17 September 2014

Say Yes More Than No


Yesterday, I was sitting with a good group of women. My MOPS group. We were discussing how, as stay at home moms, a lot of times our job is trivialized; how we feel as moms when we are constantly held to a certain standard -- how the house needs to look presentable at all times, the kids clean and well-mannered on request, the dinner cooked and table-ready at a moment's notice -- and how we work so hard to obtain this image, that we often reach for outlandish "goals", usually at the sake of our kids' entertainment. And even sometimes at the sake of their happiness. At least in the moment.

Imagine you've spent all morning cleaning the kitchen, mopping the floors and scrubbing fingerprints off the windows and doors. Your kids come running in from outside, bringing with them a mound of dirt and grass, sit down at the table and loudly proclaim, "We want to play play-doh" -- what's probably going to come out of your mouth?!

NO!

"Can't you see I just spent all morning cleaning this kitchen? I'd like it to stay this way for awhile ... so no ,.. we will not be playing with crumbly play-doh that inevitably winds up smushed and smeared on every surface possible. It's remnants being found in all corners of the universe for days! No play-doh, not today!"

I am that mom. I'll admit it. Play-doh, especially, isn't my favorite toy -- it drives me batty when the kids mix colors and throw them into a random container to put it all away. They drag out seven million toys and utensils, and then fight over ONE KNIFE to cut their creations. They insist that MOM is the only one who knows how to make a round ball or a mustache or any other random thing that pops into their head. And then, as soon as its made, they squish it, and demand another one. Or they pinch off teeny tiny pieces of play-doh, dropping them all over the floor, the table, and everything that surrounds it.

But do I really want to be that mom? The one who tells my kids they cant play with something that will bring them so much joy in the moment, just because I don't want to deal with a little extra mess? Do I want to be the mom that constantly tells them no about the insignificant things, like what shoes to wear with an outfit, or if my daughter can paint her nails for the fourth time that week {even though in less than 12 hours she will have scratched all the polish off anyways!}? Do I want to be that Mom?

Not really.

I enjoy seeing my kids happy. Sure, I realize that my job in life isn't to ensure their happiness. Its to mold them into well-rounded up-standing God-fearing citizens of this world. Not to make sure there is a smile plastered across their face 24/7. My job is to teach them right from wrong. That our actions have consequences, and how to lose gracefully. THAT'S my job. But at the same time, what's it going to hurt to let them have some extra fun by turning on the garden hose and spraying themselves from head to toe, even if its a half hour before bedtime, Even if it means their clothes will soon be caked in mud, and they will be shivering because its only 65 degrees outside. If in that moment, getting wet from the hose is all they want, why am I telling them no?!

From today on, I'm making the choice to say Yes more ... and No a whole lot less. If the situation really warrants a NO, then by all means, say it. But I dare you -- say yes today to something you normally would roll your eyes and say No to. And see just how happy it makes your kids!


16 September 2014

I Have Kids: Who Needs An Alarm Clock?!



It never fails -- just as I get used to something, it goes and changes on me.

Not that I have anything against change. I'm actually one of those people who looks forward to it -- and don't like things to stay the same for very long. It would probably explain why we've lived in 4 houses in the past 6 years! Once I get feeling "settled" and "comfortable", I get tired of where we are and start looking for something new and different.

This time, though, the change is killing me. Or at least, its robbing me of my sanity.

You see, for the longest time, my kids were both the type to sleep until 7 or 8am. Daily. No matter what time they went to bed. No matter where we were at - home or on vacation. We've actually had to force them awake in years past on Christmas morning to get them to start opening their gifts.

And then one day ... it all changed. They started waking up earlier -- and I had just gotten used to a 630am wake up call from BOTH of my kids. I had gotten into a routine of getting everyone breakfast, popping in either Monsters University or Frozen {the two movies on repeat around here lately} and getting my morning cleaning and a shower taken care of so we could have the rest of the day to play outside and run any errands.

Now ... just as I was getting used to them getting up that early, L decided he wanted to switch things up even more. And for the past few days, without fail, he's been getting up at 530am. I usually can manage to convince him to stay in bed for another 20 minutes, at most,  but even that can be a fight as he's protesting, and telling me he'd rather sleep in my bed. We all know he's not really going to go to sleep again, though.

And as much as I enjoy waking up a little early, I do it for one reason only: to enjoy the quiet of the house before everyone else wakes up.

I'm really hoping this is a short phase -- and not something I have to get used to. My fear is that if I DO get used to it, he'll just change it up once more, and start waking up even earlier. Something I definitely would have to fight, tooth and nail!

Are you an early riser? Or do you enjoy sleeping in until later hours of the day?!

12 September 2014

Kiddo Cutes



L has officially "joined the mix" -- and every day, I find myself in a fit of giggles over his budding personality. He's becoming more and more of our "class clown" type, and less serious, as long as we're at home. I can't wait for him to really open up and let other people see the silly side of him! Its just too cute! And of course, there's never any question that something is going to come out of S's mouth that will leave me silent, or questioning where she learned that from. Lately, its been random movies, friends at church and "it just fell out of the sky" type situations. She always leaves me in stitches!

-----------------------------------------------------------

when i was trying to get her to choose between two different tasks:
S: ugh, mom ... would you just chill and let me make a decision?


talking with his Mimi:
Mimi: this ring Papa gave me when we got engaged ... and this one when we got married.
L: uh huh.
Mimi: and do you remember what Papa said when he gave me this ring?
L: he gonna poop on your face!!


at dinner time:
S: *cough*
S: ooh. my throat didn't like that food ...


when hearing his daddy snoring:
L: daddy sounds like a dinosaur


while taking a break from playing:
S: don't touch my stuff, Mom. Something is downloading ...


when getting told no for the millionth time:
Mom: no, L!
L: please don't tell me no, okay?!

-----------------------------------------------------------

Oh, these kids -- there's really never a dull moment. And they may not always be sunshine and roses ... but at least they are never quiet, that's for sure!



10 September 2014

The Heat Brings Out All The Animals




The kids were playing in the backyard. The air was thick and humid -- a good sign that storms were pending. I was in my chair, under the tree, starting a new book. The kids rode around and around in their jeep, circling the swing set and playing well together. All of a sudden, S turns to me and announces, "Look Mommy, a snake!" She wasn't scared or worried. Just curious. A four foot black snake, just sitting there, staring around the yard. Not bothered by the kids, and the kids not bothered by the snake. Of course, I made the kids walk calmly to the back porch and hang out at the picnic table, while I cleaned up the toys and put their jeep in the barn, to prepare for the storm. And you can bet I made sure to keep my distance from that slimy slithery thing.

Oh the joys of summer in the south -- the critters all come out to play. And surprisingly, this was the only one of its kind to grace our presence this year. Past years have seen snapping turtles, snakes, tons of tree frogs and plenty of rabbits. But this year, we've lucked out!

08 September 2014

Seeing Friends, Shopping and See-Saw-ing: Our Weekend in Review





Good Monday Morning! Its crazy how fast the weekend seemed to fly by, at least around here. We managed to keep busy, and have some fun, all while trying to avoid this never-ending heatwave that's been "plaguing" us here in North Carolina. We went shopping for Halloween costumes, and managed to grab up an Elsa costume before all the local stores sell out of them. And L found Iron Man in his size -- so he was pleased, too. Go figure -- they had those cute Spider-man costumes with the built-in muscles ... I was dying from the cute. But none in his size. Ah well. We spent some time visiting with friends for a birthday party -- which unfortunately, was outside. The heat and humidity and the bugs got to us after awhile, even as the sun went down, but the kids had a blast -- and thoroughly needed a bath when we got home. There was dirt in places I didn't know it could get it!

Saturday morning M went out dove hunting. Granted, he came home with nothing ... but he had a decent time with the guys, so essentially, that's all that really matters. And the kids and I spent some time driving around and yardsale-ing. I love finding vintage kids' books -- and we lucked out with one this time, too. A puzzle for L. Some little Strawberry Shortcake dolls for S. Everyone came home with something. And I got a major surprise Saturday afternoon -- the house to myself! I didn't even know what to do with myself while the kids got to enjoy some time out with their Dad at the movies and dinner!

Sunday after church, we finally put together the kids new see-saw. Thanks to the incoming rain, we didn't take it outide, but because of its compact-ish size, and our open kitchen floor plan, we were able to move the table out of the way and let them play for awhile on it. They LOVED it and are begging for me to get it out ASAP.

Its raining more today -- and its Monday, which means plenty of cleaning to be done. The kids will enjoy some movies, and probably the see-saw, all morning. We have a preschool meeting this evening, and probably the least busy week for us all month. So hopefully the weather will cool down and we'll be able to enjoy some down time!

The weekend: How did it treat You?!