Thursday, March 24, 2011


A way to preserve time. Don't you wish there were times you could do that? A snapshot, an actual photograph,  is really the only way we can, except in our memory. And if your memory is anything like mine? Well, that's not really that reliable.

I'm really bad at seeing these moments, the funny ones, the endearing ones, where you wish you could just capture time and keep it for a little while longer, and then pull it up any time you want, later. I'm usually hurrying through it, or trying to get them to be quiet, pick up toys, stop fighting.

Tonight I did, though. It's like a snapshot in my mind. A sweet glimpse of my kids just being.

Sugarland was performing "Stuck Like Glue" on American Idol. We've somehow managed to watch a little more regularly this season and so maybe the familiarity has been drawing their attention. I don't know. Either way, they were all gathered around the TV, or at least in the living room. But when this song came on, they all sat watching, then each one started doing their own little be-bop. Boots, in just a diaper, did a funky little dance that only a 2 yr old could do, arms out to the side, kicking up his feet in such a way that you want to say it doesn't go but then you see how he really IS following the beat. Cheeks, dressed as Snow White, twirled of coarse. Koko sat on the floor dressed as Juliet (of Romeo fame), bobbed her head and shook her shoulders a bit, intently watching, taking notes. George swayed his hips, tapped his foot maybe, too, as he sported his skeleton tshirt and Spiderman boxers. (Very Tom Cruise, imo. All he needed was a little floor slide. :D)

And I just took notice. Watching. Quiet.

Does it get any better than this?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Family Fun

We have had lots of occasions, this winter, to do crafts and indoor activities, given all the snow we've had, some record setting 80 odd inches of it. The only problem is... I'm not really that good about doing them. I did happen to see this one in the February issue of Family Fun magazine and thought it looked like a good one. There's not too much for the kiddos to actually do, but the eating is fun. And dousing the treats with sprinkles - who doesn't love that?!?!.

(Oh wait. *I* don't. But nevermind. We did it anyway and nobody died. Yaaaaay!.)

While this is an activity that is not so much an activity as an opportunity to eat, it's a good way to get rid of any leftover candy canes you may have. And aren't those cavity-ridden smiles cute? Just don't tell our dentist. He's already convinced I'm a bad parent. (And if you didn't already notice Koko's gorgeous mouth bling, then just keep on not noticing and pretent I never pointed it out to you. mkay? Thanks.)

Oh, and I totally did NOT do this for Valentine's Day. I would have to be way more organized for that. It was some weeks after V-day that this occurred. *grimmace*

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Someone had a birthday and got some special treatment for her gift.

A little shopping trip with mom, a date with mom and dad - alone, primping at the beauty parlor, and a little bling, to make her sparkle just a little bit more.


Did you see that? I hope you didn't miss it.

Lemme zoom in a little closer.

Yep. That's right. Girlfriend got her ears pierced. So fancy. (And man, do they push the REAL gold earrings. Yes, that's real 14K gold. Because heaven forbid there's a chance that you have an allergic reaction to the stainless steel posts. Whatever. We'll do it for our kids in a heartbeat, won't we?) We decided early on that we would wait until she asked, that then she'd be ready. Well, she'd been asking, though we've been talking about it on and off for a year, and now she was naming names of all the girls at school who had them pierced. They totally suite her and she looks like she's had them forever.

Koko was very brave, albeit a tad nervous - nevermind the ear piercing technician talking about getting shots right before hand - and though she almost cried, she held out strong. We did warn her that it would hurt, but that it would be fast, done before she knew it. We also hung around the mall for an hour waiting for the extra person to get back from her very long lunch break so they could be done both ears at once. Wouldn't want to get stuck with a scared child and one ear pierced, now would we? Plus, it gave us time to honor the Dairy Queen. Huggyface too, in his own way. teehee.

We've (I) done a pretty good job remembering to clean them twice a day (dang, which reminds me we/I forgot tonight).

Oh, and the funniest thing about the whole event....

We were at the mall and Koko says, "Mom, now I won't roll over in bed anymore." (assuming she means this so she won't touch or hurt her ears.)

LOL. Ok sweetheart. Too funny, the things they think of.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring schming

Boo to all you naysayers of snow, with your complaining ways and endless wailing. How dare you whine about such clean pure beauty, that which makes the world all sparkly and new. Those bitter temperatures can be a bit unfriendly, but they push us to cuddle, to nest, to make home glow.

This, this, my friends, is my nemesis, oh early spring. How unfriendly you are with your drudgery, your mud, the death of white socks. How you bring trama to my laundry room, my entry way, my drive way.

Your puddles and flooding, though fleeting, are pure torture to me. The ruts I must climb, day in and day out, as I am forced to leave the safety of my now muddied abode. You have destroyed the clear view, as the fortress melts, exposing layer after layer of sand on snow.

Please hurry. Please go, so that daffodils and dandelions can inhabit once again. I will be so happy when you're gone.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who knew!

I just found out that my children are part Irish. Makes today so much more fun. I mean, my name might be Kelly, but they don't get it from me. All German and Norwegian here (3/4 and 1/4, respectively). They are also more Norwegian than I, which I think is funny. Apparently the Kong is 1/4 Eskimo, 1/4 Norwegian, and the rest Irish, French and Swedish.

 Upon learning this I thought, ha, wouldn't it be funny to get the man a shirt that says "Kiss Me I'm Irish." I even laughed out loud. I have a pretty lame/cheesy sense of humor sometimes. (In case you don't know, he doesn't look anything much but Eskimo. So, you know, that's.. funny. :D OK. Maybe just to me.)

Koko is ALL in the spirit. She even picked out what she wanted to wear to school today, yesterday. We had to make some ammendments, however, since the green shorts she picked out didn't really go with the 40 degree temperatures outside, nor the not-the-same-green sweater she picked out. teehee. She even picked out green unders. And giggled. I giggled too. :D And this morn we fixed her up in pigtails with green ribbons. So festive!!! lol

I may have to find some green beer to drink. I'm trying to come up with green things my kids would actually eat. Broccoli is about the only thing I can think of. Some of them are pretty picky, so just adding food coloring is not really the ticket. Green pancakes maybe? I think I could pull that one off.

We don't really have a history of getting too festive, but sometimes it's fun (read, manageable). Even just on the fly.

I'll leave you with a few lame-o giggle worthy jokes.

What's Irish and outside all summer?
Paddy O'furniture.

What does a leprachaun call a happy man wearing green?
The Jolly Green Giant. (side note - the big green man lives not too far from us.)

What does an Irishman get after eating Italian food?
Gaelic breath.

Knock knock
Who's there?
Irish who?
Irish you a Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

And, finally, my favorite Irish thing:

May the Road rise up to meet you
May the Wind be always at your back
May the Sun shine warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And untill we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of hus hand.
~Irish blessing, author unknown

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

And the race is on.

George is a Tiger Cub Boy Scout this year. As you may know, the big event is the Pine Wood Car Derby.

I learned a lot about my husband during this time. *shakes head* See, he's one of those competitive people. If you can't tell by my tone, I'm not. He always has to have the best, the fastest, the coolest looking whatever. I gave him strict instructions that George was to do most of the work. *shakes head*

But when asked what he wanted, the boy said he wanted a trophy. So that's what we were going for. We live in a small community and it's not the hot event it is in some places, but it's meant for fun, and that's what we had.

Exhibit one: The car.

Kong did his usual research and study online, looking at pictures of winners, watching videos, finding the best way to craft the vehicle to make it a winner. Hence, the shape.

At the race, we did great. Unfortunately, Kong did not take off work to be there, so he called to grill me check in on how the process was going. "Did he get checked in? Did they have to adjust the weight? What are the tracks like? Does it have an electronic meter? What are the other cars like?" And so on and so forth. Most of the questions I couldn't answer. I dunno. I'm just the mom. What do I care? I just want my boy to have fun. And guess what? He WON!

He got second place (That's winning to me.) in his age category. He got his trophy and he was happy. The winner car won by hair so I think we did pretty good for our first year out. There were some pretty funny cars there, and the winner of Best Design, as chosen by the town cop was the Shark. Haha. Go figure. The yellow guys tail kept flying off, and the green bullet one was surprisingly fast.

Daddy was convinced they ran the race wrong. *shakes head* There's an open invitational derby in a nearby town which just happenes to fall on a day/time when Kong is not working. I am pretty sure they will be attending, based on how Kong's eyes lit up when I told him about it. *shaking head* Boys. Men.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I got this email yesterday, and I wrote a response. At the end of it, I decided I wanted to share it, preserve my own thoughts, and make a blog post out of it. Rather than rework it, I'll just leave it as is, a copy of that email/response.

Hello fellow mom friends,

I'm feeling the need to bounce ideas/thoughts and questions out there for feedback from you guys. I really don't make a point to seek this out enough as a mom. But I really value any of your thoughts, opinions, advice or whatever God has taught you in these areas as moms who love Jesus and their kids.

I struggle with the line between doing what's best for my children (fulfilling their needs and sometimes wants), and doing what I would prefer simply because I might actually "go nuts" if I don't. For example, yesterday was usually a day when I would bring Child ABC and DEF to the ball-pit at the Y after ABC got out of preschool. I decided, however, that I'm sick of being at the Y (I go there everyday) and I just needed to do something different. I had errands I wanted to run at some point at the mall anyway, so when I picked up ABC from preschool at the Y, I told him the plan. Well, he threw a fit and cried and cried. I stood my ground, but felt that I should have prepped him for this before preschool. However, I made that decision while he was at preschool. Sometimes that's just how life goes, and I know he needs to deal with those upsets, but I still felt some guilt over it all. At the same time, I was also annoyed over his crying and whining about it. It's like nails on a chalkboard for me. Then things didn't go well at B&N at the mall, and I just wanted to escape and read a book. This is probably a typical day for most of you with young ones. :) Well--the whining whenever they don't get their way is really getting to me. And I think I need to be better about getting more sleep....I'm sure that would help me handle everything better as well. :O

I want to be a mom that is strong in what I need to be strong in, and lax when I need to just let certain things go that aren't as important. Being in charge doesn't come naturally for me, so I need to work hard at it. I know it sounds like I'm not enjoying being a mom, but I do enjoy it--this afternoon was just one of those times. Most importantly, I want my kids to know and sense that I enjoy them, and that my enjoyment of them is not tied to their behaviors.

How do you live out what's best for your children without neglecting yourself? I know, I know--I can hear you all saying--"neglecting yourself is not best for your children." But what is this supposed to look like? So does that mean I should pray & ask God how I should live that out for them, trusting that He'll provide the rest and sanity that I need to keep going? Or do I need to "secure that outcome" of rest myself, and carve it into my schedule?

How do you avoid letting the little things get to you, (like repeated whining, spilled milk - again, or fill in the blank with whatever gets on your nerves the most), and instead, remember the "big picture" and the joy and privilege of parenting?

How do you have more grace for yourself and your kids? I want our home to be full of His grace.

I may be able to answer the above questions with "the right" answers, but I really appreciate hearing others' feedback. Also, I'm looking for what you as a mom do or have done in these situations, hence the emphasis on "you". Practicality is very valuable to me.

I know we're all busy--so I don't expect everyone to reply. But if you feel so inclined to reply--I would appreciate it--doesn't need to be lengthy. I certainly don't expect every question answered from each person--just whatever comes to your mind. And feel free to "reply all" if this is something you'd like see others' feedback for yourself.

A+ Mom

My response:
Hi guys. I would be interested in hearing all your answers too, if you all are open to that.

Great questions, A+ Mom. And like you said, we probably do know the "right" answers, but hearing from other moms helps us to not feel so alone in these struggles, and that alone is encouraging.

Feel free to cc me.

:D Thanks!

I would say for me, in regards to "me" time, I don't pray about it, I just carve it in (which means, I don't feel guilty about paying a babysitter so I can go to bible study. That's my "me" time. Which equals about $50 a paycheck. That's a lot of "me" money for a single income family of 7, imo.) And even if it isn't a set time, you need to be intentional about making it happen, and not letting it get pushed aside as not that important. It is. It makes a world of difference. Even Jesus took "me" time, right? :D I probably should pray about it, but that's one area I'm still working on - giving God my life - schedule, attitudes, etc. I know for me, when I start to get irritated or angry, it snowballs. So the spilled milk then becomes an over the top experience. Much worse that just purely spilled milk. I know it helps if I pray for the day, but since that doesn't happen as often as I'd like, just making the effort to be calm helps. And sometimes it still escalates, but not usually as ferociously. I get irritated by anything that causes more work for me (like picking up toys... I know! ;D).

Whining is a KILLER! And my resentment of the child who whines pushes me away from her. Something i REALLY don't want. How to deal with whining/crying, idk. I'm still working on that one. I try reasoning with them, getting mad, redirection. Then I send them to their bed. I should send them to their bed earlier. Sometimes they just need their own down time, their own opportunity to regroup and change their attitude. (Child XYZ will stay there stewing for HOURS.) Jesus needed down time, I need down time, why wouldn't they? I try not to make it all better and give in when they whine. I feel that just teaches them that whining works. But I also address it, and try to empathize, find out why they're upset, explain. I have to remind myself that I am being selfish with my time by being irritated, and I have to remind my self also, that caring for them is worship. That I am serving unto God himself. That I need to keep loving them anyway. Yes, I need remind myself to love my children. :D Transparency. sigh.

(I also just read these two blog posts last night. I think you'll enjoy them. If nothing, the music is soul soothing. I'll excerpt the parts that spoke to me. Thank You, Ann Voskamp.)

And after years of happy homemaking — and thwarted homemaking (oh, but didn’t I just put this away?!) — the realization comes like a curtain opening up to sweeping vistas, opening to the place where all the happiest live. (Why had I never known?)

Homemaking is about making a home

**— and a home is a safe place, a refuge, a place to be real and alive and truest true.

Homemaking is not about making perfection.

I laugh, emancipated: A perfect home may not at all be a neat as a pin home.

Perfect does not equate to immaculate.

The two do not match, compute, correspond. (Ah, the simple wonder of it!)

A perfect home is an authentic, creative, animated space where Peace and Love and Beauty are embraced.

And when my mama walks into all this YES!, her eyes wide and her smile long, I nod my epiphany:

Saying Yes will mean a mess.

And the mess may be perfect.

For creativity and discovery is a work of courage — and we forge a trail and leave a wake of mistakes and this part of what it is to be perfectly human.
The mudroom sink is grime ringed. Fingerprints smear across the mirror. And I laugh the happiest wonder.

In an afternoon’s drizzle, I give happy thanks for the daily mess with a smile a mile wide, because this is again my chance to wholeheartedly serve God, to do full-bodied eucharisteo with the hands and the heart and the lips.

I can count each task a gift, pure eucharisteo. Grace!

This work—the thousand endless jobs—they each give the opportunity for one to become the gift, a thousand times over!

Because with every one of the thousand, endless jobs, I become the gift to God and to others, because this work is the public God serving, the daily liturgy of thanks, the completing of the Communion service with my service.
I also struggle with unrealistic expectations of my kids - expecting them to have adult-sized emotions and reasoning skills. Yeah, that's not really working for me. It's a process of learning for all of us, adult and child alike. I don't think that you should feel bad about changing plans, and ABC needs to learn how to adapt as life will bring lots of sudden change of plans and he'll have to learn how to roll with it. Best you can do is say that we have other things to do to day, you're sorry we won't go there today, but we will another day. When I employ the empathy tactic of Love and Logic, I find it usually works. I just don't always use it. Basically, your empathy says to them that you value their feelings, you understand that they might be upset and you feel bad too. (even if you don't really mean it in the flesh at the moment, it still works. It's all about tone.)

I think strength comes in knowing your place (as mom), your role, and what you want to be like, what you want to teach them, what atmosphere you want in your home. I think, when you know those things, when you sort of write it all out, then it's easier to implement and not feel guilty. You don't feel guilty about not giving in because you know that by giving in you would teach them they can always have their way, but being strong in who you are as their mother and being firm about an issue, you are teaching them about authority, submission, discipline, love in boundaries and life. You are teaching them how to respond or deal with life's unfairness. (Not that it's all doom and gloom, but you know what I mean.) About attitude.

Right now I'm in the mode of seeing all my flesh, of knowing all the ways I'm not a good model for my children, and seeing them reflected back to me in the less than glamorous words and actions and attutudes of my children. BUT... I know that God has a purpose in that... to refine me and make me better. So while it feels a bit like being down on myself a lot, it also is a true glimpse of how God feels when I speak harsh word or whatever to my lovely little beings, how my actions are not of love. And that reflection is good for change.

<3 Mrs. Bananas

Sunday, March 13, 2011


The mind of a child is one of the most amazing things. The best part? Their imagination. And given any sort of time at all, they'll make quick use of it. It's why they're never bored.

Lately here the temperatures have been warming a bit, making things wonderfully slushy and muddy. Though it's been forcasted to get even more snow than we thought possible, we haven't, and the kids are itching to get outside. Today, while my little sick boy Boots had perked up a bit due to the effects of a little motrin (I heart motrin.) even he donned his boots and jacket and took a spin outdoors. I couldn't stop him. (Read: I was otherwise detained as the Dairy Queen.) Couldn't be left out of the fun, could he?

At lunchtime, the kids were telling me all about George* Wonderland. It's their very own place (right next to the city building. hah) where they have a pine cone collection, a snow couch, an ice skating rink (probably a patch of ice), an Army base tree with a pull up bar and a low branch to swing on.

One of the girls made the comment, "Our paradise is George Wonderland."

Sounds amazing, doesn't it? I know you want to go there, too.

*He used his real name, not George.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Who's got the camera?

My guess? Boots. George went through this phase too, where I'd see the flash going off in random parts of the house, or I'd upload photos only to find he'd taken 37 shots of the tv. While George prefered the stairway, Boots gravitates toward the closet. Last time I caught him, I deleted 95 pictures off my camera. No, I'm not exagerating. I counted. Most of them I deleted but here are a couple shots I liked. Mostly because they were not of the ceiling, a dark, messy closet, or fingers.

This picture was one we were aware of - he wanted the camera, we gave it to him. Boots doesn't look at what he's shootimg. He just likes the click and the flash, so Kong helped him out by trying to get in the shot.

This one is just luck.

Golly, I love that little face.