Monthly Archives: May 2016

Know When to Fold ‘Em

You really don’t need iPhones and cameras when you’re  parent.

You’ve got your children to document everything for you. Sure, it’s through the lens of whatever age they’re at, but still it’s a lens.

I was talking to my boys last week about YouTube, the pros and the cons. I reminded them (they’re six and twelve) that they cannot be in  a room alone with the computer and that they cannot watch a channel I don’t approve first.

Photo Credit: Type Tasting via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Type Tasting via Compfight cc

“Why?” asked Liam, the six year old, because that’s what kids his age do.

“Because there might be bad language,” I said, “and I don’t want you hearing that.”

“Like the eight times that you said #$&*?” Liam said. His older brother started laughing but immediately closed his mouth when he got the stink eye from me.

“I don’t say that,” I said. There is nothing so comforting as denial, really. It’s better than a warm blanket, a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, or a nap alone.

“Yes, you do. You said it when we went to that hair place and we were driving home.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. You had a reason I just don’t know what.”

“When else?” I asked. I was out to prove this kid wrong.

“When the car almost hit us, when we were walking the dogs, when I accidentally shot you in the face with the microwave.”  I stopped him there.

“When you shot me in the face with the microwave?” I questioned. What the heck?

“You know that thing that we used to clean up the glass when the front door broke?”

The shop vac,” I reminded him.

“Yeah, the shop vac. I thought it was on suck but it was on blow and I shot you in the face with all the glass. Then you said it.”

Oh, I remembered. Who doesn’t remember a face full of glass?

“Well, I think it was called for then,” I said. “That really hurt. When else?”

“I don’t remember. Lots of times.” Liam was ready to move on from this conversation I could tell. His brother, on the other hand, was ready to keep it going. He looked downright gleeful.

“Oh, yeah. You say it all the time,” Spencer smugly said.

“Well, I had no idea that you found my language so offensive,” I told my boys.

My girls had wandered in by this point and added to the conversation and shared some of their favorite foul-language moments. I was starting to feel a little bad.

“I think it’s funny, Mom.” Kiley said. Of course the oldest child would side with me.

“Well, I think it’s crude and people who use language like that lack imagination,” Laurel said. Of course my second born would not side with me.

We sat in silence for a few moments, marinating in memories of my best expletive moments.

Finally I spoke.

“Well, if that’s the worst of it, that’s not too bad,” I said.

They spoke at the same time.

“Oh, no. That’s not the worst.”

“There’ve been LOTS of others.”

“That time you called that guy in the other car…”

“You said #$%^ too. I remember that.”

I looked at my brood, my own personal mistake keepers, little recorders disguised as humans. I realized I was never going to win the battle I had begun.

“Well, what the #@*#?  Who wants to go out for lunch?”

 

Hey, Mom

Photo Credit: JPShen via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: JPShen via Compfight cc

To all the mothers:

Today, may you be free to feel all the feelings that Mother’s Day brings.

May you wake to the sounds of harmony, or at the least only quiet bickering.

May you sit on a dry toilet seat.

May there be toilet paper on the roll, or at least a little scrap left behind on the tube.

May no one scream, “MOOOOOOM” in a way that makes you grind your teeth to nubs.

May you be filled with contentment if your nest is less full than you had hoped.

May you remember that children are a blessing if your nest is more full than you planned.

May you know that it’s just a day if you feel overwhelmed OR underwhelmed.

May no one call you the worst mother ever and if they do may it roll off your back (and not be true).

May no one chew their food too loudly, touch you too much, or point to your mustache.

May you receive a hug or two or three and kisses that aren’t too wet.

May you know that all the sacrifices, big and small, are always worth it.

May you know that there will be an end to dirty dishes and laundry. In heaven.

May you know that the children you have are yours by design because you are the best choice.

May you climb into bed tonight knowing you are loved into exhaustion.

May you rest in His peace.

May you rise tomorrow morning and do it all over again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Crew

Can I tell you all a secret?

Sometimes I just want to get away from my children.

Not permanently, mind you. I think 72 hours would do it.

I’m their go-to-girl for lost shoes, unsolved math problems, existential crises, loose teeth, insect-hunting, tummy troubles, spiritual concerns, interpersonal relationship advice, and anything else that zips through their brains.

If I wasn’t an expert to start with I am now.

I don’t know if it’s a want to get away so much as it’s a need to get away, you know?

Life is a lot to process right now. Even the good stuff takes it out of me. The little things, though, they nickel and dime my mind ’til all I come up with is empty. I like to wake up early, around 5 a.m., but lately I’ve just needed more sleep. Apparently women do need more sleep than men!  Researchers found that women often utilize a lot more brain power and consequently need more sleep. That is science, and I keep pointing this out to my husband as I sleep while he gets ready for work.

These people of mine, though, they follow me everywhere.

During these times of being followed around like a rock star I am reminded of Jesus. He often needed to get away from the crowds, and that did happen. But just as often he ended up teaching from a boat or something because sometimes the needs of the many are greater than the needs of the one – even the Son of God.

Last week I had one thought that got me through a couple of really hard days: an ice cream cone from McDonald’s. The idea of driving in a the car by myself, getting a cone at the drive-through, and listening to NPR alone was enough to make me giddy and get me to the end of the day. I told my husband about my secret plan.

Photo Credit: Enokson via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Enokson via Compfight cc

I guess I forgot to tell him in was secret.

As I was walking out the door one of my daughters came down the stairs, “Mom, are you ready to go? I told Kiley, too.”

My face must have said it all.

Just then Spencer rounded the corner. “Is it time? Are we going now?”

I couldn’t help it. It was a reflex. I rolled my eyes. I pointed the kids to the van then asked my mom and dad if they wanted us to bring a cone back for them, too.

Adios secret trip for soft serve.

Goodbye NPR, solitude, and brain break.

“You didn’t want us to go?” my oldest child asked.

“We’ll get out,” the boy said.

I looked at my crew of kids, saw the sincerity (and maybe a little hurt) in their eyes. I dug a little deeper and suddenly my well was not so dry. This chaos is all for such a short time in the grand scheme of things. I let them pick the radio station, as it’s the one thing the 16 and 12 year old don’t fight over, and listened as they sang alone to some song I would have deemed inappropriate a few years ago.

These kids are my people, my crew. They know the song of my heart. They are my spirit animals. They make me laugh and cry and remember how finite our time really is. They know all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody, for Pete’s sake.  More importantly, they choose me. They like me, they really, really like me. At least for now I am the person that they want to spend time with. I know that can’t last, it won’t last.

How can I not choose to share my soft serve moments with them? 

This time in my life IS crazy, there is no denying that. I can amplify the irritation and exhaustion by focusing on it, or I can allow it to be the background noise to the awesome amount of life that is taking place before my eyes. I can hold on to ‘it will be better when’ or I can say, “These are the best days of my life!”

I can eye-roll and glare and allow resentment to build up or I can teach from the boat. 

It’s a no brainer.

I’m gonna teach from the boat.

Because these are the best days, every one of them. They are crazy and chaotic and sometimes never-ending but they are the best days, too.

Photo Credit: Daran Kandasamy via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Daran Kandasamy via Compfight cc

 

So, here’s to digging deeper, brave misfits. Here’s to not enough me-time and plenty of us-time because time is not going to slow down.

I’m going to teach from the boat.

But first I’m going to take a nap.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Things I Love

I’m not a bargain shopper. I wish I were. BUT I do love a good deal. Once I find a product I love I’m loyal to it. I wanted to share with you five products that I am absolutely loving right now.

 

 Fast Transcripts

I am graduating my first child from homeschool this year! Transcripts are something that I have been quietly freaking out over for the last four years or so. My oldest has picked her next steps in life and we needed transcripts to send to college. After a quick search I found Fast Transcripts through HSLDA’s website and I am in love. Fast Transcripts are extremely easy to use, look professional, and is extremely affordable. For me the highlights of Fast Transcripts  are suggestions for class titles, the option  to include the grading scale, and it is extremely user friendly. I plan on using this software for all of my students, and am no longer freaked out at the prospect of providing transcripts. You can do a 30 day trial to see if you like it before purchasing, but I’m telling you: you’re going to like it.

 

Kevin Leman

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Okay, he’s an author, not a product. I am a HUGE Kevin Leman fan, though. Right now I’m reading The Firstborn Advantage and cannot put it down. I’ve long been fascinated by birth order and how it affects our disposition. I read Dr. Leman’s The Birth Order Book almost ten years ago, and it helped me cut down on fights with my husband. I’m not even kidding.  We’re both first borns, which means we both want to be right, obeyed immediately, and in control. Talk about a recipe for some good fights.

The Firstborn Advantage has great information about what makes firstborns tick as well as what can get them stuck. It’s interesting to me because we have four children, but three of them are firstborns due to gender and/or age difference. I always thought I was just mildly nuts when I walk into a public bathroom and must pick up the paper towels that are on the floor. Thanks to Dr. Leman I know I’m not nuts – that’s a first-born thing. We tend to be the ones who see what needs to get done, and then get it done.

 

Squatty Potty

Listen, if you haven’t heard of the Squatty Potty you should look it up. Or watch this AWESOME commercial on youtube. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but Squatty Potty has changed my life for the good. My family won’t talk much about it either, but It think they give it the thumbs up, too.

Yes, he said ‘soft-served straight from a sphincter.”

Shea Moisture

I quit coloring my hair a little over two years ago. I have A LOT of silver strands and have learned that they require some TLC. How Bourgeois is my go-to blog for all things gray-hair related and that’s where I learned of Shea Moisture shampoo and conditioner. I also love that Shea Moisture gives back to the community.

I’ve tried a couple of different types but for my hair the extra moisture formula works best. Gray is quite dry. For the first time in my life I need a leave-in conditioner.

 

Moleskine Day Planner

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I so want to do a bullet journal. I have watched the videos, drooled over instagram photos, bought the pens and attempted to bullet journal. It’s just not my thing. This little buddy, though, is just what the doctor ordered. I found it half off at Barnes & Noble and love it. It has the week printed out on the left side, and lined notebook paper for notes or doodling on the right side. There’s a little folder and maps, which for some reason I love. I think because they make me feel smart.

 

So there they are, five things I love and use daily. 

Do you have any can’t-live-without products in your life?