Monday, January 25, 2010

As seen thru the eyes of my children

Here are a few things I have learned about myself in the last few years. Some of it's good and some of it is not so good. Maybe you can relate?

1. I can put in and take out a toddler from a 5 – point harness one handed. While talking on a cell phone. Can we all say “multi-tasker”?
2. I have built enough muscle strength to carry two 35 lb children (if absolutely necessary and it’s not going up the stairs). Eat your hear out Jillian Michaels!
3. Banana bread counts as a serving of fruit and veggies. And sometimes fruit snacks do too.
4. I can tell by the smell of my child’s poo if they are sick or not.
5. I can survive on three hours of sleep. Barely, but I can do it.
6. I don’t need more than 1200 calories a day. My kids need the food more than I do. (you may not know that. And I usually make up what I don't eat one day on the day after.)
7. I am my child’s best advocate. Whether it's speaking to doctor's, teachers, well meaning strangers or over protective relatives.

I have learned a few other things about myself as well. They are not as flattering. I am not as easy going as I thought. I have very strong ideas about how things should go. I also don’t like to be challenged or ignored. I have a nasty temper when things don’t go my way. And in God’s awesome sense of humor way, He has given me some kids with a very strong sense of how things should go. We are still debating about when I should give in and when I should stay strong in my decisions. 
I’ve also learned to share more, watch my words, play nice and about grace. I have become more discerning about what I watch and listen to. Both when the kids are around and when it’s just me and my husband. I need to be better about matching my actions with my words. Because there are little eyes and ears watching, all the time. And they are really good at imitating what they see and hear.
I have learned how to dream and imagine again. I don’t need to stay in reality all the time. Besides, it’s not much fun here. :P It’s ok to pretend to be the monster so my kids can practice being warriors. Because they are going to have to know how to fight for themselves one day. And I want to teach them that’s alright. Even though the world will tell them that they should be a pacifist.
My lessons in grace have been the hardest. No matter how many times I screw up, my kids are always quick to forgive. And I want to be more like that too. I don’t think there has been any Bible study lesson, sermon, magazine article or seminar that I have been to that has illustrated to me how quickly God is willing to forgive me, if I would just ask, than what my kids have demonstrated to me. That quickness to forgive is what keeps my heart from being bitter.
That’s what I have learned in the past five years. There are more lessons, but I think these are the big ones. What have you learned since becoming a parent?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

To the man I love

He is often in the background, but that only means he needs me to tell you all why I love him. This one's for you honey!

To my husband
I wanted to say thank-you today. Thank-you for being the man I need you to be.
Thank-you also for knowing when I need you to be with the kids so I don’t go crazy. For buying me little presents and treats. Thank-you for holding your tongue when I don’t do the dishes and play my silly little game (Peggle, the greatest distraction on earth) instead.
Thanks for pushing me and challenging me. Like in this writing thing. I don’t want to be here writing, because I am tired and have a head ache. (you know I fall asleep about now, 11:30PM). Here I am writing anyway because you are right about this. I need to do something everyday to keep me motivated. You also have such a unique way of motivating me to excercise. Because again, you are right. Greece can either be something I go and have a great time at, or it can be the most miserable experience of my life. And that whole not wanting to be kidnapped by turkish terrorists is pretty motivating to.
Thank-you for being the dad our kids need. For showing them how to become men. Thank-you for being the one who goes to work at a day job you don’t really like so that I can stay home and guide our children. And thank you for pursuing your dreams. It’s teaching our kids that it is possible to be a grown up and still dream.
Thank-you for being you. For being my sounding board. For being my reality check. Thanks for being the one to encourage me and love me when I am being emotional. Thanks for loving me enough to tell me to get my behind upstairs and write or to go to bed so I can get up and run in the morning! For showing me how to dream and ways I can make those dreams come true.
To borrow some lyrics from a song by Spiral Staircase (whoever the heck that is,)
I don't remember what day it was
I didn't notice what time it was
All I know is that I fell in love with you
And if all my dreams come true
I'll be spending time with you
Every day's a new day in love with you
With each day comes a new way of loving you
Every time I kiss your lips my mind starts to wonder
And if all my dreams come true
I'll be spending time with you

Oh I love you more today than yesterday
But not as much as tomorrow
Oh I love you more today than yesterday
But darling not as much as tomorrow

Tommorrow makes each springtime just a day away
Cupid we don't need you now be on your way
I thank the Lord for love like ours that grows ever stronger
And I always will be true
I'll be spending time with you

Oh I love you more today than yesterday
But not as much as tomorrow
Oh I love you more today than yesterday
But darling not as much as tomorrow

Every day's a new day, every time I love ya
Every time's a new way, every time I love ya...
Very day's a new day, every time I love ya
Every time's a new way, every time I love ya...
Every time I love ya...

Friday, January 15, 2010


I realized something the other day. I realized that I should stop reading stories to my kids. I should also stop letting them watch Disney movies and PBS cartoons.
Why would I do such a thing? It’s great to read stories to your kids. It helps to teach them how to read. And Disney and PBS put out great educational programming. And lets not forget that letting them watch a show is the best way to distract my two boys while I try and get something done.
There are side effects to letting my kids watch shows. They see not only the kids in those shows, but also the adults. They see all the perfect moms and dads who never blow up at their kids. The ones able to laugh off every little mistake. The ones that are never tired, angry, hurt or lonely. My kids see an idyllic world where nothing ever goes wrong. They see a certain curious monkey get into mischeif yet never have to reap the consequences.
I think this all hit me when we were going thru potty training with our oldest son. I would get so mad when things did not go well. As in we had done our business every where except the potty. And I was out of carpet cleaner. I will admit here that I would completely lose my cool. Not just in an exasperated sigh kind of way. It was more along the lines of screaming. And then I would calm down and feel immediate guilt for my blow up. Apologize and set my mind to doing it the right way. The way those potty training books told me to. Reading those books always reminded me of how poorly I was doing at this mothering job.
Then one day, my mom and I were on the phone. I was yet again confessing my hatefulness. And she was comforting me with kind words and scripture. She told me that God had created me in His image and that He had given me these two boys. That my husband and I were their parents for a reason. That I was the best one for the job of raising them.
I should remember that those parents on the screen and in the books aren’t real. They are fictional. And that it’s only the enemy telling me that I am the only one that messes up. That no one but me gets angry or exasperated with my kids. I knew all of that in my head. But in my heart I needed to hear that truth.
I am the best parent for my kids. And you are the best parent for yours. Even though I make mistakes still, I can use those times to teach my kids about forgiveness. About receiving grace and mercy. Those things are there for you as well. You need only to ask, and Christ will come and extend His grace, mercy and unconditional love to you.
Walking forward in His grace and mercy.

P.S. I am not really going to stop reading books to my kids or stop letting them watch television. I need at lease some peace and quiet. :)