The Extended Golds

Only Sophia

A little while back Sophia had some fun by saying that if she would have gotten her middle finger cut off she would have to say “give me four” when wanting a high five for the rest of her life.
I recently came across this picture, and wanted to share the funny story.
Raising Sophia is so much fun. She is hilarious. She is smart. She is beautiful. She is SWEET. And she is also blonde. Very blonde.
A few years back, as we were visiting my in-laws, for some reason, LeGrand and the girls and I ended up driving to church in Grammy’s van. Aunt Michelle was with us. Halfway to church, Sophia starts screaming from the back. We, being the experienced parents that we were, told her to knock it off. Michelle attentively found out what was going on. She calmly declared, “Her finger is stuck in the seatbelt.”
“Well pull it out”, I say. “It won’t come out”, Michelle says. Sophia is now crying with full force, which is slightly louder than a whimper. I forgot to tell you the girl is quiet. And although she has mostly outgrown it, she used to be terribly shy. I climb in the back of the van to take care of whatever it was that 22 year old Michelle couldn’t.
I was in for the shock of my life. HER FINGER WAS STUCK IN THE SEATBELT. What the heck? How did this happen? Sophia explained that she was just trying it on for size. You know, like a ring. What?.. had she worked her way up to the middle finger from the pinky? Well, she found the finger that it WOULDN’T fit. The middle finger was painfully and obviously TOO BIG. Honda Odyssey engineers must not have thought this one through. 3 year old stuck in a van + an empty middle seatbelt = an ultimate disaster.
I still thought I may be able to rectify things. I asked Michelle to hand me the A&D Ointment out of the diaper bag while thinking “thank goodness I still have one in diapers.” I slathered it good. The finger would still not budge. It wanted to keep that seatbelt on for the showing I guess. Sophia started really screaming good. I pulled hard to no avail. That thing, that ring, um, I mean that seatbelt was not coming off, and her finger was now swelling up good. The seatbelt started cutting into her skin.
By this time, we pulled into the church parking lot. LeGrand got in the back of the van to assess the damage. He calmly asked Michelle to go into the church building to get his dad. Papa came out and was astonished. Remember he is an engineer and he raised five kids….one of which, was Jordan. (a whole other story – one bragging rite was rescuing Jordan vs a hot water heater and although the hot water heater tried to shock Jordan to death, Jordan still won) Who would have guessed this could ever happen? Not any of us if we weren’t staring at it with our own eyes.
We decided I should try and get some ice from the church to see if we could get the swelling down. At this point, Sophia is resigned to be stuck in this van for a very long time. At least she had stopped screaming. The ice didn’t work. At all. It may have cooled her off a little but, that was about it. The only other thing we could think to do was call the fire department. I went in and found a NON EMERGENCY number and called. They questioned, “Her finger is stuck in the seatbelt?” “Yes”, I said, “but it is so much worse than that.” “We can’t get her out of the car.” With my brief explanation and their utter curiosity they said they would send someone out.
Meanwhile, we solicited the help from a prison doctor who happened to be attending church. He tried the trick of wrapping the string around the finger. It wasn’t even close to working. I guess it works on real rings…just not the steel kind. People from the earlier congregation start filling the parking lot as they were leaving. They looked over casually wondering what all these people were doing standing in the back of a van. It was July. It was hot. All of the sudden, you can hear the sirens. They are screaming from down the street and they are traveling fast. Could they possibly be for our Sophia? Why yes. They were.
First, the firetruck arrived. In LeGrand’s words, “Three big old firemen” all decked out in their flame resistant uniforms went to work. They assessed the situation and found a perfectly happy and shy little girl confined to a life in the backseat of a mini-van via seatbelt confusion. The confusion being theirs. They called the fire chief. He had to come and see for himself. Shortly after he arrived and checked things out for himself he said he had been the fire chief for thirty years and had never seen anything like this. Well there’s really no other way to celebrate America on the weekend of Independence Day, is there? The irony – no freedom to be found without the jaws of life.
Well, before they went as drastic as the jaws of life they decided that they would consult with their buddies, the paramedics. The paramedics offered nothing, except for some real eye candy for the people leaving church. We had a lot of gawkers. Not to blame them. How could they not wonder what was going on?A little girl in the back of a van. Emergency workers each taking turns checking out the situation. An array of emergency vehicles, inlcuding, but not limited to: a firetruck (with lights and sirens), an ambulance, a couple of police cars, and the truck of the fire chief.
Oh yeah, after putting all their heads together, what did they come up with? They were gonna have to cut her out. That was all they could do. They cut her out of the seatbelt and gave us their best advice, “Head on over to the emergency room to see if they can figure out some way to remove the metal from her hand”. “Oh, and tell your other kids not to play with the seat-belts in the future.” “Why thank you. Thank you so much.”
LG, Sophia, my father in law(Duane), and I head on over to the emergency room. We get to start it all over again. At the front desk. “Hi.” “hi.” “How can we help you?” We all look totally fine and we are dressed to the nines compared to the rest of the room because our Sunday worshop was apparently happening on their floor of the hospital. LeGrand starts to explain, “This is our daughter Sophia, she got her finger stuck in the seatbelt.” Blank stare. Me: “let me show you.” I held up her hand to the receptionist who immediately dropped her jaw in astonishment.
This exact scenario happened at least 20 more times while visiting the hospital. We finally just started throwing her hand into the faces of the medical gawkers. Everyone wanted to see what a finger looked like on a little girl who stuck it in a seatbelt. Nurses, doctors, janitors, desk workers, x-ray technicians. You name it. None of the emergency room docs knew what to do either. They tried the string trick, ice, but gave up shortly before the second round of A&D ointment.
It all ended with a visit from the orthopedic surgeon who declared, “we are going to have to do surgery with our diamond saw.” Are you kidding me?
As he started to explain that he was pretty steady with the saw, but there were still all kind of tragic possibilities including the loss of a finger, I quickly reminded him that LG was in law school and he better not screw up. He didn’t appreciate that. I started crying and begging him to not cut her finger off. He assured me that if he did cut it off, he would be able to most possibly successfully reattach it.
That was the longest hour of my life. The surgeon did a great job. I never did tell him that LeGrand wouldn’t have sued him even if he cut her whole hand off. I was so relieved that she was all in one piece.
Today, Sophia is really proud of two things. One- she was in a movie and two – she has a beautiful and modern ring that is an original. (I haven’t had the heart to tell her that has probably happened to someone else out there in this big world) The ring is cut into two pieces in her box of keepsakes and she is free to try it on whenever she feels a hankering. We figured that would be the surest way of keeping her away from the same exact seatbelts in our current van.
I wish I could have been at the Honda Dealership when my father in law was explaining the situation. He had to pull out a picture of WHY the fire department had actually cut the seatbelt out of the van. “She got her finger stuck in the seatbelt” just wasn’t cutting it.
Our hats go off to Honda who has a lifetime free replacement for their seatbelts. Maybe one of these days they will call to let our children safety test their vans. I am sure there are other possible disastrous scenarios that their engineers haven’t thought of. Adding a blonde child to their team could only help their safety regulations. I know four children that could give them a run for their money, as long as they won’t lose any fingers.
Adding this video in on 1/24/2014 for your reference to the string trick mentioned.

Time-Out Time

I just read this article for some great new strategies in disciplining my kids.
After reading the article, I thought that letting the kids play cards with the dog was a really great idea of disciplining with techniques of both distraction and silliness. Let me know if your dog is as good as ours at playing spoons. It kind of runs in the Gold blood. Olive would love to get together with your dog for a card playing play date.

I typically am a go-to time out mom. I am a believer in time-out. We spanked Abigail, our oldest, for a while and found that it did not work for her at all. It just made her more aggressive. I am not saying that spanking won’t work for some children, but for me it wasn’t an option because I could not spank without anger. But, the older my children have got, the more frustrated I have become with the ineffectiveness of time-out. I have found myself trying to remember what my mom did with her seven kids when I have situations to resolve at hand.
My mom spanked so well without anger that it was a standing joke at our house growing up. There was usually much laughter accompanying our spankings, which were preferably given with a wooden spoon. It was much softer than her hand would have been. She’s such a softie. Another good thing my mom did was make my siblings and I sit under the peach tree in the backyard whenever we fought. We had to stay there until we were willing to give each other a hug. How powerful and simple that technique was. I think she may have even used it on some of the neighbor kids from time to time. And, now that I am a mother, I realize how ingenious the idea was for her sanity too. She didn’t have to worry or listen to any bickering once we were outside. She also remained neutral and made us work out our own solutions with this effective disciplining strategy.
I was really excited the other day when I had a good parenting stroke of genius. I think my mom would be pleased. The idea stemmed from her insistence that I write “I love my brother 100 times” at least 100 times in my life.
For the most part my kids behave great, but I have one pretty consistent struggle between my two bullheaded children. Abigail is 11 and wants to always tell 6 year old Bella how to do things. Bella resents it because she thinks she can be her own boss. They go at it pretty good from time to time, mostly just verbally, but sometimes they will push or hit.
Well, the other day, after one of these disagreements, and after Abigail’s 11 minute time-out, that didn’t work a bit, I gave her an assignment. She was to sit at the kitchen table and write down 10 things she likes about Bella. I was adamant that she would not leave the table until she got it done.
I was so impressed and completely surprised that Abigail cranked it out really quickly. She even threw in an extra compliment for good measure.
1. She cleans when asked.
2 She is kind to others. (not me)
3. She doesn’t quit.
4. She likes cool music.
5. She leaves me alone when I ask, which is almost all the time.
6. She loves to play.
7. She is strong willed.
8. She dresses uniquely.
9. She takes charge in doubt.
10. She loves to take care of everything.
11. She is organized.
Later Abigail admitted to me that the way that she came up with the list was to think of all the things that she didn’t like about Bella and turn them into a compliment. So, when it said, she dresses uniquely, that started out with she dresses awful. She likes cool music was really that Abigail hates her music, etc, etc.
At Abigail’s admission, I could have been defeated, but I realized that even though Abigail thought she had the upper-hand, she didn’t. I had just succeeded with a truly inspired exercise in cognitive therapy. I taught Abigail how to change the way she thinks. Isn’t that what we all have to do to love our enemies?

It’s official, she’s a nerd.

Abigail has a friend at school.

I think she kind of likes him.

She denies it and will continue to do so, so please don’t tell her I posted this.

(I really hope that nobody at her school reads my blog.
I would never forgive myself for spilling the beans.)

She must have a thing for the smart boys.
She has nicknamed him Google.

Because you can ask him anything and he knows the answer.

Wow. I think I married a google too.

The question is, does this boy now trump Papa? Because it used to be him that knew everything.

Can there be more than one google man in this world?

Can we just call papa, beta google?
Abigail did say that she could name her friend Encyclopedia Brown.
But, maybe we should save that title for papa.
It’s so old school.

Who’s your nut?

I admit it, I am definitely the nut of the family.
My family is mostly nutty with a few sweets,
but somehow I am still the nuttiest
It wasn’t until I got married that I realized that not all families are nutty.
I often ask myself how a girl like me married into a family that’s just sweet?
They never really had any nuts before I joined.
Oh yeah, except for Uncle Dirk.
I love Uncle Dirk.
His family has made me feel right at home from the very beginning.
My love for the Dirk’s nutty Golds was solidified forever
the day I honeymooned in their trailor.

Here is Uncle Dirk.

Oh look, Dirk’s family looks so sweet.

Then all HECK broke loose.
At least they let him blow the candle out first.
(We may be nutty, but at least we’re sober.)
It’s no wonder that Catherine fits right in the nutty family too.
Look at the joy on her face as she smears her brother in law.
Take that Grant.
Not so fast Jarrett.
Oh yeah. You forgot I have the headlock.
And you must have forgot my black belt in cake karate.
But look whose laughing.
They still love each other.
that’s what nutty families do best.

It’s all how you look at it.

Caroline is 4 weeks already. I can’t believe it.

Here was my mommy conversation with my 7 year old the other day.

Sophia: “Mom, Caroline is so so smart.”

Me: “I know, all my girls are smart. Why do you think she is smart?”

Sophia: “Oh it’s so easy. She already learned how to cross her eyes. It took me forever to learn how to do that.”

All of my older girls have been in heaven for the past week while Uncle Jordan’s family has been visiting. There is a younger kid around for each of them to have one to themselves at all times.

He’s an adjective.

He’s doting
Me: “C’mon girls, help me come up with adjectives for dad.”
Girls: “O.k.”
Abigail says, “Ooo ooo, I got it. Ah man, the word is on the tip of my tongue.”
Me: “What does the word describe?”
Abigail: “You know, stuffing your face with hotdogs.”
Me: “Gluttonous”
Abigail: “What does gluttonous mean?”
Me: (referring to the dictionary)
“One who eats too much.”
Abigail: “Yeah, that’s the word.”
I was thinking more along the lines of outdoorsy,
but I guess gluttonous will do.
(Thanks for all the campfires LG…
and the hotdogs)

Abigail: “Electronic – ee”

Sophia says “Happy”

Sophia says, “Sporty”
How about retired? (from coaching that is)
This man has seen enough pink soccer balls to last a lifetime.
Abigail says, “Seriously.”

Bella: “Too much cents.”
Or maybe she meant “too much sense.”
Either works.

Abigail says, “Like father, like daughter.”
(You have to understand that Bella is the chip connoisseur at our house)

Bella: “Love- ish”
Me: “You mean loving?”
Bella: “Yeah.”

(The kids all look at me in awe because I just said the word sex)
Sophia agrees.

(The kids are losing interest in my game)

Abigail wants to prove that she isn’t losing interest.
She says that this should be
“O.k. Bella, o.k., I heard you the first time.”

Abigail says, “Freakishly weird.”
I was thinking more along the lines of

He’s the leader, but that’s not an adjective.

How about trusted?


Abigail says, “Focused.”


Picture perfect.
This one is for Cally because she said that Conan was perfect
and I don’t want LG to be outdone.

I say sensitive.
Abigail says “Sensitive Four Eyes.”

Abigail says, “French…or not.”
“His name is French.”
She must be listening.
How many times have I said it?
“His name is LeGrand, it’s French, it means The Big.”
Or the best interpretation: “The Big and the Mighty.”

And lastly,
Completely unique, never to be duplicated, and certainly not cloned.

I love you LeGrand.
Words just don’t do justice in telling how wonderful you are as a father.
Apparently, pictures don’t do it either.
Next year I’ll try to be as sweet as Cally.
This year it’s just a good thing I finally finished this post after a week.
I love love love love LOVE you!
Happy Belated Father’s Day.

Introducing Caroline Grace

The song has been running through my mind for aproximately 3 hours straight.
Sweet Caroline.
Go ahead…add the duhn, duh, du…you know you want to.
Hello Grammy.

Where am I?

I’m hungry.

Still hungry.

Please mom, don’t put me on the blog.
Fine then, here’s a good one for you.

Hello Dad.

Hello Abigail.

Hello Bella.
Hello Sophia.

Hello Simba.

And hello to my favorite bad hair day ever.

40 years

I promised Faye that I would post this last Fall, but I only started.
Duane celebrated his 40th year working for Eastman.
They threw him a little reception.
It was lovely. And the girls loved missing school.
They made us all feel like heroes for supporting the company for so long.
Really they have been the ones supporting us.
Our two liters of pop can only do the company so much good, especially considering that we don’t use their cigarette filters and the Kodak 35 mm film went out of style a long time ago.
Thank you to Eastman and thanks to Duane for supporting us in living our dream.
Even if ours is starting out a little too late to last 40 years.
(I don’t know maybe LG could work until he’s 73!!!!)
As the inevitable layoffs are lurking, we will hope for the best.
40 years…..Man, I don’t even think I will make it to any 40 year anniversary.
Being only 35, I can’t even imagine the length of 40 years.
40 years of engineering is something to be proud of.
And we are proud of Duane, but mostly because he is a wonderful man.
Not to mention the best dad and granddad.
Here’s to 40 more….well, maybe not 40.