Friday, October 31, 2014

The COLONY "Buy-Back" Program

There's something about this time of year that turns my sweet, loving children into these scary creatures.

It's that darn candy!

I'm not exaggerating.

They turn into drooling, selfish, whiny, argumentative, greedy, tantrum-throwing little monsters who won't give in until every last candy wrapper has been licked clean.

(not to mention the effects it does to a certain one's emotional state!)

So, naturally I have to lay down some rules for the mayhem that ensues this very evening of every year.

Usually we let them eat along the way, but as soon as we get home we put it all in a "family bucket" and throw it away a week later, no matter how much is left.  But this still means that our family has the looming presence of the "family bucket" which means we must ask mommy (then daddy) every 10 minutes for another piece of candy until mommy gets so fed up that she ends up throwing it away.

But this year...
this year is going to different.

I was talking to my chiropractor about this "problem" and he told me that he took an idea from his neighboring dentist down the hallway and buys back his kid's candy.

BRILLIANT!

So last night I approached my kids with the idea and told them that they could eat candy to their hearts content ALL NIGHT LONG while we are out.  Then when we get home they get to pick out their 3 favorite pieces to eat over the weekend.

And for each of their buckets of candy I would give them $3 (Minus Jude.  I get a by for him for at least another year, ha!)

I think I can make it through the night now, knowing that for just $12 I will have my sweet children back by morning:)

Happy trick-or-treating ya'll!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Not Me Monday (on Thursday)

I would never believe all the hype about giving your ADHD child caffeine to help refocus him in the afternoon.

Nope, caffeine is bad.
Bad, bad, bad.

But if I were to be as desperate as to try this little "trick" I would probably stick to a more "natural" approach than the soda I've heard other mothers trying on there kids.

(That just seems counter-productive to me.  Believe me, I've SEEN our child on a soda kick.  NOT pretty...)

So, if I were to delve into this world of purposefully offering my attentive-lacking child some caffeine to get him through his school day I would naturally go the dark chocolate route.

Oh yes, because there are health benefits to dark chocolate.
It's basically as good as vegetables.
Yeah, I'd go with that.

But real dark chocolate isn't something that is normally on the grocery list, which is therefore, not typically in the budget, but the good Lord KNEW we needed dark chocolate and put it on sale the week I wanted to try this little "trick".

It's pretty much a sign from above.
My family needed to buy this dark chocolate.
It was just meant to be.

And I like the real dark chocolate with sea salt.
Oh.My.GAWSH.
My mouth just waters thinking about it.

But this was a selfless purchase.
For physical benefits.
For attention.
For my boy.
His education.
It was all for my child.
I repeated it several times a day.
It is NOT for me.
It is NOT for MY indulgence.

Nope.

So, the emotional day I was having yesterday would NEVER warrant my confiscation of said, selfless-purchased dark chocolate with sea salt.

Oh no.

I never steal candy from an emotion-filled 8-year-old boy.

No way.

Because then I would have to explain to the rest of the Colony why mommy got to have some of the aforementioned chocolate after the stern lectures about how it was only for the aforementioned child and his excelling education.

And I NEVER try to hide my sins.
Oh, such a deep, dark, sea salt covered sin.

But I did get two bars.
(they were BOGO)

And if I went ahead and ate the last square of the first bar and the first 2 of the second bar nobody would ever know.

But I would NEVER eat all that chocolate.
Just because I lacked the self-control to stop.

Oh no.
Not me.

This mama is the epitome of self-control.
I am in control 100% of the time.

Which means I NEVER would have emotional days that got so out of control, making me rationalize the consumption of that much chocolate.

Good grief.
What kind of woman would I even be?!

But by the time I mentally went through the list of why I couldn't possibly get away with this scheme I noticed that all the chocolate was gone.

Hmmm...where did it go?

I guess I'll just have to go get some more all natural, real, dark chocolate (that is basically the equivalent of at LEAST 4 cups of vegetables) for my son because someone stole it all.

But it wasn't me.

Nope.
Not me.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fighting For My Marriage: Book Reviews Of Current Reads

I have been inundated with marriage books lately.  I'm not sure why they have been falling in my lap over the past couple of months but I'm not complaining.

I just finished up a book called, For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldhahn.  Wow, what an eye-opening, excellent book.  Most of the contents of the book I had known already, or at least had heard of, but the thing I loved about it is the fact that it gives scientific facts and data that back it all up, as well as multiple studies and interviews by men of all ages and walks of life.

I'm telling you, if this book doesn't rock your world and give you more compassion, love and respect for your husband, and the other men around you, I don't know what will!  I would encourage EVERY woman to read this book.  It's not only for the married woman, but for the singles out there as well.  It will give you some much needed insight into the lives and mentality of a man that will help you support and encourage them, as you walk beside them on their journey for purity.

The other book that I am now in the middle of is called, Kiss Me Like You Mean It, by Dr. David Clarke.  I'm only a few chapters in, but just the intro had me hooked, and laughing my butt off at the reality of the woman/man dynamics he portrays.

The thing is, I don't view my marriage as falling apart or struggling.  I think Josh and I do a fairly decent job at communicating our wants, needs and struggles (which I couldn't have said about 12 years ago, ha!).  He is, by far, my best friend.

But on the other hand, I know that no marriage is perfect (that's exactly what Satan wants you to believe, so he can swoop in at any given weak moment and destroy it all!) .  Josh and I are far from perfect people.  As a matter of fact, we are sinful, selfish people, but we have committed to do life together, even through the stresses of daily foolish choices, mistakes, financial crisis, communication breaches and demanding children.

As I wade through these books I have noticed something stirring in my heart.

I WANT TO FIGHT FOR MY MARRIAGE!

Not because I'm afraid it is unraveling or on the brink of destruction, but because I know that we are NOT exempt.  We will never be exempt from the daily temptations that Satan throws at marriages, and we need to live with guarded hearts, always.

So yes, I am fighting for my marriage.  Today, tomorrow and every day.  Because it is a battle worth fighting the rest of my life for.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:12

Saturday, October 25, 2014

IKEA Crib Hack: creating more space

All 3 of our boys share their room.
Zeke and Cai share a bunkbed and Jude has(d) his crib.

It was beginning to feel a bit crowded in their room and finding appropriate space for 3 different sizes of clothing was a constant project.

This got my wheels turning (of course it did, ha!).
The dresser that held Jude's clothes originally had 4 drawers.
Over the years 2 drawers had broken off leaving only two, to house all his diapers, socks, clothes, etc. (more on what that dresser has become next week!)

So I decided to hack his IKEA crib/toddler bed and find a way to make some extra space in their room.

By the time we got his bed he was already a strong-willed little toddler so it has always been lowered.

So here's what I did.

First, I decided that Jude was old enough to try the "big boy bed"...again, which is now a role he has owned like a champ! {for the most part}

I realize that the toddler bed setting is supposed to be lowered, but I decided to make it a toddler "loft".
I took the front railing off,
raised the mattress up to the infant/baby slot,
and drilled a couple of holes for the toddler bar to hold the mattress in place.


Now I have a place to put these cute little baskets with his clothes in it, and we have the added bonus of some freed up wrestling space for the boys.

It's a WIN WIN!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Passing Notes Under The Door ~ A story of a #ColonyMom meltdown and the kids that loved her through it

Setting: 4:30pm 
(the witching hour - ie. mom is tired and in need of a break while the Colony is hungry and in need of a meal and their quickly approaching bedtime.)

Mom: Jude don't throw that...
Areyna: Alethia won't let me have the...
Mom: Jude DON'T THROW THE...
Cai: Ahhhhhhh! MOOOOOOM, Jude just threw the...
(why does he ALWAYS have to throw every stinking thing!)
Mom: Baby, I know. Jude, no NO!

Mom: Girls, will you please come and unload the dishwash...

Zeke: AHHHHHH! MOM, JUDE IS PULLING MY HAAAAAAAAAAAIRRRRRR!
The Girls: Ah man. The dishwasher agAIN?!
Mom: JUDE. No, no baby! Stop pulling Zeke's hair.  Let go.  LET GO!
(takes Jude to the room to give him consequences)

I come out to crying girls, fighting boys - I've lost it.

I'm done.
I am no longer capable of being a good mommy at this point.
DONE.

I stomp down the hallway and slam my door.
Locking it behind me.
Sitting in the chair to stair out the window and pout.

Then I hear a crinkling under the door.
What in the WORLD do they need from me now?!

"BE STILL. Calm down"
 He knows this is my year's mantra and something I have been working on:)

Ok. that is sweet.
Now leave me alone.

More crinkling under the door.
Oh brother.

"I love you mom. Even when you are anxious."
 Ouch.
How does he know how anxious I am?
They NOTICE when I'm falling apart and not parenting in love but in anger?
Hmmm...

More stuffed paper under the door...
"You are the best mom ever." 
Oh wow.
I've acted TERRIBLE!
TERRIBLE!
and he still loves me and just wants his happy hearted mama back.

By now I'm sitting against the door and can't grab Zeke's sweet little love notes fast enough.

"Pray to God to help you."
 I quickly begin to cry out to the Lord.
For my bad attitude.
For my precious kids.
For my tender-hearted Zeke who GETS ME.
Who get's this out-of-control mama moment, because we have guided him through his own meltdowns.

"Read the Bible"
 By now my sweet Zeke is guiding me through the steps to calm down and get my heart back on track.

"You are awesome"
...and then brings it around to encourage me! 


"Shhh, Shhh, Shhhh"
 This is when I typically come in to sit with him and rub his back, give him some gentle kisses and prepare him to enter back into the family activities.


After reading these streams of notes I walked outside, called a family meeting and apologized to my kids.  Of course they were so gracious and offered immediate forgiveness.  Because that's just the kind of kids they are:)

But I wasn't done.  I asked them to help me walk through the past 30 minutes or so.  I asked them to think about what happened and tell me some of the things I did wrong.  I told them I was wrong and then we walked through the appropriate response that SHOULD have occurred.

What did I get out of this whole thing?

It's never too late.
It's NEVER too late.
You can always make it right.
Even when you screw up in the worst of ways.
Ask for forgiveness.
Accept that forgiveness.
And then mentally walk through the steps to handle the situation correctly next time.

I'm thankful for kids that understand grace and forgiveness, even when it is undeserved.
I'm thankful for a God that lavishes his love and grace on us, because it is never deserved.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Take Five ~ Fire, Sniffles, Tunes and Meltdowns

Band: Young Oceans

Song Title: Vidi Aquam

Timer set for 5 min.

GO!

I feel like crap today.  It's a good thing that I had an appointment to get my hair trimmed this morning (my hair thanks you Danielle!) or else I think I'd still be in my jammies, surrounded by waded up tissues from a runny nose and too many sneezes to count.  Yes I've been taking honey and loading up on Thieves oil and the allergy trilogy as well (lemon, lavender and peppermint).  But I still feel like crap.  CRAP.

But on a happy note I get to listen to some new tunes (thank you for the recommendation, Andy Cherry!).  Young Oceans is excellent.  A new favorite for me for sure.

Our chimney/fireplace is FINALLY getting fixed!  It's only been 5 years, ha!  By the end of the afternoon we will be able to "safely" burn a fire in our fireplace again.  (Thank you insurance!)

Could the weather be more beautiful?  I think not.

I had a major mommy meltdown this weekend.  It was so bad that when Josh got back from jogging Zeke ran up to him and said "it was bad dad. Mommy threw a temper tantrum, but we wrote her notes to help her."  (there is a post brewing on this one later this...

Timer off.

PUBLISH

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Begin The Day With Grace

Just when we think we've got it, it's under control, it is FINALLY done...that's when it sneaks up and slaps us in the face again.

I'm learning over and over again that it is a daily surrender to complete forgiveness.

It never really goes away.  We can completely and wholeheartedly forgive someone one day and then get slammed with the same bitterness and resentfulness that got us in the unforgiving mess to begin with.

When we get brought back to this place it becomes really easy to find that mental list again.

the list we secretly hold onto
the list we're afraid to let go of
the list that gives us the false feeling of control

the list of all the things done wrong to us
the list of all the things that make us so angry
so hurt
so irrational

this list helps us rationalize our anger and makes us feel like we deserve to feel this way and hold onto that unforgiveness

but we were commanded to let that go
to give it up
it is the Lord's to sift through

because in reality, we have a long list of our own mess that we have created by foolish choices and sin
WE have been forgiven
OUR SLATE has been wiped clean

We are to offer grace and forgiveness because WE have been offered grace and forgiveness.

It isn't easy but it IS obedient.

Let's begin each day with a clean slate
because
real love, TRUE love, keeps no record of wrongs