Batman Party

We celebrated Ezie’s 4th birthday on Sunday.

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You can probably guess the theme from the above photo.

The buffet was pretty simple, regular ol’ party food.

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I did do my signature fruit pizza using blueberries and pineapples to make the bat signal.

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Their were two convenient coincidences about doing a batman theme.

  1. It’s almost halloween so it’s easy to find black/bat decorations everywhere right now!
  2. Elle’s party is in November and her theme is bumble bee so all the black and yellow stuff can be reused.

The cake was both a store bought batman cake and there were some really simple home made cupcakes free of dye and artificial flavors as well.

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The number 4 candle was something my friend in Michigan had laying around. They knew Ezie would be turning 4 this year so when we were up there in July they asked if we wanted to take it with us. Candles are super cheap, so we certainly could have just bought one, but it was fun knowing a piece of Michigan was at the party.

We had different “stations” represented throughout the party and I made batman themed signs, but unfortunately our printer doesn’t work so at the last minute my parents darted off to Office Max for me. Hooray for helpful grandparents!

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We had signs directing our guest to the bathroom (or bat-room as the sing indicates).

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There was also a tattoo table.

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And there was a costume station with a sign that said “Where is my super suit?” Can you name what movie that is from? The kids definitely could.

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Then there were two games. The first was “Mr. Freeze Mission”. The idea is that Mr. Freeze froze batman and the party guests had to rescue him out of a block of ice.

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They broke up into two teams and used water guns to squirt at the ice until batman was free.

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The first team to rescue batman won. It was a little chaotic, but they all loved it. Mission accomplished.

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The next game was one Z and J made for a cub scouts carnival last week called Whack-a-Villian. I read a really short story from a lego batman book that went with the theme of the game. Then each party guest had a turn to throw bean bags at the lego batman villains and knock them over. The two boys that got them all down won a prize.

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That was about it other than presents and party favors.

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We had 17 little ones running around in the back yard and the weather was great.

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I am definitely pleased with how it all turned out and more importantly Ezie felt really special.

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Happy birthday to my little super hero!

By | September 27th, 2016|Parties|0 Comments

Ezie’s Lullaby

Me trying to get my kid sleep:

What is wrong with this child!? Why won’t he go to sleep? Is this some sort of punishment for something I did in the past!? I can’t take it anymore! I am about ready to quit. That’s it. GO TO BED NOWWWWW! 

Me when I check in an hour later to find the child sound asleep in bed:

 Just look at how peaceful he is. Oh. Was there ever a more precious angelic being to ever walk the earth? His hair is so soft and those beautiful poochie woochie lips. I could stare at this baby forever. I love being a mom. 

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My kids have never gone to bed easily, so bedtime can get intense. Although, right now I’ve got it pretty easy because my older two go to bed on their own for the most part, and the baby still sleeps a lot anyway. That just leaves Ezie. My 35 pound ball of energy. He will not go to sleep unless I lay down with him and sometimes he still fights it even when I snuggle up on the lower mattress of the boy’s bunk bed.

About a week ago I had an idea to help him relax. I spontaneously made up a lullaby and so far it’s stuck.

The concept stemmed from an old record that I used to go to sleep to you as a kid. Yes, you read that right it was a record and no, I was not born in the 1950s. We just happened to have a record player and one of the records was called The Sleepy Locust.

The story starts out really upbeat. It’s about a farmer building a shed and filling the shed with corn. There is a banjo playing and sound affects of hammering. It conjures up a busy scene with a bright blue sky and a red barn. You envision the farmer locking all of his harvest in the barn to be stored up for the winter.

Then the sun goes down and you hear a swarm of locust on the hunt for food. At first the locust can’t get into the barn because it’s sealed up tight. Then one locust finds  a tiny hole just big enough for one single locust to get one grain of corn.

At this point any child listening is intrigued. Then another locust goes in grabs a grain of corn and comes out. Then another locust goes in. Grabs a grain of corn and comes out. You hear this line “Then another locust went in got a grain of corn and went out.” Over and over and the narrator’s voice gradually gets slower and softer with bigger pauses in-between. Add to that the hum of the locust in background you would be lucky to last 5 minutes into the story. It was like audible sleepy dust.

For my lullaby I thought about how the kids are always ready to doze off after a day at the beach. On those nights they sleep hard. So I tried to come up with a story line that would evoke those kinds of feelings. It’s really repetitive to make it even sleepier and if he doesn’t fall asleep the last line naturally leads back into the first. Here is the song.

 

Watch the waves crash on the shore. In and out. 

In and out, in and out, in and out. 

Ezie digs in the hot sand. Digs and digs. 

Digs and digs, digs and digs, digs and digs. 

Ezie climbs onto mommy’s lap. Yawns and yawns.

Yawns and yawns, yawns and yawns, yawns and yawns. 

Daddy takes Ezie to the car. The day is done. 

The day is done, the day is done, the day is done. 

Daddy drives with the headlights on. Drives and Drives.

Drives and drives, drives, and drives, drives and drives.

Ezie drifts off to sleep that night. Sleeps and sleeps.

Sleeps and sleeps, sleeps and sleeps, sleeps and sleeps. 

Ezie dreams of the beach that night. Dreams and dreams. 

Dreams and dreams, dreams and dreams, dreams and dreams. 

 

By | September 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

International Ebook Day

Has anyone noticed the trend in “celebratory days” lately? Everything from national smores day to siblings day and beyond.

A couple years ago we had a wall calendar that recognized national croissant day and my six-year-old asked if we were going to be doing anything special for that holiday. I tried to break it to him gently that there would be no croissant traditions or events at our house on January 30th.

Come to find out (thanks to my online library account) today is national ebook day.

I’m actually all about old musty books. I like to turning pages and flipping through something tangible. I like to smell the story behind the story. Perhaps it’s a book that’s being cracked open for the first time or maybe it’s lived a very long life and gone through many hands with stories of their own. You don’t get that with ebooks. I also love going to libraries or bookstores and walking down rows and rows of books as well as keeping our own books in stock at home. There is a saying A house without books is like a house without windows.

Why do I mention this on national ebook day? Because, truth be told I am equally as obsessed with e-books and mostly audiobooks. Sorry nostalgia, convenience wins. As a mother of 4 it’s almost the only option I have.

You already know I love the library. I’ve been a member of several different ones in different states and all of them have had e-libraries. So chances are yours does too! The advantage here is that you get to choose from countless e-books that you can look through at your leisure and download it immediately. I talked about this in my review of Cleaning House. So this is my shout out to ebooks.

I’m not actually reading any the e-books right now. But I did just finish three fascinating audiobooks that I was really REALLLY into. Keep in mind they’re all controversial and very much faith based, but they were also riveting, fascinating, and encouraging.

First was Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line by Abby Johnson

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I’ve recommended this book to so many people already. It’s definitely not a lighthearted, fun-to-read book. So be prepared. It is however very passionate, informative and eye-opening. I already have a heart for the unborn and I do feel like being a voice for those babies is a part of my calling. This book only awakened that even more.

Next I stumbled upon With My Eyes Wide Open: Miracles & Mistakes on My Way Back to KoRn by Brian “Head” Welch.

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I had no idea what to expect with this book, which is a memoir written by one of the musicians of the heavy metal band KoRn. I probably don’t look like the type that would be a KoRn fan, and I’m not. I went to a few hard core shows back in the day though and I was totally into this book. I felt like I was sitting down with Brian hearing his story first hand and sometimes I felt like I should be talking back like it was a conversation we were having. It was just so sincere and heartfelt. It made me want to see what other books he had written.

So then I checked out Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story

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 I wasn’t as excited about this book, but it was still really good. At this point I felt like I knew Brian (yeah, I am a weirdo). And since this book proceeded the one I had just finished it was mostly about his days of drugs, depression, abuse, and being suicidal. It was hard to hear all that he had walked through before He found Christ.

Also, he didn’t read this one. It was written by Brian Welch, read by Tom Brokaw.

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Just kidding! It wasn’t read by Brokaw, but that’s what it felt like.  Allow me to slip in a quick public service announcement for readers and authors. I have found audio books are always better when read by the author. Especially if you’re Tina Fey, Brian Head Welch or Jen Hatmaker. It makes a big difference. So I recommend reading Save Me From Myself and listening to With My Eyes Wide Open.

Right now I am actually reading a printed book called Life creative : Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake & Kelli Stuart and it’s been just what I needed.

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I recommend it for all mothers who feel like they have any creative bones in their body. It’s very inspiring and I’ll be sure to write all about about that when I finish it.

Happy Ebook Day everybody!

 

By | September 16th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Digital Citizenship

Sometimes it’s scary to think of raising kids in the digital age that we live in. Terrorism, pornography, bullying, and so much more can creep into your home via the computer screen. It wasn’t like that when most of us were kids, but on the bright side our kids have such an advantage over this past generation and I’ll explain why.

The internet wasn’t really around until I was in middle school (I was born in ’82 by the way). I remember visiting a friend’s house who was not the best influence and fortunately that relationship didn’t last. We went down to the basement where that boxy cream colored IBM sat and she logged into the dial up AOL service. As the computer dinged and beeped for what felt like half an hour we talked about teachers and boys and acted like 12 year olds, because we were 12 years old. Finally we were online! She knew more about this world wide web stuff than I did and she quickly moved her mouse around on The Simpson’s mouse pad until she arrived at her determined destination. The chat room.

I just sat there and stared at the blinking cursor on the screen as she started typing away. It was totally random small talk with strangers. Supposedly boys. The small talk then esclated from How is it going? to I think you’re hot. faster than Homer can say Doh! She even said I love you (and other things). It was so bizarre, because there was no way for this guy to know whether or not she was hot and there was no way for my friend to fall in love with someone online within a few minutes. I was an adolescent and even I was mature enough to see how ridiculous it was! But for a lot of kids there were no boundaries when it came to the information they gave or what they looked at online. There wasn’t software to filter out objectionable content nor was there a way for parents to track what their kids were looking at or who they were talking to. There was no Youtube Kids or Kiddle. We only got those two sites within the past year! So as technology gets darker and scarier we’ve also made huge advancements to make it safer. That’s sad for the kids that were the pioneers of the internet, but really great news for this generation of children!

One reason this is on my mind lately is because Z got a phone for his 9th birthday.

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For the record it is his dad’s old iphone and it can’t make calls, text, or us data. He is completely connected to his dad’s account and if he tries to go onto a website or download and app it sends a text to J which allows him to choose whether or not to approve the action. Z doesn’t get to take it out of the house and only gets it with permission. There are a lot of cool educational apps that he uses and I am really happy that he has the device. Even with all the monitoring I know we can’t keep him in a bubble forever so we have had lots of discussions about internet safety and have even gone through the workbook “Good Pictures Bad Pictures“. I’ll do a separate post about that eventually, but if you want to discuss pornography with your child I HIGHLY recommend it.

On top of that he has had lessons in online safety from Cub Scouts in order to earn his cyber chip badge.

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One day I asked Z if he cared if I used his name online and he said “Yes and no.” I felt bad because I really want to respect his privacy and I asked him to elaborate. He said that while he didn’t really mind, he learned in Cub Scouts that you shouldn’t give your name or personal information on the internet. That was a proud momma moment for me.

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On a side note, I realize that I share a whole lot more than some people would be comfortable with. On the other hand there are people I respect (including famous people) whose children’s faces and names are out there for all the world to see online, on TV, and in books. I think it’s a personal decision and I choose not to judge anyone one way or the other.

Last night was parent information night at Z’s school and I learned even more how much the internet is integrated into their daily lives. However, the thing that they stressed over and over is how serious they are about online privacy and safety. They use a curriculum called Digital Citizenship and they went over all of the basics with the students right off the bat when school started and will continue to cover more throughout the year.

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Aside from being Amish technology is a part of life and just like proper hygiene, or safely crossing a street, or driving, internet etiquette and safety has to be taught. Thankfully I made it through the internet dark ages without too much trouble, but I have friends who can’t say the same. It was new and we had/still have a lot to learn. However, I am grateful for the resources that are out there and the leadership that is making internet safety a priority. There was no such thing as digital citizenship when I was Z’s age, but times have changed and as his mom I want to be proactive in equipping him for those changes.

By | September 14th, 2016|Parenting Tips, Schooling, Uncategorized|1 Comment

9 Month Photos

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I love photographing this chunky baby. After she was born I decided that I wanted to do an official photo shoot each month. These photos with the suitcase are her 9 month photos, but she turned 10 months this past Saturday.

I had an outfit in mind (got it from a yard sale) but I needed a suitcase that I could use as a prop to go with my old world theme. The same friend that provided the outfit for Elle’s 7 month photo session was able to loan me this gem.

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I always have people ask me if I cut her hair and I laugh. I know the short asymmetrical look is in style, but no. She just happens to have long bangs. The rest of her hair fell out and is just now growing back in.
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It’s hard to believe her birthday is only two months away, but let’s no talk about that right now.

By | September 12th, 2016|Babies, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Hearing

After years of struggle I feel like I finally have some answers and help with my hearing and it is such a relief.

The day after I got my first hearing aid I shared on Messy Mom just how much of an adjustment it was.

Honestly, at first I wasn’t sure they were going to work for me at all. I wanted it to be a solution, but I couldn’t tell whether or not I was benefitting from wearing the hearing aids. They worked in the sense that things were louder, but EVERYTHING was louder. Even my mouth chewing was loud. So if I was at a restaurant eating it was still very difficult for me to understand anybody. However I tried to trust the experts including my audiologist who told me that those that really wear them all the time rather than just sporadically are the ones that are going to benefit the most. They say it takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months of practice and commitment to see the positive results.

I was genuinely committed for two reasons. First because I wanted to hear! Also because I want to be an example to my daughters who also have hearing loss and need to wear hearing devices. It’s been hard though. Way harder than I thought. Even with my determination I struggled to really get into the habit of wearing them. It’s like learning a new language or training for an athletic event. Sometimes life gets in the way. Whether it’s self inflicted by lack of motivation or emergencies that you can’t control. It’s hard to keep at it.

It was almost 12 weeks before I really felt comfortable with them. There are still times I mishear people, and even with hearing aids my ears don’t hear as well as a person that has normal hearing. It’s much better though. One day at church my mom said something in my left ear and I understood her. This is significant because my mom is always talking in church (sorry to tattle mom) and she is usually sitting on my left and I can’t hear anything she says. I am no longer turning my head so that I can hear with my “good ear” and when I forget to put them in or when I take them off at night I notice that I miss a lot.

The hearing aids aren’t perfect, but I can now say with certainty that they make a huge difference. However, the important part of my story is that it wasn’t like that at first! So if you ever end up needing hearing aids or know someone who does, take it from me, you will probably hate them at first. Everything will be loud (read my example of the first day) and even after several months it still won’t be the same as having your natural hearing, but your brain adjusts. It’s pretty incredible. I am so grateful that I have had this experience so that I can help others that are in that situation and I can relate more to my daughters and their friends with hearing loss. IMG_9482

One other big update about my hearing is that I have an answer to the question of why it seems like my hearing started going downhill in my early 20’s. I know for sure when it happened because I even went to the ENT to have it checked out. Then I did again when I turned 30 and again at 33.

It’s been a long road looking for answers, but eventually I talked with Elle and SJ’s ENT who is truly one of the top pediatric otolaryngologists in the nation and I am not just saying that. He has seen our genetic tests and heard our story so I asked him why my hearing has worsened over time and if that would happen with Elle.

He said the reason is because we all have thousands of hair cells that get damaged or deteriorate over time and that’s why the elderly usually can’t hear so well. The difference between myself and other people is that most people have a cushion so when they damage those hair cells it’s not a big deal until they are older. For me I already start out with a disadvantage so what I have experienced is basically a premature age related hearing loss. It doesn’t change anything, but it made sense and was good to have an answer.

As far as SJ everything with her cochlear implants is fine and dandy. She’s in 1st grade at Ohio Valley Voices and still has a lot of catching up to do, but is doing great.

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Elle doesn’t have any hearing aids yet, but probably will soon. She has regular therapy sessions with early intervention specialists. Her speech is a little delayed. She’s only 10 months old tomorrow. So it’s not that she should be talking, but she should be able to babble and right now the only sound she makes is Ahhhhh. No one is concerned though, they predict she is going to be rocking and rolling without any issues at all.

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That’s the latest with us girls and our hearing loss. I will keep everyone posted when I have anymore updates.

By | September 9th, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

I’m Back. Hooray!

Great news everybody. I have a new computer. Some of you don’t even know that my computer broke, but it was gradually going down hill since early summer when I spilled my coffee drink on it. The remorse and frustration I dealt with about that accident is just a whole other story, some of which I shared on my Facebook live announcement last week. Anyway, I’ve got a new computer now and I am back in business.

Here is a very quick update about what’s happening.

  1. My oldest son Z turned 9 on Sunday! IMG_8619We didn’t do a big theme party like we have in years past (see his 8th, 6th, and 4th birthdays). We lucked out though because our church was having a big labor day party on his birthday and they had snow cones, games, and a serious fireworks show. So after eating out with a couple friends and playing at an arcade he ended the night with the church party. It was a great time. Z’s birthday is the date that kicks off the celebration season for our family. In a month I’ll be doing Ezie’s 4th birthday, then the next month is Elle’s 1st, then the next month is Christmas. If you need me I’ll be in my party planning mode. It’s a zone I get into that is very hard for me to snap out of. I love it though!
  2. Aside from party planning I am also gearing up for this year’s Write 31 Days. If you haven’t heard of it it’s a challenge that hundreds (if not thousands) of bloggers take in October each year to write about one topic for 31 days. I won’t give away my whole topic, but here’s a hint: it involves food.
  3. Z and SJ have been in school for two weeks now and so far they still actually enjoy getting up and seeing all of their friends along with learning new things. IMG_8588I am pretty sure the long term enthusiasm will more than likely fade with time, but I for one am pumped about having a schedule again. It keeps us all sane.IMG_8567
  4. I have two very special guest posts coming up written by some super cool third graders. During one of my summer tutoring sessions Z and his friend did science experiments. IMG_8486Then during the next session I had them write a tutorial for it. I paid them $5.00 each as a commissioned blog post (a lesson in the benefits of writing). I should have had them published by now, but the computer thing has set me back, but you can be on the look out for these guest posts soon.
  5. Speaking of the computer set back, I still don’t have all of my old software and documents set up on my new Mac so it’s going to take some time for me to be in full swing around here. I am extremely grateful however to just be able to type at all. I really missed it. I found myself thinking Forget the computer. I wish there was a way I could have a keyboard that would allow me to type out my thoughts. Then I would be happy. That’s when I realized there are ways of typing without a computer and it’s called a typewriter. Face palm. That reminded me of the time I was listening to an audio book and wished there was closed captioning until I realized that’s called a book. Double face palm.

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t seen my guest post on The Humbled Homemaker I would encourage you to check it out. It was so fun to write and I was thrilled to have something published outside of the Messy Mom again. I hope to do that more often. For now though I just need to get caught up with writing on here. One thing at a time.

By | September 6th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Cleaning House Book Review

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A few weeks ago I got the book Cleaning House from the digital online library. I had no idea what to expect with this book, but about half way through I knew I had to share it with all of my mom friends!

Side note, if you are a book lover and not using your local libraries online options then you really need to. For one it’s so fast. If you finish a book you can download another ebook or audio book right then and there. Two, you don’t have to bring the kids with you while you look for your next book. Three, I like all types of reading material but audio is my favorite because I can listen to it on the road or folding clothes. Four, your online account customizes your experience. It’s like Netflix as far as making recommendations based on what you read or what other people are reading.

That’s how I found the book Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12 month experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wyma. The author has 5 kids and most of them are at least close to the teenage years. The book is about her battle against the entitlement and codependence that is rampant in her home. She decides to have her kids tackle a new responsibility each month to teach them necessary life skills and give them meaningful work. The projects are things like laundry, cooking, yard work, and hospitality.

A quote from the book that sums it up is “One of the biggest obstacles is parent induced over indulgence. What is the answer to over indulgence? Give them work. Meaningful work.” 

I love the idea that when you allow kids to have more responsibility in the home you empower them and encourage a confidence that goes deeper than words. Many parents, myself included, often want to help our kids out of the best of intentions. Whether it is because we don’t want to see them fail or struggle, or on a practical note we know we can do it better and faster. However, if you are always bailing your child out when it’s tough (like homework, carrying things, and making lunch are just a few that come to my mind) you are sending a message that they can’t do it. Another great quote from the author-

“Loving them by making them work puts energy behind my claim to believe in the kids. The assurance that you can do anything you put your mind to has greater meaning now that I’ve gotten out of the way.” 

I read a post recently by Amanda of Airman 2 Mom. She got a new van recently that has keyless entry and locks automatically when you walk away from the van with the key in your pocket and it unlocks as you approach the van. Amanda says the problem is that she likes to double check to make sure it’s locked so she goes back to grab the handle, but by doing so the door automatically unlocks. Do you see the dilemma? She can’t check the lock because she is inadvertently unlocking the door. She has to walk away and trust that the remote worked.

Amanda compares this to not trusting your kids. When you hover, and doubt, or refuse to let go you undo that independance that they were practice. Sometimes you have to trust that the door is locked or that your child can handle themselves and then walk away. I thought that was such a great analogy. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever check on your kids. She does a great job explaining the scenario, you should read the whole post.

That’s what cleaning house is about. The goal of parenting is not to provide a successful childhood, but to grow your child into an idependant adult. You eventually have to get out of the way.

I am so glad that this Kay Wyma book fell in my lap because I personally gleaned so much from it will need to reread it later down the road (although for the record the concepts can apply to ages 5 and up in my opinion). I never thought I would say it but I, The MESSY Mom, love “Cleaning House”.

By | August 17th, 2016|Parenting Tips|2 Comments

Four Kids in a Grocery Store

Every once in a while I go somewhere with all four children and seamlessly accomplish the daily tasks at hand. That happens about as often as I find the perfect avocado and consume it at it’s peak ripeness. It is an anomaly.

Last week I attempted grocery shopping with all four kids. I have done it before and managed okay, but I try to avoid it at all cost. On this particular outing I prepared ahead of time. I had them get their wiggles out before we left and I had something to entertainment each child while in the store. I searched around the parking lot until I found one of those shopping carts that have a car in the front.

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This is a different shopping trip.

Once I had the “shopping car” I strapped the baby into the baby seat, the two younger ones were side by side strapped in with their own steering wheel, and my oldest has, by the grace of God, reached the level of maturity where he can walk beside me for an entire 45 minutes (PTL).

The first half of our excursion went okay. They each got to pick out one treat for later while I scanned the aisles. Toward the end of our excursion we hit some rough terrain. Despite my threats and pleas I could see that we were headed for a crash landing. We barely made it to checkout when Elle started screaming. Then everyone started fighting and shouting at illegal decibels levels. The young man that was bagging my groceries was moving at a glacial pace and for some reason he kept asking me if I wanted my items bagged.

Do you want this bagged? He would mumble slowly holding up a package of gum.

Yeah, that’s fine. I tried to shout back over the screaming children.

Do you want your milk in a bag?

No that’s okay. 

Do you want your watermelon in a bag? 

No.

I finally unleash Ezie and SJ thinking they could help put groceries on the belt and they did, but afterwards they decided to climb on top of the plastic car. At this point the bag boy is still asking if I want stuff in a bag.

Now hold up a second. I’ve been to the grocery store a few times in my life. I get the question about the milk, the gum, the watermelon, but he even asked if I wanted my cinnamon rolls from the bakery which were in a plastic container in a bag! Huh? I was so desperate at the moment that I just told him No. Just throw it in the cart.

The bag boy  put all of my groceries in a separate cart from the one containing my children so I definitely needed his help getting it to my vehicle. Then I realize on my way out that I had pre-purchased a bag of ice. So I left the bag boy, the carts, and all of my screaming children in the doorway as I quickly grabbed the ice.

The ice is right by the door! Right there! But in that brief moment it was like a crowd rivaling that of black friday were trying to enter the doorway we were blocking. Really!? Why? How?

It happened quickly, but you know how in a car wreck or life threatening situation things seem to happen in slow motion? That’s how this was.

I saw all these people with carts wanting to get past my traveling circus and they are staring in horror and disbelief as Elle is screaming bloody murder, SJ is sitting on the car like she’s riding a horse and Ezie is running around wildly. It was like I died right there and left my body and my spirit was floating above watching the tragic scene and my spirit man was also staring down in shock at the four crazy children and screaming mother. Then my spirit came back into my body and I managed to get my cart and my clan out the door and into the parking lot.

The second that my key remote was close enough I popped my trunk and told the bag boy he could just load them on top of the stroller in the back. Except when he got to my vehicle he left the cart full of groceries and took off. He didn’t make eye contact or mutter a word. He just fled the scene like a victim escaping captivity.

I sighed. Who could blame him? I loaded up my kids as steam was evaporating off of my body. Z was the only one who got to have his good behavior treat that he had picked out. Every else including myself had acted out of control in the store.

I just have to take it all in stride knowing someday I’ll be able to go to the grocery store and maybe, just maybe I’ll find the perfect avocado.

By | August 12th, 2016|Family, Laughter, Motherhood, Uncategorized|3 Comments

A Priceless Mother Son Outing

J and I have a goal as parents to take each child out individually for some special one on one time at least once a year. This tradition in our home doesn’t start until they are five years old. There is no good reason for this, it’s just how it happened naturally for us. I think it is because it’s all about the preschoolers all day long. They are more needy and hoard our attention. They get to stay at home with me when the other kids are in school and they need me to lay down with them until they fall asleep at night. I manage to have incidental bonding time frequently when they are still babies or toddlers, whereas when the children are school age it feels more appropriate to get in the car and go somewhere with just mom or just dad to connect without distraction and to be intentional about it. That’s really how this whole thing got started.

When Z was in Kindergarten we did a mother son knight at Chick-fil-A, and mother son game night at his school.

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Then the next year we did mother-son-knight again

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and enjoyed a Mother’s Day tea at his school.

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In second grade however neither event happened. At least if any mother events did happen I was unaware. One day I realized that we hadn’t had our one on one outing in over a year! He did stuff alone with his dad on more than one occasion, but I wanted my Z time!

So before his birthday or the beginning of 3rd grade I wanted to be sure we had a chance to get out and have some fun just the two of us. We had several grand ideas and nothing seemed to be working out. Which by the way is the reason for the meager goal of a one outing a year. Getting away is always easier said than done. Finally I decided we would just keep it really simple. We would eat out and take a trip to a frozen yogurt shop.

We both cleaned up for the occasion. I wore a dress and he had a button down shirt even though we weren’t going anywhere even remotely fancy. On the way to dinner he had the idea to quiz me on my times tables. We started making a game out of it. He would go through his homemade flash cards and shout out the problem. Then we would come up with an answer in our heads (I am really bad at multiplication or math in general by the way, so this is a challenge for me. However his new obsession has certainly sharpened my memory quite a bit). Once we had the answer in mind we would say Ready and then count to three and say the answer out loud at the same time. If all went well we would say the same thing in unison. If not then we’d laugh and turn the card over to see who was right.

When we got to the restaurant we decided to split a meal. Finally a date that will share a meal with me.

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I encouraged him to place the order for us, he had his own money after all. He was a little hesitant, especially when she asked what name to put it under. I had to repeat his name for the worker to understand, but he did really good. When we sat down he gave me a surprise note he had written for me. After we ate he put the receipt in his pocket because he said “I want to show dad that it has my name on it.” What a delight to see my young son growing and maturing right before my eyes. I was so proud of him and I could tell he was beaming with pride too.

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After we finished our meal I got a coffee and he got yogurt and we had our dessert on the patio at sunset. The sky was gorgeous. There was even a rainbow.

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Before we drove home I pulled out my phone to type in a quick note. I have had a habit recently of typing memories into the notes app on my phone because I am becoming more and more sentimental the older I get. I always put the date and then the memory, but I couldn’t remember the date so I asked Z. He said it was the 9th, but I almost didn’t believe him. That would mean that Elle was turning 9 months old the next day. I said “The 9th!? Are you sure it’s the 9th already?” and he said “Yes I am sure it’s the 9th because my birthday is in 3 weeks and 4 days which is 25 days. It is the 9th.” I just stared at him like, for real? This whiz kid has left me flabbergasted with his random calculations yet again.

There are many well meaning mothering intentions that don’t go as planned and tomorrow I will give several examples, but for today I just wanted to share a simple precious evening that I will forever cherish.

By | August 10th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments