The Family

The Family

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jumping on Shapes

It's most often the simple things that go a long way with children.

I can't believe the endless fun my two have had the past few days since we did this.

I drew the shapes. Jack colored and cut them out. Mattie helped me tape them to the floor.

Every time we've been in meltdown mode, to the shapes we go to jump from one to the other.

And incase you are wondering about the one between the crescent and the rectangle, it's a mushroom. Jack put it together out of the scrap paper and wanted me to include it!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Every mom knows there is lots of monotony in day-to-day life with little ones. One of those tasks that must be performed with an almost annoying regularity is cleaning up the daily mess.

A way to make it more interesting is to put on some music and dance and sing your way through the work.

Most afternoons before Matt gets home we try to at least have the den picked up. Here's our hodgepodge of cds we rotate listening to throughout any given week:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When All Doesn't Go As Planned

The last few days have seen many things NOT go the way I was expecting.

Nothing catastrophic.

Just down right annoying.

I know it's not good to "sweat the small stuff," but when it feels like a thousand "small stuffs" adding up in a weeks time, it's hard not to break into profuse perspiration.

Like when you take your children to The Doc Mobile, and it's NO-THING like what you thought it would be. You stand there confused for a few minutes because the multiple lines stretching around Centennial Olympic Park have you baffled. Not to mention there are no characters walking around to greet you. Maybe you should have read the website better or realized that a free event would not entail what you were envisioning.

Or maybe you went to do a community service project with your children only to realize that you were more in the way than actually helping.

Or a brother aggravates his sister for the umpteenth time that day, and she is screaming bloody murder while you are trying to listen to Grandma talking to you on the phone.

Or it's the laundry you forgot to fold last night and now the babysitter will arrive any minute. You move it from the couch to your bed in hopes she won't see it there. Your real hope is that she won't think you are a disorganized mess ALL THE TIME. For she's in her early 20s and has no way to comprehend how you don't have time to wipe the sink or fold the clothes or get your chidren dressed that morning.

And when you leave the house you are wound so tight that your shoulders are in knots and your mind is working at warp speed.

So you take some time to write it all out in a blog post hoping to relieve the tension. And it helps, but it's not the answer. You don't know what the answer is other than to keep going. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and taking it as it comes, both good and bad, annoying and joyful.

And you know many things in this day, this week, this month, this year, this life won't go as expected. You just wish you could get used to that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

To Have and Have Not

Hemingway is not one for happy endings. That's part of what makes his prose so hauntingly beautiful.

Halfway through "To Have and Have Not" I was thinking it might be my favorite Hemingway novel. By the time I finished I wasn't sure what I felt.

Then I remembered the words Mark Twain penned about his classic tale "Huckleberry Finn":
"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.
                                                  BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR
                                                   Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance."
Sometimes you just have to enjoy the story, and in order to do that it means you stop trying to find the lesson in it. When a book includues murder, robbery, adultery and suicide as its main arteries, it's a bit hard not to attempt to find some sort of redeeming lesson to take from it.

As hard as I try I can't seem to find it.

A good story is a good story.

No matter how depressing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

CSA Wednesday Surprise

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program we participate in doesn't officially kick off for fall until October, but last night I received an e-mail saying there were eggs and pears available at the farm. Because we were part of past CSAs and were signing up again, we were invited to come for a unscheduled pick up today!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cherry Coke

Some days a special treat is in order.

Something extra sweet and sugary that can be shared. You take turns passing it around until you decide to all put your heads together and take one big slurp.

Then the laughter ensues. First from you and then from others nearby as they get a kick out of the silliness of it all.

This place is famous for its lemonade.

Something else it should be known for is its Cherry Coke!

It's not your grocery-store variety cherry coke. It's the kind with real cherry syrup added to the soda.

Watching your children crack up as they notice the red lips and tongue on each other is a ridiculously fun way to spice up an ordinary Tuesday afternoon.

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Bedtime Routines

We've established some new nighttime rituals.

Only one of these has been intentional on my part.

First, we've started reading again before bedtime. While it doesn't happen every night, I try to get in a chapter from "Leading Little Ones to God" two to three times each week.

Each chapter is about a page. I then attempt to talk about it more with Jack while Mattie flips through the pages.

On the nights we don't read, I get a kick out of listening to my little singer. Her nighttime favorites are Jesus Loves Me and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Start.

It's precious! Jack has never been one to belt out a tune, so I'm loving this with Mattie. Some nights she sings her renditions 20-30 times.

The last ritual began just last week, so I'm not sure it qualifies as a routine yet. Jack and I have decided we are going to set aside one night each week to watch a movie together in bed!

I would prefer those nights fall on a Friday or Saturday, but we'll see how it pans out.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Holding Their Hearts

Can you spare me your eardrum?
Keep your change.
I don't want your money.
Just your heart."
                                           by Voices Rising (DreamYard Prep Slam
                                                             Team - a school in the Bronx in NYC)
Have you ever heard that saying about mothers? You know the one that goes something like this: "Mothers hold their children's hands for a while, but their hearts forever."

That isn't always true.
There are many children, and by children I mean anywhere from the early childhood years to middle-age, that never have that kind of bond with their mother.

Sure, they love her; she's their mother. But they don't have much of a connection with her beyond that.

Maybe she was always busy. Or it could have been she was too critical or a harsh disciplinarian. Maybe she was so self-absorbed that she missed the point entirely.

Lately I've found myself doing a lot of those things I hoped I would never do as a mom.

And this past week I've been convicted.

It started first when I heard someone talk about his early years as a father. The man, a pastor, was telling of a time God got his attention when his children were young and how he got so choked up about it in a moment before he was to preach that he had to step away from the pulpit to collect himself. He mentioned that years later a lady in the congregation was talking to him about that day and that her young son had asked why he was crying. Her well-spoken response struck me, as it did him, hard: "Sometimes when the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, all you can do is cry."

I've been pondering the statement for days.

Then earlier this week I read the stanza from the poem at the beginning of this post. I knew in an instant the reason for my guilty conscience.

It's a heart issue

I've been so busy correcting, scolding and marking off each day's to-do list that I haven't taken time to truly listen and hear what is on the hearts of my young children.

It's a pattern that needs to break because if it keeps up, I will lose those hearts during the teenage years. I know because that's when my mom lost mine.

This sentiment was reinforced yet again on Wednesday when I decided to listen to the radio program Revive our Hearts.

If you're a mom and have a few extra minutes, take some time to listen to Stepping Into Your Child's World.

It was the part about our children's need for unconditional acceptance that resonated with me most.

We all desire to be accepted for who and what we are. Our children are no different. And they crave this acceptance from us, their parents, the most.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lego Mania

Be careful what you wish for.

I've been reminded of this as of late.

A few years ago I was eager for Jack to get into a Lego phase. Don't ask me why because I certainly wasn't prepared for all it would entail.

This past year it became his latest obsesssion.

I am no Lego builder. I've tried and tried, but my brain doesn't work that way.

And the hundreds upon hundreds of tiny pieces. My word.

A few months ago I banished all the Lego pieces, instructions, boxes, etc. etc. to the upstairs guest room. Every few days I have to remind Jack of this when I begin to spot the pieces infesting the living room.

He's currently into anything related to "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," but Star Wars is starting to intrigue him.

I have to admit a lot of these ARE pretty cool once you see them put together. Matt helps Jack and has even taught him how to follow the instructions. This impressed me because I often can't make heads or tails of them. I'm pleasantly surprised when I see what Jack has gotten together on his own.

Even though Matt himself likes Legos, and it's a fun way for father and son to bond, I think the past few days have about done him in.