A lesson in patience

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Recently I’ve been especially emotional. I’ve been stressed out. I’m tired. I’m still not completely better after being sick at the beginning of the week. And all of that makes me grouchy.

Do you know what else makes me grouchy? Having to go to the store with 3 kids (my 2 crazy little boys and their friend who I’m watching this summer) in tow when I’m not feeling 100% and it’s hot and humid outside. But we had to stop at Wal-Mart because they were some things I needed, girlie stuff, shoes to replace the ones I’ve worn out since I’ve been working, a couple of tank tops to replace the ones I have worn holes in, and some white t-shirts for my 3 to tie-dye this weekend.

We are walking through the store as fast as I can get these 3 monsters to move and they are bickering and dragging their feet. “We’re hungry!” “I’m tired!” “When can we go swimming?” If they’d just keep moving and shut their traps, we’d be done and then eat lunch.

Finally we are headed to the registers. I walk past the self scans that I love because I’m not doing that we these 3, not today. I walk past several check outs with very little waiting because I recognize the cashiers and I’m not doing that today either. We walk clear to the other end of the store because we are parked on that side. There is only one register open on that side. Of course it has a very long line, but I’m not walking back to the other side of the store. We will wait.

While we are waiting, I learned that the cart full of stuff in front of me did not belong to the lady in front of me. The lady in front of me moved the cart out of the line and we all stepped forward. Just as she was about to set her items up on the belt, the missing cart lady showed back up. She let the lady in front of me go ahead and she got back in line in front of me.

Let me tell you how annoyed I was with all this, but I am not one to say something. I just smiled and then rolled my eyes. Mystery cart lady started putting all her stuff on the belt and then disappeared again. I was about to lose my mind. Who does this? If you’re not ready to check out then don’t get in line.

She came back with several boxes of those water balloons that fill up all at once and tie themselves. The boys told me, as they do every time they see these water balloons, that they wanted them. Not today, guys.

Mystery cart lady then started talking. She told the 70-year-old cashier how lovely she looked with her hair done and her make up. She asked the kids if they’d been good. She commented on how much she loved my girl’s freckles and how when she was young she had prayed for freckles.

She told me about her husband, how she is 16 years older than him, how she tried to talk him out of waiting to marry her. She told how they met in church a long time ago. She talked to the kids and told them that sometimes, when you are good there are surprises. She whispered with the cashier.

She talked about being good and that she had made mistakes when she was young. She told that she had to spend some time in the “big house.” She told that she had learned from her mistakes. She told that she always wanted to have kids but was never able. She talked to the kids and then laughed and told them they shouldn’t talk to strangers. She told them if I guy ever asked them to help him look for a puppy they should scream and run.

It didn’t take long for me to go from annoyed to enjoying the situation. It was interesting to watch the whole scene unfold, and I wondered how the people in line behind me were viewing the situation. She finally got all of her items paid for and stepped just a couple of steps away. She stood there going over her receipt and continuing to talk to all of us.

My items all got rang up and then something extremely exciting happened. The cashier picked up a bag with 3 sets of the water balloons in it and handed it to my 3. She said it was from an anonymous person, but we all knew who it was from. And then the cashier handed another set of water balloons to the little girl who was in line behind us.

We all thanked the mystery cart lady. She said that she didn’t do anything, and then told the kids that they needed to be good and not throw the balloons at people’s faces and to be sure and pick up all the trash when they were done playing with them.

She walked with us over to the door to wait because she wanted to make sure none of us got stopped for the water balloons we didn’t have receipts for. She told me that there are good people left in the world and that was need to stick together. She told us to have a great day. She said, “God bless you.”

We all had a lesson in patience. It was a lesson in kindness. It was a random act of kindness unlike any my kids have experienced before. It was a reminder that there are good people in the world. To take the time to slow down and be kind. To let the person who left their cart and walked away back in line where they were. It cost us 15 minutes to wait in line longer and we all gained so much more.

I hope this experience stick with all 3 of mine for the rest of their lives. I know it will stick with me.

 

Has Anyone Fed the Fish?

On Saturday, I shared with you how the Zombie Apocalypse is going to begin. Yesterday, the whole family spent the day in our pajamas resting with the hopes of Monday everyone being well again.

So much for that idea. Last night, Cameron started throwing up again and it has continued into today (although not nearly as bad as Saturday was).

I did get one decent nights sleep to keep the zombie-ness at bay. However, through my coffee fueled caffeine haze, I’ve noticed some other things that happen when kids are sick.

1. Of course, is Zombie-Mom.

This is important enough to mention it again. For the warning signs and what to do, check out Saturday’s post.

2. Hands-off Dad

For the record, this is not a complaint. Dad is to keep a safe distance from sick kids. He is the breadwinner and must go to work. He can not go to work if he is also throwing up. He also must be well for all the random trips to the store to get supplies for Zombie-Mom and sick kids. Because Mom is a zombie, this will require more than one trip. As soon as Dad gets home, Mom will remember one more thing we have to have.

3. There are never enough pillows, blankets, sheets.

Without fail, your sick child will throw up on every blanket you try to wrap around them. And their pillow. And your pillow. And the spare pillow.

Which leads to

4. You will run out of laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets and vinegar (which makes a great fabric softener).

Every time you turn around you will be starting another load of laundry. This is a never-ending process. You may also find that your washing machine may sound like there is a monster inside it trying to break out. It is almost impossible to make the washer level when you put pillows in it. This also leads to complaints about the noise said washer is making.

5. Pet fish may die.

Seriously, does anyone know if I fed the fish today? What about yesterday? And while we’re talking about it someone should probably clean their tank. And maybe feed them.

6. You will have a large supply of juice and crackers. They will be the wrong juice and crackers.

The goal is to get some food and liquids into the sick child. Our go-to’s are juice and crackers. Something that will hopefully settle the child’s stomach. Of course, the child doesn’t want those crackers. They are the wrong size/shape/flavor. The juice? Also wrong flavor/color. It doesn’t matter what crackers and juice you get. Just know they will be the wrong ones.

7. Well child will suddenly need 3000% more attention than on a normal day.

Most of this attention will be needed when the sick child is throwing up or you are trying to clean up the sick child. Expect the well child to stand right in your way, trying to hand you a book as you are running to find the bucket for the sick child.

And the worst part for us today is this:

8.

The view from our front door

The view from our front door

 

It’s snowing. And all my sick child really wants to do is play in the snow. Not today, dude. And probably not tomorrow.

A Mom of Sick Kids or a Zombie? You Decide.

We had a big day planned for today. Our downtown bookstore was having their monthly game day where you can go and play the board games they sell. Then the boys were having a sleepover with Grandpa and Grandma. My husband and I had a big night out planned (which probably meant being at home asleep by nine since we are wild and crazy.).

Oh, how things never seem to go according to plans. I had been asleep for about an hour when Connor started throwing up. Not to be outdone, Cameron then began to throw up as well.

Grabbing buckets, towels, wash clothes, and clean pillows, I settled down with them and slept for about ten minutes or so before one or the other was sick again.

Dump buckets, wipe mouths, grab clean pajama shirts. Try to sleep. Hear noise and jump back up. It’s nothing. Sleep for ten minutes. Hear noise. Grab bucket. No! Not the floor! The bucket! The bucket!

Motherhood changes you. Before I had kids, just the sound so someone throwing up would make me throw up. Now I can clean up kids in my sleep. I’ve been thrown up on and cleaned everything up before jumping in the shower. I’ve had kids throw up in my hair and down my shirt. I’ve tried to “catch” it in my hands. (Seriously?! What is wrong with Moms that we do this?)

I’m pretty sure that being the mom of sick kids is kind of like being a zombie. Maybe sick kids turn moms into zombies and this is how the Zombie Apocalypse is going to start.

1. Zombies don’t sleep. Moms of sick kids don’t sleep.

Last night I had one hour of uninterrupted sleep before the sickness invaded our home. For the next eight hours I slept for five to ten minutes at a time, jumping at every noise positive that it was a child throwing up. For the record, it normally was. If you see me walking with my arms out saying, “Coffee! Coffee!” (or wine!) I would suggest that you just silently hand it over and move out of the way.

2. Zombies eat anything they can get their hands on. Moms of sick kids eat anything they can find fast.

The sickness and throwing up didn’t end with daylight. It has continued ALL DAY. I had to move fast to grab food between all the sickness. And I guess this goes with the next point…

3. Zombies don’t care what’s happening around them when they are eating. Moms of sick kids can take a bite of lunch and then run with the bucket to the child throwing up and not miss a beat.

Moms and zombies are gross. Yep, I managed to eat lunch between times of children throwing up. Eat now and fast or don’t eat at all.

4. Zombies smell bad. Moms of sick kids smell bad.

Seriously. I’m not sure if it’s rotting flesh or if moms of sick kids just need a shower. If anyone out there knows how to take a shower when your kids are throwing up nonstop feel free to share. Moms of sick kids and zombies don’t know how bad they smell. I sprayed myself with lavender Lysol. That counts, right? Sure, they are both napping, but we all know that as soon as I get in the shower the vomiting will begin again.

And 5. Zombies avoid the sun. Moms of sick kids dread the sun coming up.

“No! No! Not the sun! How is this possible?! I haven’t had any sleep yet! It can’t be morning already! Noooooooooo!”

I guess the point is that I’m pretty sure I’m a mom of sick kids, but I might be a zombie. It’s really hard to tell. The important thing to remember is that you should probably just hand me that cup of coffee (or glass of wine) and pretend you don’t notice that I haven’t brushed my hair or the smell.

Oh, Lord, please help these boys get well. And please don’t let me catch the sickness.

Coming up next, a sick mom or a zombie? 😃

It’s back to school time

School started last week in our area. Summer break is getting shorter and shorter. The stores have been packed with shopping carts full of folders, pens, pencils, tablets, and more. Parents have started posting on Facebook about their excitement that the kids are going back.

My kids didn’t go.

That may come as a surprise to some of you. I have only recently started saying it out loud. The last person I said it to told me she wished she had homeschooled. So far I’ve only been met with support. I know that’s not always the case, and I’m sure I will hear from those against.

It’s not a decision that was made lightly. It’s something that has been on my heart since before I had kids. It’s something that has been covered in years of prayer. It’s a God led decision.

With homeschooling, we can work at our own pace. There’s no rushing to cover as much as we can as fast as we can to start preparing for a test. We can study whatever makes my crazy little boys light up and gives them a love of learning. We can start our “school” day with prayer. We can read the bible and talk about God’s influence in everything.

My kids are special (as are all kids). They learn differently (as do all kids). My 6-year-old loves to take things apart and figure out how they work. He can look at something and figure out a better way to do it. My 4-year-old loves animals. He uses words like carnivore, herbivore and omnivore correctly. As I’m writing this he has his animals all lined up and his brother just used a screwdriver to “fix” a toy so he could play with it the way he wanted.

We would miss out on these joys and countless others if they were sitting behind a desk. Sometimes my 6-year-old finds it easier to remember things when he’s standing on his head. He calls it his best thinking. That’s certainly not allowed at the brick building down the road.

Yesterday as we were working on writing our letters, my oldest insisted he needed quiet to do it properly. He made the first line down for the A and then the second line down. He then announced that to make the line across he needed it to be LOUD! His brother was more than willing to accommodate that request. Suddenly the house went from quiet to loud, the line was made followed by several more loud A’s and we ended the lesson in a fit of giggles at the silliness of it all.

We don’t have a classroom in our house. We have a living room floor, a dining room table, a couch, a bed, a front yard, and a backyard. Maybe it doesn’t look like what people think schooling should look like, but it works for us. These boys are learning, sometimes more and faster than I realize at the time.

We love the freedom homeschooling gives us. Both of their birthdays fall during the school year. We have the freedom to take those days off and do whatever we want together. If we want to take a family vacation in the middle of September, we can. If we had to get up at 6 in the morning to get to school in time, the boys would have to go to bed earlier. If they had to go to bed earlier we would miss that family time we get in the evenings. How many kitchen dance parties would we miss out on?

This is what works for us right now. If your kids are in public school, maybe that’s what works for you. Maybe that’s where God has led your family. And that’s okay with me. This decision, as are all decisions about our kids, is a personal one and what works for us may not work for you.

 

This is not the post I thought I was writing today. This isn’t what I thought I would be sharing. But it is what was on my heart.

I was hiding, but I’m not going to hide anymore. I’m going to be proud of the decision we’ve made because I know that it’s the best one for our boys. If people ask what grade they’re in or where they go to school, I’m not going to be afraid to answer honestly.

We are homeschooling, and we are loving it.

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Blessings on my Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. I had a great day, spending the morning with my crazy little boys and grandparents working in a garden and the evening with my husband and boys. I reached the age several years ago, maybe after my 21st, where birthdays just aren’t that big of deal. I mean, everybody has one. 🙂

So this year for my birthday, I decided it would be a good time to focus on all of the blessings I have in my life.

I have been blessed with two amazing parents. They raised my brothers and I in a home full of love, and I have never doubted their love for us or each other. They are more in love today, after 35 years of marriage, than the day they got married. They have shown me what a  marriage should look like and I pray my marriage can be as good as theirs. Thank you, God, for blessing me with such amazing parents.

I have been blessed with two amazing brothers who have blessed me with two sisters-in-law and two nieces. I am so proud of the men my brothers have become and what they have done. I am so thankful for the women they have married who I am proud to call not only sisters but friends. I have two nieces whom I absolutely adore. They are amazing little girls that I am so thankful for. Thank you, God, for my amazing brothers and their families.

I have been blessed with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Even if we don’t see each other as often as we would like, I know I could call on any of them at any time. I know they think of and pray for my family as I do them. I know they share my joys and my pains, as  I share theirs. Thank you, God, for my amazing family.

I have been blessed with an amazing man to be my husband. Through good times and bad, I know that he will stick with me and by me. He supports me with all my crazy ideas (like starting a blog). He is the leader of our family. He gave me another brother, sister-in-law, 3 nephews, parents and even more extended family whom I could not imagine my life without. He works so hard so I can stay home with our 2crazylittleboys. He keeps us safe and makes us laugh. He brings such joy to my life. I love him more today than I could have imagined when we got married 10 years ago. Thank you, God, for blessing me with an amazing husband and the family that came with him.

I have been blessed with 2crazylittleboys. They are wild and crazy, oh so sweet, smart and funny. They bring me such joy each and every day. Even when they make me crazy or call me by my first name, they bring me great joy and love. I can see echos of my family and their dad’s family in their faces and actions, and sometimes they even get called by an uncle’s name. They keep me grounded and make me soar. They keep me serious and silly. Their dance parties are epic. Thank you, God, for giving me these two amazingly crazy little boys.

I have been blessed with all of this and so much more. I have some amazing friends that are more like family. I have those of you who take a moment of your time to read my words. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, my health, and more. Raging storms came through my area last night and all of my family is safe. I have so much, my cup runneth over. Thank you, God, for all the blessings in my life.

And most importantly, thank you, God, for Jesus. Thank you for loving the world so much that You sent us Your Son. I would have nothing if I didn’t have Jesus. Without Him, none of the other blessings of my life would matter.

This birthday I’m counting my blessings, and I can’t count that high.