Busy, Busy, Busy

But who isn't busy?

As I go through my days, I'm constantly "writing/blogging" in my head. I suppose one of these days I'll carve out some time and those thoughts will make their way to my blog.

In the meantime, I've posted a little cooking with kids tip over at the Mom Blogs. If you're interested...

Back in Time?

A few weeks ago, my sweet four year old, Ann, asked me something about what age I'd like to be once more. I thought about it and decided I wouldn't really like to be any other age as I like where I'm at right now.

Later that night, I started thinking some more I realized there is a time in life I wouldn't mind reliving if just for a bit. I wish I could take back the first four months of Ann's life.

Ann pretty much destroyed my hopes of what life with a newborn would be like. She wasn't the type of baby who slept away the first two weeks and then got just a bit fussy. No, she fussed from day four which was conveniently the day we got to bring her home from the hospital. In fact, she fussed the whole way home from the hospital.

As new parents, we spent most of those first months just figuring out exactly what it meant to be parents. (We're still doing that.) I can remember laying Ann on the floor and lying beside her as I played a lullaby CD very loudly in the hopes that it would somehow drown out her incessant screaming.

Another time, I recall putting Ann safely into her crib and heading out to the front stoop where I called my friend long distance and told her that "I didn't really like this mommy thing." She understood and told me that it was just fine to sit outside for ten minutes and get a breather from all the crying. She was right and I felt much better upon returning inside the house.

I could tell you stories of how I paced from the front door to the back door and counted how many times I would do this in the hope that Ann would fall asleep or at least stop crying.

I invented errand after errand because I knew she would fall asleep in the car and I could enjoy just a bit of peace and quiet. (Good thing gas was a bit cheaper four years ago.)

As I recall those days, I think of all the time and energy I spent fretting about something not being right with our parenting or worse, something not being right with our sweet baby.

Nearly five years later, Ann is incredibly smart and unbelievably strong. (I know all parents think that about their offspring, but with her it is absolutely true!) Sure, she has her moments and can be less than loving to her brother and sister, but I wouldn't trade her for the world. In other words, Ann is just fine and so are we.

As I thought about that time in our lives and how I wish I had savored it a bit more, I don't have regret so much as a realization that I could have enjoyed that time so much more if only I'd known. Isn't hindsight a tricky thing?
I'm at a similar point right now. In all my five years of parenting, I'm in the midst of one of the hardest times yet, but not because of anything terribly tragic. (Does that even make sense?) Rather, it is the daily challenges that make me weary. We almost always have some sort of meltdown before 8 in the morning. One of our children doesn't sleep well so we haven't actually slept through the night in more than three years. Our house is in a constant state of disarray and sometimes destruction despite our best efforts. Our children sometimes show no signs of the effort we take to train them and instill godly character traits in them. I worry when I see them be the bullies on the playground or in the play place. The list could go on and on and on...

Still, there is a place deep inside of me that knows that one day I would probably gladly take back the sleepless nights, tempter tantrums, potty training, diaper explosions and the rest of it, if only to rock my babies just one more time.

I know I'll miss seeing this little guy as a three year old who plays with blocks and dinosaurs and likes dressing up with a cape or a cowboy hat.

I'll miss Ann's four year old self and her cheesy camera smile.

I'll even miss this sweet one's antics when she awakes only an hour after we put her to bed for the night. (I took these pictures when she awoke shortly after her siblings went to bed. I brought her downstairs for a bit of milk and she turned on the charm. We wanted her to sleep, but the sweet memory of a few moments of alone time with her were worth it.)

Just seeing those sweet faces makes me feel so blessed.

So, I'll continue to count my blessings (even the ones that wake me in the middle of the night) and I'll try to look beyond the everyday challenges and see how I can be a blessing to those I love both inside and outside of my home. It might not be easy, but then again, nothing worth doing usually is...


She Knows Where to Bow Down

We recently drove by a sculpture that I thought the children would like. I pointed to it and amazingly, both Jane and Chris looked out the right window and observed the sculpture.

Within a few seconds Chris commented that it looked like clouds. I understood how he could think that and agreed.

Ann was quiet. I didn't think she had cared much about it. A minute or two later I heard her say that it is "bad to bow to statues." I quickly realized that she was referring to the story of Daniels' three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Daniel 3 in the Bible.

I told her she was absolutely right while Chris asked her what "bow" means.

As she began to answer, I prepared myself to hear her say "to bend down" or something similar. Her answer pleasantly surprised me.

Ann told Chris that bowing down to a statue means that you say "I like this (statue) better than I like you, God." She once more told us that we shouldn't bow to statues.

Moments like that remind me of why it is we, as parents, do what we do. It is humbling. It is an honor. It is something I don't want to take for granted.


Toothpaste in My Hair

Last night my son took it upon himself to bathe in the sink with the hand soap while he washed the mirror with his sister's toothbrush. Tonight as he played with his new toothbrush, he managed to get toothpaste in my hair.

Unfortunately, I immediately became angry. I said something like "Kids! Hmmph!" I'm just that mature.

I then told my two older children that I would read them one story and Bible, but that was it because I was D.O.N.E.

I started reading them stories and they cuddled beside me. I thought to myself, "Kids, sweet precious kids. I'm so thankful for them." Fickle, aren't I? Needless to say, I read them more than one book. We read five to be exact.

You think by now I would have learned to expect the unexpected and not respond in such an immature way, but noooooo. Instead, I expect the perfect and get frustrated when, well when I get toothpaste in my hair, or dog doo on my foot or my son somehow manages to douse his hair in juice just before we need to leave for an important evening meeting. (Yes, that all happened in just a few short hours tonight while Tony had to work late.)

I know that someday I'll look back and miss these days. Really, I do know that, but sometimes...

I'm feeling grateful that tomorrow is a new day. Happy almost Friday!


That Crazy Kid!

It all started with the new bath tub toys I bought yesterday. We're reading a book this week about a boat. I happened across a package of boat bath toys. They are just like a rubber duck, but they are boats. I didn't expect the kids to be too excited about them, but you would think they were gold or sugar (to speak in a language my kids would understand). My son even slept with one of them last night.

Today, I thought the excitement had worn off a bit until my son was begging for a bath. We hadn't done much today, so I decided baths weren't really necessary. He wasn't too happy about my decision, but thought my suggestion of playing with the boats in the sink was a decent alternative.

I should have known when he immediately agreed to play in the sink that his idea of playing and my idea of playing were entirely different.

You see, I pictured him playing like my daughter did last night. While I bathed my youngest, my older daughter filled the sink with a few inches of water and played with her rubber boats. That is what I expected my son to do.

This is what he did.

He dumped all of the hand soap into the sink and climbed in for a little improvised bath. At one point he actually managed to get his entire body in the sink. I know I should have been upset, but it was just too stinking funny. Be sure to notice that he is cleaning the mirror with his sister's toothbrush!

Oh how I'd love to know how that little mind works. Actually, maybe I wouldn't. It might scare me. Still, I love that crazy little man!

Mom Fashion

I have a bit of a confession..Somewhere between reading Goodnight Moon (for the 5,293rd time) and The Little House Series, I try to find a bit of time for fashion magazines...Read more at my KCParent Blog.


Silly Me, Sweet Ann

I played soccer all through high school. Indoor, club, school--you name it, I played it. My daughter is also showing athletic tendencies, however she does not like to be "sporty" whatever she thinks that means. She has, however, been asking to take dance. That is why we found ourselves getting ready for her first dance class one morning last week.

Ann had asked me each day for a week prior to her first class when she was going to get to go dance. Every morning I would tell her just how many days she had left to wait for that special day. She was so excited she could hardly stand it, but not me, I was nervous.

My nervousness has nothing to do with Jane. I knew she'd be fine. She is wonderful in new social situations. I was worried about me. Somehow I had convinced my 31-year-old self that I was going to be somewhat of the oddball at the dance school. I pictured the other mothers dropping their children off at school with perfect poise and grace. The soccer field I could handle, but a dance studio!?

Sure enough, my ever klutzy self managed to nearly trip before we made it out of the parking lot and into the building. Somehow the straps of the backpack Jane was holding as she sat in the umbrella stroller managed to get tangled in the stroller wheels. I tripped, but didn't fall and Jane was just fine. After a brief moment of taking Jane out of the stroller and untangling the straps, we were good to go.

We walked in the building and found Ann's class. She walked in without so much as a look back. I glanced around and noticed that most of the other moms were indeed just like me. Some of them even had a crazy toddler with them. (Though I didn't notice anyone else with two younger children in tow.) I even ran into a mom I recognized from story time last fall.

Sure, some of the moms might have been former dancers who knew the different dance positions. Yet, I have a hunch that some of them might have also been stepping out of their comfort zones for the sake of their children. After all, it's what we do starting from the moment we know we're having a little one.

Here is my big girl who is getting so tall. She isn't quite 5 and yet she is taller or as tall as most 5-year-olds and some 6-year-olds.

I love you, Ann!


That Whole "Glass Half Full" Thing

Last night, I tucked the kids into bed and sat down to work on my little blogging job. It was taking a bit more concentration than usual because it had just been one of those days. Nothing major had happened, but a lot of minor inconveniences and some crazy kids was enough. I was trying to get myself in a better, more positive frame of mind in order to write something a bit more uplifting than "I'm tired of the craziness, blah, blah, blah."

Before I even had a chance to get the computer fully started, my son was at my side. I looked him over and didn't see any blood and he looked perfectly fine. I decided there was absolutely NO reason he should be out of bed.

Apparently my observational skills were a bit weak because the poor kid was not wearing his pants or his night time diaper. Hmmm.

He laid down on the floor while I helped him get the diaper fastened. Meanwhile, I told him that I would not be coming back upstairs to tuck him in yet once more. In the middle of this little lecture, I shrieked.

My son had poo on his leg! He had clearly had taken care of the potty business, but no so much the wiping thing.

The funny thing is, rather than make me frustrated and think there was no way I could be in a positive mindset now, it just made me laugh a bit.

In this parenting thing, it is always something. Yet, that something is so often a wonderful thing, that I might as well shrug off as much of the unpleasantness as possible.

As I write this, all three of my children are playing "clubhouse." They are sharing and using their wonderful imaginations. It is a joy to watch. Moments like this just might make up for the chaos and amounts of bodily fluid or sticky hand residue I seem to always be cleaning off of something!