It’s like riding a bike…

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One of the universal rights of passage is learning to ride a bike. I had decided, very early on, that bike riding would fall into daddy territory. Mainly because I realized that while I am a fairly mellow person…as a mom I envision all sorts of horrific possibilities when my kids are doing almost anything. Say we’re at the park playing. When all they’re doing is digging in sand. I worry they won’t fit in with the other kids and be made fun of. Or that they’ll get sand in their eyes. Or they’ll burn themselves on the hot sand. Or suddenly collapse and die of heat stroke. Or that they aren’t getting enough water. Or that I’m looking at my phone to read a text and ignored them for a few minutes…scarring them for life and causing irreparable emotional damage. The list goes on and on. I decided that an activity involving them careening at high speeds on two wheels down a street with cars would not go well for anyone involved, if I was there.
So Sir Smiley has taken it upon himself to work with the kids. He even tracked down one of those coasting bikes, where you don’t have pedals but instead push with your feet. Apparently, it teaches kids to balance first before making them focus on pedaling as well. Seems legit. But after working with them for a few weeks, I have a sneaking suspicion (I seriously reread this…and that word looks wrong. Suspicion. It feels like it should be suspision, or suspiscion…but autocorrect disagrees with me. Now I can’t seem to find any spelling that looks RIGHT. I guess I’ll bow to autocorrect’s expertise)..a sneaking suspicion that they will learn to ride a bike around the same time they learn how to drive.
Sasquatch is terrified of her bike. It’s reminiscent of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.

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Well…maybe not quite that bad. But you get the picture. Sir Smiley spends a good amount of time coaxing her onto the bike, then pushes her while she wails in terror. Stops to give her a break. She then proceeds to somehow fall over and never even puts her hands up to catch herself. Splat! She is suddenly face down on the ground with the bike on top of her.

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He has tried almost everything and she’s still terrified.
Then there’s Urpling. Quirky little Urpling. She loves the balance bike (I looked it up and that is the official term). Here’s a picture of it:

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She hops on that thing at the garage, gives herself a good push, and coasts all the way down the block without ever touching the ground. Her natural balance is amazing. We were thrilled! This bike is perfect! Now we just need to get her on a regular bike. Except, once we do, she transforms into Sasquatch.

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Finally, we tried King Toot. He loves the tricycle. Unlike our girls, he has immediately grasped the concept of pedaling and cruises all over the place. So we tried putting him on the balance bike. He grabs the handle bars…and shuffles himself around without ever taking his feet off the ground. He’s still impressively fast. But not quite what we’re looking for.
I’m not gonna lie and say this has been a crushing disappointment. I’m not ready to watch my kids cruising around the block on two wheels. They’re still my babies. But I have had a steady supply of amusement watching Sir Smiley’s frustration as he tries to find some way to convince just one of our kids to ride a bike. I mean, you know what they say…it’s just like riding a bike. But apparently it isn’t as easy the first time around.

Mommy Sick Day

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Moms do not get a sick day. It doesn’t matter where you live, whether you work or stay home…there is no break. Gone are the days when you wake up feeling cruddy and get to curl up under a blanket and be miserable while your mom fetches you liquids and cuddly things and entertainment for you. Now you still have to tend to other people…and take care of yourself…when you just want to lay as still as possible and be miserable until it passes.
I’m sick. Some nasty head cold that leaves my days filled with body aches and lots of mucus. But there is no break. My sick day has consisted of taking the kids to and from school, making sure they’ve eaten, and caring for basic physical needs. Nope, I have no idea what we’ve eaten in the past few days and I’m fairly certain its nutritional value was negligible…but I do know we’ve eaten. They’ve been bathed occasionally so that they don’t smell too bad. They’ve arrived at school and did stuff there.
But it’s when your sick that everything has to happen. Murphy’s law in action…when you want to do absolutely nothing, that’s when everything needs to be done. It’s when you end up dumping cereal all over the floor because someone put the box away upside down. It’s when two light bulbs burn out in your laundry room so you can’t see anything until you replace them. This is also when the door to door salesman decides to stop by again, and won’t go away. Or when two doctor offices call. Or when the blood donation place calls to ask you to donate blood. Did I mention most of these things happen when you’re trying to grab a quick nap because the kids are actually being quiet?
During my sick day, my child’s IEP meeting that only happens once a year happened. But of course I was in such a funk I completely forget. Thankfully Urpling’s teacher is an understanding and gracious person, and after calling several times over a half hour I finally answered and she agreed to a phone conference. Bless that woman! It’s also when King Toot ripped the top part of his nail off leaving a wound that caused him to cry suddenly and loudly every few minutes. But when I tried to put a bandaid on it, he screamed like he was dying and ripped the bandaid off.
Of course, potty training has taken a back seat, but I did manage to stick King Toot on the toilet and he pooped a poop as large as his head. I was extremely grateful to see that go in the toilet and not his diaper….until it plugged up the toilet and caused it to overflow…twice. My friend called three times until I finally answered. She asked me to watch her kids for 10 minutes because she had to leave and her husband wasn’t home yet. I explained I was sick and she was desperate so I agreed to watch them for 10 minutes…and the husband arrived about 40 minutes later. Around that time is when King Toot was banging on his door to get out. But when I tried to let him out, I discovered he had locked himself into his room. Sure, we have a safety knob on the inside of the door that is taped over so it should be physically impossible to lock his door now. But he did. I went to go get the screwdriver to remove the knob..but the lights were burned out in the laundry room so I couldn’t see. I replaced the lights, got the screwdriver, released the kraken…er…child, and then turned the knob around so it locks from the outside. During the past two days, I have stuck my kids in front of the TV a lot. Judge me, I don’t care, I want to die right now anyway. But the netflix played so long it stopped and asked if we were still there or something. Urpling decided to make it go again by herself, and proceeded to lose the remote. The only way to control our Apple TV and she hid it in some special place I couldn’t find. I cleaned the house looking for it. I was tired, cranky, and upset by that point so I just sent them to bed before I overreacted (more than I already had). Sir Smiley found it buried in the love seat when he got home that night.
So I ask one thing…when you see a mom who looks near death, dressed like she changed in the dark, with circles under her eyes…pity her. Send a little prayer up for her mental health and sanity, and maybe buy her a coffee…she’s gonna need it.

Insanity

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My life has a touch of insanity to it. I think anyone with three small children will agree. Normal is just not a state we find ourselves in often. Well, maybe since what we experience on a regular basis could be defined as normal, you could say that our normal is not the same normal that other people feel is normal. And since I never know what to expect each day, maybe you could say that since my family never does the same thing the same way, we don’t even have a normal. Except maybe screaming and whining. I digress.
It’s so hard as a parent. It’s hard when you have a kid…or kids…who are not mellow or compliant or “easy”. It’s hard when you can’t read your kids minds so you don’t know why they’re upset half the time. It’s hard when you look at your kids and all the naughty things they’re are doing and realize you’re looking into a mirror and seeing a three year old reflection of your own pity parties and tantrums. You know what is easy? To focus on all the bad and get caught up in the busyness of it all and forget to just enjoy moments.
Like I said, my life is insane. While prepping for a birthday party, my son pukes all over me and the living room couch and rug. When his sister comes down with the same illness, I can’t check her temperature because he had flung the thermometer into the toilet, the day before, in protest because we were trying to get him to pee standing up. I mean, seriously, I wish I could pee standing up! It’s easier and more comport able then stripping down half naked and sitting backwards on the toilet (which is how he pees right now). Sasquatch practices her piano and for her first song, she plays beautifully without difficulty. But of course 5 minutes later she forgets how her hands work and can’t even play one bar of an easier song. You wonder, is she trying to get attention? Has she honestly suddenly forgotten how to play? Should I be firm and push her…or back off and let her figure it out on her own? I tell Urpling to go put something away, and it’s always a surprise as to where it will end up. The garbage…the bathroom counter…outside in the wood pile…the possibilities are endless. Also, any conversation with King Toot goes like this:
King Toot, “Look, airplane!”
Me, “Is that an airplane?”
King Toot, “No! Airplane!”
His no can mean no…and his no can mean yes. So when trying to figure out the cause when he’s upset is a puzzle. Does he mean no when he says no…or yes?
I take down Christmas decorations and King Toot puts the stockings on his feet. It’s adorable…he then proceeds to pee a lake onto the living room carpet (thankfully he had taken the stockings off).
All this to say, my life is insane. I struggle with envy of parents who have kids who listen and play quietly. Parents who can walk past the nursery at church and not see their son on time out most of the time. Parents who can drop their kids off and not feel guilty that you are probably inflicting emotional damage on the workers having to care for your kids…only to realize you have to care for these kids 24/7 and who is tending your emotional welfare. Parents who will hear a kid screaming as their dragged inside…while sitting in the worship service at church…and never worry (forget worry, never have to know) it’s their kid throwing a tantrum at being brought inside. Parents who have to battle it out with their kid every few minutes. I’m jealous of people without kids who don’t have to worry about babysitter. Who don’t have to try to decipher why a kid is screaming, or how best to handle defiance, or wonder how badly they’re screwing up the life of another living and breathing person.
But I love my kids. I admit, I don’t always like my kids, but I always love them. They are sparkly, full of personality, and adorable. They love people. Genuinely love ALL people. Cranky people glaring at everyone in the store will still have my kids smiling, waving, and yelling hi at them. They are hilariously funny. I swear, I’m going to record just one family dinner and post it so you can see how insane and hilarious these kids are.
So here’s my long rant about how hard it is. But it’s still good. I guess I wanted to throw this out there for solidarity…that I’m not the only one struggling with this. That other parents might read this and not feel alone in their struggles. And mainly just to remind myself that “this too shall pass”.

Life

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What can you say about life? It has been a hectic year. Not much has really gone according to plan (if you read about my vacation in New Zealand…that is an excellent example). I had a hysterectomy the week of Thanksgiving. After three years of excessive bleeding, I’m finally done. But it has been a long recovery and much harder than I expected. It’s not that I expected to be up and about instantly. But it’s all the small things I didn’t expect that dishearten me. My brain doesn’t seem to remember things, and looking on the forums I am not alone in this problem. Many are saying it took 6 months to a year before they seemed to have a functioning brain. Which isn’t upsetting at all (that was sarcastic). Same goes with fatigue. It can be overwhelming at times. So while this is a very good thing in the long run, it’s hard to keep that in focus when I feel trapped inside the house and completely useless to my family. About two weeks after my surgery, my in-laws came to visit. The day before they arrive, my car started making noises. Well, I should clarify, it was making the same noises that it has been for a while. But now they were louder, more pronounced, and distinctly intimidating. We took the car in, only to discover that basically all the frame of the front end was cracking. Not just minor cracks or bends, but everything was about ready to shatter. They had to order the parts, as my van is now old enough where they don’t keep them on hand. My mom, graciously, allowed us to borrow my dad’s car (Did I forget to mention that he travelled to Togo, Africa for 6 weeks to work as a doctor in a medical mission hospital up there? Well, he did. So he didn’t need his car. So we took his car). They finally fixed it all, so we now have basically a brand new front end but are out $2,500 (I love our shop, they do a great job and are reasonable it could have been a LOT more). I’m grateful that I didn’t have a major accident while driving that time bomb around town. Also, during all this, my grandma died. She was suffering from dementia and had been deteriorating, but it is still surprising the sense of loss. So, my in-laws visit two weeks after my surgery, and half way through their visit I travel back to my home state for my grandmother’s memorial. There was relief, knowing that she’s now in heaven and her mind is whole. But it was surprisingly hard too. After this, I make it home, and we have more personal things happen. Family members are struggling, and awful crap happening at workforce my husband. I have no control over these things. They are private and not mine to share. But the frustration at seeing those you love suffer, and being unable to do anything about it is painful and humbling. All I can do is go down on my knees, pray for wisdom, and show love as best I can. In the meantime I visualize kicking various butts around until people start to use common sense again.
My dad calls us via Skype on Christmas to tell us good and bad news. One of the surgeons he was working with had a dad visiting him. This dad ended up with failing kidneys. Nowhere in Togo did they have the treatment to help this man, so he needed to travel back to the states and needed constant medical supervision to do so. My dad ended up coming home a few weeks early, after volunteering to provide that medical supervision. It was wonderful to have him back home with us, but I know it was hard for him to end his trip early, feeling like he hadn’t completed his mission. The day he came home, while we greeted him at the airport, Sir Smiley received news that his dad’s best friend, a man who was like a second father to him growing up, had died suddenly and unexpectedly. I have only seen my husband truly cry three times in life. Once when his grandpa died. Once at the funeral of our twin boys. The third being while we drove home after he got this news. We couldn’t afford for him to go back for the funeral, but we were there in spirit. Finally, I got a text that my grandma (the other one) had been admitted into the ER for chest pain. After a long night of worrying, she was released. They never found out what was wrong, but all the tests came back just fine. The relief that I didn’t need to deal with more tragedy was deep.

No one’s life is perfect. When you peel back the layers, there is always struggle and heartbreak. Also, no one’s life is without blessings. Each and everyone of us has been blessed. Life is a mixture of both. At my church we learned the importance of contentment. The final commandment is do not covet, and at the heart of that is God telling us that He should be enough. We should not want any life other than what we’ve been given. Sometimes this is easy to do. Other times it is not. The past month has been such a jumble of stuff that this lesson has been important for me. I lost a grandma. But she is whole and well, and with my boys and other family members that have gone before us. Recovery from my surgery has been long. But it’s taught me to stop earning love from others and just accept love and aid when others offer it. I can’t control everything. In fact, the facade has been ripped away and I truly realize how little I am in control of anything. But it’s deepened my reliance on God. There has been a lot of heartache. But my family is strong. I love my husband. I’m proud of him, and our love is deep. My children can be crazy and difficult. But they are so precious to me. I’m grateful for all the blessings God has given me. Because I realize how much we take for granted until it starts to get pulled away.

Life. What can you say about life? It is what God gave me.

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Image-bearers

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I’ve been vacillating back and forth on whether to write anything about the Ferguson situation. I’ve experienced a wide range of thoughts and emotions. These may or may not be fully coherent…but I’ll do my best to form a cohesive thought process for you and try to limit the rambling.
Disclaimers:
1. I just had a hysterectomy. I am on several pain medications. So this may sound intelligent and well thought out in my head and be in reality incoherent and unintelligible.
2. I stay vague about where I live and who I am. Mainly to protect both my husband, and those he has dealt with on the job. I don’t want to tarnish someone’s good name because of some poor choices they made one day. But I can say I do not live in Ferguson. I don’t know what the day to day life was and is like there. This is the perspective of an outsider peering in through little nooks and crannies. Take it with a grain of salt.
3. I am not black. I have not experienced what it is like to have people afraid of me merely by the color of my skin. This doesn’t mean I can’t have insight, or can’t empathize. But it does mean I can’t fully grasp the struggles that the black people of America experience. I’m acknowledging this, and want everyone to be aware that I have no pretenses that I have the answers here.

Disclaimers are now over. Now for some of my thoughts. My initial reactions have been from that of a police officer’s wife. My husband is an amazing and godly man. He does his job to the best of his ability. He takes it seriously, and wants to enforce justice and protect the innocent. He is not in it to abuse power or exercise authority. Most officers I know (which are obviously quite a few) are similar. Obviously I don’t respect them as much as my husband. Because my husband is amazballs (typo is on purpose) and no one compares to him. But I respect them all and their judgement. They have difficult jobs. They have to drudge through the worst of humanity and somehow approach it expecting the best. We don’t want callous and unfeeling men and women in law enforcement. We don’t want them to not care, because that is when true police brutality will begin to occur. When they have become hardened and no longer care about those whom they were supposed to protect. We do need to do something to add support to our officers. To show them that the community appreciates their hard work and appreciates those officers who do their duty to the best of their ability. This is a conversation we need to have in America.
As the story unfolded I formed my own opinions about what happened. I will not share them here. This is not about posing blame or stating unequivocally what happened. I think I covered it fairly well in the disclaimers that I don’t know what happened. We all have our opinions. I’m keeping mine to myself for now. Why? Because our nation is hurting. The rioting, the looting, the anger and hatred I see spewing from all sides. This is a nation that is wounded. It seems appropriate that I am laying in bed working through the pain of my own body healing, as I see how our own nation needs healing at the same time. We need rest. We need to take things slow. We need to find the root issues and fix them. I have no answers for government. I don’t think laws will fix this. Legislation will not solve hurt and pain. They are merely external forces. Something needs to happen internally for us to heal. I joke that my hysterectomy was the removal of my evil organ. We need to do something similar in America. We need to remove the hate and anger. We need to have an internal change of heart before things will get better.
How do we look at each other? This is what it comes down to. This seems to be a convicting theme God had been drilling into me over several weeks now. The term image-bearers of God has come up several times…from multiple sources. My pastor preached on it a couple of weeks ago. He spoke of abortion, and also suicide and euthanasia. Mainly, that our culture no longer views everyone as valuable. If we have lost our health. If we are disabled. We somehow have lost our value and it becomes okay for you to want to end your life. This quote stuck with me, “Terminating treatment is different from terminating life”. I realized in my own mind it didn’t seem so bad that someone who has terminal cancer would want to end their life while it is still “worth living”. But what does that say about how I view the lives of those who are infirm? Are they less valuable? Are they somehow no longer made in the image of God? It shocked me to realize I had let myself down that path. Then this whole thing in Ferguson happened. I was looking for a way to process what was happening. I had thoughts and ideas on how people should be acting. Then I read this post written by Voddie Bauchum. What an incredible view! This man has been through so much, and to still act with grace and dignity…he is a better person than I am. Here is a quote from the article, “However, I have come to realize that it was no more ‘the system’ when white cops pulled me over than it was ‘the system’ when a black thug robbed me at gunpoint. It was sin! The men who robbed me were sinners. The cops who stopped me were sinners. They were not taking their cues from some script designed to ‘keep me down.’ They were simply men who didn’t understand what it meant to treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve as image bearers of God.” It convicted me. Oh, how I’ve been convicted. I admit, I looked down on the looters and rioters. Because they were not acting in a godly manner. They were hurting others, and hurting their own cause. I still do NOT condone their actions. But they deserve my love and compassion anyway. Why? Because they bear the image of God! God created each one of them. He fashioned every molecule in their body. He chose every hair on their head. He collects every tear they have cried. Their pain hurts Him. It hurts Him, and thus it should hurt me. I am not saved because of what I have done. God didn’t rescue me from sin based on my merit. My love should be equally unconditional! It makes a great sound bite. But it is difficult to practice.
Our country needs to learn to love. On both ends. Not love that is conditional. I cannot expect people to reasoned out of deep pain. But God’s love can heal all manner of wounds. So I ask the Christian community. Love. Love those you don’t understand, you don’t agree with. Love people who are sinning, who mistreat you, who antagonize you. We can either fuel the hate and anger with self-righteous superiority (no matter what side you agree with) or we can calm the storm with a love that only God can give. Which will you choose?
I’ll leave you with some verses I’ve been pondering:
Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Luke 6:35-36: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-7: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Ephesians 2:8-19: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

What do you do all day? Part 2

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Wanna be up to speed? Here’s the introduction. This is the first part of my day. Basically, it takes up until about noon. Wanna know what I did the rest of the day? Hope so, since that is the illustrious topic of today’s post. Without further ado, I’ll pick up right after lunch.

12:15 – After lunch, the kids ran around the house a bit while I cleaned up their dishes.
12:20 – I then put King Toot in his room for “quiet rest time”. The rule…I don’t care what you do in there as long as it is quiet. They need some down time…and so do I! Some days this works and I get a bit of a break. But more often than not it is like today…where every 15 minutes I have to go in and remind him to be quiet. Then I discover that he has pooped and is happily playing in it. Now rethinking my decision to potty train just yet.
12:25 – I finally make my lunch…and consume it. I also play Candy Crush and then watch Dr. Who for a bit of a respite.
1:30 – I pick up the house, including the misc toys that have been distributed every where.
2:10 – I head out to run errands with Urpling. We go and check the mail, where I have to remind her three times that she’s not allowed to squish the bags of packing peanuts. We then go to deposit a check, during which time Urpling asks for money to play an arcade game. I refuse. We then head to Goodwill where I buy some new movies and toys (well, new to us) for our church preschool. Finally we brave Walmart to buy a few groceries. Urpling helps me scan things at the self check out. She has a blast…even if each item took about 4 tries. Did I mention we spent every moment in the car listening to “Let it Go” while Urpling belts the song out at the top of her lungs? Well, we did. It was simultaneously adorable, hilarious, and aggravating.
3:10 – We get home and I unload Urpling and the groceries.
3:20 – By this time I have put all the groceries away and I load Urpling and King Toot into the double stroller to go get Sasquatch and two of our neighbor kids.
3:30 – We make it to school just as the kids are being let out and I walk the two kids who live behind me to their home. Sasquatch tells me about her bad day where the other kids blamed her for bringing acorns into the class, even though she didn’t do it. I console and commiserate with her.
3:40 – I drop off the neighbors, and then King Toot cries because he can’t go to neighbors.
3:42 – King Toot goes onto time out because the massive disappointment of having to come home caused him to shriek in a pitch that only dogs can hear.
3:45 – I get all the kiddos settled and they have a snack…which is left over candy from Halloween. Mom win…or fail?
4:05 – I work with Sasquatch on her homework. So grateful her math homework does not require drawing pictures to demonstrate the problem…considering she is very artistic and must include great detail in each drawing. Math homework can take a really, really, really, really long time when that happens.
4:20 - Leaving Sasquatch to work on her own math problems, I go to take a shower.
4:45 – I emerge and start prepping dinner. At this time I also make all the kids lunches for tomorrow. As I cook, I watch Dr. Who. Because, well, it’s Dr. Who. (Don’t ask me how many times I’ve watched Dr. Who. Mainly because cause I’ve lost track. Also, don’t tell me about the new season. I haven’t seen it and, “Spoilers!”. Bonus points go to you if you just read that quote in Dr. River Song’s voice…)
5:45 – Dinner and lunches for tomorrow are now ready. I get everything dished up and Sir Smiley proceeds to help me get everything on the table while we summon small ones to come eat.
5:55 – All the kids actually eat most of their food. King Toot does require a mixture of pleading, cheering, and a bit of force to get him to eat his. Sir Smiley and I thoroughly enjoyed it…as dinner turned out quite good.
6:15 - Our friend joins us and also enjoys the food I made, while I proceed to chase kids around. I manage to get shoes on all children’s feet, and both girls are wearing their vests for Awana. I do have to ask Urpling to put her shoes on 3 times before she responds and actually does it. In the meantime, Sasquatch is still somehow eating a miniature candy bar. How she can manage to turn a bite-sized snickers into 5 minutes of eating…I can’t quite figure out. It is, by definition, the size of one bite.
6:25 – I leave to drop all the kids off at church. I herd them each to their prospective room and then practically skip back out to the car. I drive home…alone…for the first time that day and enjoy the three minutes of solitude.
6:35 – I arrive home to help Sir Smiley lead our bible study. We go through a few chapters of the “Screwtape Letters” and have some deep discussion about virtues and how Satan tries to render them (and us) powerless to work for God. It was some good stuff.
8:05 – Sir Smiley graciously goes to pick up the kids for me so I can stay and talk to my friend. We hang out and chat until the chaos returns. Then she heads home.
8:30 – The kids come home. Sasquatch has said all her sections…plus some extra ones…and was very proud of herself. She had been struggling to actually focus enough during AWANA to say the verses she had practiced all week, so this was a big victory for her. King Toot at this point is past his expiration date, and he has turned sour.
8:45 – King Toot, having refused to actually nap today, proceeds to have a clear and epic meltdown. Not a tantrum…but an actual meltdown (there is a difference). I dressed him for bed, and then we wrapped ourselves up in a blanket and I rocked him and sang to him until he calmed down. Then off to bed he went. In the meantime the girls helped finish off the dessert from bible study.
8:50 – Put the girls to bed, and read to them. We’re now reading slowly through chapter books, and read picture books during the day. It keeps Sasquatch’s attention better…and mine.
9:07 – I reread a letter Sir Smiley wrote to double check it for him.
9:17 - The girls, refusing to sleep, start whining at each other because Urpling is singing too loudly and Sasquatch can’t rest when she’s being so loud. Urpling is upset because she’s singing to her animal and her animal can’t sleep if she doesn’t sing to it. I do a little negotiating and eventually convinced them both, begrudgingly, to quiet down.
9:20 – Sat down to watch the newest episode of Supernatural before calling it a night…only to discover there was no new episode this week. Oh the humanity! I now have to wait an entire week before watching the 200th episode. So I console myself with some…you guessed it…Dr. Who.
10:40 - I set the alarm for 6:15 am thinking I can get a few chores done before the kids wake up.

This should give you a general idea of my days. A few last minute notes:
– This is NOT all inclusive. I’m unable to jot down every single moment with great detail (and I don’t want to…it’s already long enough). It doesn’t include Sasquatch making a lego church, or Urpling pushing King Toot around in bike trailer. It doesn’t include Sir Smiley and I making kid sandwich hugs. It doesn’t include my kids running at daddy full speed and jumping on him…over and over and over again. Squealing and laughing every time.
– King Toot is a strong willed kid. No doubt about it. I talk about that in other posts. Feel free to read. But I want it on the record that while he screams a lot, he is not spoiled. I deal with him as fairly and consistently as is humanly possible. Also, while he is far from compliant…he is also my most snuggly child. Whenever I need a hug or some snuggles, he is always up for it. His favorite game is to say, “Iwuvoo” to me so that I’ll grab him and shower him with hugs and kisses. I wouldn’t change him for the world.
– Some days are easier. Some days I get a miraculous nap in. Or we sit all snuggled on the couch together watching a movie. Or I get to have some “me time”.
– some days are harder. I cry, or go to my room to scream and throw things so I don’t take my frustrations out on my kids. Or I’m so tired I’m just ready to be done with kids. Where I want to walk out the front door, not forever but for a day or so.
– All moms (and I suspect dads…although I feel I’m not qualified to speak for them) have these same daily struggles. The highs and lows will look a little different but we all have them. I like being honest about it. I love being a mom. There are moments I am trying to grab and hang on to with all my might before they slip away. Others I cheer like my team made the super bowl when they finally pass. But I love my life. This was a sample of it, to give you a glance in the window. Hope you found it enlightening..or at least entertaining.

What do you do all day? Part 1

Standard

I wrote a bit of a preface to this post yesterday, which can be read here. This ended up being quite lengthy, so I shortened it up a bit for the sake of our sound-bite style culture. So this was my day yesterday…up until about lunch. This is a pretty typical day for me. In fact, this is falling during my rest and recovery weeks so this doesn’t even include my triathlon training I usually also include during the year. Be that as it may…a sample of my day (no, I did not intend to rhyme there. But I did. Because I’m a genius.)

6:15 – The alarm goes off. I wonder what insanity possessed me to decide I would get up this early. I decide to just lay there for a minute and “let myself wake up”.
6:50 – I wake up and realize that I had fallen back to sleep. So I play a little Candy Crush to “help me wake up”.
7:00 – I finally actually leave bed and get myself ready. Today this consists of brushing my teeth and putting on semi-clean clothes.
7:15 – I get the kids up. King Toot has a dirty diaper, and as I go to change it I realize the wipes are empty. I refill it and then get him cleaned up. Then I get him dressed while I remind the girls that they will need actual clothes to go to school. King Toot proceeds to show his displeasure with my choice for his wardrobe by screaming. Why? Because I told him he couldn’t wear his Captain America costume…which he’s worn so much it is now a bit gamey.
7:30 – I have the kids count their magnets. This is our reward system and we usually do it the night before…but I forgot.
7:35 - I start my bible study.
7:36 – Sasquatch comes out and announces that she can’t get into the office to practice her piano. I go let her in.
7:38 – I start my bible study…again.
7:40 - I get a call from my sister. We chat.
7:45 – While chatting with my sister, my neighbor shows up with her daughter who walks with us to school twice a week.
7:47 – I continue my bible study.
7:50 - Sasquatch comes out and says the keyboard won’t work. I inquire (okay…demand) why she hasn’t already finished practicing…let alone started. She shrugs. Sensing my displeasure, she finally practices her piano.
7:55 - I finish my bible study.
8:00 – I prep breakfast for all my kids, and myself.
8:01 – I put King Toot on time out for screaming at me…because I wouldn’t let him throw Urpling’s pumpkin across the room like a basketball.
8:03 – King Toot is removed from time out. Urpling proceeds to wrestle him to the ground because he has a toy she wants. I tell them both to knock it off.
8:05 – I now have breakfast ready and I call for the kids. Urpling is dragging King Toot down the hallway by the arm. She refuses to stop when I ask her to. She does not like being punished for it. So we begin breakfast with Urpling and King Toot both wailing. Score 2 for mommy.
8:09 - After fetching things for kids while they are eating I finally sit down and realize that I have no spoon and no milk for my cereal. I remedy this problem.
8:15 – King Toot has still refused to eat even one bite of his cereal. He also has handed me an empty glass. I ask him if he wants more. He says, “No!” I put the cup in the sink, he yells, “No!”. I ask him if he needs juice. He yells, “No!”. I finally tell him if he wants juice he needs to say “yes mommy”, or hold his peace. He mumbles “essommy” under his breath. I give him some juice which he promptly throws on the floor. He still refuses to eat breakfast and not wanting to be late I just let him get down. He then immediately grabs his bag of Halloween candy and hands it to me saying, “Peeeeeese???”. Then wails when I tell him he does not get to have candy in lieu of breakfast.
8:20 – I send the girls in to brush their teeth and hair while I clean up breakfast. I then realize I didn’t make Sasquatch her lunch. Guess she’ll be buying school lunch today.
8:25 – I discover Sasquatch is standing in the bathroom with her toothbrush (that has toothpaste on it)…frozen. I inquire as to what she’s been doing for 5 minutes and she stares at me blankly.
8:27 – Sasquatch has finally brushed her teeth and is now getting her shoes on, as does Urpling, while I put King Toot’s shoes on and go search for my own. While I’m trying to find my shoes, Urpling demands I find her Buzz doll. I tell her no. Meanwhile, King Toot is wailing because he wants to get going now that his shoes are on and none of his subjects…I mean family…are ready.
8:30 – Sasquatch kindly finds the Buzz doll for Urpling, I have my shoes on, and all of us head out the door with the double stroller and walk to school. We wave at the dump trucks, while our neighbor and Sasquatch come up with rhyming words together.
8:40 – We make it to school, just as the classes are heading in. Drop off neighbor and Sasquatch and then walk to visit our PTO president, who is also the crossing guard and preschool aid. I’m not sure when she has time to breathe. My kids demand snacks from her and she kindly complies. *sigh
9:00 – We walk back to the school drop off and drop Urpling off for preschool. Only then do I realize that she does not have her backpack. *facepalm moment
9:05 – I meet up with a fellow school parent and she passes her daughter off. We swap every week, so she watches King Toot every other week and I watch her daughter on opposite weeks. Doesn’t seem fair, since her daughter is a sweetheart and my son is, in the words of Rants from Mommyland, “a cupcake baked by the devil”. But I won’t complain. I walk home.
9:15 – I take a moment to surf the net and dink around on my iPad.
9:35 - I chat with hubby who is now awake.
9:45 – I feed the dogs.
9:50 – I clear off the bulletin board of the month’s worth of papers my kids have brought home or made. I leave the most recent creations up and file the others either in their memory boxes…or the recycling.
10:00 – I go through our mail and our stack of to-do papers from the mail. I pay bills, recycle the junk mail, and set aside things I need to run errands for.
10:10 – I call the animal licensing department as they claim I didn’t send in a renewal…even though I had.
10:17 - They actually answer the phone and then tell me it takes over 3 weeks to “process” my application. Whatever. At least I know they did receive it. I then go through all our paperwork and file it away in our file cabinet.
10:30 - I use the facilities. Then I chase the kiddos around the house, play with the dolls, assemble our Mrs. Potato Head, and play in the castle.
10:40 – I return various texts and phone calls. (Sir Smiley is now picking up dog poop and mowing the yard. I LOOOOOVE him.)
11:00 – Bathroom break for the kids. My visitor is potty trained and my son decided he needed to sit on the toilet too. I’m thrilled and hope this new fad actually sticks with him. I make plans to start potty training my stubborn child.
11:15 – I grab the kids a snack and then turn on Qubo for a few final moments before we go pick up Urpling from preschool and return my sweet visitor. I want to keep her as my son has not wailed this entire morning, and seems keen to impress her with his manners. I start blogging for the first time in months!
11:40 – I load up the bike trailer and head to school. Drop off sweet visitor with her mom and get Urpling. Head home.
11:55 - I didn’t get lunch ready last night. So I throw some meat on a plate, along with a cheese stick and squeezable apple sauce pouches and called it lunch. Kids eat that and some leftover Halloween candy. In the meantime, I check facebook. I used to eat lunch with them, but I found my lunch was always cold by the time I did. So now I just wait until they’re done and “put away”.

So there it is. The first half of my day. It doesn’t include everything. Every time I had to stop and remind someone of something, or wait for them to investigate a spot on the ground, or answer the same question 80 times, or to see something completely ordinary as though it was the greatest discovery in the known universe. These are all part of my day to day life. It’s not bad. It’s not fast. It IS time consuming. And it’s my life.