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Lullaby

Bedtime is one of my favorite parts of the day.  It’s not just the peace that comes after a long day of noisy boys.  Nor is it the moment when all the kids disappear into their rooms and I can have an adult conversation without any arguing or fart noises, without any sounds of armed attack or crying or complaining.  That is nice though.

It’s the whole bedtime routine I love.  The reading and the cuddling, the singing, the tucking in, the million drinks of water, the giggling and talking long after they were tucked in.  I especially love it when Dave is home and he sings to the kids.  Dave has this amazing ability to remember any song he’s ever heard.  He can sing all the words, he’s got the general tune.  From a tone deaf wife, who can’t remember the words to the “Wheels on the Bus”, I’m constantly amazed.  I rarely participate in this nightly singing ritual.    It’s too much pressure for me. I am glad that my children haven’t inherited this fear of performing.  Nathaniel will sing along whether it’s the hundredth time or the first he’s heard the song.  He’ll sing along even if the song’s in a different language.  It’s rather sweet.

Dave’s song selection runs the gambit from Contemporary to hymns.  The twins especially love the duck song, it’s usually their first request, it’s the Freebird of our house.  They also regularly request The Man in the Moon Song,but Dave normally saves that one for the eve of a business trip.

When Dave is gone, the song repertoire is much smaller (and sometimes replaced with an extra chapter or picture book).  I class it up with songs like: Jesus loves me, The Barney Theme song, the ABC song, George of the Jungle, or Jingle Bells Batman Smells (as an aside, my cousin taught the kids this song when he came to visit.  When he left the twins told me how impressed they were that he had made up such an amazingly awesome song right on the spot. I let them go on believing he was the author of that little gem.)

Some nights, when Dave is singing, I’ll walk down the hall and hear Our God is awesome God, in Spanish.  Or maybe some B.I.G.G.Y.  Nothing is really off limits for Dave, but each session is normally ended with a hymn.   Nothing sounds sweeter than a couple of five-year-olds singing about Jesus.

 

Last spring started the beginning of my “we-will-survive-the-zombie-apocolypse” plan.   We went to the feed store and brought home 6 chickens.  Originally we only wanted  4, but then we were afraid that some of them would be roosters, so we bought 2 more.

The original bunch of ladies

Then mid winter, I decided it would be a great idea to let the ladies out to free range.  Bobby the Bobcat thought it was a great idea too.   Poor Henrietta.  We saw him drag her into the forest.

Marshall:  Wow! That was very nature documentaryish

Me:  I was thinking of the theme song from “Lion King”

Mike:  Hakuna Matatata, means no worries.  Wait?  Why are you thinking of that song?

Me:  No, I was thinking the Elton John song, “The Ciiiircle of Liiiiife” but Hakuna Matata works well too.

McKayla:  Aren’t you going to go rescue her?!?

Me:  No way.  I’m not taking a chicken away from a hungry bobcat and I am definitely not taking a chicken to the vet.

bobcat

Once Bobby got a taste for our ladies, he was unstoppable.  The next day Mike came running in screaming that the bobcat was inside the chicken coop.  Awesome, just awesome.  There went Pooper McPooperson.

We had a bit of a reprieve because Dave chased the bobcat around the yard with a look of menace in his eyes.  Whatever he did worked, and the bobcat was scared into hiding.  Yet when Dave went to China, Bobby came back for some more.  My cousin was spending the week.

Him:  Um, cousin, are your chickens supposed to be out?

Me:  No.

Him:  Oh man!  Bobby is back!  Marshall bring me your baseball bat!  We’re going to protect these chickens!

Somehow Bob had scared the ladies out of the coop and was picking them off one by one.  There went Ducky and Big Momma.  Poor, Poor big Momma.

Now we’re just down to two.  And though we’re not supposed to have favorites, I am a little upset that Mrs. Noisy was the one that made it.  I’m pretty sure she thinks she’s part rooster.

We're the queens of the roost

We’ve bobcat proofed the coop and bought 18 baby peeps.  I don’t know what it is about peeps that makes them so darn adorable.  It makes me sort of forget how disgusting adult chickens are.

Aren't we a little bit adorable

I’ve already started naming them.  Collette, Francesca, Henrietta the second, Katherine, Elizabeth, Genevieve, Victoria…

Nate:  Those are girly names.

Me:  These are girls.  And they’re the only baby girls I’m going to get to have.  If my ovaries can’t overact, I’m going to have 18 babies chickies.

Jake:  How are we going to know who is who, they all look the same?

Me: Maybe we could tag them.  We could write their names on the tags.

Dave:  You’ll be hard pressed to write Genevieve on a small tag.

Me:  Maybe I could crochet them little bonnets.  How tolerant do you think they’ll be of Harry Potter sweaters with their initials on them?

Turns out I wasn’t the first one to think of it.

A CHICKEN SWEATER?!? That sounds AWESOME!

 

Supergluing his head back together

8:00 am  I’m awoken to my phone chirping that I have a text message.  I roll over and it’s from McKayla, “Can you pick me up, I’m feeling sick”.

We’ve been battling the weirdest stomach flu ever at our house.  It started with Nathaniel who complained his tummy hurt and the announced he was going to throw up and then promptly threw up all over the bathroom.  Afterwards, he was completely fine.  He ate dinner, he helped clean the kitchen, he read to me, I read to him and he fell asleep.  This was followed by Michael screaming his stomach hurt and then throwing up all over the other bathroom, declaring himself better and going back to bed.  And then Jacob woke up in the middle of the night to cry how much his tummy hurt, “Why does God make my tummy hurt?  Please pray over me!  I think I might die.” We tend toward the dramatic in this house.  Everyone woke up one more time, threw up all over the floor and then went back to bed.  We would have labeled it possible food poisoning, except the following night Marshall was hit and Michael once more.  My poor, poor carpet. On the bright side, my bathrooms are sparkly clean.

So, when McKayla said she wasn’t feeling well, I came to get her right away before she threw up all over the halls.  She’s having a hard enough time without being known as “the girl who lost her breakfast all over the halls”.  I don’t think anyone could ever live that one down.

9:00 the glamorous life of homeschooling 4 boys.

9:23  SQUIRREL!  no, not a distraction, an actual squirrel.  The largest squirrel we’ve ever seen.  It was looked less like a squirrel and more like a cat with a bushy tail.  It sat right by our bird feeder, stared through the window with a look that said, “WTF People, why is this bird feeder empty?  This is unacceptable!”

9:40 back to learning.

11:17  OH CRAP PEOPLE!!!!  GET YOUR BATHING SUITS ON RIGHT NOW!!!!!  GO!!!  GO!!!!  GO!!!!  WE HAVE TO BE AT SWIM LESSONS IN 13 MINUTES!!!!

11:22 

Jake:  Oh no mom!  I forgot to take off my underwear!

Me:  Oh, well.  That’s okay, you can swim with them and we’ll come home without underwear.

Jake:  I don’t want to go home with no underwear!

Me:  Sorry, We don’t have time to change when we get there.

11:26 Jake:  You don’t have to worry about my underwear.

Me:  I wasn’t terribly worried, but why don’t I have to worry?

Nate:  ‘Cuz he was getting naked back here!

Jake:  Yep, I took off my swim suit, took off my underwear and then put my swim suit on.  All while buckled into my car seat!  Now I can have dry underwear!

Me:  For the win!

11:30  We make it to swim lessons right on time.

I have thought about doing something with those 30 minutes of freedom.  I could totally go run for 20 minutes, but then I’d have to give up the entertainment of watching swimming lessons.  For whatever reason, Jacob is absolutely terrified of water.  He doesn’t like getting his head wet.  He doesn’t like letting go of the wall.  He doesn’t like the whole idea of getting in the water.  It’s rather comical.  Though its rather hard to swim holding on to the instructor like they are your personal life raft during a tsunami, it’s hysterical to watch.  When they got to the pool the instructor had them put on floaties that go around their middles.

Jake:  This is ridiculous, there is no way this can ever hold me.

Instructor:  No, really this works great.  Let go from the wall, I promise you won’t sink.

Jake:  No, thank you.

Jake’s swimming looks, less like swimming and more like motion by electrical shock.  Meanwhile, Nathaniel swims circles around him trying to convince him he’s completely safe.

Jake:  NATHANIEL!  You are going to drown.  Touch the wall!

Nate:  I’m fine. Perfectly safe.

Jake:  MOM WE ARE GOING TO DROWN!!!  (we tend to the dramatics here)

12:15  We arrive at home.  I’m not sure if it’s the combination of the chlorine and the screaming at the pool or the lack of caffeine but I have a killer headache.  Lunch is made, school is wrapped up and I decide to lay down before my head splits into two.

 

1:00  “Mom, are you asleep?”

Me:  I was.

Random child:  Can we jump on the jumpoline?

Me:  Okay, open the door so I can hear you.

For the next 45 minutes I hear kids happily bouncing on the trampoline intermingled with whinnying, complaining, crying and laughing.

I’m sure you know where this is going.

1:45  I hear mike scream like he was just pounced on by a tiger.  Followed by Nathaniel screaming and then Jacob screaming.  At first I wonder if maybe zombies attacked them and they are now pinned inside the trampoline net.  This may not seem like a likely scenario, but it’s probably as likely as all three of them being hurt simultaneously with enough damage to elicit the amount of screams I’m hearing.

Mike comes running in the house dripping blood from his head “He broke my head!!  Oh my gosh!  HE BROKE MY HEAD!!!! CAN YOU SEE MY BRAINS???  (the drama)

I assess the head damage and it’s minor.

Me:  You’re fine.  Jump in the bathtub so you stop bleeding all over everything.

I assess Nathaniel.  He’s completely fine.  No blood anywhere.  We can’t find Jacob.  McKayla goes to look for him.  Marshall gets out all of the first aid supplies.

Marshall:  I am completely qualified to wrap his whole head in gauze.  I have almost earned my first aid merit badge.

Me:  Okay, Tell me exactly what happened.  Marshall I think we can hold off on mummyfing your brother for a few minutes.

Mike:  HE BROKE MY HEAD!!!  We were jumping and Nathaniel’s chin hit my head and broke it!!!

McKayla:  I found Jacob, he was crying under the bed scared.

I look more closely at his head, but can tell if it’s ER worthy or not.  I call Dave.  He doesn’t answer.  I call him 4 times in a row.  Still no answer. I call my mother-in-law.  No answer.  I take a photo of his bloody head and text it to dave.  I call my best friend whose been to the ER for two head injuries on two separate kids.  No answer.  I call her cell.

Me:  THANK GOD YOU ANSWERED!

Her:  What’s up!  Did you know they sell vanilla vodka!  I have some in my cart!

Me:  Why do you live so far away!!!  I need Vodka!  (I promise, we always speak in such a way that requires all of these exclamation points).  How did you know that you needed to take the boys to the ER?

Her:  The copious amounts of blood on one kid and being able to see his skull on the other one.

Me:  What does skull look like?  Do you think I could text you a picture?

Her:  Didn’t you just meet your insurance deductible?

Me:  I know, but I hate the ER.

Her:  Just think of it as a little break.  Bring a book.

2:15  So off we went to the Urgent Care. There wasn’t anyone there but the intake lady was on the phone.  A nurse came by to see if we were okay.

Me:  Um, can you look at his head and let me know if you think this might need stitches?

Her:  Oh, yeah, that’s probably going to need some s-t-a-p-l-e-s (in a mock whisper).

Mike turns a little green.  While we wait for the doctor I text Mike’s coach.  “Mike probably won’t make it to practice.  We’re at the ER.  Tragic trampoline accident.  Mike’s head vs his brother’s chin.  Chin wins”

Mike:  Did you call dad?

Me:  I did but he didn’t answer.  I texted him a picture of your head.

Mike:  Is he coming?

Me:  I haven’t heard yet.  Probably not.

Mike:  Oh, I kinda need him.

Me:  What am I?  Chopped liver?

We get back to the doctor and explain the whole story. She washes the wound and offers us staples or super glue.  I was really trying to sell the staples, but Mike wanted the super glue.

Me:  Come on!  Don’t you want to see the medical stapler?  Maybe it’s run by an air compressor.  Kachunk!  Kachunk!  Kachunk!

I don’t know why that didn’t win him over.  I can’t imagine why he wanted Dave and not me…

Mike:  Do you think I can go to baseball practice?Doctor:  I don’t see why not.

3:45 We head home, Mike quickly changes into his baseball clothes and we’re off to practice.

 

6:00 Home from baseball everyone quickly eats frozen pizza, prepared by chef McKayla and changes into Awana uniforms.

6:30 All of the boys are dropped off at church.

6:45  I run home and take a quick shower, down some more Advil, because my head still feels like it might crack open at any minute and my eyeball will fall out.

7:15 I run to a Cubscout leader meeting.

8:15 I leave the riveting leaders meeting, mid discussion on Fish drops and run to pick up all the kids from church.

9:00 When we are all finally home, Dave inspects Mike’s head.

Mike:  How big is it? Do you think my brains will leak out?  Do you think we should make a doctor appointment to get my bones checked?  Don’t you think my skull has to be really wimpy because Nate’s baby chin could crack it?  Should I wear a helmet all the time? Should I sleep sitting up?

No wonder he wanted Dave.  All these unspoken fears he’d been carrying around all day.  Poor kid.

 

 

Thankful Tree

Thankful tree

I love Pinterest.  I love all the ingenious (and sometimes not so ingenious) ideas.  I also hate Pinterest because I should be doing all these great ideas, or at least some of them.  Why don’t we ever playing outdoor bowling with our old water bottles and glow sticks?  I am a failure as a mother.  You see where this leads?  It’s never good.

I don’t think I did anything that I pinned for Halloween. No giant spiders made of Styrofoam balls, no cookies made with various candy pieces to look like Haunted mansions, no spooky decorations made of pipe cleaners.  It was rather anticlimactic and depressing around here.

I’ve decided to get on the ball for Thanksgiving.  We made a thankful tree.

The directions I found used butcher paper, but I knew that if I waited to go buy butcher paper, I’d never make the tree.  I cut apart paper grocery bags and taped them together in a tree shape.  First thing I’m thankful for:  God is an artistic God.  So, glad he’s in charge of the trees not me.  Otherwise all forests would be incredibly spooky looking.  Note to self:  Next year put up the thankful tree October 1st.  It can add to the decor.

Once I taped up the tree  trunk and the kids helped me attach the limbs, I cut out leaves from construction paper.  Again, glad I’m not in charge of leaves.  Knowing how much of a procrastinator I am, I cut out all the leaves for this week today.  Our tree is rather unique.  It has maple leaves, oak leaves, and hand leaves.  I am storing the leaves on my fridge for easy access.

Each of us picked a leaf and wrote what we were most thankful today for.  I love what they all picked, completely on their own.

thankful leaves

McKayla (not pictured):  My family

Marshall:  I’m thankful for candy.

Mike:  I’m thankful for pets.

Jake:  I’m thankful for books.

Me:  I’m thankful for a Merciful God.

and Nate’s:

thankful leaf

I can’t wait to see how full this tree looks on Thanksgiving!

I have this looooong list of possible topics I should blog about.  I keep a little file on my laptop of the funny things my kids say and do.  It’s a list I don’t share on facebook, because I need to hold back some material if I ever decide to write a blog.  Every time I add something new I think about actually logging into wordpress and writing something and then more pressing things require my attention.

Things like repeatedly feeding the masses of hungry mouths that seem to be hungry the moment they leave the table.  I think I might start teaching my children to expand their culinary skills outside of pancakes, waffles, and quesadillas and scrambled eggs, and then I will stop cooking all together.

It’s also possible that the lure of cleaning my house and doing the monotonous job of laundry always pulls me away.  Never mind, no one would believe that.

Or maybe it’s the latest book I’m reading that is so much more enticing than actually putting finger to keyboard.  I started pinning the books I have read in 2012 on Pinterest.  Currently, I’ve read more than 60 books.   I had no idea that I read so much.  Before you get all jealous, you should go check out the list of books,  but be sure not to judge me too much.  I guess it was the year of zombies, vampires and smut.  I’d like to say that’s not typical, but obviously it is.

Without further ado, enjoy the hilarity.

We’re classy

We only have two rules for what you can wear for church.  (1) A shirt with a collar.  (2) No holes in your pants.

Sometimes, these rules lead to an exciting outfit combination. I know you love those black and gray plaid pants combined with the red and white shirt.  This was also paired with rain boats.  It was stellar at Sunday School.

***

For whatever reason, Boy Scout of America has decided that every registered person in scouts NEEDS a magazine.  Dave and I each get Scouting magazine and both Marshall and Michael get Boy’s Life.  They come bundled together in a shrink wrapped package monthly.  I disperse them throughout the house (aka in various bathrooms).  Personally, I never read them (it might have something to do with the 63 books I’ve read this year).  It turns out that I’m the only one in our family who does not.

McKayla:  Yes!  The new Boy’s Life magazine.  I love Boy’s Life.

Dave:  yeah, it’s a pretty good magazine.  Lots of girls read it.

McKayla:  I always read the “Scouts saving lives” section and then if the guy is cute I’ll go add him on Facebook.

***

Continuing on the scouting theme:

Marshall:  I’m really glad that I’m in scouts.

Me:  Me too.  Why are you glad?

Marshall:  They’re teaching me good life skills.  If I decide to be homeless I can totally pack a backpack full of all the necessary essentials.  Really, everything a homeless guy needs is right here on my back.

I’m not sure if Boy Scouts of America wants to go with the slogan, “Teaching Boys how to survive being homeless for over 100 years!”

***

McKayla:  Can I invite some people over this weekend.

Mike interjects:  Yes, as long as it’s less than 2.

(this still cracks me up.  We were all so surprised by his quick wit)

***

Recently Nathaniel and Jacob have started playing Lego Harry Potter on the xbox.  I don’t think they have any concept of the rules of the game, the object or how to actually win, but they have a great time doing it.  For those of you who don’t know, the XBOX Kinect has voice commands.  Theoretically, you can control the whole system with your voice.  I can browse the internet by saying, “XBOX BING ‘The Walking Dead'” and lots of movies and games will pop up at the sound of my voice.  We frequently browse and turn off our system with this method.

Nate:  Mommy!  Mommy!  Hurry come quick we can’t get off this level.

Me:  Who is the expert at Xbox?  Definitely not me.  (I was thinking he’d go to Marshall or Michael)

Nate: “oooooo  I have an idea!”  He runs into the other room. “XBOX!  GET US OUT OF THIS LEVEL”

***

Me (during some reading to the boys):  What are skills?

Jake:  I know!  They’re like bones, bones in your head.

Nate:  No, those are skulls.  It’s like nails.  They are long and twisty (he proceeds to turn in a circle) and you need a skill driver.

Maybe I should have their hearing checked.

Homecoming

All the planning, shopping, coordinating, talking, planning, phone calls, stress, and cajoling culminated tonight.

I meant to take McKayla’s dress to the cleaners, not because it needed to be cleaned, but because I don’t iron.  Let me rephrase that, I detest ironing. I never iron anything.  I hang all of our clothes at it comes out of the dryer.  If for some reason I miss that window, I will rewash.  Last year when we moved from California to Washington we spent a few days living in a hotel while our massive amounts of crap was loaded into a semitruck.  Jacob saw the ironing board at the Holiday Inn Express and said, “Hey Mom!  They have the sewing machine board here!  Where do they keep the Sewing Machines?  What are you going to make us?”  yep, my kid had no idea what an ironing board was, nor an iron’s primary purpose.  The whole point here, I don’t iron.

Alas, I forgot about the cleaners.  This morning she brought me the dress waded in a ball and asked me if I could iron it for her.

“Um, no.”

house work.

Thank goodness her dad loves her, and his mom taught him how to iron.  Also, thank goodness her dad remembered to pick up the boutonniere.

McKayla:  Oh my gosh!  Look at these pins!  This looks dangerous!  

Dave:  Do you want me to show you how to pin it on him.

McKayla:  No, I’m good, I’ll watch a youtube video. 

Half a dozen girls came over this afternoon to straighten and curl their hair.  Put on makeup, paint their nails and do all those other things that teen age girls like to do.

getting ready

We then loaded all the girls into the minivan and drove over to McKayla’s boyfriend’s house for pictures and limo pick up.

teenagers and pins

This poor, poor boy.  I’m sure he was thinking:   Please don’t stab me!  Please don’t stab me!  After she said, Oh, I totally forgot how to watch that youtube video. 

And then when he pulled out the corsage, she said, “What!  I have to pin you and you just get to put that on my wrist!

growing up

I promise they aren’t mouth breathers, McKayla just kept up a nonstop banter with this poor sweet boy.

Let me tell you, trying to get a dozen teenagers to take a picture was a little bit like hearding cats.  At one point one of the dad’s said, “Okay, I’m going to count to three, I’m going to say ‘blink’ you’re all going to blink and then I’ll take your picture.  It took about three tries of that before it worked.

ah, to be young again

Though this isn’t the best picture, it’s my favorite of the bunch.  I love how happy all of the girls look.  It may have been snapped mid conspiratorial conversation or joke, or right before McKayla and her friend broke out in a coughing fit.  Fun, plague, basically the same thing.

first date

I’m pretty sure the boy is saying, “Oh my gosh!  This boutonniere is stabbing me in the heart!”  And this boy is the nicest, sweetest, most polite kid ever.  He’d probably go home with a huge hole in his chest and never mention once how miserable he was all night.

limos

I overheard one of the girls saying, “I can’t believe we got a limo, that’s so prom.  I think party buses are for homecoming.  This is so classy.”  I didn’t know that there was vehicle protocol.  Let me tell you, I’m so glad that they got a limo not a party bus because as we were driving home we saw a teenagers but hanging out of a party bus.  What a recipe for disaster.

Also, one of the girls texted McKayla and said, “Now that we’re getting a limo, I need to make sure that their won’t be any alcohol and drugs.”

McKayla read it to me and laughed, “I’m not quite sure who she thinks would be doing any of that.  None of us drink or do drugs.”  She forwarded the text on to everyone and said, “Are you all leading a secret drug and alcohol life I don’t know about? If so, don’t tell me about in the limo.”

teens in a limo

After they left, Dave and I decided to get frozen pizzas, ice cream and a redbox movie for the boys and go out to dinner.  There is something very, very nice about having a responsible 12-year-old kid.

Just as we were leaving the house, McKayla called and asked us to go home.  One of the girls had forgotten her purse at our house.  Could we please drop it off at the restaurant.

Me:  Well, you’re dad and I were going out to dinner, do you think you could add our name to the wait list. 

Her:  Sure, it’s dead here.  You can get a table no problem.

Me:  Awesome!

A few minutes later, we got a second phone call.  Someone left their id at home.  Could we pick that up and deliver it too?

Me:  We’d love to.  Maybe we could sit at your table…

When we got to the restaurant, Dave took a picture of them eating them from behind a booth.

Me:  What are you doing?

Dave:  If we were spying, this is where I’d do it from.  I’m just keeping them on their toes.  

And that is why I love him!  It might also be because he cracks me up.  He posted the picture on facebook with the caption:  “I don’t think she’s seen us yet, we were able to get a table within line of sight!”

Our friends our hilarious.  Some of the comments (okay, all of them because i don’t want to loose them):

  • you are a mean, mean father!
  • OMG you guys are the best parents ever
  • I wish my parents loved me enough to spy on me during my dates.  You guys are awesome.
  • high five!!
  • (McKayla’s) -_-
  • She looks SO happy
  • (McKayla)  I was eating a cheeseburger (at a mexican restaurant.  What a gringa)
  • No, looked like you were kissing.  You could east easier if that guy let go of your hand.
  • No, necking at the table!
  • McKayla, seriously put away the phone you’re on a date.
  • (me) Part of me wants to say, “why are you on Facebook at the table?!? How rude!” but then if you’re texting, facebooking, etc there is no chance of physical contact…
  • Chanel…win   Mckayla, we love you.  Oh, and I’m on the other side of the restaurant from your parents.  –there’s nowhere to hide.
  • Also, tell your parents to enjoy a date too–they are also on fb at the table 😉
  • This bush is not comfy and I can’t see in the windows…Does it look like rain?
  • Gosh darnit!  I’m at he wrong place!  Stupid apple gps!
  • Best post ever!
  • epic!
  • Seriously?!  You’re stalking your kid?
  • Your dad says that’s just mean.

(That was some wonderful entertainment while Dave and I waited for a table at a completely different restaurant in an entirely different town.)

I handed out all of the requested items and then pulled out my camera.

Me:  Say Cheese!

The boyfriend gave an adorable smile.

Mckayla:  DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT!  IGNORE, IGNORE!  DON’T ENCOURAGE HER!!!

What I absolutely love about that kid is he got us a table right next to them.

Him:  I thought you guys were going to eat with us?

G.I. Joe House

I have lots to tell you dear internets about my bunny, but for fear of turning my blog into a “Chanel’s bunny” blog, I will save it for later.  Just know that she is probably the cutest thing, the most expensive animal ever, and a cat bully.  This one though, is for all of those random visitors that come to my blog for the GI Joe house. 

Dave and I instituted an only “gifts of time” allowed for Christmas for a few years.  The kids all had to make everyone gifts.  Dave and I only gave the kids things that we either made or consisted mostly of our time.  We gave Mckayla (13 at the time) a new bedroom.  We helped her paint her room, replace the bedding, I think we even painted some furniture.  It was shockingly purple.  We made Marshall (10 at the time) a bike ramp.  Which was hilarious.  As dave was building it, I kept telling him, “This ramp is a baby ramp! Make it bigger!”  And being the amazing husband that he is, he did.  It was huge.  I think at the tallest it was 3 feet.  Marshall rode it once (on Christmas Day) and biffed it so amazingly hard that he never rode it again.  We moved it here, to the land of rain, but it was cannibalized for the treehouse.  I can’t remember what we gave the twins, but Mike got the most awesome present ever.

For all of you who don’t personally know my Mikey, it’s important that you know how much he loves anything to do with the army and war.  He has always loved G.I. Joes, little green army men, any type of gun.  He has dreams of enlisting.  I am trying hard to encourage the Army Corp of Engineers,  “But Mom, I don’t want to be a General or build things, I want to be in the front lines!”  When we moved here, the first time we went to the library, he said, “Oh mom!  I love this place!  They have a huge World War II section!”  He knows the call numbers for every war and whenever we visit another library, he immediately bee lines it to them.

For Christmas that year, I wanted to make him a GI Joe house.  Gi Joes are like barbies for boys except larger.  I think Jem was made for GI Joe, if he wanted to go on tour, hang out with short mini skirts, sparkly hair and groupies while he was on leave, then definitely a perfect match!  So, I was looking for an old beat up, FREE Barbie townhouse.  For a few months I searched high and low.  I went to garage sales, thrift stores, perused freecycle and craigslist.  There was none to be had.  I enlisted every one I knew to keep their eyes out for one.

My mother-in-law didn’t find the townhome, but she found something even more amazing.  She found me this beauty:

dollhouse

Oh, but it gets better.  It came with windows, curtains, wall paper and working doors.  It was priced something incredibly ridiculous like $5.  I needed it.  Who cares about GI Joe! I have a box full of my old doll house furniture that my Grandma had diligently saved for me.  I was mentally planning where I was going to put the fireplace and divan.  Yes!!  I now had a house for all this miniature furniture from the 1960s.


Dave:  This is even more awesome than the Barbie townhome!  We can camouflage it, board up the windows, put in some mortar damage.  Mike’s going to love this!

Me:  (absolutely horrified):  WHAT!??  We can NOT desecrate this!   I have a whole box full of miniature furniture.  This is too pretty for a boy.  Maybe one day we will have a baby girl who will love dollies.  This will be perfect.

Dave:  We are not saving this for a hypothetical child.  I promise, if we have for some reason have a baby girl, we can change it back.

And of course, we don’t have a baby girl.  But I still have a box full of dollhouse furniture without a small home…

So we began the sad, sad, job of destroying a perfectly good dollhouse.

We went to the hobby store and bought camouflage spray paint.  Incidentally, there are directions on the spray paint bottle on how to correctly camouflage something.  It’s an exact science.  Who knew?

dollhouse

I’m rather lucky to be married to a spray paint master.

gi joes house

Me:  Maybe we shouldn’t camouflage it, If we just paint it green and he doesn’t love it, I can always take it back and paint the trim white.  It won’t be the perfect yellow house, but sage green is nice.

Dave:  What are you talking about?  He’s gonna LOVE this!  This is awesome!!!

Please notice the beautiful bay windows.  Does GI Joe need bay windows?

gi joes new baseWe boarded up the windows with small sticks  Dave drilled small sniper holes in the windows.  We pulled off shingles, all the while I complained.

Me:  Shouldn’t we do a better job painting the trim?

Dave:  Do you think that GI Joe would be spending a great deal of time on the trim while he commanders this colonial era home as their new base of operation during the apocalypse or World War 3?  The bad paint job is realistic.

gi joe home

Dave really wanted to knock holes in the walls, splatter red paint around to mimic blood and gore, make gunshot holes in the walls.  I finally drew the line.  We stuck some army decals, American flag stickers and little army men on the walls.  I went through all of my doll house furniture and found a few pieces I was willing to part with.  We spray painted them boy colors and added them to the home.  And called it done.

It was by far the best present ever.  He absolutely loved it.  Actually, everyone loved it.  I think Mike convinced Marshall to play army with him for a few weeks.  Now, three years later, Mike has outgrown playing with army men.  He has moved on to staging full scale wars in the front yard with the little green men.  He has built a complicated trench system among my flowers. Yet,  sometimes I will find a full scale army staged in his room, complete with the home base command center but mostly the house is used as storage for the army vehicles and men that are too precious to part with.  Thankfully, it still sees much playtime among the twins.  Eventually, when it has been completely outgrown, I will move it into the attic to await my first grandson.  The girls will just have to wait.