Monday, June 30, 2014

Exhausted Moms

Being a Mom is one of the best experiences in life. We wouldn’t trade it for the world. However, there are seasons when we find ourselves exhausted. It’s okay to identify it and even laugh about it. Here are 21 indicators you may be an exhausted Mom.

 You know you are an exhausted Mom when:

1. You try to vacuum a piece of dried scrambled egg off the floor while running over it 20 times, trying to suck it up, rather than bend down to scrape it off the floor.

2. You’ve washed the same load of laundry 3 times because you can’t remember to get it into the dryer before it starts to smell. When your husband questions you about it, you respond by saying, “I haven’t done that in like…a couple of days.”

3. You see a puddle of water on the sink, from your child’s last hand washing, and smear it around the sink with the towel and call it “clean” for the week.

4. You’ve shaken the organic puff jar from the other room to get your infant to come back to the room you are in much like you would call an animal.

5. You ignore the peas dropped on the floor at dinner because they are easier to pick up once dried and vacuumed the next day.

6. You hear an urgent request for “SNACK!” while scrubbing pans and 30 seconds after watching your child consume the entire full four course breakfast you just cooked.

7. You try to rock two sick boys in a rocking chair at once, while they kick and try to kill one another for more space on your lap. You hold back nasty words about how badly it hurts when a stray heel or elbow hits you in the breast.

8. Your toddler laughs and shakes his head while reminding you that he and his brother keep “pooping all day long.” You know this. You don’t need a reminder.

9. You realize "dusting" is just a fancy word for puffing a quick breath of air at any piece of furniture as you walk by.

10. You forget what you’ve done all week but can check the sofa cushions. Traces of each meal, craft, and any activity are shoved there. It’s a memory book of sorts to recap your adventures.

11. You savor the smell of a clean little boy because that smell only lasts .2 seconds from when he gets toweled off and runs or crawls out of the bathroom.

12. Your dishwasher is full of utensils but no plates or cups because you have been using disposable dishes as much as possible.

13. Your child is eating mustard with a spoon and painting his face with ketchup. You don’t care.

14. You try to sleep at night, but The Curious George theme song won’t stop playing in your head. In an odd way, you are comforted by it.

15. There’s a new sand box by the laundry basket in your son’s room. It’s where he takes his clothes off and the sand and dirt pour out.

16. You pull the vacuum out of the closet every day. You don’t vacuum every day, but it’s the only way the kids will pick up toys. It may have something to do with your threats that the vacuum eats toys that don’t get picked up. The best laugh you’ve had all week is at how fast they are moving.

17. You catch a virus and your toddler keeps asking if you “trow up yet?”..…in an anxious hopeful way.

18. Brotherly conflict management has been simplified to “Hit him back” instructions to end the matter. Normally you care enough to encourage “using nice words” with each other. That stopped days ago.

19. In the morning, you try to remember which child you were up with in the night and how many times. Then you realize how pointless it is when you can’t remember what day it is.

20. You spent ten minutes trying to justify your case against poking little brother in his eyes before you realize you’ve been manipulated out of ten minutes from a toddler. You’ve been outsmarted again.

21. Each night while preparing dinner, both boys cry simultaneously and competitively for your attention. You zone out to a certain level and bob your head to a rhythm of a made up song in your head about how one day you might go crazy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Continuing Her Legacy

One year ago on April 12th, my Mother’s journey here on earth ended and her new life in paradise began. Such a painful event for us turned out to be a beautiful beginning for her in another place. It seems there is no other way to honor her memory than to make an effort to remember the love that lived within her, and spread it to others. Mom loved to laugh and to do kind things for others. This is why it’s so appropriate to do a little of just that on the anniversary of her going home.

Below is a list of 12 kind things to do on the weekend of April 12th in memory of Mom.  Would you do one, two, or even more?  If so, please let us know what you did or plan to do so we can be encouraged her legacy is continuing on.
  1.   Leave a piece of paper with a written joke in a pair of pants at a clothing store. The one thing Mom enjoyed more than laughing was to make others laugh.  
  2.   Take flowers to a local nursing home and request the bouquet be delivered to someone who doesn’t have many visitors. Mom spent many days visiting her parents in the nursing home and had a heart for those there that seemed lonely. 
  3.   Leave an encouraging note on a car parked at the hospital. Mom and her loved ones spent many long days at the hospital feeling very discouraged by circumstances. 
  4.   If you haven’t already, sign up to be an organ donor. This could have been a lifesaving gift for Mom, had there not been a shortage of donors at the time she was so desperately sick and in need of one. Sign up now and be a lifesaving gift for someone else one day.
  5.   Leave a gift of cookies or another treat for a service worker in your area (garbage removal, policemen, firemen, snow removal crews, postal worker, etc). Mom was known for baking cookies and taking cans of Coke to the snow plow crews as they drove by in the storms.
  6.   Put a gift card in a cookbook at the bookstore. Mom LOVED cookbooks.
  7.   Take a box of dog treats to your local Humane Society. Mom’s “Best Birthday Present Ever” was a rescue dog she and Dad adopted. Lily (the adopted dog) was a true friend to Mom especially when she became homebound and very sick.
  8.   Donate a children’s Bible to your church and request it to be given to a child that would want or need it. Mom loved Vacation Bible School each summer at her church. While cleaning out her closet, after she died, we found all her name tags she saved from each year of teaching and helping at VBS. There were many.
  9.   Donate to a non-profit organization that helps children in poor countries. Mom had a fear of flying, but found ways to help those in need overseas without having to board a plane.
  10.   Leave an encouraging note on a dressing room mirror. Great memories were made on shopping trips with my mom, sister, and grandmother.
  11.   Do something silly with a friend, take a picture, and put it in an album or frame. Mom and her best friend used to dress up in crazy costumes each year and ride a double bike in the local parade. They had a blast, made people laugh, and made special memories.
  12.   Make a meal for someone in need. Mom made many meals for those who were sick or in need. She, my sister, and I spent a day making food and filling my grandparent’s freezer with meals. Mom made me take pictures of everything and everyone that day. Seemed silly then, but now I’m glad she had me take the pictures.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to Make Pancakes with a Toddler in 15 Easy Steps

1. Read a book about Pancakes. (Optional)

2. Gather utensils & ingredients 
-       Pancake Mix
-       Milk
-       Egg
-       Pan
-       Pancake Flipper
-       Step Stool (so toddler can see and help)
-       Spoon
-       Plates
-       Forks
-       Butter knife
-       Butter
-       Syrup
-       Cup
-       Mixing Bowl
-       Measuring cups
-       Toddler (Most important)
3. Measure 1 cup pancake mix and pour into bowl. Toddler will want to stick finger in mix and lick it. Relax. It’s a part of learning. Let him do it. There are no raw eggs in it yet. 

4. Measure ½ cup milk and pour in bowl.

5. Crack one egg into the bowl and mix.

6. Let toddler stir. Yes, it will make a mess. Relax. It’s a part of learning.

7. Scoop ¼ cup of batter and pour into pan. Toddler should be nowhere near the stovetop. He should already know this concept a good year or more before making pancakes. If he doesn’t, stop what you are doing and have an overdue safety lesson before continuing.

8. Wait for pancakes to bubble.

9. Leave phone unattended while toddler takes pictures of the black countertop without you knowing.

10. Flip pancakes

11. Cook for a bit longer. Don’t worry about perfection. If toddler helps make them, he will care less about taste and appearance.

12. Remove pancakes from pan and place on plate.

13. Lightly butter and pour syrup on pancakes.

14. Happily agree to toddler’s genius request to wear a birthday party hat while eating because you understand his valid point-birthday hats have to be worn while eating "cake" (even pancakes)

15. Eat and enjoy (Bonus if toddler eats so much, Mom worries he will get sick.) 

Happy National Pancake Day!!! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Still Small Voice

I sort of have an irrational fear that while I’m putting my children in their car seats, someone will come behind me and knock me over the head. They will take my purse, my child waiting to get in the car, my child in the car, or whatever they want. This explains my slightly paranoid looks over the shoulder as I wrestle them into their seats. Yesterday didn’t help in regards to this image in my mind.

It was broad daylight yesterday when I walked out of Kohl’s. I didn’t have my head down looking at my phone. I wasn’t distracted at all. I did however, have my hands full. My 2 year old didn’t want to hold my hand as we walked to the car. It’s a rule he holds my hand while walking in parking lots. As I somewhat dragged him to the car with his legs half bent and crying, I was reminding him of this rule. One hand was occupied doing this and the other was pushing the stroller. I hit the remote start to the car as we walked towards it since it was cold. I thought the car could heat up as I was buckling the kids in. We got to the car and as I was buckling in my 2 year old, I did several looks around outside of the car. I saw nothing. I looked back to my son and buckled the straps on his car seat.

Just as I looked up, a man wearing a camouflage jacket was walking, at a decent pace, towards me and my child in the stroller. He came out of nowhere. I stopped what I was doing and looked at him. He said hello and I respond back with the same. For a split second, I felt bad. I had judged him as someone up to no good. He could tell I was watching him. He quickly turned 90 degrees and went a completely different direction. I had a bad feeling. Something wasn’t right. Why did he turn when I saw him walking towards me? It was odd. Next he turned back around and came towards me again. “Excuse me. Do you have cash to spare so I can buy a gallon of gas?” He asked, as he kept getting closer. A sense of calmness mixed with knowledge of knowing what to say, and to do it boldly, came over me. I planted my feet firmly on the ground and stood up straight. I made direct eye contact with him and didn’t take my eyes off him. “I’m sorry. I don’t have any cash on me at all,” I responded with a serious look. I lied. I had cash, but there was no way I was about to lean back in my car and turn my back to him leaving my child between us.  He gave me a frustrated look and then walked away.

Here’s the thing. I’m all about helping someone who needs a few bucks, I am. Gut feelings and that still small voice override any ounce of compassion in me instantly though.  Something was off here and I sensed it right away when he came back towards me. Call it discernment, paranoia, or a sixth sense. I think God places a gift in Mothers the day He allows them to become a Mom. It’s the same one He gives Mother bears. Because of it, we can sense danger and stand up to it instead of cowering from it. 

What do you need to be bold about today? May you find that gift deep within and put it to good use. Listen. He still speaks in that still small voice.