Your Family Praise Psalm

Praise  sing praises speak of His wondersHave you ever considered that your family could write your own praise Psalm?  This would be a great thing for your family to do at Thanksgiving or at any time of year.  After all, a psalm is simply a heartfelt prayer song to the Lord. Psalms are always honest. The Psalmists speak of times of difficulty in some songs, but they always come back to the fact that God is Supreme over all and that He is good and is worthy of our trust and our worship and praise. Psalms can be very personal, but at the same time they are universal in that the heart cries of the Psalmists of old still resonate with people today.

Living a life of trust and walking by faith are not always easy, so one thing that the Psalmists did was to declare their intention to honor their covenant relationship with God by choosing to be guided by God’s word or to praise the Lord every day. In addition, the Psalmists often spoke of who God is as far as His character. In the Psalms, we read of God’s holiness, righteousness, goodness, kindness, long suffering, His mercies, His everlasting love, His power and might, and His glory. The Psalmists were guided by their knowledge of who God is and their relationship with Him. In Psalms that were written in times of trial, the Psalmists call out to God because of the fact that they know He is good and loving and merciful. In good times. the Psalmists exalt the Lord because of His kindness and long suffering that has been revealed through both trials and blessings.

Psalm 100 scripture memory photo

We all have life stories and faith journeys, just like the Psalmists.  Every individual story is unique, and every family has their own journey as well.  In order to focus on the element of praise in your family’s Psalm, it is helpful to look at two of the most well known praise Psalms in the Bible.  Both are very short (only 5 – 6 verses), and they are a good model for your family’s prayer of praise.  So, here are two scripture memory photos for Psalm 100 and Psalm 150.  These can be printed in whatever size works best for you and used for your family times of devotion.  Perhaps your family can memorize the five verses of Psalm 100 one month and the six verses of Psalm 150 the next.  Or, spend some time reading and talking about these two Psalms during a couple of your family worship times.  Look at the times that are mentioned when the Psalmist praised the Lord.  Look at the attributes and actions of God that the Psalmist praised.  Look at the commitments to the Lord that the Psalmist mentions in the verses.  What actions or attitudes have the Psalmists chosen for themselves in order to demonstrate their praise to God?  How can your family demonstrate your praise and thanksgiving?  At what times of day and in what places can your family express their praise?  Read through the two brief praise Psalms above and below this paragraph, and then think about what your family’s praise Psalm would say.

Note:  For a family devotion resource on Psalm 100, check out this post on our primary blog, which shares the why and how of praise, as found in the Psalm, as well as a list of the benefits of praise.  http://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/psalm-100-a-prescription-for-praise/

Psalm 150 memory help photo

WRITING  YOUR  FAMILY  PRAISE  PSALM

Make your family’s praise Psalm as unique and personal as you desire.  You can frame a copy for each child’s room or for your family room if desired.  Just make sure that it reflects your family’s desire to praise and thank the Lord for who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing in your lives.  Your praise Psalm should state your family’s intention to be faithful to God in praise as He has been faithful to you in everything.  Most importantly, your praise Psalm should be true to scripture.  Have fun working together with your family to figure out what your praise Psalm should say.  Below, you will find a set of suggestions for writing your praise Psalm that would be easily understood by most children.  This can be printed and used to guide that process of writing if you feel that it would be helpful.

Print this guideline to help your family write a Praise Psalm, or write the suggestions on sentence strips and give each family member one suggestion to work on as their contribution to your family’s Praise Psalm.

How to write a Praise Psalm 2

MY  FAMILY’S  PRAISE  PSALM

Praise   Lets just praise the Lord“Praise the Lord!  Praise Him wherever you are.

Praise God when you get up in the morning to get ready for the day.

Praise Him when you go to school or when you run to play.

Praise God when you are with your brothers and when you are alone.

Praise God at church; Praise God at home.

Think of God and praise him all day long.

Praise Him with a thank you song.

Praise God when it is time for slumber;

Count your blessings…what a number!

Praise the Lord!  Praise Him everywhere you go,

Praise Him for all of the love that you know.

For our God is so good.

His promises are true.

His love lasts forever.  His mercies are new.

Praise Him with your family.

Praise Him with your friends.

His love lasts forever.  His grace never ends.

Praise the Lord!”

(Your Praise Psalm doesn’t have to be poetic.  Ours just came out that way.  Just make sure that your Praise Psalm reflects your family’s personal opportunities to praise the Lord, some reasons to praise Him, and your intention to do just that.)

Blessings to you and your family as you walk with the Lord day by day and choose to praise and worship the Lord together!

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Lego Land (by Braden)

Note:  For this post, we have a guest writer.  This was a school assignment for our son Braden, who was in third grade this past school year.  He wrote about one of the things that we did during Spring Break, our trip to Lego Land Discovery Zone in Atlanta.

Legoland Atlanta promo

LEGO LAND

by

Braden L. Boyd

April 15th, 2013

My brothers Logan, Austin, and Camden were waiting while my Dad bought our tickets to Lego Land.

My little brothers Logan, Austin, and Camden were waiting while my Dad bought our tickets to Lego Land.

On Spring Break, I went to Lego Land with my family.  There was tons of cool stuff there like building with Legos and a couple of rides.

First, we went to a ride.  You had to pedal really fast to make it go up.  I had to pedal with my brother, Jared.  It was a lot of fun.

Then, I went to a 4-D theater.  It was kind of an outdated movie, but I still liked it a lot.  It was about a racer who was racing a bad guy to the finish!  It was cool!

Dad and me and my 5 brothers are getting ready to go in the 4D theater.  Mom came, too, but she was taking the picture.

Dad and me and my 5 brothers are getting ready to go in the 4D theater. Mom came, too, but she was taking the picture.

Lego Miniland (Atlanta at night)

Lego Miniland (Atlanta at night)

Next, I went to Mini Land.  It was like Atlanta but made out of legos!  There was a band, a school with busses that moved, and a lot of cool stuff.

Here is the Lego Fox Theater.  My Dad and Mom went there to see "The King and I".

Here is the Lego Fox Theater. My Dad and Mom went there to see “The King and I”.

Lego Miniland (daytime at the Georgia State Capitol building

Lego Miniland (daytime at the Georgia State Capitol building)

After that, I went on another ride with two of my brothers and my Mom.  I had to shoot bad guys to get a lot of points.  At the end of the game, my brother won.

Lego Discovery Center Store

Lego Discovery Center Store

Then, we went to the Lego store.  It was like a Lego Wonderland.  I was looking around and found Avenger Legos.  I had 15 dollars, and the thing I wanted was 15 dollars, so I got it.

Last, we went to Popeye’s Restaurant.  It was really good.  I got a chicken leg and some Dr. Pepper for my lunch.  And that’s what I did on my awesome Spring Break.

Lego Discovery Center Atlanta

Lego Discovery Center Atlanta

Here are some more cool photos of my family at Lego Land Discovery Center in Atlanta.

My twin brothers, Austin and Camden, are ready to go have some fun.

My twin brothers, Austin and Camden, are ready to go have some fun.

My older brother, Zach, is hanging out at the ticket booth.

My older brother, Zach, is hanging out at the ticket booth.

My brother Logan needs a ticket, too.

My brother Logan needs a ticket, too.

Here's my brother Austin in Miniland.

Here’s my brother Austin in Miniland.  The yellow crane behind him had some working parts and the Marta railway worked, too.

This is my Dad and my twin brothers on the second ride where you could shoot.

This is my Dad and my twin brothers on the second ride where you could shoot.

We had a lot of fun!  Going there really makes you want to build some awesome stuff with Legos!

We also did another fun thing on Spring Break. We went to see the movie “The Croods”. It was about a family and they were really funny.  Here are some pictures of me and my brothers when we were at the movie theater.  We had fun posing with some of the big displays for movies.  I am in the first picture under the big arch, but I am not in the picture with the Monsters, Incorporated characters.

Thanks so much to our Aunts and Uncle, R & T and L & N for the family fun.  We hope you like the pictures!

Here's me and 4 of my brothers under the arch at the movie theater.

Here’s me and 4 of my brothers under the arch at the movie theater.

Here are my 5 brothers.  See if you can find my biggest brother, Jared.

Here are my five brothers. See if you can find my biggest brother, Jared.

A Rough Morning

Logan and Mom had a rough morning today. He’s nine years old now; but in many ways, we are still dealing with issues that we faced when he was a toddler. Logan is a very special and precious little boy who often does not understand what is happening or what is being asked of him. Then, there are other times when Logan knows exactly what is happening but just is not happy about it.  Logan’s Autism plus sensory issues and overall devolpmental issues have been a challenge every day of his life.  Even though he has made tremendous progress and we are very thankful, my husband and I realize that we have many miles to go on the road to helping him become as independant as possible.

Snoopy at the DentistThis morning, Logan had a dentist appointment. I have written about taking him to the dentist before, in my post called One Brave Little Boy.  A dentist visit is a big deal for Logan because of his extreme oral sensitivity.  I was amazed at how brave and self-controlled Logan was when he had his teeth cleaned earlier this year.  He willed himself to be brave and to tolerate all of the things that really bothered him.  I was hoping for a similar experience today, but I think that Logan remembered the extraction of 2 teeth and the application of sealants that had occured at the next appointment after the awesome dental cleaning experience.  That 2nd (extraction) appoinment of 2013 was a lot tougher for Logan.  (I also wrote about this extraction appointment in the update to the post mentioned above.)  Today’s appoinment, however, the 3rd one in 2013, made the extraction appointment seem like nothing.

Dentist appointment reminder with SnoopyLogan was upbeat and in a good mood when we arrived at the dentist’s office.  However, as soon as it was time for him to get into the patient chair, Logan was not happy.  He did allow the hygienist to put on the paper bib; but after that, he was not ready to cooperate in any way.   Logan did not want to lean back in the chair, didn’t want to open his mouth, and wanted nothing to do with the tooth polisher.  His favorite hygienist (mine, too!) who has always been so good with him in the past was called in to take over.  Another hygienist had to hold his legs, and I had to hold his arms and keep his torso down.  Logan screamed quite a bit, sometimes clenched his teeth, and was terrified again.  He’d been such a brave, big guy at his last cleaning; but today, it was as if that good experience had never occurred.  Logan’s extreme oral sensitivity took over; and he was, once again, just a scared little boy who wanted the torture to stop.

Toothy thumbs upI was so glad when Logan’s dental cleaning was over.  Holding him down was physically exhausting, and the whole experience is mentally and emotionally draining.  I had hoped that a “restraint team” would not be needed for dental appointments anymore after our good experience in February, but today’s experience made it clear how much just one negative experience can set Logan back.

The dentist came to look at Logan’s teeth after today’s cleaning, and Logan cried and had to be held down again.  The dentist then gave me the unwelcome news that Logan’s mouth is never going to be large enough to accomodate his full set of permanent teeth.  He is going to have to have serial (as in ‘a series of’) extractions as different permanent teeth come in.  It will essentially be orthodontia  by extraction, with the removal of some teeth making room for others to move into place.  This was not exactly the best news after seeing what a setback the recent extractions were to all of the progress Logan had made with his oral sensitivity issues relating to dental care.

The roughest part of the morning, however, had not yet occurred.  After the morning’s dental experiences (cleaning with the hygienist and “restraint team” plus inspection with the Dentist and a repeat performance), which terrified Logan and exhausted me, Logan would innocently do something else that terrified me and still has me shaken and on the verge of tears.  We had gone to the billing desk on our way out of the building after Logan was released by the Dentist.  Logan got a drink from the nearby water fountain while I talked to the billing clerk.  She  could not find a record of our payment for the extraction, even though I knew that my husband, Travis, had paid.  I tried to call Travis, but he didn’t answer.  Then, I texted him to have him call the dental office, giving him the phone number and the name of the lady in billing.  As I was texting Travis, Logan walked behind me and out to the waiting room.  There are toys and books for the children in that area, so I was glad that he would be occupied.  The billing clerk continued to check her computer to attempt to locate our payment.  She finally found it.  Our dentist office has our 5 sons who are their patients in 2 separate accounts.  This was a mistake made a long time ago, but they tell me that they cannot fix it without deleting all of the records for the boys that would be moved from one account to the other.  In this instance, the double accounts for our family caused the billing issue.  The payment for Logan’s extraction had been credited to the account that includes some of our other boys but not Logan.  Finally, the issue was settled so that we could leave.  But, where was Logan?

Whenever I am afraid I will trust

I walked into the waiting room, and Logan was nowhere to be found.  I asked some of the parents if they’d seen him, and then I headed outside.  I thought that he might have gone to our Suburban in the parking lot.  I was beginning to get panicky.  The building our Dentist uses is located just off a very busy multi-lane road behind a thriving business.  The side street on another side of the building is also very busy, with 5 lanes of traffic at the intersection of those 2 thoroughfares.  Logan does not understand dangers like busy streets or strangers.  Anything could happen to him.  He could be anywhere.  I pushed past the rising fear and kept calling Logan’s name as I approached our vehicle.  There was no sign of him.

Where are youI turned around to run back inside.  One sweet Mom met me halfway back to the building to ask if I’d found him yet.  When I got back inside, I was not shy at all about letting the office staff and everyone within earshot know that my little boy was missing and has Autism.  Although I had kept my voice as calm as I could and didn’t speak loudly, there was enough fear in my tone and panic in my eyes to send the office staff scrambling.  It took about 3 minutes for Logan to be found, inside the building, in a corner of the room where his cleaning had been done.

Although I am very thankful that Logan is safe, the thought of what could have happened really shook me.  It’s not as though we only have to be concerned about where Logan is when he is at the Dentist’s office, either.  No matter where we go, Logan could disappear around a corner in a matter of seconds and be in a busy parking lot or street.  He could become lost in the wooded areas between subdivisions.  We have been aware of this issue for some time now, and every close call only makes me more concerned.  Once, this past year, Logan got away from his teacher and aides at school.  They found him later on the playground.  Once, a few months ago, Logan left our yard and our cul-de-sac.  Travis found him wandering down another street in our neighborhood.  We have been talking very seriously about getting a tracking bracelet for Logan, and I am sure that we will be looking into that as soon as possible.  That could give us some peace of mind in knowing that if he were to get lost, there would be a way to locate him.  I don’t know how quickly the locating process works, but he could still be in the middle of a busy street faster than we could get to him.  I have to give my fears to the Lord, and we have to do our best to continue teaching him about dangers.  Even so, I know deep down that he can be very unaware when he is in his own little world and that he might quote a line from Buzz Lightyear if he was asked for his address.  His knowledge can only protect him if he understands why it is important, and therein lies the problem.  Even though I know that we can’t totally protect Logan from everything, I am still human enough to be emotional after an experience like this morning.

Mommy's boy drawingAs we drove into the driveway about an hour ago, I said something very normal to Logan.  I said, “We’re home!”.  Immediately, my mind flew into emotional mode, thinking that both of us had made it home.  My eyes filled with tears… tears for a scared little boy, tears for a terrified Mom, tears for the innocence that makes him so vulnerable, tears for a close call, tears for the panicked moments of not knowing, tears for more dental trauma to come… and tears of thankfulness that we have survived thus far.  Thank you, Lord!   Our rough morning could have been much rougher.

 

Epilogue

After a few hours had passed, I had gained further perspective.  Logan was totally unaware that he was ever ‘lost’.  He knew exactly where he was the whole time.  For him, the smiles and and happy mood had returned quickly.  He mentioned several times throughout the day, “You went to the Dentist Doctor.”  (referring to himself)  He had a great feeding therapy session the same afternoon and was glad to play with his brothers when we returned home.  I’m also glad.  The hugs, the smiles, and the sweet little voice are such precious gifts.  Thank you, Lord, for Logan.  🙂

Mother’s Day 2013

Happy Mothers Day flowerpotPrayers and blessings to Mothers everywhere!  You are a special gift to those you care for.

I must say that I’ve had a wonderful week-end and a decadent Mother’s Day.  I am so blessed! On Friday, when our boys got home from school, my husband, Travis, and I were still working in the yard.  Camden (one of our 7 year old twin boys) came to the backyard to keep me company, while twin brother Austin chattered happily to his Dad in the front yard.  Camden was my sweet little helper buddy for a while, and then Austin came to the backyard, too.  At that point, both boys began picking flowers and bringing them to me, telling me that they love me and that they were bringing the flowers to me because it was almost Mothers’ Day.  They picked tiny yellow weed flowers and larger (half dollar size) white flowers from a flowering bush.  Since neither of them can keep a secret, they could not wait to tell me about the gifts that they had made at school and at church.  “I’m not supposed to tell you, but….”, they would say.  I heard all about the paper tea pots with a tea bag inside that they’d made at church.  Camden informed me that he had added paper “steam” to his teapot’s spout and that he wanted to share the tea with me since he likes tea.  From school, Camden had brought home a laminated placemat that he’d made for me.  It was already on the table.  Apparently, that was the first thing he did when he got home, since he was in the backyard with me in just a few minutes.  🙂

Austin's Paper flowerpot gift

Austin’s Paper flowerpot gift

Austin told me that he had made a paper flower pot with flowers that pull out.  It was already on my bed when I came upstairs later (to shower after my yard work was finished).  Each flower does pull out, and he had written on the stems his “I love you because…” reasons.  The orange tulip stem said, “You are nice.”   The blue one says, “You by me toys.”   The pink tulip’s stem proclaims, “You take care of me.”  The red one says, “You are sweet.”  And, finally, the purple one says, “You help me lern.”  I can just see him concentrating and cutting out all of those flowers with his little first grade hands.  His phonetic spelling and the way he sometimes forgets to put space between words just makes it even sweeter.  🙂

The frame our boys made at Respite, with a photo of all 6 boys

The frame our boys made at Respite, with a photo of all 6 boys

On Saturday, our younger 3 boys went to Respite care at our church (for special needs children and their siblings).  They came home with a Mother’s Day picture frame that they had made.  Our two biggest boys, Jared and Zach (ages 19 and 13) had helped us while the younger boys were gone to do some furniture moving, which we desperately needed to do.  Some furniture and musical equipment came down 2 flights of stairs, and some went up a flight.  Rooms were cleaned and re-arranged as we all worked together.  Having them willingly help their Dad and me with the heavy lifting was a great Mother’s Day week-end treat for me.   Having our younger boys so well cared for at Respite for several hours that day was also a great gift from all of the volunteers who help with that ministry.  🙂

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!

I got to talk to my Mom on Saturday afternoon, and the beautiful card she’d sent also arrived that day.  Of course, I’d planned to call her this week-end, but Mom is always the early bird.  She called me before I had a chance to call her.  While we were talking, she told me how she so often thinks of her own mother, my Grandmama Tinsley, who passed away due to cancer when I was 3 years old and my brother was a newborn.  I wish I’d had the opportunity to know Grandmama, but I feel that I know her to some extent from the stories that my Mom has told me.  Her name was Pearl, and she had a broad twinkly-eyed smile in every photograph I’ve ever seen of her, including one in which the family is celebrating my first birthday.  Pearl raised 8 children, passing away when her youngest, my Aunt Sandra, was only 13.  My mom has talked about wash days with the big iron pot in the front yard over a fire, improvised child gates made from chairs laid on their sides, the quantities of food that Mom’s 5 brothers would eat, and the way that her mother sang as she worked.  That “working song” gene was definitely passed down.  My mother often sang hymns or songs like “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”  (Come to think of it, I often sing as I work, too.)  🙂

eggplantGrandmama Pearl was inventive and hard working.  She kept her family fed and cared for during the great depression and throughout the rationing of World War II.  These are all things that I already knew, but my Mom told me a story on Saturday that I’d never heard before.  She said something about living in Florida and totally surprised me.  I only knew about her family homes in Ft. Mill, Liberty, and Easley, South Carolina; so I said, “I never knew you lived in Florida!”  Then Mom told me about how her father was promised a job as a construction foreman on a bridge build and moved the entire family (5 children at the time, I think) to Florida.  When they arrived, the job and the pay were not as promised, so they lived in Florida less than a year and experienced some very lean times.  At one point, Mom’s oldest sibling, her brother Ansel, was sent to a nearby field to glean some produce (legally) after the harvesting had already been done.  He took a flour sack to carry his gathered food and came home with it full of eggplant.  As my Grandmama Pearl would later say when this incident was discussed, “We ate eggplant rough and eggplant tough until we’d had eggplant enough!”  🙂

The front of my Mothers' Day card from Mom

The front of my Mothers’ Day card from Mom

My own mother learned from Grandmama Pearl and could stretch a grocery dollar until it whimpered.  Somehow, we always had all that we needed, even when my Dad was in graduate school.  My Mom is still a wonder is so many ways, carrying on bravely after my Dad’s passing in 2004.  She sold their condo, bought a house on her own for the first time, had some remodeling done, lived there for several years, and sold the house to move cross country and be near my brother and sister and their families.  She lives in a senior adult apartment complex that has a lot of common space and great amenities, and she always has a busy schedule keeping up with all of the activities and outings with friends.  She just joined the church she’s been attending, and she is still at work blessing the lives of others.  You can’t beat her to a phone call, and you certainly can’t ever out-give her.  I love my Mom.  🙂

????????????????????????On Sunday, my husband, Travis, who is a Minister of Music and Worship, went to church early, as usual. Our six boys and I were only two minutes late for early Praise Band/Praise Team and Orchestra rehearsal, which was great.  I was actually the first Praise Team member there (by just a few seconds, though).  Our oldest son, Jared, age 19, went to his Dad’s office during the early rehearsal, where he and I would later have our own Sunday School class. (I am studying with him through the gospel of John.)  Our son Zachary, who just turned 13, went on upstairs to the youth department.  During rehearsal, our four youngest boys were really good in the Worship Center.  They were just a little active, running around through the pews as the worship team rehearsed.  It was a little ironic to be singing a worship song about waiting on the Lord that began with the words, “Be still …” while watching their constant motion.  Even that was a blessing, though, knowing that they are healthy and happy.  🙂

When it was time for Sunday School, I took the four youngest downstairs to their classes.  Logan’s class had combined with the class that Austin and Camden are in for their “Muffins with Mom” breakfast, so Austin brought me orange juice and then Camden brought me a muffin.  It was sweet to watch all of the children serving their Moms and then sitting down to eat with them.  Logan was roaming around the room a bit.  He has Autism, and sometimes he just needs a little time to be Logan.  He was in a very good mood, though.  Camden and Austin gave me the paper teapot cards they had made, with the teabags and a hand-written “Happy Mothers’ Day” message inside.  🙂

Mothers' Day teapot card from Camden

Mothers’ Day teapot card from Camden (with steam!)

Camden stressed to me once more that he wanted to share the tea with me, so we’ll have to do that some time this week.  Logan had made cute little owl magnets.  🙂

Mothers' Day owl magnets from Logan

Mothers’ Day owl magnets from Logan

After attending “Muffins for Mom” with our 3 youngest boys, I went to Braden’s 3rd grade Sunday School class for more “Muffins with Mom”.  Braden was a sweetheart, as usual.  I didn’t need another muffin, but he presented me with a gift bag that had some fragrant hand soap and a printed bookmark that had been personalized with Braden’s answers to some questions about me.  Here are the statements, with his answers underlined.

My mother looks beautiful when she wears a white shirt with sparkles.

My favorite meal that my mother makes for me is macaroni and cheese.

I enjoy spending time with my mother when we work around the house together.

hug even tighterI feel most loved when my mother hugs me.

My mother teaches me about Jesus by telling me.

I love my mother because she prays with me.

I show love to my mother by hugging her.

🙂  Isn’t he the sweetest 3rd grader ever!  🙂

After attending the Mother’s Day “Muffins with Mom” events downstairs, I went back upstairs for Sunday School in Travis’ office with Jared.  We had a great lesson.  It’s always good for me to hear his thoughts about scripture and how God’s word relates to life.  I must say that even though I have a little bit of tech savviness, I am still getting used to the fact that his Bible is on his phone.

Both of our teen-agers were sweet with their Mother’s Day greetings.  When we were at home, Jared gave me a big hug and told me he loved me and “Happy Mother’s Day!”, and Zach did all of those things plus he gave me a kiss on the cheek!  It’s always good when teens appreciate and show respect and love for parents and for others who are helping them through life.  🙂

We had an incredible worship service at church.  To me, it seemed a victorious and hopeful service that really lifted up the Lord and brought glory to His name while also ministering to people (including me!).  Mothers were honored at one point in the service by having all of the Moms stand up.  There are so many wonderful women who attend our church, and I am so blessed to know many of these amazing Moms as well as other wonderful women who love the Lord and love people.  Some of the incredible ladies I know don’t have children of their own but have such loving and nurturing qualities that they bless the lives of everyone they know!).  🙂

Our twins, Austin and Camden, at a Firehouse Subs in Arkansas in 2010 (on the way home from a trip to Oklahoma).

Our twins, Austin and Camden, at a Firehouse Subs in Arkansas in 2010 (on the way home from a trip to Oklahoma).

After church, our family went to Firehouse Subs for lunch.  Their sandwiches are so good, and our boys love it.  (Me, too!)  The best part is that the location closest to our home currently has a “kids eat free” promotion on Sundays, which is great for our large family (Mom and Dad plus 6 boys).  Our boys enjoy picking out their own bag of chips and then getting a drink with the fountain machine that will mix your personal choice of soda.  When we first started going to Firehouse, we would come home with 5 of the plastic firehats.  They’ve almost outgrown that, but Austin and Logan still got a hat on Sunday.  What a joy it is to be with my family and hear their conversations.  I realize how much they have grown and learned.  They are such awesome boys!  🙂

The back of Braden's handmade Mother's Day card from school

The back of Braden’s handmade Mother’s Day card from school

When we got home, there were more gifts and cards.  I don’t deserve all of this, but I sure am blessed!  The sweet card that all of the boys signed says, “There’s only one of you for all of us, but that’s okay…  you always have plenty of love to go around.!”  Camden drew a stick figure Mom holding out a big heart.  🙂  Braden also had a bag of gifts that he had made from school.  There was a hand-painted flowerpot, some seeds, a laminated bookmark with a poem about mothers and a picture of Braden and Travis on the back, and a card that Braden had made that says, “Moms make children blossom.  My favorite part of that card was what Braden wrote on the back.  🙂

Logan had a gift for me in his backpack, too.  He had written a gift card himself (the first time he has ever done that), and it said “For Mom, Love, Logan”.  That is huge for him.  The gift his teacher put together was so sweet.  I will scan it like I have several of the other things and post the photo below.  It is a black and white photo of Logan, holding a heart that he had colored, with the words “I Love You” written on the heart.  Logan had written “Mommy” on the mat above the photo and his own name below in pink crayon.  The photo was in a black frame, but I did remove it briefly for scanning.  Here it is!  🙂

Logan loves Mommy

Logan loves Mommy

Our daughter, Meredith, is older than the boys.  She is married and lives in Oklahoma, so I didn’t get to see her.  She sent me an online greeting with a “Happy Mother’s Day” graphic and a message about how much she loves and misses me.  What a blessing it is to be able to communicate!  We can say, “I love you” through the internet or during a phone call and talk to each other as though we were in the same room.  Even though we are far apart, we can still stay close at heart! 🙂

Mothers Day graphic sent by our daughter as her e-card

Mothers Day graphic sent by our daughter as her e-card

ice cream freezerThe day was far from over.  I had not slept well the night before, so I actually had the luxury of taking a short nap Sunday afternoon.  Travis had an idea for a Mother’s Day treat for the whole family, so he went to the grocery store and purchased ingredients for home-made ice cream.  We had not made home-made ice cream in several years, so it was fun to see and hear the excited reactions of our younger boys to the process.  Travis made Butterfinger ice cream, and it was a very decadent treat after supper.  Travis cooked supper (grilled), and then he cleaned up the kitchen.  I was a totally spoiled Mom.  🙂

For me, it didn’t take expensive gifts like clothing or jewelry or flowers to feel loved and appreciated.  I enjoy all of those things as much as anyone, but the home-made and spontaneous expressions of love always mean the most.  Those tiny yellow weed flowers (blue-bell shaped, but I don’t know what they are called) were more beautiful than a professionally arranged bouquet because they were given with the purest love and a little boy sweetness, with a desire to say, “I love you.”  The hugs and the help and the “queen for a day” treatment were better than a spa day to me.  There have been past Mother’s Days when doing anything was an afterthought (as in a trip to the grocery store to buy a card after returning home from church), and there have been times when there were nice gifts that were given.  But whether my hubby was so busy giving of himself to our family (as he does all of the time) that he was a little late on preparation for Mother’s day or whether there were flowers and gifts or homespun treats, these Boyd men know how to let me know they love me.  When I get a little overwhelmed with all of the maleness around here, it’s a good thing to remember the loving hearts that go along with the messy footprints and stinky laundry.   I love them all dearly!  🙂

I know that it is a bit indulgent to share all of the details that I’ve shared in this post.  For me, it is definitely a story about the blessings of life and love, home and family, and a special day now and then.  Since I stay so busy with all of the chores that must be done, I don’t get as much done as far as keeping a chronicle of family memories as I should, so this is say to my family that they are awesome and that I love them all dearly… on Mother’s Day and on every day.  🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂  And, oh yes, I am blessed!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day and every day to all of the Moms out there! 

Count your blessings, sweet friends!  So many loving and nurturing women never have the opportunity to become a Mom.  You are so blessed!

A wise friend once counseled me to enjoy each stage of my life, even with its difficulties.  She said that too many people effectively put off their own happiness by saying or thinking, “I’ll really be happy (or glad) when _______________ .”   Fill in the blank.  Are you waiting for a developmental milestone or for more independence for your children, a career boost for yourself or your husband, a move to your dream house or anything else before you really claim the happiness you could be enjoying today?  Don’t wait!  Take charge and determine to be happy right where you are, at this time in your life.  Don’t waste another day missing what you’ve never had.  Be thankful for what you do have, and move forward with such a contagious joy that you lighten the load for your entire family.  You can do it!  🙂

Happy Mothers Day photo pink azaleaHere’s short verse for you, Mom!
(from Braden’s bookmark made at school)

“Thank you for watering me with love,

feeding me with encouragement,

and nourishing me with time and energy.

I am growing beautiful because of you!”

Amen!

These are the days

These are the days of scattered sneakers, backpacks, hoodies, and homework. backpacks and hoodies

This is a time when super heros and cars that have names and faces inhabit our household.

This is a time when every moment is characterized and enriched by the tangible evidence of life and health and six active boys.

For example, our homework helper baskets include crayons, pencils, markers, scissors, rulers, glue sticks, and large erasers.

Dirty socks multiply under the furniture in the den.  Little toys and treasures and pieces of toys migrate everywhere.

Someone keeps un-screwing the knobs on cabinets, drawers and furniture.

Keeping the pantry full is a constant endeavor, thwarted by six hungry boys.

Laundry overflowingLaundry overflows the hampers like lava flowing down the sides of an active volcano.

Pocket treaures must be extricated before washing clothing.  (Actually, those tiny postage-stamp size DS games still work once they dry out.)

The boys’ bathroom upstairs is decorated with monkeys….even when there are no boys inside.

Said bathroom is generally not pristine.

Our garage houses no cars but does shelter 7 bicycles, an assortment of water guns, and outdoor play gear of every description.

Family vacations are not a vacation at all for Mom and Dad, but they are worth it!

Keeping some semblance of order and sanity is an ongoing challenge; but we wouldn’t have it any other way, because these are the days.

Yes, these are the days…

These are the days of sweet handmade gifts

*  little boy hugs

* *  sticky fingers

* * *  laughter and silliness

* * * *  report cards and learning

* * * * *  Bible stories at bedtime

* * * * * *  big boy hugs

* * * * * * *  fervent prayers

* * * * * * * *  lessons from life

* * * * * * * * *  learning to follow, learning to lead

* * * * * * * * * *  and boys in the process of becoming men.

Our six boys with Dad

Our six boys with Dad

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Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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One Brave Little Boy

I took Logan to the Dentist last week.  It was a rather odd morning, but it was full of grace and the astounding bravery of one very special little boy.  Before I tell about Logan’s recent Dentist visit, I must tell some of his story.  It is only with an understanding of how far Logan has come that the full extent of his little boy effort and bravery can be appreciated.

every goo and perfect gift scripture

Taking Logan to the Dentist has always been an event that required great exertion, both physically and emotionally.  Logan has special needs.  He has Autism.  For a long time, language eluded him.  What was abundantly clear, even before he could verbalize his preferences, was that Logan had major issues with anything touching his face, especially around the mouth area, and that he would not bite or chew.

Logan had come to live with us at age 2, as a little lost soul.  He was a prisoner of his own lonely world, captive to the disconnect that we call Autism.   We went to work on connecting with Logan through love, through music, through therapy, through observing what he liked and reponded to and then using those things to reach out, through security and routine, and through prayer.  Many others have come alongside our family to love and help Logan.  Therapists and Teachers, Developmental Specialists, people at church, friends who cared, family, and other school and pre-school personnel have all had a part in Logan’s journey.  Oh, how he has been loved!

Little Logan in a happy moment

Little Logan in a happy moment during one of our heart to heart connection sessions

When Logan was two and three and four, we had a routine.  After feeding him, I spent time with him one on one.  He was still strapped into his little booster seat, and my chair was facing his chair.  We were face to face and heart to heart.  Logan had shown us that he loved music with his little sing-song babbles, so music became our tool.  I tried all of the action songs that I knew, moving Logan’s hands and arms for the motions.   I sang other little songs and made up motions to go with them.  Logan could not find the entrance to his little world with me right in front of him, singing to him and moving his arms.  He began to make eye contact and to engage.  Some of his favorites were “The Little Shoemaker”, “Deep and Wide,” “Eensy Weensy Spider,” “The Wonder Pets” theme song, and “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.”  Logan liked the part where I would touch his the top of his head, his shoulders, his knees and his toes.  When I got to the part about the “Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Nose” it was a different story, though.  He still liked the music, but he did not want me to touch his face.   He would duck his little head down as far as he could into his chest.  He would turn his body sideways, squirming away from the unwelcome face contact.  He finally got to the point where he would tolerate the touching of his eyes (just below or above) and ears during the song, but the nose and mouth were still off limits.

Logan’s extreme oral sensitivity not only meant that anything close to his mouth was a no-touching zone.  It meant that chewing and biting were out of the question for several years (though he is now doing this some in feeding therapy, tolerating more texture in his food than ever before, and we are working on it).  It also meant that brushing Logan’s teeth was an aerobic exercise for Mom and Dad.  For a very long time, it took both of us and every ounce of our strength to brush his teeth.  I would sit on a low bench in the little guys’ bedroom (shared by Logan and his younger twin brothers), and I would have him standing in  front of me, with his back to me.  I would cross my legs over his to keep his legs still and cross my arms over his chest, grasping both of his arms, to keep them still.  Travis’ job was to attempt to hold his head still and brush his teeth.  It was like wrestling an octopus.  An arm or leg or both would wriggle free and flail wildly during the process.  Added to the physical challenge of keeping him still was the fact that his jaw was clamped tightly shut, his lips were pressed together, and his head was in constant motion.  We did the best we could, and one of us always held him for a while after brushing teeth until he calmed down and our heart rate got back to normal.  Whew!   The torture was over!

dentist chairBrushing Logan’s teeth used to be a tough challenge, but it was nothing compared to the challenge of taking him to the Dentist.   Travis and I used to plan to both be there and to make sure that our other children were either in school or pre-school or being cared for elsewhere.   We had to devote all of our energies to Logan and to trying to assist the dental staff to make sure that a cleaning could happen.  When Logan’s name was called, we would both go back with him.  One time, Travis sat on the chair with Logan in his lap, holding him to keep him from jumping down and running away.  I kept Logan’s legs still while Travis kept his body on the chair.  At other visits, we were on either side of Logan attempting to hold him down.  Usually, it took the two of us and three people from the Dentist’s office.  One staffer held Logan’s arms, while another kept his head in her grasp to try to not only keep it still but also to keep it turned in the direction necessary for the work that was being done.  The third staffer, the hygienist, tried to clean his teeth.  Logan would be screaming, hysterical, angry, upset, crying, and snotty.  But, mostly, he was a scared little boy totally out of his comfort zone, in a scary and unfamiliar place with people he didn’t know, and battling with both his Autism and the extreme oral sensitivity that caused the dental experience to be for him the equivalent of horrific torture.  I must stress that the staffers at our pediatric dentist were wonderful, patient, and kind in dealing with Logan, but this is still how it was for a long time.

Logan feeding himself in 2010

Logan feeding himself in 2010

Logan has had a lot of therapy over the years to address many developmental needs.  During speech and occupational therapy, the oral sensitivity issues were addressed to some degree, gradually overcoming some of his fear and increasing his tolerance for things touching his face and mouth.  It has been a slow process, but progress has been made.  This Fall, we have been able to begin working with a therapist who is helping Logan to overcome his fear and sensitivity issues related to eating.  We have already seen some progress, but this process is going to take a while.  Travis and I have been gradually increasing the texture in Logan’s food for several years.  It becomes clear very quickly when we need to back off and have pushed him too far.  At that point, he stops eating altogether.  We are careful to continue pushing him but not too far so that he can maintain a healthy diet and continue to grow.  At age 8, Logan is tolerating quite a bit of texture now, but he still does not bite or chew his food.  He just swallows.  He learned to drink from a straw about a month ago.  His oral sensitivity always prevented him from wanting a straw anywhere near his mouth, but years of therapy and the addition of the feeding therapy have finally allowed him to overcome this hurdle.  He took a couple of bites of a cracker a few weeks ago in therapy, but it freaked him out so much that his therapist has had to back off on trying to get him to bite for a while and focus on changing up some other things instead.  We are more than hopeful that Logan will be biting and chewing sometime during this year.  We are counting on it!  After all, we have seen progress in several areas.  Logan now lets us brush his teeth and does his best to cooperate.  It is still hard for him.  It’s hard for him to open his mouth wide enough for us to brush, hard to keep it open, really hard to tolerate the brush going past the teeth in front to the deeper parts of his mouth, and difficult for him to remember to keep his tongue out of the way.  However, he is not fighting it or screaming.  He is trying, and that effort is happening in spite of the fact that he still hates it.

At the Dentist’s office, there have been improvements in Logan’s tolerance as well.  The last couple of times Logan had an appointment, I’ve been able to take him by myself.  It has not been necessary for my husband to be there as well.  Instead of 3 staffers helping in order to get his teeth cleaned, we have been able to have only one other than the hygienist (to hold Logan’s head and turn it the right way).  I’ve still had to hold Logan’s hands and keep him on the chair, but he has not been as wild and crazy as he used to be.  One of the times when he had his teeth cleaned, he had a message for the hygienist after she was finished.  He pointed at her and said, “You bad!”  Other times, he would just be screaming by the end of the cleaning.  Once, the Dentist came to check his teeth after the cleaning was finished and gave him a talking to about the screaming.  That seemed to make an impression on him.  Having the dentist talk to Logan like a big boy + all of the therapy he’s had + the patience of the dental staffers during multiple visits over the last few years + Logan’s ability to communicate more effectively that he used to + a little more maturity and life experience + perhaps a gradual recognition on Logan’s part that a visit to the Dentist was survivable = a real breakthrough!

dentist appointment reminderSo, last Thursday morning, I took Logan to the dentist.  I signed him in and sat down in the waiting room.  A few minutes later, I was called to the appointment desk and asked what Logan was supposed to have done.  My husband had actually made this appoinment, so I said that I assumed it was for a cleaning.  The office staff told me they could not find an appointment for him on the schedule, so I said that perhaps it was because Logan’s permanent teeth had come in behind his baby teeth on the bottom and the Dentist may have wanted to re-evaluate the two rows of teeth.  Meanwhile, two ladies were searching and scanning all of the appointments on their computers and still not finding anything.  One of them said that they could go ahead and get the Dentist to look at Logan’s teeth again since we were there and that they would work him in.  I sat down in the waiting room, confused about the whole thing.  I knew that my husband would not have a non-existant appointment on his calendar, so the whole thing did not make sense.   I decided to try to make the most of the fact that I’d taken Logan out of school for this phantom appointment, so I went back to the desk and asked whether there was any way that Logan could be worked in to the schedule for a cleaning since we were there.  Again, two ladies scanned and checked their computers; and I was told that Logan would be able to get his teeth cleaned.  Victory!   Then, the office staff told me that Logan’s cleaning appointment was really supposed to be in February, with two of his brothers.  We usually try to schedule all 5 of our younger boys within a week (our oldest son goes to a different Dentist), so I asked about the other two boys and then found out that the office still did not have all 5 of our boys listed together as belonging to the same family.  Three of them were in one group, and our twins were in another.  This computer problem was fixed, and appointments for the twins were added to the February date.  About this time, Logan’s name was called, so I accompanied him back to the area where cleanings are done, still wondering why his appointment for that day was not showing up on the office computers.

A recent photo of Logan

A recent photo of Logan

From the beginning of that day, even though I had office mix-ups to handle, Logan was a little gentleman.  That morning, he was excited about going to the Dentist!  Wonder of wonders!  We used to avoid telling him.  Then, as soon as we pulled into the parking lot at the Dentist’s office, he would start saying, “No!  No!”; but on this morning, he went willingly and happily.  He played while while we were waiting and shared with a younger child who was there.  When his name was called, I didn’t have to carry him or drag him to the chair.  He walked back on his own, climbed up in the chair by himself, and did everything he was told to do (scoot up on the chair, wear sunglasses provided by the office to block the glare from the light, lean forward to have the cord for the ‘bib’ fastened around his neck, etc.).  The hygienist who worked with him and cleaned his teeth is so wonderful.  I would even go so far as to say that it is impossible that anyone could have done a better job with him than she did that morning.  She talked to him so sweetly, and he really responded well.  He was communicating with her, answering her questions (“Do you want some water?”, “Can you turn your head for me?”), and he was even telling her when he was not ready or was uncomfortable.  Having help from another staffer was not even necessary.  It was just the hygienist, Logan, and me.  I did hold Logan’s hands to keep him from reaching up to grab for a tool or the hygienist’s hands if something bothered him, but I did not have to hold him down on the chair for most of the cleaning.  He was actually relaxed and trusting.  It was like witnessing a miracle.  The oral sensitivity issues were not gone by any means, but he was choosing to conquer them by willing himself to be still and to cooperate.  He was such a brave little man!   When he was not quite ready for something, he would say, “No, thank you.”  in a very civil tone of voice.  He would reach his tolerance level for opening wide and saying “Ah”, and then he would have a suggestion for the hygienist.  “Say ‘eee'”, he would tell her.  (That’s what we have him say when we are trying to brush his front teeth.)   She would comply and work on the front teeth for a little while and then get him to open wide once more.  He was so incredibly good through the entire cleaning.  He even tolerated and allowed the flossing with no protest.  He did look panicky when the hygienist held up the long string of floss; but after she explained that she was using it to clean in between his teeth, Logan allowed the flossing even though it was clearly very uncomfortable for him.  Finally, the hygienist was ready for the polishing paste on the rotating rubber cup that serves as the tooth polisher.  That freaked Logan out.  The combination of an unfamiliar taste and too much stuff in his mouth was gagging him, and I did have to hold his torso down for a few minutes to keep him from trying to sit up or get out of the chair.  He was not screaming, but he was making some noises of discomfort (ugh, ahrg, ah).  The rinsing and the clearing by “Mr. Thirsty” (the vacuum tube, which Logan was able to use properly when I told him to ‘kiss’ it and got a proper pucker) did help some, and the whole procedure was finally finished.  Logan was quite ready to get down, but I did get him to say, “Thank you.”  This was the best he had ever done for a Dentist appointment!  However, our dental experience was not yet complete.

Just as Logan was getting out of the chair, another staffer from the Dentist’s office came to tell me that they had finally located Logan’s appointment and that what he had been supposed to have was an extraction.  I was totally shocked at this news.  At Logan’s last visit, the Dentist had decided to wait on extracting any of the teeth in Logan’s two bottom rows (where the permanent teeth were coming in behind the baby ones).  She was hopeful that the baby teeth would come out on their own and an extraction would not be needed.  However, she did say that she wanted to see him again and would extract teeth later if necessary.  I think that what happened was that a follow-up visit to re-evaluate the extra row of teeth was scheduled; and the Dentist later may have requested that her staff schedule extra time for an extraction on that day, just in case she decided to remove any teeth during the appointment.  We were never told that an extraction time had been set up.  Hence, the mix-up about not knowing what type of appointment to have the office staff locate on their schedule.  At this point, I was not sure that Logan was going to tolerate any more oral intrusion after what he’d just been through with the gagging and discomfort during the application of the polishing paste; but the Dentist was ready to re-evaluate his teeth and perhaps do an extraction.  However, first she wanted an X-ray.

X rayOff we went to an X-ray room.  Logan was kind of quiet, but he walked into the room and willingly climbed up into the chair.  He didn’t protest when the lead apron was placed over him.  Then, the X-ray technician was ready for him to place the camera into his mouth.  The camera housing was a pill-box sized brown plastic rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick, with a long cord dangling from it.  Without knowing Logan’s oral sensitivity issues or about the fact that he didn’t bite or chew and has a strong aversion to the cookies and crackers that people have always tried to get him to eat, the X-ray Technician said something that I just knew would have Logan running for the hills.  She said, “You just have to bite down on it like you are biting a cookie.”  The young woman had no idea that she was saying this to a little boy who never bit and chewed on toys or teethers, never chewed his food, and who was in special feeding therapy to overcome this very issue.  She had no way of knowing that only a month before, Logan had a 10 minute long meltdown at his therapy just because his therapist had brought a cracker into the room.  She wasn’t aware that Logan had successfully taken a tiny bite at two therapy sessions in a row, only to then become so freaked out about biting that his therapist had been forced to back off on trying to repeat it (still his current status).  I waited for Logan to cry or jump out of the chair, but he just sat there.  I didn’t say anything to the X-ray Tech at that point because it takes too long to explain and because I wanted to give Logan a chance to be my big, brave boy once more.  He did not disappoint.  Bless his little heart.  The Technician told him to open wide, and he did.  She told him to bite down on the plastic camera housing, and he did.  However, he was unable to hold the thing in his mouth long enough; and she missed her opportunity for an X-ray on the first try.  At that point, I said, “He has extreme oral sensitivity and normally doesn’t bite or chew.  We can try again, but it’s going to have to be quick.”  She got her cord in hand with the go button and repeated the insertion of the camera housing.  Once again, Logan was a trooper.  He opened wide and bit down.  She was quick and got the X-ray on attempt #2.  I didn’t even leave the room or have protective radiation blocking.  Sometimes a Mom just has to do what a Mom has to do.  If Logan was going to do this incredibly brave thing…twice!…I was going to be right there with him.  The X-ray Tech checked to make sure that the picture was a keeper, and then we were ushered off to another room to await the Dentist.

a bug's life picAgain, Logan walked willingly and got up into the chair willingly.  We didn’t have to wait long for the Dentist.  In the meantime, Logan was distracted for a few minutes by the wall-mounted television in the room, playing part of the “Bug’s Life” movie, which is one of his favorites.  However, when the Dentist came in to look at his teeth, Logan had reached his limit.  He would not cooperate with her at all as far as turning his head the way she needed and opening his mouth.  A staffer had to help, and I was on duty holding Logan’s arms again.   The Dentist turned to me and explained that she was going to extract two of his baby teeth, which would allow the permanent teeth to begin moving forward and then hopefully crowd out the remaining baby teeth.  However, because Logan had reached his limit and was not cooperative, she would not be doing the extraction on that day.  She was going to need to have him anesthetized, with both medication and laughing gas.  We would have to come back on another day, and he would have to be out of school for the whole day.  The extractions would be really quick, but the effects of the anesthesia would take up to 7 hours to wear off.  We will go back next week for this procedure.  Once again, both Dad and Mom will be there.  Hopefully, we can get this done without too much trauma.

I was really braveAs I drove Logan to school after his appointment, I reflected on the way that events had transpired and marvelled at the progress that Logan has made and at his extraordinary effort and bravery on that day.  I am thankful that the computer issues happened that morning.  We were able to get Logan’s cleaning out of the way, and he was able to have the most positive dental experience that he has ever had.  Hopefully, he will remember the good and not be able to remember the extraction.  If he had gone directly in to see the Dentist in the cooperative mood he exhiblited for so long on that day, the Dentist might have tried the extraction without anesthesia (with nitrous oxide and numbing injections only); and the procedure could have been very traumatic for him.  I was so glad that the appointment turned out as it did and that after the extraction, Logan will not have to go back to the Dentist for a while since his cleaning is already done.  Again, I marveled at Logan’s good humor and his bravery.  He tried so hard to be good and to be brave, to do what was asked of him, and to conquer his fears and discomfort for a very long time that morning.  I didn’t think I would have done as well under those circumstances.

I drove a happy little Logan to school.  He was ready to resume his routine, and the Aide from his Moderate Autism 3rd grade class greeted him with a joyful hug.  I explained that he’d just come from the Dentist and had not yet had his lunch.  Our appointment had stretched to almost two hours, and Logan had missed having lunch with his peers.  We send Logan’s lunch to school in his backpack since he has a special diet.  I was glad that I had included a cold pack in Logan’s big food baggie that morning since the appointment had been longer than expected.  The Aide assured me that he could eat in the classroom and that all would be well.  How thankful I am for people like her and for the wonderful Hygienist who was so good and patient.  How thankful I am for unexplainable circumstances and graces like phantom appointments and for the precious gift of a very brave little boy!

God is already there

Update:  Logan’s tooth extraction is over, and he is doing just fine!  My husband, Travis, and I were both there for the procedure, and it took both of us helping (with Travis holding Logan’s legs and me holding the arms) plus the Dentist and 2 assistants to get everything done.  One of the assistants was handing things to the Dentist, and the other one had to use a special tool to keep Logan’s mouth open.  Logan did have anesthesia and laughing gas.  He did very well keeping the mask on his face, but he did not like the numbing of his gums, the process of having sealants put on his back molars, or the extraction.  We did have to work together to hold him still and get it done, but hopefully the anesthesia will prevent him from remembering  it very well.  Logan couldn’t stand up after the procedure, so I was glad that Travis was there to carry him to the car and into the house.  One of the hardest things that day was not being able to let Logan eat breakfast, but he was pretty good about it.  He got his oatmeal with yogurt (his usual breakfast) after he’d been home for a while and was awake enough to eat.  He rested on the couch and watched TV for a couple of hours, and he was fully alert by the time his brothers got home from school.  After that, you wouldn’t have known anything took place.  He’s been a happy camper ever since.  🙂

Update on Logan’s feeding therapy, June, 2013:

Logan is making some really good progress in his feeding therapy. His therapist says it’s unusual because most of her feeding therapy patients have responded best to learning to bite with something crunchy. Not Logan, though. That terrifies him. So, she’s been using Twizzlers with him instead. He was biting the twizzlers that look like a thick straw with ridges first, and he would bite on the end …until it was practically mush but kind of panic if a little piece came off in his mouth. Now, she has him biting on the softer twizzlers that are like strands of the licorice (strawberry or cherry flavored), swirled into a rope-like piece. He has been biting off pieces (about a half inch long), and then he’ll take them out of his mouth and put them on a napkin. At the end of a session, he would have a napkin full of the bite-size pieces. Yesterday, he tried something new and did it throughout the session. He would take the small pieces and bite them in two again (progress toward consecutive biting/chewing). Another great thing is that he began experimenting on his own with doing the biting in different areas of his mouth. Also, his therapist says that the fear element is diminishing significantly. The best part is that he didn’t panic if a small piece came off. He’d just move it around in his mouth with his tongue and then swallow. His therapist has learned how much Logan loves balloons, and now he gets one every time he has a good session (makes progress, does what is asked). That has really worked as a motivator, and he’s gotten a balloon every time since she began using them.  🙂

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Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Boys, Cars, and Blessings

Teaching topics:  Look for blessings, and trust God.

Life can be complicated.  At our house, lots of things are super-sized.  With Dad, Mom, and 6 boys ages 6 to 19, there are a lot of mouths to feed and needs around every corner.  There are many examples of our need for super-sizing through the years.  Some of these relate to the number of children we have, and some super-sized needs have related to the ages of our boys.  The youngest three are one and a half years apart.  By that, I don’t mean that boy #4 is a year and a half older than boy #5, who in turn is a year and a half older than boy #6.  Nope.  Boy #4, Logan, is a year a half older (18 months and 1 week) than twin brothers Camden and Austin, numbers 5 and 6.  Since Logan has special needs, he has often been going through some of the same developmental milestones as his younger twin brothers.  As a result, it was really like having triplets.  In fact, we were often asked if they were triplets.  We had 3 toddler beds for a long time, two high chairs and a strap-on booster seat, three potty chairs lined up in a row, and a double stroller plus a single one.

The blessing of Suburban transportation

For a while, we had to take 2 vehicles everywhere we went in order to transport the whole family.  I know that’s nothing compared to the truly super-sized families like the Duggars, but it is certainly different from anything my husband and I experienced as we were growing up.  I was the oldest of three children, and he was the youngest of three.  We’ve definitely been figuring out how to make things work well for a larger family while on the job.  We were so excited when we were able to buy a 2001 Suburban that was actually large enough to accomodate the four car seats that we were using at the time, plus our two oldest boys and Mom and Dad.  Travis had actually taken our car seats with him as he was looking at vehicles in order to determine which of the vehicles that were advertised as seating 8 could actually accommodate all 4 of the car seats with room for four more people.  The Suburban was the only model he found that could do the job, so we were thrilled when we found a used one in good condition.  It was great to be able to fit the whole family into one vehicle again.   This was about 5 years ago, and Mom and Dad were the only drivers in the bunch.  We were very thankful that one of us could drive while the other tended to any needs which arose during our travels.

Our Suburban is still going strong.  We did have to have the transmission re-built in July, but the occasional repair is preferable to payments.  Now, however, we have hit a snag in our transportation journey.  Our youngest three boys have just outgrown their final and largest car seats and are ready for booster seats.  When they were unable to buckle their straps on Sunday, we knew we had a problem.  So, last night, Travis and I were outside trying to figure out what to do.   Our problem is that our 2001 Suburban does not have a shoulder harness for the center passenger in either the middle row of seating or the back row.  This means that two of our boys will have to ride with no shoulder harness until we are able to find a solution.  We knew this was coming, so Travis had already been looking for a solution online.   He has found a retrofit shoulder harness assembly that mounts to the frame of the car, but it is really made for race car drivers, not for 2 six year old boys and their 8 year old brother who is about the same size.  We have also checked out the car seat options.  We have been unable to find anything but booster seats for boys as old and as big as Logan, Austin, and Camden.  The booster seats all rely on using the car’s seat belt/shoulder harness assembly, so we are back to square one.

After we had worked outside for a while last night and considered all of the options, Travis and I did come up with the new seating arrangement for using boosters.  Both of our biggest boys will have to be on the middle bench due to leg room needs.  Our 19 year old is over 6 feet tall, and our 12 year old is almost as tall as Mom.  It will work fine to have Braden, our 9 old, in the middle of the back bench with Camden in a booster on one side and Logan in a booster on the other.   They will get along well together, and they will have adequate room.  Braden can help the younger two with their seat belts.  It will be fine… except for the fact that Braden will have no shoulder harness.  And on the middle bench, we will have our oldest son, Jared, in the seat that has to be lifted up to allow access to the back bench, where he has been for the last 5 years.  Then, we will have to place Austin on his booster seat in the center of the middle bench and Zach on the other end.   Zach will have to help Austin fasten his seat belt before getting into his own seat.   Our new seating plan takes into account the width of the booster seats and difficulty buckling 2 or more that are side by side, Jared’s and Zach’s long legs, family dynamics such as the fact that Camden and Austin get too loud if seated side by side, and the way that we will function best in the vehicle.  However, again, Austin will have no shoulder harness either.   For now, it is what we have to do, but having 2 boys seated with no shoulder harness restraint is unacceptable from a safety standpoint.

We recognize that we need to provide a better situation as soon as possible, but our options are limited.   We cannot purchase another vehicle at this time.  Our Suburban is paid for and still running well.  We just down-sized our second vehicle so that we could have a more affordable option (3 years older and more gas effiecieny).  It does not make sense to get into a double payment situation.  We have both been brain-storming to try to come up with some solution that will keep our entire family safe.  Last night, after we’d gone back into the house and the boys were all in bed,  a possible solution occurred to me.  I wondered if we could find a replacement bench seat on a newer Suburban which did have shoulder harnesses in the center.   Travis had his I-pad handy and started checking the possibility.  He knew that later model Suburbans have seats that fold into the floor now and would not be compatible with ours.  But, were there some years after 2001 when shoulder harnesses had been added and the seats were otherwise still the same?  Travis has only had time to do a little research so far, but it seems that we might be looking at the range of 2004 to 2006 model years to find such a replacement seat.  He’ll probably do further research tonight.  We have no idea how hard it will be to find such seats at a salvage yard or how much they will cost.  But, we have got to find a way to keep our family safe and make this work.  It’s just another of life’s complications.

In the midst of the struggles like this, it has alway been a joy (and a survival tactic) to look for the blessings and to remind ourselves that we have an awesome God who has blessed us beyond measure.  With every problem we encounter, we have the opportunity to see that there are so many more blessings surrounding us than problems facing us.  We are truly so blessed, and we are confident that God will make a way to solve this problem.  We are so blessed!  May we never forget!

We have 6 healthy boys at home.
We have a roof over our heads.
Travis has a job that is really a calling (as a Minister of Worship)
God has been so good to us!
We live in a country where we can worship freely.
We have wonderful extended family and friends.
We have not just one but 3 working vehicles (old but still kickin’).
We have our needs met, the blessings of life, spiritual blessings here on earth, and a home in Heaven!

We are blessed!

Thank you, Lord, that we have the blessing of this need for safe seating for all 6 of our awesome boys.  We trust You and know that You will make a way for us to meet the need!  Amen.

Priceless gifts!

Scriptures About Family

When God created mankind, His plan was for us to live in families. Since God created marriage and the family, our family relationships are important to Him. His desire is for every marriage to be happy and loving and for children to grow up within a loving family structure, secure in the knowledge that they are loved by God and by their mother and father. God love you and your family. He cares about your home and wants you to have a strong family. He will help you to accomplish this most important task. God has given us His commands and guidelines for strong families in His Word, the Bible. If we follow what the Bible says about families, God will bless and strenthen our families. Family has great spiritual meaning fo believers because the church, the universal body of believers, is called the family of God. When we receive God’s gift of salvation, we are adopted into His family. The Bible tells us that we become sons and daughters of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. God’s plan for family includes your family right now, and you will be a part of God’s forever family as His adopted child.

Bible Verses for Strong Families

1) Commit your family to serve and honor God.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

2) Live in Obedience to God and make the Bible your guidebook for life.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

3) In everything that you do, seek to honor God.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Colossians 3:23-24

4) Allow the Love of God to flow through your life.

“Walk in love.” Ephesians 5:2

5) Be kind and forgiving to others.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God has forgiven you for Christ’s sake.” Ephesians 4:32

6) Pray for you famil and for others, asking for God’s wisdom in your relationships.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

7) Forgive each other.

“If anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:13

OTHER BIBLE VERSES ABOUT FAMILIES AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NLT)

Joshua 24:15 “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (NLT)

Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— (NIV)

Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. (NLT)

Psalm 128:3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. (ESV)

Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (NIV)

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. (NIV)

Proverbs 12:7 The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm. (NLT)

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. (NIV)

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

Mark 3:23-25 Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. “How can Satan cast out Satan?” he asked. “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” (NLT)

Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. (NLT)

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV)

Romans 9:4 They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. (NLT)

Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (NLT)

Ephesians 2:19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. (NLT)

Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:1–2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandmentwith a promise) … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to angerby the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (NLT)

Colossians 3:20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. (NLT)

1 Timothy 3:2-5 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? (NLT)

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NASB)
BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR FAMILIES

Marriage is a Covenant and is Not to be Broken

1) Marriage is a Biblical Covenant to Be One

“…she is your companion And your wife by covenant.” Malachi 2:14

2) God Hates Divorce

“For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16

Bible Verses for Wives

1) “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

2) “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:23-24

3) “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

4) “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter 3:5-6

5) Build Your House The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

Bible Verses for Husbands

1) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… ” Ephesians 5:25

2) “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:28-29

3) “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge… ” 1 Peter 3:7

4) ” …giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. ” 1 Peter 3:7

Bible Verses for Children – Obey and Honor Your Parents

1) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

2) “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

Bible Verses for Fathers – Fathers Admonish Your Children to Know and Serve God

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

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This post was compiled and edited by C. Boyd

The scripture verses on this page and some of the content in the beginning paragraph come from these two sources:

http://www.usachristianministries.com/2011/11/30/what-does-god-say-about-families-bible-verses-on-families-bible-verses-for-family/

http://christianity.about.com/od/Bible-Verses/qt/Bible-Verses-Family.htm

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Our Very Special Logan

THIS is the face of a special needs child.  Many people have tender hearts for special needs children and care deeply about the infinite blessing and value of their lives.  The caring and compassion of others is a blessing to me and to our family as a whole.  Logan senses immediately when someone really cares about him.
As someone who is acutely aware every day of the ‘differences’ and needs that make our Logan special,  I am also constantly reminded of the fact that at the core of his being, he is just a little boy who happens to deal with some challenges. Logan loves chocolate pudding, giggles, Buzz Lightyear, hugs, and music.  He eats but does not chew.  He still wears pull-ups at age 6.  He loves running and jumping, swinging and sliding, and riding toys.  He is totally at home on the beach but never plays in the sand.  He spends all of his time in the water, loving it and laughing when a wave smacks him in the face.

Logan is sometimes patient and tolerant and sometimes very much the opposite. For example, when the photographer moved him 3 times during the set-up for our family photo shoot, Logan began to lose his good humor. He probably was thinking, “Why can’t this guy figure out where to put me?”  Like other children his age, Logan had no inkling of how difficult it must be to pose a family of 8 with such a broad age range; but unlike other children, his reaction is 10 to the 15th power. At restaurants or other public places, Logan is often the perfect little gentleman.  At other times, he can be upset and loud. In this, he is not unlike other children his age, but his reactions are more extreme. When other people give our family “the look” in such a circumstance, I am sometimes tempted to tell them that Logan has special needs.  Not once during an outburst has anyone come up to us with the boldness and grace to ask, “How can I help you?”  On one occasion, the answer would have been as simple as going to find a restaurant employee to have them obtain the spoon that Logan needed to eat his food, but I am sure that many people are very hesitant to approach for fear of seeming intrusive.

 

Because I understand the hesitancy to intervene and because I don’t want to make assumptions about others, I have never looked at another patron and told them about Logan’s special needs.  There are two main reasons why I hesitate to publicly announce that Logan has autism, although I would have no problem answering any question posed in public. One reason that I don’t volunteer information about Logan is that I don’t want to make someone else feel badly. Their natural assumption that Logan is just a bratty kid does not mean that they are not kind-hearted people. Who knows what they are going through? Maybe this dinner out was to be an oasis of calm and a brief escape from the bedside of a loved one.
The second reason that I never want to verbally excuse his behavior by blaming his challenges is that to do so might imply that the fact that Logan has special needs makes him somehow LESS (less intelligent, less controllable, less patient, less valuable, less human, less capable of learning or of love, expression, or giftedness, somehow less than his same-age peers).  In truth, I have learned so much from loving Logan, and I know that he is in reality somehow MORE (more loving, more enthusiastic, more focused on what is truly important..like a half hour rocking with Mom…)

Logan as Buzz Lightyear

Logan is like a little mirror.  I see in him what I need more of and what I need to let go; what I need to work on, and what I need to just accept or allow myself to enjoy.  He is a priceless treasure.  I have learned to look beyond the seaweed and sand of issues and behaviors into his sea blue eyes, to the infinite value of his heart and soul.

I am still learning from my precious little teacher.  Yes, Logan has some special needs.  So do I.  I need to be more loving, more patient, more focused on what is true and just and lovely.  I need to keep learning to look beyond, to see the limitless value of each human life.

Logan is more than a clinical diagnosis.  He is a little boy.  He is my little sweetheart, and he is someone.  He is loved and valued deeply by his family and friends and by his Creator.  Yes, Logan is VERY SPECIAL!

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UPDATE:  Since the facebook note that became the post above was written, there have been a lot of changes.  Logan is now 8 years old.  We left pull-ups behind long ago, and he has no problem voicing his need to go to the restroom.  Logan is doing very well in his Moderate Autism 3rd grade class.  He reads well, is doing double digit additiona and subtraction with re-grouping (borrowing or carrying), can count money and tell time, and he’s becoming more and more conversational in his speech.  Logan just started a new therapy program to overcome his extreme oral sensitivity so that he can begin to chew and eat normally, and we are excited about this opportunity for major progress.  Logan is a blessing!

The End of an Era (Almost)

“We tried child-proofing, but….”

I considered several different titles for this post…

“Adventures in Child-Proofing” was one possibility.

“To Insanity…and Beyond” had a certain ring.

Another option involved the simplicity of sticking to the facts, with

“We Survived Three Junior Houdinis!”

(I want the t-hirt!)

Sticky boo bear Camden

All of the possibilities listed above have the “hanging on by your toenails” chaotic edge that captures a bit of the reality of our life at the Boyd house for the last few years. But, alas, none of those catchy titles had the other element that all parents recognize as one childhood phase is ending and another begins: an odd combination of giddy relief and totally dramatic nostalgia. The symptoms are common. As you regain your sanity after realizing that the pre-school years have truly passed, you may find yourself looking at photos of sticky little boo bears sitting in a high chair and wishing you could go through half a tub of wet wipes cleaning up a squirmy little cutie pie’s face and hands just one more time. You watch a video of the holidays and realize how joyful it is to see wonder and delight through the eyes of a precious little one. Or, you see something that your child would have just loved as a pre-schooler… and realize that you don’t have anyone to share those kinds of things with any more. The feeling of treasuring all of the short-lived sweetness of the baby and toddler years lingers long after the outgrown clothes and toys have found a new home. Ah, sweet memories!

Let’s not forget the flip side of forgetful nostalgia, though. I don’t have to view many sticky boo bear photos before remembering all of the milestones that moving forward represents. There are no more diapers, no more potty chairs, no more sippy cups, and no more baby gates. Ah, yes. It’s all coming back to me now in a flood of the aforementioned giddy relief.

No more diapers means: no more changing diapers, no more buying diapers, no more waiting for the stall with the nasty changing table to become vacant, and no more wet spots in your lap.

No more potty chairs means: no more cleaning potty chairs, no more 50 yard dash through a crowded restaurant to a potty that your suddenly persnickety toddler refuses to use, and no more wet spots on your couch (even worse than on a lap).

No more baby gates means: no more parent wipe-outs after the “I think I’ll just step over it this time” syndrome claims one more victim.

And, finally, no more sippy cups means: no more frantic treasure hunts for the elusive favorite cup that fell out of the stroller somewhere on the ten block walk from your car to the arts festival (and then finding the missing cup two weeks later under the seat of the car after searching for the source of noxious fumes in your vehicle).

Are you giddy yet?

Our four pre-schoolers enjoy a moment of stillness during the sippy cup phase. Believe me, it was only a moment.

Braden is the oldest of our four who were all in the pre-school phase at once. Here’s just what he looked like back then. Isn’t he a cutie?

If you are still overtaken with parental nostalgia, allow me to refresh your memory with a tale of aging parents totally outnumbered by four adorable and clever pre-schoolers plus two older boys. Travis and I were experienced parents before we had pre-schoolers times four. We had a daughter who was married, a son in junior high, and another son in elementary school. We’d dealt with all the issues of child-rearing previously, but the years between our oldest three meant that we were dealing with the baby or pre-school stage one child at a time. At least, that was so until the four youngest Boyd boys came along. Braden, the oldest of the four, was three years old (almost four) when his twin brothers, Austin and Camden, were born. In the middle of the pre-school pack was Logan, who was born about half-way between Braden and the twins. So, by the time that twins Camden and Austin were fully ambulatory at age one, Logan was two and a half and Braden was four (almost five). At that stage, we were child-proofing like crazy. We had all of the usual outlet plugs and cabinet latches, but we quickly discovered that we needed to go much further. Though Braden was past the age of getting into everything, he was fascinated by the toys belonging to older brother Zachary (then age 6) and by oldest brother Jared’s Star Wars lego structures. If Jared forgot to lock the door to his room, Braden discovered it and was inside in a heart beat, destroying the complicated Lego builds. The force was with him. In the room that Braden and Zach shared, Braden left most things alone. However, he loved to dump out the baskets and bins of sorted toys (like hot wheels, super hero figures, monster trucks, construction vehicles, and duplo blocks) that were stored in the closet. To prevent all of the small toys from being out at once, we did place locks on the closet doors. Even with the force, Braden could not defeat us. We were undaunted. It was a hassle getting into the closet when we needed something, though.

Precious little snoozers Camden, Logan, and Austin needed a red flashing warning light on their foreheads that said, “Recharging” !

Co-conspirators Austin and Camden

The three youngest pre-schoolers shared a bedroom out of necessity, so at first we had two cribs and a toddler bed in the room. Later on, we had three toddler beds. Yes, we used all of the conventional child-proofing stuff with these three, but we were forced to go far beyond the norm time and time again. Our three sweet-faced toddlers might have looked totally innocent, but these little guys were amazingly resourceful. What one didn’t think of, another one would. Then, they would work together to accomplish their dastardly plan. Logan was our fearless climber. There was no such thing as “out of reach” where he was concerned. Have you ever seen a pre-schooler totally dismantle a lamp, leaving the shade totally torn apart down to the framework and the base of the lamp dismantled (miraculously, without breaking the light bulb)? Logan did. We gave up on having a lamp on top of their chest of drawers. As with Braden, we had to use locks on the closet for Austin, Camden, and Logan’s room. They would even pull clothing off of hangers and drag out all of the linens stored inside if we accidentally left the closet door open. In addition, Travis had to drill holes in every drawer front and install key locks on their chest of drawers. Otherwise, they would pull the drawers out and use them as a ladder to climb to the top of the chest. They would also pull out all of the folded clothing and have a good ol’ time throwing it everywhere in their room. If Mom was in the utility room trying to start a load of laundry, it was amazing how much destruction they could create in just a few minutes. Twins Austin and Camden also had their own twin language. This is not uncommon for twins, and it was quite fascinating. We never figured out what they were saying, but they understood each other perfectly. I think they were conspiring to pull off their next daring feat of destruction.

Logan, our most skillful escape artist and climber, enjoys a moment of pure toddler joy.

One thing that our three little Houdinis did was to repeatedly figure out ways to escape their room. They had plenty of play space and toys, and their room was right next to the kitchen, so we often had them playing in their room with the baby gate to keep them confined to one area and safe. After a while, they figured out how to climb the gate. We got a taller gate. It worked for a few days. It was like watching a military obstacle course in basic training. They were over the top in no time. In response, Travis built a smooth, half door to take the place of the gate. It was rather tall. with nothing that could be used as a foot-hold. That worked for a long time, but Logan eventually learned to scale the sheer cliff face of the half door. What would appear to a little fellow as a rather imposing structure, significantly taller than their full height even on tiptoe, was no match for our little escape artists.

With three toddler beds and three pre-schoolers all in one room, the only time their room looked like this was when Mom picked up while they were all at pre-school.

Then, there was one thing these three did that I have never heard any other pre-school Mom mention. They would not leave their beds intact, no matter what we did. That drove me crazy. Every single day, the three of them took off their sheets and mattress pads. Camden and Austin started doing this when they were still in their cribs. Logan thought they had a great idea, so he was soon dismantling his bed as well. Then, they started taking the mattresses off. We finally wound up purchasing a bunch of luggage straps and strapping the mattresses to the bed frames, with the latch for the strap down below the slats inside the enclosed frame. One luggage strap was not enough. Each bed had to have one strap in the middle and one at each end. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I’m telling you, when those three little boys worked together, they were very strong. We tried everything to get them to stop doing this. We tried praising them when their beds stayed together for any length of time. We did time outs, we removed some of their toys and their favorite blankies, and even tried a little diapered bottom swat to discourage our miniature slumber demolition crew. Then, they figured out that if they all pushed, they could move furniture! Unbelievable! We literally had to fasten furniture to the wall with anchors and “L” brackets and whatever else worked. This kind of determined and systematic dismantling of their beds and their room continued for almost 3 years! Even when they could go anywhere in the house, they still were a wrecking crew in their own room. We finally abandoned using sheets for a while. It was pointles to keep trying since the sheets never stayed on. They all slept on their plastic covered mattresses in their toddler beds for a few weeks. Finally, one day, they asked for sheets. We put them on, and they have never gone back to the daily bedding battles. Whew! Finally!

Room decor genius or toddler graffiti?

Sometimes I wondered if the older brothers were supplying contraband. No matter how we tried to make sure that all coloring was done at the kitchen table or on their high chair trays, a marker or crayon would sometimes wind up in the little guys’ room. You may have seen what one toddler can do with a writing implement. Multiply that times three, and we’re talking graffiti on an epic scale. Walls were not the only target. They also ‘decorated’ furniture, the windowsill, and the window itself. Thank goodness for Mr. Clean magic erasers!

It was such a blessing to have a handyman husband during those childproofing battleground years. Travis was constantly having to come up with new strategies to keep them safe, reconstruct things they broke, and maintain some remnant of sanity for the rest of the family. They actually pulled the door knobs off of their closet doors four times, stripping out the screw holes each time. To replace them, Travis would turn the knob a new direction so that the screws would be in a different place. The knobs are on the doors now only because Travis found a super strength filler that allowed him to re-use the stripped out holes. One day not long after we moved to our new home in Georgia, I looked up to see Camden (who had been sitting on the couch watching a pre-school program just moments before) climbing over the stair rail and catapulting himself onto a table below. It was one of those hide-a-tables (with a plywood top and three spindly legs) that you cover with a floor-length tablecloth. The table was no match for Camden. As soon as his little bottom and the force of his toddler exuberance hit the table top, the whole thing collapsed, with Camden on top of the heap. That incident may have been life-saving. It scared Camden (and his brothers) so much that no one has ever climbed over the stair rail again. To fix the table after this incident, Travis built a rectangular box with a shelf, adding a base for stability; and it became the new support for the table top, with the bonus of some hidden storage. Who else do you know who has an industrial strength hide-a-table? What a man!

A couple of weeks ago, a significant rite of passage occured. The final piece of toddler furniture in the Boyd house has now been donated to Good Will. We had been talking about purchasing a bunk bed for the room shared by Austin, Camden and Logan so that they could finally all have a ‘big boy’ bed. When I found a great deal on a used bunk bed with the sturdiest metal frame I’ve sever seen, we bought it. Austin and Camden now share the imposing structure, and Logan has his own twin bed. The last remaining toddler bed is finally gone. I must admit that I did feel a little wave of nostalgia when we were removing the toddler bed from the room. After all, this toddler bed frame is the one that Travis made after the boys tore up Logan’s two previous toddler beds. The white, metal framed toddler bed that had served us well for Jared, Zachary, and Braden bit the dust when the welds connecting the bed platform to the headboard began to fail. We tried to get it re-welded, but none of the local welders we tried wanted to mess with it. So, we purchased a new toddler bed with a metal frame and molded plastic legs, headboard, and footboard. They destroyed the molded plastic parts of that bed within less than a year. Our final toddler bed was a super sturdy wooden one that Travis made, with rounded corners for safety and total overkill on the strength of the frame and the bed platform. It lasted for as long as it was needed, and we closed the door on nostalgia when it was carried out to the pick-up for transportation to Good Will.

Travis and all six of our boys pose after a visit to the Georgia Auarium in late December, 2011.

Through the years, Travis and I have shared so much joy with our bunch, even during all of the craziness of the pre-school years and constant child-proofing. Each of our six boys is incredibly awesome. We are so proud of them and so blessed to be their parents! If we had been blessed with more than our six sons and one daughter, we would have loved them all and found a way to make it through. Our little guys were not the only ones who knew how to be resourceful. We are just thankful to have survived and to see our boys well on their way to growing up strong and living a life that honors God. We still have locks on the closet doors in Austin, Camden, and Logan’s room, but we don’t have to worry about them climbing on the chest of drawers anymore. Logan has special needs; and he still can be destructive, but we are working on that. He and his twin brothers all keep their sheets on now, and they are growing up. So, goodbye to toddler beds, baby gates, strollers, sippy cups, high chairs, potty chairs, diapers, child-proofing devices of every description, and pull-ups. All of the baby and toddler gear served us as well as possible, but we don’t need it anymore. Those years are behind us now, but we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for memories of all of the love and craziness of those fun-filled and exahausting times.  We’ve loved our little guys through every stage and laughed at all of their antics; but now the three littlest Boydinis are moving on, and so are we!

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This post was written by Cynthia A Boyd.   It was originally published on our primary blog, which addresses the subjects of life, ministry, worship, music, and discipleship.  You’ll find many other posts on our original blog which are not on this blog at http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com

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DO YOU KNOW JESUS?
The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.
Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/
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praise4ever

praise4ever

I'm a busy wife and mother of 7, with 6 incredible boys still at home and a beautiful married daughter. Our boys range in age from our 10 year old twins to our 22 year old. We have 2 in Elementary School, 2 in Middle School, one in High School, and one High School grad. They are all incredible and special. One of our boys has special needs. I'm a musician, singer, writer, composer, blogger, and teacher. I'm thankful for our home and family, for Travis, my amazing husband of 39 years, and for family and friends near and far. Most of all, I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy and that He has given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

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Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and a father of 7, and a Minister of Music and Worship, I am very blessed. For a total of 32 years, I have served as a Minister of Worship for some wonderful congregations in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia. It is a joy to lead God's people in worshipping Him through music, and I am very blessed to serve at First Baptist Church of Duluth, Georgia. I'm also a composer, lyricist, arranger, and orchestrator, with choral anthems, songs, and orchestrations published by Shawnee Press (now with Hal Leonard), Lorenz, Choristers Guild, and Lifeway. My web-based music publishing site, WorshipSounds Music (formerly Boydbrain Music), offers Choral Anthems, Orchestrations, Congregational Praise, and Vocal Solo music. Our worship blog has become an extension of worship ministry, and it is a privelege to share information and inspiration with other worshippers. My desire is to glorify God through my life, ministry, and composition work. I believe that music is a wonderful way to communicate the truths of God's love and mercy and to glorify Him. My wife, Cindy, and I have been married for 36 years. We have 7 children. Daughter Meredith lives in Texas. Sons Jared, Zachary, Braden, Logan, Austin, and Camden range in age from 7 to 19 and are still living at home.

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