Monday, August 13, 2012

Birds and Bees

My sister has been working on paper; she's studying for her MBA. Occasionally she asks for my input- I am her big sister after all. This time she sought out my opinions of the assigned topic- teen pregnancy. Since she is the Director of Social Work at a nursing home, this is not an issue she has to deal with. Giving my two cents got me to thinking and lead me here to share my perspective.

It is my thought that the main issue at hand is communication, or in these case, a lack thereof. We live in a sex saturated culture, yet many people feel uncomfortable discussing it seriously. I firmly believe that it is my parental responsibility to guide my children, especially on matters of the heart, no matter how uncomfortable I may be. No one said parenting is easy. I don't think it is a wise idea to allow my children to gain certain information from their friends or friends of friends or some adult that may not have my child's best interest at heart.

I think communication needs to start early. Even if you are uncomfortable, it is baby steps. It may be awkward. There may be some false starts. But it becomes easier over time. The great thing about beginning early is that most questions only require a few simple direct answers. You don't have break out and tell everything you know complete with detailed diagrams. Most young children just want to know and then go about their business. I know, some of you are thinking, "Yeah, right! Easier said than done." That may very well be true. I was blessed with a very precocious first born. He has been normally curious. In part, he has always been surrounded by babies, pregnant women, and nursing moms. It has been a natural part of our lives and just part of the territory. I try to be as truthful and simple and direct as possible.

Okay, so I said early. How early? My advice is before they are born. Say again? I understand that as a parent that is a place you may not be ready to go. This is what makes it ideal because you can think about it without it feeling so personal. Think about your beliefs. What do you want for your child? These questions will help guide you in your responses. Do realize, however, that having children will change you. So some of your "pre-parent" thoughts may no longer fit into your parenting. Once the children are born, you should refer to their body parts by their proper names. Wait, before you run screaming from the computer let me make a point. I currently have three sons (yes, I said currently. No, I'm not pregnant-yet, but that's another post), and I can not imagine them at 11 or 12 or 13 coming to talk with me about sex or girls or any personal topic if I have referred to their penis as "caterpillar" or "wee-wee" or whatever else it can be called for their entire childhood. I suspect they would think I was a gigantic dork that doesn't have a clue about anything. They would be convinced that this proves they were hatched from an egg.

So now where do we go? Body image. As parents we need to ensure that we provide our children with a positive body image. I don't want my children to feel that their bodies are something shameful. God designed our bodies, and that alone should be embraced. I balance this out with modesty, respect, and privacy. I tell my children that body parts covered by undergarments are private areas and no one is allowed to touch them there unless it is mommy/daddy or the doctor while they are young. I also make sure they understand that they are also not allowed to touch anyone else's privates. For the most part, we have very little issues with this. Of course, we do have both boys and a girl so they are aware of the physical differences since they have been around lots of diaper changes. I do want them to feel comfortable about themselves, as I think that they will be more likely to seek out information later. If they are made to be ashamed then they will also be more likely to feel embarrassed and wrong about any changes that will occur and not feel safe discussing it with you.

I have mentioned being truthful and honest, and that leads me to my next point. I absolutely, positively believe that you should not lie or allow them to believe something false about sex. Huh? If you encourage or allow your child to believe that someone can get pregnant by holding hands or kissing or sharing a bed what do you think they will think when they find out different. They will know you lied, or at the very least, view you a non-reliable source. This is going to damage any further communication. I can not stress enough that no matter how uncomfortable you may be, please at least be honest. You can always go back and discuss it again, but don't sacrifice future communication because of discomfort. Also, if it isn't a good time to answer a question and you tell your child you will discuss it later, please make sure you do. This will also show you to be trustworthy. We want our children to trust us!

All children are different. Some may not have any questions or very few and far between. The point is to address the questions as they come. As I mentioned before, my 9 year old is precocious. He is also a worrier. He would lie awake at night and worry about kissing a girl and getting married and moving away from home. He was five. Now, my second oldest son is almost five, and he is completely different. He is only concerned about trains and enjoying life. That's fine. When he has a question, I'll answer it.

Now, I get to share with you what I want to. We still have a few more years, but I plan on making a big deal of our children's 13th birthdays. Thirteen is a big milestone. Children are officially teenagers, they are getting ready for high school, they are beginning a new chapter in their lives. It is my desire and responsibility to help prepare them for this journey. This birthday will bring some new privileges and responsibilities. They will be based on each individual child, but may include a later bedtime, a cell phone (yes, I realize that they may be the only one in their peer group without one), or staying home alone for short amounts of time. The boys will go on a guy weekend retreat (camping or game maybe) with dad for "The Talk." I think it is important for this first conversation to be with the dad (or an male who can serve in that role). It is less intimidating with the same sex. I will do something special with them later to let them in on a woman's perspective. With our daughter, I plan on a special weekend get away for our talk as well. Our talk may occur before this, if she begins her cycles. I do want her to know how important and special it really is (I'll leave the cramps out of it for now). My next idea, not mine- stole it. I loved the scene in the movie Courageous when the dad took his daughter on a special date and gave her ring that would be replaced by her husband on their wedding day. Completely melted my heart, and I decided at that moment I wanted that for my daughter. I kid not, I found the perfect ring for that night today. She's only three!

I cherish these children the Lord has blessed me with. I desire to help them build up a foundation that will support them throughout their lives. I want them to be able to come to me at any time and feel safe doing so. We need to be diligent on addressing matters of heart. Their lives and future depend upon it. It is a tough job, but parents need to do it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Gideon!


E-I-E-I-O! Gid-E-O is ONE! 
The Cake. 
Gideon's Smash Cake

The Menu: Pigs in a Blanket, Slop (potato salad), Cow Patties (mini burgers), Chicken Feed (chips), Hay (pretzels), Rabbit Food (veggie platter).
I made little signs for for the food. 
We drank out of Mason jars, and ate with "hankies," "pitchforks," and "shovels."

This is the sweets table. The cow bars are rice krispie treats and they , along with the caramel apples, went home with guests. The kids also drank from jelly jars. I drilled holes in the lid for a straw to through. 

The birthday boy
Checking out the #1 from the top of his cake
Tasting the icing

Oh, yes. This is gooood .
What fun! Happy Birthday to me!! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happily Forever After

Calen has been involved in Children's Choir at church since he was in the first grade. Every Spring, they put on a play during the evening service. This year's play was called "Happily Forever After." As soon as he got the script he thought he might try out for the part of the "Knight." After looking through, he decided against it because that character didn't have very many speaking parts.

I take the script, list the characters, and then go through the script making a note of many speaking parts each character has. Then from there Calen narrowed his choice down to Sir Brags-A-Lot. Now, I must let you in on Calen and lines. He has been blessed with an ability to recall speech. He is constantly quoting movies, and he has been known to correct someone reading because they left out a word or read the words out of order. After reading through the script three or four times, he had the character down- even to the obnoxious bragging sounding speech.

We spent the following  weeks practicing about once a day. Danny and I spoke to him several times about the try-out process, reminding him that he may not get the part for which he tries out. A few days after the try-outs, the letter arrives, and as I scan down, I see that Calen did not get the part he had wanted. I continued scanning down, looking for his name. Found it! Calen has the part of the... Carpenter!?!

Now, the way try-outs work, is if you want to have a speaking/solo part, you have to try out. They try to give everyone who tries out a part. The bigger parts, usually go to the older kids (4th and 5th grade). Calen has the lead role- in 3rd grade. I was shocked and, at the same time, very excited.

I called Calen in to share the news with him, and he was very upset that he didn't get the role. We spent the following week talking to him several times, and try to explain that he got an even BIGGER role. That they really trusted him and thought he could handle it. He was still upset, and I said, "Calen, they know you can do it, you are playing Jesus. It doesn't get any bigger that that!!"

On Sunday, Ms. Brandy asked me about Calen and how he handled it, and wasn't surprised to hear that he was upset, and told us exactly what we had been trying to explain to him. When Calen walked in to try-out, he told them what part he was trying for, and they immediately wrote his name down next to the part. They knew before he started, he had most, if not all, of the part memorized. At the end of try-outs, as they were looking back over the paper, they realized that no one had tried out for the Carpenter. They decided to give it to Calen because they knew that he could learn all the lines. This was still a difficult concept for Calen to grasp, but he became very excited about it has rehearsals began.

Production night was wonderful. The kids all did an amazing job!!

Calen was embarrassed by all the comments and was ready to go backstage and change out of his costume. 

Catching Up with Old Friends

I had to laugh at my last post "March Madness." I thought March was crazy; I didn't even have time to post anything in April! After four children, I have come to realize that there is a transition period when an infant officially enters the toddler phase. It becomes all consuming and priorities are redistributed. Blogging became an afterthought, and it was usually after I was comfortably in bed. I believe after several weeks, this week will provide me with an opportunity to update my wonderful family and friends on what has been happening in our life.

In April, we were excited to spend time with dear friends, the Halls. Danny and Johnathan were in residency together, and his wife, Lisa, and I were great friends. Our families were the only two who started residency with young children, so this lead to an immediate bond. We have not seen them since graduation in June 2007! They were coming to our "neck of the woods" and we were in town to see them for the first time in almost FIVE years.
This is Calen and Eve (in the Snow White dress) the last night they played together in '07
And here they are 5 years later!

Also, the last time our families were together, between our two families, we had four children. On this visit, there were eight. The kids immediately bonded, and since it was late, they stayed the night with us. 

Calen, Eve, Josiah, and Allie


Danny, Jax, and Riley

Johnathan and Lisa hanging out with Gideon and Hunter

The kids spending a few more minutes together before the boys had to head upstairs. 
The kids keep asking when they are coming back; hopefully it will be for a longer visit. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March Madness

March flew by for us. Did it for anyone else? It seemed so rushed and crazy. Big events that rounded out the month. Calen, bagged his second turkey. He is very proud of this accomplishment because he did it all himself. He called the tom and worked him in, as well as handled the gun on his own without any assistance. We will be eating this turkey for Easter!

Calen has took his first standardized test. We don't have scores in yet, but he did very well with testing. He only had a couple "homeschooled student" issues. One being about dinosaurs and the other I can't remember. It was funny though to see him worked into a tizzy about it though.

Gideon is almost 11 months. He is toddling around some and doing much better with solid food. He's still not keen on the idea of being put into a crib, but we'll work on it.

Jax and Riley are looking forward to swimming pools and vacations (no movie stars). They are also very eager about their birthdays later in the year. Riley breaks into a song and dance for just about anything. She loves pretending to be "Disco Girl," "Tinkerbell," and a butterfly. Jax is all boy, all dirt, all danger, all the time.

We will be finishing up another school year in a few weeks. When we start back in July, it will not longer be a duo. Jax and Riley will be joining us as they officially begin Kindergarten!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Snip, Snip

Another first, it was bound to happen, just not exactly with the child we thought it would. The do-it yourself haircut.

Amanda (my sister): Jax, who cut your hair?
Jax: I did. Will I get in trouble.?
Amanda: Yeah, probably.
Jax: Papaw did it!

Cutting the hair isn't so much of an issue- it's usually a childhood rite, as the continued fibs about what happened to his hair is.

This lead to the conversation with both Jax and Riley about cutting hair. We used this opportunity to, hopefully, derail any future attempts of Riley to do something similar. Her response to why she wouldn't ever cut her own hair, "My hair is noodly." There you have it. Kids with noodly hair wouldn't dream of giving themselves a haircut.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


This is the first blog in what is meant to be a series of truths based on facts. This one addresses the belief that our planet is overpopulated. I have taken several facts to find what the population of the world is truly like.

It is reported that the current population is 7 billion people.

The state of Texas has 268,820 square miles.

1 sq. mile=27,878,400 sq. feet.

Texas has 7,494,271,488,000 sq. ft.

7,494,271,488,000 divided by 7,000,000,000 = 1,070.61

Answer: The entire population could fit in the state of Texas with each person having 1,070.61 square feet of personal space.

With the population at 999 billion, we would still be standing in Texas and have approximately 7.5 sq. ft. of individual space, which is equivalent to 30” x 36”. That would be crowded…in Texas.

What is the problem? Attitudes. There should be plenty of resources to take care of each and every one of us plus many, many more. However, the distribution of resources is the TRUE issue. By “controlling” or “stabilizing” the population we are putting a bandage on the cut, but that will not stop the bleeding. Greed, waste, and apathy are the REAL culprits.

I, respectfully, ask that no one respond with political figure pointing and name calling. This is intended to shine light on the truth and to provide an opportunity for personal reflection, responsibility, and accountability.

Knowledge is power. Pass it on.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Today, our first born, turned 9. It's kind of a big deal. One, it is the last birthday in the single digits. Two, he has reached the half-way point to being considered an adult. Three, this means his early childhood years are coming to a close. Wow, makes it sound sad, doesn't it?

As cliche as it is, I am not sure where the time went. As I told my niece (some else could have said it, too, I don't know) when she had her son, "The days and nights seem to last forever, but the years fly by." It has and it does and it will.

While, I know the innocence of childhood will soon begin to fade away; there will be new, amazing, and exciting adventures waiting. There will be mission trips, youth programs, and in the not so far future, a driver's license. We've given you roots, now you'll get to try your wings.

Nine Things We Love About You:

1. Your love for Jesus, family, and friends.
2. Your sense of humor.
3. Your ability to do cool math tricks.
4. Your talent for quoting movie lines.
5. Your kindness and empathy.
6. Your cravings for spaghetti, Mexican, and "Sumway."
7. Your thoughtfulness in giving mommy flowers and Daddy anything Cowboys.
8. Your smile when your sneaky.
9. Your love and enjoyment of life.
10. The way you look when you know we're proud of you.

Happy Birthday, Calen! Love, Mom and Dad

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tap, Tap, Tap

I'm not sure where it came from, but several weeks ago Jax started talking about his "tap dancing" shoes. They're really just regular ol' black dress shoes, but he was quite proud of them. Riley, (surprise, surprise) got in on the tapping with her "sparkly" shoes.

After listening to tap talks and watching tap dancing performances day after day, I hit the website for our local dance studio. I called Ms. Amy, and she gives lessons to kids age 3 and up. Well, sign them up I did!

The very first thing they did was get to try on pairs of tap shoes to see if any fit. We found two pair that fit them very well, and off they went. Tap, tap, slip. It takes some practice to not only dance, but walk in them. Then they were off to the dance floor for some real lessons.

All-in-all it was a success. They were more interested in making noise than actually "dancing," but their little faces glowed the entire session. I'm sure as the novelty of the tap shoes wear off, they will pay more attention to the actual technique.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Little of This and That

Whew, what a week. We spent Monday afternoon and Tuesday in Pigeon Forge with friends who also have two boys. There was time spent at the aquarium, eating pizza and ice cream, swimming, going to Wonderworks and a magic show. Riley thoroughly enjoyed the magic show and proclaimed "that was so so cool" and she is "going to be a Tinkerbell" (the magician assistant) when she grows up.

On Wednesday, Calen found out he got a huge part in the spring play at church. It isn't the role he auditioned for, but it is bigger none the less. He is playing the role of the Carpenter- Jesus! He was upset at first, but after talking with him and assuring him that this was because they knew he could do a larger part, not because he wasn't good enough for the other role, he is now very excited.

Jax has been very adorable. He had a scoop of vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. After taking a couple bites, he put his head in his hand and said, "I don't like the taste of the purple sprinkles." Who knew they had a flavor? He also spent several minutes curled up in my lap while we talked about fruits and vegetables that he liked. It was such a sweet time as he doesn't cuddle unless he is really sick. He also had a very big boy moment. Yesterday, he came upstairs and asked, "I won't get a spanking if I tell you truth will I?" I told him no. He then confessed that he had hit his sister because she had pulled the tags off his pillow. Since he was honest and turned himself in without Riley having to tell on him, he was punished by spending three minutes on the stairs in time-out. Then he had to go apologize to Riley.

We found out on Thursday that an elderly lady a few houses down the road from us went missing the morning before. Sweet Riley, when she heard, went to the window and pulled the blinds open facing the road so she could watch and "see if the lady walked up the road." Calen, the old soul, was very concerned about her well-being, even asking if she could have walked to the other property we own and if we should go there to search for her. Thankfully, she was found this afternoon, asleep in a pine thicket behind our neighborhood.

Calen has been playing on an indoor soccer team for the past several weeks. A few weeks ago the boys went up against two traveling soccer teams and won. A coach from our town's traveling soccer team made a comment that he would love to have that entire team play for their in their traveling league. We didn't think much of it since it was a passing comment and you have to try out to make the team and we know several good players that haven't made the cut in the past. Well, it has been mentioned again, as tonight, another parent asked Danny if we would let Calen play. Decisions, decisions. We have said repeatedly, that at least two Lewis' have to be on the same team before we would do a traveling team. It is lot of money and time, and we don't feel it is fair to the family as a whole. That being said, I foresee some serious discussions in our future.

Friday, February 3, 2012

How Time Flies-Fall/Winter '10

Enjoying fall in the Smokies.

This will be under par...

Aiming for a hole in one...

The boys should just play like me. Hit the ball. Go pick it up and drop it into the hole...

What a fine looking team of superheroes...

Nananananananana Batman

Holy candy, Batman!

Let no one say that Batgirl is not the best dressed girl in the world.

Riley's 2nd Birthday Topsy-Turvy Cupcake Cake

Birthday girl showing off her special outfit.

Riley showing off the Arabesque

Winter Fun at Dollywood

Master Chef in the kitchen.

Helping Daddy fix the leaky shower.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Saturday Fun

This past weekend, Calen participated in his first
wrestling tournament. This was a developmental
tournament, so he would be placed not only by
weight but by experience. He did well,considering he had only six practices prior. His record was 2-3, with one of those losses coming at the last possible second to his teammate. His last loss, came at the hands of a boy who was in no way, shape, or form a beginner with "under 2 years experience." Unfortunately, that happens sometimes, and this was a teaching moment for Calen. No he didn't lose because he tried his hardest and didn't give up. We had to explain to him what his coach meant when he told him, "I'm proud of you. You have determination, and I can work with that all day long!"

After the tournament we grabbed some lunch, and since we were in Knox Vegas... Bruster's Ice Cream! This was Riley's first time, and she barely made it under the 40" mark for the free baby cone. Gideon was more than happy to polish off what she didn't finish though.

I spy a little chocolate on that face.

Letting the wind blow through my hair is way more fun than eating ice cream cones.

I was visiting Mamaw and Papaw, but Mommy put my handsome mug on here anyway.

Please, oh please, tell me that ice cream is its own food group!

Fruit Salad Yummy-Yummy

The kids decided they were hungry while I was busy with the baby. Instead of waiting for me to become free, they took lunch into their own hands. Calen pulled out a kid's cookbook that I bought him years ago. Jax and Riley would scour the fridge and pantry for needed items, occasionally coming to ask me if I had this or that. Thankfully, I was finished before they were so I could get some shots of all three of them at the counter making their own lunch.I
think they did a fantastic job!
Jax and Riley squeezing fresh orange juice

Calen, carefully, stirring the bowl of fruit.

A Parenting First

After almost 9 years of parenting, we experienced a "first." Monday afternoon, just minutes after leaving the older three downstairs while I put Gideon down for a nap, I hear Jax crying in the stairwell. While it took some coaxing to find out the whole story from the boys, I found out that Calen and Jax jumped off the pool table (thus the reluctance to tell the truth). Jax landed wrong and possibly fractured his foot. The X-ray didn't show anything positive, but that isn't uncommon. He's in a walking boot for now, and we'll re shoot X-rays next week to see if anything shows up.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Blink in Time

Afternoon "Bath" August 2010

Do these faces look innocent?

Thomas and Friends 2010.

The remaining pictures for 2010 are on my iPad. I must figure out how to get them from there to here.


A friend's 40th birthday, UT fan/golf nut

Boys, bring the basket of eggs over here when you find them!

Jackson's first performance. Preschool Choir Spring 2011.

Father Knows Best. Spring 2011

Happy Birthday, Gideon!!

This is the good life!


Jackson caught his first fish. June 2011 in SC.

Here fishy, fishy, fishy.

I'll put Bubbie down for a nap.

First day of 3rd Grade.

Horse Cake

Get along little doggie.

Who needs a pool?

Jackson's Dino Party

First Bites...

Da-Na, Da-Na, Da-Na

Just hanging around in Charleston!

Think these faces will make it on the front of the brochure for the "Happiest Place on Earth?"

This one would!