Friday, January 30, 2009

The baby urge......or not

Okay, I admit it.  When my first child started talking in sentences, that is when the urge to have another child started coming on.  Maybe it is maternal instinct.  Maybe the fact that your three year old will talk back and argue with you makes you want a small bundle of love.  I don't know, but I know it persists.  I always wanted to space my kids about three years apart.  Obviously God had other plans.  When my second child, Grant, was six months old, I found out I was pregnant.  I am not going to lie to you, I cried.  And screamed and cried some more.  I did not even get my zipper up before the stick turned blue.  That had to be the most surreal moment in my life.  Grant was crawling around in the hallway, bottle hanging from his mouth and I am bawling like a baby.  I had fifteen minutes to pick up Tyler at preschool and I can't stop crying.

So I pulled it together and called my doctor to confirm.  Yep, preggers.  Then I had to have an early ultra sound because I was spotting.  Do you know what the tech asked me after an hour and a half of ultra sound?  "Were you using any drugs for fertility?"  I asked her if she was trying to tell me something.  No, no, she assured me, we ask everyone that question.  Really?  I have never been asked that question before.  Twins.  Twins and a six month old and a three year old.  Four kids under the age of five.  Four kids.  Four.  Yikes.

Let's just say, the baby urge never came upon me again.  When the twins were three I did get a puppy urge.  Some will tell you that I was just transferring my baby urge to a helpless animal, but I think I was truly over wanting another baby.  When you are done, you are done.

When you have children and you hold someone else's baby, someone always asks if it makes you want another?  I always answer an emphatic no.  Heck no.  I would use more colorful words from time to time, but I am trying to clean my mouth up.  No, I do not want another child.  And that does not make me a bad person.  It just makes me done.  It is okay to be done.  

I am over the puppy thing too, the whole peeing in the house took care of that for me.  

Someone in California just had eight babies at one time.  It just came out that she has six more at home.  Okay, maybe she went for that "one more" and got eight.  Eight for cripes sake.  I would lose my mind.  Whatever mind I have left that is.  

It is not that I don't appreciate the whole "baby" smell and softness and that first smile.  I just don't think I could survive eight more years of diaper changes.  I added it up, I changed diapers for eight years straight.  That is a lot of poo.   I have filled a landfill with my children's soiled diapers.  I could not do the middle of the night thing again.  I did not sleep through the night for ten years, that can kill a person.  

So, I would love to hold your baby, I just don't want one more of my own.  And in knowing that I am done, I truly appreciate every moment of my children's lives.  I cry and laugh and enjoy the kids I have and the ones I borrow from time to time.  

Are you done or are you going for more?  God bless you either way.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The missing sock.....

Okay, being Irish I think I am starting to believe in the "little people".  You know, leprechauns.  You think I am losing my mind, but seriously, I have no other explanation.  Stuff is going missing.  One sock, one mitten, one glove, one child.  Just kidding....about the kid that is.  How can I go to the store, every August, buy new underwear, new socks, school supplies, all that jazz, and not six months later, one sock of everybody's is missing?  Just one.  Someone is messing with my mind.  Seriously.  That lone sock staring at me from atop the dryer.  Mocking me.  Messing with me.  It is not under the bed, behind the hamper or under the mattress.  I have looked.  That is what they want me to do.  Then I give up, throw out the lone sock, and then find the other sock in the freezer or something.  Happens every time.

So where do the all the lost socks go?  And what about the mittens.  Janet cleaned out the gloves and scarves and we have thirteen unmatched pairs.  Thirteen for cripes sake.  What the heck.  I am not an idiot and so unorganized that my house is chaos.  I admit that when I had three in diapers, it was a different story.  But now that they are all in school, I can do this and do it well.  So what is happening to all the socks and mittens?  Call CSI or something.  I have no answers, only more questions.

Who comes in a steals the socks and then returns them just to mess with me?  Who is it?  I would suspect my husband, but he is so anal it bugs him more than me.  My only answer is the leprechauns.  Not because the socks go missing.  But because they show up only after I have lost all hope.  This is obviously the work of someone messing with the momma.

They better stay hidden, because there is nothing worse than a momma scorned.  Ask someone who called their precious little boy a cute little girl for the hundredth time.  They will not go home unscathed, they have to pay.  Nobody should mess with the momma.  We are tough, we are strong and we will not be messed with.

So what's missing in your house?  Share the love and if you catch the leprechaun, give him a good shot for me.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's For Dinner?

The dreaded question.  What's for dinner?  Now Cooper, in his Aspberger's world asks this question every day right after dinner. "So, mom, what's for tomorrow's dinner?"  Cooper does have this need to know.  I usually say, "I haven't figured it out yet buddy."  This calms his world and we move on.  I don't know.  I usually figure it out when I am leaving my shift at Starbucks and driving home past Costco.  

I have tried to do menus, let all the kids pick a day and then help me cook.  It usually works for about two weeks, then we give up.  I am not a great planner of meals.  I do have about a dozen meals that I whip up in twenty minutes or less.  And I do love the crock pot.  Love the crock pot.  Stick something in, some veggies, some kind of liquid, and six hours later, yumminess.  But again, the crock pot takes planning. 

I do try various things to get on track, but nothing really sticks for me.  That being said, my kids do get homemade meals every night.  Except for clean out the fridge night.  Everyone needs a clean out the fridge night.  Otherwise things turn green and fuzzy.  I have thrown out tupperware with fuzzy green things in it.  Not worth the touching of the gross stuff.  Yuck.  Nasty.  Always have a clean out the fridge out night.  There is something for everyone.

So my mainstays are tacos, sloppy joes and french fries, hot dog night (with chili dogs and cheese and stuff) and chicken alfredo.  You are questioning my chicken alfredo, but I have found the easiest way to make it, and everyone loves it.  Get a roasted chicken from Costco or Sam's Club.  Get the Bertolli alfredo sauce and some pasta of choice.  Take the chicken off the bone, slice it into chunks, add it to the sauce, make your pasta, toss it up and serve.  Easy peasy and really, really good.  Then take the chicken carcass and make chicken noodle soup.  Done.  Two meals, everyone happy.

I have a dear friend that has embraced the cooking once a month thing.  You cook for like twelve hours and freeze it all and then just take it out and bake it the rest of the month.  She loves it.  This of course takes planning and again, I am not a planner of meals.  

What is your "go to" meal when the chips are down?  Share the love.  

God bless  you and yours.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Hurt Cry

We as mothers quickly learn to decipher types of crying from our children.  There is the mad cry, usually leading up to a temper tantrum.  There is the hungry cry, blood sugar is low.  There is the dirty diaper cry, no one likes to sit in their own mess.  Then there is the one we all fear and hate.  The hurt cry.  I have been in a group of mothers, sitting, kids playing in another room, and the cry goes up and at least one of says, "that's a hurt cry."  I don't know if this is a learned behavior, something we are born knowing or some kind of gift from God.  We just know when it is a "hurt" cry and we go to investigate.

It could be minor, a scraped knee.  It could be major, a broken bone.  We never know until we find the child, examine the situation and make the needed adjustments.  Broken bones require a trip to the ER and then to the orthopedic surgeon.  One huge suggestion I have is to get the water proof casts.  It usually costs a little more, but find an ortho that offers it.  Totally worth it, no stink.  Your kid can take a shower, go swimming, whatever.  No funk in the cast.

As a mother of four, I have seen stitches, several broken bones, and one emergency appendectomy in the middle of the night.  That last one, I went with my instinct and just took him into the ER and after taking blood (four hours later) they rushed Tyler to the operating room and took it out about fifteen minutes before it burst.  Always trust your gut.  My opinion is this; it is always worth your co-pay if you are wrong.  That being said, I have never been wrong.  From ear infections to the appendix coming out, never wrong.  Mom's know these types of things.

One doctor thought I was crazy because Tyler had pink eye and I made him check his ears.  I was told that one had nothing to do with the other.  I repeated to just check his ears.  My, my, my, I was awarded the "gold star mom" award from this doctor, I was right, he also had an ear infection.  Amazing, the doctor is with my child ten minutes and by some stroke of luck, I the mother, who is with him 24 hours a day, know him better.  What a freak of nature I am.  Not.

Mom's know.  I think God gives us special radar or whatever to discern the difference between hurt and mad crying.  And everything in between.  We are the ones who hear the small sick cry in the middle of the night and bound out of bed.  We can do this because we know our children better than anyone on this earth.  Sometimes, we doubt ourselves.  We read a book or a doctor gives us a look and we begin to doubt.  I say, take back the mom power.  We know best.  

See, horror of horror, our moms were right, Momma knows best.

God bless you and yours. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Peace and Quiet, Yeah Right

Okay, I am on a quest for peace.  Peace and quiet.  With four children, this is next to impossible.  There is always something.  I am running every night of the week to something.  Drum lessons (which leads to absolutely no quiet), guitar lessons, girl scouts, youth group, band practice, etc. etc.  Cooper is not even involved in an activity and I am still running.  Somedays I am going in two different directions at the same time.  That is when Super mom kicks in.  That is not including the fundraising I am doing for the youth's mission trip, women's ministries, and my growth group (group bible study for our church).  So where is my peace and where is my quiet?

I have to steal it or create it.  As mother's we have always been a creative bunch.  As Erma Bombeck used to say, "We created hamburger helper before it came in a box."  We whip up meals in twenty minutes or less, pack lunches, check homework, clean under beds, the list goes on and on.  We get creative in our discipline, our work, our homes.  I even have close friends who are scrapbook wizards.  So now, in the chaos of our lives, we need to create some peace.  But how to do this?

To create "mommy peace", I get up before everyone else, Monday through Friday.  I get up at 5:00am and exercise and read my bible.  That may sound insane, but it is my uninterrupted time to myself.  All me for an entire hour.  Saturday is sacred and my only day to sleep in.  Even the dogs know not to whine on a Saturday morning.  You have to carve out time to regenerate and renew yourself.  It is not something that should be put off or wait until next year's new year resolution.  Take time to find peace.

I find that if I take that time, I start my day in a calmer place.  Some of you may stay up after the kids go to bed to find your peace.  Whichever, as long as you do it.  When my babies were little, peace was found at nap time.  I cried for a month when the twins gave up naps, it killed me.  Nap time was awesome, I could get the older ones to have "quiet" time and could sit and have a cup of tea or try to get some work done around the house.  Loved nap time.  

So where in your life are you going to find peace today?  Let me know, I love new ideas.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Praying for ourselves

So all week I have been talking about prayer and prayer life.  Praying for all of those around us.  I think sometimes we get so caught up in our surroundings that we forget the center.  Ourselves.  We forget to pray for ourselves.

Some people are afraid to be so presumptuous as to come to the Lord with their daily "stuff".  The bible says that we are to go boldly before the Lord.  Boldly.  We are his children.  Just like you would welcome your child to sit up in your lap and tell you of their day, He welcomes us.  He wants it, He welcomes it.  Crawl up in your Heavenly Father's lap and have a one on one with Him.  He is not too busy, He is the Almighty One and would love it if you came to Him and asked for help, praised His name and felt His comfort.

So many of us grew up in churches that told us that God is mad at us or out to get us.  It took me many years to get over that feeling.  One step out of line and boom, lightening bolts showered down from above.  God is not mad at us, He passionately loves us and wants to nurture us.  I truly believe that.  He wants us to be with Him.  He wants the daily hang ups and hurts that touch our lives to be turned over to His will and His love.  Amazing.

One word that helped me so much in my prayer life is grace.  Grace.  God's grace is new every morning, His compassion is overflowing.  Embrace grace.  Swim in it's peaceful waters.  Calm your soul, accept God's peace in your life.  Go to God with any and all your problems and worries and hang ups and habits.  Come to the Lord with all the wonderful things that are happening in your life, even the bad things.  Praise Him for challenges and praise Him for every joy and happiness in your life.  God is good.  God is peace.  God is love.  

Try to remember, God just wants us to show up and come to Him.  He can handle all of the things going on in our lives, He is the Almighty.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fear or Faith

I have battled with fear my whole life.  Fear of failure, fear of never finding a husband (I was 22), fear that my children might be harmed.  Fear.  It can cripple you.  I have found that when I am most fearful, my prayer life is suffering.  Fear is Satan's way of controlling you.  Fear and Faith cannot co-exist.  If we have faith in our Father, then we should not have any fear.

Sounds easy, but we are human and we have fear.  Along with fear comes worry.  We worry about everything.  And in today's world it stretches so far.  The economy, our jobs, our welfare, our children, college for our children, the list goes on and on.  I have found comfort in my bible.

Matthew 6:7  "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"  Jesus goes on to say in this and other scripture, that the very hairs on our head are numbered and known by our heavenly father.  God knows what is going on in our lives and He protects us.  He comforts us, He watches over us and He cares for us. 

So where are you today?  Are you in fear or are you in faith.  Are you in the middle?  So often we are in the middle.  Nudge yourself a little closer to faith today.  Pray about it, recognize it and give it over.  Being in a place of fear and worry is not what God wants for you.  God gives us peace that we cannot understand.  Reach for peace.

What worries you today?  Release it to God, if He can create the world, he can handle what you have  on your plate.  

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Way we Pray

I have seen many people pray in my life.  The little old ladies at Catholic mass with their rosaries and the silent prayers murmured through tight lips.  The out loud chaos of some television preachers.  My own pastor, moved to tears, praying for a sick child or lost friend.  Prayer means many things to many people.  I believe in prayer, but I think some people are almost afraid of it, like they are not worthy to talk to God, or request something from Him.

Prayer for me was broken down to it's perfection in one sentence from a former pastor.  "God loves you and wants a personal relationship with you.  Personal.  With me.  Prayer, to me, is not formal, and I don't think it should be.  God just wants us to show up and be with Him.  I do think there are some awesome books on prayer.  My favorite author is Stormie O'Martian.  She has several that have helped my prayer life, The Power of a Praying Wife, The Power of a Praying Parent, both great, faith changing books.  She has one out that I have been eyeing, The Prayer that changes Everything.  Scary, but intriguing, I am dancing around it as we speak.

My point is, prayer is just a conversation with our Heavenly Father.  Just show up.  No formality, just talking.  Talking about the blessings and the hurts and the hopes in our lives.  Giving our lives over to Him to oversee.  That is the toughest one, turning control over to God.  But God never leads you to a cliff to drop you off of it, He knows you can fly.  He knows you can soar.

Mark 10:27 says, "....With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

Powerful stuff.  So today, if you haven't already, just show up.  No fancy words, no alleluia chorus, just you, talking to Him and being with Him.  The bible says if you draw close to God, He draws closer to you.  Just show up.

What is your prayer life like?  Going to God throughout your day will only improve it.  Hand the difficult things over to God and then refuse to take them back.  God can handle it, He did create the universe after all.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Prayer for our Leaders

With today being the inauguration you probably think I mean our new president.  I do not, but I do pray for him too.  I mean our children's leaders, their teachers.  My oldest is in the ninth grade and my youngest is in the fourth.  I have met a lot of teachers.  Some great, some good, some challenging.  

I think the topic of my blog this week will be around prayer.  We have to pray for our children's teachers.  They are with them six to seven hours a day and can influence them.  I have had teachers preach their political agenda in class (I met with the principal the next day, considering it was music class and only one agenda was "taught").  I personally had a teacher, in religion class tell me that God does not answer prayers.  Yikes.

You have to know your children's teachers and what they are about.  Most, and I would say this about at least 95% of all teachers out there, are just there doing their best to further your child's learning.  Some are not.  Some are burnt out, some are there for lack of something better to do.  Some are strict, some are pushovers, but all are working for you.  That is what I said, teachers work for you.

Teachers try so hard to get to know your child and do their best by them.  How do I know this, because I meet my children's teachers, all of them, every year.  I back up the teachers too.  So many parents don't want one more problem at home, so they tell the teacher to "handle" their child at school, they don't want to hear about it.  Not good, you must make sure your kids are being all they can be too, and that does not mean being disruptive.  I do admit to having some challenging teachers, but this also teaches your children a great life lesson.  

In life, we have all had good teachers, bad teachers, good bosses, bad bosses, good coaches, bad coaches, and the list goes on.  We all had to adapt.  It is a fine line we walk as parents.  We cannot coddle our children, but we must stick up for them.  Again, lots of prayer helps this.

I guess I am saying that bringing God into the equation can only make it better.  All of life is chaotic, God brings peace.  Praying for our children's teachers can make bad situations better, bring more understanding to the table and only bring grace to their lives.  These dedicated individuals spend way more than forty hours a week working, they spend their own money on supplies and try to do their very best.  We need to bless them every day.  And if your child has a challenging teacher, pray harder, keep informed and do your best by your child every day.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, January 19, 2009

In Case I Forgot

With so many things going on in our lives, we need to focus on our knees.  As in bending them and praying.  We do so much for our children, but often we forget to pray for them.  Or we only pray when they face a crisis.  I think we need to pray daily for our children.  I do try to do this in my morning time.  Prayer is essential in the raising of our children.  We cannot put it off until we face a crisis.  We need to bring our children to the Lord on a daily basis.  That is how they learn to rely on God, because we do.

Praying does not have to be this elaborate thing, it is quite simply, a conversation.  I thank God for my children, warts and all.  I ask God to protect them and watch over them.  I ask God to help them on their tests, or whatever challenges they may face that day at school.  I just bring them to God.  It is a humbling thing to realize we are not the only ones our children should rely on.  They need to place their trust in God.  

The most important thing I pray about is their friends.  I read that one bad friend in middle school can change the course of a child's life forever.  Just one.  I pray for Godly friends for my children or that the children my child is hanging out with will come to Christ through them.  I must be vigilant about this, it is beyond important.  Think about it, when you are a teenager, your friends shape what you wear, where you go, what you do, they are your everything.  I want my children to make decisions that benefit their lives, not wreck them.  

I frequently tell my children that their decisions determine their destiny.  There are no truer words than that.  What they decide to do or better yet, what not to do, can forever change their lives.  

So today, give your children to the Lord, He is the ultimate weapon against the craziness of what surrounds them.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's My Anniversary

So, sixteen years ago today, I walked down the aisle and said I do.  I always say I would do it again, and I would, in a heartbeat.  

That is a true measuring stick  of life, would you go back and do it again.  I would, but that is a tough measure.  All the fights, the kids, the twins in the NICU, Tyler's emergency appendectomy, the loss of jobs, the moving, the chaos of four kids under the age of four.  Through it all, I would do all of it again.  I love my life, chaos and all.

If you change one thing, you could change it all.  That just is not worth it.  I want to learn from my mistakes and move forward.  Looking back will never change the past, dwelling on it can ruin the present.  Embrace the past, crud and all, I am positive you can find some silver lining in the chaos.

How many years have you been married?  What what the single most thing that gave you an "AHA" moment?

God bless you and yours.

It's My

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Time for You.

We as mothers have very little time to ourselves.  Even as we go to the bathroom, little fingers poke under the door or a knock sounds.  Sometimes, our names are just bellowed throughout the house until answered.  Amazing.  Kids are needy little creatures.  Sometimes, they just need to yell "Mom!" at the top of their voices, even when you are standing right next to them.  I have made my shower and my  bathroom time sacred.  I get to take a shower alone, and I get to poo alone.  This is just common decency.  If your kids are still quite little, they may still wander in when you are showering.  If you notice them staring a little bit too much, it's time to lock the door.  We don't want to scar them for life.

I get up early every morning to exercise (okay, just started last week, but hey, I'm trying) and to read my bible and to do this blog.  I need quiet before the chaos.  I have friends who think I am nuts, they would rather stay up late than get up early.  I think they are nuts for staying up late, so we are even.  You have to take time for you.  It could be nap time, it could be early in the morning or late at night, but you need to do it.  

This is your time to recharge your batteries.  They get sucked dry every day.  We are everything to everyone in our household and sometimes beyond.  Taking time for myself took a long time to develop for me.  I felt guilty if every moment was not taken up.  I volunteered at school, at church, everywhere.  You get burned out so quickly doing all things for all people.  Then I decided to focus on only my house, my kids, my husband.  This is a good thing, it helped me find my passion, women's ministry, which has lead to me writing and speaking.  Taking time for you helps you to focus on what matters most.

It is also okay to go get your toes done, lunch with a girlfriend, a little shopping, or all three, whatever, just make time for you.  Taking time to take care of you will make you a better mom, a better wife and a better you.  Take some time, recharge, the dishes will still be there. 

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Playtime, snow or sun.

As I was thinking about how cold it gets in Michigan and how hot it gets in Arizona, something occurred to me.  Kids adapt.  It could be ten degrees out and my kids want to go sledding.  Or it could be 110 in the shade and the boys are outside running around playing baseball.  They come in all red faced and drink a gallon of water, but they still want to play.

When do we lose our "will" to play?  Rain or shine, kids want to play, when do we as adults lose this vital part  of our lives.  We need to play too.  But now we have to plan to play, and then it is somewhat reluctant.  "If I take the kids to the park, the laundry will have to wait" or "If I sit down to play monopoly with my kids, the dishes will sit in the sink."  This is our lives.

I say, "Let's Play!"  Let's take some time today to build a snowman.  Okay, the high in Michigan today is only going to be ten degrees, the snowman can wait.  But I can attempt video games with Cooper.  I can hear him now, "Uh, mom?  That's not how you do it."  

My point is, don't get so bogged down in our daily commute, our jobs, our messes that we forget to play.  In the summer, water fights are fun, and cool everyone off.  Teach your kids a card game, even poker, no real money, just chips.  Have some planned fun.  Discover your will to play.  The housework will still get done, with you in a better frame of mind.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Booger freezing cold.

Okay, so I learned something today.  There is cold, really cold, bitter cold and booger freezing cold.  Booger freezing cold is when it is so cold, when you go outside, your boogers freeze in your nose.  Seriously, it happens.  It's not pretty.  

As I continue my life journey in Michigan, these small tidbits make my life complete.  I had no idea it could get so cold.  This is my third Michigan winter, but the first was quite mild, the second only had one really booger freezing cold day.  We are in for a week of booger freezing cold temperatures.  We actually may not have school because it may be too cold.  I have looked long and hard in our school handbook, there is no "technical" temperature to close school.  That being said, if children cannot stand at a bus stop or walk to school without getting frost bitten, they close school.  Amazing.

They never closed school in Arizona because it was too hot.  It gets hot, really hot, burning your hands off to drive hot.  Fry an egg on the sidewalk hot (the boys in my old neighborhood actually did this, it really does work).  Get blisters on your feet if you dare to try to cross the street barefoot hot.  You will only ever try that once.  I think the kids in Arizona should get a "heat" day.  It's only fair, we are probably going to get a "cold" day.  Fair is fair.

What regional saying cracks you up?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kids are Great Too!

I guess I have been talking a lot of smack about the kiddos lately.  Not that they don't deserve it, but they have a good side too.  We just don't acknowledge things when everything is great.  I am the worst at this.  I do tell my children how proud of them I am and that I love them, every day, all day, but I think we as parents have a tendency to focus on the "bad" behavior and to not give enough kudos to good behavior.  Not that we need to give them "stuff" or gold stars or anything, but tender words from an adult they love go so far in building up a child.

I think the greatest gift I give my children, and the greatest life lesson, is to admit when I am wrong and apologize to them.  I have had mornings where my face turned red, my head popped off and I began screaming.  This is no way to send your child to school.  So I take a minute, tell them I should not have yelled and apologize and ask to start the morning over.  This also teaches children that it is okay to mess up, as long as we apologize and try to make it right.  Now, I only do this if I was wrong, not if they are all fighting and spilling stuff and calling each other names, then I yell and they deserve it.  Yelling is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you don't over do it.  If your voice is hoarse, you are probably yelling way too much.

Kids are unique and wonderful and weird, and I love them.  I cannot believe the things they can achieve, they constantly amaze me and that is a daily miracle I treasure.

What wonderful thing has your child done lately, even on a small scale?  Notice them when they are doing "right" not just when they mess up.  I promise you, you will not regret it.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Watch your mouth

Out of the mouths of babes, as the saying goes.  As my children grow older, they grow mouthier.  This started when they were little, but I was so much bigger than them, that one look (you know the "mom" look) and they would buckle that lip right up.  Now my fifteen year old towers above me.  But, I can give him a look or a phrase and it will shut him up.  His main problem (or gift) is that he will argue a point to death.  For no real reason, he just wants to get you all fired up opposing him.  He is too smart for his britches, as my grandma used to say.

The other thing those precious little guys do is the "why?" thing.  "Go clean your room,"  says mom, "Why" says the child.  After a little "tit for tat" of this, you turn into your mother and say at the top of your voice, "Because I said so".  Then you go back to your room, close the door and wonder what happened to the size six girl who used to rule the bar scene in Scottsdale.  Yikes.  Not that I want to go out to bars, you really can only survive that when you are 21 and stupid as a turnip.  But to a women, turning into our mothers can be traumatic.  All those phrases that drove you crazy as a child, start coming out of your mouth at your children.  Do you know what that means?  Our mothers were right.  This shakes our worlds.  But, once you calm down you should send your mom flowers for a job well done.

Mouthy kids bother me.  I work at Starbucks and all the teenie boppers come in every Friday night.  If you send your child to the mall friday night please tell them to be polite.  These brats throw money on the counter, come in to the store in gaggles with loud obnoxious voices, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred, never and I mean never, say please or thank you.  If that turns out to be my kid, tell me and I will beat the crap out of him/her.  In these economic times, you have no idea if the person at McDonalds or wherever has a degree and just cannot get a different job.  We as a nation are failing to raise children with manners and it is revolting.  I also do not want to see some teenager making out in the corner all night.  That is what movie theaters are for.  And I realize that I did most of this stuff when I was a kid, but I was taught manners and I used them on a consistent basis.  Also, if you blindly drop your child off at a mall for four or five hours, I highly recommend, on at least one occasion that you drive to a different entrance, go in,  and spy on your kid.  Your well behaved, going to church on Sunday kid.  It will be enlightening.  I am not saying it won't ever be my obnoxious kid, but I will do everything in my power to raise respectful children.  

Manners, learn them, love them, live them.  Please and Thank You go a long way in this world.  I should not be shocked because one child says them, I should be shocked because one child forgets them.  

God Bless you and yours.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why would they do that?

We have all asked this question about our kids.  Why in the world would they do that?  Yesterday's blog had me thinking of all the weird and unusual things that either my child or my friends children have done.  Stupid and weird stuff.  Really, it makes me doubt their intelligence, even if they do end up being straight A students.  Let's play along and laugh at some of their antics.  You may also cry because the same thing happened to you.

When we brought Grant home from the hospital, the next morning, my perfectly potty trained three year old took a whiz right by the cradle.  I know this is the whole regression thing, but seriously, I thought he was just checking Grant out, and then the fateful noise.  Yikes, thank God for Spot Shot.

A couple of days later, Grant was in his baby seat and Ty just walked up and smacked him.  In his defense, he did not know I would walk in the room at the exact moment he belted the newborn.  Again, I get it, new baby, no attention for him.  But makes you wonder if you have some how messed up as a parent.

A good friend of mine had twin girls nine months after I had my twins and we would call each other every day with the latest "Oh my gosh" moment.  Hers would sometimes top mine, but this one tops them all.  She had just put the girls down for a nap.  She is very orderly, everything in it's place type of person.  But on that fateful day, she forgot one thing.  The girls got into her brand new, big tub, not tube, tub of Desitin.  You have seen it, the big jar.  They plastered each other's hair, the brand new bedspreads (mom had just redecorated), the wall paper and their clothes.  Why?  That stuff is water proof and her precious angels had to go around for three weeks with nasty hair until it all came out.  She must have washed their hair three times a day during that time.  They had plastered it on themselves.  It is enough to make you cry.

My all time favorite comes from a nameless child of a dear friend in Arizona.  They had gotten a pool and since most houses in Az have tile floors, my friend had told the boys they could go around the side of the house and "go to the bathroom", so they a: wouldn't pee in the pool and b: wouldn't kill themselves running wet on the tile and slip and fall.  Sounds logical to all of us, right?  A couple of weeks later, she comes around the side of the house and her seven year old son  is in full squat position doing what we all know she did not mean on the side of the house.  I mean, she never specified "number one" or "number two".  We all know what she meant, but her little bundle of joy just did what he was told to do.  

Men say they can't figure women out, well try to figure a kids logic and you will go batty.  All our kids do these types of things.  I think it is them testing out their little world.  At least that is what I tell myself when it is my kid.  Man, the hilarity of our jobs as mothers.  Take a minute, think about it, what has your precious little one done lately that made you scratch your head.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Frustration of Motherhood

From toddlers to teenagers, kids can be so frustrating.  They do things you do not understand for reasons known only to them and trying to figure it out only makes you crazy.  We have all had those moments where we lock ourselves in the bathroom to cool down.  If you have not had a moment like that, I will assume you are a mother of one small baby who still is too cute to move around and talk back to you.  Have you ever been so mad you see red?  I have, and it scared me.  I had to send my son to his room for an hour so I could calm down.  I thank God I had the sense to do just that and not raise my hand to my child in anger.

I still remember my first "red" moment.  I was pregnant with Grant and resting, Tyler was supposed to be quietly watching TV and I got up to check on him and he had sliced five straight lines right down the back of the couch with a knife.  He was trying to reach something under the couch.  I flipped out.  Why would he do that?  I had to send him to his room or beat the crud out of him.  I waited and worried what my husband would do and say.  In the end, when I had calmed down, I spanked him for getting a knife.  He knew he wasn't allowed to touch knives, the couch thing I could almost see his little reasoning.  He needed to get the sock under the couch, he could not reach it, he could not move the couch, so he sliced through it.  Perfectly logical to a three year old.  But he knew he could not touch the knives, and I explained this to him before I spanked his little butt, calmly and with reason.  Luckily, we had a friend who worked for a furniture store who had a friend who did knew how to fix the back of the couch. 

I had a friend of mine say, while our kids were three to four years old, she understood child abuse, she did not do it, but she could wrap her mind around it.  Munchkins can wear you out, wear you down and break your spirit.  Especially if they are smart or strong willed.  If you have a strong willed child, I highly recommend the book by James Dobson, "The Strong Willed Child", it will change your life and your child's, all for the better.  Another discipline book that helped me so much was Kevin Lehman's "How to make your children mind without losing yours."  Very good.  Both authors are Christians and have wonderful insight on handling your handfuls.

Never be afraid to ask for help, share your stories with your girlfriends.  Trust me, anything your kid has done, her kid has done something just as weird and complex and wrong.  If you have a friend who unfortunately has a perfect child, stop hanging out with that friend, she is delusional.  No kids are perfect, not one out there, they all mess up.  We are charged, as mothers, with keeping our cool and doing our best in the stress of the day.  We can do it.  If I survived three in diapers and eight years of diaper changing (I added it up one day, eight years, tragic), then you can do it too.  Read your bible, pray a lot, then pray some more, share with friends, read some responsible literature on parenting, and keep plugging along.  

Because just as you are about to break, the do something so cute, so wonderful, so loving, they mend your broken heart.  It is worth it.  I am still plugging along, and there are good days and bad days, but in the end, I would not trade it for the world.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My baby is 15!

Today, my little baby is turning fifteen.  When did that happen.  Everyone says it goes so fast, but it really does.  The funny thing is, I could not wait for this kid to be born.  Not just because he was my first and we did want to be surprised as to whether it was a boy or a girl.  Tyler was nine days late.  Nine days.  

You see, pregnancy is weird.  First you are so happy (or really, really surprised, whoops), but you still feel kind of sick, really tired and you have to pee all the time.  Then, the middle is wondrous.  You feel like you have your energy back, food is fun again, sometimes your sex drive comes back, the baby moves for the first time, all that fun exciting stuff.  Then your third trimester rolls around.  You use your tummy for a table, heartburn comes along after eating anything, your feet swell up, the baby is big enough to kick you in the ribs and make it count, you get to be done.  Really ready to be done.  You also start to believe that you will be pregnant forever.  And ever and ever and ever.  

I was sure Tyler was a girl.  Positive, knew it, knew it, knew it.  So much for a mother's intuition.  He's a boy.  He is a boy who arrived after sixteen hours of labor, nine days late, he pooped inside me (they do that when they are late) and gave me a raging infection during labor which resulted in a C-section.  Thank God it was a C-section because he came in at 9lbs. 10 oz.  That is not a typo, he was huge.  It was like having a three month old.  He as also the most beautiful baby.  No cone head from the birth canal, no marks on his face, nothing except perfect little round face and ten happy toes and ten happy little chunk a munk fingers.

It was worth it, but those last nine days were miserable.  Now he stands two inches taller than me, has a blonde afro like hair and is an amazing human being.  I know he is mine, but he really is a great kid.  I cannot believe he is turning fifteen.  It did go fast.

Take a minute to watch your children today, make a memory and try to remember it.  

God bless you and yours.

Monday, January 5, 2009

No. Just No.

What part of NO don't you understand?  As a mother, I have uttered this phrase an infinite number of times.  Why don't our children just listen the first time?  I have wrestled with this dilemma.  I think it is almost instinctual for a child to fight you on every little thing.  "Can I have a candy bar?", says the hopeful child.  "No, not right now" says the mom.  What follows is one of many phrases designed to wear a momma down.  "Why not?", "pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease", "How come?"  "All my friends are eating candy bars"  Or you can fill in the blank.  It is not as if they take the first "no" at face value.  They keep trying.  They keep wishing that the "no" will turn into a "yes".  And at the end of a bad day, about the fifth or sixth "please" a tired mom will cave.  I have, if you are being honest, you have.  We all have.  And because we have caved in the past, hope springs eternal that we will cave again.

When the twins were babies until they were about three years old, my oldest son, four at the time of the twins birth, used this mercilessly.  No mercy for the momma.  It was a dark time of many diapers and spit ups and doctor visits.  I seriously can't remember most of it.  I see videos of birthday parties and cannot physically remember being there.  I was exhausted.  Physically, mentally and spiritually.  So of course, being a small child of infinite wisdom, Tyler would take advantage.  He is not a bad kid, he is a smart kid.  He knew when to hit.  He knew when I would cave out of pure desperation for a quiet moment.

If I had been more centered in my faith, reading my bible and praying every day, maybe I would have been better.  I know God wasn't a daily part of my life then, just waking up in the morning was challenging enough.  

I do believe in discipline.  My kids know this, their friends know this, all of us know what we should do to raise kids who will grow up to be someone we can be proud of.  I am just saying that somedays, especially if the kids are under the age of five, we cave.  I have learned that you can break this behavior and recover control of your house.  It comes about when they are all in school and you can actually breathe for once in your parental life.  Then you can recover enough to insist your No means No.  I have done this, so I know it is achievable.  

Keep your chin up moms, today is just one day.  You will not screw your kid up in just one day.  We all have those days.  Give yourself a break.  You need one.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Movie Marathons

Okay, we like movies, but with six in our family, going to the movies requires a loan from a major bank.  On the rare occasion we go to the theater, even if we go in the afternoon, it is never under sixty bucks.  So we wait a lot for the DVD to come out.  Everyone in our house got a movie for Christmas and we have been watching one every night.  I love it.  I got Scott some John Candy movies, Uncle Buck and the Great Outdoors.  Hilarious.  We watched Narnia, Prince Caspian last night, awesome.

I love it when the whole family is laying around or sitting around, under blankets and watching a movie, shushing everyone through the whole thing.  Then the days afterward when we are all quoting the funny or great parts.  It is a wonderful thing.

ELF is our new Christmas favorite.  If you have never seen it, just buy it.  I rented it four times before I bought if for the family.  We can quote it and laugh every time.  "You sit on a throne of lies", "You stink of meat and cheese"  Stuff like that.  If you have seen ELF, you are laughing hysterically.  Even Cooper quotes ELF.  

We also watch It's A Wonderful Life every year.  Every year when George is running through town at the end of the movie, I am crying like a baby.  Every year for cripes sake.  

What is your favorite movie?  Rent it and watch it today.  Introduce your children to it.  They will think you are either a genius or an idiot or both. 

God Bless you and yours.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year and all that jazz

So I sit here bleary eyed and tired.  I did try to go to bed by ten, but everyone was screaming at midnight, so I was back up again.  No New Years resolutions for me.  I try to make them every year, but I have been thinking a lot about this.  

We just want to be better.  Maybe it's losing weight, or to quit smoking or going to church more or being nicer.  But it all comes down to trying to be a better you.  We should ask ourselves everyday how to do this, not just one night a year.  Every day I am going to ask myself how to be  better.  Not a goal for the year, a goal for the day.  We can improve a little everyday. 

So maybe that it is a resolution, but I say it's just me trying to be a little bit better to the world every day.

Anyone out there make a resolution, ever, and stick to it all year long?  I would love to know.  

God bless you and yours.