Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tis the Season of Hope......

I have been wanting to write. I have been needing to write. Because writing is like therapy to me and I guess I'm in some need of therapy. But I have been too tired, too busy, pregnant, not pregnant, and engulfed in the holiday season. What a whirlwind of a month!

I would have to say that November and December were like a roller coaster ride that you couldn't wait to get on, couldn't wait to get off, wanted back on, and then wish you never rode. The month has been full of emotions from surprise, joy, excitement, grief, sadness, appreciation, and most importantly hope.  At the end of it all, I'm sure there are some life lessons to be learned and I truly believe all things happen for a reason. However, I haven't been off the ride long enough to be able to decipher all of that yet.

In November, we found out that we were expecting our 4th. baby. Expected, unexpected, planned, unplanned............could be explained as all of the above. That my friends is kind of a long, personal story. But when you have a hard time conceiving babies (another long story) and you are convinced your hormones are out of whack and you are in perimenopause, you find yourself pleasantly surprised when you are pregnant with your 4th. child. It doesn't matter that the 3 you already have are all high energy little boys or that financially it may be a little tight. It doesn't matter that you may have to rearrange some things in your home or that your return to the workforce may be delayed. It doesn't matter that you may not sleep for the next year or two AGAIN or that you may need to purchase some items you thought you wouldn't need anymore. And it doesn't matter how many people are surprised at the news, although it took awhile for me to accept that one. Why doesn't any of it matter?Because your heart has immediately grown larger to make room for the baby you will one day hold, love, and call your own. Your heart has already made room for a new addition. When God allows us the privilege of creating and bringing another human being into the world, you can't help but feel hopeful. There is hope for new beginnings, hope for things to work out just the way they're supposed to, and hope to do better.... to try harder.

A little less than 3 weeks ago, I had a routine doctor appointment. Routine. That's kind of a funny word because there's nothing routine about life. I think it's when we expect "routine" that we get the unexpected. Before I had my appointment with the Dr., I had to meet with the nurse and the billing lady to discuss all the insurance info. Therefore, I spent the first hour and a half filling out forms, collecting magazines, baby info., deciding what tests I would and wouldn't do (mostly wouldn't), and even choosing which hospital I would deliver at.  After two hours of being at the doctor's office, I was finally called in to see the doctor. Weight check, blood pressure, pee in the cup, wait in the room for 20 minutes.....all the standard pregnancy check up procedures. But what wasn't standard was that I was in my 2nd. trimester and when the doctor put the small, cold metal doppler on my tummy.......he couldn't detect a heartbeat. He tried for a long time and I prayed for the sound I had heard a million times before with my other babies, but there was not heartbeat to be heard. The Dr. immediately sent me for an ultrasound but I already knew the truth. Seeing my baby on the ultrasound with no heartbeat was only confirmation of what my heart already knew........ our family would not be getting a new addition after all. On that day, I left the doctor's office with a stack full of prenatal and baby information but with no hope of ever bringing my baby home.

There are dark times in every one's lives. Times when things are just difficult. But I truly believe during the darkness there is light to be found. For us, the baby was a light. It was something our family was looking forward to. And when we had to adjust to the news that our baby wasn't meant to be, there was darkness. But there was still light to be found. Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't immediately looking for the good in this situation and I know there's a reason for everything but I don't even pretend to know what that is. I spent the first day or two close to my bed and not wanting to see or talk to anyone. But by the third day and thereafter I could see the hope, I could see the light. Of course, I have a strong faith and I know that God has a plan for me and when things go wrong I trust that he will see me through. It is incredible the peace that God can provide during difficult times if you choose to rely on him.

We are incredibly blessed to have supportive friends and family. My family received flowers, gifts, cards, encouraging phone calls, and messages. A few people messaged me and shared their own stories of miscarriage and loss. People also gave us space, they weren't overbearing and they gave us space and time to heal. Neighbors and friends brought us meals and most importantly people just genuinely cared. They hurt because we hurt. I think I was mostly touched by people who shared their stories. I think there is so much to be learned from sharing your story. They went out of their comfort zone to let me know that they knew how I was feeling, that they understood, that they were thinking of me because they understood the pain.  I simply believe good things happen when people share a piece of themselves, especially when it is to offer comfort to others.

Anyways, I was devastated when I found out about the baby because it was Christmastime and we had already told our children. I just felt like this was a really crummy time for something like this to happen, not that there is ever a good time. But I LOVE Christmas. So to navigate through the pain during my favorite season at first felt like a daunting task.  But then as the days went on, I realized that this was the perfect time for something like this to happen. It is a time for giving, a season of hope, and a time to be thankful for what we already have. And trust me if you're feeling bad, the best way to make yourself feel better is to do nice things for other people. Christmas isn't about the presents on Christmas morning. I am hoping that when my children are grown they will not remember what presents they received each year. Instead I hope they remember; the  family traditions, the fun things that we did, the year they truly understood the meaning of Christmas and what the birth of Christ means for them, how exciting it is to give, and most importantly how to keep Christmas in their heart all year long.

I don't know what's in store for our family. I don't know why this happened. But tomorrow morning when I go back to my doctor's office for the first time since we received our sad news, I will try to remember that good things can always come from bad, beauty can come from ashes........we just have to lift up our heads, wipe our tears, open our eyes, and move forward.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


About a week ago, I opened my facebook messages and started laughing out loud when I read one of them. The message was from a friend asking me for advice/ideas on how to make healthy lunches for my kids' school lunches. Why was I laughing? I was laughing because on this particular day I was planning on taking my children out to lunch. And the reason for taking them to lunch was not because I wanted to spend time with them, although that was definitely a PLUS! But I was taking them to lunch because I didn't make their lunches and because I was too tired to go grociery shoppping that week to make sure I had enough food for their lunches. So on that particular day my kids ate; pizza, root beer, and candy from a vending machine. Not exactly what I would consider a "healthy lunch".

I just thought this was ironic because sometimes we may have misconceptions of others. I try really hard to feed my kids healthy but I know other people who are WAY better at it. I try the best I can but sometimes my kids eat pizza, hamburgers, fast food, candy, or soda. Eating healthy has not always been a priority in our home, in fact for my oldest son and my husband I still don't think it's a priority. But I do the best I can with the resources and the time that I have. It is expensive and time consuming to make healthy meals and snacks. I am not great in the kitchen and so it makes even extra work for me. However, I'll keep trying because it's important to me but I know there will always be room for improvement.

I did give my friend a list of meals, snacks, and resources that I use. However, I don't know if I really gave her any info. that she didn't already have. But this little incident made me feel better. If someone could have a misconception of how "healthy" I feed my family then I am hoping I have misconceptions of others and their "parenting skills". Sometimes we look at other moms and say things like, "she is so patient", "how does she do all of that", "her house is always so clean",  "she always seems so put together", or "where does she get her energy". But then we get to know that mom or meet someone who knows her better and we realize that she is only as superhuman as the next mom. We are all just doing the best we can in whatever circumstances we have been given.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Nutty World I Live In: The Way I See It

I've been wanting to document what our lives are like to live with a child who has a life threatening food allergy. There are things in our lives that are just not "normal" due to Landon's allergy. I've been meaning to get it down in some form or other so that we can remember because I know it will change as he gets older. My intention is to give him more responsibility, little bits at a time.  I truly believe the best way for us to keep him safe will be to teach him how to keep himself safe. Sometimes I focus on the things that are difficult for us; the lengthy label reading at the grociery store, the birthday parties where we bring our own food, the 20 questions we  play with waiters when we go out, our other kids miss out on foods that they really enjoy, etc.  Sometimes I do a pity party and feel sorry for us, sometimes it's just plain stressful. And then I really started thinking about it. What must it be like for him? What does having a life threatening food allergy feel and look like to a 2 year old?  I tried to put myself in his shoes, and this is what I came up with........

Peanuts. What is a peanut? I don't even know what one looks like but my mom says if I eat one it will make me sick and I may stop breathing. I don't know what stop breathing means but I know being sick is no fun. These things called peanuts must be in a lot of foods because I see my mom hold up food boxes and read the long list of words on the side. Then she will either say no you can't have this or it doesn't have any peanuts. I wonder if this is why she is gone FOREVER when she grociery shops. Must take a long time to read every word on all the food that she brings home for us.

The worst thing about being sick by peanuts is that birthday parties aren't always as much fun for me. One time we went to a birthday party and it was so much fun.  We got to jump on the bouncy houses and sing Happy Birthday. But then they cut the cake and started handing it out. But my parents told the mom in charge that I couldn't have any. At another birthday party, they had this thing that they kept hitting with a bat and for some reason all of the kids were standing around with bags. They looked very excited. When the thing broke, candy flew everywhere and all of the kids started running for the candy and putting it in their bags. I wanted to run for the candy too but instead my mom just picked up a few pieces off the ground and gave them to me. She said those ones were "safe".  Not all birthday parties are bad though. One time, I went to a birthday party and they had made special cupcake just for me. And then there was the time where my mom had baked the cupcakes because there were other kids who get sick from peanuts. Me and the other peanut kid ate mom's cupcakes. But the rest of the kids ate big pieces of cake that were from a bakery. I don't know what a bakery is but I know mom says we can't go to them. She says they're not safe.

Another thing that's not so great about this peanut thing is eating out. I love to go eat at other places but we don't eat out as much as we used to. Usually mom and dad have to read the menu first. When we go to a food place, mom or dad usually ask the person who comes to our table a lot of questions. Sometimes the people are really nice to mom and dad. They answer all their questions and we get to stay. But sometimes the people don't have the answers or maybe they're not the right answers and then we have to eat at a different place. One time, we ate at a new place. Mom and dad were so happy because they actually used separate utensils for my food but mom still made my big brother get the shots out of the car. She said she was nervous because they served a dish with a peanut sauce and peanuts.

Shots. They call my shots, epipens. I don't really know what they are for. I only know that mom carries them in her purse and in my diaper bag. If she forgets them she will go back home for them. I'm not supposed to play with them but sometimes I get them out of my bag and try to open them. Mom says they will hurt me and not to play with them. I hope she never has to use them, especially since she says they are like a shot. I know shots hurt. I had to have some shots recently. They put two shots in my arms. Mom kept telling me they were almost done but it took forever. She told me that the dr. was  going to make sure that no other foods will make me sick. I hope that after those shots the dr. doesn't tell mom  that I'm allergic to anything else. That will just mean more foods I can not eat.

Sometimes I feel bad for my brothers. They can't eat the fun foods either. My oldest brother went to my Mimi's house alone for a week and he got to eat lots of foods with peanuts. He was very excited about that. I feel bad for them, but I know sometimes they sneak the fun foods without me. After I go to bed at night, my dad takes them to this donut place. I know they wait until I am in bed because I can't eat donuts from donut places. Mom's donuts taste pretty good though. We don't really eat at ice cream places either. They talk about cross contamination, whatever that means. Sometimes they let me go to this frozen yogurt place but they get really stressed out about it. Dad has to hold me the whole time because there's all these yummy candies and snacks and if he lets me go he thinks I would go grab them and shove them in my mouth.  He is right, I would totally grab them and shove them in my mouth...I tried it once. Other people put those candies on top of their ice cream but no one in my family is allowed to.  I am only allowed to get vanilla flavor.  But I heard mom say we might have to find a new frozen yogurt place because now that one serves peanut butter flavor.

Sometimes, my parents just act weird about stuff. Like we went to this party. Well I don't think it was a party because everyone seemed kind of sad. But there was lots of different kinds of food there. It looked  yummy! My dad just stayed right by me the whole time. He never let me out of his sight. If I tried to go in the house, my parents ran right after me. I wasn't able to sneak any of that yummy food that was laying all around the house. Then there was that time we went to the park. We brought our food, I think big brother called it a picnic.  We laid out our blanket and then all of a sudden dad started freaking out and we had to go sit all the way on the other side of the park. They said something about peanut shells.  I just saw these little brown things all over. I wonder if that's what a peanut is? It doesn't look like the bright orange candy wrappers that mom says I can't have and she says those are peanuts too. There was also this time when my whole family went to a baseball game but I stayed in the hotel with my Nana. Nana is really nice and we had fun but I wish I knew what happens at a baseball game. I did get to go to a circus once but my allergist told my mom that wasn't a good idea so she says we probably won't go again.

My mom talks about me going to school sometimes. She says she is not sure if I will go to school. That she will have to make sure it is safe enough for me. My brothers go to school. Sometimes I get to walk with them there in the morning. It looks like a fun place. I hope that I get to go there too. I wonder how mom will make sure it's safe enough for me. I bet she wonders that too.
Because peanuts make me sick, I can't eat all of the fun food. When I really want something I just tell them it doesn't have peanuts but they don't always believe me. My parents make me wear a special sticker and bracelet to church. It helps to tell other people that I'm allergic to peanuts. I like to take the bracelet off but mom gets mad. Maybe when I get bigger like my brothers I will be able to eat the fun food. That would be nice.

This is me the very first time I ate peanut butter cracker.  I didn't really like it, so I only ate a little. My mom tells me this is when I was looking better, after I had a little bit of medicine.  This was a scary day for my parents.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Love Your Neighbor

Love Your Neighbor.

Love your neighbor, not just the ones that are nice to you, bake you cookies, and lend you things. I'm blessed with neighbors like those, they're easy to love....

Love your neighbor, not only the ones that actually live in your neighborhood but the neighbors that live on the "other" side of town.

Love your neighbor, the unloveable ones who yell at their kids, are rough with them, and leave them unattended most of the time. And while you love on those neighbors, be sure to love on their children too.

Love your neighbor, the ones that do not go to the same church as you.

Love your neighbor, the one who doesn't go to church at all.

Love your neighbor, the neighbors that speak in a way that make you want to cover your childrens' ears.

Love your neighbor, the one who would NEVER vote for the same president as you.

Love your neighbor, the neighbor that drinks too often and too much and has difficulty finding their way home.

Love your neighbor, the ones that tell stories behind your back when they think you are not listening.

Love your neighbor, the neighbor who borrows money and "forgets" to pay it back.....more than once.

Love your neighbor, whose skin may be a different color.

Love your neighbor, the one who you can not understand because they speak a different language than you.

Love your neighbor, the neighbor who can fit all of his belongings in a shopping cart.

Love your neighbor, the one who looks like he spent time behind bars.

And love the neighbor who actually is behind bars.

Love your neighbor, the ones who have been orphaned or abandoned.

And this is a hard one, love the people you don't even like. The people who are unkind, who have built walls so high that you don't even want them to let you in. Love on those neighbors who have a chip on their shoulder so big, that you can see it a mile away. Yep, whoever that is you're picturing right now, love on them too. Most likely they are the ones who need it the most.

It is easy to love those who are just like us. Easy to love those neighbors with whom we share common backgrounds, values, and beliefs. But God says love your neighbor and we don't get to choose which ones. It is simple, love them all. Love your neighbor, even the unloveable ones. Sounds so easy but yet it is the most difficult thing we may be callled to do.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.”


Monday, September 24, 2012

Still Being Brave.....Part 2

I told you there were lessons in winning and in losing. And once again, I was the one learning the lessons.
And tonight I told my son that he worked hard and he deserved to win but that a lot of kids probably deserved to win. But sometimes there can only be one winner. However,  if we take the lessons that we learned and apply them to our lives, we can still be winners!

Try Anyways:
Yesterday, my oldest son told me. "Mom, me and this other kid do not have a chance." From the beginning of this whole school election process, Nathan did not expect to win. He knew the other kids. He knew they had a lot of friends and had been on the student council the previous year. He knew his chances were slim. But he never let that deter him from trying his best. He still worked hard on his poster and on his speech.

The odds are often against us in life. Give it your best effort and TRY ANYWAYS!

Don't Let Others Get You Down:
Over the weekend, he also told me that there were some kids telling him that they weren't going to vote for him because they would be voting for another boy. When asked what did he say when people told him that , he said, " I just tell them I don't care. I don't care if I win and then I walk away." ......And then I walk away. What wisdom! Imagine if we were all so smart as to just walk away when people say hurtful things to us.

People will be unkind. TRY ANYWAYS.

Face Your Fears:
Do something you're afraid of, it is a great way to build self confidence.

Be afraid and TRY ANYWAYS.

Be Hopeful:
Although Nathan was pretty sure he wouldn't win his election, he had hope. He would say things like, " I don't really care if I win but it would be nice if I did." He had hope. He prayed on it and he was hopeful but he was okay with either outcome. In life, sometimes situations seem hopeless but hope can give us peace and a positive attitude.

Be hopeful and TRY ANYWAYS.

Know Your Fans:
In life, if we choose to be brave then we should expect to win some and  will lose some. The important thing is knowing your true fans. The people who are by your side no matter what, those are your true fans. During his election, Nathan had friends who told him they would be voting for him. He ran against one of his good friends and instead of them being competetive about it, they just embraced the experience. And of course he knows we, his family, are his true fans. We are celebrating for him today. No he didn't win but we are so proud of him because he is our winner. We are celebrating his bravery, his hard work, his courage, and his great attitude towards it all. We are his fans, when he loses and when he wins. Isn't that what it is to be a parent?  And in life isn't that what it is to be a good friend.

I asked Nathan if he would consider running for an office again next year. This is what he had to say, " Yep. And next year, I bet you I can get my friend (don't want to say his name) to run with me. I bet I can talk him into it." So not only does he plan on continuing to be brave, he plans on dragging others along with him......including his mom.

Here is a short video of Nathan giving his speech

Friday, September 21, 2012

Being BRAVE.....Part 1

About a week and a half ago, I reamed my oldest son. You know when you just feel the ultimate need to lecture them and let them have it, whatever the "it" happens to be at that moment. Sometimes it's deserved and sometimes it just happens to be the time of month where you are hormonally unbalanced. I think in this situation it was a little bit of both.  Deserved and....well the other.

Our oldest son happens to be one of those people who doesn't always perform to his potential. He likes to do things that come easy to him and if something is going to take a lot of work and practice, he really isn't that interested. He has started different sports and activities and hasn't really stuck with anything for a long length of time. So on this particular day, I was having a "talk" with him about doing "hard things". I was explaaaaining to him that often things don't come easy and we have to practice and put in hard work in order to get better at them.  And I was strongly insinuating that he didn't like to do things that were even a little bit hard. He probably just heard blah, blah, blah! I honestly didn't think he was listening to me at all. He was looking at me as  if he couldn't wait for me to stop talking. And his silence seemed to say, "If I don't say anything she will stop talking and this will be over soon."  Not my proudest mom moment ever although some of it needed to be said, could have been done a little better.

Anyways, I didn't think he was listening. But that night he went out to dinner with my husband and this is what he told him. " Mom told me I don't like to do hard things. She says I don't try things that are hard."  Geez, that made me feel real good." OUCH! So then I felt horrible. Of course, I began replaying in my head what I had said to him and imagining all of the therapy he was going to need in order to undo the damage I'd caused to his self esteem. I made a mental note to myself to try and remedy this "situation", meaning I wanted to lessen the mom guilt that I was feeling. But it was late at night and the next day flew by with all the busyness of mom duties and I just never got around to it.

I do not know how much, if any of that "lecture" led to the following events. I only know that my son went on to do some very hard and very brave things over the next week. You see he had been wanting to run for the school elections. You have to pass a test in order to run. Last year, he didn't pass the test. Not because he wasn't capable but because he didn't study enough. Our "talk" happened to be the weekend that preceded this test he was supposed to pass. On Monday, he took the test. On Tuesday morning, he found out he passed the test. On Tuesday afternoon, he came home from school to tell me that he would be running in the school election........for President.

For President?
This is the same kid who last year wanted to run for the position the least amount of people wanted because it would give him a better chance of winning. The kid who didn't pass the test last year. The same kid who is frightened to speak in front of large groups of people. THE KID who wanted to throw his class spelling bee on purpose because it may require him to be in front of lots of people. Now don't get me wrong, he is not shy but he is not what you would consider outgoing either. He doesn't want anyone to catch him being too different and he likes to blend in.

So over the course of this week, he has spent a weekend creating a poster to hang.  He gave up a lot of his weekend time to work on his poster, without any complaining (which is a big deal). He asked us if we would get him a shirt.  For the first time....he wanted to stand out. He spent free time after doing homework working on a speech, again with no complaints.  He thanked us countless times for helping him with his poster and his speech.  And on Monday, he will give a speech to half of the school at an assembly. He is being brave.

Great! Right? My "talk" must have really hit home. Nope, I don't believe so. I believe that my child has always been brave, I just needed to take a different perspective. You see, he has tried many different things. He has tried the guitar and various sports. Maybe he needs a little work in the area of perseverance but brave is trying things that are new, things that are hard, and things that make us uncomfortable.  Sometimes we find weakness in others that is not there because it is the weakness we we see in ourselves. It becomes the filter through which we see things.

Nathan doesn't expect to win, although he says, " It would be nice."  There is a girl running and he is positive all of the girls will vote for her and the boy votes will be divided among the 3 boys. Not only is he brave, he is smart. He already understands girls and politics,,,,ha!ha! But he is brave because he is putting himself out there anyways.

Anyways, if the 10 year old can be brave then so can I. Once again, I tried to teach my child a lesson but instead he has taught me. What areas am I being brave? What things am I not doing because they may not work out the way I expect them to? What am I afraid to try because I may fail? What makes me uncomfortable? Well, I have some of those answers.....I'm just not quite brave enough to share them yet. But I do know last week, he inspired me to do something out of my comfort zone and I think it's going to work out quite nicely.
So here's to being brave.
And it's only Part 1 because there's got to be more  lessons to learn......whether you win or lose.

And I think this says it all....


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


1. n; the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness.
2. n; truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness.
3. n; freedom from deceit or fraud.
We begin telling our children at a very young age not to lie. Most people value honesty and try to instill that particular value within their children. We encourage them to tell the truth and that the consequences will be less severe if the truth comes out before a cover up story, otherwise known as a lie.  Honesty is not only vital in a  parent-child relationship. There are so many other relationships where expectations of honesty exist such as employers, spouses, friendships, etc.
So my question is, if honesty is important enough for us to  instill in our children then why are we constantly showing them dishonesty?  I don't mean that we are lying to them purposely. But when we look at the definition of honesty it not only consists of being truthful,  but of being.....sincere and frank.  So although, we may not lie intentionally to those around us..........are we truly displaying honesty? Are we being sincere?  Are we being forthright with how we feel and what we know/feel to be true? No, for the most part, I think not.  I believe that most the time people are not honest due to fear of judgement and disappointment, disappointment that comes from others. Because for some reason it is in our human nature to judge others.

Often, when you tell people something or share something personal someone will say, " I thought I was the only one who felt that way, " or " I'm the only person I know who has been through that".  There is no way you're the only person who has felt that way.  I've found time and time again, after sharing personal information with people that they have had similar situations or they can totally relate to how I'm feeling or things I've been through.  God has used people over and over again in my life to help in tough times and vice versa.

Often people are not displaying honesty by being sincere and frank with one another. They are only showing others what it is they want them to see. Take Fakebook for example (Facebook), a social media website where people can share their "status" or show pictures of their families or loved ones. Now, I love facebook, it's an easy way for me to share pics and what's going on in our lives with family members that live far away. But sometimes doesn't it seem like your "friends" lives are so much more exciting. Like they're always on vacation, their kids are always smiling, their spouse is wonderful, and the list goes on. Yet is only a snapshot of what people want us to see. Trust me, you might see the cute pinterest project I made but you are not going to see the huge mess that it left behind, or the destruction the toddler caused while I was creating it. You know when you log into your Fakebook account and at the top it says "What's on your mind"? How fun would that be if for one day, everyone actually put what was truly on their mind. I bet it would be surprising, or maybe not. Maybe it would just be surprising that so many of us have more in common than we thought. Perhaps most of us would have the same worries, concerns and issues. Today, my "honest" status would have said something like this, " Toddler woke up on the wrong side of his mattress.  He has been driving me crazy all day; making messes and crying over every little thing." or " I can't wait for my husband to come home so the 2 year old will have someone else to torture."

I'm not saying everyone should over share, which sometimes I tend to to do. There is a place for privacy and certainly there are things that should be kept close to our heart. But I love it when people are just plain honest. I cherish those moments when people are transparent.  I believe it is in these moments that true friendships are formed. When people let their walls down and tell it like it really is, it is an amazing opportunity for us to relate and to help one another. I feel incredibly blessed to have women in my life who love me for who I am. Friends who know I'm not always patient with my children, who see my house when it's at it's messiest, who know my fears, can see my insecurities,  and have that knowledge of yucky stuff from the past......The friends who know if I'm eating cream cheese frosting, I've probably had a pretty crappy day ;) I am so thankful for the people in my life who have let down their walls and created a safe place for me to take mine down as well. Anyways, maybe next time you're not sure if you should share something or let someone know how you're really feeling; give it a try, maybe it will be the beginning of an "honest" friendship.......

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Read or Don't Read......

I haven't written in forever...........this is due to a combination of MANY things such as an incredibly busy summer, everyday busy life with 3 very busy boys, etc.  And although there have been many things on my heart, I just haven't had the words to say what it is I want to say. I sat down to write a few times during the past month but the screen remained blank each time. So instead of writing on my blog, I wrote in my childrens' journal or went on to some mundane chore such as laundry or whatever else needed to be done around the house.

As this week went on, I just had an urgency to write something, anything. It was then that I realized part of my so called "writers block" was stemming from the fact that I would be writing something that I would allow others to read. For some reason, I was thinking of who would read it,what would they think and so forth. And then I realized it didn't really matter. Sometimes many people will read what I write and other times almost no one reads what I write.  But I started this blog as a way to slow down and pay attention to what is happening in my life and my family's lives. Hence, the title.....In Front of My Eyes. I chose to share my blog with people who could either relate or family because it is a great way for them to keep up as many of them live far away. Some family members find our lives entertaining....I think entertaining in that way where it's funny as long as it's not happening to you.

Anyways, it's time for me to put my fingers to the keyboard again. Not because I think I'm a good at writing, not so that others will know what is going in our lives, not because I like to over share or because I care what others think. But I need to write again because to is therapy. Some people like to run or exercise to relieve stress or  help themselves feel better. I like to write.  It's the best tool I have for expressing myself and it allows me to hold onto memories that would otherwise fade away because let's face it, sometimes we're just too busy to stop and remember.

So  I could write and just keep it to myself, that would be the safe thing to do. No one to judge my decisions, my parenting, my thoughts, or well my writing. But although it can make you feel vulnerable, it can also be very freeing. So here it goes, maybe you'll read sometimes and maybe you won't, maybe you'll think I'm crazy, and maybe every time I write a post you'll skip over it. Or maybe you'll be able to relate to some of my insecurities, our family's struggles, my good & bad decisions in parenting and so forth. But read or don't read.......I've got to get back to my therapy :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What Moms Really Want

What do mothers really want for Mother's Day? It is the one day a year, where everyone stops to celebrate mothers. The day is all about them and they are pampered, showered with gifts, cards, and attention. But are mothers getting what they really want on Mother's Day?

This post will most likely resonate with mothers of young children. And after reading this you will either 1) think that I am the most selfish mother that you know, 2) totally agree but most likely wouldn't admit it to anyone, or 3) you can relate but not really because your children are angels or older and not requring quite the same demands that younger children may need.

On Mother's Day...... my husband will most likely make me a fabulous breakfast, write the sweetest note in a card that he has already bought, buy me flowers,  make my kids be nice to me, and cater to my needs for the day. I know it sounds fabulous. And honestly it is! But I think there are some things that Mothers would love to have and they are inexpensive and overlooked.

Once again, maybe this is just for those moms who have little ones still at home. But how many moms would love to have just 30 minutes of peace and quiet. And I'm not talking about nap time because anyone with little kids knows nap time is the time you wait for all day that is short and sweet in which there is a lot to accomplish such as make dinner, clean up, do laundry, pay bills,or make phone calls. I am talking about real alone time where you can read a book (one without large pictures and print), sit in the sun, journal, or just do nothing. Hey this could be 30 minutes of talking to a friend or family member on the phone. Seriously, maybe it's just going to the bathroom without someone pounding on the door or slipping their little fingers underneath.. Uninterrupted alone time can be priceless........especially when you're a mom.

Okay so I know how the sayings go......Messy Home equals Happy Kids, Excuse the Mess My Children Are Busy Making Memories, etc. It's not that I don't agree it's just that most moms I know ARE happier when their house is in some type of order and fairly tidy. However, between making meals, cleaning up after meals, tending to childrens' needs, doing laundry, working, attending sports/recreational activities, and other social events there can be little time for cleaning house. I'm sorry I have to admit, I LOVE a clean house! But I have had to recreate my defniition of "clean" in order to squeeze in all my other motherly duties and so that my family wouldn't have to listen to my constant nagging. But how many mother's would love to wake up to a clean house on Mother's Day......without having to do any of the work herself? And I don't mean a tidy house, I mean really CLEAN like when the floors are mopped and you can't see dust on the endtables or TV screens. Maybe it's just me but a clean house would rank right up there with a diamond necklace, okay most people who know me know I don't even like jewelry but you get the point. A clean house would be a pretty awesome gift!

When your hubby or your child writes in your Mother's Day card, I am sure that they will thank you for being the best mommy ever. And I am more than sure that it is sincere. But what I think many moms would like to be thanked for are all of the things that we do daily that go unnoticed. For cleaning up puke, for getting up for the third time in one night due to bad dreams or nursing babies, for preparing and planning most meals for the week, for folding and putting away laundry, for ensuring homework gets turned in on time, for trying to figure out the best way to discipline and praise her children......All of these things moms do just because it is our job. But most moms I know would love to hear that all of these little things do not go unnoticed. Aren't there things that you do as a mom that you  just feel go completely unnoticed? I bet if someone said thank you for that "unnoticeable" something it would be one of the best gifts received.

This is usually one gift that I do get to receive on Mother's Day. Although I am convinced mom's need it about once a month. My husband becomes the mommy on Mother's Day and it is fabulous! For one day, to not have to cook, clean, make decisions, or meet everyone else's needs. To not be in charge of anything for a day is fantastic. I love being a mom but being a mom is a hard job and just like with all jobs, sometimes you just need a day off.

Okay so this seriously might just be me. Most people don't enjoy running errands. Being able to go to the grociery store, Target, or the post office without getting kids in and out of carseats and without listening to the persistent whining of what kind of treat they want is about as peaceful as it gets. I know I can't be the only one who runs out to Target or the grociery store at night when their hubbies get home just to get a little bit of quiet time for the day. Don't tell my husband, although I'm pretty sure he already knows.

I think last but not least what is important for moms is....girl time. A good old fashioned GNO, is always a fresh breath of air from motherhood. The only other thing I find more refreshing is a hot bubble bath with the door locked. My friend and I have discussed how nice it would be to get away for Mother's Day. However, it's Mother's Day so of course we want to spend time with our families and our children. But there is that small part of us that would love to just get away from it all......a real day off from the demanding job of being a mom.
    Now, if  you've read this post and think that I don't enjoy being a mom and don't consider it an honor to call myself a mother than you've misunderstood. I love my children, have prayed for them to come into my life, and have made many changes to be able to have more time with them. But I do find it to be an exhausting job that requires some rejuvenation time every once in awhile. So this Sunday, I will enjoy letting the hubby be the mom for the day. I will not cook or clean and I look forward to a great family day. However, I am not lying when I tell you that  I am also looking forward to next weekend ...........  when I will enjoy a girls only trip - 2 days of rest, shopping, laying out at the pool with a good book, and some good old fashioned "girl talk".


Friday, April 27, 2012

Who Needs Talent Anways?

A few months ago, I was really struggling with my lack of "gifts". Some people have been blessed with a beautiful voice, musical talent, or maybe they are able to work magic with a camera.  Then there are others who run marathons, have the gift of teaching, or those who can garden, cook and/or bake. Or there's people like my husband who can build something just by seeing a picture and fix almost anything that needs fixing. Now, that is a valuable talent around our house! However, none of these skills seem to be my area of expertise. The only time I  sing in front of others is at church because it's so loud that no one else can hear me and God doesn't care that I can't carry a tune to save my life. Musical talent....nada, I learned how to read music in college because I was forced  to in order to pass a class and I can't remember any of it now. I am unable to  run a block without running out of breath, and we all know where my cooking and baking skills stand. Gardening, well let's just say that I have one plant in my home and it appears to be alive..... on most days. With hard work and when I apply myself I can be an effective teacher. However, I wouldn't say it is my natural god given gift like I truly believe it is for some.

I was struggling because my "gifts" just didn't seem obvious.  I didn't want to be really great at something so people would notice. It had absolutely nothing to do with wanting others to say, "Hey, you're really good at ......." .  I just wanted to have something to contribute to others. It was more about simply wanting to use what natural abilities I had been given in order to make a difference. I know it sounds corny but I swear it's true.

This constant focus on me analyzing my so called natural  "gifts" caused me to feel a little depressed.  It is human nature to want to be naturally good at things.  Okay, so maybe it's not human nature but it is MY nature.  I kept telling my husband how I felt. He, of course, being a man wanted to solve my problem. I just wanted to vent and he just wanted me to make it better. He would try to encourage me to get involved in things or he would say,  "You're good at lots of things."  Although, when I asked him to name them, he really couldn't come up with anything specific. I remember once he said I was good at saving money and using coupons. Seriously? Not really what I wanted to hear. Even if it's true, how is using coupons and saving money helping anybody?

But like so many other times my big aha moments do not come from adults.  Instead  my  little lightbulbs are often times turned on by my children.  My oldest son had overheard this conversation between my husband and I on more than one occassion. After overhearing us talk, he  came up to me and said something that really changed the way I was looking at the situation. And all he said was, " Mom, you're good at anything you want to be good at."

".......good at anything you want to be good at." Not only was his answer simple, he was more right then he could even possibly know. For whatever reason, I don't have a lot of natural talent in any specific area. However, I have the strong will and determination to figure out how to be good at something if I want it bad enough. When I decide to do something, I will figure out a way and I will learn everything so that I can do it well. I've been a good student all my life and I guess that hasn't changed. When we found out our littlest guy had a peanut allergy, I learned everything I could about it so that we could keep him safe. I consider it my duty to keep those around him knowledgeable so that  he is not at risk for a reaction. I keep myself current on new laws, foods, and other current events related to his allergy. I am good at......protecting him and keeping him safe (well at least when it comes to his allergy.....).  Sixteen months ago, I decided I wanted to be home with my kids and I wasn't enjoying my job. So I learned how to budget effectively and taught myself how to use coupons.  Prior to this, I had never used a budget or cut a coupon. I am good at ......using coupons, I save us about 200$ a month.  During the last few months, I became ill for quite awhile. I know nothing about eating healthy, I despise vegetables, and I had a serious diet coke addiction. However, I am learning how to be a healthier person so that I can give my immune system the boost that it needs.  I am now good at.......eating healthy. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate cooking with a passion. However, part of getting myself healthy involved getting my family healthy as well. I have cooked almost every day for the last two weeks and each meal turned out edible. I can't really say I'm "good at" cooking but I can say I am good at......providing healthy meals for my family.

So does this mean that I am so awesome because I learned how to do all of these things? No. I think the most important thing I got from this was that I'm not super naturally talented at anything in particular. But somewhere along the way I may have taught my children that you can be good at anything that you put effort into. If you care enough, take the time, and work hard enough you can learn how to do something well. So I hope that as I am forced to learn how to do new things, my children will watch. I hope they take notice that I struggle, it doesn't come easy, but in the end it's worth it!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dysfunctional IS Functional

I am not sure where this topic came from. Not exactly what I thought I'd be writing about after being sick for almost 6 weeks. However, healing comes in many forms and I think recently I'm extremely grateful and proud for the part of my background that is "dysfunctional".

Sometimes parenting can feel like you're suffocating from all the decisions that need to be made. It is so easy to become consumed by wanting to make the right decisions for our children. There are so many decisions we encounter on a daily basis and the decision making starts from before they're even born; to nurse or not to nurse, to spank or not to spank, to push academics young or to let them learn through "play", engage them in afterschool activities but how much is too much, forcing them to eat healthy foods or not forcing them in fear of creating eating disorders, giving them what they want without spoiling them while teaching them to work hard and earn the things that  they want......I'm sure you can add pages to this list. But truly, all most parents want is to raise happy and well balanced children who grow up into caring and productive young adults who contribute to society and are able to have healthy relationships. Sounds easy enough, right? ........Not quite. So see with all of the pressure and decision making to be done, we're bound to screw it up. It's just human nature. I have settled with the fact that I will mess up, make wrong decisions, and think that I am acting in the best "interest" of my children only to still make the wrong choice.

In addition to making all of the "right" choices, I think parents are trying hard to create "perfect" childhoods. It seems as if we want to expose our children to as much as possible. So sometimes that includes vacations we can not afford, unnecessary materialistic items, sports activities that consume family's lives, and so forth. Many people are trying to fix what was wrong in their own childhoods through their own children. This is not an insult. I'm completely guilty. I have parts of my childhood that I would never want my children to experience and of course I want to do everything in my power to protect them from reliving the pain that I experienced.   It is only a parent's natural instinct to want to  protect our children from adversity or pain. I'm just not sure if as a society we are taking this too far. What I mean is are we hurting our children by trying to protect them from life? Life isn't perfect so why do some of us want them to see it that way.  Many parents will remain married, "for the sake of the children" or some may hide family secrets related to drug abuse, alcoholism, or sexual preferences in order to "protect" the children. I'm not insinuating that we should give our children information they may not be ready to handle. However,  I do think that if we want them to grow up with the ability to handle real life we should allow them to see what that looks like before they are grown.

When I reflect on people I admire who are selfless, empathetic, full of wisdom, and involved in healthy relationships the majority of them do not come from your happy go lucky family life. Their family lives could be described as...... well  a little dysfunctional. What I'm really trying to say is that when I think of the people whom I admire most, they have generally had some adversity in their life. Their childhoods were not perfect, more often than not they come from some sort of broken home, and they didn't have the easiest road getting to where they are now. But yet it is that adversity or "dysfunctional" background that has allowed them to become the person they are today.

Am I saying that we shouldn't try our best to provide a well balanced, healthy family life with great traditions for our children?  No. That is not what I am saying at all. Do I think all children who come from broken homes and tumultuous backgrounds will always grow up to be great people? No, unfortunately that is not the case.  I am merely saying that it's okay to give them a peek at what "real life" looks like. It is all right if we  admit to them that things just don't always work out the way we want them to. Let them in on the adversity in your life, be honest with them, involve them in tough family decisions - a little bit of "dysfunctional" now may help them become more  "functional" as adults.

"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. "Horace

Friday, March 23, 2012

Love Is Not An Emotion........Love is An Action

As many of you know, I haven't been feeling well for the past month. I haven't been able to eat normally and I weigh about 108 pounds. I won't go in to all the details but I have been pretty sick. However,  I know that my body is slowly healing and I am feeling better each day. And even if we don't have all the answers I have faith that my body will continue to heal. But this post isn't about me or my health. Instead I felt deeply moved to write a post about how wonderful the human spirit is and how the support of my family and friends has been amazing.  It is undeniable that good things can come from unfortunate circumstances. And I am so grateful for the love that surrounds my family and I.

Love is not an emotion. But instead love is action. Love is expressed in the things that you DO and SAY.

Love is.......when people take time out of their day to bring your family dinner because you're not up to cooking.......5 days in a row

Love is.......when friends go to the store for you to get what you need and then don't allow you to repay them

Love is........when people help watch your children so you can get to dr. appointments

Love is ......... when family buy last minute plane tickets to come and help.

Love is .......when people allow their family members time away to help someone who needed help

Love is..........when people ask others who don't even know you to pray for you. Not just once but

Love is.......when people take your children for a few hours so you can regain some energy

Love is........when people send you flowers just to say they love you and they hope you're better soon

Love is .......when someone surprises you with a hair appointment when you really look like you could use one

Love is........when people buy you new clothes because well yours just don't really fit so well anymore

Love is .......when people go to God and pray for healing on your behalf

Love is .......when people clean your house because you don't have the energy

Love is ......when people make your kids breakfast and dinner and help you with laundry

Love is.......when people check on you daily just to see if you're feeling better

Love is.......when people go to dr. appointments with you to make sure your voice is heard

Thank you to all the people who have been loving on me. Love can be seen in small and big actions. It is so true that actions speak louder than words.  This last month has been a reminder to me, " What else can I DO to SHOW people that I love them? "

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Redecorating, Remodeling, Recreating.......

After settling with the fact that our home belongs to our kiddos, at least for now. The hubby and I decided to go ahead and give a little TLC to our bedroom. I have been looking at the same blue walls for 9 years and I don't even like the color blue. I'm not quite sure how the walls came to be that color in the first place and I've been wanting to repaint them for quite awhile but just haven't had the time.

As we've spent the last two weeks painting, redecorating, reorganizing, and creating our bedroom into the peaceful retreat that I want it to be; I've come to realize that's exactly what I've been doing with my life these last few months.  Redecorating and life.

Take Everything Out: Clear the Clutter
When  you redecorate a room, the first thing you  do is take everything out. You take things off the walls, maybe clean out the drawers, move furniture around so you can get to the walls in order to paint. Behind the furniture you find dust, dirt, and things you forgot you had and no longer use. Exactly what needs to be done when you need to clean up or "remodel" your life. When your life is so  full of clutter, so much so that you can't see what's important when it's right in front of you, when life is too crazy and busy for you to even enjoy it, it's time for a remodel.   A few months ago, this is exactly where I was. And so I began the process of "remodeling" my life. My life was  full of color coded calendars, conference calls, various meetings, constant phone calls, too much computer time, overcommitment and it was time to declutter. For every person, I think the process of decluttering is different. For me, it truly did consist of  removing almost everything that was "normal" to me  within my daily schedule. I won't go into all the details but there was some self discovery from all the "dirt" that was left behind from my decluttering. There were things that hadn't been tended to due to my busy schedule and when I say things I don't just mean tangible things.  When our lives become so overfilled with clutter we tend to neglect relationships, values, our homes, and often times our health.

Keep it or Junk It?
One of the most important steps when restructuring a room is  deciding what to keep. Usually after you clear everything out and take everything off the walls, you're actually just left with a bigger mess. It's at this point that you have to choose what's going and what's staying. I think this is the most difficult part because I think it's in our nature to want to keep things that are familiar to us. You have old things that you are accustomed to, things that you have invested in and don't want to get rid of, or maybe items that you want to keep but there's just no room or they don't go with your new decor.

A remodel or change in our lives can simulate this as well.  I wanted to keep everything, well almost everything.... I didn't want to keep the life sucking job. But more often than not we want to keep what is familiar.  It is difficult for people, especially women, to cut things out of their life. This is true even if there is not enough time in our lives to fit everything in. It is as if we have to fit in all the "mommy activities" whether it be helping in a classroom, schooling our own child, or helping with school projects as well as our friendships, our hobbies or "interests" so that we still have something "for ourselves", keeping the husband happy, jobs, house maintenance, church activities and the list goes on.

So how do you decide what to keep? For me, I realized I needed very little. You keep what's most important. You keep things that will be useful in your new "remodel".  It's so simple.....  you keep only what you LOVE. 

Modify What You Have and Make It Beautiful
You've decluttered and decided what to keep but some of the things you're deciding to keep will most likely need to be changed in order to fit into your "new design". Our room looks COMPLETELY different but do you know there are very few things in our room that are new.  We used the same pictures frames but painted them and used them in other ways. We painted all of our furniture and added little touches to things we already had in our bedroom or around our home. We turned a closet door into a headboard and sheets into curtains. Simply put, when you modify your life many times it consists of using what is already there and putting it to better use.

The Vision
Whenever we redecorate a room, I usually have a vision of what I want it to look like at the end. I think it's good to have some sort of idea of where you're going to end up. What do you want it to look like after you've made all these changes? And all throughout redecorating, it is essential to keep the end result in mind.  I believe in having a "vision" of what you want your life to look like, pray on that vision often, and as you make decisions make sure they align with your "end result".  For me, this is ongoing. I am being cautious not to over involve myself or my children. I say no to things if they will overcommit my time or my family's time. It is a careful balance of trying to create a new life that doesn't end up looking just like the old one.

Maintaining the New Look
The most difficult part for me is getting rid of stuff but maintaining the new decor is next in line. You work hard and get the room looking all nice and within two weeks it's a mess. There's laundry on the floor, things in the room that don't belong, dust and mess from lack of time and attention. Isn't this so typical when we try to make big changes in our lives?  We say we're going to do things different, we start the clean up and live that way for awhile and then within a short amount of time we're back to where we started. I don't know maybe it's because we didn't remove everything we should have or maybe we added things during our "remodel" that were unnecessary or our "vision" wasn't clear enough. Whatever the reason, often times we end up with a different looking room but we're in the same messy situation.

I'm still in the process of adding things back in and rechecking decisions against my "vision" and so I don't really know how to maintain the "remodel". My schedule will most likely overfill and at some point in time I will overcommit. However, there is one thing I know for certain and it is that I never want my life to look like it did before "the remodel".  It seems quite appropriate that at this point I am now looking at yellow walls instead of blue.....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Living with Boys

Girls and boys are different. Everyone knows that, right? I don't think I realized just how different until I had my third boy and everyone around me kept having more girls. There are some things that just seem inevitable if you live with boys. This list could go on longer but these are just the ones that came to my mind first. If you have boys, I think you'll be able to relate to the following and if you have girls you may be glad you don't have boys.......

1. The Bathroom

 If you have boys than you know that the bathroom is an ongoing battle. Or maybe your boys just have better aim than mine. I have sat in urine countless times. It doesn't matter that we've tried to teach them to wipe the seat when they miss, which is 95% of the time. And the pee that doesn't end up in the toliet or on the seat, inevitably dribbles onto the floor creating a yellow stain at the bottom of the toliet. By the end of the day the urine smell can permeate the entire bathroom. When I know someone is going to be coming over, I wipe everything down and hope the boys don't use it before the guest needs to. And when people come over unexpectedly and  ask to use the restroom,  I wonder if they can see me cringing inside as I say, " Excuse the mess, you know it's a boys' bathroom." I will never forget the time my mother n law came to stay. She brought me a washcloth and said," Smell this." It had a very distinct smell of urine but yet she had taken it from the drawer of "clean" washcloths. Turns out the 4 year old had been wiping his pee off the toliet seat with the washcloths and then putting them back in the drawer.  That story pretty much sums up what it is like to share your bathroom with boys. And I can tell you I'm not that excited about potty training the 2 year old because it's just one more person whose going to pee on my bathroom floor.

Image Detail
I need this sign for the boys' bathroom!

2. Noise Level: Redefine your definition of loud

They're LOUD. All of the time. Even when they're trying to be quiet.  Boys make noise constantly. They like the TV loud, they listen to their music at a high volume, and whisper is not even in their vocabulary. They can be doing something as simple as eating or playing with a toy car, but while they're doing it they're making noise. Almost every time we're in the car, I wish we had one of those windows (like the kind they have in limosines) that separate the driver from the passengers. Seriously, don't you think that would be a great invention for parents? Then you could actually have a conversation with your spouse in the car. If we try to talk to each other in the car it's like a cue for someone to cry, yell, sing, fight, or take swings at each other with objects even though they they don't sit right next to each other. However, at times, I find myself  immune to the noise. That is until I see other people staring at me. The glare usually means one of three things;
 "Aren't those boys so cute", " Really? You should have better control over your children.", or my favorite which people actually say out loud to me at least once a week, " Wow! You must really have your hands full." Please don't say that to me. Of course I have my hands full, I am the mother of 3 young boys. You don't have to tell me what I already know.

3. Become Inventive with BabyProofing

This may not be true for all parents of boys. But I have personally observed boys to be inquisitive, and mine happen to be extremely inquisitive. If there's a way to climb it, it will be climbed. If there's not a way to climb it, they will find something to use as a stool so they can climb it. And when I say something, I mean anything can be used as a stool. The two year old's current stool is a Sit and Spin.  You know the toy where you spin the top so you can turn in circles.  Not the most sturdy object to be standing on top of. If you think they can't open it, they probably can and if they're not supposed to touch it, they probably will and then they will take it apart and they may even try to put it back together. Two of the three boys required baby proofing such as locks for cabinets and door knob handles so they wouldn't get out. The first one got into stuff in a way that normal boys do when they are exploring their world and entertaining their curiousity. The second child, well he was just content living within his own world so he wasn't that interested in exploring ours. Now the third one is an entirely different breed of boys.  I think we should seriously consider hiring him out to babyproofing companies. One of his favorite things to do is take the baby safety outlet covers out of the outlets. We bought a fridge lock but he just breaks it off. After 3 different refrigerator locks,  now we just tie it closed with his pajama pant bottoms. Honestly, I don't think you can child proof for boys because you never know what they are going to do next......

4. Weapons

Anything can be turned into a weapon. We don't allow our children to have toy guns, besides Nerf Guns, and yet any object is bound to end up as a gun or something that shoots.  We also don't permit them to watch movies, cartoons, or TV shows with violence. But yet they still reenact shooting and fighting with their toys or in their drawings. And if a toy or object is not turned into a gun, then it will most likely be made into a sword. Because if they're not shooting people then they are hitting each other with some sort of object.

5.  The New Clean is ~ Slightly Dirty

They can be dressed and within 10-15 minutes they're dirty again. Either they've gotten toothpaste, food, or snot on their shirt. A boys shirt is a shirt, a napkin, and a tissue all in one. They own very few pairs of pants that don't have holes in the knees. Shoes last about a month and then they usually have holes worn in them. Brushing teeth, well let's just say that could be an entirely separate post. You may not know this but we really do brush their hair every day, well almost every day. But you can't tell by the time they leave the house. "Slightly dirty" as the new clean not only applies to hygiene but to how well they do chores. Remember the bathroom issue. Well the 9 year old is in charge of cleaning the bathroom once a week. Sometimes when he's done cleaning that yellow pee stain is still on the bottom of the floor.  Of course I make him redo it but I swear he thinks it's clean enough.

Despite all of these idiosyncrasies, I love having boys. For some reason, God gave me these three crazy, active little boys. They keep me on my toes and teach me more about the world around me than most grown - ups I know. Therefore, I will embrace the sword fighting, frog catching, and even the pee stained floor over the pretty bows and frilly dresses.