Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

It’s cherry blossom time again. The season when Washington DC turns into a gorgeous spring wonderland with white and soft pink blossoms envelop every inch of the trees. Walking the Tidal Basin just off of the Mall is a particular treat. The Japanese gave the trees to the US as a gift and they are stunning to behold. Seems to me that we always choose particularly cold days to go down and see them. One year it was miserable beyond description. We knew it would be cold and dressed for it. Maddie was about six months old, so she sat in the back of the double stroller in her carseat, snug as a bug in a rug. She napped the whole time. Ben was bundled up in two pairs of pants, a sweatshirt and a coat with gloves and a winter hat. Still, it was cold and the wind was nasty. We walked the entire circle that year and he was in a terrible mood. Not only was he really cold, he was incredibly tired and irritable. He cried as he was strapped down in the buckle of the stroller. At one point, I took my freezing cold fingers out of my gloves to snap a few pictures and fell behind Brian and the stroller a few paces. When I started walking again, I overheard a couple walking past me say, “Those parents are terrible. I can’t believe they would take their kid out in this weather and freeze him like that.” Of course, they had no idea I heard or that I was that poor abused kid’s mother.
This year, the weather was windy, as it always is on the Tidal Basin, but pleasant temperatures. That made the day so much more enjoyable. We picked Brian up from work and drove to the Metro station to take the train in to town. Even if the kids were stinkers about getting good pictures, we really enjoyed the time playing there. We made the wise choice to only walk half way around that way, we all stayed happy. The kids were cute playing on the walk and despite their best efforts to look rotten in every picture, we still got a few cute ones. One of Ben’s favorite things was to see on the Tidal Basin was about 50 of those green port-a-johns in a row for all the cherry blossom festival goers. What can you say? You take a kid to enjoy the blossoms and all of God’s beautiful creations and he only cares about the toilets. Oh yeah, as always, they both LOVED riding the metro train in.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spacial Relations Specialist

I know parents are bias. My kid will always be the nicest, kindest, funniest, cutest child in the world. You know, just like yours is. Honestly though, I'm not sure why, but it had never occurred to me that Maddie might be smart until about a month ago. Not sure why. I guess I just never thought of it. When I finally noticed she was learning stuff, I mentioned it to Brian with amazement. I could tell by his response I was a little slow. In our "Church Bag" of quiet books and toys we take to church with us for the first hour of services where we're together as a family, we have some puzzles. They happen to be much more difficult than I originally thought when I bought them. Ben and I have trouble putting them together sometimes. During the service, Maddie put them together mostly on her own. If I showed her the general region the piece might go, she would quickly place it without any trouble. I was dumbfounded. She seems to have a real aptitude for spacial things. Move over Aunt Kristie. We have a new Spacial Relations Specialist in the family.

Sometimes You Gotta Give Your Elephant a Bath

Potty training is officially on hold. We haven't tried in weeks and I honestly don't care. It is so much less work right now to just change a morning and evening wet pull up (actually she does that herself) and one stinky one a day. No mad dashes to the bathroom, only to have urine dribble down her leg and all over the floor while Jacob screams from being hastily deposited on the floor in a panic. We haven't removed the potty training items from the bathrooms though. Mistake.
Now that our bathroom is so kid friendly (motion sensing overhead light and faucet she can use herself) Maddie can wash up after every meal all by herself. I LOVE IT!!! So does she. We also have books in the main floor bath that sat on the counter for reading while we wait for Maddie to do her business. For a couple days, she would wash much longer than necessary, but whatever, right? No one was crying. Everything is good. Or maybe not.
I noticed the books laying flat on the counter rather than up against the wall. I picked them up and they were dripping wet. All I could do was shake my head and dry them out. When questioned about how the books got all wet, she had a totally logical explanation. "Horton needs a bath. I got him a BATH!!!" she exclaimed with glee. Horton wasn't too bad, but his book cover was destroyed and some of it still remains on the front of the book that I need to scrap off. Winnie the Pooh didn't fare quite as well. He doesn't even approach closing anymore. But, I'm really glad that Horton the elephant is clean now. Check one more thing off my "To Do" list.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Little Sister, Big Sister

Maddie loves her brothers.

Friday, March 27, 2009


My friend Lori was over today visiting with me. Ben was in the living room with us and left to use the bathroom. After he washed his hands he headed up the stairs and called down to me that he had to change. When he returned to the living room with us, he made a point to go tell Lori, "I had to go change my pants AND my underwear because they got wet when I was using the bathroom." Thank you Ben. TMI for a friendly visit though. WAY too much information.

Accident, Defiance, Experimentation or Stupidity

I know it wasn't an accident. Take that one off the list right off the bat. I was making grilled cheese sandwiches at the stove for our lunch. Maddie asked for a drink of water and went to the table with it. She climbed up on her chair and took a sip. Then she seemed enthralled with looking in the cup. She stood up and held it to her face for a while. Then she held her arm out away from her, over the table and dumped the entire cup on the table. WHAT WAS SHE THINKING???? I've had it. I am so glad Jacob was sleeping (despite their most valiant efforts to ruin his naps and waking him three times in four hours, totally destroying my morning and wasting my time trying to resettle him over and over). Since he was down, I was free to deal with the situation in a level headed manner. I asked her why she dumped the water. "Because I like to dump water," came the reply. I gave her a rag and made her clean it up as best she could. Then I helped get the rest and sent her to time out, a place she spends about half her day. She's already been in time out multiple times today and it's only noon. It just doesn't phase her. Time out is worthless with this child. She goes willingly. Happily actually. Then she waits until I come to talk and release her. She gives me a hug and smiles as she says sorry and toddles off to wreak havoc again. I know with Ben there was a period of about six months maybe that it felt he was in time out all the time too. It's just that it made a difference and had an effect on him. He hated to be removed from the action or taken away from his toys. It was a punishment to him. Maddie seems to think with simply interupt one fun game with another funny game called "Time Out" where she gets to wiggle her legs on the stairs and give mom a hug before we return to our original fun games. What do you do with a kid who doesn't mind time out? It doesn't accomplish it's purpose if it doesn't feel like a punishment to them.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mothering As A Job

I have been listening to a great talk rebroadcast online from my MOPS group. It was fantastic. Amazing. Inspiring. She ends her speach by saying something like, "you mothers are doing the most improtant job in the entire world." Ben picked up on the "most important job in the entire world" part and asked me, "What is the most important job in the world?" I told him it was to be a mother. He responded, "Yeah, it's pretty important, but it isn't really fun. It sure is boring to be a mom." It made me laugh.

Totally Missed 2 am

Last night Jacob saw fit to awake and demand feeding every single hour except 2 am. I was asleep around 11pm, but woke in the 12, 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 o'clock hours. I am so totally exhausted. After I had him fed and snuggled back in his bed following the 5 am feeding, I flopped my tired body down again in my cold bed. Before I had even dozed off, I heard Maddie Mae arrise and come to our door. She must have thought it was still near bedtime rather than 5 am, because she didn't come in. Instead she flopped her body down just at the edge of the doorframe and began to wail. I poked Brian to offer him a turn so I could sleep. He tried. He really did. But at 5 am when an irrational two year old is yelling, "I want Mama!" you just cave because all you really care about is getting them to shut up so you can get two minutes of much needed sleep. He let her down and I hauled her up from the floor, over my body and put her between us. She made me cuddle her so she could relax and sleep. That meant I couldn't relax and sleep with her hair in my face so I can't breath. It makes me claustrophobic. Once Maddie was groggy enough, I gently removed my arm from underneath her and quickly flipped my body to face the other way and scooted my back to touch hers to fool her into thinking I was still right there. She startled and reached for me. When she felt me there, she dropped off again. Finally I could snooze. Less than an hour later, Brian had arisen and showered then went to calm a fussy Jacob. For twenty minutes he settled him only to have him cry again. I gave up. I could pretend to be sleeping as I wanted, but knew I would never sleep. I was on pins and needles wishing he would just go back to sleep. Better to cut my losses, go feed him and try to sleep after he was down again. As I stirred, Maddie asked to watch a movie. I told her to ask her Daddy because I had to help Jacob. We handed off Jacob and Brian sat on the couch to relax. Maddie came in and demanded a movie. We told her if she said "Please" she could have it. All we got was a tantrum. Instead of sleeping more I chose to shower. Something neglected for two days because Brian had been going to work earlier than I was getting up and I couldn't quite manage to do that and care for the kids with their high maintenance needs in the mornings. Then Ben was up and it was time for breakfast. After feeding Jacob so much I was famished. I made nine scrambled eggs. One and a half for each of the big kids and ate the other six myself and was still hungry. Both kids have tantrumed all morning. I was grateful to drop Ben at preschool. I know he'll have fun and I know he'll behave. At home we run a high risk that I'd just have to mediate fights all day. Maddie Mae finally agreed to eat her breakfast around 10:30. Hopefully that will help her mood. I had Brian help me dose her up with pain/fever reliever before he left for work. I figured it was my only chance at sanity today. She must not feel well if she's that rotten to be around. Before Brian left early for work today, I did just take a moment to confirm. It isn't a holiday and ExxonMobil is not closed so he can stay home and help manage the troops. No luck. I'm going to have to weather this storm alone in my weakened and sleep deprived state. Heaven help me. And it will.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Message From Ben

popcorn wade space ??? lv4d45ykt6,v,b9kiiit y ???
kigjkjk m8xdhyu ??? A

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Banned from Blogging, Email and the Computer in General

Jacob has decided to ban me from all computer use. I love to read and catch up on everyone else's blogs and write my own and check my email and everything else computer. Unfortunately for me, Jacob is in that couple month long stage when naps aren't totally predictable yet. He's too old to just sleep all the time. Too young to be regular at sleeping in his crib. I end up holding him more than I should just to keep him from crying and making me nuts. My email backlog is approaching two weeks and it feels like 100 messages. I looked at my blog roll and hadn't read another blog for 7 days. Yikes. That's just not me. And it showed in my behavior this week. Not having any time to myself or for the things I want to do makes for one cranky Angie. Here are some cute things from the kids today: Today at lunch I was asking Maddie about family relationships. "Who is Brian's daughter?" "Who is Angie?" "Who is your brother?" etc. I asked, "Who is Brian's son?" She responded, "ME!" We told her Ben was Brian's son. She protested and explained...Maddie-SON. Okay. She got us there. Her name has a "son" in it and that's just really gotta be confusing to a two year old mind. Yep. She's Brian's Maddie-SON. While editing the stake cultural event video this afternoon, Ben came in and sat on my bed to watch one of the videos. After it was done, he told me he "just needed to come up to your room to drop something." I smiled, but was totally confused. Then he gave me hug and a kiss and headed out the door. As he left, he turned back to say, "You know about dropping stuff mom? Like when we dropped off cookies at Natalie's house. I just wanted to drop you a hug and a kiss. See ya."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Birthday Wishes

In an attempt to keep Maddie engaged and talking so I didn't "waste" her nap on the drive home from Ikea shopping in Woodbridge (30 minutes away) I was asking her all sorts of wild and zany questions to keep her from dozing. When I ran out of questions I moved on to singing all the loud and wild songs I could think of. When I suggested we learn the Happy Birthday song so we would be ready to sing to Ben in a few weeks it started a huge excited chattering conversation where no one listened to anyone else. Maddie is planning to have about seven birthday cakes. They will all be decorated differently. We will have a Diego, Dora, teddy bear and many other random things that suited her tastes today. When I asked Ben what he wanted me to make on his cake, he reminded me that he was going to decorate his own cake and he had already informed me of this before. He won't reveal the design of his cake, just said it will be a "really great surprise!" So I'm a little bit sad I won't be able to make another cool cake for him. The best part of our conversation was still to come though. He told me that he would blow out his candles and make a wish. After a few minutes he further informed me that he was going to wish for all of his wishes to always come true. After another long pause, he told me that he knew how to make all his wishes come true. "You just have to do the thing you want." Good call by Ben. You can do just about anything you set your mind too. You just have to try. I hope he always has that kind of internal drive!

A Trial of Love

How do you know your children love you--I mean, how do you really know they love you? They may tell you every day, but you can never be certain...Perhaps the only way to really know is to test their love. Angie decided to put Ben's love to the test tonight. A year or so ago Angie purchased four sets of corn handles to help us hold our corn-on-the-cob while we eat it. Ben very quickly learned how to push the sharp ends of the handles into the end of corn and loves to use them to eat his corn. What made it even better was that one of the sets of handles came in his favorite color--blue! Well, purple is actually his absolute favorite, but he will tell you that blue is also his favorite. Tonight I cooked some corn-on-the-cob for dinner. When I brought the corn to the table, Ben quickly jumped up, exclaiming, "Ohhh, I know what will be perfect for this!" He ran to the drawer, pulled out the corn handles and gave Angie the first choice between the colors--blue, red, white or yellow. I looked up after Angie selected the blue handles and saw a sort of sly grin on her face as she waited for Ben's response. She knew full well that Ben always chooses the blue handles, so she was testing him to see what his response would be. Ben thought for a second and then simply turned and asked me what color I wanted. Angie and I both knew at this point that Ben truly loved his mom as he was willing to sacrifice his favorite color to make her happy. At this point, Maddie jumped up and picked the yellow handles. Since yellow is not one of his favorite colors, Ben easily gave them up and offered me the two remaining pairs--white and red. I knew that Ben had already sacrificed a lot for a four year old, so I asked him which color I should take. I was a little surprised when he stated red because I knew that was his next favorite color. However, he very quickly corrected himself and stated, "I mean, I will take the red." He then handed me the white handles and we all enjoyed our corn. Ok, so we really do know our kids love us. How could we not know with all the great snuggles and the way they run around the house giggling when we come home from a meeting. Sometimes we just like to see how far that love will go. Tonight, Ben passed the test.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Get Me Outta Here!

Jacob feels left out of all the fun during meal time, so we have been using the Bumbo chair to let him join in the festivities. I set him in the middle of the kitchen table directly in front of me at eye level. Most of the time he really loves being eye to eye with us and the kids love being able to play with him while they eat. Lately though, he has been experimenting with what he can do with his little body. He stretches and bends until I'm afraid he'll pop out, flip backward and whack his little head. Might be time to abandon dinner time company and restrict his Bumbo time to the living room carpet again. Bummer for everyone. It was fun while it lasted.

Master Offers Free Lessons

Ben has been anxious the last two days and has asked Maddie about a million times if she wants to come to his somersault classes. He keeps telling me how good he is and he really needs to teach her and his classes are free. I even got him to clean up the basement because they needed lots of space to have their lessons. Not only did Maddie not help him clean, she didn't want lessons once they had space. Poor boy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Consigning Again

Ben and I had another great date this morning. He needed a few summer clothes and there was a consignment sale down the street, so we went together so he could pick out something amazing to wear. He chose some soft shorts and a t-shirt with FIRE across the front. He loves it. We also found a pair of roller skates he's been enjoying tons. He still won't try roller skating down the sidewalk yet. He's scared to fall, but he loves to do it in the house.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Everyone's Favorite Party Game

Can anyone guess what classic party game we are playing at preschool?
This week I taught preschool and we learned about the letter "N" for our kindergarten readiness module. I couldn't help but snicker a little bit. The letter N has some history in the Zufelt family. Apparently, Brian's brother Brett wanted to pick some party games for one of his birthday parties in his younger years. Instead of Red Light, Green Light, he chose to make up his own game. He made the letter N with boards on the floor and the game was to jump over the N. There are pictures documenting this great game.
I was quite excited to relive Brett's favorite party game at preschool and get some pictures to show him. The kids enjoyed the game. Each time they jumped over the N they had to tell me something (name of the letter, what sound it makes, a word that starts with N, etc.). They really had fun when they started getting silly and making a dog pile after they jumped over it. Thanks, Uncle Brett, for such a fantastic game idea.

Smile Maddie

This is what I get these days when I tell Maddie to smile. Tight lipped, stressed out looking smile. When I tell her to open her mouth a little with a pretty smile so I can see her teeth? Yeah. She's gonna be a heart breaker, we can already tell.

Jacob vs Ben

Here are the pics of Jacob at 3 months in the clothes Ben wore at 8 and 9 months. Crazy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Four Year Old and National News

Ben just asked me what they were talking about on the radio when they ran down the national news. I told him there was a very sad man that wasn't feeling good one day and he chose to shoot some people with his gun. Ten minutes later he was building on the floor in front of me with his wooden blocks. Jacob was chilling on the couch to my side and I was checking email from the laptop on the couch. Ben shot up to standing position like a bolt of lightening so I could see his head above the laptop screen. He said, "Oh. You were so still that I thought you were one of those guys that got shot." How do I protect him from the news on the radio? It's not like we sit him at the tv to review the 6 o'clock news. Ugh.

We Learn Best Through Experience

How many times do parents tell their kids to pick up their toys before someone steps on them and gets hurt? Oh, I'd say about a bazillion. Ben always says he doesn't think it's a problem to have toys all over the ground because he never steps on them. Well, I do. And never the soft teddy bear type. Usually the hard/sharp plastic ones. It makes me so mad. Today it was proven to him that it might, just maybe, be a bad idea to leave toys all over the floor and especially on the stairs. After preschool at our house today he went back to the basement and as he went down the stairs, he SCREAMED at the top of his lungs. I asked what happened from upstairs. He yelled, "Wade and Hugh left all the little airport guys on the stairs and I stepped on them! It really hurt!" I admit my first reaction was happiness. Now he understands what I've been telling him. I told him he'd be fine and he told me that we shouldn't leave toys on the stairs. Yep. You got it buddy.

I Thought I Was Kidding...Guess I Was Right

On an almost daily basis, I notice just how big Jacob is. It keeps blowing my mind. Really it does. Jacob turned 3 months a few days ago and I've had to move him into 3-6 month clothes. I joked today that the outfit I put Jacob in to sleep tonight Ben wore when he was walking. Tonight I was cleaning out pictures from our hard drive and my jaw dropped to see this:
Ben - 9 months
Ben - 8 months
Ben - 8 months
Ben - 8 months walking with Grandpa

Jacob's current 3 month wardrobe is dominated by the outfits Ben wore at 8 and 9 months. Holy Cow!! The outfit in the last two pictures is the sleeper Jacob wore to bed tonight. Yikes! Jacob's a big boy. I'll have to get pictures when he wakes up of him in the outfits.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ben's Killing Me

Mother's Day
Ben has been planning for Mother's Day since the day after Mother's Day last year. Somehow Brian must have made it so special and fun that he is anticipating it almost more than Christmas. He always is making me pictures and cards and telling me about what we could do to get ready and talking through getting flowers and always has ideas about what I might want to have as a present. Today he told me that he could go on a walk to find Mother's Day flowers but he keeps having to wait to go get them "because they will just be dead on Mother's Day if I get them today."
Smells Like Grandpa
We had house guests for five days. Our friend from Houston, Candy, and her dad, Jerry. Jerry had lovely accomodations in our basement on an air mattess so he could have some privacy. Like most men, he apparently wears cologne. Something Brian does not do. It gives me a headache if he has it on and I'm not so sure he wore it before we met either. Anyway, after Jerry left to go see the sights in DC the second day, Ben went in the basement to get some toys and hollered up the stairs to me, "Mom, it smells like Grandpa Zufelt is down here." I hope Grandpa Zufelt feels flattered that Ben remembers his scent. It sure made me chuckle.
Today during Maddie's nap, Ben asked if he could exercise on "the big fold down machine in the basement" meaning the treadmill. I got him all set up with the safety cord on his shirt and walking shoes and supervised while he walked on the slowest setting for five minutes. I was surprised he did it so long. He really enjoyed it. Later that afternoon, Ben came and told me, "Mom, I can feel myself growed taller today because of all that exercising I did." And another time he said, "When I grow up, I'm going to get on an airplane and come back home to our house in Virginia and get the exercise machine so I can practice walking and exercising." I replied that maybe I would want to use it still. He said that would be okay. After 20 minutes he had come up with a better response. "I think when I'm a grown up, you'll be kind of older than me so you might just be dead. Then I can have the exercise machine because you won't need it, because....well...you're just dead."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Family Fun with Candy Booth

We had a fun time with Candy Booth and her dad, Jerry here in DC for a few days. She got a great casual family picture of us all. I wish I had picked Maddie an outfit instead of let her choose something zany with wild, unkept hair, but we take what we can get. Plus, we weren't planning pictures.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Getting Dressed

Maddie is two and a half years old. Plenty old enough to dress herself, in my opinion. Too many people baby their kiddos and do everything for them. I know someone that went to the pediatrician with their four year old and when the doc was going through that random checklist of skills the kid should have, the mother was floored that a four year old should be able to dress themselves. Seriously?? Her life must suck rocks. It would be like having a four year old infant. I am a firm believer that if you take the time up front to teach a skill, you will reap the rewards for a long, long time. A parents job is to teach their child. Therefore, I am well aware that teaching Maddie to dress herself will take a while. She's been doing fantastic with her shirts for months. If I get it the right direction and set lightly on her head, she can get it on and get her arms in. Since we keep toying with potty training, she is getting good at pulling pants on. We moved to training pants from diapers last week, so we've crossed that hurdle too. The last remaining obsticle to independence was getting access to her clothes. Ben refused to trade dressers with her. His is perfect. Small. Light weight drawers. Easy to open and close. Maddie has a huge, old antique dresser we got from grandparents when I was a little girl. It's ancient and heavy. The bottom drawer is the only one she has a hope of opening and the two handles are too far apart for her two little arms to reach to pull the drawer out. Finally, I decided she could open it if I just taught her a little trick. For several days, instead of opening her drawer for her in the morning to choose her clothes, I would verbally instruct her to pull the left handle a little bit, then pull the right handle a little bit, now pull the other one, back and forth until it broke free and started to come out. Every time she pulled one side or the other and it moved just a tiny bit I'd cheer and tell her she was doing a super amazing job!! She was always proud when it finally came open and her reward was picking her own clothes, which she is reveling in. Everything pink goes first. This morning we got breakfast and had no where to go so I didn't push the kids and let them play in their pajamas for a while. Maddie went upstairs to play. Pretty soon, she came downstairs. She had taken her feet pajamas off by herself, opened her dresser and chosen a pinkish-purple pair of pants and got them on all by herself. She was so proud! She came down and went straight to me and said, "Look Mom! I did my pants all by myself!" What a pleasant surprise. Apparently, the shirt was more than she could handle, but I'll take it! It's fun to see your kids achieve new things and be proud of it too! It made Maddie feel like a million bucks.

Changing Weather

Monday we got a big winter storm and several inches of snow. Tuesday was chilly and we had record breaking low temps over night. Wednesday the temperature was in the mid 30s and I didn't wear a coat to run in and out of the house and car and stuff when doing errands. It was "comfortable" enough. Yesterday the temperature got into the 40s and it felt great. Today the weather was so nice that we went on a walk in the woods to visit the creek next to the house and throw some rocks in the water. By the end of the walk it felt so nice that I took off Jacobs coat and he just had long pants and shirt. He really enjoyed the walk in the woods, as did the other two kids. Many rocks have a new home this afternoon in the water. The kids love throwing rocks. We took treasure bags to pick up all the great things they found and I collected round rocks for my preschool lesson. All I know so far is that we have to paint them gold. Not sure the point yet, I'll have to study the lesson. We are LOVING that we can get out of the house now. The weather is so inviting. Blossoms are beginning to show and will be in full bloom in just a few short weeks. The Cherry Blossom Festival starts in just three short weeks. We love the Tidal Basin in April. The weather is inviting outside and we are taking advantage of it. Tomorrow we are going to Monticello to visit the Thomas Jefferson Estate and it will be 72 degrees. Life is good.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


We're in that terrible stage with Maddie that I HATE. She is highly verbal and has been speaking in complete sentences for almost a year already. I find myself expecting more out of her sometimes than is reasonable. The thing driving me nuts right now is that she hasn't yet wrapped her mind around the meaning of the word "why." Ben: "Maddie ________ (fill in blank with some type of mischief like steal Ben's glasses)" Mom: "Maddie, go to time out." Fast forward two minutes of timeout on the stairs. Mom: "Okay Maddie. Timeout is finished. Come here and lets talk. (she comes) Did you take Ben's glasses?" Maddie: "Yes." Mom: "Was that a good choice?" Maddie: "NO! It was a BAD choice!" Mom: "That's right. Why did you take Ben's glasses?" Maddie: "Yes." Mom: "Why did you take Ben's glasses?" Maddie: "Because I have to go to time out because I taked his glasses!!" Mom: "That's right. If you take Ben's glasses you go to time out. Why did you take his glasses?" Maddie: "I did it." Mom: "Yes. You stole Ben's glasses. Why did you take his glasses? Were you angry?" Maddie: "I was angry." Mom: "Why did you take Ben's glasses? Were you being silly?" Maddie: "Because I was being silly." Mom: "Were you being silly or were you angry?" Maddie: "Yes. I was." I wish she'd hurry up and learn what "why" means so she can answer my questions and we can logic out why she is making bad choices. Of course, that would work, right? My other thought is that I am insane. Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Why do I even ask Maddie "why"? It's just a waste of my time anyway.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Testimony of Prayer

Story dictated by Ben: Once I was laying in my bed and mom and dad were in their bed. And I sat up in my bed and I said a prayer and asked, cause I had some coughs, God if he could help the coughs go away. And it worked. I just had two more coughs and then they were gone.

Not Now

About two weeks ago I decided I'd had enough of the stinky diapers from Maddie. She knew what she was doing and was deciding not to use the toilet. We started some tough love potty training with the natural consequence of a cold bath (rinsing her bum) when she pooped in her diaper. After six days we hadn't had a single success. Saturday night I was thinking as I lay in bed after Brian had drifted off to sleep about the situation. The impression came with power then that I needed to stop my plan. Now was not the right time and cold baths were not the right approach for this child in this moment. I was struck with the urgency of the feelings. I couldn't shake the feeling and after a while I pulled myself out of bed and began to pray about what to do. While I think my method is an acceptable way to handle the problem, I know that it is not right for this child at this time. I will always wonder what the reason was. Is it because she physically isn't ready (her muscles can't do it yet), is it the wrong time for me to handle it as an adult (let's face it, potty training is rough on parents and their patience level), was she feeling demeaned and humiliated because of the way I was handling the situation (that could have significant consequences beyond potty training) or something else? So I quit. No more cold baths. Not now. No more words about it. Ever. She has regressed back to peeing in her diaper too and almost never using the potty. I've let it go for now. I know it is the right thing for Maddie. Today though, I'm thinking about my experience. God knows my children better than I ever will. He can see their tender, sweet hearts and can guide me to teach and nurture them in the best way for each child as an individual. I think what I learned two things: 1. Listen to the promptings I am given, God will show me the best things in the right moments. Then obey his direction even when you don't know why. 2. If I fail to pray and study the scriptures every day, it extends beyond myself. I am doing a huge disservice to my children. They need me to be in tune with the direction God is sending to me for them. It is so much bigger than me. My kids need me to be connected to God.

Hurricane Camping from Me

From my email March 22, 2005: Shon pretty much summed up the camping trip perfectly. When we were leaving, Kristie said she would never come back to that beach again in her life. She was so scared it was funny. At 4 am she made Anthony drive off the beach onto the pavement by the bathrooms because she was afraid she would get stuck. Keep in mind that she didn't care if WE got stuck and the sand where you drive was hard as a rock. I laughed at her. Kristie also got something in her eye, probably sand. It cut the eyeball or something in the white part and she was hurting pretty bad. I told her I would get my sister, Nurse Kristie, to help her out. Nurses can fix anything. Ben loved the sand and hated the water. I don't blame him though. The water was pretty cold. Anthony and Emily are the only ones who actually got in that I remember.

Camping in a Hurricane from Shon

Spring Break is just around the corner. Which means it is almost the anniversary of our family camping trip in a hurricane in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ahhh...the memories. Anyway, I was searching email lately for something and ran across this email from my brother Shon after we tried out camping in a Texas hurricane. It brought back sooooo many funny memories, I just had to relive it again and thought my family would get a kick out of it too. From an email Shon sent to the family March 20, 2005: Well I am sure you will get different versions of the Robinson, Zufelt, Moeller camping trip but here is a little bit about our adventure. We went to a place called Mustang Island State Park which is on a barrier island just outside of Corpus Christi, Texas. It is about a 5 hour drive from our house there. My family got there about 5:30 on Friday night and we chose our campsite. The campground facilities consisted of a picnic table (not everyone had one but we did!!!!!), a garbage can, and a port-a-potty every 300 yards along the beach. We just drove straight onto the beach and we camped between the sand dune and ocean. There was about 50 yards between the water and dune. The wind was blowing pretty hard so we parked the van to break the wind and got the tent set up. By the time the tent was up it was dark and we all were totally full of sand from the crazy wind. Sarah and Abby were wrecks because the kids stayed in the van so they wouldn't get sand in every crevas and cry from the wind blowing it in their eyes. It was kind of frustrating to get there to the beach after a 5 hour car ride only to be foiled by the wind. Once the tent was up we put Abby and Sarah to bed. Juli and I ate "sand"wiches and looked at each other like we were idiots for not packing right back up and going home. The wind did die down after about 8:00 and it was actually a pleasant evening. Everyone else went to bed while Bryce and I went to get Angie and Kristie's families. They showed up at about 10:00 and set up their tents. Then we went to bed. Saturday started out as a very nice day. We spent the morning and early afternoon at the beach. The kids built sandcastles, flew kites, caught clams and crabs, played Frisbee, played in the sand etc. They had an absolute ball. Anthony even went boogie boarding. Abby loved the sand. She had a good time walking in it and digging and playing with it. She was a very dirty girl most of the time. Angie and Brian made a very nice breakfast of bacon and eggs and muffins. Then my family made hoagie sandwiches for lunch. After Ben and Abby had a nap we drove to the USS Lexington. It is a WWII aircraft carrier that is now a museum in Corpus Christi. We took a ferry across from the island to another island and then a bridge across to the mainland. It was pretty impressive to go through the Lexington. We went up to the "island" where the ship is controlled, all around on the flight deck where there were ~15 different airplanes and helicopters. We also went down in the ship to the engine room, the dentist office, the chapel, the post office, the barber shop, the hospital, the mission briefing room, the war room (command center), captains room, the emergency room (fire and hazmat stuff), the hanger, the cafeteria, the room where they filmed some of pearl harbor, etc, etc. It was pretty amazing to think that in 1944 they built that ship without computers and it was so technologically advanced. Anyway the kids enjoyed it and were tired after walking miles and miles. When we were done it looked like it might rain so we decided not to cook dinner in the rain and went to Outback Steakhouse. Boy did it ever rain while we were eating. There were tornado warnings on the TV's in the restaurant, hail and lightning etc not to mention the torrential downpour. After it cleared up we headed back to the beach. When we got there it wasn't raining too hard. K&A's tent was upside down and some of the poles had come out of ours but B&A's and ours for the most part were fine. K&A took down their tent and slept in their car. Brian and Angie slept the first part of the night in the tent. On the way home from the restaurant all the kids fell asleep so we didn't want to put them in the tent since we might wake them up. Also the bottom room was flooded (3 room tent) and there were only enough dry blankets and sleeping bags for 2-4 people to sleep in the tent. We all started out trying to sleep in the van and people moved around every hour or so when someone would wake up or cry or get eaten by mosquitoes. It is very interesting sleeping a family of 6 in a van! It can be done but I would not recommend it. At about midnight we finally got pretty well arranged and slept for a while. Juli, Emily, Sarah and Abby were sleeping in the tent (they were the comfortable ones) with me and Bryce cramped in the van. Have you ever slept on a 4 foot bench? At about 3 or so in the morning I woke up to tons of lightning but it wasn't raining. I noticed that Angie and Brian's tent was gone but their car and K&A's car were both still there. Everyone had moved into their cars. It was like it was constant lightning and the sky was just always bright. I also saw that the wind had picked up a lot. I ran in to the tent and told Juli we should probably move them all back into the van. By the time I got to the tent and grabbed Sarah it was pouring rain and the tent was getting pounded by the wind. I carried Sarah and then Emily back to the van and threw them in. Then we grabbed Abby and Juli came. Now, all 6 of us were wide awake inside the van watching the tent get pounded. Juli suggested we go put the poles down so at least the tent didn't break. I thought that since the tent had made it through that first storm alright while we were at dinner it would be fine, so I didn't go do it (I also didn't want to get any wetter). Then the wind really started blowing and I decided I probably should go let it down. Just about then I heard 2 loud pops and the tent poles broke. Oh well I guess I will listen better next time to what Juli says. Now we were in a really fun situation. Everyone was in their cars ready to go except our family. We had a broken 10 man tent with stuff in it (pack and play 4 air mattresses, duffel bags, etc.) sitting on the beach and there was no way to get that thing in the van too. It was also quite obvious that we were not going to get any more sleep with us all crammed like that in the van. The smart decision was going to be to just head home. How are you supposed to roll a loaded tent up, through it in the van and take off? We waited until the rain died down a little (not stopped raining just stopped sideways raining) and then Angie and I tore down the tent and put all of our gear in their car and our van. It probably took a good 20 minutes to get it all done. I invented the next reality show. Camping on a beach in a hurricane. CAN YOU DO IT? The best part was trying to take apart the pack and play, deflate the air mattresses and get the bags out of a tent that is laying down and being pounded by wind and rain. I did learn some things. If you are claustrophobic I definitely would not suggest crawling into a ten man tent in wind and rain and dark where a pack and play is the only support holding up the roof. It is pretty tough to move around when the ceiling sticks to you (because it is wet plastic) and the wind is roaring. After we got packed up we drove to the other side of the sand dunes where there was a shower and bathroom. Everyone went to the bathroom and I changed my clothes (somehow our clothes bag was not packed at the bottom of the van) and I found DRY clothes! There are little miracles. We then drove home leaving at ~5 in the morning arriving home in Houston to crash about 10AM. Our garage and back yard are like clothes lines. Emily is supposed to write in her journal about what she did for spring break. I bet nobody can beat her stories..... Jason keep up the hard work. Shon and fam

Wise Children

Conversation in the car today: Ben: "Mom, what are those big numbers for?" pointing to a sign advertising something. Mom: "It tells us how much something in that store costs." Ben: "Oh. I guess we don't need that thing though, right Mom?" Mom: "No. We probably don't really need whatever they are trying to sell us. All we really need in our family is food, a house and love. Right guys?" Maddie (yelling): "AND WE NEED CHEESE!" Ben (in a sweet and humble voice): "I think we need Jesus too." Mom: "Thanks Ben. I think you're right, we do need Jesus. We need food, a house, love and Jesus." Maddie: "And we need CHEESE!" Mom: "Yes, Maddie. We definately need cheese."

You Were Right

Tonight as Brian headed out with the older two kids to help a friend move a couch (the curse or blessing afforded every individual that purchases a truck) he handed me Jacob. He told me he was hungry but needed a diaper change first. I shrugged. Seems like I just changed him, so I fed him first. Now I sit nursing with very soggy pants (mine and his). Should have listened to Brian. He was right.