Monday, May 31, 2010

The Leprechan Story

I know I'm a way behind getting this posted, but Hayden wrote a fun story for St. Patricks Day this year. Here it is (I'm writing it exactly as he did):

Hi! My name is t-j. I have a little sisster Sohphie. I herard a thump in the air vent. was it just the air no. I heard gold. It is a leprechaun. It came out of the vent. It crashed in to me. I had a trap right in front of him he got traped but he uesd his majic wand to get out. I asked him if i could be his freind he said as you wish and we were friends.

Dissecting "Owl Vomit"

During the last couple of weeks of school, the 2nd graders did animal rotations. Hayden came home on his first animal-rotation day so excited about dissecting owl pellets he talked nonstop for about 30 minutes. Here are some things Hayden shared about his project:

-Owl pellets are like big hair balls - when an owl eats an animal, it can't digest things like bones and hair so it coughs them up. Hayden called it "owl vomit".

-Hayden assured me (even though I didn't ask) that his owl pellet was clean, sanitized in fact, so it was perfectly okay to touch it and dig through it.

-Hayden said it was the absolute coolest thing he has ever EVER done in school.

-Some of the girls liked it, but most of the girls thought it was gross.

-Hayden's owl pellet contained a couple of rodents - he knows there were two because there were two rodent skulls in his pellet.

-His assignment was to match as many rodent bones as he could find to each individual bone picture on his worksheet. Here is his worksheet:

Here is a picture of what owl pellets ("vomit") looks like before they are dissected:

Wow! 2nd grade is way cooler than it was when I was there.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Homebuilding With MooCow and Muffin

This was the documentation sent out by one of the teachers at Brandon's school. I've been volunteering on Fridays and this was based on my observations of Brandon and one of his school mates this past Friday.

We were so happy to have Brandon's Mom, Karen, as our volunteer. We also had a slew of observers come through today. All of the children behaved very well despite all the new people floating around. I am going to type Karen's notes because I loved her attention to detail and how this scene is so entrenched in the "family/nesting" big idea.

Brandon A. and Nancy are playing with stuffed animals that they brought from home. Nancy puts Muffin in a new wagon, and Brandon puts Moo Cow in with Muffin.

Brandon: Look, MooCow likes Muffin. I have a clean MooCow and a dirty MooCow. This is my dirty one.(Brandon puts the cow on his head.) When I was a baby I would chew on his ears.

Nancy: Get down from there MooCow. (Nancy buries Muffin in a pile of woodblocks.)

Nancy and Brandon use the blocks to build a house for MooCow and Muffin. They lay the animals inside.

Brandon: Look here is a bed for Muffin and here is a bed for MooCow.(Brandon gives MooCow a wood block pillow and a wood block blanket - as seen in pic above.) Where's the couch?

Nancy: Right here. This big triangle.

Brandon: We need a TV.

Nancy: Right here. (She places a square block in front).

Karen: (I love the pic of MooCow and Muffin watching TV. Nancy and Brandon analyzed every detail of how this should be built. The triangle block wasn't enough for the couch, so they added the seat block. Then MooCow and Muffin needed a place to prop their feet up - not sure if that was a coffee table or a stool. Then they needed a TV and something to sit the TV on. I had a blast watching this entire thing unfold).

Ms. Casey:

(MooCow and Muffin were married later, on the hammock. Nancy told me later that she loved MooCow).

I am always so interested in how friends are made. Brandon and Nancy never really played much together prior to this but because they both had Beanie type animals this commonality was enough for them to build a world upon and share time together. The children also danced the new Star Wars Cantina alien jam, hammered nails in wood, built rockets and lego kingdoms, had extensive share times, and flew plastic bag kites. It was a full day as always, but having that moment between Nancy and Brandon fully documented was a great testament to see how much can happen and be seen when we as adults slow down and pay attention.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mommy Needs Another Workout

A few days ago, the boys and I were on our way home from the gym.

“Why do we spend so much time at the gym?” Hayden said.

“Because I like to work out, and it keeps me healthy, but more importantly it keeps my psyche balanced.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means it keeps me from yelling at you guys.”

At home a couple of hours later, Brandon asked me for the fifth time if he could put on his pajamas.

“Brandon! I’ve already told you four times you can put on your pajamas! Yes! Yes! Yes! You may put on your pajamas! Now stop asking!”

A quiet voice drifted from Hayden’s bedroom, “Mom, do you need another workout?”


Hayden: Brandon made a friend at the rec center today.

Me: He did? Who is your new friend, Brandon?

Brandon: His name is Andrew. Andrew was wearing all the same stuff as me - except for my pants, shirt, and Crocs.

Me: That's all you had on, so what was the same?

Brandon: He had the same nose, feet, hands, arm pits, ears - just like me.

Me: Well no wonder you guys became friends.

Brandon: Yeah!


This past Sunday, Brandon walked into his Sunday School classroom and made a grand announcement to his classmates and teacher.

Brandon: Hey! It's my birthday today!

Teacher: Nuh Uh! What are you going to do today?

Brandon: Whatever I want to do. It's MY birthday!

We have lots of great conversations in the car. Today while I was driving to the library, I heard Hayden and Brandon discussing God and Jesus... uhm, sort of. :) Enjoy -

Hayden: God has lots of toys.

Brandon: Jesus has toys, too.

Hayden: Yeah. They have the most toys, but I think God has even more because he has ALL the toys.

Brandon: Yeah! Because He's God!

Hayden: I can't wait to die so I can play with all those toys.

Brandon: Yeah! Me, too!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to Bridge a Wet Kitchen Floor and Other Lessons From Boys

I had just finished mopping the kitchen floor and told the boys not to walk on it while it was wet. I was in the laundry room sorting clothes. I came out and tiptoed quickly across the wet floor to get to the rug. I glanced over and saw two books, face down, on the wet kitchen floor at the base of the bonus room steps. The boys were in the the bonus room. I hollered up, "guys - why are there books on the wet floor?"

Brandon hollered down, "I didn't want to get my feet wet."

Silly me, I should have known to specify, "no book skating on the wet floor."


Recent bedtime conversation -

Brandon: Mom, Hayden's playing in the bed.

Me: Hayden is my job. You worry about you.

Brandon: Hayden IS your job, but it's MY job to tell you he's playing in the bed.


What a mom doesn't want to hear when she's using the bathroom and her boys are in the next room-

Brandon: Hayden, try this! You won't die! I promise!


One day I had my hair in a pony tail (well, most days... okay every day... I have my hair in a pony tail). One afternoon, Brandon was being very snuggly and we were sitting on the couch together. As he rubbed on my hair, he pulled some of it out of the pony tail holder, and in his sweetest, sunggliest voice he said, "mom, you kinda look like a girl with your hair down like that."


I'm trying to decide if I need to be more specific or if the boys need to be less literal. "Shut up" is a no-no in our house, so you'll get a kick out of this conversation:

Hayden: Shut!

Brandon: Mom, Hayden told me to shut up.

Hayden: I did not. I told him to shut.

Me: What did you mean by "shut?"

Hayden: I didn't mean shut up. I meant shut your mouth.

What can I say? The boy is smart. I'm thinking he'd make a great politician someday.


I sat down on the couch the other night and Brandon was stading in front of me licking his hands. I don't mean just licking his hands, I mean sloppy, wet, spit soaking his hands. I asked him what he was doing and he just laughed. I was trying to say, "Stop doing that, the germs on your hands could make you sick," but before I could get it out, Hayden came running by. And quick like a lizard's tongue, Brandon reached out with his dripping wet hands and grabbed Hayden's face.

I was grossed out. Hayden and Brandon were laying on the floor in hysterics. Michael was in the chair in hysterics. I looked at Brandon, and again he was wetting his weapons. I looked at Michael and he said, "it's a boy thing."


Here's the fun thing about having your child's birthday party a week after their actual birthday. They think they are in a week-long birthday celebration. I must have heard "but it's my birthday" twenty times during Hayden's "birthday week." Here's how it went down:

Monday -

Hayden: Can I have extra "sweets" today?
Me: No, two is plenty.
Hayden: (add whine here) But it's my birthday.

Tuesday -

Hayden: Can I get a toy today?
Me: No, you got toys on your birthday, and you'll get lots more at your party.
Hayden: (add whine here) But it's my birthday.

Wednesday -

Hayden: Can we go to McDonalds today?
Me: No, we went to McDonalds yesterday.
Hayden: (add whine here) But it's my birthday.

Thursday -

Hayden: Can I stay up all night tonight?
Me: No!
Hayden: (add whine here) But it's my birthday.

Okay, you get the picture.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to Kill a Zombie

From Michael:

My kids and I played Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Board Game for the very first time last night. Hayden is almost 7, and Brandon is 4. They chose the heroes, so I took the zombies. They randomly picked their four heroes: Hayden drew Jake the Drifter and Sally the High School Sweetheart, and Brandon drew Becky the Nurse and Billy the Sheriff’s Son.

The goal: Kill 15 zombies in 15 turns without losing 2 of the 4 heroes.Now, keep in mind that I very rarely let them win, and this game was no exception. I don't need to... they win enough without me being artificially soft on them!

I started out with a whopping TWO out of a possible 12 zombies on the board - one in the Junkyard near Jake and one in the Hospital morgue with Becky. When the zombie moved towards Becky, Brandon thought he could take out the first zombie easily, so he moved Becky to the zombie… and got wounded.

Then the face happened. You've seen that face before. The face where a young child's chin turns to quivering stone. The face where his eyes start squinting and get all watery. Then... WAAAAHHHHH!!! Poor Bran.

With a little consoling from me and big brother, he calmed down (and was absolutely fine the rest of the game, despite almost losing both Becky and Billy). My two zombies quickly became 14 zombies as reinforcements came shambling out of the Junkyard and Bank. From the nearby Gas Station, Jake saw the zombies approaching, shot a couple, and ran.

After sensing that the zombies were hard to kill, the kids mostly tried to stay away from them, and it seemed like bad luck followed the heroes around. Baseball bats broke. Guns never had ammo. A rainstorm kept Jake from getting to the High School for four turns! And by that time, Billy and Sally had left the school. A zombie appeared inside the Gym with Jake. The lights went off in the High School… then the Gym.

By turn 7, they had killed only 3. By turn 13, they had killed only 7. Jake had a bunch of Hero Cards, Billy had two, and the girls had none. I sensed that there would not be enough time for the heroes to kill 8 more zombies and win. Hayden sensed the same thing, asking me, "Daddy, do the good guys always win like in the movies?" Thinking back to the horror movies of my youth, I told him, "The good guys usually win... but not always." He nodded in understanding.

Jake and Becky stood at the windows of the Gym while Sally waited outside the door as a mass of zombies headed towards them in a line. Billy was wounded and was running around scared near the Junkyard as a couple straggler zombies found him to be more interesting than the brain meal in the Gym.Turn 15 arrived, and the kids still had 6 zombies to kill.

Fortunately for them, there was not a lack of targets, as the zombies were starting to come towards the Gym door and through the windows! By the heroes turn, the kids still had 5 zombies to kill, and only Jake had a gun. Jake shot a zombie outside the school... and killed it. 12 down, 3 to go.

Becky managed to kill one zombie in her square while taking a second wound from the other zombie. Billy, wounded, and after running away from the zombies all game, found some hidden courage and ran towards a single zombie near the town center... and killed it!One more to go. Sally, weaponless and cardless, had a single zombie in her space in front of the Gym door.

It was down to this roll. Hayden played a card from Jake that allowed Sally to kill the zombie even without rolling doubles. Hayden rolled a 4 and a 2 – so the zombies would have to get a 4 or higher. I rolled a 5. But Hayden remembered that Sally had a Luck skill, which made me reroll... and I rolled a 2, with no zombie cards to help me.

The kids got wide eyed and said "We won! I can't believe it! WE WON!!! Hey, Mom! MOM! We beat the zombies! It was soooo close! We almost didn't beat them!"

Just like in the movies.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The One Time It Isn't Okay to Pray

Hayden and I went to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party today. When he finished eating cake, this conversation began out of the blue:

Hayden: I want you to have a girl baby.

Me: You do? Why a girl?

Hayden: Well I guess you can have a boy too, I'll be older than a boy or a girl.

Me: Well, I'm not having anymore babies.

Hayden: Yes! You have to. I'm going to ask God for another baby. (he places his hands together and begins to pray as Chuck E. dances around our tables)

Me: (grabbing Hayden's hands and stopping his prayer) Stop praying, I don't want anymore babies.

Hayden: Yes, I'm praying.

Me: Hayden, stop it. I'm almost 40 years old. I'm too old for babies. Stop praying!

Hayden: 50 is old, 40 is young. I'm praying. (he places his hands back together and says a quick prayer)

Finally I give up and say a prayer to counteract his prayer. Whew! Good save.

During the car ride home we had this conversation:

Hayden: How are babies made?

Me (partly delaying and partly redirecting): Uhm... that's kind of a tricky question. What's got you thinking about babies all of a sudden?

Hayden: I just like them.



(me, happy I tiptoed around that one)


Hayden: So how are they made?

Me (clearly unprepared): Well, mommies and daddies just get together and love each other a lot. So, are you going to share your Chuck E. Cheese toys with Bran?

Hayden: No

Me: Well you can't show them to him then or he'll be upset.

Hayden: I'll just sneek them into my room.

Whew! Another good save. Lesson learned: if you want to redirect the thoughts of a 6-year-old boy, ask him about sharing his toys with his sibling.