“Pretty” is the Word

Luke seems to really like the word pretty.  The other day as we were driving to one of our field trips this week, he said, “Mommy, the flowers outside are pretty for you.”  Then he said, “Mommy, you are pretty for the people outside.”  (I could take those kinds of compliments any day.)  Last night after I had put some pajamas on Luke, he asked, “Am I pretty in my pj’s?”

My reply was, “Yes, you are!”  I then smothered his rosy cheeks with lots of kisses.

Weddings & Boys

Two weeks ago, our family headed to TN for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  We asked some close friends to pray for our trip as we knew we would be on a different schedule, be sleeping in different beds, and taking long trips — all of which can really disrupt little boys.  With bags of snacks, books, coloring books, stickers, and other fun games, we left home with a loaded van.  The first part of our trip was very slow, driving in pouring rain and a bad T-storm.  We then hit rush-hour traffic, road construction, a horrible accident, and finally 4 hours later arrived to pick up my niece who was to accompany us on our trip.  It normally takes two hours to get to her place.  The rest of our trip was less eventful, and we made good timing with very few stops.  (I had packed a car-lunch so that helped.)

We arrived in time for dinner and were able to greet and meet lots of relatives and friends.  The next few days flew by in a flurry of preparations and a bachelorette party and then the wedding.  The boys did really well, and we could truly sense the prayers of our friends back home.  In fact, our boys received lots of compliments from everyone regarding their good behavior.  PTL!

The big day arrived, and I dressed our boys in their black suits or tuxes. — whichever one they had.  I even moussed their hair a bit so it brought out their natural curl.  They wore matching ties and black dress shoes; I couldn’t help but smile as I saw my cute little men.  They did fairly well sitting through the wedding.  Our only slightly interesting moment was when D-1 decided to leave his pew (he was sitting with my niece) to walk to my pew (right behind them).  Thankfully, it was right before the bridal party came down the aisle.  L-1 also tried to stand on my lap to view the choir.  I had to restrain him.  I guess the biggest potential blip was when at least L-1 or D-1 tried to follow me up front when I did my part in the ceremony.  My husband’s uncle managed to rescue the moment by quickly securing them on his lap.

Boys will be boys though so we got a few pictures of them dancing in the foyer while pictures were being taken, dripping mango pop juice down the front of their white shirts, trying to climb the tent poles, and falling into the flower gardens at the front of the church.  Ha! Ha!  I knew those little gentlemen were still little boys who prefer dirt and stickiness over mousse, ties, and suits.

During the reception, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to dance with each of my men: my sweet husband and then each of my cute little men.  I am one spoiled lady!  Another highlight during the reception was watching L-1 walk up to a little girl, adorned in a poofy dress and ribbons, and asking her to dance.  His exact words were, “Will you dance with me?”  She agreed so the cute couple danced away while many cameras snapped pictures.  The dance ended with the little girl pulling both of them to the ground, where their legs flew up in the air.  Little girls will be girls too!

As I watched Hubbie sweetly dance with his mother and sister, I couldn’t help but imagine his mom’s thoughts — how it must feel to behold your son so tall and handsome, so mature, and a father of his own sons.  Such pride and wonder that must be!  It struck me then that in a “blink-of-an-eye” that will be me someday.   I will be the one then looking up into the tall, handsome faces of my sons and thinking back to those days of little boys with mango-stained shirts, climbing tent poles and wonder how the time went so quickly.

I think I will treasure today those muddy little bodies that are so quick to kiss and hug me.  Today they are here, and tomorrow, they will be there.

From Carbon Monoxide Alarms to Monsters

My day started with a little boy trying to climb into my bed and in the process, kicking our carbon monoxide alarm.  I awoke from my semi-awake state to throwing myself across the bed to the other side, diving over the side, and stabbing my finger at the alarm.  Of course, it proceeded to give three more successive loud beeps before emitting another ear-splitting siren.  This time, I really shoved my finger at its button and finally got it to be quiet.  I dragged my sleeping body out of bed, showered, threw on some clothes, wrapped my hair into a ponytail, and then headed downstairs to feed my hungry kiddoes.

It seemed that one of my boys was feeling just as grumpy as me because he threw quite the fit over something — can’t remember why now and was sent back upstairs to his bedroom for an attitude adjustment.

Another son managed to pee all over the floor, even though I had just had him sit on the potty a few minutes earlier.  I went to start a load of wash, and my wash machine froze on me.  At this point, I really wanted to just crawl back into bed and restart my morning.

Thankfully after getting some food into our bodies, the boys and I were feeling a little more pleasant and ready to begin our day of homeschooling.  We had a truly enjoyable time, working on phonics, playing alphabet games, writing letters, playing math games that involved eating fishies (the food kind), making cool designs from various shape blocks (teaches critical thinking), reading about mammals, and learning more about our planet.  By the time our school day was finished, we had succeeded at another fun day of learning lots.

While the kids were enjoying naps and quieter play, I even got to vacuum my downstairs and get caught up on my laundry.

Since Daddy was working another late night and the weather was irresistably beckoning me outside,  I loaded the kids into the van and took them to one of our favorite parks.  It’s by a lake and has lots of room to play.  The boys wanted me to pretend I was a monster and to chase them around the playground.  So I did just that.  I ran up the ladders, slid down the slide, climbed through the tunnels, bounced on the see-saw, and ran around and around.  Yes, I even did it in front of some other adults.  I didn’t care because I want my boys to remember that mommy made us listen, but she also was a lot of fun.

In spite of my not-so-gentle-awakening, I am happy to say that my day ended on a much more peaceful and pleasant note.

Stinky Momma!

As my husband just said, “You truly reek!”  I am heading to the shower after I finish watering the flowers outside and finishing this blog.   Let me tell you the story behind why I stink.

This morning, I went to our chest freezer to pull out some blueberries to serve our guests.   We had noticed for the past week that our garage has been stinking.  I thought it was a dead mouse and so did Jonathan.  As I lifted the lid, I was assaulted with the most horrific odor that you can imagine.  As Will would later exclaim, “I want to throw up!”  A fuse had blown in our garage and so without realizing it, our freezer had no power.  As you can only imagine, I saw lots of fruits, veggies, and meats in varying stages of rot.  The smells and sight were horrific.

I had the disgusting task of cleaning out our freezer.  I hauled loads of rotting food to the garbage can and some to the compost.  I then had to scoop out all the disgusting rotting liquid from the bottom, which meant brushing my head repeatedly against the top of the freezer, my arms against the sides, and managing to splash some of the juice onto my flip-flop-clad feet.  I did wear gloves.  When I was finally done with that, I had to dispose of load after load of the liquids.  I then wiped it all down with bleach water and finally poured bleach water into the freezer.  I have a feeling we’ll have to get rid of the freezer because I am not sure we will truly eliminate such a strong odor as that.

In the meantime as I was scooping out the disgusting liquids, I had fun watching Jonathan play kick-ball with the boys.  I definitely would have much rather joined them, but someone has to clean the freezer.  I was reminded of my mom and how many times she uncomplainingly would clean disgusting stuff when we were little.  I am truly thankful for her!  My mother-in-law is the same — she doesn’t find any task beneath her.  What great examples!

Even though I truly stink, I feel that I have earned the right to smell.  🙂 Ha!  I just hope a shower eliminates the smell, or I may have to sleep in a different room tonight.  🙂

Getting Past Poop and Pee

Not to gross you out, but sometimes, I wonder if my day involves anything besides those two items.  Okay, I know it does, but when you are potty-training, it seems that your day just revolves around such subjects.  This morning, I was awakened to the not-delightful news that the carpet had been peed on again.  Another son had an accident that involved the other item getting on his rug and books — wherever he sat or anything he touched.  So, one boy was dumped in the tub.  I scrubbed and scrubbed.  Another boy was given cleaners for the carpet and rags and told to clean.  Tonight, he sleeps in the tub.  We are really trying to stop this peeing all over the place.  If you have been following my past blogs, you’ll see that we are doing everything we know to teach him that he must obey.  Some kids are unbelievable though when it comes to resisting instruction.

In spite of my not-so-happy morning, I am enjoying the sounds of my kids singing songs about Jesus as they happily play.

Time for me to get the van loaded and head out to shop for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  I discovered that my son needs all new dress shoes again.  He is 5 1/2 and wears size 1 1/2!   He really is growing up!

Phones and Messes

I must admit that I have a bit of an aversion to the phone.  Perhaps, you other mothers can empathize.  It’s not that I don’t ever call anyone or ever answer.  I find that most of the time when I pick up the phone, my kids seem to immediately think, “Now’s the time…”

This past Monday was a good case-in-point.  I had a great morning with my mom meeting us at the grocery store and then treating the boys to soft pretzels and accompanying us to two different stores.  It was great to have the assistance!

I returned home from the grocery store in good spirits, feeling encouraged.  It wasn’t long until we descended into the normal chaos following grocery shopping.  I was immediately busy, fixing lunch and trying to unload and put away groceries.  With so many bags of groceries, it takes quite some time to find room for all the food.  The chaos soon followed with one son pouring his milk all over the floor while he was sitting on his little potty.  Around the same time, another son picked up a large watermelon and then proceeded to drop it, causing the watermelon to crack open in several places and sticky juice to squirt across my floor.  Then, I had to put away groceries, clean up milk, and clean up sticky watermelon juice.  Of course, I gave the proper cleaning rags to the boys and put them to work.

Lunch was served.  The boys were fed.  I should have known better, but I picked up the phone.  I needed to work out the details for Wednesday’s activities.   It wasn’t long into my conversation that one boy starting beating up another boy.  As I was dealing with that situation, I discovered another son was bouncing on a bed and rolling all over it.  The problem with that is he had a messy pull-up that had exploded past its confines.  Ugh!  My phone conversation quickly ended.

Motherhood is a humbling reminder of how many messes that we create out of which God patiently brings order and even something beautiful.  Now if only I could be as patient as He is with me!  Christianity is all about that — me, recognizing my own inadequacies and then receiving His grace and all-sufficiency!

W1 is a Winner!

Saturday evening, I sent W1 to his room to “cool down” before addressing some bad behavior.   When I returned to his room, I soon could tell that he was very frustrated at his own ability to control his temper.  I told him to wrap his arms around me and to hug me tightly.  I then gave him a “bear hug.”  It was at that point that he broke down sobbing.  He said that he has a problem with anger, and he can’t help it.  At that point, I talked with him again about why Jesus died — because we can’t be good on our own.  We try and fail, and it is a losing battle without Jesus’  help.  We discussed salvation a little more in depth, and I shared my testimony again with him.  Not long after that, Will then prayed, asking Jesus to forgive him and to help him to control his anger.

I called the rest of the family into his room, and we all prayed over Will, asking Jesus to help him.  The reminder for the siblings was that we are all a team.  If one suffers, we all suffer.  It was precious to listen to L-Son’s prayer in particular.  He, on his own, prayed, “Jesus, please help W1.  He is sad…”  I can’t remember the rest.  L-Son also sweetly gave lots of hugs, wiped away his brother’s tears, and smothered W1 with kisses.

After we had all prayed over W1, he then asked to pray for his brothers.  He then put his hand on their heads and asked Jesus to help them believe in Jesus and to help them to have good attitudes and to obey.

The rest of that evening, W1 said that he wanted to serve us and his brothers.  We told him that we would be thrilled if he would serve the Lord.  Each time that evening when a tempting situation arose, W1 was quick to respond with a sweet attitude, after a few gentle promptings from us .  It was a precious time for our family!

At one point that evening, I asked him if he felt more at peace and happier (I knew the answer).  He said, “Yes!”  I then said it was because he needed a soul cleansing, which is what happens when we truly repent and confess.  The “layers” of sin, along with its accompanying negative emotions are torn away and a new tenderness is revealed.    Praise the Lord that we have a God who not only made a way to rid us of this bondage to sin but who daily and minute-by-minute gives us grace to walk in “newness” of life and then extends forgiveness to restore us!