The feeling I had yesterday, as I rocked my son before his nap, was too big for words.
I was overcome with gratefulness.
I haven't always been able to share my days with three of my favorite people. Yet, it's something I frequently take for granted. So, yesterday as I snuggled with my son, overcome with emotion, I knew I had to somehow record the moment.
Even if it was too big for words.
That is what came to mind as I observed the three, count 'em, three car seats my husband managed to cram into the back seat of our car. I should mention that our car is a Ford Focus hatchback. It has four doors. Because we traded in the two door one when we were pregnant with Ann. We thought four doors made a family car. Funny, huh?
Our other car is a minivan. We need to take it in for some maintenance tomorrow. So, we needed to see if all the car seats would fit in the car in order for us to have transportation for the next day or so. I told my husband not to worry about it, but, I think he liked the challenge of fitting the car seats in the small car.
And that is why I had visions of clowns. It made me sort of chuckle. However, I quickly stopped laughing when my husband suggested we take the car on our upcoming road trip to Colorado.
Let me just say that gas prices would have to at least double before I considered a ten-hour trek in a tiny car with three little ones. Some things are just worth the money.
Now, how in the world do I get this otherwise very sensible girl to stop doing this, if the pain alone hasn't done the trick? Crazy kid!
I'm always urging them to say words and phrases like "please, thank you, I'm sorry, and I forgive you."
Of course, there is nothing quite like a child's first clear utterance of "I love you." Even if the first time he says it is to his daddy.
Yesterday was Chris' first time to say these sweet words without our help. He said them first before his nap time. The second time he said them was before bed last night. According to Tony, he said I love you and went on to say the name of each member of our family.
I have a feeling that no matter how many children you have, those sweet words never grow old. Like a baby's grins, those words seem to make all right in the world, even if for a moment.
This is my view of the kitchen from the chair where I frequently sit to nurse Jane. Glancing at my red kitchen always makes me smile. For whatever reason, I've always wanted a red kitchen. I've also wanted a kitchen with a black-and-white checkered floor. I think we can all agree that it would be a mistake in this kitchen.
Here is my favorite touch. I found it at Kirklands, while enjoying a morning out with a friend.
And, now, won't you please share any ideas you have for decorating a kitchen. I know the picture above isn't the best, but the wall space is pretty bare. I don't have much space, but, I would like to add a few items to finish the look. Any suggestions? What works for you?
We worried it might not happen. As we were driving to the ballpark, the clouds darkened. Then, the rain started pouring. Tony and I decided we'd at least go get dinner.
Here are Chris and Ann waiting for us to finish unloading the van. Due to a certain 3-year-old girl's dramatic tendencies if she experiences the slightest discomfort, such as getting wet, we let her ride in a stroller. We hoped the stroller canopy would prevent the princess from getting wet.
We must have made quite the entrance with our little stroller brigade. Though I was tempted, I didn't ask anyone to take a picture of us and all our baby gear.
Fortunately, as we headed into the ballpark, the clouds started breaking up. While we ate, blue sky reappeared.
Tony and Ann enjoyed hot dogs and coleslaw.
Chris was also happy to have a hot dog, but, he was most enthralled by Tony allowing him a few sips of pop.
After dinner, we noticed there was a playground in the stadium. We headed over there where Ann and Chris also took turns jumping in an inflatable bouncer. (I'm not sure why I can't remember the name of those things right now.)
Here is Jane taking in the sights and sounds. Isn't she the sweetest?
We were sure we'd never get Ann and Chris to leave the playground. But, after playing for a while, they were ready to go sit and enjoy the the game.
Of course, by enjoy, I mean they were ready to repeatedly spread out their blankets on the grass. I have no idea what it is with my kiddos and spreading out blankets or beach towels, but once they get started, they do it over, and over, and over again. Weird, I guess?
They also spent most of the game staring at the other children around them. Typical, I'm sure.
Baby Jane spent most of the game in my arms.
Once the mosquitoes came out for dinner, we packed up. I couldn't even tell you what inning it was. I can, however, tell you that the sundaes we ate at Sonic, after the game, were quite delicious.
It was a fun evening of family time. I hope it was only the first of many more adventures for the five of us.
All went well until the 8-year-old came to tell me how tired she was since she'd been up since 8 that morning. Seriously?
If you've read many of my posts, you know that my children are early, as in by 6 in the morning, risers. So, you can understand it took much self-control on my part not to say something extremely sarcastic to my little charge. Truly, what can an 8-year-old on summer vacation be so exhausted from? And, since when is 8 a.m. early?
Oh, the carefree days of childhood. I vaguely remember once telling my grandma I had a headache. I believe I was met with a comment like, "you don't have anything to have a headache about."
Tell me about it.
I suppose it isn't surprising then, that I find written words to be so powerful. I have special notes, cards, and letters, that I've received, tucked away in different places. They always make me smile when I find them. Like a good book, they are worth rereading. In fact, I frequently tuck these notes into different books, even my Bible. Of course, some notes are simply saved in my email inbox. Below is one such note.
Not long ago, I was at a store with my son and my younger brother. A lady commented on my parenting choice. It was something that really hurt me. You can read about that experience here.
I'd like to share what my sweet brother wrote after reading my post about that experience. I certainly hope he isn't embarrassed by my sharing his words, but some things are too good to keep to yourself. I truly can't help but smile each time I read this. And, I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up the first time I read his words.
In fact, I have a couple of things I'm quite thankful for this afternoon. One of those is sleep. As in, I HAVE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE NIGHTS. Sorry about the caps, but that statement necessitated their usage. All three children have let mama sleep. There have been no night time visits from Chris. Also, Jane, all 18 pounds of her, finally seems to think she can make it through the night without a quick snack. Yippee!
I'm also grateful for sleep of the nap time variety. You certainly won't catch me complaining that all three of my children are currently napping. I love them dearly, I do, but quiet is sometimes nice.
The other thing I'm very grateful for today is successful potty training. I admit it. I didn't want to do it. I was all for waiting until Chris turned 3 next May, but, the little guy was showing all the signs of being ready. He has done well. Perhaps a little too well. That is to say, he really likes the process of going potty. Rather than take care of business all in one clean sweep, he likes to poop and peek. This means he gets off the potty two to four times while taking care of business. At the risk of starting to complain, I'll just say I'm grateful that he is going in the potty. Again, yippee!
Oh, wait, I do have two more things I'm thankful for this summer day. First, thanks to Michelle at Life With Three for giving me the Arte Y Pico award. I'm truly honored. If you haven't read her before, please check her out. She is also the mama to three young children. She posts abouts about their lives and throws in some wonderful recipes too. Thanks Michelle!
Then, as if that wasn't enough, Holly at June Cleaver Nirvana gave me this.
Holly's blog is one of the most entertaining and original ones I read. I stop by frequently because reading her posts never fails to make me smile and usually I laugh out loud. Thanks Holly!
Now, I wouldn't want to be the one to stop the traditions, so here goes.
I'd like to pass the Arte Y Pico award on to Kelsey at My Sweet Life. I really enjoy the way she obviously loves on the children she nannies. In addition, her photos are fantastic. I'm also sending this award over to Chaotic Joy at Joy in Chaos. I recently found her blog and am loving it.
I'm sending the I Love You This Much Award on to Kelly at Love Well. Her posts always make me think about the truly important things in life. It also doesn't hurt that she posts some pretty adorable pictures. This award also goes out to Deidre a For Such a Time as This. She shares from her heart and her posts frequently inspire me. Finally, I'd like to send this one over to Fussy at Mrs. Fussypants. To say that I admire how she handles herself during times that might try one's patience is an understatement. She always makes me smile.
Wow! That was a lot of linking. I'm tempted to skip proofreading this and go straight to publishing. I'm getting a bit tired. It must be all that sleep I got last night.
Happy Thursday. Hope your day is full of things that make you grateful.
Most importantly, I would have missed the gentle reminder that I'm not in charge of my days. For that, I couldn't be happier.
Can you see the mess around his sweet little mouth? His mouth looks like that after eating only one or two M&Ms. I probably should have chosen a different reward for potty training. Oops.
And, one last thing. He has a wallet in his hand because wallets are his new favorite toy. He grabs them out of our dress-up bin and carries them everywhere. He even likes to sleep with one.
I love the little quirks kids have. They are quite entertaining. Perhaps this little guy is especially entertaining. I love that. Most of the time.
And, a close-up of the wallpaper. It just isn't my style.
So, now we're home. The bags are unpacked. The contents of those bags are put away. For dinner, we satisfied a little Chipotle burrito craving. Now, it is time for one of the best parts of coming home after a trip--sleeping in my own bed with my own pillow. Ahhhh.
It's good to be home, but, I'm missing this little one.
She stayed behind to enjoy a few more days with Grandma and Grandpa. If my posts are a little more sparse this week, it is probably because this little girl isn't here to give me material.
Until next time, please do your best to stay away from the "Cheeto Bugs", as Ann calls mosquitoes. They seem to be everywhere here in the rainy Midwest.
I thought I'd join in. I guess that means I shouldn't post a picture of my kitchen table covered in Play-Doh. I also probably shouldn't label that same picture with the title "The Bane of My Existence." No, no, that won't do.
Instead let's talk about the grocery store. Isn't great when a trip goes smoothly? I had such an experience this morning. The only little glitch was that it seemed that we kept getting in the way of the same man. The fact that I was pushing a stroller and pulling a cart meant that it was challenging for us not to be in the way. Each time I got in his way, I apologized. I warned Ann to be careful too.
It really came as no surprise to me that we found ourselves in the same check-out line. He was right behind us. I had just asked Ann to say something to the cashier. She did a good job, but had her mouth full of crackers while she said it. I told Ann she did a great job and then apologized to the cashier for her full mouth. It is quite possible a few crumbs made their way out of Ann's mouth as she spoke. Hopefully they didn't land on the cashier. Yuck.
"Stop apologizing," said the man in line behind us.
"What?" I asked.
"Stop apologizing. You've apologized through the whole store. You're doing fine," he reassured.
"We've all been there," added the cashier while looking in the direction of my three little ones.
I started thinking about it. They were right. I was apologizing, but my kids had been great. They did exactly what I asked them to do the entire time we were shopping. I realized that my apologizing for things that weren't misbehavior was undermining my words which said they were doing a good job.
Sure, there is a time and a place for apologizing for disturbing the whole store with a toddler's tantrum. It might also be good to say sorry when your toddler throws something and narrowly misses the person behind you. Not, of course, that I would know anything about that.
But the way I was saying sorry today may eventually come across as an apology that my children are even taking up space in a public place. I am most definitely not sorry for that.
So, today, I'm grateful for the kind man and woman at the grocery store. I'm grateful they acknowledged that taking kiddos to the store is not an easy job. I'm also grateful that they made me think about making sure my words match my thoughts. I'm proud of my kiddos and am more than happy to call them mine.
It's the Play-Doh I could do without.
If we needed to move, I'd be in the market for a new house.
As it is now, I'm in the market for boy dress-up clothes. That is what happens when you glance up from washing dishes to see your two-year-old son tearing around the playroom in nothing but a diaper and a pink tutu.
Excuse me, I believe I have some shopping to do.
I'm going to do just that today by closing my laptop and not opening it again until the kiddos have retired for the night.
But, here is my question, how are you intentional in your endeavours with your kiddos, family, friends, etc....?
(And don't think it won't be very hard for me to ignore the computer and those wonderful blogs I love to visit. It will be kind of like giving up chocolate and coffee on the same day.)
Let's just say I was quite productive. Isn't that great? I read with the children. We went to Bible Study. I did a little laundry and some cleaning. I was even able to deep clean Chris's room while Ann and Chris played together and Jane took an extra long nap.
I cleaned all of the things that were contaminated by Chris's poop episode at nap time.
Really, the walls, carpet, dresser, bedding, light switches, door, doorknob, toys, shoes, rocking chair, stuffed animals, and the boy, especially the boy, needed to be cleaned anyways. It has been nearly a year since I deep cleaned his room. (Please note that the boy gets cleaned a little more often.)
Now, how is that for looking at the glass half full?
Hope your day smelled better than mine.