Love

Love is complex.  It’s awesome.  It’s powerful.  It’s hard.  It’s messy.   It can feel random.  Sometimes it is doing the opposite of what you feel.  It’s hard, it’s glorious, it’s miserable, it’s beautiful.

And sometimes love is simply keeping ‘flowers’ in the window long past their prime and smelling them upon request.

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Melting heart

There are a few things that pretty consistently make a woman go ‘awww’ and melt on the inside.  Babies of some sort: they might be human, canine, feline, or even reptilian, depending on the woman.  Beautiful love stories (though not necessarily the Hollywood version).  And men being awesome with kids.  If a man is being awesome with a kid that happens to be hers, you have a guaranteed increase in both melting and respect.  Guar-an-teed.

Tomorrow Matt and I celebrate our anniversary.  It has been quite a ride for us. Someday I’ll write about it.  Lots of bad, lots of good, lots of tears, lots of laughing, and lots of growing.  Last night we celebrated in style by going to dinner and then grocery shopping.  Grocery shopping without children, which in itself is cause for celebration.  And if that wasn’t great enough, I had a chocolate martini…yummm.

Anyways, today he had yet another moment where I felt all gooey inside, and he reminded me again of one of the reasons I love him.  I was even able document it:

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My sweet little boy has been glued to Daddy’s side today.  I don’t know how much progress is happening on the car, but J is having a blast.

Who would’ve thunk it?

I officially became a mom almost eight years ago.  Prior to that I had spent a lot of time with kids.  And a lot of time with kids’ parents.  And a lot of time in kids’ homes.  Yet despite this exposure there are things that surprise me.  All. The. Time.  One of the types of things that surprises me fall into the “I never would have imagined this coming out of my mouth” category.  Here are a few examples:

We don’t ride on the kitties.

Kitties don’t wear necklaces.

Yogurt goes in the bowl.

Don’t sit on the dishwasher.

Don’t put lettuce on the Lincoln log.

Don’t use chalk on the suitcase.

Sure, you can put ketchup on your rice.

Don’t draw on your brother/sister.

If you don’t go potty we’re not going to read books.  (um…what did I just say?)

Don’t put pans on the kitties.  (the poor kitties.)

K puts napkins on the table on even days.  S puts napkins on the table on odd days.

Spit in the sink, not on the floor.

Don’t pee in the toy box.  Ever.

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Could you add anything to the list??

(if you would, please post your never-would-have-thunk-its here instead of on FB so they can all be read together.  Thanks!)

Kisms

Four year olds rock.  My daughter frequently cracks me up, keeps me on my toes, amazes me, drives me bonkers, and makes my heart swell. Sometimes she can do all of those things within a couple minutes!

One of my favorite things about four year olds is they way they use the language and concepts they’re rapidly learning.  Sometimes it just comes out…quirky…which is so fun.   Here are a few of what I like to call “Kisms:”

Recently while riding in the van K and I were talking about driver’s licenses:  “Mom, you should get two licenses.”
Me: “What could I do with two licenses?”
K: “Drive zig zag!”
Well, I have to admit, that does sound pretty awesome!
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This morning Dad got up with the kids and let me sleep in late.  When they all came in to wake me up I asked K if she’d had breakfast and she informed me, “We haven’t had a single third breakfast!!!”  She followed that up by telling me she hadn’t had a second breakfast either.  (That is a girl after my own heart!)  Dad, what are you doing to these poor children, feeding them only one breakfast!  the horrors!
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A few days ago I asked K to go upstairs and ask Dad a question for me.  K came down very upset, “Mom, he wouldn’t answer me.  I asked him TWO times!!   He just kept on snoring!”  Wow, Dad, you’re only feeding the children one breakfast and not answering when you’re asleep??  Call the authorities!
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This morning I told K and J they would need to take a shower in a few minutes and K responds:  “Why?!  We just had one last week!!”  Well, that’s true, but let’s live a little crazy and take another one.
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K loves to educate me regarding four and five year olds.  A few months ago she told me, “When I’m five, I’ll chew hair.”  I responded, “we don’t chew hair, we chew food.”  To which K countered, “Last time, when I was four, I chewed hair.  And it wasn’t bad…at all!”  Good to know?…or maybe not.  On another occasion she informed me, “Four year olds love coffee.”  Well, that may be darling, but you still can’t have any.
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And then there’s the frequent commentary on my cooking…sigh.
-“Mom, I don’t like squashes.  They taste serious.”
-“Mom, this is yummy, but it doesn’t taste good.”
-I asked her the favorite thing about my cooking:  “When you make meatloaf.”  Is there one thing you don’t like about my cooking?  “That you make stuff that I don’t like.”
-One night at dinner I asked Dad what he thought of the new recipe I made. He said, it’s okay but blah (needing more spices). K leans over and whispers to me, “Maybe you should make good food.”  Yes, I probably should have thought of that.  Silly me.
 

Beds

My plans for Saturday were quickly thwarted when J came into my room.  Although I normally love to see him this time I was not thrilled. I had just put him down for a nap.  In his bed.  Where he was supposed to stay.  Apparently the little bugger cherub figured out how to get out of his crib.  I knew this day was coming, but I was thinking more along the lines of junior high and apparently he thought he’d better hurry before September was over.  I quickly readjusted my agenda to include changing beds around.  K would get the crib (transformed to a toddler bed and soon to be a twin bed) and J would get K’s toddler bed.  K’s bed had been put together incorrectly (which wasn’t a big deal at the time because she no longer needed the side rails), so I had to take both it and the crib apart and put them back together.  Then switch then rooms.  It was right around this time when I learned the crib (ie transformed toddler bed) does not fit through the doorway.  So I took it apart, again, this time with S’s help, and then moved and reassembled it. Oops.

The process was stressful thanks to the assembly/reassembly process and J’s (victorious) nap boycott.  However it was also successful!  Until poor K became really sad because she didn’t want her ‘new bed’ after all.  (Oh, how I wished I had the twin mattresses to make her bed a big one!)  Thankfully I found a solution to help her.  What does a girl need to feel better?  A little bling!

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(It’s not the most exciting bling, but it was late in the day and we needed a quick solution.  The important thing is K liked it!!)

Finally the new beds were set up and J’s was ready for bedtime.  Now it was time for Mom to be a little emotional.  I kept thinking back to his very first bed. How far he has come!!

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He is loving his big boy bed!  Now if only he’d STAY in it at bedtime!

How not to change a diaper

1. Quickly take off the child’s diaper while they are standing.  Do not bother to check if there is anything other than urine in the diaper.
2. Make a gutteral ‘OH’ sound when realizing there is a ‘prize’ in the diaper.
3. Do not not put the diaper back on and lay the child down.  Instead let him stand there while you start to grab a wipe.
4. Change your mind and grab toilet paper instead even though it is several steps farther away.  Watch child follow you and pray things stick for a minute.
5. While wiping the tush of the standing squirming child knock a bit of the ‘prize’ on the floor.  Quickly try to clean the floor while keeping child’s feet out of it.
6. Lay child down on the rug you just washed a few hours before.  Realize his tush was not completely clean.  Clean tush and rug.   Repeat process.
7. Run the diaper, wipes, and rags to the washing machine.  Don’t bother to put another diaper on child.  Discover you took too long to get diaper on.  Use your foot to make this discovery.
8. Clean foot and carpet.
9. Get distracted by starting load of dipes and rags and don’t put diaper on child.
10. Watch as child finds a sibling’s toy spoon and tries to pee on it.  Laugh to yourself and think about boys and their parts.
11. Stop laughing when child successfully pees on spoon and floor.
12. Clean floor and spoon.  Think harder about toilet training.
13. Finally get diaper on child.
14. Wonder what part of your brain is fried since you have changed a minimum of 5 diapers per day for almost 4 1/2 years and ought know better.  Know that the chances of this happening again in the future are pretty high.
15. Start composing blog post in your head.

A dead dresser

We have this dresser-type thing that Matt pulled out of a dumpster several years ago.  Technically, he didn’t pull it out, because it was next to it, but you get the idea.  Someone discarded it and he snatched it up.  K had it in her bedroom for years.  It wasn’t in great shape, but it still functioned well as a changing table, dresser, toy holder, etc. until our last move when it got seriously damaged.  The pack rat in me, I mean frugal part, wanted to try to fix it so we could return it to her room even though it had major issues.  So it sat in our garage and waited.  And sat.  And waited.  And we got a great deal on a larger and better dresser for K.  And the old dresser got piled with other crap, I mean treasures, in the garage.  Until last week when we were cleaning the garage and admitted to ourselves the thing was never going to be fixed.  So we carried it out to sit in the driveway until trash day.  After sitting there a few days S commented he wished he could spray paint it.  Um, an 11 year old and 4 year old with spray paint randomly decorating something?  No thanks; this anal-retentive mom can’t be that easy going.  But a day or two later I did decide we shouldn’t waste a perfectly good dead dresser before it goes to dresser heaven.  So one afternoon during J’s naptime I set them up with paints and brushes.  I wish we had more dead furniture!  We had a great time painting!

Maybe we should start a redecorating business?

The backside. Definitely more interesting than it has ever been before.

Of course, since we’re humans with issues, we chose to end the fabulous experience on a sour note.  One of the rules of the process was to paint only on the dresser.  Not on the bikes, the driveway, etc. And definitely not on the house we’re renting.  My amazing children followed the rule…for a while.  Then I noticed this:

Not the dresser.

One child thought painting the garage door would make a good ‘decoration.’  Yes.  If we were sure the paint was washable or the house was his.  But since neither of those were the case, I was not very happy.  But being the smart, educated woman I am I handled it with grace and wisdom…in theory.  In reality I threw out all the parenting tools I’ve learned through the years and went with the old stand-by, yelling.  Not one of my prouder moments.  Do you ever take a great experience and screw it up with your junk?  Thank goodness for grace.  Long term the kids will hopefully remember the fun of the process, not the bad choices at the end.  The next day they added more art to the dresser with markers and crayons.  And thankfully the decorations came off of the garage door with a little scrubbing by the artist.  I will remember the experience as both great and icky; a reminder that I am a work in progress; one that needs to ‘progress’ a little bit faster.  I look forward to finding other objects to beautify.  And hopefully I’ll continue to ‘beautify’ myself and my parenting as well.

Parenting

I love it.  I really do.  God has given me three amazing kids.  Not just one, but three.  And I’m so grateful.  And once in a while I do a really good job parenting.  Lots of times I don’t.  I try to remember to ask God for grace and healing for them for the times I don’t.  I also ask Him to help me make the ‘don’t’ times a little farther spread out.

One of my dreams was to be a momma and be able to stay at home with my kids.  And I’m living it!  But it’s like when you’re sleeping and the dream gets fuzzy and blurry and at times you have no idea how you ended up in that location.  You’re at work or the store and then suddenly you’re flying and with all these people you don’t recognize because they’re your dream stand-in friends.  And suddenly you wake up and you think, “What just happened?”  That’s parenting for me.  A mixture of a fantastic dream mixed together with bizarre chaos.

Today was a memorable parenting day.  MEM-OR-ABLE.  And not in the, let’s-be-sure-to-scrapbook-this-day type of memorable. But in the oh-heavens type of memorable.  In all honesty, I should have expected something to happen today. Our family had a great weekend and God did some fabulous stuff in our lives this past weekend.  Which means someone else is ticked.  Cue dark background music.  The enemy is launching an attack.  I’m grateful it wasn’t much worse.  I’m also really grateful I handled it well.  Mostly well, that is.  Definitely not perfect, but pretty decent overall.

S was suspended.  Sus.pen.ded. There’s nothing quite like the first time your child get suspended from school.  It’s such a proud parenting moment!  Your chest puffs out and tears come to your eyes…as you prepare to scream in frustration.  Ahh…parenting.

Without publishing his mistakes on the internet, let me just say, a.) the reason he was suspended was very serious and has some hard consequences. and b.) it wasn’t an act of rebellion.  He acted impulsively, making a bad choice, and now has to deal with the consequences.  No one was hurt, but an important school rule was broken.

The good news: If you’re going to get suspended and learn something from it, I say, make it big.  As in, it should be a really clear violation and it should have significant consequences.  This situation has both, which is perfect.  A huge bummer for my son, but perfect as far as a learning experience goes.  I did try to help him learn how cool it is to be suspended.  With the exception of a lunch break, he did chores the entire time he was supposed to be in school.  He folded the laundry (which had REALLY piled up since all last week most of the family was sick); he did some cleaning and some vacuuming.  Hopefully now he’ll appreciate Gym and Science more. At any rate all my laundry is folded and put away at the moment.  Score!

If that wasn’t enough of a happy parenting day, our toddler has officially learned the word “No.”  As in, “J, would you please give that to Momma?”  NO.  “J, be gentle with the kitty.”  NO.  Etc.  That cute, precious, little boy of mine has turned into a stubborn, tantrum-ing, ball of fire.  Where or where did my precious baby go?!

More good news:  I didn’t kill either child today.  Only very minimal yelling or guilt-tripping was done as well.  I consider this a success.  With S, I felt like I even did some really good work.  On the way home from school I told him if he was suspended every day (please, No!!), it wouldn’t make me love him any less.  Not one drop less.  Sometimes I’m overwhelmed that God loves us the same way…even better, to be exact.  It doesn’t matter how many bad choices we make, God still loves us.  A lot.  I also told S making a really stupid choice today didn’t make him stupid or less awesome.  He definitely has some consequences to face, but it doesn’t make him any less great.

So S. spent the afternoon cleaning and then spent a few hours playing outside.  I think both things were very good for him.  Will this be the last suspension?  I hope so!!  But if not, hopefully we’ll have the wisdom and grace to handle the next one well.  I’m quite sure I’ll be able to find plenty of work for him!

Tomorrow is a new day.  I’m sure J. will be my adorable boy who loves to answer, “Yes, Momma.”  He and his sister will stay out of the litter box.   S. will be the star student.  I’ll win the lotto.  And suddenly we’ll be at the beach with purple sand and orange water and a floating car.  Isn’t that how dreams go??

Love or strangling? Both.

Matt:  “I didn’t yell at her, aren’t you proud of me?”  Chel: “Yes!  I didn’t kill her, aren’t you proud of me?”

My pride and joy.  One of the greatest loves of my heart.  I’d do anything for her.  And today I wanted to strangle her.  No, there’s no need to call the authorities.  I wouldn’t actually do that.  I just said I wanted to.  Wanted to very badly.  I love her so much, but I think I understand why some species eat their young.

It’s partly my fault.  The little ones were playing so well together today.  Every time I checked on them they were doing great.  So at one point I was reading a book (my kindle might be the death of me yet) and apparently I waited too long to check on them.

Did you know clumping cat litter sticks to a toddler’s scalp like glue?

Did you know vacuums make really funky sounds when you use them to suck up a lot of litter?

Have you noticed how similar litter boxes are to sand boxes?  Except for two very important differences:  sand boxes are outdoors and litter boxes are toilets.

The positives:  My laundry room, bathroom, and hallway are much cleaner than they were this morning.  So are the children.

The negatives: Cat litter tracks all over the upstairs of the house. Especially with the assistance of toy dishes and brooms and a dustpan.  It can make a big pile in the laundry basket (which was thankfully otherwise empty!)  A lot of litter can fit in the toddler’s hair. And his clothes.  And the diaper pail.  The cloth diaper pail.  Did I mention it’s clumping cat litter?  When it gets wet it clumps up really nicely so it’s easy to clean out the litter box.  Unfortunately, it is not designed for hair or clothes or diapers.  Go figure.

Day three of stuck-at-home-because-of-current-or-pending-illness, and K and J decide it’d be fun to play in the litter boxes.  And haul litter throughout the upstairs.  On a positive note, there was very little poo in the litter box at the time of it’s…excavation.

Since we’re in the middle of a stretch of two viruses plaguing our family, I believe I need a really good plan for day four of stuck-at-home, don’t you?  However, I think I’ll play it safe and avoid markers. And paints.  And glue.  Most definitely avoid glue.  Maybe we’ll just go for a long bath.

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