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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Little moments

 

In life we constantly juggle big things and little things.  The big elements are obviously important, whether they’re careers, illnesses, faith, relationships, etc.  But the little things can be worth noting too.  Often we’re overwhelmed by the big things (whether they’re good or bad) and we miss many little things.

Having kids around gives opportunities to remember the little things.  Sometimes I want to sit down and cry about a little detail and other times I want to celebrate a small experience.  Either way, the small things in life make it fuller, more fun, and more real.  The little pieces add dimension.

This morning I was reminded of the little things when my three-year-old came up to me and asked for breakfast.  He had already washed his hands without being asked.  Let me repeat: he had washed his hands without being asked.   This is the child who hates washing his hands.   I think parental pride oozed out of all my pores.  It was a moment of joy and bliss.

Now, will this brief moment affect whether or not he is a loving father some day?  Probably not.  Will it help him graduate from school?  Probably not.  However, it is a small part of our journey.  It might be only a tiny pebble in the path, but some pebbles are really beautiful when you take the time to look at them.  So I will celebrate today’s triumph.  It might even help me get through the next catastrophe.

Plus he hasn’t tortured the kitties today.  Yet.

I shall bask in the joy of the fleeting moments.

Take note of the little things in life.  They matter too.

 

 

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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.
 

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??

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