Things I Learned Today

This Memorial Day was one of a few firsts for me...

I learned that hot air balloons only launch in the best of weather. If you take your three children very early in the morning to a Hot Air Balloon Festival and the skies look rather stormy, you probably won't see any hot air balloons. However, you might get to enjoy a new park and have fun visiting with a handful of other families who were also quite optimistic about seeing hot air balloons. (In addition, your husband will greatly appreciate sleeping late.)

It is possible for a car (ours) to show up on the stolen car list even though you've owned it for six years. In fact, it's possible for two police cars and one police motorcycle to pull you over while you innocently drive to Walmart to buy cages for your tomato plants. It's still bizarre to think it happened. I truly had no idea why the officer pulled me over and he wouldn't tell me right away. Fortunately everything got cleared up and I didn't have the kids with me. Still very weird.

The Chick-fil-A parking lot is actually not too bad of a place to see a concert. We enjoyed hearing Phil Stacey before heading in for our chicken fix.

Target's return policy stinks. If it's no longer "in their system" there is nothing they can do about it unless you have the receipt. (Of course the item was a birthday gift for my son and he already had the toy. We didn't have the receipt or we would of used it!)

Target can have whatever dumb policies they want, because we all know at the end of the day I'm still going to shop there all the time, for everything. Sigh.

And finally, regardless of all the bad things that go on in our country, I'm still very, very glad to call this home. I'm also very grateful for all those who serve our country and keep us safe.

Happy Memorial Day!


If You're the Only Boy

You get creative. If you need to fly and there are nothing but fairy/butterfly wings available, you grab the least offensive color and make the best of it. Then, you promptly strap on a belt and tuck in your sword.
A boy has gotta do what a boy has gotta do.


Buck's New Friend

We've added to our family and we're pretty excited about her. Her name is Daisy and while we're thrilled to give her a home, it is bittersweet since we adopted her from a family who was moving and couldn't take her with them.
Calling her Buck's new friend is a bit of stretch, but the rest of us are happy about her!
In fact, today when I asked Jane my customary, "Who loves you," she said, "Mama." Then, in an excited tone that clearly implied she'd thought of something better, she said, "Daisy!"
I said, "Daisy loves you?"
Jane replied, "Uh-huh, soooo much!" Too cute!
We love that our kiddos can grow up with pets. It's such a treat.
Oh and Buck, don't worry old dog. You are irreplaceable.


Asking Her Father for Help

If my kids aren't doing something crazy, funny or just plain cute, then they are saying something crazy, funny or just plain cute. For quite a while, I've been meaning to jot down some of the things they say. Of course, by the time I make time to do just that, I've forgotten what they said! However, today was different. I knew I didn't want to forget what my daughter said.

Due to some poor planning on my part, we found ourselves south of town on an empty stretch of highway with very little gas. I was starting to get worried that we might actually run out of gas and said so out loud. After just a few minutes (during which I was praying), my five year old daughter said, unprompted, "God will help us."

After we talked for a bit I learned that she had been praying "in her mind" that God would help us make it to the gas station. A few minutes later I saw the sign that the nearest gas station was only four miles down the road. I smiled, but not just because I was pretty certain we weren't going to be stranded on the side of the road. Rather, I smiled because my daughter knew what to do in a time of need.

Watching her learn to read has been a thrill, but it's nothing compared to seeing her learn to ask her Father for help. Talk about a great day!


My Favorite Picture of the Big Kids

I took this on a recent trip to Colorado. The kids loved hiking! (Calling it hiking was a stretch, but hey, it's a start!)

We were pleasantly surprised to see how long the kids wanted to explore and take in the new sites of Colorado. (A bit different from the Midwest!)


Big Girl is Getting Bigger!

Lately, I'm learning that it really is true when they tell you the years go by so quickly. They do!

A little over a week ago, my oldest child finished up Preschool. It's been a little over eight months since she posed for this picture. It was her first day of school! She was so excited!

Here she is eight months later eating ice cream after her last day of school. I told her if she keeps looking so old, I'm going to stop taking her picture. (That was a big fat lie if I ever told one!)

Finally, here is our big girl showing off her Pre-Kindergarten certificate.

Even as I sit and look at these pictures, I can't help but smile. It's hard to be sad about time going so quickly when your heart is bursting with pride. I'm not sure why God chose me to be this girl's mama, but it's an honor!
We love you "Big Girl!"

Good Night Traditions

I've sung "Jingle Bells" to my children at night more times than I'd ever imagined possible. Yet, I wouldn't trade those precious before-sleep moments for anything. Read more here.


Defining a Bad Day

My oldest daughter recently overheard me talking with a friend who was having a rough day. After we left my friend, my daughter asked me why my friend was having a bad day. I responded that mommy's sometimes have rough days.

"Kids sometimes have bad days too," said Ann.

"Oh really," I replied.

"Yes. Like when we don't get a toy we want or something like that," she explained.

I chuckled to myself as I thought about how life would be so easy if that was an adult's biggest concern.

Later, I recalled the conversation, again laughing at what Ann considered to be a bad day.

A moment later my laughter stopped and it was though someone had thrown cold water on my face. Hadn't my daughter summed up what makes a bad day? Isn't it a bad day when we don't get what we want? Doesn't that truly sum up bad days for adults as well as children?

Of course, those desires may be something that is completely understandable such as health, a job, or something more trivial such as peace and quiet while making dinner. Still, at least for me, my bad days typically involve me not getting what I want.

That daughter of mine is one smart and observant kiddo. God sure is teaching me a lot through my little ones.


Time to Lace Up

Today marked the first time I went on a walk with one of my children when I was the one who had to struggle to keep up. To be fair, Ann was riding her bike and I made the mistake of thinking I would just walk and keep up with her. That isn't easy to do when you're wearing sparkly flip flops and jeans!

As I trailed behind her, I couldn't help but think how much our ride/walk symbolized my life as a mother right now. Slowly but surely, I'm leaving the season of sippy cups and afternoon naps. (I hope that completely leaving behind afternoon naps will be very slow in coming!) Sometimes I find myself struggling to keep up.

Often, I'll be getting ready to do something for one of my children and they will have already done it. My oldest makes her bed, fills her water cup, feeds the dog, sets the table, sorts her laundry and more. Yes, I like that she does these things. After all, we've trained her to do them. However, with each new skill she learns, I'm reminded that she is ever so surely decreasing her dependence on me. Of course, that is how it is supposed to be and I have every intention of celebrating with her even if I occasionally wipe away a tear or two.

This week we will be going to her end-of-year PreK program. She is registered for Kindergarten and I know it won't be long until we're shopping for school supplies and packing her lunch for her first day of school. You see my thoughts haven't kept up with her development. In my mind she is still a three-year-old meeting her little sister for the first time as she holds her one-year-old brother's hand. She is the two-year-old who eagerly anticipated our move back to Kansas. She is the one-year-old who had a most impressive vocabulary. In my head, she is most definitely not a five-and-a-half-year-old who grows less dependent by the day.

Apparently my mind is wearing some flip flops. I suppose it's time to get myself in a running-shoe frame of mind. After all, as much as I'm going to miss these toddler/preschooler days, I sure don't want to miss any of the fun that's sure to come.

Time to lace up.


More Than Enough

Whew! What a day!

The day started with my son spilling water on my cell phone. (It survived.) From there it progressed to a potty-training toddler who missed the toilet and somehow managed to get some poo stuck underneath a door. (Seriously?!)

Unfortunately, I didn't take the hint and craw back in bed. Instead, we headed to a meeting about one of our kiddos to find out if maybe we should be taking more action or getting more assistance with said kiddo's behavior. Instead of learning anything new, I left feeling very, very frustrated. I felt as though I'd wasted two hours and had no new insight into how to best help my child.

So, as I drove home to where my friend was watching my other two children, I took a deep breath. I prayed and realized that God will help us to train our children in the way He wants them to go. Now, though I became more peaceful I was still frustrated.

Later on in the day, Tony called to check in and see how things were going. At the time, they weren't going so well. However, he also had called to inform me that he had been given a surprising and generous raise.

Though I couldn't be more proud of Tony, it was something else that struck me as I hung up the phone. I knew in that way that I'm not quite able to describe in words, that God was reminding me that He loves me. He is taking care of things even when I don't realize it. Though I might be looking for one answer and focused on what I'm not getting (answers to my child's behavior) He is reminding me of how much He loves me and will always take care me.

So, I'm not ending the day any closer to answers for how to best train our child. However, I am very much reminded of how much God loves me and how freely He gives. (Both materially and spiritually.) That is more than enough.


Don't Advertise Your Own Stupidity, Blah, Blah, Blah

Okay, so I probably shouldn't admit this, but this is the following email I just sent to my husband.

"I just got a toilet brush stuck in the toilet. Yes, yes I did.

Who does that?

So, yes, I'm once again the damsel in distress who needs your help, because clearly you don't have enough to do that you need to come home after way too many hours at work and fix the toilet.

I love you."

Um, yeah. I have no idea how it happened other than I guess I got put a little too much elbow grease into cleaning the toilet and the brush slipped down the hole and got stuck. Seriously, who does that?

Growing up, my mom always used to tell us what her dad told her--"don't advertise your own stupidity." I agree, unless of course, others might get a laugh at your expense. I know I sure did. Though that little mishap pretty much ended a not so hot day, I couldn't help but laugh.

Seriously, who does that?


Loving Our Little Man

The closer something is to my heart, the harder it seems to be for me to put that something into words. (It's even hard for me to come up with a clever way to begin that something!) What could be closer to a momma's heart than her son?

My middle child, my only son, turned four today. I woke up before five this morning. I tossed and turned as I thought back to that morning four years ago when our little man finally made his debut into the world.

All day I've composed letters to him in my head about how special he is and how much his daddy and I love him. However, we've been so busy celebrating his little life that I've yet to sit down and actually um, write the letter.

Now that I have the time, I don't have the energy!

We started celebrating Chris's birthday on Wednesday night. We gave him gifts from us as well as those from his grandma and aunt who'd sent them early. We ate his requested dinner of macaroni and cheese, pickles, and mustard. (Well, he ate that. Some of us modified the meal. And by modify I mean ate something entirely different, but whatever.)
Saturday morning, the five of us boarded a plane and headed to Colorado where we're enjoying a wonderful visit with my mom and stepdad. Our visit has included hiking, parks, cake and presents galore, and of course, a birthday party.

Without a doubt, the highlight of this trip, for me, has been seeing the look on my little man's face while everyone focused on him and sang "Happy Birthday." He was so excited. I suppose being the middle child, and a rather rambunctious boy at that, means he tends to get more negative than positive attention. Poor guy. (We need to work on that!) He has certainly enjoyed every minute of this long weekend.

Four years ago today my life forever changed as I became the mother of a son. Words can't explain what that means, but I sure hope the hugs, kisses, and conversations (as well as the discipline) help him know that his momma (and daddy) love him deeply!
Happy Birthday, Little Man! We love you!