The Boy Who Saved Christmas

After having three baby boys within four years, Matt and I ceased to have the ability to finish sentences or call our children by their given names.  Our little fellas became accustomed to answering to “A-Jus-El-um-um-COME-HERE-BUDDY!”  Having more than three children didn’t seem to make sense to us since obviously, we were no longer making sense.

When those three little boys were ages 5, 2, and 6 months – my mom was diagnosed with ALS.  Thus began a journey in our lives that was filled with grief, pain, and hardship as we traveled back and forth to Kansas to be with Mom as often as we could during the next 22 months.  If I couldn’t get my act together before, I certainly couldn’t even find my act during this time.

I remember crying out to God during one of my lowest points, just a few months before she died.  It had been a year and a half since her diagnosis, and she was failing quickly.  Knowing that we were soon going to lose her, I fell on my knees and asked God to help me find joy again.  He listened.  He heard.  And He answered.  Just a few weeks later, we were shocked to find out that we were expecting baby number four.  Now that was a surprise we had not anticipated!  Indeed, we were filled with joy.

We were able to share the news with Mom (who was convinced that we would surely have a girl this time).  Suddenly all of us – my dad, my brother, all of us - had a reason to smile.  We had something to look forward to!  God is so much fun.  Little did we know how this baby would continue to be the perfect blessing we would all need during the coming months.

When I was about four months into the pregnancy, Mom finished her race.  We were relieved, sad, grateful, devastated, and exhausted.  We all began a new journey of life without her - enduring that year of “firsts” that families experience when they lose someone.  The first birthday without her.  The first Mother’s Day.  The first Thanksgiving.  The first Christmas.

Oh, Christmas.  Mom loved Christmas.  How would we ever have Christmas without her?  Should we try to carry on the same traditions she loved?  Should we plan the same menu?  Should we have Christmas at Dad’s or would it be too painful and empty without her there?

As it turns out, the new baby we were expecting answered all the questions for us.  On December 20 (nine years ago today), our fourth baby boy was born.  It was decided that all of the family would come to Nebraska to meet him and to celebrate Christmas in our home.  We would eat whatever we found in my freezer and we would keep the holiday simple.  That sweet baby boy was just what we all needed to be able to smile through our tears as we shared our first Christmas without Mom.

Happy 9th Birthday, Malachi Mark!  God gifted you to us, bringing us tremendous joy and hope.  May you always allow yourself to be used by God to be a blessing to others.


Our Family’s Favorite Games

It happened again tonight when Justus (our 13 year old) was eating his potato soup.  I started giggling for no reason.  This happens to me occasionally when my family is around the table playing games.  Tonight, we had to head out the door after dinner, so we were finishing our game and eating at the same time.  Justus took a bite of soup, and it was outrageously funny.  Except that it really wasn’t, even a little bit.

I admit it.  I was getting loopy.  We had been playing Settlers of Catan, the Cities and Knights version for way too long.  We started it last night after church, took a turn at breakfast this morning, played a few more rounds after lunch, and by dinner, my brain was fried.  The game is awesome, but it takes some thinking skills.  And we had been playing in and around our regular day of school and work and life.  Thus, the potato soup eating hilarity.

Ah, but this is what memories are made of.  As our boys get older and are now able to gather around the table for “big kid games” we take advantage of every spare moment we have to spend time playing together.  Their schedules are busy, so we have to be intentional to make it happen.  Here are some of our favorite games:

Settlers of Catan, especially the Cities and Knights version

ticket to ride

Ticket to Ride



Apples to Apples and Apples to Apples Junior


Uno Attack





Pass the Pigs

Disney Scene It





Don’t tell, but here’s the new one we’re getting this year for Christmas.

Now tell me about the games you and your family love to play!  (And do you ever get loopy after playing games just a little bit too long?!)

Malachi’s Business Dream

Earlier this week, Matt saw an opportunity to win college scholarship money for Nebraska kids 8 and younger.  We quickly acted on it and would like your support!

He’s been entered into a “Big Dreams” contest that will be judged in November, but we’d like to get people to give it a bunch of thumbs up so the judges will see its likeability. 1st place-$10,000; 2nd-$5,000; 3rd-$2,500.

Asa did the video and editing as part of a school project, and he and Justus collaborated on the original music.  Matt and I did next to nothing.  It was great to see the boys working together on this project!

If you have a minute, would you go check out Malachi’s Business Dream video and click on the thumbs up for us?  You can click it once each day through the end of October.

Thank you for helping us with this fun project!


Books We’re Reading this Year

Books, books, the magical fruit.  The more you read, the more you…

Oh wait.  Wrong poem.  Sometimes I get confused.  Although I’m sure if I threw that poem starter out to my boys, they’d be sure to finish it with something creative.  And by creative, I mean gross.

I am excited to share that all four of our boys are now all independent readers.  It was a little slow in coming for our youngest, who is now a 3rd grader.  But late this summer, it all clicked for him.  He now loves reading!  Last week he said, “I can’t believe math used to be my favorite.  Now reading is so much fun!”  Awesome - just what I love to hear.  (Although you still have to do your math, Buddy.)


Here are some of the books currently at the top of our reading list for the year:

Boxcar Children Books
These books were some of my favorites when I was little.  (You know I had my very own boxcar, right?  Okay, it wasn’t my very own.  I shared it with my cousins.)  All of our boys have loved the Boxcar Children books, and now I am reading them to Malachi (age 8).  Elias (age 11) has already read most of these books, but sits in to listen when he can, because who can resist?


Ralph Moody Books

We read through most of the books in this series (as a family) a year ago, and now I’m having my two older boys read the last few on their own.  What I love most about these books is that they show how important it is to be a hard worker, how much fun it can be to work together as a family, and how if you put your mind to it – you can always find a way to provide.  I am so inspired by these books, and my boys love the adventure aspect they include.

Books by Clyde Robert Bulla

These are the first chapter books our boys have read.  We have about eight of them on Malachi’s shelf this year – and he’s made his way through two of them already.  I love that Clyde Robert Bulla keeps his vocabulary simple and easy to read – all while teaching history and making his books fun and intriguing.  When I pulled these books out for Malachi, all three of his brothers said, “Oh, he gets to read those this year?  Malachi, you will love them.”  I love hearing the boys talk together about books they’ve all read.


Ramona the Pest Series

Malachi pulled his first Ramona book off the shelf this year, too.  So far he’s loving it, just like his brothers did.  I read this series several times when I was younger.  It’s so much fun re-reading these books with my kids.


Christian Heroes Books

I can’t say enough good about all of the Christian Heroes: Then and Now books by Janet and Geoff Benge.  We’ve actually decided to use about 15 of these books this year to go along with our History/Geography studies with Justus, Elias, and Malachi.  What better way to study the culture and history of a country than to learn about missionaries who worked there?  These books are so well written and inspiring!

I also have to share that as we reach the end of each book, Justus (age 13) likes to point out, “You know Mom, this is the chapter when the missionary dies and you cry.”  Pshaw.  Okay, fine.  So I cry at the end of all of these (and the Ralph Moody Books, and just about every other book I read aloud to the boys).  I can’t help it.


In addition to these sets of books, our three older boys are all reading lots of books from the Sonlight reading lists for their grade level.  Asa (a junior in high school) is reading some Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, The Hiding Place (you MUST read this!), and quite a few others Sonlight recommends.

What books are you and your kids reading these days?  I know I’m not the only mom who cries at the end of a good book.  Help me out here – do you get choked up when you’re reading books to your kids?

Thanks For Letting Me, Mom

Matt had been gone all day with the York College soccer team at an out-of-state game.  The boys and I stayed home to get school work done, can tomatoes, and forget to put our shoes where they go.  (It happens so regularly that I figure I might as well put it on our to-do list.  “Leave shoes in the middle of the living room floor…check.”)

It was late-afternoon, right around Mom’s starting to get really tired and not able to make rational decisions anymore o’clock.  The school work was all finished, the tomatoes were in jars and their lids had said “ping.”  I was finishing some work at the computer and about to get up to start dinner.  That’s when my eight year old asked the question.

“Mom? Can I make a ‘Welcome Home’ sign for Dad and put it on the front door and then can I turn the living room into a Lego Adventure Land by bringing all of my Lego platforms with the Lego guys and the clone bases down and set them up on the big white table in the middle of the floor {by the shoes we didn’t put away} so that when Dad comes home tonight he’ll be so excited and he’ll get to see all of the Lego Adventure stuff we set up and he’ll love it so much!”

With joy, I smiled and grabbed him up in huge bear hug and said that I could think of nothing better so please start bringing down every Lego we own and let’s also get out glitter.

But what I actually did in real life was give him a look which clearly stated, “Did you forget that it is now half past Mom can’t stand the idea of seeing one more mess?”  And then out loud I was able to mutter, “Probably not but let me think about it.” Since that was so very nearly a ”yes” he ran upstairs to start making Lego zip lines.

After dinner, he brought up his idea again, which had now developed into a bigger attraction since his original idea about transforming our living room wasn’t quite big enough and now the kitchen table and countertops needed to be included as well.  Dinner had helped my mental state significantly, but no amount of protein can make me excited about turning 1000 square feet of house into a Lego Adventure two hours before bedtime.

Together we came up with a compromise.  He could make the signs for the door.  I would help.  And he could use the kitchen table if he helped clear it off first and if he promised that I wouldn’t be finding Lego bricks in the butter two weeks from now.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him so excited.  Some of his brothers even joined in.  They set up the entire table with a Lego Adventure any dad would be pleased to see after being away from home, on the road, and in the hot sun for 16 hours.

Once the set-up was complete and we were headed to bed, Malachi grabbed me and squeezed the life out of my mid-section saying, “Thank you so much for letting me.  That was so much fun.  Dad is going to love it.”

I am happy to share that not only did saying yes to Malachi’s request bring him much joy, it didn’t even kill me a little bit.  Perhaps I should get past my I love how creative you are but can’t we just this once sit down and read books quietly feelings more often.

The next morning, God and I were able to share our quiet time with no less than 47 Lego guys, some of whom were balancing on one leg even better than my yoga instructor.


Matt had loved his welcome home – from the sign on the door to the Lego Adventure that made us all hold our breakfast plates in our laps as we ate together that morning.


Would you look at that.  We forgot the glitter.

Food from Venezuela, Denmark, Belgium, and Djibouti (sort of)

We’ve done some international traveling this week.  In the kitchen.  And online.  Ahhh the blessing of experiencing a taste of four different countries, right from the comfort of our own home.

Each of our boys chose a different country to study and write a report on last week.  We’re wrapping up our official school year this week.  This was kind of our final “big project.”  Yay!

One of their assignments was to make a recipe from their selected country.  I mentioned this to you on my menu plan post earlier in the week.  When I suggested that you all send us your Djibouti recipes, I had no idea that so many of you actually would!  Ask and you shall receive.  You all are da’ best.  :)

And now I have to sheepishly admit to you that between finding and making all these recipes, finishing all of our school assignments, and preparing to go on a big trip next week (can’t wait to tell you about it!) – we still haven’t tried any of the Djibouti recipes.  We’re leaning toward this one though, because it sounds like our family will really like it!  In the meantime, Elias (age 11) took the advice of several of you and made milkshakes, naming them “Shake Djibouti.”  You’ve gotta love it.


Asa made Belgian Waffles.  After looking at recipes online, knowing we would adapt it anyway to use healthier grains and oils – we pretty much just used our regular waffle recipe in a Belgian waffle iron.  They were sooooo yummy!  Especially topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. 


  Malachi made Danish Cinnamon Snails.  We adapted the recipe (surprise, surprise) to use whole grains and sucanat and we loved how these turned out!


Last but not least, Justus and I made Venezuelan Tequenos.  Sort of.  I mean, I really don’t know how to convert kg and ml to cups and tablespoons.  Not even a little bit.  And searching online didn’t help.  So, we just guessed at it and made a dough of sorts, wrapped it around some cheese, and fried it.  They turned out tasty…but ugly.  It’s okay.  They got eaten in about five minutes.


It is now obvious to me that after eating all of these rich foods this week, it is time to Shake Djibouti. 

I’m talking about exercising.  Not eating ice cream.  Just to be clear.

Four Boys, Three Meals Each, One Happy Tired Mom

This has been one fun week!  If you recall, our four boys were in charge of planning and cooking meals one day each this week.  Here is their menu plan if you’d like a reminder.

I took pictures throughout the week, although you’ll likely notice that there are more pictures of food than boys.  Trust me – this is not because they boys weren’t doing the cooking.  It’s simply because the older my boys get, the less excited they are about having their lives documented on my blog for all the world to see.  I respect that.  So instead of seeing them stir their muffins, you just get to see the muffins.  (With the exception of one Elias picture and several of Malachi – who is still usually okay with having his picture taken.)

We’ll begin with Monday’s meals – the day Asa, our 15 year old, did all the cooking.  He actually didn’t make breakfast that day (logistical issues), and is instead making breakfast on Saturday before soccer games. 

For lunch, he worked and worked, cutting chicken and potatoes into nuggets and fries.  He then used our fryer (the one Matt and the boys gave me for Christmas!) and cycled through batch after batch of fries and chicken nuggets.  I was impressed with how he never stopped working until the last batch was finished.  In fact, at one point, I stepped in to help and he said, “Wait.  I thought I supposed to be cooking this meal?”  Sweet!  I promptly put down the knife and went over to eat fresh french fries. 


For dinner that night, Asa and I worked together to make a double batch of fresh whole wheat tortillas for tacos.  That was quite a job, and he did awesome once again!  He also took the time to make Peanut Butter Brownie Cups.  We devoured that meal.  SO good!


Tuesday was Elias’ day – our 11 year old.  He got right out of bed and made a big mountain of French Toast. 


Just like his brother, he didn’t stop to eat until all of the bread and eggs had been made into French Toast.  That’s saying a lot for a kid who is typically ready to eat his pillow as soon as he wakes up.  This boy wakes up hungry and is a HUGE breakfast eater!

After breakfast, we cleaned up, then I taught Elias how to make pie crust.  More on that later.  :)  For lunch, Elias used the Corndog Maker he got for Christmas to make 40 corndogs.  (They actually were 20 hotdogs cut in half.)  There was a grand total of three corndogs left after our meal.  We sliced up pears and got out baby carrots to go with the corndogs.  Oh, and we decided that our corndogs would be stickless.  No need to go to the trouble to put a stick in the dog when we’re just going to devour it anyway, right?!


Right after lunch, Elias got busy making two Cream Cheese Lime Pies.  Into the fridge they went.  Then, he browned hamburger meat and put his dinner into the crock pot.

When it was dinnertime, all Elias had to do was get out bowls and chips to go with his Hamburger Cream Cheese Dip.  I think we had apples with this, but for the life of me, I can’t remember.  And yes, we did just put our chips on the table beside our bowls.  Who needs extra dishes? 


After dinner, Matt had a few buddies over to play cards.  Elias served us all some of his pie.  It was crazy good!!


That night, Justus, age 13, who was up next for cooking meals, got into the kitchen and made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins to serve for breakfast Wednesday.  That got our morning off to a great start!


Justus made us a huge lunch that day!!  Chicken fried steak strips, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas – wow.  I can’t believe how hard that kid worked.


It was his first time to make mashed potatoes and gravy and he did awesome!  See, the gravy thickened up just perfectly…


Justus also went all out and tried a new recipe for Carrot Cake.  He got fancy and decorated.  To say the least, after lunch, he was exhausted.  :)


Would you believe I forgot to take pictures of his dinner?  :(  He made pasta with Alfredo Sauce and steamed broccoli and carrots.  It was delicious, but we rushed off to church after we ate and taking a picture completely slipped my mind.

Wednesday night when we got home from church, I asked Matt if he wouldn’t mind helping Malachi (age 8) get his Breakfast Cookies made for Thursday.  They went right into the kitchen and got started, Malachi’s excitement level growing the whole time they worked.  I hollered in some insufficient information about which pan to use and how many cookies to put on one pan, so the cookies sort of ran together and off the pan into the oven just a bit, but hey, that’s how we learn, right?  (I’m not talking about Malachi.  I’m talking about old married couples.  After 18 years, we’re still learning more effective ways to communicate.)  


I’m debating on whether or not I should tell you about the small oven fire that resulted in this slight miscommunication. Oops, I just did. Well, let’s just say it was smaller than some I’ve started in the past, and we put it out quickly.  The next day, I was easily able to scrape up charred cookie drippings from the bottom of the oven.  My hair still smells strangely smokey.  But the breakfast cookies sure tasted good.  :)

After we ate breakfast, Malachi and I got to work on the Lasagna.  Yes indeed, we used store-bought noodles.  By day four of helping boys cook, I was getting tired.  ;)


We ate the lasagna for lunch, since there were soccer games in the evening.  It was delicious!


After lunch, Malachi made brownies because he was set on making Death by Chocolate for dessert.  In the late afternoon, he and I made a double batch of Calzones so that we could have some in the freezer as well as plenty for dinner. 


They turned out great!  Here’s round one out of four:


And the Death by Chocolate?  Well, it was as tasty as Malachi is proud…


Sheesh, did we eat a lot of sugar this week!!!  Big desserts every day of the week?  Too much.  But shucks, it was fun just this once.

What was I doing while my boys were cooking up a storm this week?  Standing in the kitchen helping them cook, cleaning up messes with them, and offering a lot of guidance.  I found that everything took at least twice if not three times as long as it normally takes me.  But wow, did the boys learn a lot! 

It was wonderful having so much one-on-one time with each boy.  It was super to see their excitement and willingness to work so hard all day.  And I daresay, they really learned how much effort it takes to put great meals on the table three times each day.  My favorite quote of the week was this:  Upon hearing that it was time to come downstairs and work on making dinner, Justus said, “Already?  I feel like I just finished cooking and cleaning up after lunch!”  Uh-huh.  This is what it is to cook three meals a day for a family.  I let him know that this is why I give them “the look” when they come into the kitchen asking for a snack 45 minutes after a meal.  He grinned sheepishly.  ;)

Did you do any cooking with your kids this week?  Fun as this week was, I’m telling you right here and now – we are having leftovers tomorrow!!  This mama is tired. :)

The Boy With the Glasses

We were blessed several weeks ago to spend a few days with some of our good friends that we hadn’t seen for two years.  They are a family with two sons (ages 7 and 11) and a daughter (age 5).  As the time for our visit approached, their little girl kept asking her mom questions about our family – specifically about our boys.

How many boys does that lady have?”   ”How old are the boys?”  “Doesn’t she have any little girls for me to play with?”  “Do you think that lady is sad because she only has boys and doesn’t have any little girls like me?”

And my personal favorite, which was likely said with a sigh:  “Does that lady have to bring all four of her boys to our house??”

It would seem that our upcoming visit wasn’t very appealing to a five year old girl.  Understandably so.  What would four big boys have to offer a five year old little girl?  There would certainly be no one to play dolls, or house, or kitchen…

Thankfully, she welcomed us in anyway, playing “little hostess” to our overwhelmingly male family. 

It wasn’t long before her mom noticed that her little girl was rather enjoying herself.  She was all smiles, putting herself right in the mix of all of the boys without hesitation.  And then, the whispers began:  “Mom, these boys are all sooooo nice.”  “Mom, I like all of these boys – but especially the boy with the glasses.”  “Mom, what is the name of the boy with the glasses?”  (Justus)  “Oh yeah, Justus.  I like him.  He’s really nice.”


And so it went during our visit.  “The Boy With the Glasses”  aka Justus, didn’t quite know what to think about the situation.  What is a 13 year old boy to do with a 5 year old little girl who has an apparent crush on him?  He just continued to be sweet…and to mind his own business as much as possible.  ;)

At meal time we began to hear:  “I’m going to sit by The Boy With the Glasses.”  While watching a movie:  “I’m taking popcorn to The Boy With the Glasses.”  On the way to church:  “Can I ride in the van with The Boy With the Glasses?”

By the time we loaded up and headed back to Nebraska, we had made plans for their family to come visit us this summer.  Holding onto the hope that she would see The Boy With the Glasses in a few short months, the little girl waved cheerfully as we pulled away. 

Fastforward several months. 

As our family sat at a basketball game recently, I pointed out a banner on a far away wall.  My boys all looked over, read it, and chuckled.  That is, all except for Elias.  His reply was, “Hmm, are there words on it?  I can’t read it.”  Many questions followed, and it was determined that we needed to make an eye doctor appointment for him.

It was after this appointment that I called my friend to let her know (or rather to warn her) that when they came for a visit this summer, there would be not one, but two Boys with Glasses.



Look out Coppinger household (and five year old girls).  There’s a new kid in town. 

We’ve been having fun this week talking about when I got my first pair of glasses (I was right around Elias’ age!).  Do you have glasses/contacts?  How old were you when you realized you needed them?

Eleven Years Ago Today…

I originally posted this story in April, 2008 to share the “fun”  thirteen minute birth story of our third son.  He turns 11 years old today, so I thought it would be fun to share this story again…

How To Freak Out Your Doctor

My total labor and delivery time with our firstborn, Asa, was a six hours. With Justus, total time was three hours. With both of them, my water broke first, then labor started…um, very quickly and intensely.

(And for all of you who had 46 hour labors, please don’t start throwing tomatoes.)

When your second labor lasts half the time of your first labor, you pack your bags and are ready to leave for the hospital for the birth of your third child about the time you see two pink lines on the stick.

I knew I couldn’t mess around with getting to the hospital, and my doctor should have known too. (I guess he was a little more accustomed to the 46 hour labor people.)

When I woke up with contractions one week before my due date, I was thinking, “Hm, these feel like they could be real contractions.”  But my water hadn’t broken yet, so I just wasn’t sure. As we got dressed and ready to go, I was deciding that yes, these were real contractions.

I called the doctor’s office to tell him that my contractions were about five minutes apart, but that my water hadn’t broken yet. He said, “Well, why don’t you come on into the clinic and we’ll have a look at you.”

My mom was already at our house, so she stayed home with the other boys (who were only four and one at the time…oh, where has the time gone?).

We made the twenty minute drive to the clinic, which, by the way, was across the street from the hospital. (Thankfully!)  All the way there, I was having wonderful contractions – the kind that make you not love being in a car.

But I was freakishly calm, because with my other two, my water had broken first, and with this one it hadn’t.  So I thought, “Well, this could be false labor.” (Matt just smiled and said nothing when I mentioned that. He had seen these kind of contractions before and the face that I wear when I’m having them. He was quite sure that this wasn’t false labor.)

Once we got to the clinic, everyone took their time getting me into a room. Then, once I was in the room, the doctor took forever to come back there. Matt, who had been dutifully timing contractions (which were 1.5 minutes apart by now, thank you very much), was starting to get concerned – because again, he had seen me like this before and he knew that this baby was coming soon.

I, on the other hand, was really not thinking clearly, because really, I was just trying to breathe…and to not rip the leather off of the examining table.

Finally, Matt went out and found the doctor and said, “Things are getting pretty intense. I really think you should come check on her now.”

So the doctor meandered in with the nurse, and took his sweet time putting on the rubber glovey thingies…

Then he checked me, went pale, and said to the nurse, “Let’s get her across the street!”

The nurse said, “How many centimeters is she?”

And the doctor said again, “Let’s get her across the street!

(Apparently he felt that if any of the rest of us know that I was 9.999 cm dilated, we might all panic…)

Matt quickly pulled the van around and the nurse put me into it.  We crossed the street to the hospital and went in through the emergency room entrance.

In the meantime, the nurse at the clinic called over to the ER and said something like, “A patient named Laura Coppinger is coming over right now. DO NOT mess with her in the ER! DO NOT ask for insurance papers. DO NOT make her sign anything. GET HER UPSTAIRS!”  And then the ER people apparently called the Labor and Delivery people, so they frantically started getting my room and the baby warmer ready…

We walked into the ER (at exactly 9:45 am), and they threw me into a wheelchair (which is such a fun place to be when you are about to explode), and they hurried me upstairs.  Matt and I looked at each other like, “Is this really happening?”

We got to the Labor and Delivery floor and found that there were people everywhere flying around with blankets and stuff, saying, “Is this Coppinger?! Get her into this room!”  They whipped off my clothes, threw on the gown, and the doctor came in with his delivery gear on.

He broke my water, and the baby crowned. I pushed once, we had a head. I pushed again, and the baby was born.

It was 9:58 -precisely thirteen minutes after we had arrived at the hospital.

Another boy!!  Elias Joel – weighing in at 7 lbs 13 oz.

We called my mom to let her know that after leaving the house only about an hour and a half ago, we already had our new baby!

Nurses came and went all that day just to see me - the lady who had “come in and popped out a baby in 13 minutes”. (Shucks, if only it really had been that easy.)

Oh, and you know that clinic visit where I had to wait for the doctor to come check me before they finally realized that they needed to send me to the hospital to deliver a baby?  Would you believe that later I received a bill in which I was charged a CO-PAY for that visit? The nerve. :)


Happy 11th Birthday, Elias!

If You Give an Eight Year Old Boy a Math Lesson…


If you give an eight year old boy a math lesson, he will sit right down without hesitation, work diligently without interruptions, and accurately complete the lesson in record time.

Yeah right.

Maybe that’s how it goes for your kids, but here’s how it occasionally goes at my house:

If you give an eight year old boy a math lesson, he will give you a confused look, then ask you where his math book is.  You will tell him that it is (as always) in the basket with all of his other school books and that he needs to run get it quickly.

He will begin to run up the stairs to get the math book, but will see a Nerf bullet on one of the steps on his way up.  He will stop, pick up the Nerf bullet, examine it, then fling it toward the glass doors at the top of the stairs.  The bullet will miss the door, but will instead hit one of his brothers as he comes around the corner.  The bullet will thus be flung back and forth between the brothers until you realize what is happening and remind the eight year old (and his brother) of the jobs they are supposed to be doing. 

As the eight year old arrives back in the kitchen with his math book (yay!), you will ask him if he also got a pencil.  He will reply by telling you that while he does have his new green pencil sharpener, he has no pencil and that he can not find a pencil anywhere and that we must not have any pencils anymore because they were all, obviously, eaten by aliens.

You will show him where there are (as always) forty two (give or take) pencils ready and waiting to be used.  He will proceed to take way too long choosing a pencil and will finally, with much urging from you, find his spot in the kitchen and open his math book (by using “the force”).

He will complete two math problems right away because suddenly he is racing against the clock in true boy “everything is a competition” fashion.  But then he will accidentally drop his pencil on the ground, where – look out! – the volcanic lava is about to bubble over.  He will warn you to “step back” so that your legs are not engulfed by hot lava, and will then try to dangle from the kitchen stool without touching the floor to retrieve the pencil before anyone or anything is harmed.

Just as he almost rescues the pencil from danger, he will see that there is a bug crawling on the floor.  Volcanic lava forgotten, he will grab his green pencil sharpener and work to capture the bug.  After three to five attempts at this, he will manage to coax the bug into its new home where it will stay while the eight year old settles down, finds his groove, and finishes his math lesson (while giving his new pet an in-depth explanation of how to “carry the one” while adding double digits).

The end.