Family


I love it when my kids climb in bed with me in the morning. Every day I have at least one (Zachary is  permanent fixture), some days it’s all four. And they all want to be the closest to me. So, just to create the visual for you, this morning I was laying there on my back, Judah on my left, Ethan on my right, and Zachary sound asleep on my chest. This is the conversation that ensued:

Judah:  Ethan, I want to tell you something.

Ethan:  Ok, what?

Judah:  Why did the pigs get in the car?

Ethan:  Why?

Judah:  To hide from their mom and dad.

Ethan:  I already knew that joke. How do you fit four elephants in a car?

Judah:  How?

Ethan:  Two in the front seat and two in the back seat. How do you fit two mouses in a car? (Mom’s note – it’s supposed to be hippopotamuses.)

Judah:  How?

Ethan:  The elephants need to get out first.

Judah:  I already knew that joke.

Ethan:  Well… it’s still a funny joke.

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Yesterday was Judah’s 3rd birthday. We celebrated by going to Red Hot & Blue for lunch.  His pick, because he likes the pigs playing guitars. We followed that up with a venture into Chuck E. Cheese. Two hours of fun for $10.00 – you can’t beat that!

Fun at Chuck E. Cheese

We got him his very own flashlight that he got to pick out himself. Emily and Ethan had each blessed Judah with some of their toys that they no longer play with. Also, Ethan passed on the treasured Lightning McQueen sweatshirt. I love that their hearts are becoming generous and that they get joy from giving, not just receiving. They get that from their Daddy, and it warms my heart to see.

Yesterday also marked a huge milestone for Judah. For a month or so now, we’ve been building up the fact that turning 3 means you’re a big boy, so you no longer need “mommy milk”. So yesterday morning, he had his last nursing. He was very proud of himself even announcing to others that he was a big boy now, and so there was no more mommy milk for him. This morning was a different story. It was hard, but we got through it with the help of a little chocolate milk 🙂

Thank goodness for Daddy, because my nurturing mommy heart would have caved. I think I cried as much as Judah did. To me, it feels as though I’m not just taking away a source of nourishment, but that I’m taking away a part of me. I know that’s not the case, but our relationship IS changing, and I just have to find different ways to nurture him as he continues to grow and mature into the man of God he is destined to be.

Weaning is a right of passage which many children are forced to go through far too early in life. I’m proud of the three years he received, and I’ve seen how he has become such a secure, confident and healthy child because of this gift.

Happy Birthday sweet Judah!

So, we’re going camping tomorrow. In the cold. Very cold. In a tent. With small children. It’s going to be a blast! Honestly, we could postpone a day, and probably be a lot more comfortable. However, when our daughter, Emily, heard us discussing the possibility, she said, “but Daddy, you promised”. So, we’re going. And it’s good. Because when we’re out there freezing our butts off tomorrow night, we can at least say that Daddy always keeps his word. Even though it sounds crazy to go camping in icy cold weather, I love my husband for this. I love that he will keep his word, no matter what.

So, I’ve been meaning to post this for a week now, but I just haven’t found the time to sit down and share this story. It’s funny enough that I have to move past my perfectionist state of “do it right, or not at all” and just do it anyway. So here it is, a week late.

Last Saturday, Ethan turned 4 years old.

Here are a couple of pictures from his birthday:

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Licking the cake batter from the mixing bowl.

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Bulldozer Cake

Anyway, on the morning of his birthday, my parents called to wish him a happy birthday, and in the course of the conversation, Ethan announced to my mom that he was never going to poop again!

You might ask what prompted such a sudden, yet fervent expression of disdain for this particular bodily function. Believe it or not, I had the gall to tell him that when he turned four, he would become responsible for wiping himself.

Since this time, he has realized the impossibility of this goal, so he has amended it slightly. He now aims to fill the toilet as much as possible, in an attempt to get rid of all his poop, so he never has to poop again. Good luck with that, Ethan!

Yesterday was a great day. As a family, we spent the day at Six Flags. Although it was a bit cold at first (and again toward the evening), we all had a wonderful time just being together as a family.

I’m so proud of Emily, as she rode her first “grown-up” roller coasters. First, the Runaway Mine Train with her Daddy, then I dragged her on the Shockwave with me! She was nervous because of the double loop, but she was brave, and got on with out a bit of a fuss. After the loops, halfway through the ride she screamed that she wanted off – she wanted it to stop, NOW!

After the ride, when we rejoined Brent and the boys, she informed Daddy that she DID NOT like that. However, by the time we left the park, she had decided that she now has bragging rights that, as a six-year-old, she rode the Shockwave! But she still wasn’t sure that she wanted to do it again. Now this morning, I’m happy to say, she has finally admitted that it was fun and she’d like to do it again, but with Daddy this time 🙂

So, the lessons I take from yesterday:

1. I already knew this, but it’s good to reinforce both to myself and others – Children love TIME with their parents. And it’s good for parents to spend this time with their children. So many times we get so caught up in the day-to-day that we forget to have fun with our kids. They love it when Mom and Dad act like kids themselves and just play. And it doesn’t even have to be something as big as Six Flags. It can just be pushing cars around on the floor, or an impromptu race to the mailbox. The key is time, fun, and lots of it, and when we remember to do these things often, it makes those times of necessary discipline not seem so terrible. Because 95% of the time, we’re playing together.

2. Sometimes it’s good to push your kids to do things they don’t want to do. As a nurturer, I’m often reluctant to do this, but Emily’s experience on the Shockwave reminds me that sometimes we have to look the fear of the unknown square in the face before we realize that there is really nothing to be afraid of. Kind of reminds me how God often shoves us out of our comfort zone, and we end up realizing that the new “zone” is way better than where we were before. In fact, even though the transition was exciting and scary all at once, we wouldn’t go back for the world.

So, this is my first blog. As you can see to the left, I’m reading a book called “Passionate Housewives Desperate for God (by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald). Click on the picture for more information. This book is very counter-cultural in the sense that the authors are combating all the misperceptions and misinformation that we have about what a housewife is or should be. Unfortunately, this is prevalent even in the church. We who have chosen to be the helpmeets to our husbands that God has called us to be, raise our children ourselves, and care for our own homes, are fed lies about what that should look like, and what we “need” in order to not completely lose our minds as we live in such drudgery! (Hope you caught the sarcasm…)

For the last few years, I’ve been part of an online group that encourages women in how to keep their homes looking their best. You get several daily emails that remind you to take care of some household task. This part of the program is very helpful to someone like me, as I tend to get very overwhelmed when there is a lot to do, and I don’t know where to start. However, along with these reminders comes the subtle message that you have to look out for yourself before you can take care of your family properly. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. NOT TRUE! God takes care of me and is well able to give me the strength I need to complete the tasks that are before me, as long as I am leaning on his strength and not trying to do things on my own. I suppose that women who don’t know the Lord have to take this approach to caring for their own needs first, making sure to get plenty of time alone where they can “re-charge”. But, I am so grateful to God that He has, and will continue, to give me the strength and stamina I need, even on those days where I’m running on little sleep and haven’t a minute to myself.

So anyway, I realized that while I hadn’t bought into the lies completely, I had tolerated them, and they were beginning to creep into my thinking. I’ve been fiercely protective of my afternoon “me time”. But, on days when my children didn’t want to co-operate with their quiet times, I found myself very frustrated with them. This frustration would last throughout the day, as I would think things like, “if only they had napped like they were supposed to, I wouldn’t feel so drained”. Worse yet, when my husband would surprise me by coming home from work early, I wasn’t pleased to see him, because now I wouldn’t get the alone time that I was sure I needed. Women, please don’t buy into these lies. The truth is, that had I realized that my strength comes from God, and not from my “me time”, I would have had a lot more patience with my family, and probably would have accomplished a lot more of what I should have for the day. It’s an endless, unsatisfying pursuit when we seek to refresh ourselves; Only God can satisfy that need and I’m learning to rely on Him more everyday.