Friday, June 29, 2012

Vacation Time!

This morning we woke up in Steamboat Springs.  Aaahhhhh .... the cool temperatures alone are enough to fill me exceedingly with great joy!! :)

We are enjoying a long weekend away here in our honeymoon local.  Of course, this time around, we are traveling in a herd and sleeping in probably won't be an option.  That's okay ... we'll still be mellower than we've been all month!

I look forward to sharing some snapshots with you from our mini-vacation and July 4th celebrations ... eventually.

Stay tuned and stay cool!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

small things {a click & a prayer}

small things #48 ... a click & a prayer

I have two burdens on my heart today and I want to share them with you.  I haven't ever used this platform to make a request of you, my readers, but today I want to challenge you to do two things.  

Two small things that will have a lasting and far-reaching impact.

First, there is currently a contest wrapping up over at Cultivate Wines and two friends of mine are seeking additional voters.  It's super-duper easy!  With one click, you are helping Light Gives Heat to get just that much closer to $50,000 and the ability to further their ministry.  Here's the link to vote.  (On the LGH website, you can sign up for a reminder email for the rest of the week.)  There are just four more days to vote, so click right now!

Seconding, there are currently thousands of evacuees in our beautiful state of Colorado who have been chased from their homes due to several raging forest fires.  

It is awful to see the snapshots of smoke and flames and to see the devastation that crawls along the mountainsides.  Please pray for rain and for a break from the heat and wind that exacerbate these horrible situations.  Please also pray for the safety for the fire fighters.

A click & a prayer ... they cost us absolutely nothing, but their value is innumerable!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

small things {mvp's}

small things #47 ... mvp's

A few weeks ago, Brett came home and almost walked back out the door and drove away.  And I wouldn't have blamed him one bit.

The kids had been nutty.  The kids had been pestering.  The kids had been pushing one another's buttons.

And nutty, pestering button-pushers make for one crabby Mom.

My knee-jerk reaction had been to send them all to their rooms to clean.  But I knew that eventually they would have to come out and I would have to come up with a long-term plan for helping them to play nicely together.  Or at least to eat.

As Brett and I sat at the kitchen table following dinner, I unloaded all the garbly-gook that we had endured all day.  All the ways they had driven one another crazy and all the ways that I felt crazed.  (How Brett didn't make a break for it at that point, I have no idea!)

Essentially it all boiled down to one simple fact:  We weren't working as a team.
  • Rather than helping clean up in the afternoon, I felt like I was cleaning up around them.
  • Rather than being quick to jump in the van, I felt like I was herding them along from behind, reminding them of shoes, snacks and potty breaks.
  • Rather than sitting and enjoying lunch together, I felt like I was referring a wrestling match with grabbing hands, bossy elbows and boisterous voices.
  • Rather than chipping in with chores, I felt like I had to plead and beg for help around the house ... only to listen to sighing and grumbling and stomping feet.

I felt like I was on the losing team.  An awful feeling for certain!

While part of me wanted to discipline the kids for their unsportsmanlike conduct, I felt God leading in another way.  A better way.

I know I don't really like to have the whistle blown when I make a mistake or to have a big finger pointed at me with the pronouncement, "Foul!  Five minutes for fighting!"  More often than not, I already know when I've messed up.  What I truly appreciate and what motivates me more is to hear when I've done well ... atta-girl's and way-to-go's and good-job's inspire me to work harder and do better.

And the same goes for my kids.

God's prompting to praise my kids' good behavior as they practice good sportsmanship led us to celebrate a daily MVP - and we've experienced an incredible change in the attitudes in our house!

My job is to simply be on the look-out for the kid who is most on the ball, most motivated to help, most quick to obey ... the most valuable player of the day.

The kids' job is to be on their toes, work on their teamwork and play by our house rules.

At dinner I share the reasons why I chose that particular kid, write their name on the MVP chalk board and we celebrate with high-fives all around!  On more than one occasion it was such a tough decision that we got to celebrate all the kids ... that's a fantastic change-up.  

A true Cinderella-team transformation!

MVP ... most valuable player and the most validating plan for rebuilding our team!

Monday, June 25, 2012

In Need of a Do-Over

Today's post comes to you via MentorSaurus.  Click on over for a good read.

Here's hoping that this week, life goes our way!

Friday, June 22, 2012

small things {being home}

small things #46 ... being home

I joke on a regular basis about how little as a stay-at-home mom I actually stay at home.  More often than not, I find myself staying in the van, staying at gymnastics, staying at the store and, lately, staying at the church.  

I knew that we had stayed away from home too much when this past weekend Lydia saw me coming down the stairs with a bag and she asked, "Are we going to church, Mommy?"

"Nope.  Just to the laundry room."

This week, however, we have been staying at home.  And it has been bliss.

Kid's playing, reading, journaling.  
Laundry thumping, bumping and fluffing.  
Dinner cooking, steaming, smelling good.
Staying busy but, staying put.

Being home ... tending our home's heart.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Take a Number ...

This past weekend, my kids got to download a couple of new tunes.  Which as you know, means that we have been listening to them on constant repeat.  The songs are really quite fun, but by the ninth time through, the lyrics start running a bit thin and the bee-bop-rhythm starts to give me a twitch!  I found myself making up my own words to one song in particular ... lyrics that come so easily to my mommy-lips.  And gave me a good chuckle, too.

You know you're a Mom, when you're tempted to ask for one of these for your birthday:

photo courtesy of SuperStock

I'm sure you fellow-Moms will appreciate this re-mix of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me, Maybe".

And if you don't have this particular song playing ad finitum at your house ... here's the link so you can!

I’ll Get to You, Maybe
I threw the wash into dry,
That’s when I heard a sad cry.
I looked as you try to fly,
and now you’re in my way.
I shake my head at your whine
Feeling your hands clinging mine,
I need to get free from this,
but now you’re in my way.
Your grip was holdin’, Ripped jeans, booboo showin’
Long day, too much moanin’
What am I gonna do with you, baby?

Hey, you just biffed it,
and this is crazy,
but take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
It’s hard to help you,
so many babies,
but take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
Hey, you’re a big kid,
It’s still crazy!
Please take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
And all these other kids
try to chase me,
Please take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
You took your time with your chores
You’d think we’d finished these wars
You have done nothing at all
Your clothes are in my way.
I beg and borrow and pray
“Pick up your toys, please, today.”
Do you think I will pay ...
To get them out of my way?
This power struggle’s holdin’, Ripped jeans, Legos showin’
Long day with too much groanin’
What am I gonna do with you, baby?
Hey, I just asked you,
and this is crazy,
but take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
It’s hard to find toys
Under so much, baby,
but take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
Hey, did you hear me?
This is crazy!
Take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
Who are all these other kids
trying to chase me?
Please take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
I hear you hollerin’ my name
Whadya need so bad
You need so bad,
You need so, so bad?
You’re still hollerin’ my name
Whadya need so bad
You need so bad,
You need so, so bad?
It’s hard to keep smilin’
When you’re so needy!
So take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
Let me go potty,
This is CraZY!
Please take a number,
I’ll get to you, maybe?
Please tell your sisters,
Not to chase me,
Please take a number,
I’ll get to you maybe?
I need a number-thing just
Like at the deli.
I need it so bad,
I need it so, so bad!
Yeah, you know that number-thing,
I need it so bad,
I need it so bad ...
Now serving #16.


#3 - You know you're a Mom when ...  I hope you'll read this post in the silly spirit it was intended.  I love my kids .... but sometimes I'm just so very, very outnumbered!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Soggy Game Day Fun!

It's 1:30 and I'm bushed!

This morning, we welcomed summer with a Wet, Wild and Wacky Wednesday of games!  Wow!  Here's how we stayed cool and crazy ... and how you can, too!

First up, Filler 'Er Up!

Each pair of kids got a cup with a ping pong ball in it and a squirt bottle filled with water.  Then standing face to face, they each took one step backwards.  One teammate held the cup while the other teammate squirted water into the cup from that distance.  The first team to fill the cup and have the ping pong ball float out won!  Which, in this case, was the boys!  This was the warm-up to getting soaked ...

Next up, No Hands Balloon Race!

The kids were divided up into groups of two.  For fun, I didn't group them by size, which meant that long and lean Rebekah was paired up with short and sweet Bethany ... and they were creatively successful!  Each pair had to walk their water balloon to the other side of the yard with the balloon nestled between their almost-touching backs.  They then passed the balloon to the next pair and so on.  This was certainly challenging!  For the second race, we changed things and let them carry the balloon nestled on their almost-touching bellies, which was significantly easier.  Lots of hugging and walking!

Next we played The Soggy Jog Relay!

We split the kids up into two teams and lined them up next to a big bin filled with water.  On the other side of the yard was a soccer ball.  Each kid had to race down, circle the soccer ball and race back wearing one of my pairs of sweatpants ... drenched in water.  Then they would peel the pants off, dunk them back in the bin of water and the next soggy jogger would wrestle their way into the pants.  This was my favorite game of the day, just for the hysterical laughter.  Watching Lydia with my sodden pants pulled up to her armpits, running across the yard was awesome!

Next up, Rainy Relay!

This relay race is one of my kids' favorites from their End-of-the-Year Field Day at school.  Each team has to fill a bucket of water on one side of the yard with a plastic Solo cup filled with water from a bucket on the other side of the yard.  Sounds easy enough, right?  This cup, however, has three holes punched in the bottom and the racers have to hold the cup firmly to their heads in order to have any water leftover to pour in their bucket.  I loved watching the kids race across the yard, water streaming down their necks to dump their mere tablespoons of water in their bucket!  Too funny ... and refreshing, too!

Finally, we played Water Balloon Towel Toss!

Each team of two gets one beach towel and one water balloon.  The object of the game is to keep your balloon in one piece while tossing it and catching it with your towel, parachute-style.  The key for our players was to have them count to three each time so they were both tossing and catching at the same time.  The boys really had fun with this game and were the last ones left with a water balloon.

The kids were certainly worn out by the end of the morning, but no one said, "It's too hot!!"

Here is the link for the games we played ... there are even more ideas to choose from!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

small things {onions}

small things #45 ... onions

I’ve described my daily plate-spinning, multiple-hat-wearing, here-and-there-running situation as over-committed.  Or a lesson in dangerous multi-tasking.  Or an example of almost treading water.  But God gave me a new image the other day.
That of an onion.
An onion?
Yep.  An onion.
Each layer of that onion is a role that I play.  A job that I tackle.  A responsibility that I have accepted.  Something I have said, “yes” to.
Each layer is a good thing.  (For the most part.)  I like helping in my kids’ classrooms.  I enjoy volunteering at church.  I love when the laundry is clean.  Getting dinner on the table on time is a triumph.
But each layer has it’s own challenges and demands.  
I can’t be in three places at once.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  
I can only do my part, not anybody else’s.  Even if I’m tempted.  
The laundry will never be 100% clean.  Unless we run around naked.  
Dinner time is “Piranha-Time” - people are hungry and tired.  And sometimes crying.
When I encounter the sting of my limitations, a bit of my joy falters.  These individual callings begin to look a lot more like obligations.  Tasks I have to get done, people I have to take care of, jobs I have to complete.  Whether I like it or not.
And then there are the layers that I shouldn’t even have.  
Layers that I have added to my life by my failure to say, “no”.  Layers that God never intended me to have wrapped around me.  Layers that are overwhelming and cumbersome because they aren’t supposed to be mine.
What if I decided to peel off a layer?  Decided to cast off a responsibility that clings to me?  What would I find underneath?  Most likely another layer.  And another.
How many layers of should’s and better’s and ought to’s would I have to strip off before I found the first layer of I want to?  The first layer of this brings me joy?
I fear there would be a good number of onion skins littering the floor.  Perhaps half the onion would be peeled away before I found the layer that is closest to my heart.  That layer of my life in which I am at peace, satisfied, joy-filled.  I would still be facing the many tasks of life, but with a better perspective and a more positive attitude.
All those layers.  Layer upon layer upon layer.  Layers that make up what I do.  
But not necessarily who I am
I need God’s help in peeling back these skins to find who I truly am.  Not the volunteering, mopping, chauffeuring go-go-gaget mom, but me.
Only then can I embrace the roles He has made me for and accomplish them with passion and purpose.  And a smile.
Now.  Can someone please pass me a tissue?  
Onions ... they always make me cry.  But sometimes those bleary tears help us see more clearly.

Monday, June 18, 2012

small things {doing}

small things #44 ... doing

I'm a doer.

I'm happy when I'm busy.  I'm guilty when I'm still.
I'm satisfied when I mark off my list.  I'm clueless with free-time on my hands.

I'm a busy-hands-are-happy-hands, get-er-done, let-not-your-hands-be-idle sort of gal.

Today I found myself on the other side of a busy, list-filled, idle-less season and now with VBS a thing of the past, I feel a little lost.  I toss in a load of laundry and find no notebook page of phone calls to make.  I unpack the grocery bags and find only one message on the machine - a recording from the library about a book on hold.  I set the timer for "Mommy's Hour" and find my inbox lacking pressing messages or requests for action.

What is a doer to do when her To-Do List is done?

After several months of having my days chock-full of tasks and demands (in addition to those of being Mom), I am finding myself in need of some re-evaluation.  And some gentle reminders about what of significance actually makes up my days.

... loving on my kids.
... feeding my family.
... enjoying time with Brett.
... taking care of me.
... playing with my family.
... spending time with God.
... tending to our home.

When I get to the end of my day and I don't have a laundry-list of gotta-do's marked-off, checked-off and crossed-off, I have to remind myself that as long as I have payed close attention to these significant "tasks", then my job is done.  Well done.

Doing ... sometimes it's tackling the tasks that life tosses at me.  And sometimes it looks an awful lot like just being.