Faith · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Quiet Time

I get up about 30 minutes before everyone else, minus the cat, to enjoy quiet time. This morning it was an hour earlier.

As it is the Christmas season, we have our tree up and decorated. I decided to use it for light to read my devotions and a chapter of Isaiah in my Bible.

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I lit the fire. Snuggled down in the couch with my blanket, drink and Bible.

I read. I pray. I work to get my heart and soul headed in the right direction before my head starts making plans and going over the schedule.

This time is important for the well-being of everyone under this roof.

But today, I had a talkative 7yr old try to join me. Try is the optimum word.

After 10 minutes of him trying to make small talk, I firmly laid it out that this is mom’s quiet time and there is NO talking. There is also no drum playing on the kitchen counter or finger snapping… or wait, why in the world are you up right now kid?

I’m not going to discuss the wind blowing and making noise. Don’t glare at me when I tell you I can’t talk right now. I did invite him to sit and read quietly if he was interested in doing so.

Now he’s singing in the kitchen and making himself breakfast. I love my morning boy. This morning’s early hour of quiet time has passed and the rush and hum of our morning routine has begun.

Faith · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Pink Slime – Not a Good Hair Accessory

So… this walked in off the school bus yesterday….

Hair with slimeRight.

It was accompanied by a puffy red freckled face that had obviously been crying. Likely because her brother had spent most of the 20 minute bus ride to our office telling her how deeply in trouble she was going to be when she got here.

They hopped off the bus just when the phone was ringing constantly, a customer was at my husband’s desk, and another couple was waiting patiently for my husband to finish up with his current customer. The bus driver was walking in with them.

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That is never a good sign. People- you usually don’t want the bus driver to escort your children in. My kids aren’t without fault. About a month ago, we’d been informed that they weren’t sitting and staying in their seats. (After following the bus one day as it left town, I realized that few of the kids were… but that’s another story.) From that day on, they had been instructed to sit at the front of the bus.

The bus driver explained that it was “slime” another child had brought on the bus. She was fine, but he wanted to let me know. Points for the bus driver walking my obviously distraught child in.

I looked at my husband and calmly said that I believed my office work today was done.

Loading up my crew, more of the story came out. Another little girl had put it on her hair, but it didn’t stick to it. She thought it would be ok. Apparently it does stick to freshly washed very fine hair.

I messaged my sisters and mother, who have proved to be a font of wisdom, asking for suggestions. Suggestion #1 was vegetable oil, then warm water and a clarifying shampoo. And on top of that, I added in a lot of patience and tried not to laugh. I mean seriously, what can you do? A good sense of humor is paramount to peace at our house.

I could tell this would require me being wet. My little girl was sobbing at the idea of vegetable oil in her hair. Why? Not sure. You’d think pink slime was worse than vegetable oil.

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We stripped down and hopped in the shower with a bottle of oil, a fine toothed comb, and a cup to catch the Slime chunks. 30 minutes later…..

Slime be gone! With a few good rounds of clarifying shampoo, most of the pink dye was out as well.

After the de-sliming, we had a little talk about not putting things in our hair that don’t normally go there: Yes’s are limited to hair ties, barrettes, and headbands. No’s (all of which we’ve tried and scrubbed out) include things like gum, sand, paint, mud, glitter, and now….. slime.

Did I mention we were destined last night for a youth program where both kids would be up at the front singing and dancing? To the best of our abilities, we roll with the punches. This time it was a slime covered one.

Much love — Jen

 

Family · Parenting

Small Talk

Topics of conversation covered by my 5 and 7 year old children after school yesterday in under an hour:

  1. Sweet potatoes – do they all have to be orange?
  2. The garter snake family that we found living under our porch when we demolished it on Saturday. Where are they now? Did you know they can grow to almost 4 foot long? Found that out Saturday.
  3. “Why won’t my brother let me hug him?” – in dramatic fashion
  4. Snack options – settled on graham cracker sandwiches with a little chocolate frosting
  5. Halloween costumes – can we really mix a cheerleader uniform with angel wings? The answer is yes. It’s Halloween. #pickingmybattles
  6. “Fits don’t get us what we want.” Reminder number 8,000,531
  7. Corn dogs
  8. Will it really snow on Halloween? – Looks like a yes at this point…
  9. Did you know that there is no such thing as a “puhmillion” of something?
  10. Someone stole my tic tacs! Recovered from his bedroom floor an hour later.
  11. “Mom, did you know that B____ and A____ and L____ were told that if they didn’t stop punching, pinching, kicking, and hitting that they would have to go to the principal’s office? But not at the same time!” — The life of a Kindergartener
  12. Breakfast for dinner or pizza?
  13. Homework and sight words.
  14. Did anyone feed the cat?
  15. Hide and Go Seek in the house until the little one started crying.

Whew. Are you exhausted? I was by 6pm….

Happy Halloween! — Jen

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Family · Parenting · Perspective

extra

I’m sitting here on my couch reviewing the past week and looking ahead to the next. My daughter is trying on clothes from the cousin hand-me-down bag (which is amazing).

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We are on Day 2 of fall break. Day 1 was parent-teacher conferences, an hour in the office at work, Cosmic Kids Space Club, and dance class.

Space club is a group of my son’s buddies that were invited to check out Saturn on one of the boy’s grandpa’s telescope.

We just finished soybean harvest. The guys are drilling on the last few dozen acres of wheat. For a blessed day, we are still a few points too damp for milo harvest.

As I sit here, I realize that the role of mother, wife and working mom isn’t what wears me out. It’s all the extras.

It’s the Ear Nose and Throat specialist we will visit in Monday for 3 rounds of strep throat in 60 days. The additional meeting I need to attend.

It makes me wonder how necessary some of those commitments are. The ENT is a must. What about the others?

At kids’ youth group Wednesday night, another volunteer from the generation before mine asked me if my parents scrambled around as much as my generation is to make it all happen. After a few days of thought, I’m convinced they did. However, I don’t think it started this young.

Is it really going to put my kids at a disadvantage if they don’t do that next extra activity?

I speculate that having a mom who isn’t scurrying, rushing and occasionally loosing her sh*t  patience is likely better for everyone.

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Kitchen Fairy

kitchen fairyDearest Kitchen Fairy-

Where did you go?

This was all clean by Saturday noon,
Tuesday morning it’s making me swoon.

And not in a good way,
Definitively I’ll loudly say!

Where are all the butter knives… For pete’s sake, where are my sinks?!
“It’s not a problem, use paper products!” my husband winks.

I’m glad everyone is in such good humor,
Kitchen fairy, you’ll never return? Is that the rumor?

Please say it isn’t so!!!

I guess in that long wait until you do,
I’ll just strap on my wings and dishes: wash a few.


True life. There isn’t a kitchen fairy, nor a laundry one. Just a mom, dad and two kids with helping hands.

So turn on some good music and strap on those wings dear family!!! Mom waved her wand over the kitchen before work this morning. You get to sprinkle your magic on the laundry tonight!

 

 

 

Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Kindergarten

Kindergarten.

It’s centers and numbers, letters and games, grass grinders in PE and primary colors in Art. Musical songs about shapes are a regular concert at our house in the evenings.

She is flourishing and loves it. M thinks it is easy, fun, and doesn’t want to miss a single minute!

Five mornings a week, she bounces out the door to the bus. She’s gotten dressed, brushed hair and teeth, eaten breakfast, filled her water bottle and hugged her father and I. She puts on her pink backpack that is absolutely as big as she is, hops down the steps after her brother, crosses the lawn, and takes enormous steps up onto the yellow bus.

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At the end of the day, she takes those enormous steps back down off the bus to my office, her freckled cheeks flushed, bobbed strawberry hair wild, and lasts about 3 minutes before breaking down.

My sugar bean is tired. Naps were 1hr plus, 5/7 days a week before the school year started. She is young for her class, borderline to the point that we discussed holding her back just due to her age. Both her preschool teacher and my mom, an early Ed teacher, discouraged that. She’s bright, eager, and not having any behavioral issues, so she moved on.

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She would have been LIVID if we’d kept her back to half days in preschool. She does rest during “rest time” on her lime green towel. However, she made it very clear to us that she doesn’t HAVE to sleep then.

I took all this in consideration last night when our home was deep in the throes of a meltdown by 6pm. Sweet girl was asked to pick up 8 books and a retro (mine from the 80’s) My Little Pony stable in her room. Both kids are required to do one chore an evening – only one simple thing to help the family – i.e. pick up shoes, put away kitchen towels, pick up toys, sweep under the table, water flowers…

It. Was. Impossible. Tears sprung forth. Her body crumpled on the kitchen floor.

10 minutes in and the rest of us carrying on about life around her (this usually works), the waterworks weren’t letting up. Oh precious worn out little girl. I helped her get her dress off and pajamas on. I carried her to her room where she continued to sob.

I laid her on a pillow with a blanket and a snuggly stuffed animal. Sob. I told her she could rest there and gain control. Hugs. Sob. You need to pick up those books and pony stable before you can come out.

10 more minutes – I was in and out the door grilling. My husband and son were outside playing catch. It got quiet. I peeked in at her and saw that she was cleaning up her few items as asked.

She came out with her pillow, blanket, and stuffed animal and laid on the couch until dinner.

I’m not mother-of-the-year by any means. I’ve yelled and overreacted. However, this time it was obvious that compassion and patience were the keys to this sad situation.

No yelling. No time outs. No anger. Just compassion for a worn out little soul.

Aren’t we all feeling like this sometimes? Just too tired to take on anything else? We don’t always end up in a heap on the kitchen floor, but bless you if you have. Sometimes we just need a minute or thirty to compose and make sense of the task at hand.

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Hugs — Jen

**She was asleep shortly after 8pm. 🙂

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Lists, Lies, and Toilet Brushes

Lists. I would assume that most of the world uses them to keep on track. Simple little reminders of what needs to be done or what has already been accomplished.

giphy1I, personally, still use a paper, spiral bound planner for my family’s functions. The reminders and feeling like I constantly HAVE to keep my phone with me prevents me from adding this part of my life to my digital almost-sidekick. I also love the feel of the paper under my pencil or pen and get a thrill out of opening a new package of highlighters. Office supply junkies – you know what I’m talking about 😉

We’ve tried multiple lists at our house to help keep us on task, on schedule, organized, and functioning. These are usually for extra, non-daily projects or encouraging good behavior.

A few days of reacting like this Moana meme, but set at about 6:58am… lists bloghad me considering ways to make our mornings a little smoother.

My creative, kind, morning-hating, 7 year old little boy tipped the scales this morning. He wants terribly to be more independent and for us to “stop telling him what to do.” Apparently, we are being bossy by asking him to wear shoes to school. Alrighty then…

His heavy-weight, scale tipping moment occurred this morning when he LIED to me about brushing his teeth.

I was across the room when I started asking. I hadn’t seen him go into that bathroom yet this morning. I was closing the distance, repeating my question. I warned him that lying would be a bad choice. He insisted that he had brushed them and looked sad.

Then I knelt next to him, asking him if it hurt his feelings that I didn’t believe him. I took his hand and calmly told him that I was sorry if it hurt his feelings, but when he argues (a problem lately) it makes me doubt him. I told him I would try harder to believe him and that he should try harder to respond appropriately when we talk.

Then I walked to the bathroom to put in my contacts. I reached up and felt his toothbrush – DRY. These bristles had NOT touched teeth this morning.

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He didn’t lie out of anger, fear, exhaustion, or any of the other emotions listed on the parenting sites,”Love and Logic,” and Grace-Based Parenting books I’ve read.

He lied out of defiance. He lied because we are “bossing” him. He lied because to him, this was an act of “I’m going to win this at all costs because I’m independent.”

All costs indeed. — All our toilets will be shiny and clean tonight.

Trust will have to be earned back.

Lying is NOT tolerated at our house. I’m a truth teller – even if it hurts – and sometimes it does. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. We are consistent in our actions and words that the truth is always better than a lie. Less harm comes from just being honest than when you choose to lie then get caught or snowball it and THEN get caught.

After brainstorming and doing some research on lying and defiance, I decided we are back to the plan of a list. He’s a solid reader, thus can read his new list.

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As you can see, this is not rocket science. We are asking for daily, basic functions on school days. He has from 6:25 – 7:00am to complete his morning tasks, 5 days a week. The tasks are laid out. I will strive to give him the independence to accomplish these without my prompting within his given timeframe.

Evening activities are simple as well. We’ve already been doing all of these for a month. Homework is finished between 4-5pm depending on when I get out of the office. If we push homework later, it doubles the amount of time and exponentially increases the drama.

Time after these tasks are done is free. Do whatever you want. Play. Jump. Sing. Ride bikes. Read books. Puzzles. Whatever.

Who said this parenting stuff was easy??? Seriously. Raise your hand.

I’m hoping that by giving him the independence to get these tasks done and check them off the list, it will help fill his autonomy bucket. If his bucket is full, maybe it will stem the tide of arguing. Hopefully, this will result in realizing there is no need to lie about brushing teeth.

*sigh*

Onward.

Much love– Jen