Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's Happening Wednesday, 2nd Edition

Time for the second edition of What's Happening Wednesday. 

Adoption Update: somehow Brad's fingerprint results didn't get sent to our agency (or got lost in the mail), so I had to make a few phone calls to get that taken care of. Other than that, we are almost done with paperwork. When fingerprint results come in we'll get them to our dossier coordinator. I also need to get a newer version of our marriage certificate, and we have a few more items to gather from our nannies. Then we are FINALLY done and I can get to work on adoption grant apps, which are just as long as the home study questions in many cases. I'd love to get those done before school and volleyball start. 

Other news: Brecken is getting a personality. Yay Brecken. He still smiles just as much as always, but he's getting a lot more playful and sneaky, which is pretty awesome, even if it means he is obsessed with our bathtub faucet. He also has two canine teeth coming in, which makes him look like a little vampire. 

I took Brody to school with me Monday to get him started in the weight room early. He loved "exercising with the kids" and asked to go back the next day. 

Adoption shirts are in, so we've spent plenty of time sorting shirts and making deliveries. Our boys have helped, obviously, and we have exploited their cuteness by putting them in the shirts every chance we get 

Lastly, we have a little trip in our future...anyone have suggestions for a visit to Gulf Shores?

That's all, folks!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Adoption needs: There's more than meets the eye

One of the "perks" of being friends with a pastor is that every now and then you get a shout out in a sermon. On a good day, the pastor even quotes you or cites you as an example of someone who did something right. On a bad day, the story starts with this: "One time, one of my former friends...."

So far, to the best of my knowledge, we have not been mentioned in a statement beginning with "one of my former friends..." However, Brad's most recent shout out in church (he's a celeb...hard to keep track of all the Brad shout outs, you know...) came last Sunday when our pastor friend was teaching about Ecclesiastes and used adoption as an example of a way to reach out to the oppressed. (Yay to our church and to many others out there for talking more and more about adoption! However, to our pastor friend: Brad says he's going to beat you up for specifically mentioning him in a sermon. Oh, the price of fame.)

This is what the pastor said:

"The other day I was at my friend Brad's house. He and his wife have two young boys, and their house is often crazy. Both boys were crying and Brad and his wife were running all over the house to keep them in line. Knowing that Brad and his wife are in the process of adopting another child, I asked Brad, 'Are you sure you want to have another one?' And Brad said, 'We don't need that child as much as that child needs us.'"

BOOM. Score one for Brad. He's right.

But at the same time, let me explain that statement a little bit more, because it might sound like we are just do-gooders who don't reap any benefits from our decision to adopt. Yes, that child does need us. That child does not have a family, does not have a true home, does not have a parent who will love him or her no matter what. That child probably will have spent some time in an eerily silent orphanage where babies don't even cry anymore because they've given up on the hope that someone will pick them up to snuggle. (Oh, how it hurts to think of their hurts.) That child might have attachment problems and other emotions to sort through someday in order to get past the early hurts.

So yes, that child will need us more than we need that child...for a little while. But then we will look into that child's eyes, and those eyes will get us. Those eyes will melt our sometimes callused hearts, and those eyes will change us forever. Then those eyes will combine with that smile (or maybe even that pout), and we will know that child is our child, and our child will be loved by us forever. After we have seen our child, we won't ever forget those eyes.

Take Brody, for example. This was the first picture of him I ever saw. I tried with everything in me not to fall in love with him ("It's not official yet," I kept telling myself. Little did I know it would take over a year to be official.). I failed--miserably--to stay immune to those eyes. How could I not fall in love with my son when he was looking back at me like that?

And this is the first time I ever held him. Game over. Holy awesomeness. This child must be ours.

So yes, Brad is right: That Congo baby does need us to be his or her family. That baby needs us to provide, protect, and love unconditionally.

But from the moment we see our child, we will definitely need that child more than the child needs us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Diggin' it

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we live in a house that is so well-placed in the country that Bradlee or Brody can pee off the deck without worrying that it will bounce off a neighbor's vinyl siding and splash them in the face. We are happy here, and my only wishes regarding our location is that we had a Panera, Andy's, Q'Doba and Target on our exit, but then I guess we wouldn't be in the country anymore, would we? (Also please note that we would then have to live in a one-bedroom shack because of all the above-mentioned addictions that I would inevitably find irresistible.)

So, we consider our house to be in the country because we have a nice amount of space and trees to separate us from our neighbors, who are not bad people but they are people we don't want all up in our biz-nazz. We actually have the absolute best neighbors across the street from us, and we wouldn't have been able to figure out much of the country life if not for them. (Neighbors, if you read this blog, know that we love you and we are sorry that noise travels so well across the valley between our house and yours and you get to hear every Little Lotz scream and squabble. Also, you should know that EVERY TIME we go outside Brody asks about you, "Mr. S," and your cows? AND he thinks any person in overalls is Mr. S. 

One of the best things about this place--aside from the deck-peeing, obviously--is the freedom to do some fun stuff with the land. Granted, we don't have rolling acres or anything, but we do have much more freedom here than we've ever had before. For example, we raised some chickens. I had a great, detailed "how to" blog post relating to chicken-raising and the fact that it really wasn't hard. However, then the chicks started eating each other, so I decided to scratch that post until we learned a bit more. (As a side note, we did get about 22 chickens out of it, even after an owl attack and the aforementioned chicka-bolism.

We also have a pretty sweet garden. I say "we" but really mean Brad because he puts the most work into the garden while I stay in with the Littles. Brody likes to help, and we are thrilled that he'll know about gardening as he grows up. He even likes to eat kohlrobi and sweet potatoes straight from the ground. And yes, he does do his best gardening in his undies. Although I've never done it, it's nice to have that as an option. No one can see us in our back yard, except the government, apparently.


Soon we'll have green beans, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and more potatoes. Next up: Cows. (Hopefully.)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Thank you!

We have such great friends and family! We have sold nearly 90 adoption shirts already, with more orders still coming in, so THANK YOU! If you are reading this post after seeing the web address on a shirt, please take a look around long enough to read our adoption stories. One is complete (Brody), one is in progress, and in between the two we had a little guy two months early (Brecken).

If you'd like more info about the shirts, please visit this link:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's Happening Wednesday, Edition 1

Welcome to the first edition of What's Happening Wednesday (and yes, I did steal that title from my school's morning announcements), the weekly post about what's been happening in our adoption and everything else. This is where I'll insert random info that doesn't necessarily warrant a full post but may be of interest to some people out there. Or it may just be of interest to my mom. 

First up, adoption update: Shirts are done, so we will be getting those out to people ASAP. We ended up ordering about 90 (including some extras), and we hope to put in another order after a bit.

Also, Brad and I have FINALLY gotten all documents in to our agency and the girls will be finishing their stuff this week, so the home study should be complete soon. The final document we had to complete was a statement that Banjo (our indoor-turned-outdoor cat) had to be cleared by a vet, which meant we had to make an appointment to get some shots and such. Sounded silly to me, but I get that it's just another safety precaution.  We have a few more things to complete for our dossier, and after the home study is approved we will start another process: filling out grant applications (which are just as lengthy as the home study). Woohoo! 

In other news, Brody and Brecken got new stuffed dogs on Sunday, thanks to my sweet niece's donation to the local Humane Society at a Minor League baseball game. I named Brody's dog "Discombobulated" just to hear him say it. (He doesn't miss a syllable!) We might call him Bob for short...which made me think...we should name Brecken's dog "Hilarious" because it is truly awesome to hear Brody say that name, too, AND we could call him Larry for short. So now we have Bob and Larry (Veggie Tales, anyone?). I am just waiting for my animal-naming privileges to be revoked for being ridiculously nerdy. 

Also, last Wednesday we took Brody to get a haircut. I hated to cut his curls but it was at the awkward point where it just hung out around his eyes without really being curly or cute, just weird and unbrushed. Brad described the cut as the "Euro soccer player look," which the hairdresser didn't understand. Brad tried to describe what the cut does in the back, and the hairdresser looks at me in bewilderment and says, "So you want a mullet?" Yeah, lady, we DO want a mullet, ok? That's what all the cool kids are getting these days. So, he got his hair chopped with a faux-hawk on top and a mullet in the back (I'm not lying, folks!), and he looks good. If there's anyone who can pull it off it's him; however, I have a feeling the back might get a little trim from yours truly. I'm not sure if I can handle the extra length at the back...almost looks fool's tail-ish. (Shout out to Tim Hanna for rocking a wicked fool's tail in middle school. You nailed it, buddy.)

After the cut, Brody got a sucker and we went to Pro Bass (as Brad calls it). Day made. 

And this concludes "What's Happening Wednesday." Come back next week for another life-changing post. 

(Also, remind me to tell you about the time we were hanging out at a relative's condo on the lake, talking about anotherrelative's  new boat and a different relative's pool, then we went to our friend's house, where all of our friends were talking about their lake houses and boats and we realized this: We have no social collateral. Why do people even hang out with us?! I feel that this warrants a full post.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What we do with poo--Part 2

We put it in the potty. Boom.

One kid out of two is now what some might call "Potty Trained." It was a relatively quick and easy process, really. But it's not because we are stud-parents or anything (as you may already know from this post). I have to be completely honest about this: Brody is a stud. Here's how our potty training went...

1. We got him some cool Big Boy Undies a bit before his 2nd birthday. Against all professional-awesome-mom-bloggers' advice, we let him wear them around home every now and then but switched to diapers when we didn't have time or energy to monitor him every second or harass him by asking if he needed to pee-pee in the potty every 15 seconds. (Keep in mind, we have an infant in da house, and that infant is kind of a diva.) We told Brody the goal was to keep his undies dry and that big boys go pee-pee on the potty, and we even put "Doggie" in undies as well. Yes, I did make Doggie pee-pee in the potty using a cup of water. I also made Doggie pee-pee in his undies and went through an uh-oh scenario with Brody. I felt crazy doing this, but maybe it helped.

2. We didn't push the potty issue. We let him try to go pee-pee on the potty sometimes, but we also put him in diapers for our own sanity. When we were home for a few hours at a time, he wore his undies and practiced telling us he had to go.

3. About three weeks ago, after school had ended and we were home more often, we made the switch to undies 90% of the time. Since it's warm outside and we live in the country, we even let him go pee-pee outside, aiming on pieces of grass or trees or something. PEEING OUTSIDE IS PART OF A LITTLE BOYS' DREAM WORLD. He loved it. Even when we were inside, he asked to go outside. We allowed that for a while, but now that he's got it we have been able to curtail that a bit. There were a few accidents, including some poo on the sidewalk, but not nearly as many as I expected.

One funny story: He went into the kitchen by himself one evening while Brad and I were busy with other odds and ends in the house. Brad remembers looking over as Brody was walking by, but when Brad turned his head toward Brody he grinned and sprinted back to our bedroom closet. Brad assumed he was just being silly Brody, so he didn't say anything. A minute later when I opened the door to the closet, I found him kneeling down with kitchen towels, trying to clean up his pee-pee from the floor. Sneaky little stinker.

4. A few days after almost-full-time potty training had begun, we went to Silver Dollar City with my mom for a little fun day. I put Brody in undies and brought plenty of extra shorts, undies and diapers (in case of extreme regression), just in case it didn't go well. It was his first big outing, and he nailed it. No accidents.

5. What about nighttime? He wears pull-ups, but often wakes with those still dry.

I'm not saying we won't have any more accidents. I can actually almost guarantee that the second I post this we will have a poo incident like I've never seen before, just to keep me humble. However, I'm just saying that he seems to have it figured out, and it's not because of us as parents.

But seriously, how awesome is this kid!?

Monday, June 17, 2013

My "Dad Moment" (Guest Post by Bradlee)

Father’s Day came and went. I love Father’s Day. Not so much because of the Whole Hog Cafe and Bass Pro gift cards I get (although both are awesome gifts that any of you can get me anytime you are feeling extra generous), but because I love being a dad. As my boys get older, I enjoy being a father even more. Let me just say--and this is a FACT--infants are not fun. I am not a fan of the infant. When you are done booing and hissing about how mean that sounded, allow me to tell you about a “dad moment” I had recently. Before becoming a dad, I envisioned certain dad moments in my head, and a couple of those visions have actually come to pass. I will tell you about one.

I grew up in St. Louis Cardinal country. No, no, REAL St. Louis Cardinal country. There was NO such thing as a fan who cheers for the Cardinals and Royals. I didn’t even know a Royal fan was real until I moved to Southwest Missouri. Until then, a Royal fan and Bigfoot were both in the same category; I had heard of both, never seen either. As a kid, I wanted to be Ozzie Smith (aka The Wizard, aka the greatest shortstop to ever live). Bob Gibson was the best and toughest pitcher who ever lived, and I have a couple of uncles who would fight you if you’d disagree. We watched Cardinal baseball, we listened to Cardinal baseball. I remember listening to Jack Buck and Mike Shannon on the radio while watching it on TV. Yes, the timing was a little off, but we didn’t care. Buck and Shannon brought the game to life more than a TV ever could.

But what does this all have to do with my “dad moment” you ask. Well, everything.

It was one of those cool rainy nights we had in late May. The windows were open, the smell of honeysuckle was dominating the room, and the box fan was blowing (GOD BLESS THE BOX FAN, I don’t sleep w/out one). Brecken was asleep on our bed and Brody was in his bed not yet asleep. I was lying on our bed with the Cards game on the radio and every light off, allowing nothing but the mahogany voice of Mr. Mike Shannon and my imagination tell me all about it. Jenny was in the living room watching a movie. Brody, as he often does, kept getting out of his bed and coming into ours. I took him back the first time, Jenny the second.

Brody is a persistent lil’ dude and he came into the bed the third time. Jenny was unaware, and I was too comfortable to get up and take him back to bed. To Brody’s surprise, I said, “Come on up here with daddy; let’s listen to the Cardinals.”  For the next 45 minutes, I was in heaven. It was like we were sitting at the feet of our old great uncle, Mike Shannon, as he told us a baseball story. I remember explaining things to Brody like “Yadi just got an RBI double.” Brody just smiled really big. He didn’t have a clue what I was saying or what was happening, but I didn’t care. I was in a “dad moment.” Long before I was a dad, I saw myself listening to a Cardinal game, with windows open, cool breeze over me, on some cool clean sheets with my son(s) beside me. Boom, THAT JUST HAPPENED. I suspect it will many more times.

I have had time to reflect on this moment many times. It is moments like this that lead me to the Book of Ecclesiastes. I don’t believe that Solomon taught us that life is meaningless, and to teach that would be to take the book out of context. I respectfully disagree with any translation that says life is meaningless. Vanity or “hebel” (Hebrew) means vapor or breath. LIfe is a vapor. I realize this truth. Allow me to do a Brad Lotz summary of Ecclesiastes: Life “under the sun” is short; enjoy the heck out of it and invest in what really matters. Let’s party. 
            I thoroughly enjoyed my “dad moment” with my boys listening to the Redbirds game. It stirred my affection for Jesus and caused me to be thankful to Him for such a moment. God gave me that moment, and it was here and gone (like a vapor). He wanted me to enjoy it. It would have been a sin not to.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In Case You're Wondering

In case you're wondering, right now as I type I am eating a bowl of ice cream. Well, truth be told it is actually melted cookie dough with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup on top (but I did just finish running, sooo...). Brody is eating yogurt without any clothes on, and Brecken is making his rounds under the table for scraps, occasionally begging either Brody or myself for some bites.

So, now that we've covered that, I'll let you in on another little secret: I'm not really very good at this stay-at-home mom stuff. Obviously, I LOVE my kids and thoroughly enjoy being home with them for most of the day (I work mornings and other random times during the summer), but I am also what you might call an introverted doer who likes (and in my opinion NEEDS) time alone to thought process, decompress,  make to-do lists and accomplish actual tasks that can be crossed off a list. Making lunch and feeding the boys does not go on a list, which means I feel like nothing ever really gets done around here. I come home when the boys have already taken or are in the process of taking a nap, so my "get it done" time is usually short, and even then I try to use it to work on school/volleyball stuff that actually MUST get done. That means my house remains a wreck with 52 home improvement projects left unfinished but started in some way, which is all the more awesome. (Exhibit A would be the wall in my kitchen that still lacks a baseboard because I had this great idea in my head to do a banquette but am stuck in a decision-making nightmare where I worry that I'll make the wrong one. Dag!)

I digress. I truly do love being home with the boys and I'm trying to savor every second of it, but it can be stressful and tiring, particularly when Brad and I are busy in other areas of life or when Brody poos in his Superman undies on the sidewalk or something. Not that that's happened or anything. (Insert thankful pause for the nannies who watch the boys while we're at work. By the way, it sounds really cool when I say we have nannIES, doesn't it? You'd think we were divorce attorneys or world leaders or the inventors of popsicles or something.) Anyway, I enjoy playing with the boys but also take an odd pleasure in getting things done, which doesn't really happen much anymore. So I'm getting over it and learning that it's a little bit worthless to keep my house clean, organized and "designed"  all the time (but I do indulge in an occasional  organization fest every now and then for my sanity's sake). And while I do feel great about being home with the boys, I find comfort in the fact that I don't have to enjoy every second like every well-intentioned person implies when they say, "Enjoy it now, because they grow up so fast." Thank you Steve Wiens for bringing the dose of reality that many parents need in their pity and fatigue-induced stupors.

And thank you, Kristen Howerton, for being intelligent and educated and adoption-minded and admitting that you're not a play-in-the-floor type mom. Don't get me wrong, I can tackle with the best of 'em, but when it comes down to it I would rather be playing catch with the boys or running with them or teaching them how to organize their shirts. Or just cleaning up their messes. 

I saw two of my friends from high school today at Target (where I would spend much of my time and money if I truly were a stay-at-home mom.....which would be BAAAADD, because Brad wouldn't be outside the store to send me the necessary "focus" text while I'm inside. That store is a TRAP, I tell you!) One of my friends has a boy who is Brody's age, and we spent much of our time talking about how to prepare our kids for transitions (Brody's having some separation anxiety when Daddy leaves...not cool). We concluded that, through experimentation, we've learned that everthing works out better when we  expain to our boys what's going to happen and when it will happen. But don't miss this: We learned this through the experience of messing it up several hundred times. My other friend has a cute little 2-month-old who was clothed in only a diaper because he brought forth a little mess on his clothes and she didn't bring any extras. "I'm a horrible mother," she said.

But she's not, and every other mother knows that. We've all learned through the school of projectile vomit or changing a dirty diaper while it was still in the making (catching poop in my hand...not really a big deal anymore). I'm not really that horrible of a mom either, even if my kids do spend their entire days in either undies and diapers and nothing else. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE gets it right the first time, and I do know there are better moms than myself, but my kids will probably benefit more from my mistakes than what I consider my triumphs anyway. And there are plenty more mistakes to be made...the teenage years anyone?!?

But I have digressed enough, and here is where I must end this deep diatribe. The bous and I have moved our party outside, and I now see that Brecken is eating cat food, so...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

budgeting 102

We are in the beginning of our fourth month of our detailed documentation of cash flow. Month #1 was exhausting and stressful; not gonna lie. For example, we made decent guesses regarding the amount we'd need in each category and found that we WAY underestimated when it comes to food and gas, and we kept having unexpected issues (mower repairs, etc.) that we didn't really plan for with a zero-based budget. We save as much money as possible each month, so it wasn't a huge deal; it was just more annoying than anything.

In March, our first month of extreme budgeting, I also set out to cook at home more, and thus to keep more staples on hand than I usually have. I also tried to decrease the number of grocery trips I take each month, which meant in my first trip to Sam's I spent a LOT of money I probably didn't need to spend on things like paprika, thyme, and zesty Italian dressing packets. But those things did come in handy, and now they should last until next January!

April was a pretty easy month as far as budgeting goes. I shouldn't say it was "easy," but it was a lot less stressful because I was used to writing documenting things, and I also wasn't experiencing as much dismay about the amount of money one must spend on food and gas.

And then there was May. Oh May...The month of graduations, weddings, baseball games and a few unexpected large purchases. Ah-hem...a new-to-us car, some fencing materials for a bottle-fed calf or two, and that ridiculous $670 expense at Family Medical Walk-In Clinic (for physicals, not brain surgery). Those purchases hurt, but we realize all of them will have lasting benefits. Example: After only paying $57 for gas each week instead of $75+ for Brad's truck, we are pretty confident we made the best decision. And don't even get me started on the lasting benefits of adoption!

Buying the car was a lesson in risk-management for us, and it turned out to be more risky than we thought because the week after we bought it we learned that the house Brad and his dad were renting out to someone was going to be vacant, which means that we would have to start picking up the mortgage payment AND we'd have to replace the carpet, repaint every square inch of the place, and fix several other rather large defects caused by renters. (To the former tenant: Thanks for smoking a pack a day and locking your apparently always-wet-and-dirty dog in the laundry room all day, both of which were clearly against the guidelines written in the contract, but whatev. Also, thanks for never cleaning anything. You've just made me lose a little bit more faith in humanity.)

So May was frustrating. And the beginning of June is frustrating, as we are still spending a lot of time, energy and money on that house (which actually looks really GREAT now!). BUT we just sold the truck and we have high hopes that this house can get sold as well. (We have a pretty stinkin' good realtor, might I add.). In addition, the budget for the last few months has been a great tool in figuring out where we are spending unnecessarily and how to reduce extra costs in order to account for mandatory new ones.

June, by the way, is now 'No Eating Out Month' and 'No Frills Month' (which pretty much every other month is) so we can SAVE SAVE SAVE for the adoption, and upcoming needed vacation with Brad's fam, and to make sure we have a cushion in case we take a loss when selling the house (or we have to continue paying the mortgage for months). By the way, are you praying for the house sale? We'd appreciate it if you would!

Overall, the meticulous budget has been eye-opening and very good for us, but not necessarily fun. I will say that knowing where your money goes does give you peace of mind, which is a great gift to give yourself. If you're considering starting a budget, I highly recommend it. Dave Ramsey has some great budgeting materials, and this budgeting tool can help you get started easily.

Here's one final thought: We have learned that God provides, and He provides well. We somehow end up with more money in the account at the end of each month than we think we should have in there, and we don't think that's accidental. We tithe, we save, we trust (although I do sometimes stress over stupid stuff, even when it's completely unnecessary). And we are learning to do all of it better.

(Someday remind me to write about the time I totaled my Jeep and ended up with more money and a much nicer car...See, I told you He provides well. We just want to make sure we use it well.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dream Big - Adoption shirts!

Congo adoption fundraising t-shirts have been designed, and we are PUMPED to share!

You can get one for a donation of $15 or more to our Congolese adoption, and they are available in WHITE, GRAY and YELLOW. We will also have some available in Youth sizes.

You can order one by talking to us in person, sending either Brad or I a Facebook message, commenting on this blog or sending me a message through Twitter. Please be sure you include your size and color preference. We will send you information about how to donate after we hear from you. (We have also considered FINALLY opening an Etsy shop if we have a lot of interest, so stay tuned.) Also, we'd love to mail them to you if needed, so don't be afraid to ask.

We thought "Dream Big" was appropriate. :o)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

sweet summertime

It's summer...and boy did we enjoy it for a few days (until about 7 things went wrong all at once...I'm still in the throes of a few messes so I'd rather escape them by writing about other things for now). Anyway, we did enjoy the summer for a bit, and I'm thankful.

Took the boys to get cupcakes for our first official day of summer, then went for a little play time at the park.

Brody loves seeing other "peoples" and Brecken loves to be seen.

We played in the yard, posed for some pics (I am RARELY in a picture with my boys!), and picked (Brecken might have eaten) some flowers. And don't forget the wrestling.
I just LOVE his sweet smile here. (Showing muscles. )
Brody is in a weird place with his
picture posing. 
Brecken is truly a nerd. An awesome,
happy nerd, but still a nerd. 
All from our own yard. I am pleased! 

Jumping on Brecken's bed. I found him in
there with this guilty face and his hat turned
sideways.  True gangsta. 

Wrestling. Yes, that is SHEER JOY on Brecken's face. 

Can't wait to get this not-so-fun junk (which involves cleaning, scrubbing, painting and entirely redoing a house that we don't live in) out of the way so we can enjoy more time with these boys.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Oh yeah, we party hard

You know how there's that rumor that parents stay up to party when their kids go to bed? I guess you could say it's true, at least in Brody's mind.

Around bedtime, we start the lengthy process of getting two Littles to bed. Obviously, we start with a perfectly nutritious bedtime snack. You know, organic carrots or prunes or something along those lines. Then we never forget to brush both boys teeth...Brecken only has two, but the doctor says we are supposed to brush them at least 2 minutes or so, which of course we always do with nursery water and a sanitized fingertip brush. And of course we always patiently help Brody brush his teeth, which the dentist has told us need to be brushed in a clockwise direction for at least 2 minutes with a good amount of pressure but not too much. Then we change diapers and exchange big boy undies for diaper for Brody (or put pullups on him, depending on the amount of fluid he has recently consumed in the last hour. He is what we call a "heavy drinker," so if we do pullups after an evening of heavy drinking we are in for a soggy night.) Next we read together, because we know if we don't read for at least 30 minutes both of our boys will grow up to be illiterate druggy thieves who can't hold jobs will probably end up in jail for a considerable amount of time.

After Brecken has given up the bedtime fight (oh, how he loves to cuddle and would rather be snuggled to sleep!), we take Brody to bed where we say our prayers (which we actually do, unlike several of the tasks above, which can be hit or miss depending on the amount of gas in the tank and daylight remaining). Brody thanks God for MeMaw and PaPaw, Ja-wod, Adam, Addyson, "Chenler," Mason, "Kier-sen," "Ka-en," Wes-ey, A-en, E-tan, Jeff and Che-wy, and MaMaw and PawPaw Chuck). Then we exchange our "I love yous" and kisses and I leave the room, shutting the door behind us.

I head straight to the kitchen to make myself a little treat that only an adult can truly cream with about a 1/2 cup of chocolate syrup). I generally take that treat to my own bed and enjoy it alongside Brad while reading a blog about 7 game changers for parents  or the worst end-of-school year mom ever (which is the sort of stuff I read to make myself feel better about my parenting (dis)abilities). For a while, all is quiet...until I hear the little thump of Brody stepping onto the floor, followed by the pitter patter of not-so-tiny-anymore feet prancing across the bedroom. Then I hear the click of a door knob as he opens and carefully closes the door of his and Brecken's bedroom (presumably to prevent Brecken from hearing the three of us party). Then his little head appears around the corner, his eyes all squinty with the look of determination written in his pursed lips. In his mind, he WILL party with us. Before his eyes can adjust to the light I take one last bite of my highly syruped ice cream treat, then squeeze him tight and walk little man back to bed.

When I get back to my own bed I forget about parental game changers and my ice cream, turn out the lights and check the clock because it feels SOOO late.


Oh yeah...we party hard.