Sunday, January 30, 2011

He's Just 8 Years Old

Tonight I thought about my 8 year old, and replaced my attitude of 
"he is 8 years old, he needs to..."
with "he is just 8 years old, I need to..."
My husband and I feel like our challenge lately has been with our oldest. It always works out where we find one of the boys is in need of prayer and attention, more than the others, at any specific time. We hardly ever have felt comfortable enough with all of them at the same time where prayer is just an option. Each child will undoubtedly, at some point or another, give us reason to feel helpless as parents, and push us to our knees before God.
I am blessed to know that if I don't get the red flag, my husband goes before the Lord each morning before work, and prays over us and his sons...usually, we see a huge step forward in the one we struggle with most during these times.
So now, I know it is my oldest. He needs his mom and dad to cover him in prayer, because he is just 8 years old. He says things that remind me of me when I was a teenager, and that scares me most...
he thinks we favor his siblings over him...
or he gets the raw end of the deal.
I know it is completely normal, but I don't want it to grow into a habitual attitude on his end, and an ignored misconception on my end. I want my little boy to know that we think he is just as valuable as every member in this family, and that, although the expectations for him are going to be inevitably different, we will invest in him as much as his more, no less.
Last spring, I went to the Hearts at Home Conference in Normal, Illinois (HIGHLY recommend this), and listened to a speaker talk on sibling rivalry. I gleaned great information from this, and realize how much power I have as a parent to curb it. It is a constant struggle to maintain the balance, especially with 3, almost 4 kids in the mix...but as the God-designed mother for these kids, I am going to do my best to give them a fighting chance!
So tonight, I sat down and wrote my son a letter- a love letter, I guess. I gave him words of affirmation and reminded him that he is special. I am so excited for him to get it, because he loves receiving mail...he sends it to his friends and cousins, then waits anxiously for a reply. I hope my letter to him will be met with the same enthusiasm, but mostly, I hope he will feel firmly rooted in love and know what a great 8 year old he really is!

Little Blogging, Loads of Writing

My blogging efforts have been pretty scarce...I just haven't had a lot to write about...well, in the non-fiction sense. I am so wrapped up in my new fiction novel, that my writing energies have been consumed by that.
I love having a creative outlet like writing, during this season of my life. For the first few years of being a stay-at-home mom I struggled with contentment. I always knew I would stay home with my kids...and I dreamed most about being a mother from the time I was a small girl caring for my cabbage patch kids! But once I got in the thick of it, I didn't know what to do with myself during the monotonous times, the frustrating moments, the "was I really suppose to give up a career for this" days.
Finding the wonderful world of Christian fiction and tiptoeing into the creative process...not necessarily the publishing process yet...that was a pipe dream and a motivation squisher when I caught that bug...but now, just pouring myself into a piece of fiction, getting good feedback, and molding my skills to a more refined art, contentment with staying at home is no longer a question, because I filling myself up along the way.
I admire women who embrace staying at home with such vigor and energy, needing nothing but maybe a large enough break to sit with a book or prepare the next fun activity with there kids.
But I am also thankful that I have been honest with myself, and know that I am not "less" of a mom because I need something else...not something more...just something else to spend my creativity that is not within the realms of a 4-8 year old's way of thinking.
So, I haven't been blogging near as much, because I have been writing...about conquistadors and romance...cotton farmers and forbidden love...and juggling three boys and a very full, happy life!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Mommy Oops!

I guess the windchills of -30 got to my brain (and some would say my heart) yesterday, and I tried a new and slightly mean approach to get my son to the dr. without a fight. Ugh, I feel awful just admitting it! But, for all you moms out there, don't try this at home! It's not one of my highlights as a mom!
The word "shot" around here brings on ultimate deterrence when the boys are sick or faking illness. "Will I need a shot?" is their first question before they decide if they feel bad.
 I will always remember the humiliating scene of my oldest at 4 years old, running around the examining room screaming and yelling, while the nurse and I tried to "catch" him to give him his immunizations. The whole waiting room laughed as we left, like I do now when I think about it. But as a first time mom of an older child back then, it was NOT funny.
Well, my youngest is at that age now, and needed his last booster in a series, and I wanted to curb the above scenario from repeating itself. I decided to use that word, "booster" to my advantage. So the whole time we were going to get a "booster". He questioned what it was, but was easily distracted by his entertaining brothers.
Once I cradled him on my lap and exposed his arm he knew exactly what a booster was! Poor guy, he was ANGRY at his mama! And I don't blame him. Looking back on it, being vague when I am usually upfront and honest with my boys, was a trip-up of character on my part.
Thankfully, he forgives easily, and I loaded him with praises and rewards! 
What a morning!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King speech: " I Have a Dream "

My boys know that God made all of us equal. They understand that they do not shun someone because of their skin color. I can't imagine raising my children in a world where just by looking at them, they are considered unworthy of human rights, dirty, and at the mercy of Ignorance and Arrogance in the society in which they live.
May they always have freedom of Speech, freedom of RELIGION, and freedom to be the best that they can be as well as ALL men and women in this country!
Please remember Martin Luther King Jr. today.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Cute Conversation

One reason I love being a mom...
The entertainment is never ending!

"Can I change my name to Sonic (the hedgehog)?" My four year old asks his older brother.

"You can't change your name!" My six year old says with the utmost confidence.

"Why?" Whines my four year old.

"Because the President says so." A logical answer, don't you think?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From One Mom to A Not So Nice One

My four year old is going through his tantrum stage a little late.
I usually avoid certain outings like grocery shopping, the post office, and target, until he's at preschool.
Well, today, I sacrificed my sanity to get a little writing done while he was at school, and decided to venture to the dreaded Wal-mart with all three boys.

B.I.G. M.I.S.T.A.K.E
                 I should have known...

There is only a 1% success rate for this family to make it out of the store without a scene of some sort.

What was I thinking?

To top it off, while I was being checked out by a snotty looking teenager, I noticed the lady in line behind me staring at me with a disgusted look on her face. In the midst of my 4 year old crying LOUDLY, I managed a smile to break her stare.
"And you want another one?" She knocked the smile right off my face.
I looked at her and asked, "Do you not have kids?"
"I have one but..."
"He's not like this all the time. And this isn't that bad anyway." I wanted to scratch her eyes out.


If I wasn't in a bad mood at that point, she certainly put me in one when she looked at me as she walked out of the store, (yes, she still left before me even though she was behind me in line), laughed and shook her head like, "You're crazy."


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Building the Foundation of a Light-Bearer

A perfect opportunity came up today in the car on the way to school (thanks to the local Christian radio station spurring thought in my 8 year old). He asked, "How do we know what Hell looks like?"
Yes, our daily rides to school are usually filled with pretty intense singing and talking on the phone for this mama!

He has been asking a lot of "How do we know" questions lately, mostly because kids say stuff at school with great authority, as if they are experts in all areas. And because he goes to a Christian school, the kids often spout off their opinions about God.
I am glad he has a teacher who is very level-headed and doesn't impose doctrine in her teaching...

I have come to realize how great it is that his classmates provoke thoughts about God, especially questionable ones-- it gives my husband and I open doors to mold his heart as the God of Truth calls us to do as parents, and my son also becomes equipped with the armor of critical thinking for the rest of his life.

I am becoming more aware that each conversation we have during this foundation building, is ordained for his future in a very important way.

Today I was able to tell him, that anything someone says about God, should be challenged by the Bible. I told him if he ever had any questions about someone's opinion, he could easily find the truth in the one place where Truth originated. Isn't it great to know THAT is true (if you don't believe it is true, please don't comment, I understand the opinions out there, and I'm posting this for my Christian mamas anyway! :) )?

We've also had discussions about politics... he has some classmates who are pretty opinionated about the administration too...yikes, Parents, watch what you say in front of your kids!
I love knowing that he comes to us with questions, and we are able to curb his forming opinions and give him the opportunity not to judge, nor enlist in ungodly viewpoints... He won't ignorantly walk into the world thinking everyone believes the same, and hopefully, we are doing a decent job giving him a non-judgmental approach to difference in opinion!

I pray that God continues to give my husband and I the discretion to avoid raising little politically driven, preachy kids, and focus on the truths in their little hearts, so that one day, they will be wise with their level-headed, Christ-centered opinions, and grow into the Light-bearers God calls them to be.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Birthday Tribute

Almost 6!
Sweet Baby
Our weekend ended with my almost (in 3 hours) six year old's birthday party. He had a blast and his brothers did too...I think every kid loves Chuck E. Cheese...if only they took lessons in microbiology... eww, gross!
I remember his birth like it was yesterday. I was two weeks from my due date, and showed up at the hospital with a nurse breathing down my neck to get an epidural or go nerves were already shot because I had a two year old at home with Dad, who was trying to find someone to come sit with him until my mom got on a last minute flight to was a crazy time! (One of the major disadvantages of living away from family)...anyway, after giving in and doing it the dr/nurse's way, my labor didn't progress (stayed at a 4 for about 2-3 hours)...I told the nurse "I would pull the epidural out and go home before I would have a c-section(a too common practice for that hospital)" and she just looked at me and said, "well, you should be progressing a cm/hour and your not" Thanks for the encouragement!
Baby Blue
The next hour was one of my most intimate times with God. I felt completely helpless and scared...a perfect time to turn to Him. I had the lights lowered, my husband (we found a great friend to come watch our two year old) left the room, and I closed my eyes and sang praise hymns in my head. I probably begged God to help me progress before, but then I just focused on His promises.
So wouldn't you know, when the hour was up, they checked me and I was a 9! Yeah, I relaxed but I also submitted myself and baby to the hands of our Great God!
My second baby boy was born at 12:25 am on Jan. 10th and has blessed us ever since!
Choo choo TWO!
And as I recall that sweet time, I remember my oldest's complete infatuation with his little brother. He would say, "I love him so much" and beg to hold him (he was only 2 1/2 so it always made me a little nervous.) Looking back on my last post, and now reflecting on this special time, I am reminded that my boys have a solid foundation in love. I worry about their friendship, but I know deep down they have a special bond, and for that I am thankful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Brotherly love?

Some days, I sit and smile as I listen to my boys playing their imaginary games and getting along like best friends. But then there are days like yesterday, when I see the ugliness of unprovoked meanness. Maybe it's because I am the oldest child, I never experienced the harsh "shunning" of an older sibling, but my 6 year old takes A LOT of my older son acting annoyed with him, even when my 6 year old is just being a friend to him! makes me so angry!
And yesterday topped it off when my oldest's friend was at the house, and my 6 year old told him with great enthusiasm what he got for Christmas. The friend just shrugged his shoulders and blew him off like he could care less. Is that an 8/9 year old boy attitude thing?
If it is, I am not going to sit back and let it ride out. This is a perfect opportunity to chisel my oldest's character, and although I know the process is going to be painful, hopefully he will thank me some day. There is no excuse to treat anyone less than human, right? My son treats our dog better than his younger brothers at times!
It doesn't help my nerves that my 6 year old's strongest quality is his ability to put others ahead of himself. He has often given up a toy to let someone else have it, given his whole allowance to a Salvation Army bucket, and most of all, adores his older brother and rejoices with him when he rejoices! Last night, he got so excited for my oldest that I finally downloaded some music on his new ipod touch. My 6 year old was more excited for him than he was! Geez, twist my heart even more!
Now, my oldest is not without great qualities...he also has a big heart, but he focuses it less on his brother and more on everyone else.
I constantly tell him that one day he will regret not having a good relationship with his brother...heck, my sisters and I just started getting along well into our adult life.
 But most of all, I have to remember to pray specifically for the boys' friendship.
In our family, one of our values is, "I am third"- God, others, self...It's been easy to show this to the boys in broad terms during the holidays, but now we need to hone in on our family core...God help us!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Boys and Toys!

My boys rang in the New Year with plenty of action-packed boyness! Thanks to our fun trip to Texas, we were able to get some energy out in beautiful weather!




Sunday, January 2, 2011

Three Little Resolutions, Big 2011!

It is a brand new year! I love a fresh start! Actually, I haven't really thought about the concept until just now, when I caught myself clinging to an old habit I swore off just before the Christmas break. So, in an effort to hold myself to it, and remember that my fresh beginning will only endure if I see it in black and white, I will share a few of my "resolutions" with you and hope you will share yours with me!

Numero Uno:
I will do my best this year to keep my email emoting to an absolute minimum. I have found myself in too many pickles this way, and I usually don't give myself time to think and pray before I type. Instant communication isn't always a good thing!

Numero Dos:
My knees will be used more often to go to God in prayer for answers, than to go to God in forgiveness for answering my problems myself!

Numero Tres:
Patience will be my middle name, Patience will be my middle name, Patience will be my middle name...Oh Lord, remind me of this every day!

 I hope you enjoyed your New Year's weekend! We spent most of it traveling from the sunny South to the blistery North...but are glad to be home and ready for our 2011!