Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yep, I Am THAT Mom....

 
On Tuesday, I wasn't able to go volunteer in the boys' classroom. I forgot to email 1 of the teachers to let her know. Yep, I am THAT mom.
 
On Wednesday, we showed up to AWANAS not wearing pajamas........on pajama night. Yep, I am THAT mom.
 
On Wednesday, I told the 5 year old to not say mom again.  After he continued to say it at least 3 more times, I told him the word mom sounded like scratching a chalkboard. What can I say, it was late and it had been a long day. Yep, I am THAT mom.
 
I don't remember when, but one day this week I was the last parent to pick up my Kindergartner. Yep, I am THAT mom.
 
Last week, I noticed the 5 year old did not wear socks to school. I didn't notice til I picked him up....Yep, I am THAT mom.
 
I think the 3  year old went without underwear at least 3 days this week. Each time I didn't figure it out until the middle of the day. Each time I did nothing about it. Yep, I am THAT mom.
 
Yesterday, I let my kids watch and eat whatever they wanted for about 2  hours after school because I was "playing" on the computer. Yep, I am THAT mom.
 
Today, I got caught up talking to a woman at bible study. My child was the last one left in his room. Yep, I am THAT mom.
 
And all of that was just this week.....
For someone who is trying to focus on the little things, I sure miss a lot of details. Often my kids clothes don't match, they don't have socks or if they do they may not be a matching pair, sometimes they don't wear underwear, they always (well almost always) have their teeth brushed but the same is not always true for their hair, I forget sports practice times and sometimes important school events (thank God for the iphone calendar), and by the time I clean out my car you could practically live in it.
So Yep, I am THAT mom.
But you know what my kids are okay with that.
And I think I am finally too.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Remember or Forget?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I wish someone would have told me the honest truth about parenting. Truly I wish they would have kept all the stuff about pacifiers, breastfeeding, crying it out, sleep training, and natural remedies to themselves and just given me the simple truth. Someone should have said to us, "Parenting will be full of embarrassing moments. You will be more embarrassed than you've ever been......time and time again. You will never do anything harder or more important. Just remember to love and forgive, yourselves and them.....OFTEN."


Okay, I have active little boys and maybe that makes us more prone to embarrassing moments. However, I have some honest friends who have shared some of their embarrassing parenting moments and so I'm pretty sure it's not just me. But why doesn't anyone tell you that along with being sleep deprived you will also be subject to some very humiliating moments?  My theory is simply this.....we forget. I think part of parenting must be like childbirth. There are parts of it that you just simply forget because they are too painful to remember; like the terrible 2s that can last until their 4, or the sleepless nights when they are newborns, or the stomach flus that last for weeks because they just spread from one family member to another. In the moment that it's happening it's the worst thing ever but when it's over it can quickly dull to a distant memory.....like childbirth. You remember it hurt like hell, at some point it felt like the pain would never end, but then that sweet baby was handed over to you and THAT is the moment that remains engrained in your memory.

I want to remember.
And by remember I don't mean being able to recall the big milestones such as; when they got their first tooth, when they started walking, or what age did they start calling me mom instead of mommy (yes that is a big milestone to me). But instead, I want to have an accurate recollection of what it was to be their mother. Some days I think it's the best job God ever gave me and others I'm not quite sure he chose the right person. At times, I am congratulating myself for a job well done and then there's those moments where I feel a complete and sudden urge to immediately enroll in a parenting class because of my motherly inadequacies. I want to remember all of that.....I think.

A friend and I have a joke that when people our age were kids that kids must have been so much easier. Babies seemed to sleep through the night, children didn't talk back, no one had any sleeping issues, we rarely hear of temper tantrums, picky eaters were just not allowed, and how many times do you hear older moms say, " Oh, so and so never did that. " I know we live in different times but kids are still kids. They are going to push their limits, get crabby, and so forth.  I NEVER want to be that person who says to a younger mom, " Wow, you must really have your hands full." Instead, I always want to be that person who remembers what it FELT like to have my hands full.

But just how much do I want to remember? Are some things better off forgotten? I mean this is one of the main reasons why I blog, so that I can remember motherhood.....in all of it's gloriness and goriness. But are there memories, like the pain in childbirth, that should remain a forgotten memory? And if so, which memories do we treasure and which do we conveniently allow to escape into the black abyss of forgetfulness? And is it a conscious choice? I don't think so......but maybe it should be.

Something happened a few months ago that has triggered this kind of game in my head. Remember or Forget? And it kind of makes me laugh. It makes me laugh because at the time, what happened seemed so horrible that I thought I'd never forget it but then a few days later I had forgotten it already. I have all these memories that have flooded my head, most of them embarrassing and I have been thinking do I want to remember that or let it become blurry where it won't seem as bad as it really was. And as I go through the list, most memories I choose to remember. Well, that's mostly true. The moments that you can look back on and laugh about are easy to remember.  But it is the moments that were not funny, moments that were sad or where there was forgiveness needed either by the parent or the child that are not so fun to remember. Or scary moments when children were hurt or sick, those aren't all that fun to remember either. But I'm working up on drudging them all up because like I said, I want to remember this season of my life in all it's authenticity.



pour your heart out
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ONE WORD

I did not choose this word. It chose me....


January....January....Good old January....In this month I usually have some type of New Year's Resolution, goals I'd like to accomplish or at least a direction that my life should be heading. However, this year with change on the horizon I simply didn't feel like it. Decisions to make, decisions to be made for us, just felt like I didn't want any added pressure. Then a few weeks ago I went to MOPS and I saw this flier about how this woman chooses one word each year. No promises for how you're going to do better, how much weight you're going to lose, or what financial changes you're going to make........just simply one word that you can embrace for that year.

I loved this idea! In fact I loved this idea so much that my overachieving self told my husband that we were going to do this as a family and we should choose a new word for EVERY month. After sitting with that idea for exactly one day........ I changed my mind. The point of this was to simplify and I was setting myself up for more work. Forcing my family to partake in my word, having to choose a new word every month, blah blah blah. Scratch that idea. One person, one word, one year. Simple enough, right?

Determined to find the perfect word, I began a list of words or areas that I thought could use some extra attention in my life.  Some of the words that came to my mind were choices, strength, truth, encourage, patience, listen, joy and the list went on but none of these words seemed to click.  Then I realized I was trying to be in charge and it really wasn't about where I wanted to go this year but where God chooses to lead me.  And so I prayed. Sometimes, many times, we may not like what God has to say.

I had written the rest of this post explaining how my word came to find me. Then...... I deleted it all. 
Too hard to explain all the details so here goes the short version..... about a month ago, I had a dream. In the dream there was a bible verse and it spoke about being strong and courageous. After that dream this particular verse seemed to appear everywhere. It is actually the same verse that is on my FB cover because like I said I have been inundated with this section of the bible. Since I was drawn to this verse I had this discussion with God about how I really didn't want to choose any of those words; strong, brave, or courageous. Even though those seemed to be the words he continued to nudge at me. I simply told him that those weren't fun or exciting words and he must have something better in store me. I prayed that through my bible study he would reveal a better word.....a word that I would be excited about, one that would make me feel inspired. I was sure that I was misunderstanding and that soon I would have just the perfect word. Thing is, you can't really argue with God. Five minutes into my bible study and there in my homework I was being asked to look up this same verse again with these words.....Be Strong and Very Courageous...
 
Uggh.....there it was AGAIN. Really? Really God? Do I have to be those things? If I have to be strong and courageous does that mean bad things are going to happen? Does it mean I have to do things out of my comfort zone? Just how courageous are you going to want me to be? Then for a day or so, I thought maybe just maybe I didn't want to do this "one word" for the  year anyways. That my original plan was better, no resolutions, no goals, keep it simple.  But then the word kept popping up even more.  And so out of obedience, I will embrace this word and see what it has in store for me. But I have to tell you, I am not super excited. I'm a little nervous and I'm not sure how someone who doesn't feel very brave is going to take on such a powerful word.

And so the word I will focus on for 2013 is
P.S.  This "One Word"  thing is actually a big deal.  People have written books, blogs, articles, etc.  on this approach to embracing one word for the entire year. If you haven't heard of it before, just google it, you will see lots of info. on it. If you've never thought about it, think about it. What one word would you choose to guide, inspire, and influence your new  year?


Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Safe Place

Last month, a man walked into an elementary school and took away innocent lives. Sweet, sweet innocent lives of young children. It is so incredibly disturbing to me. Almost a month later and it still just weighs heavy on my heart. On Christmas, I imagined those poor parents and families whose children were not there to open their gifts. The stockings that were hung and never needed to be filled. Parents who didn't get to hear the pitter patter of  little feet before daylight or see their beautiful faces when they opened up their gifts. For those families, every Christmas, all holidays, everyday life as they know it is forever changed.

And where did this horrific event happen? At school. A place to learn, a place to grow, a place where we send our children to everyday, a place that is supposed to be safe.  For some children, school IS the safest place for them to be. When I taught in low income schools, many children had more security and felt safer at school than they did at home. And yet now my kids go to school where they are actually locked inside their classroom all day long and only their teacher is allowed to answer the door. I am not knocking their security, I am grateful that the school is going the extra lengths to make sure my children are safe. But how sad is that? .....that  I am actually grateful . Grateful because my children sit in a locked room at school for their protection just so someone can't come into their classroom and gun them down while they are learning their math facts.

And then today close to our community, there was another school shooting. Another child shot while at school. Another teacher injured while trying to protect students.  And all in their safe place. What is next? Are our schools going to end up looking like the airports' security system?  Will there be metal detectors and random pat down searches?  Do we need to offer programs on Bullying along with How To Avoid a Shooter? Is this the future for our schools that once offered a place of safety? 

I don't understand how we got here.  I don't pretend to have any answers as to how to make it better. And I don't want to argue about gun control, how to treat mentally ill patients, the catastrophic causes of bullying, or which part of society is most to blame. It's not that I don't have opinions on these topics or that I don't think they are important or relevant to these situations. But sometimes people get so caught up in arguing their point of view, defending their beliefs, and trying to prove the other side wrong that it results in more division. On these issues, many people take such a strong stance and then they refuse to see it from any other point of view. It ends up becoming more important to be right than to be empathetic, than to acknowledge the severity of the tragedy that has occurred. This just causes more hatred, selfishness, more divisiveness, and hence more tragedies.

The more I thought about how devastated I was in our schools' safety  and what the future may hold for my children, I realized that maybe they weren't actually as safe as I thought  and perhaps maybe there is a bigger picture of safety to be seen. Although I had seen schools as being a safe place, I bet there are a lot of children and grown adults who would disagree. Lots of things can happen to our children when they are out of our presence. At school our children can be bullied, made to feel inadequate or not as smart, feel left out, get berated by someone at the school, be treated unfairly, or be in an unsafe neighborhood where there are constant fights. I am not pretending that those things are  nearly as unsafe or deadly as shootings. However, I just realized the importance of helping our children to find their own safe place in a very unsafe world.

We send our children into a hazardous world every day. These kinds of incidents can happen anywhere, they do happen anywhere; movie theaters, malls, front yards, etc. We can not put our children in a bubble and protect them from physical or any other kind of harm. I can be cautious (without being paranoid) and teach them to be cautious as well. But all I can really do is pray for them and teach them how to find a safe place to go within themselves when things become scary and difficult. I hope that I can help my children create their own safe place by loving them unconditionally, teaching them to stand up for what they believe in while not degrading others for their own beliefs, and raising them with a faith so strong that they will have an immense sense of peace when nothing else is peaceful.










Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Problem Solving Afternoon

One of the things that gets my heart racing more than anything is when my children have been quiet for longer than 15 minutes. Then to make matters worse, you call their name and in return you hear complete silence. If you are a mom of boys or of toddlers, I'm sure you understand. But I truly have found that this situation usually does not end well. Things I have found at the end of that deafening silence have been;  children who've locked themselves in bathrooms, paint on carpet because someone decided they wanted to paint, diaper cream covering their little bodies (more than 1 child has done this), a child who actually left the house and tried to walk to the big boys school, broken toilets from toys being flushed down, and the list could go on.

The other day, I was busily cleaning the kitchen in between doing endless loads of laundry. I assumed the little boys were playing in their playroom, because that's where I saw them last and since they just got new toys from Christmas you'd assume that's where they'd want to be. One should never assume anything when dealing with little boys......that is usually the first mistake. Anyways, after putting in a load of laundry I went back to the kitchen and realized I hadn't heard them in awhile. Little boys play loud, so even when you can't see them you can almost always here them. Then I called for them. Nothing.  Deafening silence. No giggles, no wrestling, no fighting, no whining, no crashing noises....nothing. Walked the house, went to every room and called their names. Not a peep. Garage door was closed and front door was locked (I have learned from past experiences). Next,  I went to look out the windows that oversee our backyard. And of course, there they were.

At the top of the play structure stairs, I saw Landon. And at the bottom stood Carson. In between them,  I saw a miniature toy slide. This must be the boy mom in me because the first thing I did was burst out laughing. They were so funny to watch, they were trying so hard to figure out a way to get that slide up the stairs. I had no idea why they were even trying to get the slide to the top of the play structure.  These two little guys who have a complete volatile love/hate relationship were working together. I just wanted to keep watching them to see what they were going to do next.

After about 15 minutes they decided that they needed to change their plan. So together they tried to carry the little slide to the bottom of the big slide. 
 
This slide can't be that heavy where it takes 2 children to carry it!




 
Now they were going to try and push the little slide up the big slide in order to get it up top. First, Carson tried on his own. But his feet just kept slipping down the slide so he wasn't going anywhere.  He continued to do this for another 10-15 minutes or so. I couldn't believe he wasn't giving up.


Landon must have felt bad for his brother because then he went over and tried to push Carson up the slide. He must have thought he was strong enough to push Carson and the little slide up the big slide.

I love this picture because it looks like Carson is trying to push with his face.
This is what I call teamwork!



 





This is how they eventually got the slide up to the top. Landon climbed up the stairs to pull the slide from the top. Landon pulled and Carson pushed. Little problem solvers!!


And all of this hard work..... ...........just to make their slide just a little bit more adventurous.

That afternoon, I could have informed the boys of all the dangers in what they were trying to do. I could have had them stop immediately. After all, I was busy and needed to finish cleaning the kitchen. I could have given them a lecture on the safe way to play on the slide.
But I'm really glad I didn't and this is why:

 TEAMWORK: They are able to work really well together. Somewhere along the way, they've learned that teamwork really does get the job done. If you've ever seen them fight, you would understand how amazing this is!

 PAUSE BEFORE REACTING: My first instinct when I saw them was to go tell them to stop. After all, it looked dangerous and someone could get hurt. Knowing our boys, someone would get hurt. But by watching them from a distance without interfering, it allowed them to use their problem solving skills in order to accomplish their task. They tried more than one approach, worked together, and accomplished their task by not giving up. I know it's silly, it's just them playing on a slide but in that afternoon they learned more about working together than I could have taught them if I tried.

After they went down their "new" slide once, I did call them over to the window and told them to take it down. This is Carson sulkily walking away.






Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Year of 2012.......

I'm not going to lie, I'm so ready for a new year. I was so completely done with 2012. Then yesterday morning I woke up and realized that there wasn't  anything particularly exciting to look forward to in
2013, I was just simply glad the year before had ended. I am usually an optimist, most of the time hopeful, love new beginnings, and clean slates but yesterday I  just couldn't quite pull off the positive spin. Felt kind of grumpy, and was saying to myself, "Well, now what?" So since I couldn't find a particular thing to look forward to this year and I wasn't inspired or motivated to make any New Years Resolutions, I thought I'd reflect back on the year that I was so anxious to forget.

My reflection started with asking the husband to tell me one thing good that happened to us this year. He started stating things like no one broke a bone, no one in our family had any hospital visits..... Then I stopped him and told him I was grateful for those things but that he was just listing the bad things DIDN'T happen this year but could he think of one really good thing that happened to us this year? He couldn't think of anything off the top of his head. And I couldn't either, besides some fun family visits we had with our families. And then I realized, once again I missed it. In my pouting and in my search for "the happy times" or the "big moment of 2012", I had simply forgotten what was really important.

The big moments don't define us, they don't define our year, they don't get to determine whether the year was a disaster or a success. But instead it is the little moments, the ones that happen right in front of our eyes, the things that go unnoticed, the little things that would be forgotten if we didn't make the effort to retrieve them from our memory.
Those are the things that I wanted to focus on.


CARSON'S MILESTONES

video
Learning to ride  his bike with no training wheels!!

Carson started Kindergarten this year & although I can't say it's his favorite place to go he is doing well ;) It has been quite entertaining for all of us watching him adjust.


NATHAN'S MILESTONES
This particular child of mine just simply inspired me this year. He jumped right out of his comfort zone and tried new things. He ran for school office, won 3rd. place in oral language, is playing basketball, and took an important step in spiritual obedience and was baptized. Of all the people in our family, this was his year!
 

LANDON'S MILESTONES

And the baby of our family made sure that mom learned lessons in patience. He's really good at teaching those kind of lessons.......
                         
He continued to be a ball of energy, learned more about his food allergy, and is potty trained (on most days...) This child is going to take on the world some day, until then we will all try to keep our sanity.

Always testing the limits...........


ALLERGY AWARENESS
Our family made growth this year in how to be advocates for Landon and his allergy. I do feel like we've been able to help educate others on severe & life threatening allergies.  I am hoping that participating in the FAAN walk will become a yearly tradition and that all of us will continue to advocate on his behalf and on behalf of other children who have life threatening allergies. There are some ways that I would like to increase awareness in schools & other places and maybe this will be the year to try and put some of those plans into action.


FAAN WALK 2012

HEALTH & ILLNESS
The Year of Green Smoothies




This year has unfortunately been a year for illness and some medical mishaps, trust me we've got the medical bills to prove it.  In the early Spring, I spent about 6 weeks really sick. But of all the things that happened this year, this may have been the best. It forced me to look at how to keep myself healthy and made me realize that I could no longer put everyone else's health above my own. In order to take care of my family, I had to make sure I was taking care of myself as well. This is a lesson that I'm constantly revisiting.....






FRIENDSHIPS


This seemed to be an important year for friendship. The value of friendship in a woman's life is inexplicable. I have never been a person with many friends but instead a person with a few close friends. This is still very true for me. But I think this year, I have found how encouraging one friend can be to another and also what it means to really be there for someone. There were times this year that people really came through for me, not just in their thoughts and with their words but through their actions. I will be working hard to pay that forward this year. I have been blessed with so many beautiful friendships this year.



EXTENDED FAMILY TIME
This year started crappy, ended kind of crappy, but  I think the in between made it worth it all. We had one of the best summers we have ever had. And this was simply because we spent lots of quality time with our families. My family was here for a few weeks in June and then we went to Utah for a visit with Curt's family. All of those summer memories we will treasure for a long time. I am missing being close to family and hope to create more family memories this year.


MOMMY AHA MOMENTS...
I think of the mommy aha moments as all of those moments that no one ever saw a picture of, the news that didn't get into your "newsfeed" and all those private moments where you just grew or learned something new about yourself. For me, a big one was that God created me to be the mother of these three beautiful boys. He gave them to me and me to them. There is no one else who can do it better because he specifically called ME to be their mother. So this is the year that I will try to shrug off those mommy insecurities. Yes, I will make mistakes. No, I will not be perfect. But I refuse to focus on my imperfections and how someone else may do it better. Instead, I will learn from my mistakes, rely on God's guidance, and pour out unconditional love over my children.