Friday, May 13, 2016

Knock knock. Is this thing still on?

Dear abandoned blog o'mine,

Life with five kids is busy. And loud. And so. much. laundry. Yeah. Uffda.

We are coming into new stages of parenting. Yowza! First, we have no more babies. Hard for this mama and dada who loooooooove babies. But we'd rather just have one visit, I think. Maybe. Or, could we borrow one and give it back when it gets big? sigh. Yeah, by that time you're suckered in to having an attachment. We just need our grandbaby. (Yes! Grandbaby. :) In Florida. :( But more on that later.)

Captain Huggyface. Lucas is five, potty trained, rides a bike - no training wheels, has three more days in his preschool career, and then it's Kindergarten. Whoa! But so much yay. He very definitely has "baby child" syndrome, and most recently has acquired a friend who challenges his need to always get what he wants (because baby-child is dueling another baby-child. Ha! Actually, now that I think about it, all three of his best buds are the youngest in their family). He is, fast and firm, Mama's boy (not to be confused with a mama's boy). He loves to tell me how much he loves me, constant hugs and kisses, still snuggles and crawls in my bed occasionally, and when his dad asks him if he loves daddy, he just replies, "I love mommy." lol He does love dad, but for now, not as much as mama. #swoon I am often accused of giving him whatever he wants, but that is simply not true. For the record, his dad does that WAAAAAY more than I do. Matching his shirt and his underwear is of great importance. Shirt to pants, not so much. As evidence today, he is wearing a green shirt and purple pants. #pickyourbattles. "Lukie" has made great strides with writing his name, letter and number recognition, and loves to ask how to spell e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. but you must let him copy you letter for letter, one letter at a time, repeat-after-me fashion. Everyone keeps asking me what I will do when he goes to school. My answer: sleep. 

No, I'm not kidding. 

Boots. Dillon has, so far, been the one to challenge and grow my parenting skills the most. (ADHD sucks. But there are worse things.) The challenges have made my love for him grow, probably because I've had to work harder at it. I treasure my closeness with him a lot more because of it. He is a very smart kid, and you can tell his mind is always spinning, contemplating, figuring something out. Math is super fun for him, and he actually loves Common Core math, with all it's "strategies." Once, a mom asked if he could help her child, his friend, with the homework, like a tutor. When Dillon got home, he said, "That was fun. Can I do that again?" Seriously. What seven year old says that? Ha! I love that. He is very precise and thoughtful about his work, particularly taking pride in his handwriting and having the best handwriting in the family. He is very calculated and thorough, which makes things like art challenging for him because he needs more time than he gets, but the results are impressive. We recently participated in Youth Day at a local conservation club where he was able to shoot some guns. He rocked the rifle target shooting, hitting almost all bulls-eyes. Trap shooting was more difficult (less time to concentrate), but hey, how many kids can say they shot a 20-gauge shotgun??? He can be quite to goofball, but his personality is quite pleasing (once he's been medicated, ahem). Until then, he's quite loud and is highly amused by annoying the heck out of all of us, his sister Kayla in particular. He is excited for warm weather and getting to ride is dirt bike more, "joking" that he rides motorcycle better than mommy. (Hey now! A Harley is a serious piece of machinery.) We have entered our first season of baseball and now have one practice under our belt. So far, he shines at batting, and is pretty good at catching, not afraid of the ball. Really, anything outdoors where he can run and play and be a boy is all he wants to do. With an occasional video game or Lego time thrown in.

Sweet Cheeks. Abigail has turned into a real beauty. She is growing in grace and poise, probably thanks to dance. And while she's still all arms and legs clutsy much of the time, our long, lean string bean is proving to be an excellent dancer and gymnast. No longer on the sidelines, her first year of competition dance has gone well and she seems to have enjoyed it. Recently she has expressed an interest in signing up for soccer, but I'm not sure I could handle all the bruises and injuries she would acquire, so we're doing our best to convince her to stick with dance. :D Starting in January, Abby got to invited to Awana's at a local church, and she LOVED it. She is a master at memorizing scripture, and she started asking me to pray with her every night. It's so neat to see her faith budding and blossoming, though her sister doesn't like it when the prayers are about her not being so mean. lol Ah, sisters. We need to work a little on how to pray, but her sweet, sweet heart is in the right place. She is also a rock star at math, and basically anything academic. She is an excellent student, self motivated to succeed and excel. She gets excited about learning and that's so cool. Needless to say, her teachers LOVE her. She loves to shower her mama in compliments, constantly telling me how beautiful I am, regardless of whether I'm in pajamas and wearing makeup or not. She's so good for my ego. ;) Her easygoing personality is a pleasure, her generosity admirable, and her sweet nature enviable. A friend says she will probably be my easiest child. Dear God, I hope so. I need one with this crew. :P

Koko. Koko Beans. Shimmy shimmy Koko pop. Kayla is my ultra competitive one. An over achiever. She excels at everything she does, but she does it with dedication and hard work. She has mastered flute and recorder this year, going above and well beyond her peers. She is dedicated to practicing without any prodding from us, and it's actually pleasant to listen to her play. The rest of her class, not so much. I think band concerts will be brutal for a few years yet. She's already asking if she can do choir next year... in MIDDLE SCHOOL! Gah! She is very strong minded and opinionated like her dad (okay, and her mom), but she definitely doesn't get the competitive edge from me. This is her third year in competition dance, and each year she jumps up levels, so this year she is the youngest on her team. The challenge is good for her as it pushes her, but she certainly doesn't like to fail or be mediocre. Her sister probably wishes she weren't so competitive with her, but such is the nature of sisters/siblings, I guess. She even takes her desire for excellence into painting her nails. She watches a lot of nail tutorials, and make up tutorials, on YouTube and can do some cool tricks. She applies her makeup (still for play only, much to her chagrine) far better than her mother can, and I've even had her do my makeup a time or too. Too bad it doesn't carry over into room-cleaning skills. :P Kayla has enjoyed her first year of church youth group, and has made a couple good friends with a couple of the girls. There continues to be some girl drama at school but I think it is getting better, or she is getting better at avoiding it and the people who thrive on it. Her choice in friends is becoming more judicious, distancing herself from some, drawing closer to others, which is always comforting to parents. I hope it stays that way in this next phase of growing. Now, I have a feeling we're going to need to be more worried about boys. :P Hopefully her "judiciousness" will carry over to that. #knockonwood

Curious George. Bane has, ahem, endured his first year of middle school, and we are all still alive, praise the Lord. Three more weeks to go, and they will likely be rough, but summer is near. (Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.) This is the child who has jumped, leaped, catapulted into middle-schooler/adolescent-ness, and OH LORD. Things I thought would be issues in three or four years, or never, are happening now. More than just longer hair, blond dye jobs, and b.o. It's a different time, a different age in the world, and it all looks so much different from when we were that age. It's challenging to navigate for parents and kids alike, and immensely hard to relate to. Prayers for wisdom appreciated. Bane has the most unique sense of humor, and I think it's a little bit mature for his age, as I don't think some of his peers would get his jokes, but to adults he's sometimes funny. While it's scary, it's also amusing to watch that mental growth. I just have to remind him of his audience and appropriateness. He currently is focusing on getting his "new rap career" off the ground.... (*cough cough* pardon me. I was on the floor laughing.) Kids are so funny. He thought I would "flip-out" when he told me about it. Guess what? I'm not worried. He's a privileged white boy in a nice family with no hardship, age twelve at that, and I'll just be encouraging. There's a LOT of years, and phases, ahead of us. #pickyourbattles #thisisnotoneofthem. I love this kid with all my heart. He made me the mom I longed to be, so it's been hard to watch him struggle with depression and flounder in finding his quirky place in the world. He is still the tender-hearted nurturer he always has been, only now he tries to help friends who are cutting or smoking. Oh boy. gulp. I just pray his curiosity is focused elsewhere. With that in mind, this mom signed him up for baseball. He put up quite the fuss, but as it neared, and we bought him stuff, he started to get secretly excited. He still puts on a front that he doesn't want to go, but once there, I think he enjoys it. He is also a natural hitter, and hopefully he will find success and fulfillment, as well as camaraderie and friendship, in the game. May God keep him and guide him. That is my prayer.

King Kong. The hubs continues his many projects. He can now boast of a big, fancy, new garage in which to tear apart, repair and repaint vehicles to his heart's content. Building it was last summer's (and fall's, and some of winter's) project, so hopefully this summer we will see more Harley riding and less hammer pounding. The garage has become the new adult hangout spot for us and our new neighbors, which has been fun. We have enjoyed getting to know them, socializing, and discussing house reno projects with them, all while tipping a can or three of deliciously disgusting Busch Light. (It's cheap.)

Mrs. Bananas. Since the Mr. got his garage, it's MY turn for a new kitchen. I merely made a comment about needing to redo parts of the bathroom as it is now in need of repair and finishing. That led into planning a full-scale remodel of most of our main level. lol. But it's exciting to dream, especially when a kitchen island, a "dining" room, and a new laundry/bathroom combo are in the works. It may take a while before we can start, and certainly before it's finished, but phase one will include adding a bathroom (in the basement, but still! Hallelujah!). For now, when I'm not driving the kids around to practices, running to town for more bread and laundry soap, and desperately trying to keep my head above water in housekeeping maintenance, I'm Pinterest-ing my heart out, and doing a little knitting. Hopefully I'll swap gardening and motorcycling out for knitting this summer. 

Schweetheart. About that grandbaby... Last March, Kong and I were able to steal away for a long weekend to see our newborn granddaughter in Florida!!!! BeccaBoo christened us grandparents with a super cute, oh so precious, Smoosh-ball of love named Charlotte. We enjoyed our time away in Florida, doing a little sightseeing sans kids, getting to see the new mom BE a new mom, (she's AWESOME at it, like she was born for it) and meeting the man she now calls fiance. The hardest part is being so far from them, not getting to see her mature, or Charlotte grow (because, you know how we love babies). The kids often get weepy and sad, and sometimes even angry, asking "are we EVER going to get to see Becca?" It's hard to hear, and hard to answer. Yes, but when? So we are hopeful that we will ALL be able to make a trek there for the wedding, some time next year. Until then, we will have to survive on pictures and  v.i.d.e.o.s. (hint hint, Becca) of our Florida loves. 

So. What have you been up to?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Teleporting to the Heart

I recently did something I've never done. It caught me totally off guard, made me a little nervous,  and floored me with it's awesomeness. And yes, I googled later. Don't laugh.

I have great kids. Full of heart and spunk and uniqueness, each one, but also tenderness, compassion and love. I don't care how awesome your kids are, though, they will ALL give their parents a hard time. As a parent, you can only hope you're not completely screwing them up. You don't wish for them to go through hard things, ever, or make the youthful mistakes you made. We all had to forge our own way, though. To get to where we are today. It makes us who we are today.

As a Christian parent, you also hope that your child chooses to also follow God, to be a believer, to pursue a relationship with the Savior. I can see God active in each of my children's lives and hearts, but some days I worry about one more than another.

One night at bedtime, as I was partaking in "the ritual" with one child, the only child who requires a tucking-in ritual, also the same child who gives me the most grief and gray hair, he asked me, "Mom, when will I be born-again?"

Uuuhhhhmmmm... What? gulp. wow. Wasn't expecting that. 


Uh...uh...uh.... Now what do I say??? 

So I just told him that it's not like the same as when you are born out of your mom's tummy. It's more something that happens in your heart, when you ask Jesus to come live there.

How does he get there?

You say a prayer and ask him to come into your heart.

You mean, like, does He teleport there?

Bwahahaha. Um, I think you watch too much Dr. Who, son. But yes, it's kind of like teleporting. It's just a feeling that you get. You believe, you know, that he does, and that's called faith. 

I asked him if he knew what born-again means and we talked about that. He asked how big your heart is and I explained the fist/size thing, but that that's not where Jesus lives, really. He lives in our "feelings" or our mind.

It was interesting.

And then he just looked at me.

The kid who never stops talking was silent.

*Can you say 'pregnant pause'?*

Maybe it makes me a crappy Christian, but I have never actually led anyone in that prayer. Oh gosh. Help! I'm not prepared. How do I do this? Will I do it wrong??

Realizing that this was my cue and the time was now, I asked him if he wanted to pray that prayer. He nodded assuredly. And so I led him in prayer.

Let's just say, I wasn't expecting that. But WOW!

Kids will certainly surprise you. But so does God. With this child, he thinks a lot about going to heaven, about being with angels and having wings. He thinks about what it's like in heaven, what he'll do there. He makes me realize I have biblical homework to do about end times stuff. :) When we were talking I also said that God makes him special. That how God speaks to him will be special to just him, and what plans He has for his life are special. Because of struggles he has had, I said that even our parts that we may not always like, God created for just a special purpose.

And that's true. He creates us as we are, even the parts that we see as negative characteristics, God has purpose in those. This fact, that there is purpose in everything, is something we as parents need to realize, and give to God to help those areas grow to bring glory to Him. We need to call the good things out, speak them into life, which helps those blessings grow and come to pass. Those things that seem insignificant? They aren't. Because God made them. And we have NO IDEA how important they just might be.

The even cooler part of the story is what happened the next morning.

He's one that likes to be the first one up or the first one dressed. (Consequently he's also the one who takes thhhheeeeee looooonnnnnggggest to do so.) Well his sister, excited for an activity at school that day, was up and dressed before everyone. He got really upset and started to fall back on old habits, saying "I'm stupid. I'm the stupidest. I hate myself."

Normally this frustrates, angers and saddens me. That morning, I just looked at him and said, "Kid, GOD doesn't think that at all. Those are satan's words he's trying to put in your head so don't you believe them."

He just looked at me and said. "OK." And that was it. It just clicked.

Blow. Me. Away.


You have no idea how many times I have struggled in hearing those words and getting him to stop saying it. But now he had God in his heart and that was all he needed. Still blows me away to think about it.