Praying Before Dinner

Disclaimer: The above picture has nothing to do with the following story. However, I thought the picture of her in her Easter dress and hunting for eggs was too cute not to share!

Tonight, before we all dug into our spaghetti, I asked who would like to pray. Jane said, "I do!"

Before she even started to speak, Ann leaned over and said, "Say thank you for Ann." She did as Ann asked.

Not to be outdone, Chris leaned over and said, "Say thank you for Chris." Once more Jane complied.

Then, since no one was giving her any more ideas, she said, "Thank you for Jane's water. Thank you for Ann's water." On and on it went until she was encouraged by us to also say thank you for her food.

So sweet! I need to get a video of her in all her cuteness!


Three Different Kiddos

I'm always amazed at my three children. No matter how much they look alike (and people say that a lot), they are quite different.

So, I just had to chuckle the other day when I gave them a choice of sandwiches for lunch.

"Would you like peanut butter and jelly or turkey?" I asked.

"Turkey," said Ann.

"Peanut butter and jelly," said Chris who generally just likes to be contrary.

"Jellybeans!" chimed in Jane.

Even when I only give them two choices, they somehow manage to all be unique.

Oh, and that Jane, she keeps us laughing. She smiled the minute she said jelly beans knowing she was being oh, so funny. It's probably a good thing I didn't have any jelly beans in the house. Her dimpled grin gets me every time. Who knows, I just might have tossed a jelly bean or two into her sandwich.

I love my silly, sweet, and very unique little and not-so-little ones!


What a Day!

Despite the fact that it poured rain all day long, life around here was more like living in a sun-scorched land.

The day began with a cranky child before the said child even got up for the day. It progressed to bickering siblings, some of whom resorted to kicking, biting, hitting and name calling.

From there, we moved on to getting children to the right preschool and dance class all in the pouring rain.

Basically there was more screaming, fighting, potty talking, and general chaos that I like to recall. It actually got bad enough that I was nearly in tears before we made it home from the gym.

As we drove home, I noticed a break in the clouds. Finally! I couldn't help but think of how God offers us so much hope and my heart was encouraged.

Instead of putting the kids to bed as quickly as possible, I followed our usual routine of reading books and then reading a Bible Story.

As I lay belly-down on the floor with my 5 and 3-year-old, the clouds truly began to break in our day. We shared a couple of silly stories and then we began to read from The Jesus Storybook Bible.

As I read about Adam and Eve, my children began to ask questions. We had a wonderful conversation about Jesus and His sacrifice for us. The more we talked, the more their eyes began to sparkle. I could see that they were starting to just barely comprehend the hope we have when we choose Him.

I indeed began to feel like a well-watered garden.

I guess it's not surprising that I'm ending the day feeling like it was a good one. Funny how those last twenty minutes in the day made up for the crazy previous twelve hours.

"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11


Planning to Unplug (For a Bit)

It isn't that we necessarily watch too much television around here. It's just that I tend to rely on it a bit more than I'd like.

I'm hoping things will change for the better next week. You can read more here.

Have you ever done this with your family?


It's Probably Wishful Thinking

Inspiration struck while I was browsing the dollar section at Target. (That isn't actually very unusual for that to happen. Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit that?)

I've been reading the book Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood. This easy read has helped me to take a step back from my crazy days and remind me to be flexible. Being flexible may just be the most important thing a momma with three young kiddos can do! However, it isn't always my strongest skill, just ask my husband!

So, as I've been reading this book, I've been looking at ways to make our days more steady. (That certainly isn't a word I'd currently use to describe our life!) We now have 6-7 events each week. All of these events are things we don't believe we should cut out right now. Fortunately, they all end within 5 weeks and then we have nothing but a bit of travel and a church event over the summer. However, until then, at least once a day, I load the kids in the minivan and head out to a destination.

Now, getting the kids in the car isn't necessarily the challenge. It's getting them in the car on time and making sure everyone is fed and clothed with teeth brushed. (We need to work on that latter one! Just keeping it honest!)

On a typical morning, my two-year-old is the first up. She watches a video while I finish getting ready. The other two eventually come downstairs. We do the normal morning things and then while I finish cleaning up things usually get a bit crazy. The kids are either fighting or being a bit too wild.

Enter my Target dollar spot inspiration.

The author of this book, Jamie C. Martin (who also has a fantastic blog), writes that at one point, to solve a difficult time with her three children, she assigned them spots in a room where they could each see each other, but they were to stay in their own spots playing quietly.

"I wonder," I thought to myself as I read that. I wondered if I could train my children to do that for the few minutes before we load up to get into the minivan in the morning. It would give me a few minutes to finish any last-minute chores or details. I decided I would give it a try, but that I needed to think about it a bit more. I've learned that even the most seemingly innocent parenting choices should be approached carefully!

The more I thought about it, I decided I needed a way for my kids to define their spots in the play room. I thought of getting hand towels that we could spread out on the floor. I could have gotten them in the colors I've assigned to each child. However, I knew the towels would soon be used as capes, doll blankets, and who knows what else. I was going to have to think some more.

So today as I glanced around the shelves at Target, the kids garden kneelers caught my eye. They are just big enough for a little one sit to so on and play. My five-year-old was immediately sold on the idea and wanted hers right away. (I told her she'd have to wait.)

The question remains whether or not they'll actually help us make a smoother transition when we leave the house. It might be wishful thinking, and it might not. Either way, I'm working on something that works for our family and I'm trying to think outside of my rigid little box. No matter how you look at it, I think it's worth a shot!

How do you help your children make transitions when it's time to leave?


I Keep Thinking It's Supposed to Get Easier!

Recently, some of my friends have added little ones to their families. Interestingly, they have all added third babies to their brood. During this time, my youngest has turned two. And when I say she has turned two, I mean SHE HAS TURNED TWO! (Good thing that I think two-year-olds are the cutest!)

Anyways, all that to say, I'm no longer the one running around with the youngest kiddos in the bunch. It's like all of the sudden it made me realize maybe I should have my act together at least some of the time.

However, that isn't always or usually the case. In some ways, I find three preschoolers more challenging than when they were all a bit younger. Still, I set expectations for myself that are rather unreasonable. I extend grace and have understanding for others, but when it comes to me, I figure I should have the hang of this being a mom of three after two years.

Thinking like this can wear a girl out!

That's exactly how I felt as I drove to Bible Study on Monday night. I was tired of always needing to be one step ahead of my kids. I had even cried earlier that morning before a meeting that I was supposed to help lead. It wasn't that it had been a bad morning, it was just that the good mornings are still rough!

So, as I sat their sipping my decaf, enjoying some fellowship, and getting ready to watch a Beth Moore DVD, I was a bit down still.

As we reviewed our homework, a verse truly nearly jumped off the page at me.

"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11

I don't know about you, but being a momma can sometimes leave me feeling like I'm in the midst of a sun-scorched land!

These words reminded me that it's okay if I'm worn out and tired. He isn't and He has promised to be my strength. I don't pretend to understand exactly how that all works. I'm just glad it does! Thank you Lord!