Sunday, January 27, 2013

100 days

The one hundredth day of school is quickly approaching.  I can't believe I've made it!  I'm pretty proud of myself.  I think I might celebrate on that special day with gold fish crackers, marshmallows and pretzels.  I deserve it.

The kindergartners will be observing their first 100 days of school by dressing like they are 100 years old.  Jack came home and told me all about it.  He's really excited about dressing up.  I suggested we make a long white beard, this is Arkansas, this is how the old men roll.  Anyone enamored by the big beards on TV clearly doesn't live in Arkansas.  Here they are a dime a dozen.  You can't go to Walmart without bumping into 6 of these guys and their camo overalls.  Anyway, we live here, so let's do this thing!

Jack also had an AWESOME idea...

He wants to shave the center of his head and keep the bald man band of hair that connects the ears.  Dude.  This is brilliant.  If anyone can pull it off, it's Action Jackson Ellis.  He thinks it will be perfect.  I do too, assuming I don't get the day mixed up again...

I told Mike the plan.  He threw back his head and laughed.  Then he said, "Becca.  I'll tell you what you are thinking right now." 
"Go."  I tell him.
"80% of you is thinking:  That would be so awesome!  You think it's a great idea."  --spot on, I tell him.  He continues: "But then there is 20% of you that says, 'As his mother, I'm not sure if I can let him do this.'"   It's like he read my mind.  Whoa. 

He then tells me he is going to be hands off on this one.  It's up to me to decide. 
I know, long story, and I haven't yet decided if we are going to give him a "balding man" then bic the rest of it that night.  Yikes.  Are we down with that sort of commitment?

We've tabled the discussion for now, we'll see if the topic of the hair comes up again.

Tonight, since Mike is absent, we ate sweet potatoes for dinner.  That was all.  Sweet potatoes.  I was tired. Sweet potatoes are healthy.  Done.

I talked them up with the kids then gave them options of nuts, marshmallows and brown sugar as toppings.  Custom made dinner, they thought they were at burger king.

We all sat down at the table where we blessed the food and then began eating.  Everyone ate the first couple bites without much protest, but after a couple minutes I could see the excitement waning.  Oh boy.  Time to pull out the: "Did you know how nutritious sweet potatoes are?  I've heard they are the most nutritious vegetable there is.  It really surprises me that they are even more healthy than spinach cause they taste soooo delicious." 

Yep, I said all that.  Jack is going to town on his, you don't have to tell him twice.  He's always been a good eater --I love that about him.  The other three, however were needing even more encouragement.  I pulled out my iPhone and googled the nutritional value of sweet potatoes.  I read about all the vitamin A, C, calcium, foliate and potassium.  I kept going and found that beta-carotene plus the vitamin A make sweet potatoes a skin superfood.  They combat the free radicals which result in skin aging.  I saw this and translated to for the boys:

"Oh, it says here that some of the vitamins in sweet potatoes make people look younger."

Jack gasps, slaps himself on the forehead and says: "Oh man!!!!"

"I've got to look 100 years old in a few days!"

Ty quotes

I've got this nagging feeling that I've neglected to record all my funny Ty quotes.  So here we go.  These are some I've had written down in random places.  I think I might have used some of them before. (sorry)  Hopefully all of these won't be "ya had to be there"s.

 While driving along the road Ty asked me to open his window.  He stuck his hand out and exclaimed: " Mom!  I'm giving the wind a high five. Gotcha!"


Mike has instituted a few "Ellis Family Rules" at the recommendation of our Sunday School teacher in Abilene.  There are a few things Ellises do.  Why?  I dont' really know.  I guess cause we say so.  One of them is:  "Ellises keep their heads up."  Why?  I guess so we don't trip.  Or miss a shooting star or maybe as a symbol of persistence, --not quitting.

We've had to quote this rule to Ty many a time.  He tends to get sad about something we say and hang his head.  As soon as he does it I say: "Ty, Ellises keep their heads up."  He'll quickly lift his head, but too his best to keep his eyes on the ground.   One day we were driving in the van, something was said that Ty didn't like so he did his best to hang his head in his five-point harness.  I see him from the rear view mirror.  "Ty, is your head hanging?" 
This time Ty keeps his head down but lifts his eyes.  "I'm not hanging my head"  he responds. 
"What are you doing?" I ask.
 "I'm just looking." 
"Looking at what?"
"My knees."


Ty had Brady around the waist and was relocating him, against his will, backward to the other side of the rug. I intervene:
"Don't pull on him, you are going to pull him in half like a worm."
Ty thinks for a moment, I guess contemplating the results of such action. Then replies: "And destroy him in two?" 


I ask Ty: "Do you have to go potty?"  I already know the answer due to some non verbals he was giving me.


Wrong.  "Yes you do.  You were holding your bottom."

Without missing a beat he explains his actions: "It's because I was trying to trick you."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What did I miss?

I didn't attend Kindergarten.
I never thought much about it until 4th grade when I came across a poster at the teacher's store that said: "All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten." 
I panicked.  What have my parents done to me!  You know what they say, "If it's not one thing, it's your mother."  Way to go Mom...
I feel like I've been playing catch up my whole life.
Now I have a kindergartner in my house.  I've watched him closely and so far as I can tell, I've picked up most of what I need to know along the way.  Just to be sure though, I am writing down anything noteworthy that Jack tells me of the happenings at school.
I have a note page of notes I'm putting together.  I'll share a few of the most recent with you.   
Notes on Kindergarten 
  • There's no singing in the bathroom at school
  • One boy was ostracized after the class Christmas party at which the kids watched Polar Express.  Boy claimed he couldn't hear the bell.
  • Martin Luffin' King Jr. looks like a president.  Not sure what he was, a president I guess.
  • Jake's mom works at school. She gave Jake a kiss after recess.  There was much debate among the kids as to whether on not that was against school policy.  Jack's stance was that it's ok to kiss family.
  • Boy told him a secret yesterday it was: "Pshsshpshshshsh"  Jack laughed, seems it's still a hilarious joke.
Some art and literature:
Not bad...
Ok, this wasn't a school assignment, but it is a writing sample.  This is a Christmas card I bought to send to Wyatt and Harper.  The front had a picture of Santa on it.  I did not coach Jack, I simply told him to sign it.  He wrote:
"Good job being on the nice list. from Jack.  Jack Ellis Merry Christmas to my best friend."
If Jack were president he would let other people in other countries vote.  Democracy!  Oh, and he voted for Obama in the class election.  He thought it made sense since he was already the president. 
This was something he made for Gigi. She likes using nature in her art.  He picked up some leaves and glued them to make the wings on his soowpr mario.
What he would have rather had on Thanksgiving: pizza mac and cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy, popcorn...
This is just a little ditty he wrote while traveling back from a visit to his homeland.  Everybody join in at the chorus "dadaDADADADADADADADADADAD, myyyyy faaaavorite staaaaate!" 
A picture of some "fun cosans" complete with their DOBs.  I'm pretty sure Brooks, Ben and Brady are going to have to prove themselves before they get a caricature.
"What are your qualifications for working in the elf bakery?"  Looks like we should go over some things before sending him to a job interview....
Ha!  Like that will ever happen....
Here he was given the words "grubs, cubs, rub, tub, run, fun, gun and sun" and told to use them in sentences.
Water park?  Fo' sho'
You coming?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Brady had his first bubble bath today!  Austin got to join because Becca doesn't often purchase bubble bath.  We were trying to get the most out of it.  Before getting in the bath, I had Austin get on the potty.  We all know what boys do as soon as they get in the bath.  Girls probably do it too, but it's harder to prove.  Austin was soon cleared for entry into the tub.  Now the water will stay clean!

Both boys had fun examining, picking up and ultimately eating the bubbles.  They were all grins and giggles for most of the bath time.  As was I, I might add, for my big boys were downstairs cleaning the kitchen while I got to sit in front of the tub and watch my little ones squeal with delight.  I wished I had brought up my phone and gotten some video of the guys.  I was reminded of Jack and Ty when they were this age playing in the bathtub --only then no one was cleaning my kitchen while the babies were bathing.  Today was a win for Becca, no question.

After lots of play, the fun had to come to an end.  There is a bedtime in this house and it's not good if we don't observe it...there is a lot of fussing and whining if I don't get in bed at a reasonable time.

I drain some of the water out of the tub.  We still have four or so inches in the bottom of the tub.  Enough to keep Austin warm while I get Brady ready for bed.  I pull out Brady.  He is standing by the edge of the tub getting dried off when something dawned on Austin.  He looks up to me, his eyebrows furrowed and the tone in his voice confused and disappointed: "Where's my bubbles?" 

I break the news to him:  "I'm sorry Austin, bubbles don't last."  What a hard reality to face.  Being two is not easy folks.  It's not easy.  Sometimes it's downright hard. 

I continue (because we all know Becca can't stop with one sentence answers), "Bubbles pop and then they disappear.  We can't see them any more.  Sorry buddy."

He looks down at the water, lip sticking out, thinking about what I just said.  I kinda felt bad for the guy.

Just then we hear four measures of this tuba like sound coming from Austin's behind. He picked up his face, grins up at me and says: "Bubbles!"

I sooooo wish I had it on video.  It was too cute.

I take my other naked baby into the bedroom to get dressed and upon returning, find Austin ankle deep in a tub full of floaters.

Looks like someone got a little greedy for bubbles...

Monday, January 21, 2013

You can't win 'em all

It was Sunday again.  We had 13 kiddos in our class this morning.  Wow.  It was nuts.  That was just my class, not 4A and 4B.  Just mine!  We did some creative stuff, and I talked to them during snack time about the ins and outs of Jesus' dinner at the Pharisee's house.  We talked about how important those guys thought they were and how mortified they must have been when that dirty woman walked in.  It is a good story, but I was trying to be super careful to keep it on a four-year-old level.  It was hard.  I tended to talk lots about the details of the story and less about this woman's occupation and why the Pharisees were so put off by her.  Overall, I think we did fine.  I had a good teaching partner who helped me keep things moving along.

Later in the day, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth and fixing my hair in an attempt to make it to a meeting at church.  Ty walks into the bathroom and upon seeing the toothbrush in my mouth decides the mic is his.  He starts talking about something, I'm not really sure, I couldn't hear him.  My toothbrush is electric and my hearing is bad.  I finish brushing and turn off the toothbrush about the time his little ADD mind switched to a new topic. This is what I hear:

"This morning at church when it was boring I was talking to Hudson.  We wished we were at my house doing the zipline.  We were wishing we were there when it was so boring when you were talking to us.  But he says he’s afraid of heights.  So he doesn’t want to do it. (short pause)  It was so boring today at Sunday school.  (another pause) boring, boring, boring." 


Mike says next year we are signing up to be Jack's teachers... or Austin's... or maybe even Brady's.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Getting some feedback

So I teach the four-year-olds on Sunday mornings.  It's great.  No you can't have my job.  I like those little boogers.  They are young enough to not care if you don't teach perfectly, yet old enough to not need a diaper change.

I taught today using some awesome props  --transformers.  Ten of them to be exact.  They represented the ten lepers that Jesus healed.  These toys easily lose legs and arms when played with, so I thought it would be fitting to use them as lepers. The story is that only one came back (in our case it was megatron) to say thank you to Jesus.  I thought the lesson was great.  The lepers were "transformed" right before our eyes after Jesus (played by a wise man left over from the Christmas story) told them to go show themselves to the priest. 

All of the 20 (yes 20) kids were paying attention at one point or another.  Afterward one boy came up and told me about all the transformers he has at his home.  Little while later a girl walked up with her stuffed animal and told me, "Look I have a leper too."  I looked down to see her pet leopard.  I thought it was fitting for the lesson today.  I did not correct her.

After lunch I asked Ty how the lesson was.  I'm expecting rave reviews. 

So I ask him:

Me: "Ty, did you like Sunday School today? Did I do good with the lesson?"

Ty: "You did great mom!" he said, with much inflection in his voice.

(just what I thought.)

Me: "Oh thanks.  I'm glad it was good.  What part did you like the best?"

Ty:  "I didn't like any of it."

Me: "What?!"

Ty: "Yeah, it was good, but I didn't like any of it."

Me: "Why?"

Ty: "It's cause I don't like lessons."

Well... at least the girl with the leopard got it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

drum roll please

Well folks, It's the moment we've all been waiting for.  The newlyweds are home from their honeymoon and now we will find out what we've wondered for so many months...

As one of the oldest in my family, I have always looked after my little siblings.  Back in the day, when I took the younger ones to the swimming pool I wouldn't rest for a moment.  I would constantly count the faces sticking up out of the water: "One, two, three, four, five (pause) one, two, three, four, five (pause) one, two, three, four, five...".  You get the picture.  No one was going to drowned on my watch.  Then there was that time I threatened to beat up a girl for shoving Hannah.  (Can you believe I did that!)  Not my finest moment --but she never touched her again.   And of course, I made Grant come with me to the ladies room till he was 10.  Things like that.  I took care of them.

As everyone got older this role I found myself in begin to look different.  The littles no longer needed me to keep them away from strangers, but rather protect them from the ones that wanted to be more than just friends.

"Ok, ok."  I'd nod to myself when a new boy entered the picture.  "Let's see what you're made of."  I wasn't going to sit by while a coward tried to woo my sister.  A creep wouldn't do.  A lazybones wouldn't fly.  No.  The boy was going to have to be quality material or he couldn't have her.  It was still my watch.

I'd poke and prod.  Let's see what he's really like under all that polo and cologne.  I'd be cordial when introduced to the guy, but not initiate any conversation whatsoever.  Then would come the expressionless stare when we were in a large group of people (i.e. with my immediate family).  Making sure to catch his eye every once in a while.  If he made it through that, I'd attempt to destroy the confidence he had had to muster up to even consider dating a Boshart.  I'd say things like:  "Is that the best vehicle you could find to take her on a date in?"  or "What happened to your hair?"  or  answer "hmm...I don't think so" to every request he would make.   

Most were gone by this point.  If they weren't.  I'd continue with the insults and begin making fun of him in public any chance I got.  (there were usually lots of chances.)  If I was having a hard day because somehow said dude managed to pull everything together, I'd just bring up past failure like: "Remember that time you lost the bocce balls when we were camping?  There was nothing to do the rest of the trip.  Remember?  My kids were soooooo bored." 

Sisters:  You're welcome.

I never hated the guys, most of them I kind of liked.  But that was beside the point.  The point was:  I needed to know how bad they wanted her.  If they were going to put of with having to see and hear from me at every family gathering, then maybe just maybe they were committed to the relationship.  And that's what I wanted to see.  Another bonus is that we were able to see how these guys handled pressure.  Were they humble?  Were they hotheads?  The girls took note.  (You're welcome.) 

As it began to take a more serious turn I'd ask questions such as: "What expectations do you have for a wife?" "What qualities do you see in her that make her marriage material?" "How do you plan on supporting her?"  "Do you want her to work?"  "Do you like hunting?"  "Describe how you envision a typical Saturday morning when married."  "Do you do laundry?"  "Dishes?"  "Do you expect your shirts to be ironed?"  "How many hours a week do you watch football?...."   Some people would call me nosey.  I call it covering your bases.

It's not an easy role to play. I'm not really that kind of person.  Gentleness and forebearance come more naturaly to me.  Emily, however, had enough jobs as the oldest, so the responsibility fell on me. 

Here we have Chrissy and Joe, fresh off the plane, ready to start doing life.  His endurance has proven he wants her.  Now we get to find out what he thinks of the rest of us!

Soon the questions will be answered:

Did he ever really like Dad's fudge?
Will he spend part of his Christmas with the in-laws?
Will that trip up to see Becca and the boys ever happen?
Does he enjoy sitting around the table listening to our chatter?
Will he take a rotation in the kitchen?
Does he really like playing Settlers?
Are he and Austie really buddies?
Will he continue to let us borrow his truck when we move?  Will he offer to help?

The suspence is killing me!

He's got the girl --and I have to say, he's earned her.  Now we get to see if he just wanted Chrissy or if he will embrace the rest of the crazy that is his new extended family.

And Joe, my job is done.  We can be friends now.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

...And yo mama dresses you funny!

I walk out of my bedroom and into the living room to find Jack crying on the couch.  Ten minutes earlier we had all been upstairs coming up with a plan for the race track.  Jack and the gang had put together a great track for their motorized cars.  It worked perfectly except for one thing.  The cars went too fast around a corner and often times flipped off the track.

We decided to make a guardrail.  The instruction booklet showed us how to build one so I handed Jack the book and called him the project manager.  Ty (naturally better at Lego's and this sort of thing) very much wanted to help.  He hovered close, anxious to help with his fingers or nose in the way most of the time.  Austin, being two, is still in the destroyer mode, so I had him gather the pieces for the rail.  Ty did some gathering and I was hoping Jack would give him a small task to put together while he studied the instructions.

Things seemed to be under control so I went downstairs, back to my bed and snuggled under the covers to play with my current favorite app on the iPhone.  (You think I'm joking.  I'm not.  I've taken very seriously the words: "Christmas Break".)

While I was lazily playing on my phone, things weren't working out very well upstairs.  Jack has very few managerial skills other than being born first.  Austin doesn't know his colors or numbers quite well enough to be told to "find 4 short blue rods" and actually show back up with the requested items.  Ty, the poor second born who just wants to be helpful, didn't have a specific purpose.  No second born likes to be without purpose.  All we really want is to make everyone happy.... and play games on the iphone...

I ask Jack why he was crying.  He told me Ty had said some hurtful things to him. 

I asked him what things he had said and let me tell ya, they were bad.  I was so impressed with his creative insults that I wanted to record them.

Me: "What things did Ty say to you?"

Jack :  "He said that he would never climb trees with me again after the Christmas lights come down.  and he said that he wouldn't be my brother in heaven."


After some coaching I sent him back upstairs to make amends. 

He came down less than 3 minutes later and told me that people weren't treating him like the boss (oh brother... firstborns!)

Well then let's just take a break.  You stay down here and do some work while you think about how you need to go back and respond to Ty.

Jack starts working.

Ty comes down looking all sad and climbs up into my lap (I have abandoned my bed and am now sitting at the computer typing this post) and says:  "Jack's not being nice to me."

"He's not?"  I ask.

"No.  He came upstairs and told me that you had given Austin a new job.  It was to punch me in the face."

wow.  and no.  That was not my recommended course of action.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lawd have mercy!

Jack walks into the kitchen where I am pouring myself a cup of coffee.

"Mom, did you hear the toilet flush thirty seconds ago?"


Jack's eyes light up.  "That was me,"  he grins and then continues:  "I was practicing a sloosh!"

"A what?"  I ask.

"A SLOOSH."  He repeats, only a little louder and clearer this time.

"What's that?"

"It's when you put your head down and..."

"DID YOU PUT YOUR HEAD IN THE TOILET?!" I exclaim.  I'm genuinely shocked.  Shocked. Who would do this --to himself?  I wish I could have seen my face.  Surely my eyes were as big as the rim on my coffee cup.

My reaction causes him to quickly reevaluate whether or not this was a good idea.  He proceeds a little more cautiously:  "Only half-way."

"Ok, well... go wash your hands then go upstairs and get a shower."  -what else do you say here??

"I just washed my hands."  He holds out his hands for inspection.

The boy sticks his head in the toilet and flushes it, but makes sure to wash his hands.  I will never understand men.

"Is your hair wet?"

He feels the top of his head.  "No."

"Ok.  Never do that again.  And it's called a 'swirly.'"