Sand in the Gears

Archive for the ‘Snapshots of Life’ Category

Just like John Wayne would have done

Saturday, January 30th, 2010 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 11 Comments »

"What are you doing?" I ask Wife. This is not an honest question. I know full well what she is doing, she is staring down the barrel of an old lever-action pop gun. The lever part is important. We'll come ...

Cause there’s more than one in that box

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 Posted in Snapshots of Life | Comments Off on Cause there’s more than one in that box

Isaiah to his mother: "Can I have some cereals?" Mom: "You want some raisin bran?" Isaiah: "Is not raisin bran, is raisins bran." Another literal child. Lovely.

Dance

Sunday, January 10th, 2010 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 1 Comment »

We are in the minivan, and Wife notices trees outside a store, trees with leaves made of lights, lights that slowly change color from emerald to scarlet to the richest purple. We've all been a bit glum, now that the ...

Shhh

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 1 Comment »

One in six children, reports the BBC, have difficulty learning to talk. In other research, exactly four out of four Woodlief children have difficulty learning when not to talk.

A mighty fortress is our God…

Thursday, December 31st, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 3 Comments »

Isaiah, who is fond of my diptych of Jesus and Mary, puts it on my dresser. In his other hand he is holding a little plastic accoutrement from his brothers' box of army men, a brown semi-circle molded to look ...

Really, Dad?

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life, The Sermons | 6 Comments »

At the end of my workout, I see Stephen Caleb coming down the hall. Inspired that now might be one of those rare opportunities to change his musical tastes for the better, I put my iPod buds in his ears. Simon ...

He didn’t always give presents

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life, The Art of Parenting | 2 Comments »

Stephen Caleb is now our willing accomplice in perpetuating the Santa myth. Some of you might recall my last year's Wall Street Journal piece arguing that there's something to be said for encouraging, for a time, your child's belief in ...

What goes around…

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 5 Comments »

I remember for a good two years being awakened two, three, four times a night by little Isaac. He would come stand by my bed, or lay down on the floor in my bathroom, and when I would sleepily ask ...

Bear arms, penguin arms, everybody’s armed

Friday, October 30th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 2 Comments »

In a house with four boys, even the penguins go about armed to the teeth.

They mean well

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 1 Comment »

Well, I caught the bubonic plague, but it looks like I'm going to recover. As I write this, my two littlest boys, Isaac and Isaiah, have taken it upon themselves to clean the house. First there is the predictable fighting ...

Caroline

Monday, October 19th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 21 Comments »

Her suffering ended ten years ago tonight. A decade can take forever to pass, with each day stretching into the next into the next, yet you can come to the end of it and feel like all those things you ...

Do as I say…

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

It's guy night at the Woodlief house. Wife is gone, me and the boys are fending for ourselves. I'm making chili. Caleb stands beside me at the counter as I chop vegetables. He sees me pick up a fat jalapeno ...

There’s always runner up

Monday, October 5th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 3 Comments »

Isaiah John, at two years old, was born to be a last child. If you are trying to get something accomplished, he hurls his body against your legs, slings his arms upward, and begs to be held. If there is ...

Schooling on the homefront

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 2 Comments »

Recently discovered in a then six year-old Eli Woodlief's home-school work: Q. Do you think that using an alphabet is the best way to write? Explain. A. No I sirtenly do not. Q. Would you like to visit the White House? Explain. A. No ...

Birthday boy

Monday, September 28th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 5 Comments »

Five years ago, he became our laughter. He loves everybody, and everybody loves him. Today he is five years old. Happy birthday, William Isaac Woodlief. Thank you for reminding us how to love.

Light beyond daylight

Monday, September 14th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 9 Comments »

We are at the fair, and the sun has disappeared below the treeline, so that the illumination from the rides has become our daylight. We are watching Caleb twirl and spin about in some contraption that his brothers are either ...

Here and not there

Friday, September 11th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 4 Comments »

Eight years ago while the rubble was still burning and planes across the skies were being grounded, we went to the Kansas state fair. My family was already there; they'd gone that morning. I finished up at work, which really ...

Everyone thinks his doesn’t stink

Friday, August 28th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 1 Comment »

Isaiah has learned, whenever he detects a strong odor, to say, "Phew! That stinky!" This seems to have universal application. In a greasy spoon with the strong smell of grilled onions: "Phew! That stinky!" After intruding on one of his brothers during ...

Why I never stop to ask for directions

Monday, August 24th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

Caleb has reached that stage where he thinks everything he has to say is fascinating. It's a stage, unfortunately, that most people never escape, as evidenced by the ubiquity of cell phones and, well, blogs. No, most people never escape ...

The best policy

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 4 Comments »

Isaac is standing outside the door of a bedroom in our undisclosed vacation spot. He is clutching a pillow like it is a club. He is trying to coax his brother Eli into opening the door. "Open the door Eli! ...

Marshmallow war

Friday, July 17th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 9 Comments »

In these troubled economic times, good wholesome family entertainment can be a difficult expense to bear. That's why I'm especially pleased that we've discovered a way to have big family fun for under ten dollars. Yesterday we had friends over, ...

So, the snake

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 7 Comments »

There's this scene in Jaws, when poor Chief Brody, chumming off the side of Quint's boat, has his first honest-to-God encounter with the beast. "We're going to need a bigger boat," he mumbles. The thing is, I only have a 28-gauge ...

On not being dead

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 5 Comments »

Six straight weeks of travel, several big writing projects, work, children, marriage, property in desperate need of attention, and one gun and machete battle with my resident ginormous pond snake have all conspired to keep me away. I was planning ...

Smitten

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

I have just come home, and Eli runs up to me. "Dad, I left you a Boxcar Children book on your nightstand. It's your Easter present." "Thank you," I say. He turns back toward where he has been playing. "Eli," I ...

Book lover

Thursday, March 12th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 4 Comments »

Isaiah is sitting on the floor surrounded by books. He opens one with a crinkle of its pages and says, "Shoo-chi-joo-sho-nay-nay-da." He slaps it shut. "De end." He picks up another, mutters out his own version of its narrative, and ...

Births day

Sunday, March 8th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | Comments Off on Births day

Something special about the Wife and Eli, aside from the fact that they are mine, is that they have the same birthday, which is today. Eli has turned a big seven years old. Tomorrow he will come to work with ...

Here and gone

Saturday, March 7th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 8 Comments »

The sky is steely grey, with sunshine spilling through where it can, at odd angles. It always finds a way through, this sun. She would be thirteen today. I can't imagine that little girl as a teenager. She has a house full ...

Practice makes perfect

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 2 Comments »

Isaac wallows on the floor, cradling his Lamby and watching his mother cut my hair. "Dad." "Yes?" "How can you sit so still?" "Because I've had a lot of practice at it. Do you want to practice sitting still?" "No. I'm going to practice ...

Ponies from heaven

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 25 Comments »

I think the pony who wandered into our yard saw our compost bin as a fast-food stop. He is cream-colored with curly hair, and very gentle, and he follows anyone who will feed him old lettuce leaves. We tied him ...

Happy birthday to Caleb

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 8 Comments »

Today is Stephen Caleb Woodlief's ninth birthday. I snuck him in to work with me, which is what I do with each child on his birthday. He is sitting at a desk in my office, diligently laboring over his schoolwork ...