Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A drawing entitled "Tuesday"

After parent-teacher conferences, we decided to add a day to our son's three day/week school schedule and have him go Tuesdays as well. Turns out, his teacher has been sitting him out during playtime to do the work he misses the two days he's not there. Not cool. Free play at school is such an important time for 5 year olds, especially for our son as he's always been more comfortable with adults than his peers.

We decided we would give Tuesdays a try and see how it goes. Last week was our first week and it went fabulous. Tuesday was a 2 hour delay day so it was a perfect way to start a 4/day week. Also, his teacher was going to be back in the classroom after being absent for a week due to a medical issue. He was excited to go and sailed through the rest of the week (with Thursday at home).

This week has been a different story.

Monday night at bedtime, my son asked me, "Is it a school day tomorrow?"
"No it's not!"
"Yes, honey, you go on Tuesdays now."
"I don't want to go."
"Let's just sleep on it tonight and we'll talk about it in the morning."

10 minutes later he's out of bed with something to show me. A drawing...

He is standing in front of his school with tears falling down to his toes. In the sky it's storming with thunder and lightening and he knows he's not supposed to be outside when it's thunder and lightening but he's crying so hard he doesn't hear the thunder.

And that's how he feels about going to school on a Tuesday.

You might remember, the entire first month of school, he cried at every drop off.

This week Tuesday, he did not go to school.

I still don't know the best thing to do for my child. Stick to the 3 days/week and see if he can bring home the work he misses so he doesn't have to do it during free play? Make him go Tuesdays even if he doesn't want to? Start with a half day on Tuesdays until he's more comfortable with the 4 day week schedule?

On the plus side, kuddos to my son for expressing himself amazingly in his drawing!! :)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A flooded bathroom

You don't know the kind of parent you're going to be when your 5 year old floods the bathroom. That's not something you expect to happen on any given day and certainly not something you plan for.

It seems like so much of parenting these days with my 5 year old and 21 month old is the unexpected.

Let's just say I was a bit caught off guard and since I had not done any reading about what to do when your son floods the bathroom, like I had about sleeping habits and eating habits and what to expect when expecting, etc, this I was not expecting. I find that in the unexpected, I react more than respond. This time I reacted poorly. I don't like the mother I became.

We had just finished dinner (picture spaghetti and peas all over the floor from my (almost) 2 year old's latest favorite dinner activity) and I am focused on what needs to be done to get these tired children to bed (and Momma a much needed break). Do they need a bath? They had a bath last night, right? My husband had to stay at the office late because he had a client in crisis so with only me doing bedtime duty, the next question is, who needs to get to bed first. My daughter had been fighting a cold the last few days so I wanted to get her to bed first. My son offered to fill the humidifier in his sister's room and I am getting sister in pjs and nursing her and reading her books. After several trips from the bathroom to the bedroom it occurred to me, that humidifier has got to be full by now. But no, he says, not yet. And then it occurred to me, why is there water running in the bathroom?

"Turn off the water," I call to my son.

And then, perhaps a bit too late, mother intuition kicks in. I run to the bathroom and there is water all over the floor - the very new floor that my husband just installed a month ago due to mold under the old floor. My son has this habit of pushing down the stopper in the sink and for some reason, who knows why, he was leaving the water running while taking all those trips to his sister's room... And now the bathroom is flooded, filling the drawers and cabinets below the sink and soaking the rug.

I had a pile of towels in the living room ready to bring down to the laundry room and grabbed the whole pile and began mopping up the water. I'd like to say I remained calm during this time and kept my mouth shut... I wish I had. Silence speaks so much louder and kinder and full of less regret in such moments.

It's oh so different looking back now. But in the moment, I've got a sick toddler that should have been in bed long ago and a boy who also just needs to be in bed. And remember the humidifier in my daughter's room? There's water all over her room, soaking her rug as well.

I don't like to physically pick up my son to get him to do what I want him to do (go straight to bed, do not get a snack, do not go pee, do not brush your teeth.) There is a parenting saying that I really believe in despite struggling at times to put it into practice. It says, start as you mean to go. Meaning, don't do something now that you don't want to (or can't do) years down the road. There will come a day (rather soon) where I will not be able to pick up my son. Nor do I want to be doing that to my 5 year old. He is not a baby who might need to be picked up and distracted when doing something he should not. He is 5 and the responsibility needs to rest on him to obey me.

But there is a flooded bathroom and a sick toddler and the boy just needs to be in bed. So I pick him up and plop him in bed, saying more things loudly that I will later regret. And did I just slam his door? I'm re-living my teenage years here and I'm supposed to be the parent! I don't allow him to slam his door and I just slammed his door. Sigh. I climb the stairs and at the top of the stairs is my 2 year old who, when she sees me, points her index finger at me and yells, (mimicking me) "Go to bed!"

Definitely a cringe-worthy parenting moment.

"I'm sorry," I say to my daughter. I finish mopping up the water off her floor and put her to bed.

And as I'm cleaning the bathroom, (our kitty helps by lapping up some of the water), I have time to think and time to calm down. I never thought I'd be a yeller as a parent. I consider myself to be a patient and calm person. But I have my moments, certainly more moments now with two kiddos than when I just had one. Oh what a different parent I am with two kids... not all bad, not all good. But I'm not okay with being a yeller. I don't want to yell. I don't want to be someone who just reacts to a situation rather than responds to it. I'm mopping up the mess my son made and less angry now, but now, the guilt is starting to settle in.

It's "All Hallows Eve" and my daughter is sick and my husband is working late and my son flooded the bathroom and I'm yelling and putting my kids to bed without brushing their teeth. And this year we won't be starting a new tradition of baking pumpkin pie and eating popcorn while watching, "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Maybe next year.

After I clean the bathroom, I go down to my son's room and sit with him on the bed. I begin by apologizing.

"You were so angry, Mom."

I was. And it's ok that I got angry. The problem is that now, because of my poor reaction, it has now became less about what my son did and more about what I did. Sure he felt bad about what he did. But I'm the one awake at midnight, feeling guilty, trying to think of a way to make it up to him. And it's not until I decide we can build a haunted gingerbread house together after school, that I can fall asleep. How did it come to this? How quickly we got off track.

What do I want to teach my kids about anger? I'm certainly teaching them whether it's intentional or not. I want them to know that it's okay to be angry, but not to hurt people or things in our anger. I want them to have outlets for their anger other than yelling or slamming doors. I want to teach them to seek forgiveness and take responsibility for their anger. And to forgive. Forgive themselves and others. How about you? What do you want to teach your kids about anger?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Sick Day

Both kiddos were a little under the weather today with coughs and stuffy noses. After a morning spent watching cartoons and reading books and blowing noses and nursing the baby, my son asked to go out for a walk. The sunshine and warm breeze was calling us through the open windows. I thought some fresh air sounded like a great idea. I put baby girl in her stroller and we headed out. His heart was in it, but his little sick body was not. We got a little ways past our house and little man was ready to go back home. So we decided to play in the backyard. It was a colorful, warm and breezy day. Weatherman says a cold-front is on its way. All the more we enjoy a day like today where we can play in the warm sun, even if it's just in the backyard, on a blanket, reading books.

Hope you and yours are staying healthy this season. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Beach Photo Shoot

Sometimes the location is perfect but the model (my daughter) is not having it. It was a gorgeous fall afternoon. 70 degrees. Not too windy. Not a cloud in the sky.  After my daughter's 2 hour nap this morning, we had some lunch and then headed to Brucker Beach to take some pictures. A well rested and well fed child usually equals a happy child but not when she's getting four teeth in at once. But she loves playing outside and she loves the beach so I decided to go for it.

Brucker Beach is tucked away at the end of a dead end street in a residential neighborhood. It is never crowded like the state park beaches. And especially this time of year, we usually have the beach to ourselves. Today we only saw two people walking their dogs and the rest of the beach was ours.

It's a perfect location for taking pictures... secluded, lots of beach grass, deadwood makes wonderful places to sit or lean against and then of course, miles and miles of sandy beach along Lake Michigan.

My normally nonstop, running all over the beach, happy little girl was wanting to do nothing but sit on my lap and nurse. Every time I would pick up the camera, she would fuss.

So I stopped and looked around at the beauty all around us and this beauty in my arms. And I told myself, I need to let go of this photo shoot. Maybe I got a few good ones and I need to put the camera down and be in this moment with my daughter. I can't think of a better place to cuddle with my little one, who is normally a whirlwind of motion. With the tug of her hand and a plop down on the sand she was asking me, "be with me, Mommy." So we cuddled and nursed and took in the peace and the breaking waves and the seagulls and the warm sun and the cool breeze.  After awhile she said, "no more" and "bye bye" and I picked her up to walk back to the car. She sang and giggled in my arms, her one arm over my shoulder as she always like to do, patting my back, as we walked back to the car.

I'm sorry it took me so long to understand what you were needing, my girl.

 I loved our time together.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Practice Recess

Sometimes I am amazed by how much my son knows not only what he needs but also how to go about taking care of himself to get those needs met. Today was his day off from school (he goes MWF) so I was surprised when he asked if we could go play at his school playground. I told him that was a great idea but we couldn't go during school hours so how about we go this evening when Daddy gets home from work.

Recess is a struggle for my son (and he gets 3 of them/a day). When we've talked with him about recess he says he doesn't join any of the kids or play on the playground but instead spends the whole time walking around. He has always said that he wasn't necessarily sad during recess so at first I thought he was just using that time to unwind from the noise of lunch and all the stimulation from the day that he's not used to. But it's more than that.

So we went to his playground this evening to practice recess. I am in awe of my son for coming up with this. Tomorrow morning will also be the first morning that I will just be dropping him off on the playground with all the other kids and not walking him to his classroom and staying with him until the bell rings (as he's crying). I don't know who this will be harder on - him or ME! Hopefully me. I realized that I need to be communicating to him through my actions that he can do this - he can find his own way, he can make a friend, and that there are other people out there apart from me who will be there for him and enjoy him, etc. So, just dropping him off will be one way of communicating that to him. But I wanted to use this time at the playground to prepare him for this and walk him through how that will go.

So I said, "I'm going to drop you off here and pray for you and give you a big hug and tell you to have a fun day and see you this afternoon and you will walk this way on the playground to your classroom."

And he said, "I will walk sadly to my room."

So I said, "how about this... even if you're sad, how about you hold your head up high and say hi to the people you walk by and remember that Mommy will be back this afternoon to pick you up and you always have a fun day, even if you're sad."

We'll see.

On the playground he saw that he wasn't too short to get up on the swings and he practiced pumping his legs to swing himself and Daddy taught him how to jump off. And he practiced on the jungle gym, climbing and sliding and swinging on the rings and back again, and played it over and over and said this is what he wanted to do during recess tomorrow. And we talked about what he'll do when other kids are on the jungle gym too.

My daughter and I left early to go home and start dinner while my son and his daddy stayed at the playground. As I drove away, I saw my husband and son sitting on the swings talking and laughing and that image has stayed with me all evening. What an important time this was tonight. I'm so grateful my son asked to do this. I'm hopeful this will make a difference for him tomorrow.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Heavy heart

I'm at a place as a parent where I don't know what to do. Again. It's a bit of a familiar place. Where we live, this is the first year that kindergarten has been changed to all day/every day. That means 5 days/week from basically 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 hour days for 5 year olds. I can't speak for all 5 year olds but my 5 year old is not ready for that. Neither is the boy who works himself up so much when his dad drops him off every morning that he pukes. every morning. The school bell rings to start the school day, the kids line up on the playground and he's puking. This morning the teacher opened the door to puke at the kid's feet and said, "Again?!?"

My kid's not puking but he is sobbing every morning when I walk him to his classroom.

"Why are you so sad?" I ask him.
"I just miss you." he sobs.

And this isn't even kindergarten. This is Young Fives. Which is still all day/every day. However, we have him enrolled all day MWF rather than all five days. I have felt very strongly that my son is not ready for 7 hours of school 5 days a week. He is 5. And I know that there are many kids who have been in daycare and preschool those hours 5 days a week and that this change is wonderful for those parents working full time who don't have to pay for daycare now. But that is not my son. I am so grateful that I can be home with my kids and can choose my own hours with our counseling practice to see clients in the evening when my husband is home. That is important to me and it works for our family. He started preschool at age 2 but he's always been more comfortable and outgoing with adults than kids his own age. Last year was the first time he made a couple friends at preschool and we'd have playdates apart from preschool. He was invited to birthday parties for the first time. And at church, he had a couple friends he would play with.

But adjusting to 3 full days of school has been very sad for my son. We are just starting our 4th week now. The first week went really well. He was excited. He really likes his teacher. The second week, the honeymoon is over. Tiredness is hitting him and the reality of it all is sinking in. "How much longer do I have to go to school, Mommy?" he sobs at drop off. And yet, he doesn't fight it. He's not throwing a tantrum or begging me to take him home. We call it a brave sadness... tears are rolling down his face but he still lines up with the other kids in his class. He's crying but he's still waving goodbye and blowing me kisses.

This has continued for the last couple weeks. One morning we talk about how he has to get through this school if he wants to go to firefighting school. That helped. But still tears goodbye. Another morning, before school we made a get well card for a girl in his class who got hurt and was in the hospital. He really enjoyed this and it brightened his spirits. Come to find out, this girl (Olivia who takes the #11 bus) is an imaginary friend. He had those when he started preschool as well. And still tears goodbye. And I'm ok with the tears. I don't need him to stop crying. If he is sad, I want him to express himself. I'm not crazy about his teacher's way of dealing with it... telling him to stop crying, he's a big boy now, he's 5 years old now. I cringe at her dismissing his feelings and worry what it will do to his heart to be told to stop crying. It goes against everything within my psychologically-trained mind. However, I can see it from her point of view. She's got ten other students (one of them puking). She's got her hands full. But it would only take a second for her to give him a hug. Tell him I'm sorry you're sad. Mom will be back to pick you up this afternoon. Let's go have a fun day...

Another day, my son came home telling me that his teacher told him that if he doesn't cry the next day she has a surprise for him. Well, my son was so excited because he was certain the surprise was a puppy. I give the teacher kuddos for trying but I had mixed feelings about this. If he doesn't cry, he's going to be disappointed the surprise isn't a puppy. And if he does cry, well, he will be upset he didn't get the surprise. It's a bit of a set up. Plus, it's not really getting at the heart of what's going on. Sure it may nip the behavior (for a time) but it can't lead to lasting change (in a positive way) without dealing with what's really going on.

But this morning, for the first time, we got at what's really going on. This morning he was able to tell me that he's sad because he doesn't have any friends to play with. This breaks my heart. I might be a little biased as his mother when I say that my son is likable and fun and funny. And he is usually very outgoing and social (more so than I am). But what if he doesn't have a chance at making a friend because of him only going MWF? What if it's not going to get better with time without him going either one more day or all five days?

Talking with his teacher this morning, she suggesting I drop him off on the playground rather than walk him to the classroom. That way the kids will interact with him more. She said the kids don't know him and he's a bit alienated due to that. Painful things to hear. But I'm glad to know what's really going on so we can deal with this.

We've talked about God being with him all day when Mommy can't be with him. And I've been intentional about praying over him before school. The other day I asked him who is with him all day at school and he said, "The one who has his hand on the top of my head. He is God." But I would be a negligent parent if I am only praying. I also need to be preparing him. My son is struggling to know how to make a friend. So this morning on the way to school we prayed that God would help him make a friend and be a friend so he's not so sad at school. And then we talked about tangible things he can do... pick one classmate today and find out what they had for breakfast and tell him what you had. Or remember how much you were laughing this morning when your sister was trying to put on your underwear and then we drove to school and you thought it was hilarious that we saw two dogs wearing sweaters? Pick a classmate and tell him about those two things...

Until we figure out whether we're gonna have to add more days or not, we'll be helping him with suggestions like this on the way to school.

Praying for wisdom as to know how to proceed from here...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I feel good today and for that I am grateful. I feel alive. I feel happy. Would you describe me as a happy person? Lately there has been this cloud over me: mostly fatigue, but also guilt and inadequacy and shame and fear and just feeling overwhelmed. I know that the fatigue makes it all worse. But today there has been some relief. Today I am not tired. Today I have felt a little lighter. Happy. Happiness is getting things done. Singing around the house. Remembering to pray over my son before I drop him off to school. Acting silly for a tiny smile in the midst of tears and a sad heart that is needing extra time to adjust to starting school and missing Mommy. Chasing my daughter to her squeals of delight. A rainy cooler day. Wearing jeans. A hot chocolate. Bringing out our winter hats from storage (although I'm not quite ready to put away the beach towels yet).

Happiness is hearing that school bell ring to dismiss the students and watching my boy (more grown up today than the first day of school) running to the car, excited to see me and his sister and getting to bring him home. Happiness is a good conversation with my husband and falling a little more in love with him. Reading an extra book to my son who should have been asleep hours ago. The weight of my sleepy daughter in my arms and comforting her from the pain of her four teeth poking through at once. The dryer and the dishwasher running at the end of this day. Writing. And feeling quiet and still tonight, for I am dreaming and planning. I feel passion and longing and hope and excitement and maybe just for today. But I will hold onto it as long as I can for I have found, all good things we must let go of for it to become that which we don't yet know. We can only hope, in letting go, it will be better.

Friday, September 07, 2012

quiet moments and obedience

Today, while I am getting ready in the bathroom, my little girl is sitting in the living room, quietly looking through picture books we got from the library. So I thought. Why have I not learned that “quiet” is a warning much like a fire alarm is a warning?  I come out of the bathroom and my little girl is certainly not quietly looking through picture books we got from the library. She’s not where I left her 5 minutes ago. How can that be? Instead, she is standing (STANDING!!) on a kitchen chair (ummm, this is new).  My glasses are broken (BROKEN!!) laying on the table next to her. And now bored of the glasses, because they are broken, she has moved on to playing with my camera (MY CAMERA!!). Yes, the one I just bought a $200 lens for. How does she know how to pick two of my most important items? Much like her brother, when he was mad at me the other day, he simply went to my computer and tore out the space bar. Yep, he knows where it hurts. Our children are so smart.

Remember when my baby girl was only butt-scooting around the room? Why did I want her walking so badly? Truly, I am grateful  she is ok and that she didn’t  fall off the  chair, climb up onto the table and jump off, drop my camera, etc. It was quite a shock to see her standing there, a little smile on her face. I would have liked to take a picture if it wasn't so heart-stopping and, oh yeah, she was playing with my camera... 

So yes, another new stage we are entering into. Her brother is losing teeth and starting school and Skylar is climbing onto high places to play with (BREAK!!) Mommy’s toys.  Obedience training here we come, round two... Playing outside, we now talk about not going into the street. She goes to the end of the driveway and says, "stop" and stops (for a second) before she's giggling and trying to run into the street.  And yes, I'll take broken glasses ANY DAY over my daughter, laying on the street, with a broken body. But today, seeing her precious little body, exploring her little world (from a higher view) I realized that obedience training is officially here. Sigh. We're still working on obedience with her older brother. Instilling obedience is one of my biggest challenges as a parent. How about you?

Saturday, August 04, 2012

51 years, with and without

Today is Aug. 4, 2012, which would have been my parent's 51st wedding anniversary. My dad has been dead for a little over 10 years now and so even though my parents did not get 51 years together, today is still a marked day, not to celebrate and remember 51 wedded years together, but to celebrate and remember the years they did have together. This past decade since my dad's death, there's been much change in our family. Specifically, in my life, I graduated from grad school, got married, began my professional career, and birthed two children. Not a day goes by that I don't mourn the loss of my dad not being a part of those huge life-changing milestones of my life. (and also the normal everyday things). And yet, while my dad is physically gone, the effect of the man he was, the father he was, the husband he was, the runner he was, the provider he was, the health scientist he was, the son he was, the brother he was, the friend he was, the grandpa he was, the sinner he was, the forgiven man he was, the dying man he was, etc. lives on. How wonderful it would be to be able to see my dad today. To talk to him and give him a hug and go for a run with him and watch him play with my babies. This past week, being Coast Guard week in our beach town, I can see my dad taking part in this week and really enjoying this week... racing in the Coast Guard 10K, walking down to see the ships coming into the harbor and watching the parade. I can imagine him knowing my children and enjoying them and building relationship with them, as well as my husband who he never met. And how much I have changed this past decade. So to have the chance for my dad and I to have had a different relationship this past decade. I still ache because these things can't happen. And I ache for my mom because this anniversary (as I'm sure all anniversaries post-loss) must contain such sweet memories but also sadness for all the years without.

Today marks my parents 51st wedding anniversary. And yet, they could not be married for 51 years. Even so, today I remember and honor the years of marriage they did have. 10 years after my dad's death, I am still blessed my parent's marriage - in my heart, in my memories, and within my own marriage. My parents were never loud or showy about their love for each other. But I remember a quiet, steady, faithful love between them, that brought me much security. I remember the familiar and comforting routine of their lives together. And while my dad is now gone, that remembrance and that sense of their marriage still affects me today. Especially now that I am married and oh how humbly we view things differently when we're on the other side of marriage and also of having children...
Thank you Mom and Dad for your marriage. Today is a special day indeed, and I celebrate that day 51 years ago, when my parents said I do, til death do us part.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Birthday Boy

Birthdays are a big deal to me and celebrating my children's birthday is one of my favorite things to do. I want my children to feel delighted in and celebrated just because they are alive. One way I like to do that is having a lot of fun with their birthdays (at least for as long as I can while they are young). I'm not saying it has to be BIG or expensive but I try to make it meaningful and plan thoughtfully. 

So today, June 25, at 8:57 a.m., my first born, my son, turned five. He woke up with his door decorated with firetruck and dalmatian dog crepe paper and his first (mini) gift waiting for him at the top of stairs. Then he got to search the house for 10 other little gifts hiding throughout the house (matchbox car, stickers, art supplies, etc.). Baby sister had been up very early this morning so she went down early for her morning nap and then didn't wake up til after 9 a.m. which was a nice way for birthday boy and Mommy to have some alone time together. And this year, his birthday fell on garbage pick up day so he got a special birthday honk from the garbage man :) Then a special happy birthday call from his "G" which lasted only a few moments and then he said, "thanks for calling, goodbye." :)

One of my favorite birthday traditions is taking the kid's "time of birth" picture and talking about when they were born. Birthday boy doesn't really ask any questions yet but he actually sits still for five minutes and listens so I can't really ask for much more. :) He requested sausage and eggs for breakfast so I served it up on a special Lego fireman plate and cup, which is so fun (and easy) to bring wonder to his face that Momma did these things ahead of time without him knowing about it. Of course, following breakfast there's birthday burps, which makes baby sister crack up. For some reason, she thinks it's so funny to hear a burp or a fart. I don't think she's going to be a "girlie-girl"  :)

When I ask the birthday boy what he wants to do today - go to the beach, the park, take a walk, see the boats on the lake, etc., he says he just wants to play at home today. Such a homebody like his Momma. It's his sister who is always bringing me her shoes and brother's shoes and Momma's shoes so we will go play outside. So birthday boy starts playing with a new birthday toy, which of course, his sister wants to play with as well, which leads to pushing his sister which leads to his first birthday timeout - now being 5 years old, is 5 minutes long. Actually, we don't really do timeouts much anymore but this morning he really did need some time apart to get control of his body so yes, he called it his first birthday timeout.

Baby sister brought us our shoes so we went for a walk and invited the neighbors to his birthday party this weekend, which resulted in lots of birthday hugs. Then Grams came to visit with gifts and happy birthday wishes and whenever Grams visits, there's always snuggle time on the sofa reading books together. Then his G arrived and we walked up the street for ice cream. Back home, we played on the front porch with their water play table and I made a birthday dinner, which he wanted hamburgers and steak fries and peas and chocolate pudding. 

One of my favorite things about my son is our conversations. During dinner, he asked me how different he is now that he's 5 (for a day, ha!) But it led to a fun conversation about how he's grown and changed this past year - he's taller, less fearful, there's more things he can do for himself; he's more comfortable with his peers rather than just wanting to hang out with adults. He is less shy and more comfortable in new situations, learning to be more assertive and stand up for himself. I see him having grown so much this past year - in body, heart, mind and soul. And as his Momma, so have I.

After putting baby sister to bed, birthday boy and I read a few new birthday books he got and then he opened a last "bedtime present" which was a book light and a new favorite book, "Even Firefighters Go To The Potty." Oh boy, that brought on much silliness, but totally worth it. 

Throughout the day there was much talk about wanting "more presents" which perhaps was my fault, brought on by stretching out his gifts throughout the day but definitely some heart and attitude to work on with him. We ended his birthday by looking at some of his newborn baby pics and after several times of him getting out of bed (evidently that hasn't changed from age 4) he is now sleeping off all the birthday fun. It was quite a relaxing and peaceful day. I am so grateful for the gift of my son. I love being his Mommy. There has been much growth for me this past year as well. He keeps me on my toes, keeps me accountable for the things I say and do; he has helped me come out of my shell around strangers and the people we meet when we're out and about. He brings so much fun and laughter and joy (and mess and noise and much patience required) to our days. He gets me singing and dancing with him throughout our (sometimes) long days together. And these days, how precious they are with school on the horizon. Big changes ahead.

Son, my son, I loved having this lazy, playful, fun, peaceful day with you and your sister. You are so loved and enjoyed - not just by your momma, but your daddy and your sister and family and friends and many many others who come in contact with you. I love who you are. Always. No matter what. Looking forward to continuing to celebrate you with friends and family this week.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

For Such a Moment As This

She woke with a fever but by afternoon she was perking up. It was a warm and sunny day so we decided to play in the backyard. After playing with the water table for awhile she wanted some milk. We sat on the grass and nursing her, I became keenly aware that we were having a moment. I hope you know what I mean by having a moment because that means you get to have such moments too. This was a moment that I knew was going to stand out from all other moments as I lay in bed at the close of the day and reflected back. A moment where time stood still and I could b-r-e-a-t-h-e out and rest into the moment and take it all in. A moment I knew I would want to write about later to capture. For I find that if I notice such moments, it will last longer. Above us the laundry was billowing on the clothes line, the trees were swaying a summer dance, their green leaves blowing, the blue sky cloudless. In the background, my son was playing with his dump truck and digging in the sandbox. And I thought, capture this moment. Now. And later with words. I know my daughter will not remember this moment - this exact moment (memory) of such peace and calm and stillness that perhaps stands out so much because of how rare it is admist the usual noise and mess and (semi) controlled chaos of these days with two small children. But baby girl, may this moment be an overall feeling you remember from childhood. That you are safe and "quieted by my love". An overall feeling I remember of being in my mother's arms as a baby. I gulp in these moments when they come. They're happening more and more these days. Or perhaps I'm just more aware, more open to receive them. And then let them go, for I know there will be more.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Prayers for tomorrow

My prayer as I fall asleep tonight...

I want to be a better Mommy tomorrow.
I will be patient and not raise my voice. I will take deep breaths. I will not react in anger.
I will laugh more and play on the floor with my children. I will look them in the eye and give them my attention.
I will be present and intentional.
I will make the time and effort to feed them healthy foods.
I will forgive myself and be gracious with myself.

Help me be mindful of these things throughout my day.
Thank you for these precious children you have entrusted to Rob and me.
Help me be the kind of Mommy I want to be tomorrow.
One day at a time.

I want to be better with my eating/exercise tomorrow.
I will not drink soda.
I will not eat fast food.
I will be mindful of the foods I put in my body.
I will treat my body kindly.
I will make time to exercise.
I will be a better example to my children with healthy eating and a more active lifestyle.
I will not live for the moment but with my ultimate healthy goal in mind.

Help me be mindful of these things tomorrow.
Thank you for this body you have given me.
Help me be the kind of healthy woman I want to be tomorrow.
One day at a time.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Today has not been a good day. Today I have not been the kind of Mommy I want to be for my kids. I have been tired, irritable, impatient. I had a hard time enjoying my kids today and that never feels good.

My husband is doing some renovations to our house so we've been living elsewhere for the past 4 days. I didn't realize how much that would affect me - and the kids. It's hard to stick to routines when not living at home. I haven't been exercising, haven't been eating as healthy as I'd like, haven't been sleeping well in an unfamiliar bed.

My 4 year old is missing home (and time with Daddy). This afternoon, after being locked out of the place we are staying (definitely part of the "not a good day"), after my initial frustration, the thought occurred to me, this could be SO much worse. What if one of my children were still inside while I'm locked out?! While my phone and purse were inside, I was grateful to have (both children) and my car keys with me. That enabled me to drive home, where my husband was working on the house, to use his phone to inquire about a spare key. After we figured out where the spare key was located, both kids back in the car, I'm driving back to find the spare key when from the backseat I hear my son crying saying how he misses Daddy and just wants to be home. "I have plans," I hear him say, tearfully. His sweet, wistful words makes me smile through my own tears. "I know, honey," I tell him. "I'm sad too. I miss Daddy too and just want to be home.

We got through the day and made it to dinner time. Can't wait for this day to be over. Hoping tomorrow will be better. I had been praying throughout the day that God would change my grumpy mood; that He would help me to be a better mommy than I have been today... but the day was continuing to be a struggle.

So my kids and I are eating dinner when out of nowhere, I start singing. This is nothing new or startling for my kids. I'm always singing. Although, not today. So for me, it's a little startling that I'm singing and mostly what I'm singing. I'm singing a song from my childhood... "This is the day, this is day, that the Lord has made. We will rejoice, we will rejoice and be glad in it. For this is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it..." Where did that come from? I am certainly not feeling like rejoicing or being glad about this day. And yet, this is what came to mind, and is coming out of my mouth (if not my heart). But guess what, I'm starting to feel it. Still tired. Still irritable. Still impatient. Still longing for a break, for quiet, for forgiveness for this not so good mommy day. But singing feels good. And there's a little more laughter, more smiles, more peace in the house as we close this day together. (despite the fact that my son is jumping on the bed rather than going to sleep...)

I guess God did answer my prayer.

Two more days til we get to go home. Anne of Green Gables reminds me, "Tomorrow is a new day; fresh, with no mistakes."