Kids Currency

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Number 4 is a sweet and loving little thing. She is kind and pretty, and funny, and sensitive too. She takes excellent care of herself and her things. She is friendly and outgoing and fun to be around. Of all the things she has to play with her favorite, and possibly only choice, is dress up. It used to be that she would dress up in play clothes, but now she has graduated to putting real outfits together in her closet. Every outfit is complete with belt, scarf, necklace and high heals (taken from my closet).

But her listening skills aren’t as fine tuned as her fashion sense.

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She is very fond of animals and enjoys getting to see the dog next door and take her out for little walks around the yard. However, she asks me a lot if she can go get the dog and I have spoken to her about the right timing and frequency of this outing. I told her she was not to go over without me.

This weekend we learned she has been going over to the neighbors when I have said no. Many days, many many rings led up to the neighbor opening the door and telling number 4 that she was sick and she couldn’t continue ringing the bell like this and she was going to have to talk to her mommy (me) about it.

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As I said #4 is sensitive, very sensitive. Without a word to the neighbor, she turned and ran home sobbing. By the time she reached me in the kitchen she couldn’t talk through the heaving sobs. I was trying to calm her down so I could understand if she was hurt, scared or what. As I held her and she began to relax, the sobs became further apart and I could begin to make out the situation. She was honest and clearly explained what had happened. She was so honest, I truly believe she had no idea why it was a bad idea to ring someone’s bell 30 times in a row (in case they didn’t hear you.)

The honesty and obvious remorse (now that she knew 30 was too many) was sweet. But she had disobeyed me by going over there in the first place and there had to be consequences for it.

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So I did what I had to do. I took away her fancy. All the necklaces, bracelets, belts and scarves. Into my closet.

When I told her I was taking these away from her for a few days she was devastated. Crying, kicking, screaming. That settled into, “what am I going to do?” “What will I wear?” “When can I have them back?”

It seems funny to me, I wouldn’t care less if someone took my belts and necklaces from me, but not this one. She loves her fancy! Fancy is her currency. I dare not tell the neighbor that this was the punishment given for such a crime. She just wouldn’t understand. But to number four this was the ultimate punishment and I knew it would make the impact I needed it to make.

And I believe it did.

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Number 4 is now fancy again and only goes over to the neighbors when I go with her. She still longs for her good old door-bell-ringing days, I know, but she loves her fancy more. And I love that about her.

She asked me the other day if it was OK that she liked to be fancy. I told her it was more than ok, it was the way God made her and that is perfect.

Fancy on #4!

Resting

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I have been inundated with the message of resting lately. And I agree that we have become a society of constant movement, constant “connection”, achievement, accumulation of knowledge and things. It is very true that our calendars are way too full and we don’t see the value of taking a day off. We have lost the sabbath rest that god instructs us to take. We have thrown that out the window for the pursuit of excellence, perfection, knowledge, dare I say power. God knew that we needed a consistent day of rest where we could re center our focus on him. A time to remember what our purpose here really is and clear our minds of the worlds messages.

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But everywhere I turn someone else is giving me the 10 step process to a more restful life. I’m reading, talking, land learning about rest but that’s not resting. We all know how to rest.

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Sit down, put your feet up, enjoy the ones around you and the creation God has given you. It’s really easy to do, we are just are out of the habit. It may be difficult and awkward at first, but it’s simple.

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So this week I’m resting. Just resting, not convincing myself that I need rest, or feeling guilty that I don’t take more rest, or figuring out how to rest or why we as a society don’t rest more consistently. I’m just going to rest. It’s really easy.

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This week I am doing rest.

Thank you, Thank you!

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I am truly honored and excited to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award and the Sunshine Award! I decided to start this blog as a tool for me to process my life and thoughts and maybe build a community of other moms trying to do the same. It is a bonus that people read it and actually get something from it on occasion.

I was awarded both awards by a wonderful blogger afternoonofsundries! Thank you so much for your nominations and for thinking of me. It is a true honor.

As you may know, these awards have rules and these rules are the following:

  • Answer Ten Questions
  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Nominate at least 10 deserving bloggers
  • Place the award somewhere in your blog.

The Questions:

  1. Favorite Food: chocolate chip cookies!!!!!
  2. Favorite Actor: I can’t think of a one
  3. Favorite TV Show: The Biggest Loser – so inspiring
  4. Favorite Tear-Jerker: Sabrina or Never Been Kissed or Notting Hill or While You Were Sleeping  (You may not consider these movies tear-jerkers, but I cried somewhere in all of them)
  5. Favorite Sport: I tolerate football OK, or maybe golf because it’s long and it gives me plenty of time to read a book while others are watching the game.
  6. Lucky Number: 5
  7. Tea or Coffee: A wonder mug of freshly steeped hot tea, for sure!
  8. Favorite Holiday: 4th of July (it just sits there in the middle of summer all relaxed and fun)
  9. Twitter or Facebook: Facebook when I look at it, I really love Instagram though
  10. Favorite Christmas Movie: Christmas Vacation, hands down.

My Nominations (in no particular order) are:

i love 2 sweat  (remodel in process here, fun to watch and great ideas)

family to the 5 power  (great encouragement for moms on here)

along came ollie  (I love her honesty and creativity!)

mommy cook for me (good realistic recipes for us moms)

Home for Now  (creative and real!)

Wifommy (honest and real)

did i say that out loud? (funny mom, wife and family stuff)

Cast Light (encouraging)

Defeat Dispair (refreshing)

A Really full Life (inspiring)

Thank you once again for the opportunity to be recognized and honored!

People Who Give Rest

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Do you have a friend who gives you rest? Someone you feel good just being around. Not hurried, not rushed. The kind of person who makes you feel better about yourself even when you’re not a “better” person. Just being with them boosts your self confidence and makes you want to just sit down and “be” for a while. And when you leave you feel like you have more life to give than you did when you entered.

I know someone like this.

And I would like to be this kind of person.

The other week in church our pastor asked if anyone knew someone like this. Immediately a name popped into my head. I thought about how refreshing is was to be around this person.

That night my husband asked me if I thought of anyone when our pastor asked that question and I said yes. Then I asked him if he did, and he said yes.

He asked me who. I asked him who.

Then we both answered at the exact same time, “Donna”.

We laughed.

People like our friend Donna are special. They have the gift of bringing peace and rest to others. And anyone would be lucky to be on the receiving end of their gift.

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I love this verse. I could use some rest from this exhausting life. But God’s rest seems so elusive, intangible. How do you get your hands on some of that holy peace? Reading God’s Word and prayer are essential to that quest, for sure. But I think God uses people like Donna to bring His peace to others. What a blessing.

I would like to bring some of God’s rest to those around me.

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I asked my husband what he thought made her so easy to be around; what about her made us feel comfortable and relaxed.

We came up with two answers. I’m sure there are many, many more, and many intangibles too, but these seemed to be the main two for both of us.

1. Non-judgemental – No matter what you are telling her you never feel judged. Maybe she hides it well, or maybe she doesn’t feel judge-y. Either way it is a main reason the two of us feel peaceful around her. You always feel you can be honest and still be accepted. It’s so refreshing.

2. Listens well – Sure she has plenty to say too, but she listens really well – with interest. She seems genuinely interested in me and what I am talking about. Maybe we share a lot of common interests, but it goes way beyond that. She appears truly interested in my life – every time.

Then there’s me. I think my judgmental looks give off all sorts of clues that I couldn’t care less about what you are talking about. I have a lot of work to do if I want people to feel comfortable being with me, let alone feeling peaceful and rested.

But, I’m going to try anyway because It’s worth it if I can give someone a little rest in this crazy, busy life where the ability to rest is slipping quickly from us.

Cupcake Wars Birthday Party

It is birthday season in our home and we are making all sorts of plans for different people’s parties. Big plans. Fancy plans. Fun plans. I will have pictures soon!

This year number 1 is trying to top her party from last year, which will be hard to do. Here are a few pictures from that event:

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We made our own aprons that turned out soooo cute. They are just inexpensive aprons from a craft store that we sewed ruffles onto.

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We decorated bakers hats and competed in our cupcake decorating contest.

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The goodie bag was to take home a few of their cupcakes. I, of course, forgot to take pictures of that!

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The night ended with a beautiful scene on the patio. Beautifully imperfect!

The Big Board Game

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I saw this idea the other day that I thought It would be fun. It’s a life-sized board game.

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It was so easy to do!

Here is what you need:

Sidewalk chaulk
A square box
Marker or white dots

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Building the game:

I grabbed some sidewalk chalk and made a bunch of squares about 2 feet by 2 feet (give or take) in a nice path around the driveway. Then I wrote instructions in each square like: move forward 3, quack like a duck, do 10 jumping jacks, lose a turn, and included a start and finish square.

My oldest two helped build a “die” out of a fabric storage cube we use to store toys in. We used duck tape to put a top on and then cut out circles and used glue dots to affix them to the new die.

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Playing:

Each player rolls the life-sized die and moves forward the number of spaces shown on the die. Once they get to the new square they must do whatever the box tells them to do. If their space tells them to go forward or back, they do not have to do what the second space says, their turn is then over.

I really enjoyed making the game, and my kids said they had fun playing it although no one won because they all lost interest along the way. In the future I would not make it so long!

Play on!

 

My Kids Took Over the Kitchen This Summer

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This is the new sign in my kitchen. It all started when I told my daughter I hated my life. Statements like that are excellent confidence and security builders – you should try them. You say something like that to your kid and stand back and watch them flourish.

I’m kidding of course.

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It was a real humbling moment for me.

All summer our kitchen has been riddled with crushed cereal, half eaten fruit laying on counters and cabinet doors wide open with snack boxes ajar. Little ones eating in the living room and crumbing all over my rugs and furniture. Snack wrappers stashed under sofas and chairs… you get the picture.

One day while getting breakfast for everyone I ran downstairs to get some milk (because the fridge in our kitchen was not working) when I realized someone (not me) left the basement refrigerator door open all night. Everything gone. On my way upstairs I noticed a half eaten apple sitting on the basement floor. Ants all around.

Later that day the subsequent trip to Costco, post fridge disaster, was still stacked high on the counter when my oldest decided it was time to bake something. Trying to give her freedom to be a big kid I decided to let her continue. While I cleaned off the table and floor (by myself) from breakfast, lunch and snack, she was making a new mess on the small portion of the counter you could still see. Looking for help I glanced into the sitting room to find four other kids watching TV and playing on electronic devices while I was cleaning up their messes.

It was then that I reached my boiling point and words flew. I didn’t really mean what I said. I was just frustrated with the situation I found myself in. I had just then decided they should be helping me but I wasn’t making them, in fact, I wasn’t even asking them to. But I was mad they weren’t helping me anyway.

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That night at my Bible study this statement struck me. “Your emotions are an indicator, not a determiner”.

OK, so my feelings don’t dictate, or determine how I must react. I am asked to have self control with my actions and words. That is a choice that I have to make in the moment and I take responsibility for that.

I know this, but I blow it once in a while. I’m not perfect and I’m not going to be perfect. Even God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. Ahhhh, sigh of relief.

But the most freeing piece of that statement was that my emotions are an indicator.

For some reason I have a very difficult time feeling justified in creating household rules based upon my feelings of frustration or irritation. When I am frustrated with some behavior going on in my home I feel like I need to “deal” with my emotion rather than changing the situation that is causing my frustration. So for me this was liberating to realize that my feelings of frustration over the constant state of my kitchen were an indicator that something was wrong in my home. And it was not only ok, but my job as mother, to change the situation.

In this case it was straight forward. I have the right to insist others clean up their own messes and respect our home and if they don’t they lose some privileges in the kitchen. While it isn’t ok for me to say hurtful things, it is ok for me to insist on some appropriate behavior around our home.

So for now the hours of operation were posted. This enables me to manage the meals and enforce the cleanup without hanging around my kitchen ALL DAY LONG.

I apologized to the kids that night for my actions and I prayed in front of them asking God for forgiveness as well. Then we discussed how out of control the kitchen had been lately and I told them the kitchen was going to have open hours each day until I knew people would clean up after themselves. I expected a lot of groaning and moaning, whining and complaining, but instead, I think they appreciated the boundaries. Imagine that.

We are all beautifully imperfect!