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Thursday, August 29, 2013

This Short Season

There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Do you think of your life in seasons? Do you ever stop to reflect that right now, the day-to-day pattern of your life is a season? One that will somehow merge seamlessly into the next. And most likely, in a few years time you'll wonder what happened to the season you are living in today?

I never thought much about the seasons of my life until I had kids. Middle school became high school and high school became college and then thank God college became married life and married life led to babies. 

And babies. Boy, babies will teach you about seasons. 

Right now I am in the season where a 16 month old, a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 year old are my to-do list each day. That's it. There's literally nothing else that I have To Do in life beyond maintaining their health and well-being. And right now doing that one thing is really kicking my tail. 

As school starts back up and I watch my friends take their kids to school or parents morning out programs I wonder, should I be doing that too? Would that make this season easier? I honestly don't think it would. Different- yes, easier- no. 

We've made the decision not to send our kids to school or parent's morning out in this season, and some days I wake up with a whole day stretching before me and I am completely paralyzed. I told a friend recently, I'll be up drinking my first cup of coffee and suddenly be hit with the realization, ohmygosh I have three kids who are going to wake up any minute and come in here and ask me what we're doing today and I have NO IDEA what to say to them. It's like I've never done this before. 

Lately it has either been raining outside or blazing hot with high humidity. And the pool is CLOSED during the week now. That certainly doesn't help matters much. 'Too wet to go out, too (hot) to play ball, so we sat in the house, we did nothing at all.' - Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat 

This very short season when I have 3 young children who are all mobile, opinionated and WITH ME all day long is hard. 

Would you pray for us? Would you pray that I would take Solomon's words to heart? That I would be reminded that there is purpose in this season? That I would find ways to fill our days that are enjoyable for me AND the kids? That I would believe that he makes everything beautiful in its time?  

Thanks friends. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

Dancing is one of my most favorite things EVER. Add 80s music, side ponytails and 60 of my closest mama friends - and I am kind of in heaven this morning.  Where am I heading for all this amazingness?

The Alpharetta YMCA of course. It's 80s day at Dance Battle Build.  I'm actually breaking my steadfast rule of not wearing make-up to the gym just for the occasion. I knew I kept a compact full of bright blue eyeshadow around for a reason.

Oh yeah and burning 600 calories while I'm at it is a nice little bonus. I LOVE MY GYM!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Missing the Menfolk

This happened yesterday. 

B Daddy and Pops took the Squirt up to Michigan for a long weekend of Mackinaw City fudge, expeditions on the Adventure IV and family time at the cabin with this view.

(So blurry - sorry, Mackinac* bridge)

I am so thrilled that they are doing this trip together now. I am (only slightly) jealous that I am at home doing my normal routine with the younger munchkins. Sweet B woke me up at 6:15 this morning and was promptly taken back to her own little bed. This mama doesn't parent before 7:30. (Disney Junior parents from 7:00-7:30.)

Last night I celebrated my single status by watching back to back episodes of Restaurant Impossible (there is seriously NO TV on during the summer months) and going to bed at 10:30. Tonight I'm upping the ante by having some girlfriends over after the kids are in bed and on Saturday I'm hosting a sleepover with my favorite 16 and 17 year old girls on the planet. So excited.

What are you up to this weekend?!

*Can some Michigander PLEASE explain Mackinaw/Mackinac to me? I'm utterly confused as to which is correct or if both are correct?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Being Known By What We Love

This post at (in) courage really hit home today. An excerpt:

Gator Hater! Gator Hater!” the kids yell throughout the van while I scan our surroundings for the cause. There it is: the license plate on the car in front of us reads G8TRH8TR. Gator Hater.
I’ve lived in Georgia long enough to be familiar with the rivals on our southern and western borders. One of the strongest sports rivalries even polarizes Georgians: Georgia Tech vs. the University of Georgia. We transplanted from Arkansas, a place without professional teams where an entire state unites behind the Razorbacks.
Staring at that license plate while the kids chant its message I hold onto one thought: how sad to be defined by what you hate rather than what you love.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. ~John 13:35
I ponder this for days, turning it over and over in my mind: how often do I live like the driver of that car, allowing myself to be defined by the wrong things? 

I too wonder, how often am I defined by what I dislike or disapprove of rather than the One I love? Is my love for my children expressed as often as the things I want them to change? Is my love for my family expressed over and above anything we may disagree about?

Working on loving without reservation this week - praying for His grace to surrender the pride that urges me to express my every thought and feeling about people/situations/the Florida Gators.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What I've Learned about Potty Training (From Someone Who's Cleaned a Lot of Poopy Underpants)

Two different friends have asked me for potty training advice this week. They both read my blog on occasion and so I wondered if maybe they missed this post somehow? Each year of parenting brings me to a fuller realization that I have absolutely no advice to give. All I can do is share my own stories of failures and (so far) successes. Oh and encouragement. I do encouragement here too. I like to think of myself as a little mama-cheerleader.

In the event that you're desperately seeking potty-training encouragement from a girl who's 75% certain her children are wearing clean underwear, read on.

I potty-trained the Squirt waaaaaay too early and it was not pretty. That rough road taught me that potty training happens when your child is ready. Not when you are ready.  Not when the budget is too tight to buy diapers for more than one child.  Do what you gotta do - eat some rice and beans for a while girlfriend, because diapers are AWESOME. My mom (an elementary school teacher) swears she's never seen a kid at school in diapers, so eventually they will figure it out.

But if you really think you and your little buddy are ready, well this is what has 'worked' for us.

Our kids loved going out with us to buy their new big kid undies the day before we started this insanity. They got to pick them out and in the process we got to talk about what potty-training was. Shopping always makes things more fun doesn't it? I would whole-heartedly encourage you to buy A LOT of undies. We're talking 14+ pairs. You are most likely going to have to clean poop out of quite a few pairs and well...sometimes it's just not worth it. Trash those bad boys.

When we potty-trained Squirt we did the stupid highly recommended 3 Day Method (Google it). This required keeping the Squirt naked from the waist down the entire first day. I have never been more grateful for hardwood floors in my life. We cleaned up SO MUCH PEE that day. With Sweet B we just ditched the diapers and put her straight into undies on the first day. A few months before this we tried potty-training by putting her in Pull-Ups, but she never got it. Sweet B has watered our floors far less than her big brother. Which is fortunate, because we have nicer rugs now.

When we "went for it" with both kids, we did it on a Saturday so B Daddy was home to help out. One of us kept an eye on the trainee (in theory) and the other one ran interference with the other little ones. By the time Monday rolled around, the worst of it was behind us. (Again, this is theory - not real life.)  In real life Sweet B watched a LOT of TV that first Monday B Daddy went to work and I hovered over the Squirt all day just waiting to whip out the tiny green potty at the first signs of fidgeting.

Oh and treats. We say Yes! to treats. Skittles, M&Ms, jelly beans. Something tiny and full of sugar. I have heard there are people who potty-train their children without treats. Perhaps those are the people you should be looking to for advice. The Squirt peed on the floor INCHES from the potty at least three hundred times in a row before he made the connection that aiming into the little white bowl would earn him a Skittle. Once he figured that out - done. Boy has rarely had an accident since. (Pooping was a different story. One I told here.)

When it came time for sleeping during the potty-training phase I would whip out a Pull-Up and talk about how they were special Big Boy undies just for sleeping. Yes they feel like diapers. But we do. not. play. with nap time or night time around here. Sleep is sacred. They can wear Pull-Ups just as long as they like. It's hard enough for me to be gracious to my children when they have peed in their pants during the day -  asking this of myself when I have been woken in the middle of the night is clearly setting myself up for failure.

Oh and buy some disposable plastic gloves - they are nice to have on hand when you have to clean up the more traumatic (for you) accidents.

Also, buy carpet cleaner - for the same reason as above.

And finally, the only true advice I have to offer is this:  give your kids (and yourself) A LOT of grace. I am still working on this part. My mantra is, "it's just poop. It's just poop. It's just poop." When confronted with a crisis, repeat this mantra as often as necessary.

Friday, August 2, 2013

My Summer Reading List

Summer is almost OVER! In case you've got one last beach trip/lake weekend/lazy Monday afternoon planned before the kids head back to school and the weather turns cooler ... here's a list of a few books I've read and enjoyed this summer. It's a good mix of fiction, non-fiction and total fluff :)

Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

No Easy Day by Mark Owen

Flawless by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell

 The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Wilson

The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick

Heretic by Bernard Cornwell

And because I'm never shy of giving my opinion, two books I read and didn't like.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Now it's your turn - what have you read this summer? The good, the bad, the fluffy? 
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