Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Five years ago

I left my warm bed in the middle of the night to check in for my scheduled c-section.  After a few hours of monitoring, prepping and an epidural that was supposed to "pinch a little" but hurt like Dante's 4th level of hell, he arrived.  

The boy we had planned on being a girl came out and seemed more precious than the 3 perfect boys before him.  It's hard to believe that you can fall in love all over again after giving birth three previous times.  I get why my Grandmother had 6 and my Mama had 7 - babies can be addictive. 

From the beginning he wrapped his teeny loving arms around our bruised hearts and we began journeying back to who we were meant to be:  a cohesive, loving family.  I'm not giving him all the credit, but he marked a turning point in Bain history.  God sent us a baby - a 2-day-after Christmas-reminder- that He knows what we need way before we do.  We'd found out months earlier it wasn't the baby we thought.  I'd wanted something salty and sassy.  I had my mind and heart set on a little girl with bouncy brown curls, but it turns out what our whole family needed was sweet, smiling boy with sandy blond hair.  

He's a Mamma's boy and a Daddy's boy.   His smile stretches from ear to ear and he likes to wear the same clothes 5 days in a row.  He comes to get in bed with us almost every night, curling right up beside me as I whisper my love to him.  Every morning, he meows or barks loudly to let me know he's awake.  Waiting on kisses and hugs before beginning his day with a story.  He asked for a Bible for his birthday and adores reading about Samson. He's a lover and a politician and has  yet to meet a stranger.   He has recently developed an awe of all things Davy Crockett.  

Happy Birthday Butterbain...so glad I'm living and I'm so glad you're mine!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Crossing Over

At a certain age, if you've been really good all year, Santa brings you a pair way serious headphones you never thought you'd get, a new basketball jersey and a video game.  You're not disappointed or ungrateful.  This stuff is cool.  It's just feels different.  It's a crossing over. For him and for us.

I remember the first year I got more clothes than toys.  Guess jeans!  Maybe even some Judy Blume books I wanted.  I was probably around the same age.  I wasn't disappointed or ungrateful.  It just felt different.  Not quite as different as a few years later when a very smart Santa infamously brought me only an alarm clock and a set of sheets.  Very effective Teen Bad Attitude Wake-up Call.

Thankfully Santa was good to the little brothers and brought them plenty of toys to share. 

Another day, another Christmas story,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

The Bain Family

The Thomas Family

We hope all your holiday celebrations are merry and bright!

Em and Lib

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Seen and Not Heard???

Number 4, "I need new apps on my Touch.  My apps are old."

Number 4, "Before I was born I was in Heaven and Jesus was protecting me from bad guys."    Number 3, "No, he was making sure you were healthy and strong before you were ready to be borned."

Number 3, in public restroom stall with St. Joel, "Man! Dad!  I wish my wiener was as big as yours!!!"

Number 4, after I took away tube of Chapstick JUST before he started new wall art project, "When you're in Heaven, Daddy will buy us more Chapstick."

Another day, another story,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Parenting Tip #643

Parenting Tip #643
If you want to be one of those people who make one meal and expect everyone to eat it (that was my philosophy BEFORE I had kids), you must know from the onset, that you cannot force anyone to eat or poop in the potty but that is another post.  

For instance, hypothetically speaking, if I made quesadillas for dinner tonight and a certain child (Number 2) requested a shrimp "taco" and I agreed since I had some frozen shrimp handy and I put said shrimp into a plain, uncooked tortilla for him and went about my business finishing up the other quesadillas assuming the aforementioned child would eat the food I made for him. 

Refer to Parenting Tip #643 and the empty tortilla.

Another day, another story,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What If

What if, I didn't*:

Get the Christmas decorations down from the attic?

Hang 6 wreaths, put out the Santa cookie jar, move the freaking Elf on Our Shelf every freaking night?  Well, not EVERY freaking night.

Take pictures, choose pictures, edit pictures, upload pictures, arrange pictures for a family Christmas card?

Stuff, address, buy postage, affix postage to aforementioned Christmas card?

Determine, procure and wrap appropriate, within-budget, thoughtful gifts for family and friends?

Make a Santa list with The Boys and roll patiently with second drafts and 11th hour re-writes? 

Make, procure, and wrap appropriate, within-budget, thoughtful gifts for 9 teachers?

Remember to contribute money for gifts for two school bus drivers?

Decide on a whim to make The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls to give as gifts to family friends?

Dance like an extra in a hip hop video for the duration of two separate Christmas parties?  Oh wait, I did do that.

Have the fortitude to go to Toys R Us, Target and Walmart in the same day?

Care if a whole section of lights on the tree light up 67% of the time? Oh right, I don't care.

Remember to buy and send in snacks and a wrapped book for Number 4's class party, ice cream cones and a wrapped book for Number 3's class party, cups and treats for 18 treat bags for Number 2's class party?

Plan the menu, buy groceries and cook for a family Christmas Eve brunch?

*Disclaimer:  I am a "Christmas Lite" decorator.  No outside lights.  No huge Santa collections.  Pretty basic stuff:  tree, wreath, a few holiday knick knacks and special family heirlooms.  AND I mean no disrespect to St. Joel.  He was not elevated to sainthood lightly.  He's no slacker.  He's just not The Mom.

Another day, another story,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sometimes Christmas means

Thomas boys' gingerbread train wreck
No doubt Christmas is a beautiful time of year, conjuring up idyllic scenes with hot chocolate,  stunning trees, impeccably decorated homes, heirloom ornaments and no kitsch in site.  But, sometimes it means you just get out of the way and let the children do the decorating.  I have been prowling around different blogs and have yet to find one with some realistic Christmas crafts and or decorations.  There are LOTS of sites about decorating for Christmas, but I'll tell you this much, the minute I put up that Southern Living tree, somebody's going to stick a handmade soaked in glitter ornament on it. 
proudly decorated by the baintrain
In my former life as a perfectionist, I used to rearrange ornaments and only use white lights.  I got stressed out just putting the tree up and would tweak it for days...even writing that wears me out now.  As the baintrain has grown, I've noticed how nostalgic they get when pulling out the ornaments hand made years ago.  I cannot bear to be the joy stealer who says,  No, that's not going on our tree.   Somewhere along the way I've regained some focus.  I've realized Christmas means making people as happy as humanly possible.  And if that means colored lights, gingerbread train wrecks and handmade ornaments gobbing up the limbs of our less than perfect tree, so be it.  Southern Living can search elsewhere for their holiday photo spread.

The baintrain and Numbers 1-4 will not be the kind of boys whose Christmas memories consist of don't touch that, just let me do it, or that's not going on our tree...We want them to remember the happiness of being part of a large family, the joy of each others company and the magical surprises. That gingerbread train wrecks taste as good as a perfect gingerbread house, and that sparkly, gaudy trees are awfully fun to decorate.

Hoping your Christmas is Merry, Tasty and Bright!

Em and Lib

We'd love for you to share your real Christmas moments, pics and posts with us...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quotes of the Season

Number 4, "I was a shepherd in my show.  If George is a shepherd, imma post to go his show too."

Number 3, "I thought to myself, 'I think this (a magnet with 4 inch screw attached to it) would be a good thing to keep me occupied'."

Number 2, "How did Jesus make all these churches anyway?"

Number 1, "I like our Christmas card, Mom.  It warms  you.  Just look at all those smiles."

Number 4 wailing in tears over me saying "No" about obviously something really important, "If you are gonna be this mean to me, Santa's not bringing you any presents, PRESENTS, NOOOOOOOOO PRESENTS!!!"

Number 2, several times since December 1, "Mom, why didn't DJ (The Elf on Our Shelf) move last night?  I thought he was supposed to move EVERY night."

Number 3, "Why do all the other people have lights on their houses but not us?"

Number 4, "Santa, I want you to bring us twins!"

Another day, another story,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Family Advent recipe

I realized about this time last year that in the middle of all my holiday planning, decorating, baking and wrapping, an amazing opportunity was passing me by.  An opportunity that exists every year for about a month.  

Having been an Episcopalian most of my life, I knew Advent was the beginning of the Church year, and the season right before Christmas,  I had even had an Advent wreath before.  However, I'd never been inspired to set aside time with the baintrain to focus on this particular wait.  To encourage their relationship with God. To carve out time to be still and be together while preparing for The Gift that's not under the tree.  The gift that we all wait for these 4 weeks prior to Christmas. 

So, I ordered a book.  One written to read chapter by chapter every night during Advent. They ate it up.  Not just the book, though it was a great story.  Knowing our day would contain lots of goings and comings: school and shopping, music lessons and homework; we all looked forward to our nightly installment. They loved the the time together.  And while we didn't do it every single night, there was a palpable hole when we didn't have the 20 minutes together before bedtime.  We were forlorn when Advent ended and there wasn't a "reason" to keep our new, read-aloud habit going.  

Determined not to be scrounging up a last-minute Advent activity, I found this year's book in June at Goodwill.  It's designed the same way, to read a chapter a night with the whole family.  I also pre-ordered an Advent wreath from Ann Voskamp's son and tucked it away - knowing the baintrain would love family time that involved fire.  Then we added a pot of peppermint tea and a bowl of fresh fruit into the nightly ritual.  It's a simple, but effective way to get everyone to be still and listen. 

::Family Advent Recipe::
takes about 20 minutes 
1 read aloud book, Start with 2nd chapter of St. Luke or download free one here
Candles and or Advent wreath - and something to light them with
Pot of tea or hot chocolate
Freshly peeled tangerines - or your favorite fruit
an extra smidge of patience

About 10 minutes before you want to read, make tea or hot chocolate and prepare fruit. Dim lights and encourage everyone to find a comfy spot.  Watch carefully as they light the candles and use a dose of patience while all the wiggles get worked out.  Begin reading and don't let any distractions keep you from finishing that night's chapter.  At the end of the reading as few nights ago, I asked what's in the presents under the tree, and mexicanjumpingbain stunned me with this response: "LOVE!"

Slow down for 20 minutes and enjoy making an enormous deposit in their heart bank.  Not to mention your own...



linked to:
Jen, Rachel, Kristin, Laura

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's coming back to me now

A long time ago (at least that's how it feels now) I lived, worked and went to school in Germany.  Though I 'knew' the language before leaving the States, swimming in the sea of day to day usage was another universe.   About a month after moving there, I realized I wasn't translating everything into English in my head.  I could ask for directions and understand the native answer.  I could read signs and go grocery shopping, I even started to dream in German

I have been feeling harried and overwhelmed lately with a too-long to-do list that seems just as eternal at sunset as it was at dawn.  Stumbling to the tea pot before the sky even begins to lighten, my half-wake prayer is something along the lines of "God, I know Your strength is enough to get me through today.  Please bless me with the strength to at least make a dent in the list of things that must.be.done."   What wears me out about this long list is that I can't seem to experience any joy in the present because I'm too busy concentrating on the myriad of other things stacking up in the future. 

I was busy pondering all my busyness and going over my mental list on the way to town the other day.  A long, winding, country road, with no cell signal for 10 miles.  I lay my list aside for a moment to listen to Carols.  A familiar tune began and I turned it up.  I listened carefully, knowing the song and not in the distracted, just-humming-along kind of way.  

I know the words... O tannenbaum, O tannenbaum...well, not Bestandigkeit.  I feel it start: a genuine smile, curling at the edges of my lips, reaching all the way to the end of my to-do list.  I can feel this smile, I know this joy.  I am present with the music, I am thrilled there is still some German tucked in the eaves of my brain.  Just as I am busy recalling the meaning of Zeit, lehren and Weinachtzeit it all comes back to me.  

 What I am recalling is what I should have been praying for all along. Not strength.  Not a list that I can some how get to the end of by Christmas Eve. Joy. The ability to look beyond my list, see the colorful lights surrounding me,  giving me reasons to smile all the way to Christmas...

My reminder happened to come in German - how is yours disguised?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sinking in

How do you know when something you've been working on is actually sinking in and taking root?  You know how exciting it is when they start reading signs along the road as you drive around.  When you don't have to remind them to put their shoes on before leaving the house.  When they actually flush the toilet - well you may not have that particular problem, but my boys can't seem to get the hang of that handle.  

Earlier this year we began a family gratitude project.  We work on it in spurts: a few days diligently, then it's misplaced. Hunt, find, start again.  Even when we don't have the journal to record the amazing grace and abundance we live in, we talk about it.  Before bedtime, before prayers, in the morning.  Even during our current strep plague we've been discussing how to be grateful for things we don't really enjoy - like being sick.  Limabain's spontaneous list assures me thankfulness is taking root in his sweet heart. 

I read the other day that gratitude is a particular kind of happiness.  If there are flavors of happiness, gratitude is the one everyone needs to round out the palette.  I bet limabain's favorite gratitude flavor is bacon!

Linked to Ann

Cowboy Limabain is 11!

Don't let the the rogue-ish bandana fool you, Limabain is one of the sweetest boys we've got. Handsome and well mannered, he's also a great artist, with the ability to utilize words aas well as paint for his medium.
Today he turns lucky number 11. As lucky as I hope this year is for him, it pales in comparison to how lucky I am to be his Mamma.

Happy birthday, Limabain!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Santa,

You may not be used to getting letters from way-younger-than-40 year old women, but it 'Tis the Season and with all that Winter Wonderlanding and Jingling of Bells we thought it was worth a shot.

First of all, we've been relatively good this year. We home-schooled and carpooled.  We played nurse maid and house maid.  We wiped butts and mopped up.  We refereed and repaired.  You get the idea.  So here goes:

Em's List
Bladder control
A decent looking 6 person vehicle with Teflon upholstery and floorboards
Stronger gag reflex control for Number 3
Gift certificate for the Lipo/Augment Christmas Combo
A 3.5 year old who will poop in the potty
Those cute rain boots I've asked for the past 2 Christmases
10 hours sleep every other Wednesday
Hawkins Healing

Lib's List
Hair color that lasts longer than 3 weeks
Magic sleep...So I'm ALWAYS rested
Enough time to play and get chores done
Cute brown boots
No more Lupus
Clean baseboards
Jewelry from Lisa Leonard
A completed painting project - all through the house!
Decorating savvy
Beach and or Disney vacay  in Jan/Feb/March

Merry Christmas to All,

Em and Lib

Monday, December 6, 2010

Misdemeanor Vandalism/ Accessory to Vandalism: 1st Offense

Code 2010 Section 22:  
Misdemeanor Vandalism and Accessory to Vandalism
Two Suspects, First Offense

Suffice it to say, it is providential that the substance two suspects (aka Half of The Brothers cartel) allegedly used to vandalize a public restroom, was hand sanitizer and not spray paint.

The crime nearly went unreported.  The big break in the case came 12 hours after the crime, when the younger of the two suspects sang like a canary without coercion, bribery or plea bargaining.  His cooperation appears to be motivated by sheer malice against the other suspect.

Note:  Crime scene photos unavailable.  (Thankfully.)

Too bad only one of the alleged vandals knows how to write. Nice cursive, don't you think?

Another day, another story,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

All I Do Is Laundry (first) Video


Number 1's original parody of the song, "All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled (feat. T-Pain, Ludacris, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg) Thanks, Dudes.

Another day, another story,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hot New Track - "All I Do Is Laundry"

All I Do Is Laundry
Lyrics (and idea) by Number 1

Click link to listen:






*Based on the song, "All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled (feat. T-Pain, Ludacris, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg) Thanks.

Another day, another story,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When you want to remember the small stuff

I am totally smitten with my baby, butterbain. I study him and pay attention to his unique, creative conversations in a fresh way. I want to remember all the small stuff with him, all the funny and off the wall hilarity he is at 4-almost-5. Everybody says he looks like me, which makes me wonder if I was ever that precious and precocious. That talkative and demanding. So full of love and impossibly hard to explain in detail good ideas.

From the moment he wakes up and jumps into his jeans, skins into the 'not too dirty' shirt from the day before he is chattering. He wants to play, read, feed the cats, hug, have a sword fight and make eggs-in-a-cup for breakfast. That's while he getting dressed.

He told me last week he only loves me for my iPhone; I have a hard time believing that because of the way he holds my hand and pats my back. The way he puts his hands on each one of my cheeks to turn my face square to his for lots of morning kisses.

He also recommended I check in the mirror to see if I was growing werewolf teeth. Why? Because he thought it would make me laugh while we were hanging out in the bathroom together.

He has 2 cavities and needs a trip to the dentist. He begged for a 25 cent gum-ball the other day and then said, " this gum and my teeth are NOT too friendly!"

Wit like that is daily conversation fodder. His modus operandi everyday is to fill life with as much joy, surprise and amazement as a little boy can.

Life is brighter and fresher just being around him. That's what I want to remember.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas '09 Remix

 Perspective is a good thing

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through my house
Children were hacking and coughing, not at all like a mouse.
The stockings were falling from the mantle with flair
In hopes St. Nicholas wouldn't really care.

One kid was nestled all snug in our bed,
While visions of medicine and co-pays danced in my head.
Mom in her sweatpants and Dad on the couch,
Hoping and praying Santa had Benadryl in his pouch.

The lights on the tree hanging on by a thread.
The garland and ribbons, drooping near dead.
That nosy elf hit the road before he got sick.
Back to the North Pole just in the nick.

Tomorrow is a new day, here and gone in a flash.
We'll be up and ready for the pre-dawn toy bash.
We'll all be together and all will be right.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Another day, another story,


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