Saturday, August 31, 2013

Theology Lesson

Overheard today:

Calvin: You can't interrupt me! You're going to go to hell because you interrupted me...

Daddy: Calvin! Why did you say that?

C: Reed interrupted my while I was saying a Bible thing.

Reed: It's not a Bible verse! He said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones..."

D:  (proceeds to give lecture about Jesus being our judge, not Calvin.)

Max (to Mommy, who was already eavesdropping): Calvin say, "Go to hell" to Reed and he get in trouble!

C: Max!


This little convo reminded me that earlier this week, while building blocks, Calvin exclaimed, "What the hell!" He genuinely didn't know that what he said was wrong. Welcome to public school, where you learn the 3 R's and all the 4-letter words...


It's gonna be a long 3-day weekend...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just Another Day...


- When I dropped my students off for art class, the teacher greeted me with "So... Calvin's fun!" It was meant as a compliment, not an opening line for a bad report like I assumed. Whew! Nine days into the year and no bad reports (on Calvin - I know every evil deed that occurs in his classroom, though, thanks to my proud little informant. The day he fails to give a run-down of who got in trouble is the day I'll ask his teacher how he's doing.)

- Calvin has learned how to roll his eyes. He used the skill on his brothers at least twice on the way home from school. I gave a lecture about respect, to which he responded, "But I LIKE to roll my eyes." (cue Mommy eye roll)

- Calvin and Reed struck a bargain that made my teacher-heart proud. Calvin agreed to let Reed color his coloring page if Reed would pay up by reading "half of the Pig Pancake story" out loud to him. He happily read a few pages, until Calvin cut him off with, "That's enough."

- Max had another accident-free day! That makes four in the last week! I'm seeing the light at the end of the diapered tunnel! (Though I have a feeling I'll still be stuck in the Good Nights tunnel for quite some time...)

- The boys decided to have a big wrestling/boxing/Mixed Martial Arts/free-for-all match. Calvin won, because he's "had the hiccups, and Mrs. Payne says her mom used to think that makes you grow." (?) Then, they decided to train for a rematch. Calvin asked me over and over for new "extra-cises" to do to "get stronger." They were pumping baby iron, doing sit-ups,  jogging laps, and doing squat jumps in preparation for the big fight. Then, they forgot about the rematch and ended up playing Legos.

- Someone other than me had to hose off the concrete. The mess was due, not to chicken transgressions, but to their own. Lesson learned? Don't try to pee on puppies, especially if they run onto the porch.

Just another day in mi vida loca.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lazy Parenting Works

I started to chase the chickens off of the porch, for reasons we all now know, when Max and Calvin volunteered to do it for me. Never one to do for myself what my kids can do for me, I happily sent them out the door. Five minutes later, I hadn't heard from them. I went outside, looked around, then hollered. The response informed me that they were playing with our adorable batch of Coonhound puppies, who are housed in the back 40 behind the shed. A verbal, "Are you OK?" check, two affirmative answers, and I was back to the air conditioning.

This process continued for almost an hour. I hollered out every five minutes or so, got a slightly annoyed answer, then we all went about our business. But I didn't want to mess up the "askident" free day Max had been having, so one time I hollered out, "Max!? Do you have to go potty?" Of course  he said he didn't (why do I even ask?). I made a mental note that on the next check I was gonna have to hike my butt up the hill and tell him it was time, because that's the only way he goes without (usually) pitching a fit. Before time was up, Calvin came running excitedly into the house,  "Max peed!" he exclaimed. Crap, I thought, until I realized Calvin was coming in to get Smarties for the little potty engineer. "He peed STANDING UP! I showed him how!" Be still, my heart. We've been trying to get this boy to stand up since we started potty training, and have been largely unsuccessful. He rarely makes a tinkle without his knees bent. But in the next hour, one or both boys trekked inside for two more rounds of Smarties. I think big brother peer pressure did the trick!
After our latest photos of Calvin, I'm a little nervous to see how Kindergarten pictures turned out!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bonding and Poop Dodging

Picture taken AFTER hosing down
The bigguns are at a sleepover. As I type this, I'm sure they're on a sugar high, zoned out in front of Saturday morning cartoons. I'm guessing they're in heaven, and I'm not too dishonest to admit that I am too!

Max and I had some sweet bonding time yesterday before Ryan got home. He seemed so big as we walked into the house alone. He was happy and hyper - probably thrilled to have Mommy to himself. We sat side by side on the floor, dancing to iPod tunes, sticking a million stickers on paper, playing Play-doh, and analyzing the Common Core State Standards. (Both parties didn't participate in all events, but they did giggle at each other frequently throughout). We cooked sloppy joes together. Then, Ryan and I got to have an entire conversation at supper with only a few interruptions! Bed time was a breeze.

And, even though I didn't get my wish that Tiny would sleep in, Saturday morning has been sooooo peaceful. We headed out to the porch to enjoy the cool time of day (6:40 a.m. - ughhh!). I graded papers and wrote lesson plans (and so it begins...) while munchkin squirted poop with water guns. Yep. As much as I love these guys:

and I really do love having a fresh supply of these:

...we also get a healthy dose of something else from the hind ends of the chickens and ducks. I'll spare you the picture, but you can see a small sampling in our priceless back to school pics (nice, huh?) This week, especially, they've decided to hang out on our porch while we're gone. So, Max and I had to step carefully this morning. He decided to help "hose off" the deck - something he's seen Mom and Dad both do this week, though you couldn't tell they did if you were looking at the porch. 

When he tired of the clean-up doody and had a little jaunt on the trampoline (with no big brothers to knock him off balance), he asked for his matchbox cars. I'm sure the porch would've made a great obstacle course, but I didn't relish the thought of him scooting around all that nastiness, so we busted out the hose for the third time in four days (it's been that bad!) and cleaned 'er up. I turned off the hose and came back just in time to see him slurping water off of the porch. I'm really hoping he doesn't get salmonella--partly because that would be really miserable for him and partly because I'm guessing severe diarrhea might interfere with the whole potty training roll we've been on lately! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sweet Nothings by Max

My baby was extra sweet yesterday. A few highlights:

- When he saw me crying (stupid emotional moment), he moved over by me and said, "I will get you better," gave me a hug, and then said, "You're cute." Yep, got me better.
- After a brothers faux-hawk extravaganza, he was feeling his hair and realized his gel had went flat, "But you didn't give me a cream mohawk, Mommy."


- When he ran into my bruised knee (old klutzy lady softball injury) and I winced in pain, he repeated the, "I will get you better" move, complete with hug and, this time, "You're sweet."

And it's a good thing he banked all those cutey-popper moments, because today he threw a jumping-bean tantrum when I picked him up at Mrs. Pam's and had three "askidents" in his undies--two pees--both 10 minutes after a successful potty draining--and one poop event resembling that of a goat. Let's hope this roller coaster reverses itself tomorrow...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Big Day

 Today was a big day for the Layton fam. Reed, Calvin, and Mommy started school. Reed was a little apprehensive about the year. But after one day with Mrs. Nash, he reported, "I think 2nd grade is gonna be my favorite year!" I could tell that Calvin, normally Mr. Fearless, was a little nervous too. But where Reed wanted to hash out every detail of his emotions and their probable causes, Calvin didn't really talk much. There was just something about his body language that Momma Bear could pick up on. That tugged at my heartstrings, just like it did when he reported for kindergarten screening a few short months ago. But he headed to his classroom like a trooper, and apparently was past the jittery stage by lunchtime, when I waited half my lunch period outside to give him a reassuring hug on his way to recess. He tromped right past me and didn't even hear when I called his name (or he's already really good at mom avoidance). He was running in a silly monster or villain-type mode, so I was pretty sure I had nothing to worry about!

After school, I let the boys tell all about their day. Reed could hardly stand to wait through Calvin's short report before he told me every. single. thing. that happened during his day. Calvin's report? "OK. Lunch was GREAT! We had this big circle chicken nugget...and a sandwich that it was on (chicken patty sandwich - be still my heart!) ...and three carrot sticks...and yogurt...and chocolate milk!" And that was pretty much the extent of it, other than what he had told me earlier when I caught him really quickly after school, "I didn't get in trouble at ALL!" and proceeded to tell me all about the two boys who did get in trouble. He also had to visit the nurse and talked to the principal, but all over a playground crash and burn that didn't even get a mention until he was putting a fresh band-aid on at home.

Momma had a great day, too. Other than some barely-disguised tears when I dropped my baby off ALONE at day care (and he got a little clingy), and a couple choke-ups over my fearless five-year-old, the day was minimally emotional and waaaaay more calm than my last year's class (Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Amen!)

And Max? Well, he went almost accident free in undies all day! Which may be the best news of all!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

One Expensive Car Wash

We have a cooler full of Capri Suns sitting on our porch. It's leftover from a church event a week ago.  We were at the right place at the right time, and the pastor sent them home with us. Max asked for one today when we were outside. I agreed, and helped him unwrap and insert the straw. Then, when Calvin came out and the two started spraying each other with water guns, I decided to make my escape and start supper. I peeked out the window a few times to make sure they were ok, and everything seemed fine. Max was still happily nursing a Capri Sun and the two were getting each other wet. 

When I decided to run to the shed for something real quick, I found several straw wrappers on the ground. That seemed weird. And the cooler seemed really low. My first suspicion was that Max had guzzled juice box after juice box, but that didn't add up. He can't do the straw by himself. The I saw Calvin, perched up in our grape arbor, chomping on grapes, surrounded by about a dozen pieces of silver litter on the ground beneath him. Here's the conversation that followed:

M: Calvin! How many Capri Suns did you drink? 
C: None  (said a little too sweetly)
M: Why are there juice pouches all over the ground. (no answer) Did you open them for Max? (no answer) 

At this point, I notice that they all have straws in them, and their mostly twisted up, empty. The water guns are on the porch, and Max is still dripping wet. I know my son too well. 

M: Did you spray Max with them?
C: ...(long pause) Not just Max...
M: What else did you spray?
C: Dad's truck, to wash it. 

I'm sure glad that boy starts school this week. Just please pray for his teacher!

Last Hurrah

I sort of considered Friday to be our last official day of summer. Sure, we had the weekend, too, but everyone gets those. Plus, we had an anniversary date planned for Sat/Sun, so Friday was the last day the whole fam would be together under one roof. We decided to go out with a bang.

First, I made our favorite breakfast - oaties (we substitute a few glubs of milk for the bananas.)

The morning was pretty relaxed. Ryan and I puttered while the boys chased each other half-dressed with punch balls rubber-banded to their heads, got a chin injury from running into a dresser, and made a tent under Mom's desk. You know, typical stuff. 

Totally staged, if you couldn't tell - and not by me!

After supper,  I needed Ryan to get the boys out of the house so I could set up our surprise. It was surprise I had promised to do since the beginning of the summer, when I found several fun ideas on Pinterest. A surprise they had asked me about no less than 67 times since I mentioned it. (Hinting at a surprise that wont occur within the next 15 seconds? Amateur mommy move #457)

Ryan had planned to take the boys fishing, but it rained all day. So, he took the boys for a drive. When he told them to load up, he said what all dad’s have to say to their kids at 6:30 at night (right?), “Calvin, put some pants on.” And Calvin replied, “Why?” because wearing pants is certainly bucking the fashion trend around here. Ryan said he would prefer if Calvin had pants on for the drive. Then, Reed inquired if he had to wear a shirt. And Max asked if it would be ok for him to “wear pants and a shirt and socks and shoes,” because that’s REALLY breaking the dress code. Calvin put on pants that didn’t match the pirate jammy shirt he was still wearing. Then, when I told him he clashed (why do I even bother!?), he just chucked the shirt off. Finally, they were all ushered to the car with a bare minimum of pants and shoes on. Ryan drove away slowly, and I started rushing to set up the super-secret Ninja course I’d been planning all summer.

When they pulled in about 20 minutes later, I ran out to greet them, frantically asking for help because somebody had kidnapped Ruff Ruff and Giraffey and Sunny and Chocolatey (favorite stuffed animals). Reed almost started to cry. Calvin was ticked. And Max was completely clueless, but mirrored my upset face. They ran up to the porch, where they were met by Ninjas (balloons with washable-markered-on eyes and mouth), who could be defeated by “spraying their faces off.” The boys decided to kill them, too. 

Inside, there were more Ninjas, but swords were close at hand. They enjoyed the rotating Ninjas hanging from the ceiling fan the best. These enemies just got some good solid whacks until they were on the ground. 

The last obstacle was the laser-trapped hallway. Reed took the warning, that lasers would zap you if you touched them, very seriously. Calvin tried his best, but was in more of a fun mode than a danger one. Halfway through, he said, “Thisth isth awesthome!”  Max tried to follow the photographer down the other hallway, and when he was ushered back to the laser hallway, he just barreled through. 

When they emerged safely from the laser tunnel, they met the final bad guy. He was pretty vicious. Max was trailing behind, pretty ticked off about the laser zappage, but once he got untangled, he was the one to deliver the fatal blow to the big bad guy. He whacked him pretty hard with his sword, like only a two-year-old with no inhibitions can. Bad Guy went running, and Max chased down for the kill, while the two bigs untied the poor kidnapped animals.

Bedtime involved loud and excited conversations about the Ninja course and what we could do to make it even better “the next time.” It also involved a lot of trips through the hallway and a good bit of unauthorized laser repair. 

After the heroes were finally clean and jammied, we ate a “midnight” snack of ice cream. Calvin snuck off and grabbed a stool to help him hang a new Ninja from the ceiling for "tomorrow when we do it." 

Saturday night, Ryan and I had a hot anniversary date, while my sister and her husband kept the boys overnight. It was blissfully quiet. Today, we went to our old church and ate out with an old friend. It was ridiculously noisy. Max had to have a time out in the bathroom hall of the restaurant. He yelled at me for the first two minutes. Then we visited a nursing home. Don’t need to tell you how that went down. 

But if I’m honest, I’m gonna miss the chaos a little.

Friday, August 9, 2013

God's Math Doesn't Add Up

I write my prayers down because I have ADD. Proof: This morning, I stopped writing mid-sentence and didn’t realize it until almost lunch time when I noticed my prayer journal still sitting on the table, unfinished. I have no idea what drug me from my talk with the Lord, but if I had to guess, I’d say whatever it was had two legs and a loud mouth. 

Anyway, I looked back and saw this prayer Monday, “Please bless my efforts and multiply my time.” Here’s a run down of my week:

  • 14 hours spent at school - completely ready for Open House next week and cleaned-out files. Not going back to my classroom until I have to on Monday.
  • Started, worked on, or finished SEVEN crafty projects. Got farther than I ever dreamed.
  • Took boys on the first round of school supply shopping and an enjoyable (!?) errand run with SIX stops! (It should go without saying that one of the munchkins was home with Daddy.) 
  • Read at least six children’s book a day to the short ones.
  • Hung out with friends a few nights -- in a tornadic house (yay, me!)
  • Reorganized all of my Pinterest boards.
  • Blogged a few posts and started several drafts for the future.
  • Laughed at 80 cheesy jokes (we’re on a comedic roll around here) and oohed and ahhed at 132 Lego creations.
  • Cooked supper every night.
  • Took the kids to another short VBS and attended family night.
  • Washed sheets (and blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals) almost every day for a certain bed-wetter whose capacity is increasing dramatically.
  • Enjoyed 90% of my time and stressed 0% of it!

People, if you know my day-to-day life, you will immediately recognize that this is a miracle. Most summers, I return to school an entire week before I have to and am NEVER ready for Open House until right when they unlock the doors. Usually, I’m hiding half-finished stuff in the closet when the first parent walks in my classroom. I haven’t been this crafty since my nerdy middle school days when I strung packing peanuts and foil star stickers on dental floss and called it a necklace (I think my tastes have improved since then -- wait for future posts to judge for yourself). And normally when I’m this productive, I’m also stressed out, tired, and totally unable to enjoy my family. I’ve felt relaxed, energized, and like we’re all just doing our thing side by side with occasional intersections. It’s only halfway through Friday as I type this. We still have last-day-of-summer-celebration events planned for the afternoon. 

I can’t explain how it works, but when I let go of pressure and ask God to help me, I am able to do immeasurably more than when I try to do everything on my own strength, running around like this dude...

...only minus the head. My next challenge -- REMEMBER THIS LESSON! 

Linking up to Women Living Well

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Let the Pooping of the Pants Commence

Well, Mom, we made it before you were in Depends but you might still drop a deuce when you see this transformation of the $20 dresser I bought at the beginning of the summer.

It only took three months. (I’m not being sarcastic here. This would normally take me at least three years to complete, but I’ve been on a supernatural multiplier  lately). I swear, half of that three months was spent removing the stupid veneer.

Then, I sanded it down with Scratchy, my electric sander, who has become a close second to my husband in my heart this summer (except for the days when #1 is more abrasive then #2 and they switch spots for a bit.) 

After it was smooth, it got two coats of black paint (chalkboard, but only because I’m cheap and had it on hand). 

Scratchy and I distressed it on the edges, in keeping with my “old and crusty” taste. 

Then I used some Grammy fabric and a tiny tension rod to make a little skirt for missing drawer #2. I stacked black matte board (also on hand - thanks, Nana!) inside the empty drawer space so it functions as a shelf with cute curtains.

Missing drawer #1 took a little longer to remedy. I was hoping to find baskets to fill in the space, but have I mentioned that I’m cheap? Plan B was to find and cover boxes, but there were none that fit, so I resorted to Plan C--make my own. I measured the drawer space, divided by four, subtracted a little for spacing (shoulda subtracted more--those suckers are tight!), then used cardboard from random trash to make an open tray-like box. Using a board as a straight edge, I cut the shape with a box cutter.

That's a dinosaur I drew to appease Max, who wanted to color Reed's super cool 3D cardboard dinosaur. Reed, while a generous big brother, is a bit too anal to tolerate with scribbles on his masterpiece. As you can see by the lack of coloring on the cardboard, my distraction was a total fail.

I hot glued the sides together.

Then, I bought some white burlap and sewed covers for the boxes. I used the box and my iron to mark where the seams needed to be.

This piece is the same size as the box.  I figured the fabric could stretch and it would make for a tighter fit.
 The sides are more than twice as "tall" so they will cover the outside and inside of the box by folding over the top edge.

I removed a little of the waste area to cut down on bulk and then trimmed to the corner. 

Then, I just folded and pinned the sides up and sewed it into a tall "box."

The edges folded over to cover the inside of the box. They got hot glued down eventually, but first I marked where I wanted my handles to be and took the cover back off.

Then, I watched the incredibly exciting instructional DVD that came with my sewing machine and learned how to sew a buttonhole. I won't show you pictures of my first attempt. Let's just say I should've practiced on a piece of scrap fabric. A thousand ripped-out stitches later, I had it figured out the right way. 

 For the handles, I used the curtain fabric from the other drawer to make little pulls. I folded the sides in, then folded the whole thing in half and stitched on top. 

The handles slipped through the buttonholes, a hole I poked in the cardboard, and a tear on the inside fabric. I wasn't about to sew more buttonholes than I had to.

I tied the handles to keep them in place, hot glued the fabric tightly to the inside, and cut a cardboard base to squash the whole thing down. I thought about covering the cardboard base with fabric, but I was feeling kinda lazy, so I didn't mess with it. 

Now I have all kinds of extra storage and a cute addition to my living room. Right now all those painstakingly-made drawers and the curtained shelf are empty and the other compartments are just shoved with a random assortment of stuff I was probably just trying to hide from company. I have big plans to re-organize my Sunday school/regular school/officey/desky stuff. Ask me about it in about three months. Or years. 

Linked to Kammy's Korner Trash 2 Treasure.