Tag Archives: parenting

When our “inner child” escapes….

Inside every one of us is an “inner child”. It’s that little part of you that still squeals when you shoot down a roller coaster or when you try on one of the kid’s halloween props to get a laugh. It’s that part of us that we often let die as we enter adulthood.

I have to ask myself why?

Why do we feel that “adulthood” clearly demands us to “grow up”?

That is somehow calls us to abandon the childlike fun that we truly enjoy.

But…what would happen if we “tapped” into that part more often.

Could we truly relieve some of the stress that prevaides our adult lives? Could we have deeper, wordless conversations with our children? with our spouses?

I was about to find out the other day..

We were invited to a bonfire with the school of some of my nieces and nephews.  As I passed this huge swing set with my husband, I grabbed one swing and sat down. “How about a few pushes?” I said to my husband. I thought it would be really romantic. Little did I know that his “inner child” ( a natural troublemaker) was about to spoil this moment.  My children looked on as I sailed through the sky, laughing at how high I was. After popping out of my seat three times, I was screaming to “get off!” However, the hubs was enjoying this too much. Every time I begged to get off, he pushed harder and faster.  I tried to kick him, as my words were proving worthless,  and he eventually slowed down.  Pure fear and dizziness had overtaken me, but he was filled with pure delight.

His smile, although devilish, was so attractive. I was experiencing so many emotions: fear, anxiety, excitement….it was also somewhat thrilling. It made me realize that I don’t have enough of these moments of childlike fun.

I believe that this is the beauty  of having children. They can spark these beautiful memories of childhood within us. We can relive our own joys and sorrows while we watch them engage in similar memories.

Today I realized too late that my son had flag football practice. I had no time to grab anything to occupy the two little girls so they would have to just run around.

Well, the school, where they were practicing, had these big, beautiful “perfect for climbing” trees. I looked over as I saw the two older girls dangling from two branches….their hair hanging and blowing in the wind. It took me back to visiting my grandmother and climbing this huge tree in her house. I would dangle, similarly, from that tree and look to see how low my long hair hung.

While the big girls climbed the tree, Mini me and Miss Missy were running around with branches from the trees….they had become “witches” and those branches had quickly become “brooms”. I watched for the next 30 minutes as they were filled with pure joy. The gentle breeze blowing their hair….their giggling and laughter being enjoyed by all the parents present.

I watched as Mini me found one tree that had a collection of leaves at its base. She ran quickly and threw herself onto that pile, throwing up leaves and laughing as they fell onto her hair and clothes. She was in pure delight.  As soon as the other girls saw her, they took off running for that pile. Working together, they helped create a bigger pile to jump into.

And watching this, brought me back to these pictures……

DDD, Sweet Pea, and the Fashionista as little ones playing in the leaves…

They LOVED the fall and spent hours in the leaves….

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Holding all these thoughts in my heart, along with my own love for piling up the leaves and “jumping in”, I went running over to the girls.
I told Miss Missy that I was going to lay down in the leaves, and she could bury me. She was so excited. As she started to pile the leaves on my body, I heard the Fashionista say, “Whose idea was this?”. “Mom’s!”, I heard Miss Missy squeal. Then eight hands started piling on more and more leaves…giggles and laughter ensued. I laid there…..just enjoying all those sounds. One by one, each child was buried and then enjoyed the excitement of jumping up and shaking off the leaves.

“Mom…did you do this as a kid?” Sweet Pea said.

“I sure did! And the bigger the pile, the better!!” I answered.

The sky turned dark and the sweaty boys were dismissed to their parents….and as we climbed back into the van, I reached over to grab a leaf out of the Fashionista’s hair.  “Seems like you wanted to take this home…..Were you playing in leaves today?”

Her smile said it all.

I realized today how important it is to share these memories with my children. I need to not be just the face behind the camera….but the one under the leaf pile. 

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Bows, tights, toothpaste……surviving the Sunday morning craziness…..

Ok moms….grab that big cup of joe, or that large glass of wine and let’s “chat”:

get your kids ready for church

Sunday Morning Craziness

Sunday Morning Craziness is defined as the crazy time in the morning that preludes attending Sunday morning service/Mass.

In honor of this quite frustrating time…I have parodied a song you might enjoy….

Move over Julie Andrews…haha…...

These are a few annoying things (to the tune of “favorite things”)….

tights that have holes, and teeth that need brushing,

can’t find a hairbrush, and God knows we’re rushing,

kids slow as molasses, and daddy’s unseen

these are a few annoying things.

When the zipper breaks, when the baby cries,

when I’m feeling sad…

I simply remember I’m meeting our Lord

….and then I don’t feel….. sooooooooo bad.

hahaha…..

Seriously……

Now…I don’t plan to run off and become the next big song writer…but that did get you thinking, huh?

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So, how do you feel when you look at a picture like this?

Does the thought of getting all these kids ready overwhelm you?

Do you dread the “Sunday morning shuffle”??!!

Because if it does, that’s ok…….

I used to feel the same way.

I have often heard that we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes.

And…that’s why I blog…hahahaha. 

That’s why I wanted to give you a few pieces of advice that have allowed me a smoothier Sunday morning.

*****Disclaimer: Maybe, you are awesome at this and want to leave some advice for the rest of us…please feel free to write some suggestions in the comment section.*******

When I had three children and was trying to get them ready for Church,  No one could have convinced me that I would one day have five children, be able to get them ready for church, and still enjoy a nice sit down breakfast with my family before. I was practically losing my mind…and my faith in my mothering abilities every Sunday.  I was rushing around trashing my bathrooms, leaving a trail of clothes behind and a huge post-Mass mess.

I would soon learn the key to end this craziness: planning ahead. 

When I was a young child, I dreaded the “sunday morning craziness”….trying to make it to church on time. Six people trying to get into one bathroom and get ready for Mass on Sunday. My mom would get us dressed for church, and then we would sit on the couch in front of the TV with my dad. Then she would run around with little time to get herself dressed. We were always a few minutes late.

As I grew older, I would practically lose my mind waiting in the car with my dad. I had inherited his love for timeliness and order, and saw being late as a complete sign of disrespect. We would go out to the car together, with plenty of time to spare, until the rest of our family would make their way outside….often holding socks, shoes, or jackets in their arms. My mom, on the other hand, moved for “no one” and somehow thought that time would “stand still” while she got ready. If you asked her, we only lived “5 minutes” from the church….however, that was only true if we made all the lights and never fully “stopped” at a stop sign…haha.

I took this same “frustrated” mentality into my early marriage. My husband didn’t share my love for “timeliness” and would often wait until the last minute to jump up, take a “5 minute” shower (those don’t exist) and throw something on for church. I would be in the car already in a terrible, anxious mood for church.

I couldn’t understand why is was so tough. Wake up, get ready….it was the same thing every week. However, when you add gettting “little people” into the mix, your life just got a lot tougher. In addition, if you have kiddos that insist on picking out their own outfits, it can get downright insane…haha.

So after several unsuccessful Mass attempts and several years of messes, I have developed these “sanity savers” ……

Pick out your kids clothes the night before…..

We check the weather and lay everything out the night before. I mean…everything.  The girls typically hang their dresses on their closet doors complete with tights hanging, bows clipped, shoes on the ground, and underwear tucked around the hanger. This avoids any last minute…”I don’t have any socks. or “I’m out of underwear” issues. It also prevents a certain boy from thinking he can pick out shorts in fall weather. However, Mini me did try to attend Mass this morning with brown sandals over black tights…good gosh. 

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Bathe the little ones the night before. Have older kids shower before, if possible. 

My “mini me” has gorgeous curly hair…that needs to be brushed out and “set”. I like to give her a shower on Sunday mornings or else she will definitely be rocking a ponytail.  However, my son and oldest daughter have straight hair and I will often have them shower the night before. The Fashionista likes to shower in the morning verses the night so she showers the same day too. The hubs and I are definitely Sunday morning showerers. Having three of my children shower the night before saves me time and hot water the next morning. It also allows them to go straight to getting ready.

Get up early and shower yourself.

Yes! Do this! You have to! I used to get up early and start breakfast for everyone. However, I realized that if I got up a little earlier and got myself ready….it was easier to make breakfast in my robe with all my undergarments on. I would put on my jewelry and lay out my clothes so I needed minutes to get ready. I don’t want my clothes smelling like bacon so I will often put on lounge pants and a shirt but my hair and makeup is often done..and my clothes are laid out on my bed.

Serve a nice hot breakfast so no one needs to eat after they are dressed for church. Our family loves to attend the 11:30 Mass at our parish. Since we live about 30 minutes away, my kiddos can still sleep in til around 8/8:30…we can have a nice breakfast between 9-10:00 and head out the door by 10:50/11:00. Cereal or frozen waffles will send my little ones begging for a snack right about during the homily so breakfast is always eggs and some other kind of protein to keep them full.

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Tell your spouse to “give you 15 minutes of time” before the time you need to leave. I have found that this fact was CRUCIAL when I had a baby or toddler. My husband would get ready and then find me for that last 15 minutes. Sometimes it was to find a missing shoe. Sometimes it would be to double check that I had a few outfits, diapers, and wipes for the diaper bag…..but often it was to help me put on a necklace or fasten my dress. If we were ready, he would pile the kiddos in their car seats so I could give the house a quick “tidy” before leaving.

Store a neutral bow and several ponytails in your purse.  This tip is especially necessary if you have a child that likes to pull out their bows. Several of my girls, I wouldn’t even style their hair until we were in the parking lot of the church. If you keep a neutral bow like a white or a black, you are always good. Ponytails can help the worst of hair days….just trust me on that one. 

A couple of stored “mints” will prevent you embarrassment in one of your older kids “forgets” to brush their teeth. I would LOVE to say that this seldom happens but I have a preteen who is obsessed with eye rolling and anything remotely hygienic …yep…we have turned to those mints to save embarrassment.

Take a deep breath as you get in the car. There is nothing more you can do. Anything that wasn’t done…can’t be done. Prepare yourself to meet the Lord and be present.

Most of all, try to put yourself at ease. Your kids are adorable even if they drive you insane getting out the door. And Lord knows, the other moms are too worried about their own child’s hair to notice that this is the fifth Sunday in a row that you are rocking a ponytail.

Please see these tips for what they are…..”sanity savers”. I’m not insinuating that my family is “perfect”…sometimes we oversleep or have a late night on Saturday night and all my “planning” goes out the door.  However, we have several “sanity savers” to help us the next week.

May your Sunday become calmer and more peaceful.

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Brought to my knees by a plate of waffles….

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Have you ever been close to tears due to stress or being overwhelmed and then one little thing happens…and you lose your mind?….

like a sticky waffle…….

When I walked around to my daughter’s side of my minivan, yesterday morning, and saw this, I lost it. A plate of sticky waffles slowly dripping on the floor of my van….and that was my unraveling….

Am I crazy about waffles or something?!

Nope…it was just the final “straw” in being overwhelmed and underheard as a mother……

That waffle was the pebble that, once removed, started the deluge of rocks of thoughts and worries that have plagued my mind for the past few weeks…

Why can’t my kids follow my rules? How do I do all this? Why is my husband traveling so much?  When do I clean? Why are my kids so messy? Am I meeting the needs of all my kids? Why do I have so little time for myself? Why is my family plagued by medical issues?

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I literally feel like I am pulling this ricksha….most of the time…..uphill…. with five kids and a husband inside it…haha.

And most days I’m on level ground so I can carry my own…

and then some days it seems all uphill…..

As I picked up that waffle, I wiped away the tears from a rough few days. And under my breath, I said, ” lord, help me hold this together.”

I took a deep breath as I walked around the van…and all those memories and thoughts flooded my brain.

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  • the constant picking up of random kid items….(Lord knows they all have a place)
  • the weekly menu planning that I continuously struggle to finish

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  • The little annoying messes everywhere I look…(does no one know how to clean)
  • finding the time to scrub floors; wash windows; and do laundry
  • bills need to be scheduled and paid; registers balanced and budgets tweaked

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  • The daily schooling of five kiddos…(isn’t education overrated?)
  • the endless errands: extracurriculars, food shopping, clothes shopping, etc.
  • and then there’s the holidays….Halloween is less than two weeks away.

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  • the two molars pulled, this week, for Sweet Pea
  • the constant nagging of DDD to wear his retainer…
  • The ER visit on friday with the Fashionista for a seizure (um….what?!)

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  • So now we are in the process of appointments and testing to figure out what’s going on with the Fashionista…..

And…this was me…..DONE!!!!

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Yeah…it wasn’t pretty.

“Quit your crying, Taffeta”….haha

But...ugly cries are awesome.

It’s pretty cleansing…..

So…..I tossed out that sticky waffle and I cleaned up any remnants of it on my carpet.

And just like that….I know that I can get through this.

So if you can identify with any of those feelings, or you are at the end of your rope, I recommend a good old “ugly cry”….and then take it to the foot of the cross. 

Sometimes it just takes a “sticky waffle” to remind you that you need to get on your knees and be thankful for your “worries” and what overwhelms you.

Mostly because you have a God that is bigger than all of that.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”- Phillipians 4:13

As for today, God and I have this one covered.

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5 kids……weekly Adoration…7 quick tips to make it possible…..

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“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”- Mark 9:24

Such beautiful words…so necessary for our times. Sometimes, I just get caught up in the rat race of keeping a clean house; trying to be a loving and Godly wife; and raising little saints for His kingdom that I forget the beauty of silence with God. The beauty of sitting in the presence of the Lord…and allowing Him to speak to my weary soul. Do I truly “possess” the notion that my Lord and savior is available to me 24 hours a day in the beauty of adoration?… “help my unbelief”….

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Eucharist Adoration was something that I experienced early as a child. My mom would take us over the summer for daily Mass and we would sit, one day a week, in adoration for a few minutes. I was far from thrilled…. Didn’t she know summer awaited me? I had summer reading to tackle and friends to chat with…but my mom was “planting seeds”. She was introducing me to an important part of my faith……the part where we learn that true “faith” is going through the motions and praying for a deeper conversion. She knew that one day….I would “get it”.

I attended adoration in high school but few things prepared me for the experience of my first “Steubenville”summer conference. Franciscan University (my alma mater) runs these Summer Youth Conferences all over the country. When I was a high school youth, they were running them only from their college campus. My high school religion teacher, an FUS graduate, convinced me that I needed to attend one. I raised the money for the trip and was off to endure the heat of summer in a huge tent with 2,000 other teens.

One night, I was told we were going to have Eucharist Adoration. No biggie…I had been to that before. However, I heard the large crowd of over 2,000 youth and their chaperones erupt in cheers and chanting. I felt like I was at a concert. “Oh my gosh!, I thought. I wander who is coming in”. Unsure of what was happening, I stood up to see the priest, illuminated by an enormous spotlight, processing through the crowd with the monstrance. At that moment, something inside me broke…and the tears fell. All of a sudden, my soul cried out, “my Lord and my God”. My mind couldn’t comprehend the thoughts that were taking over my heart but I was falling madly in love with Christ. I was truly in the presence of the “King of Kings”.

Our relationship continued to build, as I entered Franciscan University as a freshman and began my first scheduled adoration hour. In the dark of the night, I would throw on my sweatshirt and sweatpants; grab my slippers and brave the cold to meet with the Lord around 3 am. Barely awake, I would open that heavy wooden door, and the beams of lights surrounding the monstrance would overwhelm me. I would spend hours in front of the Lord.

What a gift this was for me in college! Many a night I would fall asleep under the Son’s rays and feel such peace. I would throw my cares upon the Lord…and know that he was there for me. It was before our Lord that my future husband and I often prayed for our future marriage and children.

When I returned to the campus this spring, I was eager to spend a few minutes back in that chapel. To soak in that hearty wood smell, and the creaky of the big doors…….and give my thanks for all the blessings and answers to prayers that had begun in that very building.

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It seems only fitting that my children come to know and love this time before the Lord. I need to plant the same “seeds” in my own children as my mom did. The practical implications of taking five children to weekly adoration seemed like a task I should be willing to conquer, now I just needed to figure out the easiest and most helpful ways to accomplish this.

After several weeks of adoration, I have found that these seven tips have helped me to set a successful adoration trip with my crew:

Reassess your “notion” of adoration. When I was in college, my adoration time was completely quiet. I was not distracted by little whisperers nor was I concerned with the noise level or behavior of the other people in the chapel with me. My adoration time, as a mom with my kids, is shortened to a few moments at a time when I can refocus myself. I must recognize that my time before the Lord is about quality not quantity. I must be willing to “allow my eyes to gaze upward on the Lord” and away from what my children are doing.

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Discuss the “expectations” of your child/children’s behavior. On the way to adoration, I address behavior issues that I recall from the week before. I remind the children that it is appropriate to be “kneeling before the Lord and spending a few moments in prayer”. I review that this is a special time in our week, when we get to spend with the Lord more intimately. I ask each child what they have decided to “do” during their adoration time and make suggestions of people whom they should pray for, etc. I have all my children use the bathroom before we enter the small chapel. I had to recognize that this was going to be a “learned skill” for my kids and with that I had to find a happy medium between constantly correcting them and allowing myself to “enter in” and spend some time in peace myself. I make a point to not allow myself to grow angry as I feel this is counterproductive.

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Start out with a shorter time and slowly increase it weekly. The first time the children and I EVER attended adoration, it was for about 10 minutes. I explained to the little ones, how Jesus comes in “a special way” to be with us. We gradually worked up to 20, then 30, etc…and now we stay for the full hour. I will often pull the little girls over to me to guide them into more formal prayer and to pray over them.

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Bring religious articles/books for your younger children. I have several prayer cards, rosaries, and little saint books that I throw in my bag for our adoration time. I will take a few minutes and help one of the little ones read their book or teach them how to “create the story” from looking at the pictures.

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Thanksgiving/than Petition. Guide your children in speaking to God. I encourage my children to “spend a few minutes thinking of all the blessings we have, and thank God for them. Now, ask God to bless those who have asked for prayer, and need God’s help. Finally, using your own words, tell God how much he means to you and listen for Him to speak to you.” Encourage your children to dialogue with the Lord. Teach them how to sit in the quiet and listen for the voice of God. What a beautiful blessing when they can train their young souls to seek the voice of God. Liken this time to a “visit with grandmom”. “You wouldn’t go to grandmom’s house and eat her cookies, swing in her swing, and play with her dog without greeting her and talking, right?! Well, God awaits us in the blessed sacrament. He longs for you to thank Him for all the blessings in your life.”

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Make suggestions to your children on how to spend their time. I allow my 3 and 5 yr old to color religious coloring books during this time. My 3 yr old also writes “notes” to Jesus that she rolls into scrolls and leaves near the flowers on the vase on the altar floor. My older children (ages 8, 9, and 11) spend their time praying the rosary, walking the stations of the cross on the walls, reading prayer pamphlets or lives of the saint books. Each one of them will come over to me for individual prayer time with me or just to sit in my lap while I pray.

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To make you feel more comfortable, consider speaking to the other adults that hold that same weekly adoration slot that you do. I waited for the woman that shared our adoration time one afternoon. I told her that the children would be coming weekly with me. I assured her that the children would “try” their best to be quiet but that they were learning to “adore Our Lord” and that it would be a process.  I was praying that she would understand. Her response was so loving….so thoughtful. She told me that she loved to see their little faces and that she would pray that it was a blessed time for them.

Adoration is so needed in our chaotic and hectic world today. It is imperative that we teach our young children how to seek the voice of God through silence. May God’s voice not fall on deaf ears…but young ears eager to share His message.

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Don’t ask….no really…you don’t WANT to know….

Don’t ask…..

If you’re a mom, you have definitely pulled this gun out of your holster. It’s that token phrase for “I have no SANE reasoning for what is happening here”.

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An appropriate example would be when your husband walks in to you simultaneously plowing through a 1/2 gallon of ice cream and a margarita….his perplexed look of “what in the sam hell is going on here?” can only be followed by a …..

“Don’t ask”…….

If he is a smart man, he will begin to make himself a drink and grab a spoon to help with the ice cream. He will not press the “issues” of the day with you but will wait until you have entered a place of mental stability.

After 14 years of marriage, the hubs knows to just take my “don’t ask” literally…and just walk away.

Smart man.

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Don’t ask…..

because most of these moments/pictures need little explanation…..

Sit back….and enjoy a good laugh at my expense…..

Have you ever had one of those days/minutes/moments when you want to check and see if you are secretly on camera?! When you are thinking to yourself…“this is clearly insane”.….or “no one would believe me if I told them this……”

like when…….

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You find out that the crayons that you were told were “cleaned up”….just melted all over your van….

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you go to grab the hand towel in the bathroom, and a munchkin (donut hole) rolls out from underneath…

don’t ask……

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or when your five year old freaks out about “not being tired” and then you find her ten minutes later like this…..

Yeah….don’t ask…..

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When you find two dried up pieces of bread (with diamond impressions on them)stuffed into a red  bag on your bookshelf……

Don’t ask……

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When your daughter uses her $25 gift card from Claire’s to purchase a “kitty mask” instead of a headband…or earrings……..

really…..don’t ask…..

When you open up the fridge to make eggs for breakfast, and find baseball cards…

found these in the fridge.

found these in the fridge.

No, really……what in the hell is going on here??!!!

Don’t ask……

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When you are cruising through your iphone and find this creepy picture…..

Yep…..don’t ask….. 

or when your son decides to talk “like a parrot” and “echo everyone”…all…day….until the little girls are in tears……

……..(pass the shot glass)..and just don’t ask…..

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When you are tempting to tell the 3 yr old how awesome her drawing of you is and then she says…”I wanted you to look ugly.”…….

Don’t ask…..

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When you decide that the cranky toddler’s need for sleep, overrides the need for a clean face…..

hahaha…don’t ask….

Oh man…everyday I ride between normalcy and crazytown…..

this life is anything but boring.

Thank you, Lord, for these little gifts who take my sanity and bring me so much joy.

 Well…..I’m so glad to be huddled up in my covers and saying “goodnight” to this day….bring on the weekend!!!

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Seeing motherhood through the eyes of a child…..

When I was a child, I use to love to play with my sister. She was about 2 years older than me and always had great games we could think up. We would run the gamut of different careers in our imaginative play time in our bedrooms. We often were doctors, nurses, secretaries, lawyers, fashion designers, etc. We would spend long afternoons “dreaming” about what our lives would be like when we were older.

It seemed simple enough…..

We would have the most “put together” outfits…..

We would change our nail polish everyday to match our outfits…..

We would have four or five perfectly behaved kids…..

And a large home with a corvette….

In essence, we were barbies…..haha.

If you were to ask us what our mom did, we would say she didn’t work. She just sat around all day.

We never “saw” any of the work that she did. As far as we were concerned, she was just “hanging out” all day like we were. But “somehow”, we arrived at school dressed and ready; ate meals; and participated in extracurriculars. Now don’t get me wrong, my mother wasn’t the “Joan Cleaver” type but she made sure that we were taken care of.

The summer that I spent on my bed, memorizing the paisley pattern of my mattress, I would have said that my mom enjoyed watching me be miserable. That she would “find” things to correct me for. I was a “martyered” and “tortured” soul. My mom loved seeing me “sit on my bed and miss all the fun”.

What was her problem? Why was my life so unfair?

“I can’t wait to be a mom….and boss people around. I’m going to do whatever I want…whenever I want!”

The tears would stream down my face….until my mom would let me out of my room…and then I was off to do the next troublesome thing.

I mean…how hard could it be to be a mom?

I truly had no idea how tough this thing called “motherhood” was. You really have to have a huge heart…..the thickest skin….and a great deal of confidence. And a wine cellar in your basement wouldn’t hurt…..hahaha
But…seriously?! What other job could monopolize your every waking and sleeping moment; completely drain you of everything; and yet….be so extremely rewarding??!!!

I am currently in a few different phases of my parenting vocation. I am battling the independent strong-willed three year old…..I am trying to calm the fast-talking, no-one-listens-to-me five year old….I am searching for ways to show the middle child that she is loved and adored….fighting off urges to strangle my ever-teasing, constant prankster son….and deal with the parental blows of pre-teendom and puberty. God help us…..we are “chasing” a lot of wine.

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However….even with all the hard work that goes into mothering this brood daily….my love for each one of them never wavers.

 Being a mom is like “having a piece of your heart walking around outside your body”. Boy…is that ever true. Our children will never truly understand how deep our love for them is. However, it is our God-given duty to make sure we tell them. To make sure that it is so ingrained in their being that they could never challenge that notion. We can’t just tell them….we have to show them. And we can’t just show them, we have to tell them. We have to write them embarrassing notes on their school napkins. We have to scream their name and yell “that’s my son/daughter” when they score that soccer goal. We have to be the first one ready to greet them off the bus…and the last one to kiss them goodnight. They have to know that there is nothing that can separate them from our love.

One afternoon, Mini Me was agonizing over having to clean up her mess of barbies in our school room. As she did the “walk of shame” kicking and throwing her body next to the mess, she stated “I can’t WAIT to be a mom. I can’t wait to boss my kids around.” And I will admit….my first response was to think defensively but then I realized that this was a great opportunity to really help her understand.

“Really?! I said. Because….I hate having to correct you. It’s the worst part of my day.”

She looked utterly shocked.

“Yep. Yelling at your kids, having to punish them, sending them to their rooms….all that….makes me sad as a mom.

“It does?” She said……(mind blown)

“But….do you know what I LOVE about being a mom. I love taking you to the park and swinging on the swing next to you! I love getting big huge hugs that make me fall down on the floor. And….I like having a BIG bowl of ice cream, when you are in bed, just because I am the mom. And I think those are all the things that you will LOVE about being a mom too.

She smiled the biggest smile.

And as I helped her clean up the barbies, I continued to explain to her how it was my job to teach her all the things she needed to learn to be a good mom.

“Do you know how I learned to clean the house? I had to clean up my toys like you do. I learned to make my bed by doing it when I was your age. Why do I have a close relationship with God? Well…. I learned to love God with my heart by reading bible stories and listening at Church….much like I ask you to listen at Mass. And when I correct you for saying mean things or throwing a temper tantrum, I am trying to help you become a loving mommy and a nice lady. Mommy’s job is to help you be the best you!!! It’s not always fun to be told to do things…but God has plans for you and needs mom’s help to get them done!”

And for the past few years, as I focus on “motherhood”, it has made me question my relationship with regards to my own mother. Maybe God wants me to remember that she too was being judged through the “eyes of a child”. That maybe some of the “issues” that I have had with my mom, in the past, were ready to be “retired”. She too, deserved some praise for loving me and doing her best to raise me in love and in my faith. That, as a mother, God was granting me the ability to forgive my mom and realize her own inadequacies. God was allowing me to see this cycle of mother/daughter/mother.  In time, I would be able to see that my own mother was being judged too harshly with the same naive “childish vision”. That as an adult, I must re-examine my thoughts and feelings from my childhood and see through those experiences with new “adult vision”. To seek forgiveness for the times that I was quick to judgement and slow to forgive.

Are you looking at your mom with this “childlike vision”? Are you holding her to “ideals” that are just too unrealistic? What about your family? Do you seek to fill your life with opportunities to love your kids?

Our time with our kids and loved ones is so fleeting. Gather those whom you love in your arms and squeeze tight. Tell them that you love them and show them. Let us, as mothers and fathers, remember that our children may judge us and question us but with that same passionate “child like” vision comes a true lack of clarity. May we as adults cling to the virtues that we struggle to instill daily. And when our days are met with resistance and comments about how “mean” we are, that we may remember the long journey ahead of us and push onward.

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Ways to love your ONLY son…..

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The minute I heard the basketball hit the pavement, I made a dart for the kitchen door. The hubs was supposedly taking out the trash but I knew better…he was going to try and get in a few “hoops” and I wanted in. We were out for only 5 minutes when I heard the door open….

“wait??!! What??!!! I’m playing!!!”…..said DDD.

“nope…go get ready for bed. It’s just your mom and I.”

And with that…I heard the door shut…and minutes later, the living room window open.

“Wow, dad…looks like you should just hand the ball to mom!”

“Ouch, mom…I thought you said that was your “money shot”!

“Seriously…..you old people are terrible.”

The child is a serious heckler…but…I gotta forgive him because it’s in his genes. Few things make my heart flutter like the hubs when he gets in a great “one liner”…and knows it. And DDD is no different. As soon as he delivers a good liner, he throws his head back and explosive laughter ensues.

I had to duck behind the garage door so I could bend over, I was laughing so hard at some of his comments to us.

This kid….he is really one of a kind.

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I am often asked what it is like to be raising a son with four girls. I’m not really sure how to answer that. A few words come to mind….amazing…hysterical….joyfilled…..annoying…exhausting….just to name a few. I guess half of the battle is realizing that he’s totally different than each of this sisters down to even his biological makeup. And with that….he has to be parented differently.

To put it simply, he’s my rock…..in my basket of eggs.IMG_7319

Stay with me….I am sure it will get clearer.

My girls are the eggs. Their feelings are fragile. I never know what will throw them into tears or some kind of drama. They need to be cuddled and comforted. They want to be hugged and protected. They like to be “sat on” by the momma hen….cared for and comforted. They can’t seem to get close enough and yet they always need that caring and sensitive hand to reach out to them. Small criticisms about the state of their hair can cause them to burst into tears, and one loving complement on their “stylish” outfit can make their day. Even the biggest tomboy needs the reassurance of mom and dad.

Then there’s my rock. He wants to knock stuff off the shelves and be thrown to break stuff. He has rough edges and can be too rough without knowing it. He’s rough and yet steady. He is the first object you pick up to defend yourself and the annoying object in your shoe causing you discomfort. There is a reason that boys love to “skip rocks” at the creek…..

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I will never forget when DDD was a toddler. He brought so much imagination and pretend play to our house. Sweet Pea watched in awe as her “broom” became a toy horse…and her pots and pans from the kitchen became perfect hats for his head. She was memorized by his ability to find everything fun. He would often sit and stare at the wall in our hallway…..and she could be found sitting next to him, knowing that if he found it fun…than it was.

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He is the “master fort builder” in these parts and his games leave little to be imagined. He is the ultimate “spy” as he has covert spies helping him all the time.

For the past few years, he has begged us for a brother…a gift we have not yet been able to give him. However, in the way that he always has made lemonade out of lemons, he is the ultimate “big brother” cousin to all his little cousins. He is constantly looking out for them and always ready and willing for the next fun thing to play. He can be found holding a “shot gun” and wearing a Daniel Boone hat one minute, and cuddling with a young cousin on the couch the next.

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So…how do I handle life with a “rock”….well….I can only offer 9 years experience, but here is what I have found to be successful:

  • Most attitudes/or personality difficulties are a phase. However difficult, he likes to know when he has been “impressive” or a “huge help”. I grab him his favorite treat for a helpful week or give him extra kindle or TV time.
  • I wrestle him….as often as possible….. (my shoulders are often sore from him hanging on them, and my legs bruised)
  • I pin him down at nighttime to sneak in a kiss (because I know he wants one but fights me for it)
  • I sneak up on him to capture cool moments on video…because I know he will want to view them later.
  • I let him “stall” and hug me ten times at bedtime so he can watch the last 10 minutes of a show, because I need those hugs more than he does and there will come a time when they are not there….
  • I memorize lyrics to songs that he loves so I can sing louder than him and he can learn the words…..
  • I DVR his favorite shows and quietly watch while he does…so I can ask him questions about his favorite characters.
  • I steal the ball from him while he is shooting hoops so he knows that I want to spend time with him.
  • I look up jokes on the internet so I can “slam him” but really…I’m just providing him with good material….
  • I sign him up for engineering or science classes that play on his strengths of creativity and building.

Most of all, I am constantly seeking guidance from the Lord in how to love this kid with all I have. Some days are tough, but he’s a clown and I can get all “I’m on a mission and your antics are driving me batty” and some days I just want to put him in my pocket to entertain me all day.

My prayer is that I can continue to mold him into the man that God envisions. That, being surrounded by women that love him, he may truly be a man that loves and respects women.

That by seeking the man whom his dad is…he might seek that same Godly character for his life.

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God Bless,

Tammi