Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just Your Average Tuesday

It's Tuesday.

I think maybe the video I meant to put in my last post, doesn't show up when you pull the page up. Figures. This is why it's imperative that I stick with words.

It is 23 degrees outside. Before Thanksgiving. I am 27 shades of bitter about it.

I've been up since 4 a.m. with my favorite little puker. Her stomach is a hot mess. I have no idea if it's a bug (there is one going around) or her reflux. My bet is on reflux, and I'll spare you the details of what makes me think so. You're welcome.

I'm happy to report Drew and I both survived his first ever school project. You would be so proud of how non control-freaky I was! We both had so much fun. Nothing says nerds like a mom and a son who love a good school project.

For this project, Drew had to choose his favorite song, research it and make a poster out of it. He chose the song "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman. I did not make suggestions or try to get him to pick this song. It truly is one of his favorites. A few days before his project was due, the kids in his class started talking about the songs they had chosen. It was a this point Drew figured out he was the only one who chose a "church song". I could tell by his face when he was telling me about it- he was struggling. A debrief was in order.

After some talking I came to the conclusion that the main issue he was having was "no one" knew the song he picked. I tried to encourage him by telling him how awesome it was that he chose a song that honors God. I reminded him that his faith is important to him, and it's ok to tell other people. I told him there might be someone in his class who needs to hear this song.

This is what happens when your kids goes to a preschool where they are serious about growing your child's faith. They thing everyone's favorite song is "10,000 Reasons". Why wouldn't it be?

Finally, Big Dan talked with him and shared about a time he chose to share a story from the Bible in a class during high school. It was a story I hadn't heard, and it was so sweet to hear them talking about it. Whatever Big Dan said, they were the magic words. Drew was excited to work on his poster.

Y'all. I did not even mention one thing when he glued all of his text boxes to one side of his poster. But, I did breathe a huge sigh of relief when he drew some music notes on the other side, because, balance.

He was very proud of his poster. I was proud of him. His report at the end of the day was that actually a few more kids did know the song. One kid even got the song stuck in his head, apparently!

It's a tough thing to watch your oldest child's bubble of innocence start to burst. I am only praying that these small moments will fortify his faith. I want to point him to the Lord in a way that helps him really believe all the things God believes about him.

I can't wait to remind him of this story some day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just, Whatever Man

Have you seen this yet?




Sidenote: Look how fancy I am posting a video up in here!

 This video made me laugh and laugh and laugh. Why? Because the time change SUCKS. Apparently, I'm like a little baby toddler. My body cannot get adjusted to a ONE HOUR time change. #grandmamoses.

I am ready to climb in bed as soon as I put my kids down. You know, at SEVEN. Because here, in Nashvegas, we live right on the line of the time zone change. This means it gets dark here by 4:30 p.m. Like, DARK, dark. Which means the sun starts setting by about 3:45. No wonder I'm exhausted by 7. If I stay up to, you know, complete a chore. I feel like I'm pulling an all nighter. It is utterly ridiculous. My hatred for the time change began when I had a baby. The malice has only grown since then.

Clearly.

We've had all manner of happenings around here. I hosted an after school play date for Emily today. She has a current friend that she is obsessed with. It's a boy. He's adorable. He was in my class a couple of years ago, and I loved him to pieces then. When Emily came home and told me with certainty she was going to marry him (and live in our house, but not with me and Big Dan, but with their kids) I didn't even get nervous. He's delightful. They have both been asking me for a play date forever. I had a lot on my plate for a couple of weeks, but once I cleared off some space, we made it happen.

Most of the kids who go to our preschool live near the preschool. We, however, do not. So, it can make it tough to play together regularly. My Emily? Major extrovert. I'm not AT ALL versed in extroversion, but I'm trying to seek out ways to fill her little bucket. This was definitely one way. They had the best time. We settled on cheese pizza for dinner (fake cheese for princess no-dairy) and Wild Kratts for entertainment. It was especially cute.

Next up on the docket this week is helping Drew complete his first ever major project. He's excited about it. He does not enjoy input from me. We had to have a long discussion about the "writing process" and a "rough draft" tonight. Don't you wish you were my kid?? True to form we have not budgeted our time wisely for this project. I'm just patting myself on the back that we didn't leave the whole thing until tomorrow night. #winning

You can be sure after an extra play date AND a project I'll be down for the count all weekend. Have I mentioned the super special polar cyclone of doom has settled over the region? If you need me I'll be under four blankets, most likely asleep.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

World's OKest Mom

Today's blog title is brought to you by a friend of mine in book club who introduced me to this phrase. I have not stopped laughing about it yet. She's a hilarious person and I really wish we had more time to spend together. That list? Of people I need more time with? It's long.

This week I washed my son's Pokemon cards in the washer. Don't panic! You did not accidentally time travel back to the mid-90s. It turns out Pokemon cards are popular again. At least in my little corner of the world. And, I don't need to hear from you if you think Pokemon cards are from the devil or Illuminati or whatever. I can promise you my kid does not believe pocket monsters are real. Nor does he believe that Pokemon powers are real. We've covered it. We even discussed some bad theology in the Pokemon cartoon theme song. I wish I were kidding.

ANYWAY. Let's just cut to the chase and I'll tell you that I am a terrible pocket checker. Heaven knows it is all I can do to get the clothes clean and dry. Do not try to add any steps like checking pockets. It does not even cross my mind, ever, to check a pocket when I'm doing laundry. And I realize this is like playing the laundry roulette every time. I wish I was more conscientious. But I'm not. Therefore, my child's entire stash of Pokemon cards went through the wash cycle.

When I realized what I had done, I was calm and rational. No, wait. It did not go that way at all. I freaked totally out. And then I hid them. All the mangled, faded, sad, curled up cards got stashed out of sight. I have no idea why I didn't just throw them out. I could not bring myself to tell him what happened, so I kept mum.

In the meantime, he was not mentioning his cards. And, I can't be sure, but I think it's because he thought they were lost and was afraid I would be mad about him losing them. So, he hid.

Do you see what happened here? I could see it all along. Hiding the truth because I didn't want to deal with the emotional reaction. And, to strip it down even more? I didn't want him to be disappointed in me. He didn't tell me the truth because he didn't want me to be disappointed in him.

Pokemon cards are no big deal. But our reactions were a big deal. I definitely do not want this to be our pattern of reacting. Because one day the stakes will be much higher.

I spend a lot of time trying to keep from kids from experiencing pain. I think there is good in this. I think it is instinctual. Babies survive because mothers have an innate drive to keep them alive. Part of that includes keeping them from harm. This is important. But, the truth is, pain will come. This is the way of life. Sometimes they will be forced to face things they should not. What we do in these moments matters most.

I only have one answer for this. The only thing I know to do when my kids are facing any kind of hurt, big or small, is teach them to turn to God. When I experience pain, am I honest with them about how I feel? Do I hide? Or do I let them watch some of the process-the crying, the praying, the turning to God. Not in the trite way of turning to God, but in that way you do when you don't know what else to do. I want my kids to know that facing pain is a normal part of life. But, we are not left to do it on our own.

I am kinder to myself when I realize I'm going to blow it with my kids. Probably multiple times a day. World's OKest Mom is a title I will proudly bear. I will remind myself with each misstep that I am giving my kids the chance to rely on God a little more each day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sometimes

Sometimes your weekend looks nothing like you hoped.

Sometimes your week ended up being way more than you could handle.

Maybe by Friday afternoon, you were ready to crawl to a corner and assume the fetal position.

Maybe you are a big, fat feelings sponge. Maybe when you are in an emotionally charged environment, you soak it all in and leave 10 pounds heavier. Even if the emotions have nothing to do with you, really.

Sometimes you find out that you are having overnight company the day they are coming. Sometimes they are two people who are strangers to you and you literally cry because you know you are going to have to drum up some sort of conversation. Oh, the awkward. Sometimes you wish you were an extrovert. But, you're not. So, you awkward it up and try to make up for it with queso and brownies.

Sometimes, by the end of the week you are so tired you don't think you can go another day. But, then you do, because, well, you have to. And you think to yourself, "Next weekend I'll really have time to rest." Deep in your bones you know you are telling yourself a really good joke.

Sometimes you spend money you don't have on dinner out with friends because adult conversation is a good thing every once in a while.

Sometimes you go in the bathroom right after work and stay a long time even when you don't need to. Because, privacy. (I learned this trick from my Dad!)

Maybe Friday night you don't sleep at all because your child with the sensitive stomach is up all night puking. And she wants you right there tickling her back while she pukes. You think to yourself, "How is it possible that this particular child has not yet met her lifetime puking quota. She's basically been puking all her life."

But,

Sometimes you get a free ticket to see Chicago on stage. Sometimes you don't even really care what the show is because you just love live performance so much. (You also, sometimes, secretly dream of being a dancer. You might be good at telling yourself jokes...)

Sometimes you're tight on time so you show up to the football field and freak people out because you're wearing a dress and you've fixed your hair. Because you have set a low bar people pay you lots of major compliments.

Sometimes at that same football game your son has the game of his short life. You've watched him work so hard (because white boys are slow) and finally he is seeing some fruit. You cry when he throws his first touchdown pass, not because you care that he's scored a touchdown but because you know how much he cares.

Maybe when the game is over you high-tail it out of there, barely telling the kids good-bye because you've got dinner and a show. You probably roll your windows down (not too much-the hair) and sing at the top of your lungs. You're mostly excited you're not listening to the Frozen soundtrack.

Sometimes things do not go according to plan.

Sometimes it's better that way.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mom M.D.

Listen.

There is no hell like pediatrician waiting room hell. I have a friend who might argue 6th grade homework hell is worse, but I don't have that to compare other hells to quite yet.

Yesterday I took my kids for their check-ups. These check-ups were embarrassingly overdue. We had quite a run of wellness and I feel like every time we step foot in the door of the doctor's office we get sicker. (Or, my kids are magically healed of whatever I took them in for) So, I didn't take them in for a while.

Our streak came to an end last month when Drew started getting these weird bumps on his skin. The short version of that story is that I thought he had scabies. If you don't know what scabies is, I recommend you NOT google it. Suffice to say I was planning to just go ahead and burn the house down. The good news is, I'm not prone to extremes.

Turns out it was good old run of the mill poison ivy. I have never been so happy about poison ivy in all my life!! That was on Friday.

On Saturday night, just before Drew went to bed, his cheek looked a little swollen. He had been complaining about his cheek hurting. I assumed it had something to do with a cavity and planned to take him in to the dentist. The next morning he woke me up early. He was in a lot of pain and his cheek was huge. I'm still thinking it's a tooth. And I thought a tooth causing that much pain and swelling needed attention. Naturally, it was Sunday, so we headed to the ER. Because I thought we were going to get a tooth pulled I let Emily come along and left Big Dan to enjoy sleeping in. This was a gross miscalculation.

After multiple examinations, it was determined that Drew did not have a tooth problem. Instead, he had a soft tissue infection of some sort. Because it was unclear where this came from, he then got to have his very first IV and a CT scan. Did I mention I'm the only adult in the room? Did I mention I thought it was a tooth problem? I was mildly freaking out. No matter the situation, I think it is probably always unsettling to watch your child get a CT scan. And also leave your other child down the hall with the nurse.

The good news is that it was just in the soft tissue of his cheek. The bad news is no one knows how or why it got there. Our saving grace is that he wasn't running a fever so we did not have the honor of staying for IV antibiotics. Drew was glad. He had one thing on his mind. Making it to his flag football game. Only a super subpar mother would let their son play football with a vaguely diagnosed soft tissue infection.

I did. He was fine. #world'sOKestmom

So, we were right back in the doctor's office the next week. We had not been (besides check-ups) for TWO YEARS. Now we were there twice in one week. If you're going to break the streak you might as well do it up right.

Which brings us to yesterday. Yesterday we were in the waiting room for FIFTY MINUTES. 50. Do you know how long that is to wait with kids who have nothing to do?? I have never waited that long at our pediatrician before. I honestly thought they forgot about us. I still think they maybe did but just didn't admit it. This does not include the time we spent in the tiny room waiting. Where there is even less to do and more things to break. Like computers.

This sums up why I don't take my children to the doctor.

By the time their check-ups were done, I answered a million questions, they both sniffed live flu virus up their noses, and Emily got 4 shots? Done. I was sweating buckets and on the verge of a low blood sugar flip out. My kids were long gone over the edge of sanity. I kept saying to them, "Just get to the car. We'll talk about all the things if you will just walk quickly and quietly to.the.car."

I feel that any and all of our medical needs have been sufficiently met. Except for maybe the stroke level blood pressure I incurred as a result of yesterday's visit.

Too bad about it. Deep breathing will have to do.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Boxes of Shame

Before I get to the real topic at hand, which are actual boxes in my closet and not a metaphor, I'd like to let you in on what's happening in the world of my kid's elementary school right now.

For the last 6 school days they have been on Fall Break. I guess a full week of no school was not quite enough so they had to tack on one extra day, just to really sucker punch those parents who work. So. 10 days out of school. 10 days of not seeing friends. And THEN. Tomorrow is the first day back to school and it is the start of spirit week. And just in case all of us are not yet driven to our knees? The the first day of spirit week? "Matchy Matchy Twin Day".  That title is in quotes because it is the actual title that came out in the email. On top of having to come up with something different for my child to wear I also have to COORDINATE with another parent to make sure my kid has a spirit week twin?? Oh. I have so many words to say about this. But, I figure by the end of the week, there will be at least a whole post's worth of stuff about spirit week to say. Stay tuned.

So. My boxes.

Last year, we got Christmas taken care of just in the nick of time (get it? Nick? St. Nick?) By the time all the things were purchased, hidden, assembled and opened it was time for my Day After Christmas Nap. And we all know that nap lasts all day. In my rush to get things done, I crammed a bunch of boxes behind a chair in my room. These boxes contained things that "Santa" brought the children. So the boxes needed to be hidden. I thought I would sneak them out with the rest of the Christmas trash the next day. But then the aforementioned DAC nap occurred and I promptly forgot about the boxes. As I do. A few times over the last TEN months, I've noticed them and thought about taking them out. But then I didn't.

Skip to about a month ago. Drew had been in my room having some alone time. Later that night I went in the room and noticed the towel that had been covering the boxes was no longer covering the boxes. GASP! I haven't had the heart to ask him about it!! (Worst mom ever...) Then, Big Dan and I did some major cleaning out in our room. I came in one evening and Big Dan had moved the chair around and the boxes were just there in the corner for God and everyone to see! I hyperventilated and threw the boxes in my closet. They have been there for the better part of five days, mocking me.

Tonight though? I end my battle with the boxes of shame. There may be a tornado warning, but dangit those boxes are going in to the trash. The trash that runs tomorrow.

My bad Santa habits will be hauled off with the garbage.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parenting, Like Whoa

Just now I was sitting on the couch. I am currently in the midst of a church sabbatical. Which is a dressed up way of saying I'm not going. There are many issues here. We'll wait and explore those another day. Get excited.

Anyway, Emily was playing outside and came in with her stroller. She said, "I was just pretending that my little girl had a bad attitude at the park." Interesting... So, I said, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Did you give her a consequence?" She cut her eyes at me and said, "NO!" To which I replied, "Well, how is she going to learn her lesson?" To which she answered, "I decided to show her grace." Then she burst out laughing.

This is where parenting finds me most days.

Every stage of parenting is so different. In some ways, when you enter a new phase, it's like traveling to a foreign country. And you are stuck trying to figure out the language and the customs all over again. For someone like me, who is pro status-quo, I never handle these transitions well. In fact, we are usually halfway through a phase before I even realize what's happening.

We are in a new stage around here. And, let me say right up front, that I really, really like it! Y'all know the baby/toddler days were super hard for me. I feel like I'm in my wheelhouse right here. Soon, my oldest will be an adolescent and I will be left flailing again. But, for now? Big Dan and I are both REALLY enjoying hanging out with our kids.

The challenges though, are many. And mostly, it's because I feel like the real work of pointing my kids towards Christ begins now. As I work through my own issues with performance and works (see note about church drop-out above) I am aware of all the times I emphasize "good behavior" to my kids. And this is the rub. Because, make no mistake. I absolutely expect my kids to behave at school. To follow the rules, to be respectful, and to be kind to their friends. I struggle with people who think rules for kids are too confining. The thing is, we are not alone here on planet earth. Our actions and choices ALWAYS effect those around us. When my behavior negatively effects those around me FOR ANY REASON, it should give me pause.

When my kids are annoying each other in the backseat of the car it goes something like this: Kid 1 is singing or making weird noises. Kid 2 comes unglued over the noises. Kid 2 asks Kid 1 to stop. Kid 1 does not. Kid 2 tattles. (If I were reading this on someone else's blog and I knew their kids, I'd be dying to figure out who was who. Please note: it goes either way all.the.time.) When I reprimand Kid 1 there is usually an answer of "But I'm only singing/humming/popping my cheek/reciting stats/etc. ad nauseum. And really, they are right. It's probably not a big deal. But, the thing I keep coming back to is, if it is bothering the other person, think of them. Think of how you feel when you are the one being annoyed. Then, maybe, consider putting their needs ahead of your own. (As if noise making is a need...)

So, yes to the thinking of others and following the rules.

But.

I have two performing, rule-following kids. And I know that I have taught them by my actions that they are more acceptable to me when they are "good". And this makes me so sad. In case you were hoping that I give you the magic formula for walking this line, I'm not gonna. Because I have no idea. I want my kids to know that messing up and making mistakes (sometimes big ones) is a part of life. I want them to know that "being good" is not the goal. But man, this is hard to teach when, at my core, I am still struggling to believe it.

I keep asking God to show me when I blow it. And mostly, what He has led me to do in these moments is apologize. Name what I think has happened between us. This happened just the other day. I shut down a sad moment for one of my children because I didn't want them to make a scene. By that evening, I knew I had really messed up. So, I called both kids to me and told them that I thought there were probably times when I made them feel like it wasn't ok to be sad. I told them I was sorry about making them feel that way. Then, we talked specifics. With the child who was sad, I explained that just expressing all the sadness didn't always work in the moment. What could we do instead?

After that conversation the "flow" between both kids and I was so much better. It was like something that had clogged the lines between us had been cleared. Don't we all just want to know that someone gets it?

There are going to be days when my interactions with my kids look nothing like this. This was a pure act of God. In my flesh, I am a task master.

I think Emily might have been sending me a message today!