Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year in a Word

2014. Yikes. I remember when my high school graduation--1997--seemed eons away. And now... well, now it seems eons away also, but in the opposite direction.

I've never been huge on New Year's resolutions, but last year I decided that January 1 seemed like as good a time as any to make some changes. Instead of making a list of goals, though, I chose a word to focus on for the year. My word for 2013: Intentional. I picked 4 areas in my life that needed some attention, and decided to spend the year intentionally focusing on those themes. Did it work? Yes--when I actually stayed focused on them. Some areas saw more improvement than others. But overall, it was a success. The one-word focus simplified my thoughts and goals and even day-to-day decisions.

I hadn't really planned to do it again, but over the past few weeks, one word has been gnawing at me. I've been thinking about it, dreaming about it, talking about it... and I think I have found my focus for 2014.


This year, I will be planning and acting and choosing with the word growth in mind. Specifically, I want to grow as a wife, as a mother, in ministry, and in my own personal spiritual life. I will make some more concrete goals in some of those areas to help me keep on track (I learned from last year that this is the key to my success!), but just having that word in mind, that singular focus, will help me to filter decisions and opportunities that come up.

So take a look at your goals for this year, whether formal or informal. Is there a theme? Could you sum up your aspirations with one overall topic? What word could you use this year?

Happy 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cookin' it up at Christmastime

It's Christmas Eve! And after a brief warm spell, I woke up to find SNOW on the ground this morning! All is right with the world.

I love Christmas cooking. I love cooking in general, but cooking at Christmas is especially lovely. I know it's late, but I thought I would share the recipes I'll be making over the next couple of days.

First, dinner tonight. We have to leave for church before dinnertime, and we won't be home until bedtime... so I decided to make a big pot of soup that the kids can have before we go, and then we can keep it on warm during church so that maybe they can grab another bowl while we read before bed tonight.

I'm making this for Christmas Eve, but if you're going to have ham in the next couple of days, this is a fabulous thing to make with the leftovers. And my kids LOVE it! In fact, Lamb just hugged me and thanked me because she could smell it cooking! Oh, and it is SUPER easy, which is always helpful at a busy time of year.

Ham & Bean Soup, Zookeeper Style

1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1-2 stalks of celery, diced
2 tablespoons butter
3 cans (15 1/2 oz each) Great Northern Beans
2 cups cooked ham, diced
1 can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
salt and white pepper to taste

Cut up veggies. Melt butter in large saucepan, add veggies and sauté until tender-crisp. Rinse beans. Mash 1 can, keep the rest whole. Add beans, ham, and broth to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; add bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Simmer until heated through (or until ready to eat).

See? Simple. And so, so, so good. Tonight I am serving it with French bread, but I often make corn bread to go with it. Mmmmmmmmm... I'm hungry.

Next up: Christmas morning. For this, I am making two recipes I found online. They are both recipes I have made before, and they are BIG HITS! The eggs nests were a little intimidating to me at first--it seemed like an odd mix of ingredients--but trust me, the flavors come together AMAZINGLY.

In an effort to save a little time (because there are about a thousand other things I'm supposed to be doing right now), I'm just going to post the links here. PLEASE take the time to check them out. They are delish.

Brunch Egg Nests
Breakfast Casserole

And for Christmas night, our newest "tradition." (We've made this the last two years, and Lamb insisted that we make it again... ON Christmas night... AT my mother-in-law's house. She is adamant that this is tradition and we can't change it!) We will be at my mother-in-law's, and she will handle dinner, but this is a fun little dessert. The green gel and the smashed candy canes (I use strawberry) make it sophisticated-looking, which the kids (and grown-ups) love.

North Pole Strawberry Smoothies

So those are my big dishes for the next few days. What's on your menu???

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Last-minute gift ideas for special kiddos

Christmas is in a week! A WEEK! And this post is long overdue. I'm sorry. But better late than never, right? I, for one, still have some Christmas shopping to finish up, so I'm hoping I'm not the only one.

Buying gifts for kids can be surprisingly tough. You'd think with the millions of options out there, it would be easy to pick up anything and everything--and in some ways, that's true. But finding something meaningful, fun, and useful--something that will really be enjoyed and not just be more stuff--can be a challenge.

And then you get to the bonus round: buying for a child with special needs. What on earth am I going to do now? you ask me. As if it's not hard enough to buy for a typical kid, who wants typical things just like their typical peers; now I need to find a gift for a kid who doesn't necessarily act like his peers, who may not be able to play like his peers, and who might not even be able to communicate like his peers! What on earth do I get that kid?!

First of all, take a deep breath and relax. Quit freaking out on me already. We'll get through this together.

Disclaimer... Keep in mind that Roo is 3 years old. I am going to give you my thoughts on this topic, but it may vary if you are talking about an older child or adult with special needs. I can only speak from three years of experience, after all. :-) Also, some of these suggestions are tailored specifically to kids with Down syndrome. Again, I'm writing from my own experience here.

I'd like to offer you some general buying tips, and then I'll give you a few suggestions from our favorites. Are you ready? You might want to write this down... oh wait, I'm doing that for you. Well, then, have your printer ready or something. Here we go...

Tips & Tricks

  • Ask mom or dad. This is a perfect example of how much kids with special needs are like their typical peers. I have 5 nephews and a niece (none with special needs), and I never know what to get them for birthdays or Christmas! Every year I ask their parents (or them, as they get older) for gift ideas. Sometimes we may feel awkward when a child with special needs is involved--maybe you think asking a parent for gift ideas will point out how different their child is. But no, it just shows that you care and want to get something the child will like. Ask away!
  • Stick with the chronological age on toys. If you haven't gotten suggestions from Mom or Dad and you're standing in the toy section at Target, buy a toy that coincides with the child's chronological age. Even if the child isn't ready for the toy yet, chances are they will be one day. Buying a toy for a younger age range--again, unless the parents have suggested it--can be risky, because you may unintentionally insult the parents with a message of "I think your kid is just a big baby." Better to help them plan ahead than to assume that they are behind.
  • Bring on the bling! Colors, lights, songs, sounds--the more, the better! Sensory stimulation is great for all kids, but especially for kids who have developmental delays. For example, because babies/toddlers with Down syndrome are less mobile than their typically-developing peers, they are likely to play with a smaller amount of toys for a longer time--they can't run from toy to toy to toy like their friends. So a toy that is more stimulating gives them a bigger "bang for their buck" while they're playing.
  • Check for the catalog. Toys R Us has a great catalog specifically designed for differently-abled kids. They do a great job of giving ideas AND of explaining the educational and/or developmental benefits of each item.

Great Gifts for Special Kids (and aren't they all special?) ;-)

Here are a few of our favorite things we have:

The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Musical Table
We have an older model (Ours originally belonged to Monkey), but Roo loves it! Before he could stand, we gave it to him without the legs (and then added them later, obviously). This table offers great options for songs and sounds, and it has held up great for almost 6 years!
A case is available for the iPhone/iPod and for the iPad. We only have the iPhone one, and it is heaven sent! Roo loves to play with apps on my phone... and he also loves to throw. This case lets me give him my phone without raising my blood pressure the entire time he has it.

iTunes Gift Cards
While admittedly not as fun as giving toys, gift cards for apps (and songs!) can be a fantastic gift for kids with special needs. Kids love to get on the iPhone and iPad (see the gift above), and there are some great educational apps out there--but not all of them are free. In fact, some can get really pricey!
Roo got this for Christmas last year, and it is great! It is colorful but simple. There are a variety of ways to put the coins in, which provides good fine motor skills practice. There is sorting and matching. And when you're done, all of the pieces can be stored in the cash drawer! Love it!
Chunky Puzzles
Kids with Down syndrome tend to have delayed motor skills, so activities like puzzles provide a fun way to hone those skills. We especially love the Melissa & Doug line, like this one...
Balls, balls, balls!
Roo loves to throw, so balls are one of our favorite things for him. But balls are a versatile toy--they can be played with by one person or a whole group; they can be thrown, rolled, bounced, sat on, tossed in a basket, hit with a bat or club; they can be big or small; they are an all-around blue ribbon winner! Two years ago, my brother and sister-in-law got Roo a set of these sensory balls, and I love them (and so does Roo)!
Another basic and classic toy, it's also another favorite in our house. Sorting, matching by shape, matching by color, and more! Kids who don't have the fine motor skills to put the shapes in the correct hole can take the lid off and just practice dropping them in the bucket. And dumping them out is always tons of fun!
Roo absolutely loves playing with Monkey's myriad of remote control cars, but he can really only handle one or two buttons. These remote control cars are great for little ones.

Other ideas

Here are some more great ideas. Some are basics, others are things on Roo's wish list that I can't personally review (yet), but all would be great ideas...
  • Books
  • Color-sorting toys (like this one from Lakeshore Learning)
  • Prewriting skills toys (this one and this one are on Roo's wish list)
  • A small trampoline with a handle
  • Play-doh or theraputty
  • Sing-along CD player
  • Kid-friendly tablets (Roo is getting the LeapPad Explorer for Christmas, so stay tuned!)
  • Foam or wooden blocks
This list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it's been helpful. What are your shopping tips or gift ideas? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

When your words come back to haunt you

If you are at all familiar with my blog or have heard me speak, you know that I feel strongly about letting go of expectations. Sometimes we have to let go of the "should be"s of life and accept what is. It feels scary, but it is so freeing when you finally get there.

Sometimes that's easier said than done. And I'm not even talking about the big, scary circumstances of life... like, say, finding out that your 3-month-old has a chromosomal abnormality that is going to completely rock your world. No, I'm talking about the day-to-day things, like... well, let's just say for example, you want to put up Christmas decorations and do some cleaning, and you have a very sick and clingy 3-year-old and you can't get anything accomplished.

Not that that has ever happened to me. Or is happening to me today. It's just an example I have pulled out of thin air, obviously.

OK, you got me. It's a true story. You know, that's happening to a friend. Let me tell you her story.

This friend of mine has a little guy who may or may not have thrown up in the van on the way to my her speaking engagement yesterday. And he has had terrible diarrhea ever since. Today it's to the point where the poor guy won't even sit down--he just squats all of the time. He's pretty happy, other than the 20 or so times a day that he's getting his diaper changed. And he won't eat a blessed thing. Poor sweet boy.

In the meantime, the house is full of bins of Christmas decorations. And the kids' rooms are overflowing with toys that need to be sorted through and pared down to prepare for the onslaught that is called Christmas. And her new office is full of bags of things that need to be donated and files to sort through and various junk that has just found its way in there. And her garage is still full of stuff from when the basement flooded this summer. And she didn't plan to change diapers every 15 minutes and search for the best cures for diaper rash and coax her sweet child to eat just one.single.bite of applesauce or yogurt or just about anything.

And she got a little overwhelmed.

Then she remembered the talk that she gave the day before, the one where she says that each of us is created for a unique purpose. The one where she says that we have to let go of our own agenda and recognize that what seems like "Plan B" to us is often "Plan A" for God. He's got this. Life may take a different turn than you expected, but God had it in the plans all along, and He will use it for good. Embrace it, don't fight it.

Then she realized that this may not be limited to big-life scenarios. Maybe she needs to let go a little. Maybe the source of her stress isn't really the things on her to-do list, but her unwillingness to change her timeframe. Maybe God's plan for today doesn't involve snowglobes and wreaths and cleaning. And maybe, just maybe, if she embraces her day rather than fighting it, she'll be pleasantly surprised at where it takes her.

Maybe she should take her own advice more often.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sick little boy to snuggle.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lists, day 1: 7 Things I Learned in Chicago

I don't know how it happened, but I suddenly find myself with a variety of lists on my mind--the "Top 5" this, the "Best 7" that. So this week is going to be a Week of Lists. Every day this week I'm going to post a list of something.

Let's start with my weekend. I was in Chicago!!! I had the opportunity to speak to the MOPS group in Aurora, IL, and had a blast doing it. And since they meet on Friday mornings, Mr. Fantastic and I decided to just make a weekend out of it. It was an amazing time of just being a couple--I am so thankful for the opportunity.

I think we all know that I am not great about carving time out to blog as often as I'd like, and if I gave you a play-by-play of our trip I would never get it done. Instead, I give you (in no particular order)...

(I left out one very important thing on my original list! I had to come back and add it in.)


7 8 Things I Learned from my Trip to Chicago

  1. I really do love sharing and connecting with women through speaking. Yes, I already knew that. But every time I get the opportunity... oh! It just makes my heart sing. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to be with those women. (Thank you, Penny, for setting it up!)
  2. My hubby and I love to spend time together. Whether we were eating dinner on the 95th floor of the Hancock Building or just riding together in the car, we relished our time together. Laughs were shared, dreams were discussed, plans were made.
  3. If you're going to take 5 pairs of shoes on a 3-day trip, probably at least one of them should be tennis shoes. Or at least comfortable walking shoes. Just sayin'. My poor tootsies.
  4. Parents should have some kind of re-entry program after being away from their children, like the astronauts do. Just a gradual reacclimation (and according to dictionary.com I just made that word up) to real life. Because when you have 72 hours of talking at a normal pace and volume paired with periods of silence, and then you go straight back into full exposure to 3 excited children... it is a stressful situation.
  5. Apparently our dog has issues with change. Not only did she pee and poop (in her crate!!!) while my mother-in-law kept her over the weekend, she came downstairs and peed on the floor right in front of me and Mr. Fantastic! And can I just add that I am already NOT a dog person? This animal is not helping her case.
  6. Chicago has some amazing architecture. We were blessed with unusually nice weather while we were there, and were able to take a beautiful river boat cruise that discussed the architecture of the buildings along the river. It was the highlight of our stay.
  7. Sometimes you get away to sitesee, and sometimes you get away to relax. This was definitely the latter. We enjoyed a stroll down Michigan Avenue, dinner at the Hancock Building, a horse-drawn carriage ride (Yep, my hubby is the BEST!), a river cruise, and a walk to Navy Pier... but we also took a 3-hour nap on Friday afternoon, and on Saturday we went to see a matinee ("Captain Philips", which I highly recommend), and then went back to our room when it was done... at 6:45! Yep, we ordered room service, watched a movie, Mr. Fantastic watched football, I played Candy Crush, and I think I was asleep by 9:30. It.was.HEAVEN.
  8. We are extremely blessed to have grandparents who live close by and who are willing & able to keep the kiddos for a weekend. We missed them terribly, but were very thankful to know that they were loved and cared for--and we were pretty darn thankful to have some time to ourselves, too.
That's our trip in a nutshell. Thanks for your prayers before and during my speaking engagement. They just get to be more and more fun every time. I can't wait for my "Joy" talk in December and back to "Created to be" in January! :-)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crying in Target

Yesterday was our first real snow of the season. It arrived to mixed reviews according to my Facebook, but in my house it has been a welcome addition. Well, it did lead to some traffic woes yesterday (Come on, folks, we live in Ohio. We get snow EVERY YEAR.), but overall I am loving the feel of a winter wonderland. The ground is white, the trees are sparkling, Starbucks has red cups... It doesn't get much better.

And thanks to my friend Snow, I became stupid brave determined enough to head out for some shopping with Roo this morning. We actually had a few errands that we needed to run, but we ended up in Target, and I decided to peruse the Christmas decorations while I was there. And then I remembered that it will soon be time for our Elf to come (We don't do the "real" Elf on the Shelf, but we have a little gingerbread man that I use as our elf, and we have a beautiful advent calendar where he leaves a little treat--or a clue about where to find a treat--each day.), and it seemed like a good time to start gathering trinkets for him to pass along to our children. So I headed to the stocking stuffers.

And that is when it hit me.

I looked at rows of Hello, Kitty and Dora the Explorer and even Disney princess toys... and realized that my little girl isn't so little any more. We may have kept her away from many of the "teenagery" things I see little girls getting into these days, and she has developed a sudden and unexpected love of Sofia the first... but she is growing up. Princess wands and tiaras aren't her thing any more. A Dora headband is more likely to elicit an eye roll than a smile. For goodness sake, the girl doesn't even believe in Santa any more--she's going to know the elf isn't real!

And then I cried in Target. Just a little. Just a tear or two. I love my girl. I love her age, the conversations we can have, the concepts she grasps that she couldn't just a few years ago. I love the poems that she writes, I love that she finds and corrects grammar mistakes on magazines and worksheets that she receives. But I wish I would have cherished the princess phase a little more. I wish I could hold onto the magic of toddlerhood and the preschool years. Life with an 8-year-old is tons of fun, and in some ways I am much better with this age than the little ones... but already it is going much too fast.

My kids are growing up. Somebody hit the brakes, would you? This is flying by.

Then I looked down and saw that Roo's nose was runny and tried to wipe it off. "Magic of toddlerhood" my foot. 3-year-olds can be a real pain--and they can scream bloody murder at the site of a simple tissue. Who would miss this??? Not me. Nope, definitely not. Excuse me while I wipe my eyes... allergies, you know...

Maybe I should just avoid Target for a while.

Like that's going to happen.

Friday, November 1, 2013

And we wonder why moms are a little bit crazy...

Thursday afternoons are hectic.  Partly because I am just.so.over the week at that point--swimming lessons after school on Tuesday, church Wednesday evening, and an after-school science program on Thursday. Our afternoons and evenings are NON-STOP, from the minute they get off the bus until the magical time when they are finally in bed for the night. For two days I have been pushing them, "Guys, we have to get going. PLEASE get that done. What else do you still need to finish?" As if a typical day wasn't cramped enough, on these days we have chunks of time stolen from us. And suddenly it's Thursday and I'm tired of it, and I know that I have to do it again.

And when I do go pick up the big kids from their after-school program, I have Roo with me. And he is excited to find his big brother and sister. Who are in two separate rooms. On the exact opposite end of the school from the parking lot. And I don't know if you have guessed this, but Roo can be a lot to handle.

As an added bonus, on this particular Thursday, it was raining. Strike that, it was POURING DOWN RAIN. So I didn't bother to pull the stroller out of the van and set it up, I just grabbed Roo and ran for the building.

I have to admit that it was comical to let him run through the building, partly because it is just plain hilarious to see the way he runs, with his arms flying and his feet still a little unsure. And also because he would stop at every open door and BELLOW his siblings' names, in language that only our family could understand. I did, however, get weary of having to run and grab him every time he turned down a wrong hall (on accident or on purpose!) or ran into a room where some poor teacher was trying to finish up for the day.

And then... the program ran over the regular time slot. So we finally got back to the appropriate place in the school... and we had to wait. And Roo doesn't wait well. (The previous week, by the way, I had arrived at the correct dismissal time, and my kids were the only ones left. And I had to answer questions like, "Why did you come so late, Mommy? Why weren't you here when we got done? Did you forget?")

It feels a little like an understatement to say that I was frazzled by the time that they got dismissed. I think you have probably done that math in your head already.

But what you don't know is that my kids LOVE the after-school science program. And that they come out with the energy one would expect of a person who has chased a Monster drink with a 5-Hour Energy.

They were a little amped up.

"Mommy, guesss what!"

"Mommy, I can't wait to tell you!"

"Mommy, look what we made today!"
"Mommy, my project is hanging in the hall!"

"Mommy, Blake said he'll come over sometime!" (I have never heard of this Blake person. When did we decide to invite him to our house?)




And as a grabbed Roo's hand for the 10th time in 5 steps, I finally said in as nice a voice as I could muster, "You know, guys, I'm having a hard time listening to you and chasing your brother. I can't talk to anyone until we get into the van."

Good job, Mommy. You handled that like a pro. That should solve all the world's problems.


"No. Did you hear what I just said? You have to wait until we get to the van."


"Mommy, guess what!"

"Not until we're in the van."


"Hey Mommy?"

"Nope. In the van."


"Oh, Mommy, I forgot to tell you--"

"NO. Not until we're IN.THE.VAN."



Look of death.

"Oh yeah."

Finally we reached the magical place where I could buckle Roo in, unload the bundle of things I was carrying, and plop my weary body into a comfy seat.


"OK, guys. We're in the van. I've had a minute to collect my thoughts. Now, what did you want to say?"

Blank stares.

"What do you mean?" (Lamb.)

"I told you guys that I couldn't talk until we were in the van. You wanted to say some things on the way and I told you to wait. Now we're here. What did you want to say?"

Pause. More blank stares.

"I don't think I needed anything. I think it was just Monkey." (Totally not the case.)

Monkey shrugs and says, "I don't know. Guess it wasn't that important."

Oh for the love.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Heart of the Matter: Anything means ANY thing

I did it--or I should say, I'm doing it. I'm praying ANYTHING. "God, I will do anything. I will give anything."

I thought it would be scary, but it's not. It is unbelievably freeing. Because the things I've been holding onto... they're not mine to hold onto. I have been clutching so tightly onto the idea of control, when I knew deep down that I didn't have control. THAT was scary. THAT was stressful.

It has been coming slowly. I have been finding ways to simplify. I have, as you know, cut out television for the past month--and while I will probably start watching some things again in November, I am glad that I took the time off. I learned the joy of following through with a commitment that, in and of itself, isn't "important." I learned that I have developed all sorts of ways to waste time and avoid some deeper issues in my heart, and I have worked to cut those out as well. I learned that the world keeps spinning even when I miss "major" events in the lives of, well, people who don't actually exist. (And I've learned that I don't even really care nearly as much as I thought I would.)

But it's not just about TV. My heart has been softening toward my children in areas that I didn't know it was hardened. I have been gracious with my husband when I wanted to be defensive. I have said "no" to things that were good because I knew that they weren't the best for my family right now.

Slowly, I have--after almost 30 years of being a Christ-follower--been turning my life over to Jesus in all new ways.

And so it just made sense to begin praying "anything." This morning I was literally on my knees praying "anything." I can't even REMEMBER the last time I got on my knees to pray.

At first I thought God wasn't answering me, that He wasn't leading me. In her book (called Anything, if you haven't been following along in this blog series) Jennie Allen says that God started leading them immediately. Where was MY leading? I think deep down I expected to wake up in the morning and find a baby on my doorstep or check my e-mail and find a message begging our family to move to Africa. No such leading.

But He was leading. Is leading.

Jennie says, "Daily abandon would prove to be more costly than the reckless kinds of obedience."

And this is it. This is where He is leading me. In the day-to-day dying to self. When I pray for God to change my husband's heart about something, and He says, "Why don't we change yours?" When I think my plate is already full, and Lamb announces, "Mommy, guess what! I volunteered you to be in charge of my fall party at school!" When someone gets upset over something that I did--something that I thought was good and helpful--and God whispers, "Just say, 'I'm sorry.'"

ANYTHING doesn't mean "any big thing." It means anything. Big or small. Letting go of being right. Letting myself be inconvenienced. Being gracious when I feel I have been wronged. Being patient when I want a few minutes to process and my kids just.won't.stop.talking.

Will there be big things? I think so. I hope so--with a hope that is both excited and a little anxious. But right now, anything means going through my day with my hands open, not holding onto an illusion of control or an idea of entitlement.

God, I will do anything.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekend Review... in time for the next weekend...

I have been waiting and waiting to tell you about last weekend. Now it's Friday again, time for another weekend. But I still want to tell--and show--you what we did last weekend! So here I am. Better late than never, so I've heard.

My kids had the day off of school on Friday--YAY! Instead of just hanging out at home or spending the day focused on our own fun and happiness, we decided to make our day about others. This will be the subject of a whole other post, because it.was.AWESOME. Seriously fabulous. We had a GREAT day giving to others. And then at the end of the day, we DID do a little family celebration... by taking the kids to Boo at the Zoo.

This is a terrific family event, and we have gone every year since Lamb was just 1. (Well, last year we got TO the parking lot, and then Roo puked all over Daddy, so I don't know if that really counts as GOING. But other than that.) Everything is decorated for Halloween, nothing is scary, and there are 12 trick-or-treat stations, featuring full-size candy bars and Little Debbie snacks. The kids have a blast--and so do we.

This year... oh my heart... my three munchkins decided to wear coordinating costumes...


Are they not the cutest minions you have ever seen?

And talk about the perfect costume...

I wish he would have left those goggles on, because they were PER.FEC.TION.

Unfortunately, around 1 AM (back at home, while everyone was in bed--not still at Boo at the Zoo!) I started hearing an all-too-familiar sound... the barking cough. Poor Roo gets croup so darn easily! I was up with him off and on until 5, and then I just sat up with him, trying every trick in the book. No luck. Finally around 6 I decided to take him to Children's. Since this has become a semi-regular occurrence for us, we decided not to bother any grandparents or babysitters, and Mr. Fantastic just stayed at home with the big kids while I took Roo to the ER. I have to say, I have been SO THANKFUL for our Children's Hospital in the 3 years since we have had Roo. I think we have taken him in there 5 or 6 times since he was born, and we have NEVER had to sit in a waiting room. We always go directly to triage and then straight into an exam room. They are really great.

Of course, although I had waited for hours to take him in... he improved GREATLY during the 20-minute drive to the hospital. His breathing was still labored when we saw the triage nurse, but by the time we got to the exam room he was almost back to normal. He did still have the barky cough, though. This was a mixed blessing, because I felt like an idiot, but it meant that we didn't need the breathing treatment--which is never a fun experience with Roo. They did give him an oral steroid, though, to reduce the inflammation, and that worked wonders. Within 20 minutes he was totally fine, no cough--and it never came back. They discharged us, and we were home less than two hours after we had left!

And then we could get down to the real Saturday business: a whole lotta nothing. We played board games, we did crafts, we read...  we just hung out together as a family. It was glorious. It was the second weekend in a row that we had time for that. It needs to become more of a habit. We really enjoy just being together, the 5 of us. It's lovely.

And just to completely bookend our day... right before bedtime... this same child who had needed a trip to the ER that morning... SLAMMED his head into my nose while we were playing on the ground. About a year ago, he broke my nose during a fit, and I am pretty sure he did it again. OH.MY.WORD. that is some pain. Mr. Fantastic was in the basement watching the Buckeyes game, and poor Lamb called him up because she knew I was hurting.

But I have to say, it completely warmed my heart to watch my big kids take care of me. Mr. Fantastic had to leave a few minutes after it happened, and Lamb and Monkey did everything they could to make life easier. They got their own dinner, they made up a bed for me on the couch, they got MY dinner, they rubbed my feet! Who are these children? I ADORE them!

And Sunday was more family time... church, lunch, a few errands/chores, and a family birthday party. A bit busier than Saturday, but still lots of fun.

Weekends like this make me want to be one of those parents who doesn't let their kids be involved in ANYTHING. It is just so nice to be together, to not have a bunch of places to run. Which reminds me of this post I saw today on Becoming Minimalist. This really struck me! You know that I have been doing some soul-searching lately, and as part of that I have been working toward simplification. But I think I often forget that simplification doesn't just mean "less stuff." There are other things we can simplify--like our calendars. Amen.

So how was your weekend? Or maybe a better question at this point: What plans do you have for THIS weekend? Do you do Halloween? What are your kiddos going to be?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The No (more) Drama Mama, part 1: The Questions

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I had a post planned for tonight... and then I lost it... from my brain. Yep, it was in my head, and then it was gone. I was left with nothing but a title and a vague feeling of greatness lost.

And now here I am, posting, and you might think that I have found the post that has hidden itself away in a dark corner of my mind. You would be wrong. This isn't it. Instead, this post is born out of my evening--and my last 8 years as a parent.

I know that people typically go to blogs for what they can get: craft ideas, recipes, a good laugh, a thought-provoking read, or even a heart-warming story to make them smile. Tonight, though, I'm hoping that you will come see what you can give.

Tonight I am looking for ideas. Suggestions. Input. HOPE!

Tonight I come to you as a mommy to a little girl entering the tween years. And all the drama that comes with that.

I remember when Lamb was just a little tot, talking to other moms about little girl attitude and little girl drama. And we would say, "If they act like this NOW, what are we going to do when they are 13?"

And now she's 8, and I'm wrestling with the same things I did when she was 2 and 3. What am I going to do with all of this drama?

And more specifically, here is my real question: How do I validate her feelings and let her know that she can talk to me about anything... without feeding into the drama?

To be fair, some of it is on me. I know this. I have very little patience for the mannerisms and tone-of-voice that come with uncomfortable conversations with this girl. The fidgeting and the incomplete (and whiny) sentences ("Wellllllllllllllllllllllll............ it's just.................. I mean........................... sometimes......................... I mean.................... I don't know....................... I just..........................") make my skin crawl. For real. It is just about more than I can handle. Am I alone on this? Is this just my personality, or do other moms have to will themselves past this too?

And once we get past the logistics, there's the content. I fully recognize that an 8-year-old's world is much smaller than mine; therefore things that seem small to me might be big to her. That's the part where I want to validate her feelings and not blow her off. And at the same time, I have a sense that the feelings aren't always genuine--that they may (at least in part) be about attention or getting her way or staying up past bedtime.

So where is the balance? How do you as a mom discern when to "go there" with your daughter and when to say, "that's enough"? How do you keep yourself calm and not go, "This is ridiculous. Go to bed"? (Not that I have ever been temped to say that, of course. Definitely not in the last 15 minutes.)

What are your tips for cutting the drama? Post your comments here or on the Facebook page. Pass this along and ask your friends for their tips. I will compile them--along with some things that I have learned myself (yep, there's one or two bits of wisdom in there)--and post them in a day or so. (But if no one gives me suggestions, I'm going to look rather silly with this post just sitting out there. Come on, help a sister out!)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Binkies, Bunk beds, and Big Boy Chairs: A lesson in letting go

It's a commonly accepted practice that moms get more relaxed in their parenting as time goes on--and as they add more children to their families. Bedtimes are more relaxed, treats are more common, that kind of thing.

I get it. I see it. And I'm not saying I don't see ways that I am more easy-going with this kind of stuff. For instance, this afternoon Roo let himself into the pantry, found the box of graham crackers, and sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor, chomping away--not on ONE graham cracker, mind you, but on several (one bite from this one, one bite from that one, put this one on the ground and pound it a bit, let the dog nibble that one and then take it back and lick it... that sort of thing). This would have been COMPLETELY unacceptable when my older kids were his age, but I was just so darn proud of the kid for doing that whole process himself that I couldn't scold him for it!

In many ways, though, I think I have gotten more uptight, more controlling, more of a worrier. When Lamb was born and one of the grandmas would watch her, they would always ask such respectful questions: "Is it OK to hold her while she sleeps?" "When do you want me to feed her?" Things like that. And I would answer, "You've been a mom a lot longer than I have--whatever you think is fine."

But now I worry. I worry about bedtimes and routines and screen time and... so many things. I feel the need to make sure that we are doing everything "right."

And then came Roo. And he continues to teach me that I need to rethink my idea of "right." And to let.the.heck.go of my worries.

I worried and worried and worried about when he would walk. And now that child runs everywhere.

I cried because the only name he would say was "Daddy." And now he clearly calls each member of our family by name--Lamb, Monkey, Mommy, Daddy, Gram, Nana, AND Papa! And every morning I walk in his room, and I'm greeted with a smile and a "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"

So you would think I would have learned my lesson by now, right? He may take his sweet time learning something, but once he's got it, he's GOT IT.

But no. No, I still have to learn over and over again. And he is a willing teacher.

At Roo's open house at the end of August, I asked his teacher if I could send a "binky" with him for naptime. Yep, he's 3 1/2. I had been thinking about getting rid of it for months, but oh. It just seemed so impossible. With Lamb, we went to Build-a-Bear when she was 2 and put the binky in the bear (whom she aptly named "Binky). Then she could snuggle her new friend and know that her binky was close by. It seemed like a good idea, but the first night she asked us to rip the poor animal open and get her binky out. For the next week bedtime was tough, but then everything was back to normal. Not too shabby.

With Monkey, I started telling him that when he was ready to be done, we would put his binky in a gift bag and leave it for the Binky Fairy. She would come while he was sleeping, take the binky for another baby, and leave him with a "big boy present." We had this conversation for several days in a row, and one afternoon I heard him SOBBING up in his bed. When I went to check on him, he sadly handed me the pacifier and said, "All done binky." I--ahem, the Binky Fairy--gave him his present, which made him happy in the moment, but did not make bedtime much easier that night... or the next several to follow.

If that's how the pacifier break went with kids who actually UNDERSTOOD, how was it going to go THIS time? Roo doesn't get abstract concepts or things that are in the future or... well, a lot of things.

But he's 3 1/2. Isn't it time? If I keep letting him use his pacifier, when do I get my "Bad Moms' Club" membership card???

All of this was running through my head as I humbly asked his teacher to give him a binky at naptime. She readily agreed--and also added that she would be happy to withhold it if I wanted to start cutting back.

Hint, hint.

(Don't jump on his teacher. She is fantabulous. She was being kind and gentle--I think she could see my hesitation on the whole thing.)

But then the craziest thing happened. When she would give him his pacifier at school, he would hand it back to her. He didn't want anything to do with it. And he would still sleep!

This was not a one-time deal. It happened the first day... and the second... and the third... and the fourth.

So I decided to do something crazy. I decided I would JUST STOP GIVING IT TO HIM.

And he didn't cry.

And he still went to sleep!

OK, so he didn't go right to sleep. But there was no crying. In fact, I'd hear him in his room, laughing and having a grand old time. And sometimes I'd have to go in and remind him to go "night-night." But eventually he would. He still falls asleep at naptime almost every day, and he still goes to sleep (though sometimes it takes a while) every night.

Can I confess something here? On the rare night that he is really struggling... like a night when he has gone to sleep, but now is restless and waking up over and over... I still give it to him. It's not often, maybe once every week. And it doesn't seem to be ruining him for life.

Do you think maybe, just maybe, I could stop worrying so much?

A few days ago, as I was watching Roo run around before lunch and mentally celebrating my binky victory, my mind turned to the next big "hurdle" I am facing with him: the crib. Yep, he's still in a crib. He doesn't climb out, and since he DOES tend to be awake for a while when I put him to bed... well, quite honestly, I am intimidated to think about trying to get him to stay in his bed. But have I mentioned that he's 3 1/2? And his other buddies with DS his age are in "big boy" beds? And did I happen to mention that I worry a little too much about making the right choices as a parent???

So as I stood there, my joy gradually replaced by more worries and insecurities, Roo came in and said, "Mommy! Mommy! Eat!" I pulled the tray off the high chair and reached to pick him up, but he pulled away and said, "No!"

Then he ran to the dining room table, climbed into a chair, and said, "Eat!"

This boy may take his sweet time, but when he's ready, he's ready. And he doesn't look back.

Take a deep breath. Relax. Go with it.

Stop worrying, Mom. Let.it.go.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Daytripping, a comparison

What it looks like when a dad goes on a day trip...
The night before: Go to bed
The morning of: Get up, get dressed, and leave

What it looks like when a mom goes on a day trip...
The night before:
  • Set out clothes for everyone for the next day, so there are no "Daddy outfit" incidents
  • Put everyone to bed
  • Straighten house
  • Fold one last load of laundry
  • Pack lunches
  • Write note to hubby, explaining what time to wake up each child, what time the buses come in the morning (yep, there's 2 of them!), what time buses come in the afternoon, what to do for dinner, and what time to put the kids to bed
  • Finish preparations for the next day that she couldn't do while running kids all over God's creation after school
  • Go to bed way too late
The morning of:
  • Get up way too early
  • Get showered and dressed
  • Paint toenails, primp, etc.
  • Pack an extra pair of shoes, since the cute ones aren't comfortable and the comfortable ones aren't cute
  • Pack makeup in case she needs to freshen up
  • Pack toothbrush and toothpaste because she KNOWS she'll need that
  • Put dinner in the crock-pot
  • Set out everything the kids need to pack in their bookbags
  • Wake hubby up--remind him to check the note for details, warn him that one child went to bed absolutely heartbroken because he forgot to bring his homework home and may potentially have to "flip his card" and/or miss a whopping 2 minutes of recess so that he can complete said homework (Or maybe not. He's a worrier.)
  • Put reminder on phone to call youngest child's school to make sure it's OK for a family friend to get him off the bus (oops)
  • Leave, wondering what is actually going to get done and PRAYING that the evening/bedtime goes smoothly so that I--I mean, SHE--will be able to leave the house alone again someday
True story.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Give me words to speak

I need to tell you all something, but we need to be clear on one thing first. I am not bragging. This is not coming from a place of pride, but of complete and utter humility.

Here goes:
This Thursday I will be speaking at Heritage Christian Church for their MOPS group. My talk, "Created to be", is one of my favorites. But it is different every time. And can I just say that... this time... the words that God has given me to speak... are just fantastic. I am so honored and humbled and THRILLED to get to share these thoughts, this journey, with these moms. This is absolutely a moment when I realized that I could not have put this talk together myself--thank you, Lord, for giving me words to speak.

If you're in Columbus, OH, this Thursday, you should come check it out. (Details are on my Upcoming Events page.)

(Disclaimer: Childcare is full, except for the 2/3-year-old room. What a great problem for a MOPS group to have!)

If you're not in Columbus, would you pray with me that God uses these words to touch hearts? They have already touched mine.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Heart of the Matter: Snacking on Sacrifice

Or... "The One in Which I am Embarrassingly Honest"

What is sacrifice? To quote the dictionary, "the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim."

But if I'm honest, I usually think of sacrifice as "something I am willing to give up--for a limited time, as long as it's not too hard."


In disciplining my children, I am learning the value of finding consequences that matter to them. I can take screen time away from Lamb day after day after day to no avail; but if Monkey loses screens for the day, he is humbled and repentant. Why? Because that is something "prized or desirable" to him. (For Lamb, by the way, it is reading time. Who on earth would think you'd have to take BOOKS away from a kid???) I need to find a way to hit close to home so that the consequence makes an impact.

Now, sacrifice is not about punishment or consequences, but still, the point remains: it needs to hit close to home. I could give up broccoli for the rest of my life, but it would make no impact. I could even give up Starbucks--and yes, I would probably get whiny wistful when I pass one, but it really wouldn't be a sacrifice, because it's just not that important to me.

Sacrifice is about surrender. Or something prized or desirable. For the sake of something higher (BETTER). Sacrifice is about making tough choices.

I have an immensely easy choice to make... and I have made it embarrassingly difficult.

Earlier in this series, I alluded to it. A year ago, I really felt God calling me, pushing me, to make some small sacrifices. Specifically......... I felt like I needed to give up television. (oh.my.word. how ridiculous is this? TELEVISION.) I realized that I was giving too much of my emotional energy to Castle and Beckett, to Bones and Booth, to Olivia Pope. At the end of a frustrating or tiring day, I was turning to the Dunphy family to comfort me and cheer me up. I needed to make a change.

At first I thought, "OK, no problem. I'll give up television for a month." And in the back of my mind I was thinking, "Thank goodness for the DVR so I don't actually have to MISS anything! Whew! Really dodged a bullet on that one!"

Wait... what? What am I actually sacrificing there? I'm just WAITING. Not GIVING UP. If I were going to SACRIFICE it, I would need to just walk away. No DVR. No catching up online. Just.walk.away.

So I did the only logical thing left to do. I blew it off. "What difference does that make?" I justified to myself. "Of course I would give God ANYTHING--you know, like, important stuff. But that's just small stuff. It doesn't matter."

But it does. The little stuff matters. And here's why: because in the battle between flesh and spirit, the one that wins is the one you feed the most.

Every time I choose between right and wrong, no matter how small it seems, I am feeding either my flesh or my spirit. Every little morsel makes one of them stronger. And every time I have sat down in front of the TV for the past year, I knew which one I was feeding.

The little stuff matters.

So I have to decide today who I am going to feed. And if I really and truly want to go deeper, I have to stop feeding my flesh.

You might be reading this and thinking, "Why on earth are you making this such a big deal? What is wrong with enjoying a TV show?" It's a fair question. There is nothing wrong with television in itself. This is not a rant against Hollywood or entertainment or having a show (or a couple of shows) that you enjoy and like to follow. This is a big deal because I have made it a big deal in my life. My unwillingness to give it up was the problem. Look at the definition of sacrifice: "the surrender... of something PRIZED." I don't want to prize my television shows. I don't want them to be important to me. But I have made them just that. They have become an idol in my life, something for which I have been willing to forego a deeper relationship with Christ. It is humbling to type that out, to see it in print, but it is true.

Today. Today I am going to stop feeding my flesh in this matter, and start feeding my spirit. As of right now, I am planning to give it up through October, but who knows--maybe it will turn into a long-term change. For now, I am going to focus on being more intentional with my time--but more than anything, I am giving it up because I want to be able to give God anything. And for the love of Pete, folks... TV should be the least of my "anything" to give.

It's not a big sacrifice. But it's one I need to make. To starve my flesh a little. To hear the voice of God better. To know what the "anything" is that He really wants from me.

So who is on this journey with me? Has God been knocking on your heart? Have you felt Him say, "Before you promise anything, will you give me something?" What do you feel has taken a place of higher importance than it deserves? What small decisions can you make to stop "feeding the flesh" and start "feeding the spirit"?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A little privacy, please!

This may be a little too personal. Just be warned.

Lamb: "Mommy! Mommy! Moooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyy!!!"

Me: "I'm in the potty."

Lamb: "I know! I need to go potty! What do I do?"

At this point, it's important that you realize that there are FOUR bathrooms in our house. FOUR.

Me: "This is not a problem I can solve for you. You're going to have to figure that one out on your own."

Lamb (dejectedly): "OK, I'll use the potty upstairs."

{5-second pause}

Monkey: "Mommy?"

Me: "I'm in the potty."

Monkey: "OK. Mommy?"
Me (hoping that I sound more patient than I feel): "Can I just.go.potty?"

Monkey: "OK. But Mommy?"

Me: "Does this need to be handled RIGHT NOW???"

Monkey (saddened): "Nooooooooo. I'll go start my homework."

{5-second pause}

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK (on the bathroom door)
Roo: "Min!" ("Come in!" This is what he says when he wants to open a door.)

Roo: "Min!"

Me: "Buddy, I need.just.a.minute.PLEASE."

{5-second pause}

Roo: "Mommy! 'Ere go."
And he slides a magazine under the door.

For the love. Where did he come up with that?????

It's super cute. I have to admit. But a little privacy would be nice too.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Gift Giver

My husband is a fabulous gift-giver. This is one of my favorite things about him. It's also quite intimidating, when it comes to birthdays and anniversaries and Christmas and such. I always try to have a great idea, because I know that whatever he gets me is going to knock my socks off. From handwritten notes to flowers to the year that he "bought" a penguin (sponsored one in my name at the zoo--I absolutely LOVE penguins) to this year's surprise trip to FLORIDA (yes, a COMPLETE surprise--I didn't know about it until we pulled into the airport!), he amazes me over and over. But the best part is never the actual gift, no matter how great it is. The BEST part is always the look on his face. He is every bit as excited as I am, maybe more. He loves to give gifts.

And now... now, he has passed that along to one of our children.

Every day when the kids get off the bus, Lamb comes in first. We catch up a little, go over the papers in her backpack, get started on the snack... and then Monkey comes in. Always a few minutes behind. And always, ALWAYS bearing a gift. Sometimes it is a dandelion, sometimes a clover, sometimes a leaf, often it is a rock. But every single time, it is given with a look of complete and utter love. THAT is the gift.

My heart has been stolen, not by this rock, but by the hand holding it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Heart of the Matter, Part 3: What if?

I haven't written as much about this journey as I thought I would have by now. Not because it hasn't been on my mind, because it has. Constantly. Not because I have "gotten over it", because the knot in my stomach just seems to grow each day. I haven't written because I have been in the middle of an internal battle.

If I write these things down, I need to DO something about them.

That is the crux of the issue. How far do I want to dig? Because at some point, I can't turn away from what I find. And I feel like I am rapidly approaching that point. Like a girl in a scary movie, I have approached a closed door in the middle of the night. Do I open it?

And here is the question at the center of it all: What if?

A day or so after I started this series, a dear friend came over with her boys for a play date. And bless her heart, she came prepared. She told me that she had been feeling a lot of the same things. She even brought the book Anything with her. She was ready to dive in with me. There is something beautiful about having a friend on the journey.

And as we sat and watched the kids play, she asked a question that I had been pondering as well. "We say that we are so blessed as a nation, that America has so much and what a blessing that is. But what if it's not? What if it's just the opposite?"

But my people would not listen to me;
    Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
    to follow their own devices.
--Psalm 81:11 & 12
What if God has thrown up His hands and said, "Have it your way"? What if the many, many things that we call blessings--abundance of stuff, abundance of food, abundance of "opportunities"--are really just distractions? What if we are replacing God with His creations? What if He has so much more--if we are willing to go with LESS of what the world says we need?
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
--Matthew 10:28
How many of my daily fears center around issues of my soul? Don't most of them have to do with far more mundane things? I worry about dog hair on my furniture, about finding black shorts for Monkey to wear to soccer, about how much money to spend on a shower curtain. I worry about what my husband thinks, what my friends think, what people at church think, what the woman who sees me at Target thinks.
What if I'm worried about all the wrong things?
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
--Matthew 6:19-21
I want to provide for my children. I want them to be well taken care of. I want them to love our home, enjoy our home.
What if I'm going about it the wrong way? What if I'm teaching them that security comes through stuff, that our lifestyle is normal and expected?
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
--Psalm 37:4
My heart desires so many things, and it never seems to be enough.
What if I've been living out this verse all wrong? It doesn't mean that God will make all my dreams come true if I follow Him. Rather, that He will turn my desires into His desires. If I let Him.
In Anything, Jennie Allen talks about the night she realized that she needed to truly turn her life over to God, to seek Him above everything else. She wonders what might have happened if she had blown Him off, and she concludes, "I might be stuck with the mediocre life I was so afraid of losing at the time."
What if this life that I love, that I cling to so dearly, that I do fear losing... is just "mediocre"? What if there is something more, something BETTER, if I just.let.go?
My heart is pounding. I don't know what that looks like. I don't know what changes I need to make or where to start or if my family is ready to start with me.
So I will pray. And I will dig. And I will open that door.
Are you ready?

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Me: "Monkey, if you could be anything in the world, what would you be?" (I meant as a profession, but decided not to clarify.)

Monkey: "Me. I just want to be me."

I love this boy's confidence. Maybe I DO get something right every once in a while.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First Day

At our house, we like to play a little game called "High-Low." It's a pretty simple game--we simply go around the table (or around the room, if it's not dinner time) and tell our high and low for the day. I'm sure many of you do the same thing, or something similar. It's a good way to get people talking about what's going on in life.

So today, on the first day of school, I am going to tell you all about my highs and lows...

High: Everyone got up and ready with no complaining! We had a delicious breakfast (waffles, at the kids' request, and scones that my mom made), got the bookbags loaded up, and had plenty of time for pictures. Nana & Papa (my parents) and Gram (my mother-in-law) came to see the kiddos off, too.


Low: My babies got swallowed up by a big yellow monster. Two of them, actually.


High: Everyone got through the morning tear-free, including Mommy (mostly).


Low: When I got back in the house and tried to upload the many, many pictures I had taken, I found out that my memory card was dislodged. I didn't get ONE.SINGLE.PICTURE. :-(


High: At least the grandparents had some photos. I have the photos from Gram already (which is why I have some of the morning shots) and am looking forward to getting the shots from my parents as well.


High: I got to spend some quality time with two wonderful friends. :-)

High: More work is getting done on my basement! Yay! The painting should be done tomorrow, furniture will be arriving soon, and carpet will be ordered on Thursday.


Low: First day of school = first call from the school nurse. She is a lovely person. Last year we talked a LOT because of Monkey's headaches. Today, though, his head was fine--this time she called because he had fallen off the monkey bars and landed on his shoulder. She was calling to tell me to keep an eye on his collarbone, because his range of motion was definitely affected. Fortunately, I could hear him in the background, and he didn't sound upset.


High: Everyone came home happy! :-)

High: After-school snack...

Funny: A direct quote from Roo's teacher (in a note she sent home): "He certainly is curious!"


High: I shamelessly made the kids redo the morning's photo shoot, which is why we have so many good photos here. :-)


Low: Monkey's arm was still hurting when he got home. He could lift it to the side, but not in front of himself. Oddly enough, though, it didn't seem to be bothering him when he was playing--not even when he reenacted the event that led to his injury. ;-)

High: By the time bedtime prayers came around, Monkey and I had a talk about the cost of medical care and dramatizing an injury just so one can get an x-ray. And then he realized that, whaddayaknow, his arm didn't hurt anymore.


 Low: As the kids were heading up to bed, Lamb tripped on a dog toy and went down crying. This led to some major overly-tired-and-already-dramatic 8-year-old drama. She started off with, "Life is just so hard when you're in school!" and moved to "Sometimes I just feel like parents don't understand" and then she sobbed, "Today just wasn't very exciting!!!!!" Oh for the love. I think it's time for bed.

High: Everyone is sound asleep, and I am thankful for my kids, their schools & teachers, and the opportunities they have before them. Lunches are packed, kitchen is clean, and now I can relax. And tomorrow I get to hang out with my Roo! :-)


Thanks for joining us on our first day of school. See you soon!