Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Play Date Etiquette

Oh the joys of playdates.

Playdates can be tons of fun for both the parents and the kids. Or they can be total nightmares for both. On a personal level, I enjoy play dates. Probably as much as, if not more than, the kids do. I've not had a terrible experience, the kids always enjoy it and since I never go on playdates with women and their children that I don't know, I enjoy the company of the other moms as well. They've almost become therapy for me. I get to talk to an adult, my kids get to play with other children and we always have snacks and coffee. I couldn't be happier.

This is not the case for lots of moms though. Through the grapevine, I've heard some really scary, borderline nightmarish stories about moms and their kids and playdates gone wrong. It hadn't really occurred to me to write anything about playdates at all until a friend shared that she does playdates with a friend of hers but that they can be awkward because she feels that her friend doesn't discipline her unruly child the way that he needs to be. I did some research and found that this happens more often than you'd think. It comes down to gently disciplining the child and risking the friendship or letting the chaotic behavior affect the happiness (and sometimes the safety) of your own children.

I found a website with probably the best advice I'd found regarding how to deal with crazy kids (that aren't your own) on playdates. I don't know about all the rest of the advice or suggestions or psycology on her site, but Betsy Brown Braun gave pretty good advice about play date disciplining on her page.

During my "research" I decided to come up with some ideas or tips concerning play date etiquette. Here's my suggestions on how to keep a play date as happy for everyone as possible.

My First and Most Important Rule for Play Dates is this:

   If your child is sick, or you think they may be getting sick, DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE!!! I will say that it drives me bananas when I show up to a play date and some one else's kid (whether it's my friend's or some random child at the park or whatever) is hacking up a lung or wiping monstrous amounts of snot off their nose with the back of their hand that they're now using to climb the slide that my child is about to scoot down. Gross. Really, I'm not trying to be rude and I know that sometimes you don't know your kid is sick or has some kinda virus or bacteria until days later but give me a break people. I've got enough to deal with without adding a sick kid to the mix. Keep your kid at home if they're ill. It's polite and it's better for your kid.

Ok. Now on to the rest.

For when you're hosting the playdate in your own home:

1) Make a snack. When my neighbor and I have playdates at each other's house, we make a snack for the kids, like cookies or muffins or something of that nature. Something easy, fun or healthy but that way, if some one starts freaking out that they're hungry, you've got it covered. It also lets the other mom know that you're willing to share and that you're thinking about her as well.

2) Be prepared. Have toys ready and available, have some crafts prepped or some play dough ready. Set out some puzzles, have the bubble bottles filled, or the bikes cleaned off. Kids get antsy when they have to wait to do something and although you want your kids to learn some patience, we all know that teaching them to be prepared is also good. It just helps the play date go smoother when you can appease all involved. Also, be prepared for the mom. Have some coffee or tea ready. This is quite possibly her oasis at the moment. Think about how you'd like to be treated while you're at some one's home.

3) Be aware that not all the kids around are yours. You can't discipline them all. However, you CAN discipline your own. I have found that I didn't even realize my kids were doing something wrong until a fellow mom scolded her own child for the same behavior. Then I realized that my kids were doing the same and took action. If you keep your own kids in line, chances are, it'll help the other mom keep hers in line as well. Also, your kids may know not to touch something but some one else's child wont. If you know that something breakable or valuable is within reach, move it so you don't even have to go there. Lock doors that you don't want kids wandering into etc.

For when the play dates are at some one else's home:

1) Dress your kids appropriately. If the weather is nice, put your kids in some sneakers so they can play outside. Remember, it's a play date, not a fashion show or a competition as to who's kid is cuter. Be practical. If your kid is able to play without hindrance, they'll be happier and in the long run, so will you and the other host.

2) Teach your kids at home how you expect them to act at some one else's house. I don't let my kids jump on the couches in our house. Not because I'm concerned about our couches or I want to stop them from having fun, but because I don't want them thinking that they can do it elsewhere just because they do it at home. For the same reason, we try to keep crayons and such at the table, we don't let them wear shoes on their bed and we (try) to keep them seated while eating. Make sure your kids are aware that you're going over to some one else's house and that there are rules that they'll have to follow that may not be the same as yours. Don't let them get blindsided. When entering the house, ask things like, "Where would you like the coats?" or "Do you want them to take their shoes off at the door?"

3) If you've never been over to this person's house for a playdate before, bring a snack for everyone to share just in case. Chances are that your kids will get hungry or thirsty at some point in time so instead of making it awkward when only your kids are eating, bring enough so that the other kids can have some as well. Make it something neutral like fruit or crackers or something. Not every one lets their kids eat the same things.

4) Bring your own supplies. Just because your friend has a baby as well, doesn't mean it's polite to use up her kid's diapers. Bring your own. Bring your own sippy cups, first aid stuff (bandaids, ointments...), changes of clothes, sun screen etc. Unless, that is, you know the person really really well and know they wouldn't care. It still helps though to have your own stuff with you just in case anything were to happen.

For when you're out somewhere not at a home:

All of the above. Seriously. Just do it all. Be respectful of others and make sure you're prepared. Simple as that. It may sound weird to have etiquette for play dates but in all reality, if there isn't any kind of guidelines or respect for others involved, then chances are, the playdates could get awkward and stop. I love that my kids get to play with other children. They have a blast doing it. It makes them happy. So I don't want to mess that up since it's my responsibility to make sure that play dates happen and go smoothly.

Play dates don't have to be nightmares. I mean, I don't think that this list by any means will prevent play date mishaps but it should help. As for other moms not taking care of their own children while on a play date, I don't really have a whole lot to say about that one. Maybe I will when I experience it...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Mommy Moments: The Father of My Children

Obviously, Monday's are about "Mommy Moments" here at A Wannabe Supermom. However, if it wasn't for my husband, I wouldn't have the three amazing, beautiful children that I have now. Without him, our kids wouldn't be our kids, and they wouldn't be the children that are so much a part of my soul as I am myself. I wouldn't have them with out him.

Today is his birthday. I'm pretty sure it's the first birthday of his that I haven't managed to screw up since I met him. I'm saying that now but we've still got a few hours before we go to bed.... But seriously, I've managed to botch every single one. And each year, it's been in a whole new manner of horrible. It's funny how time and life can change your perspective so much that what used to be important no longer is and the things that didn't even register in your mind previously are the only things you can think about now. Today, I woke up knowing that all I wanted for him was to be happy and enjoy the day with kids and I. I wasn't pressed on the gift, I wasn't worried about how fancy the restaurant we would be going to was or anything else silly like that. I just wanted him to be able to laugh with the kids and I and know how special he is to us. I think he's a pretty special guy and he's got some amazing qualities that I hope our children get or learn from him. I think it worked. He seems to have had a pretty good day.

I've had the opportunity to have people in my life that have gone through some fairly tragic things in their lives and come out on top, becoming better people because of their struggle. My husband is one of those people. His "journey" was so much harder than mine and he had to work through a lot on his own that I couldn't imagine doing myself. One of the first things about my husband that caught my eye was his inability to sit still. The man doesn't do well with bored, he doesn't like to not finish something that he starts and he doesn't like laziness. He works very very hard. Another thing about him that made me fall in love with him was his generosity. He has a very giving heart. He LOVES to make others happy. He loves to spoil those around him and enjoys seeing his family content and satisfied. One last thing that I adored about him was that he accepted me for who I am. Many guys that I dated in the past wanted to change something, if not a lot, about me. But not my man. In fact, he embraced certain things about me, head on, and the things that were unfamiliar to him or different about me than other women he'd dated, he found refreshing and I think (hope) that to this day, he still does.

I want my kids to be hard workers like their dad. To be driven. To be generous and to want to make those around them joyful. I want my kids to have the strength to overcome tough situations and to make the most of themselves, the way their dad has. I am proud of the man he is and pray that my kids will be too when they're old enough to understand.

With out the man I married, I wouldn't have the most precious gifts in the world that any human could have given me. I have to throw in here that my kids are pretty darn cute because their daddy is so good looking. I mean, seriously, it's no secret that I'm attracted to him. We had 3 kids in less than 4 years of marriage....

Hunny, I know you'll read this. I hope that you had an amazing birthday. I am so lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for the three most beautiful, wonderful, joyful children that a mother could ask for. They are also lucky to have you in their lives. I am grateful that we got to share yet another year with you and got to, yet again, celebrate the day you were born. Happy birthday to the man that turned me into a mom. I love you.

Join me for a Monday Mommy Moments blog hop!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Lent: Part 4

I don't do well with rejection, bullies, people who hurt the ones I love, or people who run their mouths. When I say that I don't do well with them, I mean that I either get angry (like, judgemental, irrational angry), annoyed and cranky or hurt and confused. In all cases, I tend to dwell on the negativity in the situation or the negative attitude of the other person(s) involved and I end up developing a negative attitude because of it. My tendency to dwell and brood and stress and worry about situations or people like this has caused me in the past to turn my back on God. I'm not blaming the people who initially presented the issue. I know that my habit, my addiction to negative thinking caused me to act out in improper, destructive, hurtful ways. This kind of negative "dwelling" is what I've been trying to do away with.

As I've began this "journey" with this year's lent, I've realized what I've been doing wrong and what I need to change. And I've come to realize that none of it is as hard as I originally thought it would be.

For starters, prayer. Praying all the time, at random, on purpose, by accident, sincere... it's not as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact, I find myself starting to pray without really even thinking about it. Just talking to God and focusing on Him instead of all the frustration surrounding me. Being thankful for the smallest, and gigantic, things is coming more naturally. And it makes room for joy to grow, no matter what the situation.

Thus follows my next point. Joy. Deep, indescribable, breathtaking joy. Joy that comes from God alone. I didn't realize that through my attempt to put out the negativity from my mind and heart that God would rush in and fill that emptiness with a joy so severe that there are times that all I can do is cry. Right now life is kinda... tedious to say the least. The kids have all been sick. We've been dealing with extended family issues, personal stuff and so much more. It's been so easy for the walls to go up, the numbness to set in or the negativity to swallow me up and suffocate me. But it's almost as if God knew that these things would happen right now, right around lent when I would decide to give up the negative and replace it with the positive. It's like He's watching out for me and helping me cope with trying times in a way that is going to build me up, not tear me down. As long as I keep my eyes on Him.

But this joy. This joy has caused me to realize something that I've really known my whole life but never pondered, never accepted fully, never consciously believed. God wants me to experience joy to it's very fullest. He doesn't just want me to be happy. I wont be happy all the time. Christ wasn't happy all the time. But He knew a joy so deep that gave Him the strength to do what was Right and Loving. He knew the joy that comes from being loved by the Father.

This past week, I've experienced this joy in so many different ways. My daughter, who is very sick at the moment, asking me yesterday if I was happy and telling me that she loved me over and over. I think that only a parent knows the kind of joy that comes from being loved unconditionally by your child. Also, through the hugs of my husband who needs me. Through my son's smile as he proudly tells me that he just went potty in the big boy potty. The delighted smiles of my baby who just crammed another of her favorite crackers into her mouth. The breeze coming through the open window on a beautiful day. Hearing a song that reminded me of my Dad. Spending all day cleaning and then getting to relax next to my husband. My garden full of gorgeous, tiny green shoots that will grow into tasty veggies we'll be enjoying later. Looking at my family quietly devouring a meal that I made for them. Being surrounded by my laughing children and husband during a family night. The flowers growing in my office. Sunshine. All things that God gave to me that fill me with a joy so strong that it takes my breath away. Fills me with a peace so powerful that I know it is from God and God only. Just the very fact that it brings Him joy to make my soul "happy"... Just that alone is more than my mind can handle. That He loves me so much that He wants me to experience nothing but joy for the rest of eternity... How can one be negative knowing something like that?

I know that I'm human and that I'm not perfect. I know that I am going to slip up. However, I also know that if I keep God and what He wants for me at the front of my mind, there will be less and less room for negativity. I know that the little annoying things life throws at me wont be such a big deal. I may not even notice them as much. I wont have time. I'll be soaking in the joy that God is giving me. I'll be basking in His presence, enjoying His love.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Mommy Moments: "It's MY turn, Mommy!"

Our Library

I've said it before and this probably wont be the last time I say it: Getting to be a kid all over again is one of the wonderful highlights of being a mom.

Today, I had to return a book and pick up a reserved one at the library. I took my oldest daughter with me. I feel that she needs alone time with me and her dad every once in a while since she's not getting as much attention as the other two kids. It's not that we love her less, it's just that she's getting less and less dependent on us. And she's quite honestly less of a trouble maker than one of our other children... So I took her with me. Since she seems to like books just as much as I do, I figured this would be a perfect way to spend some time together.

We read one book. Just one. As we closed that one book, she noticed that the computers in the kid's section were free and she asked if we could play a game. So we walked over and ended up finding a Go, Diego, Go (I say "found" but it was more like I had no idea what was going on on the screen and that's just what popped up). Then we played. Really, it was more like I got so into the game that she kept having to remind me that, "It's MY turn, Mommy!" I look back on it and laugh. She had to be so annoyed with me. I can't even remember what it was about. Saving elephants with a drum or something. But while she and I played together (I DID eventually relinquish the mouse and keyboard to her), we laughed and sang and talked. It was a blast. At least, I thought it was. She seemed to think so too.

As we were leaving, we rented a Clifford movie... No more renting movies for the kids from RedBox. They never finish them and we've wasted our buck. Thankfully, the library has a TON of movies to choose from. I'm still hesitant to let them check out books from the library just because my son gets overly excited and rips pages as he turns them. If I felt like buying a book, I wouldn't bother with the library. Until I know that he can control his excitement, the books stay safely on their shelves. Anyway... Getting to spend some one on one time, having fun playing games and goofing off (quietly) with my oldest was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

We also painted and made some St Patty's Day decorations today, which I also had a blast doing. Somehow, I ended up being messier than the kids did. I love getting to be a kid again with my children. I almost think it's more fun being able to experience childhood this way. Getting to see your own children smile and laugh and be filled with innocent joy. No worries, no stress. Just pure, simple joy.

Join me for Monday Mommy Moments blog hop!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

30 Pieces of Advice For Brand New Moms

Right now, I have quite a few friends that are pregnant for the very first time. Months (some only weeks) away from being brand spankin new mommies. I remember how much fun it was being pregnant for the first time. I read every stinking thing about pregnancy and births and babies that I could possibly get my hands on. I did my homework. In those 9 months of being pregnant, you could have asked me anything about anything concerning pregnancies and babies and I could have given you the text book answer. Now... Well, now, after three kids, if you ask me anything about pregnancy, I'll tell you, "Hang on... I'm sure in a few months I'll be pregnant again so ask me then..." (Just kidding, Mom). If you were to ask me anything about babies, my response would be, "Hold that thought. I've got one around here somewhere. Let me find her." With the first baby, it was easy and I thought {THOUGHT!!!!} I was prepared. With the second baby, I knew that what I learned from parenting the first baby, all of it, was out the window. Third baby? Shoot. I didn't even know I was having one until she came out. Just kidding again.

Anyway, point is, I did all that reading and researching and I still wasn't prepared. Nothing REALLY prepares you for parenthood like hands on parenting. And no matter how much you can read or what those wonderful "instruction manuals" (there's actually a TON of them at my local library) tell you, they don't always give you the REALLY helpful information. I asked people what advice they would give to first time mothers and here (mixed with a few of my own) are some of their responses:

1) Just because some one else swears by something doesn't mean it'll work for you but don't let that discourage you. Things that others loved that I couldn't get the hang of were things like breastfeeding, those Moby wraps, baby monitors...

2) Buy a comfortable diaper bag. Try them on. I splurged on diaper bags because I wanted great quality and something that wasn't going to hurt my shoulder while I carted it around all over kingdom come. They become like a extra limb growing out of your body, always there. Make sure you get one you could wear for hours if you had to.

3) Expensive does NOT always mean better. You don't have to get the Eddie Bauer high chair. I got mine at IKEA for $14 and have used it for all three kids. We didn't buy a bjorn baby carrier. We bought an off brand and have used it for all three kids. We didn't buy the singing, dancing training potty. We bought some cheap thing from Target and it works just fine. Kids grow out of everything. Invest in things that will last longer.

4) Sleep when you can.... even when they're 8 months old, not just new borns.

5) When you visit the doctor, ask questions, don't accept anything that you don't feel comfortable with. It's your baby, they don't care as much as you do and remember, someone graduated at the bottom of the class.

6) I think the best advice I was given was to sleep when the baby sleeps. I know they can sleep a lot, and if the new moms are anything like I was, I wanted to stay up and watch my baby every second of the day. I still can watch him play all day long and he will be 2 soon. But for real, sleep is so needed to function with a newborn so I suggest that.

7) Relax and trust your instincts. Even though your a first time mom and everything is new, you're a mommy now and you know if something is not right. Don't be afraid to call the L&D nurse line or Dr. office and ask questions.

8) If you are committed to breastfeeding, give it a SOLID three weeks to get it feeling comfortable and not painful. It's so worth the effort in the end. Nipple butter made by the first yrs is amazing.

9) While it may seem unbearable, the newborn stage is sooo short. You WILL sleep again :)

10) If someone offers help, TAKE IT.

11) Make sure you take time out to care for yourself. You will be a better wife and mother. Walking, gym, lunch w/a friend, whatever helps you to feel refreshed.

12)  Not to tiptoe around your baby. Don't be afraid to play music while they sleep {{I'm adding vacuuming too... I vacuumed around my kids while they were sleeping and they never woke up}} because then when you put them down for bed you and hubby don't have to feel like you have to be so quiet. Or if you go out later than their bed time its ok, they'll fall asleep in the stroller or carseat no problem because they're used to it. I've read that having noise all night isn't best so I would play a whole cd and then turn it off.

13) Love every moment with them, love on them every chance you can, and give thanks to our awesome God for giving us such a gift!

14) Relax... Our parents did everything wrong and we mostly turned out all right.. They didn't use car seats or seat belts, we slept in beds, we drank formula... just relax and trust your gut.

15)  Take a nap when the baby is napping. Do not try to a hundred things before your bundle of joy wakes up. REST - you will be a much happier person and a better mommy.

16) Stuff plastic grocery bags into your diaper bag when you take the baby to the doctor. You're not allowed to throw dirty diapers away in the trash cans at doctor's offices so if you bring the plastic bag, you can throw it in there and carry it out to the car and back home with out having to carry it around in your hand or diaper bag until you're able to dispose of it.

17) Pay attention to updated information. When I had my first child, according to who ever it is that comes up with rules for what you can and can't do for your baby, I wasn't allowed to feed her peanuts, eggs or a whole group of things before her first birthday. I read recently that this has changed and the only things you're advised not to introduce your baby to until after their first year are milk and honey.

18) Just because your mother and grandmother did it one way, doesn't mean you have to (or should) do it that way still. However, they (and you) survived, so it doesn't hurt to seriously consider their suggestions.

19) SERIOUSLY pay attention to WHEN your baby (or not yet potty trained child) poops. That way, if you've been paying attention and you know they haven't pooped for two days, you're prepared (gloves, hazmat suit, nose plug, trash bags, extra change of clothes...) when they finally do explode.

20) Just because your friend had 10 babies in 2.7 years doesn't mean that it's wise for you to do the same. Go at your own pace. Nothing's wrong with having just one.

21) If you haven't already, develop a sense of humor. You're going to have to learn to laugh at most of what happens as a parent. If you don't, you may not survive.

22) Feed your baby anything you would eat. Don't hesitate to feed them 'grown up' foods from the beginning. They're less likely to be super picky eaters that way.

23) Don't bother making a list of things you will and wont do as a parent. Chances are, it'll all change almost immediately.

24) Don't let your daughters date till they're 35. {{ This was one of my mom's responses. I love you, Mom :) }}

25) Don't forget to continue to "date" your husband/significant other. You guys are a team and have to stay that way from the beginning to the end, especially concerning your child. They NEED to see harmony between you. It's healthy for them AND for you.

26) Watch what you eat while you're breastfeeding. Keep in mind that what you're eating, the baby will be getting a little of through your breast milk. Remember, you've gotta change that diaper!

27) Your crock pot and freezable casseroles will become your best friends. Learn, cut, stash as many recipes as you can. It may even help if you make a bunch to freeze the weeks before you have the baby so that when the baby is finally there, all you have to do is reheat.

28) Buy stock in Lysol.

29) You CAN get pregnant while breastfeeding. It is NOT a method of birth control. It may be WAY more difficult to get pregnant while you're breastfeeding but it's NOT impossible!

30) Begin praying for you baby now and pray for them as often as you can for the rest of their lives. God is the best Father and He will take good care of them.

I loved these responses. I'm sure there's a TON more advice that other mothers and fathers have that isn't listed here that you don't really read in the books. If you have some advice you'd like to add, please feel free to post a comment sharing your thoughts.

This Wannabe Supermom is thanking God for the amazing blessing of having once been a first time mom but thank Him also for the blessing of not having to do it all over again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Lent: Part 3

Whoa, boy. This whole, "Let me give up negative thinking for Lent" thing is... it's not easy. Most of the time, I don't even realize what I'm thinking until I already thought it. Know what I mean? After I've judged the "plastic" woman at the grocery store, or after I've gotten angry at the drama maker on facebook or after I've grumbled about a chore that needs to be done, AFTER I do it, then I realize what I've done. I've had to do some serious pondering this week and here's some truths that I came to terms with:

1) I will never be perfect. Until I get to heaven and am sitting at the feet of God, I will not be perfect. Striving for perfection is different from being it. And by the grace of God, I am allowed to and meant to strive for it.

2) Ridding my mind of negative thinking will not happen over night. Nor will it happen by the end of Lent. It is a life style change and a choice. It will never fully happen but it will not be impossible to fill my mind and heart with positivity.

3) I am not a slave to sin. Romans 6 confirms that once we are in Christ, once we have become Christians, we are "dead to sin" meaning that sin no longer lives in us. We do not obey it's command or it's lusts and desires. Does this mean that I wont sin? No. It just means that I do not answer to it any more. Becoming a Christian gave me life, hope and a will to do what is right. To live in righteousness and not sin. To answer to God and live for Him instead of the selfish corruption that was my old self. I do not HAVE to think negatively. I have the choice and the ability and now the strength, through Christ, to think positively.

4) My idea of negativity was off. I read the news. I know, I know. I said I wouldn't. I just didn't realize how much of a part of my daily routine it was. I read the news the morning after the tornadoes came through Alabama and into Georgia, ripping through the land just a few miles away from where I live. I read a story about a little girl, 14 months old I think, who was found in a field, far from where she lived. Her family had died. It broke my heart. Days later, after being in the hospital, she died from her injuries. My first reaction was sadness and then it was frustration. My sadness wasn't negative. Sure, it wasn't a positive emotion but it was a normal, healthy reaction to something painful like a child loosing her family and being harmed to the point of death. The frustration and the thoughts I had during that time were wrong. I wont go into detail but I was angry that she died, that these storms were robbing people of their lives and that nothing was being done to stop it. Me accusing God of not stopping the storms was wrong. I have no right to question God. I have no right to accuse Him of doing anything but what will ultimately glorify Him. My brooding that followed was negative. Being frustrated with injustice and the prevail of evil is one thing. Questioning God's right to do as He will is another matter.

5) God WANTS me to be joyful. He WANTS me to be happy and has expressed His love for me over and over again. There's absolutely no reason why I can't find positive things to think about. I understand that every one has ups and downs. But my thinking pattern has always had a pessimistic tone. I've always managed to find the bad, the ugly and the hurt in a situation. God didn't plan for that. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God has plans of peace and prosperity for us. Not evil and pain. He has given me many positive things to spend my time and thoughts on. I have beautiful healthy children. I have a loving husband. We have been blessed with a roof over our heads, a supportive family, friends and all of the other things as well. The wind chime making beautiful music outside my window as I write this. The faithful dog warming my feet right now. The sound of my children laughing in the living room. The garden in our back yard that has carrots, cucumbers, beans, peppers and much more sprouting in it already. I always found the phrase "attitude of gratitude" a little cheesy until now. Really. Being thankful for what you have instead of resenting what you don't have is precious. It's crucial and it's healthy. Having started my own "countdown" of 1000 gifts, I've been able to find joy in every day life so much more. I've been able to think more positively, be happier and to share that joy with those around me. I don't have it down full time yet but I'm getting there.

Negativity will only produce more negativity. When has it ever produced anything positive? Never. Being positive, make the choice to be joyful, to be mindful of thoughts (which more often than not determine my words and actions) produce good, produce a lifestyle that is beneficial to me and those around me.

My goals for this next week are to concentrate more on the blessings that God has given me, to focus more on the Truth God has given me, being more mindful of what I'm thinking about (almost to think before I think) and to make sure my actions reflect positivity.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Mommy Moments... as only a mother knows them...

Very early this morning, at around 1 am (and I'm only calling that morning because technically, in some sick way, it IS part of the A.M.), my oldest, the one with pink eye, woke us up with her terrified screaming. She will be 4 in June and had her very first potty accident. It mortified her. I think she was more embarrassed than actually upset that she'd filled her onsie footie pj's with pee. At first I thought that maybe it was because she was getting sick or something and I was really concerned. Then I realized that it was because we'd had a stinkin tea (actually, pink lemonade) party about 30 minutes before bed. It was my fault that she'd had the accident. Not only did I foolishly let her drink what was probably close to 20 or more ounces of pink lemonade right before bed, I also didn't make her go to the bathroom before bed. She shares a bedroom with her 8 1/2 month old sister. Of course, her screaming woke up every one in the house... including our two boxers and the Baby Cat (our son's name for our bulldog). I knew she was upset and frustrated and really embarrassed so I tried to keep her smiling as I cleaned up the mess out of the carpet. Since the baby was now wide awake, she was standing up in her crib, looking down at me while I was cleaning it. She started laughing along with her older sister and then started jumping up and down on her mattress, cracking up. My oldest and I lovingly called her a dancing monkey. Which made us all laugh even more. As weird as it sounds, I think I will always cherish this moment. Although others may love my babies, no one will love them the way I do. And no one would be able to have as much fun with them at 1 in the morning while cleaning up urine.

After settling them both back down and tucking them back in, I crawled back into my own bed... just to find that my husband had brought our son into bed with us because he woke up also while my daughter was crying. He laid there and talked to me for well over an hour about Cars and Lightning McQueen. I was tired but it was adorable and I didn't mind one bit.

He is actually laying down next to me right now. Passed out... about an hour after he puked in my bed and on my floor. The poor kid had a fever all day. He and the baby. I'm pretty sure he's also getting pink eye... in spite of our efforts to keep our daughter and all her germs quarantined. I get nervous when he gets fevers. I know he survived a horrid experience that started with a fever years ago but it's because of that ordeal that I get especially nervous when he's sick. (You can mock me and say that I'm being over dramatic but until you're in my shoes, don't judge. I'll do the same for you.) Really. When he gets a fever, on the outside, I do my best to stay calm because I know it's what he needs but inside, I'm in panic mode. What made tonight special was how he treated me after he threw up.

We were putting the girls to bed in their room when he first started. When we walked into our room, he was still in progress and it all ended up on the bed, on him and on our floor. After getting him cleaned up and changed and getting the sheets in the wash, he sat on my lap on the lounge chair in our room while my husband steam cleaned the carpet. I was holding a cold wash cloth on his forehead and he sat up, turned around, kissed me and then, while stroking my cheek, told me that he was ok. It's almost like he was thanking me and reassuring me at the same time. And I needed it.

There are moments that only a mother (or a father really) can make something special out of. Some of the oddest moments, many of which should have been frustrating moments with my children, have turned into something beautiful and joyous. Like laughing at the "dancing monkey" while trying to soak pee out of the carpet. Or little fingers stroking my cheek, letting me know that everything is going to be ok. These moments are the ones I hold dearest to my heart. These are the moments that make every poopy diaper or every time out or every temper tantrum worth it. I live for these moments.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Well, I never..."

As I'm writing this post, I'm sitting on my bed on a Sunday morning while my oldest daughter is sitting on top of her sleeping bag on my floor in front of the TV. Normally, on Sunday mornings, we'd be at church. But instead, we're quarantined in my bedroom. She has pink eye for the very first time. And from this, I learned a valuable lesson: Don't open my big fat mouth in judgement.

My daughter will be 4 in June and this is our first bout with pink eye. I'm "quarantined" with her so that only one parent is in contact with the germs or bacteria and so that we're not having to yell at her not to touch the other kids and their stuff. I printed out coloring pages so she wouldn't be touching the coloring books and we'll be throwing out these crayons when she's better. I just really don't feel like dealing with a baby with pink eye. And the baby will most definitely get it if my son gets it. He's not the...cleanest... person I've ever met. So until she's over it, we're stuck up here.

I feel like she's being punished for my sins though. I'm saying that jokingly but with a slight bit of guilty seriousness. I hear all the time about my friend's kids getting pink eye. Some of the kids are in day cares, some aren't. My kids are not. But they do go to the play center at the gym and they go to Sunday school and AWANA. But I never understood how other people's kids got it so often or even at all. I thought (until recently) that you got pink eye from poop particles getting in your eye. Listen, I NEVER claimed to be the brightest person. Never. And I never will. I tend to not look too deep into things until I'm smack dab in the middle of it. Like pink eye. It doesn't come from poop getting in your eye. I mean, I guess it could but that's not how it usually happens. But when I thought that's how one contracted pink eye, I was like, "How are parent's letting their kids get so poopy that it gets in their eyes?" or "Thank God my kids don't play with their poop!"

My dad jokingly suggested to my daughter that you get pink eye from eating boogers. Well, being the literal child that she is, her first response was, "OGPOG (Oh Grand Poobah of Grand-dads... my children's name for my dad) is so silly." Then she sat and thought about it for a moment and said, "I already don't pick my nose because you said that's why it bleeds all the time. So it can't be from eating boogers." There ya go. It's not from eating boogers either.

Just like any other virus, it'll happen, whether you're a clean person or not. I'm a little surprised that only one child has it but at the same time, I'm very thankful. I'll just say this though, I will do my very best to not judge others, especially other mothers. Kids are pretty unpredictable. Almost anything is possible when you have kids. Like getting pink eye even though your kids don't put poop on their faces. I'm going to keep my mouth shut. Especially about things like lice, warts, bathroom accidents, punching other kids, ... Yeah, I'm just gonna stop talking now.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Teaching Them What Matters

Recently, I've tried to start "homeschooling" my children. I'm not talking full on HOMESCHOOLING, just trying to have a designated "school time" each day. I went to the Dollar Tree and found a section called "Teachers Corner" where they have all these teaching supplies... for just a dollar! My kinda shopping. I was able to get all kinds of workbooks for the kids, posters with colors and shapes and the alphabets, pencils, paper, flashcards... You name it, the Dollar Tree has it. And the kids love "school time". Each child has their own workbook. My daughter is working on her letters and numbers still while my son is still trying to work on his colors (I think he may be colorblind. No joke). We go over shapes and my parents got the kids a subscription to Kid's National Geographic for Christmas (awesome gift, by the way) and we learn about one animal per session.

I wanted to start teaching them more about the Bible though. I've known for a while that they need it. Their Sunday school and AWANA teachers are wonderful and I know they're teaching them. But it's not their job to teach my children about God and Christ and the Bible. It's my responsibility.

I realized recently how badly I needed to do this. On the way home from AWANAs the last two times, I've been talking to the kids about heaven. The first time, my daughter was disappointed that our bulldog, Chanel (who's a total sweetie but is REALLY stinky) will be in heaven (hey, I don't know for sure if she will but I wasn't about to tell the kid that our pets aren't going to heaven). After a few moments of quiet, she started laughing in the back seat and said, "I guess we can't take the cars. They can't fly up there!" Cracked me up. When we were talking about it last night on the way home, she told me that we get to heaven via airplane, "...like when we went to the beach." I asked her WHEN do we get to go to heaven? I was thinking something along the lines of "When God calls us home." Her response was, "Uhhhmmmm.... How about next summer, Mom?" Well, I wont complain but it was an odd response.

I'm not really good at coming up with "lesson plans" all on my own. I'm not gifted that way and having tried to do so as a mom, I have SO much more respect for teachers who actually have to come up with this stuff constantly. I did a little research though and found two websites that I have found REALLY helpful and thought I'd share the links with you. If you're looking to teach your children about the Bible more at home, these sites provide craft ideas, lesson plans, coloring pages, work sheets, various printables and all kinds of great teaching assistants.

The first I found (and really really like) is

Bible Story Printables

The second, which I also found extremely helpful was

Ministry To Children

I'm sure that there are plenty of wonderful websites out there that are helpful for teaching your kids about the Bible but I just really liked these and thought I'd share them. I've been finding a lot of great teaching ideas from Pinterest (as if I needed another social media addiction). I hope that you all see the serious need to teach your children about God and the Love He has so graciously shared with us. These sites will help you teach your kids about the Bible and the best Father they could ever have.


photo from David's Bucket

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