Not Me Monday

Confession almost always leaves me feeling better…so joining in with MckMama’s weekly fun, here are some things I ‘didn’t’ do this week!

I certainly didn’t hone my pancake making skills at 10 PM on a Saturday night in hopes to win a pancake duel set for Sunday morning with my husbands boss.  Nope, no pride here.

I am totally NOT ridiculously excited to be leaving my children (for the first time ever) for three days starting this Friday to fly to Denver for a conference on mothering with my favorite mom-author Sally Clarkson.

With crisp, clean white sheets on our bed and a fluffy new, white duvet I must have been temporarily out of my mind when I so did NOT  spill finish my glass of red wine in bed as my husband and I watched the last season of 24 on DVD (no TV remember? so movies in bed are how we roll).  Jack Bauer, white bedding and wine definitely do not make a good combination.

I did not do my best to appease my 5 year old by singing (at his request) the Star Wars anthem.  It’s not a singing song, no words.  But somehow he asks every day for me to sing it 🙂

I did not break our house rules and run around our home like a crazy person with my kids as fast as possible for almost an hour to try to avoid going nuts after days and days of pouring rain.  Certainly not.

I have not gone to six stores looking for tall black boots.  I did not get super embarrassed trying on said tall boots (and not being able to get them on) at one store because they seem to all be made for skinny-legged ladies.  What’s a roundish mama who wants fun black boots to do?!

Just Heard Thursday

It’s been a while!  I only have two little snippets to share today…

Caleb drew a  family picture, the first one he’s ever made.  And this is what it looked like:

Before he labeled all the people I asked who was who and he responded:

Well, you are in the middle of course Mama.  And you’re thick.  So that’s you.  And Daddy’s not so thick, he’s on your side.  I’m on your other side, see?  With my arm on your shoulder?  Uh oh…looks like I forgot to draw Kyler.  Here, we can squeeze him in here.

Sigh.

I’d like to say that it doesn’t bother me one tiny bit and I’m totally secure in who I am.  I’ve come a long ways from the borderline anorexic completely weight-obsessed 17 year old who needed counseling.  And I’m honestly more comfortable in my skin than I’ve been in my life but I still wouldn’t mind being less ‘thick’.

Being drawn by my 5 year old as ‘the thick one’ wasn’t probably a high point of my day and that’s the truth.

On a lighter note after having a sweet 20-something friend over last night for dinner to catch up on life with us, Rylee listened intently as our friend shared a completely enchanting love story that is unfolding in her life right now.

Today, after pondering all that she heard last night of love and romance and a very magical courtship Rylee had but one insightful question:

Why doesn’t Daddy do all that stuff that Heather’s friend does?

I answered as best as I could and tried to explain to a 6 year old that when you are dating, you work extra hard to make the other person feel special and you show your love to them in all kinds of ways.  I told her that when I was 16, Daddy baked me brownies with a special note actually cooked inside the brownie.  He brought me flowers all the time.  We hand wrote dozens of letters to each other.  We went out on dates together every weekend and talked until 3 in the morning just for fun.

I told her that when you get married and settle into life together, all the special things don’t usually happen quite so often and you get to show your love in different ways that are meaningful but not the same.

She was not impressed.  I’m pretty sure she thought all the sweetness that our friend had shared over dinner sounded much more wonderful.  Which is just fine for now.  But it was darling to watch her little mind try to process the whole thing.

A few holiday snapshots

Wow.  I can’t believe we didn’t get any posts up the week of Christmas.

Then again I can.  We had family gatherings nearly every day for over a week.  Many of them at our home.

It was crazy.  And fun (mostly – except my sometone’s temper tantrum on Christmas Eve).

Here are a few sweet moments we captured (better late than never hopefully!)…

My favorite breakfast

I love breakfast foods, if I had my way I would be happy to enjoy quiches, bacon, waffles, scones and the like every single day.

But that doesn’t fit in with trying to eat healthy or losing weight….both of which would suit me well at this point.

So aside from holiday breakfast spreads, this is my real life favorite breakfast food that I treat myself to most mornings.  It fills me up and tastes so good.  And it’s pretty too which for me is a great bonus!

Yogurt Breakfast Parfait

1/2 banana sliced tiny
3/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
1/2 cup frozen berries (sliced small if large)
1/2 cup low fat granola

Of course if you are rushed you can throw it all into a bowl, but I seriously enjoy it so much more in a tall, clear glass.  Isn’t it pretty?

I do this funny thing every year, let me share.  We pick berries in summer then I place 1-2 cups in small ziplocs and we freeze them for winter when fresh produce is harder to come by and much more expensive.  We spend many hours berry picking.  They are forbidden for months, like a prized possesion (we are ‘saving’ them after all).  Then winter is suddenly here and we’ve eaten only a few berries.  Now it’s already January and the lower fourth of our freezer is still teeming with berries of all kinds.  So, we’ve been having fruit smoothies every single day and frozen berries for dessert and I’ve been loving me some berry-filled parfaits.  Yum.

What would Mrs. Piggle Wiggle do?

Absolutely one of my favorite things about homeschooling is the feast of words which we are indulging in together daily.  We are discovering old books from discard piles and thrift stores that hold magical, rich stories with all sorts of vocabulary words that sometimes I don’t even know how to say.  Today we’ve logged over three hours of reading aloud together or the kids reading their books to me.

Yesterday we finished Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald.  I remember reading her when I was young, it in fact is older than my mother even, written in 1947.  Now reading it as a parent my perspective is so different.  The kids were so tickled listening that I couldn’t even get them to pick a favorite chapter, they found them all so funny!  I think the most laughs came from the “Answer-Backer Cure” chapter when the cure was that the sassy girl who talked back to everyone had to live with a snappy parrot who was even ruder and more disrespectful than she was.   It was easy for me though to pick a favorite paragraph, let me share…

It certainly was fortunate for Patsy’s mother that she thought of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, because although Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has no children of her own and lives in an upside down house, she understands children better than anybody in the whole world.  She is always ready to stop whatever she is doing and have a tea party.  She is glad to have children dig worms in her petunia bed.  She has a large trunk of scraps for doll clothes and another large truck full of valuable rocks with gold in them.  She is delighted to have children pick up and look at all the little things which she keeps on her tables and when Hubert Prentiss dropped the glass ball that snowed on the children when you shook it, she said “Heavens, Hubert, don’t cry.  I’m so glad this happened.  For years and years I have wanted to know what was in that glass ball.”  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle takes it for granted that you will want to try on her shoes and go wiggling around on high heels.

There are rich parenting gems in there I believe, the one that stopped me in my tracks was that she was always ready to stop whatever she was doing for a tea party.  It is the easiest thing in the world to go about the day, do the tasks at hand and miss the little sweet moments of actual, purposeful interaction with our children.  I am constantly reminding myself of this and taking note of time spent with each one.

The no-nonsense, reality-based discipline of Dr. Kevin Leeman is what came to mind as I read this book to my kids.  It made me want to dig out the book I read by him last year “Making Your Children Mind without Losing Yours“.  His basic premise is that parents need to let reality teach kids the consequences of life.

While Mrs. Piggle Wiggle address’ many common ‘ailments’ of childhood like kids who won’t bath, kids who fight with their siblings or kids who take too long to eat – I want to know what she would prescribe as the remedy for “Binky-itis” for my 3 1/2 year old boy who is absolutely, interminably in love with his binky.  It’s not in the book sadly.  And I’m starting to wonder if he’ll be taking his binky to college…with a dreadful overbite to go with.

Simple pleasures

Kyler (with a big sigh at breakfast this morning):  “Mama, can I fwim in that?”

Mama (loving he still can’t say s-blend words, it’s so darn cute): “Swim where, in what?”

Kyler: “In that bottle of honey.  It just looks so good.”

Mama: “It might be sticky to swim in honey.”

Kyler: “Yeah.  Okay.  But it’d be so fun.  So yummy.”

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Kids all playing with a train track they built, together.  Without fighting.  Bliss.

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The fact it took me almost two hours – from grinding beans to pouring my first cup – to make a pot of coffee for myself.  The momentary interruptions of life with small children never cease to amaze me.  But wow, that first cup is pretty amazing.  I’m in love with Peets Coffee.  A new discovery for me and pure, strong, YUM.  I was thinking about giving up coffee in the new year.

Not a good idea.  Not even going to try it.

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Pondering the sweetheart of a girl Rylee is and though her sass sometimes gets her in trouble, her tenderness brings me to tears.  Yesterday when my sister was too sick to go to work which meant we wouldn’t have my nephew here for the day, she was so bummed her cousin wasn’t coming for the day.  She pestered me every 5 minutes until I called my sister.  This was what finally got me to pick up the phone:

Mama, since DeeDee is so sick and Isaac is there just playing by himself, don’t you think we should call and offer to go pick him up so that all she has to worry about is herself?

Melt my heart instantly.  Of course we should.  And of course we did, we piled in the van and scooped up little Isaac and enjoyed him for the morning.  He and Audrey played peek-a-boo in the curtains off and on all morning.  And his mama got some sleep.

Life is so simple to a 6 year old.  I absolutely love it.

Fear – the reason ‘new’ is not always fun

Upon some deeper soul searching to try and understand my funk and move out of it so that life can begin again I found the unwelcome culprit in my heart.

Fear.

Fear is the reason I don’t have any desire this year to write a list of dreams and ideals and hopes.

Despite the fact I’ve watched the God I love work miracles around me and know His goodness, I am still afraid.

As much as my head wants to be perfectly optimistic and delightfully ready to have a new beginning and a clean slate of a year before me, my heart wonders why.

Why set yourself up for failure when you know you won’t ____________________?  (Exercise…read every day…control your frustrations better…have more structure…make time for dates with Christopher…)

Why not just be realistic and hope for the best?

Why make a list of things to stare you in the face and let you know you haven’t made the mark?

Fear tells me don’t do it.

As a perfectionistic oldest child, if I can’t get it all right, sometimes I don’t want to try.

Last night as I read through old journals like I always do when my heart isn’t in quite the right place, I found where I’d written one of my favorite verses:

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy comes from God! 1 Cor 3:5

Big sigh.  Thankfully, it isn’t up to me.  It isn’t up to my independent, stubborn, strong self to muster up what I need to make a good effort at making the grade.

I can’t make it.  I won’t make it.  Only when I lay my life down and let God direct and shape it does it turn into something beautiful.  And that’s what I want.

This morning I read the words on a very favorite blog, written by Ann Voscamp.  Her words here are much more poetic than mine and were just the encouragement I needed to wake up to as she wrote about the things I had been pondering into the night.  This part especially seemed whispered just to me-it is exactly how I feel:

What if all tomorrows are just more of all our yesterdays?

A thousand times I’ve told myself, “I simply must try harder.” Try harder to be more organized, try harder to educate our children better, try harder to be more after God’s heart.

But I know it: trying harder only  results in harder trials.

So I’m off today, with pen in hand and a little bit softer heart that wants to listen and to dream and to hope for great things in 2010.  Still afraid but certain that my fear won’t get me anywhere and even more certain that God wants me to trust him and seek him in new ways.

New Year blues?

I’m not sure why but the new year finds me quite melancholy this time.

Usually I am a big fan of new beginnings, new lists and new opportunities.

None of the new sounds that appealing to me this year for some reason.

I’ve tried a few times to make some ‘goals’ for the year, to reevaluate and ponder and reflect.

But so far, I have only figured out two things:

1 – I made most of the same goals last year and didn’t do a great job at them.

2 – Instead of new, I think I’d rather have some not-new….as in old or same or familiar.

While the past year has in so many ways been a breath of fresh air and I’ve watched my husband flourish and thrive at a new job, still the sense (for me at least) of starting over with finding friends and a community of people to be a part of is painfully slow and hard.

I’ve tried to embrace all the new that our life has held the past 18 months and I have certainly done my best to let go of where we’ve been.  But in the in-between-ness of it all….I guess it just isn’t always lovely.

And that’s okay.

The four smiling faces that greet me every day sure help me keep moving forward and believe me, I’m grateful for that.

So…no list of resolutions here.  Just a slightly cynical (today at least) mama.  Who can’t seem to pen even one thing on her empty journal page entitled “2010 dreams and goals”.