Because It's Often a Thankless Job

How often do your children tell you thank you for all you do to take care of them? For feeding them their greens instead of their beloved candy? For making sure they hold your hand when they cross the street and that they wear their helmets when they bike? Not often, right?

Though we work to develop grateful hearts within our children, it often seems they take so much for granted.

Yet, it is my hope that one day they will look at their daddy and have a new a understanding. An understanding that today he didn't have to take Chris on a long walk and stop to buy a treat. He wasn't required to ride bikes with Ann to the park where they played soccer. And, no one made him invite Jane along on his errands after he'd played soccer in the backyard with her. No, he did it because he doesn't simply take care of them, he cherishes them.

Even when they don't say thank you, yes even then.

So, from me, Thank You Tony for being such a wonderful father! Our kiddos are blessed!


Letting Moments be Moments

Let me paint a little picture for you...

Earlier today, we left Bible study. I handed my two younger children their lunches. They happily munched while I drove and got a cold drink for me and a some juice for them...little treats for us all.

We happily listened to childrens music about dinosaurs, books, and doodle bugs. (A Laurie Berkner CD is one of their current faves.)

After glancing at the clock, I realized we had more than enough time to run the quick trip to the grocery store that I've been needing to do for a few days.

It's amazing that after having children for nearly six years and three children for two and a half years, that I somehow still think it's possible to have an uneventful trip to the store.

The shopping itself went rather smoothly. I may have mentioned a time or two that I wouldn't get the double seater cart next time if they didn't actually sit in it. Other than that, it was good. I let my little man pick out some yogurt and he thought he was big stuff.

By the time we'd checked out, I was nervously glancing at my watch. We had just enough time to load the kiddos and groceries and get to my son's school.

I was ten steps from the door when both of my children started asking for the bathroom. Well, truthfully, they asked earlier, but I assured them they could wait. It was clear from their faces they could NOT wait.

I sighed and headed to the bathroom. (Why do they always time these things so poorly?)

We went to the bathroom, little man to one stall and my two year old to another with me so I could help her. It turns out I wasn't much help. Somehow she got situated on the toilet so that she wet everything but the actual toilet. Her clothes, her shoes, my leg, and my shoes.

Now, in my head I was fuming, but my words were something like, "It's an accident, it happens to everyone sweetie." Of course, that isn't exactly true because I don't remember it happening to my other daughter, but I'm sure it happens. Again, I'm not sure why those things always happen when we're running late.

I got us both cleaned up and assured her that I had extra clothes in the van. I called for my son who loudly announced, "I'm going stinky." Of course he was. I saw a couple of people try not to grin or even act like they'd heard.

I sighed again and gave another glance at my watch.

A few minutes later I helped him wash his hands and we were off. I tossed the groceries and the kids in the car. (I was a bit more gentle with the kiddos.) I pushed that silly double seater cart right over my foot as I returned it to the cart corral. Perhaps that's why people don't return carts?

A woman noticed me get hurt and I simply mentioned it wasn't my day.

I slumped in the car and thought, "What did I just say?" Hadn't the earlier part of the day been just fine? Did the last ten minutes really define my day?

It was then I realized what has been one of my biggest challenges of parenting young children. I have a hard time remembering that moments are simply that, they are moments. It doesn't matter if they are filled with temper tantrums (mine and theirs), potty accidents, boo-boos, or otherwise. They are simply moments. Sure, some days have many, many more than others, but they still don't have to define our days.

I pondered that as I drove while once again jamming to some serious kids tunes. I took a deep breath and I put that moment behind us. As I did, I realized it was actually quite comical.

My son was on time for school. He walked in with a wave and a smile.

"Let moments be moments," is something I feel I'll probably be telling myself a lot from now on. Perhaps even a moment from now.


Silly Boy!

A few nights ago, we were expecting Tony to be home from work any minute. Chris decided to hide from him. I believe he chose the first thing he saw as he headed out the front door.

Now, I better explain that while he was a bit frightened since he was stuck, he wasn't actually hurt. Also, he laughed at himself about being silly enough to do this. Finally, he agreed to try to smile for the picture so Daddy could see where he tried to hide. (So, as you can see, I was totally justified in taking this picture even though my son was in a bit of distress. He was no worse for the wear after I helped him out!) I have no doubt that he'll laugh at this picture for many years to come!

He does lots of goofy things, but this may be the silliest in a while. However, his Hide and Seek skills are much improved over the days when he would cover his own eyes to hide.

I sure love this little boy!


It's Finally Here

As Ann walked into my room this morning, the first thing she said was, "Can you believe my first day of school is here?"

Of course, if you're a mama, you know that my immediate thought was, "No, I can't, not at all! Where did the past five years go?"

I just smiled and said, "No, I can't." Then, I sat on the edge of my bed and asked if I could hold her for a minute. She indulged me and I scooped her up. (No easy task these days. She is big!)

After a minute or two she scampered off to make her bed.

Eventually, we all headed downstairs where Tony made some peanut butter and jelly toast. I dished out some yogurt and topped it with sprinkles. All my kiddos thought that was a fantastic kick off to the school year. I figured we can only do ice cream so many mornings a year!

I did surprise Ann with our special red plate that so far has been reserved only for birthdays. I had a note on top that said, "Happy First Day of School! We love you!" I could tell she felt loved.

During breakfast I read them a picture book and a Bible story. I really hoped that would calm everyone down, but it didn't help much. They were just too excited. I finally relented and let them watch part of show after everyone was dressed and had their teeth brushed.

All five of us walked Ann to school. Ann is so blessed to have a daddy that will go to work late to be there for her special morning! (Thanks, Tony!)

Ann walked right in the front door and headed straight to her classroom. I thought it would take her a while to learn how to get there since she'd only been there once, but nope, she just walked right in and knew just where to go.

She deposited her stuff in her little locker. (Too cute!) We got pictures and then I went to hug her. She was preoccupied with her desk work, so I had to ask her to hug me. She did and when she did, I had to let go quickly because I was tearing up. So, I stood up and took a deep breath before heading out the door with the rest of my family.

It was a beautiful morning and on the walk home I didn't feel the slightest bit sad. My sweet girl is ready for this next adventure and so am I. (I think.)



I often wonder if our youngest will be spoiled from being the "baby." Her requests are granted a lot.

Still, when she looks at me with her sweet face and says, "I'm Sleeping Beauty. Do you want to dance?" What can I do? I dance.

I dance even if we happen to be in the Walmart bathroom waiting on her sister and brother. Yes, I dance and I don't care who is watching. My little princess won't be a little princess forever.


Will I Remember?

As I sit here, I can't help but wonder if I'll remember...

Will I remember that right now Ann likes wearing shirts with butterflies (not live ones) on them? That she prefers cotton shorts to jeans shorts, skirts or dresses?

Will I remember that Chris prefers to wear his Toy Story and Super Man t-shirts and would really like a Bat Man t-shirt? That he likes to wear mesh shorts like his daddy has?

Will I remember that Jane insists on wearing dresses and and sparkly jelly sandals? That she likes to be called "Princess Jane."

Will I remember the details of our short visit to Chuck E. Cheese yesterday morning?

The children each got to pick out a prize and Ann was all about quantity. She chose two rings, a plastic fish and a plastic lady bug.

Chris wanted the inflatable hammer.

Jane was thrilled with a two-sided crayon. One side was purple, her favorite color.

Will I remember that Ann's favorite color is still pink?

That Chris's favorite color is simply not pink and not purple. All others are okay.

That Jane's favorite color is purple which she pronounces, "purkle."

No, I likely won't remember all these details and so I write them. I want to be able to share these little details with my children.. These little things that seem so trivial, but are the small things that are slowly revealing more and more of themselves to me and to the world.

Though I've noted that a big part of me is mourning my first child going off to school (so soon!?). The bigger part of me is excited to see what they will become.

I love those little ones right down to their seemingly silly preferences.


She's Growing Faster than I Think I Can!

A favorite book of mine as a child was There's a Monster at the End of this Book. Lovable, furry old Grover from Sesame Street spends the pages of the book begging the reader not to turn the page because he is afraid of the monster at the end of the book. Of course, the delighted reader turns each page only to discover that an embarrassed Grover is in fact the monster at the end of the book. I'm sure I laughed every bit as much as my children do each time we read that story. Since the book is so special to me, I suppose it isn't surprising today that I feel a bit like Grover.

This morning, right before Ann's dentist appointment, I discovered that one of her top teeth is loose. I did the whole mom thing and shook my head in disbelief that she could be possibly losing her third tooth when she just finished teething, or so it seems.

I felt the same way last week when she discovered Silly Bandz. Now, she proudly sports a wrist full of those and other bracelets. How did my baby get in on a fad?!

I could go on and on about the things she does that make me realize that she is getting older and bigger. There is that little fact that she is soon going to full day kindergarten.

Meanwhile, I feel like Grover wanting to "block" her way. It isn't that I'm not happy for her and excited about all she has yet to discover, it's simply that like Grover, I'm a bit scared, for both of us. Until now, I've known what she is doing almost every minute of the day and that is now about to change.

So, like Grover I've wanted to keep her from turning the next "page." Of course, the pages of life must be turned. And so, the story goes on.

Yet, a week or two ago, I felt like Grover does at the end of the story...almost embarrassed. You see, as I drove along thinking about Ann going to school, I told God that I just love her so much and can't bear the thought of the world hurting her. Though I know it will and must happen, I still don't like to think about it. After I prayed those words, I heard Him whisper, "I love her more."

I couldn't help but smile and sit up a bit straighter. Though I can't understand it, I do believe it. God loves her more than I do. I know how much I love her so I know that's a whole lot. It's hard to be too frightened when I know she'll be constantly watched over by One who loves her more than I know.

I suppose it's time to switch my mindset to another favorite story from my childhood, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...." I think I can be confident about my sweet girl going to school. It's going to be great!


He Knows How to Melt My Heart

A couple of weeks ago, thanks to a great sale combined with a coupon, I became the lucky owner of a carpet cleaner. It's something we should have bought over five years ago. In fact, we should have been advised to put it on our baby registry, but that is besides the point.

I finally assembled the cleaner and used it this past week for the first time. My little man is enthralled with any type of tool and for him, vacuums and carpet cleaners qualify as tools. He loves using my beloved Dyson. He also likes using the hand held vacuum to clean our stairs. In fact, he likes this so much that he gets upset if I vacuum the stairs instead of him. He does a decent job so you better believe I let him do it whenever he wants as long as no one is sleeping.

As you can imagine, he was quite interested in the carpet cleaner. However, I told him that he was going to have to wait until he was older to use that one. He took it pretty well. He went off to play and came back a little while later.

"Mommy?" he asked.

"Yes?" I said.

"When I'm a daddy can I have one of those (carpet cleaner)?" He wanted to know.

"Sure buddy, " I replied.

"But Mommy, who am I going to marry?" He asked.

Thinking there might be a funny response I asked, "Well, who would you like to marry."

Very seriously he replied, "Well, I'd really like to marry you, but you're already grown up."

My heart melted on that very spot. Once I recovered, I told him that God would have a special wife just for him. I told him the most important thing was to have a wife who loved God. He looked at me and said, "I love God," and then he ran away to play.

Once again, my heart melted and I felt so very thankful for having that special little man in my life.