My best parenting resource

Lately I’ve been encountering this new phenomenon.

People have been asking for my advice.  Mine.  *looks over shoulder*  Who me????

Grandmothers, friends, fellow homeschoolers….  They are all asking.  People think that I have something good to say about raising children.

Perhaps its because I have a lot of adorable munchkins and they are still alive and kicking, so I obviously know what I’m doing.  Perhaps its because they act reasonably ridiculous sane in public, so I obviously got this parenting thing down.  Perhaps its because I have a cherry smile on my face despite my constant sleep deprivation, so obviously I can function on coffee alone (actually that last on is on point).  For whatever the reason, I must be giving off a “I’ve got this totally together peeps” aurora about me.

BUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

I have you all fooled!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me remind you that my oldest is only FIVE.  So obviously, I DO NOT KNOW IT ALL.

But I know someone who does.

Jesus Christ.  And it is His Holy word that I take direction from.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

I take this verse pretty seriously because I take our faith and my kids faith seriously.  If I’m not instructing the basics (Jesus and His teaching), then life is worthless and meaningless and this is all for nothing.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

This is a HUGE calling to ALL parents.  I must teach my children about the Lord at meals, during story time, during school time, while I’m tired, while they are misbehaving…. through it all I must steer their heads and hearts back to the One who created them.

I love my chosen role as Mommy.  But sometimes it is HARD.  Like really really really hard.  I’m tired.  NO.  I’m exhausted.  They are tired and cranky and far from perfect adorable little rag-a-muffins.  Folks, parenting is not for the weak.  But I get up everyday and TRY.  I work hard at keeping my cool (even when they are having full blown meltdowns), having patience (during major temper tantrums), disciplining in love (when my toddler refuses to eat), being consistent (even if I’m disciplining for the same infraction over and over and over again) and praying for God to give me His eyes to see my children, when my eyes and my heart are sinful and fail me.

So for whatever unknown reason these fellow in-the-trenches-care takers of small children feel compelled to ask for my opinions on child raising, I hope that I can use that opportunity to direct them to my greatest parenting resource.  The Bible.

Advertisements

A beautiful reminder

With our new set of routines (if you can call it that) and new things we are doing, its very easy to not see what’s really going on.

I usually ask Miss Ariel how her day at school went.  She goes to a drop off Art and Science class with our church and gets to experience new people and learn new things.  She and I both love it.

What she told me next blew me away.

“Mommy, there is a girl and she asked another girl if she could play, but that girl said no.  I went over to her and asked her to play because I thought she was sad.  She said yes.  I even asked her what she wanted to play.  [The new friend] found a ball and she threw it to me and then I threw it to her.  Maybe she can come over and play with my princess dresses!”

Did you catch all that?  My girl, the youngest and littlest baby girl saw that another girl was rejected by a potential friend and took the initiative to be thoughtful and friendly.  Ariel didn’t even dominate what game they played [which she often does at home with her younger brothers].

My precious pumpkin was kind.

And thoughtful.

And a peacemaker.

My daughter was another girls hero.

To say I was proud would be an understatement.  She put into practice everything I had been trying to teach her.

This quote came to mind.

Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid, that you forget you already have one. — Glennon Melton

I saw in motion that I already have a good child.  Better than good, great.  A great little person.  Thank you Lord for this beautiful reminder.

God laughs at my plans

So we are finally all back together here in the land of HOT.  I mean it feels like the surface of the sun outside.  I have grown up in California and have lived here all of my life, but give me one good summer in Minnesota and I suddenly am a hot weather wimp (Ok ok so I’ve always been a wimp).  Me and my air conditioning unit are already longing for a nice mid-70’s with a cool wind.  Well a girl can dream can’t I?

Besides the absurd how-can-humans-survive-this? weather, Music Man and I are completely overwhelmed with LIFE here.  Kids. Chaos. Clutter. Homeschool. Insanity.

You see, when you introduce small humans to a whole house full of toys that they haven’t played with for months, they will immediately destroy any work that you had previously done to maintain a clean environment.  They will laugh in your face at your attempts of cleanliness.  Its like Christmas morning and they have been given free reign.  Their little minds are BLOWN.

And then you will cry.  Or at least take huge deep breaths and repeatedly say to yourself “don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry” like I did.  (Hey I did better than last year where I really did cry.  And cry HARD)  Because in a mere 0.002 seconds the house will look like an actual atomic bomb has exploded in your living room.  If I weren’t so shocked and saddened by this affair, I would be astounded at the level of destruction these munchkins can make in the short amount of time.  Really its amazing.

Well part of the reason we decided to skedaddle out of our cozy midwestern town and head back to the land of daddy’s-who-must-work is because we had decided to have Ariel join in Monday school through our local church.  Our church has a brick and mortar school with a homeschooling option.  For homeschoolers, you can come to Monday school for fun classes (and sometimes not just on Mondays), and also enjoy sports, drama, music, field trips and other fun things that only a ‘real’ school can give (or a really good co-op).  I think its a wonderful option for homeschoolers.

I really pumped up my sweet little 5 year old gearing her up for her first 1/2 day of drop off school.  She was so excited!

IMG_2186

 

IMG_2184

Of course she had an Ariel backpack!

Well we had gotten to the right place, stepped right up ready to get instructions and the lady behind the counter said “Uh, yah we don’t have kindergarten this year.  There weren’t enough kids who signed up for it.  All we have is 1st grade classes and up.”

And for the second time in two days I had to repeat “Don’t cry.  Don’t cry.  Don’t cry” to myself.  Thank goodness Ariel is good-natured and didn’t quite catch on why the other kids were leaving to go into their classes and she was still stuck with me.

The administrators were kind and accommodating and are allowing my precocious daughter into any 1st grade classes we would like to participate in.  All we have to do is figure out what we wold like to participate in.  There are other co-ops or do nothing but actual at home homeschooling only.

And now I am struggling as to where to place my feet.  Which road do I follow?  Basically God laughed at my plans.  

So I’ll leave you with something that made me laugh.  I had Ariel hold up a sign that read

“1st Day of Kindergarten.  I want to be a Princess… SO I DON’T HAVE TO HAVE ANY JOBS”.

Building a strong work ethic over here.  *sigh*

This might be a long year folks

Summer surgery

There are few moments when you realize that you are completely and totally out of control.  Granted, being in control is a total farce, but we sure like to believe the lie don’t we?  Well I had the opportunity this week to submit any ounce of control into a surgeons hands while he took care of a birth defect in my son, Little Rascal.

It is in these precious moments when I can really see God’s mighty hand at work.  It is one thing to utter a simple “oh God’s in control!” when you act as though it is you plainly in charge.  When tragedy strikes or you are forced to give your baby over to someone else, you are forced to recognize that it truly is the Lord who is in control and who loves you and your children, even more than you do.

These are the moments that are a true act of faith.

IMG_6578

Here is daddy and Little Rascal touching the stars for them to make animal sounds!  I really appreciated the amazing amount of effort to help kids who are sick at this hospital.  We could not have asked for better.

IMG_6586

Here he is getting his blood pressure checked.

IMG_6588

LR is getting prepped for the big occasion, but before the doctor is ready a volunteer brought in the tractor toy which LR LOVED.  he immediately went for it and everybody in the room laughed.  In fact he had to hold it while he was put in the surgery room, while the nurse asked “um, isn’t there something a little more cuddly you want to take little guy?”.  Luckily momma brought his special sleepy tiger, but Little Rascal thought it best to bring BOTH toys.

IMG_6591

I was pretty grateful that they let me come into the room with him until he went under with anesthesia.  This shot was BEFORE he had any sleepy medicine.  It was just an unfortunate selfie for LR.

IMG_6594

After surgery pouty face.  Daddy was a lucky dad who got to hold his sleepy son while he slept for another hour while the nurses kept checking in on him.

IMG_6600

Here is his incision.  Good thing boys think scars are cool.  *pictured on day 2* *sorry for the shadow, its hard to capture a moving target*

IMG_6599

Chowing down a bunch of toast after a full day of no eating.  By the time we got home he was ready to run around with his big brother and big sister, although a bit tipsy, he was still happy to be up and around.

Prayers were certainly answered.  Little Rascal was as good as gold for such a big day.

God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.

Back to Summer

Everybody I know in California are posting pictures of their adorable brood off to their first day of school.  Well since we have decided to homeschool, it feels weird to be left out.  In fact, I’m already freaking out that we are far behind because we have chosen to not start school until early September.

But it got me thinking about this venture into homeschooling.  Earlier this summer Music Man and I decided to go to our local homeschooling convention.

Music Man and I realized that this weekend was the first weekend EVER that we were sans kids.  The only other time we had been away from our kids overnight was when we would be in the hospital having another baby.  Which in my book does NOT count as a vacation.  So what do we decide to do for our first getaway?  Apparently go to a homeschool convention.

Yes, yes we are nerds, why do you ask?

IMG_5850

So many people warned us that it would be hectic, overwhelming and crazy.  They were right.  But it was held at the Disneyland Convention Center, so it was also EPIC.

IMG_5851

We decided to take the discounted rate and stay at one of the most expensive coolest hotels I’ve ever stayed at.  All the details were so charming.

IMG_5854

IMG_5852

Even the bathroom light was adorable.

IMG_5873

The headboard lit up with fireworks!  Amazing!

IMG_5859

IMG_5858

This was the view right outside our window.  Couldn’t get any better.  Do you see that?  Even the pool is shaped like Mickey.

OH Thats right!  We were there to STUDY.  Not to PLAY.

So we begrudgingly went to the conference and were we were delighted to encounter people dressed in bonnets and prairie dresses.

IMG_5866

I tried to be sneaky but wasn’t always successful.  I got a few eye daggers when I accidentally let my gaze stay for too long on throwback apparel.  I mean waaaaay throwback.

IMG_5857

Here we are being studious students on day one of the convention.

IMG_5868

This guy that you can barely see was the headliner main guest speaker, none other than Mike Seaver!  Ok, so now he is dad of 6 who also homeschools.  He goes by his real name of Kirk Cameron.  And if the crowd was any indication, he had quite a few of us mommas swooning back in the day.  (Oh who am I kidding?  We were all frantic teenagers trapped in momma-muffin-topped-bodies.  We all wanted a piece of the heart throb pie.  Chomp!)

He was fantastic and funny.  ALL of the guest speakers throughout the weekend were surprisingly smart and witty and kept me and Music Man engaged the entire time.  This was no small feat.

Because if you thought we were model students the entire time, you obviously don’t know me at all.  😉  We relied on our zero sleep routine to get us through the fun.  By day we went to every speaker workshop that interested us, and by night we trolled the House of Mouse.  It was awesome.  Exhausting, sure sure, but a total blast.

IMG_5881

 

They redid Big Thunder Mountain and it has quickly become one of my favorite rides at the park.

 

IMG_3618

Here we are again on BTM and this time my cousin/brother and his wife are photo bombing us.  Awesome.   I think we rode this ride 583,039 times.  Worth it.

IMG_5888

Here’s my pony tail flying in the face of cool hand Luke, aka my husband, on the much-needed Splash Mountain.  It was nearing the temperature of the sun that day.  Totally worth it.

So besides getting a huge shot in the arm of “YOU CAN DO THIS!” and “YOU WON’T SCREW UP YOUR KID!” at the convention, it was actually really fun and informative.  I’ll definitely be going again.

*apologies for my over use of selfies.  That’s what you do when you don’t have your children to take pictures of.  You re-claim yourself as the subject matter in pictures.  Who knew I was so obsessed with my camera phone???*

Stepping Stones Community Walk

This past weekend my family and I had the pleasure of participating in a community event supporting young women who have chosen to have babies (instead of having an abortion) or just mommas who need a little extra support.  Many girls who find themselves with a surprise pregnancy without support don’t have many good options at their disposal.  Many conservative christians have love in their heart when they chant outside of an abortion clinic but don’t participate in the after care of the mother and baby.  This is that place.

IMG_6516

We began with a heart to heart pep talk to encourage us walkers and to remind us why we were there.  The gal in charge explained that one of the girls we were walking for had to decided to go back to college to change the direction of her life for her and her baby.  This is exciting work that the Lord is doing in this community and for this family.

We began the walk in a word of prayer

IMG_6518

 

Next we headed out for our mile walk through the neighborhood!

IMG_6519

Walking with friends is the best

IMG_6523

At the end of the trail we were greeted with bubbles!

IMG_6526

After our soapy fun, we headed over to a small town get together that included such home made treats like donuts

IMG_6534

 

IMG_6533

There was also a rainbow hand made ATV powered kiddie train.  I thought my boys would jump out of their skin they were so excited!

IMG_6528

IMG_6530

IMG_6529

I love that my kids can experience this young the joy of participating in helping others.  We had a great time.

Habit of Hospitality

Being a Christian is more than just absentmindedly saying “yes I believe in God”.  True, this is a foundation of faith.  However, believing in Jesus and His teachings goes beyond that.  If you believe than your heart will pour out and your actions will speak for you.

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”  James 2:17

Don’t confuse this with the popular teachings of our collective morality, which is to say that if you do good works, than you are saved.  Good works does not equal salvation!

All this to say, I have really taken this to heart in the last year.  If I proclaim to be a Christian, then I must make it a priority to go into the world and show God’s love.  As a stay-at-home-mom of 4 little ones, this isn’t always the easiest task.  But it can be done.

For a brief time I was able to participate in a bible study with an amazing, funny and personable teacher.  She invited me, my children (I only had 2 at the time) and a friend of mine and her 2 young children.  At the time, our teacher (we will call her Mrs. K), was living with a widowed friend of hers.  Her friend had a huge and beautiful house with a picturesque backyard.  Mrs. K’s friend, Nina, had a saying “Get ready because God will bring them“.  At first I thought “huh?”  You see, when Nina turned into a widow she decided to use her home for God’s work.  She took her chores very seriously.  She made sure to have her house clean and her fridge stocked because most assuredly God would bring his chosen people into her path to be cared for or ministered to.  When I say ‘chosen people’ I am not just talking about believers.  I really mean any person that God brings into her path.  Nina has opened her home to several bible study groups, she hosts a Thanksgiving feast for those who don’t have a home to go to, and was at the time housing her friend Mrs. K and her husband whose lives were in transition due to the poor economy.

And wouldn’t you know?  God provided the sick, needy and desperate for God’s truth and love.

This attitude has really stuck with me.

No my house isn’t perfect.  No I don’t take all of my chores perhaps as seriously as I should.  BUT I do have the mindset “God will bring them”.  I have tried to carve out time and energy to be ready for action.

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine casually mentioned that her and her little girl were really down for the count due to a severe head cold.  So I immediately asked if I could bring her a meal.  She delightfully accepted.

Under normal circumstances I would have just said “oh I’m sorry I’ll pray for you!”, which is great, but it doesn’t quite help with her dinner situation does it?

And the other day, our dear sweet dairy farming neighbors came by to spray for bugs.  I happened to be baking some zuccini loaves.  Why not make a few more?  So to say my thanks I came by with a freshly made zuccini loaf.

This isn’t to toot my own horn to say ‘hey aren’t I awesome?’.  NO.  This is about how I have consciously made room in my life because ‘God will bring them’ because He always has people in need.  So make some room.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”— author unknown

hit with the plague

So this week has been just awful. 
Bradyn has been incredibly sick since we had a fun Sunday at The Happiest Place on Earth. 
http://danisedelights.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/disneyland.jpg
 Unfortunately she was congested and coughing the whole time. 
By the time Monday rolls around it has become apparent that my baby girl needs to see a doctor.  He measures her temperature at 101 and says she has bronchitis.  She is put on heavy antibiotics and sent home.
Her medication is so rough on her little body that she immediately gets a nasty diaper rash and nearly stops eating all together.  It was incredibly difficult and horrifying to watch. 
I had to take her back to the doctors on Friday and they then said it was a virus and that she just had to wait it out.  I was honestly worried that she would have to be hospitalized.
Thank goodness by the time Sunday evening rolls around she is finally perking up and I can let out a small sigh of relief.  She isn’t 100%, not by a long shot, but there is some improvement.
It has been a week full of stress beyond belief, more than even her being sick, but it has taught me to really pray, trust in God, and know that every moment with her is precious.