April 30, 2010

Bon Voyage

Dear Diapers,

We've known each other for ten long years. I never thought the day would come that we would bid you farewell. Your ability to control leaks though you are sagging below the knees has always amazed me. I apologize for all of the times I complained about the price we pay for you, as I recently paid $10 for a mere 6 pack of undies. Josiah didn't want you to leave, and neither did I. We both confess that it wasn't your leakage control or stretchy tabs that kept you around. It was laziness.

My laziness is also the reason I'm saying goodbye. Josiah loves you so much that each diaper change requires wrestling him to the floor. He has an attachment to you that has been hard to break, but Bob the Builder undies finally won him over. I'm sorry I stooped to such behavior.

It worked. But, oh, how I missed you the first day that he hid in the yard and 'took care of business' in the grass. I lamented our decision while I cleaned his legs and the dog rolled in 'it'. I also lamented that I had given him nearly a quart of grape juice to aid in our potty efforts. I yearned to have you back in our lives.

We have stayed strong and I think we can finally say 'goodbye'.

Mom to five and avid underwear tosser

April 25, 2010

The Importance of a Good Walking Stick

The art of choosing a good walking stick was lost on me until a recent trip to the trails near our house. Once we got into the woods, the most important feat was to get 'the right' walking stick. The search was so consuming that no one could be bothered by anything else until a rather grand piece of wood was proven to be sufficient. I was unable to decipher what the criteria might be. Something about size, girth, and strength seemed important.

I have never pillaged the forest floor looking for a piece of wood to drag around with me.

Everett began testing the strength of a stick he deemed 'perfect' for Josiah. Josiah is evidently not old enough to appreciate a good stick as he thanked Everett and then chucked it off the nearest cliff.

After walking a while, we sat on the stone enbankment of a stream to draw. Walking sticks never far from reach, a few of them can be seen in this peaceful picture. Sally stood up and her shoe dropped five feet into the water. As it was being carried downstream, shrieks and screams of delight and angst ensued.

I jumped up and quickly weighed my options. Jumping into the water would be ridiculous, letting it float away would mean carrying Sally through the woods to the car, but if I had a nice big stick I could probably hoist it up. I turned frantically to find one when Everett shouted, "Mom, aren't you glad I got the right one?"

April 10, 2010

Kind Hearts Video

Karen has mentioned that more children will be enrolling at Kind Hearts in the future. That means if you missed out on the first 68 children, there will be another opportunity for you to sponsor a child in Ethiopia. Visit Karen's blog to read about recent trips and projects. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm not creative enough to figure out how we can go above and beyond our monthly sponsorship. I'm praying that God will show us how our family can do more. There are currently projects for a fresh water well, new textbooks, and school uniforms. After watching the video I'm sure you'll be excited about the opportunity to get involved with this wonderful group of children.

April 8, 2010

One Day Without Shoes

We are barefoot again this year. Yesterday, I reminded the kids of our shoeless day last year. They remembered and were eager to make some plans for today. I went to bed wondering what we could possibly do. Evidently, I was more troubled by this lack of plan than I realized because I was plagued with shoeless nightmares.

I despise pointless endeavors. There are some things that, even when we plan and have the best intentions are absolutely pointless. If we were completely honest with ourselves I think we could just skip the whole painful thing. I guess I'm teetering on the edge of "what does walking around my house without shoes do for the little guy in Ethiopia who can't get a pair of shoes to save his life?"

I don't want to be an advertisement for Toms shoes. No, I think we can do better than that. Do we need another pair of shoes--is the company a success because of the feel good-trendy shoe they sell? Though the company is doing far more than most shoe companies...I suppose my ad would be "If you have to buy another pair of shoes, buy from TOMS."

Should we take part in a TOMS event? Except the local event is organized by a guy who's picture resembles The Joker on a bad day. His brief explanation of the event includes a few words that are NOT allowed around our house. Do I honestly think taking our children to the outdoor mall barefoot to play hacky sack will benefit anyone?

I guess I'm feeling rather cynical.

After tossing and turning all night I bring up the youtube video I watched last year. The kids gather around and we see what can happen to people in Ethiopia when they cannot get good shoes. What now? We are barefoot, have no plans, and it's 55 and rainy here.

We make the obvious decision, of course. We should take a walk! We put on jackets and cuff our pants. Josiah's exceptionally happy about "walking outside on our toes." We got from the door to the driveway and he had to be picked up. It was cold. It was wet. It wasn't delightful like the pictures of Venice on the sponsor website. Ella stubbed her toe before we left our yard. So far, the lesson we are learning is that walking around barefoot on a nasty day is unpleasant. Then, we see the long stretch of sidewalk ahead and nary a soul wants to actually walk to the corner. But we challenge ourselves and remind each other that we really don't have to walk without shoes. We drive most places and only go barefoot when it's fun. We press on and make the block. I glimpse a woman peering from her picture window at our unsightly parade. Wet, cold, barefoot children are an oddity in any middle class neighborhood.

Meanwhile, at home something very special was waiting for us. It gave purpose to the walk down the street. It was directly from God via a little boy in Ethiopia. An hour earlier or later and the impact would have been lost. The Lord's timing is impeccable. We all stumble into the house with numb feet from the cold. After rubbing them dry, I pull out an envelope from the mail.

Our sponsor child sent us a drawing. "Thank you family" colored in yellow. Big excitement broke out and we had to look at his picture again. What does he like to do? How old is he again? Does he always look so sad? Does he always have a runny nose? Does he play soccer? Then, inevitably...

"Does J have shoes?"


He will soon, thanks to the hard work of many wonderful people. This brought it home for all of us. We walked barefoot in the rain because we wanted to. As an experiment. Many children like J go without much more than shoes as a way of life. This little envelope lead us to a discussion about what we are doing to help J and his friends. It's such a small thing, I wouldn't dare call it a sacrifice. But to them, it is making a huge difference.

Sally and Elijah immediately began coloring pictures to send to J. I think around here, the small thing we did today made a difference for them.

April 5, 2010


Sometimes I wonder if family keeps inviting us to events just so they can: be relieved that they no longer have young children, be relieved that they are not planning on having children, be relieved that they are not raising our children, or have a good hearty laugh at the antics that seem to happen when we are around.

Huge holidays cause huge chaos. On Christmas we visited with extended family. We only see them once a year. We vowed not to do the Christmas dinner at their house once our family grew to it's substantial size. This year we all felt brave and ventured to their home for the dinner. It was going well until Eli used the bathroom. He ran out of toilet paper. Unknown to us he found the infamous flushable wipes and "decided to give them a try." Unknown to him you should only use one wipe per flush. After he exited the restroom, Sally went in. In her rushed state she didn't care that the toilet bowl was full and proceeded to...ahem...take care of business. She, too, decided to use the flushable wipes. In true five year old fashion she used as many as possible and then flushed the toilet. A few times.

Seth and I were enjoying adult company in the living room while all of the restroom activities were taking place. We, innocently, thought that the children were calmly doing puzzles in the dining room. A flurry of frantic activity by our host drew our attention to the restroom and we were sadly informed of what was going on.

The ensuing ride home was punctuated by discussions about proper toilet etiquette.
1-Avoid flushable wipes, paper towels, and napkins when using the bathroom.
2- Never flush the toilet more than once.
3- Immediately get an adult (preferably one of a close relation) if the water in the toilet beings to rise.
4- Do not avoid the rising water and pretend nothing is going on in the bathroom. The mess WILL EVENTUALLY be discovered.

I think that will be the last year we are invited over.

This weekend we enjoyed Easter dinner with my parents. The meal was fantastic. The company was enjoyable. Everyone behaved during lunch. It seemed too good to be true. Then, Ella took her new medicine. She held it in her mouth until she retched and spewed vomit across my parent's kitchen walls, bar stools, and floors. If my parents weren't forced to open their door to us, I think that might have been our last meal together.

I'm already dreading Thanksgiving.