Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sugar, sugar, and more sugar

Gingerbread houses have been a part of Christmas since I was a child. Although I don't remember making a new house every year, and I don't remember where or how or why or when I made houses, I do know that there were several years when we participated in this very sticky and sweet craft. My mom and I were just reminiscing that one year she sprayed my gingerbread house with bug spray, wrapped it in several plastic bags, and hoped for the best while it sat in storage for the year. We couldn't recall, however, whether or not that house made it through the year, or even several years.

When the kids were little, our church's Wednesday night clubs program had a gingerbread house making night every year. What a mess that was! My aunt, who I'm sure received many jewels in her crown for this, would ask the children in the school where she worked to save their cardboard pint milk containers. She would then get the local grocery store to donate styrofoam trays. But this was nothing to the amounts of icing she made ahead of time so that every child could make a house to take home. It was one of those activities that was a favorite of the kids every year, but not so beloved by the adult leaders (at least not by me).

We've found that the pint container, styrofoam tray, graham cracker method works best for us. It's a tradition that we don't repeat every year, but enough so that some of the kids get a chance to create every few years. The only deviation is that I make edible icing instead of that egg white stuff we used in clubs. Kids are bound to lick their fingers or get some icing when they pull the candy off to eat, so you might as well make it all edible.

The biggest dilemma, as I see it, is how to dispose of those houses once they've been made. In our house, it's a mystery to this day that when we return from our annual Christmas trek to Ohio, the houses are gone. Must be the college kids who house sit; maybe they just can't resist all that candy and sugar and in their binging they just eat the whole works - cardboard pint containers, styrofoam and all!

Whose house is this, anyway?

If making a house brings out the personality of each child, you can easily see that this one is the organized, methodical, future teacher, right?

Nope, she didn't do that herself. (And I'm told taste-testing is necessary to the quality of the finished product)

The finished products! And yes, this project is definitely more fun with a friend or two. Thanks, Katrina!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?

Mom, are you napping?

What would make you ask that question?

You're in bed in the middle of the day.

Well, son, that is true and you ask an interesting question. Let's look at the definition of napping: verb ( napped , napping )
sleep lightly or briefly, esp. during the day. In light of the definition given, I don't think I was napping.

Why not, Mom?

I was not sleeping lightly. Or even briefly. The only valid point in that whole definition is that it is currently "during the day."

Okay, I was just wondering seeing as you are in bed.

Yes, I am in bed. I came here because I was tired. I turned off all of the lights in the room and closed the shades on the windows. I was settled in for a long winter's nap.

And then someone who shall remain nameless traipsed up and down the hallway in plastic high-heeled dress-up shoes.

And then a few other someones who shall remain nameless decided to have an argument. Right outside of my room. They were, of course, appropriately and loudly shushed by someone else who shall remain nameless.

Then someone who shall remain nameless started singing. Loudly.

Then the formerly fighting someones decided to play a game whereby they were to scare each other. Right outside of my room.

Finally, someone who shall remain nameless came home from school, went to his room, and began to practice the drums. Loudly. For an extended period of time.

I can honestly say that I got up much more alert than when I laid down, even without that elusive nap. My heart is pumping at a much quicker rate and my mind is open and ready to roll.

Someday I will nap but I think that day is a long way off. Until that day, I will write. Thank you, children, for filling this house with your joyful noise.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mother of misfits no more

Dear Laura Sybil,
I am in need of your advice. I am a professor of English at a very elite university. The quandary is that my twins, a boy and a girl, must have inherited their spelling skills from their father's side of the family (my father was a lexicographer and my mother spell-checked all correspondence from a royal family in Europe which I can neither confirm nor deny due to confidentiality issues which just proves that my genes are quite sophisticated when it comes to letters and the English language). I have tried everything to boost their spelling skills but to no avail. I used to be able to conceal this egregious family secret from the public but now that my twins are of Facebook age, their spelling is out there for all the world to see. I am afraid that my students are going to notice and doubt the authenticity of my own prestigious pedigree. I'm even beginning to wonder if I should have DNA testing done to be certain that there wasn't some horrible mix-up in the hospital and I came home with the wrong children! Please help me posthaste!
Signed, Mother of Misfits

Dear Mother of Misfits,

Hallelujah! I am not alone in this world! You have come to the right place if, for no other reason, than the fact that we have each found a kindred spirit. I, too, have two children who mortify me with their spelling. Just this evening, one of them (who shall remain nameless), wrote as her Facebook status, "Deer Puperty, Leaf me aloan. Eye liekt mi fase befour the zeets." And my son sent me a message assuring me that he would take care of the recirtificationifying of certain paperwork which he had to do for school. What is a mother to do? On first glance, I thought that my daughter was asking puppetry to leave her alone; assuming she had just left out half of the double letter. But oy vey! Puperty? Puberty is one thing, but puberty and misspelled words? This is an atrocity!

But after much soul-searching, I have determined that it could be much worse. Our children are clearly not the only ones who cannot spell on Facebook. Have you read any statuses lately? Even if a person can spell, it seems as if auto-spell takes a perfectly spelled sentence and turns it into gobbledy-goop (or at least that's a good excuse for the person caught in the act). And most of the time, no one seems to notice or care.

At least our children are not the ones writing boring Facebook posts; the kind that get no response from Facebook friends. Obviously it is our desire, as we gaze into the eyes of our newborn babes, that our children will grow up with the gift of humor. But if your child can't spell, he or she needs only a small amount of humor to make it in this world. For you see, a misspelled word every now and then can boost your humor quotient by the tens of thousands.

And misspelling is nothing compared to the parents that have to deal with children who take pictures of themselves using a phone in front of a mirror. Can you imagine the shame those parents must face on a daily basis? Every time that mother looks in the mirror she is reminded of the fact that her son or daughter has used the same medium for a poorly thought-out photo of him or herself. And the fact that her child must not have any friends who can take a photo for her! We must remember these parents in our prayers.

More horrific would be having to look at naked pregnant belly photos of my child. Need I say more? Let's take a moment to be thankful that our daughters are not the ones posting such indecent photos for the men and boys of Facebook to face when logging onto their accounts everyday. And we most certainly don't need to see the naked pregnant bellies of our sons, do we? Let's not even go there.

So you see, Mother of Misfits, life could be much, much worse than a child who can't spell. There are many careers in which spelling doesn't matter such as website designer, sign maker, and middle school teacher (the ones who send home a non-edited syllabus telling me that my child will be marked down for grammatical and spelling errors found in homework assignments). Give your twins an extra hug at bedtime tonight and thank the Lord for the many gifts that your children do have.

Thankful for my children, even the ones going through recirtificationifying puperty,
Laura Sybil

Monday, November 14, 2011

Catalog free zone

There are many things I do not allow in my home. Bad language is one. Weapons are another. And catalogs are right up there with the other two. We are a catalog-free home. Or I do my best. As soon as a catalog comes in the mail, it goes right in the trash. Unless one of the King kids happens to bring in the mail. Or if I don't shove the catalog down far enough, under the tomato sauce, or something equally disgusting to the minds of the King kids.

Typically, it's been the younger kids I'm trying to keep the catalogs away from. All it takes is a few pages of items to turn my normally content youngsters into greedy, grabby Kingkins with rapidly multiplying Christmas wish lists full of plastic junk.

Tonight, however, it was my 16 year old who got immense pleasure from the most recent catalog (which, I might add, he pulled out of the trashcan). For at least an hour he regaled us with each and every item that caught his fancy. Who knew a catalog of Christian toys could so easily amuse my oldest teen? From Mother Mary dolls (that talk) to Christian Walkie-Talkies (they come in packs of three but you only receive two - the third goes right to Heaven), he had such a difficult time deciding what he most needed this Christmas. Righteous Racers matchbox cars were tempting (they always go the speed limit) as was a Junior Rifle with John 3:16 inscribed on the handle (for reciting before shooting).

On a more positive note, it wasn't all about him. He also found useful products that he could purchase for his siblings this Christmas. There were the Heroines of Christ's Kingdom paper dolls (he said he didn't know there was heroin in Christ's Kingdom) for his sisters and the air-soft machine gun (complete with devotional guide, hunting safety tips, and DVD on our second amendment rights). For Mom, he found many literary choices including, Keep Momma Chained in the Kitchen and the sequel, Laundry for the Masses (conveniently approved by Mrs. Duggar). For Dad a book on manly friendships (so he can get along better with others).

Hey, who took those catalogs out of the trash again?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bit by bit

It has taken me many (and I mean many) years to get to the place where I can actually enjoy having a helper in the kitchen or the sewing room. These are places where I love to create and creating for me means doing things in an organized, perfectionistic manner. I also work with a plan, within a timeframe, and like to get as much done as possible in the time I have allotted to me or to an activity.

Preschoolers, and even elementary children, are not conducive to my organized, perfectionistic, time crunch personality. Spilled flour made my economical side cringe. Misshapen and irregularly shaped cookies made my hands quiver as I had to physically restrain myself from fixing them. Crooked rows that didn't add up to 12 could have been cause for a trip to the Funny Farm.

But I'm learning. I've slowed down. I can clean up the mess later. And I can fix the rows when the child bores of the task and leaves the room. I can even sneak behind a child's back to reshape cookies and take dough from one to add to another to make all things equal.

Don't sweat the small stuff. That's been the lesson of the decade for me. I'm learning bit by cookie bit.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our mission

Many moons ago, back when there were only 3 (maybe 4?) little King kids, I decided that we needed a family mission statement. I don't remember what gave me this idea. It may have been a book I was reading, it may have been wisdom from one of the women at the great Bible study I attended, it may have been the prompting of the Holy Spirit, or more likely, all of the above. I'm sure the Good Doctor once again thought I was nuts or over the edge or both. But he's a good man and he (sometimes) humors me and my ideas.

So we sat down with the kids, none of whom was older than six, I'm sure. We placed a large sheet of newsprint (can you even get this stuff on those large rolls anymore?) on the floor in front of us and we took turns contributing ideas to describe who we are as a family. The brainstorming resulted in a list of phrases that described us as who we were and who we wanted to be. I don't remember many of the specifics of that occasion other than our amazement when Andrew wrote on the paper, "Mom and Dad go on dates." How wise and forward-thinking he was at such a young age.

I do have a copy of what we came up with and I recently uncovered it stashed away in a cupboard. I think it ended up there when I cleaned the mantel off for Christmas decorations one year and for some reason never made it's way back. But it's back where it belongs. It may be time to add to it, make it more "mature", or even change it completely, but it's a good reminder to be purposeful in living out our story.

The King Family Mission (ca. 2001)

Teach and learn about God
Help and encourage each other
Enjoy activities together

Kindness to everyone
Imitate Christ
Never fight, hurt, or lie
Go where God leads

Family worship and prayer
Always serve God and others
Mom and Dad go on dates
Immediately obey
Loving words and actions
Young and old are respected

Wow! I look at phrases like, "Go where God leads," and am amazed that it was just a few years later when God led us away from our family, our home, and our school. When we wrote that, we had no idea what that commitment would mean. But God blesses faithfulness and trust. I'm also struck by how much of it is still true today. I believe we added "Young and old are respected," as a reference to the fact that John used to take the kids with him when he visited the elderly or sick. Now we do this by playing at retirement centers often throughout the year.

So what is your family's mission? What role are you playing in His story? Write it down and watch where it takes you.

I dare you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Did you know?

As the King family goes out and about, there are some memorable questions that come our way. We spent our dinner hour discussing such questions and just in case you've been wondering these same things yourself, we give you the answers. Free of charge.

1. Seven kids, huh? Don't you know how that happens?
As a matter of fact, we are very well informed as to how that happens, both through biology and through adoption. We were there every step of the way and were not under the influence of any illegal substances which would hinder our awareness of the situation.

2. Isn't it time for another one?
That would depend upon whom you ask. Since it's been a point of contention for oh, about 20 years, it's probably better not to open up that can of worms by asking.

3. So, do your kids socialize?
Have you ever been around us for any period of time? We socialize profusely, often all at the same time, at higher and higher decibels as time goes on. We can even carry on intelligent conversations and are knowledgeable in more than one subject.

4. Do you teach them how to play their instruments?
Just watch us play. I'm the one faking it while the kids play circles around me. And John can't play much more than "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on a violin or viola.

5. Did you know that there's a Cynthia King in Mechanicsburg who had an accident this week? I heard about that and I texted all my friends at church to see if it was you but they didn't know anything about it. I saw the picture on the website, too.
You don't say? Funny, too, since I'm guessing the van in the picture looked just like mine, and even had a decal on the back with nine people. Amazing coincidence!

6. Do your kids ever fight?
They're kids. Next question.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dear Terrible Towel Toiler

I've been asked to start a new business, as aparenting coach! So, in the same vein as Dear Abby, Ann Landers, and all the other big name advice-gurus, I bring you - -

Dear Laura Sybil

Since none of the other big-name folks use their real names, I thought I shouldn't, either. That way, if you don't like my advice, you can't find the real me to complain to. Go find some Laura Sybil somewhere and complain to her.

So here goes, my first question and answer:

Dear Laura Sybil,
I have a child (identity protected) who refuses to hang up their wet soppin' bath towel. No amount of reprimanding, reminding, or cajoling will prevent me from finding that towel balled up somewhere other than their towel rack.
Help! Terrible Towel Toiler

Dear Terrible Towel Toiler,

I completely understand your dilemma. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have had variations of the towel troubles at our house for years. I find that lessons to address the issue are a must. First, you eliminate the possibility that your child has some type of towel-hanging learning disability whereby this skill does not come naturally. Maybe your child just does not pick up on the social cues of reprimanding, reminding and cajoling in relation to towel hanging. Be certain not to laugh in your child's face during these lessons (leaving the room to do so is okay). Second, you have established that follow-through is expected and exactly what you are looking for.

So, how do you go about these lessons? Choose your lesson time wisely. The child must be alert; full stomach is optional. It must be at a time when the child would rather be doing something else. Then, make it a LOOONNNGGG lesson, dragging out each and every point in the process. Make sure it's embarrassing. Be sure to break the task down into smaller chunks, having review and practice along the way.

Let the child in question know that if one lesson isn't enough, the next time he/she wants to go with friends, or play Wii, or whatever, you will be more than happy to give a repeat lesson. Oh, and the first lesson is free. The second is costly and the third is an exorbitant price (going up in similar increments beyond that). The price should be something that matters to that child, whether it be money or loss of privilege, etc.

You could also attempt the discomfort technique. First you will need to hide all of the other towels in the house. Throughout the day and night, you will want to re-wet the balled-up towel so that it is rendered useless at shower-time in the morning. Since all of the other towels must be in the laundry, that is the only one available. Show much sympathy, but also state the facts of the matter as in, "Poor Baby, if only you had hung your towel on the rack, it would be dry this morning. Well, better luck next time." Or as we like to say in the King household, "Suck it up, Cupcake!"

If none of that works, I would go on strike. I'm not sure it always works for the labor unions, but I've been known to give it a try myself, with great success. If employees don't live up to their side of the bargain, then management is free to let them know something's not working. Refuse to do any more of that child's laundry, meal preparation, etc. until he/she is ready to come to the negotiating table to talk. You know what you need before you're ready to bend.

Keep up the good work, Terrible Towel Toiling Mom! Your child's future spouse is going to thank you!

Laura Sybil

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lessons learned

What I've learned or been reminded of (so far) since Wednesday:

1. Always go to Jesus FIRST. Since the Good Doctor was counseling Wednesday evening, he didn't get my frantic message (okay, messages) about the accident until 3 1/2 hours after it happened. Instead of relying on him for comfort and security, I had no choice but to put my trust where it should always be, anyway. I did eventually call my dad, though. Hey, the Good Doctor had his chance.

2. Jesus was with us. I know that a common Christian counseling therapy is to talk about a stressful or negative situation and then to ask the client, "Where was Jesus in that situation?" There are those who would say that this accident happened because I'm not spiritual enough, or don't pray enough, or have some type of sin in my life (well, duh, who doesn't?). But one of my favorite Bible stories is Mark 6:45 - 52, Jesus walking on the water. What sticks out to me first in this story is the word "made" (NIV) in verse 45; Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and leave before Him. Jesus knew the storm was coming, yet sent His disciples across the water. The pick-up truck stopped on the road in front of me might have surprised me, but it didn't surprise Him. His plans are not meant to harm, but are for His glory.

3. God's grace is so vastly different from the world's. I knew this before but I know it now. I determined to show more grace to my family and to those with whom I come in contact. I thought this would take time but it was an almost immediate transformation in my home.

4. Children need to talk and when I say talk, I mean every detail, over and over again, ad nauseam. Especially when we're in a vehicle. They talk, then I go away and cry and we're all doing better.

5. You really should know the make of your vehicle because a lot of people are going to ask. "Kind of greenish," is not the answer they're looking for.

6. Air bags do not always deploy.

7. Although not recommended by 9 out of 10 pediatricians, or dentists, or anyone in the medical field for that matter, it is a great method of weight reduction. For some folks, it may have the opposite effect, I suppose, but lack of appetite makes for great portion control at meals. Cutting out sweets may have been less traumatic or costly, but you might as well seize the moment.

8. Contrary to my former stereotypes, not all police officers are rude and power hungry. Upper Allen has at least one very nice officer on their patrol. There just may be more of these types out there, but for the sake of not having to find out, I'll just leave it at one. Wait, make that two nice officers in the area; we have a friend in Dillsburg who is a police officer and I'm quite certain he is just as kind at work as he is when not on the job.

9. Five year olds should run countries, head war departments, and work in judicial systems. Soon after arriving home from the accident, HopeAnne ran into the room with a smile on her face and the pronouncement, "Mommy, I forgive you." It might make for some difficult moments in sharing toys between countries and citizens, but at least they know how to forgive freely and quickly.

10. I'm not the only person in this world who has had an accident, in fact I'm fairly fortunate to have made it this far. I've heard many horror stories from sympathizing friends. And contrary to my current opinion, I'm probably not wearing a scarlet letter "A" that everyone but me can see. It just feels that way when you're a rule-following perfectionist who's never had a ticket of any kind and who is usually the one with the long line of cars behind her because she's going exactly the speed limit; the only one who doesn't need to brake when passing a "hidden" police vehicle.

I promise this is the last post about this week. Maybe the kids aren't the only ones who need to talk. Or write.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Special delivery

I will be funny again. That's my goal because that's how I survive. Well, that's partly how I survive.

We did try a bit of funny as we were searching ebay, Craigslist, and local "large vehicle" dealerships for a replacement vehicle (the need for said vehicle has not been confirmed yet but in our vast yet limited knowledge of automotive repair, we are quite certain that the KingZoo Bus has seen its last trip to the body shop). We called a favorite hot spot in Lancaster County where the large vehicle dealer kept asking John if we had a color preference. John politely insisted back that we were only concerned with small things like cost and number of passengers but did not care about larger issues like vehicular color. He was then informed that the dealership has a number of black vans with black bumpers, formerly owned by our friends (and likely near or distant cousins) in the Mennonite community. We decided that if we were to purchase such a vehicle, it would make for a great Christmas picture. Instead of John in his kerchief and Ma in her cap, I could wear a cape dress and pull my hair back. The rest could wear plain clothing, with or without suspenders. A chicken or two in the arms might be a nice touch. Now to think of a caption...

But until such a time when the funnies (or attempt at funnies) flow freely, you'll have to deal with my musings.

This evening it was a little kiss from God. As I was driving and calling Heaven (don't worry, I wasn't texting, in fact I was using a hands-free device called prayer), God sent me a little gift by way of the van in front of me. I guess you could call it a delivery van, not because it brought me flowers or the Reader's Digest Sweepstakes prize, but because it delivered a message from God to me. And that message, printed on the license plate, read URLOVED.

Although I love vanity plates because it's a great place to display creativity, on any other day I might think this one was corny or just plain stupid. I'm not really a romantic. Okay, I'm not at all a romantic. What kind of person pays to put that on the back of a vehicle? But tonight, that was the exact text message that I needed (it's okay, God can text and drive at the same time). As it drove away, I got this feeling that maybe God was driving, or maybe He sent an angel on a delivery run with a special message, just for me.

He does love me that much; I know He does.

Isaac said at his baptism on Sunday that his favorite verse is James 1:17 (thanks for the reminder, Isaac): Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

On the other hand, if that van was driven by a human and you happen to know that person, please send my gratitude. Only someone who truly understands grace and love would be willing to drive that message around town.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Prepare for your prayers

I sat down to write in my journal this morning (notice a writing theme here, I've got a journal, memory books for each of the kids, a writer's notebook, a reader's notebook, and a blog, my kids are going to have a lot to go through when I'm gone!) and a line at the top of the page popped out at me. It was from yesterday morning and I had written, "God, use me in any way you want to bring glory to you. Amen." I didn't remember writing it at first but as I thought about it, I remembered writing it after reading another chapter in Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman (excellent book, by the way, and I highly recommend it). I also remembered writing it with some hesitation, knowing that when we pray these prayers, we will often be surprised in the way in which God answers.

I was. I obviously did not have a car accident and a (likely) totaled van in mind when I prayed that prayer. I can't even begin to fathom how the prayer and the events of last evening are connected, but I have total confidence that it was no surprise to God.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a small blip in God's timeline. I get such a short span of time to play my role; to live my part of the story. I refuse to let Satan have the upper hand. So we're fighting a battle today but the good news is, I already know who wins.

I also noticed that underneath that prayer I had written, "The prayer of a follower, not a fan. It's scary to pray that prayer, but I'm so ready."

So, ready or not, here we come!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mercies in disguise

Some things in life are funny. Others are not. Some days are good days; others you'd like to skip. Accidents happen. Some involve spilled milk, others involve bruised knees, still others result in towed cars.

Today was one of those days. At bedtime I told the kids that I thought we needed a good worship song to dwell on before heading to bed. Shoun suggested Laura Story's Blessings. It was a very appropriate ending to our day.

"We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise"

Simply praying for sleep for the Kings tonight, knowing that God is in control of that which we don't understand and knowing our hope lies in One who is greater than us.

Good night.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jesse vs. the tree

I love my boys but they certainly get themselves into some very interesting situations. And they find very interesting ways of getting themselves out of these situations.

Andrew and Jesse decided to go for a run. No problem there. But they decided to go for a run in the dark. In an area with a lot of trees. I'm all for all-terrain training, but I think they might have taken it a bit far. And they weren't paying very close attention to where they were going.

Jesse ran into a tree.

The tree won, as trees usually do.

And as all children do, he picked himself up off the ground and yelled at Andrew, "What'd you do that for?" They think that's funny.

So he's currently icing his right knee, his left shoulder, and his left eye. He's very proud of his injuries, too. He keeps pooh-poohing my concerns that he might have a concussion. He (the medical expert?) tells me that the signs of a concussion are dizziness, excessive sleepiness, and inability to spell. Since he only has only 1 of the 3 symptoms, he's given himself a clean bill of health. And he says he only has a headache when he laughs, which is most of the time since they are very much enjoying their latest escapade.

Boys will be boys. I think we can be thankful that with 4 boys in the house, we've only had one broken bone, and several rounds of stitches or staples.

Seriously, do they even listen when I yell after them as they walk through the door, "Be careful!" Most of the time they just start mumbling something about Tim Hawkins and his mother.