Sunday, July 29, 2007

Endless Fun

James: What does "endless fun" mean, Dad?
Dad: I don't know.
James: Maybe it means fun that never stops.
Dad: Yeah, could be.
James: I *always* have endless fun.
Right. That's at the times when the entire universe is functioning precisely according to Young Master James's exact specifications. "Mom, it's not 'Lava Girl and Shark Boy.' You said it backwards. It's actually 'Shark Boy and Lava Girl'."

Anyone heard of the Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl? Oh my word. If you don't know who these illustrious pre-teen superheros are, count yourself lucky. Our current obsession with Shark Boy and Lava Girl has reached astronomical proportions. You see, we're going to make "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl II" in which Jaguar Boy will be added. And James announced that he would play YOUNG Jaguar Boy because he is not tall enough to play Jaguar Boy proper. His friend's big brother, Jacob, could play Jaguar Boy. But when it all came down to it, James REALLY wanted to be Jaguar Boy himself. If only he were taller!!! We sat down and cried together about it, bitterly mourning the loss of his big break on a mere height technicality. It took quite a while to convince him that we could wait until he was the right height before we made the sequel. This brought more tears, because what if Robert Rodriguez (the director) didn't wait for James to get tall enough? The problem was easily solved, however. I promised to send an email requesting that they hold off on production until Jaguar Boy is tall enough to fight evil. James would like me to add that the sequel will be called, "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl II: The Beginning of Jaguar Boy and the Return of Mr. Electric."

We're training Jonathan to close the refrigerator door after he grabs a cold snack. But don't refrigerator doors close on their own? Nope. Not if you put a chair in front of them so you can reach the cottage cheese. Every day Jonathan is called back into the kitchen many times over to close the door. He just forgets. So today, I tried a new line of reasoning.
Mom: Jonathan, come here please.
Jonathan: Here I am!
Mom: Did you get something out of the refrigerator?
Jonathan: Cottage cheese! That's yummy!
Mom: Is there anything else you need to do?
Jonathan: Huh?
Mom (pointing to the open refrigerator): What's the next thing you do after you get your cottage cheese?
Jonathan: Ummmmm...
Mom (tapping the refrigerator door): What are you supposed to do after you get something out of the fridge?
Jonathan: Go back to the TV?

Jonathan's new phrase is "And last but not least..." He says it whenever he lists something.
"I have my blankie, my Flippy (his plush giraffe), my elephant, and last but not least, my water bottle."
"We're going to the Parrises' house, and we'll see Jacob, and Luke, and Maggie, and last but not least, Mrs. Parris."
"Our whole family is here. I'm here, James is here, Daddy's here, and last but not least, you, Mommy."

Jonathan is sitting across the room from me, covering his mouth with his hand and spitting raspberries into it. He thinks no one knows he is doing it. He'll sit there and spit for a little while, and then he'll look around, expecting us to wonder where all that spitting noise is coming from. Then he announces matter-of-factly, "That's actually me, spitting a raspberry behind my hand."
Ah. Thanks for clearing that up.

Ever heard of The Blues Clues Board Game II? It's where there are giant transformers sitting on some of the spaces, and if you land on a space containing a transformer, you have to erase the clue you found and start over.

Our overriding obsession these days, however, is Lego Star Wars. We've nearly mastered the video game, but our birthday is coming up quite soon and we are hoping beyond hope to receive every Star Wars lego ever to be manufactured. Mom has told us more than once that it will take a VERY LONG TIME to acquire EVERY Star Wars lego on the market. We are okay with that. We expect to continue to receive Star Wars legos at every forthcoming birthday and holiday until Christ comes back.

James: Jonathan, do you know what everything becomes in heaven?
Jonathan: What?
James: A PLANT-eater! Animals don't eat each other in heaven! That's good news!

Jonathan: MOM! The horse on the movie ate the top of the flower!!!
Mom: Oh my goodness!
Jonathan: I told that horse that he is a very bad horse.

Dad just got back from a five-day trip. So the joyous proclamation of the day is:
Who's there?
I am rejoicing right along with Jonathan. I sure miss Daddy when he's gone. But God takes care of us.

The toy situation was out of control. Luckily, my friend Rebecca once again influenced my thinking. She puts the toys up in such a way that the kids have to ask for them. That way, she can say, "You have to put this away before you can get that out." So I spent two days (for something to do while Jeff was gone) performing a bi-annual event we Frames affectionately refer to as The Great Toy Sort. I betook myself and my small boys to Target and acquired many small, lidded storage bins. I put all the toys in bins and stacked them in the closet, one on top of the other. So far, this is working like a charm. They have to ask for everything they want to play with, and the toys are staying picked up. For all of twelve hours so far. I'll let you know about the next twelve. This is also working because we explained to our eldest that we just HAD to do SOMETHING about the toys or else we wouldn't be able to get him any new legos. He is highly motivated to be toy-cooperative.

Speaking of my friend Rebecca influencing my thinking, many of you know how much I don't cook. I don't cook ALL the time. It's actually on my prayer list. A cooking routine. I am ABLE to cook, and I've never even ruined a meal. I'm not a complete stranger to my kitchen. I really like doing the dishes because it appeals to my sense of order. (A place for everything and everything in its place.) However, cooking overwhelms me. It's so TIME-consuming! Why would I want to spend two hours in the kitchen EVERY DAY when I could be blogging? Or reading? Or playing Scrabble? Or figuring out who is available to sing on the worship team for the next four months? Well, the other day Rebecca and my dear husband, Jeff, the natural-born chef (another reason I don't cook - he thinks it's a fun hobby if you can imagine that!), were discussing spaghetti sauce. Now, honestly, I can think of HUNDREDS of more interesting things to discuss. Poor Jeff, for whom cooking is an art, is always highly deflated when I can't tell the difference between his sauce and, say, mine, for example. So when Jeff and Rebecca began discussing spaghetti sauce, I'm sorry to say my eyes glazed over. My deepest thought on the subject was to ask Jeff to make and freeze some of his homemade meatballs for Rebecca, who really likes them for some reason. To make a short story long, after Rebecca discussed spaghetti sauce with Jeff, she went home and made some. She unveiled it at dinnertime and awaited her husband's opinion with bated breath. Then she asked, "Which sauce do you like better? This or Prego?"
I imagine him responding around a mouthful of delectable homemade sauce. "Prego."
Which incident she relayed to Jeff and me.
The point of the story is that this incident changed my thinking about cooking. My many conversations with flabbergasted wives about my lack of cooking has always included the question, "Didn't your mother teach you how to cook?"
I've always thought, that, well, no, she didn't.
Low and behold, this is not the case.
My mother DID teach me how to cook. As evidenced by my having never ruined a meal.
But here's the thing. She taught me to cook FROM SCRATCH.
I never once had Prego spaghetti sauce, from a jar, from the store, when I was growing up. (My mom will say that's because it was cheaper to make your own sauce.) I always had homemade spaghetti sauce, and because of my mom's tutelage, I can actually even make a pretty good homemade spaghetti sauce all on my own. It just takes forever.
But when Rebecca mentioned homemade sauce and Prego in the same sentence, a giant light bulb when on in my brain. (This is an answer to prayer. Not the light bulb part, the cooking part.) I DON'T HAVE TO COOK FROM SCRATCH.
This realization was soon bolstered by an Orville Reddenbacher quote I recently read, which intoned, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and the way to his stomach is through the microwave."
It suddenly occurred to me, after years and years of hovering religiously near the outer walls of Winco (where all the GOOD food is) that aisle upon aisle of PROCESSED FOOD was mine for the taking.
I can hear SO MANY of you groaning now. I know the good food is around the edges of the store and processed food is from the devil, etc. Believe me. I know. I was brought up on it, and you better believe I've lived by it if I just realized there was anything else in the universe at age 31.
I sat down with pen in hand and made, for my little family, whose well-being I care so deeply about, a menu of foods that don't overwhelm me. Some of them are, yes, processed, but I have come to the conclusion, in my case, that microwaved dinner is better than no dinner. Baby steps. And Rebecca was very encouraging. She said, "You will branch out from there. This is a good start."
My family feels the same way.
This is in answer to my daily prayer to the Lord that I would have some kind of cooking routine. And my God, who supplies all my needs, is helping me supply my family's needs too. Once again I say blessed be the name of the Lord, who daily hears my prayers.

James can make his voice sound EXACTLY like R2-D2.