Thursday, March 13, 2014

Monday, oh, Monday.

Monday was a rough day.

Maybe it was the homemade chicken broth that tasted like dirt (dirt for dinner! yum!), or the red paint smeared on my table by a sneaky toddler, or the mountain of laundry, oh, the MOUNTAIN of laundry that wouldn't go away no matter how many times I closed my eyes and willed it to happen, or the fact that Daylight Saving Time just about kicked my rear and I medicated my drowsiness with several cups of too-strong coffee that left me jittery and, well, still tired.

I waited for my second wind. It didn't come.

During nap time, I prayed. I prayed for nothing supernatural, just enough strength to push through to the end of the day with my littles. Without using unkind words or putting myself in Mommy Time Out.

It was one of those days where the saying, "The days are long, but the years are short," replayed over and over in my head and I tried to savor the day. I tried. I did savor some parts. We made pretzels and that was fun. But I didn't savor all the parts. I was ready for bedtime at 4:00pm.

That's never a good sign.

At long last, the end of the day did come. I have a nightly ritual of singing over my kids after they are tucked in and Daddy has said goodnight. Right now, they each prefer a different song, and as I tucked Lydia into her little bed, I rubbed her little blonde head and sang her song.

I love you Lydia,
Oh yes I do!
I love you Lydia,
And I'll be true!

When you're not with me,
I'm ... (I pause and she jumps in and yells "PINK!" instead of "blue", every time)
Oh Lydia, I love you!

She gave me a little tired smile, and my heart started to soften. I took a deep breath and smiled back, feeling the day's tension beginning to fade. I went to Cub's room and rubbed his back and sang his song, one of my favorite old hymns that he calls his "sleepy song".

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight,
Lies a melody, sweeter than song!
In celestial strains, it unceasingly falls,
O'er my soul, like an infinite calm.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down, from the Father above,
Sweep over my spirit, forever, I pray,
In fathomless billows of love. 

I leaned my head against his loft bed and sighed. My heart was content. The words from Cub's "sleepy song" echoed in my heart as I made my way to the guest room, where Naomi had decided she wanted to sleep that night.

I smiled and sat down to sing, happy with the fact that the day was ending so nicely, and she smiled back, her little hands reaching for her soft pink blankie, that was partially hidden under her little pillow. I rubbed her hair and started to sing Doxology, which has become her song.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him all creatures, here below! 
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host!

Naomi yanked her blanket out from under her pillow and her pointy little elbow made direct contact with my mouth. And OH. IT HURT.

I sprang up and rushed to the bathroom, and saw a bleeding lip in the mirror's reflection. I unrolled way too much toilet paper, wadded it up, and pressed it against the wound, then turned heel to see Naomi, happily snuggling with her blanket, asking me if I would please finish my song.

Yep. One of those days.

I took a deep breath and walked back to her bedside, the toilet paper adhered to my swollen lip thanks to the blood, and finished her song ... now with a bit of a lisp.

Praith Him above, ye heavenly hotht,
Praith Father, Thon, and Holy Gohth.


So, if, perhaps, you are having or have had or are going to have a day like this, I say to you, Hang in there. Some days, success means you did crafts and learned new things and went on walks.

And some days, success means everyone survived and Mommy didn't have to go to time out.

And look! I made it to Thursday. You can do it, too.


Have a lovely day!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Menifee and Jellyfish.

One of the more entertaining aspects of parenthood is the opportunity to create completely unbelievable answers to ongoing and superfluous questions that come forth from little mouths all day long.

"Why is the road shaped like that?" "Where do pickles come from?" "What makes grass?"

At the beginning of the day, I'm on my game. At breakfast, the sky is blue because of reflected light particles and atmosphere and all of those things. We might even get all research-y and YouTube it. By lunch, I'm waning slightly and the sky is blue because there's air and God made the sun and oh look, a pony, and by dinner, the sky of which I have spoken all day is clearly falling on my head and I have no idea why it is green, wait, is it green? What is blue and is Dad home yet?

It is not the question itself that leaves me drooling in a cup, but, rather, it is the repetition of it, despite the fact that it has been asked and answered. And with factual knowledge being replaced by an exhausted yet over-active imagination, I mumble and explain the answer to end all questions: The sky is blue because one time a long time ago this HUGE WAVE WAS CRASHING OVER THE WHOLE EARTH and then suddenly it just FROZE. TOTALLY FROZE.


Hence, the sky is blue. One big frozen wave.

(Okay, so that one is a bit extreme. And terrifying.)

But, you get my point. Some call it lying. I call it survival of the mentally exhausted. I'm happy to report, I come by it naturally. Apparently, my parents were also guilty of tall tales when I was a kid, and, now that I am also a parent, I totally understand and they are completely forgiven. I was a jabbermouth of a kid and I can only imagine the deluge of questions with which I blessed them every day.

Here are a few of the good ones with which I grew up:

1) Short palm trees are really just tall palm trees buried in a very deep hole.

2) My pet cat, Princess, died when I was in the second grade, after attempting to run under the garage door (back before garage doors had censors) and failing to succeed. Of course, I was the one who discovered her the next day before school and my poor parents felt awful for me. Dad said he would "take care of it". In my innocent childhood mind, that clearly meant that he was going to somehow resurrect my cat (who now had a very pronounced dent in her rigor-mortified midsection) and I went to school with rather high expectations of what would be waiting for me when I came home. When I did come home, there was no Princess, and when I asked my father what had happened to her, he put his hand on my shoulder, sighed, and whispered, "She went to Menifee." I nodded solemnly and concluded that Menifee must mean Cat Heaven. For years, I mean YEARS, y'all, I thought that Menifee was Cat Heaven. And throughout those years, Menifee welcomed much more than just my cat--two rats, a hamster, and three parakeets also stepped through the pearly gates of Menifee. It wasn't until I was a teenager (and clearly over the notion of a pet heaven) that my Dad explained, on that fateful day, after our minivan had driven out of sight, he had simply shoved Princess in a trash bag, driven to city of Menifee (yeah, it's right next to the town where we used to live ... how did I not put THAT together) where he was working for the day, and threw her body in a dumpster. Nice. Where did Princess go? She died and went to Menifee.

3) When it's raining, with a little magic, windshield wipers will wipe when you point at them. We totally do this to our kids, too. Point (wipe!) point (wipe!) point (wipe!). HOW ARE YOU DOING THAT, MOMMY? "Magic, kids!" Point (wipe!) point (wipe!) point (wipe!).

4) Street lights know when to change because of the cameras on top of them. If you smile and wave, THEY CAN SEE YOU.

I believed all of them for a somewhat extended period of time, sadly. And hilariously.

Here's the deal. Before I had kids, I swore I would always be a truth-teller. But that was before I realized that you can tell them the truth until you are blue in the face AND THEY WILL KEEP ON ASKING. And then ... well, then it gets fun. Yes, jellyfish are made of jelly. I love you and here is a snack.

Did any of your parents do this, that you can remember? If so, do tell.

Have a lovely day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Snow and Lent.

It's been a long winter.

I understand, this goes without saying; however, after yesterday's episodes of "thundersleet" and powerful wind gusts carrying a negative wind chill along with them, I found myself moaning at yet another day that is too cold to go outside. Another day cooped up.

I pressed my forehead against the cold windowpanes and sighed. A lot.

Our church services were cancelled yesterday. I brewed my morning cup of coffee and turned down the hallway where our calendar hangs on the wall. My eyes searched the days, stopping over Wednesday.

Lent begins this week.

I've said it before: I am always ready for Lent. After winter's footprint has left its deep impression on my corner of the world, my heart aches for growth, for hope. And, as mentioned above, this year is no exception.

I did not come by Lent until I was a college student, so I'm careful about how I present it in our home, as it is not a part of the tradition in our place of worship--I want my kids to decide later in life if it's something for them. For me, it is a fast. No meat, with the exception of seafood. A practice that points my heart towards Christ and the cross throughout the day for forty days, through prayer and memorization (this year I am memorizing 2 Corinthians 4, a passage I memorized as a child but have mostly forgotten--I would love for you to join me!).

For my kids, Lent is about anticipation. Our paper chain countdown to Resurrection Sunday is hung on our mantle. I have recipes for Shrove Tuesday's pancakes (thanks to Jerusalem Greer's "A Homemade Year", given to me by a dear friend...and maybe we'll do a King Cake, too) and small activities of service we can do throughout the 40-day period.

As winter stretches forward, pushing itself into March, I realize that I set the tone for our home. My sinful heart is grumbly and angsty, but, when I allow myself to be settled and still, God's quiet voice nudges me towards gratitude. A warm home. Food to eat. And the conviction quiets my heart.

It is only appropriate that this last (maybe?) burst of winter arrived right before Lent. It is a tangible example of the barrenness of a world in need of Christ, a representation of the soul longing for the hope that can only come from Him.

Do you celebrate Lent in you family? If so, how?

Have a lovely day, friends.

Also...hang in there. :)