Hope

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I try not to be too serious…it tends to give me a headache and I find a sense of humor is invaluable when one has three small children. But there are times where I feel more like an ocean than a babbling brook (see, I used some imagery…you can tell this is a more serious post already, can’t you?). Today is one of those days. Today I was sitting with my kids and we were making the Friday is Sad but Sunday is Glad cards (see this post)and talking about what it meant. It put me in a contemplative mood as this time of year always does (and rightly so). This world really sucks sometimes. Korea’s blowing stuff up, or will blow stuff up, or may blow stuff up, and there’s the whole profile pics all shoving in your face stuff about marriage rights, and the gun control issue is still up there as well. It makes me frustrated. It makes me frustrated because this is a time of great hope and people just can’t see it! This week, of all weeks, people are talking about all the wrong things…in my opinion. We are approaching the celebration of the greatest love story our world has ever experienced, and it’s one that includes each and every one of us. It’s greater than Romeo and Juliet, or Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy, or even Bella and Edward (read that last part with a hint of sarcasm…or more than a hint if you like)and it is our love story. We don’t just have to read about it…we can experience it. God became flesh and suffered every possible temptation, and then the weight of every sin of every person throughout time was placed on Him as He died. We’re talking a complete separation from God and all the things that come with it (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control). He did it purely because of His unconditional love for you. It’s mind blowing.

I am sitting here trying to share this hope with my kids, because as much as this world sucks sometimes…there is a great hope that it won’t always be this way. Such an incredible love was shown to us and I want my kids to truly understand and experience that love. I don’t want my kids to become “religious” or to be really good at talking like a Christian. I want them to grow up loving God and experiencing His love for them. To truly have a relationship with Him. Just teaching them facts is easy…teaching them who God is, and showing them how to experience His love is much more difficult. But it is the goal I strive for every single day.

So no politics for me this week. I want to dwell on the wonder of God’s love for me and share that wonder with my kids. So Happy Easter!

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A Classy Exit

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I used to be a punctual person. I was scattered and disorganized about a lot of things…my room ws atrocious, my school notes unreadable, my checkbook was never balanced…but at least I was always on time. Now it seems I rarely am. It was a downhill slide ever since I ceased to be a single entity. With each addition there is more and more variables to juggle just to get out the door. Sir Smiley has a very specific routine to get out the door. So I simply memorized it and helped him with the steps. I was late occasionally but soon started to get the nuances of married life and started to be on time for things again. (please don’t ask how many years that took). Then we added Sasquatch. Suddenly there were a million things to bring with…bottles, diapers, wipes, change of clothes, toys, snacks, cups, baggies, butt cream, sanitizer, first aid kit (which in all honesty is a ziplock with band aids in it). But I finally worked through all the ins and outs of the diaper bag even. I finally started to get a handle on getting out the door.

Fast forward a couple more kids later and you think I would finally have everything running smoothly. Now Sasquatch is relatively self sustaining. She can dress herself, put on her own shoes, and even help me collect items we need. Even Urpling can put on her flip flops or slip on boots by herself. They even all walk now. But I still can’t seem to just walk out the door.

Today is an excellent example. We’re all dressed, every diaper changed, the bathrooms have been used, diaper bag is packed. I grab up King Toot and announce we’re heading out. Urpling and Sasquatch both want to wear their slip on boots. Great, because that means I don’t even have to put on Urpling’s shoes. This will be a piece of cake! I should have known it wouldn’t be that easy. First, she starts yelling at me because she wanted to know if she was putting them on the right feet and I wasn’t looking at her because King Toot had tried to take a swan dive onto the floor from my arms because I wasn’t walking out the door fast enough. (I’m sure the grammar in that sentence alone is atrocious but it’s late and I don’t care enough to check) I look and see that she is and then go to check on Sasquatch who is now twirling a blanket around her instead of putting on her footwear. I redirect her and then turn around to see Urpling walking around the corner with her boots on the wrong feet. How she managed to switch them to completely different feet in the five seconds I was gone is beyond me. I tell her to switch them and she kicks them off and announces she wants to wear socks and shoes instead. By this point we are running late and King Toot wants to get down so he’s thrashing around, making holding him similar to holding a 35 lb. trout. I inform Urpling she can wear her boots or flip flops but not her shoes…as we’re now in a hurry and I can’t go find her socks, put them on her, then find her shoes and put those on her in a timely manner. Urpling starts to wail like our dog just died a horrific death right in front of her and collapses to the floor as the agony of it all consumes her. I have to put King Toot down by now to deal with her and he then wanders into the family room and tries to climb into the fireplace…covering his hands and arms in soot. Racing to grab him before he smears it all over his face and hair, I get him to the bathroom and scrub his hands and arms while yelling at Urpling to calm down and put some kind of footwear on. By this point Sasquatch has put her boots on and is standing by the door (she’s now my favorite). Urpling puts her boots on and then walks slowly out the door to the van…wailing the entire way. King Toot is also now shrieking because he hates being held and he dropped his favorite toy of that second on the ground. I have to fetch it, as it is right behind the wheel of the van. King Toot is refusing to bend so that trying to buckle him into his carseat is like trying to buckle a log of wood. I finally force him to bend at the middle and get one arm through…but as I go for the other arm he slips the first one out. Meanwhile, Urpling is still shrieking but now it’s because Sasquatch hit her and has chucked her boots on the floor. I finally get everyone buckled in and then realize I have forgotten my keys. I then leave…ten minutes later than I planned. This is a truly classy way to exit…far less boring than just grabbing your keys and leaving.

Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice..*cough *laugh *cough

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So…I wrote this post about boys that was REALLY popular…at least for my blog (you can read it here if you haven’t yet) I mean, I think there were people who read it that I may not even know! Anyway…the mom guilt has set in. I over-think everything (my autocorrect changed that to overt hunk…sounds interning that way. How do you over hunk something I wonder…) …to the point of driving myself insane. See the parentheses for proof if you doubt. What was my guilt? First, that I made boyish qualities out to be a negative. As Sir Smiley pointed out, these qualities will make him a strong leader. If we train him up right, he will be a powerful force for good in this world…there is no doubt. But I also fretted about the fact that I would target boys and not girls. So in the interest of fairness…here are some of my issues I keep running into with my girls.

Emotional roller coaster starts young. I figured puberty would be hard with three of us experiencing PMS. But no, it starts waaaaaaaaaaay before that. I swear to you, Urpling has got to be starting her period soon because her emotions are giving me whiplash. One moment she is happy and the next she dissolves into uncontrollable sobbing and wailing. When the Bible describes mourners tearing their clothes and wailing and gnashing their teeth I honestly think that my daughter would make and excellent mourner. Too bad we don’t have those anymore because I could have a career for her already.

The long hair. Yeah, yeah…boys can have long hair and girls can have short. But at the small stage one must admit that if you don’t want to hassle with people mistaking your girl for a boy and vice versa…there are certain social cues you follow. I am too lazy to correct people about the sex of my child so I resort to pink vs blue and long vs short. Deal with it. That said…long hair drives me nuts. That and the movie Rapunzel. Sasquatch was fine with a cute little bob until she saw that movie. Now she insists that she have long hair. Her hair is so thick I swear I have to use a chainsaw to brush it in the mornings…and that’s with special shampoo…conditioner…and then spray-in detangler. King Toot will have a buzz cut until he moves out.

Double standard. I can take King Toot out and about with dirt, lunch, boogers, drool, whatever else all over his face and hands and no one seems to notice. If there is even a smudge on my girls, I get dirty looks. My girls are active! They do not sit around all day sipping tea and bathing.

They are definitely socialites. The verbal skills for Sasquatch are very high…not so much for Urpling. But whether we can understand them or not…there is a constant narrative of everything from a description of my actions to deep philosophy about who God is. I love it…for the hour. But the next eight start to overwhelm me as even a simple phone conversation or asking Sir Smiley a question takes three times as long.

I get that these are not mutually girl traits and many parents of boys struggle with these…but just saying…girls are not made of EVERYTHING nice…they have some mischievous things mixed in there as well to make my son a welcome break.

Note: My girls are so cute that you can’t help but love them…and here is the proof.

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Boys will be boys

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I have about thirty ideas for my blog and haven’t written one. You may wonder way. Well…let me ease your mind. I have been too exhausted to write. I have been too exhausted because I have been spending about 90% of my day thwarting my son’s near death experiences. He has now entered what I will call the “Bullheaded, Stubborn, Fit Throwing, Need to Endanger Myself” phase. You think I’m exaggerating? That it can’t possibly be that bad? Well…anyone who spends five minutes with my son has said…word for word…the exact same thing to me, “He’s all boy!” What does that mean exactly? Here are a few ideas.

Aggressive tendencies. While I am cooking with scalding substances, his favorite activity is to walk up and shove on my legs with all his weight to move me out of the way. He literally cuts me off at the knees. He will also roll on top of his sisters to get them to pay attention to him. He throws his cup at me when he has decided he is done with his meal. He is NEVER gentle.

He plays with reckless abandon. He will climb any and every object. He likes to climb our kid sized rocking chair, stand on its arms and then rock it back and forth with his feet. He carries the stool from the bathroom to the kitchen to have better access to all the treasures on the counter. He will climb out of the cart, onto the conveyer belt at the grocery store. His favorite game outside is to climb the large slide to the top…on his own.

He has an insatiable curiosity and moves like a ninja. He wants to explore. But in order to achieve this goal he moves with the silence of a ninja. Three times this weekend he managed to sneak past myself and even groups of people in the garage, and sneak out into the front yard without anyone knowing. Bet that looked awesome to the neighbors to see me close the garage door with my one year old wandering around the front yard on his own…unattended. He also climbed the futon in daddy’s room and pulled a tack off the wall and started chewing on it. Yep, like it was chewing gum. I look over (that’s right…I was SITING RIGHT THERE) and see him chewing on something and then shriek in horror when I pull and sharp tack out of his mouth.

With each and every one of the situations I have rescued him from certain death. But what is my thanks? A fit. Not just any fit…but a dramatic, going boneless, collapse-on-the-floor-for-the-agony-of-it-all fit. So there. I have offered my proof…if King Toot lives to see 2, I will be a miracle worker. Excuse me, I need to go collapse in bed while the house is still quiet. Hopefully he won’t rip apart a stuffed animal and then choke on the pieces while I sleep.

Note: He’s REALLY cute and knows how to work it which is part of his survival skills I think. And more proof he is a boy…I let him see himself in the camera and his first reaction was to see what half-masticated food looked like in his mouth.

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Mawwage is what bwings us togever…today

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Sir Smiley and I celebrated our ninth anniversary on Wednesday. This was his post to me on Facebook: “9 years ago today, I became lawfully able to let you experience my nighttime farts.” Seriously folks…this is real love. I like, totally heart this dude. He has me smitten…rocks my socks off..completes me…the list is endless. He’s a trombone, guitar, piano, accordion playing stud who looks good in his uniform, can make even Bob Newhart smile, and is mine all mine. Nine years was short and nine more won’t be enough.

And believe it or not, I have actually learned a few things along the way. In honor of my nine years of marriage, I have decided to impart some of this wisdom (if you can really call it that) to you. I have sorted this into two categories…for him and for her.

For Him (these may or may not have actually happened):
Never compare your wife to the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
When you’re wife tries to create a romantic atmosphere for some “mommy and daddy time”…don’t tell her the love songs in the background are gonna make you ralph.
Chewing on the sheet and then announcing, “I had some sheet in my mouth” is not a pick up line.
Do not poke your wife’s hairy leg and whisper, “Just like Sasquatch.” in an awed whisper.
Do not use the phrase “Open Sesame” as an attempt to transition from conversation to more amorous activities.

For Her (I had to come up with these on my own. I asked for Sir Smiley to help and he said it was too hard. But I figured it was only fair for the girls to have some rules…add your own in the comments!):
Stop attributing emotions to him that he hasn’t expressed.
Do NOT ask any of the following, “Does this make me look fat?” “Will love me even if I…(fill in the blank)” “Do you think she’s pretty?” or any question that you either don’t want answered or want answered in a very specific way.
If the kids are asleep and the house is quiet…do not crawl into bed, beckon your husband over, cuddle and hug and kiss…and then roll over and go to sleep.

Want some actually semi-serious advice? Check out this post I wrote almost a year ago.

Have your own thoughts or suggestions? Add them in the comments!

Here he is folks…the love of my life…

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Going for a ride…

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I am going to preface this post with one remark…if you haven’t yet you should read the “About Me” section here. So you know about my stance as far as these types of stories.

I went on a ride along with Sir Smiley last night. I’ve done many of these and he always claims they’re slow nights…but I always have fun. Right when we left the station yesterday we came across a “regular customer” of Sir Smiley’s. We’ll call him Teeny. Teeny was standing on the property of a local business that is struggling with pan handlers. This man was…ornery. He would give the finger to people driving by he didn’t like…all while holding his hand made sign that says, “Homeless Please Help God Bless.” (This was written on the back of a Mike’s Hard Lemonade container…just to help paint a picture). We pull up and get out. The history begins to emerge as Sir Smiley asks him why he is here AGAIN. Apparently this man is a regular and has been on this corner more times than Sir Smiley can count. Each time, he was told this business did not want loiterers…was informed of what the property lines for this business were…and was told not to come back. He doesn’t seem able to take a hint. This time around he had a broken ankle that was splinted and wrapped. When asked how he broke it he merely replied, “I shoved it up your f***ing a** and you bit it off!” Then lifted his left hand and said he’d take down the two of us with his left nut. He was a charming man. Back up arrives and they look over his discharge papers from the hospital and then arrest him. They have to take all his possessions, including his belt, as a precaution and then slowly eased him into the car. He then flung himself across the bench and began howling. He claimed that by being a Native American we couldn’t arrest him for trespassing as this land was originally his. Sir Smiley calmly dealt with it all and off we headed to jail.
As we get there he starts to head out to the jail and his pants fall off…twice. Never seemed to bother him…he’d just stand there like nothing happened. Sir Smiley walked with him after that and held them up for him as they went inside and I waited out in the patrol car.

If you want some interesting people watching…just sit at the police entrance to a jail. There were two main camps of people I saw. About 45% seemed to be wearing huge hooded sweatshirts in the middle of the afternoon in 80 degrees…the other 45% were wearing pajamas. (the other 10% were odd to say the least) So either they were already planning on being arrested and wanted to be comfortable…or they were mothers. (that was a joke btw)

There were a couple of calls about drugs in the park and a stolen vehicle attempt. We filled out reports and such but never arrested anyone else. We had dinner and Sir Smiley ran another officer through the gun qualifications to practice and then we headed home. All in all it was a fascinating day.

It’s Tax Season

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It’s tax season. About three years ago we decided to use a CPA for our taxes. Probably one of the best decisions we have made. First, our refunds have increased drastically…and I gotta say I like having extra money. I’m not afraid to admit it. (not that we’re rolling in it…but we are comfortable and that makes me happy). Second, I suck at even balancing a check book. So, trying to figure out all those deductions, losses, gains, fill out form 109EZQJ if you bought an elephant in the last year stuff makes me want to throw cats. So I double heart being able to collect anything that says “important tax document enclosed” and then shove the pile at someone else and say, “Go nuts.” The third reason involves this year’s tax appointment. If you really want to make taxes interesting…bring a five year old, three year old, and a one year old to your tax appointment. Armed with a bag of toys we enter Taxpert’s office where the kids promptly ignore every toy we brought and start pillaging the room. We tag team herding King Toot away from stacks of important looking papers and files, various plant life, and all the awesome (and breakable) knick knacks scattered around the room. Sir Smiley would sign stuff…then leap up and relieve me as I signed stuff. We survived the appointment and nothing had been broken. Yay us! Sir Smiley is on defense with King Toot while I am holding Urpling who was suddenly becoming very clingy. Taxpert is now revving up for the grand reveal…how much we’re getting back. The big moment approaches, he sums up all our gains and losses (which I slowly tune out and think about how glad I am this is almost over and maybe I should reward myself with a little chocolate. I’ll be honest, I didn’t hear much about what he was saying at this point…as I said before…I suck at money stuff). I am snapped out of my reverie by two things…Taxpert saying, “So this brings us to the good news…” while simultaneously Urpling starting to cry. I look down and she’s gulping rapidly and the horror sets in. “Are you going to puke?!” I exclaim in horror. Immediately several things happen. Sir Smiley and Taxpert cease all conversation and stare at Urpling and I as I tilt her back and cup my hand under her chin. The partially digested orange juice from this morning begins to flow from her mouth as Sir Smiley races to the garbage can. But here is where the third awesome thing about our CPA comes in. He reacts immediately and runs to get us some paper towels and helps to clean up the mess as we slowly hold her over the garbage can. She pukes so strongly it even comes out her nose. The OJ vomit is now all over her shirt, my shirt, my hands and arms, her hair. It was mortifying. Needless to say, by the time we cleaned it all up…it had taken the wind out of poor Taxpert’s sails as he tells us about the sizable refund we will be getting this year. It was definitely good news. So long story short…our CPA rocks, but even with his awesomeness, taxes still makes people puke.