Friday, January 30, 2009

Thin? Fat? Glutton!

I hestitate to write this post for fear that I will sabotage myself. So I will keep is short and simple. Here goes: I love to eat anything sweet. I love chocolate. I crave ice cream. I devour cookies. I snarf down brownies. I can't pass up a Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I salivate over Mile High Mud Pie from The Ram. I don't really like berry pie, but I'll eat two pieces anyway. I stash Peppermint Patties in my pantry where only I know where they are.

Getting the picture? I am a sweet-freak with no control.

Er, at least I was without control. Until January 1, 2009. That was when my journey began. And here we are, February 1st 2009 and so far so good. In december, when I was contemplating what torture I would put myself through for the year 2009 in order to assist the removal of excess baby weight, I thought I would maybe cut off all sweets except one per week. Then I thought I would allow myself some palate-pleasing something-er-other once a month. I thought again about maybe one tiny sweet per day (one Peppermint Patty, perhaps)... I toyed with all the options. But as the new year came closer, it occurred to me that there is no virtue in being thin. In fact, I know that some of the skinniest people on earth eat horribly, and some of the chunkiest eat extremely healthy.

So I opted for virtue: why not reign in this area of my life - that is FOOD - and start gaining control. As in self-control. As in, "No, I don't have to grab a handful of chocolate chips every time I venture to the panty." As in, "Yes, I can bake a batch of cookies and only eat a few over the many days the batch hangs around." As in, "It may not feel like it now, but this is not the only sweet thing that will come across my path this month or week or day or hour. There will be other opportunities to eat a sweet...I don't have to take this one."

Now I am a recovering sweet freak. I suppose I will always want to endulge, but I am hoping that I won't always take the gluttenous road. I am hoping that this is an area I can experience great victory in over the entire year.

Wanna know my tricks?
1. My sister, who was an amazing example last year, showing me what self-control looks like and talking with me about it openly and honestly, even while I was shoving my face with every M&M in sight.
2. Pledging to drink a tall glass of water every time I craved. It's amazing how many times I misread my body, thinking that my need for sweet food is actually thirst.
3. Finding a few healthy things that satisfy the cravings. Vanilla yogurt with mueslix or raisens mixed in; cranberries; prunes (but only a few!!); popcorn sprinkled with water & salt (water makes the salt stick).
4. Remembering something Davis said when he was all of four years old: "Mom, I don't like to eat sweets because whenever I eat them it only makes me want more and more!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WFMW-My Favorite!

I have very few new ideas running through my head about what "works for me" and have fallen off the "Works for Me Wednesday" bandwagon. But today I stopped by the clearinghouse site for all sorts of wonderful ideas. I thought I would share my favorite one I found this week.

Check it out! Anybody who homeschools or whose kids love worksheets will benefit from this.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Progression Through Motherhood

I got to thinking yesterday about how I have changed as a mother over the past 7.5 years. Being a first-time mom is WORLDS APART from being seasoned. Actually, in some ways the initial brain damage that occurs in the first several years of motherhood repairs itself with the addition of more kids (or just the passage of time - I can't be sure). For instance, I used to not be able to complete a sentence, let alone a thought, because I was so easily distracted by my baby. Now, a kid has to REALLY, REALLY need something before my thought is disrupted. That's not because I am trying to "teach him a lesson." No. Its an honest-to-goodness ability to tune out a deafening amount of background noise.

I have a few other examples of my progression through motherhood. Can you relate?

Definition of a "Great" Night's Sleep
With Baby #1: Eight straight hours. No interruptions. Ah, who am I kidding?! It's not a great night's sleep unless it's 10 hours - solid.
With Baby #2: Eight straight hours will do, but it must include waking up on my own - if a kid wakes me up, the night is automatically disqualified from being great.
With Baby #3: Eight hours, with only one interruption from only one kid - now THAT's great!
With Baby #4: Eight hours, 2 interruptions, no additional "mommy's bladder" awakenings, no snoring from the husband, and no insomnia. It's like heaven!

When my first child was an infant: The shower was illusive. IF-IF-IF I got one in a day while my husband or mom was not there, it was remarkable. I have a distinct memory of putting my little cherub in a bouncy seat in the bathroom with me. The water is on. Shampoo is in my hair...nice and bubbly. Baby starts to cry. My panic sets in. The cry gets louder and harder. It's been 30 horrible seconds now. I am fully panicked. Forget it. I turn the water off immediately, suds still in my hair, and sooth my baby. The shower will wait. Maybe I can rinse my hair in the sink.
With baby #2: When the baby cries I control my panic long enough to rinse my hair. But no conditioner, and i did not actually wash my body. My first thought is NOT "oh by poor baby." My first thought is, "Your older brother is finally napping!! You can't wake him up!!" I am concerned about the crying baby, yes, but the bigger concern is still that first child who never did get to be a good sleeper.
With baby #3: Getting a shower is much easier with three kids than it ever was with one or two. How can that be? When baby #3 cries, this time I think, "The older two will just have to learn to sleep through the baby's cries." And as that baby cries I am finishing my shower (quickly but thoroughly), reminding myself "Babies don't die if they cry. Babies don't die if they cry...."
With baby #4: I am up at the crack of dawn because I finally learned that missing a shower for a measley half hour of more sleep in the morning only makes me crankier. I hear him crying. I continue the shower. Then I am reminded of what it was like showering when I had just my first child. And I think, "my that was a different world." (baby still crying, mom still showering), "Wow. So very different. I think I will write a blog post about that. Now, how would I start that post... what would be the first sentence... ah, yes. I know. Oooh that would be good... And I could also talk about how my definition of a good night's sleep has changed over the years, too. And, oh yeah, that's my baby, still crying, huh?..."

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Private Kleenex

My bestest friend from college has a brilliant idea for controlling a kids urge to wipe their snot on their sleeve. Whereas I gave up long ago and am pleased (generally speaking) when the snot ends up on their clothes, rather than mine, she has come up with a great idea. Go check out her blog!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mommeee!! Pee-Pees!

Ahhhhhh... music to my ears goes something like this: Mommmeeeee! Pee-pees!" pad-pad-pad-pad to the bathroom. Everything hits the toilet. No tears. No hesitation.

My two year old is now potty trained. I have done this twice before but what a journey this one was. Honestly, it was a trip through Bizarro world.
  • This kid defied all odds and learned pooping on the potty BEFORE peeing.
  • He held it and held it and held it. (Both poop and pee) His record was something close to 18 hours. I was a nervous wreck. I thought he was in for a serious bladder infection.
  • Since the first day of training (6 days ago) he has woken up dry from almost all naps and night sleep. He wore undies to bed last night and I was not panicky.
  • And today, for the first time, he told us when he needed to go, stayed dry all night long, all nap long, and did not have even one accident. Seriously - does this really happen?
After 5 days of trauma and disillusionment and regret (I am nursing a 7-week-old, afterall) I thought I would never survive this. An act of desperation led me to purchase the ebook called 3 day potty training. Her method is similar to mine with a few tweeks that made all the difference for Weston. Like a charm, it worked. Best $24 I have spent on a secular book.

Alison, I know you are in the midst of PT as well. If you (or anyone else) want to borrow it, I will check out the copyright details and if it is within my right, I will pass it on!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cain & Abel questions

I started reading Genesis to the kids last night. We read the story of Cain and Abel tonight. Both boys had such great questions:

Jackson, upon hearing that God asked Cain where his brother was after Cain killed Abel and that Cain said he did not know, Jackson (who has been telling little lies lately) asked:
"Did he really really not know where his brother is?" (how perceptive!)
"No, Cain knew exactly where his brother is!"
"Cain lied?"
"He sure did. No good, huh."

That led to Davis asking: "Now I have a question. God knows everything we are going to do in our whole lives. So he knew they (people like Cain) were going to do bad things - all those bad things all the time. (pause. pause.) How can that be? Why would he create them if he knew they were going to do all that bad stuff? He could have just not created them." I was so astounded at the thought-provoking question and so overwhelmed with thoughts of "where do I begin?" I started with, "You ask the best questions!"

I am excited to get another window into his brain and help him work through this big, big question. And I am so glad that I don't have to have all the answers. I pray that the Lord would give my little 7yo the spirit of wisdom and revelation that is beyond his years.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dear Joy and Tera

I was able to grab a moment today. I am reading Romans and have reached my favorite part: chapter 12. That first verse the the chapter is one that speaks loudly to every mom out there. Its a verse we can really be encouraged by.

Joy, a friend of mine on the mission field reported on her blog that she is caring for 5 "very sick" kids right now. You came to my mind today, Joy. So did you, Tera. "I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." When you pull your body out of bed for the 10th time, or at some horribly early hour and offer your kids kindness and patience and mercy and compassion it is an act of worship. The Lord honors you for it.

And Romans 6:13 also came to mind. "...offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness." Your arms, when you hold your child. Your tongue when you comfort or discipline your child. Your legs, when you walk to their room even though your body is screaming for sleep. Your shoulder to lay their head on. Every part is an instrument for righteousness. Nothing is a more physical demonstration of living out the gospel than when we meet the physical needs of our children.

I pray you continue in your ministry to your children and that you are encouraged today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I have proof that I am a Mean Mom

Before I give you the proof, I have a potpourri of funny little things to share.

Here are some more cryptic questions from Jackson:
Out of the blue, with no context whatsoever, not pointing to anything, Jackson asks me, "Is this the front of everything?" And then later, "Why is this the kitchen?"

And here is Jackson's rendition of Chris Tomlin's song "Indescribable." Imagine a four-year-old singing at the very tippy, tippy top of his very powerful lungs...
"Untribe-able! Uncontainable! You and the stars and my knees and the Sky's and my ridge... You are amazing, God!!"

And a short - very short - conversation with Davis yesterday went like this:
Mom: Are your lips chapped? Do you want some chap stick?
Davis: Let's not discuss it.

Finally, my proof:
I gave myself the "best wife award" when I surprised the family with a Wii for Christmas. I learned today that apparently I did not earn the "best mom award" that same day. Here is the writing that my son came from school with today: "On Christmas moning I woke my bruthr up. We wint to the Christmas tree. My Mommy was olretee (already) ther. We watite for my Daddy. Then my Daddy finulee kame wot (out). We storted to opin preses. I liked ol (all) uv our preses but the most bestist preset that we got was a Wii. I asct to plae. My mommy sed no."

Honestly, I don't remember saying no. I guess "no" is the answer that comes out when I am not really listening to the question. Proof, indeed, that I am a mean mom.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Only Need A Moment

My life right now boils down to a steady stream of moments (wonderful, joyful moments). I move from one child to another, meeting their needs. One child needs a hug, another needs an apple slice. One needs to report his bowel movement to me (so he thinks), and another needs to be rocked. The phone rings. The water is boiling. The husband has a question. I move from one moment to the next all day long until my head hits the pillow. And then I sleep for what honestly feels like a moment. Life is wonderfully full, and mighty busy.

Guess what gets lost in that busy shuffle? My time with the Lord. Every time I am pregnant I fall out of any and every good habit I may have previously established. And every time we add a child to our family, I have to essentially re-learn how to fit quiet times into my life. So, here we are again.

The thought of waking up even earlier (while night-time feedings still exist) is bone-shattering. Finding a chunk of time during the day is a struggle, and the baby is fussy in the evening and requires being held (I gladly cuddle my little monkey who seems to sense immediately when I pick up a book to read). I mention all these things not to complain - far from it... I love my existance - but rather to prove to you that my days are full. Can you relate?!

It occurred to me not too many days ago that 1) I need to lower my expectations for what qualifies as a quiet time, and 2) I need to think differently about my time. So rather than searching all day long for a fifteen-minute window of quiet (does such a thing exist?), I search for a "moment."

It's like this: the two big boys are playing quietly together, the 2yo is sitting on his bed recovering from a fit, and the baby is asleep for the time being. suddenly I realize Hey, I have a moment! Mind you, my sticky counters are stacked with dishes and I still did not get to the mailbox. Previously, I would have seen this "moment" to get either of these two things done. But knowing the moment is fleeting, I stop it all and move toward the couch. The mail can wait. The counters will get sticky again anyway.

A moment is just that - fleeting. Here and gone. So that's my expectation. I don't hope for long sessions of quiet, lest I dash my spirits, become frustrated and give up. Instead, I consider it a great success if I grab that moment with my Bible in my lap, even if I only read a sentence. Because, hey! That means I found my Bible. I sat. I breathed.

And then the moment is gone... success is declared.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Lame Way to Save 24-Cents

So I have my two youngest laying side-by-side on my bed. One is still wet, wrapped in a towel and smelling like baby shampoo. The other is awaiting his turn in the bath but before he makes his big splash I must take care of one detail: the unmistakable scent of two-year-old poop under his size 4 diaper. (Odoriferous, wouldn't you say?)

As the diaper is removed from him, the newborn next to him - completely naked under that soft towel - is grunting up a storm. I try to console myself... "Well, at least I just saved the expense of a diaper."

Weston is now in the bath, and the sacrificial towel is saturated with stain remover. I must end this blog now, because our track record for poop in the bathtub is not good. (We are up to two episodes in two weeks, now.)

On the bright side of infants and bowel movements (you mean there is a bright side? and a dark side?), this is the first poop-or-pee-outside-the-diaper we have had in Drake's 6 weeks of life. (unbelievable! Not even a cheap shot mid-diaper change!) But there is a first time for everything.

I wonder when the first spit-up occurrence will be...?

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Tattling, Davis hollers: "Maaaawwww - aaawwwwmm! Weston's not putting his binki's on his bed like I am telling him toooooo!"

It is true. The binkis are supposed to be on the bed, as a general rule. But I am in the bathroom, giving the 5-week-old a bath. Even if this WAS an emergency, I could not attend to it. It will have to wait, so I gave the standard reply, "Well, all you can do is encourage him to do the right thing, Davis. I will take care of the obedience a little later. Thank you!"

And that got me thinking about how important it is to focus attention on the importance of encouragement. ["Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."1 Thes. 5:11] What a valuable skill we can give our kids if we are constantly teaching them and offering examples of how to encourage others. With sibling relationships, this is especially invaluable when you have one child who is a rule-follower, and another child that is a rule-bender. That rule-follower will be compelled to get others to follow rules, too, but the reality is that you can't MAKE others follow the rules. All you can do is encourage them. Humbly encourage them.
"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Tim. 4:2

To teach my kids how to encourage each other, it takes some thought. I have to be an encourager. They need to hear me encourage them, and their siblings. And when opportunity arises (i.e. they are tattling), I need to be prepared to help them think up words they can say to encourage: "You might get in trouble if you keep jumping on the couch, Weston." "Mommy said we can't have a cookie. We better do the right thing and not take one." "I put my socks and shoes on, like Mom asked. Aren't you going to, too?"

I think this helps give a bossy kid an outlet. Seems like a bossy child is really a leader in who likes to be in control of situations. And a bossy kid needs to learn and understand that ultimately their peers makes their own choices - right or wrong. They will choose to do the right thing, or do the wrong thing. To follow the leader or make their own way. To play cars or to read a book. What I really like about focusing on encouragement is that it teaches my control freak that his brother's actions are not his responsibility. All he can do is encourage and do the right thing himself - regardless of his brother's choice. It is not his job to make sure brother does the right thing. That is between the offender and Mom. And later it will be between the offender and God.

This is the freedom God affords us. We have a world of choices to make, and a miriade of influences on us when we make those choices. The Lord desires for us to do the right thing. But ultimately he allows us to sit in our poo, if that is what we choose. But it is when we are surrounded by the muck we put ourselves in that we tend to learn the most.
"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Heb. 3:13

Tattling is not all bad, of course. Golly, sometimes that tattler's information is downright critical for a busy mom with "active" kids. Part of training a child to encourage is to also teach them discernment... there are times, like when safety is at risk, when only tattling is called for: "Weston is trying to feed the baby a marble!!" Thank you, child, for not quietly encouraging him to do the right thing and walking away. Tattle, Tattle, Tattle!! But binki's not making it on the bed? Not so much.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

We hosted a New Year's Eve party again this year, but this time we celebrated East Coast time. So New Year's was 9pm, not midnight! It was so much fun.
There were 20 kids (!!) nearly all of them were under 5 years of age. They all played dress-up for a long time. The kids (and their moms) all enjoyed making these cool noisemakers. The kids and grown-ups alike made their own banana splits. The guys and some of the kids played Mario Cart and other Wii games. The evening ended at 9pm, when we all ventured onto the deck and watched a short but impressive fireworks display.

Thanks, everybody, for making the party a success! We'll do it again next year!!
Posted by Picasa