The BICKERING! Yes the BICKERING!
I have yet to speak with one parent in this universe that enjoys a good old bickering session between their children. In fact, most parents state it truly about sends them over the edge, to the point they are willing to lock their children outside and give them both permission and their blessing to pommel one another!
And I am hear to tell ya.... there perhaps is nothing more irritating than the homeschool bickering!
"Will you tell her to stop BREATHING!!! I can hear her and I can't concentrate!!" Truly.... it gets that ridiculous!
Nothing is EVER their fault and if I even have the audacity to imply that it is..... I apparently have chosen my favorite child and made it obvious the one I would like to place up for adoption.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard, "you ALWAYS take his/her side" I really could jump and plane and get away from the bicker!!
I have succumb to the fact that bickering is all part of the package. I can't stop it. I can't always prevent it. And I sure as heck know I can't always escape it, though I give it a real college try!!
So.... YES.... every now and again..... a bickering session takes place that actually brings me JOY!!! YES.... JOY!!! Most of the time I want to pull my ears off the side of my head and bury them in the back yard, but, every now and again, God blesses me with a session of bicker that leaves me belly laughing and extremely grateful for my children and the joy they bring me.
Yesterday..... I was giving God thanks for a "litter box,"
Yes... a stinky, plastic, unsightly litter box.
Let me explain. Both my son and my girls have a cat. They are 100% responsible for their pets, that was the deal we made. Ergo, they keep their cat's litter boxes, in corners of their bedrooms. They have to keep them cleaned religiously and all signs of litter need to be thoroughly vacuumed. I have definitely caught some resistance with these rules, but so far, they do pretty well.
The problem is.... my girls cat, Kip, REALLY, REALLY prefers to not only eat my son's cats food, but he also prefers to poo in her littler box. Now, I am not sure why.... both cats have the same darn litter box and litter, but for whatever reason, Kip has chosen his throne and it is NOT is own!
Well.... this REALLY ticks my son off because it not only stinks up his room but it also makes it so he is having to clean his litter box more often. With just his his cat, he could usually go a couple days without cleaning it but now... he has to clean it almost daily in order to prevent his room smelling like an outhouse!
The children have bickered about this on numerous occasions but yesterday morning took the cake.
My son came marching down from his room madder than a hornet!! The conversation that took place left me belly laughing short of breath. It went something like this....
My son: "That's it.... I am tired of Kip pooping in Bonnies' litter box!! My whole room smells and I have to clean it almost ever day!! "
My daughter: "I can't help it, he just goes in there!"
My son; "Well then you are going to start cleaning out my littler box too!"
My daughter: "No I'm not! That is your litter box, I clean out my own."
My son; "Yeah, but your cat is pooping in my litter box!"
My daughter; "SO... it's still your litter box!"
My son; "FINE... then I am going to scoop the poop out of my litter box and put it back in yours!"
My daughter; "That would be dumb!"
My son; "No it wouldn't it's YOUR CATS POOP!"
Now... please keep in mind, my son was fuming I mean he was dead serious about how this poop problem was disrupting his life beyond his ability to handle it! And my daughter really couldn't have cared less!
All I could do was bust out laughing! I mean... I could not believe this argument was even taking place! I couldn't even get mad or irritated... in fact... I wanted it to keep going!!! BAHAAAA!!
The awesome thing is.... my uncontrollable laughter aided in calming the situation and everyone started laughing!!!
At that moment.... rather than being irritated about this session of bicker, I embraced it and cherished it, realizing that one day... when these two are all grown up and we are sitting around the Thanksgiving table with their spouses telling stories.... this story will bring everyone a well needed belly laugh!
It will be a precious memory we will cherish.
Now, I wish we had way more of these types of quarrels at our house, but for today, I will be grateful and happy for the few that I get to tuck way in my memory to save for a later date!!
The next time your children are bickering... stop for a moment and listen..... is this a moment to remember? Will this pointless argument... one day be a memory that wraps you in joy and comfort.
I am so blessed with my children, I truly know this, however, some days it is easy to forget. Parenting can be exhausting to say the least.
I am extremely thankful for the days.... I can laugh and cherish the moments..... that will become the stories I tell my grandchildren, God willing!
So parents... find a moment to laugh with your children today! Who would have thought.... a littler box and some poo could bring such joy!
Peace and Blessings
Well.... we all know how often our little ones want a play mate! I will be the first to admit, playing Barbies or make believe is not my favorite past time, HOWEVER, there are some activities that the kid in me really still enjoys! I still LOVE to read, color, do crafts or PLAY PLAYDOUGH! So when one of my youngsters approaches me with that playful gleam in their eye... I quickly suggest one of the above activities.
Over the years, I have made many batches of homemade playdough. I love it because it is quick, easy and very inexpensive. Best of all, you can make any scent or color you choose. There are a zillion recipes out there!!
This is one of my favorites as a base playdough. I add different scents and colors for different times of the year. Today, we made a batch of Pumpkin Spice playdough. Here is the quick and easy recipe to whip it together. You may have a lot OR all of these ingredients already!
*1 cup of flour
*1/2 cup salt
*2 tsp cream of tartar
*1 cup of water
*2 TBS vegetable oil
Now... for pumpkin spice scent I add.....
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp nutmeg
*and if you really want a stronger cinnamon scent you can add a few drops of cinnamon essential oil!
*3 drops of yellow food coloring and 2 drops of red food coloring
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and mix over medium heat. Stir continuously. As you stir and the mixture heats up, it will begin to bind together and form the playdough. Keep stirring until it is completely bound in a big ball. Shut off the heat and dump the playdough out. IT WILL BE HOT! As it cools, knead the dough until the stickiness and tackiness is gone!
You are now.... READY TO PLAY!
A few years back I found a HUGE box of cookie cutters at a Goodwill for $3! It had cutters for every season. I take the ones out for each season to Audree or other children to play with! She loves to play with the dough in her play kitchen as well!
If it gives me 5 minutes of peace.. it is a GOOD thing!!! LOL
I leave a little tin full of the seasonal cookie cutters out to be played with!!!
A method of joy and entertainment for the little busy body... therefore... a method of joy for me!!!
Moving her kitchen... into my kitchen..... has proven to be a wonderful idea!!!! Thanks Pottery Barn Kids!
I hope this little idea give you some peace as well!!!
Peace and Blessings
Yes, oh yes!!!
If you are a parent.... you are in battle!! There is no doubt about it. Along with the precious moments you would not trade for anything... comes the challenges that send you running for the chocolate and the closest exit!!!
Nothing I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for becoming a full time, 24 hours, 7 day a week, 365 day a year parent!! You will not completely "Get it" until you become a parent and experience the plethora of treasures and trauma that are in store for you.
In the nearly 14 years I have been a mama, God has taught me MANY, MANY things!! WAAAY too many to list on this post, however, I found the old and faithful saying to be absolutely true... "PICK YOUR BATTLES!"
We really can apply this to every are of our lives, however, I am going to focus in our parenting for this lovely post!
Every parent has heard it said... probably over and over again... pick your battles, pick your battles, pick your battles!
YES! You absolutely need to if you want to survive and outlast your children because as I am sure you have already learned... they can be stubborn, resourceful and relentless little creatures!!
Whatever battle you are going to pick... you better be ready to fight to win because if you default and let them have the victory... you only set yourself up for a greater battle the next round in the ring!
So.. how does one know what battles to pick?
This is the million dollar question that has a pretty significant answer!
Prior to giving our lives to Christ, we had no real basis or foundation for our parenting decisions or battle picking. We kind of just focused in on what WE thought was important and was going to raise our children to be the responsible and kind adults we hoped for.
Yes... He came and blew a lot of my preconceived parenting ideas out of the water. He revealed to me the real battles I need to be picking and that wasting my time on the petty battles is only exhausting me to the point I have no energy left for the things that matter most.
So... today I will share with you... the battles we have chosen to pick in our home..... and ones we laid to rest......
Our battles revolve around ONE main focus..... God. In order to assess what battles you desire to pick with your children... you truly need to make a mission statement for your parenting. What is your mission as a parent? What is the end result you want to see?
For us... it is God fearing, responsible, respectful adults with kind and giving hearts that long to serve the Lord. That's it. That is success to Garrick and I. After truly thinking about it.... we assessed that we don't care what our children choose to do with their lives as long as.... they are responsible.... respectful, kind, giving and long to serve God.
We could now begin focusing on the battles we truly needed to pick with our children... here are a list of battles we assessed were not worth the picking....
1. Straight A's- Yes, we want our children to work hard and put forth as much effort as possible with their grades, however, at the end of their lives, when they stand before God. straight A's will not matter. If their goal is to become a Dr. to save lives one day.... they will naturally have the desire to work hard in school. We don't pick this battle. We monitor their grades and as long as we know they are trying and doing their best and maintaining "acceptable" grades.... we let it go.
2. Clothing- Yes, we rarely pick this battle. It can be exhausting and never ending. We do not allow immodest dressing, nor offensive dressing. Nor would we allow anything that would not be acceptable in the eyes of God, however, if my child wants to wear sweatpants and t-shirts every day or a swimsuit with snow boots around the house.... I simply don't care. My girls have walked around town in dress up dresses and plastic shoes.... and I couldn't care less. I have no energy for the clothing battles and at the end of their life..... it simply won't matter.
3. Perfectly Tidy Rooms- Okay.... nothing smelly or offensive, however, trying to get a child to appreciate an immaculate room is plainly frustrating and exhausting! Yes, we make them keep their rooms somewhat clean, but messiness comes with children and I don't have the energy to fight this daily. Once again... at the end of their life... God will not care if they kept an immaculate room!
So... what battles do we pick?
1. Heart Issues... ALWAYS- If our child misbehaves, makes a bad choice or is disobedient in any way, we take this very seriously. Respect and kindness and obedience are some of our number one goals. We will not tolerate disrespect in any way, shape or form, especially toward authority figures. This battle is picked probably most often among all. Not addressing this issue WILL have long term negative effects in their life and at the end of their life.... it will matter greatly to God the way they treated other people. When we go to school conferences... our very FIRST question is not how they are doing academically..... but how is their conduct? As long as my child is kind and respectful to the teacher, I could care less if they are not at the top of the class.
2. Obedience- Our children are required to be obedient.... it doesn't matter if it is the tiniest of things such as asking them to pick something up off the floor. If we ask it or request it.... it needs to be done. This battle can be a REAL battle.... but we fight it to win it. We surely have our losing moments.... but we never give up the fight. This is another issue that WILL matter at the end of their life. If they can not be obedient for their parents... we have little hope they will be obedient to God.
3. Lying- Lying is absolutely, unacceptable! Unfortunately, you do not always know if your child is lying, however, we usually have a pretty good idea! It is nipped ASAP! We try to approach it as lovingly and as patiently as possible, with deceit and lying is a horrible habit for children to attain and very difficult to break them of. Our goal is to teach them.... as Christ did... The truth will set you free!! Honesty will ALWAYS reap the most benefits, even if it is initially difficult. Lying is evil to me..... it was the way the first sin was committed and there is nothing that kills someones integrity faster than being seen as a liar! If you are not an honest person.... there is no true foundation to you as a person. No one will ever know... who you really are.
So, these are just a few! I could go on! But these are our number one focuses and battles! Everything else... God will take care of!
I pray... today.... that you are able to assess your true battles... put your energy toward those... and learn to enjoy the other precious parenting moments!
Peace and blessings
Many years ago.... at least 7 to be exact.... I found this poem while reading another blog I happen to love. The day I found it, I happen to be having a very rough day as a mama and once again, God's timing was impeccable.
I felt lead to share it with you today. God must know there are parents out there that desperately need to read it.
I am not going to go on about how quickly our children grow up and how we need to savor each moment, because I know we all know that. The bottom line is, we all do our best. In our humanness, it is nearly impossible to savor EACH and EVERY moment because we have human limitations.
We get worn out. We get exhausted. We get burned out. We get mentally drained and often with little rest and reprieve for ourselves. So my goal, or God's goal I should say, is not to make parents feel more guilt and shame for the moments they struggle and want to run to a land far, far away.
We are have been there and will be there again. God wants you to read this and understand that even though it is exhausting, God intends for your children to be a gift, where as Satan wants them to be a burden. Every parent needs a little motivation to keep plugging away.
I know there are days... I do.
Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps
a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts…
The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips.The last time that I lifted you
and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket
wanting to be rocked.
The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry
me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if
I’d known they were your last?
The last time that you catch a frog
in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.
Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts…
The last time that I comb your hair
or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you
and tuck you in at night.
The last time when we cuddle
with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed
and sleep between us two.
The last piano lesson,
last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school,
last soccer goal you make.
I look ahead and dream of days
that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss
today’s sweet, precious lasts…
The last time that I help you with
a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes,
your room is still a mess.
The last time that you need me for
a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night
with your old tattered bear.
My life keeps moving faster,
stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-
want to recognize your lasts…
The last time that you need my help
with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for
advice about romance.
The last time that you talk to me
about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey
for your high school team.
I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I’d hold on to your lasts.
For come some bright fall morning,
you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon
in a brilliant sort of way.
One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand
just how much you’ll be missed.
I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer,
God,to every precious last.
Peace and Blessings
Your Friend and Fellow Parent
They day.... I first met you.
The days.... you still played together.
The days.... when Halloween candy was like winning the lottery!
The days... when it was so easy to make you smile!
The days I had to privilege of not just being your mama... but your teacher.
The days I wanted to pull my hair... but really couldn't help but laugh!
The days... when I could kiss your chubby toes... all day!!!
The days... you were all still around... to take our yearly family picture.
The days you wore piggy tails.... and we played candy land. For HOURS!
The days of silly selfies.... and snuggles on the couch!
The days when helping daddy... was exciting not a bore!
Today, after church, I began pondering with God, the struggles I have in parenting. I think a universal parenting problem is struggling with the reactions we often receive from our children when we tell them no or something they do not want to hear.
A lot of times, it may feel like the easier thing to do, just to let them have their way, rather than deal with the unpleasant attitudes and behaviors that follow setting boundaries and limits with them.
God revealed to me, if you look at this clearly, what is really happening is I am allowing my children/ child bully me or manipulate me into giving them what they want by plaguing me with their negative behavior.
Why I allow this, I don't really know But I know I do at times. My job as a parent is not to make my children perpetually happy and content with life, nor is it to be their best friend.
God has stated very clearly what my job is.... and that is the only way I stay grounded!
Here is a little video clip God lead me to make today..... I hope it speaks to you, if you struggle in this area of parenting!
Peace and Blessings
So.... let us just say.... my precious two year old can be a bit of an unwelcome distraction during our homeschool days!
Oh, she loves to be part of school, but not necessarily as a student, but as the class clown!!
In desperation I have sought out different ways to entertain her during school. We have a play room, however, she really prefers not to play in there and rather than playing IN the room with the toys, she prefers to BRING the toys to her... ergo, the whole darn house becomes a playroom! You catching my drift???
It can be frustrating to have a room full of age appropriate, engaging toys that your child doesn't touch because they want to be where the action is.
I can somewhat understand this.
Like many... I LOVE Pottery Barn, especially the Kids edition, however, my wallet does NOT! When my now, 11 year old daughter was turning 3, she BEGGED for a "pink kitchen" set. I looked around and found one that was in our budget more so than the Pottery Barn Kids edition.
It is hard to believe we have had that kitchen for 8 years now, but it is still alive and kicking!
I recall swooning, I mean looking, through a Pottery Barn Kids Christmas magazine one year and seeing that they had placed the play kitchen in the actual kitchen of the home! The little ones were playing in their little kitchen, while mom was playing in her big one!
I thought to myself... that really is simple and genius, but that is all the further I took that thought! (FYI, that happens frequently!!)
For whatever reason, yesterday, I got a wild hair to move the play kitchen!!
I thought... Hmmmmmm.. perhaps my little class clown will play more with the kitchen IN the kitchen, especially since we do school in the dining room, where she would still be within sight and earshot.
I got to work moving things aroun
AND... above it a photo of the finished product!!
SHE LOVED IT!! She played with it most of the afternoon and her sisters even played with her for awhile!!
Now, every parent knows how this goes....newness tends to ware off quickly, however, I am standing faithful that this will at least be helpful during school time!
It also makes me happy to see toys actually getting USED!!
I have got all kinds of fun plans in my head with the little kitchen! Christmas lights at Christmas! Gingerbread cookie decals on the window above her kitchen!
Yes, it is very possible I may have more fun with it than Audree... but hey... its the little things right???
If you all have any other great ideas for toddler entertainment for getting your dusty, neglected toys used..... please share!!! I may only get a few minutes peace... but a few minutes... is a few minutes!!!
Peace and Blessings
This may come as a big shock to some... but I have a tendency to maybe, blow little things, just sometimes, out of proportion. (Insert smirk) I can, if given the right set of circumstances, make a ginormous mountain... out of a tiny molehill! There... I admit it.
Now, I know I am probably not the only woman and/or mother who has to make this confession. I can tell you that my tendency to do this GREATLY increases with the following circumstances;
- Tiredness/ fatigue/ exhaustion- Almost like my tired two year old, when my body, heart or mind is physically warn, my melting point is extremely low.
- Hunger- Yes... I can get HANGRY! I LOVE THAT TERM!!!!! Now, my melting pointing is much higher with hunger, however, push it to the limit and you may want to duck for cover! I especially struggle with this when I just sit down to finally eat something and my two year old climbs on my lap and starts snatching my food, after she has just eaten mind you!!
- When I have been in high demand- This one usually has a pretty low melting point as well. Days when I feel like the word "MOOOOOOOOM" has been called out more than should be humanly possible and even the darn dogs have been underfoot. I tend to crack a whole lot quicker. Especially when it has been for ridiculous, needless things like, finding something that was literally in PLAIN VIEW or whining for the 576th dog treat for the day! Oh and my all time favorite... when the fur balls bark to go outside and I trail all the way to the kitchen to let them out and they stand there and stare at me as I hold open the door! That REALLY tends to lower the melting point!! LOL
Yesterday, God kind of called me out on my mountain making tendency when I walked into the play room (that I just recently had the kids help me clean mind you!) and it looked like an F5 had just come through without my knowledge!
I was about to get my feathers ruffled when God stopped me... perhaps in the name of love!! LOL He said this..
"Now, really, is this THAT big of a deal? At the end of the day, isn't it more important that your kids had fun and enjoyed some crafts than a neat and tidy play room? This isn't Pottery Barn Kids, this is the O'Brien home! Time yourself and see how long this really takes you to clean up.... you will see... this is really a molehill!"
So, once again, He was right and was more than likely wrong! I TOOK ON THE CHALLENGE! I timed myself and as God stated.... it only took me 11 minutes to tidy up the mess I am about to share with you! 11 MINUTES!! 11 Minutes out of my 24 hour day and I was going to let that become a mountain! How many times have a made this mistake??? Sadly, too many to count. I am not saying my kids should leave a war zone scene like this without having to clean it up, however, my reaction to the messes will be greatly different now.
11 minutes... is not worth a 15 minute melt down! So... I share with you the before and after photos! I am incredibly grateful for God's voice and direction! He truly knows how to bring peace.... to utter chaos! He's the BEST at it!!
11 Minutes later....
11 Minutes later....
I should have really gotten a close up of the table! It was quite scary and intimidating!!! LOL
However..... not worth the melt down or the mountain!!
I pray your mountains..... become molehills... as you allow God to give you a different and more peaceful perspective!
Peace and Blessings
It never fails.
I can be in the same room with the telephone for three hours and it won't ring one time. The minute, I mean the MINUTE, I walk up the stairs to do something, the phone begins ringing off the wall. Of course by the time I high tail it down the stairs to get the phone, it stops ringing!
I have found that there are so many of these little daily, inconvenient coincidences that take place in the realm of parenting as well.
Everyone knows how your parenting style tends to simmer down a bit with the birth of each child. I was extremely anxious and anal with my firstborn and now that I am on number four, I have taken down a notch or 50!! I don't care what she wears most of the time, I could care less if all she wants to eat for breakfast is MY breakfast and if the darn sucker will keep her happy in the grocery store, she can have two!!
With that being said, there is one area of parenting that I absolutely cannot get too laxed on and that is supervision. I can confess that there have been moments that I needed a mommy time out and found myself hiding out behind the laundry room doors a little bit too long. When I finished wiping the chocolate evidence from my face and reappeared into my "household society," I often found my youngest daughter practicing her cosmetology skills out, baring a close resemblance to Alice Cooper or Miranda Sings.
Really, all I could was laugh. Though messy as all get out to clean up, those really are the parenting moments you come to cherish.
The picture says it all....
These are the moments.....
my eyes were blind....
Maybe in the bathroom....
Or running way behind....
When my eyes were opened....
And I did reappear....
I saw the shenanigans....
And one thing became quite clear...
I must pray protection...
As I am busy cleaning or cooking...
As many accidents can happen...
When I am not looking.
The fact of the matter is this, we cannot possibly watch and/ or see our children every second of every day.
My heart breaks for the well meaning, nurturing parents that experienced a tragic accident with their children in those few moments that they were not looking. I will take my lip stick canvas any day, however, we so very often rush to judgement when these horrific accidents occur.
We start hurling accusations and inferring that we would never let something like that happen to our children. While, yes, there are negligent parents in this world, most often, these accidents are happening to parents just like you and I, that happen to take their eyes off their child for a few moments, when in God's providence, the unthinkable happens.
God has taken judgement from my heart, by replacing it with self awareness of my fallibility. I am not a perfect parent, I will not throw stones.
I feel both blessed and grateful that my little accidents could be erased with some soap and water. As I am fully aware..... they could have ended very differently.
Let us give grace.... as it is grace we long to recieve.
Peace and Blessings
I guess dry erase markers make great nail polish!!! Who knew?
SCHOOLS OUT FOR THE SUMMER..... meet my Alice Cooper!
These little tootsies are one of those precious pleasures of parenting!! I could kiss them all day!
This colossal mess.... is one of those pesky pitfalls of parenting! I could run from it.... everyday! LOL (FYI... sometimes I do!)
I could literally compare pleasure and pitfall photos all day. And I am here to tell ya, I am in no way an expert on the wondrous vocation of parenting! Four kiddos later and every day is a new adventure. I have children ranging in age from 13 to 2. For the most part, I feel fairly confident with the 2 year old, as this is my fourth ride on the toddler train, however, my fourth child has been my most challenging yet and has often left me scratching my head and covering my ears and ducking for cover!! LOL
Then, there is the 13 year old. One of the main ways I am able to manage my teenager as well as the preteen is by placing myself back at that age and recalling how challenging and possibly annoying I had to have been to my parents as well. NOT, that I am saying that my precious angels are annoying by any means, I am only recalling in fuzzy detail the sassy, know it all, combative behaviors I may have exhibited on rare occasions during those wonderful teen years. It seriously helps me give more grace and have more patience with the behaviors I find less than desirable!
On this page.... I will be a "real mama!" I will share with you;
- The pleasures and pitfalls of everyday parenting.
- Ways God has lead me to train my children that have proven successful.
- Supportive materials and references for parents in need!
- Fun ways to engage your children.
We are in this parenting thing together.... but most importantly.... God is as well!
Peace and BlessingsMissy