Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Pete's Dragon Anyone?
Originally uploaded by Beth.
Ever get a song stuck in your head? Cole’s been singing a Veggie’s Tale song that is stuck in mine:

“We are the pirates, we don’t do anything.
We just stay home and lie around.
And if you ask us to do anything,
We’ll just tell you we don’t do anything.”

Maybe it’s stuck because this is my new view into the playroom from my office. Goodbye to order, peace, tranquility . . . need I go on?

I love summertime. In addition to “lying around” we’re making plans to do all the nearby fun stuff (too pregnant to go far): A trip to the zoo, a day at the new waterpark, Splash Kingdom, Six Flags, Vacation Bible School, Chuckie Cheese’s, lots of putt-putt, Day Camp at Sky Ranch, sleepovers with friends, hanging out with cousins, and camping out at the lake with Grammy and Granddad.

Though summertime brings it’s challenges with more toys to pick-up, more fights to diffuse, more messes to clean up, and thinking up more creative responses to, “I’m bored,” I enjoy having the kids at home. The memories made during summertime are usually the best memories ever.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The optimistic fan
Originally uploaded by Beth.
School’s out! What a fun time of year. Ashley and Jonathan are quite happy about their two month break—and Cole is nearly beside himself with joy. He loves having his siblings at home.

Last night we went to a Ranger’s game to celebrate the occasion. There is something about baseball that makes me giddy. I love the smells, sounds, and fun of a ballpark. Maybe it’s because some of my fondest memories from childhood consisted of road trips to Cincinnati, staying at fun hotels, and watching the Reds play.

The kids had a blast. We downed hotdogs, peanuts, nachos, cokes, pretzels, and cotton candy. (Thanks to Uncle Jon who got us a really good deal!) The Rangers did us right and beat the Oakland Athletics 5 to 3.

It’s fun making special memories with our kids. Someday they’ll too look back and reminisce about the smells, sounds, and fun of a ballpark. Maybe, just maybe they’ll remember more of the things we did right than the ones we missed it on.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Backseat Driver

Cole behind the wheel
Originally uploaded by Beth.
Cole loves “driving.” The other day he climbed in his blue car and asked, “Can I drive to town, Mom?” "Town" is a mere nine miles from our house.

Lately he has not only taken up “driving” in the driveway, but he has become a backseat driver in our mini-van as well. Sometimes he yells out from his carseat, “Go fast, Mom!” At other times it is, “Peel out!” or “Go like a roller coaster!” Yesterday he came up with, “Mom, crash that car!” He was referring to the rather dilapidated pick-up truck in front of us driving 40 instead of the posted speed of 65.

Since he obviously couldn’t read the sticker in the back window which screamed, “Back off, B____!" or understand the bitter and hate-filled meaning behind the large Confederate flag draped over the tailgate, I assume he simply felt my rapid decline in speed as I approached the back of the vehicle. (Did I mention we live in Texas?)

I glanced back at him and said,”Cole, Mommy doesn’t crash into cars.” To which he replied, “But it’s fun, Mom!”

Oh the many moments that remind us we have much to be thankful for. Today I am quite grateful I have 13 years before my little need for speed driver wannabe can get behind the wheel of anything bigger than his little blue car.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Puppy Dog Eyes

Cole and Butterscotch
Originally uploaded by Beth.
They say over time owners and their pets start to look alike. Could be. Cole used this particular face the other night when I told him he couldn’t have a cookie.

I’m used to that sweet, sad face with puppy dog eyes . . . he can pull it out of no where if occasion calls for it. I held my ground. Then in a very slow, drawn out Cole kind of way, with his sad face primed, he asked, “Mom, don’t you like me anymore?”

The combination was more than I could take. I swept him up, smothered him in kisses, and assured him that indeed I liked him very much.

It’s in moments like this when all the parenting advice in the world drops from your brain. In case any parenting gurus have found my site, I just want to say for the record, I did not give him one cookie . . . I gave him three!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Name Dilemma

Jonathan and Cole
Originally uploaded by Beth.
We have found ourselves in a bit of a spot in the Hasz household. We’re about two months out on our newest addition and we can’t come to a consensus on a name. I like “Cody.” It’s kind of like a dot on the end of a sentence. It goes nicely with Cole. I can picture it in cute wooden letters on the wall of his nursery. David says he once knew a dog named "Cody" . . . kind of takes it out of the running.

David, on the other hand, likes “Jude.” Okay, stop singing! I'm sure you're with me—a Beatles song just isn't going to work.

Ashley likes “Austin”, Jonathan prefers “Isaiah”, and Cole came up with “Ducky.” We're keeping a running list of possibilities. The first two are on it . . . I think "Ducky" might work better as a theme for the bedding.

We are quite open to any suggestions you might have to offer. If a visual helps, we think there’s a pretty good chance he will look a lot like his two brothers: Red hair, big grin, a smattering of freckles . . . the spittin’ image of Opie—remember, cute kid from the Andy Griffith Show?

So, this is your chance. Click on “Comments” and make your suggestions. You can go ahead and rule out all of the weird sounding Bible names like “Jehoshaphat” and “Abimelech.” I kind of like names that will go the distance into the next eighty years or so—think contemporary, normal, yet uniquely fitting. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one to name our child.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Show Stopper

Cole "playing" the bells
Originally uploaded by Beth.
We had a meltdown at church on Sunday. Jonathan and Cole are in the children’s handbell choir. They have performed twice before and both times Cole has succeeded in stealing the show. Usually with a huge grin from ear to ear he rings his bells with elaborate gusto and vigor. This generally results in a mild uproar from the congregation.

Unlike the other two performances, this time we were prepared—digital camera, front row—I told David to get a good video clip . . . what great material to someday use at his high school graduation party, or maybe his wedding reception . . . David generally just deals with me and quietly says something about getting my medications adjusted. (I’m not actually on any medications, unless you count prenatal vitamins.)

On this particular morning there were only two yellow bells—Cole’s absolutely favorite color. Due to the recent growth in our handbell choir, he had to give one bell to another little girl who shares his taste for yellow. The expression captured in this picture was the unfortunate result . . . it lasted during the entire performance. Little pouty, once again, stole the show.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Best Dad in the World

My kids are pretty good at making stuff happen. Ashley raised her hand in class the other day and asked if they could take a field trip to Teen Mania. Her teacher called David. Being the kind of dad he is, not only did he say, “Sure,” he even volunteered to drive the bus. Ashley came home elated as a balloon that the entire Third and Fourth grades were coming to hang out on her stomping grounds.

Jonathan was not to be outdone. After a little behind the scene actions of his own, his dad received another phone call. Jonathan’s teacher wanted to know if the First and Second graders could join them. “Sure,” was of course the only response possible when your kids think you hung the moon. There will thus be quite a crowd of youngsters hitting the scene out here today.

I love it that David always goes the extra mile for his kids. It’s such a short moment of time when we’re the center of their worlds. I know someday we’ll look back on these years and miss them—wouldn’t it be great if we can do so without regret?

Between swimming in the really cool pool, playing Human Foose Ball, Giant Ball Soccer, Inflatable Boxing, rolling in the Gerbil Ball, and Paint Ball Games, it should be a fun time. I’m sure David will use the opportunity to plant some seeds in their young minds for future involvement in Summer Camps, Acquire the Fire, GE trips, and the Honor Academy. And most of all, David will maintain his post as “The Best Dad in the World” in the eyes of his kids.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Celebrating His Goodness

Happy Kids!
Originally uploaded by Beth.
“They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” Psalm 145:7

We’re very blessed to have the rich community of Teen Mania for our kids to grow up in. They have amazing role models to watch and learn from. I often see them emulate the characteristics and traits of these integrity driven young people who aspire to please God in all they do.

This weekend is Teen Mania’s Celebration Retreat. This is our kids’ favorite thing that happens at Teen Mania. They talk about it all year long. I can’t tell you how ecstatic they are. Ashley’s having a friend spend the night tonight so she can join them for the fun. Her questions for me went something like this:

Ashley: “Mom, can we get Domino’s Pizza Friday night?”
Me: “Sure, sounds great.”
Ashley: “Can Megan and I make brownies?”
Me: “Sure, sounds like fun.”
Ashley: “Can Megan and I sleep in the guest room?”
Me: “Sure, that would be perfect.”

Her requests are not usually so easy to grant and she was a bit surprised at how well it was going.

Ashley: “Can I have horse?”

That was a nice try. I have answered “no” to that particular question so many times I am weary. I have now come up with the best answer for all of “those” kind of questions. If you’re a mom you might want to borrow it . . .

Me: “Of course you can.”
Ashley: “Gulp, really?”, with a quizzical, are you feeling okay, look.
Me: “Yes, when you grow up and have your own ranch, you can have as many horses as you like!”

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Deep Deep Down You Really Like Me

Figuring it Out in the Fourth Grade
Originally uploaded by Beth.
Ashley just hit a milestone: She went from braces to a retainer. Everyday we’re amazed and a little fearful of how much she is starting to look like a miniature teenager. Sometimes you just want to stop the clock and keep them little. Maybe it’s bad, but David and I kind of delight in the fact she still thinks boys are disgusting. We are starting to realize all of this is about to change.

The fourth grade can be rather rough. Interaction with her male counterparts at school has led to more than one parent/teacher conference, notes from school, and phone calls to other parents. Because she can dish it out pretty good to her younger brothers, I assumed she was the initiator of the conflicts. I have since learned from her teacher this was not the case.

After coming home in tears several days in a row because of mean comments from some of the boys, I told her to respond nicely and they would stop. What do I know? Nothing changed.

David decided it was time for him to step in. Ashley hasn’t yet taken Psych 101, and has probably never heard about reverse psychology, but she put her dad’s advice to the test: “My Dad says you are only saying that because deep, deep down you really like me,” became her new M.O. As you might guess, it had that needed punch. Suddenly her foes were silenced and they couldn’t figure out how to keep bugging her without that line being the comeback. Truth is a powerful thing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Fearless Hero

Future veterinarian?
Originally uploaded by Beth.
I wish Jonathan hated critters. Instead he delights in catching lizards, bugs, and basic beasts of every kind. His love for animals is why he was dressed like this on Career Day at school. He plans on someday being a veterinarian.

The night before Ashley’s last birthday, David was out of town and I was working late into the night redoing her bedroom as a surprise. It was about 1:30am when I noticed his presence . . . a very grotesque looking frog sitting ever so at home in my kids' bathroom. It wasn’t exactly a bloodcurdling scream that left my mouth--but something close to it.

My mind raced at what to do. I decided to awake my fearless son. He sat up in bed rubbing his eyes trying to figure out what in the world I wanted. He groaned something about being too tired and flopped back on his bed half asleep. Now I was getting desperate.

“I’ll give you three dollars,” I quipped. Jonathan opened his eyes again and tried to sit up. I took my cue and said, “Make it five.” I handed him a shoebox as he made his way toward the bathroom. Scrunching down near the frog to pick him up, he took one more look at me and said, “Seven Mom.” “Okay, seven,” I replied.

I don’t think Jonathan knew he had me over a barrel . . . he simply did the math and knew he need $2 more to buy the underwater camera he’d had his eye on. As he was walking down the stairs to put the frog outside, I smiled and let out a sigh of relief. My little animal lover, afraid of nothing son, was my hero. Besides . . . I would have paid him $25.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Life Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

Cole at the dinner table
Originally uploaded by Beth.
Every day is a happy one for Cole. He delights in the smallest of things. His world is playing with trucks, trains, blocks, and the kind of loud toys only "beloved" relatives buy. He watches his favorite programs on Noggin, rides on his growing collection of bike-type mobiles, colors pictures, puts band-aids on his owies (both real and imagined), helps me in the kitchen, and frolics with the cat.

Cole has an uncanny ability to make the world laugh. A couple of weeks ago during a meal he held corn in his little boy spoon and said, “A-bra-ca-da-bra, corn be gone” while simultaneously flipping the corn behind him. After reducing us all to laughter he quoted Jerry the Gourd from Veggie Tales, “You want a piece of me?” It’s probably not helping his character development that we laugh at these antics instead of correcting him.

It is a treat to secretly watch Cole’s nightly routine when we’re saying grace at the dinner table. He starts out with his hands folded and his head bowed. At some point he lifts his face, squints slightly with one eye and looks around at everyone else. Just before the amen he resumes his starting position of reverence. After his first bite he squeals out, “I peeked!”

I love it that I get to be Cole’s mommy. Sometimes he puts his face right up next to mine, scrunches up his nose, grins like a cheetah and says, “Love you, Mom.” Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Tough Toodles

Cooking in the kitchen
Originally uploaded by Beth.
Being pregnant isn’t what I consider one of the “funner” things in life. My first few months are pure misery because I get so sick. I have thus twice in life scheduled appointments for a tubal; twice in life I canceled. The cancellations were the two best decisions I’ve ever made . . . the results of course being Cole and the coming little guy.

Most who look into my world might envy the way I’m treated “In my Condition.” My mother does our laundry, Beth does all the cleaning, and my husband does everything else: Cooking, dishes, grocery shopping, errands . . . you know, all the mom stuff.

My Aunt Ninnie (83 and going strong) told me not everyone has it so good when they’re pregnant. Some husbands would say, “Tough Toodles” and expect you to just get back in the kitchen. Well, I know I usually take him for granted, but I’m really glad I don’t have a “Tough Toodles” kind of husband. His heroics during my pregnancies rival Oprah’s "Mother of the Year." He should have been the one honored on Mother’s Day . . . but I gladly accepted all the gifts and accolades on his behalf. David, of course would rather not be considered for "Mother of the Year." I've got just one thing to say to that, "Tough Toodles."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Questions of Life

David and the kids
Originally uploaded by Beth.
There are questions in life difficult to answer. My Philosophy minor in college didn't prepare me to answer the really hard ones I'm facing today . . . like--"Why is there a brand new loaf of bread spilling half its contents in the middle of my kitchen floor?" or "Why is there a small pair of Blue's Clues undies in the living room, another in the playroom, and a third on the stairs?"

I suppose the only sane way to deal with these daily difficulties is to laugh. Did I mention it is not easy to laugh when you're six months pregnant but feel as though you're nine? I know, I'm in for a looong three months.

There was a time when I really enjoyed grappling with probing and thought-provoking issues. That was "one way too busy husband and three and a half kids" ago. Today I just try to keep up with my multi-tasking better half, lively 10 year old, contemplative 7 year old, animated 3 year old, and the little guy growing really big inside of me.

My friend Michelle inspired me to start a blog. What better way to document our lives for the sake of posterity, stay connected with family and friends far away, and take time to reflect on the many blessings hiding inside busy, busy lives.