Monday, April 27, 2015

Recent conversations

At 8:15, Monday morning….

Colsen:  AARRRGHGGHGHGH!  I hate Mondays!  I don’t want to do any school work!  This is the worst day anyone could EVER have!!

Me:  I think a lot of people have much worse days.  Like people who have to dig ditches all day, for example.

Colsen:  I would MUCH rather dig a ditch all day than do SCHOOLWORK!

Me:  I don’t think so.

Colsen:  YES I WOULD!  Let me go dig ditches! Seriously, Mom!!

Me:  Well…. Ok.  Let’s go outside and I’ll find a place for you to dig.

Colsen:  Cool!!!

[We go outside, I find as inconspicuous a spot as I can near our fence-line where he can dig.  He eagerly gathers all kinds of tools.]

Me:  Are you sure you want to do this?  It’s going to be hard.  Do you really want to do it all day??

Colsen:  Yes!  I could do this for 10 hours, no problem!

At 8:40, Monday morning…

Colsen:  Mom?  I’m done.

Me:  Really?  That was only 25 minutes!

Colsen:  I know, but there are so many roots and it’s so muddy, and I’m just done.

Me: So is schoolwork really better than digging ditches all day??

Colsen:  YES!  I would much rather do schoolwork!

Thus ending one of my all-time favorite parenting moments.


Driving in the car...

Colsen:  When’s Daddy coming home tonight?

Me:  Around 5:30.

Miles:  So I’m assuming that means he’ll be eating dinner with us tonight?

Me:  Miles, is that the first time you’ve used the word, “assuming?”

Miles, (thinking I'm weird): What???

Me:  It’s just kind of a big word for a little guy.  I’ve never heard you use that word.

Miles, (now pretty annoyed at me):  Um, Mom…. Constipation???  That’s a much bigger word and I use THAT!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Notes from Rayna

Rayna LOVES writing cards or notes to people these days.  When our neighbor was in a nursing home facility, she was always making her cards, or paper link chains.  Sometimes, she uses one of my cards, usually one that has a pre-printed Happy Birthday message on it.... but she doesn't let that stand in the way of sending it on a non-birthday.

A few days ago she had been nagging me a lot about what we were going to have for dinner.  I told her we might have barbecue, so she kept trying to get me to confirm that with certainty.  Finally she was annoying me too much so I told her to go do something else.

She went and found a card and wrote it out to Pete.  I didn't know what it said until he opened it later.  Here was the message (on his non-birthday):

Happy Birthday!

Dear Daddy, I love you.  Are we having barbecue for dinner tonight?  Yes.  Love, Rayna

She also has started trying to send emails.  We have not taught her yet how to type, or use the computer really, but she tries to sneak online when we're not looking and access her email account.

This was a message Pete received recently.  (She hasn't figured out spacing yet... She used to just write all the words in a row without spaces, but now she realizes that's not right, so she puts a whole bunch of spaces between them!)

And then is one Strider received yesterday:

Rayna Frank

dear    strider       we      are      best         friends.     I         love     you         love        rayna.

What she lacks in capitalization and grammar, she sure makes up in sweetness!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Self Control Thursdays

It seems like every parenting book or article I lay eyes on these days concludes with something like, "Self control is the MOST IMPORTANT INDICATOR OF HOW A CHILD WILL TURN OUT!!!!  THEY MUST HAVE COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF SELF-CONTROL OR THEY WILL FAIL AT EVERY TURN!!"

Then I look around at my brood, with all of the random objects they have stuffed in their mouths, their hands never still but always shredding up something that doesn't belong to them, constantly shouting out whatever random thought has just popped into their adorable little brains.... and I realize we are all doomed.

I can't even count how many times I have run back to Google to find out "how to teach self control."  I have also tried, "Games to improve self-control" or "activities to help with self control."  I end up wading through all kinds of suggestions varying from inane to overly complicated, and there are only so many times we can play "Freeze Dance" or "Red Light, Green Light."  (We've also done a few different variations of the "Marshmallow Test," but I think my kids are getting a little old for that one now.

So, having exhausted what few resources I could find, I was still at my wit's end for how to instill self control in these youngsters.  I yell "Practice self control!" on a very regular basis around here, but that doesn't seem to work all that well.

Now, I am turning to my old standby:  BRIBERY.

We have instituted Self Control Thursdays for the next few weeks, and we'll see how it goes.  The first one was last week and it was welcomed with some mild enthusiasm, since I told them they were going to get money.

I announced on Wednesday night that I would give them each ten dollars in Monopoly money on Thursday morning.  Each time that they did something that showed they did NOT have self control, they would have to bring me a dollar.  Specifically, I told them, if they put anything in their mouths, ruined anything with their hands, or said anything with their mouths that was not True, Helpful, Necessary or Kind (I can never remember what the "I" word is in that "THINK" acronym!), that would mean a loss of a dollar.

At the end of the day, each of their Monopoly dollars could be exchanged for real money dollars.  (This means Pete and I could potentially be out $40 on any particular Thursday... but I don't think that will happen anytime soon.)

A few of the kids had a few dollars still at the end of the day, and all of them are asking for us to do it again next week.  I'm hoping this will have its intended effect, and that we'll ALL learn some more self control!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Karin (almost) turns 40

OLD is having a younger sibling turn 40.

Karin's 40th birthday is later this month, so to celebrate the sibs, spouses, and parents all got together for a little party.  She's always up for a good costume party, but we couldn't get her to nail down a theme this time around, so we came up with our own and didn't tell her:  everyone dressed as Karin.
All the Karins -- before Karin arrived
 Mom dressed as Karin when she was little, Katie dressed as Karin the bride, Graham came as Karin the Pizza Hut employee, Dad came as Karin the Accenture employee, James came as Home Appetit owner, Amy-K was the Pool Mom, and I dressed as Bradford administrator.  (And, may I just interject here, that as I was trying to juggle all of the blueprints, carpool tools, computers, phones, etc., I realized it's VERY tiring being Karin!)

In the weirder categories, Pete came as pregnant Karin, and Dan dressed as Vacation-Loving Karin.

Karin with all the Karins
We made her favorite desserts -- carrot cake and giant chocolate-chip cookie -- and tried to embarrass her with a song written about her (K-A-R-I-N was her name-O).  She didn't embarrass as easily as she used to, though, and handled all the attention and kind words with grace.

It was a fun evening.  And I'm glad she will soon join me Over the Hill!

 (Thanks to Amy-K for the pictures!)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Our Horse-Lover

About 6 months ago Colsen started telling me that he NEEDED to start taking horse-back riding lessons because he had decided he loved horses.  I pretty much dismissed him because I didn't know anyone giving lessons, or where we could find a horse. 

But the very next week my sister-in-law mentioned that she had found someone to teach her daughter how to ride.  Colsen's ears pricked right up and so we pumped her for all the details.  It turned out the teacher was quite close by -- and a wonderful young woman (and I had met her mom before!).  So we signed Colsen up for lessons.

And he is IN LOVE.  Anyone who has talked to Colsen for longer than 5 seconds in the last few months will have heard alllll about the horse that he rides.  He has obtained all the books he can about horse care, and when he's not talking about horses, he's thinking about them.

This past week he started doing jumps on Cricket, so he's pretty thrilled about that, too.

 This past week when I came to pick him up he came galloping up the hill and around the bend.... but I didn't get the camera going until he trotted to a stop here....
Meanwhile he's also discovered the TV show Heartland on Netflix.... so it's pretty much all horses all the time around here!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Flying high

Annual Neighborhood Kite Day!

Strider missed the event, but he is flying high this week because he and his partner won their third and final debate tournament of the season, keeping their undefeated record!  They won all 17 debate rounds, arguing both for and against the proposition that fast food restaurants, on balance, are good for America.

I don't have any new pictures from this last tournament, so I'll post one from one of the earlier ones. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Frank Family Conversation Awards for April 8, 2014

Here are some of the things that have been said in the last 24 hours around our house, and the award that I, as sole arbiter, think they deserve:

In the category of "Most Dramatic" (of course won by the teenager of the home):

“I just had the best moment of my life and the worst moment of my life – all at the same time!”

In the category of "'Oh, You're So Close...'":

Colsen to Strider: “I’m sorry I over-reacted, but after you took my fishing pole and broke my net and hurt me playing soccer, it was just the LAST HAY and I got mad.” 


In the category of "Nice Tries" we have two winners, both contributed by the youngest in the house:

1.)  “I want to be a martyr. If I don’t have to die.”

2. )  Miles sidled up to me and using his best bargaining voice said,
“Since I’m going to Nonna and Poppa’s tonight –“
“Actually,” I interrupted, “I’m sorry to say that’s been cancelled.  Are you very disappointed?  I’m sorry.”
What a crestfallen face he had.
So I said, “But how about if we go to Firehouse Subs tonight instead?”  (This was my plan all along – Kids eat free on Wednesdays.  J )
He brightened up and said, “YES!”
Then, without missing a beat, resumed his bargaining voice…
“Since we’re going to Firehouse Subs tonight… how about if I give you two options and YOU get to choose.  Either no violin practice or no school --- which one?”

In the category of "Most Confounding" we have this:

Rayna, while holding Colsen's bag of Easter candy and taunting him, singing, "What a mighty God we serve, what a mighty God we serve...."

And, finally, in the category of  "What???" we have this one:

Miles:  “Mom, how much of that (sweetened condensed milk) could I drink?”
Me:  “Just a little bit – too much would probably make you sick.”
Miles: “Like about the same amount as I could drink of my own blood?”
Me: "???"

Things boys do (?)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


To document Easter, I will talk about the whole Triduum -- primarily because I just want to use that word and be cool like the monks.

On Good Friday, Strider reminded me to make Hot Cross Buns, so we did, and shared them with friends who came over.  And we dyed eggs of course. And Miles set the table and was quite pleased with his work:

Then Pete and I went to a very solemn and serious Good Friday service -- and then Pete and his friend followed that up with some hangout time at a wine shop.  It seemed like a strange juxtaposition to me... but maybe it all fits.

On Saturday, our church's children's ministry hosted an Easter egg hunt which was a lot fun, despite the fact that we were in the midst of an Arctic blast apparently in a wind tunnel.

Then the big day, of course, was Sunday!

After church we all headed over to Mom and Dad's and spent the day in their backyard.

The kids were REALLY excited it was Easter!

 And so was Uncle Graham!

Then we gathered all the kids together for an egg hunt. Each egg had a puzzle piece inside, and they had to assemble the 100-piece puzzle before dessert!

They were slightly eager to start the hunt:
 Getting instructions....
 .... And GO!

(These pictures were taken by a couple different phones so the colors are all wacky!)

It was a great day.  We loved watching everyone arrive and find their peeps.  All the cousins enjoy being around each other so much!  And we adults kind of like each other, too.  :)

Thankful for a Savior that is alive today, and gives us all good things!  He is risen, indeed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

At least it's only for 1 day

Now that there are several jokesters in on the action, April Fool's Day keeps us all hopping.

Here are some of the things that were pulled off today:

  • I put some cereal and milk in bowls, added spoons, and then put them in the freezer last night.  This morning Pete gave the kids their cereal.  They were not amused when they couldn't get their spoons unstuck

  • Strider turned Colsen's shirt drawer upside down which Colsen didn't realize until he opened it
  • Strider changed my birthday to April 1 on Facebook, so I spent all morning explaining to well-wishers that it wasn't actually my birthday.
  •  Strider sent Pete a text from my phone, pretending to be me, which said, "Hey Babe, can you bring home some Ben and Jerry's for tonight?  Thanks.  And fruit cups."
  • Then Miles even figured out how to email from my phone and sent this message to Pete, complete with the subject line:
  • After our goading and prodding him, Pete put up this sign at his office copier, but doesn't think anyone was fooled:

  •  Colsen got Strider convinced that we were adopting a cat, which made Strider very upset.
  • The boys locked me in the office for awhile. (They looped a belt around the doorknobs several times.)
  • Strider thumped hard against a wall, then screamed, and we came to find him like this:

  • Rayna was not amused when Strider gave her a glass of water that actually had some white vinegar in it. 
  • Pete was not amused when Miles pulled the same stunt on him later.
  • Miles changed my calendar on the bulletin board from April to December, and thought he was so tricky.
  • Rayna, not quite getting the gist of all this, put a sign up on the freezer that said, "Stay out," and then laughed and told everyone "April Fool's!"

What we lack in quality, we sure make up for in quantity!  Now how long until bedtime??!?