Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Turtle, poop, toe-nails, bras and blessings: PART II

After our torturous, disastrous,  special girl's outing, we headed to dinner at the River City Grill in Surfside. Mom picked the restaurant out, and I must say, I was rather shocked. This place wasn't anything I would chose for the Queen of Etiquette's 60th Birthday. The restaurant resembled a beach  house on the outside, and on the inside were several floors of dining rooms. The windows were open, with large fans circulating air, and wherever you looked, drawings, etches and signatures graffiti'd the place. We had about a 45 minute wait for our table, so after we snapped some sweet pictures at the beach, we just stood baking in the sun. I was dripping sweat, and had to restrain myself from pitching a tantrum when I realized there was no air conditioning in the restaurant. I'm ashamed to admit that once I discovered our son was sitting in the spot closest to the fan, I made him switch with me. 

Dinner was.. eh. It was okay food, but I couldn't get over the peanut shells, and blowing napkins on the floor. And I'm not trying to be a snob, but the table was really sticky. I just didn't appreciate the "guest can autograph anything" feature the place offered. Again, if you knew my mom, you'd still be scratching your head as to why she enjoyed this joint so much. After we ate, we headed back to the excursion aka "The Beast" and discovered the battery was dead. Mr. Man is normally prepared with jumper cables, and a battery charger, but had emptied out the trunk to make room for vacation stuff. We began asking people who walked by if they had jumper cables, but we couldn't find anyone who did. It was unbelievable. I even asked a couple of good ole' boys with pick up trucks and nothing. We were quite a ways from the nearest auto part store and it was nearing 9 o'clock. The boys were beginning to sweat, and hanging out the windows of the beast asking us when we were going to leave. We paused, and prayed. 

It's funny how when we have a problem, we always try to fix it ourselves first, and then pray. We can usually save a lot of time by praying first, and trusting the Lord to take care of us. Kieran prayed that God would send someone to help us. Mom and I decided to go ask a local hotel if they had jumper cables that we could borrow. We walked into the hotel in and explained our situation to the manager. She talked to the sweet maintenance man and told him she had cables, and asked if he would give us a jump. We weren't guests, in fact, we were no one as far as they were concerned, but they were so kind in helping us. 

Finally our beast had power again, and we were up and running! I thanked the man profusely telling him how Kieran had prayed that God would send someone to help us. He said, "You say your little boy asked God to help?" "Yes," I answered him. He told me to go look in the rear window of his truck. He said, "I've noticed a lot of people have started putting their initials on their vehicles. What are those letters? Those mean nothing. I decided to put something on my truck that means something."
 I suppressed tears, told him "God bless" and we left. As we got back into the beast, I told Mom what had happened, and we both cried. How great is the Father's love for us? Mom said it was the best birthday ever. Despite our embarrassing walking on the beach, painful pedicures, and interesting shopping experience, the Lord's glory prevailed over the day. I thank God for His many blessings, and the little ways He shows His love for us. 
Love XoXo,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Turtles, poop, toe nails, bras and blessings: Mom's "Special" 60th Birthday PART I

We recently returned from our 2nd beach vacation at Pirateland Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC. Nine days of sand, sun and relaxation. Vacation wouldn't be complete without my mom. She's our "Nanny Granny" and the boys love having her there. She plays in the ocean with the boys, helps cook dinner with Kevin, and allows Kevin and I to have mini dates on our vacation. Our sweet Abby dog also came with us. Abby loves coming on our camping adventures.
The problem with Abby, is that she is a bit bathroom shy. She requires privacy when doing her business. This year, she just couldn't seem to find her groove, and the ONLY place she would go, was when we would let her loose on her leash on nighttime and in the morning. Now, before you judge me, lemme say, we carried a shovel and poop bags with us during these escapades. I'm not proud of it, but after 3 days of her not going, we were getting desperate.

During our vacation, Mom celebrated her 60th Birthday! The morning of Mom's birthday, I woke up around 6am, and Mom and I decided to take a long walk on the beach. We grabbed Abby (and a poop bag) and set out. I had just unhooked Abby from her leash when I saw a group of people in green shirts walking towards us. I started calling Abby, but she of course, ignored me, and ran towards the new comers to say hello. Abby ran up to say hi to a woman, and you would have thought Abby were a 150lb beast. The woman looked angry, and said, "NO! NO!" I ran up and grabbed Abby while apologizing, but the woman cut me off. "Do you know that it is ILLEGAL for dogs to be off of leashes in SC, and that it carries a very heavy fine?" She then went on to tell me that she and her group were searching for turtle eggs on the beach, and that Abby could have damaged the eggs. At that moment, Abby decided she needed to poop; right by crazy turtle lady. You could have fried an egg on my face. I handed Abby's leash to my mom, and collected Abby's poo. We decided to cut our walk short, and headed back to the camper.

 After our beach walk debacle, Mom and I went to get pedicures. I had researched the best nail salons in Myrtle Beach, and this place called Royal Nails had won 2nd place. We walked in and were less than impressed, but we picked out our nail polish out and sat in the chair to soak our feet...And waited. And waited. And waited. After 40 minutes, my water was cold, and the massage chair was starting to make me feel nauseous. We watched two women walk in and sit down in the chairs and have their toes painted. Mom and I started getting the church giggles. I looked down, and noticed some part in my spa foot bath had fallen out and was laying in the water.
 Commence more church giggles. After 50 minutes, a lady came over and started working on Mom's feet. Ten minutes later, the only white woman in the place came to do mine. I'm just gonna be honest. I prefer an Asian nail tech. Anywho, this woman was in her 50s, and had the 80s style frosted hair. I don't know if she was having a bad day, or just hated her job, but she was very rough with my feet. When it was time to switch feet, she'd say, "NEXT!" She had a scowl on her face, and the only time showed any effort was when she decided to take the humus block to my all most healed blister on the top of my top. "She must think it's a callous," I thought. "It's a healed blister," I told her, after wincing in pain. She looked up, "Does it hurt?" "Yes! Very badly." She sighed, and after she half heartedly rinsed off my legs, took out her frustration (with the nail file) on my toes. A quick paint job, and she said, "You can get up and go sit over there." No offer to help me out of the chair or carry my purse. She rinsed out my tub, and then walked over with her hand outstretched. "25 Dollars." "Oh, I'm paying for my Mom's too." "50 Dollars." At this point, I felt that I surely must be on one of those hidden camera shows that sees how much people can take before they explode. She walked back, handed me my receipt, and stood over me, tapping my credit card as I signed and filled in the tip. Girlfriend got $2. $2 too much, but I felt I had to give her something. Mom's girl got a good tip. Mom and I walked out, and decided with how short our toe nails were, we would be good until the Fall.
Mom's painfully short nails
My blister oozed for the next hour.

Have you ever seen a nail filed so painfully short?

 Mr. Man to the rescue. When we got home, I told Mr. Man we needed to call and demand our money back. Unfortunately, the person who answered the phone was still mastering English.
Mr. Man: Yes, I need to speak to a manager please.
Nail Person: You want to come in for manicure?
Mr. Man: No, I want to speak to a manager. Manager.
Nail Person: Oh, I manager!
Mr. Man: Yes, my wife just came in, and she is not very happy.
Nail Person: Oh! She very happy?
Mr. Man: NO! She is NOT happy. NOT HAPPY!
Nail Person: Oh, she come back in, we fix! Okay?
Mr. Man: No. Not okay. The person was very rude and rough.
Nail Person: She come in, and we fix, okay?
Mr. Man: There's nothing left to fix! They cut her nail down to the quick. Can you REGROW her nails.
Nail Person: Oh, no...
 At this point, Mr. Man hung up, and we all started laughing. "Hon! I can't do anything when there's a language barrier!"

  Up next on our birthday adventure, Mom told me she wanted to take me to get fitted for a new bra. I loathe bra shopping, especially since I've gained 30 lbs in the past 3 yrs. I've always been self conscious about my larger chest, and with the extra weight, a part of me just didn't want to know what size I really was. Mom assured me that the lady would just measure me, and we'd go from there. Wrong. Bra lady and I go into a dressing room where she instructs me to take my shirt off. "Uh, huh, uh huh. Okay, be right back Hon!" She goes out, and knocks back on the door. "Turn around, and face the wall Hon." Bra lady proceeds to unhook my bra, and put the new one on, adjusting the straps. "Okay! How's that feel?" I look in the mirror, and the bra looks comically large. "It's too big!" I protest. 
"Hon, it's not. You were just spilling out of the other one." Bra Lady was patient and sweet. She had this air about her where she didn't make me feel completely exposed as she put different bras on me, and commented how certain ones "smoothed my back fat."
45 min later, I walked out with three new bras. I don't know why it was so emotionally draining. Maybe because for 3 yrs, I've been saying I'll lose the weight, and get back down to a size 6, or that going up that cup size and number were new territory for me. It was hard to swallow, but I'm happy Mom pushed me to do it. My shirts fit me better, my girls got a lift, and my back fat is less apparent. =) 

 XoXo Suzzy

To be continued...........

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Heart of a Child: Do You Know Jesus?

Some of the best conversations that I've ever had with my boys are in the kitchen. Last night, I was elbow deep in raw chicken and eggs making Shake N Bake chicken when Cam came in to talk to me. I'm not sure how we got there, but the conversation soon steered to taking the Lord's name in vain. The offhanded, "Oh.My.God." I explained it like this.

Say you have friend...Someone who says they love you, but everytime they get they need to really express their shock or excitement, they exclaim, "OH.MY.CAM!" Sometimes, if, they're really mad, they add a curse word at the end. "Cam DARNIT!" What kind of friend would you think they were? Cam stared at me for a while, and said, "Not a very good friend." I asked him what he would say. He said, "I'd tell them to stop it. That I didn't like it." Then, why don't we do that with others? Cam and I looked at each other for a while thinking. 

 Some conversations are hard, especially when it comes to loved ones. "Mama, do you think __________ is a Christian?" I paused before answering this one. There's been a lot of talk and questions about salvation in our house. While I don't want to discourage the boys in their faith, I also want to allow enough room for the Holy Spirit to convict and grow their walk with Christ. 

I told Cam that when we really love someone, we want to spend time with them. We call them, visit them, and make an effort in a relationship. Just going to church or calling yourself a "Christian" isn't enough. If someone claims to have a relationship with you, but never calls, never talks to you, and never reads letters that you write, you'd been to wonder if you had any kind of relationship at all. Likewise, what if this person came to visit your home, but never talked to you? Sure, they visit with your family, and talk like they know you, but if they never come and speak directly to YOU, there's really no relationship. This is how people can get confused with their relationship with Jesus. Going to church, hearing sermons, and saying the right things are meaningless if it's not personal to you. 

John 14:15 tells us, "If you love Me, keep my commands." What is the first sign of loving Jesus? Obedience. 

James 1:22 says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." 

Luke 6:46 reminds us about obedience to Christ is a sign that we know God, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord, and do not do what I tell you?"  

I told Cam, it's not up to us to know the hearts of others. But I also reminded him that the Bible tells us that we will be able to recognize other believers by their Spiritual fruits. Matthew 7:16-20
1By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

 I cherish these conversations. It has always been my prayer that my boys would grow up to be strong spiritual leaders. Sometimes, we have to answer tough questions to help our kids grow spiritually. Sometimes, it's hard answering the questions, especially the conclusion our kids reach is hard. "Mom, I don't think ________ knows Jesus." I encouraged Cam to pray for that family member, and to talk to them about Jesus the next time he saw them. I also felt convicted about my boldness. Children aren't intimidated by political correctness. They haven't learned about not "offending" others by witnessing. Maybe that's why some people are more receptive to hearing about the Lord from children? I pray these questions continue to come, and that the Lord continues to help me guide my boys to the cross.

<3 Suzzy

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Scoop on Poop: Successfully Potty Training Your Toddler

 Oh, potty training. The subject of many debates. When to start? How to go about it? How early is too early?

As a first time mom, I had no idea when or how. By the time Dylan was over 2.5, my mom and sisters put the pressure on me. "Why is he NOT potty trained? GET ON IT NOW~!" Dylan was very difficult. He fought me tooth and nail. He'd have accident after accident. By the time we started, he was in the full out terrible twos, and I realized I started too late. Miraculously, he was trained in about 3 weeks.

With my 2nd son, I was much wiser.
By the time Cam's 2nd birthday rolled around, I had a 3.5 yr old, was breastfeeding a newborn, packing up our house to move and potty training. We hit potty training hardcore. The only problem was that our little potty had so many pieces and parts. It was a pain to clean, and Cam just wanted to keep flushing to hear the music and see the lights. I finally got smart and ordered a Baby Bjorn potty.
This little blue potty was a life saver. No parts to take off and lose, no bells and whistles, just sit, do your business, and let's go.

My 3rd son was by far the easiest. Having 2 older brothers close in age, he wanted to be a big guy, but he also wanted to stand. Enter the Peter Potty Urinal:
 3 Days flat, and Kieran was asking to go on his own, and accident free. By my 4th son, I could potty train in my sleep.

It IS very possible to potty train in 3 weeks. It takes discipline, consistency, a lot of praise, and a lot of floor cleaner.
 WEEK One, naked week. Plan on devoting a whole week to nothing but a naked toddler and a plastic potty. Let your child go naked, drink tons of juice, and salty/sugary snacks. The more pee, the more practice.
Day 1
Brace yourself. Today will be the hardest day. Set the potty out in the living room, and set your timer. Every 30 min, they MUST sit on the potty. While they are sitting, turn on their favorite show, let them play w/ a favorite toy or read a book to them. They must sit. Get their favorite drink IE: Chocolate milk, juice etc. and keep that sippy cup full.
Make them sit for atleast 5 min. If nothing happens, set the timer for 15 min, and try again. They are drinking copious amounts of liquid and have small bladders, trust me, they will have to go.

If they get off the potty and pee on the floor, you don't yell, but you sternly say, "No no no! We go pee pee on the potty." Get paper towels, and make them help you. This is cause and effect. Sit them back on the potty.
When they DO pee or poo, they get LOTS and LOTS of praise AND candy! I recommend mini M&Ms! Do not reward for trying. Toddlers are smart. They will continue to sit on the potty for treats and you will not get results.

Week One is the toughest. Your toddler will kick and scream, cry, and refuse to sit on the potty. Here is where tough love comes in. This is not a choice, sit, and stay. They will not be traumatized. I promise you they won't be talking to Dr. Phil in 20 years about how their mean moms forced them to use the toilet. Be consistent. This means minimal trips and errands. 

Week Two. By now, your toddler should have the idea of peeing the toilet down pat. Don't worry if they haven't pooped yet. BMs usually come in week 2 or 3. Pay attention to when your toddler usually poops or their signals. The standing and staring/holding onto the coffee table grunting. One of my boys was like clock work right after lunch during naptime. I began having our book time on the potty, and sure enough, we pooped.  This week, you begin to wear underwear. Go cheap. I could not stomach rinsing poopy underwear out in the sink by my 4th son. Maybe the pregnancies had weakend my stomach or my tolerance had worn thin, but I tossed poopy underwear. Don't be quick to change accidents. If my toddler had just sat down, and then peed in their underwear, I'd have them sit on the tile floor while I finished whatever I was doing. (15 min MAX!) This teaches them several things: #1. Sitting in wet undies stinks. #2. When I pee in my pants, I have to stop playing and sit. #3. It's much easier just to go in the potty. 
Week Three. Leaving the house. By now, your toddler should be consistently going on the toilet while awake. Diapers are still worn during nap & night time. Also, if you're planning on taking a car trip where they could fall asleep, put them in a diaper and pull up. Be prepared for them to be scared of public restrooms. Something about the dark stalls and flushing mechanisms scare toddlers. If you can, bring a potty chair or seat. Expect accidents in new places or out in public. There are a lot of distractions. Don't scold or embarass if they have an accident. It will get better. You are ready to be firm, and start disciplining for accidents. Whichever punishment you chose, it should send a clear message. Your toddler knows what to do, and how to do it. I tend to only discipline for BMs. Pee accidents will still occasionally happen until age 5, especially when a preschooler is pre-occupied with playing, and runs to the bathroom too late. However, BMs are something they have to stop and concentrate on. I remember my 4th son would have no qualms about having a poo in his pants, and would gleefully head to the bathroom for a bath. I began making our post poo bath unpleasant. I made the water colder than lukewarm, but not freezing, and all toys were taken out. We did a quick in and out, and my son was not happy. A few of these quick "car wash" baths later, we miraculously started pooing on the potty.

 Do some of these methods sound too harsh? Well, I can promise you, you can potty train with a much more lax system, however, I can also promise you it will take a LOT longer than 3 weeks. Be firm, be consistent, but committed. You cannot start, and then stop mid- pt'ing and say, "My child is not ready." You will throw away all of your hard work and face a much more oppositional child the next go around.

  • Always pack 2-3 changes of extra clothes, socks, and 1 pair of extra shoes, because they will pee on them.
  • Pull-Ups may or may not work for you. If your child is using them as a diaper, ditch them and go for the underwear.
  • Do not ask a toddler if they need to go, make them, they will not go on their own.
  • We praise for progress, and are matter of fact about accidents.  We don't scold or humiliate, but we also do not excuse and coddle. "We do not pee on the floor, you need to use the potty!"       
Hope this helps, and happy potty training! Love, Suzzy

On the Edge, why I haven't blogged in a while

Atlas, my last preschooler graduated. Liam's last day was very very bad. He punched another child in the face, and refused to listen; thus, spending the majority of his last day in time out. Instead of hugs and tears, I got a very bad report, and saw teachers very ready to send him off. I also got the "discipline" lecture from the director. I love our preschool, and the teachers, but what a poopy end to a 5 year relationship. I was so angry at Liam for misbehaving, but I was also so deeply but the less than warm send off. 
Lately, I feel like I have been on the edge. Sometimes, despite being consistent with discipline at home, and mixing the right amount of love and attention, my children still act like wild animals. What can you do? You regroup, and start over. Some weeks, I feel that all we are doing is regrouping, and starting over. Regrouping and starting over. Maybe that's why I haven't blogged in a while. I sit at the computer to type, and instead of some funny story or lesson learned, I just start to cry. While I was going to school, I defined myself, and my self worth by grades and academic acheivements. Every great paper, or exam I took, I felt better about myself. However, Spring 2013, I decided to take the semester off and focus on my family. 

Anyone who looks down on a stay at home mom is a fool. I've spent more time with my boys. REALLY getting to know them. Hearing their hearts, listening to their fears and worries. We've started devotions. We play games. I've gotten to volunteer at their school, and meet all of their friends. However, I've also spent a lot of time disciplining, and pleading, and talking to child psychologists, and at the doctors. I feel that no one ever told me how exhausting this ADHD journey would be. After years of struggling with my very active little boy, we finally got a diagnosis, however, it was just the beginning. In any given month, we spend over $300 on meds for Kiwi. We go to our pediatrician 1x a month for medication review, and then to a child psychologist 2x a month for behavior modification therapy. By "we", I mean, ME. Bless Mr. Man, but he works too many hours to help. I shuttle the kids around, clean the house, and go to bed. There is little gratification in this job. I feel that my joy has turned to frustration to feeling hopeless.

Everyday is like ground hog day. I have to remind Kiwi the same things. We still fight to brush our teeth, put our shoes on, not have meltdowns. Couple this with Liam's last sour day, and I about wanted to stand their crying like a crazy woman and say, "I AM TRYING! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT!?" But, I didn't.  

Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow will be better. As I finish up, I feel I must share this last bit. I've been on the fence about sharing it, but I always feel every experience we go through is such a lesson. (That, and I highly doubt this individual reads my blog) I recently had a heart to heart with a friend who had hurt me. Our conversation did not go well, at all. The more this person talked, the more I began to cry. Hindsight, some of it is comical, but in the moment, it was extremely hurtful. One of her issues was that I need to let things roll off of me and not have the need to tell people when I am hurt. There wasn't a lot of compassion or understanding. It was very cold. I cried, and cried some more. More than anything, I grieved the loss of a friend I knew. Seven years is a long time, but I realized, I am worth more than that. I deserve so much more. Maybe we out grow friendships? I don't know why I held on for so long and so hard to that one, but after that hard conversation, and many dirty tissues, I realized it was all right, and I could finally move on. 

What are you holding onto? Is anything in your life dictating how you feel about yourself or making you bitter? After our talk, I went to the gym that evening, and was listening to Air 1. Britt Nicole's Gold song came on, and I prayed and asked the Lord to help me remember my worth. My worth is not in what someone else thinks of me, or accomplishments (or lack there of). I am a child of the King. I am worth something because God loves me, and chose me as His child.
 I pray you all see your worth today, and seek the Lord when you feel less than loved!
Love, Suzzy

 Gold by Britt Nicole
 You were walking on the moon, now you're feeling low
What they said wasn't true, you're beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you're feeling
Words like those won't steal your glow, you're one in a million

This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you've been told, you're worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it's your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you're worth more than gold
(Gold gold, you're gold)
You're worth more than gold
(Gold gold, you're gold)

Well everybody keeps score, afraid you're gonna lose
Just ignore they don't know the real you
All the rain in the sky can't put out your fire
Of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you've been told, you're worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it's your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you're worth more than gold
(Gold gold, you're gold)
You're worth more than gold
(Gold gold, you're gold)

So don't let anybody tell you that you're not loved
And don't let anybody tell you that you're not enough
Yeah there are days that we all feel like we're messed up
But the truth is that we're all diamonds in the rough
So don't be ashamed to wear your crown
You're a king you're a queen inside and out
You glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
This is for you, wherever you are

Oh, oh, yeah, yeah, oh, oh,
You're gold

This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you've been told, you're worth more than gold
(So hold your head) So hold your head up high,
It's your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you're worth more than gold
(gold gold, you're gold)
You're worth more than gold
(gold gold you're gold)

So don't be ashamed to wear your crown
You're a king you're a queen inside and out

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hot chocolate and snow: Our Spring Break Adventure PART I

This Spring Break was highly anticipated. Mr. Man's been working ridiculous hours, and we were looking forward to some much needed family time. Monday morning, we left for Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, GA. 
 Why camping? You may ask. Well, we chose camping for several reasons.
  1. With our family of 6, camping is the cheapest way to travel. Most state parks are between $15-$25 per day, we can cook our own food, and the wilderness is free.
  2. We love the outdoors.
  3. Camping vacations force you as a family to spend time together & really talk  
  4. We're trying to pay down debt, and didn't want to spend a lot for a get-away.
Here are some shots from our drive

I'm a pretty tough cookie. Few things rattle me, however, I get very woozy when driving over bridges or windy roads. Notice the sign about steep grades the "next 22 miles"? Mr. Man said, "See that mountain? We're going all of the way up." We were in the excursion, towing the camper, and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. Most of the mountain roads were very narrow, and had no shoulder. Guard rails were scarce, and the road kept winding and winding.

You get the picture. We finally arrived to Fort Mountain State Park, and came upon deer right by the bath house! It was a great welcome!

 The first night we arrived, it was cold and windy. I had anticipated colder nights on the mountain, but nothing like this. I convinced Mr. Man that we need to head back down the mountain and get some gloves and hats. The weather channel was calling for snow. No exactly how I had envisioned our Spring Break trip. We ventured back down the mountain and found a Dollar General. We stocked up on snacks, hot cocoa and cap guns for the boys. The closest thing we found for gloves were men's X-LG work gloves. Luckily, we rummaged through the excursion, aka "the Beast" and found gloves for all of the boys. In the morning, we woke up to this:

A big part of me wanted to pout and cry. It was snowing, the wind was cutting, and it was bitterly cold outside. I tried not to be envious of our friends who were at the beach with their toes in the sand. Mr. Man and the boys went outside and tried to start a fire. I watched them from the window, rosey cheeked and laughing. It was at that moment that I decided when life gives you poop, make poop juice, or hot chocolate in our case. We bundled up and took a hike around the lake. We played outside and watched the snow fall. The boys stuck twigs in the fire, and tried to burn each other. The highest the temperature got that day was 26 degrees. At breakfast and after dinner, we read the Bible together. We stopped after each verse and discussed what they meant. We turned on Air One and had it playing most of the day.  By mid afternoon, I dug out some road trip game we had never played, which was followed by 5 rounds of "20 Questions." By 5th round and 5th cartoon character as the "who" I suggested that we go start a fire. 

Mr. Man can do all most anything, except build fires. I must admit, I could not stop laughing watching him. The wind was blowing hard, and it was snowing on and off. Mr. Man didn't seem to have a real strategy except for throwing more and more wood on the dwindling fire. He built the fire to the side of the pit. When he DID manage to get some real flames, they were spitting off sparks and he all most caught his jeans on fire. Then, there was the smoke. I asked him if he was making "SOS" signals. He left to go get some more wood, and I may or may not have "helped" his little fire along. By the time he returned, the fire was steady, and Mr. Man brought out the big guns. "I've had this wood for 2 years. It is dry to the bone." (Technically, we were supposed to use our own wood to make a fire, something about bringing in worms or bugs or something harmful to the trees, but I wasn't going to say anything.) Two hours later, we finally had fire. 
 When it got dark, the boys went outside and played with their cap guns. I'm not really sure what kind of game it was OR what the rules were OR how they determined who won. Mr. Man would load up their guns, he'd count, they'd scatter, and then shoot each other, and someone would declare himself a "winner."