Hello, again!


It's been a long time since my last blog post. I'm reminded just how long when I see those old posts coming up in my time hop on Facebook and I have to admit, they always make me sad.

I'm forgetting too much. I used to think that stopping to write, reflect, and share was a luxury. However, when your kids grow as fast as mine do you are bound to miss something if you don't make these small spaces of time to record the little things.

Or big things.

I've not taken the time to write and reflect on our fourth child's birth yet. Maybe in the coming weeks I'll find the space to share that story.

I've not told you about how our first year of homeschooling has gone or how until a few weeks ago I was woefully ignorant on the phases of the moon or why exactly leaves changed color. Those little things you learn in elementary school that you push out of your mind.

I've not told you about the catechism lessons we've started teaching our children this year and how remarkable it is to see them internalizing truths so much bigger than themselves!

I've also not shared any of the ridiculously funny stories or how I adore the way Little Bear talks or how I find it so funny that my sweet Cupcake has turned into a second mama over night (Lord help us! I'm gonna change her name is bossy pants).

But I don't want to forget these things. Even if it takes time to stop and write them down. A little time now means means these memories are recorded forever.

So this little post is my reintroduction to the blogging world. It's my big, "Hello again!" I look forward to getting reacquainted, reconnecting, and most importantly, remembering for years to come.

My sweet baby #4 who is 7 months old now! 

Best Friends {The Time My Kids Spit Water Everywhere}


There is rarely a dull moment at my house. 

There are loud moments, happy moments, angry moments, lots of smelly moms, but never dull ones. 

Today as I was busy changing Roo's diaper (not really, I was playing on Facebook), his three precious older siblings decided to spit the water from their sippy cups all over their room. They'd each take a drink and then spew it out all over their toys, books, blankets, everything. 

I discovered their game when my three-year-old Cupcake had the audacity to bring me her cup and ask for more water. I had refilled her cup not too long ago and since my children rarely drink water (they are stubborn and hold out until I give into their whining for more milk), I simply asked, "You drank your water already?"

In all candor she said, "No, I spit it on my floor."

"Show me."

There is always that moment of dread that follows such an innocent confession. It could just be a few small drops on the floor, or it could be a tidal wave washing over their room and ruining everything in it's wake.

This time it was a tidal wave. There was water everywhere. I didn't even know their cups had that much water in them!

I got each of my beloved children their own small towel, disciplined them, and told them to start cleaning up their mess. Then I left the room to start a load of laundry (mostly because they were having too much fun cleaning up their mess and that really annoyed me).

As as I was throwing a particularly gross pair of poopy pants in the washer, I hear a little voice behind me.


I turned around to see my four-year-old Rooster (no doubt the tidal wave ring leader) a few feet away with a rather sad look on his face.

"What is it, son?"

"Mom, I sorry."

"Sorry, for what?"

"Sorry for spitting my water all over the floor. I not do it again."

"Yeah, that wasn't very nice. You made a big mess."

"I apologize. I will never ever spit my water again."

I took a deep breath and mustered up all my energy trying so hard not to laugh at the ridiculously long face standing in front of me.

"I forgive you. And I love you."

Instantly his frown became the cheesiest smile I've seen. He scrunched his shoulders up to ears, and said, "I love you too!"

He ran back down the hallway while I turned to finish the laundry with a smile on my face. Genuine or not, that four-year-old knows exactly how to pull his mom's heartstrings.

Then I hear it. The same little voice, this time more loudly coming from his room down the hallway.

"Guys, she forgived us!"

My two-year-old Little Bear cheered, while Cupcake hollered, "Good Job Rooster!!"

And then I laughed out loud.

There are so many moments in this parenting gig that absolutely drive me crazy. Just one moment of distraction and child-proof cups can turn into a natural disaster. A stuffed animal becomes a weapon of mass destruction. A spoonful of peanut butter becomes finger paint.

But there is something about siblings working together, for good and for bad, that just makes a momma proud. I'm sure in the days to come they'll each take turns with the short straw and have to apologize for one misstep or another. I just pray whatever it is, they are always in it together. 

Best Friends

Parenting and the McDonald's Playplace


Like most families, we have a few meal time rules that keep our kids healthy and our meal times sane. I serve healthy foods, and my kids are reasonably expected to eat what I serve. We all sit at the table together until everyone is done. We don't graze. When my kids get down to play, I put their food away for good. 

But here's the deal. NONE of those rules apply to my kids at the McDonald's play place.

I was pondering this the other day while sitting alone at my table surrounded by half-eaten chicken nuggets. I watched a young mother and her two-year-old engage in the epic YOU-MUST-EAT-ALL-YOUR-FOOD-BEFORE-YOU-GO-PLAY food battle. Her struggle was real, and her little boy's determination admirable.

For years now I've taken my kids to fast food play places as a fun, well-controlled place for them to let off a little energy, and it never fails that I see at least one parent who is trying desperately to enforce the standard meal time rules while their child is staring dreamy-eyed at all the other kids running around and having fun. 

Those other kids are my kids. Their food is sitting out on our table almost completely untouched for the moment. They will come back in 10 minutes or so and eat for a while until something catches their eye and they are off to play again. I'm personally am okay with that. 

I brought them here to play and be kids and enjoy a very unhealthy lunch because it's fun and we needed a break from our regular turkey, cheese, and carrots. This is a treat, and a fighting food battle right now really kind of takes the joy out of it. 

You won't ever hear me saying things like, "Eat all your french fries and then you can go play," because honestly, french fries aren't that good for them anyway. I'd much rather them enjoy themselves, leaving me and everyone around me to eat in peace. 

And sometimes we eat cookies in the Wal-Mart parking lot. 
Of course, I understand that not all moms feel as I do about these things. Maybe it's important to you that your child eat their meal. Maybe you are on a road trip and won't get to eat again for several hours. Maybe you just have a big problem with wasting food. Maybe your child is severely malnourished and *needs* those french fries right now. 

There are definitely times when I need my kids to focus on their meal instead of being distracted by the play ground, and at those time, we choose to sit somewhere else. I really don't enjoy tempting my kids with disobedience, and if we sit in the play place area they will be tempted to disobey me (and whine and complain about it) until I finally relent and they get to go play. 

So many of the battles we fight as parents have to do with teaching our kids good habits for life. We want them to grow up and know how to live in the real world as responsible, kind, and not-annoying adults. I don't want to win a battle for the sake of winning. I want to make sure that the lesson I'm teaching is one that matters for a lifetime, and I want to make learning that lesson as easy on my kids as I can. 

Really the point here isn't about McDonald's at all. Whether you choose to make your kids eat every last french fry or not, I think it's important as parents that we keep our "why" in mind. Why am I enforcing *this* rule? Am I just trying to win this fight or am I parenting with my child's long-term best interest at heart? 

There are so many days I find myself beating my head against the wall, frustrated with my kids and their constant disobedience. I have to stop and ask myself, "what am I doing wrong?!?!" 

9 times out of 10 I'm trying too hard to enforce rules that don't really matter. I'm setting my kids up for failure again and again because I'm parenting to win, rather than parenting to love. 

He's not running away. He just LOVES pulling my suitcase down the sidewalk.
Sometimes as parents we have to let go of our preconceived ideas about what our kids should and shouldn't do, and just ask ourselves, "how can I love them best right now?"

Sometimes that means enforcing the rules for their own good even if it means making them unhappy in the moment, and sometimes that means letting them be kids and trusting that they will eventually outgrow whatever behavior is currently driving us crazy. 

It's all about balance and perspective and picking your battles wisely so that in the end, everybody wins. 


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