Thursday, January 21, 2016

Shadow Tales

Dear reader, I know you have been wondering about Shadow's chewing obsession.  I'm sure you have been lying awake at night, pondering the safety of all small items in our home.  Well, wait no longer!  I am here to tell you that I have found a new way to get Shadow to spit out all the socks and plastic toys he seems to keep chomping on.  We have tried several methods, including  the recorder method, with varied results.  But recently, I discovered something that has worked every time I've tried it.  When he has a sock in his mouth and is playfully pouncing (or crazily darting) around the house, I corner him and tell him to release.  I tell him to show me a good boy (is it obvious I have lots of kids and am a preschool teacher?), rub his neck and the like.  I give him all the chances to make the right choice (re:preschool teacher).  Sometimes he complies, but usually my efforts at positive reinforcement go unheeded.  It is then that I pull out the Big Guns.  I stand up and say, as sadly as possible "Mommy's going bye-bye".  Without fail, he immediately goes slack jawed and drops the naughty item.  Every time.  This dog is so attached to me that apparently playing with a verboten toy/sock is just not worth it if I am going to go away.  And after I tell the Lie, I lean down and convincingly tell him that "you know what?  I have decided to stay home after all.  Mommy doesn't need to go bye-bye".  I don't want to confuse the poor doggie, for goodness sake!  I feel a proper explanation is order when I go back on my word (re: lie).  I'm telling ya - it works.  And while I am, every other moment of the day, incredibly honest, these stressful moments with Shadow call for extreme measure.  A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to save all the socks in the house.

And another little Shadow tidbit:  When we get home from school etc., sometimes it takes me awhile to get everything out of the burb and into the house, causing Shadow to be very concerned about my arrival time.  My little K is known to yell, with much conviction, "MOMMY!  Come inside!  Shadow needs your loooove!!!"

Monday, January 18, 2016


The other day, I placed an online order for a book.  This is the 8th year I have placed an order like this in January (handily utilizing a 30 percent off coupon of course).  Every January, I order a blogbook - a book which contains all my blog posts from the prior year.

On an end table in our family room, the last seven years' worth of blog entries lay in book form, fanned out for effect (but don't look too closely, or you will also see seven years' of dust for effect as well.  Okay, maybe not seven years.  Maybe seven weeks?). The blog books chronicle our little corner of the world; our family as it grows, changes and well, gets louder and crazier.  The kids often pick up a random year, choose an entry and read about our life at that moment.  Since I don't use names on the blog, the kids have to determine who the entry is about from the year it was written and the age of the child mentioned.  (So basically, it's a math lesson. Listen - I am constantly infusing our moments with learning.  Don't be jealous.).  They laugh, they tease each other, and they remember the past.

And I LOVE it.  I only wish I had been blogging since we had our fist child.  I'm sure it was invented, but I am not exactly a technological goddess and did not even have email in the year 2000, much less a grasp of the mysterious word blogging.   I always wanted to be a journaler (is that word?  Spell check says it isn't, but I think it should be), but I never really succeeded.  As a result, many, many memories are simply gone.  I thought I would remember them, but in those sleep-deprived days of babyhood, toddlerhood and general loss of sanity, they disappeared.  And that makes my heart heavy.  I am so very thankful for this glorious thing called blogging which has for some reason pushed me to be a journaler now, and I am prompted to record our family's memories here.

Each blog book has a dedication.  Usually I write something about thanking the children, without whom I would have little to write.  But this year I wrote the following dedication:

As the years pass, this blog becomes more and more dear to me.  What began as a lark - an effort to "give blogging a go" has become a chronicle of our family life.The memories recorded here, both heartfelt and funny, reveal snapshots of our days. I am ever so thankful for my family, precious and fiercely loved. It's all grace.

I must have been feeling nostalgic or philosophical or something, because this theme was prevalent in my mind as I compiled 2015's book.  When I started blogging, I had four children, the youngest of whom was one.  Now I have five, and the youngest is six.   SIX!  It rather blows my mind when I ponder it.  Life in so many ways was so very different then, but it was also very similar.  Hard days, and easy days, crying and laughter.  

This blog, while it started out as a lark, because I enjoyed writing and everyone was blogging, has become many things for me.  It is a writing discipline (I aim for succinct, interesting posts - as you well know, dear reader, my success is varied), it is chance to slow down and notice what is happening around me, and it helps me put a positive spin on sometimes trying situations. But most importantly, this blog has chronicled our lives for the past 8 years.  I'm incredibly glad I decided to give it a go.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cry Baby

I seem to have a penchant for blogging about things that make me cry.  I have done so here and here, as well as many other places.  Movies make me cry, songs make me cry. . .basically anything and everything has a good shot at making me fall apart.

I was pondering these two lists above, and decided to make a third list.  I bring to you the ever-important list:

Things That Make Me Cry

My children playing sports and scoring/playing well
Bunnies hopping about the yard
My children doing well in an academic competition
The realization that my children aren't little anymore (this can happen frequently and unexpectedly)
Basically every Disney movie ever made
Christmas morning
Worship services
When my husband tells me I look nice
All videos of soldiers being reunited with their families
Hallmark commercials and last year's Meijer's Christmas commercial
Old photos, videos, notes, and letters from childhood
Hearing the news that someone is pregnant
My grandmother's handwriting

The older I get, the more frequently my tears come to the surface, unbidden.  As you can see by the list, even the sweetest, happiest things cause me to cry.  It's really pretty ridiculous.  I have been thankful for my sunglasses hiding my eyes more than once!  I am 42 now. . .I think in about twenty years or so I will have to stay in my house, away from the general public so as not to humiliate my family! Until then, however, I will continue blinking rapidly and averting my eyes. . .and being sentimental.  I suppose there are worse things to be!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

To 2021 and Beyond!

Yesterday I was placing an order with my Discover card.  We just received new cards, with a new expiration date.  As I typed the new number in, I was suddenly struck by the future. The new expiration date is 2021.  What will life look like in 2021?  I will have a 21-year-old daughter, sons aged 20, 17, and 15, and a not-so-little daughter aged 13.  I can't really imagine with my finite mind the future selves of my children (and my husband and I too, for that matter!).  What will they be doing? How will their personalities develop and emerge?  What will their interests be?  Oh the excitement of the open book ahead of us!

Last night I finished up watching Parenthood on Netflix.  Oh did I love that show!  The writing was so spot on - it was funny and tender and quick-witted.  I am sorry it is over.  I don't want to include any spoilers, but I will say that near the end of the show, there was a family get together and the parents, their four adult children and significant others and their children were all together.  It was a huge group with laughing, craziness and joy.  And oh!!  That is what I pray for (minus A LOT of the heartache and inappropriate decisions made on the show of course!) - to be surrounded by my husband and children and sons- and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren.  Honestly, I cannot imagine anything more wonderful than that.  

So in 2021, we won't quite be there yet. . .the kids will still have a lot of growing to do.  Though I desperately want time to slow down so I can savor these moments now, I also look forward to seeing those grown-up versions of the people I love so fiercely.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for them, for the new people He will bring into our lives, and for the new people he is going to create!  Praise God for his gift of family!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bits and Pieces #9

Sigh.  Blogging in bullet form is all I can seem to pull off these days.  Life doesn't seem to be affording me much time for blogging, so here are a few random thoughts, allowed because I am using bullet points.

  • Husband to son:  Do you like the dark side or the light side more?
    • Son:  The dark side - it's easier.  It's not that I like the dark side more, it's just that I get so angry!
    • Husband:  You ned to control your anger like the Jedi.
    • Son:  But that's called parenting!

  • The other day in the car, the older kids were talking about which woman should be placed on our currency.  Harriet Tubman was mentioned, and a few other admirable choices.  From the backseat, a sweet little voice piped up: "I think it should be you, Mommy!"  Yes.  I agree.  My many accomplishments absolutely warrant my face on our bills.  Accomplishments such as, but not limited to, wiping poopy bottoms, breaking up sibling rivalry, surviving on little to no sleep and preparing countless (under appreciated) meals.  

  • My youngest daughter has become quite the drama queen of late.  When a situation seems to be just too much, she throws her head back with her hand on her forehead as if she is going to faint and says theatrically, "I'm demonstated!"  I'm pretty sure she means devastated, but who am I to correct a budding actress? And also - she's my last child to say things in kid-speak.  I never want it to end!

  • One of the kids was telling me about a dream he had the other day.  "So there was a bunny that was jumping across the yard, mom, and I knew that bunnies make you happy.  It was great!  But then Shadow jumped on the bunny and ate it.  That was the end of the dream."

  • Can I just say that the phrase "life hacks" annoys the heck out of me?  What exactly are we hacking here?  Can we not just say "helpful tips"?  Or "great ideas"?  Or "useful information"?  Why on earth are they hacks?? What does that even mean?  It's like nails on a chalkboard to me.  No one is hacking anything, people.  They're just telling you how to creatively use baking soda.  That's all.