Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks

So, it's been awhile.  I admit, the craziness of all day school, with half day school, with no school, with extra curriculars and what not...I have taken awhile to adjust.  Not just to the schedule, but the shift in parenting of this new season.  The kids are older and well, we are working on more heart issues than behavior issues.  It feels far more time consuming.
Enter dinner time.  The age old battle over food.  Really, Shawn and I have had it pretty good.  Our kids know you get what you get and half the time they eat it.  In toddler land and kid land, that ain't bad.  However, we have recently dealt with:
1.  An older child who eats his meal and declares he wants more, but "something else...not more of this."  Uh...no sir. 
2.  A middle child who declares the food "not tasty and not my favorite"  sight unseen.  Unless it's a hot dog or a piece of fruit, he's out.  Needless to say, that doesn't fly well at all.
3.  A picky little girl who would prefer to snack her way through life on fruit chewies, has the attention span of a gnat at the table and will only consume more than four bites of a meal if it is "orange pacaroni (macaroni)". 
It's been awesome, to say the least.  Dinner time is frustrating and I dread spending time on a meal only to go into the "war zone" and fight against the ungratefulness at the table.  It's not so much the food, but the attitude in which they approach it.  The entitlement they seem to feel towards being given what they want, when they want it and to turn their noses up at what is offered.
So...we made a plan.  Beans and Rice.  Our friend once mentioned something their family participated in at Thanksgiving.  Three days before Thanksgiving, their family ate plain oatmeal for breakfast, beans and rice for lunch and beans and rice for dinner.  The third day, they added cheese (she said, she'd never been more grateful for cheddar in her life) and then on Thanksgiving, their eyes were opened to the abundance of food and choice they are given. 
It seemed like a good idea.  It was a good idea.  However, I am going to admit, it did not go according to plan.  (Do any of our brilliant parenting ideas?)
We started Sunday night.  Our kids mowed through the rice and beans (except Amanda, who will only eat beans).  They loved it.  Shawn and I thought it wasn't too bad.  In the morning, only Gavin would eat plain oatmeal (and only four bites).  The other two chose to drink milk and forgo cereal.  Lunch was beans and rice.  I will admit to caving and handing out some almonds as a snack.  (At this point Amanda had only eaten beans and some milk...so I decided a little protein was best.  She's only three and I think the gratefulness lesson was over her head, but did figure this a time to work on not snacking her way through life and eating what's provided).    Shawn came home and declared he was eating plain malto meal for dinner and the kids and I went back to beans and rice.
The kids were doing fine.  Gavin was getting a bit out of it and understood what we had been telling him, but ate without complaint.  Brayden sat down to each meal declaring "I love beans and rice" and Mandy just continued her normal behavior of barely eating anything and whining.
Shawn and I?  We were fading.  He could hardly look at the beans and rice and as hungry as I was, even I struggled to down it.  And that's a big deal.  I am someone who can go a day without eating and barely notice.  I am the person who always eats the leftovers, even if I didn't care for it, because I hate to waste food.  I am not a foodie.  I used to think I was pretty easy in this regard.  Until I had beans and rice thrust upon me for 6 meals straight.  Not to mention, I realized, when I enjoy most of my food is after the kids go to bed and I can get what I want and watch a show or something.  Having no food after dinner!  I think my stomach started eating itself each night at 7.  Ugh!
And so...A lesson has been learned.  Shawn and I are thankful.  We are thankful that we have food.  We are thankful we have variety.  We are thankful that we have the opportunity to introduce the variety to our kids, even if it is greeted with resistance.  We are thankful for the ridiculously stocked pantry that we can raid any time we want...especially after 7!  We are thankful.
Now, I don't want to say my kids didn't learn a thing.  I really think they grasped some of it and in the conversations we made a conscience effort to have I did see their hearts starting to grasp gratefulness. Opening the conversation about how to be content, learning to turn to Godfor help...because sometimes it really is so hard or downright impossible on our own! (Especially after 7 o'clock at night)
But really...I think Shawn and I were taught a lesson.  When we would stare at each other at night, desperately wanting to sneak into the pantry and just gorge ourselves on anything with taste!  When we faced down the beans and rice, once again.  When I contemplated the words I said to my kids, "Many people don't even get three meals a day.  Many people eat the same thing for all three meals.  Many people feel hungry in their tummy's all the time."  The most impactful for my kids and me was a fact I found in my research to prepare for our week.  "One in every eight kids deal with hunger or starvation."
It was a wake up call to the extreme fortune I was born into.  And while I was all prepared to change the hearts of my kids, God changed my heart and showed me yet again, that I could afford to listen to my own lecture. 
And so this Thanksgiving, I think my heart is in a far better place to actually give thanks.  I think I will be overwhelmed by the abundance.  I think I will treasure the left overs.  I think I will be thankful when I feel "full" and I will be contemplating what our family can do to provide for those who are feeling the pain of hunger. And I believe I will even be thankful and manage a smile when my kids turn their noses at the yams...because we have yams for them to turn their noses up at! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Embracing the crazy

Every year around late August, I start to get anxiety.  My heart starts beating, my chest feels tight and it all comes down to the fact that I know there are so many decisions to be made, schedule changes coming and forms to be filled out.  For a complete control freak like me, it's overwhelming.  I borrow trouble and worries about upcoming events and changes and well...go a little crazy.
I do have some legit concerns about open enrollment for health care.  Team, I could write a math book of story problems I have created in order to try and figure out the best route for our family.  I am sure the lady at the district office is ready to tell them to let Shawn go, just so she won't hear from me again.  I also have some forms that you fill out, just to get you more forms (the schools health form, which requires more forms and oops, if those aren't completed, Gav can't go to school...didn't see that line!) And then there is the fact that new commitments have us essentially scheduled Sun, Mon, Tues, and Wed night.
What happens when these legit concerns overlap with other minor decisions and schedule changes is I start to freak out about completely inane things.  My husband and good friends can attest to this.  I try to over control and get overwhelmed by the most basic questions or tasks.  A few humbling examples of my lame freak out moments:
Will I be able to get both kids to their separate soccer practice and manage to feed them dinner?
-(yes of course.  We managed...as long as three meatballs and a smoothie qualify as dinner, this one is a cake walk)
Should Brayden do morning or afternoon preschool?
-(Umm....well if he's gone when Amanda may just nap, why am I even asking this?)
Should I order a casual polo for my Awana leader uniform or the womens cut?
-(Seriously, both are amongst the fashion challenged and I shall impress no one in either, why worry)
Should Amanda sign up for gymnastics or dance class?
-(Uh...who cares?  She's three and lucky she gets to do anything.  She is most likely not Shawn Johnson or a prima ballerina...really, let it go)

Yes.  So silly.  I know this.  I mean, I know this!  But still sometimes I get so close to hyperventilation just trying to get my life in order.  So many little things snack day, show and tell, the pumpkin farm field trip, soccer practice, ballet, insurance, car repairs, drop off, pick up, eye dr., well child checks, asthma forms, release forms, permission slips, homework, and on and on and on.

But this is our life.  And it's good.  And we're fortunate.  And I am learning to take deep breathes and be thankful.  Thankful for healthcare, for a car, for preschool, for the ability to have my kids participate in a sport/class, for education, for a doctor that watches out for the kiddos, for meatballs and smoothies!   I am learning to embrace the crazy in my head and take it to God.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds."  Philippians 4:6-7

In taking it a day at a time, sometimes an activity at a time, and reminding myself to be thankful, God is showing me His faithfulness in new ways.  I am learning to laugh a little more at my decision making inability and I am learning that not every decision/responsibility/situation is as big a deal as I can make it out to be.  (For those that know me well...no comment, I will most likely still be prone to overdramatization still). 

Yet another credit to the Lord, because He has been guarding my heart and mind.  I know he has....and frankly, to do any sort of work on the crazy in mind, truly transcends understanding.  But He's doing it.  I am so grateful.  Thank you Lord and Amen!!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The curse of the Pacific Northwest

Being from the Pacific Northwest, we love our sunny days.  It is beautiful here, there is no doubt.  Water, mountains, hikes....God's creation.

Being from the Pacific Northwest, on sunny days over 75 and my kids melt.  They get "sooooo hot".  They "can't walk another step".  They get "tiiiiiied" (tired), as Amanda would say.  It really is kinda pathetic, but there are days I understand where they are coming from.

It is a strange dichotomy, because I feel as though being a good mom requires me being outside on a sunny day in the Northwest, no matter the protest on my kids lips.  On the other hand....it is summer, we are tired from running around, staying up late and doing all the summer stuff.  And well, some days I do want to lay inside, in front of the fan, on the floor, doing nothing.  To not be at a park, in the water, on a bike ride, picking berries and not be drying my hands out with the never ending sunscreen application process (my kids are whiter than white).   Today a good friend of mine told me she told her kids they could watch a show on her computer, "but only if you do it outside" and I'm thinking..."you're brilliant."  This is what the Pacific Northwest does to you.  I see the sunshine and I am pushing my kids out the door. 

Now, I am relatively sure the mom who was in front of the fan loving on her kids was a better one than the mom yelling about water squirter rules and confiscating toys left and right from the kids who were forced outside.  But staying inside seems somehow wrong.  Guilt.  Indoor remorse.   It could be a curse of the Pacific Northwest, but I am more inclined to believe it's me trying to be who I am not and trying to make my kids into something they are not. 

We need rest.  Sometimes, the fan is good.  A good book on a cool couch, with the sun coming through the window is okay.  A picnic inside on a blanket, with the light of the day shining on our indoor teacups is lovely.  A little break from sunscreen is healthy (I could do a whole post on my pure hatred of sunscreen application, but I have chosen to not fuel the hatred in writing about it). 

I never really thought much about being from Washington, other than I love it here.  I haven't thought it affected me, but in this, I have noticed I have distinct PNW issues.  However, I am breaking the bondage and I am reconciling myself that I need not take advantage of every sunny day.  Traitorous, though it feels, I believe I will actually be more like the "good mom" I want to be. 


Sunday, August 4, 2013


It's been awhile....
This summer has been running from one adventure to another.  Brief summaries:

Yellowstone road trip highlights include:
the boys becoming Jr. Rangers (Brayden took this very seriously), Amanda's amazing fit at the painted pots being caught on film (seriously, this is the kind of thing you stand in awe of and later say you wish you had caught it...super embarrassing, yes.  However, I think we will laugh at this in years to come - dad's still not there yet) , following a buffalo who wouldn't get off the road for over 45 minutes (apparently "traffic" looks different in Wyoming), visiting Missoula (visiting the ER there, not so much, but the city itself was fine), watching my boys play "chest" as Gavin calls it (chess), the small town parade and fireworks from our balcony, the 15 hour car drive home...though not a highlight, definitely something I am proud the family survived.

Camping at Lake Wenatchee:  with our friends the Eicherts and my family up the road a ways, it was perfect weather, great company and we got to use our brand new tent.  It really was one of the smoothest and relaxing camping trips we've had yet as a family of five.

Bellingham trip to celebrate the 10 year anniversary:  3 nights no kids!  Wahoo!!!!  We ate, we slept and we got to hang out together, just us!!!  So fun.  Great news is that we still have fun together and love to laugh.  Ten years of practicing awesome.

Trip to Seabrook with the family:  My parents rented a house for my sister's and our family.  SO great!  One of those trips that the kids talk about over and over and you look at just knowing they will remember the time...the hammock, the beach, the pool, the putt putt golf, the ice cream, the bumper boats, the smores, the bike rides and the super cool beds built into the walls for each of the kids.  Not to mention, good food, good wine and an amazing family.

And...we're back.  I feel a tad overwhelmed with the e-vites, "back to school" stuff and various projects that seem to be lurking around every corner, but I am ever thankful for the time as a family and the privileges it is to have had so many opportunities this July. 

It has been a challenge to try and remind the kids that they are beyond blessed to have had these chances.  That this isn't a normal summer and they need to be grateful instead of entitled.  I am looking for ways to instill and build this in them.  WOW!  It is hard. 

But still I wouldn't trade it.  I am definitely grateful for the time.  So very blessed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Gavin is a bit of a wimp when it comes to scrapes, owies or boo boos.  I know it's not nice to say this about your child, but there is just no way around it.  At the sign of a scrape, he melts down.  He is so incredibley over dramatic about any potential scrape, when he actually gets one it's as though amputation is on the horizon.  It is hard to actually determine the true degree of "ouch" because everything is a near death experience for him. 
I try to be sympathetic, but after a half hour of crying over nothing...literally no sign of anything, my patience is stretched thin and my empathy has flown out the window.  Honestly, my two year old girl handles things better.  And so when the elbow injury, that actually invovled blood, occured last week, I was already starting deep breathing and self talk to try and muster up the patience and mother love I'd need to get through it.  It took awhile, but we did in fact move on.  Until bed time.
At bedtime, Gavin was rustling around and finally I see the tears start pooling in the bottom of his eyes.  When I asked him what's wrong he says, "How am I going to sleep with a scrape on my elbow?"
My thoughts?  What in the world kid!  That happened about 6 hours ago!  What I really said, "Gav, think about it, it's already healing, don't you think you'll be fine?"
"Noooooo," tears getting closer to falling, "I can't lie on it...it touches things."
Oh geez.  At the end of a long day, long week, I had so little left and yes, this is in fact what I said, umm sang, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...stand a little taller"
Gav, probably wondering what is wrong with me, looks taken aback and says, "that's Amanda's song." (Well, yes, my daughter does happen to love this song.  So, we refer to it as Amanda's song.  I know, I know, she should probably be singing things like itsy bitsy spider, but  I just can't handle that stuff.  So, Kelly Clarkson it is.  Things could be worse.)  "Mom, what does that mean?" 
Even though I was just singing, so as not to scream in frustration, I decided to go with it
"Well,  the that's like this scrape.  It didn't kill you, but it's making you stronger.  Every owy makes you a little bit stronger, cuz you know you can get through it.  So, we don't whine and cry, but we try to remember that we are getting tougher by healing."
I flipped Gav over onto his other arm and laid his scraped one ontop of the covers. And he dramatically declares, while gently placing the scrape away from any sheet, "Oh, this is great Mom.  So I am gonna get stronger, now?"
"Yes Gavin.  Good-night."

Next day:  We have a little boy over who I watch three days a week.  He happens to have scrapes on his arm and is declaring that they hurt.  I mention that so does Gavin, but we are working on not whining while we let things heal.  (Sidenote here:  When things are truly painful and they really do have an injury, I do allow for tears and a bit of complaining.  But if you could see these scratches, you would be on my side...trust me.)  Anyway, Gav shows his friend his scrape and declares,
"It's making me stronger.  We don't complain, but we learn to get stronger after each boo boo"

I had to laugh.  My moment of parental survival.  Singing so as not to heave a huge sigh of frustration over my drama king...and he takes my words to heart.  I am glad at least there is a lesson here.  He will get stronger by learning from mistakes, hurts and boo boos.  I looked it up and the original credit for the quote goes to  Frederich Nietzsche, a german philosopher.  But who are we kidding?  I am ever so humbled to admit the truth...my best parenting moment of the week was brought to you by Kelly Clarkson.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rearview mirror

It was a good day, a long, but good day.  We went to the park this afternoon for 3 hours with some of my highschool friends and their kids.  The kids are finally old enough to remember each other and play together and they so enjoyed running around in the sunshine (yes...sunshine!).  I got to actually catch up a little with my friends (well, except when Amanda and her little friend Aven took off and I found them around the restrooms washing their hands in the drinking fountain...moment of panic). 
We then headed out to dinner with Mimi and Papa to finish off what I have entitled "Birthday Palooza".  April is Shawn's brother's birthday, SHawn's birthday, Shawn's mom's birthday, my neices, birthday, Brayden's birthday and my mom's birthday.  Yeah.  Craziness.  But today was the last, with Mimi turning 60!  So, we had our "dillas" at the local mexican joint and headed home. 
The kids were tired.  This always makes for a relaxing car ride.  Less screaming, less questions, less kicking chair backs, less song requests. 
I glanced back in the review mirror and witnessed Amanda's eyes flutter and shut as she drifted off.  Her little cheeks were rosy, her hair was in a messy bun, with wisps across her face, her head tilted to the side.  So sweet, still slightly baby faced.  In the background, Gavin was quietly reading a book to Brayden, who was asking questions and listening intently.  I wanted to capture the moment.
But...I had to look forward. 
It struck me that this is so similar to life.  We look in the rearview mirror and see the sweet treasures we have.  I see the 6.5 year old who just learned to read and is cruising along a book.  Who is thoughtfully showing the pictures to his brother, who catches my eyes in the mirror and smiles. 
I see the just turned 5 year old leaning his head in to listen to his big brother.  Taking a swig of his newly acquired "rescue canteen" and responsibly placing it next to him with a solid pat. 
I see the cherubed face, sleeping contently after a long day of play.  Her silky fine hair falling down and creating an overall picture that melts your heart.
I do not see the chaos it was to pack for the park, I don't see the 10 minutes it took to reteach tying shoes, I don't see the argument that ensued over who got the booster.  I don't see any of that in the rearview mirror. 
I want to stop and stay focused on the sweetness behind me...however, that would probably ensue in a relatively large car crash.  If I live in the rearview mirror, my kids will not be prepared for the future.  I don't want them to be in a crash...and so, I must look forward.
Somedays, I don't want to look forward.  I don't want to leave my babies behind.  But I must.  I must let them grow up, must teach new lessons, must tackle new problems, must let them tie their own shoes.  Sometimes, I think I am ready...especially with the shoe tying.  But I can just see myself a few years down the road, when they want some expensive shoe that I want to roll my eyes at thinking, "I wish my biggest concern was just tying these darn shoes!" 
In the rearview mirror, you can see the hard times and exclaim..."I made it!"  Which, in turn, I believe allows you to focus on the sweetness and all that was good.  Looking forward, I don't have the ability to know that I'll make it.  To be certain.  I like certainty.
I think I know in my heart of hearts, I'll make it.  God is too big a God.  He is able to do all things.  It just sometimes feels like I won't.  These are the moments where I just want to stare into that rearview mirror....relish the goodness I see there. 
But I really am starting to think, God set up life like a big roadtrip.  You must look forward.  You will travel in sunshine and blue skies, you will drive through whiteouts and storms, you will have moments where you pull over to soak it in and moments where you floor it to get the heck out of dodge.  You will see barren lands and you will encounter majestic, heartstopping views that will scream the greatness of their Creator.  And all the while, you will have those times where you glance back to remind yourself of the road traveled...to check on things.  And you will see memories of sweet faces, small voices and all the goodness that you made it through...in your rearview mirror.

Monday, April 15, 2013

To be like Gavin

Gavin is a large fan of money.  He likes to save money, he doesn't like to tithe (we make him give 10 percent of any money he's earned to the tithing jar), and he loves to talk about what he's going to get himself with his money.  It's hard to reason with a six year old, explain money, the pitfalls and the fact that it isn't everything...especially, when I struggle with the same issues.  (I would like to believe I am not quite as vocal about them).
Anyway...on Easter, our kids got some money in their Easter eggs and we collected it and put it into baggies for him.  As I was going to clean up, I handed Gav his bag and told him to go put it in his wallet.  He trotted back to his room and came out with the money still in hand.
(Before I go further, I need to mention, our family has signed up for Beat the Bridge, a walk to help cure diabetes.  We have been fundraising and explaining to the kids that the money will help to doctors, so they can cure four year old cousin Jamie.)
Gavin comes out, hands me the bag and says, "Mom, I want you to give this to the doctors so cousin Jamie can get better."
My heart swelled.  It's still swelling.  It was a few weeks ago now, but everytime I think about it, I am just so proud of my son and his heart.  This is a big deal for Gav and he was so gracious about it. 
Topping it off, was his trust that cousin Jamie would get better....that we have been praying, we're raising money and it will happen!  I love that! 
Lord, thank you for my sweet son Gavin...I hope I can learn to pray and believe and give like like him! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Amanda has been getting up at night to go potty.  Most parents work towards getting their child to stay dry through the night.  But then there is Shawn and me....we are seriously at the point where we were yelling, "just go in your pull-up" and she yells back "no" through her tears (brightside:  at least we have taught her to stay in bed).  Yeah, we're awesome.  So we chucked the pull ups all together and just get up about twice a night to take her pee.  It's like having a baby again. (In her defense, she has been in twice for a bladder infection and so we feel really compelled to take her when she says she needs to go...she's got some potty issues).
However, sometimes, she is crying for other things, like a show, a paci or what not and we have to listen first to make sure she's legit.  If I am getting out of bed, someone had better be going potty...either her or me.
Well, last night, she'd already had a midnight pee run, when about an hour later we hear wailing...."Sharks, no"  sob sob sob, "Mommy, Daaaaaaaddddy"  Sob sob sob.  I listen.  Sharks?  "Go to bed Amanda." 
Through heaving sobs, I hear "Mooooommmy!  Moooommy!"  Not the normal fake cry, I get up and go in.  She stands up, jumps to me and clings to my neck in shuddering sobs.  I ask,
"What's wrong Amanda?"
"Sharks, no sharks, mama"
"Sharks on my face."
"There are no sharks."
Through sobs, "Yes sharks."
I try to set her down at this point and she is clinging so tight I can't breathe.  It takes about 5 minutes for me to convince her to lay back in bed.  This is after verifying over and over there are no sharks, removing blankets to prove it and she's still doing the end of cry shudders and is just so pathetic mumbling about sharks. 
Finally, I soothe her, her dad comes to kiss her and we sneak out of the room.
And I almost break out laughing.  Sharks! What in the world?  I have no idea where this kid would have seen sharks.  I think we may have deduced that it is from a Disney show called Octonauts.  But seriously, it's on disney jr. and so fluffy...I can't imagine a shark terrifying enough to effect her this way.
If it weren't for her pathetic cries and terrified clinging, I really would have disolved into a fit of giggles.  Here we are, back to practically infant routine, getting up to take our kid pee and now she's having nightmares about sharks! 
We have had multiple conversations today about it and two extended ones at naptime and bedtime.  And if you are familiar with Amanda at all, you can only imagine the animation and body language involved in trying to convince us we are wrong about there being no sharks.  The kid is something else.
I am thankful for her though.   My hilarious, stubborn, animated, overly smart, passionate little girl.  So much personality in one little body.  And God let us have her, for who knows how long, but  I am thankful for every minute.  Especially the ones, where I get to be the good guy, the one who can comfort, the one who gets little arms around her neck and the one who gets to push hair out of the tears and let my brave little girl know that there are in fact, no sharks in her bed. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Sometimes, I watch my husband throw a dance party for the kids or play an hour of hide and seek (in a 1200 sqaure foot rambler, with very few hiding spots) and am amazed at his patience to 'play' with the kids.  I get either too bored or too competitive too quickly.  If a kid takes a card out of turn in candy land, I am ready to snatch it back and accuse them of cheating...that is if I haven't dozed off from sheer lack of interest in such a game.  (Sidenote:  I have yet to do either of these things, though I am not saying the day won't come). 
Shawn has a gift of playing.  He can lie on the floor for an hour, wrestling, playing "pretend naps"  (oh, yes, Shawn has indeed made this a game and the kids love it...puh-lease, I can't imagine how they'd respond if I tried to pull this on them) he will turn on music for dance time and occupy them so effortlessly.  I admit I am jealous. 
Recently, Shawn has been working quite late...this week he has not been here before bedtime at all.  Sometimes, I forget this.  I forget that he has not had time with them.  I forget that I have had nothing but time with them.  I forget that he desperately wants to be with them, whereas, I desperately want an opportunity to pee alone. 
If I step back and ask myself what would I do with my kids if I only had 0-6 hours with them during the week...I can guarentee you, the laundry would wait, the dishes would wait and the garbage could just pile up.  I would be hosting a dance party.  I would be hiding and seeking and i would possibly even play a game of candyland where I pay attention and don't care if someone cheats (I said possibly).
It's silly for me to even compare myself to my husband, but I have.  And what I have walked away with is that I have an amazing guy who works his hiney off and when he can come home before bed, he does everything he can to invest in our kids and give them his attention.  I have also realized that it is a priviledge to do the day to day, car loading and unloading, gymnastics and swim lessons, grocery shopping and dentist appointments, teeth brushing and potty tries...trying to mix some fun in between.  And well...if dad gets to be the "fun" one for a few hours at night...that's okay...in fact that's great.  Because, even if they were fighting and yelling and crying...I got to be with them all day.  And in the moment it feels like I want to run away...but if anyone tried to tell me I couldn't be there or take that from me...I would be devestated. 
Don't get me wrong...it is definitely a perspective easier kept as I type while they all sleep in their beds.  Because if you caught me last night on the 4th potty try after I had put Mandy to bed...you would have seen a mom caught oscillating between the decision to start screaming in a fit of anger or curl up in a ball and start sobbing on the bathroom floor.  But after the fact...lamenting that I was doing bedtime alone again, I asked myself what if someone told me I couldn't do it for a week...or more?  What then? 
Then I would give anything to place that kid on the potty just one more time. 
Now mind you, this is not going to stop me from teaching Amanda that the potty is not in fact a bedtime avoidance option.  But I am hoping it will teach me that teaching her this lesson is a priviledge and not a burden.  A priviledge to be in the day to day.  A priviledge I wanted...a priviledge God graciously gifted. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"God's Song"

Brayden recently asked Jesus to come live in his heart.  It is something we are excited about and rejoice over.  It is something we are also amazed by.  This is a kid who used to tell us Jesus is a bad guy and was a general punk when any mention of God came about.  We have seen him opening up, but more recently, we have just seen a sweet softening of his heart and his spirit. 
He is frequently stopping conversation to ask to pray.  He is talking more openly about God.  But the most endearing and frequent thing he does is burst into his God Songs.  THey are just songs he makes up.  A mish mash of songs we sing, songs from church, songs from the radio.  One might go something like this:
God you love us
we love you
we know you know we love you
you are a baby Jesus, newborn
King God you know love
Praise God
They are sung in a very high octave with no familiar melody or anything that one might try to catch onto.  (If by a far off chance he does ever become famous...I am saving this video for his first stint on a talk show...it's fantastic).
Anyway...this morning, I hear Brayden in his room.  Usually he runs straight to the TV room to see if he can catch a show before breakfast, but I just hear this high pitched something.  Concerned that something is wrong, but not so concerned as to get out from under my warm covers, I yell...
"Bray, are you okay?"
"What are you doing?"
"Just singing my God songs"
I was struck with amusing humbleness.  Amused by my mistaking the "God song" for a hurt son and humbled by his innocent and pure offer of praise.  I love that my four year old little guy started his day, praising God, loud and proud, with his own God song. 
Oh what we can learn from my little man.  I think if he had lived in the way back when, he would have had a psalm or two in the good book.  Good, bad, disappointed, Bray is unashamed to take it to God...in prayer or in a high pitched, on key/off key, loud or whispered, original, "God Song".

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Favorite sayings as of late

Me:  What should amanda be when she grows up?
Gav:  Hmmm, maybe a police officer.  You know all the naughty things she does?  Well, she'll know what the bad guys are doing and she can catch 'em.

Bray:  Mom, do you have Jake's number?
Me:  Jake who?
Bray:  Jake and the Neverland pirate Jake.
Me:  No, he's not one of my contacts.
Bray:  (big sigh)

Amanda:  My dance, cha cha dance.  My dance Cha Cha dance.  (Cha cha being her word for Gavin)

Gavin:  My toe is bleeding...owwwwww!  (it was nothing)
Me:  You're fine
Gav:  I need a band aid.
Me:  No you don't.
Gav:  I dooooooooo!  (Bray runs from the room and returns)
Bray, holding out a band aid:  Here Gav.
Me:  Where'd you get that?
Bray:   My rescue backpack.
Me, resigning myself to a bandaid for a non issue, just cuz he's was thoughtful:  That's nice, Bray.
Bray:  Nope, it's just what rescue men do.

Cough vs. nap

I'll tell you what, Tony Horton's P90x ain't got nothin on the cough I am battling.  My abs are like rocks.  If I could find a way to use my lower diaphram to cough I would be sporting a bikini bod in no time. 
I am thankful that this is the first and worst of my illnesses this year.  There has been puke and colds and coughs and various other things floating around and so far I've escaped.  All but this.  And this isn't really so bad.  My head is clear, my nose works, my ears are fine.  I just hack a bit during the day and then at night...it is constant non-stop, gut wrenching seizures of coughs that make me want to curl into a ball and weep. 
But I don't weep...there is no time between the last cough and the next. 
Due to this, I am exhausted.  No rest for the weary has a whole new meaning.  My eyes were closing as I tried to lay out breakfast and lunch.  The coffee is disappearing at a rapid pace and napping sounds heavenly.  But Oh WAIT!  Amanda hasn't napped in 4 days...since we went on a little vacation (which was fantastic and I am hoping to find time to write about).  This is stressing me out.  I am waiting till later to put her down today, but I am diligently hoping that this isn't the end.  The end of my one hour a day.  The magic hour where I can manage to get something done, sit for a few minutes to read, write a note, pay the bills, maybe fold a load of laundry and maybe, on a good day, catch a 5-10 minute power nap. 
It's coming and I do not see any weariness in her little self. It is only me who is weary.  I am coughing my way to a better me, while she is contentedly, if not energetically playing tinker toys with her brothers.  Ponytails askew and freshly painted toes...content to be wide awake.  I have a sinking feeling that this sweetness is about to take my coveted hour and turn my whole world upside down. 
Oh dear....
(to be continues)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Today we played

Oh how badly I want to have time to write down the things that happen during the day.  How badly I want to remember!  The days are going so fast.  I see it in the short pant legs on Gavin and the long hair on Amanda.  When did that happen?  I feel as though I don't have time to be the mom I want to be.  However...
Today we played.  We made a fort.  We danced.  I painted Amanda's nails for the first time.  We decorated paper airplanes.  Today I made a point of playing. 
I am tired.  I have been tired.  I will most likely be tired tomorrow.  I am forgetting things, double booking things, and getting overwhelmed by things.  But...today we played.
Today we signed valentines.  Today we practiced colors on our flash cards.  Today we sipped tea.  Today we launched a space shuttle.
So many days go by, where all I remember are the times my voice was raised, my patience was lost or my "goal" was not met.  Today, I choose to remember none of that.  Today, as my kids are racing towards adulthood and leaving me so little time, I am going to remember that we played.