I Know Nothing

As I sit here with my hands hovering over the keyboard, I cannot think of a single thing our family has done in the last two weeks. I mean, I know we didn’t just sit on the sofa all day, twiddling our thumbs, silently contemplating whether pink and red really do clash, but on this Sunday afternoon, I have zero recall on anything that has occurred in the last 14 days and certainly nothing jumps out as being especially interesting or exciting. Perhaps this is a sign that by Lord’s Day afternoon my brain is damaged goods and I should reschedule the day of the week I post. Because of this, please proceed with caution. Who knows what I’ll say next; it’ll be a surprise for us all.

I do know that Caleb found himself at the bottom of a pile of extremely eager seven and eight year olds as the pinata finally broke open, spilling its contents all over the ground around him, and the father of the birthday boy had to pull him out before he was trampled. Though safe from being crushed, Caleb decided to pit his socked feet against our carpeted stairs and lost the battle, sustaining a very badly hurt appendage. Might it be broken? Maybe? Do I want to bring him back to the Allan’s private and personally funded orthopedist? Not exactly…

I know James checked a book out of the library called Backyard Rockets. While I won’t say that James doesn’t use his brain, there are signs everywhere that his head is in the clouds. I can only assume the detritus of paper, tape, matchsticks, empty bottles, baking soda, and cork littering the house and surrounding grounds means he’s having a blast. Unbelievably, no one has been injured through James’s attempts to launch his creativity, but I don’t recommend you try them at home. 

I know Anna made me laugh every day and was recently mistaken as a 14 year old by someone and sadly, I can see why. Where did my little girl go? She has taken her love of gems and fancy rocks to new heights by joining a rock climbing club and counts down the days and hours until the next session. It’s hard to keep her grounded, but at least this is a solid experience.

I know Ellie. I also know she enjoys working at Chick-fil-A and takes after her Aunt Heather in bringing home as much food and candy as she can for her siblings. I also know I have to go to the restaurant during each of her shifts to keep all the boys at bay. Don’t worry, Ellie, I’ll wear sunglasses. I’m mostly kidding. Besides dodging boys, Ellie dodges mornings as much as possible, preferring the status of night owl over the early bird.  When she does rise and shine, she does it with all the grace and beauty of a capuchinbird.

I know Isaac has three weeks left of his senior year of high school and I cannot believe that is a fact. He’s just about made up his mind on whether or not to do his laundry today, so I think he’s ready for college. He was accepted to each institution to which he applied, and if he applies himself some more, he just may accept one of the institutions.

I know Jake also has three weeks left until he’s halfway through his university years, to which Anna says, rather indignantly, “there’s no way he’s halfway through; he’s already done,” because she misses him, I think.  I just told Anna I thought of a few more things I could have updated you all on, such as the sports awards event we attended at the local Christian school where the girls play volleyball and basketball. She said, “That’s something you could write about for Jake.”

“But he wasn’t even at this one!” 

“You’re right; he missed out,” replied my cheeky girl, “and that’s something you know about Jake.”

I know Danny is the best and thanks to a mid-April storm has a much better working knowledge of a generator’s carburetor and how easy it is to flood it and if that happens your house has no running water and then you find out how much your wife enjoys auditioning for the role of Caroline Ingalls.

I know I am not Caroline Ingalls.

Before and After

Oh my, what a night. My laundry detergent jug fell off the washer, and because the cap broke off on impact, all the soap oozed across the floor. It wasn’t until very late at night that I realized why such a strong fragrance was gracing the air all over our home. Disheartened that I had to clean up the aromatic ocean and would have to replenish the soap well before the typical time, the irony of cleaning up a cleansing agent wasn’t lost on me. 

Isaac, who was the only one still awake, sweetly helped me. What a time to have run out of paper towels earlier in the day! On the bright side, there was a giant basketful of dirty bath towels in the room, stiffly standing at attention, ready to be useful once more before their spin cycle. Does one need to add more detergent to a load of towels that are soaked in it already? 🤔 (See answer below*)

Once the towels had absorbed all the liquidy goo, it dawned on me that I should have taken a ‘before’ photo, because, at the moment, I sure felt like taking an ‘after’ picture as proof of the hardship and our work in cleaning it up! Then I thought, “of course that’s the way: one never thinks to take a before picture until you get to the after.” Who wants to show off the ‘before’, the bad, ugly, sad, messy reality until it’s shiny, clean, new(er), pretty, frame-worthy?

Often it’s the ‘before’ that spurs us on to do the work for that ‘after’. I can’t walk into my closet and see the fabric fallout of the wardrobe tornado one more time! The toppling skyscrapers of lotion and shampoo bottles in this bathroom cabinet have got to be leveled! The tupperware drawer is a speed-dating event gone wrong! I think we can all imagine what those spaces would look like cleaned up and agree they would truly be lovely and even worth a photo or two. 

But as I neared the end of the cleaning, I wasn’t thinking of closets and cupboards, but of hearts and souls. Particularly my children’s hearts, though I’m willing to concede this applies to me as well. We desperately want to see eternal growth in our kids, though the process can be bad, ugly, sad, and messy, and it seems like we are in constant stages of ‘before’ in our Christian pathway.

Our prayer for our children, and ourselves, is that they will allow the Potter to mold them and shape them as He sees fit, through His saving grace. Even if it’s messy. Even if it hurts. That they will realize they are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation”. How wonderful it will be to “greatly rejoice” that “the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto the praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”.  Imagine being “ready to be revealed in the last time” — ready for an ‘after’ so picture-worthy, we will “rejoice with joy unspeakable” and praise our Savior eternally! 

*P.S. I lied. I did take an ‘after’ photo. 

One would think that after twenty-one years of being a domestic engineer, one would know better, but such is the life of someone whose pride goes before her fall. I guess it’s just further proof that “clean” messes are still messes, I am still being refined, and someone else should be in charge of the laundry.

Game On

This week we’re going to play a game called, “Who Said It?” It’s going to go exactly like you think: I will type out real life conversations that have been had in this house and you are going to guess which child said the punchline. This will be entertaining for two reasons. One, I don’t have to write about anything new, and two, it will be fun for me to see who you think said what. 

1. We were sitting around the kitchen table completing the family Bible reading, but we’re currently in Isaiah and I had to confess to the children that I didn’t understand very much about our chapter. Then one child mentioned they are in Acts for their personal reading and it was amazing all the bits they’d forgotten or never paid attention to before. Thinking this child was going to bring some elucidation about our chapter to the table with their comment, they then admitted that they knew their thoughts were unrelated but just wanted to share. I thanked them very much for the irrelevant comments and decided to just ask a few more children where they were in their personal reading. Matthew, Genesis, and Exodus were the answers. Finally, I asked one more child which book they were currently reading. Looking around the table, this child responded, “The Hobbit.” 

2. Anna looked at one of her siblings and asked, “_____, why do you look different?” to which that sibling responded, “Oh, it’s my socks; I don’t usually wear long ones.”

3. This child was practicing labeling countries of a certain continent using a computer program. They got it down to 100% within 18 seconds. “That’s great, but even if you could write them that quickly on the test tomorrow, the teacher wouldn’t be able to read them,” I reminded the child. Said child retorted, “Oh, Mom, I’ll know what I meant.”

4. “I can’t wait to work. Isaac and Ellie are always talking about people at work who don’t do their jobs. I would be such a good worker; they could just hire me as manager.”

5. This child and I were grocery shopping and putting items from the cart onto the belt. I had had a bad night and some pretty busy and stressful days before this, so as I absentmindedly put another item on the counter, I sighed, “Man, I’m so tired.” Incredulous, my child replied, “You’ve only put two things up! I’m doing all the work!”

6. “_____, what new thing did you do at the gym yesterday?” I asked, curiously.

“I threw up in my mouth,” came the unexpected reply. 

7. “Okay, how does she not hear what they’re saying when she’s just across the boat from them?” asked one sibling to another while watching a movie.

The other sibling had a perfectly reasonable answer, “Plot ear plugs.” 

8. While discussing some of the children’s progress in remembering to turn off the oven after use or not leaving cookies in to burn because they weren’t paying attention to the timer, one child was at the bottom of the rung. Another sibling tried to be self-righteous about it, but I tamped it down by saying, “You only just learned this lesson yourself!” There was an audible, offended gasp by that child which was incorrectly interpreted by their sibling since they commented, “Yeah, _____’s never learned that lesson!”

9. After reading the blurb about an upcoming concert, I asked this child if they were interested in attending. “Well, if I’m going to be enlightened, then I better go.”  

Alright, well that’s enough examples for now. As you can see, I live in the House of Humor, where sarcasm and silliness reign. Please leave your guesses as comments, and next time I post, I’ll reveal the comedians. I hope you enjoyed playing my little game as much as I enjoyed looking back over my list of ‘funny things my kids say’ and choosing some amusing ones. 🙂