Thursday, September 27, 2007

paradigm shift

I’ve been telling a story for over a decade, now. I tell it from memory, emphasizing the wrongs done to me. Friends listen and empathize: “That’s terrible!” they say, “How insensitive!” I think in the telling, the story gained momentum. Instead of becoming less angry, my anger grew, feeding on itself and taking root in my heart. I felt justified in holding onto this resentment; after all, this person was wrong. Insensitive.

Last weekend I spent some time cleaning out my office, and found an old box of pictures and letters. (Remember letters? What a treasure!) Reading through these old letters, I found one from this person, sent fifteen years ago. In the letter, this person acknowledges their insensitivity and asks for my forgiveness. They recognized the damage done to our relationship and sought restoration.

And I had completely forgotten about it.

In my hurt, I’m guessing that I just tossed the letter aside. I honestly can’t remember receiving it, but obviously somewhere along the line I chose to hold onto my resentment rather than forgive. And my resentment grew. For fifteen years, it grew.

I finally sat down and responded to this person with a letter of my own—a letter of apology and forgiveness. I pray for reconciliation.

Oh, how we need grace. We all so desperately need grace.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

first steps

Baby b. stood up in the middle of the floor, like he’s done a dozen times in the past week. But instead of sitting back down, he toddled across the room. Not to me, or his brothers, or his dad, but to our cleaning lady.

It brought a tear to my eye.

And not because our child finally walks, but because in order to truthfully recount this story, I have to admit that I pay someone to clean my house twice a month. So there it is. Judge me if you will. It is what it is, people. And today, it’s a beautiful thing! (And, for the record, our cleaning lady was thrilled to share this moment with us.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

the list

A good Wife and Mother…keeps a tidy house; prepares home cooked meals for her family, preferably organic; spends quality, one-on-one time with each of her children; keeps up with the laundry; volunteers in her children’s classrooms at school; builds relationships with her neighbors; volunteers in her church; opens her home to friends; brings meals to new Moms; has endless patience; reads to each of her kids for thirty minutes a day; spends at least fifteen minutes decluttering her home a’la Flylady; gets plenty of exercise and takes care of herself; never has a headache; always remembers the soccer snacks; the list goes on and on.

And if you’re a working Mom, your list is even longer.

Ladies, is it any wonder we get tired? I don’t know about you, but according to “The List,” I’m a miserable failure. My meal plan includes the words “frozen pizza” at least once a week, and my laundry pile is endless.

I am on my knees this morning, praying for the strength to get through this week. Praying for situations that are hopeless unless God shows up. And I am reminded that God has not called me to be perfect, He has called me to be faithful. So today, I am wondering aloud, “What has God called me to do today?” I will pour my time and energy into those things, and let the results go. I suppose that’s the hardest thing for me. I can spend all day cleaning my house, and at the end of the day it’s still a mess. I can pour myself into my boys, but how do I define success? It’s not tangible.

What’s on your list today?

Friday, September 21, 2007

oh gross

I cannot believe I just did that. It happened so fast, before I could even think about it. And there was really no question—I had to do it.

I just put my hand in the toilet.

Let me explain.

It’s really hard to buy underwear for the noisy boys. They have super skinny frames, so they wear an extra small size. The problem? They prefer just plain white, and the super small sizes all have Thomas or Blue’s Clues or some other “baby” thing on them. Which brings me to today’s toilet crisis. I was picking up their dirty clothes off the floor when a brand new pair of GAP, white undies dropped into the toilet. What could I do? As usual, it had been the only pack of plain white XS underwear on the shelf. And there was one pair of three, soaking up toilet water.

So I had to do it.

Now, dear readers, please tell me I’m not alone in my grossness. What have you done for your children that you thought you’d never do?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

two wheels

“Look at me go, Mom! Look at me go!” Twin B. shouted from his two-wheeler bike. The look on his face? Ecstatic. Proud. Triumphant.

A few days ago, my husband encouraged him to take his training wheels off and try again. “I think you’re ready,” he told Twin B. It took some coaxing, but he finally agreed.

And he took off like a shot.

I couldn’t be prouder. Go, B. go! You’re ready.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

music - WFMW

It’s five o’clock. I don’t know about your house, but at my house, we fondly refer to this time of day as “the witching hour.” I’m tired. The kids are tired. The baby is whiny. And I’m usually trying to make dinner.

My husband travels frequently during the week, so I’m often on my own. And since I’ve given up my five o’clock double martini, the witching hour is by far the most difficult part of my day. Recently, I found something that makes it more bearable. Music! At five o’clock when everyone is melting down, I pop in a worship CD while I cook. It doesn’t work magic, but it does smooth out the rough edges and give me the oomph I need to be a good Mom for just a few more hours.

And while the kids have no problem whacking each other while singing “Lord, I lift your name on high,” I find I’m less prone to resort to yelling and screaming when I’m singing praise choruses.

Upbeat worship music during the witching hour…works for me! Check out Rocks in my Dryer for more great tips!

Monday, September 17, 2007


I don’t like sports. I don’t like playing sports and I don’t particularly like watching sports. So, suffice it to say, I’m surprised by how much I enjoy watching my children play soccer. Like, I’m really into it.

The noisy boys are on the same team, and have a game every Saturday. They are adorable in their uniforms, and I love sitting on the sidelines cheering them on. The team is comprised of eight Kindergarten boys and one very patient coach. His own son is on the team, and on Saturday when this boy ran the length of the field kicking the ball the wrong direction, he said, “Buddy, you went the wrong way. But good job dribbling!”

God bless that man.

I do wonder what the kids on the field hear while they're playing. A loud chorus of parents shout, “Go, Johnny! Go after the ball! Kick it!” for an hour while the kids run around, fall down, and routinely lose shoes.

Now, is there any better way to spend a Saturday morning? I didn’t think so.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

hypothetical question

Hypotheticlaly speaking, if one was to feed their one-year old a fun, sprinkly ice cream cone bakery cookie that contained numerous harmful additives, including red dye #40 and red dye #3, how long would said one-year old’s poop be hot pink?

Hypothetically speaking.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

quick to judge

“Ryan! Come back here—Ryyyaan! Sit down!” The Mother pleaded desperately, while the rest of us sat quietly with our kids, waiting for music class to begin. What little control the mother had deteriorated quickly as the teacher handed out bells for the kids to use as instruments. Ryan literally ran circles around us during the entire class. I exchanged knowing looks with the moms around me. I watched my own boys participate appropriately in the class and thought smugly, “Heck, if I can get 2-year old twins to follow the directions, what is this lady’s problem?”

I became increasingly critical after the class, as I rehashed the experience over and over. “I understand that kids misbehave sometimes, that’s not what I have a problem with,” I explained to a girlfriend on the phone, “what I don’t understand is why his mother did nothing about it.”

The more I told the story, the more frustrated I became. Over dinner I told my husband angrily, “We’re paying a lot of money for this music class and I certainly didn’t pay to watch an undisciplined child run loose! I’m going to talk to that teacher next week and tell her she has to do something about Ryan, or we’re out of there.”

The next week Ryan did a bit better, but I was still fuming. While I round up the noisy boys and mentally rehearse my "Take care of this kid or we're out of here speech," I overheard Ryan’s Mom asking,“Are you sure it’s okay that we’re here?”
”It’s fine,” the teacher encouraged. “Music is so good for him. We can get an aide in next week to help you, if you’d like.”
“That would be great,” Ryan's Mom replied. Suddenly, I see her exhaustion and her son's autism.

My face reddens as I remember my rehearsed speech. Why hadn’t I even considered that this boy has special needs? Why am I so quick to judge this other Mom, when in reality I have no idea what she is dealing with?

Lord, teach me this lesson over and over until I get it right. Please help me to be slow to criticize and quick to encourage the people around me. Give me empathy and compassion in place of my hasty judgments. Root out the pride that lurks just under the surface and fill me with your grace. Amen.

Monday, September 10, 2007

God is with us

I stumbled on this blog several months ago, and have to share it with you. The author recounts stories from her Mother’s childhood during WWII, and they are powerful.

How easily I lose sight of the simple truth that wherever I am, God is with me. This truth makes me want to weep and dance all at the same time. Think about it, friends: God is with us.

Friday, September 7, 2007


I joined a different health club. This one has fun childcare—we’re talking computer lab, climbing structure, open gym kind of fun. The noisy boys were having so much fun today they didn’t want to leave. Twin B. actually said, “Can’t we just stay five more minutes?” This is a good thing.

Now, note to self: next time you’re on the elliptical and a trainer stops by and invites you to a “free” circuit training class, don’t go. It might sound fun, but trust me: that workout will kick your butt.

The ironic thing is that before the trainer came by, I had somehow talked myself into quitting my workout early, taking a nice, long shower, and getting a cup of coffee in the café before picking up the kids.

Next time I’ll do that.

Seriously, people. I’m not sure I can make it up the stairs tonight.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

first words

Baby b. has been babbling for awhile now, but outside of the occasional "Mom," hasn't said any real words. Until today. We were touring a fitness facility, walking by the outdoor swimming pool when he excitedly pointed and exclaimed, "NACK!" We were walking right by the snack bar.

He's a boy after my own heart.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

road trip

Top Ten Reasons to take a Family Trip

10. Listening to Adventures in Odyssey on tape.

9. Eating in Diners.

8. Learning things about your children you never knew before. Like the fact that their bladders can completely fill up in less than fifteen minutes.

7. Staying at family friendly hotels that don’t mind when a one-year old guest hangs out in the lobby for an hour while his big brothers sleep in.

6. Leapsters

5. Laughing together. What else can you do when you’ve stopped four times in the past hour and someone has to go? Again?

4. Learning to wing it. As a planner / control freak, this is hard for me. But what else can you do when virtually everything is unknown and new territory?

3. Acquiring special travel toys. Like this. (The picture doesn’t do it justice. This thing is almost as big as the noisy boys. And, of course, we have two of them now.)

2. Making memories with far-away family. Playing ping-pong in my Uncle’s basement was Twin B’s favorite thing from the entire vacation.

1. Watching your one-year old share an ice cream cone with his Great Grandfather. Worth the whole trip.