Saturday, January 29, 2011


Wow! Time flies. Our time with the little darlings is done and you know what. It went great. It helps that they are good girls, but really God is so awesome. It wasn't stressful. It was joyous and fun, even with a little flood. It went so well, we'll totally do it again.

God totally gives us strength, just as he promises and he always provides more than we can ask or imagine. I am humbled actually. Time that could have been stressful and crazy was fun and full of life. Without a doubt, I know His hand was all over it. We did it to bless James and Christina, but in the end, we were blessed. Isn't God cool, like that. Timing wasn't ideal; I don't feel great. Chloe didn't sleep, but He was caring for us. We got to see him provide peace and strength and joy. Wow.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekend Update

I've prayed about this weekend and asked some of you to do so as well. Here's the update.

Day went fine. Naps were so, so, but at least they all rested. Abby and Chloe slept well. Kids played well together and ate well together. I felt like Kate + 8...only, of course, there weren't 8. Here are my observations: all isn't to bad, the transitions are the difficulty. Getting everyone's dinner set up and ready, getting everyone ready for and into bed, etc. Once you are through the transition, all are playing or all are eating or all are sleeping and it's not bad at all. I don't know that I'd want five kids on a daily basis at the moment, but it is indeed doable even if they all ARE under 4.

Funny development- Phin tried to pour his own water from a gallon of nursery water (we were dealing with feeding the two babies). It spilled ALL over the floor. Ava began yelling, "It's flooding again!" and Marc and I looked at each other in disbelief....I wish water was worth money;) Really- what are the chances?

It is 7:15 and all the kids are in bed and dishes are done. I have lost my voice after singing to 4 of the 5 kids, but anyone who knows me knows I have a penchance towards laryngitis. I think the kids think it's interesting anyway;) Awesome- day one done, bumps and all and we are still smiling, lovin' the joy the kids add to life, lovin' watching them play, etc. Yessirree, God answers prayers! Aren't you slightly curious about what tomorrow will hold? I am!

We are off to a swimming start....

I love to write funny stories and it wonderful to keep this blog as a record. I can look back and recall the bean stalks that grew in my kitchen overnight, hitting my cleaning lady's car, and, of course, notoriously telling the world I pooped my pamper. Today, I had another doozy of a day and what better whay to handle it than add it to my blog archives for later laughter! (Though I hope these humorous tales of my real life decrease in number!)

This weekend I'm watching my friend Christina's two little girls (2 and 1). They are cute little things and they've been here quite a lot so I don't foresee it being a problem. The woman who was initially supposed to watch them so Christina and James could have night away had to cancel. Anyone who is a parent knows how important nights away are to a marriage. We agreed to keep them, cuz really how bad could it be? It's less than 36 hours. There is always TV and I firmly believe in keeping marriages strong. If we are going to walk through life together- sometimes we are going to have to pitch in and help one another whether the timing is convenient or not.

Keeping the girls isn't "ideal" only because I am sick. I have been suffering from a cold all week, thereby not sleeping great. Chloe was also up quite a bit last night bothered by her emerging teeth. Still, I was determined to not just survive this day and a half but give the girls a rip roarin' good time and make sure Christina and James got their much needed time away knowing their girls were being not just cared for in their absence but loved.

This morning I put on my spiritual armor and comitted the time to prayer. I got up, picked up, and ran to the store first thing so we would be well stocked;) I prepped as much as I could, even setting out lunch supplies before going to get Ava because the girls were to arrive right as we would get home from picking her up from school. I made sure I had my coke on hand, just in case;)

When we got home, Phin had fallen asleep in the car so I ran in with Chloe to set her in the high chair so I could carry him in. Imagine my shock when I entered the kitchen and stepped into a lake! Immediately, I noticed the faucet running.

I am an idiot- plain and simple. In all my preparation haste, I left the faucet running. It ran for over an hour, producing about 1/2 inch of water on the kitchen floor.

Ava thought it was a hoot and began to dance in it! I laughed. James was ringing the doorbell to drop off the girls as I was running to get towels. He dropped off the girls and went on his merry way; I do have to admit I was momentarily jealous that he was going to a world of freedom as I was dealing with a catastrophe;) Thankfully Kailee was sleeping and although Abby did wet her socks entering the kitchen, she easily entertained herself in the living room while I was cleaning up. Lunch was late, Phin stayed asleep too long in the car and I used every clean towel in the house to clean it up. But I did it. Phew!

I was done. I put Chloe, Abby and Phin down for nap and was about to sit down to get myself some lunch and maybe check me a little facebook. Something told me to check under the sink...crap! more water. Every box under the sink was saturated. The brillo pads were all soaked in their box and who knew we had like a million boxes of trash bags! Thank God the bags themselves are plastic! The open box of dishwasher detergent tabs was now just an open wet box of moosh;P and frankly it was just a mess. I was opening and tossing, opening and tossing when Ava interrupted me in a panic. "You are throwing away box tops, Mom!" Let's just stop here and say that there are times when a preschooler's brilliance is just annoying. The upside is the boxes were so wet, I didn't need to grab scissors, I just ripped those babies right off. I hope her school appreciates the 20 cents.

I finished up, proud as heck of myself for conquering the bump in my day. At one point, Ava asked me, "Why are you laughing mom?" I explained to her that sometimes in life you have to chose whether to laugh or cry and laughter made you feel so much better. I was patting myself on the back for seizing the opportunity to teach Ava a great lesson as I loaded the towels in the laundry baket to take them downstairs.

"Pride comes before a fall."

The basket was too heavy to carry because the towels were so saturated with water. I dragged the basket and learned a life lesson of my own. A large round laundry basket full of sopping wet towels cannot be smoothly dragged down a flight of stairs. I was soon looking at all of the sopping wet towels scattered at my feet and all down the basement steps. Yep-- pride comes before a fall. I was just thankful it was the towels that fell and not me.

I was laughing to myself as I picked them up and put them in the basket and right as I finished I noticed the basement carpet near the storage room door (the storage room is directly under the kitchen). It was wet. OH NO! It couldn't be....could it?

Indeed not only had my kitchen flooded, but water had leaked into the basement. As I opened the door, I realized that there is a lot more water that comes out of the kitchen faucet than I realized or imagined.

My "clean" towels were now sitting wet in the laundry basket, what was a girl to do? All the dirty towels and sheets that were waiting to be washed went to work. Shoot, I even used the wash clothes and hand towel and a few cleaning rags by the washer to help out , as well. The worse part of all? Because we had a large flood in the basement at our last home, we "learned our lesson" and put all our valuable items on the top shelves in the storage room. Thing is- when the flood comes through the ceiling...well, that doesn't really help.

Yes, my friends I spent naptime today opening sopping wet boxes of my husband's childhood memoribilia and laying out pictures and all sorts of stuff, saving his family's history. (Since his parents divorced and wanted nothing to do with each other they gave every old picture or significant item to us. And after going through it all, quite a bit of insignificant stuff too, I think.)

Very little was ruined, but now we have lots of reorganizing to do when it all dries out and I think we'll be emptying out the humidifier every hour or so for a couple days.

Yep- this weekend is off to a swimming start- quite literally.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What better way to start the day?

If I am honest, I have to admit that when Phin saw me starting to lick the spatula this morning (after I made brownies for playgroup), I was super disappointed. I did not initially want to hand the spatula over. I am not much of a cookie dough person, but brownie batter? That is my thing;)
In the spirit of teaching him to share, however, I knew I had no choice but to hand him my prized possession. Sister soon joined him and is smart enough to know that where there is a spatula, there also exists a bowl, ripe for the licking.
In God's goodness, he replaced my initial angst with joy. Watching my children get every last bit of brownie batter ended up being much better than eating it myself. AND WATCHING IS CALORIE FREE:)

Phin's first batter eating experience- took him all of two seconds to figure it out!
Next time I may leave a little extra for him on the tip of the spatula;)

He kept trying to lick his face to get more;)

I asked him if he liked it, I guess so;)

Thanks Mom!

Ava savored every bite and made the experience last;)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Joy that is My Ava

I have a delighful little girl. She is beautiful and charming, but what I am most proud of is how she is developing a soft and beautiful heart.

Yesterday we talked a lot about salvation. The conversation went throughout the day. I tried very hard to make sure she was understanding me, without pushing her. I desperately want my little girl to be with me in heaven, but I don't want her to say a salvation prayer in order to please me. Coercing her to say a prayer that is just mere words does nothing about the condition of her soul. I DID want her to understand that she is a sinner and that the only way she can get to heaven is through Jesus Christ.

I tried my best to answer her questions and ask ones in return that would help further her understanding. At lunch time, she decided she wanted to ask Jesus to forgive her sins and to accept His free gift of salvation. She thanked him for dying on the cross and making a way for her to be in heaven forever. I cannot see what is inside Ava's heart, but oh how I hope to spend eternity with this little lady.

Some of the questions she asked were so sweet. She asked about Heaven and what it looked like and what we would do there. I told her we would worship God. She was in awe that she could SEE him there. I told her the bible said he is seated on a throne. She said, "Jesus is on a throne". I then tried to explain the trinity a bit and said Jesus is at the right hand side according to scripture. Her response melted my heart. "Oh, but God and Jesus are one, so it's sort of like at my 2 year old birthday with Jason. We shared the throne. There was one seat, but we both sat there." Not totally theologically accurate, but I could tell she was really listening and it was precious.

She told Marc she asked Jesus into her heart as soon as he got home from work. It was cool, cuz in that moment I totally forgot what a beautiful morning we had had. It meant so much that it was her news and she saw it as the highlight of the day (IT WAS!).

Then tonight I had the priviledge of putting her to bed. It is usually Marc's job, but he had to make a presentation at a Johnsonville plant this evening. Her prayer tonight almost brought me to tears. This is what she prayed, "Dear Jesus, Thank you for a good day. Thank you for helping me clean my closet when I was overwhelmed. Thank you for dying on the cross so I can go to heaven. Please help my papa be safe in his meeting. Help him cuz he said he feels overwhelmed. Please help him come home safe so I can see him in the morning. Amen."

As if that wasn't enough, as I stood up (from sitting next to her on the bed) to leave the room she said, "I am so thankful for you, mommy."

I screw up an awful lot, I can't say her beautiful heart is all my doing, but I am so grateful that God uses the imperfect person that I am in this little girls life. She is an amazing little person; it's hard to believe she's my daughter. I am profoundly humbled and grateful.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I didn't grow up with brothers. I adore my sisters and have never really felt like I missed anything. Friends with brothers sometimes seem to think I did. I'll never know. There are certain days (like today), however, when I think all I missed was torture.

This morning Phin and Chloe were in the kitchen. He was playing at the sensory table. She was playing in her booster. I went to walk Ava to the door as she was on her way out to school with Marc. Phin soon was behind me and Chloe was crying. I assumed it was just because he left the room.

Wrong assumption- this is what Marc found when he ran back to grab his lunch.

We fought back laughter and corrected Phin with a prompt time out and very stern words. After all, had this been a plastic bag, we could have REALLY had a problem. It is kind of funny and kind of creepy (doesn't she kind of look like the pictures you see of prisoner of war in different countries when they are moving them for location to location- yuck). Poor girl. One can only wonder what is in store for her in the future.

And yes, we did immediate remove the bag and I DID put it back on JUST to grab a picture. Really words just didn't seem to suffice in this situation;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Can't help myself...more "Conversations"

1) Ava: Here is a picture for you mom. It's me and Papa at the airport. I am nine. That would make Chloe 5, but she isn't in this picture. Well, neither are you and Phin cuz you all had to go to the bathroom.

2) After Ava's first "professional art class"- Making Animals from Clay
Me: How was it?
Ava: It was great. I made a bowl and a cup we can use for food. Well, actually the teacher made the bowl and cup and THEN I made them into animal ones. She said there isn't enough time to get them painted and stuff if we make them ourselves.
Me: It sounds fun.
Ava: It was really fun. It's good I don't have it every day though, right?
Me: Why honey, didn't you like it?
Ava: I loved it, mommy, but if I had it every day then I'd miss time with my flamily.
(that isn't a spelling error. She calls us her flamily and it melts my heart every time!)

3)This morning Phin came in the kitchen while I was making pancakes with the hood of his coat on his head.
Phin: Come on mommy, Let's go. Zip up my coat.
Me: Where are we going?
Phin: Walmart
Me (laughing): Why do we need to go to Walmart?
Phin: To get cookies. Let's go!
(for those in the city who never shop at's a staple here. It's also very clean and they give kids cookies when you walk by the bakery.)

Updated Pic's of my Munchkins

Ideally, I'd be posting pictures with each blog, but just like my life- my blog isn't ideal;) Still, here are some pictures of my children from the last couple weeks.

Ava holding her new cousin, Mia.

Our Knight in Shining Armor;)

With cousins Jordan and Mia.

Phin wears a hat much of the time...he has quite a few, but this is one of my favorites;)

Siblings!Isn't she gorgeous!

Ava loves to help, especially at bath time.

They were thrilled to go out in the snow...and lasted all of three minutes! The snow is too deep for Phin to walk and Ava can't bear the thought of playing alone.

My mom had the kids on the day Chloe turned 7 months and was kind enough to do the monthly shot for her scrap book....of course, being all cute with blocks, making this picture better than any I've taken. I will just appreciate her extra creativity- hey, she sleeps every night, I don't;)

The trampoline the kids got for Christmas to help burn off their pent up energy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

For memory's sake...

I have been doing a ton of reflecting lately and was about to write yet another post on my ponderings. BLAH! Instead, let's focus on some kid things I don't want to forget (if I haven't already!). Here are a few things that cracked me up or warmed my heart recently:

1) Ava had a play date on Wednesday. Shortly after her friend left, Ava came to me and said, "Mommy, _____ told me a private secret." My stomach immediately got sick and I very nervously choked out a response. "Do you want to tell me about it?" She replied, "Yes. ____ told me she has a freckle on her bum." My reaction- hysterical laughter. Ava was very serious about this and yes, bums do fall under the category of private things. I tried desperately to recover the opportunity to remain a safe place for her and said, "It is very good to check with mommy to see if something is okay. " I then proceeded to tell her that it was funny that ___ told her that, but it was the best policy not to talk about butts with our friends. OH! That private secrets would always be so innocent!!

2) Ava stayed at my parents last weekend. My mom said to her, "Maybe we can sneak over to Katie's to see her new puppy." Ava got very serious and whispered, "Why do we have to sneak?" :)

3) We ate at McD's with her little friend yesterday and she got a Madagascar toy that shoot little paper discs. She's been sneaking, hiding around corners and shooting them at me. It may actually take me by surprise at some point if she weren't giggling uncontrollably while hiding.

4) While at Ava's ballet class today, Phin turned off the light switch near the entry door. Would you believe this exposed light switch turns off the lights in the ENTIRE place- waiting area and both studios included...thank goodness he's cute. I turned it back on but the teacher came out and asked, "Did the lights out here just go out too?" I had to which she replied, "OH! I thought we must be having a storm or something."

5) I was putting Phin to bed recently. When putting our kids to bed, we kiss them and with each kiss list a family member that loves them, the final kiss/hug is biggest, including tickles on their sides and we say, "But Jesus loves you the most." This night he said, "Caleb love me." Me- "what?" Phin- "Caleb loves me too, mommy." (Caleb is a 10 year old boy from our church who is very kind to Phin. Never underestimate how deeply kindness speaks to children;)

6) Phin has been really into Chloe lately. She has been doing a lot of gabbing. My favorite moments to witness are Phin sitting facing her and he gets her to gabb. He says, "Da, Da, Da, Da?" and she replied, "da, da, da". It is priceless;)

7) Breakfast 'round here can be a bit crazy, but we've found a good way to keep two kids quiet. Ava now feeds Chloe her babyfood, while I prepare the older kid's breakfast. Love the dynamic of working together as a family!

8) Phin brought me the phone this evening and said, "I call ganpa" So I dialed my dad's number. When he answered...
Dad- "Hello"
Me in background, "Say Hello, Phin."
Phin- "Hi ganpa"
Dad- "Hi Phin!"
Phin- "Hi"
Dad- "what are you doing?
Phin- "I reading Splat"
Dad (Obviously having no idea what Phin said)- "I love you"
Phin- "lub you too granpa. I reading Splat now. Bye"
Pretty good for a two year old, huh?;)

9) Phin is really into being a big boy of late. If you ask him "Are you a baby Phin?" He quickly and firmly replies, "I not a baby!" So...when he was refusing to pick up his blocks yesterday, I (being the wonderful, manipulative mom) said, "Oh, you can't pick them up cuz you are a baby, right?" He completely stuck to his guns and surprised me by replying, "Yeah, I can't do it..."

10) Picking up his toys has suddenly become a battle, yesterday when Marc told him to come and pick up his toys, I replied, "Give him a minute he is taking a drink." Phin finished his drink but instead of going to pick up his toys, started playing with something else. I then said, "Phin go to Papa and pick up your toys. Instead of doing so, he returned to his bottle and said, "I can't, I am getting a drink." Yep a smart cookie...and perhaps a little lazy too!

11) Ava came home from Awana a little overwhelmed. "Nate and Eagan both want to marry me and I am FOUR. I don't want to get married yet and I don't want a boyfriend even." Me- "are you still kind to them?" Ava- "Yes, I am kind to them, but what can I do about this. I couldn't marry two people anyway." Me- "well if you were grown up would you want to pick one of them to marry?" Ava- "I guess if I was grown up, Nate could be my king and Eagan could clean up the castle."

Chloe doesn't speak yet, but right now...well, today she's woken herself up with big poops disrupting both of her naps. I am exhausted and would be angry at her, but she's adorable. The minute you look at her, she's all smiles. How can you be angry at a kid who loves you with her entire body? She's all arms and legs a'reachin' to be picked up. When I pick her up she grabs my face with both hands and tries to eat my face. Sounds cannibilistic, but it is despite terrible, and I do mean terrible sleep last night and today....I'm keepin' her;)

Finally- in honor of Nicole Foster's "Fess Up Friday" blog I called the art center to ask what time Ava's art class was tomorrow (we are putting her in a clay animals class). The lady asked me three times if I was sure it was tomorrow. I, of course, replied, "Yes". She looked and looked and finally said, "I am sorry ma'am I may have to have someone call you first thing in the morning, the only class with clay for that age group I see is on Saturday." Still, not realizing my mistake, I said, "right, that is the one." She kindly said, "But tomorrow is Friday." Seriously, I thought tomorrow was I laughed and thanked her for keeping me from making an unnecessary trip to the museum on the wrong day. It is 8:30 and now I am going to bed...obviously, I need a bit of sleep;)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Taking time to Breathe

We spent the last weekend childless in Chicago celebrating a very special friend's 40th birthday. It was...well, it was just wonderful.

I came back home from Christmas vacation geared up for the New Year, ready to take life by horns and conquer the world. Then life happened. Chloe's 6mo. checkup was the day we got back, she was grumpy and feverish from her shots for a couple of days. Then we had three nights of COMPLETE chaos with her. She was screaming, refusing to sleep, etc. The doctor found nothing wrong on a return visit, but encouraged Ibuprofen 'round the clock and advised we keep a close eye. She seemed okay on the Ibuprofen for a couple days, but two days later woke up in the full swing of a then obvious cold. She had the snottiest nose imaginable and her eyes were goopy as all get out. The next few nights became increasingly horrible and I finally returned again to the doctor. I was sure she had an ear infection, but have to admit I was just as sure he'd send me home yet again (after all, I had been sure it was an ear infection at our last visit and her ears were "clear as day"). Thankfully, her ears were indeed infected and we were prescribed antibiotics.

She is feeling better, but here is the thing- this is her 5th round of antibiotics since September. This mean healing ears, but another battle with diarrhea and diaper rash. I sat down and looked at the calendar and my blessed third born has indeed been sick more days than she's been healthy since her older sister started Preschool. I feel so badly for her. Sure, she will probably have an immune system stronger than most in a couple years, but right now she can't get a break. When she's feeling well she is so charming, but most days she isn't- so she's crying, sleeping, or on my hip.

On the advice of a few friends, I took her to a chiropractor and that has seemed to help. We'll keep going, hoping to increase the drainage from her ears and get off this sick cycle. I want to think positive, yet I also need to remember that life is completely out of my control;)

I left for our weekend excited, knowing how desperately I needed a break. I expected to return from our weekend away rested, instead I feel like the small amount of sleep I was able to get only made me realize just how exhausted I am. When I finally relaxed and came off the adreniline rush I've been living through, I realized I am past spent. I do, however, feel refreshed. I had fun. For 36 hours or so, I was able to live life carefree. I was able to sit and talk without having that conversation interrupted. I was able to laugh, to love, to just be. I was able to break through the surface and breathe. What a gift! (And I wasn't even the one celebrating her birthday!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sometimes is hard to give yourself Grace

We moved to Sheboygan in April and I quickly realized the church we were attending didn't have a mom's group. Because I led the mom's group in Chicago, I immediately wondered if God would have me start one here at some point. At the time I was 7 months pregnant and sure that wouldn't happen for at least a year; after all we hardly knew anyone.

I started getting together to play with two other women and their kids every Thursday at a park. They started talking about other moms that wanted to join and quite quickly I began to realize God had plans for a mom's group here. Right now we are not "official" and we meet every TH at my house. We are in the process of trying to formalize a "plan" and make ourselves officially part of the women's ministry at church. It seems God has big plans and I am just open and willing to do as he leads.

Today it was wonderful to have the moms over. I had to cancel a few times in the fall because of sick children. With that and the holidays I've had some days of loneliness for the first time since being in Sheboyan. It's been hard to feel connected. It was nice to see other moms today and again be excited about what God may have for us here- both in ministry and in relationships.

I had a terrible night with Chloe. I had to sleep in the recliner with my darling on my chest for a part of the night. The day started WAY before I or my body was ready and I was admittedly grumpy. I probably wouldn't have chosen for people to come over when I was feeling that way. So often I want to "have it all together" first, but today I remembered that often it's through relationship that I "get it together".

A couple conversations today really stuck with me. I found myself reflecting on them and growing a bit in the process. Isn't that what the body of christ SHOULD help us do?

First, a good friend was jokingly saying, "she didn't feel like a pastor's wife." I joked back "how should a pastor's wife feel." We often put positions up on pedestals and find ourselved unable to climb into them. She is a funny girl. A very authentic girl- she light heartedly compared herself to "great" women who have it all together. I joked with her- "you probably used to be great too before you have two kids under two!". I actually need to follow up that conversation. I need to make sure she knows I actually think she IS GREAT right now, right as she is. Having young children IS hard. We often feel scattered and are swimming in chaos. It's easy to look at others and feel like they are doing a better job than we are. Shoot, I have to honestly admit when she mentioned the women she thought were "great" I was jealous and wished she thought so highly of me;) That is what I've been pondering. Is motherhood somehow more successful if another mom thinks I'm perfect? I say I am passionate about being authentic, but I struggle with wanting people to think I am a supermom. I think I've dealt with the fact that supermoms don't really exist and then I find myself struggling again with that ideal.

The second conversation was with a lovely mom who is unfortunately a newly SINGLE mom. Her situation is tragic and hard enough with her husband, but her mom is also dying. She has two high energy boys. She was beating herself up because she feel asleep yesterday and her boys ended up playing video games for two hours in a row. On the outside, I and another mom, of course, told her this is SOOO not a big deal. They don't always play video games for great lengths of time and my goodness SHE NEEDED A NAP! Still it doesn't change how she felt inside, does it? She is buying into the lie that she failed. She didn't fail, she took a nap....a much needed nap. I can't help but wonder if that didn't end up actually helping her be a BETTER mom the rest of the day. It is OK to care for ourselves sometimes- not just okay, but necessary.

So...First, I need to make sure I mirror to friend number one what a GREAT job she IS doing. She loves and cares for her girls. Her husband always speaks highly of what and how she is doing. She is funny and bright and lovely. She IS just the pastor's wife she should be. I don't think my telling her that makes that any more valid- but a little encouragement never hurts.

Second, I need to remember that I am doing my best. Oh sure I have days like yesterday when my son eats too many fruit snacks. There are days when my kids watch too much TV, but you know what? I am doing a great job. I LOVE my kids and they are thriving. Yes, I get tired and some days are better than others, but I am a good mom and need to quit letting the voice of the Discourager distract me with self defeating thoughts. They only serve to distract from what is really important- being present with my kids and loving them with my whole heart. Yes, I hope to be a better mom every day, but that doesn't mean I am not a darn good one right now!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Okay- I have to confess, I have no earthly idea how many packs of fruit snacks my son ate today. I keep finding empty wrappers (the house was clean this morning so I know they are all from today) and I did see him helping himself a time or two. I suppose I am now in the middle of a science experiment of sorts. Anyone have a hypothesis re. the affect of large quanitities of fruit snacks on a toddler's poop?

This is not really acceptable, of course. It is my job as a mom to feed my kids a healthy diet...we won't discuss the fact that I am also a nurse;) If today were not an exception but the norm, I would certainly need a bit of nutritional counseling and some parenting advice.

The truth is, however, some days you just don't want to pick the battle. There have been days when he's taken candy without asking and I know I should take it away and correct him, but I let it go. Today I did see him "sneaking" the snacks, but I didn't want to deal with temper tantrums or any other reaction he might have from taking them away from him. It wasn't a bad day in any sense, I am just tired.

It is a situation that is causing me to look back in time and remember how LITTLE I knew in my young 20s. I remember going to help a mom from church pack up her home for a move. She had 5 kids under 6 and her home was slightly chaotic; especially since three of the five kids were boys and one of them is autistic. As I was helping her pack the kitchen, her youngest son kept coming into the kitchen and taking popsicles. He ate atleast five popsicles. I remember thinking it was funny, realizing she was just letting it go, but also feeling a little self righteous. When I was a mom I was certain I would never do that!

Here I am a mom...and I did that. My son is probably the exact age of her son. I get it now. I am eating humble pie (oooooo pie- maybe I need to eat some real pie tonight too!). Some days you just don't pick the battle unless it's absolutely necessary and let's face it with a two year old- there are enough absolutely necessary battles as it is.

I'll let you know the result of the "science experiment" tomorrow...
It is absolutely quiet in my house right now. I can hear the washing machine running in the baseent and the fridge just kicked in, but those are sounds I am rarely aware of. My four year old even fell asleep today. Quiet. Ah! What luxury!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Good intentions

Today was a good day. Motherhood was fun today. I didn't even sleep last night (Chloe was up with a high fever from her flu shot), but today just felt easy.

We went to the grocery store at 8am, because I needed caffeine and we were plum out (gotta put on my oxygen mask first, before helping my children;). Somewhere between waking up and the d00r to Pick N Save I got creative energy. What usually can be a real headache, turned into a fun outing.

There are very few people in the grocery store at 8 am. We played "I Spy" in the produce section. The kids had fun helping me gather our veggies. Phin needed a little extra help, but Ava had a blast picking out the perfect tomatoes and cucumbers. I also let them each pick one fruit. Ava got adventurous and went for the pineapple. Phin seems to be a creature of habit and picked red seedless grapes- a fruit that regularly makes it's appearance at our home.;) I then had them help me with cheese, yogurt, and eggs. We really had a great time and as the other shoppers (all old women at 8 in the morning) gave me smiles, I felt like I was on top of the world.

On the way home I thought about how perspective changes things so much! Instead of yelling at my kids today for grabbing things off the shelves, I was able to engage them. Instead of leaving the store with a headache, I left with a full heart. It really energized me and put a positive spin on our entire day. Here we were in the middle of a Sheboygan Winter, unable to go outside and we didn't even watch TV. It's no surprise my children were much of their misbehavior is fed off of my underlying angst? I even found myself being extra productive during nap time (which was long today because Chloe was extra tired from her sleepless night). We ended the day by making gourmet pizza for papa (caramelized onions, baby bella mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes on whole wheat crust) and plain old cheese pizza for the kids- flour is still every where from my little "helpers" and they "sampled" so much of the shredded mozzarella we had to cut up cheese sticks on their pizza.

I also was fueled with creative ideas for future days. I don't know how many of them will get "done", but I wrote them down, cuz I'd LOVE to do at least some of them. First on my list is cutting up my seed catalogs (AFTER planning my garden and ordering my seeds, of course;) and making "I Spy" grocery cards for Phin. A once dreaded task with three kids has now moved into the "winter outings" category;) Next, teaching my kids to clean...hey who doesn't love a spray bottle, right? (Okay- maybe I'm sniffing glue on thinking that one will be a success, but why not see the glass half full;)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

PHEW! The holidays are over!

Anyone else feel that way, too?! Don't get me wrong, we had a fabulous time on the ACTUAL holidays (I have the best family ever!), but the month leading up to Christmas was just crazy. Certainly adding a dog in our mix helped add to the chaos, but I definitely felt like December was rushing by and I was barely hanging on. (We did rehome little Max with a high school friend of mine, by the way.) Shoot- I mailed my Christmas Cards on Christmas Eve and I still owe a few Christmas presents to friends far away;P

I feel very joyful over this New Year. That is unusual for me; typically I find myself a little sad that time is passing so quickly. Right now however, I feel like we are moving into a new season. Chloe is getting older and though things haven't eased up yet, I can see light in our future. I feel like I am under water but now I can see the surface. Soon, I will be coming up to breathe fresh air!

Now, let's be honest this is really probably all about sleep. I just don't do well on sleep deprivation. My mind is lost somewhere in 2006 and my body...well, I don't know how far back I need to look to find that one;) I don't even know if I remember what it feels like to be well rested or to function at normal capacity!

We've always said that we'd probably have four kids, but both of us are feeling like our family may be complete with three. My heart is full, my attention more than taken and we just feel like perhaps God is leading us to keep our family to five for now. I have embraced this season of very young children and surrendered to the utter chaos it entails, but now that it is looking like it may be moving forward, I feel quite joyful;)

I love having babies. I love the cuddles. I love nursing. I love chubby cheeks and rolly polly thighs. But I also am really excited to not have a baby on my hip anymore. I am ready to be more active as a family and not be tied down by nap schedules.

Before I get comments, let me clarify that I AM open to whatever God has for us. Children are a blessing and I would never turn my back on blessings he wanted to bestow on us. Adoption may be in our future, as well. At the moment, however, I feel emotionally in a different place than I have been with my other two kids. I feel like he has my heart in a new place; I just feel like the season of infants is over. It's time to pass that torch and I am so okay with that. I am ready for new adventures. I love my kiddos and I am exciting to see them grow and learn. (and YES I AM savoring the chaos of TODAY, as well:)

2010 was a FULL year with SOOO much change- new job for Marc, new house, move to new area, and new child. I am pretty sure all of those things are on the list of "top most stressful changes." God was good to us. The year was full, but he provided WAY above our expectations. We experienced much closeness and joy. What should have strained the family relationships, only strengthened them. Yes, we look back with thanks.

We look forward with hope and expectation. Here's to 2011 and a God who already knows what is holds!