/> Raising Angels: June 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Choosing Sides Wisely

Yesterday Nelson and I were sitting on the couch playing Mancala. It's so enticing to the boys with all of its shiny, marble-like pieces. It wasn't long before Aiden was at our sides.

"Can I help someone play?" he asked excitedly.

"We're just about done with this game," I answered. "When we start the next one, you can help us."

"Okay!" he shouted as we finished the game and began to count out the pieces. "Can I help you or Daddy?"

"Whoever you want buddy," I said as the final tally was taken.

"Who won?"

"Looks like Mommy beat me by one piece," Nelson informed him.

"Okay, I'll be on her team!"

Friday, June 27, 2008

Green Eggs and Ham...and Cheese

This morning Dawson walked into my bathroom with two Dr. Seuss books in hand. "Mama, will you please read me one of these books?"

"I can't right now, but I will when you get home from Vacation Bible School," I said trying to get ready for the day.

"Okay," he said, rather satisfied. "Which one do you want to read? The Cat in the Hat or Ham and Cheese?"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Gauntlet is Thrown

Yesterday I was on a raft in the middle of a friend's pool and the three big kids were happily swimming around. To keep things interesting, I decided to throw out a challenge to Aiden.

"Hey Aiden," I said casually, "I'll give you two dollars if you jump off the diving board and swim all the way to me."

Instantly, the light went off. This is the kind of challenge that he might ordinarily turn down without much thought. However, this time there was money involved and he wanted the money so much that the fear typically involved got pushed to the back burner.

He gulped hard and thought it through. Staring at the board and then looking at me on the raft he began his bargaining. "How about I swim to you right here," he suggested pointing a few feet closer to the board.

"I know you can do that Aiden. You can do that for a practice swim, but if you want the money, you have to swim to me."

He went back and forth with me a few more times and finally decided to do it. He was nervous but the swim was no problem. I thought there was no time like the present to offer a bigger challenge.

"Great job Aiden! I'm so proud of you. Do you see how easy that was? I'll tell you what, if you can swim from the diving board all the way to the other end of the pool without touching the sides or the bottom, I'll give you three dollars instead of two."

Here's where the battle began. Not between me and Aiden but between Aiden's fear and his desire for the money. He stood at the end of the pool crying, yelling, debating, and pondering for several minutes. The struggle was so real, so emotional. Nothing was held back. He wanted so badly to earn that money but he was scared out of his mind to swim that distance.

It was amazing to watch the physicality of such a mental struggle. And then, after several minutes, he threw caution to the wind and jumped in. The first time he came up for air I saw the panic in his face. I could tell that he was looking at the far away goal thinking he would never reach it.

I jumped off the raft and joined him in the swim. "You're doing great buddy! Keep swimming. You're getting closer." His look of fear changed to one of determination. Before long he reached half way. "Go Aiden! Go Aiden!" I began to chant. Mackenzie and Dawson soon joined the cheer.

And then he was there. He touched the first step and stood up in total amazement of himself. I scooped him up and spun him around while we all cheered. He was panting, but elated. He had done it.

I felt privileged to witness his struggle. I felt proud that he won. I feel that watching his struggle is the impetus I need to take on a challenge of my own.

When was the last time you did something you were genuinely afraid of - something you thought was impossible? I think it's time I did. Anyone want to dangle three dollars in my face?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I just read about this contest at The Catholic Company here. Although I think my angel is beautiful, I have a feeling her "perfect" pictures will not be found as cute as these. Oh well, I've got three boys coming up that I'm sure will give this little guy a run for his money.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Well, That Too

Tonight at the dinner table, Aiden let out a very loud belch.

"Aiden," I reminded sternly, "do you remember what we said last night about burping at the table?"

"Yes," he responded sheepishly, "I should not burp with my mouth open at the table."

"That's right," I said, glad that at least he was listening.

"And also," added Dawson, "we shouldn't burp in people's faces!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

This May Not Last Long

This morning I stepped on the scale to see a number I haven't seen since I found out Max was on his way. I was so happy that while I was at the mall picking up Max's three month pictures (and yes, he is four months now) I took the kids to Chick-fil-A for lunch.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Great Weekend

Yesterday morning when I rolled over in bed after hearing the thuds of my kids bouncing out of bed upstairs, Nelson opened his eyes and whispered, "How 'bout we all go get breakfast together this morning?"

I felt like one of those perfect moms in the commercials (except my hair was far from in place and my PJs not nearly as cute). We gathered up the troops and headed to a local dive for some breakfast food I didn't have to fix myself. I marveled at my little family so well-mannered and talkative. Everyone was happy. Everyone had fun.

We came home and Nelson went out to help the neighbor get his yard ready for a party. I went for a jog while they held onto the monitor listening for Max. I came home to six kids hopping on my trampoline. Other friends were in the yard getting it ready.

I scooped Max up after his nap and I walked outside to see my boys helping Nelson work away. The neighbors across the street were out so we talked for a bit, all of us with babies on hip.

I called another friend because I thought Max might have an ear infection and he voluntarily showed up at my door with medicine bag in hand to check Max out.

Later, we fed the kids, put them to bed, grabbed the monitor and joined the party in the backyard.

Today we came home from church and worked together to surprise the neighbor with a clean up. Our other neighbor came over with his kids and talked awhile. One of my best friends stopped in for a visit. After she left, Nelson and I sat on the back porch for a few hours playing a new game and watching the kids jump on the trampoline.

We cooked out and had my folks over for a picnic in the backyard.

It was all so simple, but it took me no time to see the beauty. This is why we sacrificed the last however many years (Nelson and I differ a bit on the time table) to build this house.

We live in a neighborhood where we actually know our neighbors. Not only do we know them, but we truly love them. They're not borrow a cup of sugar neighbors but I see you need help and I'm here for you neighbors.

I wish everyone had what we have. The world would be a nicer place.

Friday, June 20, 2008

There Will Be Other Clues

I was in Max's room tonight getting him ready for bed when Aiden sprawled out on the floor next to us.

"Mama," he asked holding a burp cloth that had his name embroidered on it, "where is Max's burp cloth?"

"You're holding it," I said rather matter-of-factly.

"No. I mean where is the cloth with Max’s name on it?"

"Oh," I said after turning to see what Aiden was holding, "Max doesn't have one with his name on it. In fact, you're the only one who has cloths with your name on them."

"But Mama," he said with true concern, "how will Max ever know he was a baby?"

He's Such a Boy

Dawson, while running around the house after his newest bouncy ball: This ball is so much fun! I just keep running after it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Price You Pay For Being Baby #4

A Job Well Done

As I prepared dinner tonight I asked Aiden to play in the kitchen so Max could watch him. He dribbled the soccer ball towards him and then jumped right when he reached the swing.

"Look Mama," he said in sweet amazement, "he smiled at me!"

"Good job buddy."

He ran back and repeated the action with exactly the same reaction. As he walked back for round three he said to himself, "He smiles every time I play ball. Cool! That's easy."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Strangest Dream

A few nights ago I had a dream that Dawson, who is currently taking swimming lessons, fell off a boat without his life jacket on. I was scared he would drown but he managed to swim to the ladder all by himself.

In reality, he has reluctantly attended lessons the last few days with giant tears saying, "I don't wanna do lessons today." He makes it through and even gets over the tears but he hasn’t exactly been brave.

Today was the first time he started the lesson without tears. There were several things he told the teacher he didn't want to do, but he managed to do most of them.

After the lesson, Mackenzie and I joined the boys in the pool. Because it was almost break time, I didn't get the life jacket out for Dawson. I was a few feet away from the edge watching Mackenzie and Aiden dive for some things at the bottom when out of the corner of my eye I saw Dawson jump into the pool.

In the moment that all parents experience when something bad is about to happen to one of your children, the moment that everything starts going in slow motion but your mind which is racing like crazy wondering if you're going to make the split second decision that will save that child from harm, I moved towards Dawson in time to save him if needed but waited one second to see what he'd do.

It was the right decision because what he did was swim to the side all by himself – just like in my dream. Only this time I got to scoop him up in my arms, hug him and tell him how very proud I was.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Question of the Day

Today Dawson asked me, "What's a sand dollar?"

"Well it's an animal that lives in the sea. It has a star on it and looks like a shell when you see it on the beach."

"Oh," he said seeming to take it in, "how come you can't buy anything with it?"

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Anniversary Nelson!

I can't believe all of the places you've taken me, the experiences you've given me, the love you've shown me. I am certain I am the luckiest, most blessed woman on earth. I look forward with anticipation to our future together. Thank you for loving me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stand Up and Holler!

Mackenzie has been attending a cheer camp this week. Yesterday she was thrilled to report that her team had won the spirit stick for the day. When I asked her how they did that she said it had something to do with which team is the loudest.

Today as we were making the drive across town to drop her off, she was still chattering about it.

"Mama, what if they had a cheer leading camp for boys? What if we sent Aiden and Dawson? They would win the spirit stick for sure because they are REALLY loud!"

A Valuable Lesson Learned

Down here in the South we have more than our share of pesky insects. One that has proven to be especially harmful to my crew is the red ant. One of the first outdoor lessons the kids learned was that red ants bite and black ants do not.

After more than one of us experienced an ant bite the other evening, all of us were on the lookout for them to avoid any more "itchy bites", as Dawson calls them.

Dawson screamed in alarm, "Aiden! There's an ant on your arm!"

Aiden looked at his arm and calmly replied, "No worries. It's a black ant."

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Sweetest Sound

Friday, June 06, 2008

Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae Is a BIG Hit!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

You Know It's a Good Day at the Pool...

when you get up from the dinner table and come back to find this.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Vacation in Valdosta

Last weekend we visited Fr. Aaron in Valdosta.
Some very generous parishioners let us use their lake house. They too have three boys and one girl. However, their three boys came first and all on the same day. Here are their triplets with my boys.
Their daughter and Mackenzie became good buddies.
It was the perfect location for little Max as well. While he napped in the house, we went to the pool or in the lake with the monitor nearby. He never had to experience the sun or the heat.

The whole time we were there I was secretly wondering how we could get invited to stay the whole summer.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Sad Start to Summer

We planned to spend the first official day off of school at the Y's water park. The kids were thrilled. That is, until Sunday afternoon when Mackenzie came down with the same high fever the boys had last weekend.

I let them all know immediately that we would not be going to the pool. "Aww Mama," Mackenzie said in her saddest voice, "if we can't go swimming tomorrow, will there be many more days in the summer to go to the pool?"