Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I found Jesus

So...about two days after decorating for Christmas, I turn around to find Jesus missing from the nativity scene. If this wasn't an amazing analogy to how most spend the Christmas season, I don't know what is. We spend all this time decorating listening to carols, getting ready to celebrate and about two days in are completely overwhelmed, with letters to write, presents to buy and wrap and lists to make on what we are bringing to all the holiday activities that fill the calendar...and somewhere in there, we lose Jesus.
I was really disappointed. We stopped and looked now and then, but he was no where. We prayed daily. Then one day, Shawn called a halt to all family activity and proclaimed a family search to find Jesus. We looked and looked and about 15 minutes in, back behind the photo albums in the side cupboard, I found Jesus!
We took him over to the nativity, set him between Mary and Joseph, faced the wisemen toward him and sat back in triumph. Then promptly turned and walked away, back into the chaos of the season.
I have to say...as disappointed as I was to have lost Jesus, I think I may be more disappointed that I found him. At least, when he was missing...I spent my time looking for Him. I was reminded of how much I need Him and I prayed daily about the importance of His place in the story. Once I found Him, I put Him in his place of honor, took Him for granted and went about my business, just assuming He'd be there when I needed Him.
I don't want to treat Jesus this way. He is a humble King who gave His life for me. I am trying to remember when I see Jesus in the nativity scene, to not just go about my business, because I know He's there. But to take time to thank God that He is there, that He was sent, and that He fulfilled His promise of reconciliation.
Oh Lord, forgive me for my expectations and ungratefulness of Your greatest gift and remind me that Jesus is right there, only because of Your great mercy and grace. Thank you, for helping me find Jesus...again!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another bout with technology

Today was not a very good day at the Ryan household. Mommy is overwhelmed. As much as technology benefits us...today it has exasperated (spelling? no spell check here) me!
Because of technology we are capable of so much more. People expect more cuz you can do it faster and buy it quicker. Three clicks and your bills are paid. Four searches and the carseat is found for less. Google maps and you have directions. Shoot out an e-mail and twenty people are contacted for a pot luck. Buy the Christmas cards, make the scrapbook, read the news and get the diapers, all in one sitting. Well, frankly, I wish it weren't all so "possible" because then people wouldn't expect me to do it!
In order to pay the bills, I have to have kids occupied and not hanging on me...or I may just pay the phone bill twice. I have to track a sheet from my old computer to my online account to know when the bill went through. I have no check registery anymore.
My benefit people want me to do it all online too. They can't help me over the phone anymore and want me to find a pediatric eye doctor through their website...well, I can't. It's not working and no one can help me.
The medical benefit people want me to create an account, scan in birth certificates and upload them to verify my kids are my kids. I have copies I offered to mail (because, actually this would be much quickwer and far more possible to do with three little people around). No thanks...they siad they really prefer we do not mail them in. Sweet! Another 20 minutes on the laptop...fending off the kids.
Scrapbooks and Christmas cards are not just five clicks and done. It takes time, it means decisions, it means many more options than just picking a box that looks good and signing your name to a card with a small note.
Sure it's awesome to contact 20 people at a time to see what they want to bring to something, but if they don't "reply all" suddenly you have 20 salads and no one is bringin a main dish. So we start all over and the inbox fills with reply after reply "RE: potluck".
Don't even start me on the research options of a good carseat and always feeling like you may have missed "the best" deal.
And so as I type on this wonderful blog that technology has helped me to create...I can't help but wish I weren't so available to people and able to do so many things at the click of a mouse. Today, a rotary phone and a checkbook sounded mighty good to this mom who spent most her day angry with her kids, so she could "conviently" use the compter to live life. I am not sure this is how it's supposed to go down.
God and I have had a chat. Tomorrow kids win and computer takes the backseat (that is if I manage to not hurl it out the door....). I am going to live life tomorrow the old fashion way...with people!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


There are so many people raising our kids. Many people worry about the "outside" influences...teachers, friends, parents of friends you don't really know, coaches, etc.. We want the best for our kids and we do our utmost to make it happen. We worry about the wrong influences and pray that God will provide the "right" people in their lives. Today I was reminded, that God is already working on our behalf and there are so many influences already at play...already teaching my kids...way before they even entered the arena of teachers and coaches.
My friend Gini...who had four girls...each so different. She taught me that each child is an individual and needs to be raised that way. She taught me to "learn" your children, try to speak their individual languages to reach them so they can hear you. She also taught me the value of scripture as a teaching tool and my kids can thank her for the verses they know...in leiu of when they speak out of turn, (let no unwholesome words depart from your mouth, only that which are uplifting...), treat each other inconsiderately (be humble, be gentle, be patient and love one another) and when they whine (do everything without grumbling or complaining). I saw Gini parent, I watched her girls grow and I learned so many things and now my kids are learning them too.
My friends K & R, who followed God to India...and took their kids with them. Their kids have been carted half way across the world and while some would fear they would have to deal with all sorts of issues, K & R trusted God in his call and those kids have to be some of the sweetest kids with the most compassionate hearts and greatest understanding of what it means to know and love God at such a young age. And though my kids may not know first hand the amazing people R & K are, (though I am hoping on their furloughs and through life they may come to find out...they will learn SO much more!) my kids have their picture and we pray for them...and my kids are reminded go where God sends you and it is all of our jobs to tell people about Jesus.
My friend Stephanie...who is one of the most patient, understanding and servant hearted people you will ever meet. She has brought this mom lattes on days when all the mommying seemed too much. She has loved my kids and housed them, when mommy brought home the new babies. She has changed her plans, so my kids can be at her house eating chewies, playing in the yard, being tickled, snuggled, loved and doted on. My kids have learned the value of being a friend and knowing another place where God's love abides and they are safe and welcome.
Our friends the Shurtleffs. My kids have vacationed more times than I can count with this clan and spent so many nights eating dinner and crashing at their house so mom and dad could laugh and play games. My kids have learned the importance of friendship from the Shurtleffs. They have learned there are places outside our home that feel like home and that there is family that is not blood.
Pastor Paul and his wife Joanie. I was priviledged to work with him and he would get down on his hands and knees in his office (mind you, he is not exactly a "young" man) and hide behind the desk to pop out and greet my kids. He loved and valued all kids. When in his presence, my kids learned that what a "Pastor" is, one who values, cares and loves his flock....even the littlest. Paul taught me that it's okay to doctor your coffee with a mini reeses peanut butter cup and he and his wife taught me to pray for my kids. And pray more. I know he prays for my kids too...I look forward to the day they can fully appreciate the influence of that.
I could go on, but tonight those are the people who have been on my mind and my heart. And while I understand the caution we need to have with the influences on our kids, I also understand that there are influences we forget about. That we often overlook, take for granted and underestimate. I am grateful for the people God has brought into my life. Times like this, I step back and recognize how incredibley full my life is. More than that, I recognize that my kids have been incredibley blessed from a young age to have such amazing influences. I am thankful...and I am grateful for all my kids have been influenced by...from people other than me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today I "worked"

Today i went to "work". A friend of mine who cleans houses needed help yesterday and today on a 5500 square foot house. A family was moving in and they wanted a pre cleaning. Just for reference, this house had it's own sports bar and theatre room (with reclining theatre rows, big screen, curtains and what not...crazy).
I left at 7:20 am in the morning and got home at 5:30. I was on my knees scrubbing much of the day. My back hurts, my legs hurt, my knees hurt, my everything hurts. I learned the wonders of water and vinegar and all they can clean and I learned that my house is probably very dirty, considering all the things I cleaned but never touch in my household (it's a good thing I have no blinds...I'd be screwed...those suckers are lame to clean!).
However, I did it all without a person on my leg. I peed when I wanted to. I actually sat down to eat my lunch! FOr that matter, I ate a lunch!!! When I cleaned something, it stayed clean. When I went into abother room, no one was yelling for me. When I drove in the car, I listened to the radio and had no "background music". It was different.
I will admit, I enjoyed a break from the norm. I enjoyed the relative quiet. I enjoyed "work".
But as much as I ache...I can tell you, I missed the "staying at home". I missed loading up the van for a trip to the grocery store and hearding the kids through the aisles. I missed helping little hands trace lines and cleaning the crayons off the table...with "help". I missed going to the park and tracking the boys while following Amanda around the toys...bending over awkwardly to help her from falling down. I missed the laughter at lunch time while the boys made faces and I continually went back and forth to the fridge to get more milk, more carrots and put away all the things trailed across the counter to make a lunch. I missed stuffing some crust in my mouth while moving to the couch for story time. I missed Mandy crawling into my lap anytime I sat down, Brayden's super snugs and Gavin reminding me "I love you mostest more mom". I missed cleaning off boots from outside dirt digging and giddy boys coming in to tell me about their excavations in the sideyard.
I missed my kids and all the well, work, that they are.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gavin's going to heaven...

The other night, Gavin and I went out on a "date". He got a new wallet and a Starbucks card for his birthday and he couldn't wait to use it. I had decided that we were going to have a serious talk in the car on the way to Starbucks. The kids have been asking a lot about heaven since my mom's cat died and since Shawn's Grandpa passed away. I wanted to chat with Gavin about it.
I have been struggling lately as to what to tell Gavin. He talks as though everything that dies goes to heaven. He knows that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again to conquer death. He knows God sent Jesus for everyone and God wants everyone in heaven. But he doesn't know about hell. I haven't told him for fear he would be telling everyone under the sun that they are going there if they don't know Jesus. And while I believe this is true, I don't know that declaring it out loud randomly in a grocery line is a way to explain it to people.
I want my child to live in truth. I am not sure why I am so afraid of it sometimes. I think, maybe, it's because I don't like to think about hell either. I don't like to think that some people choose to reject Jesus Christ and his sacrifice that offers us a way to God. It's interesting to me that so many people believe in heaven, but don't want to believe in hell. But, then I like to think about heaven, but avoid thinking about hell...that it's real and people are really going there.
All this to say...I decided to talk with him in the car. I asked him if he knew what sin was...
"Yes, the naughty things we do."
Do we all sin Gavin?
"Yes, everyone."
Even mommy and daddy?
That's right.
Gavin why did Jesus die?
"To save us from our sin. And so we can go to heaven."
Gavin do you know if you ask God to forgive you for your sin and tell him you believe in Jesus, you can go to heaven and be with HIm forever? Do you want to do that?
And so we prayed. And my son asked Jesus into his life and began a journey of following Him.
SO EXCITING! Gavin has Jesus in his heart and a life growing in God ahead of him. It says in the Bible that angels rejoice when we turn to God...and I was rejoicing with them.
I was also rejoice, because I believe God gave me some reprieve from the "hell" conversation with my son. Instead he did have a little conversation with me...reminding me that I need to be mindful that hell is a reality and people are going there. It isn't Gavin that needs to be living in Truth right now, it's me. There is a hell and Jesus is the way to avoid it and live a full life for now and eternity! This is something I need to remember...not for myself, but for a world full of people that don't know. And if they don't know, maybe I'll be brave as I think my son would be and tell them, even if I had to do in the grocery store...I sure hope someone would tell me about Light in this dark world if I didn't know!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September in the Ryan household

Well, it's that time of year again. In Washington, the sun just starts to make it's appearance and it's off to school we go (: Shawn is back working late nights and I am back filling out insane amounts of paper work and appointments, from health insurance and yearly check ups to dentists and preschool forms. We have definitely hit September hard.
For our family, this also means birthday time. We celebrated Gavin's 5th and Amanda's 1st, exactly one week apart. So crazy...my first born is getting so old and my baby isn't a baby anymore. With Amanda's candle blown out, I really felt like we were hitting a new phase of life. One without cradles, bottles, rattles and burp clothes. For the most part, the baby stuff has been sold off or given away and we are moving on. It is so bitter sweet and I am sure i will be processing this change for the next year with each new thing Mandy outgrows.
This year, Brayden & Gavin both went to preschool. It is really an interesting phenomenon to me. Brayden, my wild child, with crazy antics and disregard for deocrum, hides behind my leg and quietly enters the classroom with backwards looks and a tentative step. Gavin, my more serene child, with a more contemplative attitude marches forth and only pauses momentarily when i grab his arm to drop a kiss on his cheek. Then marches confidently into the classroom. It's like their personalities make a switch on the school grounds. I will be very interested to see how they both do. It's Bray's first time goin' completely alone into his "own" thing without his brother by his side. I am excited for him! Gavin, I know will love it.
Amanda gets a little more time too. She does nap for some of their time, but we definitely get more one on one with the boys gone. I think she has decided to use it to hone in on her skills of Drama. She has perfected the fit and has quite a nice head to the floor sobbing technique. She is proving to be just as different from the boys as possible. I am not sure how one can have three "opposites" but it seems to be so. I guess I'll have to hit the drawing board once again for parenting techniques...but if i have learned anything with parenting, it's to not expect an easy out, just be grateful when you do catch the breaks!
And so, life is, as always in the parenting world, ever changing. I feel as though God has our family in a state of transition on so many levels right now and I am doing my best to hear his voice and not panic at all the changes and unknown. I am a creature of structure and habit and it is hard for me to wait on things and move into new territory. But I do feel like he is growing me as a wife and a parent. We have cut back on many things and I am working hard to be intentional about adding activites into our lives and not just filling time. It has been good. Hard, but good.
I think the kids are at some key transitional stages too, which is also hard, but good. Daily I look upwards asking God for the patience I need to follow through without blowing a up or self combusting. He has been faithful, for which I am so thankful (as are the kids i am sure...they don't know how much God has protected them from my natrual state of frustration and impatience...i really feel like he has given me the strength to keep calm and steady in all the transition).
So that is what's up with the Ryans. Random September chaos. Fun, good, hard and crazy...but we are making it with God's grace and God's gift of laughter, we are doin' good!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Zucchini and Bras

Here is the thing about being a mom...you lose your pride in many areas, but then in a few others you gain some. Certain things that used to matter so much fall to the way side and things that you used to roll your eyes at are suddenly fantastic. You stop worrying about quality furniture (which is just going to get trashed in the next few years) and how cushy your couch is and you get pumped about how soft the pampers swaddlers diapers are and that they now sell them up to size three. It's backwards and weird but it happens.
The last few weeks two strange things happened. First, I bought bras in the girls department. That's right...not for a little girl mind you, but for me. I was passing by with the section and noticed that it was a quality brand that I had purchased before, but it was 2 bras for $18. Not only that...they were on sale for $12!!! Unbelieveable, you can't even get a bra strap for $12 in the "big girl's' section.
I have never been super concerned about my chest, or lack there of. It is what it is. (Obviously, here I am blogging about it) However, buying them out of the girls section was a tad on the humbling side. (Especially when I realized I wasn't even getting the bigger sizes). Yet I realize, it was such a great deal that I am all proud of my find and how thrifty I am for using what I have (or don't have as the case may be).
Second thing that happened...I grew a garden. Well, I have been growing one for awhile, but I am now harvesting the rewards. Tonight alone we ate a casserole dish including onions, carrots and zucchini from our garden and I brought in, washed and bagged up tons of lettuce and more of the carrots and zucchini.
I have never been a really green thumb or very culinary. Haven't cared too much about it. Yet here I am watering, tending, and caring for my garden and walking inside, shoulders back with a zucchini the size of my forearm. "Look at me, I am the next Sisco!" Chop Chop Chop. Cooking away. Never been my gig, but suddenly I am so proud of the organic little spread my family has for the next month or so.
And I don't know why, but for some reason these two things have been a great representation to me of just how much being a mother, a parent, changes our perspective on life. How God has used these kids and our new responsibilities to mold us and shape us into people who care more about what goes in us...like fresh zucchini, than what goes on us, like a fashion super bra. (Small disclaimer: I still love to feed the kids kraft mac n' cheese and I still love my unnecessary northface coat...baby steps here).
I know there are countless ways in which my priorities and perspective have changed since motherhood. So far, I am thankful for the influence they've had, because God is using them to teach me to look beyond self and care more about their lives than mine. Just as He did for us, with His Son Jesus. And the more I can learn this lesson, the more I can be like Him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Learning to speak

It is interesting to me, that just when I think I have learned something and am I starting to make headway on a weakness I am once again reminded how very falable (sp?) I am. I clearly remember my mother telling me when I was younger, "that mouth of yours is going to get you in trouble one day, and I am not going to be able to fix it." Boy was she right....
God warns us about taming our tongues and there are days where I feel like I have come so far. To quote Anne of Green Gables, "If you only knew all the things I wanted to say but didn't". I really have built up quite the filter, but I am learning that the holes in it are still quite large. Whether or not I am trying to be hurtful (which I have grown up enough that this is rarely intentional) I can unintentionally hurt people so easily by just not thinking before speaking. Isn't this like a 5 year olds lesson? Seriously! I just would have thought I had it by now.
I used to get angry when people didn't speak up and silently listened. Now, I just want to be them. I want to learn to keep snappy retorts to myself, opinions that cause others to stumble inside and second hand stories silenced. It seems pretty simple and I am not sure why my brain and my mouth find it so hard to comply and get along. I have come up with some basic rules I am trying to live by...
If you wonder if you should say it...don't.
Silence is golden, consider getting rich.
Now...I do have a lot of words I feel the need to use each day, so I will have to figure out a way to use them. Currently it has been apologizing to people, but if I follow my two rules...I am hoping to see the end of this trend. I have considered getting Gavin a knock knock joke book so I won't have to listen to the same jokes over and over. Maybe if I learn a few I can just throw those out in heated conversations or when I have the overwhelming urge to offer up my not needed opinion or involve myself in a conversation that I do not need to be a part of. However, if they are as bad as the current jokes he uses, I could be apologizing for those too!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Daddy wonderful

So, my husband has been daddy wonderful lately. With the month of July off, he's been filling our kids days with tons of fun and laughter. The other night I actually asked him if he thinks he's dying, "because, you're really making the most of every moment and livin' life to the fullest." He laughed at me.
It has been good for me to watch, but also humbling. Shawn is amazing at trying to make the most of things and let go of the "to-do" list, in order to enjoy life. Don't get me wrong, he still gets stuff done, but he doesn't exhaust himself or put himself on a ridiculous deadline to do it. I do. In the meantime, he is taking the kids on bike rides, letting them run around in their underwear all day, made mud pies in the 'watertable', use their sled to go dirt sledding in our backyard, made family waterballoon fights and had campfires in the backyard until "way past bedtime". The kids have been in heaven.
I was telling my mother, the kids are going to have a rude awakening this next Monday when all they have is mom. Mom who does the laundry, does the dishes and drags them on errands to such fun places as the grocery store and if their lucky, the library. It is a humbling experience to realize that I am just not a bundle of fun. I definitely lack Shawn's spontaneity and I am just learning to 'slow down' and not have to move at such a rapid pace.
Sometimes it bothers me. I get frustrated that things aren't working on my schedule and arent' going to get finished. However, Shawn always manages to finish what he said he would (maybe not as soon as I'd like, but he will always get a job done) and he has a way of keeping my kids smiling, while he's smiling too. I think it bothers me because I'd like to be a bit more like him. Some might call it jealousy. I probably would if I were willing to admit it.
On the flip side, I realize, Shawn is trying to cram into a month, the time I get with the kids for the rest of the year. He is trying to capture laughter, joy, hugs, kisses and smiles to carry him through another 11 months. Oh, he'll get some vacation here and there, but the job does weigh on him and his shoulders carry a weight during those months that can almost be seen physically.
And so I am trying to set aside my jealousy of how much my kids have smiled and laughed in the last four weeks and be thankful that they have daddy wonderful. I am trying to learn from him and get some tips on how to chill out a little and let things slide a bit more. I am trying to give myself some grace for not always being "super fun" because, the reality is, I am still doing my job of laundry, dinners, groceries, laundry, cleaning, scheduling and laundry.
In the end...mostly, I am realizing how lucky I am to have married a man who does know how to make the most of every moment and is passing that onto our children....they are so very blessed to have daddy wonderful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Laughter and Time outs

Brayden. Brayden Brayden Brayden. Even as I type this, I hear him giggling in the family room. The child carries such a joyful spirit with him and induces smiles in most people he sees. (Those that don't smile, I think are just natural grumps or the victim of his careless behavior). Lately, he has been such an incredible handful...I have even found Gavin getting frustrated and correcting him. Can someone enjoy life too much? If so, Brayden's the man.
He just gets so into his little world and his moment that he takes no heed to the consequences of his actions...stepping on toes, hug tackling people unaware, pulling knives out of drawers to "just go cut something", splashing his swim teacher in the face, twirling in circles during karate to see the lights on the ceiling spin...the list goes on. He really does not have a malicious spirit, but neither does he have a spirit of obedience or submission to Shawn or I. It is SO difficult right now.
Watching him take on the world is both entertaining and scary. He has such tenacity and truly gets into life. But he does not listen and it is not because there have not been consequences or discipline. He's even gotten to the point where he does things and says, "Sooooorry" in the sing song voice of an attitudinal teenager...He's just three! It's ridiculous.
I love him so much. I desperately desire for him to learn to obey...not just for my sake, but for his own safety. I want him to learn to take time and think before acting and to know what it means to come under authority and respect those in charge. It will help in life so much and if he learns it now, it can save him so many unsavory consequences later. It sounds huge for a three year old, but I'm just talking about the ability to stop when I say stop, so a Mac truck doesn't take him out! I know he can do it.
The key is...I want him to learn without breaking the spirit that is 'Brayden'. I do not want to steal his joy or wipe out the unexplainable contagious smile that comes from watching him in action. I just am not entirely sure how to do it.
Tonight he came into the kitchen with his bright red fire socks on and his feet looking like deformed duck feet. He had shoved his marbles in his socks and looked up and us as he started sliding around and with the giggles he declared "I'm marbley skating...look at me go." We had tears in our eyes we were laughing so hard at all the fun he was having.
Our creative, willful, giggly, stubborn, smiley, crazy, joyful little boy. All I can do right now is pray that, as we "look at him go", God goes oh so closely with him!

Monday, July 11, 2011

For now

It's been awhile...life is good. God is good. Our family has gotten to vacate a little and we have enjoyed being "a family". Together.
I am still daily working through the beauty/frustration that is parenting, but was recently given a great little tidbit of wisdom. "There are a lot of Methods on parenting...it's the Principal you need to make sure is Godly. Those are the only things you can't waiver on." Good call. I feel like one thing works with Gavin and it's the way to go then Brayden completely blows the method to pieces...and I am off searching for a new one. It was a nice reminder, that as long as I am aiming to teach them Godly principals...I am doin' okay. Beyond even that, it was a nice reminder, that if I lean on God and really follow His direction, it's completly out of my hands...how freeing!!
That's been my latest revelation in the parenting world. The kids are growing so fast and going so fast, it is hard to document...hard to even remember to get out the camera! But I am trying. I want to capture the cuteness that is Amanda, the sweetness that is Gavin, and the silliness that is Brayden. I want to remember that I have moved past the episodes of spit up covering every surface of my body. I want to remember the day Brayden walked out of his room after officially dressing himself, chest puffed out, thumb pointing to self claiming, "I did it. Yup." I don't want to forget the first time Gavin told a joke and it was actually funny.
It's hard to capture it all. I am trying. I am definitely enjoying where we are at and these little ones that I have for this short time!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A prayer for the now!

It's nearly here...summer vacation! Everyone thinks the kids are the most excited, but I think, quite possibly, my excitement could overshadow any kids. Daddy will be home for a full month! Waaaa-hooo!
I know there are those out there who have the mentality of "teachers get all the breaks off" and are soo lucky. They have great schedules and what not, but I'll tell ya what, I could get on a soapbox about how much more time the man should get and the ridiculousness that he deals with (not to mention, we have to vacation always when all the kids are out and prices sky rocket). However...I won't.
I will say we are excited to have him home and have been trying to bide our time until he's available. He has been working late hours trying to tie up the school year and we've been trying to fill those hours up. The kids are in swim lessons and Brayden is taking karate (very fun), so most our afternoons are filled. We have been attempting to meet friends and do play dates...if the sun would cooperate, this could be much more fun. I really am starting to get disgruntled with the weather!
During July we have lots of plans and I am hoping we haven't packed ourselves too full. We are camping lots and I really want the boys to continue swimming. With three kids, we figure we are out numbered in the water and someone has to be able to keep themselves afloat!
I did realize, I am looking so forward to July, I am merely wading through June....just trying to get by. It's not the best way to do it and not that fantastic an example for my kids. Just plugging along is no way to live and I recently, after a little prayer and reflection, came to the conclusion that every minute is one worth attempting to live with intentionality. I am a firm realist and do realize that here are going to probably be many minutes wasted and ones that were anything but intentional. However, living with the constant looking ahead and planning for "later" really defeats having significant "now" time.
It is a challenge for me. I am tired. Tired of the rain. Tired of late hours. Tired of whining. Tired of buckling three kids in the car just to get coffee creamer. Tired of bad hair days and no time to try and remedy them (this may not change even with time). Tired of being tired.
Still...I am attempting to resolve to hit the caffeine hard and make something of the day. Even if there is just ONE great teachable moment...that is better than a whole lot of insignificant ones that my kids don't remember...or even worse poorly executed moments that my kids do remember.

So Lord Here is my prayer for the "Now"
Give me abounding love for the uniqueness that is in each of my kids, joy in doing the daily routine, peace about all the things I think "need" to get done, but are no where near done, patience to play on the floor and do one more round of Hi Ho Cherrio, kindness to include my children when they want to help with things, even though it usually makes it harder, goodness to go out of my way to serve others, even after a long day, gentleness to guide my kids hands over and over in teaching, and self control to correct and discipline with a heart like Yours!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A day not quite worth repeating

So...today was in fact a Monday. I decided, with nothing on the calendar, I was going to get stuff done. About 8:30, I decided we were going to be at the consignment store by 9:00 to consign the jumparoo that takes up an enormous amount of space and only serves to make Amanda scream. Got the kids packed and loaded and drove on down. Upon getting there I realize...oh yeah, my $96 in credit was stolen along with my wallet, so there will be no browsing. Lame. Chin up, at least I was second in line.
We make it through this relatively effortlessly, head to the fabric store to buy some fabric for a dress I want to make as a gift (with all the time I don't have). The boys are relatively good and Amanda is doing swell, considering we are about an hour past nap.
Get home, feed Amanda, lay her down and turn on a show so I can make the million phone calls I need to make (okay about 3, but it feels like a million when kids are around). I proceed. It is amazing what it takes to get to the dentist and get the van into the shop. I have to coordinate with about way too many people so that I can get my teeth cleaned and get a van to and from the shop (it is extremely hard to find someone available who has enough seats to take me and the kids all down to get the van when it's done...not to mention they never give you a firm time of pick up).
I then spend forever (about 45 minutes...which is WAY too much time for coupon hunting online) trying to find coupons online for the few items I need at the grocery store. I got these "doubler" coupons in my mom's newspaper and thought I'd try them. I have friends who are phenomenal at saving money this way. I come up with nothing! Finally I found a few items I could use (but are not on my list, of course) and decide to go with those, instead of just wasting these "golden coupons".
Reload the kids. We hit the bank and McDonalds. Not only did I succumb to the golden arches, but I actually fed some to Mandy. Oh how the mighty have fallen. My kids are spending the day in their carseats and eating french fries. Just wrong. I took them on a 2.5 mile hike this weekend and and making up for all that exercise in one foul swoop!
We head into Albertsons (where the special coupons are from..but where I barely ever shop) and start roaming the aisles looking for things. It is so hard when you aren't at one of your well known stores! The boys are actually being great, but my patience is wearing thin anyway...my mom voice totally starts to kick in. Just about then Brayden says the magic words, "Potty! Potty!" Of course, why wouldn't he have to go when I am in the grubbiest store near me! Yuck.
Finish that and attempt to finish shopping. Out of the 7 coupons I printed to double, the store carried only 1 of the items. ONE! So lame. I wondered around forever to get jack squat that I needed! Not to mention, of course the items I want were not on sale and I got suckered into 10 for $10 on lunchables...and after I fed the kids McDonalds for lunch I couldn't believe I was buying them, but they just seemed so easy for picnics (that's the optimist in me, believing that somehow Washington is gonna turn itself around and get some sunshine again) and fell into my cart. So of course, I spent more than I wanted on items I didn't want. Grrrr.
Grumpy we get back in the car for our last errand. Signing the boys up for swim lessons. Manda poops. I had changed a poopy diaper before we left, so decided I didn't need a diaper bag. Awesome.
We get there...go to the front desk, get sent to the pool, back to the front desk. We are done. Go back to the van. It stinks like McDonalds and baby poop. Not a good combo, but representative of my day.
We are back home and Mandy has approximately 45 minutes to nap before karate. I cannot decide if I am proud of all that I got done, or disappointed at all I drug my kids through. Maybe a little of both. Some days it seems I am super mom and super bomb all in one. Either way, I think I will chalk this day up to one I choose not to repeat.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

Every Mother's Day, I sit and write a letter/prayers for my kids. I look forward to it and dread it all at the same time. I look forward to it, because well, I don't really journal for my kids. I think it's a great idea, but the reality is I barely have time to write things on my hand so I remember a dentist appointment...what makes me think I'll have time to write down the daily doings of life!? I refuse to try this, for I am sure I will quit and some point and then feel like a failure, never to take it up again.* (I do kind of consider this blog a journal...kind of). I do have a "words to remember" book, I write down their funny sayings in, but it is not a record of who they are, how they are growing, and the prayers and dreams I have for them. And so I look forward to this day, where I reflect on my year of mothering my kids...of all they are and all I pray for them to be.
I also dread this time. How do you trap a year into a few hours of writing? (Ahem...maybe this is why some mother's keep a regular journal and write daily. Please note *) And how do you fit little personalities onto a page? How do you confine prayers so heartfelt and full, to sentences. How can you possibly write down your love for a child? Who knows? But still I try.
Every year on Mother's day, I sit with my pen and write in my sloppy handwriting (I think there is something about seeing handwriting, no matter how sloppy and knowing it was written for you). I write to each of the kids, explaining how they've grown, who they are becoming in my eyes, and write down the prayers I pray for them as they grow. I write to them as a whole, of who they are to each other and the prayers I have for their bonds to grow stronger and be the support they need for each other in this crazy world. I try my best to put on the page the love and joy each of them bring to my life.
And then, without re-reading it...I close the book and pray that one day they will read this and KNOW beyond a doubt, that I love them dearly and God loves them more than that!
I still haven't decided when I will give them this book. Maybe I won't. Maybe they can just have it when I go meet Jesus. Of course, I feel a little guilty that there are three of them and one book...someone is gonna have a lot of copying to do. But I'll be with Jesus at that point and won't really care.
No matter what the book does for them, it has helped me to recognize the great love I have for these kids, the great hopes and dreams I pray come true for them, the amazing personalities and quirks God has placed in them, the incredible joy they provide, just in being a part of our family, and how terribly I will miss them when they grow up and take on the adventure in the great big world.
I am thankful to this book, because, let's face it ladies...Mother's day isn't always daisies and sunshine...many times, it's us packing a picnic for the family and doing the laundry after a day at the park, cleaning up the glitter glue "present" they made that fell onto the van floor, finding a place for the homemade cards to be proudly displayed, breaking up arguments about who gets to help unwrap the present and generally being a mom. (Sidenote: my husband gave me some nice time off and a Starbucks card, he tried his best and I am quite thrilled!) But sometimes, Mother's Day is you have to be the mommiest you ever were. And at the end of a day like that, this little book helps me to remember, just why I do it. For those little people who make my life so full!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things that should make you go "Hmmm?"

So I am seeing more and more that some of the sentences I utter in this parenting journey are quite funny. At the time I think nothing of them. But in retrospect it makes you think..."I can't believe that seems normal. Here are just a sampling of the last few days.

-Stop sitting on your brother's head...he doesn't want you to hatch him anymore.
-Oh, that's just a little pee on your underwear...it's fine, put it back on.
-I'm sorry your sad, but you were the one to drop your grape in the toilet and you may not eat it.
-Get the firetruck out of your pants.
-Gav, can you wipe the puke on the floor, I'm just gonna get the puke down my shirt and then we can play a game.
-You can't go poop off the side of the deck, just pee.
-Get off my leg while I am making dinner or I won't let you hold onto it again!
-You both want to be Goliath? Doesn't anyone wanna be David?
-You wiped yourself? Let me check your bum.

Just a few that come to mind. I really need to be writing these down more often. They say kid's say the darndest things, but really...I think some of the sayings we utter as parents are just as ridiculous. All of the sudden, pee, poop and baby puke are no big deal and we chat about it as freely as we do the weather. All I can say is, I will be sad to see my kids grow up, but I will be ready to once again think it is abnormal to offer to check after they wipe!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Latest Pic

A tad on the "too pastel" side, but not too shabby!

Lessons from Gavin

Gavin is like me in so many ways. He is concrete sequential, he likes things in their place, he likes to talk, he doesn't like things to get too dirty and he just has peculiarities about things...like how tight his shoes are, if his tag is down on his shirt or if his sleeves scrunch up when he puts his coat on (all of these things bothered me as a kid and when Gavin whines about it I just cringe at how obnoxious I was for my poor mom, it makes getting out the door quite the to-do).
Now I know this makes him sound a little bit like the Rainman, which he is not. He still plays in the mud, actually prefers not to wear his coat, breaks the rules quite frequently and can be quite silly. But overall, he is a ducks in a row kinda kid and he likes to tell others how things work, the rules and in general...tell you how it is.
Today, sitting at the table, we unloaded his preschool bag. There were two coloring pictures. One of Jesus on the cross and one of Jesus coming out of the tomb. Brayden says, "What are those? Whose that?"
Gavin needing no further prompting to talk and share his wealth of knowledge, proceeded to sit Brayden down and tell him what he knows.
"See Bray, that's Jesus on the cross. He got nailed there for our sin. That's the naughty stuff we do. We all sin. But Guess what?" he whispered. "He didn't stay dead!"
Really animated with hands out to his sides, Gavin opens his eyes so wide and exclaims, "He's alive! Isn't that exciting!"
Brayden, getting all caught up in it, "Yeah, exciting!"
Now, I know Gavin doesn't truly grasp this whole concept of Jesus conquering death and taking on the sins of the world. I understand that the concept of salvation and our need for it, may be a bit much for him right now and he is reiterating what he has been told (heck, even I can't comprehend the enormity of it). He's still got a ways to go in true understanding of it all. (Awhile ago he asked, how God lives in heaven and in our hearts and wanted to know if God takes us to heaven in a really tiny airplane. Gavin's just sure He does.) However, it did my heart wonders to know that he has been listening. That it it is sinking in as we talk about Jesus, tell Him that God loves him and share the Gospel with our son. God says the word hides in our heart and that it won't return void...to know that Gavin's heart is already hiding it away is so great!
I continue to pray that my kids will know Jesus intimately. And I will continue to do my best to direct them towards the things of God. I am finding as I do this, often God uses the moments to teach me and remind me of who He is and how much He really does love us.
Today's lesson:
Though I do Bible studies, I go to church, and I ponder some of the bigger questions about God...it really does come down the the childlike excitement that "Jesus is alive! Isn't that exciting!"

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I am not one typically known for being flexible. I am type "A". I have a plan. I have spreadsheets and I love excel. I Enjoy to-do lists and prefer to have little bullets, if possible. I even get excited when I have time to try and make my grocery list in order of the aisles I shop. I like structure. Some would say too much. Due to this, I have been praying that God would make me more flexible. Be able to go better with the flow and bend a little more easily.
The last two weeks have tested me to the max! Two Sunday's ago, we moved to a hotel to have our hardwoods redone, due to a leak from our water heater. This required us moving the majority of our house, to the minority of our house. It also made me feel compelled to repaint our room since it was accidentally touched up with a shade of blue, different than the original and to put up new trim, since it is the only room without white trim and closet. Along with that, it was time to paint the trim in our house, so we decided this should be done after the floors were finished.
The night we moved in, was the night we heard all of Shawn's cousin's were flying in, because his Grandpa had surgery and was going downhill fast. The beginning of the week was spent waiting to hear news, spontaneous get togethers with family, many phone calls, and trying to make life at a hotel fun for the kids. Wednesday Grandpa passed away. Friday was the funeral. It was also Shawn's birthday and the first time I had kept a surprise from him...I had bought him tickets to the 5th avenue. It also happened to be the day we were scheduled to go paint the trim, set up some of our house. Those plans got laid aside.
Saturday we set up some of the house, painted, and moved me and the kids to my mom's because it still stunk to high heaven. Monday night Gavin woke at my mom's three times. The next day we went to the clinic and he had a double ear infection. I came out of the clinic to find a note saying someone witnessed a Honda back into my van and drive away. Wednesday everything I tried to accomplish failed, from e-mailig the receipts to Pemco for reimbursement for the hotel and meals to going to the bank to get money (it works better if you remember your wallet). Thursday the electric door to the van, which we had replaced in August broke again and was stuck open.
Thursday I broke. I went ballistic and had my melt down. Up to this point it was almost laughable, but the van door sent me over. Brayden just looked at me and said,
"The door's broke mom. I sorry. It's okay."
I sniffed, hugged him and sent up yet another call out to God and then called my sister. Through many tears, I explained the situation and once again, God came through.
Here's what I mean in once again...in all of this, I have been keeping track, and though it has been hard and frustrating, God has provided, walked with us and blessed us as He stretched and pulled to mold us.
The hotel: Here's a shout out to Embassy Suites. It was awesome, we had a seperate space for the kids. They got to swim up to three times a day. Great food in the mornings and snacks/drinks at night. We loved it there and it gave the kids adventure as we sat and waited to see what the family needed.
The family: Shawn's cousin's are so fun and his family so great. We got to spend time with people we hadn't seen in a long time and they are truly loving and enjoyable.
The funeral: Grandpa was a true patriarch and loved dearly. He also loved Jesus and was ready to see him. He lived a long life and a good one. He is dancing with Jesus now and that makes it so much easier to let him go!
The Birthday: We got to give our tickets to friends who love to go to the theater and Shawn already picked another show he really wanted to see.
The house: We got it somewhat put back together and thanks to much help from my mom...we have nice fresh paint on our room, our closet and our trim.
The receipts: Shout out for Pemco, who was really understanding and worked with me.
The sickness: When Gavin woke up in the night, so did Amanda...my mom slept with Gavin and I took Amanda and we made it through. My mom works at the clinic and had him an appointment scheduled before the clinic even opened.
The car accident: The damage was minimal and it really won't affect the driving.
The van door: It was covered under warrenty. My sister happened to have no plans (for anyone who knows her...this alone is a miracle) and her kids were at daycare that day...so she could come out and follow me there (as I drove with the door wide open and excessive beeping the whole way). We also got a free rental until it's fixed.

I took away a few really important things from the past weeks. First and foremost a big reminder: for any doubters out there, God does answer prayer. I prayed to be more flexible and God went with it. I will say, I was hoping to be more ushered into the flexibility and not receive the crash course. I guess next time I'll have to pray more specifically about that.
Also, I learned that when we pray to be more like Christ, He gives us eyes to see more like Him. I don't think I would have seen the blessings He provided along the way, had I not been begging Him to help me. And if I took away anything at all this week it's this: looking at things through His eyes you get a much better view.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wonderful Counselor

Life is busy. We have preschool, soccer, cubbies, Mops, Bible Study and in between we try to see the friends, get the grocery shopping done and some relatively nutritional meals on the table. Dad has been swamped and at home maybe one night a week before the kids go to bed. We are all a little tired.
There are days I am overwhelmed by the simple task of getting all the kids clothes on and then there are days, where we are actually all dressed, fed, ready to go and out the door early, with enough time to drive thru and get coffee. (After all, who doesn't deserve an award for getting out the door early with three kids clothed and fed and not screaming like crazy nuts?) I have yet to find a rhyme or reason to why sometimes it's a go and sometimes it's not and frankly, I am not sure I will. I am definitely learning to take life as it comes. Well, getting slightly better at it anyway.
After sitting back and feeling slightly overwhlemed I have already made some adjustments to our schedule next year to cut out a few things and consolidate some others, so hopefully we won't be so crazy scheduled. My kids are too young to be there already and I am working on not heading down the path. We Americans tend to drive ourselves into the ground and I am noticing it starts younger and younger. I am not so sure why we have this sense we need to always be doing more.
I think of my schedule and the schedule of the moms around me and it really is just insane all we try to cram in. On top of it, often I get the sense that there is something else I should be doing. I am beginning to wonder if Satan uses this to bog me down and make me believe that raising my kids, giving my attention to them and focusing on their hearts and their souls isn't enough. I know God would say it is.
Don't get me wrong. I do believe God has other things for me to do...places to serve, people to love, and offerings to give. But I also believe my first priority is my husband and my kids and right now, my JOB is to mold, shape and point my little ones to Jesus. Sometimes I forget and in the day to day routine it doesn't seem like enough and I add more to my plate without consulting Him. Oh if only I learned faster
He calls Himself Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father. And me in my infinite wisdom, truck along without checking and wonder why I feel so overbooked, under prepared and emotionally drained. Hmmm? He costs nothing, He's always available and He's the best out there...Why is it I wait so long to seek His counsel, His strength and His love? Too busy doin' my own thing, I guess. However, I can tell you this...I am working on scheduling more sessions with Him. I think even He'd agree those are worth putting on the calendar!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I was doing my Bible Study tonight and reading a passage in Ezekiel where the elders of Israel are going into dark rooms and worshiping idols, claiming "The Lord does not see, He has forsaken the Land". As though, being in a dark room might keep it a secret from God. He's not stupid...He's omnipotent! I sat there pondering...how they could possibly think they are being sneaky? Probably in the same way I think God won't notice that I didn't crack my Bible all week and seek His advice on life, until...oh say just now...where I decide to go all judgmental on the elders of Israel!
It is funny to me that we think sometimes we can sneak stuff pass God. I do it all the time...maybe he won't notice if I don't follow that urge He's given me, maybe He's to busy to care if I brought my heart issues to Him, or if I just took out my grief on those around me today. Does he laugh or cry? I think if I were God, there would be quite a bit of both. It's like watching our kids (Brayden specifically) sneak into the pantry and get in the candy jar, thinking we won't hear the tic tacs, let alone notice the green saliva dripping from his stuffed mouth when he comes out. On one hand, I want to run to the other room and have a good belly laugh, on the other, my stomach knots up, because I know he is now going to be disciplined and pay the consequences of his actions.
Some people want to think that God is far off and doesn't take time for the details, I think this may be because they want to believe they can sneak by. But here is what I was reminded of tonight...we are not sneaky. We are dumb. Unfortunately for these people and fortunately for these people, God does take an interest in every aspect of our lives and our hearts...so we might as well stop hiding and start turning on the lights and cleaning out the dark rooms. Whether we worship money, our husband, our kids, our neighbors...whatever we put before our God...it's gotta go. Out of first place and into second.
I once again ended my Bible study, with the ever theological and oh so deep..."Yay Jesus!" How grateful I am for someone who can save me from myself and a God, who while He still does discipline and allow consequences for actions, He also offers up extreme grace and mercy to a silly child like me who thinks she can be sneaky.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The routine

It's been a whirlwind around here. We have been doing fun things, routine things, and dealing with the unexpected, but all in all, just living life. I feel like there is so little time in a day, but the days seem to stretch into eternity (especially when there are missed naps). Every morning I wake up and have a list of things I want to accomplish. It usually goes something like this...
Clean up the kitchen
Clean up one other thing (bathroom, vacuum, our room, the office, maybe even the kids)
I also usually get all motivated in the morning, looking at the things I have been meaning to do and decide on something I want to do when the kids go to bed...be it sew one of the many projects I have, complete our taxes (or even start them for that matter), catch up on the blog, catch up on the kids photo albums, bake something...the list goes on.

Then my day happens. A slow paced day goes something like this...
I put in a load of laundry. I get all the kids fed. I jump in the shower while Mandy sleeps and the kids have room time. I get dressed. The boys get dressed. Mandy wakes up and gets dressed. Mandy proceeds to puke all over me and her fresh outfit and we have already managed to defeat my first to accomplishments of the day...laundry and shower. But that's okay...we wipe ourselves with a baby wipe, throw the first load in the dryer and the next load in.
Then I let the kids play while I try to clean up the kitchen from breakfast. By the time I have come out, Mandy needs to be fed and the boys have definitely made at least one room messier than it was before, if not multiple rooms.
At this point I usually have them clean their toys and watch a show while I feed Mandy. When we are done, I make them turn off the Tv and listen to them beg for more shows. (What they don't understand is that if I let them watch too much in the morning, I will feel horrible letting them watch more if I need to pull it out of my back pocket at night because my patience is at it's lowest ...really, I am serving them here!) Then we try to find something like play dough, a game, puzzles or what not to occupy them while I fold laundry.
After a few activities, we make lunch, attempt to clean the kitchen again. Mandy eats again and pukes again. We both change clothes again. We play some more. Getting things out, putting things back. Correcting, correcting, correcting. We change diapers, go through burp clothes, wipe noses, wipe bottoms, wipe spills and wipe tears. Then praise be to God...it's naptime. But alas, Gavin is 4 and thinks he doesn't need a nap. We negotiate a quiet time activity. One out of three days he sleeps...the others he plays for an hour in his room, then out he comes ready to play, but definitely with a grumpier demeanor. All the while, I try to clean up one room in the house for real, and make the others at least look like things are in their place.
Brayden wakes up and snuggles and whispers in my ear, "nack". Snack time.
We have snacks and chat for awhile, then it's back to the drawing board on finding things to occupy time. For some reason it is about 100x harder post nap to be creative and things hold kid's attention span about 100x less than they did before nap. A very strange phenomenon indeed.
I start on dinner. The kids have to be hearded out of the kitchen about 10x during this process. Mandy gets in her jumper or exersaucer and about 10 minutes in, pukes again. I start another load of laundry. We eat dinner and feed Mandy...and you got it, she pukes again.
We clean the kitchen and settle in for some legos or some games at the coffee table. Finally it is approaching bed time and we do our clean up for the night...we put toys away and various other things that have managed to be drug out or left behind during the daily doings.
We all go to the boys bedroom to get on our pajamas. The clothes come off, potty tries are made, diapers changed. Pajamas go on, teeth get brushed, we pick out books. We read. We pray. We go to bed.
I puts in the last load of laundry. I look at my list.
Laundry...well, I did about three loads, but it's still going
Shower...yes, but the distinct odor of spit up seems to be emanating from somewhere on my body
Clean the kitchen....did it twice, but there is still an empty bottle and some dishes from dinner.
Clean one other things...well, it seems as though I cleaned about a thousand, but nothing looks especially shiny or fresh.
And for some reason, I have completely lost my motivation to start that project I was oh so motivated to do.
It is a fortunate thing that children are so peaceful and appealing when they sleep, because at the end of the day, when you tuck them in for the very last time, it all seems worth it and gives you just enough to get up and do it all again. You think to yourself, "Who knows, maybe tomorrow the motivation will stick and that project will be tackled". Or, "Maybe the spilled OJ won't stick and my kitchen table will still be shiny at the end of the day".
Either way...you'll do it again, because when you see those sleepy little faces, hands tucked under cheeks, something inside you melts and all the chaos and redundant jobs of the day fade away. I think maybe I am going to take their pictures like this and stick them up above the washing machine and the kitchen sink. Now there is a brilliant idea!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My little Brayden

Thanks to a conversation with a friend and a deep conversation with God, I have had a revelation about my son Brayden...he is just 2.5 years old. Now, this may not seem like a revelation, seeing as I was at his birth and all, but truly, it was a divine moment.
I had been struggling with Bray and his independent spirit. He is so full of life, but so full of defiance as well. Not an out right maliciousness, just a testing and pushing kind of defiance. All the time.
I had been struggling as a parent how to work with this. If I punished him every time he said "no" he would be punished all day long and I do not want his days to consist of continual negative interactions. After talking with a dear friend, who teaches parenting classes, a certain line stuck with me..."Work on one thing at a time, remember...he's just 2.5". That night as I prayed, this line kept coming back. He's just two. He's just two. I kept asking God, "What's your point?" And then it hit me...I treat him just like Gavin...who is four and a half. I expect him to understand directions, I expect the same timely follow through on those directions, and I expect him to obey the directions.
In a strange way, this is a credit to Brayden. He is so verbal, so quick, very bright, understands a great deal and is quite capable. But still...he's just two (well, three in April, but still). So I have just been going alonng, and due to his little advancements, expecting him to keep up with his brother.
Oh...I wanted to cry, I felt like such a bad mom. Not that I had been horrible to the kid, but just that I had expectations of him that were unfair and caused us to butt heads way more than necessary.
The next day, I saw my little guy in a whole new light. I saw how smart he was, how much he does do right, and how much he needed his mom to back off a bit and show him how to do things, encourage him along and not just demand he do it himself. It has made a world of difference. We have been laughing and playing and I have been thoroughly enjoying my days with him.
Lately, Brayden has taken to wearing his firefighter coat, hat, and boots everywhere (I make him leave the gloves and binoculars at home if we are going out). He diligently puts the whole get up on each time we leave the house. It reminds me of what an amazingly unique, fun, crazy and huggable individual this child is. I love this kid. I wish everyone could see the little man we get dancing around the house, singing, acting, dressing up, using his special voices and laughing his way through life. I am so glad I get to and that God opened my eyes to see an even clearer picture of how truly fantastic he is!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Little reminders

Tonight, as I was turning off lights and picking up various items that had been left or trailed across the house, I glanced down to see a pacifier sitting next to my book, laid on the side table. It is not uncommon to find a "paci" as we call them, sitting on a side table, a kitchen table, the front window sill, the bottom of the carseat, and quite often, the floor. They are everywhere serving to me as a reminder that I have a baby. Every time I see one, I think to myself how quickly it will arrive that we are working on taking away the paci, because we don't have a baby anymore.
As of late, it seems I am daily hit with the realization my kids are growing up. Gavin is a full blown kid. He has big kid questions, "Mom, if God is everywhere, how is He in my heart?" He has big kid aspirations, "I think I'll probably be a firefighter when I grow up, when I am six." I can say get ready to go and he can do it himself (not that this doesn't often take some reminders, prodding and sometimes a good threat or two). He signs his name and uses words like "probably" and "privacy" frequently.
"Mom, I'd probably like some more ice cream."
"Brayden, I need privacy to play with my racecars."
He is big. But he is still innocent enough to do dance routines for me, believe that racing to get ready for bed is a fun idea, give me kisses when I ask and carry his pillow pet around to snuggle with when he just wakes up or is getting tired.
Brayden is talking in full sentences and copying everything his brother does. He is three going on thirteen. When told what to do...
"Okaaay, Mom, I know."
When told to do something he most definitely doesn't want to do.
"I don't want to!"
He wears silly bands on his arm like the big kids and he fully thinks he is one of them. He gets out his own plates and drink, takes his dishes to the sink, and uses the potty all by himself. He plays pretend with an imagination that is unreal, thinks he's old enough to drive, and is sincerely disappointed everytime I tell him he can't.
But he still seeks out his blanky and "george" (the stuffed monkey) whenever he is sad or gets in trouble.
Amanda is growing fast. She is bright eyed, responds quickly to those she loves. She sits in the bumbo chair at dinner with us, grabs for things, laughs at our funny faces and tries quite hard to eat anything she touches. Her three month clothes are finding their way to the consignment bag and I am starting to pack up her "infant" items. But she still needs her paci and loves to be swaddled at night.
As I walk through the house daily, often I get tired of what seems to be a never ending task of lunging to pick up forgotten toys, dropped items or things that have been vicariously launched by some boy child, in a fit, an attempt at weaponry, or just plain old fun. But lately, when I see George, the paci or percy the pillow pet, the meloncholy sets in. These items are most likely temporary and will someday all too soon be in the past.
I think about the day I pack up george or percy, thinking that maybe the kids will want them when they are older. But I wonder, will they? Or do I just desperately hope that there is still enough childishness in them that they won't want to get rid of those special stuffies that saw them through so many tears, so many sleepy mornings and restless nights. I don't want to pack them up. I am not ready. I don't want them to be either.
And I guess it's a good thing, because neither are they. At least for today and most likely tomorrow. For this I am thankful...and for the pacifiers that litter my house and serve to remind me how much I love these kids.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Where we're at

The Ryan kids are growing up. It seems each day, one of them is reminding how quickly time flies.
Gavin: He has been a challenge for me lately. He is usually such a sweet, obedient child and has definitely taken on a stubborn, sneaky streak. Part of the problem, I am sure, is that he's trying to drop his naps. I know at four and a half, I am lucky it lasted this long, but that kid NEEDS his sleep. He is quite the grouch without it and will break down crying at a moments notice or throw a fit over the smallest thing. He also has developed quite the penchant for hitting his brother (when I am not looking) and then lying about it. All this to say...I literally sit there dumb founded as to what I should do.
Shawn and I are trying. We have put discipline in place and remained pretty consistent with him. We are definitely getting a run for our money. After lots of chats about lying, he's doing better at telling the truth. After getting hit back by his brother, he's starting to understand the cause and effect of that one. And we are just working on consistency with the fit thing. Same punishment doled out each time...every time we send him to to his room, he acts like he's shocked and so mad. I almost want to laugh...he knows it's coming and you can even ask him during a sane moment what happens when he throws a fit. He'll tell you exactly what would happen to him...why he does it, I don't know. I really think the sleep is a large part of it, but frankly, it's not an excuse to behave like a pill.
On the flip side, he is getting quite smart and capable at doing things himself. He writes his name, will copy words I have put on paper for him, he's great with scissors, loves to count things out, order his numbers, and LOVES mazes! He questions how everything works and is constantly wanting to do and try new things. He definitely is mastering some of the fine motor skills which are handy: zipping and snapping, putting on shoes, getting out snacks (when I tell him) and pouring things into bowls or opening up packages. It's awesome...what a helper!
He also adores Amanda and the feeling is quite mutual. He is so sweet with her and loves to take care of her. He gets her toys, coos to her, rocks her, holds things for her and generally just loves on her. The best part is, he is not overbearing and really seems to understand her space, toughness and delicacy all at the same time. I love it!
Brayden is nearly three and seems to be getting so big. He is taking on big sentences, can explain things to you and plays with Gavin far better than he used to. He likes to talk on the phone, but he is at that stage where his brain moves faster than his mouth and he has taken up a small stutter. I remember this with Gavin and am working on my patience as he tries to spit out what he wants to say. He plays by himself very well and can entertain himself for hours with his new fire house and fire truck he got for Christmas. He loves to laugh and entertain us with antics and songs he made up. He for sure thinks he is a big boy and it is funny to see the mannerisms he adopts when he's trying to come off all cool and in charge.
Unlike Gavin, Brayden is not sneaky. If he is going to be defiant, he will most definitely do it right to our face. "No!" is not an uncommon word to hear pouted or shouted out of his mouth. We are really working with him on not being rude and using a gentle voice.
Brayden has also learned the fine art of tattling. This is tough because often the boys will be happily playing and he'll come crying "Gavin hit me." Well, this could range from Gavin trying to hand him something that he doesn't want all the way to Gavin smacking him on the head. So...you never really can tell (unless you see the obvious markings). We have had to work with both of them on asking their brother to stop, before heading out to find a referee.
Amanda is just super fun right now. She is so alert and cooey. She laughs all the time and even if she wakes up crying, the minute she sees someone she pops into smiles and grins. She is putting on a little weight and we definitely notice her getting bigger. We get a great deal of people stopping to tell us how smiley she seems and how nice her eyes are (thank you daddy for the blue eyes and long lashes...thank you God for handing them to the girl, too, this time). We really have been getting a kick out of her and starting to enjoy her more as an active part of the family. She is even the centerpiece at the dinner table, because the boys always want her to sit in the middle of the table on her bumbo chair. It's been fun!
That's the update there. Overall, it's going well. The pants seem to be getting shorter on everyone and somedays, I don't feel like I can keep up with how fast they are growing and supplying them with all they need emotionally, physically and spiritually. So I pray for wisdom...and patience...and more wisdom. May our great Lord grant it to me in abundance and may I be ever mindful of the abundance He has already blessed me with, in providing me with these children in the first place!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hello 2011

The new year is here...and while I am not one to make resolutions, seeing as they always seem to end in failure, which I find completely unmotivating, I have made set up some accountability for myself in certain areas. After doing 30 days of working out with my friend Jen, I decided it would be good for me to try and continue this regieme at least three days a week. My sister and I set up a system in which...if I bail, she doesn't get her coffee and vice versa. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which way you view it, we both love our coffee enough that we fear the other's response should we deprive them by failure to follow through.
I have also made a commitment to myself to read my Bible, before picking up any other book. I have never been great at following through on regularly reading the Bible. I do love to read. One would think these go hand in hand, however, I like to read books that don't require a great deal of work...I'm quite the skimmer. The Bible requires a bit of thinking and if you skim, often you miss stuff. Anyway...I read a lot (especially since Amanda won't breast feed and I have to sit at a pump six times a day). I made a commitment to myself, that I would not pick up another book, unless I had read our church's daily reading plan for the day.
I will admit, I am not one of those people who walks away every day thinking, "Wow! I totally learned something new and I am going to apply that!" Sometimes, I walk away questioning God, "So what exactly am I supposed to learn from the fact that Lots' daughters slept with him? Eww" However, God says His word does not return void and so I am trusting in this. I know by turning to His word, I am obeying Him and giving Him more room to speak and move in my life...and on many levels, that is a good thing.
So there...those are my attempts at starting the new year off! I am also decided to not try and make any crazy attempts to kick old bad habits (ie...not drinking coffee or giving up TV altogether - i really barely watch it anyway), both of which are doomed to fail and I am trying to keep up on tracking my kids. I have updated the baby books, put together Amanda's birth pages in our family book and I am working on the scrapbooks. I would love to be able to get on this blog more, but the older they get, the less time I have.
I have a feeling 2011 will fly by. I'm not quite ready, but I figure, I never really will be...at least not until 2012. So, here we go...