Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

The Birdhouse is extra sparkly and I can't wait to tell you about it!
1.  We went to Tybee for Thanksgiving and it was awesome.  As usual we followed the slow Tybee pace and relaxed.  Mom and I cooked a traditional Thanksgiving lunch and it was delicious.  We watched football, made s'mores, had good quiet times, rode bikes, went exploring on the beach, made crafts, and watched the Beyonce concert.  (OK, I watched the Beyonce concert but I know I'll never actually go to one so why not watch.  It was quite a production.)
2.  The day after Thanksgiving, Jason and I left the kids and came back to Macon.  We put up all of the Christmas decorations, got a tree from Brad and decorated it, and decided for the first time that we would go with outdoor Christmas lights.  Remember how I told you I wanted the house lit up?  It is lit up. 
3.  The best part of this was that it was a surprise for the kids.  They had no idea what we were up to.  We told my parents that they could not bring them home until it was dark on Sunday night.  They always wanted outdoor lights so we wanted it to be lit up when they turned on to our street.  The surprise worked.  They were super pumped.  They jumped out of the car and went crazy.  Crazy in a good way, for once.  Packy could not stop jumping up and down and loved every single decoration he found.  3 year olds make it worth it.  Jay even gave us props for the outside lights.  Ahhhh.  To satisfy Jay is a task not easily attainable. I even got a hug from my biggest boy.
4.  The sad part was that Packy thought it was Christmas day and wanted to know where all the presents were.  He could not quite grasp the "season" concept.  I think this will be a daily talk I have to have with him.
5.  Before you get jealous that we had the weekend alone let me assure you that we worked our tails off.  3 trips to get lights because you just never have enough, a couple of trips to Target, Walmart, Walgreens for stuff that you just have to have when you are decorating.  A couple of late nights, and a couple of walls hit when we could just not decorate anymore.  But the looks on their faces were priceless.
6.  Jay and Emory have always had a thing with pigs.  As long as I can remember they laugh whenever someone says the word pig.  It started with a beanie baby pig Jay got as a toddler and Emory was an infant.  So, last year I saw an outdoor Christmas pig and I knew they would think it was hilarious so I got it.  This year we stepped it up and I got a white Christmas tree that is decorated with pig ornaments.  They love it.

 7.  Another surprise was the 24 books that I wrapped.  Each day they get to open a book and we read it.  They love to open presents.  Of course, I am sure that they will fight over whose turn it is. (Note to self: write down who opened the book last.)  Update:  I did not come up with this idea.  I totally copied it from someone in the blogsophere and I don't remember who.  My books were collected over time and finished with a Scholastic book order at school this year.  They are all individual books, not a series.
 8.  I love Christmas to be everywhere so I had Christmas pillows made for Jay and Emory years ago.  I finally had Packy's made and it matches Jay's.
9.  My favorite decorations are on the mantle.  The poster size print of the picture at the top of this post is Packy on his very first Christmas.  We call it "Santa Pac" and it is always on the mantle.  The wreath made of hands hanging from the mantle was made with Jay's sweet baby hands.  (I actually think he made it at 2K right before we quit 2K and did not go back to school until 4K.  A bad pre-school experience is tough on a mom.)
10.  My favorite Christmas things are: buck-eyes, Jason's work party at Natalia's, sparkly shoes (I am not a fancy mom but I can be an extra sparkly mom when I want to be.), candlelight Christmas Eve service at church (my mom cries every year), watching the kids on Christmas morning, and most of all that a Savior was born who would take my sin to the cross with Him so I could live eternally with my Father.
(Aren't they pretty?  I do own them.)

*If you aren't in the Christmas spirit yet watch this.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Go to bed early or stay up just so I can get the post up on Tuesday?  Can you believe I actually stayed up?  I love to sleep.
1.  Guess what?  Santa got it done.  I am 95% ready for Christmas as far as the gifts go.  This next week will be so much fun as Tony, my mailman (is that the politically correct term?), and my UPS driver bring me presents all week.  It's a game to see if I can get the present in the Santa hiding spot without anyone seeing me.  I get butterflies in my stomach when I hear the UPS truck coming down the street.  Amazon is really the way to go for me.  I do support the local Learning Express, Father Goose, and William's Store, but I can't get everything at those places and free shipping from Amazon makes me so happy.  I really just love mail in any form.  It started with sleep-away camp......  I am so far off track.
2.Our family has really gotten in to UNO. It started this summer and the kids really like it.  It has yet to end in a fight no matter who wins, which is good for us.  (I recall my childhood games of Sorry! never ended well.  I could not take being the person who was sent back to the start.)  I love family bonding over games.  (Please don't tell Betsy that I actually enjoy the forced board games that she always makes the adults play at Tybee after the little ones are asleep.)
3.  I went to the library today and checked out 7 cookbooks.  I am so sick of everything I cook and I can't buy a bunch of $30 cookbooks.  Writing recipes down at Barnes and Noble feels like stealing so hello library!  What a deal the library is.  If I am ever on a "spending freeze"  I can go check out a bunch of books and still get the feeling of new stuff.  (This is starting to sound like a problem.)  Next week I'll tell you if I found any new and exciting recipes.
4.  I am going to admit that sometimes I-Carly makes me laugh.  OK there, I said it.
5.  Traditions-planned habits with significance  I love that definition.  We talked about traditions in Sunday School this week and how you have them all during the year, not just the holidays.  Traditions provide security and stability, connect us to the past and to each other (thank you Heather Stevenson).  Think about the things you grew up doing as a tradition.  How your family celebrated the holidays throughout the year, birthdays, summer vacation, and on and on.  Now think of daily traditions.  Jason and I get up before the kids to have a quiet time and prayer together.  When I make my coffee, I make Packy's chocolate milk.  He always gets up before we are finished and he loves to get his chocolate milk and get in "the hole" (the space on the couch between Jason and me) and listen to the Bible reading and prayer.  If he comes down too late and we have already finished he says, "I wanna go sit on the coach and read the Bible and pray" in the sweetest Packy voice you can imagine.  To him, our quiet time is a tradition.  A planned habit with significance.
6.  By the way, no one gave me any feedback on their Christmas traditions.  No one.  I know y'all have them.  I guess some people are intimidated of the comment button.  It's really not a big deal but I get it.  No worries.
7.  I don't know if it's because I just can't get into college football since Jason watches Georgia and I went to Auburn (War Eagle for Saturday. I have to say that.), but I have always had an easier time watching the NFL.  It's just more fun to watch and we can both watch the Falcons on an even playing field.  (Did you see Michael Vick Monday night?  Whoa.  I always liked him.)  Sundays are just made for napping and the NFL.
8.  Jay is really in to tether ball right now.  I watched him practice after school the other day.  The funny thing is my grandparents had a tether ball and when I was little I loved it.  Like really loved it.  He is so me.  He had a really good weekend with 2 birthday parties for friends.  Emory goes to parties all of the time so it made him feel good to have some of his own.  At one party they gave Mad Libs for favors.  See that smile above?  That is a laughing at Mad Libs smile.  (He hasn't learned how to make them dirty.....yet.)
9.  Did you know that in the Old Testament the command was to love others as you love yourself but in the New Testament it is to love others as I have loved you (talking about Jesus)?  Do I love others as Christ has loved me?  Sometimes I don't like people.  Just people in general.  I might have to make a sign to remind myself  "As I loved you" and post it somewhere.  I love to remind myself with signs because I forget everything all of the time.  And because I have a laminating machine and a love of fonts, my signs are always cute.
10.  Harry Potter this Friday.  I'm just saying.  No one in my family watches so if you see me alone at the movies I am not being creepy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mommy Guilt

A couple of weeks ago I was sharing in a women's group about Jay's parent/teacher conference and how I was crying afterwards in the hall of the school.  Another mom in the group said, "Why? Do you have bad kids?". Picture me now flying out of my chair cartoon style and  demolishing her, because in my head that is what happened.  But in my real life I took a deep breath and said, "I have a son who struggles but I wouldn't call him a bad kid."

A bad kid?  Are you kidding me?  Who says that to another mom? I was beyond angry.  But as I slowed down and discussed the issue with a trusted friend, I could look at it from another angle.  I could forgive this mom and not have a resentment. I do not believe she meant me any harm and her children are small so maybe she hasn't come across any struggle yet.  But the main thing I learned was that she hit my biggest fear button with a big ole' hammer.  Do I have bad kids?  And if I do then am I a bad mom?

Let's talk about Mommy Guilt.  It's straight from hell.  Is that strong enough for you?  I believe this whole heartedly.  Satan uses MG to try and break us down.  It makes us doubt everything we are doing with our children and if we can even do it all.   We somehow use our role as a mother to measure our performance in life.  I have tried to explain to Jason that since I don't work outside of the home, the home is the only thing I have to get my yearly performance appraisal.  If the people I am in charge of aren't performing well then I must be failing at my job.  Now, I know this is not true...in my head.  Sometimes, in my heart, I see it differently.  So how do we combat this Mommy Guilt?
1.  Recognize it for what it is, an attempt by the devil to use your own children to make you have feelings of unworthiness.  I try to think about how big the God I serve is.  (Isaiah 40:12-18)  Then I try to think about how this God loves me.  Sitting on my computer in Macon, me.  (This is where my brain starts to hurt.)
2.Pray-  I try to thank God that he blessed me with the opportunity and privilege to raise eternal beings.  I ask him for the power that I need to get through each day. He promises to give us strength (Isaiah 40:29).  I pray for my children, especially that they would walk with the Lord at an early age.  I ask for forgiveness when I know I haven't been kind or loving to my children (this prayer is prayed a lot).
3.  Talking about it helps.  Jason can give me a pep talk on mothering even after he has just witnessed me screaming at the top of my lungs at someone.  It happens.  I can only do the best I can do and sometimes I screw up.  I now talk to the kids after a screw up and let them know I am sorry.  It helps for them to see me sorry for my sin. 
4. Remembering that I am a child of God and that so are my children.  They are not grandchildren of God.  He doesn't see them through me.  I have the responsibility to nurture, love, and teach them but ultimately their lives are between them and God.  As one who has struggled for a long time I can only imagine my parents frustration at a child who constantly made the wrong decision.  God uses what he needs for each person and we can't design a path for our kids and expect them to follow it.  My uncle had two sons who took different paths during high-school and college.  He always said, "I take no credit for one, and no blame for the other." 

So Mommy Guilt comes in so many forms that I can't start listing them all. You know the ones that get to you and how they are used to undermine God's plan in your life. Today, trust that Jesus is all you need.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Last week something happened that no mom wants to happen.  I got the call from the school that went, "Emory's fine but she does have lice."  Oh no!  I knew it was coming because some other girls in her class had already been sent home and we had been warned.  The sad part is that Emory jumps on the bandwagon so fast that I thought she was faking it.  Then I saw one.  Just one but it was enough to totally gross me out. I just thought it would skip us.  Nope.  So we treated everyone (homoeopathically), washed the sheets, and then treated Emory again (this time with the chemicals). I would like to take this opportunity to thank my dad for his diligent work in treating Emory with the chemicals while he was babysitting.  Not every grandad would do that.  My dad is special like that. (See above picture of Packy and the lice comb.)
2.   I am in full Christmas mode.  Last year I wanted the least amount of stress possible so I did minimal decorations (minus the squirrel in the Christmas tree).  The year before that was a rough one.  This year I want it to be extra special.  I want the house lit up with as many lights as I can get.  I want it to smell, look, and feel like Christmas.  I want the kids to know that I am excited.
3.  The downside of this is that I want the shopping part of Christmas done yesterday.  My goal is decorate and have the shopping done before December 1st so that I can float through Christmas baking, reading Christmas books to the kids, looking at lights, and just enjoying life.  The reality is that this has never happened before but it can.  I have to believe that it can.    Planning also helps me spend less.  You know that I do not want any new toys in this house that are going to serve as clutter and not provide fun.  The boys always have interactive toys...they must be able to build some part of it or they don't play with it.  This is the time of year that I really bond with my UPS man.  I always ask him if he brought me any presents.
4.  I babysit myself all the time with the television.  It's always on.  From the time I get up to the time I go to bed and let it put me to sleep.  The past several days I have turned it off.  I have gotten dressed without it.  I have made dinner without it.  Homework with the children has gone much better since they aren't competing with Oprah.  I think I have always been afraid of what was going on in my head so I let the TV fill it with mindlessness.  So, I have concluded that silence is a good thing.  I can be alone with my thoughts.  If they are crazy sometimes so what?  Just because I have a thought does not mean that I am going to act on it.  Meditation has never been a strong point of mine but without the drone of background noise, it's getting easier.  I can talk and listen to God.  Who knew?
5.  I just got the text from my sister.  It's Tuesday.  Whatcha got??   She will let me slide with one week but she's on me by the second one. 
6.  Back to Christmas.  I really like family traditions.  Kids don't remember all of the toys but they remember the special activities.  So what are your favorite traditions?  Either as a child or the ones you are trying to incorporate in to your family now.  Emory asked me the other day if we were going to "do the envelopes" again.  The envelopes were an advent I made by stamping 1-25 on an envelope and each day it would have an activity.  From a candy cane hunt (think Easter egg) to drinking hot chocolate and reading a Christmas book to the walk through Bethlehem in Warner Robins-simple some days-big some days.  The last time we did this was a few years ago but she remembered. So let me know what you do.  I am always looking for ideas!
7.  Just for fun:
*When Packy goes outside on a bright day he sneezes.  Then he says, "That sun sneezed me!"
*Jay brought home a permission slip to be in school play.  He wanted me to sign it and say that he would NOT be in the play.  I told him I only had to sign it if he was going to be in it.  He wanted to be extra sure that no one misunderstood and that somehow he would be in the play. 
*Jason told Jay that we were going to go caroling as a family this year.  He went on to tell him that he was going to play the guitar and that we would go to all of Jay's friends houses and sing for them.  This is the kind of stuff we say to torture this poor child.  His face while Jason was going on and on was priceless.
8.  Emory went to my mom's house on Sunday and made her first doll skirt.  Actually my mom made it but Em hemmed it.  I was impressed and a little jealous. Jason has a some shorts that have not had a button for about two years.  I can sew a button but I have a mental block with those shorts.  The funny thing is that I want a sewing machine for Christmas. Santa?  Are you reading?
9.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed at my life.  How could the Lord restore my life from the pit to what it is now?  It's so good.  It's all because of Him.  His grace abounds.  Thank you Lord!
10.  I have worked on a non Tuesday post for a few weeks now and it never reads right to me.  This Thursday I am going to post it anyway.  I felt like if I wrote that, I would be more likely to do it.  That's not a promise but more of a "I'm going to try really hard'.