Thursday, January 29, 2009
After having fun friends over last night, then creating the first few of MANY banners (that need to be completed in 72 hours) and updating my blog, I went to bed last night. But my mind had other plans, as it seems the color scheme of banner #4, 5, & 6 was way more important that rest. Enter insomnia, which equals very crabby mommy come 7:00 a.m. this morning.
Finish breakfast with the kids, get them dressed, pig tails in the girls, shoes found, jackets on...blah, blah, blah. The oldest three are out the door and Little J and I head to bible study...where I am so tired I can barely focus on drinking my diet coke and not falling to the floor in slumber.
Home from bible study, hot dogs on the grill. Force feed L. Threaten spankings.
Here's where it gets fun. The snow is still on the ground, and the house is somewhat clean, so why not head outside before naps? Load up three children in snow gear (you know my love of this task). Find one set of snow boots that have made their way to the basement (I do think the children might be trying to kill me...why, oh why, would they add to the insanity of my basement???). Kids are outside, I join them when I'm all geared up as well. At which point I find Little J without a boot.
"Where is it?"
"O-ber der, under da car." The car which is in the middle of our yard, which is covered in 7 inches of snow. Awesome. I'll let you know if he loses his toes to frostbite, it's too soon to tell.
Here's where I try to rally the troops to sled. No takers. No biggie, but then I realize that Big J is hanging inconspicuously at the top of the deck stairs. He's just tired. He doesn't want to sled. It's been a big day back to school. Denial, denial, denial.
"Big J, do you have to go potty?" Instant tears. There's my answer.
Back in the house, strip of the gloves, hat, jacket, boots, snow pants. Here's where I realize he has already peed in his pants, but the poop has not yet made its appearance. Pop him on the toilet, head to the BASEMENT to find new clothes.
Clean Big J up, dress him, reload with snow gear. Here we go.
Snowman made, uneventful. Children now want to sled...okey-dokey. We gather the sleds and head to the bunny hill, during which time Little J's snow boot comes off three times. Chances of frostbite...75%.
Sled, sled, sled. Time to head home, so I send Big & Little J down on a sled together, at which point they eat it at the bottom and Little J face plants. Big tears, and Little J's chances of frostbite looking better and better. Only this time it could be the nose, which would be so sad and would really disturb his cute little face, but then maybe they'll regrow a nose on his forehead like that guy who climbed Everest...and then he'll have a funky nose, but a good story. I digress. L goes down on a sled all by herself, but she lays down and does the "luge" as I like to call it, and she takes off. I mean, she is flying. I am trying to salvage my 2-year-old's facial skin and she is hanging a giant curve that's heading for the frozen lake. She does stop, but boy, it was iffy for a second.
Back to the house, strip the children down. Send the boys upstairs while I give L a dose of water through her G-tube, and a spoonful of peanut butter to add some calories to her day. She proceeds to gag on the peanut butter and throw up her water and previously eaten hot dog on the floor. Wonderful.
Naptime...ahh. Head to my room to change into running gear, only to find the dog has gotten into our trash and mangled every bit of kleenex and dirty diaper that was in there. Great.
See there, now it's entered in the records of history.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Snowman paintings...we have a little work to do with shapes. And the correct placement of facial features/body parts.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I am rarely caught off guard by the tasks required of me as mommy. But today I realized that I play a role I could never have expected. NEVER.
It seems that I am a tongue.
That's right, a TONGUE. As in the squishy thing encased by the mouth and teeth. To be more specific, I am L's tongue.
It seems that my feeding-challenged child is having an issue pocketing food in her cheeks. She'll take bite after bite and hide it away until she very closely resembles a chipmunk. At which point, it's so stuffed in there she has an issue getting it all back out. That's where I come it. To scoop the mush out of her cheek and back into the center of her mouth.
A tongue. Awesome.
Friday, January 23, 2009
You might not be able to tell, but I am going somewhere with this day. I will get a few things accomplished. I will knock off my first of hundreds of attempts to make a cake with fondant. Maybe tackle some laundry. A grocery store run is definite (that makes 3 trips this week). I might make the beds. I will feed the children.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Happy Thursday...if anyone has any fondant tips, send them this way!
I believe Little J's speaks of cautious optimism. Minimal use of his canvas, says to me, that there is much unexplored territory. Space for the new guy to make his mark.
Big J is full of excitement. Erratic brush strokes and unconventional style mean this is going to be an era unlike any other.
L's use of dark colors could mean a little doubt. Or maybe she's just down on the recession and cynical all around. It's possible she is cautious of the hype, fed up with the political game or reluctant to believe in change. Hard to know with this one.
G's world is a rainbow...she's in love with the pomp and circumstance of the inauguration. The pretty dresses, grand showmanship, 10 balls (what princess gets that in ONE night???). Her motto, in life and politics, is that a little sparkle never hurt anyone. Take note, President Obama.
No...not really. I just got the paint out for the kids to....paint. Political commentary completely made up by me!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
I say this is a slightly more practical use for these jars, because, if you'll remember, my only previous use for them was baking cakes. And that's just not something I do on a weekly, or even monthly basis. Chicken pot pie, however, can totally be added to the rotation of dinners served around here. And the best part of it all??? The recipe is from Weight Watchers, and the portion size is all measured out. Big bonus, all the way around. Here's a view from the top:
Saturday, January 17, 2009
"Always give your first name only, and never your address."
To which, one of the very bright 3rd grade brownies replied:
"They can get it on the Internet anyway."
My how the rules of cookie selling have changed. And if anyone is looking for Girl Scout cookies, search no farther.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Two things here: Ruthie is the mother of a good friend of mine, a bridesmaid in my wedding, who also went to high school with Mike. Years ago, she started a bible study in St. Louis that is now THRIVING...but I had never heard her actually speak about the bible, until today.
Secondly...the thought of a two week lecture was not appealing to me in any way. I am a SOCIAL creature. I crave the fellowship of people taller than 48 inches and older than the age of 6. Throw food in the mix (maybe a diet coke as well) and I am yours, forever. So, I headed out this morning in 5 degree weather, hit the McDonalds drive thru for a D.C., and showed up with no expectations that this would rock my world in any way, shape or form.
I arrived a little late (seems no one likes to get out of their car on a 5 degree morning, because the McDonalds drive thru was 10 miles long) and enjoyed 20 minutes of socializing (with bagels, and my diet coke...HEAVEN!) before the lecture began.
Her title: Foundational Truths. Ugh. Focusing on the Old Testament. Double Ugh. Not doing anything for my interest levels. It's not really what I'm in the mood for, or what I think I need. I'm really looking for the "How to love children through whining" book of the Bible. Or the verses that compare the compassion and humility of Christ to Moms of toddlers. Because, this is all about me. Entertaining me. Validating me. Isn't everything?
To say that my expectations were way off course would be a drastic understatement. The lecture was awesome. It could have lasted for 5 more hours and I wouldn't have moved. Not even for food or a diet coke refill.
Here's where I'm going to bring it back to my kids, because that's just where I'm at these days. I can understand my God so much better through my children, because I know what it's like to be a parent who wants all the best for their kids. Who wants none of the hurt or pain or stubbornness. Especially when arguing over something as dumb as eating a bite of grilled cheese. GRILLED CHEESE IS NOT WORTH A TIME OUT!! Seriously, it is painful to watch my children make horrible choices and have to suffer consequences I don't want to give in the first place (and my oldest is only 6...let's not talk about the teenage years). Especially when the choice was an easy one to make (it's a grilled cheese for goodness sake, not liver) and the consequence is unpleasant.
Bingo. Small bit of perspective on the God of the universe. Although I'm pretty sure he handles it with much more patience and compassion than I could ever hope to have in my grilled cheese battles. That's why he's God. And I'm me.
So let's take this parenting metaphor one step further. Ruthie talked for a while about how evil and sin are never God's will. He does not bring that upon us, but he works those situations in our lives for his good. Again, I can relate, because I don't put my children in situations to punish them, ask them to do what they are incapable of or generally try to make their lives miserable. I love them. But loving them does not mean that their actions or bad choices go without consequences. Yes, I am capable of stopping the time out. Or not giving the spanking. But I don't, which means they often see my actions as mean.
There are so many sides to the God coin, that I can't even begin to touch it. He's the scary judge God that can destroy cities and bring plagues. Or he's the biggest-teddy-bear-Dad type that never gets tired of bouncing you on his knee. But both? At the same time? The God who wants only the best for me...but doesn't instantly take away every pain, even though it's in his power?
I seem to want my God to have just one face at a time. Provider, when I need it. Counselor, when I don't have answers. Judge, when I've done something self-righteous or been offended. Encourager, when I feel blah. I want him to be...what I need him to be. In the moment. A fixer.
Hmm. Small glimpse into the minds of my kids. Remember my post on schitzo mom? Punisher one minute, story-reader the next? They are so much like me, just smaller in size. They want a mommy who is fun. Sometimes she plays with playdoh. Sometimes she takes them to the park. She'll make mac-n-cheese when asked...NOT grilled cheese. She will do what they want, in exactly the moment it is desired. Sound familiar?
For as much as I struggle to understand the God who doesn't make life easy and problem-free and perfect all the time, my kids are struggling to understand the mommy who has to send them to time out and take away privileges (and generally make life unbearable sometimes). It pains me that they cannot see that much of my "mean-ness" is for their greater good, that they can only see the mommy of the moment and not the overall picture. Thirty-two year olds and four-year-olds are really one in the same when you think about it that way.
And here's the really convicting part, for me. Unlike God (because we are so alike, I'm sure you are having a hard time telling us apart?) it's sometimes a struggle to be fun mommy. High energy mommy. Not-freak-out-and-get-hysterical-when-painting-turns-bad mommy. I am distracted a lot. I am selfish more than I'd like to admit. I fixate on stupid things (like the mixing of playdoh colors). So I worry that the picture they are getting is one of a diligent, scatterbrained and often exhausted mommy. Not enough calm and patience to balance the drill sergeant. That they will look back one day and just think I was really hard on them, because they didn't see enough of the side that would do puzzles all day long or let them splash in the bathtub, just because it made them happy. At the end of the day, however, I know I could never possibly find this balance and that my imperfections lead them to the cross...that there is a bigger plan, even in the ways I cannot be a savior to my children.
Apparently Ruthie knew I needed this, a reminder of how all the unchangeable parts of God really fit together into an eternal picture, that I can only catch glimpses of every now and then. Isn't that the best I can hope for my kids, as well? That they may not understand me as mommy and all of my crazy ways, but that they can trust it is all in their best interests and follow obediently? And that, at the end of the day, my Jesus will pick up where I have freaked out...and carry them the rest of the way.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This was not a look I just happened to catch on film...it is actually the expression that was plastered to his little face for 30 minutes.
Family, you had better get on board. Pot roast is my thing. MY THING! I will not make this dish for myself alone, because I WILL eat 4 pounds of meat by myself, in one sitting. And that's just not good for anyone. It will be the dish you remember me for, the one you ask for when you're home from college, the one you want when you're sick, the one you insist on for Christmas, the one you pass down to your children. And your children's children. Deal.
Well, I had one taker. At least Bailey is on board.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
It was a pretty standard night, the kids were mostly on good behavior, dinner was well received, spirits were generally up. And then we hit bath time...and Big J had the NERVE to touch the bottle cap Little J had been playing with five minutes earlier. Because in Little J's world these days, everything he has ever laid eyes on is his, no exceptions.
From that point on, it only goes downhill. Tonight, a temper tantrum turned to hitting (never okay), which then turned G into a puddle of pitifulness...which led to lots of discipline. Granted, they are tired. They are at the end of their proverbial ropes. It's bedtime. But I decided not to let it go...and here's why.
A few weeks back, I wrote a post about how I try to show grace to my children...and how it backfired a little. Okay, a lot. Not that I don't cut them any slack. But when I am cutting more slack than I am correcting their bad behavior, we have a problem. Which leads me back to the tiredness. Yes, I could have let this go. Chalked it up to a long day and non-typical behavior (it usually isn't this bad). But then again, can't we all blame ALL of our bad choices and poor attitudes on something? Being tired? Or overworked? Or stressed? Does it make it okay for me to pick on my husband or snap at my friends because I am tired? Sure, they'll understand and love me anyway, but that doesn't make it right.
Tonight it was time to teach my kids it's not okay to hit. Or scream. Or cry uncontrollably and lose all ability to function. Or disobey. Even when you're tired. That you have to be able to pull it together, even when the world is unfair. That someone else's bad choice does not make your retaliation okay. And yes, mommy will love you regardless, even if we have to learn a very hard lesson at a very bad time.
Who knows how this went over in the minds of 2, 4 and 6 year olds...I can only guess that they think I'm a wee bit scary and mean. But tomorrow's another day, I'm sure another lesson, another opportunity to try to find the balance between grace and accountability. Another chance to paint and color and build a super fort....to be the fun mommy that balances the all-business mommy.
Hopefully one day they'll understand it, and not just think I am schizophrenic...because that's what it feels like!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
FYI--if you're wondering why I go to the basement for our clothes, here it is. Our washing machine is down there. And there are SIX of us living here (4 of us being very, VERY messy). So you can imagine the piles of clothing that amass at warp speed. Then having to wash those piles, upon piles, upon piles of clothing. I'm tired, and we haven't even gotten to folding...which wouldn't be so bad, but then there's putting it all away. Which still wouldn't be so bad, IF one feisty three-year-old didn't insist on taking EVERY item out of her drawers and wearing them all during naptime. So, no more clothes upstairs. We just separate shirts and pants and place them all in bins assigned to each child. Kids socks all go into one big bin. When you have four kids, somethings got to give...for us, it's any sort of normal laundry system. And ironing...but frankly, we never did that when we were childless either.
So, every night, I head to the basement to gather outfits...it takes about 5 minutes total to pick the actual clothing out. It takes another 20 minutes to find socks that match. And that's where I want to skewer my eyes out with a very sharp object...that's how much I hate searching for tiny, white socks. We're not talking about color-coordinated socks to go with an outfit (I'm not really into that)...we are talking about your basic, generic white socks. Shouldn't be that hard, right?
Right. Except that I am probably staring at 20 loads of CLEAN laundry sitting in the basement, unsorted. And those kids socks get lost in the shuffle of sheets, towels and clothes. Or, I happen to burn through every set in the clean clothes pile...which means there are hundreds of them in the dirty clothes pile just waiting for me. The solution? Wash the clothes. Which then adds another 5-10 loads of laundry on top the the existing 20. That pile of laundry is about to grow a brain and take over the house, I'm sure of it. It's already smarter than me, and definitely bigger physically. If you don't hear from me in a few days, you know what happened.
Can someone just create a sock you wear all day and then eat for dinner?????? Totally practical, maybe a little gross, but I think I'm okay with that if it means I never have to search for another child's sock ever again!!!!!!!
This DVD was purchased for our "Tacky Christmas" party, because nothing says tacky like a fake fireplace on TV, located just feet above the real fireplace. Our tacky, fake, digital fire has become an easy child pleaser around here. And I'm noticing that kids REALLY love tacky. Cheese puffs. Taffeta dress-ups. Really pink lipstick. Outrageous, over the top, cartoon character themed Christmas lights (or clothes, or shoes, or underwear, or backpacks, or bedding...you get it). Why is it cute when you're 3 and tacky when you're 30???
So, Little J watched this version of a fireplace for almost 25 minutes. Granted, it does change from traditional, to modern, to Christmas, to psychedelic (not kidding)...and it crackles. But that's about it. On any normal day, our kids only watch about a half-hour of TV after nap time...but can you really call a non-changing, video-taped version of a real fire actual TV??
And just so you don't think we are total psychos, here's this weekend's art project...remember all those Real Simple/Martha Stewart Living magazines? We turned them into flower pot collages. Next I'm going to cut out all the food pictures, so they can do collages on plates. Nothing exciting, but just an idea I have on hand when they are hanging from the door frames. And I feel like I am doing a good thing by recycling paper that I have been holding on to for 5 years...but let's face it, at some point these pictures will probably find their way to the trash (maybe 50 years from now when my children are sorting through the storage locker of stuff I have saved for them) and my efforts at saving the planet will be for nothing!
And now to leave you with one other cool thing I found online, a while back...dealing with old catalogs and magazines. Probably a bit out of the ability range of my children (ages 6 and under), but a neat idea none the less. I tried to put the actual pictures on here, but failed...so click here for the blog that references it (very cool ideas on here all the time from this pro blogger!)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Two bathrooms scrubbed clean...check.
Countless bottles of lotion/soap/hair product/face wash/suntan lotion thrown out of closet that had not been cleaned in, probably, 5 years...check.
Three hours of whining, handled (repeatedly) without losing my mind...check.
Kitchen floor swept...check.
No shower, two days in a row...check.
Dinner made (and not purchased, small miracle)...check.
Almost 100 ounces of diet coke, guzzled...check.
Chocolate chip cookies made (with double the amount of vanilla and almost 1/2 the butter, told you I can't multitask)....check.
Four children bathed...barely, check.
Bathroom floor re-mopped after children bathed....check. Sigh.
Chocolate chip cookies awarded...check.
Four sets of little teeth brushed...check.
Vitamin gummies dispersed...check.
Prayers for rolling pin, Lovie, Halloween kitty, tape measure and monkey...check.
Last iota of my patience and energy gone...check.
Lean Cuisine nuked for my dinner...check.
Several requests to Big J, that he not roll/bang his rolling pin (his oh-so-loud and incredibly non-cuddly toy of choice for the evening) on his bedroom wall... check.
3 cookies and who-knows-how-much raw cookie dough consumed (so far)...check.
New episode of Grey's Anatomy playing in quiet house...check!