31 days of training my kids: laughter

for the families 013My husband is a master at making our girls laugh! I love watching them together.

Something that happened on our trip last week reminded of how important it is for laughter to be part of the training/disciplining/parenting equation.

The girls were really good; but Mckayla went through a few times where she was rather indignant and whiny about what she wanted. At one point, Paul turned around to sternly correct her. She got the picture and everything settled down. A few seconds later, I heard her giggle. I looked at Paul and realized that he was making silly faces at her. She laughed and he laughed and after a couple minutes it was done.

But it stuck in my mind. I have to remember to do that more. 

What the fly on the wall heard


My collection of the random, ridiculous, and silly things said around here. I know it’s been awhile, but these are some doozies!


Gracie has had a recurring line lately that has been cracking us up.

When Paul has the chance, he will tell them a story before bed. Awhile ago he started with the “Samuel story” so it’s now progressed into Saul and David. If you’ve read the account, there are some moments of… well, battle-ish type scenarios. Gracie apparently gets it pretty well.

Paul will be wrapped up in the story, telling it with great excitement while the girls listen spellbound -except for Mckayla, who hasn’t quite yet mastered the art of being spellbound- when a graphic detail will come along…

“… and the prophet Samuel chopped King Agag in pieces!”

And Gracie will interject, “Oh, that’s not good!”

It’s all I can do to not completely lose it on the spot.

What makes it so funny is that she keeps doing it! Even though there’s days or even weeks between opportunities. I can’t remember all of them, but you can imagine when she heard,

“… and they came in the next morning, and the god Dagon was on his face on the ground with his arms broken off!”

“Oh, that’s not good!”

“… and that stone landed right in Goliath’s forehead and he fell down dead!”

“Oh, that’s not good!”

Apparently, she has some reference for who’s side we’re on, because when Paul said, “And the army of Israel chased the Philistines and defeated them…”

She said, “Oh, that’s good!”

We can’t get enough; it is so hilarious! And she never is scared about it, just totally wrapped up in the story and without even thinking,

“Oh, that’s not good!”


On a semi-regular basis, Sophia finds a way to aggravate the normally patient and sweet Hope. Hope will come running to me for help, to which I normally reply, “Did you talk to Sophia about this?”

“No,” she’ll know what I’m about to say…

“Then don’t come talk to me about it.”

So one afternoon this week, Hope came in the kitchen:

“Mommy, Sophia keeps kicking me, and she won’t stop when I tell her to!”

Hope has a very soft and pleading way of saying “No.”

Sophia had been just following her around gently tapping her legs just to annoy her.

“Okay, Hope; this is what you do: Next time Sophia is bothering you, you just look at her and say, ‘Knock it off!’ Now you may not be mean, but you can be very firm and serious. Just say, ‘Sophia, knock it off!’ And Sophia,” I turned my attention to her, “if Hope tells you to knock it off, you stop right away.”

The girls left the kitchen. I wondered whether it would actually work or not.

Sure enough, in an hour or so, Hope came running to me, “Mommy,” she started in an exasperated voice, “I was laying on the floor and Sophia was running around and around me in circles; and I told her, “Kick if off!”


Gracie has a turtle that she carries around and often refers to as if it’s her kid. It would take pages and pages to write all the silly things that she has said about her turtle. It’s her general out when she’s in trouble or been corrected, “Yeah, my turtle does that, too.”

One day at lunch, Sophia had asked me if when they grew up and had kids if their kids would call them, “Mommy.” So sweet. Of course, I replied that, “Yes,” they would.

Gracie piped up, “My turtle calls me ‘Mister Letter!'”

That child’s brain operates in a completely original way.


On the nights that Paul is home, I supervise/give the girls their baths and showers, get them all ready for bed, then send them out to tell Daddy, “I’m ready for bed!” Once they’re all ready, I make a final appearance in the living room to make sure that they have indeed let him know that everyone is ready for bed, because by that time I am quite ready for those lights to go out and that door to close.

Several weeks ago, I came around the corner to the living room and saw Paul motion to me to be quiet and watch.

Sophia was sitting in a rocking chair and had all the girls sitting around her down on the floor.

I plopped down on the couch and quickly surmised that she was “teaching” a class.

“Now everybody,” she began in a very silly want to be grown-up/British voice. “This is our principal, Mr. Funsday.” She pointed to Paul. “And look who just joined us, his wife, Mrs. Funsday!” She pointed to me and then added, “Let’s all give her a rominal plause.”

All the girls began to clap wildly.

She went on to teach the silliest three minute class I have ever seen. It was definitely worth staying up a little later. = )


If you haven’t seen these posts before, check out more of the hilarity here, here, and here. Or just click on the Category “WTFOTWH.”

{Israel recap} Day 4: Sometimes you just need…

Viewing the Jezreel Valley from the Nazareth ridge
Viewing the Jezreel Valley from the Nazareth ridge
Paul's view from the hotel in Nazareth (oh yes, I am jealous)
Paul’s view from the hotel in Nazareth (oh yes, I am jealous)


(Reposting the Israel series due to technical difficulties) = )

Today really was fabulous. The morning was great; lunch has been fine (as that was a concern seeing it is the biggest time the girls see Paul). Naps happened early and then we were off to do an errand, which led to a surprise visit to the park, which led to dinner with a friend and her little girl. Hooray for unplanned happy occasions!

Even coming home and bath time went great. By the way, the girls really climbed at the park. I was so proud; being a lover of climbing myself. It was so fun to see them try things that they had never done before.

Anyways, what I’m about to tell you is going to seem like it has nothing to do with what I’ve said previously, but just hold on:

We only have one santa hat in the house. Doesn’t sound like a problem? Oh, it has been. Especially between Hope and Sophia. Let’s just say that Hope decided she wanted to wear it first today and that gave us a great little opportunity to teach Sophia about being happy and content even when someone else has something you want.

Right before bed, Sophia grabbed the hat and put it on, planning to wear it to bed.

“No, no santa hats in bed.” I took the hat and put it out in the hallway.

At some point in the middle of the night, Sophia came into my room, crawled in the bed and asked for a drink. I’m not as tough in the middle of the night as I am during the day.

“Okay.” We got the drink and then visited the bathroom. (Did you know that’s one of the hard and fast rules of parenting? It’s okay to give a kid a drink in the middle of the night, but always take them to the bathroom as well. You’ll never regret it. = )

After walking back down the hallway and entering her room, I realized that she wasn’t with me. “Where…what…” my groggy mind thought.

All of the sudden, she came around the corner… wearing the santa hat!

I don’t care. Wait is there a way that it could be dangerous for a three-year old to wear a santa hat in bed? Because if there is, then I’m going to have to say no and that would be really sad. 

Before I had time to decide, she pulled off the hat, wadded it up, stuck it under her arm and dove in bed.

Smiling to myself (and not a little unrelieved that I didn’t have to deal with it), I tucked her in and left the room.

You know, sometimes when your dad is on the other side of the world… you just need a santa hat under your arm in bed.

Thanks for reading my first series: Taking care of four little girls alone (while my husband is on an amazing study trip to Israel). Here are links to the other related posts. 

Series coming soon

It’s official: the Israel trip is on

Official introduction

Day 1: to turn out that last light

Day 2: lonely in a crowd

Day 3: Is something wrong with me?

What the fly on the wall heard

Welcome to “What the fly on the wall heard”! This is where I keep track of all the silly things said around here as we go through our life with four girls five and under.

Sophia quickly shoved a bunch of newly picked grass in my hand so she could run down the sidewalk as we were on our way home from playing outside, “Mom, can you hold these for me? It’s my fresh garlic!”


This afternoon at lunch, Paul and I were conversing about ranching life, how it’s dusk to dawn, day in and day out; how there’s so much work to be done; how it must help people to avoid the pitfalls of idleness to be so busy…

Sophia chimed in (with very excited tones), “And because they live on a farm, they don’t even have to stop to eat breakfast if they’re really busy; they can just go to work, grab one of the animals, kill it and eat it!!”

Gracie had a little something to add, “And they probably get a kitty-cat, and they’d kill it and eat it, and then put it inside the fence. And that makes perfect sense.”

I’m not lying! That’s what she said!

So just to review, they’d kill a cat, eat it, and put it inside a fence. All that would make perfect sense.

Got that?

Gracie’s stages: Birthday Woo! and Boy run!

Gracie riding a seesaw on her second birthday
Gracie riding a seesaw on her second birthday

In my recent post about why every house should have a two-year old, I said that one of the best things about this time is the stages that they go through. I thought it would be fun to chronicle the different stages that our dear Gracie has had. It started out with them all in one post, but that was way too long. So, I’ll just break it up and do a couple every now and then. There are two for today; hope you enjoy!

Birthday Woo!

Gracie’s first stage that relates to being two started a few weeks before her second birthday. Her sisters had been in the habit of singing “Happy Birthday” with an enthusiastic “Woo!” for an ending.

Of course, Gracie was quite small still, but for fun we would ask her what she wanted for her birthday. At first she would smile and think and then say, “Birthday Woo!” We thought this was adorable, so like any good family we kept asking her and asking her and asking her. Her response would grow in excitement. To accompany the “Birthday” she would shake her arms twice in a typing position, then raise them up high over her head when she said, “Woo!” It got to where you could ask her at any point in the day, in the middle of any occasion, we would ask, “Gracie, what do you want for your birthday?” and she would adorably reply, “Birthday Woo!”

I so wish that I would have caught this little antic on video; but as all stages do, it came to an end before I did. Poor thing, her arms must have gotten tired.

Boy run!

This next stage was a weirdy. I sort of hate to include it because it wasn’t all that funny and didn’t make sense, but then again, who says that two year old stages by requirement must be sensical?

Gracie would say to me, “Mommy, when I was a little boy… I would say, ‘Boy run!'”

Yep. That’s it.

Every now and then it would be, “Mommy, when I was little boy… I said, ‘Boy preach!'”

I have absolutely no idea where this one came from, but I do know that she would say it at least once at every meal.

Sometimes we would interrupt her and say, “Gracie, you never were a little boy…”

And she would continue, “…I said, ‘Boy run!'”

Like I said, a weirdy.

Until next time…

What are some of the funny stages your two-year olds have been through? Do tell, I love these kinds of stories. = ) 

Can you say “hermeneutics”?

Hope is intelligent, articulate and exact. Sophia is funny, crazy and mischievous.

They were sitting at the table, coloring. I was in the living room folding clothes. Which seminary class their father would attend that night was the topic of their conversation.

Sophia asks, “What class does Daddy have tonight?”

“Hermeneutics,” Hope replies.

“Oh…” and Sophia repeats hermeneutics. Except…she didn’t say it quite right. Almost, but not quite.

“No,” Hope corrects her, “her-me-noooo-tics.”




“Say ‘herm-”








Hope is very happy with this. “That’s it! Now say hermeneutics.”


This went on and on. Sophia never cracked a smile, never changed her voice at all. Honestly, I didn’t know she had such creative, verbal-convoluting abilities in her.

Hope never caught on. Okay, she caught on when Sophia digressed into using bathroom word endings. Ay-yay-yay. That’s when I stepped in between peals of laughter, “Okay, okay.”

Was that really my three and four year old? Yep. Thanks for the reminder that my husband’s stellar sense of humor …has definitely been passed down.

Can you say “hermeneutics”?

What the fly on the wall heard, week 3

“Mommy! I haven’t wiggled at all yet!” (Sophia whispered loudly three-quarters of the way through Sunday’s sermon)


All the girls learned to say “Yeah” as their first positive response; and we were thrilled with that… when they were babies. However, lately I’ve been realizing that that is still their initial response and wanted to bring it from a “yeah” or “yep” to a “yes” or “yes, ma’am.” So I told the older three girls what I expected and then we played a little game where I would ask them a yes or no question, and they would have to reply correctly. Of course Hope answered with precision. Gracie got mixed up between sir and ma’am, and Sophia…

“Sophia, are you two?”

“No, ma’am!”

“Sophia, are you four?”

“Yes, ma’am!!!”

“Sophia, do you like pickles?”

“Yes, mammy-sir!!!!!”

“Sophia, is it dark outside?”

“No, mammy-sir-ee-b0b!!!!!!!!”

And then we stopped.


(Gracie to me) “What’s your name?”


“But you call yourself Christie.”


(Mckayla, every time Paul walks in the door) “Daaaaaa-deeeeee!”