Thursday, January 31, 2013

Smart Aleck Child ISO New Family...

So this was last night after baths...

Elizabeth:  Mom?  If I ever disobey really bad, will you send me away to another family?

Me:  (heartbroken)  Oh honey (scooping her into my arms and kissing her hair).  Of course not!  You are my baby girl forever and always and you will always be in this family.  There is nothing that you can do that will ever change that.

She seemed happy enough and the conversation changed and we finished getting ready for bed.

About five minutes later...

Me:  Elizabeth, why did you ask me about going to another family?

Elizabeth:  (shrugging) Oh,'s just that I really like Piper's family...


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Don't talk to babies and other life lessons

Some of the best advice on raising children I got from one of my good friends and mentors, Kelli.  She is a mom to seven and has pretty much seen it all.  Many times, in my daily parenting, I recall things she's told me, but today I was reminded of a time I lamented about a baby Elizabeth not going back to sleep when she got up at night.

I was telling Kelli about how she'd cry and then I'd get her up, nurse her and she'd be up for a couple hours, wanting to play.

She looked at me, expressionless and without pity.  "Do you talk to her?" she asked.

"What?  No!  I mean, not really,"  I said.  "Well...I mean...I talk to her on the changing table to get her to stop crying... and sometimes we sing a little bit... but it's not like I'm having full-on conversations with her."

She laughed.  "If you want her to go back to sleep, don't talk to her.  Don't smile, don't coo.  Don't even make eye contact.  Nurse her and then put her back to bed."

Well, I thought she was crazy until the next night it totally worked.  I didn't face the problem again and I never had issues with Rachel or Caleb going back down after waking up in the middle of the night.  

Ok, so what made me think about this conversation today?  That same Elizabeth, four years later.

We have a pretty set routine in this household.  After lunch, we read books and then the smaller two go down for naps.  It's a crap shoot whether I rock Rachel or Caleb first, but Elizabeth normally goes in the other room and colors or listens to the books while I read.  Today, she was bouncing off the walls.

As I was rocking an exhausted Rachel, she sat on the floor and rough-housed with her brother.  And he laughed and crawled on top of her and she rolled him from this way to the next and ran away so he'd chase her.  I warned her a couple times but decided to let her learn her own lesson and finished reading and put Rachel to bed.

When I came back down, I gathered my now-very-wound-up boy and attempted to rock and nurse him to go down for his nap.  You can guess how enthusiastic he was about that.  Up he shot from my lap and crawled in the other room, looking for his older sister, who had now gotten into a pretty intense game of My Little Pony.  

Now I don't know if you know much about the My Little Pony castle, but it goes up and down when you press on it and Caleb LOVES to bounce his butt up and down while holding onto it.  But today, Elizabeth's ponies were inside and she was done with him.

"Mom!  Make him take a nap!!"

"Um, no Elizabeth," I said.  "I told you to be quiet and leave him alone earlier.  You riled him up, now you play with him."

"But I'm done playing with him!  YOU do it!" said the 4-year-old drama queen.

"This is Mommy's quiet time honey.  Let him play with you."

The next half hour was hilarious.  She'd pull out a toy and he'd grab it.  She'd turn around and he'd climb up over her back.
Yummm...Candy Land game pieces...

No, No give those back.  I am playing with that game.

Back to the Pony castle...

...and when Elizabeth gives up and goes in the other room, Caleb wins the game!
Which reminded me of the other brilliant piece of advice Kelli gave me in that the more kids you have, the easier it can be on you because they need you less since they have each other. lessons.  :)

(Editor's note:  He did eventually go down for a nap.  Right about the time Rachel was getting I'm not really sure who the true victor was in this drama, but it was extremely entertaining to watch!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Refueling an empty tank

How do you refuel yourself?

I feel like we've jumped back into life with both feet.  We had the nice lull over the holidays and Scott had about a good month and a half that he was home and didn't have to travel.  We got into a nice family routine and I was almost guilty by how easy things felt when he was home.  

This was Christmas day at our house, having s'mores in the den. 

Last week the travel started again and, honestly, I struggled.  My attitude was cruddy, I was cranky with my kids and was pretty much the person in the room you tried to avoid.  And I knew it.  

Now, travel is the state of our life right now, as is for several families and friends of ours.  I caught myself Friday morning getting back into Debbie Downer mode and pledged to not let myself get into the pit again. 

How?  Well, here's what I did to prepare for the long week ahead of us.  Maybe you have some more ideas you can share at the end.

Start a busy week with my tank full.

We went into last week with fevers and snotty noses and not feeling good all around.  I not only didn't get any time to myself, but I also had an overly abundant need for mama from my little people. 
My lessons have also been really busy, with softball season ramping up and I do them all day Saturdays...which is a blessing, but not in the let-me-get-stuff-done-for-me-realm.

The cure?  A Sunday afternoon, napping children, a Target gift card and plentiful clearance racks...


Isn't it funny how just an hour away can refuel your soul?  And I needed it because this week is going to be even longer with Scott out of town and stuff on my plate.  

One thing I got in my shopping tyrade was skinny jeans.  Now, I've watched enough What Not To Wear and have avoided the new trend for this long.  But I just can't figure out how else to sport tall boots with jeans and that little post on Pinterest about how to tight roll your boot cut or straight leg jeans just didn't look right when I tried it.  

So without my children, I grabbed a couple off the rack and went into the dressing room.  Let me say, for the record, that I hate trying on jeans.  Hate it.  I hate the sizes.  I hate the unstretchy denim.  I hate that my waist never fits in the size that my thighs (and in this case, calves!) need.  

I eventually found some that worked before my morale was completely gone.  They were stretchy and fit and I could even sit my rear end didn't look too horrible.  Which brings me into my second preparation tactic:

Get to the gym every day and eat better.

So my goal this week is to get to the gym five times, which hasn't happened since the cold and flu season has been upon us.  Not only does it help to hand off my children to someone else but it also kind of resets us all.  That's all on top of the obvious feeling better about yourself thing.

Not helping me is the sinus pressure that reared it's ugly head this morning, with the weather changing once again.  I'm hopeful the handful of spinach, chia seeds and bee pollen I threw in my lunch shake will help perk me up a bit.  I can eat so good when Scott's home and let it all fall to pieces the minute he walks out the door.  I'm hoping to stay on my plan this week...of course, the handful of Oreos I grabbed right before I sat down doesn't count.  I'm pretty sure the spinach cancels those out.

Ok, those are my two main bullet points and, while I could probably think of more, my baby just crawled in the room with an open marker hanging out of his mouth.  Awesome.  Feel free to carry on the list without me...I'm sure I will be at my wits end by mid week and will need more ideas!

Take care, my friends.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Playing hooky

We were supposed to get snow.

Or at least a messy, icy mix that had school children all over praying for a snow day.  Except for my child.

Now, mind you, Elizabeth just goes to preschool, but she HATES missing.  And she doesn't watch the weather, so she really had no idea on the prediction.  

This morning, we woke up to rain.  Cold, yucky, not-snow, RAIN.  Because some areas north in the county were cooler, we were on a two hour delay.  Which meant she would need to be at preschool at the exact time I normally give the other two lunch so that I can wake them up early to pick Elizabeth up at 2.  

Which meant that mama promptly decided that we don't do 2-hour delays for preschool.

Oh, you should have heard the uproar from the peanut gallery.

Now, I may have been game had we a.) had a better night last night and Caleb had not been up 5-6 times or b.)  followed any sort of directions getting ready.  But since both of those parameters were pretty much set in place, I called off school and high-tailed my crew to the Y so mama could get a good workout in.  

Something just told me it wasn't a good idea.  Call it mother's intuition.  Or maybe toddler's whining.  

Because I got to the Y and had forgotten the snacks.  Seriously, you would think that I starved my children the way that they react to snacks.  I buy the bunnies and the kids Cliff bars in bulk at Costco, so it's not like I didn't have anything, but I just forgot to grab them on the way out.  The little people didn't want to hear it.  

But they were pleased to know that they could share the small Ziploc baggie of Cheerios that I keep in the bag for their brother.  *sigh*

So with that catastrophe over, I went on with my workout and arrived back to the nursery to find the oldest child fussing over her leg hurting, the middle having peed herself because she is too shy to tell the ladies that she has to go potty, and the third crying and teething on one of the worker's shoulder.

And they still wanted to know where their snacks were.

Which just goes to show you that playing hooky does not pay.  Hear that kids?  I actually learned this lesson in college, when my best friend, Amanda, talked me out of attending chapel to go get coffee.  I had never skipped class before and we got two misses anyway, so I didn't figure it would hurt...until my progress report came out and I had a grade cut in chapel.   It all turned out to be a misunderstanding, but (before I KNEW it was a misunderstanding) I took that paper to my best friend and said, "See?!  This is why I don't miss class!!"  Ah...the drama of a a 19-year-old's world. 

Which is nothing compared to the drama of a 4, 2 and 10-month-old's world, just for the record.

Just hand over the goodies and no one gets hurt...

Ok, now they are demanding lunch.  Seriously, people...bring on the snow...

And a new blog is born...

I don’t know why I always do these things when Scott is out of town.  I sit here, munching on a cold piece of pizza, despite my goal to eat a gluten-free diet, contemplating a new blog.  I have no idea what to name it and no idea what will make this any different than the other blogs I’ve started and grown tired of.  I just feel like I need to write without an agenda.

Well, and I don’t scrapbook and, considering I have yet to crack Rachel’s baby book and she’ll be three next month, this is pretty much the only record of growing up my kids will have.  

So let me tell you, the girls have really gotten into their evening prayers.  Elizabeth went through a stage that she loved to pray, and then one that she didn’t want to, and now she’s back into it again.  But she is really becoming a little heart-felt praying person.  She asks God to come help us a lot and tells Him that she wants to see Him.  Tonight, she said, “God, you need to come help us because Mom can’t do this alone.”

Can you tell I use that line a lot when daddy’s not here?  As in, get in here and pick out your pj’s or go turn the water off after you wash your handsI can’t do this alone.

(REAL effective when dealing with a 4 and 2 year old, let me tell you.)

But obviously, Elizabeth thinks God needs to step in on my behalf.  And does He ever, small child.

Rachel prayed next and was thankful for “mama, daddy, Elizabeth, me, mama, Caleb, daddy, Grampie, mama, me…”

This just reinforces to me that I can’t overlook my influence on their spirituality.  I’ve really been trying to do my devotional time in front of them during the day.  Ok, I can’t lie.  I tried getting up early and just couldn’t do it.  

I used to be able to get up early and go right into a run.  No coffee, no stretching.  Just dressed and out the door for a run.  I’d wake up in my first mile and would come back home refreshed and ready for the day.  I know, crazy talk.  After I met Scott, I always set my alarm to get up and run, but it was always so much nicer to hit snooze and cuddle back into him.  

Now, I don’t even have that excuse because he’s up and gone to the gym early and I’m hitting my phone every ten minutes until my children come in to get me.

So anyway, I do my devotionals while they watch Dora.  Most days, I do a little Bible reading with them right after breakfast, before we get dressed.  The other day, Elizabeth asked, “Mom why do you read your Bible?”

(It’s questions like these that make me thankful that I’ve had my second cup of coffee.)

“Well honey, I like to read about the story of Jesus and about how God wants me to live my life and how to be a good wife to your daddy and a better mom to you.”

She didn’t miss a beat, the little schmoozer.

“Oh you’re the best mom ever,” she said, kissing me on the cheek and running off to jump off a piece of furniture.  

Talk about pint-sized grace.  This was the child that I had just butted heads over TRYING banana pancakes.  The one who told me that "it wasn't fair" that I asked her to pick up the toys she had thrown all over the floor.  The one who constantly gets punished from jumping off one piece of furniture, just to land on another.

SHE thinks I'm the best mom ever??


It’s these moments I wish I could concrete into my brain so I don’t forget it on days when I’m feeling most frustrated…or asking them to pick up their shoes since I can’t “do it all myself.”

And that’s why I need a new blog.

Enjoy, sweet friends.