June 14, 2015

My last five-year-old boy

Five. Year. Old. Boys.

Sigh. They truly are the best. I've had three of them now, and each time, I have been in motherly bliss for 12 whole months.

Not that they turn six and everything falls apart. And not that I don't enjoy all my kids at all their ages (except for maybe that nasty 2-week to 8-month time, when I'm infinitely exhausted and frustratingly out of shape, the baby has a dastardly combination of acne and gas, the other kids go crankily about their days under-attended, and Daddy nearly loses his mind trying to hold everything together).

But those five year old boys! My! With their rounded bellies like overfilled cups of steamed milk. Their wide open eyes, full of love. Their unrestrained laughter, their hours upon hours of pretend play. Funny-looking drawings, crumpled flowers pulled from pockets of cargo shorts. Underwear with faded forms of Batman saving the world across a 5-year-old's cute butt.

So you can imagine my salty tears last Saturday, when my last five year old boy turned six. A chapter in our lives is closing, but a new one is beginning! I'm thankful for all four of my wonderful children, and this week I am especially thankful for my rough-and-tumble, sweet-as-apple-pie Brave Ransom. I love you, son! Happy, happy birthday to you!
To celebrate him, we went to a local hotel with a waterpark, just the six of us. He wanted, "A fudge cake with fish."

June 10, 2015

School wraps up again

Rupp Academy is going strong, putting out two kindergarten grads this year, as well as a 2nd-grade grad, and a 4th-grade grad!

(In another year, I will have home-schooled Eugene all the way through grade school. Where does the time GO?)



The class clowns.
The ideal student;)
The teacher and the principle (don't worry, it's not against school policy).
The life.

May 29, 2015

Our marriage is a teenager

Daniel.

A good name. A great name, really. But I'll bet I heard that name a hundred times growing up, oblivious to the fact that my future was made mostly of it.
13 years wearing these rings.
I often wondered who my husband would be, what we would do, where we go. But I never once thought about his name. Funny, too, because the first time I heard him say his full name - that March in Memphis so long ago - my heart seemed to jump up in the air. When it came back down again, there was a tremendous calm feeling, as if the last piece of a puzzle had shifted snugly into the place.
Element Fresh is a chain in this part of the world, and it is AMAZINGLY good.
I ordered the Green Garden smoothie, of course.
Vietnamese rice noodles? Yes please.
And now our marriage is a teenager. There are longish, coarse hairs the color of snow in his beard. His eyes are warm and full of life, still the same green-gray-blue, and still only for me. Our disagreements are less-fueled, and it takes less time (of which we have too little) and energy (better used in other ways) to put them out. Our conversations often drift to the future, settling lightly on the subjects of raising teenagers, his PhD, and even grandkids, when we set our sights far enough in the distance.

And we can set our sights that far, because we know we'll still be together then, unless parted by an untimely death. Our marriage will not only survive, but it will continue to grow, as it always has, in a healthy, endearing way. By the grace of G0D. By the grace of G0D.
Daughters are so sweet, aren't they? 
Especially this one.

May 22, 2015

Jurassic Party

WARNING: Zion is 8
For his 8th birthday, our mop-haired man wanted a dinosaur party based on the movie Jurassic Park (which Daddy let him see on their last opthomologist run to Hong Kong).
Zion thought through the guest list, filled the favor bags, and browsed hundreds of images of T-Rex on my ipad before settling on this for his cake.
I did that icing-on-wax-paper-placed-over-desired-image thing.
It was a very cute group.
The cups were labeled, and everyone was sat, by Zion, accoring to who would best converse with whom over pizza. Zion is quite in tune to the complexities of group behavior.
I free-handed that dino mural on the wall, I'll admit. High school art class pays off at last.
Birthday candles were a problem last minute (I had none) but our neighbor, Mrs. Ko, came through for us just in time.

Zion has lots of friends, but his siblings are his biggest fans.

And he's not afraid to wear a dino costume at his party. Nor the hat while coloring in his new dino coloring book.


Zion,
I love your raspy voice and your thunderclap laugh. I love your overflowing heart, your eye for detail, and your keen spirit. I love the way you feel the joy - and the pain - of those around you, without losing hold of your own fine identity. I simply melt to a puddle on the floor when your wrap your little arms, twisted with muscle, around my waist and bury your face, glasses and all, into the folds of my T-shirt. You and your box of crayons march into a room and everyone...smiles. We can't help it. We just do. YOU do that to us. You are a wonderful person, Zion Daniel. Happy 8th birthday to you!

I love you with all my heart,
Mama

May 11, 2015

Every day is mother's day

Before any of the kids were up on Mother's Day, I was awoken to the sound of my husband puking his guts out.

Happy Mother's Day to me.

But you know what? The day turned out to be a perfect Mother's Day - for me, not for Daniel, poor guy. Why was it perfect? Because it was a day like any other day. I fed the kids breakfast. I cared for them all morning. I ate lunch with them. I cared for them all afternoon. I made them dinner. We ate dinner together. We played together all evening. I put them to bed. Unfortunately because of Daddy's stomach virus, we didn't get to go to church.

The truth is, every day for me is mother's day. I get the rare privelege of being with my four precious children every single day, all day long. I've taught them all to read. I've taught them how to work long division, how to read music, how to build an electromagnet, how to grow radishes, type without looking at their hands, and find their way around using a map. Hopefully I've taught them much more than that. Hopefully I've taught them how to love each other well, how to argue well, and how to live well. Hopefully.

So on this Mother's Day, while Daniel stayed close to the bathroom, my kids and I took the scooter to KFC for chicken and ice cream.

And when we got back, someone had made his way, very slowly I'm sure, to the flower vendor and back. He's a great guy, that Daniel Rupp!

May 08, 2015

Fixing the problem

One week out of every month she is moody and irritable, driving him crazy, lashing out at him for no reason at all and then following him around sulkily in pursuit of his reassuring touch.

Sounds like many women I know (including myself), but pulling out his hair with her teeth? That's going a little too far. Unless you're a rabbit, and your mate's hair is long and white and soft, just perfect for padding a nest. Apparently, monthly hormone surges are a problem for other species too, not just humans. At least we humans can talk about our feelings with our mates. Maybe if our bunnies could talk, George would tell Winnie that he has been fixed and their is no need for a nest. Not now, not ever.

But alas, bunnies cannot talk, and we realized Winnie was going need to get fixed, too. The problem was, no one wanted to spay a female rabbit. Here, they raise rabbits for food; sterilizing one seemed like a crying shame. After much hunting, I found a vet who agreed to try, and the kids and I prayed all morning while Winnie was away that her little heart wouldn't give out during surgery.

It didn't! Daddy brought this pitiful creature home to us. Sweet Winifred.

What's even sweeter is that George has barely left her side, and he hardly eats a thing. They groom each other through the bars and wait, heavy-hearted, for the day when her bandages come off and they can hop around the veranda together again.

April 28, 2015

Elsa at last

For the first five or so Frozen birthday parties to which Jubilee was invited, she was the only little girl not dressed in icicle blue. In fact she had not yet seen the movie - hadn't even asked to see it - and of the course the rest of our household hadn't either. Each time a party host would gather all the Elsas together for an Elsa picture, Jubilee would obligingly step out of the shot. 

But then we went to Thailand and some kids were watching Frozen in the guest house movie-room one evening. All four of my kids watched along. It wasn't until their second viewing that I watched it too, and I gotta say, the writers of that movie were an awfully talented bunch. 

So...like everybody else...we love Frozen.

To Abby's birthday party, therefore, Jubilee wore icicle blue. She even got to be in the Elsa shot!
Look our for Spiderman sneaking around in the background!
Next time maybe she'll have a real Elsa dress;)