Thursday, May 3, 2012

Nothings and Everythings

The other night as I was grilling meat, I looked out across our back yard and couldn't help but smile. I would have grabbed my camera, but I don't like my steaks well-done and so I took a mind picture instead.

All of my own children were outback with four additional children from the neighborhood. Most were on the trampoline, a couple were in the sandbox and of course Drew was on his four-wheeler. As I surveyed the scene in my mind, I couldn't help but smile. I love that my children entertain themselves daily.

We don't own any game systems, we have no cable or satellite television, and for the most part my children have no interest in playing on the computer (unless it is Sunday and they all fight for "The Friend" site on lds.org.) Due to a fairly limited budget, we don't do a lot of "stuff", but Mike is continually helping me realize that what we do do, is every bit as good. My children have fantastic imaginations and abilities to find something to do when some of their peers are saying, "There's nothing to do."

For example:
They build chicken coops:
When Luke had his cast removed last week, I agreed completely with the doctor when he said, "That's disgusting." Obviously he doesn't know that Luke really isn't a typical 10 year old boy in 2012. He is probably much more similar to a 10 year old boy in 1912 or even 1812.

For example: I'm not sure how many 10 year old patients they have that while their parents were at a sister's track meet, the 10 year old decides to build a chicken coop entirely by himself and move his chickens from across the street to our back yard.
Ever heard the phrase "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission"? Guess Luke has that principle mastered now.

They don't get dressed very often
Drew continues to wear only his underwear, although he is getting quite good at understanding the rule that he must wear clothes outside of our yard. We haven't perfected the rule or routine, and he is still frequently found streaking the cul-de-sac in just underwear. Unfortunately he thinks the great outdoors is his toilet bowl, and so there may be the odd occasion you see him stark naked.

Oh, but if Drew plays in wet mud like he did yesterday, he doesn't really matter if he is wearing just his underwear. The mud covered him pretty well, so perhaps no one noticed he was only wearing underwear to start with. (Sorry no photo! I was driving off to an appointment, and I guess the 13 year old doesn't see the potential for a memory like a mother does-and sees a gross chore to take care of instead. Thanks too Megan for putting him in the shower!)

Joshua on the other hand adores the days we have nowhere to go (or at least he doesn't have to get out of the car) and can stay in his pajamas all day. It makes me crazy! CRAZY! But I'm trying to realize it doesn't matter all that much in the long run.

They aren't hard to please
Rarely do I drink soda, but the other day while driving home from somewhere with the girls, I decided to stop and get a fountain rootbeer from a nearby gas station. My girls politely asked for a slurpee, and when I saw they were on a special for 39 cents, I obliged. Then in a pure moment of spontaneity, I decided to "splurge" and bought one to take home for everyone.

You'd have thought I'd have come home with a million bucks for them. My kids thought it was the coolest thing ever to have a slurpee from the gas station. Guess we don't get out much...
It's too bad Mike was home a few minutes earlier than usual and missed out on any gas station treat, but I kindly gave him a few sips of my rootbeer as penitence.

We entertain ourselves
I have mixed feelings about not having a photo of our family trampoline jumping activity on Sunday. The mere thought of neighbors seeing us, is probably enough to be grateful we have no permanent proof. I'm quite glad I don't know what the 500lb + sight of weight jumping up and down on the trampoline at one time looked like. Although the laughter, smiles and sounds captured could have been a great photo opp. (Sometimes I daydream of being followed around by a photographer capturing those great family moments that are impossible to capture oneself.)

I kind of wish I had a photo of Mike and how high he could jump. He's always bragging (okay, just sometimes) to our kids about his great jumping/slam-dunking abilities as a teenager, so imagine those skills on a trampoline. I refused to take a photo of him, because with every jump all I saw was the potential for a medical emergency and I would have hated for the picture to be reason enough for an insurance to deny a claim for his stupidity talent. If you don't count the case of motion sickness I went to bed with that night, it was surprisingly an accident free event.

Okay, lest one think it is all chicken coops, slushies and jumping around here, it isn't. Case in point, the family trampoline jumping event was after our children had come into our room about 36 times interrupting a fight Mike and I were having to ask "how much longer are you going to be?"

It's what we do.
The fighting included.

POST-EDIT--It's always a fabulous thing when the neighbor sends a photo to capture one's stellar parenting skills...

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