I became a Pinteresting queen before school ended this year for my boys.  I had horrid flashbacks of last summer: countless hours of hearing the repetitive sound of axes hacking away on Minecraft, Teen Titans blasting from the television, and enough “I’m bored” nags from the boys to last me a life time.  So, I became a Pinterest queen.  I searched for ideas to keep them entertained, but it seemed to me that I was the only mom that to this day, does not coddle her little boys with bubbles and fairy dust.  If I were to tell me kids we were making a cute bumblebee craft out of toilet paper rolls (yes, that is on Pinterest for all you lame-o moms), they would have packed their stuff and marched on out of my house.  I searched high and low for cool ideas.  The final product still sounded lame, but I knew I could pull it off.  When I told Baby G and Baby D what their summer plans consisted of, I received the mandatory “UGH!!!” but I promised them it would be much more awesome than they could imagine.  So here goes:

Each day of the week took on a new title:  Make-something Monday, Traveling Tuesday, Wet Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and Figure-it-out Friday.  Each week would then have a new theme based on whatever is going on that week therefore we wouldn’t be tied down to making boring crafts or visiting the same two historical sights in our town.

This first week was off with a bang.  We are going camping for the first time with Baby W this weekend, so our theme was geared toward this trip.

Make-something Monday: First off, I am a horrible mother in the eyes of the boys: they are given until 930 to do whatever they want, but by 930 I expect them to be fed, dressed, and brushed [teeth].  They were then presented with a short chore list which ended with 3 worksheets (today was reading practice) and 30 minutes each online for keyboard/typing lessons.

Too little to really understand what he's doing, but he wanted to practice his writing too!

Too little to really understand what he’s doing, but he wanted to practice his writing too!

Not happy about it, but this is how your brain doesn't turn to mush during the summer months

Not happy about it, but this is how your brain doesn’t turn to mush during the summer months

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then we were ready.  Monday was a craft, and I knew they would hate me if it was lame (see toilet paper bumblebee).  Instead we made lanterns.  We took an aluminum can, drew a pattern of dots, and then – here comes the cool mom – the boys used hammer and nails to make holes in their holed pattern.

Watch those fingers!

Watch those fingers!

So careful..

So careful..

A rare moment caught on camera: brothers helping each other!

A rare moment caught on camera: brothers helping each other!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the holes were punched, the boys painted their cans.  The paint wasn’t very visible on the cans, so to let them have a bit more fun, they painted on other stuff too.

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We left the cans out to dry and later this weekend we will put a glow stick in them and brighten our tents.

Traveling Tuesday:  After Monday, I thought we were on a roll!  The boys seemed so happy with all my ideas – I figured they would wake up Tuesday ready to go.  Boy, was I wrong.  Their chore and workbook list met them like nails on a chalkboard, and after hearing Baby G complain about how awful always having to do something is, I sent him and his hormonal self off to a friend’s house for the morning.  Any fabulous plans I had were unraveling so quickly and it was just day two.  I packed up Baby W and Baby D and we headed out, with a slight change of plans and a detour from the week’s theme.  It was voting day so I decided to show Baby D how he should one day exercise his rights.  On our way to our polling location, I explained to him the importance and value of just one single vote.  Once there, he followed me through the process, but closed his eyes while I cast my vote because, “It’s your secret”.  We ran a few more errands together, and though our day turned out quite differently than I had planned, at least Baby D learned something new.

i-voted

Wet Wednesday:  Last weekend we had a big crawfish boil at our house – and it rained, rained, rained!  Wednesday was our first dry day, and thank goodness because we planned on getting really wet!  After the usual fight with chores, the boys were packed up and ready to hit the beaches.  This time we decided to bring our puppy with us.  Baby L is an almost 8 year old German Shepherd/Collie who is deathly afraid of the water but loves the beach – weirdo.  Packing for the beach as a single adult is so easy: you grab a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, and go.  But packing for three kids and a dog is no easy task.  I needed an oversized sheet for Baby W to lay on, I needed the umbrella to cover Baby W and Baby L.  A water bowl for Baby L, beach toys, towels, towels, towels, snacks, water, hats……. I packed for nearly an hour knowing well that I would likely only stay for an hour! Then once on the beach, the two older boys took off for the water, leaving me with an overly excited and sandy baby and a scared to death but terribly happy dog.  The two of them covered my makeshift play area with sand, threw my water bottles out of the shade and chased other dogs on the beach (yes, even Baby W tried chasing the dogs).  By the time I had the situation under control, I was exhausted and ready to go home.

Chilling in the shade

Chilling in the shade

That's a laughing baby

That’s a laughing baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I hung up my gloves and gave in, my phone rang.  My dear friend, RC, offered us 4 tickets to our local water park.  I have lived here nearly six years and yet have never been to the water park because the prices are so steep!  So with the offer of free tickets and the opportunity to spend an awesome afternoon with a great friend, I jumped right on it!  We packed our beach things in a fury – aided by a sweet homeless man (we gifted him our water bottles and snacks) and rushed home to drop off Baby L.

The water park was fantastic!  The boys rode all the slides with RC because – I’m not even ashamed to admit – I am too chicken to ride those crazy slides!!  Instead, Baby W and I enjoyed the kiddie pool.   Everyone had a fabulous time, and before we knew it, it was closing time.   The boys all picked up a nice tan, while I went home looking like I was slowly morphing into a lobster: nothing that some Aloe Vera can’t fix.

Loving his first water park experience

Loving his first water park experience

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Lazy river - I can handle it!

Lazy river – I can handle it!

With RC and her mother in law

With RC and her mother in law

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful Thursday: I decided to give the boys a bit of a break – and be thoughtful – and didn’t present them with a chore list first thing in the morning.  At some point today we will have a lot of prepping to do for this weekend’s camping trip, so I gave them the morning off to play.  Amazingly, Minecraft has not come on the Xbox yet and I haven’t heard, “I’m bored”, but the day is still young…

I had originally explained to the boys what Thoughtful Thursday meant:  we do something kind for someone else.  I gave them suggestions and told them we would decide weekly what we would do, but yesterday the boys informed me they already had something in mind and that I didn’t have to worry about it.  So I didn’t.  I hoped they wouldn’t forget and leave me hanging.  And this is what I found by my bedroom door this morning:

To: The BEST mom EVER From: Gabe Happy Thoughtful Thursday

To: The BEST mom EVER
From: Gabe
Happy Thoughtful Thursday

Say what you will about hormonal, pain in the butt boys; but sometimes – just sometimes – they can pull off some terribly sweet moves.

Lastly we have Figure-it-out Friday.  Tomorrow the boys are set to learn something new, but with our pending camping trip, I knew I wouldn’t have time to write this week’s blog, so I can only offer a sneak peak!  After their chores – ha! – the boys will look up online (they find it thrilling when I give them the green light to Google anything!) information regarding our camp sight: history, special landmarks, local birds or animals.  We will then use all the knowledge they learned – sounds fun, huh?  I can just picture myself spotting birds…

As week one of summer break ends, I can only look forward to the next two months.  Surely, not all days will be as well organized as Monday or fall into place as smoothly as Wednesday.  There will be plenty of days like Tuesday, but thank goodness, they are always, always followed by wonderful moments like Thursdays.

Baby L touching the water reluctantly

Baby L touching the water reluctantly

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What I did not sign up for

“Baby G, you are pushing my buttons today!!!”

“Really?” [Talking to Baby D] “Did you know Mamma had buttons?!”

Day 3 of Summer Break and they are already driving me insane.  Now sure, partial blame should be placed on Baby W who is less than a month away from gracing the world with his presence (don’t worry – the constant jabs and karate chops never let me forget he’s a growing boy).  However, a great blame can be placed on his two older brothers who insist on fighting over who’s turn it is to play Minecraft (what a senseless game!) and why in response to my pleas, it is truly impossible to play together.  Or why, mathematically speaking, Baby D got at LEAST 2mm more juice in his cup and that’s totally not fair!

But it’s ok – I can handle all of this.  I knew it was coming when the ultrasound showed me that extra body part (arggg why never a girl?!).  So I prepped for the summer:  had a large pool installed, searched the crevices of Pinterest for summer activities and ideas, signed them up for summer camps (mostly vacation Bible schools – who knows, maybe instilling some God in them will calm them down!!)

Some things, however, I did not sign up for.

This morning I dared entering their room – always a dangerous feat because you never know what you will find – living or not.  Today I found 2.5 living creatures in there:  BJ, the cat: alive and napping on the top bunk.  Though he isn’t really allowed in the house, I pick my battles wisely and this one just isn’t worth the fight.  Next, I find Zane, the turtle.  Just last week I realized his green little shell was turning slightly pale so I moved the poor guy into sunlight and he seemed very appreciative of the action.  He only hid his limbs in his little shell, but left his head peaking out as if thanking me in some weird turtle manner.  Today, also, he was just fine.  Lastly I spot the largest tank in the room, home to Dino, the newt (or salamander? No one is really sure what he is, honestly – the man at the mall swore he was a baby dinosaur, hence his name…)  I saw the tank, I saw the rocks Dino usually creeps out of when I come around, but what I did not see was Dino.

OH LORD! HE GOT OUT!  The thought of that slimy dinosaur lurking in my house sent chills down my spine!  “Man up, Woman!”, I tell myself.  I took a deep breath and dove straight into action.  I lifted the entire tank: water, rocks, and possible Dino and all.  The whole thing weighed a good 50 pounds (ok, I am probably exaggerating, but as always Baby W had to kick and that did not facilitate the move).  I took the tank to the bathroom, got some disposable plastic gloves (I have learned at least this: when living in a house full of boys and random animals, ALWAYS have disposable plastic gloves – you never know what grossness you have to collect), and slowly prepared for a tank clean-up.  First, I removed the rocks:  under rock one there was nothing but goo.  Under rock two, I discovered a slithering, slimy, and suddenly really skinny Dino.  Alive. So gross, but poor little guy, he did not look so happy.  Usually when he sees me he opens his gross little mouth all wide so I will drop a couple of his little dinosaur kernels into his tank.  But today he did not look too interested in lunch time.

Long story short, let me just draw you a picture:  I am 8 months pregnant, in my pajamas, singing lullabies to a newt/salamander/thing in my bathroom.  The boys come in to check on me and just watch in amazement as I show such love and compassion for an amphibian that as far as they knew, I thought was a repulsive, slimy creature.   But let’s be honest:  when we see another life living in distress, we, as mothers, step it up.

I cleaned his tank, placed him back in his home and then fed him (mouth wide open, this time).  He is a much happier Dino now.  Zane just looked at me from his again green shell, and BJ sneaked into my room – I do, after all, have the softest comforter in the house.

And would you listen to that?? -No yelling.  No fighting.  One of the boys, or both, must have fallen asleep.  Ah, no, there was a crashing sound now.  It’s all good in the world again…