At least, I failed when it came to getting back to regularly posting! However, I did not fail at vacation! It was amazing.
Late this past summer, Tony and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Ten years! For a long time, we said we'd do something big to celebrate and we did! Thanks to Tony's mom coming to stay with the kids, we spent five glorious nights in Mexico. We were actually away for six nights, but I don't count the hotel by the airport before we caught our early morning flight. Something about the fire alarm going off when we pulled in that kinda made it seem very not glorious.
Ten years ago, the closest we came to a honeymoon was a trip out east to sail with my uncle and spend a day in NYC. In fact,we were on a plane almost a week to the minute before 9/11 happened. I still remember looking at the old New York skyline as our plane headed back to Kansas. (And now I'm not really sure how to transition to the rest of my story without seeming as though I brush on past such a tragedy...)
Though our time New York was wonderful, we'd always kind of regretted that we hadn't taken a fancier trip. Well, we no longer regret that. In fact, we think that taking the trip now made us appreciate it all the more. As newlyweds, our only responsibilities were each other, our jobs, and our dog. We appreciated the vacation so much more now that we've added three kids to the mix.
Before we left, I worried that I would never truly be able to relax because I'd be worried about the kids. That wasn't a problem. In fact, at one point I asked Tony, "Am I a bad mom if I don't miss them a lot?" His response was a laugh and a quick, "No." I'm guessing he felt the same way.
Now, before anyone reading this thinks I'm a heartless mother, let me reassure you that I did catch myself frequently saying things like, "Oh, Ann would love this!" Or, "We've got to get a picture of this for Chris!" And, "Can't you see Jane doing that?" So really, they were never far from our thoughts, but we were far from homesick!
As our trip wrapped up and Tony asked me what my favorite part was, I had to think. After all, I liked everything. Truly, everything. Well, the white wine was awful, but other than that, everything was great! Yet, my favorite part was not planning anything. Our biggest decision was whether to hit the pool or the beach first. There was no stressful part of the day trying to get everyone out of the door or plan to get dinner on the table. I loved the break from that!
I also loved that I was able to take off my mom hat for a bit. There is nowhere I'd rather be in life right now than home with my husband and kids, yet it was so good to just be me for a while. It was just as good being just "us" for a few days. I never fully appreciated our three years of marriage before we had kids. It's just impossible to understand how things change once you add to your family. But I most certainly appreciated my five days with my husband! Getting to spend so much uninterrupted time together was such a gift!
And yet, like it so often is, coming home was still one of the best parts. It didn't hurt that the kids were literally jumping up and down because they were so excited to see us. In fact, they were so excited that they didn't even get teary-eyed when grandma left. That never happens!
Yet, I can't help but wonder if coming home would have been sweeter if we'd stayed seven nights instead of just five. Do you think we need to wait until our 15th anniversary to find out? I've always thought 11 a fine number! Oh, I'm kidding, unless of course one of the grandparents is reading this and wants to volunteer to watch the kids for a week next fall. In that case, I'm totally serious!
I hope you've had a vacation either recently or one you're looking forward to that's happening soon!
I'm not sure when it started, but at some point Jane and Chris started becoming good buddies. I just love seeing the relationships develop between my kids. I pray that they'll be both family and friends!
This just makes me smile. I took it when we stopped at a park on the way to pick up my mom from the airport. It was one of those times that my kids played so well together and I was able to truly soak it all up. Moments like that are so precious!
Unlike usual, I couldn't find the lost toy. My son was looking for his favorite stuffed bear. It used to be my husband's. He calls it Cubby because it's a red and blue Chicago Cubs bear. My son loves Cubby. Despite it being a rushed morning, I had a soft spot for him looking for his favorite toy. I could tell he was trying not to get upset, so I joined the search party.
He went to his room to look once more and I went to mine suspecting it might have fallen off of my bed. I remembered he'd climbed into my bed the night before and might have brought his stuffed friend with him. Sure enough, there was the beloved bear tucked in between the wall and my bed. I scooped him up and headed to my son's room.
As I entered his room and announced that I'd found the bear, I noticed that he was sitting on the floor with his head bowed. I asked him if he was okay.
"I was just praying," he said. "I was asking God to help me find Cubby," he further explained.
I almost cried. Such sweetness.
Right there I was reminded that nothing is too little to bring before God. I recalled something I'd read in a recent Bible study about if something is important to us, then it's also important to God. Yes, even if it's "just" a teddy bear.
I was also reminded that those who seem too little can have some awfully big faith!
At that point, I couldn't go anywhere without someone telling me, "Wow, you're hands are full!" I had two small children and one on the way. Yes, my hands were full both figuratively and literally.
Of course, being at that stage in motherhood gave me plenty of blog fodder. Tons of it really. And yes, most it seemed to involve messes. I thought I was pretty much past those days. Enter Wednesday night.
We were leaving church and one of my kiddos had to use the bathroom. Of course, this child didn't realize this need until we were in the van. Normally I'd tell my kids they'd have to wait, but this time my kiddo had that certain look. I knew that if I forced my child to wait until after our 20 minute drive home, it would not end well.
Fortunately, Tony was with me so he stayed with the two children while I took the one inside to use the bathroom. I thought we'd be in and out. Instead, it was nearly 30 minutes before we came back to the car.
In the meantime, I had a child who went into the stall and couldn't get the toilet paper roll to work and then couldn't unlock the door. I had to make the child crawl back in the stall and figure out how to unlock it. In the process, the child who couldn't get the toilet paper to work had to do without toilet paper.
Going without toilet paper made a mess. This meant that I walked out with underw*ar in my hand and I had to reassure my kiddo it was okay to do without and just toss on pants until we got home. (I know. Aren't you so glad I'm sharing this?) Of course, the child again got locked in the stall and I finally realized it wasn't because my child didn't know how to operate the lock. Rather, my kiddo didn't know to pull on the door instead of push. I just stood there dumbfounded at how complicated a quick trip to the bathroom had become.
Once we were finally on our way home again, I couldn't help but laugh. That kind of event used to be our experience nearly every time my children had to use a public bathroom. In fact, that was probably mild compared to other outings we've had. I probably wouldn't have even found that blog worthy two years ago. Clearly, I'm out of practice. And in this case, I don't care if practice makes perfect, I'm content being out of practice with these types of incidents!
Hopefully it will be quite some time before I have another bathroom mishap to tell, but just to be safe, I'm going to sweetly ask my husband to take the kids to the bathroom the next time we're out in public!
I wanted to share my favorite back to school picture of the year. Well yes, that is what I wanted to do. Blogger had other ideas. Sigh.
I'll have to describe it...
My little man got to school on his first day of kindergarten. He got his things put away in his locker and found his seat. He excitedly sat down only to find his teacher had put pink Play-doh at his seat. What? The insult. I couldn't help myself. I snapped a picture of him glaring at the offensive stuff. Right after that I swapped his for blue. I'm sure the girl who came to sit by him didn't mind!
Fortunately, school has only gotten better for him from that point. He's one of the younger ones in his class and he's doing just great. To say we're proud of him would be an understatement. We sent our oldest child to kindergarten last year and it's just as much fun to watch our second born experience his first year at school.
Way to go Chris! We're so proud of you!
I started this blog four years ago when I was expecting our third child. She's now three months away from being four years old. My how time flies! It's funny because I started this blog to simply record our lives, but after having three children in just over as many years, it sort of took on a theme. It was the place I recorded the craziness of keeping up with three young children. Well, those three children are still young, but 6, 5, and 3, things certainly aren't what they used to be. I don't even buy diapers or pull-ups anymore! (Yes, it's awesome!)
My blogging has slowed for a couple of reasons. Mainly, it's slowed because though life has gotten easier as my children have gotten bigger, it's also gotten busier. Since two of my children go to school all day, I feel like I should do my best to get things done while they're gone so I can give them my full attention in the evening. That means I'm running errands and doing chores during the day and spending time with them in the late afternoons and evenings. Of course, my three year old is still with me most of the time and I love that!
The other reason my blog has slowed is because we've had a tough couple of years with one of our kiddo's behavior. I didn't want to record a bunch of negative memories. Quite honestly, at the end of many days I had to follow the motto of, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!" Sure, there were plenty of good things mixed in during those times and I do wish I'd recorded more of them. Who knows, maybe one day I will.
A high school friend recently started up a blog. I love reading it! It made me remember that I had way more than two reasons that I loved blogging. So, I started typing this post. I don't know that I'll ever be back to the frequency I blogged a couple of years ago, but I'm going to try. I miss it. I love looking back and remembering what my days used to be like. I like laughing at the silly things I posted when I first started my blog.
Now that I have two school-age children, I'm truly realizing how fast the time goes. I want to remember this time. I want to savor it. I've found blogging is a way to do that. Here goes...
On the bright side, I did find a color for the walls. After Tony saw the various shades of green on the wall, his comment was, "Do you like that?" Smart man isn't he!
As soon as I said, "No, not really." He added that he wasn't fond of it either. As if I couldn't tell that from the way he posed the question!
So, after failing at choosing a white paint color, I decided to head to Sherwin Williams for a little advice. It's amazing the difference a professional can make. All I did was explain my white fireplace and golden oak trim. An employee pointed me right to a few colors. What do you know? I brought them home and like them all!
I'm basically going to paint the walls the same color but with a green/gray undertone rather than a golden/brown undertone. (If you know more about color than me, which is very likely, you may think I said that all wrong, but it does make sense to me!) Basically, it makes me happy.
It's not the only thing making me happy right now...
Check out this fabric my friend found for me. She's going to make me some pillows for my updated family room. Love! (Now, I just have to come up with a way I can do something for her. She not only sews, but she also gives awesome hair cuts. Compared to that, I've got no skills!)
But I do have new fabric and I can't wait to see it turned into pillows!
A couple of weeks ago, my little man started kindergarten. My oldest daughter, Ann, also started first grade. Needless to say, even though I still have my three year old at home, it was rather quiet around here. Perhaps that's why I did what I did.
By the time I picked my kids up from their first day of school, I had a primed fireplace. All that painting, as well as playing with my three year old, helped to keep my mind off of how fast my kids are growing up.
Hello White! I think? I like you.
To make a long and boring process short, I've got a very white fireplace and surrounding shelves combined with walls that are basically tan and all sorts of shades of green that I'm trying out. I suppose I should also mention my rather dated wood trim. After paining all the brick and wood that makes up the fireplace wall, I have NO desire to paint the trim. At least not anytime soon.
Our church has been reading through the Bible this year. Therefore, it isn't always the old Sunday School stories that I find myself teaching. In fact, if I hadn't been doing Ownit365, I'm not sure I would have even know what exactly the story was talking about. The lesson was from the Old Testament. More specifically, it was from 2 Chronicles, Chapters 18 and 19. Those chapters contain the story of two kings. One follows God and the other doesn't. They consult 401 prophets, but only 1 is willing to speak the truth. In the end, the evil king loses his life by going into the battle. He was warned he would lose his life in the battle and took measures to keep that from happening. Of course, in the end, God's will prevailed.
The focus of the lesson was to choose your friends wisely. Certainly, it would have been easy to listen to the 400 false prophets rather than the 1 truthful one. Then again, Jehosophat never would have found himself in the predicament if he hadn't been friends with Ahab. I ramble.
One great thing about teaching on Sunday mornings has been that I get to see two of my own children during Kids' Worship. I love seeing them sing for Jesus. I also love knowing exactly what they've learned that morning.
Well today, even though I wasn't his teacher, I had to pull my son onto my lap because he was being so chatty with his two buddies. I didn't hold him for long, so I wasn't sure how much of the message he actually heard. That's why I was a bit surprised when I picked him up at the end of the service.
"Mom," he began with a concerned look on his face, "I don't know if ____ is a good friend."
I didn't even answer him since I was so shocked that he'd retained the message and was even applying it to his own life.
In fact, as I put him to bed later that night, he brought up the question of friends again. I wondered if maybe ____ was just the first friend that came to mind. So, I asked him about his other friends and whether or not they were good friends. He not only told me that they were, he also gave me examples of why they were good friends. He definitely hadn't randomly wondered about _____.
We discussed his friend in question for a few minutes. On his own, he came up with ways to avoid _____'s poor choices becoming his own. I was blown away. He truly got it!
I suppose I should mention that my son is only 5. He'll start Kindergarten this fall. I'm glad that thanks to our church reading the Bible and studying some of the lesser known stories, my son is more ready to begin a new phase of his life where neither I nor his dad can always choose his friends. That makes this mama very, very grateful.
Thanks, God for helping even the little ones understand your big truths.
This morning, I dropped you off at soccer camp. As you got out of the van, you mentioned that your stomach hurt. I knew you were just nervous and I refused to let you skip out on the first day of soccer camp.
You joined in the crowd without a problem, though you weren't too excited about the heat. I couldn't blame you. It was hot!
After I rejoined your sister and brother in the car, I watched you for a bit. At first you ran and then you started walking. Like I mentioned, it was already hot! Soon, your brother and sister began asking to leave. I obliged and slowly, very slowly, drove away as I watched you getting a sip of water.
Now, I have a confession. Even though Chris and Jane were really ready to leave, I circled the parking lot one more time. I just had to know you were okay! You see, I've never dropped a child off at soccer camp before. So, silly as it may seem, it was kinda tough for this mama to wrap her head around your independence!
As I finally pulled away, I prayed for God's protection over you. Then, I took a deep breath and looked forward to picking you up two hours later.
It was no surprise to find out after those two hours, that you had a great time! You're most looking forward to the end of the week when you get to bring water guns!
Ann, you've been a delight for me this summer. I love that you attempt conversations with me. Just today you were sitting at the table working on a craft and you started asking me questions. I can't remember exactly what the question was, but you wanted to know my favorite of some item. You do this quite often now, mimicking the conversations I've always started with you.
You've also brought to my attention this summer that you crave my undivided attention! As the oldest, I think you get tired of seeing your younger siblings getting praise for things you've done for quite a long time. I try to remind you that we once praised you for the same new achievements. I've also tried to give you extra hugs and kisses this summer and remind you how much I appreciate your helpfulness.
Legos have been your toy of choice this summer. You love your big pink tub of Legos that Uncle G gave you for Christmas. You spend a couple hours most days putting together different houses complete with accessories. I would have never guessed that you would have developed such an interest in Legos. That you have, reminds me to never let my assumptions dictate what you do!
Of course, you don't play Legos when you're at the pool. At the pool, you're a little fish! You've learned to go off the diving board this year as well as how to dive for dive sticks in the over four feet area. You're doing such a great job and you love it! You've run into friends at the pool and that's always fun for you.
Ann, in three more weeks you will start first grade. You're going to have such a wonderful time and I know you'll do great! I also know I'm really going to miss you. You're becoming such a wonderful little girl and I love you to pieces!
God Bless You, Sweet Girl.
I asked my son, "What are you doing?"
He said, "Nothing." I started to panic as I quickly walked to the laundry room.
A response of "nothing" is almost as dangerous as children being quiet.
It turned out he was getting down our hand held vacuum from the upper shelf. He wanted to vacuum the stairs. (He loves to do that and I love that he does it!)
Since the laundry room is also where I keep cleaners, I double checked to make sure he hadn't played with or tasted anything. Everything looked the way I'd left it, but you never know.
He assured me that he hadn't touched the cleaners. Just for good measure, I reminded him that they're poisonous. As soon as I did that, his eyes got big and he leaned over and pretended to spit stuff out of his mouth.
He had me for a moment. Then, I realized he was joking. He smiled at me and told me he knows that stuff isn't food.
I couldn't help but laugh. His timing was good and the way he did it was amazing. His sense of humor is something.
Let's all pray for his kindergarten teacher!
My son is hands down the biggest trouble maker in our house. I can easily type that knowing he may one day read it, because it's absolutely true! Ironically, he is also the most concerned with rules and laws imposed by other people. (Those enforced by us seem to be mere suggestions to him!) That explains the following glimpses into our lives...
We were riding in our van with Tony's mom. She happened to be sitting in the back with Chris. He noticed that she didn't have her seat belt on and he said, in a very grown up voice, "You have to put your seat belt on or the police man will get you." It was both funny and precious at the same time. His true concern for his grandma was so evident.
On the same trip to visit Tony's mom, we were gathering supplies to head out and watch an airshow. His mom was packing a blanket and a couple of throw rugs for us to sit on in the grass. Chris told her, "No, those rugs are bad. Elvis at our church overdosed on those!" Apparently, it still hadn't quite sunk in that there are are rugs and then there are drugs. He also doesn't seem to understand that Elvis never went to our church.
Oh, the laughs those little ones provide!
On the way home, I began talking about the lesson. We discussed the example of Elvis working with President Nixon on an anti-drug campaign. Of course, my little man had no idea what drugs were. In fact, this was the first he'd heard of them. Since the lesson also talked about Elvis dying of a drug overdose, I had some explaining to do! (And no, I have no idea who does the lessons! Our church combines kindergarten through fifth grade for large group, so...)
Anyways, I thought we'd had quite a good discussion about God wanting us to do the right thing and drugs being bad, etc. I was quite impressed with my son's listening abilities. Then...
"Mom, we use rugs in our house for decorating and stuff, but that's okay, right?" he asked.
I almost lost it. Did he seriously think we'd just had a conversation about rugs? (I'm laughing even now as I type this.)
It's a good thing I'm fairly certain he won't be introduced to drugs next year as a kindergartner. Hopefully, he won't become scared of rugs either! Kids are too funny!
Right now, our favorite thing to do is to play in the "deep end." I can still touch, but none of my children can touch. The younger two like to shed their life jackets and jump in to me, while my oldest likes to show off her ever-improving swimming skills. The time flies by as we're all having such a good time.
Typically, my three children are lined up on the side of the pool waiting for their turn to jump in to me. The other day, Chris was trying to get my attention while I was still helping Jane in the pool. After a few attempts at calling mom. He said, "Lizz, Elizabeth, Focus on me!" He so perfectly imitated me that I couldn't help but laugh. He was also so sincere and not meaning to be disrespectful that I couldn't help but honor his request.
I focused on him. As if I would do anything else when my children are playing near water. They are too funny!
Nearly three weeks into summer and we've had out of town guests twice and friends for dinner once. Ann had her dance recital and Chris went to Vacation Bible School. Chris played a few t-ball games and went to a couple of practices. All three kids had turns spending the night at their great-aunts house and a turn at visiting a local toy museum.
In addition to that, we squeezed in a trip to the local amusement park and many trips to the pool. On top of that, Tony has done a bit of travel for work.
So, um, yeah... We haven't exactly slowed down, but we have had a LOT of fun. I'm loving having all of my children near me all day. I'm especially enjoying my time with Ann who was at full-day kindergarten for the school year. I missed her!
Right now Ann is all about reading Green Eggs and Ham to anyone willing to listen. I started to encourage her to read something more challenging and then I realized, she's super excited to read the book and doesn't exactly have it memorized, so why on earth would I fix what isn't broken?!
Not to be out done, little Jane likes to read aloud Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See. Just tonight, she read it aloud to her grandma. She wanted to read it one more time to me. She must have gotten tired of her trick because she soon was saying, "hot dog, hot dog, what do you see?" Three year olds are so silly!
As for little man, he doesn't really read to us yet, either for real or in the manner of his younger sister. However, that kiddo never stops thinking. I can't begin to describe what a joy he is when he chooses to have a good attitude. The flip side is, when he doesn't have a good attitude, life can be a trying to say the least! That kid is going to move mountains one day, just watch!
I do believe I've started to ramble, so why not continue... (Isn't that what "..." is for?)
The small moments today that I want to remember are my sweet six-year-old's face when she caught sight of me at the amusement park. Her face lit up and that just felt awesome! Also, she was excited to notice she is getting more moles. I happen to have more than my fair share. While I don't know that it's necessarily good she is inheriting them, I do find it flattering that she likes them because I have them. Seriously, how precious is that!
My five-year-old also lit up when he found me after getting off a ride. It melts my heart to know they feel so happy at the sight of me. It isn't always the case, of course. Sometimes seeing me means they have to leave a playdate or that I've caught them doing something naughty. At those times, they'd rather see anyone but me!
It looks like Chris is going to be the one who likes the scarier rides, at least for now. I think if Jane hadn't been there, he would have rode some roller coasters. However, he didn't want to ride the bigger rides unless she did, so he skipped the roller coasters.
As for little Jane...She fell asleep in my arms while watching a dog show at the amusement park. I have no idea how she slept through the clapping and yelling and I don't care. As I told her grandma, I know holding her in my arms while she sleeps won't last forever, so I will take what I can get. My favorite thing about Jane lately has been watching her with her big sister. I love seeing that relationship develop. I recently took them to the dollar store and bought them each a toy mermaid. (They reminded me I couldn't buy real ones which was very funny.) Since then, those mermaids have been the center of their play together. Oh how I hope and pray they are not just sisters but also friends!
And so I end another day feeling tired and honestly a bit grumpy. And yet, I feel so very, very blessed. Through reading some other blogs, I was reminded of just how fragile life is and it simply brought tears to my eyes to think of the precious little ones sleeping upstairs. Yes, our summer has been busy, but we've been thoroughly enjoying it and I know I'm trying not to take too many moments for granted! So, be it busy, or be it calm, we are going to make the most of this summer!
We began summer by meeting friends for breakfast at McDonalds. Their pancakes weren't half bad. Who knew? My kids enjoyed playing while I visited with my friend. Then, we waited and waited for the rain to stop so we could dash out to our cars.
Later in the day, Chris got to go spend the night at his great-aunt's house so that left me with the girls. Tony was out of town, so we fully embraced girl time, even inviting a neighbor friend to join the girls. We painted our nails, watched a movie and dined on chicken nuggets and waffle fries.
Our babysitter came early on Wednesday morning and I went out to run errands without the kiddos. My time was cut short by the tornado sirens. My children are a little on edge after all the terrible storms that have been moving through the Midwest so we spent a bit of time in our basement.
Meanwhile, my son was enjoying time with his aunt by visiting a toy museum
On Thursday, we headed out to a bounce house play place to meet a friend and her children. My children bounced nonstop for an hour and a half. Amazingly, they still had energy!
We spent Friday getting ready for Memorial Day Weekend. We were lucky to have Tony's mom, stepdad, sister, brother-in-law, and our niece and nephew come for the weekend. Ann's dress rehearsal for dance was on the same evening that everyone arrived, but when we all finally met up, we had a great time.
Saturday was another busy day. We went to a family concert event. Chris got to try out a banjo and Jane strummed on a guitar. Our little man is mesmerized by live music so we all enjoyed watching him delight in the morning.
After the concert, we went out to lunch and then to a fun free display for children. Then, it was home for rest time.
After an early dinner, we took Ann to her dance recital. I can certainly see how parents get hooked on doing those kind of things. Those kids were so cute! The little ones were precious and the older girls were talented. We had a great time and we only stayed until intermission. Ann was so excited to perform. However, she did tell me she was mostly excited to go backstage. Kids!
We enjoyed brunch and playtime at the park before seeing Tony's family back home. We spent Sunday afternoon working around the house and trying to relax.
Monday was a holiday and were were all happy to have Tony home with us. We surprised the kids by taking them to see Kung Fu Panda 2. We spent most of the rest of the day at home.
Tuesday morning was the summer reading kick-off program at our local library. We all enjoyed ourselves and the girls even had their pictures taken by a newspaper photographer. They didn't make it into the print copy, but Jane's picture was online. Fun! the highlight was certainly the drumming group. The kids were especially excited when they got to try out the drums.
After running home for lunch, we headed out to buy our summer pool pass. Then, it was the girls' turn to spend the night with their great-aunt. Chris and I decided it was a good time to try out our pool pass and we did just that.
It hasn't been terribly hot or sunny the past few days. Surprisingly, the water temperature was tolerable. The air just needs to warm up a bit and swimming will be perfect. Of course, the less than idea temperatures didn't keep us from enjoying the pool again yesterday.
Before we went to the pool, we enjoyed lunch out with Tony. It was fun to spend time with just our son even if all he could think about was getting to the pool!
Once we got home from the pool, the girls were home. They all played with their marbles from the toy museum. I guess the old toys are still the good ones. I worked on an article while they played and went our for a rare girls' night out when Tony got home.
And that brings me to this morning. I'm sitting in a coffee shop while my children are home with our babysitter. Supposedly, the sun will be out later. I've promised the kids a trip to the pool this afternoon. Well, I've promised them we'll go if they do a good job of having quiet time in their rooms. We'll see!
I'd say our summer has been quite a fun one so far. I have no intention of keeping up that pace for the rest of the summer, but it's been fun. I'm hoping we can spend our mornings at home and our afternoons at the pool. Sounds like a perfect summer to me.
I'd ask what you've been up to, but with how sporadic I post and how dull this post was, I'm guessing only my mom is reading right now. :)
I started the weekend with a date with my husband. I sure hope our church has Parents' Night Out more often. Now THAT is a fundraising idea I can get behind!
Saturday morning started with a coffee date with a friend that I rarely get to visit with. I followed that up with some shopping including a bit of grocery shopping so that I didn't feel super unproductive about my morning.
I came home to a very special Mother's Day surprise. Tony had taken the kids to Home Depot and bought wood to make a raised garden bed for me! I now have an 8 x 10 garden bed to fill with dirt and then plant to my heart's content! I was thrilled and very impressed that he did that with three children ages 6, 5 and 3, in tow. He even let the kids do the children's workshop so that I now have a cute wooden flower pot holder. So fun!
The afternoon was spent watching my two oldest play their last soccer games of the season. Ann has continued to improve and that girl is fast! I think she scored in 5 of her 6 games. Of course, we stressed that it isn't just about winning or scoring goals, but I think we can all admit it's a bit more fun when we do score a goal!
Our little man made us so proud. His determination was impressive. He listened to his coach and was a team player. He came so close to scoring a goal that he literally had me on my feet cheering for him. I had such fun watching their games and hope they want to play in the fall.
The rest of Saturday was spent eating dinner and enjoying the warm weather. Our church added a Saturday night service, so Tony was away playing keyboard for the service for a bit of the evening.
Sunday morning we took it easy and didn't go to church until the last service. Well, the kids and I took it easy. Tony played the keyboard all morning.
After church, I chose to grab burgers for lunch. I have one place I like to eat hamburgers and that's because they are super thin patties with NO pink. That's my kind of burger! The place was packed, so apparently I'm not the only mama who likes her burgers that way.
I spent the afternoon avoiding everything I normally do. Tony and the kids were great helpers. We kept dinner simple and Tony put the kids to bed.
I'm sitting here smiling as I think about my sweet family. I'm also now sporting a cute seashell necklace given to me by my little man. On my counter is a ceramic bowl of spaghetti and meatballs made by my favorite kindergartner. I'd say life is pretty good!
You see, a week or so ago, I noticed a turkey in my freezer. I bought the turkey sometime around Thanksgiving or Christmas. Clearly it was time to take it out of the freezer. That's when I decided that we'd be skipping ham this year in favor of turkey.
While that turkey defrosted in my fridge, I used the top of my refrigerator to hold all sorts of holiday items I didn't want the kids to get into quite yet. One of those items was a set of Resurrection Eggs. These plastic eggs are filled with items to help children learn the story of Easter.
Now, I should have known better than to think that simply placing something on the top of the fridge would actually keep my children away from it. They noticed it right away and despite being told not to get into it, one child, who shall not remain nameless, did just that. As I came down the stairs and found Chris standing on the counter reaching for the eggs. I quickly became exasperated. I sent him to sit down and lectured him about obeying, etc., etc.
A while later, I paused and asked if he was ready to look at the eggs. We had just a bit of time to look at them before he headed to school. So, we went through the dozen eggs and talked about Jesus' sacrifice for us. Then, we rushed to school.
A couple of days later, we had made Easter cookies, dyed Easter eggs, been to two egg hunts, cheered at one soccer game, and worshiped at Saturday night church. We'd been busy and it wasn't even truly Easter yet! Needless to say, we were all a bit tired.
Despite being tired, I wanted to take some more time to talk about Jesus. I had a feeling that the kids might pay better attention before they started their sugar highs the next morning. (I was right.) So, I grabbed the Resurrection Eggs.
I was absolutely delighted when my little man remembered what each egg was a symbol for in the Easter Story. At first I thought it was because he'd heard it so many times at church. However, when his older sister couldn't answer everything, I knew he'd simply remembered from our time two days earlier.
I was cranky and overwhelmed. He was being defiant. Our time together should have been a disaster, but instead, my little man learned a bit about life changing Truth. Thank You, Lord for letting me share Your story with a sweet little boy! In the end, that's what mattered. No one really cares that we had turkey and no sides for Easter dinner!
He doesn't sit still for long and where he goes, mischief is sure to follow. It isn't unusual for me to assume that if something goes wrong with a group of kids that my son is in the middle of it. Sometimes he isn't, but quite often he is right there in the midst of it.
It would be easy for an outsider to think that is all there is to him, but they would be oh, so very, very wrong.
Just today, the same boy who blasted our sweet neighbor girl in the face with a water gun also showed me his tender heart.
As I was saying goodnight to his big sister, he came in the room with a stack of books. He told me that he wanted to give the book to J, a boy who has Down Syndrome and is in his preschool class. He said that J really likes trucks and he thought he should give him the books. He asked if I knew when J's birthday is and I had to say I didn't know, but I could find out if he liked.
Then, as I was saying good night to him, I reminded him that his birthday was coming soon and that he would get to pick out ice cream for breakfast. I asked him what he thought he would pick and he said he'd like Monster Cookie flavored ice cream. Then, he asked what I liked and I told him I'm a fan of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. He decided to change his mind and say that is what he wanted. I assured him that he didn't have to pick what I wanted, but should pick what he likes since it will be his birthday. He insisted that he wanted to pick something that "mommy likes."
Sweet, sweet boy. There is so much more to you than meets the eye. Sometimes it's hard to remember that such a tender heart is inside a boy that rarely stops moving or getting into trouble. You are such a wonderful part of our family and I love you more and more each day. Raising you is definitely a challenge and I'll never lie to you and say it isn't a challenge. But, I truly believe that most things worth doing aren't easy. Sweet boy, it's an honor to be your mama! I love you little man!
Today was really busy, but also really nice. It started off with walking Ann to school along with the neighbor kids who always walk with us. Then, we came home while Chris and Jane watched a show while I ran on the treadmill.
Next, it was off to swim lessons and then a treat of lunch out. After lunch, I dropped Chris off at preschool and Jane and I headed home for just enough time for me to switch a load of laundry and fill water bottles. Then, we headed up the street to pick up my sweet neighbor friend and her cute daughter. We then spent the next hour and a half at a children's farmstead. Such fun!
After enjoying the animals, we headed home for another few minutes before getting back in the van to pick up Chris, Ann, and a neighbor boy from school. Another short time at home and then we took Ann to a dance class, dropped off books at the library, and picked up a pizza.
Finally, we were home for more than a few minutes and Chris and his friend from next door played outside while Jane kept me company as I tried to clean up the kitchen.
After saying goodbye to the boy who lives next door, we left to pick up Ann and then went back home to bake pizza. The kids played outside while I cooked the pizza. That went well until Chris blasted our sweet neighbor girl in the face with a water gun. Fortunately, dinner was ready.
We ate dinner and then took my time reading to and getting the kids ready for bed.
Ann shed some more tears about missing our old dog, Buck. I hated seeing her be sad, but I was glad that I was there to hug her and pray with her.
Finally, at about 8:30, the kids were asleep and Tony was still at work. I was tired and the house wasn't exactly neat, though I decided it was good enough. And that's when I sat down and found myself smiling.
As I've sat here and documented my day, I realize that besides being busy, it wasn't really all that spectacular. It was just one of our busy days, and yet it was very, very good. It was one of those days that I stepped backed and realized that I really do have an awesome job.
If only I can keep this perspective when I wake up tomorrow morning to a kiddo inches from my face whining about how s/he is hungry! And if only I can keep the same perspective when I make the breakfast that my children begged for only to see them eat a few bites before claiming they are way too full to eat another bite. I better get the coffee pot ready!
Today, my heart is still full, but people rarely tell me my hands are full. In fact, I can't remember the last time someone made that comment. Apparently, mothering three children, ages six and under, looks easy.
Needless to say, parenting three still somewhat young children isn't always easy. Sure, in most ways, it's definitely easier than meeting the demands of an infant, a toddler, and a preschooler, however, each stage of parenting brings with it new challenges. Right now, I'm just enjoying the stage we're at and trying not to worry about the future.
Of course, many days are still rather tough to enjoy. And unlike three years ago, I don't always feel free to share the details of our days. I'm trying to respect my kiddos' privacy. But then, I feel like I'm not being exactly honest about our lives. Sigh, must I always second guess myself?
Days like today are almost impossible not to blog about at least to some degree. You see, one of my children, who shall remain nameless, had quite the interesting day. Of course, if you know my family, even a little bit, you'll know exactly who I'm talking about. At least I'm trying to respect privacy. (Emphasis on trying.)
In one day, one of my kiddos managed to dump glitter all over the floor, spray shaving cream under a bed, and smear glue and markers all over the neighbor's landscaping rocks. That was just what I noticed. The interesting thing is that he/she wasn't really unsupervised for all that long today. It's just that a child like this can do all sorts of things in a fraction of the time it would take other children to make such mischief. That kiddo is talented I tell you!
That's all to say that if I blog less frequently now, it isn't at all due to lack of material! It's quite the opposite really. In many ways life is so much busier than it was when my little ones were, well, little. Yet, one thing has truly remained unchanged...I wouldn't trade this life for anything. My heart is still bursting. I love my little ones more and more as I get to know them more each day. Cliche but very true.
Sometimes I feel guilty about enjoying this time so much. After all, shouldn't I be making a big breakfast and savoring time together as a family? Perhaps, but I know for certain that on weeks where I don't have a few quiet hours, I'm a little cranky.
Now, I'm not one to buy into "me" time. I hate how it sounds so self-centered, but I'm honestly a nicer person when I have a few minutes to slow down and enjoy the quiet. So maybe I am buying into the "me" time. Either way, I do love Saturday mornings and I'll enjoy them while they last! I'm sure it won't be long until the kids' activities start to take over the day! Then I'll just have to change my Saturday mornings to the afternoons or perhaps make my Tuesday nights into a "Saturday morning!"
However, I did learn my lesson and will no longer be professing my love for months until all the days are checked off on the calendar. How could I be so foolish? March was full of gray skies, sickness, and worst of all, we said goodbye to our beloved pooch. Good riddance March. So what if you gave us warmth and a nice walk to the library on the first day of the month.
Now, April surely wouldn't consider pulling the same trick. It couldn't, I don't care if it is April Fool's Day. No cruel jokes aloud! At least not when it comes to sunshine. Gray might be a favorite color of mine to wear, but I could do without seeing it in the sky every. single. day!
Happy April! Here's to hoping April's showers are short and sweet!
Here he is with our Kindergartner who wasn't quite one at the time of the picture.
Ten and half years ago, my boyfriend (now my husband) and I had just returned from Montana where we had both worked for the summer. I had it in my head that I wanted a dog. So, before even unloading our stuff, I looked in the paper and found a yellow lab. Perfect!
Tony drove me to the home where the dog lived. We walked up and saw some kids playing and asked if they were selling their dog. The kids looked at us like we were crazy. Apparently, the parents hadn't told them they were selling the dog. Oops!
After talking to the owner and reassuring him that I could give him a good home, he seemed content to let me have him. I paid $100 for him. To this day, Tony and I still argue about who bought him. He lived with me and my roommates so surely, I bought him, right? Right, Tony?
Before we took him away, the owner told us that the main reason he was getting rid of the dog was because he ran away a lot. I figured I'd just have to keep an eye on him. No big deal. So, we loaded him into to Tony's car on top of all our summer stuff.
The dog was named Buck and I took him home to the house I rented with some other girls for my last year of college. It ended up that I wasn't the only one who wanted a dog. That year, four girls and three dogs lived in one house!
Buck was a great dog and I can remember sitting in one of my classes the day after I bought him thinking that it must be some kind of dream that I now owned a dog. I'd always wanted one, but only got to have one for about three months while I was growing up.
I attempted to take Buck for runs, but quickly learned that labs are more into fetching than they are into long distance running, so I took him for walks and threw plenty of tennis balls. Tony also spent a lot of time with him and liked him quite a bit!
It's a good thing that Tony liked Buck, because almost a year later Tony and I were married.
Tony moved to another state before we were married. Obviously, I eventually joined him. Of course, Buck came with me. In order to join him, we had to drive across the state of Kansas in an old Toyota Celica with NO air conditioning. Buck rode beside me panting the entire way. It was so hot that the only thing I stopped to eat was an ice cream cone!
Tony was waiting for us and said he knew when we were coming because he heard Buck's collar jingling!
Wherever we were, there Buck was. He took several road trips with us and I have many memories of him looking out from the back of a Ford Focus hatchback. ( We weren't too nice about letting him ride in our mini van because of the dog hair he constantly shed.) He even visited the arch in St. Louis with us.
He probably thought he was in heaven when we moved to Arkansas and lived across from a field. Tony would take him over to the field to play fetch with him. After three years in Arkansas, his age was showing. Fetch was starting to be a thing of the past, though he would still eagerly chase flashlight beams.
While we were in Arkansas, our first two children were born. We couldn't of asked for a sweeter dog. We have pictures of all the children on top of him. He didn't mind one bit. I do suppose he was a little relieved when we stopped bringing babies home every year and a half once we had our third and final baby.
By the time our third little one was born, we had moved back to the same state we started married life in and Buck was beginning to slow down quite a bit.
Aside from all the shedding and one rather expensive tooth extraction, he was the best dog. He even managed to almost win over a friend who is terrified of dogs. I don't know that she ever really liked him, but she at least wasn't scared of him!
As we got busy with the kids, we tended to give him less attention leading to some guilt on our parts. Still, he had it made. Three young children mean you get lots and lots of table scraps. In fact, he got so many that he could be choosy about what they offered him. As he got older, we got more and more lenient on what he could have. Lucky dog!
He continued to slow down and started losing a lot of weight. It was the beginning of the end.
On Sunday, we made the tough decision to have Buck put to sleep. Something had changed and we couldn't let him suffer.
Tonight, Tony took him to the vet and held him as Buck left for good.
You know, I never really understood how people could grieve a pet so much. After all, it isn't a person, right? True, but Buck was part of our family and he was part of what made our home, home.
We'll miss him. Thanks Old Buddy for a fun ten and half years!
This afternoon, as I emptied Chris' backpack, I was again reminded that it is indeed still March. His teacher had some leprechaun fun with the preschoolers in the days leading up to St. Patrick's Day. Part of this fun involved a naughty little leprechaun named Patrick who kept visiting their class and making a mess right before they arrived to school. My little man ate it up and loved telling me the things Patrick had done.
Well today, I pulled a paper out of his bag that was titled "How to Catch a Leprechaun." His teacher had obviously asked the children how each of them would catch a leprechaun. Then, she wrote down the words. This is how Chris suggested catching the naughty little guy:
"I'd make a trap. (He is big on building pretend traps right now with our next door neighbor boy.) Nets and a vacuum. The vacuum and the net would catch him and he would go into a hot pool and then he would go into a desert. He would find water and drink it and would be okay."
I laughed out loud reading this and knew without a doubt that his teacher had captured his thoughts word for word.
Also, I loved that the leprechaun would ultimately be okay. He has a tender heart hiding underneath that tough boy exterior. I just love, love, love that little boy! I even love him when he acts like a naughty little leprechaun!
Early in the morning, on the second day of March, my three year old awoke with a horrible stomach bug. Within a week, the bug passed through our entire family. Less than a week later, another virus worked its way through our family. So far, I'm the only one who avoided that little bug.
All things considered, I can't complain much. We're all doing well now and the weather is supposed to be fantastic the rest of the week. Tony took this week off and we're ready to enjoy Spring Break.
Still, the first half of March was enough for me to take back my love of March. Call me fickle, I don't care.
I guess it's true what they say about March coming "in like a lion and out like a lamb." The good news is, March is half over and that means we should be approaching the lamb-like side of March. I thinks that's definitely something worth smiling about!
1. It is not January.
2. It is not February.
It has been a long, cold, and snowy winter. I can handle the cold and the snow, it was the gray skies that about did me in!
But today begins the month of March and I am happy. The skies were blue and the temperature reached the upper 50s. It's hard to complain about that!
In fact, this afternoon marked my first walk outdoors in quite some time. I've walked my daughter to school only a handful of times since Christmas break and today was one of those days. The wind was colder than I expected, but we didn't care. We were all so happy to be out in the fresh air.
I had another chance to walk this afternoon. I had some books on hold at the library and realized that my youngest daughter and I had time to walk to the library before my older two got home from school. So I loaded up the stroller with Jane and her four baby dolls (yes, four!) and we were off.
As I walked, I happened to notice some stubborn ice slowly melting in the shade. It may sound silly, but I felt rather smug as I walked by that ice. At times this winter, it felt like spring would never arrive. Yet, spring is just around the corner. It's such a wonderful season full of hope. I used to think that fall was my favorite season, but now I just don't know. I may be switching my allegiance to spring. At least until September!
Happy 19 days until spring!
Therefore, it surprised me that I was so laid back in my approach to potty training my children. Truly, I read very little about it, which isn't like me at all! I just went with the flow (oops, bad word choice!).
It also surprised me that for a mama who was so nonchalant about the process, I sure had a lot to write about it! You can read my tips here.
And, for the record, you can be laid back about potty training and still have all your children trained no later than two and a half years of age. I promise!
Meanwhile, we spent our time enjoying or at least trying to enjoy many, many snow days and several bitter cold days. We got into the routine of driving rather than walking to school. In fact, today was the first day we walked since before Christmas Break! Spring can't come fast enough.
Perhaps my favorite part of all the snow days was the extra time I was able to spend reading with my children. We read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a week. We celebrated finishing the story by baking cupcakes and watching the old movie with Gene Wilder. It was such fun! Little Jane has been walking around pretending to give everyone golden tickets. It's too cute!
The other thing I loved about all the snow days was the time my children spent getting reacquainted. They spend so much of their days in school that their time for free play together is limited. It was special to see them play together and use their imaginations. For the first time, Jane was truly in the mix as a nearly equal playmate.
Perhaps Jane was able to join in so well because she recently turned three. There is something about the time around a birthday when kids just start to act a bit older. Perhaps there is a secret memo that kids get that parents don't see? Anyways, little Jane is every bit the three year old and that is good and challenging!
For the past few weeks, Jane has been waking up just before six o' clock. This isn't much fun, but it is hard to complain when you hear a cheerful voice calling out, "The sun is shining!"
And so life with three still somewhat young children continues. It isn't getting quite as easy as I'd hoped it would be three years ago when we had three children three and under. However, I love them more everyday. Cheesy, but very, very true.
We were wondering how there was any left to spill or even eat. Maybe it all slipped out through that cute front-toothless grin!
A few minutes later, after he described it to me, I realized he was asking for his Silly Putty. Tony and I laughed and told him what it was really called.
"That's okay," he said. "I'm still going to call it Slappy Joe," he informed us. And, he did.
It was a small example of his easy confidence. His determination has made him quite an adventure to raise, but I have no doubt, that with God's help, that little boy will do great things.
Don't be too surprised if one day you hear people everywhere calling Silly Putty "Slappy Joe." You'll know it started with a silly little boy with a big heart and a love for all things goofy.
- Stuff myself onto the bottom shelf of the pantry.
- Tie the shirt I'm wearing to the kitchen drawers.
- Pull myself away from the kitchen drawers and call it "magic."
- Ask questions about everything.
- Make my mommy laugh.
And, if he'd made that list today, he could have checked everything off including number five multiple times. I guess you could say he had a productive day.
I have to admit that it made me smile when I saw Ann rush over to Chris and whisper something in his ear. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were planning to do something naughty.
A few minutes later, I was upstairs and noticed the bathroom door was shut and I knew Ann and Chris were inside. I told Tony, "They're up to no good in there!" He opened the door and told them to come out.
They both rushed into Chris' room and started laughing. It turns out they were "experimenting" with their mouthwash. They mixed the two different kinds and even tried adding water. Chris also mentioned that he tried putting hand soap in his and he didn't like it!
The only discipline I could muster was to tell them that it was being wasteful to use the mouthwash that way. It's hard for me to be too upset when I see them having such a good time together!
It's long been a question of mine as to what makes siblings close friends. Anytime I see mine truly enjoying each other, my heart melts. It's quite hard to discipline when your heart is so soft!
Today, he asked, "How do baby's get out of their mommies' bellies."
Choke, cough, raise my eyebrows and wish he had asked my husband this question.
So, I did what I usually do in such situations. I asked, "How do you think they get out?"
I then sat there with a smug little expression waiting for him to tell me his creative answer.
No such luck. He replied, "I don't know." Darn!
"Well, God makes mommies bodies so that the babies can come out," I said and then thought, "Please, please, please be satisfied with that!"
Again, no such luck.
"But Mommy, where do they come out?" He persisted.
"Out of a hole that God puts in mommies' bodies," I reluctantly elaborated.
"Where is the hole?" He innocently asked.
Repeat the whole choke, cough...scenario from above.
I weakly, but truthfully answered wishing I had invented some elaborate story instead.
Then, never in my life have I been more grateful for Chuck E. Cheese. Never! We happened to drive by it and my little man became so distracted that I was off the hook! For now.
Now, can you blame me if I'm a bit nervous to get in the car with him again?!
That sweet boy of mine strikes again!
Each week leading up to Christmas, Chris brought home a different Christmas book from the school library. He told me it was because he knew I would like them. It's true! I really like Christmas books and the heavy box I just stored for next year is proof!
Due to snow days, today was the first time he got to go to the school library since school started back after the long break. As I was going through his backpack, I found a book about penguins. He made this week's choice for his big sister who loves penguins.
Who knows, maybe next week he'll brave checking out a princess book for his little sister. At this rate, that kind of sweetness wouldn't surprise me.
Little man, our family may be crazier with you, but it's also much, much sweeter. We love you!
So, the other night when I found myself dancing with the kids, I asked Tony to take a picture. He did and now I have proof that I know how to play!
It might not be a great picture, but it makes me smile. It also makes me think that while we don't necessarily need more pictures like this, we certainly can never have enough moments like this!
Ann kept her promise and we were both happy to learn that everything but the leotard fit perfectly!
Just before I tucked her in, I noticed that she had her new top out to wear in the morning. I told her that I'd like her to save it for school on Tuesday. Then, I quickly became grateful I wasn't eating or drinking when she responded to me.
"What? You want me to be hot?" She asked.
For a moment, I couldn't speak. How on earth did she know what being hot meant? And more importantly, did she want to be hot? Did she think I wanted her to be hot? What had just happened?
Finally, I was ready to reply, but before I could, Ann said, "I will be because it has a hood you know."
Oh, she meant hot as in temperature! Whew! I took a deep breath and continued to tuck her in for the night. My little girl was wearing a tiara and a princess nightgown and all was once again right with the world. And it will continue to stay that way as long as I have several more years before one of my girls wants to be hot without sweating!
Then, if you happen to mention that another one of your children has become much less aggressive toward other children, that same child might headbutt one of their children in the nose.
Fortunately, I also learned tonight that you should shut your big mouth before all three of your children make you look like a liar.
Most importantly, I was reminded tonight that keeping a sense of humor while raising children is a pretty good idea. Make that a VERY good idea!
I recently put my oldest daughter to bed after reading to her for nearly an hour. We both got caught up in her book, Changes for Samantha. It was our last book in the series of the now retired American Girl Doll Samantha. I thoroughly enjoyed the extra time with my girl who spends most of her days at school. As a mom of three young children, this was a luxury and one that didn’t come without a price! (Read the rest here.)