Monday, April 30, 2012

small things {2 AM}

small things #18 ... 2 AM

In the middle of a strange Vacation Bible School dream (something about pastel t-shirts with marine animals printed on them) I hear my name.


Somewhere in the dark at the side of my bed, a small person whispers, “I can’t get to sleep.”

“Okay.  Go potty and I’ll be right there.”
I crawl out of bed, slip on my robe and shuffle to the door.  The first few steps make me feel so old - creaky feet and achy hips.  How did that happen?
I see the glow of the nightlight from her room and the shadow of her little pj’ed body passes in front of the greenish light.  I hear the rustling of her blankets as she resettles in her covers.  Squinting, I look around for a way to block the nightlight.  Those four little watts are a spot-light to my little girl.  She’s like a moth to a flame.  I slide a box filled with stuffed animals into the path of the light.  In the shadow of the the box, her bed is darker.  Her head is nestled in her pillow and her face is turned toward the wall.  I tuck her in and head back to my room.
As I lay in my bed, I hear the clock downstairs chime.  Ding-dong.  Ding-dong.  Two o’clock.  That deep slumber with strange swirling dreams is now elusive.
I think about the week’s schedule - gymnastics, laundry, VBS meeting, grocery shopping.
I consider the fun to be had on Thursday at the dentist - teeth to be pulled and a cavity to be filled.
I worry about the gaping holes in my volunteer roster for VBS - many have said, “yes”, but I still need 5 adults to jump in.
I try to catch a few thoughts that flit through my mind - ideas to write about, phone calls to remember, emails to respond to.
I feel troubled for my dad - more dissatisfaction at work, more stress, more sadness.
I am washed over with the anxieties about life that intensify in the dark of night - fretting over Norah’s feet, Ashley’s thumb, Lydia’s sniffles and Aaron’s last year of elementary school.
Bong.  The chime from downstairs marks time.  Two-thirty.
I echo my little person’s lament, “I can’t get to sleep.”
I would love to say that I paused in the midst of these concerns and prayed.  But, I didn’t.  Instead I wove those worries in and out of my thoughts, chewing on my lower lip and staring off into the darkness.
At some point I drifted off to sleep again.  Gratefully, I don’t remember hearing three chimes.
I wish, however, that I had taken that time, that undisturbed, quiet and sacred time to bring these worries and wonderings to Jesus.  Trusting Him with these most intimate anxieties is truly the only right thing to do.  I can continue to turn them over and inspect their every fretful facet, but that only intensifies my feelings about them.  In Jesus’ hands, however, I know that each worry will have it’s own weight ... and He will give me His perspective about their worth, as well.
2 AM ... a prime time for tossing and turning.  And a prime opportunity to turn to Jesus.

Friday, April 27, 2012

small things {silly sissy}

small things #17 ... silly sissy

Two little girlies in the bathtub.  The faucet is running; the tub is filling; the girls are giggling.

Their laughter echoes off the bathroom walls.  Little dimpled faces and sweet grins glistening in the tub.  Sweet nakey parts splash in the warm water.

There is a basket of toys hanging above the faucet, but the girls are content with the orange ball.  They toss it back and forth, allowing it to splash water up onto their faces and the tile wall behind them.  And sometimes on Mommy's leg and book.

I move toward the door - away from the damp excitement.

Bath time is a favorite past-time in this house ... 

Santa beards made of body wash bubbles,
confined play time and less to clean up,
Kewpie hair pulled up and twisted around,
wrinkled toes and fingers,
sudsy bellies and bottoms,
sweet smelling kiddos wrapped in towels.

The girls continue their splashing and ball throwing, their giggles and chuckles fill the steamy air.  And then, 


Lydia's head hits the side of the white enamel tub.  A new and pain-filled echo.  Wailing and crying fills the sudden silence.

I lean forward on my stool to take a peek at her head.  She clutches her ear with her little wrinkled fingers, crocodile tears mix with the bathwater.  She won't let go of her ouchie long enough for me to get a good look and her cries only seem to get louder.  I'm not certain she can hear my soothing mommy-words over her moaning.

Ashley sits across from her in the tub, one hand gripping the orange ball while sucking on the thumb of the other.  One look at her sister and she shows her sweet and tender compassion.

"Wackah, wackah, blobbiddy, blibbidy, bonk!  
Hookie, hookie, wackah, wackah-woo!"

In an instant, Liddy's whimpers erupt into cackles and then snorts.  She lets go of her ear and grabs for the orange ball that Ashley has splashed in her direction.

I wipe water off my face with a towel and shake my head.  Smiling.

Crisis averted:  silliness soothes wounded tyke.

Silly sissy ... only you speak the compassionate, complex and combined language of Mother Teresa, the Fairy Godmother and Fozzie Bear.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

small things {pocksicles}

small things #16 ... pocksicles

She's been asking all morning.

8:14 am - "Mommy, I have a pocksicle?"

8:47 am - "Mommy, I have a pocksicle?"

9:06 am - "Mommy, I have a pocksicle?"

9:35 am - "Mommy, I have a pocksicle?"

11:21 am - "Mommy, I have a pocksicle?"

And I had the same answer each time:  

Not right now.  How about after lunch? 
Not right now.  How about after lunch?  
Not right now.  How about after lunch?  
Not right now.  How about after lunch?

Not. Right. Now. How. About. After. Lunch?!?!

12:42 pm - "Mommy, I have a pocksicle?"


Two giggly girls, each with a bright red popsicle in hand, run to the front door.

"You coming, Mama?"

"In a minute ... let me wash up the lunch dishes."

Over the running water, I hear a squeal and a belly laugh.  I peek around the corner of the kitchen and see two little cuties in pink plaid shorts and lady bug shirts sitting cheek to cheek on the front step.  I look back at the dishes.

Moments later, they turn their bright red smiles to me as I step out on the front porch, ice water in one hand and my own little treat in the other.  As I snack on pecans and dark chocolate pieces, I listen to my girls as they compare the different techniques in pocksicle eating.

"I'm sucking on mine to get it pointy on top."

"I like to bite 'em."

More slurping, more sucking and more licking.  And much more giggling.  Ashley finishes first and we read the joke printed on the smooth and red-stained stick ...

"Why did the foot laugh? ... Because he was toe happy!"

Maniacal laughter follows.

These snapshots of life are why I love my job.

Pocksicles ... happiness on a stick and why this mommy's "toe" happy, too.


Prompt #5 ~Why I love my job.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

small things {two left feet}

small things #15 ... two left feet

Lydia ran all the way home from school.  On the trip down the hill, she jogged, ran, skipped, twirled and pranced.  I watched her hair fly out to the sides as she trotted a few feet ahead of me.  Every few moments she would pause and turn around, just to make sure I was still there.  Her bright grin told me she loved the freedom of being out of the stroller.

Only babies ride in the stroller.

As we walked along, I took in this little girl who is growing into a kid.

Her brown hair was tousled in the back.  The zebra print pillow on her bed had left her a lively cowlick right there in the back.  Three different parts headed in three different directions.  Her attempts at combing had been in vain.

Her hot pink shirt sported a sparkly zebra wearing turquoise sunglasses.  Her new favorite shirt.  The shirt that never quite makes it into the dresser drawers.  She is more prone to stash it on the dresser top as she carries her clothes to put away - marking it to wear tomorrow.

Her sweet capris were already dusty on her bottom.  In less than 30 minutes, she had managed to find a dirty little spot to stop and inspect a treasure trove of stones and pebbles.  The little elastic bands that help to adjust her pants curled up out of the waist band and poked her in the belly.  Big girl pants that almost fit.

Her hot pink socks matched her t-shirt.  They were slouchy.  The elastic gave out years ago when Norah's little tootsies wore them, but they are the perfect color and so they stay.  One was tugged up toward her knee.  The other wass sneaking down into her shoe.

Her shoes.  Oh, her shoes.  She had chosen her hot pink tennis shoes.  They matched her shirt and they matched her socks.  She picked them out herself.  But one look reminded me that she is still little.  She may have dressed herself this morning and she may be big enough to run alongside the stroller, but she's still little enough to need help with her shoes.

Apparently she woke up this morning with two left feet.

Two left feet ... her shoes are mixed up, but she's still big.  And fast.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

small things {her part}

small things #14 ... her part

Her hair parts straight down the middle.  Front to back with each hair in place on either side.  A precise part.  A perfect part.  A severe part.

I can see where each tooth of the comb straightened her strawberry blonde hair; making little lines.  Little furrows.  She stands at the mirror, comb in one hand and a squirt bottle in the other - looking for any renegade hairs that refuse to follow the crowd.  A furrow in her brow, as well.

This exact and meticulous part is a reflection of my girl.  She received an double dose of perfection upon her birth.  A generous portion from her mommy and a liberal serving from her daddy.  We apologize on a regular basis for this gift.

She looks in the mirror and studies the color of her turquoise rhinestone earrings.  Do they match the blue-green of her shirt?  Almost.  She twists her lips into a pout, considering a change to her jewelry.  She settles on the silver and gold hoops.

"They go with everything, right Mom?"

This meticulousness is evidenced in her school work.  Practicing her y's and h's to get just the right loop.

This accuracy is revealed in her gymnastics.  She has the pointiest toes and the pointiest fingers.

This precision is displayed in her attitude toward herself and others.  Measure up or tears are sure to follow.

She fears being 2 minutes late.  She cringes at not having her homework finished.  She chews on her lip  when faced with a correction.

I long to ease this anxiety and show her that a little failure doesn't cause the world to come to an end.  I wish I could help her relax and go with the flow a bit more.  I want to fluff her hair and free her from this rigidity and perfectionism.  But that's God's job.

And I know that I can trust her to Him.  He has freed her mother in amazing ways.

Her part ... evidence of her discipline.  And her need for grace.  Just like the rest of us.

Monday, April 23, 2012

small things {girl time}

small things #13 ... girl time

We load up in Dad’s gray car.  Just us girls.  No boys today for this trip.  We each have our purses.  Or at least two of us do.  The third little girly is planning to get one today.
As we back out of the driveway, I peek in the rearview mirror and see two smiles shining back at me.  Excitement is bubbling over in the backseat.
“What are you girls shopping for?”
“Earrings and an earring holder.  The one I saw at Claire’s that one time.”
“I don’t know. But I want a purse.  And other stuff.”
As we pull into the mall parking lot, we find a parking place.  Right near the door.
“They must have what we want!”
The girls grab their sweatshirts.  It’s a little chilly.  We have a quick discussion about the need for wraps since we are headed indoors.  They decide to tie their hoodies around their waists.  Just in case.  I lock the car doors and we head across the parking lot.  Looking both ways.  The girls have happy feet.  They skip and twirl along the sidewalk.  Chatting and giggling about getting to go shopping.  Just us.
This is our first ever trip to the mall.  Solely for the purpose of buying fun stuff.  They each have their own cash.  Money saved up from birthdays and weekly allowances.  Money dumped from piggy banks and wadded up into wallets before we left the house.
We enter the jewelry store.  A “candy” store of bling and sparkle.  Norah heads over to the spinning displays of earrings.  Literally thousands to choose from.  Dangly, sparkly, simple hoops and even fruit with eyes.
“Who would wear something like this?”
“Somebody with funny ears?”
Ashley is in the hunt for a purse.  Something with pockets.  And nooks.  And crannies to fill with treasures and tidbits.  She peers at the wall of bags and points to a pink one.  She unzips the purse and peeks in, digging past the tissue paper to see if there are enough zippers and pouches within.  Nope.
We wander throughout the store, examining purses and clutches.  Some are adorable from the outside, but lack the necessary cubby holes.  Some have plenty of pockets, but are big enough for my little six year old to climb into.
Norah returns to us with her treasures.  Earrings and a black lace-looking earring holder.  She’s smiling and impatient to check out.
Ashley agrees to keep looking.  To check out Target for more options.  But if she can’t find anything else, we’ll come back for the bright blue purse with the two zippered pouches.  The polka-dots on the fabric inside made her smile and the pockets and pouches would hold her goodies.  Maybe it was the one.
As it turns out, Target wins Ashley over with a purple purse, complete with zippers and pockets and a little strap that fits her little shoulder perfectly.  It would go great hanging from my wrist.  She declares that it also matches her owl wallet and there’s enough room for her chap stick, too.
She got to use her gift card for her purse and other purchases, which left her with actual money to have in her purse as we left the store.  As we sat on the bench in the mall corridor, we organized her purse.  This pocket for receipts.  This zipper for chap stick.  This little spot would be perfect for her gum.
We stood and picked up our purchases.  With bags in each hand and each of us with our purses slung over our shoulders, we headed off toward the end of the mall.  

Girl time ... a rite of passage.  First shopping trip, first purse ... what's next?

Friday, April 20, 2012

small things {bedtime}

small things #12 ... bedtime

Wacky Wednesday wore me out!  

Seven to one.  Odds against Mom.

At 9:02 pm, I walked out of my daughters' hot pink room, listened to their chatter start up (whisper, whisper, giggle), treaded down the hall to my room, laid down on my bed and felt that familiar wave of exhaustion wash over me.

Deep down in my body, I was so very tired.  Little tears snuck out; soaked up by my pillow.  Brett rubbed my back, granting release from any more "I need's" or "help me's".  Permission to lay here and sniffle a little. Not in a poor me-way, but in a wow - that was a doozy and it's okay to be exhausted-way.

In the quietness of the night, I read and I Scrambled and I breathed.  

All by myself.

Bedtime ... the bliss of silence and a chance to be recharged for the next day.  
Because it will be wacky, too.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

small things {furry friend}

small things #11 ... furry friend

Our Gimli is a bean-bag, couch-potato dog.  
That's how the breeder described him and he was spot on.

We love him for a lot of reasons ...
... his smile, complete with handlebar mustache,
... his laid-back attitude with the kids - "Sure.  You can yank on my tail.  I really like it.  Here's my whiskers, too. Give 'em a tug.",
... his willingness to hang out on the front porch with me while the kids bike and scooter, and shoot baskets,
... and his sweet personality - his big brown eyes say a lot.

"What happens next?"

As such, I wonder what he thinks regarding all that goes on in and about the house during the day.  Maybe these are some of the thoughts that bounce around in his furry little head:

"I hear somebody's awake.  I wonder how long it will be before let me out of this crate.  I hear Phineas & Ferb.  That's my favorite show!  Hey, guys!  Lemme Out!"

"Oooh goody!  Breakfast!  It's my favorite meal of the day!  Those lovely brown little bits!  I wonder if I can beat my record in inhaling it."  (The next morning ... repeat.)

"Uh-oh.  That little pipsqueak has the leash.  You know what that means ... (shudder)  a walk.  Where can I hide?  Where can I hide?  Where can I hide?  She's coming!!  She'll never find me in here." (Heads to crate.)

"Shhhh ... Did you hear that? (runs to kitchen) Yes!  A speck of cheese just fell on the floor ... Score!"

"If I get down really low, maybe I won't get kicked under here.  I am strategically placed on this side of the kitchen table because that baby is learning how to eat Cherrios.  And that pipsqueak is feeding her.  The odds are good that 90% of those tasty morsels are mine.  All mine."

"Hmmm ... the garage door got left up.  I think I'll just mosey out and inspect the perimeter.  Doo, dee, doo, dee, doo ... mail box is secure.  Flower bed is secure.  Basketball hoop is secure.  Fence is secure.  What?  Okay, okay, I'm coming.  Sheesh.  Just keeping you all safe."

"Wow.  That kid has discovered an entirely new octave.  What a screamer.  Oh, great.  Now that other one has joined - the one with the lungs.  Whew.  Ugh.  Why is that other one whining?  These kids are deafening.  And that boy with the sound effects?  I'm outta here."  (Heads for crate.)

"Uh, hi.  I was wondering if there was room up on that lovely new couch for me.  Remember when we used to snuggle and watch TV in the evenings?  That was so nice.  No, huh? (sighs) Okey dokey.  I'll just be over here.  In my bed.  On the floor.  Don't mind my puppy dog eyes."

We love you Gim ... even if you steal Lydia's spot in the double stroller.

"Walking's over-rated."

Furry friend ... the most expensive and life-like stuffed animal we've ever purchased.


Prompt #4 ~ 7 things your pet thought about today.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

small things {flower power}

small things #10 ... flower power

Everybody has that thing their kids do that makes them crazy.  That thing that truly isn't a big deal, but over time (day after day after day) and through insane persistence (really?  again??), that little thing, transforms into a big deal.  A really big deal.

For me, that thing was the inability of the bathroom hand towels to stay on the rack.  Ever.  At all.  In any way.  I am quite certain that the culprit is the smallest person in this house ... but the other bigger people have been accomplices in stepping over said towels.  Which adds to my head-holding.

I thought about counting the number of times I picked those coral and green towels up off the floor.  How many times in a day would it be?  But then I decided it would probably make me cry, so I didn't.  

It's really not a big deal.  Pick the towels up and re-hang them.  And re-hang them.  And re-hang them. Suddenly I have a grumble in my re-hanging.  And a twitch in my left eye.  One more re-hang and Snap! I start growling.

I don't like to growl.  So I came up with a solution.  

Join me on my journey to less re-hanging.  Less grumbling.  Less twitching.  And less growling, too.

Upon entering the bathroom, I might find something like this:

Not technically needing to be re-hung.  But not exactly pleasing to my twitchy eye, either.  I would also like to note that this would most likely be the result of a taller and older hand-dryer ... making other bathroom users look a little bit guilty.

The towels might also be in this condition:

And a little damp, as well.

Or, perhaps this technique:

Not actually on the floor, but not nearly on the towel rack.  And still damp.

Because of the apparent increased gravity forces in our bathroom and the inability of the towels to stay hung, I often looked like this:

Oh, my head!

Or perhaps more like this:

Hang. Them. Up!

Certain that this towel trouble is not unique to our home, I did a little Pinterest search.  To my surprise, I found only two solutions and both of them required sewing.  One showed how to stitch velcro to the ends of the towel to make a loop that hung over the rod.  The other instructed how to stitch the towel into a loop resulting in the need to remove the towel rack every time a new towel is hung.  Hmm ... not what I was looking for.

I headed to JoAnn's Craft Store with a vague solution in my head.  And my fingers crossed.

I came home with these:

Giant safety pins without the little loop on the end and a package of Clip-Eez.  The flowers have a little metal clip on the back with sharp little teeth that grab.  (Even your finger if your not careful.  Ouch.)  According to the package, the little Clip-Eez, "clip onto flip-flops, slides, hair bands, jeans, scarves, bracelets, belts, jackets, handbags, shirts and so much more!"  This project fell under the "so much more."

I pulled out my trusty glue gun and assembled the pins and flowers:

A little dot of glue was all that was necessary before closing the clasp over the back of the safety pin.  (Watch your fingers ... see above.)  Once the glue cooled, they were ready to try on the towels.

I found that I needed to widen the pin a bit in order to poke through the four layers of fluffy towel, but the pins were plenty large enough to accommodate all the fabric.  I also chose to hang the towels long (with most of the towel in front and only a few inches in the back) in order to make the new situation work for my shortest hand-washer.

Now our towels look like this:

And I look like this:

Now here's hoping they don't pull the entire rack off the wall. :)

Flower power ... hand towels hung, less growling by me and I only spent $4.98 and 15 minutes.  Priceless.

I hung the flower pins this past Saturday and I haven't re-hung a single rumpled, wrinkled towel.  And the wall is still standing.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, April 16, 2012

small things {soury guys}

small things #9 ... soury guys

We pull up to the crosswalk.

"Hey, Mom!  Nobody take our spot!"

"Nope.  We are a little bit early.  The kids don't get of school for about ... 10 more minutes."

"I have a soury guy?"

"Sure.  Just one."

Soury guys.  Our little nickname for the super-duper zippy Icebreaker Sour Candies.  Within that little green plastic case lies a handful of zingy-zangy bites.

"I not have two last time."

"Okay.  This time we're just having one."

"I do it myself.  Here, Mommy."

"Ashley, do you want one?"

"Yes, please.  I'm going to make mine last until the kids get here."

We each sit for a few minutes, the tangy treat on our tongues.  It's quiet in the van as we wait and let the candies melt.  Or at least, two of us do.

crunch, crunch, crunch ... "I bite it lots."

"I'm still sucking on mine. Look it's smaller."

"Mines is lots and lots of little parts.  See?"

"Hmmm ... mine is getting smaller, too."

The bell rings.  The galloping hordes of students pour out of the doors.

My soury guy is almost just a speck.

"Mom.  My soury guy got so small, I lost it."

"Me, too, Honey.  It just got smaller and smaller until it was gone."

"I have more soury guy, Mommy?"

"Not now.  Maybe in a bit.  That was fun to see how small it could get.  Here come the kids!"

Soury guys ... savoring a sweat treat, simple silliness with my girls ... 
and a little peace and quiet.