Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Boys, Boys, Boys

They go by the names Sammy, Ben, Jonathan, Andrew, Timmy and, of course, Tom. 

Last Sunday night our friends the Finney's dropped off two of their boys, Andrew and Timmy (number five and six in a family of six boys and three girls), for us to watch for the week.  Suzanne and the two eldest boys were at our church's youth camp and Lester was working out of town.

Our time of watching them just happened to coincide with Livvy's "Oma Camp" - a time for Oma (my mom) to have with the two oldest girl cousins to do fun crafty, girl things.  Monday morning we met my mom in Camp Verde (about an hour for each of us to drive) to give her Livvy for most of the week.  Sammy will have "Oma Camp" in a couple of weeks for the two oldest boy cousins.

As soon as we came home from dropping Livvy off, the boys were off. They road their bikes, dug in the sand box, hunted rabbits, ran through the sprinklers, wrestled, they... they were very active, and very dirty.  Livvy is a very active girl and she can get dirty too, but somehow it was different...or maybe it was just sheer numbers.

Without Livvy in the house, there was a lot of testosterone.  I was sorely outnumbered six to one.  I hadn't realized how different all-boy-directed play would be.  There was no, "You're dad and I'm..."  It was, "I'm the bad guy and I'm gonna..."  Instead of playing outside for a time and then coming inside to quietly look at books, color, play on the computer, the boys were always on the go.

To keep them busy and their dirty little bodies out of the house, I tried to come up with energy releasing activities everyday.

After dinner on Monday, we all went on a bike ride.  Tom pulled Ben in the bike trailer and I wore Jonathan in my Pikkolo while the other three road their own bikes.  Since Andrew and Timmy have bigger bikes, Sammy lagged behind them.  I decided I would hang with him, develop some leadership skills in him by letting him lead me through the thick cinders and dirt. 

Once he knew that mom was following him, he became "the man".  "Mom, follow me over here," "Mom, now come this way," "Hey mom, there's dirt ahead, it'll be easier,"  "Now, Mom, you can ride where ever you want".  The dialogue was constant.  I couldn't help but smile and chuckle to myself.  I loved how he stepped up and took charge.

Tuesday we went with my friend Sara and her four girls to Pump House Wash.  After a short hike we came to a place where the trail crosses the creek - a perfect place for kids to play.  We laid out the picnic blanket and let the kids loose.  They all had a blast splashing in the water and hunting craw-dads. 

Wednesday morning we stayed home and got a list of chores done.  As soon as they finished, they disappeared outside.  I took the opportunity to sweep and vacuum the floors.  As soon as I was done though, little dirty boys started appearing back in the house - I don't know why I bothered to clean at all.

After lunch and rest time we hiked part of Fatman's Loop.  They had fun hiking, searching for caves and hunting lizards.  As an incentive for no whining, I promised them ice cream when we were done.  TCBY has $1 waffle cones on Wednesdays, so after our hike we headed over there to get a nice cold treat.

On Thursday morning we headed back down to Camp Verde to pick up Livvy.  She had had a wonderful time!  Instead of going home for lunch, we headed over to my friend Amanda's house (she's also the boy's aunt).  They all had fun playing with friends and cousins, getting her house dirty :), and hunting bugs (notice a theme.  Because Timmy kept wanting to kill things for the sake of killing them, we had to create a rule that if he kills something, he had to eat it).

Even though Friday ended up being very windy, we headed to Lake Mary (just 30 minutes from our house) to meet up with Amanda and her kids again.  They played on the dock and on the waters edge for hours.

Here they are in order of oldest to youngest, minus the two babies, Natalie (6 months) and Jonathan (2.5 months).
Andrew (8)
Hannah (7)

Timmy (6.5)

Livvy (6.5)
Isaac (5)
Sammy (4.5)
Nathan (3)
Ben (almost 3)
That night Lester came and picked up Andrew and Timmy.  Even though they were great kids, never really whined or complained, did what they were told most of the time, it was nice to be down to just our 4 kids, especially with the one girl who tends to take charge and mellow things out just a bit.

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