Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I want my kids to know me.

Not some perfect version of me. And not just the mommy side either.

I want them to know how much I loved books and what a great kisser I thought their dad was. I want them to know that like my mom before me, a favorite thing to do was curl up with a book or a movie and wrap myself into someone else’s story.

I want them to know how much I loved music and crazy, running out into the rain dancing.

I want them to remember seeing me laugh hard. I want them to know I was vulnerable and always the first one to say I was sorry.

I want them to know I meant it when I asked for their forgiveness.

I want them to have felt welcome in the kitchen as well as the den, never excluded from a certain perimeter around me and my daily life. I want them to remember we loved to be together. And that we didn’t have to be doing something special for the moment to have been special.

I want them to know they were enough. Just as they were. That they never needed to perform for us.

I want them to know we worked hard to dig ourselves out of our mistakes and lay a firm rock foundation forward. That their dad was a good man. That he was the kind of man who could make it through a long, day at work fueled by a small boy’s whispered, “I love you, daddy.” That even after 10 years he was still my best friend and the person I enjoyed making laugh the most.

I want them to know I loved words as much as air and would weave them stories plucked out of my own childhood rather than any book come bedtime.

I want them to know we delighted in them. We didn’t just love them – we reveled in being their parents.

I want them to remember how we learned to love what they loved – all their bugs and bears and lists  of animals and super heroes. How we became students of Noah and Micah so that we could cherish their ways.

Above all I want them to know that Jesus used them to mold us, to knock off rough and selfish edges and smooth angry, hard corners.

I want them to know that they were the gift and we rarely knew how good we had it.

I want them to know that all the words I package up here are a forever testament to having been their mother. And while it wasn’t the all of me, it was easily one of the best parts.

The hardest parts. The craziest parts. The deepest parts.

I want them to know I cared what they remembered.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dear God, Thank You For My Job. . .

Dear God,

Most days I'm so happy to be staying home with my kids, and so grateful I can do it.  But some days--the dark, rainy, long ones with multiple meltdowns and runny diapers and piles of laundry and too many games of Candyland--I do long for a clean, well-lit office, a coffeemaker that's always on, adults to talk to, and a job with a clear set of goals and objectives.  What are my goals and objectives now?  Get through the day, and then get through the next.  Run the entire household--and because we're down to one salary, run it on a dime.  Be there for my kids--be the one who's there when they wake up, the one who helps them navigate the social frustrations of the park and library, the one who plays here-comes-the-airplane in the high chair and sings them to sleep for their naps.  I love all of this, and I chose it, even though I know it means no budget for new clothes for the next decade or so.  All I need, God, is a short witty reply when people ask me what I "do",  one that doesn't make me sound defensive, stupid, or like some kind of militant post-feminist mommybot.  Help me to truly believe that work is always out there if I want it, but for now, my work is here.  Thanks, God.


Monday, June 25, 2012

For This Life, I Am Thankful

I touched on this book a bit earlier this month, but wanted to write an official book review now that I'm all finished reading.

Let me start by saying this is absolutely one of my new favorite books—one that touched me to the core, and that I will read over and over again through the years. Ann has such a poetic voice that comes through in her writing and has a way of captivating your imagination. She creates imagery with every word and sentence, and has a way of making every day chores sound like a beautiful song. Every time I put down the book I couldn't wait until the next opportunity I had to read it again.
In a word, this book is about thankfulness. It's something so simple, yet underrated and undervalued. Through each chapter and story, she digs deeper into the necessity of all Christ-followers to cultivate grateful hearts. It's funny how God creates themes for different seasons in our lives—how he puts an idea or concept into our minds, and continues to make us aware of it everywhere. For me right now, that theme is gratitude, and it all began with this book.

As a personal challenge, I have started keeping my own lists of one thousand gifts—recording the little bits of life that I often take for granted, like the way the sun peeks through the trees as it's setting or the warmth of my littlest monster when he curls up and snuggles with me on the couch.
Here are some of my favorite excerpts of the book to entice you to start reading it ASAP (emphasis added)...
"Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace."

"I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives. Why would the world need more anger, more outrage? How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us?"

"Haste makes waste. Life is not an emergency. Life is brief and it is fleeting but it is not an emergency. I pick up a coat and thank God for the arms that can do it. Emergencies are sudden, unexpected events—but is anything under the sun unexpected to God?"

"God is always good and I am always loved."

"Is worship why I’ve run for the moon? Not for lunar worship, but for True Beauty worship, worship of Creator Beauty Himself. God is present in all the moments, but I do not deify the wind in the pines, the snow falling on hemlocks, the moon over harvested wheat. Pantheism, seeing the natural world as divine, is a very different thing than seeing divine God present in all things. I know it here kneeling, the twilight so still: nature is not God but God revealing the weight of Himself, all His glory, through the looking glass of nature."

"All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember. To know how we can count on God, we count graces, but ultimately there is really only One."
I hope some of these exerts resonated with you. There were moments when I couldn't read the book any longer, I had to grab a piece of paper and start jotting down moments of my own. . .blessings happenning all around me that I never saw before. Things that I took for granted everyday, but challenged myself to never take for granted again. I resolved to see the world differently.  To see each and every thing as a demonstration of how much God loves me. It's totally changed my perspective. I've learned that when you are constantly searching for something to thank God for, you just BECOME thankful. It becomes a habit.  Almost second nature.  I've kept a journal since starting this book of all of life's little moments that have brought me to tears in gratitude towards God.  I thought I would share some of my own:

The sound of crickets chirping at dusk
Sunsets with pinks and purples and yellows splashing the sky
Affectionate kisses on the forehead
Songs that bring that lump in my throat in remembrance
Giggles and splashing sounds coming from the bathroom as BC bathes the boys
Listening to Stinker have imaginary conversations with his action figures
Toddlers pronouncing words wrong, yet so adorably
Running without abandon down the sidewalk, wind blowing across my face
The way I can make my husband laugh deep and out loud at my silliness
Knowing every little tickle spot on my sweet boys
Lying on the driveway after dark, staring at the stars
Little boys flying around the living room in superman capes
The aroma of coffee brewing as I'm still trying to wake-up
Seeing scripture with "fresh" eyes
Blankets warm out of the dryer
Toddler smiles, stained by fresh watermelon on a summer day
Praying over my boys at bedtime with BC
Characters in books that become as close as friends
Butterflies dancing in the backyard
One thousand tree frogs serenading the night simultaneously
Rainy afternoon naps
Moments that remind me that life isn't all about me after all.

What are some of your "moments of thankfulness"?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Artwork Destroyed (Disgruntled Thoughts from My 5-Year-Old)

I can remember it all like it was yesterday, because that’s when it happened.

My mom had asked me to throw away my empty Yoplait yogurt wrapper instead of chucking it on the floor. And by “asking” I mean she launched into that grating dictatorial tone that the CIA should use for audio torture.

Any who, I lift the lid of the trashcan and what do I see? One of my paintings that I had painstakingly created at preschool after naptime and before outside play!! I called it, simply, “Rainbow.”

One day, this painting coulda bought me a house.

There it was, crushed, broken and inert. Five minutes of my life down the potty. Seeing it shoved into that cavernous reeking void made me lose it like only a true tortured artist can.

That woman is lucky I’m only allowed near the butter knives or I would’ve lobbed off my own ear, Van Gogh-style, in protest.

Here’s the thing: My mom knows absolutely NOTHING about art. Yes, to be fair, she has supported some of my major exhibits. My “Superman with Sun In Upper Left Hand Corner” retrospective that’s currently on display in the kitchen and my controversial “Traced Hands” series that’s still on exhibition on the refrigerator.

When I confronted my Irresponsible mom on how she could trash my cherished artwork at first all she could muster was, ‘I’m sorry.’ Yeah. Sorry you got caught.

Her excuse for destroying a priceless canvas? Apparently there just isn’t enough room in our house to display or even store all the art I produce. It’s true I am quite prolific. Everyday, in fact, I create between 6 and 15,000 pieces of inspired art. You know what I say? House isn’t big enough to display my genius? BUY A  BIGGER DANG HOUSE. Problem solved.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You Are Good Enough

There is this funny thing that happens when you start to do something that you previously thought you wouldn’t be able to do. It shifts your whole perception of yourself, turning thoughts of I can’t do this, into not just I CAN do this, but I WILL do this. But there is a lot that goes on before you even take that first step out the door and into the sunshine to run, and in a lot of ways just getting yourself to the gym or on the road in the first place can be harder than the actual pain of the workout.
I have experienced this to some degree with myself, but especially with a number of my friends, who see my active lifestyle and my drive – which has always existed in some form or another- to get outside and be healthy, and immediately say, “I could never do that.” When I try to get them to come hiking, running, or even to walk around the lake with me, their immediate reaction is, “You don’t want me to come with you, I won’t be able to do it.” They disregard the fact that I am an extremely slow runner, love to stop for water breaks, and am always the first person to run out of breath. They know this about me, but have still convinced themselves that it’s not worth even trying. Instead of trying to get better at something, they would rather sit at home than let another person witness them struggle. And I get it. Have I talked enough about how ridiculously I lack the stamina to even finish walking a 5K at this point? And everyone else in my life is standing around me in encouragement, saying “You can do this! Keep going! You’ve got this!” I can’t help but sometimes think, “These people must think I am so slow.” And that feeling sucks.
Somewhere along the way, and for a lot of people I think this happens really early in life, we reach a point where we are convinced that we aren’t worth the time and effort that it takes to be healthy. Not only are we told that it’s selfish to take personal time or to advocate for ourselves, but for most of us it gets to a point where we’ve neglected ourselves for so long, we feel like it’s not worth it to even try. This is a mom's biggest downfall.  Not to mention the concept of putting yourself out there is terrifying. For me, this happened in the weeks leading up to my very first 5K. I had never ran a race before, and I was (am) a ridiculously slow runner. I had been all excited when I signed up for the race, but in the days leading up I was so anxiety-ridden by my doubts at being able to run the whole thing that I almost dropped out. When I got to the race, I was so nervous that I almost started tearing up. (I know, what a wuss!) I wasn't scared about spraining an ankle or worried that I would get shin splints. I wasn't nervous that I would puke from exhaustion or have to walk, not run, most of the entire race. No, instead I was worried that though I may finish the race,  people would think I was slow.
The picture at the top of this page made me start to think about people’s perceptions of what they are capable of, but also of what they are worth. “You are good enough” can mean two very different things. It can mean, stop trying, you are as good as you are going to get. But I hope that if you are reading this and thinking, This sounds like me. I want to be that healthy person, but it’s too late/hard/ridiculous to start now – I hope that “You are good enough” can mean something different. I want it to mean, You are good enough to advocate for yourself, to trust that your friends will be excited to wait for you while you sweat your way up that hill, to get up early and go to running even though you can't jog for more than 30 seconds at at time (I can’t!), and to start believing that you’re worth the effort.  I'm so glad that I decided that I was. 
*To follow along with my journey to fitness and self-empowerment, skip on over to my new blog "From Couch Potato to Marathon Mom". Encourage me as I challenge myself to train for a marathon in less than one year! You can also gain support and inspiration for health and wellness on my new facebook page by clicking HERE!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dear God, Denim is the Devil. . .

Dear God,

Wow, I can't believe I used to pay this much money for denim.  I've only been off the fashion market for two years now (as I fell off the trendy wagon with 72 lbs of extra baby weight. . .yes, you all heard that right!).  As I'm looking at these clothes, I feel like a sister from another planet.  Two hundred and eleven dollars for jeans that I can only wear with three-inch heels?  That's not going to happen.  I haven't worn anything higher that a clog in a year.  Nevertheless, Lord, here I am in the store, out without the baby, looking to fit into some normal clothes--or "new normal", I guess I should say.  Please bless my little shopping trip by shutting off the voices in my head, the ones saying "fat" and "flabby" and "no-waist monster butt".  Please help me to love and honor this new body--which created two lives, after all!--with jeans that won't break the bank or my self-esteem.  Send me a sign, Lord:  Somewhere in these racks there's got to be a decent pair of stretch dark-wash boot-cuts high enough to hold in this belly but low enough to make me still look hot.  Some that flatters this new "curvy" butt enough to make my husband think I'm sexy without actually making him want sex (or not too often).  Please show me a jean that won't rip out in the knees, because suddenly I'm on my knees a lot these days, God, crawling after my little men.  Finally, God, if you could locate that perfect jean on the sale rack?  That would truly be a miracle.  Thank you.


Monday, June 18, 2012

I'd Like To Thank The Academy. . .I Mean Google

For all those amigas who are savvy to the "blogging world" and for those of you who aren't, let me let you in on a little secret.  Google Search is Bananas!  I mean, really!  Let me explain. . .

You see, I like to stay fresh "in-the-know" as to how many page views I get, where the traffic comes from, SEO trends, etc. I blame this in part on my dabble in the marketing field in my previous life (B.C. = Before Children). And in gathering this information, it's been brought to my knowledge that people find my little parenting blog in the most hilarious ways. Google has become my best friend, in more ways than one.  As if I didn't need one more reason to adore it besides the fact that I use it daily to search for the most random of things, such as "previous hairstyles of Kelly Clarkson", "Thunder basketball players names", or "Why does my son constantly hold on to his wee-wee".  (Let it just be said as a side note that if anyone ever got ahold of my google history, many would be reassured that I am, indeed, a candidate for the loony bin!) Anyhow, back to the reasons why I love Google. Obviously people search for the most ridiculous things, I just never gave it a thought that in their quest to google some pretty off-the-wall stuff, that they would stumble upon "Miss Banana Pants".  My "keyword search results" are funny enough to leave me in stitches and bring tears to my eyes!  Let me just give you a sneak peak into my "Google Analytics" report.  These words or phrases are what brought some complete clueless folks to my little blog in the month of May:

"bottomless pants"
"how do I get to crazytown?"
"what do I do with a toddler?"
"mind-blowing facts about bottoms"
"what to do when I pee my pants"
"can I eat crayons?"
"I want to divorce my kid"
"is grouchiness hereditary?"
"someone in my office stinks"
"I want to be Dora the Explorer"
"kid's programming rots brains"
"honking mom's boobs"
"kids are lunatics"
"activities to tie up my toddler"
"I don't cook"
"amateur parent"

And my own personal favorite, and the key phrase that has brought me the MOST traffic in May. . . ."My Mom Has A Big Booty"

I'd like to thank the Academy. . .I mean Google for promoting Miss Banana Pants, for always being there when I had a random question about. . .life in general, and for the never ending laughs I've received in learning all the baffling ways these weirdos have came to know my little blog.  If you have found me due to any of the following keyword searches. . .This post's for YOU! :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lower The Bar, Moms!

I'm jealous of my husband.  He gets to be Dad.  When you're Dad you get credit just for showing up.   And that's setting the bar pretty low when it comes to any kind of parenting, but it sets the standard nicely for getting plenty of extra credit when you go above and beyond just showing up.

So why are the standards for being Mom so impossibly high?

You have to control your emotions 100% of the time.  You can never lose your cool to the point of yelling and swearing.  In fact, swearing is strictly verboten  regardless of your tone of voice.  Instead you must exercise limitless patience and love and understanding.  You get judged on what you feed your kids, how they're dressed, the length of their hair, when and how they sleep, how much freedom they have, how little freedom they have, how they behave in public, how you behave in public, their performance in school and, ultimately, how they turn out as adults. 

Being the avant-garde trendsetter that I am I have decided to set a new standard.  It's time to lower the bar so we all get to win.

1.  Are you currently raising children?  Congratulations!  You're a good Mom.

2.  Are you doing your best to meet the needs of your child (food, shelter, medicine, clothing, etc.)?  Then you're a good Mom.  Even if you fall short of meeting those needs sometimes you're still a good Mom.  We're all just doing the best we can.

3.  Did you get your child to eat at least one food from each food group over the course of the day?  Then you're a good Mom.  And even if you didn't, you're still a good Mom.  You know what they say: you can lead a horse to water but you can't strap it down and force feed it vegetables.

4.  Did you not reciprocate when your child punched/bit/spit on/slapped/otherwise intentionally injured you?  Then you're a good Mom.  Just because you really, really wanted to reciprocate does not mean that you're a bad Mom.  It just means your kid is acting like an bunghole.

5.  Did your child arrive at school fully dressed?  Then you're a good Mom.  It doesn't matter that his clothes are backwards, mismatched and dirty.  He can learn just as well in that as he can in clean matching clothes.   Shoes + Shirt + Pants = My Kid Has a Right to an Education.

6.  Did your child come home today without a police escort?  Then you're a good Mom.  There will come a time when the police will come to visit, but that's okay.  Statistically speaking, that represents a highly insignificant number compared to all the times he didn't.  That makes you 99.9% Good Mom.

7.  Do you still have the capacity to love your children to the point that you would die for them even though they put you through all of this craziness?  Not only are you a good Mom, you're a superhero!

Let's all high-five each other for the good game that we're playing and stop getting so down on ourselves about every little failure.  You get bonus points for just "showing up" each and every day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Parenting Survival Tips

As I wander through the Land that Time Forgot---parenthood, I realize that I don’t know anything about it. Oh, I’m sure I’ve made mistakes. But frankly, I’ve always believed that any horrifying mistakes I’ve made could be corrected if I just got my little monsters into the right therapy. And prayed. . .a whole lot. Well, I’m hoping it helps at least.
Anyway, it did occur to me that through the last 5 years I have discovered a few parenting survival tips that might be handy for the next generation of parents. Assuming that after reading this they don’t change their minds, of course.
  1. Remember when your mom told you that when you became a parent, you would have a child just like you? Yeah, that wasn’t a compliment. In fact, it was a mommy curse, which is widely considered to be both terrifying and unbreakable. Look, let’s put it this way, have you been to a biology class? If you have, then you know that there are all kinds of stuff that we inherit-all those genes and whatnot. You know, the stuff that makes you who you are. Now think back to what an idiot you were as a kid. Or, if you are very brave, try to recall your teenage years. Now consider this. All that stuff is in your genes and whatnot and you are passing it along to another generation. A generation that you have to raise. Scary, isn’t it?
  2. Children are completely incapable of catching up on sleep. In fact, if a child misses his or her nap one afternoon, it practically guarantees that the child will not go to sleep that night. I don’t know why this happens. I only know that it does. And it’s painful for everyone.
  3. When your grandmother told you that toast always lands butter side down, she wasn’t lying. Anything your child drops onto the floor will always land upside down. Doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s stainable on only one side and your child drops it, the stainable stuff always-and I mean always-hits the floor.
  4. Spending 5 hours in the kitchen with your Julia Child’s DVDs and a life-size cardboard replica of Gordon Ramsey while making some French-sounding chicken dinner will guarantee that your child will not like it. I don’t care if it looks and tastes like chicken nuggets, the minute you spend more than twenty minutes creating a meal, your child immediately believes it is part of an evil plot to make them eat a balanced meal and will rebel.
  5. Getting a child into the car and strapped into a car seat, then starting a video, handing them juice, and leaving the driveway triggers an urgent need for the child to use the bathroom. It doesn’t matter how many times the child goes before getting into the car. The minute you are all in the car and onto the street, your child will have to go again. Without fail. So be prepared and bring an extra cup.
  6. A child never has muddy shoes. This is because when they come in the door, they walk all over your carpet and leave the mud behind. That is why when you find the muddy footprints and yell, “who has mud on their shoes,” they check their shoes and find them clean.
Oh, sure, I have many more little nuggets of advice. But I think those are enough for now. Parent accordingly. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dear God, I'm Totally Repulsed Right Now!

Dear God,

I am 100 percent skeeved out.  While I was talking with my friend for two nanoseconds, my child climbed off his Batman tricycle, pulled a piece of chewed gum off the sidewalk, and popped it into his mouth.  You know how I feel about saliva, Lord!  You know what I was like when I was pregnant.  You know that it was even a stretch for me to kiss my own husband for those nine months because the thought of someone else's spit in my mouth was too much for my pregnancy hormones to handle!  And since he's been born, I've gotten so much better.  Heck, I even let these little monsters drink after me most of the time (although I still find the idea of "backwash" completely repulsing!) Praise You, Lord, for baby wipes, my defense against the spit of others for 5 years now!  Thank you for selling them by the case, because I sure have found them to be a life-saver!  But all of the sudden, the Terrible Twos have hit with a vengeance, and we're off-the-charts grimy here.  Gum from the sidewalk, a raisin extracted from his own nasal cavity, and Legos down his diaper that he nonchalantly retrieved and kept building with. . .so many germs, so little time to follow him around with antibacterial soap.  I see other mothers barely blinking as their kids put their filthy hands in the their grubby mouths and wipe their snotty noses on their frayed sleeves.  Please let me be more like them.  (Well, maybe not--that's just disgusting!)  Please help me to let go, but not too far.  In the meantime, if you need us, we'll be at home, gargling with Listerine.  Thanks.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Toddler Denial

I have had the extreme pleasue lately of posting on one of my favorite parenting websites. If you haven't taken a gander over at, you are totally missing out. It has saved my sanity many times and gives daily advice on how to raise kids to be happy, healthy, and God-centered. A few weeks ago, this post I wrote was published there. Here's a "take-two" in case you missed it:

Why is it that kids will do just about anything in their capacity not to admit to certain things? It’s like they’d rather be attacked by a pack of angry trolls than to state the obvious. I don’t know about you, but my little sprouts flat out refuse to EVER acknowledge that they have to pee, that they’re tired, or that they need a dang Kleenex.

By far, out of all three of these things, the peeing is the absolute WORST. We’ll be out in public some place, and I will see one of them grab and squeeze his crotch for dear freaking life. This is often followed by some leg crossing and dancing and maybe even jumping up and down. And when I ask if said child needs to pee, 9 times out of 10 I am met with an immediate response of “NO!!!“, which I know full well is a crock of poo. So we play this whole back and forth power struggle game until all of a sudden, the kid is literally about to erupt into a full-on urine explosion, and we have to haul booty to the closest bathroom, whereby a trickling of pee may very well have already been left in someone’s underpants. At that point an “I told you so” isn’t even worth the breath it takes to form the words.

I also often deal with adamant denial that either child is ever sleepy. We may have walked to the ends of the earth, run a marathon of errands, swam a dozen oceans, and played every game under the moon from morning until night, but my wee ones would never in a million years acknowledge a need to rest their weary heads. Instead, it’s like they’ve chugged a case of Red Bull and have transformed into the Tasmanian Devil, bouncing off every wall in their path. They spin out of control until they literally crash into a pile of tears and hysterics on the floor over the absolute most insignificant thing on the planet. They work themselves into such a tizzy that they then can’t fall asleep even if they want to. It’s a vicious cycle that makes me very grateful to have wine kool-aid in the house.

And finally, there’s the continuous refusal to ask for a Kleenex. Snot could be dripping out a nostril right onto one or the other’s upper lip, and neither kid would ever even think about getting a tissue. Instead, they would rather let it continue to run down their chins, or better yet, they’ll just wipe it on their sleeves. Because really, what else are sleeves for? And sometimes, if I’m SUPER lucky, I’ll have the privilege of receiving a little snot souvenir of my own, which is AWESOME when I’m out and about before I realize that I’ve got dried boogers on my shoulder.

Truthfully though, we as parents do this very same thing. How many times have we held in questions from our supportive mom-friends for fear that we would look like we didn't know what we were doing? Heaven forbid we should gain a little knowledge from those that have walked this treacherous parenting road before us. Isn't this whole gig supposed to "take a village"? Sometimes it's pride and fear of embarrassement, but other times we don't admit we need a little help for the same reason our little snots don't stop to ask for a Kleenex.  They don't realize they are in need. They are so busy and excited and oblivious to see what is right in front of their nose (pun intended!).  I'm more convinced that God never planned on us doing this parenthood thing alone. That's why in an ideal situation, it takes TWO parents. Sometimes our partners are on board, sometimes not.  Sometimes we need all the help we can get! I think in general it's time to start recruiting more help on the homefront!  Admit when we're clueless, defeated, and are about to "pee our pants" in frustration. Take inventory of our lives on occassion to see if that "kleenex" is needed. Realize that the woes of parenthood could be a growing experience for us as well as our little monsters.

I also suppose that all these annoying parts of parenting are just payback from when I was growing up and did the exact same thing to my own parents. I’m sure that I peed on my fair share of public restroom floors, kicked and screamed my way through an exhaustion meltdown or two, and stuck a boatload of nose goblins on my mom’s shirt sleeves through the years.  I have no doubt that my parents are now sitting back and watching the show unfold and thinking how what goes around really does come around. I can't wait to be the grandparent.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Well. . .We Adopted!

Meet Abraham.

Isn't he just the cutest thing?!  He's 6 years old and from Kenya. He currently has malaria (those dang mosquitoes!), but hopefully that is on the mend.  He was referred to us through the Maisha orphanage where they have been educating and feeding him because his father, who is HIV positive, has trouble taking care of him and his three other siblings. The conditions over there in Kenya are desperate. Such poverty and so many kids left abandoned and starving.  How could we not take on ONE MORE adorable little boy!?

Okay, you got me.  We didn't adopt him in the "physical sense", although if that option was open, I would have begged and pleaded BC until he relented.   But we were given the option of sponsorship through Maisha International to help give him the gift of support and prayer and education. So we jumped on it. Our small donation a month will pay for all his meals and for all of his education supplies.  We are helping to give this little boy something that he would not get otherwise. That's so rewarding.

The thing that inspires me the most is being able to take his picture off of our fridge and talk to the my boys about his life and how we are helping him.  They don't quite understand why he can't just come visit us.  I would love to take them to meet him someday.  That is the most amazing thing about this organization.  There is the option of traveling to Kenya to meet our little Abraham.  This is going to be something that is on the bucket list for sure in the upcoming future!  I can see all three boys running and playing soccer on the African savanna! What a perfect collision of worlds that prove that love can span the entire earth and bring people together. I look forward to hugging  his neck myself someday and letting him know he has a "mommy" in Oklahoma who thinks about him everyday. For now, we'll just spend time praying for him. For his education, for his safety, for his family, and that hopefully someday God will get ahold of his heart.  I love how my own little ones pray for Abraham right now.

Mr. Grouchy Pants, during last nights bedtime prayers, "Please let Abraham have a lot of food to eat and have fun playing soccer with his friends. . .and maybe mommy will say we can call him tomorrow."

It's precious to think that they can't possibly understand why everyone doesn't have cell phones and we can't just call and talk to him anytime that we want. But someday.  Someday we will meet this extended member of our family.  Our third son. Our precious little Abraham.  God willing, we will get to be an intricate part of his childhood and just a small piece of his story.  God has great things in mind for this African son of mine.  I can't wait to sit back and watch.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Life Lessons From Mr. Grouchy Pants

Anybody who reads my blog or facebook posts knows I love to complain about my children. Some might even wonder why on earth I chose motherhood as a career path. But most of you know that I love my children beyond all reason. They are my silly delight, my most profound joy.

Take this morning: At 6:30 am, while sitting on the toilet, I was treated to a lesson on how to put on a pair of underwear and pajama pants, courtesy of my son who has recently mastered these skills. This is a pretty valuable lesson, and I'm a giver, so here is Mr. Grouch's guide to putting on undies and pants. Feel free to take notes.

"First, you sit down. So you don't fall down and get a boo boo."

"Next you put one foot in the right hole. Whoops! That's de wrong hole. Dere. That's de right one! Gimme five!"

"Then you put de other one in the other one." (This was way clearer with visuals. We may need to investigate a video tutorial in the future.)

"And then you puuuuuuull dem up, up, up! Ouch! Tuck in the pee pee!"

"And then you put on the pants! TA-DA!" *Now jump up and down several times while yelling, "I love undies, I love undies, I love undies!"

Now I ask you, how can I not love this child?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dear God, I'm Sorry About This. . .

Dear Lord,

Please forgive me, for I have been a bad mother.  Or at the very least a mother who literally has not had three minutes in her day to tend to the bottom of her youngest child.  And now he stands before me, a living, breathing chastisement, wearing what has to be the world's biggest, soggiest Huggie dangling between his legs, clinging onto his hips with the tiniest possible remaining piece of adhesive tab.  Experience tells me this puppy's gonna blow any second, and only You know how bad it could be underneath.  Please, God, I already feel so guilty, please no hideous diaper rash already blooming, lease no you-know-what so caked-on that it requires a full-body bath, please not that thing where the sinister-looking crystals explode out of the diaper all over his skin, the changing table, and my forearms.  I promise to be better, Lord.  I promise to find time in our day to take care of my littlest guy's heinie.  Just please don't let this diaper be as bad as it looks from here. Thank you, Lord.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Barbie Needs Wrinkles

A horrible thing has happened to me. I have gotten old and Barbie hasn’t. I can’t tell you how much this sucks. Look, Barbie is way older than me, for Pete’s sake – she’s 52. And I look like a hag compared to her. Yeah, yeah, she’s plastic, but does that really make a difference? I mean, look at the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. They’re plastic and yet some of them can still move their faces.
Still, Barbie still doesn’t look a day over 22, despite her numerous careers, hair color changes, and a chest that would require specially made bras if she were a real woman.  I, on the other hand, look a bit more than one decade past 22 and that’s on a really good day when my skin is hydrated and all the creams and retinol have done their stuff. And I refuse to even discuss my chest in this blog (much to the relief of everyone who reads this, I’m sure). Let’s just say I don’t need my bras to be specially made.
Now, when I was a girl, I loved Barbie. She was cool, she was gorgeous and she had great stuff. Barbie had a townhouse—no—a dream house. I had my own room, but that really wasn’t the same. My room didn’t have an elevator.  Barbie had tons of cute clothes and shoes that matched—so what if her feet were horribly misshapen to fit into the teeny, tiny, torturous high heels? She was beautifully dressed in the latest fashions and it’s not like she was walking anywhere. I had jeans and T-shirts with dirty Keds and a mother that made me walk to the bus stop. Barbie had a pink convertible, a jeep, a Winnebago, an airplane and a ski cabin. What’s not to like? The girl had everything.
But you would have though that by 52, time would have caught up to Barbie. Certainly all that sun tanning she did in the seventies during her Malibu Barbie phase should at least have produced a few crow’s feet. Or one or two tiny little wrinkles around the mouth. But no. Barbie’s plastic face is unmarked by the savages of time or sun or both. But I still wonder, what was she thinking? Didn’t she understand the advantages of sunscreen? Is skin cancer just not a concern for Barbie and her pals?
Barbie doesn’t even have the problem that other 50-something women have–visible panty lines. While most 40-something women (and, ahem, we 30-somethings as well) are stuffing themselves into grandma panties that have some sort of tummy control, Barbie is underwearless. Yes, your child’s Barbie is currently sitting in the toy box, charming the heck out of Ken and GI Joe and she’s not wearing any panties. Kind of sick, isn’t it?
Barbie is so cool, gravity doesn’t even affect her. How many women do you know with a 39-inch bust who can go braless their entire lives? And how does she do all those sports without a sports bra anyway? You’d think one game of tennis would give her a black eye, if nothing else.
Now I have to say that Barbie has been unlucky in love. Really. Look at her, she’s stuck with Ken. This is a guy who first started with plastic molded hair, then progressed to a Velcro-like strip of brown on his scalp, finally stopping with the short, pseudo-hair he sports now. Still, even the new hair doesn’t make Ken the right guy for Barbie. Look, am I the only person on earth who thought that Ken would have preferred dinner and a movie with GI Joe, rather than Barbie?
All in all, I’m glad I'm not Barbie. But you know what? I’d still love to have an elevator in my house, Seriously. Wouldn’t that be too cool?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Money Can Buy This Mama Happiness

When your kids are eerily quiet for any extended period of time, nine times out of ten it’s because they’re trying to burn your house down.  But every once in a blue moon, the stars all align, and the pip squeaks somehow actually manage to….. *gasp*….. play quite nicely together.  Sure, you might have to pay them for that momentary bit of peace and quiet, but we all know it’s totally worth every flippin’ penny.

Take, for instance, this past weekend when my little monsters holed themselves up in their bedroom for nearly two whole hours without so much as a single peep from either of them.   I had to keep poking my head in there every once in a while just to make sure that one of them hadn’t killed off the other.  They continuously reassured me, however, that they were setting up a “shop” of some sort and that everything was a-ok.  And, given that I sure as heck don’t like to miss out on such rare opportunities, I milked this one for all it was worth.  No, we didn’t have nap, but I was able to read an entire half of an Us Magazine!

As it turned out, though, this solitude did not come for free.  The so-called “shop” (and I use that term very loosely) that our little Picassos had created was actually an art store in which they were selling “one-of-a-kind” pieces for a very limited time.  The fact that I was the ONLY customer within a 1000-mile radius left me with no other choice but to purchase all available art work.  I mean, who am I to turn our backs on young, starving artists?  After all, I did get to catch up on my celebrity gossip while their creative minds were hard at work.

I must say that I’ve gotta hand it to my budding entrepreneurs and their collaborative money-making skills.  It’s actually pretty darn clever!  Plus, it’s totally a win-win situation for all of us.  Cause hey, if some lint-covered spare change from the bottom of my purse can buy me a few extra moments to myself?  Well, that’s an offer I can’t very well refuse.  And they say money can’t buy you happiness….