Category Archives: Parenting

Just one of those days…

It’s been a long week. The kids had day camp this week so we were gone everyday for most, if not all, of the day so I was looking forward to being home today. No plans, other than to rest and catch up on laundry and house chores – this house is still for sale so I should keep it semi ready.

So this morning I drank my coffee and made my list for the day. One of the things on it was to update the blog (with Colorado pictures). Well, that was before we had the day we had.

Everybody’s alive and healthy so that’s good. It was definitely one of those hard parenting days. You know, this whole parenting gig would be easier if we gave them everything they always wanted or let them be lazy, non-contributing members of this family who can say whatever they want in whatever tone they want. I’ve heard that’s a poor long-term strategy though, so I guess that means hard days like today. At one point they were both crying wanting daddy…I just took it as a compliment that I was doing my job well as a mother at that moment in the day. Can’t be their best friend all the time, right? Let’s just say I’m glad Dad did come home and everybody was in a better mood by the time they went to bed. We’ll try again tomorrow.

And I’ll try to be better about updating. This summer has just been one of those that has thrown all routine and consistency out for us. Between trying to sell this house – and figure out what to do next (especially about Mia and Kindergarten) – going on trips, fun summer activities, and having family around so much – all of which are so great…well, except for selling the house…blogging just hasn’t happened. Hopefully I’ll get better and sitting down and recording all that’s happened, because I feel like life is zooming past me and I need to take the time to record it. And process it.

Mia starts school exactly one month from today. I’ve heard there’s crying on that first day. Well, I’ve already cried so much about that child and school because this whole house thing has thrown everything up in the air that I’ll probably just be so excited that she’s finally registered somewhere and actually has a classroom. Ugh…this summer has not been good for me as a mom with a planner’s personality. Or, it has been good. Ask me when she’s graduated high school.

Until then, we’ll just go one step at a time, one day at a time.

Just one of those days…

Today has been….a roller coaster. It started off great. It was a stay at home day again but this time it actually sounded nice. It was really rainy and cloudy outside, perfect for starting inside. Besides, the rain was getting rid of all the snow and ice so I no longer have to look out onto the frozen tundra. It was good and the kids were being sweet.
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Mia even offered to help with laundry so we learned about socks.CAM00362

Then…Then nap time came and I felt my day spiraling out of control. Finn fought his nap and just as he would get close, Mia would decide she absolutely needed something right then. Almost 2.5 hours later I gave up. I was tired, frazzled, and had lost both precious time to get stuff done and one on one time with Mia (that she was begging for). I had texted Mark venting and said things that were not fair to him. I was caught in a spin cycle, a horrible place of giving in and saving the rest of the day. If I waited too much longer, he would never go to bed. So I did what any crazy mom would do. I took tv away for the rest of the day, a punishment that I hate as much as them (I know, there are moms out there who never let their kids watch. That’s not me. Hope we can be friends anyway). I also took candy (he gets it for potty) and cheetos (random, I know but for some reason it was all he could talk about when he was trying to nap and I said he could have done after he napped. So, I clearly had to take those).
Then, at snack time stuff got spilled all over the floor and well…whoever said “don’t cry over spilled milk” clearly hadn’t had the day I had.
Finally, I just had to let it all go. I realized the reason I was so upset was because I had expectations that had been shattered and I just needed to change my focus. Yes, I had plans to take a bit of nap time for myself but now I needed to just accept that I had two kids who still want and need their mom. I said a prayer for patience and peace and the car is climbing the roller coaster again. We’ve had some bumps but bedtime will come soon enough (sooner because of no nap, there’s the silver lining) and tomorrow we can start again.
Right now, I’m just sitting in the hallway folding the clothes I couldn’t do earlier in the day as the kids actually play nicely in the bath.
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The rain is back and strong and as it continues to wash away all the stuff that has kept us inside, I’m feeling a calmer, more cleansed attitude towards this day. Focusing on just letting things go and understand that while I didn’t get to do everything I wanted or do things just for myself, I do get to hear giggles in the bathroom and see smiles and brought eyes looking back at me.

Raising a child isn’t a sprint but a marathon and while today has felt like a hilly portion of one, I see the aid station ahead where I can recoup and refuel and set back out in the morning.  You better bet I’m sprinting to that rest point….

I wrote this post hours ago but then I found ants in the bathroom, had a few more sibling fun moments to break up, and then couldn’t get the post to upload at all. Ha, of course! But dinner went well, bedtime was fairly uneventful, and things are now quiet. As I get my coffee in the morning, this will be a good reminder…

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I don’t give them enough credit…

Just want to start by saying that this post about not giving them enough credit is not about Mark. I knew he would figure out the heater and let me tell you, that hot shower was nice.

There are times when I know I probably expect a little too much of my kids.
Like when I tempt fate and run into the grocery store *really fast* right around dinnertime. Surely, it’s just a quick in and out and they’ll be fine. Ha. If I’m cranky and don’t want to be there and want to eat everything that’s landing in the cart, it’s fair to assume that the little ones will too. With a dash of drama thrown in for good measure.

But there are so many more times when they surprise me. When they do something that totally just exceeds my expectations. Like when Mia starts a gymnastics class as the youngest girl in her class and tries her hardest to keep up with the girls who have been doing this for years. When I watch her try to do push ups and swing on the uneven bars when I know it is so hard and takes a lot of strength. Then when I saw them say that it was time to try and climb the rope, I knew for sure that I was going to see her come up to me whining and saying “this is all so hard mom, I don’t want to do this anymore”.

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Now, I’m going to be honest…she wasn’t able to pull herself much at all. But she wasn’t scared to tackle it and try. And at the end of class, when I asked her what her favorite thing was…she said the rope.  The rope! The one thing I thought for sure would have her saying she was done. I wasn’t giving her enough credit to see something that seemed scary and hard and try it anyway.

Then this little guy:

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We know he’s not scared of much (except crickets and spiders and bugs in general) and that he’s super strong and that we’ll be having to tell him to NOT climb that rope at times, I’m sure.
No, his challenge these days is Potty Training. Honestly, I had myself all geared up to have the worst experience ever and that it would take me two years to get him potty trained and wow, I really hope he doesn’t have to go to kindergarten in pull-ups. He’s a boy and he’s strong willed and he had done the whole sticky thing to me, so I was just sure I was in for a nightmare experience.
Uh. Well…I’m even afraid to say this because you know that as soon as I do, I’m going to find poop smeared all over the walls (happens every time with this blogging thing: just like my water heater that worked and then oh, just kidding – cold shower for you!), but he is doing so well. I mean, shockingly well. He might even have been easier to potty train than Mia, but that’s probably because with Mia I tried too soon – she was a girl, and my first: rookie mistake (once I waited until she was ready it was waaaaay easier) – so this time I decided I wasn’t going to try to beat the boy potty training record and I was just going to wait.
In a day, he was doing so well at home. And within a few days, he was almost completely potty trained at home. He goes by himself without having to be prompted, wants to be by himself (Kitchen, Momma! – that’s where I’m supposed to go and wait), and then dumps his potty and washes his hands.
But, when it was time to leave the house and he had a pull-up on? Nothing. No trips to the potty at all. He even asked for a pull-up when he knew we were going to a playground. Smart, that one. At school, he was doing just ok and his teachers and I knew had a pretty strong feeling it was because of the pull-ups. So, they said to bring him in underwear. I stalled for about a week (that’s just not something you want to impose on someone else), but they kept saying that they didn’t care. So today, he went in underwear. And when I picked him up…he was in the same clothes! Multiple trips to the potty and no accidents. What?  Again, totally wasn’t giving that kid enough credit.

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He’s so proud every time he goes on the potty.

I know that I haven’t cleaned up my last accident and I know there will be days when I’ll have to deal with a girl who doesn’t want to do the hard work. But I also know that they can do so much more than what I think they can.
And I guess parenting is all about exactly that: guiding and encouraging your children through the hard stuff, while teaching them that in Christ they have huge potential to do so much – so much good – and that yes, sometimes things will be hard and sometimes there will be messes to clean up but that they’ve got a community around them that will support them when things don’t go as planned and celebrate with them when things do go well. (While balancing all of that with a dose of realistic understanding of who they are, how sinful and broken they are and where there identity really is). As I watch them go through these lessons, I learn too. I learn about them and about myself. This stuff is not easy. I know I don’t give them enough credit sometimes and I know that sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit (and maybe too much on others? – whole different issue…), but fortunately there is Somebody who knows us intimately and knows that we do have what it takes, who walks alongside us and supports us.
So, I’ll be trying to keep unrealistic expectations at bay, but I’ll be pushing and cheering and celebrating. Yep, celebrating, because climbing ropes and staying dry are big deals around here.