"daily vignettes"

More Jabinisms

Yesterday, while we were waiting in the van, Jabin says to me, "Mom, why did you decide to go to the doctor and stop laying babies?"

After chuckling, then explaining that I could still have babies, but Daddy couldn't, I asked why he was wondering. It turns out that he still wants a sister.

"Where would she sleep?" I asked. "All the beds are full."

"She can sleep in the addition, by the paper recycling."

Wow. I bet she would be thrilled.

"I don't think that's going to work, bud," I said.
As Jabin was making himself a little dessert after supper tonight, slathering butter and blueberry jam on his English muffin, he said, "Sometimes I wish that when I go to heaven, I could take some blueberry or strawberry jam or something special to give to God."

"That would be really nice," I chuckled. "I bet God appreciates that."

"Yeah, but I can't," he added.

"Yeah, 'cause you can't take anything with you," Noah interjected.

Wow. I don't know whether to be more thrilled that my kids get that "you can't take it with you" concept already, or that my seven-year-old wants to give God a present when he dies. :-)

Either way, I love it!

Extra Something-or-other

As Jabin was working on the good copy for his English writing assignment a few minutes ago, he remarked, "I need a new paper."

Jude, who was finished his morning work and was goofing off in the living room, exclaimed, "You need a new finger?!"

"NO! Paper!" Jabin corrected him. After a moment, he added, "If I had another finger, I'd be an alien!"

Hee hee.

Hitting the Mark

Sometimes I love the days when the kids and I are running around town doing errands. The prolonged periods in close proximity in the van with not much to do but talk and think often prompts the most interesting, and most memorable, conversations.

Yesterday was one such day. On our way into swimming lessons after lunch, Jabin pipes up, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a fighter. And my weapon is going to be a bow and arrow."

Snapping out of a reverie on my own (which was in a completely different sphere of thought--itinerary, or knitting patterns, or some such thing), I wondered where he might have gotten that from.

"Like Hawkeye?" I asked. My kids have seen the new "Avengers" movie at least five times. Hawkeye is one of their favourite characters from the show.

"Yeah, and Legolas," he replied. Now I was catching up. After our semi-annual holiday tradition of watching the entire, director's-cut Lord of the Rings trilogy (which Jabin and Noah got to participate in for the first time), Jabin had declared Legolas to be his favourite character. I guess he was still chewing on that.

I didn't want to point out the near-complete lack of reality in anyone using a bow-and-arrow for sniper or other soldierly work these days, but Jude did, instead. After some discussion amongst the boys about how archery was primarily for hunting game, and how Hawkeye's amazing arrows weren't really real, Jabin said, "Well, I can use it for hunting, and fighting. Then I can shoot a deer or a moose for my family."

"Good plan," I said, smiling. "You can make sure your family has food for the winter."

"Yep. And I think one of my kids will say he wants to be just like me!"

"I bet he will." There are definitely worse goals to have. :-)

Change of Season, Change of Pace

This past week, our Indian Summer made the full transition into Early Winter with freezing temperatures and two days of snow. This weekend, the mercury has hit +10 again, melting away most of the white stuff, but I know it is only a very temporary reprieve before winter begins in earnest.

... a reprieve that we are making full use of to finish our yard clean-up and other last-minute outside chores to prep for winter.

Jude has been driving us crazy for the last few months with comments of, "I can't wait for it to snow!" and "I wish it was winter already!" Given the brevity of our Northern summers, this has irked Jason and I, and we usually retort with, "Six months a year isn't enough for you?"

On Friday, as the kids and I were driving away from home in a snowstorm, Jabin said, "When it's summer, I want it to be colder. When it's winter, I want it to be warmer."

"Do you know what the secret to happiness is, buddy?" I asked him.


"Being content in whatever circumstances you are in." Then I explained what "contentment" is.

"Oh," he said, in that "clear as mud" tone of voice.

I guess that's a lesson we all have to learn in our own way. Sometimes, we re-learn it over, and over, and over.

Yesterday, I was surprised by a restless feeling.

"If we were in Red Deer," I commented to Jason, "this is the kind of day where I'd say 'Let's go to the mall and people-watch and have coffee.'" I think I just wanted to get out of the house, see something different, feel the crispness of the air and the bustle of a busier place. However, after seven years in Peace River, I don't get the yen for that much anymore--I'm out of the habit, I guess.

Well, since that wasn't an option, and since we wouldn't pile into the van for a two-hour trip to Grande Prairie just to have coffee at the mall, I did some digital scrapbooking instead. I managed to complete six layouts, working backwards from the present. That, plus the ones I've already completed in the last few weeks (I've been going through a miniature "scrapbooking phase") means that I have done all the photos back to mid-August already. You never know--maybe I'll actually get a whole year done digitally and print a photobook when Shutterfly has their year-end sales. That would be different. :-)

Well, I better go tackle those afore-mentioned outside chores. Here are the layouts I did yesterday:


This morning, I had the boys working in the garden with me while I harvested potatoes. They were snipping ripe stalks of volunteer oats that had grown up among them, thanks to the chicken-litter-fertilizer I had used this spring.

Suddenly, with no precursor, Jabin pipes up, "If I were a superhero, my name would be 'Genius Jabin'."

Chuckling, I asked him why.

"Because I'm so genius," he replied.

Completely logical. And with phonetic alliteration, if there is such a thing. Why did I even ask?

Continental Birth Order

Yesterday, first day "back to school."

I kicked off our year-long history subject of ancient Greece and Rome with a "getting-our-bearings" activity of the seven continents and where we live. The little booklet of continents I printed off from Enchanted Learning happened to show North America last.

Noah: "I think God made North America last."

Me: "Really? Why?"

Noah: "Because it's last in the book."


Know It All

Noah, just finishing up Grade 2, was working on "exploring division" today, a basic introduction to the topic. Jabin, the all-knowing first-grader, had already finished his subjects for the morning, and was helping Noah separate buttons into groups.

"Guess what, Mom? I'm helping Noah with his math," Jabin announced.

"Okay," I smirked, (trying not to do it too openly.)

"Don't worry, I'm not telling him any of the answers, even when I know them."

Hee hee. Okay...

On a Pedestal

"After supper, do you want to play chess, Jude?" asked David. He and his little brother were over visiting for Sunday afternoon, which had extended to evening.

"Sure," said Jude, munching down on his pasta.

The conversation then turned to their respective skill levels. David was pretty sure he could beat Jude. Jude figured that if his Dad was helping him, he could beat David. Jason snorted.

"Well, yeah," Jason said. No-brainer, in other words.

"Is your dad really good?" David asked Jude.

"I do okay," Jason answered for himself.

"If Uncle Logan was helping you, you'd definitely win," Jabin piped up. "He's a really good, good, good chess player."

"Really?" asked David conversationally.

"Yep, he's really good," said Jude.

"Could he beat you?" David asked Jason.

"Uh, yeah." Another no-brainer.

"Could he beat you in your sleep?"

"Well, that doesn't make sense. That would make it easier for him. But he could probably beat me in his sleep," Jason said. "With one arm tied behind his back," he added thoughtfully.

"Whoa. Yeah, he's good."

Whether he ever competes for a prize, my brother has apparently earned  the title of "World Chess Champion" in our house. :-)

*This conversation may be slightly paraphrased, due to the fact that I've slept since then. The intent and most of the words are accurate, though.


Jason came into the office a few minutes ago and surveyed me sitting at my desk, where I have been a fixture for most every evening during the last month. A month ago coincidentally happens to be when I decided to start creating my own independent (from eBay) web store for my saddle pad business.

"Are you going to be done that web store anytime soon?" he asked wistfully. "I'm just wondering when I get my wife back..."

Yeah. Me, too.

... Sigh.

Jumping Can Be Hard to Do

So, almost immediately after the trampoline was fixed and ready to use yesterday, Noah sprained his ankle on it. As a result, he spent last night and today mostly laying on the couch. Here he is, looking a little blue about the situation, an ice pack on the sore ankle.

Then he got goofy about it.

His brothers didn't bother feeling guilty at all that they could enjoy the trampoline while he couldn't.

However, I did overhear Jabin lamenting to Noah a little later on today, "Too bad you can't come jump on the tramp with us and have fun with us." Maybe that's why Jabin played this home-made version of ping-pong (using a wiffle ball, toy plastic records as paddles, and stuffies as a net on our dining room table) with Noah to help him have something to do.

All things considered, he did pretty good--especially because his parents did NOT grant his wish to play video games all day... :-)

We All Have Our Reasons...

Here are my two home-schooled boys, sweetly and quietly reading to themselves on the couch when I came out for breakfast this morning.

And that book Jabin is reading? A chapter book. Yep. Shocked me, too. (For those of you wondering why, I will just interject that he is in Grade 1. Just over six. And at the beginning of this school year, he was NOT ahead of other kids his age in the reading department.)

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He sure likes to read, that kid! I think he wants to catch up to his brothers!

Noah also likes to read. He prefers literature where the characters' words are in speech bubbles, though. (Don't worry, that's not ALL he reads!!) :-)

On Friday, these two munchkins and I were out-and-about for most of the day, and by afternoon, I was flagging. (I had had a difficult time sleeping the night before--I"m pretty sure my dog had something to do with it.) Fortunately, I discovered an unclaimed "Free Coffee" I had won from Tim Horton's "Rrrroll up the Rim" contest lying around in the van.

As we are pulling away from the drive-through, my mocha steaming in the cup holder, Noah comes up with one of his "When-I'm-an-adult" statements:

"When I'm an adult, I am going to win a free coffee, and live in Peace River."

"Really?" I ask through my stifled grin, hoping to keep him rolling. These conversations usually turn into gems, and this one didn't disappoint.

Before Noah could answer, Jabin interjected his two cents. "When I'm an adult, I'm going to live in Red Deer!"

"Why is that?" I asked.

"To live close to Papa," he said. (Won't my dad be tickled when he hears that!)

"Why are you going to live in Peace River?" I ask Noah, thinking it would have something to do with being close to us, or his friends, or our house. Nope.

"To be close to Dairy Queen."

... Oh.

But they weren't done, yet!

"And when I'm an adult, I'm going to let my kids play Wii and Xbox on school days," Noah added. (No surprise that our "gamer" kid would come up with that rule.)

"Well, Noah, I guess you'll have to see. Every family is different, and maybe you won't have a reason to limit it to the weekends, like we do." I wonder if he knows that HE is the reason we limit it to the weekends? I think to myself.

"When I'm a dad, I'm only going to let my kids play video games on the weekend, but they can play on the laptop [meaning internet games] or on my phone [meaning downloadable games] any day when they are done school," piped up Jabin. I guess he figures our rules aren't as constricting as Noah does.

Oh, wait...

"... And the weekend days will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!"

Either my grandchildren are going to be ignoramuses, or Jabin is going to be Prime Minister.

I could go for a four-day weekend--I think I'll vote for him! :-)

Lego Troy

It seems like the marketing folks at Lego have been busier than ever these days, licensing and creating characters from all sorts of popular franchises. I should know, since as the mother of three boys, we own sets from Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, and Lego Alien Nation (or Alien Invaders, or something--not so clear on the last one.) They also, mostly through purchases with their own money (and some generous gifts from the grandparents), own video games of Lego Batman, Lego Star Wars, Lego Star Wars II, Lego Indian Jones, and Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, unless you have a Lego store near you (or near your brother, who is willing to shop for his nephews! :-D) with those cool "Buy-Lego-bulk bins," it is nigh unto impossible to find a generic Lego set of any sort!

Well, Lego people, you may be raking in the big bucks on your licensing, but here's one you missed when the trend was right: Lego Troy.

Here is an example of the what the set could look like:

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However, I recommend making the set larger, or using those little mini-lego guys, since our Trojan Horse was only big enough inside to fit the Lego Batman character The Penguin inside. (His legs are short, so he just squeaked in!) The boys didn't seem to mind, though--they piled Storm Troopers, Robin, and various other miniature men (even a monkey) onto, under, and around the horse.

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Jabin was a little fuzzy later on what it was we had actually created, but Noah remembered most of the day's history lesson about the Trojan War. Even I learned something--did you know that after the ten-year war was finally over, Helen actually went back home with Menelaus and "they lived together peacefully for many years?" How would that work, do you think? (Also, Paris died during the war, and she then married Paris' brother--a brother that was left out of the movie, I'm guessing. So, after marrying two other men, she then goes home with her legitimate husband, and they have a peaceful relationship?! I dunno. I really gotta read The Iliad--it's only been on my shelf for ten years!! Ha!)

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We have had a busy week, and the last couple of days have been long ones filled with visiting and playing and gallivanting. Also, this week while Jason has been on holidays, we have played a lot of XBox Kinect (active gaming), and the kids have also been playing a few other new games that Jason had downloaded to his Android tablet (inactive gaming!)

So, when I got up with the sun after 9 a.m. this morning, and still beat everyone else in the house to the punch, it was decided that today would be a non-video-game day. We figured that maybe we all needed a break from what we had been doing all week. At first, Noah erupted in an explosion of complaints.

"Why?" he exclaimed, hitting that perfect combination between a kittens mewling, a donkey's bray, and fingernails on a chalkboard--otherwise known as whining. "I can't think of anything else to do! I can only think about video games!"

"That's exactly the problem," said Jason. "You've played video games so much this week, you've forgotten how to play for real." Noah sulked on the couch in silence.

Some time later, Jude, Noah and Jabin had pulled out a toy that's an oldie-but-goody around here--the MegaBloks racetrack. I normally keep it in the SeaCan, as it takes up quite a lot of space (for a toy), but with the amount of small babies that we've been entertaining lately (along with their families, of course), I figured it might be a good idea to bring it and its extra-large, baby-safe components into the house for the holidays.

This toy was a gift to our kids from their Grandma Winters when Jude was about 3. It has, apparently, yet to lose its appeal. After being heavily involved in setting up the track at the highest location possible and shooting cars across the living room from it for about ten minutes, Noah suddenly rushed over to Jason and exclaimed, "Dad! I'm not thinking about video games!" then ran back to play some more.

Jason and I, needless to say, found the situation (and all its attendant irony) completely hilarious!

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Long-Range Planning

As Noah was finishing up his English assignment this morning, he blurted out (in typical Noah fashion), "When I am an adult, I will have a baby."

My first thought was, Yay! Grandkids for me! But I just said, "Okay. Are you excited about having babies with your wife?" I wanted to make sure that he was aware that this would not be a solo effort.

"Yeah, girl humans, they make the babies." (Um, having trouble thinking of the word "women", I guess.)

"Yes, God designed women to carry the babies," I clarified.

"In their tummies?"

"No, not really," I said. I indicated my abdomen. "We sometimes say that women have the baby in their tummies, but they are really in a special organ God gave women called a uterus. It just looks like their tummy because it is in the same area."

"Oooh," he said, wide-eyed.

"If it was really their tummy, then all the food would have to pass by the baby when the mommy ate, and that wouldn't work very well."

"Yeah, the mommy wouldn't be able to eat!"

"And since she has to eat enough good food for herself and her baby, that is why the baby is in a separate, special place."

"When I have a baby, it will be Sonic!" (e.g. "the Hedgehog".) My spontaneous outburst of laughter must have made him realize that this was somewhat out of the realm of possibility, because he immediately countered with, "No, no! When I have a baby..." and trailed off into thought for a moment.

"Well, your only real options that you know in advance are 'boy' or 'girl'," I prompted, waiting in delighted anticipation to see where his train of thought would go next. He did not disappoint. (Why is my seven-year-old naming his future children already?!)

"When I have a girl, I'm going to call her..."--pause to think some more--"'Eve'!"

"That's a good name," I smiled.

"And a boy will be 'Jonah'!" He really seemed to be getting into this.

"Oh... 'Eve and Jonah' sounds good," I replied.

"And a girl will be 'Beauty'!" he said. That one sounded like it was leaning towards the hippie, but it was about to get better!

"You're going to have two girls and a boy, then?" I asked, but he was now on too much of a roll to be distracted with mere questions.

"And a boy will be... 'Huggy'!"

Well, (ahem) let's hope his wife helps him with the name for that last one!