Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mighty Little Kids VBS

This week at Vacation Bible School (henceforth to be known as VBS) we learned about God's creation--the sun, the moon and stars, the oceans, the sea creatures, the land animals and birds. VBS was called "Mighty Little Kids Sports Camp". We had a great time. I was the song leader and helped out the 4 year olds.

My son was one of the four 4 vivacious and sprightly four year olds. He and his partner, we'll call them Elvis and Costello took turns running up and down the steps in the playhouse. Jumping up and down during drama and turning the cardboard boats over on themselves. Together they knocked down the puppet show wall and almost destroyed the dinosaur pit in the corner. Elvis (my son) loudly and ungraciously refused snack each day and fell into a complete and total tantrum just for me in front of God and everybody, because he wanted to go home each day after snack instead of to the last activity. On the second day I had enough. I took him to the children's library across the hall to "yell in a soft voice". When he said he'd rather stay there than rejoin the others, I left him in there--accidentally locking him in. You can imagine how great I looked asking for the master key to get my son out of the library I had locked him in.

Anyway, I say all this as a preface to the real meaning of the message: Don't underestimate what they learn at Bible school. It may seem like an exercise in humilating parenting moments, but it's not. If you're willing to be humbled, you might find a glimmer of grace going on around you.

This afternoon I have drawn about 1000 sea creatures and land animals with sidewalk chalk outside. My son played with his Noah's ark (the Little People version by Fisher Price) for about an hour reconstructing the entire story of the Ark while I made dinner. Periodically, he would break out into song--"the an-mals, dey came by twosy twosy" and "rise and shine and glo-wy-glo-wy chil-den of the Wo-wud." Earlier in the afternoon, while riding his John Deere gator all over the yard, my son was reciting "Herman the Worm." I've never heard it before VBS, but he absolutely loved it. "Dis is a 'peat after me song. Dis is a do what I do song. Sittin' on a fence post. Chewin' my bubba dum. Pway-in wiv my yo-yo. Dooba dooba. When 'long came Herman a Worm. And he was dis big...and what did he eat mommy? Now you say it!" On the way home from VBS I answered about a 100 questions. "What's your fav'rit animal mommy?" "Do you have a fav'rit color?" "What did Herman eat mommy? He was dis big first. Then he burped!" "What was your fav'rit part of Bible School mommy? Do we have Bible School tomorrow? What are we doing tomorrow? Are we makin' 'nother movie? Can we watch the puppet show again? I like being the al'gator" And on and on and on.

Needless to say. I have great faith in Vacation Bible School and my Mighty Little Kid.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Beyond the Beach Trip

Now that we're home (sigh) and not at the beach anymore (double sigh), I've been trying to find things for us to do. Not that we don't have enough to do. It's just hard to get back to doing what we were doing before. Anyway, it's been two weeks, I should be over it by now.
The baby is finding something new to do every day. Pull the magnets off of the refrigerator and taste them. Eat dirt. Swing in the hammock with mommy. See how long he can go without a nap. Bite holes in the bottle nipples. So he is plenty entertained.
The four year old is a little more challenging. He likes to have people to play with. Although he can entertain himself for a long time, he prefers an audience. His most frequently asked question is, "will you of course play with me mommy?" I suppose he adds the of course, because the answer used to be, "of course I will play with you baby, what do you want to play?" Now the answer is a plaintive, "do I have to?" Gee get over yourself mommy. But between the laundry, the baby, meals, diapers, groceries, and the other stuff, I don't have time to play as often. And let's be totally honest here, I'm over the trains, the cars, and the plastic bugs. If you want to swing, blow bubbles, play with legos, ride the bikes, or go for a walk, I'm your girl. So I'm working on playdates. It's going well. We've had lots to do.
We go to the pool alot too, but there I run into, "swim with me mommy." I love to swim with my son, but how long can I leave the baby in the stroller while I swim? Long enough to get wet and cold and then get out again. It's always at that point I realize I have lost the padding to the top of my swimsuit (it must be in the washing machine somewhere) and I didn't shave (I'm saving money for permanent laser hair removal. By the time I save enough money, they'll figure out a way to make it permanent).
Needless to say, the days are actually a lot of fun. If I can avoid the tantrums (which I can't) and I can avoid the pool food (yeah right, don't you want chicken fingers again mommy? We had them yesterday and the day before that too) I can have really really wonderful days with my children. I love summer. I love being able to be outside most of the time. Little boys need lots of room to run and plenty of vitamin D. If I can run them to death we all nap peacefully. If I can't, it's movie time while mommy naps. I don't know where I'm going with all this except to say I'm grateful for vacations, but I'm even more grateful for the regular old dog days of summer where bubbles are king and bicycles are the transportation mode of choice.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chasing Waves, Conquering the Ocean, and Crab Holes

Ever try to catch a wave on the sand? Little children take this unachievable task very seriously. Back and forth, up and down wave after wave they run after the water chasing the tide, then running from it. When their toes get wet the squeal with delight. When a larger wave comes unexpectedly, they run as if their life depended on it and hot step it up into the sand trying to get away.
When my four year old tired of chasing waves in the waning daylight far past his bedtime, he then took up the crusade of filling up crab holes. He was so worried the crabs would come out of the holes and nip his toes. "Cover it up mommy!" "Quick." I lost count after the first 50 holes and not so patiently dragged my feet over the holes filling them as I went. After the next 50 holes, I made up a story and told Owen that those holes were water holes left by the ocean and not crab holes. So the next 50 holes were divided into "that's a water hole" and "woop, nope that's a crab hole. Cover it up mommy." Mercifully we ran out of light and I carted my beach comber off to bed. He was certainly happy about it. He told me, "I hope you dream about crab holes mommy. And don't forget to cover them up. G'night."

Slipping on the Job

Okay so I'm slipping on my writing. It's been 8 days. I am so busy I can't even think of writing right now. We were at the beach until the 7th. I had a job interview on the 9th. Playgroup here at my house on the 10th and 12th. Made dinner for a new mom on the 11th. Went to a Sunday School dinner on the 13th. Gave my older son a birthday party on the 14th. Taught Sunday School on the 15th. Visited my mother's house to see my grandparents who I probably will not see again on the afternoon of the 15th. I am teaching Bible school today through Wednesday. I host book club on Thursday. My younger son's 9 month pictures (6 weeks late) are scheduled for Friday. My Girls' Cotillion Club Party is Saturday night--I'm on set-up committee and help decorate usually. My husband is in a golf tournament this weekend. He's teaching big kid Bible school next week at night. And I'm hosting Ladies Night Out next Tuesday at my house in the evening to make 100+ lunches for the Inner City Camp at our church. I do believe all this work earns me some slack on the blog front, but it just goes to show you how not saying no will catch up to you. Believe me I really want to do all these things. I even wanted to host them. But I don't think I thought about it all happening at once. I'm exhausted!!!
I've already forgotten all the cute beach stories I wanted to write. Ah, well. It happens. I have the memories stored somewhere in my long term memory cache. Someday I'll get them down. I haven't worked on my scrapbook since February. I will probably forget all the things I wanted to put in there too. I've got my birthday, our ski trip, Easter, some preschool happenings, Mother's Day, the beach trip, VBS, and a bunch of other events I've already forgotten. Hopefully I remembered to shove ticket stubs, pictures, and brochures in the "scrapbook box" on my desk that is covered with papers to jog my memory.
Well, hopefully I wil begin writing again soon. Too much busy-ness can shut down time for reflection, which is critical to good health and balance in one's life. I must wait out this month of June, but in July I shall actually write on my calendar, Pause! It's Reflection Day at least once a week! Until then, tie a knot in the rope and hang on.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Slimy Castles

What is a slimy castle? It's also known as a drizzle castle, or mud castle. It is made with wet sand that you hold in your hand and let pile up on top of itself as it slips through your fingers. My son calls them slimy castles, because to him, wet beach sand feels slimy.

We built about a thousand sand castles. We dug almost that many holes too. My four year old likes to dig holes in the sand until you hit the water--known as a slimy pit. From said slimy pit, you are to build slimy castles until he has decided you have built enough. We permanently altered the erosion pattern on Litchfield beach this past week. We were actually able to bury our son standing straight up one afternoon we had to dig so far.

Repetition is the spice of life for infants (and four year olds too). OVer and over we made castles and then knocked them down. I kept drizzling sand on the baby's chubby little feet. He was flabbergasted that his feet would disappear. He'd stretch out and go stiff with laughter and his little feet would pop up from under the sand. Then we would sit in the edge of the ocean and let the waves wash over our legs. My younger son thought this was great fun. He kept trying to catch the waves in his hands. My older son liked watching the mussels work their way back into the sand when the water would uncover them.

The beach is my favorite place to visit. Each year I get excited. I make my Walmart run for swim diapers, sunscreen, cheap sun glasses, and extra elastic to sew into the floppy bucket hats to keep them on in the wind. I love to pack for the beach. When we get there, I immediately have to go straight to the ocean to make sure it is still there. I've done this since I could walk. My older son has adopted this tradition too. He went straight for the waves, clothes on and all. It was a precious sight. There is nothing like watching a child run with wild abandon, no fear, and sheer unbridled joy down the beach as fast as their little legs will pump.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Beach

We just completed our first solo family vacation--mommy, daddy, and the boys. This is a big step for my husband and me. Usually we don't travel without at least one grandparent. Miracle of miracles we survived the eight hour drive, eight straight days with each other, and the eight hour drive back. So many sweet family moments happened on our trip, I'm kerflummoxed as to where the beginning should be. Sufficed to say, we had the most fun on a trip we have ever had--and that's saying something folks. We had perfect weather, perfect children, perfect meals. No one was sunburned. Everyone napped. Everyone slept most of the night. And my monthly visitor waited for the car ride home to appear, even though it was due a week ago. I'm in serious awe of the Lord's merciful goodwill. Did I mention how great my husband said I looked in my new bathing suit? It was quite a vacation.

So, on to the fun stories, of which there are many. I will subtitle the stories here and will submit them as I get them written:
Slimy Castles
Riding Waves
Baby hits the Beach
The Power of Peach Puffs
The Importance of Orange Goggles
Dinnertime Behavior
Crab Holes
Chasing the Ocean
I'm so Tired Mommy

Check back soon for the 9 part mini-series of the family beach trip....