Yesterday I caught Penelope eating some sidewalk chalk outside on the back deck. Actually, I didn't catch her, she confessed. She stuck her head in the door and held it out with a big smile and blue flecks of it in her teeth. I told her how gross it was and rushed her to the sink to wash her mouth out. It was really my fault for leaving it in her reach.

As I was washing her mouth out, I thought of my dad. He once washed chalk out of someones mouth too. His mother. My granny. That one was my fault too. Catching Penelope with the chalk reminded me of the time in college when I glanced into the den where my granny was resting only to discover her chomping away on my chalk pastels, which I had left in a little plastic bowl by the recliner. Horrified, I said, "Granny's eating my pastels!" and Dad had to go in there and explain to her that they were NOT food and then take her to the bathroom to get all the chalky goodness out of her dentures. I didn't watch this part. I felt too bad and really too grossed out.

So when I washed out Penelope's mouth I thought of Dad doing the same for his elderly mother and realized it was just a whole new spin on the circle of life. As a baby and a child you do stupid stuff and don't even realize it. Someone has to tell you that's just not the way things work. And then you get older and start to do really dumb things all over again. But there are quite a few years in between when you might actually get it right. This encouraged me since I am quickly approaching middle age. I might not be young and cool but, at least I don't eat chalk, right? There is something to be said to have a little life experience. The somewhat discouraging thing is, though, that one day when I'm 80 plus and sitting around in my recliner I might reach over and bite into something inedible. But I'm encouraged. To enjoy middle age. Not young and stupid, not old and stupid. The stupid things I do are totally with my consent. I can choose to be stupid! I have control over my stupidity! Let's hear it for the un-young yet un-old! We rule the world. We stop others from choking on artist's mediums!


OHH we're halfway there

I was raised in a Baptist church, as was Jimmy. We both were there whenever the doors were open. When we first met we were amazed at how similar our upbringings were, and how much we had in common. So how in the world did we turn out so different!? And what does this mean for our children? Are they destined for a life of confusion? Or will they take sides? Will their brains explode from the crazy stimulation of it all? Only time will tell.

Jimmy loves rock music. Pop rock, heavy metal, punk, rock and roll...it is all on his iPod and all up in my space in the car. I, on a regular basis, must deal with Jackson screaming questions from the back seat of the van, Cash yelling about something he sees out the window, Penelope crying, Jimmy asking me which way to turn, AND Stryper screaming very NON Christian sounds into my ears. It is sometimes more than I can take which is why I often plug my ears, rock back and forth and hum a drone to try and block out the noise which is my life. (This usually gets Jimmy to turn it down because I look extremely Special Ed and it freaks him out.)

On the positive side, Jimmy exposed me to all kinds of wonderful music I had never heard before. When I met him I was a 90's CCM girl. Michael W., Steven Curtis, Jars, DC Talk... I'm pretty sure I had only listened to the Beatles when I saw the famous Ed Sullivan clip on TV every once in a while. When God gave me Jimmy, he gave me music in more ways than one. I always wondered what this meant for our children. Would I let them listen to secular music? Was sacred music really all that sacred anyway? I could write forever about this, but the conclusion I came to is that I wanted them to hear good songs and good songwriting. So no bad content of course, but a song about all of us living in a yellow submarine is actually pretty fun with your kids.

Well, today I got a piece of what they like. Jackson made a table (he had just had to read a table and a graph on a math worksheet) to record everyone's favorite band. I come across a lot of worksheets that require the student to "ask the class" and since Jackson can't do this I was wondering how he would work it out. He ended up asking stuffed animals and such but he started out asking Libby. I listened closely. The conversation went like this:

Jax: Which is your favorite band? Newsboys, Relient K, Bon Jovi, Boston, Green Day, or Jars of Clay?
Libby: Bon Jovi! Bon Jovi! Bon Jovi!
Jax: No, you have to pick Newsboys! You only know like one Bon Jovi song!
Libby: No, I know two! Shot through the Heart and Living on a Prayer!

I just stood there for a minute wondering if my 4 1/2 year old did just in fact name two Bon Jovi songs. I didn't even know who Bon Jovi was until like 2003. Yeah, I had heard their songs but I didn't know who sang them. Anyway, it just goes to show you that your kids can learn and remember anything. But do they learn anything I actually teach them? Or do they just absorb iTunes and loud music in the van? Score one for Jimmy. Hey, at least I'm the one who taught Jackson how to make a table and use tally marks. Whew. Next week, kids: Have a Nice Day and Wanted: Dead or Alive. (the only other two Bon Jovi songs I can think of...)


Easter days

This is Jackson speaking I will be your blogger host today SO DON'T BE SURPRISED. We were out of town since Wednesday through Sunday as you can see we were visiting my cuisines plus Julie's parents. Sorry we missed the party at the Kagy's, but I had fun of my own down by the lake like...we had our own Easter egg hunt so now my Easter basket is full of lemon heads. And I went sailing which was fun because we almost tipped over, and I can jump off the dog house on to the disk swing now. So you can see I had F-U-N. So here are some pics...

Well, that was Jackson. I'm not sure I can do much better. He has been dying to be allowed to blog so I told him he could if he wrote the entire thing out on paper first. And I was going to type it for him but he insisted he do it. After that, I had to teach him what spell check was and go over proper noun capitalization and such and just realized that the spell check did not catch the word "cousins" because he spelled it like "cuisines". So learning to spell is important people or you might turn in your next job application referencing your favorite cousin and your prospective employer will think you're talking about food. Anyway...

Yesterday we started back into schooling after being off for a two week Spring Break...there was just too much going on and I was feeling sorta guilty about it until we arrived at my parents house and not an hour later my son is catching fish and then cutting them open to find all kinds of boy-loved things such as the heart and "poop sack." This is NOT something you get at school people, and it's not even something you get at the Alley's home school. You have to go to your Pop-Pop's house on Spring Break to learn this science lesson. So there you have it. Not to mention sailing and just all around exploration with the cuisines. ;-)
Here are some pics of the fish guts and also the Easter egg hunt (right before we released them into the yard) where they hunted for 116 eggs. And also one of many pictures I got of Libby of her backside...she was running so fast!

And lastly I'd like to talk about the above picture. It totally illustrates the stages of child photography to me. None of my children wanted to take this picture. But you can see their behavior...the 7 1/2 year old stands still, gives as genuine a smile as possible when you're not really smiling on the inside, and knows that the sooner he conforms, the sooner he can go inside. The 4 1/2 year old decides to stand still and look at the camera but will not be happy about it and is not afraid to show it on her face. The 3 year old all of a sudden understands what this picture taking stuff is, and decides everyone should be posing in a certain way and does not realize that in making this effort he is actually NOT looking or smiling for the picture. And the 17 mo. old baby, well, she just wants to run around and cannot be made to be still no matter what you say, no matter what crazy sounds you make, or no matter what silly things you do to try and get her attention. So there you have it kids. This is why I have so very few pictures of you. I'm a realist. I want my pictures to be realistic and don't expect to get a picture where everyone is looking at me and looking there best. But for some reason, I still try. I ended up getting a decent picture when Jackson held Penelope but this is the one I liked the best after all. It shows the craziness of what I try to do every day: get everyone to pay attention to me when I am telling them something important. I get pretty much the same result. I'm outnumbered and no one seems to get it. But for some reason, I still try. Every day. I think it will be worth it when one day, someone hears something I say that is important and can apply it to their lives. Here's to all the Mom's out there living on a prayer. Keep trying.


Maisy Party

I have been away from the blog due to company and home renovations. My parents were here last week to help us continue the work on the wall we took out and my dad and Jimmy worked a ton. I am blessed with a father and husband who can easily work together and really get along. Things got kind of crazy at the end of the week because it rained a lot and the kids had a bit of cabin fever. What do I mean by cabin fever? Why do parents say that? What does it mean exactly? Well, for me it meant everyone started communicating at a screaming level and if someone tripped and fell down it was as if a nuclear explosion had gone off. But this was only temporary and wore off eventually. (Just like a fever? Is that where we get it?)

The day after my parents left, Jimmy's parents arrived and we able to spend a few days with us during their Spring Break. They were able to come to Cash's Birthday and just generally experience life with us, which gives me a bit of a break because that means there are other adults present to play games and read books with.

Today is Cash's actual birthday. He is three years old. When I reminded him of this last night, he said "I don't want to go to my party, Mom!" as if I was going to make him have another party other than the one we had on Saturday. It's not that he didn't enjoy it, I think he just knew that he'd had his allotment of sugar and excitement for at least a year.

The party last Saturday was a Maisy theme, since when I asked Cash who he wanted to come to his party he said, "Eddie the elephant, Charlie, Cyril, and Tallulah"-- who are Maisy the mouse's friends from the Maisy books by Lucy Cousins. Maisy and her friends just generally have a good time doing regular stuff, and always have fun together and get along. As I was looking through the pictures Jimmy and I took that day at the party, I was thinking about what good friends Cash has and how blessed he is to have cool buddies to party and play with. Just like Maisy! Everyone was really gracious to participate in all the games we planned and eat the food and enjoy each other. It was beautiful weather too, so all in all a wonderful birthday.

If you aren't familiar with Maisy, you can read a book here.

Here are some pictures from the day. Are your friends as cool as Cash's? Because they're pretty killer, yo.