Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cooper and Penny in Cooper's tent

Penny thought it was super neat to play in Cooper's "Cars" tent with big brother and Mommy ...

Penny and Cooper playing with his trains on his new train table ...

I love having two adorable kiddies playing around together in their diapers!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Penny spills the beans

Val was up in Paris with The Jackson Gang this weekend and Cooper was with her parents, so it was a Daddy-and-Penny weekend! Saturday I took her for a walk around the mall and lunch at The Happy Mexican, where she enjoye some beans ...

Sunday morning she conked out on the way to church ...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cooper racing with the boys

Cooper running around outside with Micah and Connor, Kristi's sons ...

All of us at the doctor's office ...

Val reading to the girls of the class where we volunteer for the nursery at church ...

“My Child is Perfect: 10 Steps To Make You Feel Bad About Yours”

My latest piece for GodlyDaddy.com

We like to get free stuff. Businesses love to give new parents free stuff. This is a perfect relationship, like those birds that sit on the backs of rhinos in Africa. We would be the birds in this case.

When we found out Darling Valerie was pregnant with Child No. 1 over three years ago, we signed up for every freebie on the web that we could think of, including but not limited to, formula, diapers and, just because I giggle every time I say it, many containers of “butt paste.”

The biggest haul of freebies included a lot of parenting magazines, because we would have never known that we were deficient without their help.

I like to think that I don’t judge my parenting skills based on what a writer in New York thinks is the best way to raise kids. But they have all these pretty graphics and glossy print, so it seems official.

The covers scream about these impossibly genius kids, like, “Little Johnny Reads Shakespeare In 5 Languages,” or “Baby Jane Not Only Eats Exotic Foods, She Rolls Her Own Sushi Rolls!”

I think my kids could just as easily be shown off for lesser – if more realistic – talents, such as, “Cooper Has Seen Every Thomas & Friends YouTube Video of ‘Accidents Happen’!” or “Baby Penny Can Stick Her Whole Hand In Her Mouth!”

Even in Biblical times, I expect there were some great headlines on stone tablets or parchment passed around the village, screaming things like, “Don’t Spare the Rod: What Size Stick Won’t Spoil Your Child?” or “Jesus Wows The Elders At The Temple: How To Make Your Pre-teen Wise.”

In the meantime, here’s what we’ve learned from pregnancy/baby magazines:

Lotion ads like to show nekkid baby bottoms - Apparently that’s the only area of their itty-bitty bodies that requires moisturizing.

EVERYTHING in the house is harmful to the baby - If I don’t have the doohickey that goes with that thingamajig, my kids might end up unconscious, or even worse, with diarrhea.

You aren’t hip without the newest in really expensive baby gear - Penny shouldn’t have to learn the word “couture” until she’s out of college, at least. Our kids are perfectly happy with hand-me-downs and big cardboard boxes.

Self-righteous tree-hugging hippies are taking over- “Ooh, look at me, I let my baby run around butt nekkid, we use only biodegradable diapers, our crib is an actual bamboo tree and a panda poops in the nursery to keep it warm!”

Their “recession-proof” ideas are a lot pricier and fancier than my ideas - They shop Whole Foods while I’m looking for a bigger basket to fit a box of 10,000 wipes, a 300 oz. barrel of Sunny D and a bushel of 100 Hot Pockets at Sam’s Club.

It’s good to let your children make decisions - I’m going to record a video and send it in during lunch when Cooper decides that he wants rice and beans, no, chicken and fries, no, mac and cheese with chips and applesauce!

Everything’s normal in a pregnancy - Darling Valerie apparently needn’t have worried about any questions she had: “I have a lot of indigestion?” “That’s normal.” “I have no indigestion?” “That’s normal, too.” “When I watch TV I daydream about kidnapping squirrels for ransom.” “No problemo.”

I’m going to start a magazine called “Common Sense,” with features that are presented as if it’s breaking and exciting, like, “Eating Fuzz Off the Floor: Dangerous or Healthy Fiber Alternative?” and “Jumping Off The Roof With A Superman Cape: Bad or Okay as Long as You Land in the Bushes? What You Need to Know to Keep Your Children Safe!”

I’m not going to let the Christian publications off the hook, either. They can make you feel just as guilty about your performance, when you read that “6-year-old Esther’s Lemonade Stand Raised $1 Million For Missionaries In Asia” or “Jeremiah Is Only 4, But Has All Of Ecclesiastes Memorized!”

I kid, of course, and celebrate every successful child in these stories, and I’m very proud of my own son and daughter and praise God for their blessings.

It’s just that sometimes you wonder if you’re supposed to feel bad that your boy would rather sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” than “Jesus Loves Me.”

Then again, maybe that’s a teachable moment, too, because who made those stars? Sponsored by Gerber, of course.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Precocious Penny

She's really getting around now!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cooper and Penny on Cheryl's birthday

Friday night we went out to eat with Val's family for dinner to celebrate Cheryl's birthday, and then we came back to our house for ice cream cake! First up, an "aww" picture for Cody and proud mom Cheryl ...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cooper and Penny all smiles at dinnertime

Cooper's showing Penny how to crawl ...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cooper and Penny at the pool

The children enjoy some splashing and jumping at my Mom-in-Law's family's gathering ...

Time To Go Potty!

My latest addition to GodlyDaddy.com ...

I always compare a trip through Texas to driving on a treadmill: The view never changes and it feels like you haven't gotten anywhere.

Have I mentioned that my boy Cooper has started potty training? Like, six months ago? And it's still a work in progress?

Approximately 33.4 percent of all conversations in Rushing Estate are related to what is either going or coming out of our children's bodies.

I have said the word "poop" more in the last three years than I've ever even heard used in all of my lifetime. Words like "toot" and "pee pee" are a natural part of our dialogue.

We can't be alone, am I right?

I'm guessing there were drawings discovered when Pompei was dug up that show exasperated parents slumped on the floor while a dancing toddler runs around naked with a puddle next to the hole in the ground where they are supposed to "go potty," or as they say in Latin, "deus poopoo un peepee miss un est toiletis ad nauseam."

This is Reason No. 456 why Darling Valerie rocks: She voluntarily changes dirty diapers when I just don't want my gag reflex to kick in.

I will kill bugs. I will kill snakes. I will harness the powers of the universe for time-travel, lift a car off a group of nuns and watch the same episode of "Thomas and Friends" ten times in a row, singing the theme song at full volume every time.

But when I get a whiff of a dirty diaper I hold my breath and - in that time-honored tradition - grab my child, pick him up, open the back of his pants and turn my head in amazement at the sights and smells within.

If there's brown stuff, I roll over like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark when he sees all the asps underground and say, "Poop, why did it have to be poop?"

Now, you're probably wondering, "What Does the Bible Say About Potty Training?"

Nothing specifically, even though you'd think in Leviticus among the six million laws there'd be something.

Not even Focus on the Family's article on potty training pulled out a verse to help, and they can find a verse about anything.

Taken completely out of context, my favorite verse about poops is 1 Corinthians 15:51: "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed"

Besides, it's not really about the kids, because it's our job to train them up. Getting mad at a two-year-old for being hesitant to go No. 2 on a little potty shaped like a frog would be as frivolous as getting annoyed that your puppy keeps eating your slippers when you've never gotten around to training them otherwise.

The verses we need to focus on include patience and wisdom, following God's lead, such as Psalm 86:15: "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth."

Unless you really want to scar your children for life, then you could use Matthew 25:41: “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…”

But then you'll end up with either an explosion or constipation, and you'll never hear the end of it from the Godly Mommy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Penny gets into Cooper's train tracks

When Cody and Katie visit it makes Cooper's day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Meteor from Space!

Playing with Cooper and Penny during our Chickasaw vacation in mid-June 2012.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

R.I.P. Sheriff Andy

My newest post for GodlyDaddy.com ...

Sometimes it’s not easy to be a Godly Daddy in 2012. After all, the JCPenney at our local mall puts the men’s restroom behind the bra section.

At least we will always have reruns of shows like “The Andy Griffith Show” to provide some examples of how to make it through, where drama consists of trying not to hurt Aunt Bee’s feelings when she can’t make tasty pickles.

When Andy Griffith passed away July 3rd, it’s as if the Golden Age of Television died as well. You know, that period where characters didn’t talk about s-e-x every other sentence.

Sheriff Andy Taylor was a wise, patient, optimistic and decisive father with a homespun wit, someone who knew right and wrong but showed compassion for those who committed crimes in his beloved Mayberry. And nothing says a stereotypically devoted father like spending time with your boy fishing. (Or in my case with Dad, on the golf course every weekend.)

In the years that followed the show’s end in 1968, TV degraded into a land where men are portrayed as lazy idiots and either uninterested in their children or too controlling of them.

If TV producers put Sheriff Andy into 2012, they would turn him into either a gritty and corrupt cop plagued by personal vices, or a bumbling fool with a wisecracking smart aleck son who gets all the good one-liners at his dad’s expense.

In some shows such as “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “According to Jim” you barely even saw children in the house unless the dads were insulting them or complaining about spending time with them. In the case of Ross on “Friends,” he was completely unnecessary to his kid because his ex-wife and her new lesbian partner had the actual parenting under control.

I’m not saying that some of the modern stereotypes aren’t funny and don’t contain nuggets of truth, but here are the Top 5 Things I’ve Learned About Men From TV …

1. We can’t read a map. Did you know that men think they know everything and won’t listen to anyone else when they’re wrong?

2. We put watching or attending sports before spending time with our children. Not to mention the face paint, yelling and constant consumption of alcoholic beverages.

3. We love to grill but nearly obliterate everyone while doing so. OK, sure, I’m afraid that my gas grill will blow up when I turn it on, but so far, so good.

4. We don’t help our wives out around the house. Admittedly, my to-do list of home projects could cover the fridge and freezer, which is fully of yummy popsicles, which is why I’m inside and not outside actually doing work.

5. We’re neurotic because our parents are overbearing and make our lives miserable. Or didn’t your dad create a holiday where you decorate a pole and wrestle? Gee whiz, Darling Valerie and I wish we lived closer to our parents to make it easier to stop in and say hey.

It seems frustrating, but what would Andy Griffith think of all this? He’d probably just smile … and whistle.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Penny with Cooper's trains

Val likes to call this one, "Shhhh, don't tell Cooper!"

Friday, July 06, 2012

Cooper and Penny visit Daddy's work, pt. 2

Yes, that's gonna be my boy, pulling up his shirt every time a camera points at him.

Cooper playing with Uncle Steve's U. of North Carolina semi-truck ...

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Cooper and Penny visit Daddy's work, pt. 1

Val made a surprise visit to the station Tuesday to bring me my kiddies!

Cooper loves to play on Daddy's switcher, with the blinking lights and fader bars!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Cooper and Penny's visit from Grams and Aunt Lynn

Mom and Aunt Lynn came to visit this weekend, and good times were had by all!