Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dear dads, in regards to Valentines...

Valentine's is quickly approaching.

I'm married, to a wonderful man, and pretty regularly get flowers and perhaps chocolate on Valentine's, but really...I don't like the day.

I always, always, ALWAYS have expectations for the day (as well as Mother's Day, anniversary, birthday...) and to be realistic they are rarely met - 1.  Because my husband is definitely not the romantic variety and 2.  Because my expectations are definitely unrealistic in nature.

We all have our issues with Valentine's (well, most of us...except for the rare few who have always been doted on each year by an admiring suitor) but my earliest issue was when I was in school.

There were these little girls who always got flowers and chocolates delivered to school.  Now of course, all the other little girls first were in shock that a boy was already sending a girl flowers - but when we would all approach these girls with smiles from ear to ear, they would inform us that their gifts were from the first love...their daddy.

I remember so clearly - there were the girls who, at the revelation of the sender, would shrug their shoulders and walk away saying, "that's stupid."

There were the girls who would look confused as to why their daddy didn't send them flowers.

There were the girls who would smile brightly back and say, "Look at the flowers my daddy sent me!"

And then there were the girls (which would be where I fell in) who would walk away saddened because I wanted to feel loved and treasured like that.  But I didn't have a dad.

I bet those girls that got those flowers love Valentine's...even to this day.

So Dave and I had a conversation the other day about expectations for Valentine's for our girls...well, and our boys too I suppose.

Since they were little we have always gotten them something - telling them that Valentine's was a day to make the people you love feel very special.  But this is our last Valentine's with the twins, and then next year at this time they will be in Kindergarten.

I talked to Dave about those girls - the ones that always got stuff from their doting dads, and how I would love for our girls to be able to experience that.  To feel like the most treasured, special, wholly loved little girls in school on that God forsaken wonderful day.

So that's what he will do - and the boys?  They will get some sport ball shaped box of chocolates before they go to school...but the girls will get flowers at school.

Dad's, do you make your daughters feel special? 

When seeing a little girl carrying around flowers on Valentine's at school, which girl would your daughter be?  The one resentful and angry, the one hurt and confused, the one sad and lonely, or the one just as happy? 

Does your daughter know that she is your princess?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Milkshakes and bathroom overhauls...

Yesterday, as I was doing dishes my 3 year old Lily and my 1.5 year old Will sneaked into my bathroom and proceeded to dump out EVERYTHING they could find.


Today, as I was getting Will dressed upstairs, Lily and Luke got a fabulous idea of making a "milk shake" together. 

I walked downstairs (because now I know silence means everything but gold in my home) and found the biggest salad bowl we have filled with milk that they had shaken (hence the milk SHAKE) sitting in the fridge and my kitchen floor covered with milk from where the shaking had occurred.  The empty milk gallon just laid there.


Emma just stood there watching the chaos, continually repeating, "I'm good Mommy!  I'm good!  Not bad like Lily and Luke!"  Yes, Emma you are are they - you just happened to not be in the mixing group.  But Emma saved her little moment for when I was trying to get the kids dressed and she argued with me over EVERY SINGLE piece of clothing I handed her today.  She's 4...seriously.

So, I went to the gym.  And I checked my kids into the child watch for 3 minutes shy of the entire two hours they allow and I worked my butt off.  And I watched mindless grown up tv.

I love my kids - but I wish they would just obey.  All the time.  I hate HATE HATE disciplining, but it seems like it's all I do.  They are so much fun when they are good.  And seriously, why won't they figure out already that I am not trying to ruin all their fun - I'm just trying to raise them into decent human beings?!!??!  But no, they continue to push the limits and let me tell you - 4 kids pushing against 1 mom all day...the odds are stacked against me. 

Oh, my response to all this?  I'm so patient and loving, graceful and merciful...or not.  I lose my temper so fast - which is an AMAZING example...stellar mom moments happening all the time in my home!

Anyway, I just wonder if how I'm responding to their naughty behavior now will shape how they act and behave when they are teens?  Am I screwing them up?  Am I setting myself up for years of nightmarish behavior from them when they are teenagers?

So, I pray for patience - in front of them.  I ask God for forgiveness for my anger - in front of them...and then turn to them and ask for their forgiveness.  I pray that God will show me how to teach them and train them and mold their little hearts to be hearts that desire to front of them.  And then I ask God to give me a heart of obedience to front of them.

And I work get out my frustrations. 

And I've lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks.  HEY HEY!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Princess - privilege or punishment?

I was sitting in speech class my sophomore year in high school when our teacher began to make a list.

I, being the sheltered girl that I was, sat there in astonishment as my teacher started asking the class different names society had for women - and the entire class started spewing out horrible words, and she wrote each and every one of them on her board.

I don't quite remember her point, but I think it had to do with our words being powerful and lots of ways to say the same thing.

Yet, even 15 years later, I still don't agree that many of those words equate to being a woman, a real woman.

With my girls I constantly encourage them to be whatever they want to be.  Emma wants to be a pediatrician - and she's already collecting stuff for her doctor kit and begs to watch Dr. Oz as much as possible.  Lily is newly 3 and still wants to be Barney...or a singer, it depends on the day.  But regardless, they are both princesses.

Not the helpless, damsel in distress type of princess (although Dave encouraged that when Emma was little by telling her that princesses shouldn't have to walk up stairs.  That stopped when I was the one doing most of the lifting.)  But the royal, special, distinguished, princess.

For two reasons:  1.  Because they are children of God - priceless and wonderful.  2.  Because they are our daughters and need to know that they aren't just happenstance creatures...but they were created for a purpose.

So, when I read an article recently that was talking about how our girls were all princesses now and we are peddling backwards in the woman's right movement by pushing this all pink, uber feminine, doll playing roll on our daughters - I got irritated.

Emma, as we speak, is laying in her bed wearing a Cinderella dress with her stethoscope around her neck.  I don't think princess = entitled.  I think bad parenting, or parenting that is over indulgent (like telling little girls that they shouldn't have to walk) creates entitled, overindulged little girls - but not telling your little girl that she is a princess.  Or letting her wear pink.  Or allowing her to play with dolls and pretend she is a mommy.  Those things would happen, and I am confident that my girls would gravitate towards those things regardless if I called them a princess or solely by their names their entire childhood.

Also, the lady referenced the clothes that the girls are wearing now...some girls are wearing.  The ones that say "Spoiled" or "Princess with an attitude" or whatever.  She used this as an argument against encouraging my little girls to be princesses.  But I would like to say this - if your daughter is wearing a shirt that says "spoiled" or "princess with an attitude," then my guess is it's pretty accurate...or you have no back bone since most little girls don't have their own paychecks and Mommy ends up doing all their clothes shopping.

Society doesn't need to dictate how you raise your children...or what clothes they wear.  My girls are princesses - and you will never see them wear a shirt like that (at least bought on my own dime) and if my girls begin to have a self-entitled attitude and one that is more reminiscent of the other names for women that my speech teacher wrote on the board - then they are not acting like princesses.

Shortly after I read the article my husband and I were driving with the kids over to their grandma' and grandpa's house, when Emma (Princess Emma the Wonderful) started in, "Mommy, I want a gun.  A pink, flower, princess gun.  That I can shoot."

And Lily (Princess Lily the Fabulous) quickly followed, "Purple Barney gun..." little princesses.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Does feminism = bully?

I have stated this before, and I'm sure it will frustrate some of you women that read this, but I am not, repeat, NOT a feminist.  In the least.

I appreciate the women who went before me to fight for voting rights and equality...but in my (maybe simplistic) mind there is a difference between equality and feminism.

It seems as though, when I was little and I would hear the word feminism it meant equality - Equal pay, equal opportunities (which, even in that I'm not sure that equal opportunities is always the good or right thing for that matter...but I digress.)

In fact, in my life, in the short amount of time that I worked (in an office, and in speaking) that I had just as many opportunities as the next person.

But in my adult life, you know the part of life when the money from a job and the stability of a career actually goes to pay bills instead of my entertainment budget, feminism has taken on such a rotten connotation for me.

I'm not sure when it happened, but now it seems that feminism = mean.

From the women that I have seen in recent years who have managed to climb the ladder to upper or executive leadership, one common trait is in them all - they are mean, nasty women.

They are angry, accusatory, ungraceful, merciless - but they are the boss and don't you ever forget it...oh and me?  Well, I'm just an underling who stays at home...

But it makes me think.

I know society says that women are supposed to be one way.  Feminism would like us to be completely equal to men (from what I gather nowadays).  But the bible, you know the book that God inspired, it talks about a woman in a completely different way.

In Proverbs 31 it talks about the wife of noble character and in essence, the virtuous woman.  It speaks to her ability to run her household, be an entrepreneur, support her husband and be involved in the community.  Proverbs 31:25-26 it says:  "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."

I wonder if women, in trying to get ahead, chose to handle themselves according to what the Bible says instead of what society says, if they would actually be more successful.  I wonder if women were kind and wise, giving faithful instruction that is strong and be very respectable if they would climb the ladder faster with less enemies.  I wonder if instead of back biting, undermining, gossiping, trying to be the alpha male, we embraced the feminine qualities that God wants for us to have - if we would achieve our goals more effectively.

And from the wife of a man who has had to work with some of these women, I am confident that the men who work for you would do so more happily if you led them with strength and dignity instead of harshness and criticism.

I don't know, just sayin'.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Just breathe...and enjoy the moment.


Seriously, breathe.

I don't know who you are, or when you are finding time to read this.  Maybe it's during nap time, maybe it's while dinner is cooking, maybe your day has ended (sort of) for the night.  Perhaps you aren't a parent and you read this as a great means of free birth control...either way, just breathe.

Life can get busy, right?  Crazy in fact.  Some times I get in my routine, and even though nothing about it is "easy" I still operate on auto-pilot, not really enjoying what is going on around me.  I'm too "busy" to appreciate my craziness.  My wonderful, God blessed, most miraculous craziness.

I take pictures.  A lot.  And my picture taking hasn't really dwindled, but my ability to stop and look and really treasure the pics that I've taken sure has.  I feel like I'm constantly moving on to the next thing, the next mess, the next fight, the next diaper, the on and so forth.  But today I actually looked at my pics.  And I was blown away at my amazing life...really - you should all be as blessed as I am.

 Luke picked out this AMAZING snuggy-esque blanket for Dave for Christmas.  Yes, it's plush.  And yes, it's red...of course, because Luke picked it out and EVERYTHING must be red because of Spiderman.  When Dave opened it, he had already been prepared by me and he acted genuinely thrilled - and then he asked me if we could return it.  I of course said no.  It sat in our room for a couple of weeks until Luke found it, and asked Dave why he never used the blanket.  Dave then realized it was more than a gift - it was Luke's special way of showing Dave how much he loved him.  So the next morning, Dave brought it down and cuddled with the kids when they first woke.  Notice, Luke is as "snuggled" in there as possible.

The kids and I were pretending that they were baby elephants and I was a tiger.  They hid in the cupboards, and I was able to get some cleaning done as long as I intermittently would yell, "ROARRRR!!!!"  Mental note:  This proved to be a win when needing to get some quick uninterrupted chores completed.

Yes Emma still sucks her thumb.  Yes, Lily still has her paci when she sleeps and for a short time after she wakes up.  And yes, Lily is in a diaper...still.  And yes, Emma is wearing Will's pajamas for some unknown reason.  But let me also point something out...they are happy!  They love each other.  They are all playing together so nicely...choo choo train in fact.  And when our days are said and done, my children have three best friends built in.  That's pretty cool.  And just for you who are still freaking out about the thumb, and the paci and the diaper - well...we are working on it - but I am taking offers on anyone who would like to do the potty training and the paci breaking themselves.  Thank you in advance.

In the "choo choo train" picture above, Emma is holding a box of bandaids.  We bought them for her at the dollar store - big spenders we are.  Anyway, she wants to be a pediatrician and for Christmas she got a book called "Nurse Nancy" that came with two bandaids.  She decided then, she needed her own supply of bandaids readily on hand so she could treat any and all owies that occur in our home.  I quickly learned that owies are a broad term...owies also mean, "a place in which I deem appropriate to stick a bandaid on because I am big sister and I am, quite honestly, the boss."  Thankfully, Will was a patient, um, patient.

And if Will was a patient patient, Lily was a hypochondriac - but a happy one.  In fact, she was sporting all these bandaids when I took her in for her 3 year check up.  Awesome I tell you.  Needless to say, the bandaids are all gone and I must make another trip to the dollar store to stock pile up on bandaids and have a secret stash on hand at all times.

And Luke bought his first thing with his own money...well, he paid for half of it.  And it's Hulk.  I don't like Hulk.  But we are working out a nice balance of playing with Hulk and pretending we are Hulk.  However, he is proud.  He had to spend ten dollars of his own money.  Later that day Emma decided to use some of her money to buy some jewelry for her and Lily.  She only spent five dollars however, and decided to continue to save the rest for when she buys a car and drives to Mexico.  And yes, please take note - I am changing a diaper in the background.  No, I will not miss diapers.  Yes, I will miss when they were babies...and it's quickly approaching when I will only have kids and no more babies...and I'm okay with that...just a bit sentimental.

Looking, really looking at my pictures today was a great refocus for me.  Take time to enjoy your life...don't rush through, waiting for the next "phase" because it will come quick enough.  And now that I've breathed enough, I am going to go sleep - for maybe ten minutes until the glorious craziness ensues.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I resolve to get going on my resolutions...

I've been pretty slow at this whole blogging thing as of late.

Really slow.

I have received a couple of "blogging awards" that I have yet to do anything with - but I intend to claim them, unlike the ones in the past that I have left out there in cyberworld.  So soon, hopefully.

New Years came and went, and now we are at the 6th of June...and I have yet to put any resolutions into "go mode."

I realized that an application for my twins to go to kindergarten will come out next month, so I had a bit of a panic attack as to all the things I MUST get accomplished before school starts (which is in 8 months mind you) and though I know my kids will do great, they seriously have to get the whole wiping of their own bottom thing down.  Seriously.

Lily turned 3.  She got Dora panties for Christmas.  Have I started potty training?  No.  Lay off.  If you want to do it, be my guest...I'm kinda busy.

My precious tiny little baby is now a toddler who throws tantrums.  He throws himself backwards and arches his back.  Why precious baby, why? So, I guide him with my leg as he throws himself backwards so that he lands on the carpet instead of the tile...and so it begins.

Our water heaters froze and Luke puked all at once.  It was wonderful.  When you have no water, and your son pukes all over you - those are the moments you just have to recite over and over, "Children are a blessing from the Lord...Children are a blessing from the Lord..."  The water heaters were fixed and Luke stopped puking.  So that's good.  Healthy kids and water are good things...oh, and renting and being able to call the landlord and not having to pay the plumber exorbitant amounts of money out of your own pocket...that's a good thing too.

I decided I have to lose weight.  Which I have decided before on multiple occasions, and was doing ok before Christmas...but oh Christmas, and New Years and those darn mini egg rolls.  So, I'm starting again.  With really no motivation, but I have to do it.  So here's to yummy healthy food that has no sugar in it (sigh)!

My kids have been driving me nuts lately, and I have been losing perspective which is never a good thing, but now with all four children throwing fits at some point or another, I find myself losing patience by the ton.  I wish I could remember how badly, how desperately I wanted to have children when I'm so frustrated...but unfortunately that mental reminder doesn't kick in, until I have proven myself to be Momzilla.

So, my resolution this year is to show kindness, love, well, Jesus to people I encounter...starting with my family.

I want to be the person who helps the woman using the wheelchair at the store to reach her stuff.

I want to be the mom who is able to respond out of love and gentleness and not frustration and anger all the time.

I want to be the wife who makes a concentrated effort, regardless of how I feel, to do the things that mean the most to my husband (like a cooked dinner and a clean house)

I want to be the friend who is able to carve time out to have a meaningful conversation and actually makes an effort to support my friends.

I want to be the Christian that people who aren't will look at and be compelled to at least listen to my case for Christ.

I want to be grateful for the blessings that God has blessed me with - even in my frustration and lack of perspective.

What are your resolutions this year?  How are you doing so far???  Or have you started?