Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Zinnias' End

After a glorious summer run, where they stretched way past five feet and were the daily hosts for butterfly after butterfly, my zinnias are finally fading.  Maybe one more bouquet before the end.  Love them!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Magic of Fall

A low hanging sun starbursts through the pines.

Evening hours creep in earlier and earlier each day, those waning hours the backdrop for a million scenes.

Fabric scraps pilfered from mom's sewing stash become flags for a game of flag football, where an 8 year old proclaims that he loves this game because as coach, he gets to boss his sister around.

A garden hose is dragged through the too long grass.  In an instant, it's a fire hose as little hands urgently work together to extinguish some blaze.

Short and fat, tall and long, sticks of all shapes and sizes become this week's treasured objects, useful for training as ninjas and battling dragons.

That is the magic of fall.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shutter Shelf

It seems like I am forever rearranging things around this joint.  I organize something and then decide that however I had it positioned is not functional.  So I reorganize and then reorganize again.  Case in point:  the boys' dresser.  They've had this dresser in their room forever.  I originally had a few items on the top:  the Haitian wood boat, some Walmart canisters that hold army men and army planes and tanks, and a panting Kenson made.  But the boys kept piling stuff on top of the dresser and everything would get knocked off and it just looked like a mess.  The other issue was that the boys had books in their room on a bookshelf but Grabby McGrabberson aka Kai was creating a disaster with the books.  So plan a was to organize the books and plan b was to organize the treasures that my kids had that we wanted to dispaly.  The books are now in the boxes on top of the dresser.  The army toys are still in their home beside the boxes.  (Seriously one of the best and easiest storage tricks ever.  It's just a Walmart canister that had a white lid.  But I spray painted the lids brown and they just look so much nicer.)  I knew I wanted a shelf of some type to hold the items for display since a shelf would keep the objects out of little hands and free from the danger of being knocked around.  And guess what I found in my garage?  An old shutter and 2 wrought iron fence brackets.  So I made a shelf for zero dollars, which makes my heart happy.  Now the shelf has the Haitian boat, Kenson's painting, two magnet boards for photos of the boys' foster/birth families, the alarm clock (which was forever getting messed with), Zeke's trophy for being an honorary coach at the Shrine game this summer,  and a fish Zeke painted during his hospital stay at Mayo.  I guess I'm now content.  Until I decide to rearrange again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Parenting Fail

Kai + toilet + cup = epic fail

As I was getting ready this morning in the master bathroom, I heard Kai coughing so I headed out to see what was going on.  Sure enough he was coughing.  Holding a cup, standing in front of the toilet with the lid up, coughing.  Because he apparently dipped the cup in the toilet and drank it.  Yes, it was clean water.  No, I did nothing other than move him out of the bathroom, shut the door, and use hand sanitizer on his hands.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Linky Love-What we Need to Tell Our Daughters

Love this post by my friend, Kathy.  She shared her thoughts on what girls really need to hear but then she stepped it up a notch by sharing links to books that help to promote those things with in pre teen, tween, and teen girls.  It's a great list, one I'm tucking away.  One caveat-I think Kathy's post underscores great Biblical principles for raising girls.  Of course, the biggest principle is "Love God, love others, love yourself."  Relationship has to trump rules.  It's why Micah 6:8 is one of my regular prayers for all of my kids, that they would learn that God wants them to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.  Anyway, just thought I'd share.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Locs Braid Out

We had family picture this last week so I tried to do a bit more with Conleigh's hair than our usual "slap a headband on and call it good" style.  The night before, she washed her hair and I put some Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curling Butter on as I sectioned it out into medium sized box braids.  I was pretty deliberate in how I positioned the boxes, creating a section for side swept bangs at the front by creating a part and then braiding to the right and left of that part.  The back section of her hair was braided going towards the back.  In other words, you braid the braids so that they will hang in the direction you want the hair to lay once you undo the braids.  I did pretty small sections, like maybe 6-8 braid locks in each box.  The actual box braids looked pretty decent by themselves.  Conleigh actually wore them to church on Sunday.  I should have taken a quick picture but I didn't think about it at the time.  I took the braids out on Sunday afternoon and the wavy locs were perfect.  She loved it.

The Two Things Every Mom Needs to Hear

For the mom who has restless babies who do not sleep through the night, who thinks even four hours of solid sleep would be wonderful...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who has a teenager who is sullen and withdrawn, who misses the toddler who was so quick to crawl up into her lap...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom whose husband works long hours and finds herself as the cook and the maid and the peacemaker and the toothbrusher and the bedtime story reader...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who is not thin enough, smart enough, religious enough, pretty enough, funny enough...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who looks back at her previous life, the one before kids and finds the person she is now is nothing like the person she used to be...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who is watching her children go to kindergarten.  Or junior high.  Or off to senior pictures.  Who cannot believe how long the days are but how short the years are...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who feels like motherhood has squeezed out every ounce of energy from her body, who runs on coffee and chocolate, who would exercise but can't find the time, who feels like she is neglecting her spiritual side, who wishes she could fit more into the 24 hours she is given each day...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who feels alone, who is surrounded by people, but always alone...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who really is alone, who is limited by her own physical or mental health issues, who is raising a child who has unique needs that make friendship with others hard, who lives in an isolated area where there just aren't many women her age..this is hard and in spite of those limits, you're a good mom.

For the mom who is battling dark feelings, anxious thoughts, and depression, who wonders when she will finally be able to get out of the pit...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who seems to have it all-the perfect husband, the beautiful house, the well mannered kids-who everyone always seems to view as a bit too perfect, too beautiful, too well mannered...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who goes to work every day and wishes she could stay home..this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who stays home every day and wishes she could go to work...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom who goes to work but doesn't feel guilty but then feels guilty because she doesn't feel guilty...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom whose child is a prodigal, who has rejected her values, her rules, her love...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For the mom whose child is broken, who is consumed by addiction or mental illness...this is hard and you're a good mom.

For every mom, no matter how others might view your circumstances, this is hard and you're a good mom.

Perhaps it is part of the curse, that as a result of Eve's sin, the curse of pain in childbirth stretches far past the actual birthing moments.  Or perhaps it is more about the broader consequences of living in a fallen world.  I think every woman is vaguely aware of how motherhood is hard.  But until you are a mom who is living it day in and day out, I don't think you fully understand just how hard it is.  Of course, there are moments of joy.  But when moms are really honest with themselves, there are a lot of really hard moments.  It doesn't matter where you live, how much money you make, how many kids you have, or even how much you love Jesus.  The plain simple truth is that being a mom is hard.  Hearing someone else acknowledge how hard those moments are is affirming.  Not because moms need to be weighed down with negative thinking.  But because moms need to know that these struggles are a part of a shared human experience, that it's not just unique to them, and that when they face these challenges every day, that sometimes just surviving in that moment is considered success.

It's so easy for motherhood to feel like a never ending game of Candyland.  It's playing with ever changing rules, where drawing a purple card doesn't mean move to purple, but instead means move to yellow, but when the next purple card is drawn, it actually means move to green.  It's a constant challenge to keep the game board orderly and then as you get the cards neatly stacked, a strong wind from the ceiling fan blows them off onto the floor.  It's being one square away from the candy castle and somehow drawing the silly plum card, forcing you way back to the beginning of the game, while the end point seems to only get farther and farther away.  It's watching others joyfully playing, watching others celebrating their win, while you sit mired on a black dot, waiting for someone else to draw a card that will free you from that square.  A lot of times, it just feels defeating, like you are losing and doing a terrible job even at that.   If that's where you are today, let me offer up one more affirmation:  you are a good mom.  You are not perfect.  You are not the same as the mom down the street, as your mom, as your best friend, or as the mom in the magazine.  You are a real mom, a mom who is doing the best she can in the moment with what she has.  Sometimes, it is not about making the right choice or having all the answers.  Sometimes, good means simply that you love your kids and that your love for your kids will cover a multitudes of wrongs.  You're a good mom.