Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sweet six (thank God it's not -teen)

Today we wish a Happy Birthday to our sweet Cheeks.





Adores her sister. 

Always thankful. 

Easy to please. 





Finger sucker. 

Blankie hugger. 

Great big smiler. 


A true treasure.

On birthdays, I usually still pause to remember the day each of my children were born, if I'm given a minute (not always). My biggest baby by 1 lb 6 oz and yet the shortest delivery of the first three, Cheeks weighed in at 8 lbs, 5 oz, a birth weight shared with her youngest brother in a tie for biggest baby. (You notice that mere 1 pound +. Trust me.) As a baby, she was a super eater, and the most content out of them all. The kind of baby that gave people pause to consider maybe having another. Easy going, quiet. Snuggle bug. Happy to watch what's going on around her. If she didn't like something or needed something, she'd let you know. Six years later, she's still very much that way.

She loves school, and her eagerness to read and write and do math is brought home as evidenced by the, ahem, "artwork" that she places everywhere (walls, freshly painted door frames, dressers, purses, suitcases, storage boxes), and many many conversations revolve around how to spell something or how much 100 plus 100 equals. She is often seen carrying around paper and pen/pencil/marker, doodling away.

She's growing into such a beauty. Gaining poise and grace. (We still need a lot of work on that last one, though.) The  baby-ness of her face and shape is gone, replaced by a girly-ness that makes my heart both swell and quiver nervously. I have considered taking daily shots of her outfits, put together all on her own, combinations I would NEVER in a MILLION YEARS come up with, but she totally pulls it off, and it completely expresses who she is.

For her birthday, her topping her list was nail polish, real nail polish in red, purple and blue. (No, I'm a party pooper and din't get her any in fear that little brother might get a hold of it, but someone else might jump in on that, in which case I can't say no. Right?) She loves to be fancy and pretty, but nothing of the diva of her older sister (thank GOODNESS).

We celebrated quietly (or not) at home, just our family, with taco salad and cake and ice cream. And it was lovely.

Pink, of coarse.

Happy 6th, girl. I'm enjoying watching you grow and bloom. Just, slow down a little, please. :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013


So Koko says to me...

We were talking about getting out the Easy-Bake oven.

Why do parents buy these dumb things? They take up an awkward amount of space and they're a total hassle to get out or store, the cakes aren't great, the mixes are super spendy, and they make such a minuscule amount of cake that it's ridiculous.

But... it's a little girl's wonderland of cake baking. Cake. Frosting. Sprinkles. What's not to love, right?

Clearly it's apparent that I hem and haw when it comes to the girls asking to get it out. Frankly, I just don't want to be bothered with all the mess. So the other day I told Koko that.

And her response....

... Well mom, I'm responsible enough.

Hm. I'm responsible enough, huh?

The thing is...she probably IS responsible enough. But *I* am not entirely sure I'm ready to admit that, to give up that control, to chance it.

Ahhhh, parenting.  Growth is not just for children. :)

**Note after the fact: She is not responsible enough. Clearly we need to have lessons on "reading directions" and "how to measure".

The unwanted helper, who got up from his nap an hour early MUCH to my dismay.

No children or cakes were harmed during this cake baking torture session experiment. Cake baking (and real cupcake baking since we needed something we could actually eat) was done in an effort to raise the spirits of one small brother who did not get to attend the Monster Truck Rally with certain older brother and father. Next year all mothers will be spared of "Easy"Bake cake baking torture and will proceed directly to Monster Jam for loud and expensive entertainment. By comparison, it will probably be money well spent to spare mothers from harm, er, breakdown.

Friday, January 18, 2013

New toys

Got a new toaster today !!! 

Not what you were expecting when I said 'toys'? But isn't she niiiiice??? Can hold FOUR slices. For a family of 7, this is much needed over our previous 2-slicer.

Getting a new toaster is quite an event if you knew anything about my toaster issues for the past, oh, say, 5 years... at least. Why did it take me so long to get a new toaster? Good question. Hopefully, we will no longer be burning the first two pieces of toast every morning. Woohoo! (And if we do, I'm taking the sucker back!)

As I unpacked the toaster, Boots laid eyes on the box the toaster came in and claimed it his. He spent over an hour and a half playing with it. Right away he imagined it as his boat, and set about coloring it, taping it and whatever else needed to be done to make it a boat. (Stapling it, I see now.) But when he finished, he decided it was a fire truck instead.

No problem, buddy. It's your imagination.


Firehouse dog?

Love it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grace for mothering

There are days when I lack the desire to mother. Days that are long, filled with tears, whines, complaints,  dirty socks and dumped out blocks. Every job has rough days. Mothering is not to be excluded. 

Plans can be made, intentions be set, lists to check off, but bubbles in the turtle tank, feverish babies who want to be held, quick trips to the store for forgotten class snacks, can derail the best laid plans in exchange for sickies on the couch or unplanned 3-hour aquarium cleaning sessions instead. 

Sometimes, at the end of days like that, like this, and sometimes in the midst of it, I feel guilty for dreaming of far away lands where no one is demanding my attention, my energy, or my patience. Where no one complains of the meal I'm making or that their pesky brother is still talking and won't be quiet 63 minutes after bedtime. I feel guilty because I wish that I could just snap out of it and be the cheerful, patient, energetic mom with fun up her sleeves and supper on the table. I feel guilty for not living in the moment, for knowing that time is fleeting and I will never get these moments back. I know there are people, I know people, who wish for this, the pitter-patter of feet that sound nothing like pitter-patters and more like rowdy buffalo stampeding. They long for someone to need them, for the cries of mama for the umpteenth time to get more juice, for never ending stories about all the amazing character traits and powers of 567 different Pokemon dudes. 

Am I ungrateful, I ask myself? Do I not value these precious gifts? No, I am not ungrateful, and I do value the children I am blessed with. And while I suppose I could be more grateful and spend more time reveling in the multitude of ways I'm blessed, the thing is... I'm human. I'm human in my need for solitude, for re-energizing, for the need to not be needed for just a little while. 

If there's one thing I've learned as a mother, it's that I need to take time, to make time, for me. It's not selfish, it's survival. Even Jesus sought time to be alone. The marvelous thing about taking that time, is that the next day, I'm a much better mom. I can listen to the Pokemon business and even manage to feign interest (sorry, Pokemon, it's unlikely you'll ever win my affections), I can hug and cuddle without the urge to flee far and fast - no 'I don't want to be touched' syndrome. I can tickle the way out of a tantrum, and I can listen and watch and participate with much more enjoyment, not just mere tolerance. I can be wholly thankful for the precious lives I tend and direct.

God, I ask that you would grant me grace for myself in knowing it's ok to need a break, and grace for those days, weeks or months when it's just not possible. Lord, help me to be the best mom I can be in all moments, and may the moments that are scratchy and jagged, void of the overflow of love, be moments where you rise up and shine when I do not. Amen.