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Preview: Still Can't Help Myself

Still Can't Help Myself

A little visit with the Taylor family--from a safe distance!

Updated: 2018-03-06T01:07:55.551-08:00


Heaven Help Us!


Hannah has a friend, Brody, who is about her age. They like to play together when they get a chance. Recently we all went swimming for an afternoon. Later that day Jack and I were driving somewhere with the girls and out of the blue her matter of fact little voice chirps up from the back seat, "I'm in love with Brody." A little shocked at this first mention of such things from her, I took a deep breath and calmly asked if she knew what that meant. She said, "Yep. It means that when I get big, I want to marry him." "Wow", I thought. And then, "Hannah, don't think you are a little young to be in love with a boy?" She didn't miss a beat. In the most patronizing tone--as if I was trying her patience with my stupid questions, she slowly but firmly said, "Mom. Even though I am very young, I am still in love with Brody." Case closed.

Another Early Morning Anatomy Lesson


Snuggled up together again--me asleep (partly) and Hannah thinking away. She noted out loud that her hands were cold, her tummy was warm and her armpits were hot. Then she stated with delighted amazement, "Huh! Hot, cold and warm spots on my body. It's all mixed up together on me!"

I do love waking up with her!

The Shoe Chronicles--Next Edition


In December, Jack brought the movie The Christmas Shoes home for us to watch as a family. Grace asked what it was about. I told her it was the story of a Mama who's very sick and dying and that her little boy tries to get her a special pair of shoes so that she will look beautiful when she goes to see Jesus.

Having just a few days earlier talked in our devotions about how God doesn't look at the outward appearance, but at our hearts, I was bursting with pride when she wrinkled her little nose and shook her head saying "God doesn't care about shoes, Mom." I beamed at Jack and for about 5 seconds, we were both delighted that our little shoe queen was finally getting some perspective on her obsession. And then she added, "Nope. Cuz God's a guy, and guys don't care about shoes very much!"

Well, Daddy was still proud anyway.

Too Much Little House on the Prairie


I was recently putting my makeup on in my bathroom, leaning toward the mirror and focusing on what I was doing. I was barely aware of Hannah coming in behind me and, shall we say, "using the toilet." A few grunts and a red face later, she suddenly uttered with surprised delight, "Oh! It sounds like I'm having a baby!"

Training Them Up. . .


I confess, I am like the humane society for furniture. I can't stand to see a poor lonely table, bookshelf or other perfectly nice piece of furniture abandoned by a dumpster. So I take them in to my home--clean them up, give them a nice warm, dry place to stay and when Jack puts his foot down and says, "No more. They've got to go!" I try to find good homes for them.

So you can imagine my delight and Jack's consternation when the 8 apartment buildings behind ours all vacated for remodeling at the same time, leaving heaping mounds of nice furniture in and around the dumpster outside my kitchen window.

Every day, I dragged my girls back there to look through the piles which for me yielded a nice big area rug, a heavy-duty double head oscillating fan, a brand new wooden wall shelf, two toy storage shelves, a sturdy coloring table for the girls' room, about 50 unused plastic hangers and one nice, functional faux-leather recliner which the girls helped me drag across the parking lot, out the gap in the fence, across the weedy clumpy patch of city land, across the bark-chip landscaping, across our lawn, down the sidewalk into our living room where I lovingly cleaned out the grass and dirt clods from the bottom and scrubbed and sanitized the upholstery so that it was shiny new. I was proud of my finds, as well as my restraint in leaving so many other poor abandoned treasures behind.

The next day, Jack's partner was over for their morning planning pow-wow and coffee. Naturally, he noticed the new recliner and commented on it. Proudly, Hannah reached up and pointed out the kitchen window toward the pile of furniture and stated, "Yeah. My Mom shops back there!"

Wait. . .What?


The girls have been wanting "help" praying lately. That means I pray out loud, a phrase at a time and they repeat after me. The other day, I closed with the typical "In Jesus' name, Amen." At which Grace suddenly jerked her head up and with amazement in her voice asked, "Jesus' name is Amen?!"

Turning the Upside Down. . .Upside Down


We've been talking a lot lately about how Jesus wants us to live and what our attitude should be. Recently, as the girls were fighting over which doll each got to have to play doll house, I intervened. Thinking I would seize this moment to teach a lesson, I got Hannah by the shoulders and asked her to look me in the eye. After hearing all the reasons why she felt she was entitled to the best dolls, I told her "But Hannah, it's not about you at all. Jesus wants our lives to be about others." But before I could ask whether she felt she was considering others first, she quickly responded, "But Mama, I am others."

Theology 101


Hannah is at that age when everything is black or white--there is no possible room for gray. Everything, everyone, every action--all worship God or worship Satan. Like Bratz dolls (or "mad Barbies" as Grace calls them. . .you guessed it--they worship Satan.

Three examples:

Our God vs. Satan discussion began early one morning, when she (the only morning person in our family) crawled in bed with us to snuggle. After a little bit, she quietly said, "Mama's and Daddy's heads are big and kids' heads are small, right Mom?" I managed an "Mmm hmm," in my semi-coma. [What time is it anyway? 6:15! What are you doing thinking at this time of day?] A few more minutes passed before she spoke again, "And God is right and Satan is wrong. . . .right Mom?" In a scratchy voice, I muttered, "That's right Honey," and had rolled over and was just about back to sleep. . .again, when she piped up one last time. "That's a lot of questions, huh Mama?" Now awake, I had to agree as she snuggled against me--fast asleep.

On the upside, we got anatomy and theology out of the way before even getting out of bed. I love home-schooling! [If we can just save physics and philosophy for after breakfast!]

Next, we progressed to this:
Wonderful workbooks. Simple lesson. Cut out the following pictures and place them in order. So I asked Hannah, "What are the bears doing in these pictures?"

Without pausing to even think, she stated in her most matter-of-fact voice, "Well, they're making a yucky guy to worship Satan."

All righty then. . .next lesson.

Finally, one night I sent Hannah upstairs to get her jammies on. After way too much silence, I ventured up to see what had become of her. She seemed to be nowhere until I finally found her sitting on the toilet lid in the semi-darkness of our master bathroom, legs pulled up with her chin resting on her knees. I said, "What in the world are you doing in here?"

"Well, she responded, I was just thinking for a little bit." With great self-control, I casually asked what she was thinking about. She answered, "Well I was just thinking that God made two kinds of animals--bite animals and no-bite animals. And the no-bite animals worship God, and the bite animals worship Satan." Momentarily speechless, I watched as she climbed off the toilet and trotted past me down the hall to her bedroom to get her jammies on.



Tonight at bedtime I asked Hannah if she had brushed her teeth. She said "yes." Suspecting otherwise, I said, "Let me smell your minty fresh breath." She quickly headed for the bathroom saying, "Oh, I better go brush." Since the truth seems to be a bit of a fluid concept for her lately, I took my cue and followed her to the bathroom. I confronted her about her lie and told her "You know, in our family we speak the truth--all the time. Lying will not be accepted--ever."

Tipping her head to one side and sighing, she looked me in the eye and with an oh-so-remorseful voice confessed,
"I know Mom. . . . .but I just get these urges."

I managed to hold back my laughter long enough to finish with her and escape the bathroom, but I've been laughing ever since.

Still just 4 years old. But while she used to be 4 going on 13, she's now 4 going on about 27.

A Video Is Worth A Thousand Words


Actually, it's probably more than that. But really--take 4 minutes to check this out. This is one talented lyricist. You know me. . .if I thought I could say it better, I'd try. Enjoy!

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Vocabulary Queen


The TV remotes are off limits to the girls. So is the TV unless they have permission. But the other day Grace thought she'd get smart and try to do it herself. Clicking away with the remote (facing backwards no less) she actually hit the right button and got the TV to change channel. Hannah jumped up and down excitedly exclaiming, "Grace, You're a genius!" Then she turned to me and added, "And you're a genius too, Mom!" Surprised at this new word, I asked "How about you, Hannah? Are you a genius too?" She tilted her little head to one side and thought about it for a minute. Then she rolled her eyes and said with a hint of disgust in her voice, "No. . . I'm just difficult."

Homophone Hubub


We have been enjoying a visit from Jack's mom, affectionately known as Crazy Grandma. She has been shopping, and playing and just plain having a good time with our little girls. Grace especially, has really taken to Crazy Grandma and wants to do everything with her. But when Grace asked her yesterday if she would take her to "buy some pears," we were all a little confused. We had talked about going for ice cream maybe, but pears? Still, she persisted. "I want to go look for pears with Grandma!" No one understood, and sweet Gracie still has trouble at times in getting her message across clearly. So we gave up for a while, but when she brought it up again, we asked her if she was sure she wanted pears. . .the fruit. "No. . .pairs!" she exclaimed, grabbing a pair of flip-flops out of her shoe bin and waving them in the air. "Pairs of shoes!"

Now that's Crazy Grandma's girl! I expect them home any minute. . .pairs in tow. Or maybe I should say, "on toe." Pun intended!

The Difference Between the Sexes


This is a pre-blog experience, but I had to get it down for posterity. (No pun intended.)

About a year ago my friend, Kelly, was watching my girls for the afternoon. This particular friend had a nearly 3 year-old boy and twin 18 month old daughters. With three little ones, going potty was pretty much a family event. . .so naturally my girls just joined the crowd. Now, since there are no little boys around our house, my sweet girls had no idea that boys' equipment was any different from theirs.

So, upon joining the bathroom throng, they were stunned to discover this new thing which Brody, (being a boy), proudly showed off. Noting their obvious curiosity, Kelly quickly jumped in with a simple, factual explanation and all went happily on their way.

Except my darling Grace. She always needs time to process new things and after some very quiet, thoughtful minutes she was ready to talk things over. Going up to Kelly, she summed it all up saying, "Ok. So girls. . .just have butts. . . .And boys. . .have butts with nuts?"

If You Can't Laugh at Yourself--Part 2


You Know You're Butt's Too Big When. . .

***This Post is Dedicated to You, Jen--from your old pal, B.B.B. Every one of these actually happened to me.

1) You can actually wear your maternity pants backwards for a whole day without realizing it.

2) Your pregnancy results in numerous stretch marks. . .all in the back!

3) You volunteer to carry the backpack on family hikes because you know if you let out the straps enough it will just rest on your "trailer," keeping neck and shoulder strain to a minimum.

4) The lawn chair you've been sitting in comes with you when you stand up.

5) Your daughter, helping to fold laundry, spies you new pink lace undies and gleefully snatches them out, waving them in the air and shouts "Mama! Did you get me a new dress?!?"

6) You can sit down and lean forward with your elbows on the table and your four-year-old climbs up and uses your fanny for her own little bench--that is, when two of you can sit on it at once!!

And if you haven't figured it out after all that, you most certainly know your butt is too big when:

7) Your 3 year-old (locked in the bathroom stall with you at Wal-Mart) gets around behind you and loudly exclaims in awe and wonder, "Mama! You have a BIG BUTT!"

[Sorry. No picture with this post. :0]

A New First


Hannah made her first attempt at drawing a guy
a few weeks ago--just before she turned 4.
Here it is in all it's glory.


They are exactly what you think they are.

Just like Daddy


Note Grace's little white "work boots" mixed in the pile in Daddy's closet with all of his work shoes. She proudly brought me up to show me how even she tossed them in there "just like Daddy!"


The girls actually kissed me good-bye, took their little bagged lunches, and packed their "tools" into the back of their white work vans, "just like Daddy."


"Mama! Come quick and see my squishers (whiskers) just like Daddy's."

What Dad wouldn't be blessed by such adoration?

My Shining Moment


About a month ago, we had friends over for dinner. They are a very nice family from church, both parents very involved in leadership of men's and women's ministry and three well-mannered, nice kids. My girls took an immediate interest in the middle child, a 10-year-old boy, and proceeded to chase him around the yard, giggling and twittering.

Finally, he came over to where I sat visiting with his mom and plopped in a lawn chair. Grace quickly caught up and flopped across his lap. He seemed a little irritated, and so I quickly intervened with words of abundant wisdom. "Grace, you shouldn't sit in boys' laps unless they say it's ok."

Silence ensued, as the other mom just stared at me with half a twinkle in her eye, and a thousand unspoken responses flipping through her mind. Being oh so sharp, I finally began to realize that maybe my words were askew and replayed them in my mind. Slowly, it dawned on me what I had said. Yikes! Thank Heaven that this family is not only nice, but is also possessed of a fantastic sense of humor.

You are What You Eat?


These days, Hannah actually prefers to be called Hannah Banana. She seems to think it an honor, a title of distinction and respect. So you can imagine my delight when I glanced in the living room to see this:


If You Can't Laugh at Yourself


Recently, I picked up a pile of little girls' ballet-wear at a garage sale. The girls have been having a delightful time dancing and twirling. I was jealous.Being neither the most athletic type, nor the most graceful, ballet was not part of my childhood repertoire. But I always longed to wear the slender leotards and flowing skirts and spin my way to dance heaven. I imagined that if I could just wear something so light and beautiful, even I could float gracefully across the room. So here at last, was my chance. OK. Now that that's out of my system. . . . [...]



Hannah is my little kitchen helper--constantly perched on the counter and sticking her fingers into whatever concoction is nearby. Thus, I have spent some time teaching her the dangers presented by raw meat and such. Still, you never know what they actually hear and remember.

Now I know. The other day I was making meat loaf and as I plunged my hands into the mix bowl of ground beef, egg, milk, crumbs, etc. I heard her cry out as she dashed into the room to stop me, "No Mama! Don't touch that. It's wrong meat!"

Dumb and Dumber


All's fair now. I have permission to tell about Jack's latest goof, as long as I report my own too. So, Jack first.


The other day Jack came home from work and flopped back on the couch. As I flopped next to him I noticed he had a large bandage on his leg. Concerned, I immediately asked what happened. He glanced down and began to pick at the corner of the bandage, "Oh that," he said, pulling back the gauze pad to reveal his wound. "It's just a scratch, but it sure bled like a stuffed pig!"

I chuckled and said, "A what?"

He looked at me with disbelief. Hope surged in his eyes as he thought that he had finally discovered a word or expression of the English language that I wasn't familiar with. "A stuffed pig! Haven't you ever heard that expression?"

I hated to shatter his joy, but knowing he'd certainly want to share in my hysterical laughter, I said (as gently as possible of course) "Stuck pig, Honey. It bled like a stuck pig." I was right--he did share in my hysterical laughter!

Ok, my turn. I hate to tell this. I've a feeling it will haunt me for the rest of my life, but a deal's a deal.

Just about a year ago, we got a window air conditioner. It has been worth it's weight in gold already, despite the fact that it will probably cost that much to run it by the end of the summer. At any rate, I quickly learned how to use it most effectively--being the resident gadget queen and all. There are four settings: Cool, Fan, Energy Saver and Dehum. We generally use energy saver, but one unusually humid day last month Jack set it to Dehum. As he did, he turned to me and asked whether I had used the dehumidifier yet and how well it works.

Time stopped for a second as the past year of my air conditioned life passed before my eyes and I breathed out, "Oh man." Being the ever loving and attentive husband that he is, Jack immediately noticed my reaction. I tried to brush it off as nothing, but he smelled blood. He kept after me for several minutes before I finally confessed. " Well, ever since we got that thing, I've thought it was unfortunate that a brand new air conditioner was just as noisy in "Dehum" mode as in the others!"

So there you have it. Dumb and Dumber. You decide which. (But keep your decision to yourself. I don't want to know!)

You'll Laugh At This Later. . .


It had been a very long day. Bickering little girls, too many days of hot weather, and too many stops on my errand list had all of us walking the fine line between sanity and "that other place." Just three items left on my list and we could get home to air conditioning and some quiet rest time.

As I stood wearily comparing yogurt prices, I turned to see my (very well potty-trained) 4 year-old inexplicably squatting on the seat of the shopping cart front of everyone. Yes, I said squatting. Everything sort of went into slow-motion for me as I forced my eyes downward to see pee flowing over the seat, down into my purse just below, spreading over our popsicles and bananas below that, and pooling in a nice yellow puddle on the floor.

You’ve always wondered what it takes to make me speechless. Now you know. Of course, I more than compensated for it on the trip home.

But by the time Jack came home a few hours later, I was able to chuckle. . .a little. Even as I pulled my dripping cell phone and badly smeared journal out of my purse!

Have a wonderful day, and don't stop laughing!

Let Sleeping Beauties Lie


Last night I awoke around 4 am to find Hannah cuddled up next to me. I hate to wake her because she is so snuggly and warm, but we have a strict "no kids in our bed until sunrise" rule. Trying to pick her up is like trying to pick up jello. No matter how you do it, most of her slips back onto the bed and you come up with only an arm or a leg. As she slowly woke up, she began to fight me, kicking and hitting and giving me "the look" (which could scare the stripes off a zebra, by the way.) After a few minutes struggle, she finally succumbed and went into my arms, but not without one final desperate attempt to be left alone in our bed. In a scratchy little voice, tinged with bitterness and accusation, she said "I'm NOT having a good dream!"

Sing Along Everyone!


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Enjoy. Kids are a kick, huh?



Bedtime prayers tonight--as best I could get it all down immediately after tucking them in.Hannah first--abridged version (meaning that while the following is pretty much word for word, many of the following statements were originally repeated numerous times in an effort to defer bedtime a bit more--I have removed at least ten minutes worth of repetetion):"Thank you Lord," [pronounced throughout as low-ud] "for these curtains with the flowers.Thank you Lord for Claire who loves me! Thank you Lord for my beautiful Mama and for her beautiful outfit [sweat-shorts, t-shirt and frizzy ponytail]. Thank you Lord for these marks on my wall. Thank you Lord for these hands and these bones that I love. Thank you Lord for Kujo [her big sister's Chihuahua] that when he bites me or drops his bones on my foot, that Sissy just spanks him. Thank you Lord for my beautiful feet and toenails and for my beautiful eyes and eyebrows. Thank you Lord for these pillows and this mess. Thank you Lord for Daddy's tools. Thank you Lord for everything in this room. Thank you Lord for these marks on the wall--again. . .whatever they are. Thank you Lord for everything you made. . .people. . .and friends. . . . . . . and more people. . .and friends. And that's it. Thank you Lord for a wonderful God. . .for our hearts. Thank you Lord for me. . .and you. Amen!" The moment she said Amen, she looked at me suddenly and said, "Hey! God can't have ears!" Grace next:First breath--"Thank you for Jesus, that He loves us and He's so good to us and He died on the cross for our sins. You love us and give us hearts and make us little again and I know you love us and I know that I love you and you will come and get us some day soon and He's awesome and He's great!"Breathe again--"Thank you Lord that you love us so much and He'll come back again for us some day and I'll be with Jesus and He'll be with me and see me in heaven with Grandpa and all the people, and help us that we sleep good and wake up happy. . . . Amen."Huge smile, curls up, sucks her thumb and snuggles in for sleep.Mama last:Thank you Lord for my precious girls. For stinky blankies, dirty faces and misshapen thumbs. For what you are doing in their little hearts and the thankfulness that you are working into them. Watch over them as they sleep and keep them in your care. Protect them from all harm and keep them on your path as you prepare them for your purpose for their lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.Amen. Amen. Amen[...]