Tag Archives: Parenting

Heels and Makeup

21 Apr

Family Date

Initially, I was so disappointed. Our kids and my friend’s kids were both on the tail end of different illnesses and we didn’t want to infect each other with a new round of the sicks. Aaron and I couldn’t go on the date we had been planning for weeks. I was grouching around the house when Aaron suggested we go on a family date. That didn’t appeal to me ONE BIT but since it got me out of cooking dinner, I agreed.

I stood in the bathroom, wearing heels, muttering about putting on makeup for running errands with the family. Ella came in and her little jaw dropped. “Mama,” she exclaimed. “This must be a real date! You’re wearing fancy shoes and putting on makeup!” Her grin threatened to split her face as she ran off to find her own shoes and coat.

That stopped my muttering.

It made Ella feel special to see me take the time and energy into our family adventure. It showed that I thought it was important enough to look my best. It showed I thought she was important.

So I quit muttering. I quit grumping. I put in earrings and we all had a wonderful evening on our family date.

Using My Listening Ears

11 Apr

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.
If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.

– Catherine M. Wallace


That quote has been swirling through my head recently, working towards the surface of my consciousness just when I need it the most.When I’m tempted to say, “Just let me finish this chapter, Ella, then we can talk” or “I need to write an email first”, I remember that now is the time to lay a foundation of communication. A foundation of belief that I always care about and respect what she wants to share with me. The opportunity won’t always be here and the email can wait. The chapter will still be there when I get back to it. Even if it’s the millionth conversation about maned wolves, I still need to appear engaged. I can, on occasion, multi task my mind by responding to her while formulating my grocery list. Even then, I have to be careful to remain present in our conversation. Her life revolves around maned wolves, but it won’t always be so simple.

Someday, her life will revolve around things outside of our home, the life we share. She will build her own relationships, her own interests, her own set of worries and stresses that I have no control over or direct influence. Our conversations and what she shares with me will be my only window into her life. If I don’t take her 3 year old size cares, worries and triumphs seriously, how can I expect her to share with me her teenage cares, worries and triumphs?

For now, I’m putting aside books, knitting and emails in favor of foundations. It can be hard to listen and take her seriously right now, but it will be even harder to try and build this foundation when she’s twelve. So here’s to maned wolves, for they are the forerunner to open and genuine relationships later on.

Altoid Boy

31 Mar

Altoid Boy

At this very moment, my entire HOUSE smells like Christmas. Or altoids. Or gingerbread. Take your pick. Whichever one you like best, know that I’m less than impressed with the situation.

Altoid Boy

Can you guess what happened not once, but twice in the past six weeks?

Shop Vac Worthy

My beloved son discovered the most coveted industrial size bottle of ground cinnamon. He ate a good portion of it and then proceeded to dump the rest out and have a grand ol’ time with sensory play.

The floor needed cleaning anyway...

He’s in the bath right now, pouring water from one cup to the next, washing away the powdery scents of the holidays. I’ve added cinnamon to my shopping list (again).

Altoid Boy

And really, I can’t be mad at him. I was the one who didn’t put the cinnamon back where it belonged. Besides, the floor needed mopping to begin with.

Weary

22 Jan

I need your patience, friends. Understanding and a dash of forgiveness. It has not been my intention to leave things for so long over here but I’ve found myself…weary. Weary, tired, exhausted, heart sore, grieving, worn out.

Parenting a 3 year old is hard. Very hard. Even more so when your young toddler keeps you sleepless. Grandma died and now I’m preparing to take the kids out to Seattle for the first 15 days in February, while Aaron stays home to work. Before we leave, I have a couple huge projects I need to finish. Toss in two children with staggered cases of chicken pox and you can imagine how quickly those projects are being completed!

February. Well, mid February. That’s when I hope to be back. Until then, be good and true to yourself.

Grace

8 Nov

Some days, the only way I make it through is by grace extended to me. There’s no way around it. Yesterday was a day like that.

It was about 9am when I finally realized it was a “Grace Day”. We had been up since 5am, I had a horrible migraine, the kids were antagonizing each other and we all suddenly melted down at the same time. With the kids and I recovering in sob-like breathes, I told them that we were no longer a yelling family. No one can yell at each other in our family anymore. Even if we are angry, sad, upset, frustrated, MAD, sick, tired, exhausted, etc, we could not yell. Yelling just makes everyone even more angry, sad, upset, frustrated, MAD, sick, tired, exhausted, etc.

So Ella and I decided that if someone yelled, they needed to be reminded we were a no yelling family. If the person yelled again, they needed to rest in a quiet room for a while. We both needed reminders. Seeing that little face turn up to me, having her pat my hand with love, and say, “Oh Mama, we are not a yelling family. Let’s breath together.” was such a gentle reminder to extend grace to people in our lives.

Yesterday was still hard but it was survivable because we all offered each other what patience we had and extended understanding grace when no patience was left.

Spotlight: Parenting Links

6 Nov

Watch the video on how to get out of the house with three kids two and under without a stroller. This mama makes wrapping and wearing twins look so easy!

A Christian father’s take on breastfeeding in public.

Be more by doing less. This is SO hard for me to keep in the forefront of my mind.

I tried to pick between these two articles, but couldn’t. They both resonated with me and related to two separate conversations I held this week.

One is on rhythm, which seems to come and go in our house. We’re getting better at it, though!

The other is on the frail child. I’ve seen a few of the emotionally fragile children and it is so sad to see. These little hearts are not intended to hold the adult emotional weights. This has been a real reminder for me to continue to offer limited options and age appropriate knowledge.

Contentment

10 Oct

I often struggle with being discontent. Anxious to move on to the next phase in life, looking forward to the changes just around the next bend, ready to move forward. But there’s a lot of stock to be put into the moment. Where I am right now. Where my family is as a collective whole and where the individual members are in their personal lives. Enriching our lives now instead of plotting how things will be better next month or next year.

I’ve been thinking about the mental and emotional change, trying to put it into play in my life. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been less than successful. I really struggle at finding the balance between the moment or current day and semi long distance planning. With practice, I’m sure this balancing act will get better and eventually become second nature to me.

Until then, I’ll be focusing on this great list of ways to maintain contentment. Here’s to hoping it becomes second nature sooner rather than later.

But there I go again. Focusing on what I want instead of developing what I need right now. Like I said, a long way to go. 🙂

1. Take everything to prayer and meditation. The more time I spend connecting with my Beloved Creator, the more I realize that I am His Beloved, the more smoothly things go. The more I take my worries and anxieties and questions about life, about my children, about where I am going, to prayer, the more peaceful I can be.

2. Before you speak, before you act, think in LOVE first. If you can think in love toward your partner, your children, your relatives, the better things will be. And if you don’t act in love, love yourself and forgive yourself for BEING HUMAN. It is okay to be human, and it is okay to not be perfect. Sometimes perfection is in the striving.

3. Attribute positive intent. If someone is doing something that is challenging you, can you see it from their viewpoint? Can you see it differently? And if not, can you set a boundary on it?

4. Discern the essential. What is your family’s Mission Statement? What kind of adults do you hope your children to be? What would contribute to that? If it is not contributing to that, can you set a boundary on it?

5. Can you pare down? Can you pare down “stuff”? All “stuff” has maintenance, all stuff needs to be taken care of. Can you find the beauty in simplicity? Can you pare down activities?

6. Where is your warmth? If you are thinking in love, you can show emotional warmth toward your family. You can laugh, you can find joy, and you can be content with where you are. It is good enough for right now.

7. Surround yourself with content and positive people. This will really help lift your spirits and keep you on track.

8. Spend time in nature. Nature has a way of making problems seem smaller.

9. Strengthen the ties you have with your partner/spouse. If you can face things together, it is easier to be content with what you have, and easier to be content with what you have.

10. Take care of yourself….your body deserves your attention and time. If you are suffering from poor health or things that will eventually lead to poor health, then you know how hard it is to be peaceful. You have only one body, and there is only one you! You are worthy of your own time and energy!

Found at The Parenting Passageway

Uninspired

7 Oct

I’m feeling terribly uninspired today. Ella’s one tv show for the morning is almost over and I’m dreading it. What are we going to do this morning? I have the kitchen to finish tidying up and that’s about it. We could go outside, but the grass wet and Ella will have a seizure if I suggest stepping in it.

Pulling out beads and stringing them to make necklaces would be fun, but Miles will eat them. Or knock the box over.

Coloring always ends in tragedy. Crayons are digested by the smallest. The oldest sobs when her brother tries to color on her page.

Playdoh? No. Just no.

I know we’ll get things figured out and the ball will start rolling for the day. I’m just feeling uninspired with what to do with the kids. I can’t wait until Miles quits eating everything in his path.

What do you do as a family with young children at drastically different developmental stages?

Thursday Thoughts

22 Jul

There have been moments where I’ve questioned our choice to sleep with our children in our bed. To be completely frank, it’s hard. This set up has been the only way we’ve stayed sane with Ella’s sleep struggles. It has allowed us to meet her needs without having to get out of bed, which provides a small hope that we would be able to go back to sleep quickly. I’ve always been a bit jealous of friends who talk about how wonderful cosleeping is and how it encourages their family bond with night time snuggles and early morning giggles. For us, bedsharing was out of necessity and desperation, not happiness.

Then a couple weeks ago, something changed. I woke up with a strange feeling, something I struggled to identify. Finally, I pinned it down. I felt rested! Refreshed! I was actually ready to get out of bed instead of fighting sleep as I tried to roll out!

Then I realized everyone else was still sleeping. Did you read that? Everyone else was still sleeping. At 7:00 AM. Miles, Aaron, and Ella were still fast asleep. Even though I had to desperately use the bathroom, I refused to get up and run the risk of waking someone. So I laid there, luxuriating in the fact that I was the only one awake. At 8:00 AM, Miles opened his eyes with a smile and promptly sat up. His giggles woke Ella, who kissed Aaron to wake him up. We all talked and laughed together for a good ten minutes until someone’s limb ended up in my bladder and I had to break the spell to make a dash for the bathroom.

I got my wish. By following our instincts and meeting Ella’s needs, we got to celebrate as a family the huge milestone of sleeping past 5am. I am so incredibly thankful it happened this way. It’s a moment that I hope never to forget.

Taking The Time

17 Jun

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to remember to take the time to individually connect with Ella. Miles isn’t a problem because, well, he’s a baby and in a baby carrier or nursing a good portion of the day. Aaron and I have time after the kids are asleep. But Ella? It seems to be slipping through the cracks lately.

I didn’t even realize this until the other day. She grabbed my hand and practically dragged me into the bathroom. She closed the door, locked it, climbed up on the back of the toilet to sit and told me to sit on the edge of the bathtub. Then, she proceeded to talk my ear off about all sorts of random subjects.

At first, I thought it was cute. But as the minutes wore on, I became increasingly frustrated and mentally fidgety. What she was telling me wasn’t terribly interesting. I had things to do! Then I took a good look at her face as she chattered away and realized she was glowing.

And suddenly, a knife in my heart twisted.

She needed this. This one on one time and connection with me. My baby girl was becoming a little girl and needed a different sort of attention from me. THIS is what I want when she’s an older girl in school. This emotional connection and easy freedom of shared thoughts and emotions. Even though what she is sharing with me at this time in her life I already know, I need to foster this practice NOW if I want her to do this in the future.

So I stopped fidgeting. I mentally put away the dishes and laundry behind a closed door for later. I focused my energy on her animated face, her words, and the emotions behind her structurally incorrect sentences. Within moments, Ella had talked herself out. She climbed down off the back of the toilet, hugged me and said, “Lets go get Brother, Mama. I’m sure he misses us”.

We unlocked the door and left holding hands.

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