Thursday, April 25, 2013

Birthday Parties: Legos & Loved Ones

Birthday Parties.
We love birthday parties. Our children do not have birthday parties every year. We usually have them every other year or sometimes every 3rd year. For example, Landon has never had a birthday party. This year he will be four, he will probably have his first birthday party. This works for me. One year we have parties and the next we don't. And it's fair, everyone gets a party or no one gets a birthday party. Simple and fair. So when we get to throw a party, they're lots of fun. Of course, they're lots of work too but it's fun work so that's okay.

This year I realized that there will only be so many birthday parties to throw. As the 11 year old is already beginning to simplify his birthday celebrations and his next party will not be until he's thirteen. THIRTEEN, oh lord help me. Soon, I will have a teenager. Anyways, that's another story. But the 6 year old won't have another one until he's 8 and the 4 year old til he's 6 and so forth. So when I really think about it, there are not that many birthday parties left to throw. Therefore, I think it's perfectly fine to put all the energy, creativity, and fun into birthday parties as I can muster up!

Sometimes it's a little tiring as the two older boys have their birthdays only 5 days apart and they are not close enough in age to share a party. So for cost reasons and for sanity we usually have one early and one late. This seems to help. This year had some other challenges. With almost 4 different events to host all within a span of 5 weeks and with the husband being out of commisssion it just took some extra planning. And you see the thing is I'm horrible at asking for help. I won't ask for help. I didn't ask for help. But I was proud of myself because when help was offered, I was quick to take people up on their offer. I'm finding it takes a little bit of courage to let people help.  This mama is learning that I just may have some issues related to  pride and trying to do it all on my own.  I know, big shocker for you friends.

Anyways, the only point of this post is to say that I love all the little details that go into birthday parties. I love the planning, the decorations, the food, the decorating, the cupcakes, the kids, the presents, and all that good stuff. But even if all of those things turn out absolutely perfectly, the best part of a birthday party is watching close family and friends come together. I LOVE having people who are close to us all in one place at the same time. I think it's so awesome to watch our different friends and family mingle together. If it weren't for birthday parties, this may never happen. At Carson's party, I also thoroughly enjoyed watching him play with his friends (I wasn't quite sure if he had any, that is another post for another time).

Carson's birthday party and hanging out with family & friends afterwards were great reminders that our family has so much to be thankful for. And sometimes, just sometimes you need those reminders a little more than others. It may appear to others that we have a huge family support system or that we have tons of friends. The truth and reality is that we have very few family that is close enough to help and we do not have a lot of friends. But the people who step up for us, the people who show up, the people who lend us their helping in big ways, they really SHOW UP, and although they are not big in numbers they are STRONG and MIGHTY and feel like an army when they show up to help. Honestly, all I have is gratitude.

Lego Centerpieces for Tables


What 25 lego face balloons look like in your car!


Lego candy you can build with!

Because silverware is more fun when it's in a lego container ;)

I love him!

I guess Landon's job at the party was to eat all of the Fun Dips from the kids' party bags.......
Coloring Lego People

Fun in the water!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mom To Boys

For over 11 years, I have been a mother to sons.

A mom to boys.

But this week, oh boy, let me tell you this week I have been awakened to this reality more than ever.

Potty Talk~
Lately, one of our boys has been refusing to lift the seat up when he uses the restroom. Apparently, he thinks his aim is good enough. The other two have never even attempted to lift the seat. This results in me sitting on pee OFTEN. I about lost it the other day when I sat in almost dry, sticky urine for the second time in ONE day. When people come over, I have to make sure I go to the restroom and wipe it down, just in case..... I am thinking I want a GIRLS ONLY restroom. Seriously, we have two bathrooms and I am so close to banning them from one of them.
I don't even know if I want to share this whole story. Let's just say my six year old had some questions as to his anatomy the other day after he got out of the shower.  Of course, my husband wasn't home and so I had to handle that one. Fun times.....
I went for the correct terminology. However, my very literal son thought the slang terms made more sense.  Kind of hoping we don't have to revisit that one for about 5 more years.
Boys To Men~
The oldest had a "Boy to Man" meeting at school that he was supposed to go to. I assumed most parents would be taking their kids and so I sent my husband down to the school with him. The child was mortified and didn't want to go but I encouraged him and told him that his friends would probably be there. My husband said the parking lot was totally empty and so they kept driving and went for an ice cream cone. My husband thought he would address some of the things that would be covered in the class they just ditched. Due to privacy, I won't share this whole story either but oh my, sounded like they both left that conversation pretty embarrassed and uncomfortable. My husband said he never saw him eat an ice cream cone so fast! And so now tonight I am digging through a book titled, " The Body Book For Boys", that I had bought a long time ago. And we, the parents, are trying to figure out which parts we want to go over with him.  But yet, we both kind of just want to hand the book over for him to read. Sigh....
Anybody else have a giant sized battleship in their bathtub? Don't know how they snuck that one in there. I can't get in my shower without almost tripping over pirates or cars. Cars, cars, everywhere I turn there are cars. And where there are no cars, there are Lego's. Speaking of Legos, we are also tying up loose ends for a Lego party. Because boys want Lego parties. After Saturday, it will be okay if I don't see Legos for a long while. But I'm guessing that is not likely.
This week was just full of incidents of my boys being boys; burping, farting, catching them without their underwear on because for some reason they hate wearing underwear, watching them wrestle each other, turn multiple objects into swords or guns, and so forth. The littlest one had an extra surge of energy and orneriness and so this week I have felt inundated by testosterone.
But there are perks to having boys. Today I received an email from one of the boy's teachers. It was regarding dress code and it was mostly geared towards the girls in class. The teacher was just kindly reminding parents that spaghetti straps and halters were not allowed unless they were wearing a sweater. Finally, something that a boy mom will not have to worry about.........

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pizza For Breakfast

12:30 a.m I woke up just because. Checked on everyone.

2:30 a.m. Oldest had a bloody nose. He woke up the youngest and I laid with him til he went back to sleep.

4:30 a.m. Husband starts to snore and cough. Does not respond to my not so gentle nudges to roll over. I go to the couch to sleep for the remainder of the night or do you call that morning.

6:00 a.m. Middle child is awake for the day and finds me asleep on the couch. Turns on T.V. blaring  loud........ he doesn't know how to adjust the volume.

I fall asleep for about 20 minutes, praying no one else wakes up until 7. But that is about when the middle child insists on eating leftover pizza for breakfast. I tell him no, that's what is going in his lunch. He keeps insisting. I give in. Because giving in may mean just a little bit more sleep. He eats cold pizza for breakfast. I think I was too tired to notice. The youngest gets up about 15 minutes later. Sees his brother eating pizza for breakfast and wants the same. Fine, you can both have pizza for breakfast. But he wants his warm. Okay, time to leave the couch bed. Sigh. At this moment, I remember I was supposed to make these healthy blueberry muffins for breakfast that I'd been trying to make all week. I'm discouraged but think there's always tomorrow.

Get a text from the neighbor. I forgot to return the foil I borrowed and she needs it to finish baking an egg casserole for our MOPS meeting. Ooops. Send one of the children over to return it. The other child proceeds to throw a 20 minute tantrum because I didn't let him go. Get a text from a dear friend with not so good news. Say a prayer for her and her family and move on to finish dealing with the end of the tantrum.

It is now 7 a.m.
7 a.m. and I am already looking forward to nap time.  I haven't even made lunches and nobody is dressed but I am envisioning nap time when all will be quiet again.

The next hour was full of the same prodding for them to be ready on time and sibling rivalry that can happen on any given morning. Except that mom was a little more tired than usual, which means less patience.  Got the big boys off to school and the little guy & I got ready for our MOPS meeting. I'm in charge of bringing juice to MOPS, it's our turn to provide breakfast. No big deal, I bought the juice last weekend. Open the fridge to realize husband drank the juice. I told husband not to drink the juice but he says he didn't ever hear me say that. Big Sigh. Rant and rave a little about how I SPECIFICALLY said for no one to drink THIS JUICE.

It is now almost 9 a.m. And I was dreaming of the large cup of coffee that was waiting for me at MOPS.......

Every morning is not like this. But I believe most moms have moments like these. Maybe their kids didn't eat pizza for breakfast but I bet all moms have had those mornings when nothing seemed to go quite right or those nights when mom is up meeting every one's needs and so she is not sleeping. And on the way to my MOPS meeting, I just realized that so many of us pretend these moments don't happen. We go along with our day, pretending we weren't up all night, smiling as if everything is the same today as any other day. Maybe it isn't our children, instead maybe we received bad news or we are not feeling well. Yet, as women we go along with our day pretending as if everything is okay.  And yet I think this is a disservice to other women. Because what we see is......a woman who has it all together and we think to ourselves " what am I doing wrong", "why does it seem so easy for her", "how does she get it all done". And we beat ourselves up.

Now I'm not saying we should all be out there complaining about the hard work of motherhood. I'm just saying we should be honest. Honest with ourselves, honest with others. It is hard work, it is tiring, and some days are better than others.

So in the spirit of being honest. I let my kids eat pizza for breakfast today. I got mad at my poor sick husband for drinking my juice (dumb I know but that's what happens when you lack sleep), and I was wishing it was nap time by 9a.m. But chances are there are a dozen other moms who had a rough morning and may have been feeling the same way........maybe even another mom who let their kid eat pizza for breakfast ;)

Thursday, April 4, 2013


What? When did he start growing into a young man? Was I looking, was I paying attention? Once again, I feel like I kind of missed it.

My firstborn turned 11 this week and I think for moms some birthdays hit you harder than others. Maybe it's because all of my boys are growing up so quickly and we are leaving that baby and toddler stage far behind us. However, I'm pretty sure my husband would blame it on the boxes of pictures I was going through the other night. Overwhelmed by how little they were, how little I documented or remembered their younger years, and when will I ever get these pictures organized?

Nathan was born the day after Easter, on April Fool's Day, on his due date by a doctor who delivered him while wearing bunny ears. His entrance into this world was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

He celebrated his birthday this year 4 different times, it's just the way it worked out. But if anyone deserved to drag out his birthday celebration it is him. I used to worry up until very recently about the number of friends he seemed to have. And then I realized, I was only putting my own concerns onto him, like so many times parents do.  He is perfectly happy with his social life. And he is in many ways like me. He may not have the most friends but he seems to have very good friends. The kind you're glad your son chooses to hang out with. They say thank you, use their manners, and are nice to his pesty little brothers.

My oldest son is growing into a responsible and independent young man.  Many people do not believe us when we tell them about Nathan's toddler years. Actually, he didn't settle down completely  until he was in second grade. My grandma always said, " Mija, he will grow out of it. Just wait and see." I have to admit, I didn't really believe her. I mean he didn't just go through the terrible twos, he could have been the King of the Terrible Twos, The Testy Threes, and The Feisty Fours.                                     
Nathan insisted on baking his cupcakes all by himself. I didn't help him at all. Even though I was excited about frosting them, he wanted to frost them all by himself too. Not too bad!
I love decorating for bdays, holidays, etc. But Nathan is very practical. When I went to buy the special cupcake wrappers and the colored plates. He said, "Mom, it doesn't matter what plates we use. Let's just use what we have." It wouldn't have mattered to him if we decorated or not just to have a few friends over for a sleepover. But I think it made him feel special and let him know his birthday is special because I took the time to do it anyways. He really is a boy, he could care less what it looks like. But I think it's just fun for us moms. It helps us celebrate their birthday with them. And although it may not matter to him now, he will have the memories to look back on.

The table of junk food. I was worried the kids would eat all this junk and then be wired and never go to sleep. But they were so good. 

 ELEVEN this  year, TWELVE next year............ I feel like time is ticking away so fast. Like every day is one day closer until he isn't a young boy anymore but instead a young man. There's so much more to teach him. So much more spiritual guidance I need to give. So many life lessons he needs to experience. And yet I can't slow down time. So I'll try to remember to;soak in the special moments, listen when he wants to talk, make time just for him, and keep encouraging him to be independent.
May God help me parent him to be the person that he wants him to be.

Nathan is an amazing big brother.

Home but Not Home

This is my home.
But why then doesn't it always feel like home?

We moved to this town when we were 25 years old, with a new baby, and  dreams for a better future. We have lived in this town now for almost 11  years.   This house has been our home that entire time, minus the 6 months it was being built. We have spent the majority of our married life here.  And so it is our home.

But yet it is not. Or at least it, that is how it feels at times.

Our oldest took his first steps in the front yard of this home  a few days after we moved in. I always joked that he was waiting for more room so he could learn to walk. I can remember clearly the day we brought the 2 younger boys home from the hospital after they were born. I can recall rocking babies, nursing babies, tending to sick kids, and thinking on more than one it possible for our carpet to take more abuse? And every time I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. Paint, food, drinks, throw up, poop (yep even that), have infested our carpet time and time again. It's nothing fancy but it is ours. My home. My spouse's home. And my children's home.

But sometimes, more times than I'd like to admit, it feels like I'm supposed to be somewhere else.

Each and every room is like a package full of memories. I can sit in a room for a few minutes and memories inundate my mind. I see Curt and I discussing where furniture should go, picking out paint colors, me getting in the way of my handy man husband, arguing over exactly where to hang things, and me choosing difficult tasks such as painting a striped room with 4 colors or cutting down bookshelves to make them fit. Or the time when I had him make our headboard out of a door. The sandbox he built in the backyard when Carson was born because he got bored on paternity leave. There is not one part of this house that we have not worked on together. We have literally put sweat and tears into each one of these rooms. Our marriage turns a little love/hate when we do projects together. We are each perfectionist in our own ways. And so this house contains many reflections of how we've learned to work together and how our marriage has evolved.  And  even though we have lived in many other places together, this is the only  home our marriage truly knows.

Yet, there are times when I am driving toward my house and I don't feel as if I am going the right way. When we come home from out of town and I don't have that  sigh of relief, that feeling of home is just around the corner......

And then there's my neighborhood. I can not tell you how fabulous my neighborhood is. You truly have to live in it to understand. I am so blessed and incredibly grateful for my neighbors, location, schools, love it all!

And still, there's unrest.

I think there are many reasons why I feel this way. But I think maybe, although I am not sure, one of the reasons of unrest is because we are not from here. We are transplants from...well from almost a totally different world. But in that "other" world, we had history. We had family, friends that had known us since before puberty, places of reference. You know the kind of places you drive by and say, "Remember when . . . ".  And here our history started when we moved here. After we were married. After we had our first child. We have very few points of reference.

We had to start all over. When we moved here, we only knew 2 people. That's it......... just 2. And we had to build our lives here from scratch. We started new jobs, expanded our family, and yes we met some new friends too. I have met some pretty amazing people who have shown themselves time and time again that they are real friends. But yet, when things happen or when events need to planned & attended you realize that you are in fact still building your life. It has been 11 years and we are still finding our niche.

This is our home but yet it is still not our home. And I think in my heart, it may never be my home.
It is not easy when (besides my sister) the closest relative lives 2 hours away. And then there are other relatives that live a few states away and then even more relatives who live on the other side of the country. And our family never takes a real vacation because vacations are happily used up to go visit our families. It saddens me to think that my children will not see one set of their grandparents for the rest of this year because of a cancer diagnosis. And on top of that, my husband and I will not even be close enough to help. And when things happen in our family, I know they struggle because they can not just jump in the car and come to our rescue. We must rely on those amazing people that are not our family that have come into our lives to lend a hand when we hit rough spots.

And although I've always felt this way, it has been particularly hard this year.  And this past month.
But I think it's important when I feel like this, to look at the truth. Not how I feel. But just the simple truth. And what I know to be true is;
1. Even if this doesn't feel like my home, where I came from doesn't feel like it either. It is not a   
    place where I want to live or raise my children.
2. We did find a better life. In so many ways.
3. Although it may not always feel like home to me, it probably will to my children. Because they   
   are building their own history.
4. I love my home. And I love that it is a place that stores so many of our memories.

And so on days like today when I go to the park and see another group of mom friends having a play date, when Curt and I want to go out and have a hard time finding a sitter, or when we spend another holiday away from family........I will just try to remember the truth.

And when I look at it that way, it's all good.

I will keep joining new groups (some work out, some don't), continue to participate in bible studies at different churches, engage my kids in various activities to keep them involved. We will keep building memories in our home and building our history here with our children. And love on those people who have carved out special places in my heart.

And one more thing I'm certain of , is that even if this town does not always scream home to me,  I was supposed to end up here least for now.

I know the following aren't the best pics but I haven't scanned them so they're just from my phone.

Curt, me,& Nathan standing at the front door of our
 home when it was being built. And Nathan crawling across the concrete foundation
that is now our house.

Sharing with:
pour your heart out