Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dreaming big dreams

Today I have aready picked up stray white hairs from a judge's wig, tied a cape four times, helped find cowboy boots, tied one M&M costume and readjusted pilots goggles at least 15 times.  The dress up box has come down. 
At least once a week Brayden begs to have me bring down this box.  At least once a week, I do my best to put avoid it.  It means a mess, it means playing rescue, piloting, emergency and other various things that require an intense imagination that God did not give me.  But he gave it to my son (and quite possibley my daughter too, from the looks of it). 
I am afraid my imagination is pretty limited and usually it's biggest jump is to an isolated island where there are no over flowing laundry baskets or sinks full of dishes.  It does not react quickly to character changes, scenario changes or other various mixes Brayden comes up with, such as doctors at the circus or policemen on the moon.  Brayden is an imagination phenom.  And when I can step out of my type A, concrete sequencial self, I am amazed at how his little brain works.  I do not understand it, but am in awe of all he can dream!!!
Today, looking into his room, amongst the ginormous mess, there I saw him... judges wig, safari hat, cape, binoculars and wristbands.   He looked up with a big satisfied smile, "Hey mom."
I do love that little face.  To see his joy at being in his element and to see his pride in the crazy attire he came up with (all that served some purpose, I am sure he could tell you about), my heart melted.  I was gonna have him clean up...but well, that's my element.  Today, I am gonna do my best to set myself aside and let him live in his.  I may not understand it, but I can see he thrives in it. 
I will admit...many days this is hard for me...little Bray and I are so different.  But to see his joy, is making me try just a that much harder.  So many days I make him live in my world...maybe it's time I try to live a little more in his.  He's happy there and that's where he dreams the big dreams...who am I to stop that?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Be careful little ears what you hear...big mouths what you say

Gavin is getting older and as he does here are some of the things I hear,
"What in the world?"
"Uh oh is right!"
"That is sooooo frusrating" (t, purposely left out)
"Oh listen to the music, here's where it kicks in....yeeeeahhhhh!"
He is starting to pick up more and more and I am having to learn to be more and more careful about what little ears hear. 
Yesterday in the car, we were listening to a mixed CD with Katy Perry's "Raise your glass" and there is a line, something about "dirty little freaks" that Gavin caught.
"Mom, what's a freak?".
"Ummm...well, uh, I guess it's kinda like saying weird."
"Oh, so if something is weird we can call it a freak."
"Well, no.  It's a mean way to say someone is weird.  We've talked about dirty words and that's one we don't use, okay."
"Why did they sing it?"  (of course the why)
"Well, we probably shouldn't be listening to songs where they call people freaks...we should skip this one" (sigh.  i really liked that song)

Fast forward.  Today in the car...the CD is humming along and I hear from the back, "MOM!  Dirty word, dirty word!  Skip it Mom!"

Well, folks there is good news and bad news here.  Gavin is listening.  He is choosing to do right and to filter out the dirty stuff.  Me...not so much, apparently I still have some learning to do.  I will say this, I am pleased to announce that, at least "freak" is the only F word he knows.  (:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Doing good

The other day, after swim lessons, Brayden kept complaining his tummy hurt.  He had already gone to the bathroom and I figured, he was just kinda whining.  So...half way home he screams, "big ones!".  Fortunately, for me, our home was not far off.  I told him to hold it, floored it home and hopped him out of the car to the front door, where dad met him (let's just insert a small praise the Lord, that dad came home this day).  I had just answered a call and was going about my business unloading the other kids and gear, when I see Shawn peer out of the bathroom with an irriated look.  I go to check...
There is poop on the floor, on his underwear, his pajama bottoms, the rug and somehow (I do not want to imagine how) the shower curtain.  Ummm..."gotta go" I tell my friend and then do what I can to pitch in. 
Shawn, cleverly started carrying things to be hosed off outside.  Amanda is running around yelling, "Uh oh" and Gavin looks at me and says, "Uh oh is right?  Huh, mom?"  I took over hosing duty and as I sprayed various diarehea saturated items I couldn't help but just shake my head at what exactly I was doing...and the fact that it really didn't phase me too much.  But I was thinking...I would much rather be doing just about anything else. 
Today I heard a lovely sermon reminding us to, "not grow weary in doing good".  It was given by a friend of mine who is a missionary in India.  And while I tend to think that the persecution and frustration they deal with is nothing compared to my little was still a wonderful reminder to keep on keeping on.  Because frankly I find it easy to grow weary being a mom. 
-Showing  patience when asked the same question 20 times
-Being gentle when my daughter is playing WWF smackdown during diaper changes
-Loving our children during a meltdown over who got the pink cup
-Remaining calm when all three are screaming in the car over something they want, don't want, or can't decide if they want and knowing we are trapped with it for another 20 minutes
-Responding in kind when your child tells you "I don't like this" before they even tried it
-Letting the person behind you who only has 10 items go ahead of you in the grocery line, even though your kids are at their end, because you have a huge cart and three kids who are totally making it take forever and it's just the right thing to do...letting them out and not have to be tortured along with you
-Being thankful for the little hands and little feet that throw food and tromp mud through the house
-Choosing joy when the poop is sprayed across the bathroom
Doing good.  It pays off in so many ways...not only building our own character, but the character of our children and those around us.  It sounds simple...I believe most of us think 'of course we want to do the right thing'.  But sometimes, yelling seems easier and taking the pink cups away from everyone and throwing them in the trash runs through our minds. 
It isn't exactly persecution, but it is what God has given us for the moment and we are to do good.  What a great reminder!
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.    Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers"  Galations 6:9-10

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

He gives and takes away

While we were looking for churches, I decided I needed to get into a Bible Study, so that I was actively held accountable to something.  I wasn't sure where to do one and ended up at a friend's church, doing a Beth Moore study on James.  It was lovely.  Just what I needed.  A group of ladies that knew each other well enough, weren't all best friends, and wanted to study the word.  I am grateful for him placing me here for such a time as this.
In this study there was one lady in particular that I just enjoyed. In the middle of the study, she announced she was moving to Oklahoma. I saw her friends tear up and others exclaim, with congratulations on her husband's new job. Since I didn't go to this church or previously know these ladies, I really didn't have much to say, but my heart took a plummet. I felt like something wonderful had been snatched from me before I had a chance to really know what it was. 
She was real, funny, thoughtful.  She came dressed up, dressed down, early, late and sometimes not at all.  She listened well and when she spoke it was worth listening to.  She had an easy smile and though not overly outgoing, she was well recieved and known by everyone.  There was a humility and wisdom about her that was hard to describe and I can almost (I say this because I do not know her well) gaurentee she would give you a quirked half smile if you said this to her or maybe laugh out loud.  She was someone in whom I saw Jesus living in and through and I wanted to know her better.
Ahh, but I guess this is not to be.  Today was the end of our study together and she is moving July 5th out west.  I am trying not to be seems silly, because this is a woman I hardly know.  But what I do know is that God used her in my life. I know the little things she said, added greatly to the conversation at our ladies table.  I know her willingness to be vunerable and real about a life that isn't perfect, related to everyone.  I know that when she spoke, people wanted to listen.  What I don't know, is if she knew all this. 
I wish I had taken the time to tell her.  On the way out the door, I did let her know I am glad I met her.  I wish I had taken the time to say more.  To let her know I can tell the other women at the table are so thankful for her.  That I am so thankful for her.  That I can see Christ's light in her and I am so grateful for the breif time I got to sit in it! It seems akward.  I am having a hard enough time putting it in writing and I am sure I would have stumbled over the words.  Still...I should have tried.
I am still pondering why exactly my heart feels such a loss for something that never really was. And though it feels like something is being taken, I guess I could say, I have been given more than I would have ever thought to imagine through this small stint of time. That does seem pretty much a God sort of thing to do.  
The biggest thing I learned in all this?  Through God's grace, we, in our daily routine, doin' what we do, can be transformed into people that others are just drawn to, that others long to know...and in that, others will see Jesus.  We read all about it in the Bible, but it is an entirely different thing to see it lived and week after week have it sit down beside you.  Oh the blessing to be reminded of this lesson and the inspiration it has given me to grow up just a little bit more! 
Thank you Lauren,...Oklahoma is so going to be so very blessed!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Jesus told me"

Today, riding in the car Gavin declares, "I know what I am going to be when I grow up."
Me:  "How do you know?"
Gav:  "Jesus told me I am going to be a train conductor when I grow up."
Me:  "Oh...Umm, how did he tell you."
Gav:  "He told me in my heart, like you said.  That's how he talks to us and in my heart I want to drive trains."

I looked at Shawn and declared, "I don't know where to go with this."  Shawn said, "Nowhere."
And so I left it alone (yes, I do listen...every now and then).  It was a sweet moment.  Gavin and I have been going around and around about how we hear God.  He kept saying, "I don't hear Him."  And I kept trying to explain, he talks to our hearts.  It's a hard concept for me...let alone to explain to a five year old. 
And today, in his five year old way...he's getting it.  Maybe he will be a train conductor.  When I suggested this Shawn gave me a look and declared that trains probably aren't the wave of the future.  I just think maybe there will be newer trains and it would be cool if Gav drove them. 
Who really knows?  God can also change Gav's heart to something we never dreamed of.  The good news is that Gav is listening to it and I LOVE that!  Oh sweet moments....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another day as a Mother

I have been in a funk.  Life has been busy and I have been just hangin' in there. Shawn has been working so hard for our family and he is wrapping up all his duties as a principal, which means he is working late hours and rarely home before bed on the weekdays.  During the week, the kids have all the end of the year preschool activities, my bible study is wrapping up, we have T-ball and swim lessons, and on the weekends there have been family birthdays, retirement parties, graduations...and on and on. I am tired...I look at the calendar ahead and get exhausted.
Enter Mother's Day.  I sat in the van, near tears, just thinking to myself...I need a break.  I love my family and they were doing everything they could (okay, well maybe the kids weren't doing everything they could...Amanda was all out of sorts and the boys were declaring inane accusations such as "He looked at me"...but Shawn was sure trying and the kids had made me nice cards and asked what I wanted to do for the day) to make my day special.  And all I could think was...I want time alone.  This thought, just added to the tears, because I felt so guilty!  I kept thinking in my head...I love these guys, I should want to be with them, right? 
I could not figure out what is wrong.  I really do love my family dearly.  I am proud of my husband and the job he does.  I am proud of my kiddos.  I love watching them learn, grow, and take on life.  BUT, (you knew that was coming), I just wanted a car ride without fifty questions, I wanted to go to the bathroom alone, I wanted to read a book, wander the aisles of a store at a leisurely pace...just looking.  I wanted to track my thoughts and not feel the need to write it down in case I forgot.  I didn't want to ask someone to stop doing something and I didn't want to put on anyone's shoes but my own.  I wanted to get out of the car with just me and my one else's coat, shoe, paci, garbage, craft, special toy or whatever else was left in the car.  I didn't want to answer the phone, make one more appointment, schedule one more thing or go to one more activity.  And I felt so selfish. 
I have discussed this with a few friends and they are so sweet, offering to take my kids for a few hours.  I say, "no".  I already feel like I have had to lean on friends enough, for eye appointments, feild trips and vairous other things that I can't have all three with me.  I also feel like I should give back to them in some way, but our life is so full right now, it just doesn't seem possible.  It seems silly for me to say, "Yes, please watch my kids so I can just get away, but just know right now I can't return the favor."  However, today, I caved.  I just said "Yes, thank you." 
It was humbling.  I felt like I was saying, "I can't do it."  But the reality is, "I can't do it alone."  I am not sure why I feel like I should, but more often than not I do.  I want to feel like I am there for my kids.  After pondering my attitude on Mother's day, I came to the realization, that being there for them, meant taking a break and getting some rest, so that I can be there for them, not just physically, but emotionally too.  I also felt like I wasn't being a good friend, if I let my friends pick up my slack.  However, I know I would want to do it for them and bless them.  Why is it that allowing them to bless me, is so hard to swallow?  I am not sure.  But I am swallowing it. 
I am still processing this lesson.  I am not entirely sure what I am supposed to be learning.  Humility...check.  It has been hard.  Gratefulness...check.  I have been given the most amazing group of incredibley loving and gracious friends.  God really has given me the wackiest, most wonderful support system.  I think there are a few more checks out there that God wants me to mark off...I am not sure what they are, but my spirit says He is working on something in me and I am praying I can remain open and humble to hear it.
In the meantime, as my friend Stephanie said, "You don't have to wear your cape all the time. Take it off."  This made me laugh.  I asked her if I can still wear a tiara.  All in all, I think I am going to chuck it for a some lounge wear and a good cup of coffee...which I will drink in silence all by myself and come back ready for a lot of days as a mother.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Little Hands

It's nearing the end of preschool.  We have sing a longs, we have feild trips, mother's day crafts and memory folders.  Amongst these are these are the poem:
"Sometimes you get discouraged because I am so small, I leave my little fingerprints on every single wall.  But I am growing and I'll be all grown up someday and surely all those fingerprints will slowly fade away.  And so here's a final handprint so you can recall, just how my hand looked when I was so small." 
We also got a lovely poem about a mom ranting at her son for writing on the walls and at the end she goes to see the wall and they had written "I love you mom" with a heart. 
Well thank you for the mom guilt. 
It was such a long morning.  I had to tell Bray about a zillion (that's right...a zillion) times to go do a potty try before school.  Finally, he goes...on top of the toilet and also hitting his underwear, pants and school bag (impressive really, but still frustrating).  We get it together, get to school, drop the kids off and then I go to the store to get stuff for the ice cream social tomorrow in Gav's class and some other things I need, including a roasted chicken.  Amanda and I get back to the chickens and they don't come out for another 25 minutes.  Of course.  We head to our next errand and the store isn't open.  We wait.  She is angry that I have strapped her in a stroller and letting the whole wide world know.  Store opens, we are in and out and back to the grocery store for the chicken.  We go home to unload and Amanda continues her tirade on the world for being strapped in the carseat yet again. 
We go to get Brayden, run home, unload the bags of groceries, put a few things away and then load back up to hear Gavin's "spring sing" at school.  I shove a few snacks in my pockets hoping it will occupy my little one who is now beyond angry at her life, being shuffled in and out of the car/stroller/cart. 
We listen to the spring sing, try to gather information about the feild trip tomorrow (which is at the same time as Brayden's and I am trying to figure out the chaperone situation and getting no where).  We go to the car and Gavin starts to cry that he didn't get a snack and amanda and Bray did.  I can already tell he's tired.  Then I stop him to look at a small hole in his shirt and he loses it wanting to change his shirt and is beside himself when I tell him no.  (Really, it's the smallest hole ever and a cool shirt and he's just going is Amanda at this point). 
I turn the radio up as loud as I can to drown them out.  At this point I am not sure if I should laugh or cry. 
I get Amanda and Bray in the house and inform Gav he can come in when he calms down.  I make lunch and go see if Gav is ready...he's not.  Brayden follows me and starts to lecture Gavin too.  This helps no one, especially since Brayden is not supposed to get up from the table.  Amanda, after filling up on snacks throws her food on the ground and signs all done while screaming.  I clean up after her, get her down and check on Gav.  Still crying.  Get back inside and Bray is feeding Amanda, like she's a small dog.  I put her back in the chair, because I am trying to teach her to sit at the table and not walk around with her food.  She goes nuts.  Bray complains he doesn't like the food.  I can still hear Gavin crying.  AWESOME! 
I am so grumpy and short with them all at this point.  Finally, I get Gavin to chill out, clean up Bray and put Amanda down for a nap.  Then we all sit to read Gavin's memory album and Bray's mother's day gift and enter the poems.  I start to cry.  For real.  My kids look like I have completely lost it.
I had just had four hours of grueling parenting and I am sad that I actually know deep down I'll miss it.  I am also sad that I didn't spend the day reading books, going to the park, or at least responding to my grumpy kids with patience and sunshine like you think you should do after reading such poems.
But...I did sign up to get Gav's class Hersey syrup.  I did promise to make a chicken salad with roasted chicken to shawn, Brayden does only have one pair of socks and I told him I'd get new ones and I do think it's important my kids learn a hole in one's shirt is not worth a monumental tantrum and that we cannot eat our food walking all over the house and dropping it where ever we deem convienent. 
At the first sign of tears, the boys hug me and snuggle in.  I cuddle them back and set the poems face down, taking a deep breathe.  It's a compromise.  Mothering isn't just sunshine and joy.  They are kids and if we are doing it right, there will be tears because they are being molded and we are being molded.  Both of us learning to do it better.  On the flipside, sometimes we do need to laugh instead of cry and embrace the mess, the tears and the chaos for what it is.  And so...when I sent the boys to quiet time and Bray turned around and said, "But mom, I just want to sit and snuggle you," I melted, chucked my idea of getting a few things accomplished out the window and sat on the couch to snuggle.  No tears this time.  Just some deep breathes and having those little hands go around my neck. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Getting "it"

Today was a great I just sat back and enjoyed my children. 
Many of our days are booked and planned.  I do not enjoy sitting at home..."stay at home" mom or is hard for me to actually participate in the stay part.  Therefore, mid quiet time, I sat thinking about the long afternoon that stretched ahead.  Dad wasn't in the picture for tonight, so that meant five hours of which I had nothing on the agenda.  I felt like curling up and reading a book, however, I have learned that this only means fighting, bickering, 50 questions, crying about nothing to do and Amanda crawling all over me trying to get me to read her books.  (Yes, I really have tried reading with the kids awake and though it can be done, I wouldn't recommend it if you want to retain the information in said book).
So...I decided, instead of playing bump on a log, merely biding my time and working myself into an irritable state, I was gonna find us something worth while.  So, I called up my dad and scheduled to meet him after work at the train park.  (This is a park a bit south from us that gives train rides for a slightly overpriced kids love it and we rarely go, cuz I do have a hard time paying for what it matter how they adore it). 
We went to the park and my kids were awesome.  They listened.   They waited over 30 minutes for papa to show up to ride the train (30 minutes for my boys waiting for a train, I believe feels to them like a quarter century...and I heard not one complaint).  They shared with other kids.  They rode the train.  They said please and thank you. 
Then, I wanted to check out a nearby toy store.  The boys and I walked around it looking and looking.  We exclaimed over what we loved.  We checked out the AMAZING playmobil section.  We discovered new lego sets.  They didn't whine one bit or even ask for a toy.  (Gavin did mention his birthday a few times, until I told him it was about 100 days away, which seemed to shut it down pretty quick).
We went to dinner and they were so polite.  They ate happily, shared their food with each other (without prompting) and Brayden even saved three slices of his pizza for his dad "cuz he probably is sad and hungry". 
I was just so proud of my kids.   Today, I saw them implimenting so many things we have taught...the please, the thank you, sharing, listening, gratitude.  The best part...I saw it without having to prompt it!  Thank you God! 
Truly, it was a gift from above.  So many days we are in the mix of teaching behavior and morals and trying to get "life" done, that we miss seeing the things we have taught.  I often find myself only catching the lessons the kids have missed...feeling like my day is a tape recording of "please stop", "what have I told you about ____?"  "Is that a wise choice?"  "Give it back."  "What in the world!!!!"  Or something along those lines. 
Today, I am not sure if it was because I was making a conscience effort to do something my kids loved, or if it was just something God wanted me to see, but I saw that they are getting it.  Maybe not all of it and not all the time, but it is there.  It, being all the little things we try to teach along the way.  And it is so encouraging, that in the mundane of life, when the days seem hard and you plod along, hoping against hope and praying diligently, the things you are trying to impart take some sort of root in their heart...God gives you a moment, an hour, or even a day, to see those things are there. 
I thank God for those moments, hours and days.  Because of them, I am reminded of how good God is, and in them, I am given the strength to keep on keeping on.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Quote of the day

Brayden:  I want to start a band.
Me:  What instrument will you play.
Bray:  Tuba, it's loud.
Me:  Oh, what song will you sing?
Bray:  Lump (by Presidents of the United States of America)

And this is what you get when Sesame Street and my husbands music tastes collide.  I love it.  I love these moments when our influence meets up with our sons personality and suddenly you get a little glimps of who he might be.  A tuba playing rockstar?  Probably not, but definitely something original. 

As much as I struggle to understand this little guy, I am grateful for the joy he brings.  It will be so fun to watch him grow and I am sure He is going to suprise us with lots of amazing things he does that we never would have thought of.  Just because God made him and original and he has embraced it with full abandon!