Sunday, February 20, 2011

another date

Remember my date with Grace??

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting another one of my purely online friends.  I had been reading her blog for quite some time when, unfortunately, a great tragedy struck and our lives were connected beyond blogs and mothering boys.

Kathy is my friend Darcy's sister in-law.  Darcy gave birth to a sweet little boy a couple of weeks ago and Kathy came in from the middle of nowhere Nebraska for a visit.

Guess who insisted upon being her airport shuttle????

P1030154

Despite only getting to hang out with her for less than an hour, I so enjoyed meeting face to face and sealing our long distance friendship with a hug!

Stay tuned, because in a few months I have a date to meet this mom of boys face to face for the first time.  We've only been putting "hope to someday share a cup of coffee" notes in our Christmas cards for about three years now!  Can't wait Nicole!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

a marathon, not a sprint

legs-runningI'm tired.

I would have trained for this parenting marathon more effectively if I had known the endurance that it would take.

We started school in August, yet in February I still battle:

  • not brushing teeth before it's time to leave
  • not putting on socks as part of getting dressed
  • occasionally "forgetting" to do homework assignments
  • very often neglecting to empty lunch boxes and put away backpacks and coats

Aside from school related issues, my children have been asked to clear their plates and cups after every meal since each one was barely three years old.  Yet somehow, there is the daily illusion that a housekeeper will do it (until Mom calls them back and then the remember that they forgot).

We have never tolerated lying.  Truth telling is a non-negotiable in our home.  But alas, this morning I battled a certain son to fess up about taking gum from my purse without asking.  An offense I most certainly would have responded with a simple request to not take without asking.

But now I have to give a much more severe consequence for the lie.

I have one son who is well beyond potty training years who can't seem to make time to go to the bathroom.  We have been to a number of medical doctors, a therapist, purchased a watch with a vibrating reminder alarm, talked to his teacher, given rewards, and imposed consequences.

Still, no consistent success.

And I'm tired!

As I walked back alone from the bus stop this morning I felt defeated.  I'm the first to admit to my many faults, but I generally take a little pride in putting "my all" into parenting.  Consistent expectations, consistent discipline, consistent love, and consistent involvement are all keys to successful parenting.

Or so I thought.

That short walk home was enough time for one word to stand out to me.

Pride.

Me taking pride?

Opposite of pride - HUMILITY.

Suddenly, I find myself humbled because I don't really know any of the answers.  I'm running this marathon without knowing where the next sharp turn or mountain ascent will be.  Pride has no place here because I have never run this race before.  I didn't even train for it.

So, I open my front door and kick off my snow boots newly humbled.  If I knew all the answers and could do this on my own, why in the world would I have need to ask God for help and active involvement in my life?

I have no answers of my own - but the truth of His word surfaces.

I have no confidence in my abilities - but I know:

  • He will never leave me. (Joshua 1:5)
  • His grace is sufficient (to cover for my screw ups) and His power is made perfect in my (many) weakness(es). (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

I'm clinging to those simple truths this morning.

Friday, February 4, 2011

the knucklehead chronicles - part two

First, read part one.

Now, for EXHIBIT B:

Exhibit B

School has interfered with my ability to fit in timely haircuts for the boys.  I comb their hair every morning as they are gulping down their cereal.

However, I don't inspect the condition of their eyebrows.

One Friday afternoon, The Hunter had his best school buddy over to play and I heard a lot of snickering and, "Don't tell her," going on.

I'm okay with a secret as long as it is okay to be a secret, you know what I mean?  So after asking if their secret was an appropriate secret, being reassured that it was, more laughter and whispering, I ignored the knuckleheads.

Suddenly, the secret was killing him.  He showed up in the kitchen and said that he can't keep it from me any longer.  He lifted his long hair away from his forehead.....

and I nearly peed in my pants.

While taking a shower in our bathroom, he decided to experiment with his dad's razor.  Instead of shaving his leg or his arm, the parts that a woman might see as logical he went for his EYEBROW.

At this rate, I fear puberty.  Knucklehead.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

an excellent read

One thing I really enjoy doing with my boys (glasses or no glasses) is reading.  I think it is a no brainer when they are younger because they love any age appropriate children's book.  We have some old favorites, but through about the age of six, we could pull random books off the shelves at the library and they would be happy little bookworms.

The Hunter and Sauce are getting a bit trickier.  Sure, they love the ever popular "Magic Tree House" series as well as "The Boxcar Children."  They will often take these to bed and read to themselves at bedtime.

But I work to stretch them and broaden their horizons.  I like to go to the library by myself and scan the chapter books for something that I know they will really enjoy, but that they wouldn't necessarily choose themselves.

And then, because I know they are going to love a certain book, I read it aloud to them.

I'm selfish like that.

I LOVE to hear their giggles and gasps and, "Oh man!"  I get such enjoyment from the begging for just one more chapter.  I cherish the moments when I'm tucking them in and they ask me who my favorite character is or what I think will happen next.

Because_of_mr_terupt.228182143_stdWe just finished reading one of those books that we will likely remember for years to come.

"Because of Mr. Terupt" caught my eye because as I flipped through the 260+ pages, I could see that the chapters were randomly titled with the same seven first names (Peter, Alexia, Luke, Jeffrey, Danielle, Anna, Jessica).  The summary said that the story revolved around one phenomenal fifth grade teacher and seven (very different) students from his class told the story.

I knew that a story led by a creative, enthusiastic teacher would catch my big boys' attention.  They are in the thick of experiencing the ups and downs of classroom learning, both socially and academically.  Often, they will question WHY they must learn a certain concept.  Other times, they will come home with a story of how another student said something mean for no reason at all.

I know that kids can be just plain mean for no reason, but I thought the different points of view would really open my sons' eyes and give them perspective that their fellow students are often more than meets the eye.  Also, I knew they would enjoy the creative and dynamic teacher that Mr. Terupt would prove to be.

I was right.  We finished the book in a grand total of four days.  In every spare moment, they were asking me to read "just one more chapter."  I had to hide the book when we had a babysitter one night because I knew they would finish it without me. 

They laughed out loud at Luke's "dollar word" habit (you'll never guess).  They started out hating Alexia, and then they learned to understand her.  They cracked up at the plant experiment and seeing the principal's wedgie.  All so perfect for elementary boys.

Although we are an in tact family, I know that many of their friends are struggling in broken homes.  I loved the real life "behind the scenes" perspective it gave them on grief, loss, judging others, and freely giving to those who may appear not to have anything to give in return such as special needs kids.

Although painful at times, this story dove into all of those topics without dealing my kids anything that I felt was inappropriate for their ages.  I felt it was so valuable to process through these types of feelings through a fictional experience.

If you have a third grade level reader or above, I emphatically recommend this book.  I was so glad that I didn't just hand it to one of my boys to read alone.  There were so many life lessons and discussion starters and we are all a bit more wise and compassionate because of it.

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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