Gift Guide for Big Boys, by Joshua and Caleb


Joshua and Caleb are here to help you figure out how to shop for a group that isn’t always easy: the big boys. Yes, they picked out all of these things themselves–not me. They even helped me make that picture. I would have never thought to stick a top hat on sweet little JD’s head! ūüôā hehehe

Merry Christmas!!!

These are ideas for boys in the 6-10 age range. Joshua is nine, and Caleb is seven. 

Joshua’s picks:

Joshua is asking for these specific Big Nate books, but really I think he will be happy to get any Big Nate book:

(Some of these are affiliate links, via Amazon, that you can click on, and it will take you straight to their store.)

Of course, most boys this age also LOVE video games. I told them they could each choose one video game for their list. Joshua doesn’t have a game picked out yet, but he did ask for the Mirror of Mystery Pack for his Skylander Trap Team game. They beat the actual game in three days, but these packs introduce new levels for them to conquer


For some reason that the girl inside of me will just never understand, almost ALL boys also love toy weapons. I can’t explain it, and yet it is a very clear pattern.

This is the weapon Joshua is wishing for this Christmas:

the Nerf Mega Thunder Bow Blaster

There’s also this store called J.M. Cremps that has a TON of great games for little boys. No, I am not an affiliate of this company, but I’m telling you, they have awesome stuff. Both boys want this this year:

Again with the weapons…

Now, let’s see Caleb’s picks:

Caleb is super easy to shop for because Caleb still loves imaginary play of all kinds, adores toys, and is just an easily pleased type kid. Thank you, Lord, for kids like Caleb!!

Angry Birds Telepods is his choice video game for this season. I believe it’s an iPad app that has mini figures that go along with it, much like the Skylander portal concept.

These figure/video game combinations are obnoxious to me, as a parent. However, kids like Caleb that are still young enough to enjoy playing with action figures enjoy them on a whole other level.

Even Daniel and JD play with the little figures, but they obviously don’t play video games.

This hover-ball, or as Caleb calls it “one-half sliding soccer ball” has come up a lot in conversation. He’s excited about this.…and this…because my children are highly susceptible to TV advertising…Here’s another reason I am so excited about cutting the cable once football season is over!!!

Speaking of t.v….


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle weapons. Actually, every single one of my four boys would LOVE any of these TMNT weapons. Caleb asked specifically for these. I never call them the right thing, so we will refer to them as Rafael’s weapons. Joshua’s preference is for the stick-thing Donatello carries. Big surprise. Joshua’s been carrying around a stick, using it as his King’s scepter, for as long as I can remember!

Caleb also asked for a watch, which Santa Clause will be bringing, and a camera card so the digital camera that he has (handed down) will work.

Oh, and here’s a book series that is really great for Caleb right now. I think all little boys should read this series. The stories are wholesome and fun.


We are all enjoying these. As a gift, though, this is definitely more Caleb’s (2nd grade) level than Joshua’s, even though Joshua still enjoys reading them.

And of course, what list would be complete for either boy without this guy:

As we speak, Joshua is sitting up in bed reading the one Calvin and Hobbes book that we have, over and over again.


But a set that big could be a problem for airplane transport with impatient little boys…The key would be to prevent opening the set until we got home, I think.

Okay, Mom, I hope this helped!¬†Let me know if you need me to put one together for toddler/preschool boys! That’s a whole other kettle of fish, but it seems like people have an easier time with that age group.

Don’t forget to stop by this award contest, and give my blog a vote:


Merry Christmas!!


Our Nightmare Before Christmas

We all have our vacation disasters.

There are times when things just don’t go the way that you had hoped. ¬†Embarking on a looong car trip with four children is a foolish¬†brave thing to do.


It all began around 10pm the night before we left. ¬†I walked into Dan’s room to get something, and I noticed he had a very wet sounding snore. ¬†“Oh no,” I thought.


Around 12 am, Dan woke up crying and barking a little (the croup cough sounds like a seal’s bark). ¬†We gave him some cold & cough medicine, and he went back to sleep.


2am he woke up crying and barking, but at this point he couldn’t stop barking. ¬†He wasn’t getting in any regular breaths between the barks. ¬†It was horrible and scary. ¬†We had never had a child get croup like this.


I have always read and been told that steam helps when a child is having breathing difficulties, so we went to the bathroom, closed the door, and turned on the hot shower.


It helped right away, but each time we would turn off the water, and the steam would begin to disappear, the croup would begin to return.  We knew Daniel would have to go the emergency room.


Croup is not something adults have to worry about having. ¬†This is a condition that happens to some small children when they are sick with a virus…..or in Dan’s case strep throat….

For more info on croup, you can click on this link:¬†WebMD croup article¬†(By the way, two years later, Dan was diagnosed with asthma because this still happens every time he gets sick. Was it asthma all along? I don’t know. I can’t tell the difference in the sound of the bark. Either way, when your kid can’t get a breath in between coughs, you gotta rush that baby to the hospital.)


The ER people gave Dan a dose of steroid and sent him home, where he quickly went back to sleep and seemed to be just fine.


Having not slept much, we were a little later leaving than planned.  Here are the highlights of our trip:


-We got one block from our house when our car DVD player quit working.



-detour to Target to buy new one—got lucky–it was on sale!


– left Target to immediately get stuck in a slow moving traffic jam on I-95 South, of course.


-By the time traffic was moving again, it was 1pm, and we were all ready for lunch. ¬†We all went inside to BK, fed the baby, changed his diaper, changed Dan’s pull-up, and then began to realize that Daniel was looking…droopy. ¬†He finally just sat down at the table and started crying.


-We loaded all the kids back into the car, gave Dan some Tylenol, and hit the road.


-2 hours later….Dan starts crying and doesn’t stop.


-I crawled into the back seat and touched him. ¬†Whoa! ¬†The boy was on fire! ¬†By this point, I’m ready to throw in the towel.

“Alan, that’s it. ¬†This boy is really, really sick. ¬†Let’s just turn around and go home. ¬†This is just not working out.”

Alan….thinking a little less emotionally than I was and more logically (another thing I love about Alan–he should so run for President)….said, “I’m going to take him to a hospital.”


–Alan pulled off the interstate and looked around for ‘H’ signs.


–This hospital was in a small town I’d never heard of, and it was wonderful. ¬†Very Southern!

“What’s the matter, Sweetie?”


“Oh, I’m so sorry. ¬†My goodness, you are beautiful. ¬†What a beautiful child” ¬†(referring to Dan)


“He’s gonna get real mad at me when I do this, but we gotta make him feel better.”

(102.5 fever, even after the Tylenol, They swabbed both nostrils to test for flu and his throat, to test for strep throat).


“Do you have other children? ¬†I can tell that you do; it’s real obvious. ¬†You’re so good at this.”


to Dan: ¬†“Your mama sure does love you, you’re lucky to have such a good momma. ¬†You know that?”

…Yes, I was getting the big head. ¬†; )


My favorite line:

(from the doctor) ¬†“I can’t believe the ER last night did not do a strep test on him. ¬†That is not right.” ¬†The nurse said, “Yeah, they were just doing the bare minimum for this poor baby!”

That’s right, Doc. ¬†Maybe when I get back I will put in a complaint.




They gave him a dose of steroid, ibuprofen, antibiotic, and zofran—because– did I mention right before Alan pulled off the interstate that Daniel threw up all over me?


I bet we smelled really nice.


Naturally, I had a change of clothes for Daniel, but not so much for me. ¬†We bought some Lysol and sprayed down my pants…



Thankfully, that was our last trip complication.  We reached our destination at 4:30am.  We woke up a few hours later and headed to the funeral.


The funeral went really well, and I’m so thankful that we made it. ¬†I saw family I had not seen in years, and that was a blessing.


I got to see Granny one last time, and that was good closure.  This was the good, peaceful kind of funeral.  It was her time, and she was ready.  That makes such a difference.  Funerals are a great reminder of our past, our present, and our future.


We only get one life to live on Earth.  I hope I can live mine as well as Granny did.



A few photos to share of last week’s Santa visit:



 Santa came to the next neighborhood over, in a fire truck.  Pretty cool, huh?
¬†I asked Dan if he liked meeting Santa. ¬†He replied, “He gave me candy!” ¬†Ah yes, candy, the way to a child’s heart.
 All of our boys are still Santa believers, and they took this very seriously.
¬†my two little packing helpers… you can imagine….I’m now a very slow packer…
 Dan tucked himself into the guest bed down stairs and took a pretend nap.
…..and our weirdest discovery of the week: ¬†Joshua has Raynaud’s Disease: ¬†this finger turned completely white from the cold.
For more info on Raynaud’s: ¬†Mayo Clinic Info
Merry Christmas!!!
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