock ON made the letters lowercase and every time I clicked something, a whole new page opened. Hoping my computer-sabotaging child hadn't done merciless and embarrassing things on my Facebook page that had been left open, I was relieved to find that my profile indicated no suspicious activity.

My senses slowly began to feel more sensitive at this point and I could no longer see the value of swimming in the bathtub so I ordered the swimming child out. As those events began to wrap up in the bathroom, I came upon my self-motivated, fully clothed two-year-old who was actively scrubbing the top, front portion of his hair. With shampoo and no water. Unable to rinse him right then, I sent him to the basement to do something like normal kids do. You know, play with toys. How novel would that be? I wondered out loud.

I followed him down later to check on him and found another piece of glass on the floor. I also found a thickly-carpeted-with-legos family room floor. And I also found my cell phone breaking the "Keep Out Of Reach Of Children" rule. I picked it up and checked the call log, making sure none of my children had contacted the police for anything again. Thankfully, the only call they placed was to a Calling Card. At least they hadn't continued on to an international call, I comforted myself with.

I scooped up the Shampooed Head Kid and brought him into the kitchen. I flipped on the water only to send the faucet handle flying. Another indication that our kitchen sink faucet needs to be replaced. NOT fixed: replaced. It's beyond repair; it's been fixed enough times. It needs a complete replacement. (Did you get that yet?)

So since the regular water was inaccessible due to maintenance deficiencies (I didn't marry a plumber), I used the next best option and stuck my child's head under the drinking water faucet which has only one temperature: Refreshingly Cool. He fussed and fumed but I comforted myself with the fact that the next option would've been snow. And the next option after that would've been to just leave the shampoo on his head until his next bath which would probably be who-knows-when. So I was actually being a kind mother and washing the soap out of his hair humanely. Even if the water was cold.

The day continued on in much of the same manner.

3 small children left the house in no coats while wearing their parents' shoes.

Mysterious messes appeared in random places.

My leather shoes were shuffled through mud puddles on trips to the trash can by feet much too small to fit a women's size 8 1/2 shoe.

Mud bricks appeared in neat stacks on the front step outside. (At least they were outside and not inside.)

Streaks of mud and dirt covered both sides of the front door, implying that a mud-covered-child had entered and exited the premises. And probably entered again and was likely roaming free inside the house with mud covered hands.

Legos were generously scattered all over the floor on a regular basis all. day. long.

By nap time, I was so exhausted but had already psyched myself up for a new laundry room so ignored the impulse to snooze while two-thirds of my children contentedly slept in well contained beds.

And by the time the day was done, I had ordered pizza for supper, cleaned the basement, arranged the laundry room and visited a close friend who had just had a baby earlier this week.

As I gazed at the perfect, adorable, sleeping face of the tiny baby girl who fit snugly in my arms, I was half tempted to sneak the baby home in my purse. I had come under the baby spell again and just really wanted another child - especially since my own baby will be THREE in a few months.

Need I remind myself that when my oldest child turned three, I was just weeks away from delivering my third child? Now Alex, my youngest, is that age and... well, it just feels weird.

But, after I got home and happened to spy a spot of Blue Stuff on the bathroom light switch, indicating that my wedding-dress-clad-female-child-with-blue-hands HAD touched something other than just the bathroom sink earlier that day, it triggered something deep inside.

And it reminded me again of my three healthy, adventurous, live-life-to-the-fullest kids. And it made me instinctively sigh with contentment that I have the kids I have and that I only have three of them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Winter Weather Rant

It had been three days since it quit snowing. THREE WHOLE DAYS. The sun had come out and shone brightly on the winter wonderland all around and the wind had calmed down.

But, guess what? There was still snow on the roads.

Like any logical person, I had stayed in out of the weather and waited the snow storm out. I ignored the impulse to get my shopping done. I pushed everything that involved something outside my front door to the very end of the list. Like a good citizen, I stayed in out of the cold. Off the roads. Out of the 40mph wind gusts.

I gave the salt trucks, the snow plows and the snow, plenty of time to get their duties done. I even ordered boots online so I wouldn't have to go out in the bad weather in order to find necessary condiments for the bad weather.

Then, a whole THREE days after the snow quit, I finally peeked out from under the blanket of snow my house was buried in. I dug my van out of a snow drift, brushed off the windshield and then made a wise decision to get to the gas station first off, making sure to fill my gas tank full before embarking on some necessary shopping.

I slipped and slid the whole way there.

I chalked it up to the fact that perhaps I drove on the one and only bad road in town. And that road just happened to lead all the way from my driveway to that gas station.

After filling up on gas, I poked carefully out of the gas station parking lot careening my vehicle gracefully over the packed snow and iced over road. Trying not to be ungrateful for the non-working snow workers, I ignored the fact the road I was driving on was a well traveled high way.
I made my way to the the interstate and found it was clear and dry. Thankful my speedometer could safely match the posted speed limit signs, I assumed the rest of the roads would be safe from then on.

Since I was shopping in our state's capital, I just knew the big city would be clear and clean of snow and ice. I braked carefully, just to be safe, as I veered off the highway and on to the exit ramp. I was surprised snow and ice on that exit matched the small city roads I had just come from but figured that the particular patch of asphalt and concrete I was driving on, had taken a rare but direct hit from The Arctic Blast.

Downtown was even worse. I happened to trigger every red light I came close to and found my anti-lock brakes became quite efficient as I slid to a stop each time. The vehicles next to me became uncomfortably close one too many times as the tires of my vehicle spun out when the lights turned green and I slid to the sides as the tires gained traction.

(repeat above scene several times.)

Suddenly, I was stricken with an island feeling of, oh no! I'm surrounding by a sea of snow and ice and dry land is far, far away! I almost turned back because THREE days after the last of the snow had fallen, the roads were STILL bad. But I braved the treacherous roads as I was determined to make the best of the gas I had just put in my van.

All through the bustling, busy city, I careened and slid and swerved. Trucks, plows and other defenders of snow-stricken drivers were unseen on the roads I traveled. I thought it was funny that posted above one of the main thoroughfares through town, a brightly lit sign flashed an alert,

"Hazardous Winter Roads"

And I wondered if the effort and money and time could be put into telling us all what we already know, then why couldn't the same effort and money and time be put into something we'd also really like to know: CLEAN ROADS.

Weather is a slave to no man and all of humanity has found itself prey to it's vengeance at some point or another. And when it comes to winter, I should really be used to it because I am from the North. I come from The Place where snow and winter and ice are a constant companion that accompany the months of November to April. And it's okay. People's lives don't shut down just because an inch of snow fell during the night. "Don't cha knowah way up Nort der" they don't get a "Winter Weather Advisory" all because 2 inches of snow is predicted.

But, here in the not-quite-south-but-definitely-not-north (aka: Nebraska), I just really don't like winter. Or the roads. Or the snow. Or the ice. When the society in general is not equipped to handle snow, ice and winter, this weather can be hazardous both outside (bad roads) and inside (Cabin Fever.)

Because even when the wind dies down and the Nebraska prairie lies calm and placid, the ice still sticks to the free-ways and one of the main arteries of civilization and industry (aka: Lincoln, NE) still lies dormant under unsalted ice.

Give me Spring. Or give me the North.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Blog In Which She Blogs About Why She Rarely Blogs Anymore

(How's that for a run-on-words-title?)

I've been on a blog strike. I know. It's bad. Don't be fooled by the blogs I posted last week; most of them were drafts that'd been stored up for weeks but never seemed to arrive at a punch line until I stripped my brain down and just focused on getting a blog done for once. Just to prove it, this blog was started over a month ago. Yeah... it's taken that long to get a simple blog post done.

So in a desperate attempt to break out of the "I-can't-think-of-anything-to-blog-about-mode" I decided to just come right out and blog about why I've been in a blogging slump.

I calmly click the little "home" icon on my computer. Up flashes my "home" page. (Weird how that works, huh?)

And then I click "My account" and suddenly my eyes blink onto a bunch of hyperlinked options. I select "Blogger" of all things and merely zoom off to Blog spot. Now that I'm here, what was I supposed to be doing? Oh yeah, blogging.

What a novel thought.

Now for the blog...

Normally people blog about things that are on their mind. You know, weighty matters, light-hearted fun or photo tutorials. Some people even blog about their pets or politics. And their projects. Others blog about their kids and husbands (ahem). Pretty much, if it's on your mind and you've self-assigned yourself the title of "Blogger" you can write about anything you want.


Um, wrong.

Okay, maybe you can write about it but sometimes what's most on my mind, is unspeakable.

(If this isn't making sense, you're welcome to click "Next Blog" at the top of this page or utilize the little red box with the white "x" in it up in the right hand corner. But before you decide, let me tell you that I think this post just might end up being a perfect illustration as to why THIS blogger hasn't been too busy on her blog in the last year. So if you care to know, read on. If not, I completely understand and won't even know that you didn't actually read this whole post.)

Sometimes I visit nice blogs and the blogger seems to have plethora of good experiences, happy days, perfect lives and no tears. They never make mistakes and if they do, they don't cry themselves to sleep over them. Or at least they don't say so on their blog.

I hate those kinds of blogs. They irk me. Irritate me. And make me think that the blogger is either the one and only person with a perfect life who has everything figured out OR they're totally faking it.

I mean seriously... HOW do some of these homeschooling stay-at-home moms do it and get everything done? I'm lucky to get the laundry sorted, let alone create a crafty masterpiece to set on the dining room table, complete with a photo tutorial detailing everything.

And then I realized that I do the very thing I hate seeing in other bloggers. I only let the good things in my life come out on my blog. I only write about what's safe. What's decent. What's funny. And cute. I'm not open about my bad days. Or how hard life has been. Or what I've been learning in the "trials and tribulations" category.

But, now I understand those Always Have Everything Put Together Kind Of People. They may NOT have it all together but because the World Wide Web can be such a heartless place of cruelty and criticism (like I was doing to their perfect blogs), they're limited to only portraying the things in their life that won't be cut apart and criticized.

It reminds me of my days on the farm when I'd watch chickens in their pen. If one chicken had a sore, the other chickens all picked at it until it was a bigger sore. And then finally, the injured chicken would become a victim of what was a little scab at one time. And, because all the other chickens had made the scab become an infected, oozing sore that could possibly monopolize the whole flock because of the bacteria that could freely grow in the infested sore, the injured chicken shriveled to just a little pile of bones and feathers. All because of a little sore.

People on the internet are no different. And when a blogger has a "sore subject" that they could blog about, they're better off hiding it and only showing their good side to the rest of the chickens people on the internet. Because that sore subject could become a big, oozing topic that would leak infection over the entire blog and soon they'd either have to shut their blog down for the sake of saving some of their dignity or avail themselves to even more pecking and picking apart.

So in a nut-shell, I realized that according to my blog, I am also one of the Always Have Everything Put Together Kind Of People. And that makes me feel so accomplished today and that at least I'm doing something right. Ha.

Now to further the topic at hand of what's distracting this once-avid-blogger, I'm just wondering if you've ever had a time in your life when your mind pounded with loud, piercing thoughts? Okay, I guess I can't see a show of hands through my computer screen even if you are raising yours so I'll just branch off here and tell you that I have had a time in my life when my mind pounded with loud, piercing thoughts.

For me, it usually happens before or after something big has taken place or somewhere in the middle. And when this Big Thing has happened or is almost happening or is in the middle of happening, I get the Loud Piercing Thoughts Pounding In My Mind experience when I'm alone.

Me being alone is a rare thing these day but I've pretty much figured out that it happens in two different ways.

Way #1: Driving Alone. Which has honestly been all of maybe three times in recent months.

Way #2: Morning Shower. Which has honestly been a daily routine for, well... a long time.

I guess these two times are pretty much the only two times that reality isn't running to me with bloody mouths, head bumps and small objects up their nose. (By "reality" I mean my kids, in case you couldn't tell.)

I noticed one day as I drove down the road all alone, the thoughts, the heavy heart and the swirling questions floating around my van got to be too much. So I turned on the radio. I don't know what was on... news maybe? And it distracted me from thinking and it all felt quiet again even though the sound of the radio filled my vehicle. It's weird how sometimes your mind all by itself can be louder than anything that comes through your ears.

Sometimes when I do stop and think and allow my mind to digest and develop patterns, solutions and ideas, it all starts to look like one big, jumbled ball of yarn and for some reason, it looks too exhausting to untangle it all. The act of thinking only ends up hurting since the thoughts pound harder and harder until pretty soon I feel like my whole head is filled with a screaming white noise that I can't shut off because my brain just simply isn't wired to STOP thinking.

So then I just want to take the Yarn Ball and throw it out the vehicle window as I drive or wash it down the shower drain if I'm showering. Or simply spend time with my kids or husband or help a friend move. Anything to distract my mind from thinking.

Sometimes I wonder where this complexity of life comes from. What it is that makes me react in a I-wish-I-could-shut-my-brain-off-kind-of-way. But then I realize: it happens when something changes.

Change is the culprit of so many things. Change in a good way; change in a bad way. Happy change. Sad change.

Usually life is filled with a balanced mixture of many things and not one ingredient tends to over-ride the whole picture. But when one ingredient overpowers the other additives to life, pretty soon you feel like Chocolate Chip Cookies that have 10 parts baking soda to 1 part flour and no chocolate chips. Yeah, life can be that unbalanced and complicated sometimes.

And that's the way it's been for this blogger on the other side of your screen.

I've had to learn the hard way what I think. What I believe. And what I know. It's made me stop and think about what matters. What life is all about. What the Bible really says. And what my goals should be.

At the end of it all, I come away with a resolved confidence to find The Truth. To know God's plan. And hear God's heart.

Because the one thing I've learned this past year is that God always answers prayer. Though He's rarely early and never late, He's always on time.

And that's something that never changes.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

On Math and Cabin Fever and Why They Go Together

I finally figured out why God created cold season and winter to happen at the same time: sick kids tend to be less active. Which greatly reduces unnecessary indoor activity when everyone is already cooped up with Cabin Fever because the winter storms outside rage with such a fury, no one can even go out and get their mail for days. Okay, so it's not that bad but it practically could be.

But, when everyone is sick, it doesn't matter that we all have Cabin Fever: we just want to lay around all day anyway. Problem is, we've had a pretty healthy winter this year.

So I got the cold and winter season thing figured out, but now I can't figure out why God didn't make Spring to come say, February 6 instead of March 21. Seriously. WHY does winter get another TWO whole months (or how ever many months there are between February and March) of time in our neighborhood?

To pass time, Landon has come up with a new topic in his conversation. It's called Math. Yeah, you heard that right.

Do I look like a Math geek? I hope not because I'd be a total facade if that were the case.

Math was that one topic in school I got the most trouble over. I even lied over it. Seriously. I don't know why God invented math because the fact is, the invention of math created many more sins for people to commit and fall into. Namely lying. Since math was created, that was the ONE thing I lied about as a child. I was not a lying person even as a little child but when it came to math, it was already so evil anyway that what was a lie or two along with it? Anyway, in case my mom has already forgotten about this particular story, I'll just move on from these vague details and you can pretend I never brought up the math topic. Or how it involved me lying.

Back to Landon and math, every few minutes I hear questions like this....

"How much is sixty-sixty plus one?"

It can be in the middle of supper. Or while we do chores. Or during school. Pretty much, if he's awake, he's asking the answer to another sum.

Sometimes he gets even fancier and will ask, "What's two hundred plus sixty-seven plus ten?"

And then randomly, he'll hold up two fingers on one hand and five fingers on the other hand. A light will go off in his head and he'll day, "TWO plus FIVE is SEVEN?!"

Yeah Landon, that's seven.

Eventually, Alex and Janae joined into it. And I'll hear my 2-year-old come up with a math question. The kid can't even pee in the toilet yet but he'll know his math facts before Winter is up... if Winter ever is up.

Speaking of peeing in the toilet (sorry for being so crude in my language but seriously, we all do it, right? I hope so....), Landon and Janae have taken on a new task. They decided it was time to potty train Alex.

After watching a Potty Training DVD that came in our Huggies box of diapers, they came up with a plan. Randomly, they make Alex sit on the potty chair and he's required to sit there until he produces some evidence that he's being potty trained. They'll both sit on the floor next to Alex and they'll be heard reading books and talking about how Alex should really pee and poop in the potty chair from now on.

When Alex finally squeezes out even the faintness amount of evidence in the chair, Landon and Janae become elated. And then there's a piece of candy for everyone (actually, it's not actually candy but they don't know that) and we all go back to our day.

Several hours later (usually after Alex has had a soiled diaper), The Experts take him back to the bathroom and they repeat the above scene.

They've become so confident in getting him trained that Landon has decided to change Alex's diapers... which I think was influenced when I decided to get tractor-decorated-pull-ups instead of diapers for our soon-to-be-potty-trained boy.

But what really took the cake was when we were packing for our end-of-January-Christmas-trip-to-Wisconsin and Janae informed me of a necessary piece of luggage: The Potty Chair. "The movie said that even when you go on a trip, you hafta take the potty chair," she condescendingly told me.

Winter is doing strange things to my kids. Since when does a 4-yr-old tell their mother what necessary paraphernalia must come along on a trip so the aspiring-to-be-potty-trained 2-yr-old can keep up with his random potty training lessons?

And since when does a 5-yr-old quiz his math-illiterate-mother on math all day long?

I know when: when Cabin Fever strikes and all the kids are healthy. And all they can think about is potty training and math. That's when.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Random Things I Tell My Kids

"Yes, we'll still be your mom and dad when you have kids someday."

"No Alex, you may not curl your hair."

"Watch where you're peeing."

"No, you may not put your finger in my nose."

"No, I don't want you to stand on those books."

"Hey! WHAT are you pounding into the wall?"

"Stop peeling paint off the walls."

"Why do you keep calling your brother 'kid'?"

"Do you plan on tying those ropes around your neck? Because that would not be a good idea."

"Are you TRYING to break that laundry basket or is it just breaking by itself?"

"Um, no... you don't pull him down the steps in that laundry basket."

"Hey, why doesn't the 't' key on the computer work anymore?" (Landon: What's a 't'?)

"Are you TRYING to break that couch?"

"WHY is that leg off the table?" (Landon: I don't know... it just fell off.)

"Stop flipping that table over; it's not supposed to be like that."

"Isn't that like the second time he fell down the stairs in the last ten minutes?" (Landon: No, he fell down twice.)

"Do you guys plan on taking ALL the furniture apart in our house?"

"Get the oranges off the toilet."

"You don't need to eat in the bathroom; that's what the dining room table is for."

"Don't bite that chair."

"WHO broke this?!"

"Just because you can reach something, doesn't mean you can wreck it."

"Are you TRYING to break that window blind?"

"No... STOP cutting the table!"

"Wash your hands with soap AND water!"

"Watch out for that floor: it'll jump up and hit you right in the face."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Day I Agreed With My Husband 100%

I love my husband. I really, really do. He's the man I always dreamed I'd marry so it's no wonder that when I finally met him, I married him just four months later. What was there to wait for any longer? He was everything I prayed for, dreamed of and wanted. And more.

"And More" is right. Yesterday was one of those "And More" days.

After being out of town for 8 days, our house was narrowed down to just a few items in the fridge. The milk was sour. The eggs were all gone except for one. A few pieces of dry bread sat shriveling up in their bag. And the kids were hungry.

My dear husband, who was in the middle of business catch-up after being out of the office for 8 days and came home to find his office work in as good-of-shape as my refrigerator was in, offered to let me run to the local grocery store while he "watched" the kids.

"Watched" is right. (Emphasis on the quotation marks.)

I was grateful to run by myself and thanked him for "watching" the kids. The errand was done in less than 20 minutes and I was soon home, happily re-stocking our Mother Hubbard kitchen.

As I scurried around rummaging up lunch and getting the kids ready to eat, they kept mentioning "putting food away" and "getting food out" and other words that related to the food topic. Confused by what they meant, I just chalked it up to some imaginary play that they had perhaps participated in while I was gone.

But then Landon handed me a half-chewed-up bag of brown sugar and informed me Alex was eating it but Daddy told him to stop.

"Oh, it's "just" a bag of sugar," I thought... trying not to expect the worst. I had accomplished so much in that 20 minutes and I didn't want to think that those darling kids really could've un-done THAT MUCH stuff, could've they??

And then I went downstairs and found that it was not imaginary play my kids had innocently participated in. This was the real thing.

An impressive pile of food sat on the sewing cabinet in the family room, indicating where the half-chewed bag of brown sugar had come from. Originally, the food had been stored on a shelf right behind Toby's desk so I was amused at how the kids must've pulled this off, considering their dad had been sitting there the whole time.

Of course he could've gone upstairs to the bathroom for a few minutes. Or ran out to the mailbox for a few minutes. Or dug in a desk drawer for a few minutes. Or stared at the wall for a few minutes. Or fallen asleep for a few minutes. Or had an out-of-body experience for a few minutes. Or had a bag pulled over his head for a few minutes. Or.... the possibilities were endless.

Keeping an aroma of calmness and meekness and sobriety Trying to be understanding, I questioned my husband about this dilemma between his business phone calls. The amazing man he is, he maintained a level of confusion and shock at the situation involving the whole kids-got-into-the-food ordeal and then mentioned to the kids that they shouldn't play with food. He then went back to his office work.

As I stood there, trying to mentally picture HOW three kids could haul food right past their daddy and pile it out in the family room which just happened to be a straight shot from where he sat, I couldn't come up with any reasonable reason as to how it happened.

I wandered back out to the family room still shaking my head. Just then, I happened to spy another food item off in Janae's room. It led me to a whole new stash of food that had been piled very generously under Janae's bed. I had no idea what she planned to do with 10# of beans or a 5# bag of flower or a can of spaghetti sauce or a container of dried parsley, just to name a few of the food items I found. And since I never send her to bed hungry, I really couldn't understand WHY the food had a reason to be in HER room and under the BED.

It took me several loads to get the food back to it's shelf in our basement pantry and I tried to visualize how THREE small kids could lug all this past their Daddy and go unsuspected. I mean seriously: how DOES a 50# kid carry 10# bag of beans without being noticed? That would be like me carrying... oh, never mind.

When I asked Toby about it again, he informed me that he does not look at the kids every time they walk past his desk. And I agreed with him. 100%.

A little later, I found another pile of food under Alex's crib. Wondering if I'd ever stop finding stashes of food, it dawned on me that the amount of all the food piled together was equivalent to what I had bought at the store earlier that day.

Our entire "Seasonings and Herbs" section had been re-stocked in the kids' rooms. Several bags of flour had been strewn about. Rice, beans, sugar and glass cans of spaghetti sauce sat in random places. Even a can of peas had been taken along with a tub of lard.

And all while the Man Of My Dreams who has given me three, adorable, sweet, children, calmly sat in the midst of it all like a big oak tree in the summer sun.

As I reorganized the shelves of food and put everything back in it's place, I was strangely impressed with my children's ability to sweep through the pantry like a tornado and spread food all over the basement all while their unsuspecting dad focused on his work and made phone calls and planned work-related schedules AND "watched" kids while all I did was run to the grocery store. It made me wonder what else the four of them could be capable of.

Later, I had to run over to a friend's house. It ended up being a little longer errand this time so with resolved trepidation, I gingerly crept back down stairs after I got home. I came down just in time to find Alex tight-rope-walking down the length of the floor lamp that was soundly laying on the floor... broken in two.

Toby's reason this time? "Even if I was sitting right next to them, they'd still do stuff like that."

And I had to agree with him. 100%.