Tuesday, September 24, 2013


What is it that is so interesting and lovable about a good old steam train? And as lovable as Thomas and his friends are, I'm sure the Reverend was just making use of an interest that already existed for children in the formative toddler years.

In any case, in our family steam trains have held the interest of our toddlers regardless of their gender, though typically the boys are more obsessed for longer. 

We've taken the kids on the new electric trains, and it's cool but not as fulfilling as we had hoped. In the town where we live the trains are still older, not steam but at least not space age looking. 

We drive right next to some tracks every day to pick up the preschooler. Some days the itch to see a train or drive over the tracks is just too great and the two youngest are clear and persistent in their burning desire. 

After parenting these two for years I have it pretty well figured out when they are STUCK on an idea and since the most likely collateral damage was a bit extra in gas we turned right instead of left. We wove back and forth each block west following the rail line and driving across it only to return to it's crossing a block later.

And I smiled.

Their excitement at each crossing as our van bumped over the rails was the stuff that contented sighs are made out of. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Everyone has just enough of a cold to make me exhausted, since I'm feeling it too. So we kept the kids out of school today. I am writing because I need to note today's successes.
4 loads of laundry folded and put away.
practiced sight words with the kindergartener
taught the 9 year old (again) the correct way to form her b and d's, next up f
9 year old finished a book
2 year old and 5 year old took a nap
4 year old helped fold laundry
I made pancakes for second breakfast (what's that? when the kids get up at 7 with Dad and eat cereal only to be sent back to bed because they are all coughing, and when I get up at 9 after being up all night with the two year old, I make pancakes for everyone)
renewed the library books
practiced writing "e" (with the four year old who writes them as backward g's) and other letters in her name
identified the letters the 5 year old didn't know
read books with the two year old
read tandem with 5 year old
practiced shape identification with 4 year old
said yes (this is a big one folks, it just is)
helped the 9 year old finally put together the butterfly garden she got in June for her birthday
9 year old practiced piano
I made arrangements for supplemental help at tonight's youth activity
No TV has been watched (1 movie by the 5 year old before everyone else woke up)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grouchy Lady Bugs

Today Nev brought home an Eric Carslile book from school. We read it together and she wanted to make a ladybug like Giddy and I did yesterday. ( we made a bee and a lady bug)
So we went at it from the angle on the front of the book. Ripping paper for grass, punching circles out, cutting heads bodies and undersides, and pipe cleaner and black cord for legs and antennae, respectively. I love how they turned out and it was fun to watch them work. At one point Giddy left and started walking off with the paint water, I had just refilled it and figured he thought he needed water since it was clean he couldn't see it? Er something. He kept saying something but as I had no context I couldn't understand until he showed me. 
A frog. 
Whaaat? How did that get in the house? I mean there are a TON of them outside but I'm always surprised at where we find them in the house. Come to find out when he was walking off with the paint water he was saying "wog" aka "frog."  Nev caught it after it jumped out of the paint cup. We took it outside, they each got to hold it before letting it go "home."
And back to our lady bugs. Nev made hers the sweet lady bug and Giddy said his was the grouchy one. 
They turned out so cute and the kids stayed on task well. Nev ended up drawing "names" in white on her lady bug 's back after I took the pic of her with hers. The white lines "are its bones-es" and he needed 8 legs because that's the way she drew it in white pencil. Duh Mom. :) Nev is pretty awesome with scissors now as she's had a lot of practice the last few months. 

She also presented me with another drawing and asked me if I could color it for her like I did her other one. See link for the other one. 
I'm looking forward to it. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Things I thought of while my child screamed all through check out...

To the two grandma age women who really should have been encouraging: First off I had the shopping isle right of way, so don't glare at me when you almost run into my cart with the child hanging off the front of it. I am doing the best I can, you of all people should appreciate that, or has it been too long since you cared for a little being? Or perhaps you are still bitter life dealt you a card you didn't like. If so, I am sorry on both accounts. Smile, your life will increase in sunshine, especially if you are the ones to smile first. 

To the grandpa age man who offered me a spot in front of him in line, just to get the check out over with faster: Thank you. It's too bad, (for everyone) that I couldn't take you up on your offer since the line I was in was really going to be faster. Your thoughtfulness is recorded in heaven and my heart.

To the young couple with the three month old boy: It's not always like this. Sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse. That's okay, because when I get home and put the little boy who cried himself to sleep in his bed for a nap, I will look on his angel face and wonder what I did to deserve charge of such a cherished child of God. Seriously. It's amazing how quickly a sentiment can change when they are sleeping. Though it might sound crazy, I'd take that shopping trip again.

Here's why:

*The old man who smiled at me and the children in the prescription line, because yes, they are cute, and yes, I am a good Mom, thank you for noticing.

*Because that two year old was so excited to pick and count tomatoes and apples with me and I know that these moments matter when he's looking at me wondering where to go from #4 before he drops the imperfect tomato he could reach into the bag.

*And when we stop to pick out underwear with the 4 year old who will look at all the options but still know exactly what she wants (Hello Kitty) because she is confident and her very own unique personality, I can be happy because I was a big part of that.

*And it's because when the two of them are picking out juice they think about what flavors their siblings will like. It's because I am working to raise individuals who care about others who can reach outside of their own sense of entitlement that is so rampant today.

*It's the little girl who could tell Mommy was worn out but really wanted the princess squinkie on the horse. She knew she could use her hard earned allowance to buy it, and also knew she'd not been the cause of Mommy's stress and so she gave me her best puppy-dog-eyes and-fist-clasped-pleading and then accepted it when Mom said, "no," (I later changed my mind because I was able to translate what "my lowance" meant).

So if I seem distant or unconcerned, cold or uncaring while my two year old cried the entire 30 minute checkout... (Note to self: never shop on a Tuesday again), it's because I care SO much, I'm not giving up. I'm fighting this battle against everyone who tells me mothering is a waste of time, against every Time Magazine Article that says a life with out children is "having it all," against every cocktail carrying woman who looks down at my newborn in the stroller and says "Why would you have a baby?" against, everyone who says, "you are too young to have kids," or "# that's enough," or "you have your hands full" or that "children ruin your body" etc. I'm fighting against the women who say I am throwing away my college education by choosing to be a stay at home mom. I'm fighting against everyone who says family doesn't matter, or that it can be modified to mean something other than what God intended.

I'm fighting for the four little people who are growing and changing faster than I could have ever imagined. I'm fighting for their lives, their happiness, their essence and their destiny. I'm fighting for my family. I'm fighting for all the young women out there who understand how important it is to be a mother, or who are even interested in trying to understand. I'm fighting for the future.