Monday, January 23, 2012

Conversation with Charlie

At church. I am holding Charlie and he is looking behind me at someone and starts pointing. I turn to see what he is trying to tell me and realize he is pointing at an interesting looking African American man in a big trench coat. This man happens to also have a very low voice that sounds sort of monotone. So, this scenario was apparently scary for Charlie. I turn him around and say that yes I see him but it is not polite to point and Charlie proceeds t have this conversation with me:

Charlie: But mom the brown man is scary looking.

Mom: God makes people all different colors doesn't he.

Charlie: But him is very scary. Him is a vampire!

Mom: Shhhh. No he is not. There are no such things as vampires.

Charlie: Yes, him is one. I saw a real one.

Mom: No you did not.

Charlie: Yes, I did, on Scooby Doo.

Mom: Charlie, that is just a nice man, not a vampire.

Charlie: Him has a scary face.

Mom; Why don't you smile at him. I bet he will smile back at you.

Charlie: (Grinning hugely over my shoulder) Him is not smiling at me.

Mom: Smile a little bigger.

Charlie: (Taking his fingers and stretching his mouth wider over my shoulder at the man) Him is still not smiling at me.

Mom: Charlie why don't you just put your head on my shoulder?

Charlie: I saw him's fangs!

Mom: No, no you did not. He does not have fangs.

Charlie: Yes him does and I saw he has no feet, him is floating! Vampires can fly!

Mom: Charlie, please lets not talk about this right now.

Charlie: Him is doing this! (folds his hands and closes his eyes)

Mom: He is praying.

Charlie: No, him is a vampire.

Really wishing the dude would have just smiled at Charlie to end the conversation!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fitting the Mold

Lately I have spent what seems like a TON of time defending my kids individually for not "fitting the mold" for different situations.

"Well, he didn't do well on that test because he doesn't learn the way they teach.."
"She is so sweet, she just has a hard time understanding that this is serious..."
"He isn't extremely social, because most kids don't like to talk about what he likes to talk about..."
"He colors outside the lines because I think he just doesn't really love coloring..."
"He doesn't recite all his letters yet because he is more interested in social stuff..."

Kids are Kids. They are going to have moments upon moments where we as their parents know they are good, neat and interesting,  but we want so badly for the rest of the world - their teachers, coaches, music instructors, friends - to understand and know what we know about them. We will try so hard to help them "fit the mold" of their classrooms, or teams etc. At some point we really want to just scream, "WHY!" These kids are just so awesome just how they are, why do we need to prove to others of their worthiness to be taught, coached etc. Because we are their parents and we are dying for others out in the world to treat them the way we know they deserve to be treated. The only way for that to happen is for them to know our children the way we know them. This will never fully happen. No one will know our children the way we parents do. But it is not a bad goal to try to put them in the paths of people who want to and are willing to really try to know them and make a positive difference in their lives.

Tonight, I am praying for the people in the paths of my children. That they see in my kids even half of the potential, that I see. Because if they did, then they would not see their differences as a bad thing and always be trying to change them and make them "fit the mold." Molds are boring.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Visions of sugarplums...

I'm actually not talking about the kids and their talkig about mine: Pete and i would sip wine as we would put a few special presents under the tree for the kids as the fire roared and silverbells played quietly in the background. Morning would come and we would be awakened by the pitter patter of tiny footsteps and a small voice saying "santa's come!" The kids would wake up, we would read the real first Christmas nativity story. We head down the stairs and hear shreaks of joy at the wonderous gifts left secretly in the night. The kids would take turns opening their gifts, and we would discuss the fun of each special gift or trinket. Smiles of gratitude on our older kids faces, gasps of thankful joy from the littler ones would fill the family room while Santa Claus is Comin to Town plays in the background. While the kids would play on the floor with their new toys, Pete and i would steal away to a corner where we would sip coffee and exchange our own gifts for each other, savoring every moment of joy we have given our children and each other. After the present opening and the delicious breakfast of butterbraids and juice, we would slip into our matching Christmas outfits. We would arrive a bit early for Christmas mass, so the ushers would trip over each other trying to be the one to ask the adorable family to bring up the gifts.

-We arrive home late and tired from the grandparents
-We work to get the kids tobed by 9:45
-We clean up dishes and trash from celebration and meals earlier that day
-We take tylenol for our headaches and drink pepsi to stay awake
-We let our friend in to help us assemble gifts
-We try to keep our eyes open while cursing and kicking their new toys
-We make 25 trips up and down the stairs and hope that we left enough time for santa to come and make his magic happen
-I am startled at midnight by my 12 yr old throwing up from eating too much crap the day before
-We crawl into bed at 2:45 (3.5 hrs earlier than last year)
-We debate and wonder if we will be participating in more family festivities or perhaps not because of our barfer.
-We are so tired that part of us would be ok with staying at home in our pajamas all day anyway
-We are awakened by our 12 year old at 6:30 saying he feels fine and is ready to open gifts
-We are bombarded by the other 4 ready to open gifts
-One sweet child reminds us to read the true Christmas nativity story before we go check out the santa load.
-We head downstairs to shrieks of joy and excitement
-the shrieks continue to the point that daddy has another headache now and mommy is busy shuffling paper into bags and gifts into piles
-pete and i open gifts to each other while kids beg for us to find batteries and open plastic
-wrap everywhere, gifts everywhere
-forgot to get butterbraids out last night so scrambling for breakfast - hand each of the kids a piece of coffee cake (tha k you friends for leaving that on the doorstep!
-pete make brownies for my mom's while i iron everyone's clothing - 5 pairs of khakis,
5 white shirts, 5 sportcoats
-throw kids into their clothes
-send 3 kids w pete to church to save seats
-throw on my dress and makeup
-show up during the entrance hymn
-i look down the row: we look good. We are happy. We are here. And all the toys and wrap and chaos will still be there when we get home, but for now, we are here.
"Happy Birthday Jesus. Your party was insane. Thanks for hosting this nice afterparty. We needed it."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Very dramatically - "mom, why do you lie?! " i ask what my ten yr old is talking about. He replies that we SAY we love him but he knows that if he were as good of a student as so and so or as great at all sports as so and so that he knows we would love him more. Seriously?! This is the conversation i get to endure, this is the conversation i get to have after emailing his teachers vouching for his hard work lately, after staying up late checking all his homework, after praying, worrying and crying over how to help him succeed, after staying up late transposing his newest band song into the key of "g" so that it is in his range, after picking up his damp socks and underwear from the bathroom floor, after flushing his unflushed waste down the toilet, after making his scrambled eggs this morning, after after after... I nearly answered - "i could not love you more, if i did i would have to stay up all night "loving you" i would have to never sleep to "love you" any more than i already do. Love is not something that we feel. Love is something that we do. A popular country music singer simgs those very words. God doesn't like all of us all that much very often i am quite sure, but He will never stop loving us. I think our job is to act in ways that make God proud to love us. "So son, no i could not love you any more than i do, but you are welcome to work your butt off to make me proud."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Post #365

     I have made it - this is my 365th motherhood post. And it has only taken me one and half years to do a year's worth of posts. My goal was to post daily for one year and so to have 365 posts by day 365. Failed. However, as so many things in motherhood, a failure is sometimes also a success.  I wanted so badly to be able to blog every day, but everyday things began to get in the way: There were nights I could not blog because I fell asleep in bed snuggling with one of the kids. There were nights I missed a blog because we were watching a movie together as a family. And there were many nights that I didn't blog because I was just too darn tired from a stressful, or a physically exhausting day of the tasks of motherhood like grocery shopping, homework helping, bike riding, etc. And in this failure to blog my 365 days in a row, my success is in just what I am blogging about - motherhood. I do not mean success as in "I have it all down, I am the best mom ever" - rather, I mean success in this: I am enjoying being a mother at times, I am struggling in motherhood sometimes, and I am tired from being a mother sometimes, but at all times I am thankful for being a mother.
     Sex makes us pregnant, but God makes us mothers. Prayers to God throughout our days of wiping bottoms, fighting with 10 yr olds, crying over homework, and stressful decision making make us mothers. Last week I felt like I ran the entire stretch of ups and downs and emotional and physical motherhood. I fought with my 10 yr old to the point that we were both crying. I reconciled with that same child to the point where we both were crying. I left in my car frantically looking for my 12 yr old when he was 20 minutes late. I took my 3 and 6 yr olds to the zoo and laughed harder than I have in a very long time as we all watched the hippos mating and pooping right in front of us. I remembered my own childhood as I played Barbies with my daughter. I rejoiced with my son when he brought home 3 A's in one day after many days of struggling in class. No other calling in life can give you so many different and genuine feelings and no other calling can give each of these feeling to you all in the course of a day.
     I thought I would blog so as to remind myself of these funny and touching times of motherhood that I do not want to forget, but I have received a much bigger blessing. When I blog I remember things in my day that I become quite thankful for. When I go through my day with the kids I am inspired to do "blogworthy" activities! When I talk to my blog readers I find that they are going through many of the same things I am, so it is nice to never feel alone. I go back and read old blogs often. I am stricken by how many times I have forgotten about the blog which I am reading. Funny things the kids say slip my mind. Accomplishments get forgotten. Activities we have done and had so much fun doing surprisingly get forgotten  also. Preserving these memories a bit by writing them down, reading them, rereading them, bring me joy and remind me that my children are just that - my children - My memories are their memories, and we can share them forever. As long as I stay present in their lives, we will always have these memories and moments, whether it is over the kitchen table, or over the phone.
     I am not by any means finished blogging. I plan to continue perhaps forever, whenever I have the chance. But in this month of thankfulness, I am extremely thankful for the ability to go through my 365 days of blogging, and read about 365 different memories for which I will be forever thankful.

I don't want to forget:
- Yesterday someone was whistling, and Charlie (3) says, "I can whistle pretty good through my nose, when I sometimes have a big booger in there."
I mean thank GOODNESS I am writing this stuff down! You can't make up stuff this good!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blog entry 364 - playing hookie

It has been forever since i took this time to type down my thoughts, reflect on what was good or funny or gross about my day. Our life has become quite the big balancing/scheduling act of
Raising active kids. While my calendar looks supremely scary to mothers of one or two, my friends with big families have calendars that look the same. Some color-code their children's activities by child, or by sport, others have huge paper calendars on their wall. I personally live by my ipad and iphone calendar and have to admit i get get a little spark of happiness when i get to delete an activity that has been cancelled. I actually like the activities my children are involved in at this point. I feel we have cut things out that arent our favorites, and have added things that seem to benefit each specific child, but with 5 kids in activities, it ends up being a lot and so i relish the breaks. Recently it seemed we had gone weeks without one of those breaks. No downtime for the family whatsoever, no time to just all hang out together at all. So, when my kids who go to st pete had aday off of school,i took things into my own hands. I called Scotty in sick to middle school, got my husband to take the day off of work , ad planned a day for just our family to be together. We walked down to the train station and took the train to Washington, MO. On the train we played cards with the kids, let them pick snacks from the vendor and just chilled out. No video games aloud, so we looked out the train windows and looked at each other! In washington we walked to a diner a couple blocks from the train station and had brunch together. When i looked down the table at laughing, giddy kids, instead of stressed, crabby children, i knew we had done the right thing with our day. After a walk around town, skipping rocks in the river, and walking back to the station, we enjoyed another train trip home playing games and just being together, all in one spot, for 40 more minutes. Not wanting the fun family dayto end, we all went to a movie and then came home to bbq burgers. I was feeling wonderful about our day. But the best part was that although i planned this because i personally felt i needed this day, my kids obviously did too, because each one of them during the day proclaimed to me, "Mom, this is the best day ever! Or Mom, this is the best day of my whole life!" and so, i am searching my funfilled, activity crazed calendar for more days that we can all play hookie.

Some stuff i dont want to forget:
Today at a Restaurant my son blew his nose on a sock from out of my purse. I should really start being more prepared. Why can i always find a sock , but not a kleenex?

Ghost monkeys had a real gig, did awesome, made $42 in tips and got pizza with it.

3 miles with E: i run and she bikes. This is our new exercise we try to do together at least once a week.
-"watch out for that crack mama!"
- "watch out for this tree mama!"

The halloween and thanksgiving inflatables in front of our home. We now have 5 Halloween, 2 for thanksgivin and 2 for christmas i think. Sometimes looking at my home all covered with inflatables all over the front lawn durig the Holidays i begin to reminisce about the days of white lights and real greenery...but then i rememeber that every su gle morning from october through january my youngest kiddo standa staring oit the front windows yelling, "mom! Mom! Look at this! You have to see this!" it is as exciting to him the 30th day they are up as it is the first day! I cant ever take away that joy!

Charlie always has a pocket full of something interesting. Recently he has pulled out:
- a bunch of acprns
- a bunch of nuts (not from a tree, fro
A toolbox)
- a bunch of change
- a bunch of golf tees and a golfball

Me: How did i get the cutest boy ever?
Charlie: Mommy, God made us. 
Me: Thats right.  He did. 
Charlie: Who makes my underwear?
Me: Well, God made a person and the person made your underwear. 
Charlie: No, God made it. 
Me: Well, God made a person who knows how to sew and they sewed your underwear. 
Charlie: Oh! So grandma made it!

Charlie loves our babysitter, Miss Debbie. As we are driving down the road yesterday here us our conversation:
Charlie: Is that Miss Debbie's house?
Me: No. 
Charlie: Is THAT Miss Debbie's house?
Me: No, Miss Debbie does not live in our neighborhood. She lives sort of far away. 
Charlie: OHhhhhh.  Is THAT Miss Debbie's house? 
(conversation continued this way until we arrived at our destination - I think we are going to have to drive out to Miss Debbie's house very soon) 

Friday, October 14, 2011

$1 Rats

Wow, who knew that my quick last minute grab in the checkout line at target of a pack of $1 stretchy mice (8 for a $1) would be such a creativity boosting tool! And inspire such fun and joy! I grab this pack of stretchy mice and throw them on my desk when I get home from the store. One kid sees them, "Hey! What are these?!" "oh, those are just some stretchy mice I grabbed at the store. I thought they looked fun." "CAN WE OPEN THEM?!" "Sure." And the fun begins! Soon I am excitedly called into the basement by Ben and Charlie to "see what we made!!!" to find an elaborate mouse home made of blocks and other toys, complete with a mouse gaming area, cars for the mice to drive, a garage, a slide etc. I get a whole explanation of everything I am looking at and they vow to stay downstairs and continue to add-on and expand their mouse mansion. Later I am upstairs and I find the mice lurking around my various Halloween decorations, deliberately placed in creepy spots. In the car I hear hysterical laughter and turn around to find Charlie having a hay day with one of the stretchy mice while sitting in his carseat. He figured out he could get a mouse to stick to his face. Brilliant. Oh how we love the $1 rats! So glad I saw them! Perhaps I should return the $25 toys I have purchased for Christmas. I am sure they make $1 stretchy reindeer....