One word- SUPERGLUE. Where would this world be without it? It is the fix-it to a lot of problems around here, like putting back together a glass ball ornament that has S4’s handprint on it from two years ago. It’s bad enough the computer crashed last year with most of the not-backed-up photos of the boys as babies on it. Now his ornament? S1 was getting a little excited filling her hands with ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree, and I reminded her for the fourth time that she can only hold one ornament at a time. So, she puts his ornament down ON THE PIANO. Sweet little homeschooled girl didn’t realize that a ball will roll off of a flat surface, especially when the surface is only three inches deep! I was furious, so I sent her and the other two girls to bed (the boys were already down for the night). I glued it back together. Fortunately, the paint from his handprint allowed the pieces to break in larger sizes. The opposite side was completely shattered. So I glued it back together with superglue in the hopes that I can just replicate it on a new ball. His hand was just so tiny! That ornament has to be recreated. Thank you, superglue.
Thoughtful Thursday November 26, 2009
With the holidays and the baby’s arrival quickly approaching, I’m getting a little behind. However, I couldn’t let Thoughtful Thursday go by without posting. This week didn’t start out so great. Thirty-six weeks pregnant, six young children, a week of no school (which means hearing “What are we doing today?” all day), and holiday festivities to prepare for…That’s a lot, folks. Even if you take away a few of the kids, that’s still a pretty big load. So, the days have been a little tough, and I’ve gotten the “let me know if you need anything” kind of offers for help, but when you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you know those don’t really mean that someone is interested in helping you. Let’s review…36 wks, 6 littles, holiday prep, uhhhh yeah, help would be good. It didn’t happen, though, and I was left on my own this week. It was tough. The kids are used to the morning being active and structured, two things that are not my forte even when I’m not a month shy of delivering a baby! BUT, do you know what my thoughtful husband did? He brought home dinner, which he is always willing to do to make life easier, but he also brought home A DOZEN ROSES for me! Not just flowers, but roses. No hints or references needed. He just did it on his own. When I asked him last night why he chose roses, he said that roses are the flower most representative and associated with love, and he wanted me to know how much he loves me. Ya’ll, he hasn’t done something like that in FOREVER! Sure, he’s Superman because he makes seven lunches four days a week, bathes children without complaint, and will do not only his own laundry, but ours too. Romance just isn’t his thing. He’s no good at it now that we have so much other stuff occupying our time, and if I’m really honest, he never really was that great at it. But he got it right this week, a week that I needed it more than any week that comes to mind right now (though I am sure there are plenty to choose from if I think about it long enough). I know that even without those kinds of things, he loves me. But man, when you do something that thoughtful, take that little bit of extra time and money to make an outward gesture of your love for me, I am moved. I’m one of those sappy gals. I don’t want to trade it for practicality. My sweet friend from hs, who also married her hs love, got swept off her feet when the hubs cleaned out the fridge the other night. I feel that! That works for me too! But I’m just one of those girls who likes the flowers, not to make up for you being an idiot, but the ones that say ‘just because.’ And I got those this week from my Superman.
Manage-it Monday November 23, 2009
So, how do you manage sibling rivalry? It’s something that we have to deal with on a regular basis, seeing that there are so many siblings and they are so close in age. I came across this tip on a few mom blogs a couple of years ago, and it has worked quite well for us. They suggested having a kid of the week. That child gets all the priviledges of the week, like going first (or last, if they prefer), being Mommy’s special helper, and sitting in the front of the bathtub, when sharing their bathtime (or maybe getting to take a bath alone). However, they also are the ones that get asked for favors and special help sometimes, too. In our family, the priviledge most desired is sitting in the front seat of the “mini” van. It only seats seven, so when it is full of a parent plus all the kids, someone has to sit in the front. This was a necessity before we got the “many” van, where we do not practice having a kid in the front seat because it isn’t necessary. Fortunately, our “mini” van has a feature that shuts the airbag off when a certain minimal weight is picked up in the seat (like a child). Before you report me, know that this is the only reason I will allow a child in the front seat. I took this kid of the week concept and had a little fun with it. I took the letters KOW and wrote them on a piece of construction paper. I then found a blackline (coloring sheet) online of a cow and colored and cut it out. I took the pictures of the three girls’ faces and cut them out, used velcro dots, and each week, we move the face onto the cow to remind us whose turn it is for the week. Because of the front seat issue, you have to be five to be on the kow rotation in our house, and S4 even knows that when he turns five, he gets a chance to be the KOW! This method greatly reduces our sibling rivalry issues.
In dealing with those issues, which we do in other areas now that the girls are older, I came across this idea. We haven’t tried it yet, but it’s definitely in the toolbox. When your child offends their sibling, saying or doing something hurtful or mean, send them to hammer a nail into a piece of wood. Do this a few times until they seem to catch on to the connection between their offense and the nail. Then tell them to go pull the nails out. Discuss with them that although the nails are gone, the holes from the nails are still there and cannot be taken away. This will help to illustrate the affects of their unkind words or actions on others, especially their siblings. Of course, this wouldn’t work with my boys at this point because they are so young, but I think it’s something the girls would understand pretty quickly. I think this idea was suggested by Kevin Lehman in one of his kid-raising books.
There are other tools and strategies, but that is the way we are managing it right now!
I’ll post my usual “Manage-it Monday” stuff later, but I had to post about this… I was visiting one of my favorite blogs for organizing, Organizing Junkie at http://www.orgjunkie.com, and she was posting about a fondue party. In bold letters in her post, she shared these words- “People over perfection”. How many of us don’t have people over to our homes, our own family, even, because we can’t seem to get things as clean or as decorated or as functional as we’d like to have them? How many of us are fearful that those people will go home saying “Can you believe she…?” or “Did you see her ____room?” So instead, we put off having folks over until we get it done well enough, but that never happens. We have jobs, we have kids, we have tons of responsibilities that keep us from getting it done well enough, and in the meantime, another year goes by without having that old college roommate over. We blink and we’re getting a Christmas card with photos of our best friend from high school and her kids, who are now in high school. We watch the year go by, reconnecting with family at funerals and memorial services, saying “I should have made more time…” or “I should have just invited them over…” or “I’m going to be different this time…” but still never inviting that person over. I realized while reading this phrase that I practice just this idea. If you’ve been to my house, you’ve seen my laundry, both clean and dirty. If you’ve come by for a visit, you’ve stepped over toys and books. If you’ve come for dinner, you’ve eaten on mismatched chairs and tables marked with crayon, while looking at a wall with crayon illustrations. I’d love for my house to look better, be more neatly decorated, and reflect this appreciation that I have each day for living here, but that doesn’t always happen. In the meantime, I choose people. I choose my kids crawling up in my lap. I choose helping out a friend or a sibling by watching their kids amidst the mess my kids make each day. I choose reconnecting with an old friend from high school and her family over dinner on our mismatched dining room “furniture”. I choose people over perfection. Try it sometime!
Fix-it Friday November 21, 2009
Don’t pay attention to the fact that I’m posting this on Saturday! I know I said that I probably won’t post about car maintenance, but that is exactly what I am posting about today. Last Sunday, as we were pulling out of the driveway in the “mini” van, the right front tire rolled off of the wheel. We knew it was time to get new tires, but we were waiting for the pay period that had a little extra to take care of it. We thought that the problems we were having with the steering wheel shaking back and forth while driving had to do with needing to get the alignment adjusted, but we also needed new tires, so we thought we’d knock out both at one time. Can I just say how thankful I was that the tire rolled off in the driveway, and not while I am driving around metro Atlanta 8 months pregnant with six kids in tow? God is so good! Well, Sunday we had to pick people up from all over, and we had also made plans to get the Christmas bins out of storage from our old house, so we loaded up the “many” van and headed out, planning on taking care of the tire when we got home. Well, getting home happened later than we planned, and the tire was on the side away from the flood lights on the house, about two feet next to the beginning of our retaining wall. Needless to say, it was hard to get to. So, we let it go until tomorrow, and then tomorrow, and then tomorrow. You get the idea. Superman just doesn’t get home before dark, and with me being so largely pregnant, he is such a necessary part of the evening routine of baths and bedtime around here that he couldn’t get outside to take care of it. He finally stays home from work on Thursday morning to work on it and finally gets the spare on. (By the way, if the last person to take your tire off and put it on is from a dealership, it’s going to be hard for you to do it with a tire iron because they use their air gun and make it soooo hard to do it manually!) He takes it to our friend who works as the head of the maintenance department at our local Honda (even though it is a Ford), and our friend takes care of us, as he always does. He also informs us that it wasn’t alignment that caused this to happen. He said the tire was well worn, and it had a bulge that had formed and caused the rocking back and forth of the steering wheel. Lesson learned- check your tires regularly (which we do) and know what you are looking at (which we may not….). We may not have fixed this one, but we sure are thankful to our friend that did!
Thoughtful Thursday November 19, 2009
My kids are some of the most thoughtful kids I know. I know you probably think I am biased, but they really are extremely aware and respectful of other peoples’ feelings. Even with each other, although they are close in age and with each other all the time, they practice compassion and thoughtfulness. I’m not bragging or claiming this as an awesome parenting victory. This one is all God. Superman and I try to model and demonstrate such love, but we aren’t perfect. You see, when I was “surprised” by my pregnancy with S2, just four months after S1 had arrived, I prayed, HARD! I prayed for their development and their ability to get along. God delivered, and He’s offered that same gift to us with each child. I am grateful. I’m not one of those parents bent on my children reaching (or racing to) certain milestones. They’ll get there in their time, and when they need extra help doing so, we make sure they get it. This, however, is a goal that melts my heart. My 3 yr old son, who is every bit a rambunctious and wild little boy, came looking in the bathroom for his brother to give him his backpack today. You don’t understand, either. This isn’t just some backpack. For a few months, S5 slept in this backpack. It is very special to him, and S4 wanted to make sure that he gave it to him this morning. As I type this now, I’m hearing S4 say to S5, “You wanna try that?” and S5 replying, “Yeah, sure, I wanna try that. Do you wanna try that?” in his squeaky 2 yr old voice. All the while, they are including their 1 yr old brother in their fun. Little boys. I don’t know if you realize this or not, but little boys don’t act that way a whole lot. You might at one little boy who is sweet as can be, but put him with another little boy, just one year older or younger, to live and breathe with every day, and it can get tense! That’s the one area my mom, who is my mommy mentor, has not mastered. She was a wonderul mother and almost always has the answers to my parenting questions, but she only had one boy. It’s different. Just trust me when I say that. So for Thoughtful Thursday, I’m going to abandon my post and finish listening to my boys being thoughtful of one another. In a matter of seconds, it could be a totally different story!!!
Okay, I’m behind because I can’t post any more pictures until I upgrade my blog for space reasons, which costs money. Maybe I’ll take care of that before next Wednesday. There are few words for the surprise I got today. I walk in to work, late because of some car issues, and the boss sends me home without children SO I CAN REST! There are no words to express my gratitude! I was even able to sneak in a lunch date with Superman, which hasn’t happened in forever! Don’t love working, but I sure do love the place where I work!