Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bower Power Spring Photo Challenge

One of the blogs that I follow pretty regularly, Bower Power, is hosting a Spring Photo Challenge linky party! Since I'm trying to get the hang of taking some more creative/better quality pictures, I thought I'd hop right on board. 

The theme for this month's challenge is 'Spring,' and her assignment was to take a picture that reminds you of this new season. For me, seeing The Boy sockless in his hand-me-down Avengers shoes is just so 'spring.' It means that nicer weather is coming, and doggone it—we're ready!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adaleine Grace, Night Owl

You know how everyone tells you that all kids are different and you have to parent them differently? And you think, “Well, obviously all kids are different. That’s so obvious! Of course I’ll remember that when I want to tear my hair out scream at them beg them to listen face challenges.”

The thing is, you don’t. Not always anyway. Sometimes all you can think about is how one child can be so much more difficult at times, and it never occurs to you that it’s just because they’re different. So obvious—but so easy to miss.

Mr. Bug and I are night owls. We always have been. In college, having to take an 8:00 am class was almost a reason to swear off college completely, and starting a movie at 11:30 pm seemed completely reasonable. Now that we’re (a little bit) older that’s been toned back a bit, but it’s still just a part of who we are.

Eden and Judah wake up bright and early around 6:30 and are usually annoyingly ready to take on the day. Not so with Adaleine. This girl would sleep until 9:00 every day if she could, and when she does wake up you really shouldn’t talk to her right away. I can see her being a big coffee fan when she’s older.

<a href="">Funny You May Speak Now Coffee Mug</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

The flip side of this is that Miss Eden and The Boy fall asleep fast and hard at night. Judah usually doesn’t make it past songs and prayers, and Eden usually lasts about three minutes past the winding of the music box. It’s like tranquilizer darts were set loose in their room and they’re out cold.

And then there’s Sissy Belle. For about three years I have struggled with how hard it is to get this little girl to sleep at night. She lays in bed anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, just sighing and singing and talking to herself. And for those three years it has been driving me nuts. 

Then the other night dear Mr. Bug said something that smacked me on the head so hard I think I can still feel the bump. He went into their room after the other two were asleep and we could hear Adaleine singing to herself. And he said, “You know what? Mommy and Daddy are night owls, too. We’ve always had a hard time getting to sleep at night.” He then told her that that’s okay, and reminded her not to forget she shares her room with her brother and sister so she still needed to stay kind of quiet.

Parent your kids differently. Sissy is a night owl, poor thing. One of the things we’ve handed down. She will be the one who texts me at 11:30 at night when she’s older with a random question. She won’t be able to text Eden that late because Eden will probably be in bed by 8:00 her whole life. But I’ll still be awake, because I’m a night owl. Just like my Adaleine Grace.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What a Difference a Sock Makes

Sissy Belle had a birthday party yesterday morning. Since the party was clear on the opposite side of town from our house, I dropped her off and took Miss Eden and The Boy to an indoor playground nearby called Lost in Fun. They were so excited—Eden especially since she doesn’t get the chance to do stuff like that very often being in school all day. The whole place actually grosses me out, but the kids burn off steam and climb and jump and run. I’ll take it. 

The main rule at Lost in Fun is that kids have to wear socks to play on the equipment. I’m totally cool with that. The one problem is this: they have a foam pit. If anyone has ever played in a foam pit you know that it basically sucks the socks right off your feet. Judah lost his sock first but after some digging we were able to find it pretty easily.

Then Eden lost her sock. We searched the pit. We dug and searched and searched and dug for the better part of 20 minutes. No sock to be found. Eden was really upset. She could see all the signs posted everywhere saying “Must wear socks to play” and “No Bare Feet” and I could just see the worry on her face. I tried to convince her that it was okay. That she could play with only one sock and if anyone said anything to her we could just tell them we lost one in the foam pit.

That lasted all of about four minutes. She climbed up onto one of the slide and tube areas and just sat at the top. When she did slide down the slide, she saw a Lost in Fun worker walking by and hid behind a piece of equipment. Always with that worried look on her face. Finally, she walked over to me.

“I’m too tired for this, Mom. I think we need to go.”

“We don’t have to go get Sissy yet. Are you sure you want to leave?”

“Yes. I’m too tired.”

“Do you think you might want to leave because you’re worried about having only one sock?”

“No, Mom. I just want to go.”

“Because I can go up to the counter and buy you a pair of socks.”

Silence. “You can?”

“Yes, babe. If you want to keep playing but you feel like you need another sock, I’d be happy to go up there and get you some. Is that what you want?”

“I don’t want to stop playing, Mom."
So up to the counter we went. And you know what? They had extra socks up there for just such a situation. Free of charge. Eden Mae practically lit up she was so relieved.

I see myself in Eden in times like that. There have been so many times that I have let something tiny ruin my mood or keep me from enjoying myself. I tiny spot on a shirt makes me self-conscious during a whole meeting. A zit on my chin makes church stressful, thinking everyone is looking at it. Ah, the drama I create for myself.

Mr. Bug didn’t understand right away when I was telling him about it. But I think so much of it goes back to understanding that littlethings are big to my Eden. All she knew was that she was breaking a rule, and it was making the whole experience too stressful to be enjoyable. Once she got that spare sock on her foot that girl was off and running and having fun again. I guess sometimes one sock is all you need. : )

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Sort-Of Organized Kids' Closet

I am weird for lots of reasons, but one of them is my obsession for the way my laundry is folded. I don’t like to have anyone help me with laundry because they don’t fold things exactly the way I like them. Yeah, I’m the mom that should be giving my kids responsibilities like putting their own laundry away but instead I’m too worried they’ll do it wrong.

Time to lighten.up.

I have come to the conclusion that raising children that grow up to be contributing members of society really should be IS more important to me than how their clothing looks folded up on the shelf. But since I’m still…me…I couldn’t just leave it the way it was and give the kids a “good luck!” I had to tweak it a little with the (possibly unrealistic) hope that it will make things easier and neater for them.

I have loved the free printables that Ashley and Jamin offer on their site from time to time (I used one on my washi tape wall a while ago), and when I saw this post in January about how to organize kids’ clothing I knew I’d hit the jackpot! Cute drawings, cute colors, AND they’re from The Handmade Home?! Umm…yes, please!

So I picked out the ones I needed and got to work. I used my trusty old washi tape to hang them in the appropriate cubbies and within about 30 minutes I was done! Confession: I used up the last of my heavier cardstock paper printing out signs for Judah’sBeatles party, so these are printed on regular ol’ printer paper with no problems yet. Knock on wood ; )


Since I have separate cubbies for the clothes I lay out for each munster the night before, I used yet another Handmade Home printable, their lovely gift tags. I just opened those up in PicMonkey and added my kiddos’ names in fun colors and called it a day. Victory is mine!

The girls are actually pretty excited to put their clothes away, and Judah is in charge of the socks and undies baskets. I’ll be honest, I do still go in and tidy up those cubbies every couple of days (they’re in plain sight as soon as you walk in!) but all in all, I’d say we have a winner on our hands.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Things We're Handing Down

Some good friends of ours just had their first baby, a beautiful little boy. I was thinking about that little guy tonight and it got me thinking of this song. However, after listening to it a couple times I was no longer thinking about their little miracle; I was thinking of the three little miracles I had just tucked into bed.

The song, “The Things We’ve Handed Down” by Marc Cohn, is—in a word—heart-breaking. But in a good way. It sums up all that you think of when you’re expecting a baby whether it’s your first or fifth. Read the lyrics and listen to the song. It’s beautiful.

The Things We've Handed Down
Don't know much about you
Don't know who you are
We've been doing fine without you
But, we could only go so far
Don't know why you chose us
Were you watching from above
Is there someone there that knows us
Said we'd give you all our love

Will you laugh just like your mother
Will you sigh like your old man
Will some things skip a generation
Like I've heard they often can
Are you a poet or a dancer
A devil or a clown
Or a strange new combination of
The things we've handed down

I wonder who you'll look like
Will your hair fall down and curl
Will you be a mama's boy
Or daddy's little girl
Will you be a sad reminder
Of what's been lost along the way
Maybe you can help me find her
In the things you do and say

And these things that we have given you
They are not so easily found
But you can thank us later
For the things we've handed down

You may not always be so grateful
For the way that you were made
Some feature of your father's
That you'd gladly sell or trade
And one day you may look at us
And say that you were cursed
But over time that line has been
Extremely well rehearsed
By our fathers, and their fathers
In some old and distant town
From places no one here remembers
Come the things we've handed down

There are so many times as a parent when I’m terrified of what I’m teaching my kids. I am terrified of what I’m not teaching my kids. I’m terrified of all the crap that I’m handing down to them that they will have to carry and deal with all their lives.
But it’s so much better than that. I get to hand so much more down to them than bad habits and a short fuse. Like the song says, maybe one of them will have my laugh. Maybe they’ll have my sense of humor or my goofy dance moves. I pray that they’ll have my wonderful husband’s willingness to work hard and his tenderness. And thank God they all have his gorgeous dimples : )

I am already seeing my passion for words in Eden’s love for reading. Sissy is a jokester like her middle-child mama, and I see so much laughter in her. Judah takes care of his sisters and mommy just like his daddyis teaching him. We are there in those little things.

I know I will give my kids things that I wish I didn’t. I know that they’ll remember me losing patience and snapping at them. BUT. I’m hoping and praying that those memories will be small and harmless in the thoughts of snuggles and stories and laughter.