Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Laughing with Little Boys

This year has absolutely flown by. I can't believe that we are at the end already. I know I've been severely neglecting the blog lately, but here are a few amusing comments by the boys to finish out the year:

One night in the car, the boys were arguing over which one of them could kiss an imaginary girl. Yikealo was making all kinds of smooching sounds and finally told Sintay, “Okay, now it’s your turn to kiss her.” I asked why in the world they were practicing kissing girls, and Yikealo replied, “Well, we’re planning for the future! You know….like the ant in “The Grasshopper and the Ant” that we read in Language Arts last week. You wouldn’t want me to be like the grasshopper, would you?” Somehow, that is not QUITE how I envisioned that particular moral being utilized.

 This is the kind of face we get from Mr. Y while trying to take Christmas pictures. Isn't it beautiful? I guess we probably don't have to worry about him kissing girls yet after all. Any self-respecting girl would RUN from this!

Sintay walked up to me one day and proudly announced, “Hey Mom! I put yodent on my pickle!” I had no idea what he meant, and questioned him further. He held up the deodorant bottle and motioned applying it to his underarms.

Yikealo’s journal entry one day: “Gues what my least favorite lesson is besides writing? Langwige Arts. It’s the werst lesson ever. That lesson I can never ever do. Aspesholy the tests. Those are the night mears.” Just as an aside, he’s doing quite well in Language Arts. On the day in question, he had missed one answer on his Semester test. I think someone is a bit hard on himself.

When he writes in his journal, he is supposed to write 3-5 clear sentences on one topic. I found this little gem the other day: “Do you love god? I love god. My mom loves buoble shoot. We get to go to Diney World tomorrow!” Would anyone like to explain to me how any of these sentences are on the same theme? And considering that we have no plans to visit “Diney World” anytime soon….

Or how about this entry: “This is Spider Man. This is not true but I wunt to use it for a sentince. In the Bible it says wich ever way SpiderMans web was faceing would lead to freedom. Mom can I be done?”

Listening to Sintay talk to himself while playing is always entertaining. One morning I caught this while he was playing JumpStart on the computer: “Mommmmyyyyy?? Please can I come back home now? No! I going to Acrifa! AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I SINKING INNA WATER!!! HELP!! DERE’S CROTTODILES!! Oh, wait…no, dat’s just a spring water. Digging up flowers, Yee-Hah!” This goes on All. Day. Long. And then I wonder why my head is usually splitting by the end of the day.

Another day he was playing with Legos. Here’s a small portion of that sound-track: “OOOOOOOO!!! My butt is on fire! I need put dis guy in jail. Oh yeah….where da jail be? Take him to da udder jail….dis one be full. Oooof! Here’s da weapons! HELP!!! You got your dragon? NO! I don’t got da dragon - I got food. WoooHooooo!! Budda ladda lee! Madda ladda lee! SOMEBODY GET HER!! I can’t get her. WHOA! Is dat a ninja?!” Why are little boys always so violent in their play?

We were doing some Christmas shopping at the mall, and Yikealo had said that he really wanted to buy a gift for me. David said that he’d help him find something while I went off to finish up my shopping for the boys. When I met them a little later, Mr. Y told me in a very disgruntled voice that he had found something for me, but “Dad wouldn’t let me buy it.” David rolled his eyes, and said, “Yeah….they “found” a sparkly red sweater…in size 3X. Yikealo, do you really think that Mama is that big?” Yikealo replied, “Well, I thought she could wear it for a really long time that way, ‘cause she wouldn’t grow out of it as fast.” We had to explain that my hope was that I’d never grow into it in the first place.

David and I began discussing the possibility of getting away for a day or two over our upcoming anniversary, and Yikealo immediately started arguing that we shouldn’t leave. When I explained that he’d be staying at Aunt Susan’s with his cousins, he relented slightly and compromised by telling us that we were allowed to have a 2-minute date at Eddy’s Bike Shop followed by ice cream cones at the yogurt shop next door. Let me tell you, the romance is alive and kicking in this family. Needless to say, we don’t feel that it’s necessary to follow his rules.

Y still wants to marry me. One morning he was asking, “So why can’t you be married to me AND Dad?” I told him that it’s illegal to marry two people, and that you certainly can’t marry your own mother. He said, “Well, what if we just don’t tell anyone?” I asked why he wanted to marry me in the first place. His reasons were: “I could kiss you as often as I wanted, you wouldn’t be able to boss me around and make me do school, and I could have all the electronics time that I wanted.” Lovely. Sintay wants to marry Aunt Susan.

About every other day or so, Sintayehu will refuse to answer to anything but “Yucky Yayko.” Don’t ask me where he came up with that lovely moniker, or why in the world he’s so attached to it.

On the way home from church one afternoon, Sintay was sitting in the back seat chanting, “Awesome, Behbeh!” over and over. I asked him where in the world he had heard that anyway, to which he replied, “I learned it in Pope-ia! My family say dat!” Ummmm…..pretty sure that’s not true, Dude!

One day, Sintayehu got in trouble for saying the word "poop" over and over. I told him that if I heard "poop" one more time, he was going to be in the corner for quite some time. Shortly afterwards I overheard him shouting "Winnie-da-POOH!!" repeatedly. Talk about abiding by the letter and not the spirit of the law.

While snuggling Sintay one morning, I asked him if he was going to be my good boy that day. He responded with a whiny “I can’t!” I asked why, and he said, “I can’t find my brain. I put it inna box, and it falled out, and I can’t find it.” On another day he told me that he couldn’t listen because he didn’t have a brain…“Grammy taked it, ‘cause hers is getting too old.” And here I thought that he was just choosing not to listen. Now that I know about the missing brain, everything’s becoming clearer somehow. ;-)

On Sunday morning, David showered Sintay in the basement and lotioned him up, I did his hair, and we sent him upstairs to get dressed for church in the clothes that I had carefully laid out on his bed. This happens every Sunday morning, so it’s not like this was a new routine for us. However, ten minutes later when we were ready to leave, we discovered that he was still running around in his underwear. The reason, you ask? Well, rather than getting dressed, he had been spending his time spitting onto his chest and then performing various gyrations in order to try to get the spit to fall into his belly-button. SERIOUSLY?? What is WRONG with boys??

I was commenting on some rough behavior from Mr. S, and told David, “He has been SO belligerent today!” Yikealo asked, (in a completely serious voice, I might add) “What does belligerent mean? That he has seven nostrils that are invisible?” Huh?

During our recent remodel, the boys have had all kinds of ideas about how things should be done. One of my favorites was Yikealo's suggestion that we install the water lines for the kitchen sink across the doorway between the kitchen and the garage....so that we have to do the limbo every time we come into the house. It seems like bringing in groceries would get a bit cumbersome, but I guess we would get more exercise that way.

The boys were eating caramel corn mix and came across an almond. Sintayehu was convinced that it was a ninja turtle shell.

And on that note, we'll close out our posting for this year! Wishing all of you a blessed and beautiful new year, filled with joy and laughter in the little moments.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

On Bedroom-Kitchens

"Hey! It's a Bedroom-Kitchen!"

This was Yikealo's succinct assessment of our new living quarters. We are in the process of expanding the kitchen and bathroom on our main floor and, consequently, our family of four is squeezed into about half of our basement (the other half also showing signs of construction).

The thing is: while the arrangement is inconvenient at times (with "times" being whenever we're home), the thought that nailed me as soon as I heard "Bedroom-Kitchen" was that ours is, by far, the nicest Bedroom-Kitchen I've ever seen.

The fact is that during this time of thanksgiving and reflection, I could quickly think of loved ones who would gladly trade all they had for the amenities of our Bedroom-Kitchen. These dear ones live with so much less than what we have piled into a 11 x 12 room. They live with no hope of betterment. They can't "hang in there" just a few weeks longer to reap the benefits of a more convenient circumstance.

Yikealo's brief observation started me thinking. A lot. And I think that what I think about this holiday season goes something like this: there are four ways we can consider our affluence, but only one right way.

First, there is entitlement. We are in the middle of reading Jen Hatmaker's book "Seven" and it has shone light on new areas of the things we "need" to have. Yowza! The new appliances, the fancy coffee machine, gifts for the boys, new shoes because (gasp), the old ones are starting to develop holes.

We move from entitlement to complacency. Of course we have food. Of course we have sufficient heat and clothing. Six inches of snow isn't life-and-death, it's a welcome treat secure in the knowledge that it's always warm inside with plenty of hot chocolate. The lights come on when we flip the switch. Clean water is abundantly available.

As we become aware of the circumstances of those less fortunate, we inevitably embrace guilt. Why us? Why so much? Shouldn't others have more? WHAT ARE WE DOING? Larisa and I recently encountered our budget from 2005 and literally wept over the luxury spending. Who were those people? (and why didn't they have their house paid off?)

I've pretty much laid bare all of the poor attitudes I bring to the season. While considering this post I had hoped to explain the three bad attitudes and then smugly paint myself into the fourth. However, writing the blog has been a ringing indictment that my heart is not quite so mature as I had hoped.

Certainly feeling entitled or being complacent are not helpful perspectives on all that God has given us, but neither is it helpful to feel guilty. As cliche as it sounds, the only healthy perspective on our affluence is to have a grateful heart. Maybe our government was onto something when they designated "Thanksgiving Day" rather than "Apathy Day" or "Me Day" or "Woe is me Day". True thankfulness comes from realizing that everything we have is God's, and it is only out of that recognition that true generosity can flow.

It is, therefore, with a grateful heart that I contemplate my family, reflect on the babe in a manger,  "survey the wondrous cross", and retire to my Bedroom-Kitchen.