Sunday, January 19, 2014


Last week I had to take a day off work to stay home with this little guy. 

Sicky-Squiggs with his best pal and constant companion, Ruff Ruff

I had been with students either on the bus or at a school event for 13 hours the day before, so I have to say I wasn't too torn up about it. Not that I want my baby to be sick, but if ever there's a time where a little low grade fever is ok, this would be the it. 

Ryan had put the kids to bed the night before, and he warned me there was a good chance Squiggy would need a day home. He'd been sleepy at church, a little feverish, and didn't eat well. So I e-mailed good sub plans in that night and when my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I did the "mommy test" on his forehead and called in. I may or may not have done a tiny happy dance when I crawled back into bed. Just keepin' it real. 

Reed and Calvin got to ride the bus all the way to school from our house for the first time, so that was exciting. Even more exciting was waving down the bus that doesn't usually stop at our house in my jammies and crazy hair. 

Squig slept until 7:30. When he got up, I wondered if I was staying home for nothing. Though he still looked a little pale and had the "sick eyes," his fever was very low-grade and he seemed happy enough. And his appetite was back - he insisted on a cookie for keeping his diaper dry (our compromise since we stopped rewarding pooping on the potty--our argument, "Mommy and Daddy don't get treats for pooping." But we so should!) 

But after noshing on a cookie, he didn't want much to eat and he mostly wanted to snuggle on the couch. Twist my arm! After one or both of us slept for a while, I decided I needed to accomplish something with my unexpected day off. Thanks to all the recent snow days, there won't be another day off until the end of May! So, I started working on laundry and other chores, but I had a little shadow. He followed me around and made conversation about this and that. 

The convo turned to Mufasa and Simba (we'd recently watched the Lion King) and then we had an argument about weather Simba was a boy or a girl. I decided to prove it to him and put the movie in. He was so happy that he was proven right - Simba IS a girl, Mommy! (Sorry JTT - he's got a do sorta sound girly) When I corrected him, he burst into tears and ran away, heartbroken. So I did a little damage control and consoled him while we talked about voices changing and then just changed the subject. Little Man was fine, but also warm and snuggly, so I decided to sit with him, just until the scary parts were over. Well, the whole movie was so scary that I ended up sleeping through it like a lazy lioness with Cuddle Bumpkin on my lap.  Hakuna matata!

We ended up having a super-relaxing Mommy/Baby bonding day. He wasn't super sick, but he wasn't quite himself either. And after his extra-long (and, for me, extra-productive) nap his fever spiked a little and he said he had a headache, so Ryan went ahead and asked for the next day off just in case. 

How did Daddy's sick day go? Little Simba popped out of bed at the usual time, and was a chipper, talkative, and needy little guy the whole day! Sorry, Mufasa, but Sarabi lucked out this time! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lego Table

If you know our boys, then you know there's not much they like better than Legos. The two bigguns, especially, are obsessed! As a result, we have mountains of the tiny pieces. When Reed started becoming interested in Legos, largely due to an impressive collection at Mrs. Pam's day care, I decided to copy Mrs. Pam's organizational strategy for the plastic pieces: store 'em all mishmashed together on a Lego table. I took two end tables, set them side-by-side, hammered a little trim around the surface and, voila, an instant surface to play and store Legos. 

This did not last long. I swear Legos multiply at night (oftentimes on the floor). We soon had two  large storage tubs filled with the bricks under the end tables. The tabletop was still constantly loaded. The only purpose it served was a good place to aim when putting toys away Calvin-style (chucking them in the general direction of some receptacle).  So, this year for Christmas, I made a new, improved Lego table for myself the boys. I basically copied the table top for my pallet desk. I used two 1"x 12" boards, following the same painting technique I used on the pallet desk (red craft paint, sanding, stain/black paint mixture) to achieve rustic, barn-looking wood. I used mending plates to fasten the two boards side by side. Then, I nailed trim on the outside edge of all four sides so there would be a ledge to keep any rogue Ninjas from jumping off unassisted. The table is about eight feet long, so there's plenty of room for all three boys to play.

Whether there's plenty of room for all of their Legos remains to be seen. We still have the two storage tubs under the end tables. At this point you can see some of the surface of the table, which is more than you could say for the last one. However, they still have Christmas money to burn and I know what they'll spend it on. 

I'm not too worried, though. The boys received about 10 Lego sets for Christmas. Guess where they assembled nine of them?

All over the floor...

Linking up to: Hunt and Host: boys' room tour

Saturday, January 11, 2014


During yet ANOTHER week off (totally not complaining, but between snow and Christmas, I've worked only 4 1/2 days in the last five weeks!), I finally got down to business and made a menu and cooked real food for supper every night. It's rough to spend every day lying around in your pajamas, having Pinterest parties with yourself, playing Kinect with your fam, and then muster up enough energy to cook a healthy dinner. But I rallied, and we had some good grub this week. Until tonight. Ryan was at a hunt for the evening, so it was just the boys and I. Usually on nights like this, we make brinner, since Daddy's not a big fan of breakfast food. But I had also taken to making real breakfast the last three days. This may have been a subconscious penance for what occurred earlier in the week--an occurrence that I am 99.9% sure hasn't happened since Reed was born.

I slept past 10:00 on two occasions! Once it was closer to 11 than 10! I blame it on our boys being so self-sufficient. I recently rearranged the living room a bit and now the DVD player is low enough that Reed can operate it. Since they get a morning movie on the weekends and snow days = weekends in my book, the boys have been occupied for at least two hours after they wake up. They also get one video game turn, and their habit is to hit the Wii right after their morning movie credits roll. They set the timer for their turn and everything. The two talls don't always need help with breakfast, but if they do, it's always at least 2 1/2 hours after they wake up. Max usually wants a "snack" during the movie. We did have bagels and yogurt on hand, but a couple of mornings he brought me crackers and a bowl, and I thought, "What the heck?" and filled 'er up. But it only took a couple of days losing my most productive hours and waking up just about in time to make lunch to make me kick myself in the butt and set an alarm for the next day. The boys had used up all the oatmeal and were getting tired of their other breakfast go-to's, so I made our three fav breakfasts the next three days.

So, tonight, I invented snupper: snack-supper. Tonight's fare included apple and pear slices, cheese, cottage cheese, and the piece de' resistance: season-yo-own popcorn. I made a huge pot of popcorn on the stove and served it in "grown-up bowls" for the boys to flavor themselves with three new seasonings I bought (part of Ryan's and my plan to eat healthier snacks in the evening). You woulda thought I had Chuck E. Cheese come cater a party at our house! The boys wooped and hollered, complimented the food, ate like champs, and thanked me for "cooking so much good food!" Ha!  They literally licked their bowls clean. If I woulda known they were this easy to please, I would've skipped brinner and encouraged Ryan to go to a few more hunts!

I just read over this post and realized how LAZY I am I must sound! If I'm honest, I'm slightly dreading going back to the crazy life on Monday. A lot of friends are saying their kids are driving them nuts, but I just sleep through my kids' day our kids have been pretty great this month. I think a return to work is for the best, though. If we maintain the status quo, my kids will soon be malnourished and I'll be 300 pounds!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Beat my Husband

That's right, baby! I beat Ryan at Kinect soccer! If you know my previous experience as a soccer star, you will find this especially amusing. Eleven snow days + 2 weeks of Christmas break + lotsa fudge and cookies + basically being a sacka for a month = feeling a little on the chubby side. So, I hatched brilliant fitness plan - use the Kinect for exercise and family fun, cleverly dubbed: Mama's Fitness Time Bonus Video Gaming Privilege. The first attempt made me want to punch everyone in the house, ending with the Kinect sensor that can't simultaneously read my 5"10" frame and Squiggie's 2'10" one. But we got the kinks worked out today and had a family competition in boxing, track, and soccer.  One of the rules of MFTBVGP is that it's for Mama to sweat her fat butt off, so she gets a turn all the time (unless she wants to kick box the gaming system - then she does mad sit ups on the side while short people work the controls). So, tonight, I versed one boy at a time. Of course, Mr. Fitness wanted in on the action.

Let me first explain the competitiveness of Mr. Fitness. I would consider myself to be a competitive person, yes, but I've got nothin' on my main man (in fact, that would be another thing he claims he's better at than me). I realized this the first Easter he took me to his mom and dad's house. The family thought it would be fun to have an Easter egg hunt for old-time's sake. I schooled the whole family like the Easter Bunny was my brotha! And my fairly-new boyfriend was ticked! Like, for real, ticked. He complained about unfair advantages (on his home turf, mind you), told me that he let me win, and tried to steal eggs from my basket. Dude has issues...

So, of course, Mr. Gloatypants was rubbing it in when he beat me in boxing on a TKO and threw farther than me in javelin and discus (which are totally lame on the Kinect, fyi). There was much trash talk and victory dancing. I played it cool. Then I dominated him in soccer. For the first two goals, it was obviously because of a computer glitch. Then, it was because I'd used a cheat code. Then he started to figure out the game and score a few goals and magically the glitch was fixed and the cheat code had expired. But when I scored the final goal and time ran out, I could see true anger in his eyes. Was there a bit of trash talking and dancing? Oh yeah. I may have even pulled the Mia Hamm pose (I left my shirt on, but only because  of the aforementioned cookie equation). And then we had several minutes of knock-down drag-out fighting playful banter about skill levels and statistical impossibility of me beating him at anything and reality and what competitions we should have right now and sportsmanship and passing on horrible traits to certain little poor sports and playmakers making plays. Maybe not the best example to set for children, but they gotta learn about the heart of a champion somewhere - and that would be from me. The Champion.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Husband Beats Our Children

As I began to type this, my dear husband was wailing on our three boys with a battle axe and a sword. They were in heaven. The battle royale went on for over a half an hour, and even when they were all breathing heavy, no one wanted to be the first to give in (although Ryan feigned a leg wound and fought from the ground for a few minutes to catch a breather.)

I think they would've kept on fighting half the night if I hadn't called them in for supper. They ran into the kitchen, smiles on their faces and red marks all over the shirtless boys' backs and necks - and probably a few hidden on Daddy as well. As we set the table, they panted heavy, traded a little trash talk, and tried to get a few last whacks in before I finally made them stop fighting. They still talked trash during the meal: the boys making threats, giving themselves battle names, and Ryan shouting "I am fierrrrrce!!!!" with his scary wrestle-mania face.

Do I like all the violence in my household? You betcha! Though they are rough, loud, and rowdy, I know they're learning to be men from a great example of one. And despite frequent, "Babe!" warnings from me when I feel like a little warrior might be close to tears, Ryan really doesn't let up on the dudes. Sure, he spends half his energy making sure no blows are truly dangerous (to the boys or him - usually the most lethal shots come from the no-holds-barred baby of the family who's not above a good crotch shot). But he doesn't give them false praise or let them win very often. As a result, our boys are tough and feel a true sense of pride when they get a good shot in on their ruthless opponent. I may not understand it, but there's definitely something to this roughhousing form of bonding. The older two, especially, look at Daddy with different eyes after he's just handed out a butt-whoopin'--and it's not the "What the heck do you think you're doing?" look I'd be giving anyone who just battle axed me in the gut. In fact, tonight Ryan gave Calvin a whack I thought was a little unnecessarily rough. I said so, and Calvin jumped to his defense. "What!? That didn't even hurt at all!"

Thankfully, Daddy is just as quick to give them hugs, kisses, and tickles, and he's taken to reading adventure books to them in the evenings, but their favorite way to spend time with Daddy is still a rough and rowdy wrastlin' match. I'll just stay out of the wrestling ring within the safety of the couch and shout "be careful" warnings at the fierce one.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Better than Legos

Sometimes I wonder if anything we say will ever get through the thick little skulls of our children. We try to "train up our children in the way they should go," and it feels like we're constantly teaching little lessons about kindness, sharing, generosity, and gratefulness. And then Christmas happens and it's like they've never even heard of those concepts!

The boys had a slumber party in one bed on Christmas eve and were up so late giggling that they let us sleep in to a decently reasonable hour, as far as Christmas mornings are concerned.

They enthusiastically opened their presents, then spent the rest of the morning feverishly assembling their favorite gifts, the Lego sets they'd received.

The boys were so thrilled with the Legopalooza at our house, that one little gentleman didn't even want to leave to go to the Layton Christmas that afternoon. He was whining that he wouldn't get any Legos there. Insert big speech about nobody owing you any gifts at all, being grateful, Christmas is about Jesus, not you, etc. etc. In one ear and out the other, with a quick trip around the eyes to make them roll. But he got over it, put on a good face, and ended up opening some great  presents, including a Lego set. And he seemed to be genuinely grateful for and happy about all of his new loot. But when I asked the brothers to pose in their new deer hunting get-up, this is what I got:

A mini political statement? Surely not!

Fast forward to the Raney Christmas. When Uncle Trey showed the boys around the playroom, occupied by his cousins, a 2 year-old girl and a 6 week-old baby boy, they found a vanity, dress up clothes, and a million baby dolls and accessories. Calvin took a quick tour of the joint, then announced, "Can we open presents now?" I coulda killed him!

But a few days later, Mr. Selfish redeemed himself and all three boys gave me hope that maybe a little of our instruction is sinking in. My dad had a significant birthday which I will not divulge (I'll just say that it rhymes with pixty). We threw him a little party and after he opened presents, he took the opportunity to share his heart with his family. He told us about how he went to a Bible study with someone years ago and learned about Jesus. When Max heard that name, he piped up with, "Jesus can save you!" Interrupting? Yes, but also true--and cute. My dad (a.k.a. Papa) described how when he accepted Christ he literally felt a warmth crawl up his body and settle in his heart, to which Reed interjected, "That must've been the Holy Spirit!" (I gotta admit--I was sorta bustin' my Sunday-school-teacher-mom buttons right then...) Then he went on to share that from that moment on he knew that God was real. Then, he said that God has communicated to him at various times in his life, including when he told him to marry Mimi. Calvin had to get his two cents in to this speech, so he said, "I'm glad He told you that, cuz' (big eyes and big finger point to Mommy)," which of course elicited an explanation by Reed and random chatter by Max. After the speaker got his audience back under control, he warned us that Satan is spreading two big lies: that God isn't real and that the Bible can't be trusted. Then he encouraged us to seek God and try to learn more about him because He's real and He loves us. "So, I guess that's my gift to you," he concluded. And how did my selfish, toy-obsessed child reply? He perked right up and said, "That's better than Legos!"

That'll preach.