To my unfaithful socks

The socks in my house have had a major infidelity problem lately!  Whenever I do the wash I throw all the socks without a mate into a bucket and then pair them with their mates when they show up.  But lately, the lonely socks seem to outnumber the happily mated ones.  I note this trend each morning when I go to put on my socks.  Even my son has been badgering me because he keeps running out of his favorite socks.  He is very particular for a 5-year-old!  A quick look at my overflowing sock bucket confirmed that we may have a problem!

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Even after a quick sock match up, the bucket is still full and there are more unmatched socks that just came out of the laundry.Image

So, to my unfaithful socks, where are you hiding?  Is there some laundry somewhere I have forgotten about?  Why did you leave your mate here all alone?  

Did we do something wrong that you’ve gone missing?  I know I let the laundry pile up.  I’m truly sorry,  Does it hurt your feelings when the kids only keep you on for five minutes and then thoughtlessly discard you.  Come out of your hiding places and I will wash you and put you back where you belong!

We need you!  Winter is not over and it’s still too cold for flip flops so your job here is not done.  Our toes are cold, our feet need padding, our sock drawers look bare!  Oh socks, please come home!

Well, I’m off to find some mates for my socks.  For some reason, I am always afraid to throw away the lonely socks.  I believe in those missing socks.  They have to be here somewhere!  I just found one in my van yesterday and my hope has been renewed to just keep waiting and watching and washing and pairing and someday all my socks will be in my drawers and not in the sock bucket!

 

 

You Know You have a 1-year-old when…

I barely have any memory of the last year or so it seems because I have no idea how my little baby is already one!  But she did turn one and we celebrated her birthday in Winter “One”-derland style this past January.

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Some other things seemed to have slipped my memory as well, because I had forgotten about how hard it is just to complete daily tasks with a curious, energetic, walker around the house.  Here is a quick list of Madelyn’s favorite activities:

  • Pulling the dishes out of the dishwasher while I am loading/ unloading.  She does not seem to understand my emphatic cries of, “Sweetie, that will break!” or “Ahhhh! That’s a butcher knife!””
  • Unfolding my laundry faster than I can fold it.  This is a particular pet peeve of mine, since I loathe folding the laundry to begin with.
  • Tipping over the large stand lamp in the living room.  It is currently held together with Gorilla glue and duct tape from when my oldest child was one.  I had forgotten that until Madelyn tipped it over the other day.
  • Crawling up the stairs or trying to slip past the gate on the stairs anytime it is left open even for a millisecond.  She is QUICK!
  • Unrolling the toilet paper.  BTW, each time she does this my 2-year-old uses the whole wad the next time she uses the toilet.  Then I have to plunge the toilet to get all that paper down.  Seriously folks–this is real life here!
  • Picking through the trash–gross!
  • Eating the dirty Cheerios out of the dirt when I sweep the floor–even more gross!.
  • Emptying toy boxes, bookshelves, kitchen cupboards and anything she can get her hands on then leaving a trail of destruction for the rest of us to clean up.  Here she is–I caught her red-handed pulling all her diapers out of the changing table.

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  • Grinning ear to ear in response to even my sternest “NO!”  She is totally taunting me!  She knows I am a donkey on the edge!
  • Putting every little thing in her mouth.  She knows when she is caught too…She will come to me all drooly and bulging and as I try to reach for her she takes off running, waddling as fast as those little legs can carry her.  That goes for when she is holding something she isn’t supposed to have too.  I have had to wrestle that girl to the ground more than once.  Yeah—that’s right, I’m TOUGH!

Mama’s need a lot of patience!  It really is a good thing kids are so cute and lovable because when they start to exert that will we are already so head over heels in love with our children that we work our tails off to keep up with them and nurture them through those busy–not to mention messy– toddler years.

Here’s hoping we make it through these treacherous days without major incident!  And to developing an ability to step back from the mess and enjoy my kids when they are this age.

Jill of All Trades, Master of Nothing

Sometimes I wish I was REALLY good at something, but it seems I have talent in many areas, but find it difficult to stand out or be exceptional.

I’m a pretty good cook. I even enjoy it, but my kitchen looks like a hot mess when I am finished and I have been known to go through some nasty experimental streaks where meal disasters overshadow the meal successes.

I really want to be a great photographer, but just a quick glimpse of the awesome photos on others blogs makes me shrink back to the beginners class and wonder if I will ever see improvement in my skills.

The same holds true for gardening.  I love the idea of growing things.  I especially enjoy planting them, but after that something goes awry and well, where there are supposed to be vegetables and lush flowers….I got nothing.

I really want to be organized, but I am just not consistent enough in my efforts.  I find much more pleasure in the planning of the organization than carrying it out.

Before I was a mom, I had visions of being that cool mom that always had yummy (and healthy) freshly made snacks and time to do crafts and play sports with my kids.  Now I just wish I could get the dishwasher loaded without my one-year-old taking all the dishes out or grabbing a sharp knife.   Forget the crafts—too much mess.  Outside time?  Three kids that need socks, shoes, coats, hats, mittens—that’s a lot of work!

All that to say, there is still something inside of me that drives me to do my best even when my best is so far from perfect that I almost have to laugh at myself.  Am I really good at something?  Yeah, I am really good at being real.  And, as long as I don’t allow myself the temptation of comparison with others, my best really is good enough.

A fitting verse from Corinthians speaks to the foolishness of living is this “I’m not as good as her” world or even that place we can let ourselves go where we focus on our insufficiency.

“When they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely (2 Corinthians 10:12).

I have been learning a lot lately about focusing more on just being in the presence of God rather than all the responsibilities of life.  I am still processing, but will write more at a later time.

Modern Day Slavery- Can I afford not to be convicted?

Before I was a mom, I used to marvel at how my mom-friends were so clueless about what was happening in the world and quite frankly I was pretty judgmental about how their talk seemed to center only on their children and their bodily functions and other accomplishments.  Of course now that I am a mom, I am TOTALLY guilty of telling poop stories at socially inappropriate times.  But worse I have to admit how easy it is to forget about life outside my family because the demands of every day life seem to suck up all brain activity.  I need other people to remind me of how I can care for my family and others too!

This Sunday was Freedom Sunday at my church.  We have been learning about how we can become involved in ending modern day slavery.  Our speaker, Kevin Austin, called for action from the Christian community in the work to end modern day slavery.   Kevin actually came to speak in chapel at the college where my husband works last year and stayed in our home, but I was unable to hear him speak and during our informal interactions I found myself unable to speak intelligently not only on the topic of slavery but also on what my response to slavery should be.  It was a privilege to hear his presentation today, and I feel both overwhelmed and moved by what I learned.

One of the most practical tools Kevin spoke about was a website called free2work.org which evaluates industries, specific products and companies in four categories that measure their involvement in perpetuating modern day slavery.  Their website and app, help train clueless people like me to become conscious consumers so that my chocolate habit doesn’t unwittingly enslave some five-year-old little girl.

After perusing the website, I honestly feel more overwhelmed than hopeful.  Very few companies that I have heard of score high.   Take children’s clothing for instance,  we shop where we can find the best deals.  But to my horror,nearly every children’s clothing line on the list that I recognized received a low score, except Old Navy which received a B.  Way to go Old Navy and Gap people!  But here is a listing of the failures–That’s an F people–Carters, Genuine Kids, Just One Year, OshKosh B’Gosh, and Child of Mine.  Faded Glory received a D+ and Disney received a C-.   The Children’s Place, which we shop often, was not rated.   How achingly ironic that keeping my kids clothed, keeps other kids in bondage.

And to think, I almost spent $40 at Carters just yesterday, but didn’t because I forgot my coupon!  But here’s the problem, if there are so many bad choices available where do we shop?  I understand that my demand for cheap clothes contributes to the problem,, but these companies should be kept accountable as well.

Am I really ready to kick my chocolate addiction?  I ate two handfuls of chocolate chips on the same day I heard that 70% of the world’s chocolate comes from slave labor.  worse, I told myself it was ok because I already bought it and I wouldn’t want to waste it.

I fear not being able to afford becoming a conscious consumer, but can I really afford not to be convicted about modern day slavery?   There is a lot to think about and I’m not sure how today will change me for the long haul, but I want to be a part of changing the way people are treated.  I want to stand up for the rights of those who have no voice.  That’s something I care about–it should be more important than chocolate or a great sale.

Humble Pie and Anger Management

Sawyer says to me the other day, “Don’t yell. I want you to be a good mommy.” Whoa—time to take a step back and evaluate what’s going on in our house. Am I really an angry mom? Am I becoming one of those yelly mom’s that hurt your heart when you hear them talk to their children? Not me…or should I take a moment to reflect on my actions and attitudes?

I have been home full time with my two children since the end of May. I knew transitioning to the stay-at-home mom life would be an adjustment, but I was surprised at how I initially found my children so irritating. After all, I do love them so much and I have such vision for their life and deep motivation to see them develop into Godly, smart, responsible people. But it is so frustrating to have to repeat yourself over and over and let’s not even start talking about potty training which is the bane of my existence right now. One thing is for certain, bringing up children will surely bring every ungodliness to the surface of your own life. I kept asking myself….why am I so angry right now? Me and my two year old son came to heads more than once. I felt frustrated, disappointed, and dare I say fearful that I wasn’t measuring up as a mom. Not only that, I certainly wasn’t measuring up to God’s standard of love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Wow–these verses becomes so much more powerful when you realize how tall an order living this way really is. I can’t think of any other relationship other than my marriage where living this out in everyday practice is more imperative. Sawyer is learning from me and Lucy is too–Did you know children as young as four months can tell the difference between a happy and an angry voice. Yikes!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000517101&tag=themommotive-20
After a lot of prayer about my anger problems, I did what any over-educated first time parent would do–I checked a book out from the library so I could get some “expert” advice.

The book I am reading right now is How to Behave so Your Preschooler Will Too by Sal Severe.

Here’s what I like about the book:
It is targeted towards parents and encourages parents to take responsibility for their actions while reminding them of the importance of their role as models and life-shapers for their children.

It gives great examples of positive discipline. Which I am willing to admit I need some help and guidance when it comes to not stating directions and warnings in the negative.

It provides the reader with excellent summaries of the best of many developmental findings and relates them directly to child behavior and parenting.

So far the only thing I don’t like is that like many secular books on the market, human understanding is interpreted from an evolutionary scientific point of view rather than from coming from an intelligent design point of view. But, put on your critical thinking hat and sift though the mumbo jumbo to gain valuable information on God’s awesome creativity and intentions for human beings—especially children!

If nothing else, reading this book is helping me step back from the anger trap I have so easily fallen into and allowed me to see myself critically. Not only that, this self-evaluation is providing hope that I can control my tongue, my emotions, and become the positive (not perfect) role model God has called me to become as a mom.

What next? Well, I am going to take some notes from my reading to post on the refrigerator as a regular reminder. And I certainly want to remain soft-hearted when it comes to recognizing my sin and weaknesses so that God can be the center of our home and I get out of the way of what He wants to do in my family.

Creation according to a two year old

One of the remarkable things about taking more initiative to teach my children the Bible has been the way God has renewed my sense of awe in the truth of His Word. We have been working through the creation story from Genesis 1 over the last week or two and I have been a bit surprised at how my faith in God’s ability to do such a miraculous work has blossomed! I am not a die-hard literal creationist, but I believe God is the source of life, He is all-powerful, eternal, and His revelation to us is authoritative. Here’s the thing—if God is all these things and Genesis says that God spoke His creation into existence, how long does that have to take? The bottom line is that as a Christian, I have to believe that God could accomplish creation any way He wanted to and we don’t have to fuss about whether a day is 24 hours or an age….blah, blah, blah.

And one thing is for certain–it is A LOT easier to teach the creation story to a young child as it is written than to try to over-rationalize it! Remember, the creation story was originally passed down orally as a STORY. Stories that are easy to remember follow a pattern and even a young child can follow the plot and main action points.

I am not naturally a musical person, but I made up a song to teach the Big idea of creation to my two-year-old. Here are the words:

In the very beginning, God made the world.
After six days, His work was done
and He said it was very good.

I am currently working up the nerve to embarrass myself by singing the song on a video. Several times, I have heard Sawyer singing the song to himself as he plays. Of course, he gets to the He said part and switches to “Zacchaeus….you come down.” but I think the words are getting lodged into his brain synapses. Here’s what I like about the song:

  1. Credits God as the creator of our world
  2. Affirms God’s eternal nature
  3. References God’s pattern of work and rest
  4. Reminds us that God’s creation—especially humanity–is VERY good according to God Himself!

So even though we have gone over the details of what God did on each day of creation, I don’t care if Sawyer remembers that just yet. Two-year-olds don’t really have a sense of time anyway so I am choosing to focus on the main ideas of the story and use details of the story as conversation points as we go through daily life. For example: “look Sawyer, flowers….do you know who made the flowers? God made the flowers! Aren’t they beautiful? God made our world and He made us! He calls us very good!

As we have started this type of conversation on our walks, I have noticed that Sawyer points out things we have talked about before and excitedly reports that God made them. We used to only notice the big trucks so this is a nice break in our monotonous routine!

I am working on writing up a lesson plan detailing some of the activities we have done related to the creation story. I will post it when it is finished.

Praying for your children

One of the simplist ways parents can impact the spiritual formation of their children is by praying for them each night at bedtime beginning at birth. This precious way to wrap up the day can become as much a part of your routine as brushing teeth. While my husband and I are far from perfect parents, this nightly routine of praying with our kids unites us as parents and helps keep us focused on the fact that God has given us our children to raise, but they are His. Through our prayers, we offer our kids back to Him AND teach our children about the one who died to offer them life and salvation!

Why I pray for my children each night:

  1. I want them to know they can talk to Jesus–that prayer is how we talk to God
  2. I want them to learn how to pray from the time they can talk so that it becomes a natural part of their daily conversation.
  3. I want them to know that God is the source of all we hold dear. We thank him, we give him credit, we ask him for help because we need His help.
  4. I desire God to work in their lives in a powerful, life-transforming way, and I believe God’s will is for me to ask persistently for their salvation, their protection from the enemy, and hearts that desire to submit to and follow God.
  5. If I don’t pray for my children, who will?

What do we pray for?

  • Their salvation- that they would come to know God at an early age.
  • Their wills to be submissive to God- That they would follow God in obedience
  • Understanding of God’s love for them- that they would feel his presence and know that God believes in them and loves them perfectly.
  • Their future- that they would know that God has created them for a purpose and that they would know God’s calling on their life including career, spouse, friendships, and decisions.
  • Their protection- That the devil’s schemes to keep them from fulfilling God’s purpose for them would be thwarted and that the hurts of life would not keep them from believing in and trusting God.
  • Our wisdom- that as parents we would know how to encourage and empower our children, teach them about who God is, and know how to discipline them and form them into mature, responsible, caring, Godly people.
  • Our family and important people in our lives- that they would know that God cares for these important people and wants us to intercede on their behalf.
  • Our needs and thanks. We remember the experiences of the day and thank God for giving them to us. We also pray for help for whatever comes up in our lives.

I also found these links helpful as a guide to knowing how and what to pray for your children:
Prayers for Children
Twelve ways to pray for your children
31 days of prayer for your children