Choosing a Song

Blogger seems to think I don't need paragraphs today. Hope this isn't too hard to read!
"My back aches.
My pack's too tight.
My booty shakes from the left to the right.
From the left, to the right.
From the left and to the right."
Those are the words of a silly song I once sang from within the mountains of Colorado. My dear high school friends and I went on a five-day backpacking trip through Young Life. It was the summer before our Senior Year. (1995 for inquiring minds.)
Now we were only 17, so I highly doubt our backs really ached. However, I do remember blisters and thinking that my backpack really was a tad too heavy and a bit tight.
I don't remember how many miles we covered, but I do remember we reached our destination.
The conditions weren't always perfect, but we had fun. We slowly worked toward our goal and enjoyed doing it.
I recalled this trip today as I worked in the kitchen. The older children are at Mother's Day Out. As with any morning we need to be somewhere at a certain time, I can get a bit anxious and frustrated when no one else has shares my sense of urgency.
So when, moments before we were to leave, I found Ann and Chris hiding under blankets in my bedroom, I simply barked orders.
"Don't hide right now!"
"We don't have time for this."
"Don't make a mess in this room!"
"Hurry up and find your socks and shoes."
"Let's go. Let's go. Right now!"
It doesn't quite have the same ring to it as the Backpacking Song, now does it?
As I drove them to "school," I replayed the morning's events in my head. I could have chosen a different way to respond this morning. I suppose I could have song a song, but more realistically, I could have been playful.
"Where are you?" I could have called.
I could have laughed when they giggled from beneath the blankets. They would have probably begged to hide again, and I could have said they could as soon as we got back home.
Then we could have raced down the stairs to get shoes and coats.
There are many other positive ways I could have encouraged their cooperation this morning. Sure, it might have taken more energy and creative thinking. And, yes there is a time to expect their immediate obedience. But I don't think running a few minutes late to a Mother's Day Out program qualifies as one of those situations. The Lord doesn't run around barking orders at me. Why should I do that to my children?
Hiking through the mountains takes a lot of energy. Parenting takes more. Just like we were going to eventually end up back at base camp, I was likely going to eventually get the kids to school.
It would have been a lot more fun if I'd done it with a "song."


Just Thinking

Before Ann was born, I bought a lovely pale yellow Creative Memories Scrapbook. Within a month or two of her birth, I faithfully began cropping pictures of every. little. milestone.

Almost eighteen months later, Chris was born. The pale blue scrapbook was waiting. Less than six months later, I began working on his first scrapbook.

Now, little Jane is nearly 9 months. If you asked me about her scrapbook, I would say something like:

"Um, what is that? Could you spell that please?"

"Does that start with an 'S'?"


Another One for Mimi

Both my mom and her husband are having a tough day. (That is probably an understatement.)

So, though I'm not too fond of posting pictures of me, I thought I'd post this picture for my mom. I have no doubt it will make her smile. I could have emailed it to her, but she is my most loyal reader, (except for maybe my husband) so I thought my blog was the perfect place to put it.

We love you Mom/Mimi! This was taken last night. True to form, little Jane smiled just as the camera was directed her way. We love you and are praying for you both.


It Isn't Easy Being Green

This evening, as we cleaned up the kitchen, Tony and I had the following conversation:

Tony: "Would you buy the good dishwasher detergent again?"

Me: "You mean Cascade?"

Tony: "Yes."

Me: "I was just trying to be environmentally friendly."

Tony: "You throw away like 20 diapers a day."

I guess I'll be adding Cascade to this week's grocery list.


Not Quite There Yet

We're in the midst of our second try at potty-training Chris.

Yesterday, I was encouraged that he asked to go a few times before he wet his underwear. He seemed motivated by the little pumpkin candy rewards he received.

Later in the day he ran up to me and said, "Mommy, I wet my pants. I need a pumpkin candy."

Of course, I said, "Well buddy, you need to actually go in the potty to get a candy. You can't go in your pants."

He hopefully added with a sense accomplishment, " I went in my underwear too!"

Alrighty then. It has been noted that we have our work cut out for us.


Attack of a Bit of Mommy Guilt

Some days...

You have to break the "only-one-cup-of-juice-a-day rule."

You have to let the kids watch more than one show.

Because if drinking juice while watching a movie is what gets everyone through the rainy, cold, day with a smile on their faces, then so be it.

Those type of rules are only guidelines anyways. They aren't things that will matter in twenty, ten, or five years.

Now, my head knows these things. But, I still have this nagging guilt when we have days like this. I feel like I've failed my children because I haven't kept them otherwise occupied with age-appropriate activities.

Perhaps I'll overcome the guilt by cuddling with them as we watch a movie. Seems like a good compromise to me.


When We're Not Asking That Question

"Do you need to go potty, Chris?"

If you were to stop by, you'd hear Tony and I ask that question many, many, many times. Ann even occasionally gets in on the act.

However, we're managing to squeeze in a few other things even in the midst of potty training.

Things such as Jane's first trip to the pumpkin patch.

And, Chris's first haircut by Daddy. Here he is getting ready.

This made me smile.

Not bad for a free hair cut, eh?

Ann helped me make our first apple pie. I should mention that I don't mean our first apple pie of the season. I actually mean our first apple pie ever. Tony isn't a fan of fruit pies, so I'd never made one. Luckily for me, the kids like them. That means I'll have an excuse to make them every so often. Yay!

At other times, Ann can usually be found twirling around the house.

She keeps asking us if she can go to a wedding soon. She wants to wear a white dress with diamonds on it. We tell her she can go to a wedding, but it will be a very, very long time before she gets a turn at a wearing a wedding dress. And, the diamonds? Well, that is probably wishful thinking, but we let the girl dream.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a question to ask my little guy.



Because It Can't Be Undone

I sat down a few hours ago to write a little post. That post is still not finished. It has been a good day, but as is typical these days, it has been busy. I suppose those of you with older children might tell me to get used to it.

Anyways, I felt the need to do something that couldn't be undone by the end of the day. That would be why I'm writing this little post. Such is not the case with the laundry and the dishes. As soon as I think I've caught up, I turn around to find a sink full of dishes or a hamper full of laundry. I've given up on the myth of being caught up. Still, it feels good to do something that is still done come nightfall.

So, I'm using this post to share the recipe for the cookies that I'm currently baking. Tony needs to bring a dessert to work tomorrow...

This recipe makes a ton! It is super easy and though there are several batches to bake, you can easily chase babies and toddlers while the cookies bake. Older children could probably do most of this by themselves. And, the cookies are yummy. And chocolate! Need I write more?

Chocolate Softies
2 Devil's food cake mixes
2/3 c. water
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs
1 (12 oz.) pkg. white chocolate chips (semi-sweet can be substituted)
Add all ingredients mixing well. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. Cool for one minute and then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!


Mission Accomplished, or Ann Sat on Her Pumpkin

In an effort to excite Ann about our trip to the pumpkin patch, I had begun reading From Seed to Pumpkin. We both enjoyed learning a bit about how a pumpkin grows. However, what captivated Ann more than anything was the illustration of children sitting on top of large pumpkins in the middle of a pumpkin patch.

She became a bit obsessed. Any time I mentioned the pumpkin patch, she mentioned sitting on a pumpkin. I told her that would, of course, be just fine.

At the time, I didn't know we were going to have a hard time navigating road construction which would cause us to be late to the farm. That would then lead us to miss the hayride which was supposed to transport us to the actual pumpkin patch where we were to harvest a pumpkin or two.

By the time we arrived at the farm, our group had already left on the hayride.

Fortunately, by the time Ann and Chris had played for a bit, our friends were back. Then, we all enjoyed seeing baby animals, playing on playground equipment, and getting lost in various mazes.

Before we left, Ann, Chris, and I visited the display of pumpkins for sale. We had been told that we could take a couple to replace the ones we missed picking. Ann was more concerned about plopping her cute little bum down on one. She hadn't forgotten her mission.

It may not have been as quaint and picture-perfect as the book's illustrations portrayed. (Is anything ever like the book?) Still, all was not lost, except of course for me on the way to the farm.

Maybe next time I'll let him drive.


Why I'm Glad My Dryer Broke

I turned the dial and pushed the button just like I've done countless times before. However, this time nothing happened.

The dryer appeared to be broken. I did what first came to mind. I opened the door and shut it once more. Then, I unplugged the dryer and plugged it back in. Still nothing. So, I opened the door one more time. This time something happened.

The dryer didn't start, but a tiny piece of black plastic did fall to the ground.

It didn't look like anything important, but since you never know, I looked a bit closer at the dryer door. Sure enough, the little latch that signals that the dryer door is shut, had broken. If I stood there and pushed down what was left of the latch the dryer worked. The second I removed my finger, the dryer stopped. I'm hoping a little super glue will fix it.

Meanwhile, I feel grateful that this happened. Why?

Well, it has nothing to do with the fact that I have a valid excuse for avoiding laundry today.

You see, I could easily blame the broken part on the dryer being a somewhat old and cheaper model, but I know the truth.

The truth is that I've slammed that dryer door one too many times. Now, admittedly, today I didn't really slam it. I just shut it a bit too hard as I hurried on to my next task.

However, there have been more times than I like to admit when I've angrily slammed that door as hard as I could.

There, I said, or rather wrote it.

I have a problem with anger. Sure it probably wouldn't qualify me for any anger management classes, nor would anyone ever worry I'd hurt my children. It isn't like that.

Rather, it is the type of anger that leaves me screaming, stomping, and of course, slamming over petty little inconveniences. I guess it's rather like a good old-fashioned temper tantrum.

The dryer door had seen its fair share of slams because I thought I was being clever by attempting to hide my anger from the children. Every now and then, when I life seemed to be one annoying little thing after another, I'd simply disappear into the laundry room and work on the laundry. If distraction and prayer hadn't changed my attitude, I might slam the door.

I suppose I thought if the children didn't see me, my anger wasn't that big of a deal.

Silly mama.

He always sees. He knows my heart even when I plaster a smile on my face or get really quiet. He knows what I'm muttering under my breath even if the children can't hear me. But He also understands!

Even better, just like I love my children too much to let them misbehave, He loves me too much to let me continue in my sin.

Today, He reminded me of that with a broken dryer.

If it takes a broken dryer to fix my broken attitude, so be it. I'm grateful.



The days where we have to be somewhere in the somewhat early morning are always a bit chaotic. Now, part of that is due to me getting anxious about leaving on time, but the rest is simply due to the little things that life with small children is made up of.

Those little things are typically no big deal. However, if a little thing happens involving each child right before we are supposed to leave, it can quickly add up to a big deal. Lost shoes, dirty diapers, and the like can make it a challenge to actually leave the house. I've learned to start getting ready waaaaay before we actually need to leave.

Yet, despite my best intentions and planning, this morning was just one of those mornings. The little things were adding up and my attitude was quickly turning sour.

Still, somehow we managed to get ready and head out to the van.

As usual, I strapped my three children in their three car seats, and that is when I saw this:

Can you see it? It is a spider. More specifically it is a spider who took up residence in my minivan. That same spider had spun a rather large web right above the front passenger seat.

Even the best-packed diaper bag doesn't prepare one for that. So, I headed back into the house and grabbed a fly swatter.

A quit swat later and the little beast was scurrying along our chalk-covered driveway.

As for me, I spent the better part of the morning with the sensation of something crawling on me.


Eight Months

Sweet Jane,

Can you believe it? You are eight months old. Well, you have been eight months old for a few days, but Mama is rarely right on time.

This month has been such fun. Sometimes I glance at you and see the toddler you will soon be. Oh you will have such fun with your brother and sister.

This month you have really started crawling. You combine crawling on your hands and knees with an army crawl. It gets you where you need to go. That usually means trouble.
You still have a fondness for power cords.
In addition, you are constantly picking up small items from the floor. Those items inevitably make it into your mouth if I don't get to you first. Needless to say, I keep my eyes on you at all times.

In addition to perfecting your crawl, you have also learned how to open drawers and cabinets. . Fortunately, you also seem to be beginning to understand the word "no."

This past month has been a fun one. You really enjoy being in the middle of the action and there is plenty of that. Still, you are always content to go with the flow.

You've added some new foods to your menu plan. Judging by the way you eye what we eat, it won't be long before you say goodbye to baby food and hello to "real" food.

Sweet girl, these months with you have been a joy. Daddy and I are always commenting about how sweet and wonderful you are. I promise that even though we had the three of you in somewhat rapid succession, we are still enjoying every bit of your first year.

We love you, little one!


What is it about...

baby heads? They are simply irresistible to me. I snuggle my girl's all. the. time.

In fact, just moments ago, I buried my face in her hair (what little there is of it) as I wiped prunes from her face.

Baby heads don't even have to be freshly washed for me to be drawn to them. Actually, the baby heads don't even have to belong to my offspring. I'm thinking all the sweet baby heads are the reason I work in the nursery at church.

Finally, what is it about those precious heads that makes already-sweet-smelling baby shampoo smell a thousand times better? I know that baby wash wouldn't smell nearly as wonderful on my head. Now that I think about it, that is probably a good thing. I'd look a little strange walking around while constantly smelling my hair.

I love having baby heads in the house!


We May Not Have Clean Clothes, but I Know Where to Find the Cumin

This was originally posted at the end of February. Seven months later, I can say the system is still working well. It is one of the few things I've organized that hasn't be a mess two hours later. Truth be told, I sometimes open my spice cabinet and just stare at it. It makes me feel better about the stuff bomb that seems to constantly explode in all other areas of the house.

Please be sure to head over to Shannon's at Rocks in My Dryer for more "kitchen management" tips.

A while back, I wrote about joining in on Org Junkie's Monthly Organizational Round-Up. I love to organize, much to the frustration and humor of my husband. So, I thought this sounded like fun. Org Junkie has designated a room of the house for each month. I thought that couldn't be too hard.

I did that thinking before sweet Baby Girl became a part of our family. Now, Baby Girl, thus far, is a mellow little one. However, she does have this little habit of wanting to eat every 2-3 and sometimes, bless her, 4 hours. This happens around the clock. Then, there are those other munchkins who live here who need things like food, clean clothes, and special time with their mama.

So, you can see how what at first seemed so doable, quickly became not so doable. Well, somehow, I did it. It is a good thing it is leap year and I had one more day in February to get something in my kitchen organized.

I chose my spice cabinet.

Here is a before picture.

As I cooked, I had to sort through the cabinet to find what I needed. Of course, whatever I needed usually happened to be at the top and in the very back.

Also, I learned that I had multiple containers of garlic powder, curry powder, crushed red pepper, and nutmeg. To top it all off, they were all partially used.

Now, here is the after.

I placed the salt and pepper shakers, cooking spray, and salt and pepper refills on the bottom shelf. The middle shelf holds the spices I use most while the top shelf holds those spices that I seldom use.

Finally, here is a picture of what I hope will make finding the spices even easier.

I took a Sharpie and labeled the top of each container. This way, I can easily glance and find what I need. Notice I put the containers with black lids at the front. Obviously, the marker wouldn't work so well on those.

So there you have it. The laundry still isn't finished, my hair is greasy, and the kitchen floor is yucky, but my spices, oh, they are in order.