Friday, December 30, 2011


Caleb displaying one of the goodies he purchased with his Christmas money (caught him in a particularly disagreeable moment).

Much better!

This afternoon, I landed at Pottery Barn in search of master bedroom curtains. I wondered aimlessly around the store, becoming more and more apparent of my deep inadequacies in all things home decor. I meandered over to the curtains and fingered fabric panels. Twill or sailcloth, I pondered, feeling like the weight of my decision held as much significance as naming a child.

In the midst of my confusion, a young twenty-something salesclerk strolled over and offered her advice. I explained my desire to buy master curtains.

She chirped, "Oh, did you just move in to a new home?"

"No," I replied. "Actually, we've been there for six year."

She looked perplexed.

I started to explain my answer, but stopped. I suspected the young salesclerk wasn't a mom. She didn't understand yet just where the money for master bedroom curtains can go when four young children roam the house. If I had continued my answer, I would have explained the money for curtains was used for:

-habitual carpet cleaning to mop up all the remnants of four young boys,

-exorbitant amounts of gasoline used to shuttle four kids to school and a myriad of other activities,

-continuous replacement costs of worn out shoes, sweat pants, jeans, sports equipment, coats, and socks,

-massive amounts of food to fill four (seemingly) little tummies,

-library fees for overdue books,

-xray costs and dental charges,

-repair fees for battered walls, well-loved electronics, and defaced home decor,

-Christmas gifts, birthday parties, and Easter baskets,

-plumbing charges to fix a toilet stuffed with matchbox cars and car repairs when the DVD player gets doused with juice,

-private school tuition and preschool fees....

and on and on.

I'm imaging if I unloaded this list, I'd spook the salesclerk. So for now, I'll merely say curtains were not a priority. I'm guessing someday she'll understand.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wonderlab with Friends

We headed down to Bloomington with our friends, the Coreys and Hermacinskis. The boys had a great time at the Wonderlab and McDonald's (twice!). I thoroughly enjoyed being with such amazing moms and friends.

I have great pictures of the boys with Emma. I wish I snapped photos of the Corey crew and Annabel too!

With outdoor temperatures surpassing 50 degrees, I insisted that the boys run off some energy at Bryan Park. In the above photo, Cooper asked if he could jump into the creek. I wasn't surprised.

This morning, I was roused by Caleb standing in my bedroom door.

He cleared his throat and announced, "I've thrown up four times. The good news is the last one finally hit the toilet."

Of course, his comments begged the question: "What happened the first three times?"

When I dashed into Caleb's room, it was just as I expected. As a courtesy to all readers, I'll spare the details. Of course, Caleb was darting around the house within minutes, engaging in brotherly hijinks with vigor.

Kuddos to my sweet husband for insisting I go out for a run, and he clean it up!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Snakes, alligators and frogs! Oh my!

The boys enjoyed seeing all the animals at the Alligator Aaron show. Caleb and Cooper were even picked to handle the snake and frog. We enjoyed having Erin Miller and her girls accompany us to the show and a play date!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas continued

My extended family landed at our house for our annual Christmas dinner. After eating, we played a gift card exchange game.

We met cousin Brad's new fiance, Kathleen.

My dad, his sisters and spouses.

Cousins, siblings and spouses.

A rash of illness swept through some family members. We missed those that could not attend.

A truly wonderful night with family!

Monday, December 26, 2011

What Not to Do the Day After Christmas

The boys model new hats and gloves gifted to them from Grandparents Wood.

This morning I had a return at the sporting good shop. For some insane reason, I pondered exchanging the too big running gear for a swim suit. I meandered into the dressing room, clinging to a handful of swimsuits, tags swishing against my legs.

As I yanked the lycra material over my fleshy thighs, I realized what a truly dreadful mistake I was making. After all, I've spent the last six weeks eating like I'd never wear a swimsuit again. October whizzed by in a flurry of Halloween candy. November was spent "trying out" Thanksgiving dishes and then feasting on that one glorious day. The month of December was a feeding frenzy. I didn't think twice as I gorged on handfuls of mini quiches and cheese dips at Christmas parties and downing fistfuls of delicious baked goods, compliments of my generous neighbors.

But, the swimsuit certainly displayed exactly what I'd been up to the last two months. It seemed to suction in my midsection and squeeze the insubordinate flesh into my extremities. I noticed even my knees and elbows began to look robust.

At that point, I peeled off the swimsuit, acknowledging there's a right time to try on swimsuits and today wasn't the day.

I'm going to spend the next few weeks working on my swimsuit ready diet, but wondering how I will celebrate Valentine's Day?

Merry Christmas!

Cuddling at Christmas Eve service.

The boys eagerly awaiting present opening.

Caleb received his number one coveted item. He was SO excited.

It was a Batman Christmas for Collin.

A special Christmas morning breakfast.

Jesus birthday cake was served at breakfast, per our family tradition.

Collin thought it was great!

Later in the afternoon, we headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house where we met up with the cousins. All the cousins tried to pose together in front of the tree.

My niece Caroline clad in festive attire.

My brother and his daughter, Caroline.

Siblings and spouses.

Yesterday morning, Connor rushed out of his room and yelled, "It's Christmas." Within seconds, a stampede of boys rushed to the Christmas tree with wide-eyes and big grins. At that moment, I thought how wonderful it is to see Christmas through the eyes of children. Of all the times I wish they'd get just a tad bit older, yesterday I hoped they'd stay that age forever.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Santa: Fill 'Er Up

Took a sweet trip to the Flying Cupcake yesterday.

Cooper admires a Christmas book from his preschool teacher.

The Wood boys are anxiously awaiting Christmas. With so much excitement, the energy level is high. I imagine if we harvested the energy radiating from my four boys, we could power a small village. How the excitement/eagerness manifest itself in each boy is different.

Cooper has turned into an insomniac. He's on high alert for the arrival of Santa. He fears succumbing to a little shut eye could make him miss reindeer hooves on the roof or Santa whizzing down the chimney. So, he's up anywhere between the 11p.m. and 4 a.m. range doing anything and everything to prevent sleep. This morning, I heard quite a crash at 5:30a.m. I ran into Cooper's room to find him sprawled on the floor with a trail of toy boxes strewn all around. Evidently, he was trying to reach the top of the closet with his homemade ladder.

I've stopped asking why.

Caleb has taken to feverishly compiling and revising his Christmas wish list. Today, he announced his list is trimmed to his 15 most coveted items. He admitted he only expects to receive 9 or 10 of them. Hope Santa can live up to such lofty expectations.

Caleb also asked if we could place a sign under the tree that reads, "Fill 'Er Up."

As for me, I'm just trying to diminish the energy level while maintaining the excitement (and all the while keeping the meaning of Christmas at the forefront). No small task!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Particular Sadness of Motherhood

I volunteered at Connor's school Christmas party. I informed Connor it was dress up day at his school.

He said, "Great! I think I'll be Batman."

I gently informed him dress up day meant church clothes, not costumes. He shot me a look that said, "Who in the world would think that was fun?"

Yesterday, Caleb was teased and called a few names (nerd being one of them). He came to me in tears, devastated by the entire interaction.

After he recounted all his grievances, I asked him how he handled it.

"Well, I ran to Connor and asked him what to do," he replied.

I questioned, "What did Connor tell you to do?" I imagined Caleb's younger, more sensitive and socially savvy brother provided some splendid advice.

Caleb continued, "He told me to hit them."

Clearly, not what I was thinking.
Note to self: Talk to Connor about his advice.

Fortunately, Caleb left the group of boys unharmed, but walked into the house in tears.

He still wallowed in sadness after his brothers were fast asleep. I pulled Caleb up into my bed and we talked. I opened up about my own childhood memories of rejection and humiliation. Many decades later, talking about some of those stories still uncovered a twinge of hurt. Feeling old stings magnified my sadness for my son. I imagine few things are worse than experiencing sadness through the eyes of your child. I told Caleb God made him an individual and not everyone understands or appreciates that, but that really isn't our problem. Caleb's job is to be the best Caleb he can be.

Caleb's tears dried and he retired in slumber shortly thereafter.

Unfortunately, sleep didn't greet me as quickly. Nothing breeds insomnia like motherhood.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Physician by Osmosis

The Zionsville Fire trucks ran through the neighborhood tonight with Santa on top. The kids all congregated on the corner and enjoyed watching Santa whiz along.

A friend called tonight. She wanted medical advice from me (not my physician husband). I'd find the call odd if it hadn't happened so many times before. Quite frequently, I'm the recipient of a call from a friend seeking medical advice. All phoning friends are well aware that I hold no medical licenses nor any degrees even remotely related to the medical career. In fact, I had to pray my way through each and every science course I was forced to complete.

Nonetheless, I suppose these friends think I should have learned a thing or two about medicine after being married to a physician for over a decade. As the marriage ages, does a spouse earn a physician degree by osmosis? That seems to be the theory.

Although my medical opinions are not backed by any degree or schooling (and Chris would be completely mortified to know I'm dispensing any sort of medical advice), I know enough to triage neighbor calls.

Bad fall?

Blackouts or vomiting?

Deep cut?

How deep and how long did it bleed?

Weird rash?

Tell me more.

Of course, the best advice I can provide:

I'd go to the ER.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's one more?

Caleb examines the "snowballs" at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

Caleb had a play date today. What started out as a short get together, turned into an all day affair. As the play date was winding down, I called his friend's mother to coordinate a pick up time. I casually mentioned taking my boys to get a haircut later in the afternoon.

The mother interjected, "Great! ______ needs a haircut too."

At first I thought she was joking, but after several additional comments (and a few instructions), I knew she was serious. She wanted me to take ______ to get a haircut too.

"Sure," I piped in. "I'll take him for a haircut. What's one more?"

As I hung up the phone, I grew anxious about the whole ordeal. Controlling the hair fate of someone else's son seemed a little risky. Suppose the stylist cut it too short or made it too long. Could he possibly end up with a mullet? Would this mother blame me for years to come as she gazed at her 2011 Christmas photos?

Then, I reflected on how many times others (or I) have thought, "What's one more?" It seems if you surpass some childbearing threshold, the general population views your vehicle as some sort of public transport and your activities as a sort of community service.

Going to the dentist?

Why not add two neighbor kids.

Flu shots at Walgreens?

Surely Connor's bus mates can snag a ride too.

An outing to purchase Christmas presents?

Remember to bring the preschool carpool.

I suppose when you're outnumbered as much as I am, you really think, "What's one more?" The chaos seems to stay the same even when adding a few.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Twist on the Advent Story

Years ago, we purchased a Fisher Price nativity scene playset. The set contained a manager with plastic figurines and barnyard animals. Each Christmas, the boys have a blast reconfiguring the scene and making up stories. I noticed Fisher Price advertises the product in this way: Children love retelling the story through play. I admit my children love retelling the advent story with the help of the set, but I've noticed they've added a few modifications and additional participants.

A few days ago a handful of matchbox cars arrived at the stable. Cooper worked with precision to position each and every vehicle in just the right spot around the stable perimeter. Gazing at the scene, the cars appear to have traveled a distance just to gaze at the Christ child.

Yesterday, a pack of dinosaurs descended on the stable. Joseph held strong against a Tyrannosaurus, but fell victim to a Pterodactyl. Wisely, the wise men were nowhere to be found.

This morning, Batman met up with Mary and Joseph. Everything was going fine until the three wise man arrived at the stable. All of a sudden, a ninja fight broke out: Mary, Joseph and Batman versus the wise men. Peace on Earth was yet to be found.

Right now, baby Jesus is missing. Wondering if he took cover?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to Be a Millionaire

Collin looks so big compared to his little one-year-old friend, Mia Brinkruff. Enjoyed a fondue night with our friends, the Brinkruffs.

This morning, Connor announced he planned to be a millionaire.

I questioned how exactly he expected to make his fortune.

He described creative "money-making" inventions he planned to create.

Caleb listened to Connor's monologue. Finally, he interjected, "Why don't you just inherit the money. That's what I'm going to do."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lego War

My dear husband turned 40 on Thursday. We celebrated with his work friends at an ER Christmas party. They added a few birthday cupcakes and sang a round of "Happy Birthday."

The next day, I attended Caleb's school holiday party.

The boys visited Santa today at the Indiana State Museum. Most of the other kids waiting in line were clad in cute Christmas sweaters and velvet dresses. I was just lucky to get them all there, they picked their attire. All the boys told Santa their "wish list." Connor asked for a dog. Glad Santa didn't commit on that one!

After a series of late nights, I snuck in a nap during "quiet time." As expected, quiet time was none so quiet. Pretty soon, I heard angry rumblings from the boys. Quickly, I ran to the commotion. Cooper sat in a room, surrounded by an overturned Lego box. Every Lego we own was strewn across the floor. The multi-colored pieces looked like confetti moments after a New Year's Eve countdown. There were so many I could barely spot the carpet.

"What happened?" I asked, questioning the obvious.

"Cooper dumped the entire bin of Legos," Connor quickly piped in, all to eager to finger his little brother.

I informed Cooper he'd need to clean up the mess and could not leave the room until it was finished.

A few minutes later, Cooper stormed out of the room and marched right up to me. He puffed out his chest and held his head high. He said with as much gumption as he could muster, "I've made a decision. I'm not going to clean up the Legos."

I met his glare and replied, "It's not your decision to make."

Reluctantly, he retreated back into the room, but continued his campaign against the Lego cleanup. He employed a civil disobedience tactic: sitting in the room for an hour and a half, refusing to pick up one single piece.

During this time, I tried my best to make staying in the room as painful as possible (in the nicest way). I offered the other three boys snacks, and they feasted on fistfuls of goldfish just feet away from Cooper. Cooper eyed his brothers longingly, but didn't budge.

Finally, after one hour and forty-five minutes, he caved. He began scooping up Legos by the handful. Within minutes, the war was over. He had officially surrendered. The room was clean, peace was had, and an extra snack was served.