Tuesday, January 29, 2013

About the little guys

I thought I'd throw a few pictures of my rapidly-growing little boys on here.  They are at very fun ages, full of imagination and "teamwork," as they like to say.  As I'm typing this, I'm peering at a screen covered in black pencil marks, so at least one of them is still in a rather mischievous stage, as well.  And this morning when I went to get dressed I found my underwear drawer hand-cuffed to my sock drawer, and I suspect that maybe the other boy could be the mastermind behind that... 

But overall -- fun.
Spotting some mallards
Plumbing the depths -- Miles always has to go to the edge
Colsen and Branson using squirt guns to extinguish
candles at Kai's birthday party

Excited about another science experiment
A little recent story that shows the personalities of both boys:
I was getting ready to discipline Miles for something he had done wrong and Colsen was right there trying to cheer up his brother:

“This is good, Miles,” he said.  “Mommy is doing this so you don’t go to jail when you get bigger, and to help you grow!”
After the discipline was over, a dubious Miles looked straight in my face and declared, “That didn't make me grow at all.”

( I think he was hoping for at least a couple of inches.)

I love how he loves hugging, even when he's asleep!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Back-filling the blog

I started this blog in late 2006, soon after Colsen was born.  Coincidentally, I stopped doing my Creative-Memories-esque scrapbooks right about that point.  So now we have photo scrapbooks for the years 1998-2006, and blog books from 2006-2012.

The kids love looking through the photo albums, but as they get older they also love hearing stories about the funny things they said or did when they were little.  Before I knew about blogging, I used to keep documents on my computer where I would write little anecdotes about what Strider or Rayna would do in any particular month...  So now I'm transferring those to this blog, so I can have them printed out in a blog book, too.

Tomorrow I hope to "publish" these files onto this site... which means if anyone reading this has this blog on their "Reader" or some other blog feed, I'm about to blow it up.  :(  I think I have over 30 new posts.  I'm sorry if this adds clutter to your e-life!  Should just be a one-time thing, though.   (And we can all be thankful that Pete talked me out of my first idea, which was to somehow try and add all of my scrapbook pages, too!)

Strider and Rayna have already started giggling about some of the goofy things I've read to them about when they were so little....  I will enjoy having those types of stories about all of my babies in one place now.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Question Overload

But that was over 3 years ago, when I only had 3 talking children, and I thought the research warranted a re-do. (Plus I forgot I even did it, until afterwards when I searched back through my blog.)

So, because I had nothing else to do, one day recently I carried an index card around in my pocket and made little tally marks to count each time I was asked a question.  (Ironically, no one asked me about this strange behavior until around dinner time.)

As expected, the questions ranged in type and complexity, including everything from, 

"What are you making for lunch?" and "When are we leaving?"
"What's the point of Twitter?" and "Is a Beluga Whale blue?"

Sometimes I was able to answer on auto-pilot with a quick, "Mmm-hmmm" but other times I had to actually stop and think.  I was also asked, "Is ______ a lesbian?" and "What's an aqueduct?"

After the day of research was over, I added up all the tally marks, which I had separated by hour throughout the day.  

The grand total on this particular day was.... 301 questions I had to answer.  And this was a day during which one child (who may be referred to as Question-Asker Supreme) was actually away at school for 5 hours.

I decided to make the numbers into a nice summary graph.  (I miss making graphs.)  So here is how the frequency broke down by each hour of the day.

Conclusions that can be drawn from this data:

1.)  My kids wake up with extra questions, stored up from while they're sleeping, I guess.

2.)  Meal times are challenging.  This is why my mom always had that glazed-over look at the table, and why I have developed one, too.

3.) The most frequently asked questions were:
"When is Daddy coming home?"  (NOT by me, actually)
"What's for dinner?"  (to no one's surprise)

4.) My brain cells are burning out at an alarming rate.

5.)  There is a reason I stumble around the house muttering, "I don't know.  I don't know.  I don't know."  (actually over 300 reasons daily)

6.) I need to go to bed now because I need to be ready for another 300 questions tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The world according to Miles

Miles is at one of my favorite ages (3.5) and  I love hearing how he processes things.  For example, he said this the other day:

"I have the hiccups.  Oh I know why!  Because my food is dancing!"

Recently he has been studying a number chart we have that goes up to 109, and now he apparently thinks that's the end of all the numbers.  So when he wants to say something is infinitely big, we hear things like,

"Look-- that sky is 109 high!"
"He can go all the way to 109!"

To go along with the word "read-y" that he coined earlier (as in, "I'm soooo read-y so I need you to read me a book"), he has now also introduced the word, "watchy."  And yes, it is often used in the following manner, "Mo-om, I'm super watchy, so I need to watch a show."

("Super" is also a word that he uses often.  He's never just tired or hungry.  He's always super hungry or super tired.)

He is nothing if not resourceful in getting what he wants.  Often this takes the form of increasing volume as his voice rises above the rest of the din, repeating himself endlessly until he gets what he wants.  But sometime it also manifests in his abilities to take matters into his own hands.

For instance, he somehow taught himself Pete's cell phone number, and how to work our home phone.  So now I often find out, after the fact, that he has called Pete to talk to him about some particular matter.  Such a grown-up little 3-year old!   And now the other day I came into the office to discover that he had been on my Facebook page and had figured out how to "chat" with Pete, who was out of town.  He somehow pulled up Pete's name, got to the dialogue box, and typed, "dad!"

Pete called me later to ask why he had gotten that message.

Milo clearly has a strong will in him, and seems to embody the cliche, "Where there's a will, there's a way."  Maybe he gets this from my side of the family since my siblings and I often heard, "Where there's a will, there's a Wray," while we were growing up.  :)   From looking at him, it doesn't appear he received much of my genetic material, but maybe there's some of it inside him after all....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Recent science experiments

I saw this idea on Pinterest recently, and it is my favorite kind of science experiment because:

1.) It uses materials I already have in the house (for real -- not like the ones that say they only use household objects, but then expect that you have things like test tubes already on hand);

2.) It took no longer than 30 seconds to set up;

3.)  It took no longer than a few minutes to see something happening;

4.) There was an actual point to the experiment with a lesson that kids could actually understand;

and, most importantly,

5.) It WORKED!

Setting it up...
Capillary action at work....
"Yellow and blue make green!"

Strider has been doing his own experiments this year, and set up one recently that involved eggs breaking, so that's always fun:

Meanwhile, I've been conducting my own kind of experiment in the kitchen.  A friend told me about this "perpetual" broth-making method, so I tried it this past week.  After I roasted a chicken and took all the meat off, I put the rest of it into a crock pot and added some veggies and water.

 I left the crock pot on all week (I'm told it only costs about $.03/hour to keep it on), and the broth has been simmering away.  Each day I took out half of the liquid and we drank it or I froze it, and then I refilled the pot with water.  This kind of broth is supposed to be really healthy since it's getting all of the nutrients out of the bones.

Sure enough, at the end of the week, the bones were super-soft!

This is the kind of "science" the kids and I both like!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas in mid-January

The Wray family gathered at last to exchange Christmas gifts this weekend.  There were no small amounts of food, wrapping paper, laughs, or meltdowns (mostly by the kids).  It felt a little weird to be celebrating on a 70+-degree day and so long after Christmas that we had forgotten what things we had originally wrapped up.  But it was all very nice, and both givers and receivers were able to be surprised!

Some of the highlights:
Presents for everyone!
Ready, Set, Open!
S explaining to Kai what his gift says
At last!  A remote-control helicopter just like they ALWAYS wanted!
Nonna and kids
"Walkie-Talkies I can do with Colsen!"
New apron from Karin
New chair from Pete -- just what he ALWAYS wanted!
Poppa and kids -- excited about more tools
Sage opening a gift from Miles
"I'll hug her, but I won't act happy about it."
Big gift for all the adults from Nonna and Poppa = Nights Out!
And from the White Elephant Exchange....

John's (who wasn't even there) "Sportsmanship Award"
"What in the world??  How embarrassing."
Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, January 11, 2013


Last month we had to make our first visit to an ER for an injury -- first time in 12 years with children.  Colsen had a possible concussion, but ended up being fine.

Then last night, we made our second ever emergency visit -- this time with Miles.  While I was upstairs taking a shower, the boys were apparently rough-housing in the living room, and just after I had put conditioner in my hair, Strider came running up yelling, "MILES HURT HIS HEAD AND THERE'S TONS OF BLOOD AND IT'S REALLY BAD AND YOU NEED TO COME RIGHT NOW!"  (He apparently hit his head on the corner of a door.)

So I jumped out of the shower -- with the conditioner still in my hair -- and sure enough Miles had blood all over his shirt and pouring down his face.  His forehead was split wide open, so I instinctively pushed the 2 sides back together to stop the bleeding (and it worked!).  But there I was, in a towel, dripping water all over the place, stuck with my hands on his head.

Pete, of course, was not home.  I yelled for Strider to call him, and then after a few minutes yelled for Strider to come help me wrap up Colsen's head.  Thankfully, Strider had just learned a whole bunch of First Aid last week for GateWay and knew exactly what to do!  (The nurses later were impressed.)

I knew I had to figure out where to take Miles, rinse the conditioner out of my hair, get dressed, and get him to whatever medical facility we decided upon.  I just wasn't sure what the order of those things should be.  Again, Strider came to the rescue, saying he could find the number for Urgent Care and call them while I jumped back in the shower quickly.

A few minutes later, hair still sopping wet, I bundled a screaming Miles into the car.  He wasn't crying out of pain at this point, but was extremely resistant to the idea of going to a doctor's office or hospital, where he was convinced he would get shots.

And he looked so scared on that big white hospital bed once we got there.  (Pete met us there.) But we prayed with him and Pete told him to be brave, and he was.

Five stitches later, he was back home and soon fell asleep.

Today he was totally back to normal and we've had no further mishaps -- except for when he fell down the stairs while it was still dark this morning because the bandage had slipped and fallen over his eyes.  Pete and I awoke to some loud thumps on the stairs!

So Miles got hurt while I was in the shower and Pete wasn't home, which seemed like bad timing.  But last month Colsen got hurt 20 minutes before Mor-Mor (from New Jersey) was to arrive for her annual visit, and while the cleaning service was here to clean our house.  So he was moaning and nauseous and just wanted to lie down.... but we couldn't be in the house and we were trying to entertain company.  This was very bad timing as well!

But then again -- there's really no good timing for a head injury.  We're really hoping we're done with them for quite awhile!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seen and Heard...

Random scenes and conversations from recent days....

What should this caption be??

One morning at breakfast Colsen was trying to get into a deep theological discussion with Miles about what Jesus did for us.  So he asked, "Miles, what would have happened if Jesus didn't die for us on the cross?"
Miles, always matter-of-fact, answered, "He would have stayed alive."


The boys were in the bathroom giving each other funny hairstyles the other night (and drenching the whole sink area with water) when I overheard this conversation:
Miles:  Do that hairstyle to me.
Colsen:  Miles, I have to tell you some sad news.  Something sad.  See, when you were a baby, you actually had NO hair -- like Daddy.
Miles (very serious):  Oh.
Colsen:  And now your hair has grown but it's still not very much.  You have a litttttle less hair than me, so this hairstyle won't work for you.
Miles (still very serious):  Oh.
Colsen:  But we can do this...
And on they went, giggling again.


Pete was quizzing Strider on his geography homework and was trying to get him to talk about reservoirs.
Pete asked:  "What happens when a river gets dammed?"
Strider's reply:  "It goes to Hell.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"


Just now as I'm typing this, Colsen is behind me talking to himself.  I can't quite make out the whole story he's telling, but I did just hear him say, "And then you take the horse to the fiscal cliff...."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Not really Christmas, but sort of New Year's and Epiphany

We had rescheduled our Wray family Christmas celebration for Saturday... but due to yet another person getting sick, it had to be postponed once more.  I had already bought a bunch of berries to make a Christmas-y salad, though, and I was determined to make it for somebody.  Plus our kids really wanted to see everyone, so we invited over to our house whoever wanted to come.

Even though we didn't get to have "Christmas," we did do one of our New Year's traditions and one of our Epiphany traditions.  Our "New Year Auction" was a little smaller than it's been in previous years, but we still bought enough junk from each other to raise $100 for charity.  :)  Between the auction and all the activity with stilts (see previous post), the afternoon was a lot of fun.
The salad I insisted on making,
 even without a Christmas celebration

Then after dinner we switched to Epiphany, and had our traditional "treasure box cake."  Inside was a toothpick (on purpose) and the person who ended up finding it in his piece of cake was.... Branson!  So he was our song-leader for the evening and we enthusiastically sang "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and "Jingle Bells" at his request.

Then we sent everyone home because it was getting a little loud with all those little kids pumped up on cake.

Today we rounded out our Epiphany celebration with a big family gift, and then we chalked our door tonight.   After seeing so many "chalked" doors in Germany and Austria this past summer, we had an added appreciation for the tradition.

  May Christ bless this year and may He be further revealed in 2013!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stilted Fun

Just kidding --- the fun wasn't really stilted.  It was just on stilts.

Dad made a set of stilts for each of the (local) families of grandchildren, and we had fun playing with them yesterday.  (The adults may have usurped them for awhile -- just long enough to have some good ol' races.    Not that we're competitive or anything.)

Over the summer our kids had been introduced to stilts at a castle built in the 11th century, Hohenwerfen, in Austria.

Stilts sure have "stood" the test of time -- fun for kids (and adults) through the ages!

Friday, January 4, 2013

1000th post

I went through and counted how many times I've updated my blog (just kidding -- Blogger keeps track), and  this is my 1000th post.  That seems like kind of a lot....  although no one who knows me would be surprised to hear that I have a lot to say.*

My question is:  Will I ever reach an age when I will not look back at something I've written a couple years prior and cringe with embarrassment?  Hope springs alive, I guess, and I keep thinking that what I'm writing now is worthwhile.  :)

Embarrassing writing aside, I'm glad I've been able to document some glimpses of our family life over these last few years.  It's hard to believe that when I started typing away here at my computer, Colsen had just been born, and Strider and Rayna were only 6 and 4 -- almost the same ages Cole and Milo are now -- and were saying such cute things as these.

But before I launch into some flowery and soon-to-be embarrassing paragraph about how time goes so fast, I'll just let the enduring truths portrayed by the Family Circus sum it up:

So I'm enjoying the in-between moments.... and saving them in my blog books.

*Then is it rather strange that my 1000th post has nothing really of substance to say, other than that it's a post?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcoming 2013

Our New Year's plans, like our Christmas plans, got derailed this year due to a virus (not in our family this time), so we did not get together at my parents' house for the Wray family Christmas as planned.  Instead we've had a cozy time at home, making some special food, having some friends over, and doing our annual New Year tradition:  making our Year Box!

First we painted our 2012 box...

 Then we got out all of the accumulated souvenirs, notes, crafts, and tangible memories from the year...

 ...It was fun reminiscing -- even for things that just happened a few short months ago.  Some of it was a whole "world" away!

Then we packed it all into our new box.... ready to join the previous years' on the closet shelf.

Today some friends came over and played Apples to Apples, Clue, and Road Trip.... We adults just talked in the other room. :)
(And our new camera broke, so we're back to fuzzy, not-as-good photographs.)

For New Year's Eve, Pete and Strider went to a murder mystery play that some friends were in, and for New Year's night we're watching "The Princess Bride" as a family -- Rayna's, Colsen's and Milo's first encounter with this classic.  I fully expect someone to be walking around the house saying, "Anyone want a peanut?" tomorrow.

What will 2013 bring?  Good to know we're walking into it hand-in-hand with a very big God.