Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We went to the park

the way Mercy likes to swing
the way James likes to swing
"I don't like swings," says Josiah.
"I do like to help James," says Josiah.
James gets lots of help today.
From everyone.

Mercy, 5 yrs, Daniel, 8 yrs, Michael, 6.5 yrs, Josiah, almost 3, James, 16 mos

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Great Equalizer

(Imaginary Reader: Oh. Is she going to start talking about... death? Or dying?)

(Me: No. Not death. Not today.)
(Imaginary Reader: Phew. I was just hoping for some cute kid pictures or something light like that...)

So, as I was saying, I'm here to write about The Great Equalizer in our home. 

Or rather in our yard. 

Our trampoline.

Many of you out there with boys or with brothers or maybe even girls and sisters know the strange blessings and curses of competition among family members. Sometimes competition is an effective motivator. The playroom gets a quick pick when all the little hands try to be the fastest. 

Other times competition can throw a wrench into what I was hoping would be a simple project. Or even a simple mealtime! (Overheard at our table: I have drank all my milk. I am the healthiest!) The dominating force behind this sibling competition usually seems to me to be selfishness on the part of the "dominator". I tire easily when listening to the "dominatees" claim that they are actually the healfiest ones because they have eaten all of their scawambled eggs and you haven't eaten ANY! The face-making and the cries of "You ow NAUGHTY!" soon follow. I tend to simply excuse those who can't use good manners at the table, done with meal or not. I'm sure I could be doing a better job of training my crew in this area.

Other times, the desire for competition is sought out by one sibling and the other sibling simply will not reciprocate or comply. And this produces frustration. For everyone.

"Hey. Wanna swordfight?"
"No. I'm reading."
"Hey! Let's wrestle!"
"No. I'm reading."
"Let's play NINJAS!"
"NO. I'm READing!"
"OW!! I'm NOT playing with you!!"

Our two oldest boys are often mistaken for twins by people in the grocery store or at the park. Daniel and Michael are the same height and build and haircut. While even as parents we tend to lump them together as "the big boys", they are almost 2 years apart and God has given them very different personalities. At 8 years, Daniel seeks out competition so long as he can be assured of victory. Michael knows this has been Daniel's modus operandi for the better part of his 6.5 years and he declines almost all offers of Daniel's competition accordingly. This makes our days with the 2 of them... interesting. 

Enter the trampoline.

We were given this wonderful, rusty safety hazard for free last summer. At first, we had firm plans to find a safety net and a pad to cover the springs. And we had rules. Absolutely only ONE person on the trampoline at one time. 
Well, that's still the rule for Mercy and anyone younger than her but I've relaxed it for Daniel and Michael. And I'm so glad that I have. 
Suddenly it seems that there is now a place where both boys are on equal footing. The games that don't seem to work between them inside last forever on the trampoline. I'm sure they still argue out there and sometimes someone's head bonks someone else's while they are playing "Llama Trainer" and they have to come in to clean up the blood.  But they spend literal hours daily out there together... and they choose too!

Oh. And are these pictures from last summer? With the shorts and no shirts and bare feet?
They are from last week. Brrr!

I welcome any suggestions or observations about competition in this context. I'm so thankful for the trampoline and what it provides for these guys but ultimately I'm praying that God would continue to bind their hearts together as brothers and friends.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Hewow. It's me, James, again.
The wewwy nice thing about me being so sick is the sweet get-well wishes I weseeved.

I was wuved to pieces by my brothers and sister all day long at home while I wasn't feewing well but wook at this nice piece of mail I got that wishes me well, too!

It's fwom my cousin who happens to be quite an owtist.

Thanks, Wooca! I'm feewing MUCH bettoh!

Monday, February 7, 2011


This is me on Sunday at lunch time. I don't feel vewy well. In fact...
I think I'll just go to sweep.

(Insert a Sunday afternoon at the local ER after James has trouble breathing that I can't seem to get under control with his regular rescue breathing meds. Diagnosis: pneumonia)

Monday: I'm a wittle better today. See. I'm almost smiwing.
All that smiwing in the sink made me tired.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Someone else got a hold of the blue tape and the Sharpie

 You might not be able to see exactly what happened here...
...so I'll tell you: Daniel wanted to do a job so that he could play video games. I asked him to tidy up the two school shelves we have in our family room. We keep almost all of the school books we use daily there and some extra stuff too. A few minutes after he got started, he came wandering by saying, "Mommy, where is the blue tape?"

You can't see his labels on the tape but each set of books has it's own place now!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Remodel Report

We have begun the process of preparing to put our house on the market. The list of projects is loooong and includes finishing the fairly difficult and time consuming remodeling we've been working on for 6 years. It also means packing up lots of our stuff. Mainly books, I think.

Last weekend, Bob pulled up the bathroom floor, fixed what he found beneath it and put new linoleum down in it's place. He finished by caulking the living daylights out of that new floor. Water, beware! You will not be making a home beneath our bathroom linoleum any time soon!

See that gleaming white new caulking around the bottom of the toilet? Little boy pee must now find a new resting place!

My mother-in-law surprised me with an afternoon virtually to myself on Saturday which was a very beautiful thing. This is what I did with it while Bob and his dad worked away on the bathroom floor:

If you find yourself in our garage, you and the place you belong will be labled with blue tape and a black Sharpie.

And then, since we weren't really that tired, we set out to solve another little problem. This time, in the kids' room.
Pieces of the toddler bunkbed we ordered a few weeks ago all lined up by the removed bathroom door and the roll of linoleum.

Baaaaarely fits... but it FITS! (This nook is where Mercy's toddler bed used to be. It is only as long as a toddler bed and NO longer.)

 Many of you know that all four of our older kids share a room while James somehow gets one all to himself. What this has meant for the past year is that Josiah (2 3/4 years) has been sleeping in a packnplay in the kids' closet. This closet, like all the closets in our house, currently has no doors. But now! Josiah has a Big Bed. This evening, I told him to take his books and get in bed. He gave me a sad look and said, "I can't get IN my bed." Suddenly, he must have remembered that he has a new Big Bed and he took off down the hall with his reading material, exclaiming, "I have a BIG bed! I have my BIG bed!" He couldn't get in an out of the packnplay but he can climb into his bunk all by himself. But not out. He has to ask permission for that.

Josiah tests out the bouncy-ness of his new mattress, complete with Buzz and Woody bedding, while Daddy finishes building his new bed.
 And there it is! A mini bunk bed with a space for Josiah on the bottom and for Mercy on the top!

If you would, please pray for us while we continue to spruce up this place and make it market-worthy. We have faith that God can make amazing things happen, even in a crazy bad economy.

I can't wait to see how God chooses to be glorified in our housing situation as we prepare to welcome yet another Montgomery in May.