Hey Mom

The boy who doesn’t need sleep pulled a fast one on me the other night.  What with his fuzzy head and killer smile, it’s really not that difficult for him to have me at his beck and call, but Saturday night was no less than a supreme use of his killer cuteness.


After keeping him up way too late the night before when we went out to dinner with friends (Friends!  We have friends!), Saturday found him in desperate need of a nap almost from the moment he woke up that morning.  It is his nature to fight sleep until the very last moment and fight the nap he did.

But finally, he gave up the fight and fell deep into slumber.  So deep, in fact, that I could not rouse him to save my life.  I picked him up.  I shook him.  I gave him a cup of juice, which he drank in his sleep. I sat him on the couch and he promptly fell asleep sitting up.  He fought waking as much as he did sleeping, which means by the time I finally got him to move around he had had far too long of a nap.

Which led to bedtime disaster.

For over an hour he was up and down and I, who had not been so lucky to get a nap, was at the end of my rope.  Using my sternest and firmest mom-voice, I let him know in no uncertain terms that should he set one more toe out of his bed he would suffer the wrath of Zombie Mommy.

He blinked twice, totally not buying my empty and, let’s face it, lame threat.

Thirty minutes later I was piled up in bed with my iPad, gloating in my victory over his near-four-year-old crazy.  Lee was out for the night and I finally had a bit of peace and quiet.  Until…

I saw his tiny little eyes peek around the corner.  I ignored him, hopeful that maybe he would remember my threat (and yes, I actually told him that if he got out of bed I was going to turn into Zombie Mommy…oh yes I did) and abort his current mission to drive me insane.  I kept my eyes on my glowing smart board until I heard a soft rustle.  I looked down to see him on his stomach on the floor.  He was in nothing but a t-shirt and his Buzz Lightyear Underoos and his tiny little spaceman backside stuck up in the air as he army crawled slowly across the floor.

This was better entertainment than the iPad so I continued to watch as he was completely oblivious to my stares.  He crawled past the foot of the bed, his raspy breath a complete giveaway of his whereabouts.  I heard him crawl to the opposite side of the bed and then it got quiet.

And I waited.

A minute later, I saw his Calvin hair slowly raise up, followed by his white eyebrows and then his saucer blue eyes.  He met my stare, his gaze equal parts delicious and mischevious.

“Hey Mom,” he said, his voice all sugary.  Then his face broke into a naughty little grin.

And me?  Well, I completely lost it and started laughing uncontrollably.  He joined in and together we cackled, me at him and him at me.  Then he crawled up into bed, snuggled close and fell fast asleep.

As a recap – he disobeyed, I gave empty threats, he disobeyed again, I laughed and he ultimately got what he wanted.

That, folks, is how you get this parenting thing done. If you’re looking for any parenting advice, feel free to ask.  Clearly I’ve got this mothering business down…

I laughed until I cried

I am eight years old and riding in the backseat of our silver Cougar on the way home from church.  It’s cold but we live in Wisconsin so that’s just par for the course.  My brother stares out the window memorizing every street sign and landmark we pass, as he was known for his astute observations when riding in cars.

I am watching my parents.  I’m seeing their interaction.  I don’t remember what they were talking about on this day – I’m not even sure I could hear them.  But I know they’re happy.  I know this because my dad laughs.

Clearly I, too, am astute in observation, yes?

The sound of my dad’s laugh always made my heart soar.  It was so delightful, so spontaneous.  When Dad laughed, I swore that two more stars popped up in the atmosphere.  It just seemed magical to hear him laugh out loud.

Mom followed suit, adding in her own cackle.  As we drove down the road, they laughed hysterically.  Though Brett and I didn’t have a clue what was funny, we joined in the merriment, because who can sit stoney faced when a delightful joke has been told?  We laughed all the way home, not because anything was spectacularly funny, but because the joy had spread and we bubbled over.

Last night, we went with the kids to a Family Night at the Magic House for Tia’s preschool.  As we drove home, Tia blessed us all with a meltdown of epic proportions.  Her name hadn’t been drawn in the raffle and the world as she knew it was coming to an end.  Couple that with the fact that she hadn’t had a nap that day and she was wickedly overstimulated and it seemed that life as this almost five year old knew it was devastated permanently.

For those who have been trapped in a car with a melting down four year old, you know the insanity that ensues.  It is as if the car will implode with every tear shed, every moan, every groan, every kick of the feet.  In perfect rhythm, Tia moaned.  A deep, gutteral sound that seemed to resonate from her toes and work it’s way out of her mouth like the rumble of motorboat that comes up on you from behind, then roars past.

And I was losing my mind.

I turned and in my sternest mom voice commanded her to stop crying.  Which, in case you’re wondering, commanding someone who’s crying out of control to stop is not effective.  That piece of parenting advice comes to you free of charge.

You’re welcome.

So I tried the next tactic.  I told her to keep crying, but just cry without making sound.

“Aaaaahhhhhhh.”  “Aaaaaaahhhhhh.”  “Aaaaaahhhhh…” came the reply.  Like a sonic wave it repeated over and over and I felt my brain begin the painful process of implosion.  So I resorted to what can only be reffered to as Stellar Parenting 101.

“Tia,” I said, my voice sharp – but loving…of course.  “Stop crying. Now.  Stop making sounds.”  And then, as the next words flowed from my mouth I tried to make them stop.  “Stop making sounds…from your throat.”

As soon as I said that, I heard how ridiculous it sounded.  Lee snorted, I buried my face in my coat and we both lost it.  Painful laughter.  The kind that makes your stomach hurt.  Tears flowing down our cheeks leaving a trail of joy and relief behind.  We laughed out loud, doubled over, clutching our sides.

And then…

Her crying stopped.  “Why are you laughing?” she demanded.  We couldn’t answer.  We were laughing too hard.  And anyway, it was only funny to us – she wouldn’t understand.

Stop making sounds from your throat?

We howled and cackled and every synonym for laughter that you can think of, we did it.  Before long, all three kids joined in.  They didn’t understand.  They didn’t know what was funny.  They just knew that laughter and joy were present.  My brain resolidified into a coherent, usable mass and once again the world was right.  Tia forgot why she was crying and chose laughter instead.

And that was the day we saved the world…one cackle at a time.


I had a wonderful experience at Blissdom this year.  I hope to tell you about it in bits and pieces through my posts.  I was challenged in my writing, in thinking outside the box in business and in expanding my use of multimedia.  Hopefully you will see the results of my time at Blissdom rather than have to read about them.

Snow Day – Take Three

We have a snow day today…again.  I’m trying not to complain.  I’m trying to have a good attitude and remember how magical and exciting snow days were when I was a kid.  I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that Lee left this morning for San Diego for the weekend.  I’m trying to ignore the fact that I should probably go shovel the driveway. 

In an effort to enjoy the day and soak up the chance to stay home and relax, we are doing a lot of this today:


We’re enjoying the beauty of the powdery snow.  While snow is not my favorite thing in the world, there is no denying it’s beautiful to look at.  We’ll probably go out and play at some point.


We’re watching TV…


In front of the fire.


We’re making funny faces every time mom pulls out the camera.


We’re eating Nutella pancakes for breakfast.




We’re singing praises along to Selah’s You Deliver Me.


Yessir…it’s going to be a mighty snow day.  Here’s to hoping that it only lasts one day, though…


It’s better this way


Alternately titled: Why I locked my three year old in his room.

It was 8:00 and I had just returned home from a rehearsal when I went back to my bathroom to brush my teeth and change into my fat pants comfy clothes.  It was then I heard the breathing.  Like a miniature Darth Vadar was standing at my hip.

“Landon, get back in bed.”

“I’m firsty,” he whined.  I gave him a sip of water and sent him to bed.  Then I turned on the bath tub to try and warm myself up.  When I turned around, he was there again, this time scaring the Bejeebus out of me.  I yelped and karate chopped the air because For the love of all things Holy must children sneak up on you like that!

“Landon, go to bed,” I said, this time with more force.  And you should know, it’s not easy to use such force with someone as cute as my third born.  His tiny face is framed by a mop of Bieber hair and Sweet Mercy I just want to chomp on his cheeks every time I see him.  He’s just yummy.

“Can I wear shorts?” he said, batting his little hypnotic eyes at me.

“Fine.  Change, then go to bed.”

Off he went and I settled in the tub.  Until I saw his eye peeking through the crack in the door.

“Landon, go to bed!”

He turned and shuffled off.

This routine went back and forth for almost an hour.  And this was a good night – for Landon anyway.  He caught me on an off night when I wasn’t ready for the fight.  Generally these nights end up with a slew of tears from him and a few from me.  But this night saw me unable to fight his antics.

The child will not stay in his bed.

To be fair, I let him take a longer nap than usual on this fateful day, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he changed outfits no less than six times, and took close to an hour and a half to go to sleep.

I finally did what any self respecting mother would do.  I closed the door.  The very door that I installed a door knob protector on a few weeks ago so he couldn’t open it back up.  In general I don’t like to do this and it is a last resort but here’s the deal: I would rather him be stuck in his room and finally have to give up the fight on his own than have him go to sleep with his last vision of me looking like the spawn of satan.  Because let me tell you…after you have spent an hour telling a child to go to bed, your patience is thin and life isn’t looking good for the child…no matter how cute he is.

It can get ugly.

So I lock him in his room.  This is a decision Lee and I came to together.  We simply weren’t getting through to him any other way.  Locking him in is a way to protect him and protect our own emotions.  Glory, Hallelujah!

I don’t lock the door at night often because Landon’s afraid of being stuck in a dark room.  Yes, I also removed the night light from his room and put it in the hallway because he was waking up at 3:00 in the morning and having parties with his stuffed animals like a teenager whose parents left town – sometimes for hours on end.  So generally it only takes a couple of short moments in his dark room to get him to settle down.  I am able to remain calm, he gets the idea.  Everybody wins.

Nap time is a different story.

When I make him take a nap, that is.  Because, you see, my third child is much like his mother.  Dang it.  (Not like my second born who, like her father, can sleep anytime, anywhere and seems to love the act of napping.)  I don’t need a lot of sleep to function and neither does Landon.  I gave up naps at an early age and Landon is following suit.  I don’t like this, of course, but payback’s a bleep, right?  I don’t like it because when he doesn’t nap, I don’t get the things accomplished that I need to get accomplished.  But, on the flip side, when he doesn’t nap he goes to bed at 7:00 or 7:30 with little to no fuss and he sleeps all night.

Kind of a nice trade off.

He will still take naps many days, but I’m not forcing it anymore unless it’s obvious he’s really tired.  I remember being forced to take a nap as a child and I hated it.  I swore I would never make my children sleep if they weren’t tired and my little mini-Bieber just isn’t tired most days.

He’ll probably nap today since he didn’t yesterday.  But alas, even though he didn’t sleep the locked door came in handy yet again when I made him stay in his room and play for a bit.

Of course he sat in there and used the bathroom in his pants, which was totally my fault since I locked him in.

*sigh*  I can’t win.

Do any of you have sleeping struggles with children?  Am I the only one?  Please, commiserate with me, will you?  Pull up a chair, grab a bottle of wine.  Let’s chat.  What?  It’s only 10:00am? 

Is it too early to drink?

I’m kidding!  I don’t drink this early in the morning.  No…I wait until 2:00 when the kids aren’t napping.

Again with the kidding…

Stones of Remembrance



This is a word that is following me around quite a bit lately.  I hear it, read it, think it and sleep it.  Intentional.  What does it mean to be intentional?

I went to Webster’s Dictionary to look for a clear defination of intentional.  Here’s what I learned: Webster’s Dictionary isn’t a lot of help.  Intentional is defined as “done by intention or design.”  Great.  Awesome.  Way to help. 

 So I looked up the word intend. 

“To direct the mind to.”

Much better.  This definition actually gave me something to think about.  Because to be intentional really does require thought.  It means I must direct my mind toward an action. It requires work and planning and it’s hard…

To live and live well, one must be intentional.  I forget that a lot.  Actually, it feels like I forget that every single day.  How often do I go to bed and run through the day and realize I went through the motions?  How often do I reflect on the day and see that I merely survived?

This is not intention.

Lee and I are blessed to have wonderful leaders and friends and supporters around us who are constantly encouraging us to be better.  Yesterday we spoke at length with many of these people about placing Stones of Remembrance out for our kids. 

Orchestrating moments in the kids lives that they can look back at and point to as a time when God was there. 

A time they remember. 

A time they felt loved.  

A time when they discovered who they were created to be.


When the Isrealites crossed the Jordan River into the promised land, Joshua commanded the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Isreal and said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder…Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you sall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord;  when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Isreal forever.”


I have to be intentional with my children.  I have to set out stones of remembrance for them.  Sometimes these things are easy – they naturally flow from the every day moments of life – as long as I’m paying attention, of course.  Like the day the tornado didn’t come through.  We were intentional in pointing Sloan to God’s answer that day.

But if I’m not planning ahead – if I’m not intentionally seeking ways to set up stones of remembrance – I will miss opportunities.

The same goes in every area of our lives.  Lee and I are being challenged in many different ways to be intentional in our giving.  We must intentionally stretch ourselves to give more.  We must be intentional in budgeting so that it is easier to make giving a priority.

We have to be intentional in our marriage.  We must be intentional in our careers, intentional in the way we spend our time, our moments.



Setting up stones of remembrance – this is my heart as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter and sister.  As a child of the Lord Most High.  Because someday I will look back and point my children and, hopefully, grandchildren to those stones…those moments.  And I will be able to tell them, “Look.  Look what the Lord Most High did for you.”


I Said “A Boom Chicka Boom…”

This post has nothing to do with that title – I have just really wanted to title a post that for a long time now…

Actually, this post really has to do with nothing at all.  You’re ripe with excitement to read further aren’t you? 

Maybe I should do an entire post of one liners.

So there was this blogger who walked into a bar…


We’re T – four days and counting until the big trip.  I’ve had some freak out moments in the last few days, the biggest being when I realized that we might have to cut Hallstatt out of the itinerary.  My Hallstatt.  My preciousssssss

I fretted and fraught (fraught?) and worried and moped.  But it was a reality that we had planned way more than we could probably feasibly accomplish in our short time over there.  And I really didn’t want to cut out Tuscany.  Something had to go.  Until…wait a minute.  Maybe not.

What it boiled down to is this: We need to be flexible.  We I need to be willing to cut out Hallstatt if it becomes apparent that there is just no way we’re going to make it all the way there and still have time to book it down to Tuscany.  And so I still have hope, my friends.  You see, the goal is to try and stay off of the AutoBahn (and Autostrada) as much as possible.  We want to explore and get the flavor of the land.  We want to round a curve and be looking down at a village nestled in the mountains.  This means that it will take longer to travel.  But it also means we’re going to have an adventure.

And if we miss Hallstatt, we’ll just have to go back, right?  Deal!

Moving on…

See?  More one liners.  There is always room for one liners.

Too bad these aren’t the funny kind of one liners.

They’re kind of boring actually…

Ah well.

Sloan woke up with a low grade fever tonight.  I gave him some Tylenol and piled him back in bed where I hope he’ll wake up fever free for school tomorrow…because I’m that mom.  If you’re not dying, you’re going, kiddo. 

We’ll see. 

We will also be buying Emergen-C in bulk tomorrow.  And Zinc.  And Echinacea.  I will not come down with a fever on my dream vacation.  Oh, and to our parents who are splitting kid duty for the ten days while we are away: I’m so, so sorry.  Here’s to hoping whatever Sloan has doesn’t spread.  Or maybe he doesn’t have anything.  Here’s to hoping that.

Speaking of Sloan – he and I had a duke it out, we-might-not-make-it homework session tonight.  I won.  Barely.  We’re having this minor issue with child #1 in that every.single.time we bring him to the table to do homework, he brings along a massive chip on his shoulder.  He is heaping with sass these days and it’s never more apparent than when he is under educational duress.  It is especially evident when it comes time to do russian homework. Ay-yay-yay.

When it was all said and done and that which could have been completed in twenty minutes was finally finished after an hour of sweat and tears (no blood, thankfully) I felt defeated and dejected.  Now that I know he is running a low grade fever I feel a little better, but the truth is – homework is often painful.

But, just before bed, Sloan grabbed my hand and led me back to our bedroom and sat me down on the bed.  “We need to have a little talk,” he said.

“I had a bad attitude tonight and I was just angry and upset and sometimes russian is really hard and I feel like I can’t do it.  But I didn’t act right.  I wasn’t ‘quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ and I’m sorry.  Will you forgive me?”

He did that on his own.  Without any prompting.

My heart is still a little gooey.  Of course I was quick to offer my forgiveness and apologize for my lack of patience.  Amends were made and we agreed to work as a team to make homework more fun.  It is moments like those that I truly, truly love being a parent.  Sure it’s cool when they hit a home run or draw you a picture, but when they exhibit a heart attitude that you have worked so hard to help shape and mold?  That is when parenting is most rewarding.  Just when I felt like I was the worst mom ever and totally incapable of successfully parenting that boy, he reminded me that his sweet little heart is full of gold nuggets just waiting to be dug up and harvested.

Do you harvest gold?  Did I just mix metaphors?

So yes…parenting is wicked hard.  But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I wouldn’t even trade it for Hallstatt, Austria.

I Said “A booma ticka rocka ticka rocka ticka boom!”

The End.

Post edit: Sloan woke up fever free this morning and he happily skipped to school (well, happily skipped onto the school bus anyway).  Whoop!

Toy Story 3: Better Titled “Let’s Tear Mom’s Heart From Her Chest and Stomp On It”

Thank you, Pixar and Disney, for making me a blubbery, sobby mess.  Thank you for gently forcefully ripping my heart from my chest and using it to play ball for 109 minutes.  Thank you for making me so emotional that my husband, when asking what I thought about the movie, had to make a hasty retreat as tears shot out of the corners of my eyes like daggers. 

Thank you, Pixar and Disney, for Toy Story 3.

I took my kids yesterday to see the final installment of the Toy Story saga.  It’s been 15 years since I saw the first Toy Story.  I was a senior in high school.  Now I’m a mom of three.  And the message of this movie was not at all lost on me.  Especially given the fact that Tia sat on one side of me clutching her beloved Lovey Bear and Landon sat on the other, his Sock Monkey nestled snug beneath his arm.  I couldn’t help but look at those two little toys, both so loved and content at this moment.  What will it be like in fifteen years when they are cast off – no longer needed for comfort and companionship?

Excuse me for a moment while I go sob in the bathroom…


It didn’t even dawn on me when we left the house that they were carrying those toys with them to the theater to see a movie about the fate of beloved toys.  But looking at my babies as Andy drove away on the big screen with his faithful companions left to watch his tail lights fade in the distance, I got so terribly emotional.  It doesn’t help that I’m slightly hormonal, or that it’s been a tough week parenting.

As we drove home after the movie, I glanced in the rearview mirror at these children of mine – children who I love desperately.  Time goes by so quickly.  Yesterday (or so it seems) I married Lee.  And then I blinked and it’s suddenly ten years later.  If I weren’t such a prim and proper lady I’d let out an expletive.  Instead I’ll settle for a simple, WTHHow does it move so quickly?

I read this on Nicole’s blog yesterday:

“When you’re holding your baby and he’s falling asleep in your arms slowly and the evening is slipping away and your mind is racing through the thousand things at the top of your list, and you begin to feel – as all fathers and mothers inevitably feel from time to time – that you’re wasting your time taking care of this little kid, try to remember that next year you won’t be able to hold him in the same way, he won’t go to sleep in your arms, and after a few more years, you’ll be happy to get a hug on the run. Our children are here to stay, but our babies and toddlers and preschoolers are gone as fast as they can grow up – and we have only a short moment with each. When you see a grandfather take a baby in his arms, you see that the moment hasn’t always been long enough.” S. Adams Sullivan, The Father’s Almanac

This parenting thing is hard.  “Enjoy it,” everyone tells you, “Because it goes by so fast.”  Even a bunch of animated toys told me the very same thing yesterday.  What no one tells you, though, is that sometimes you have to work really, really hard to enjoy it.  And that is, perhaps, what had me most emotional.  I know it goes by fast, I know I need to enjoy it, I know I need to cherish the moments because they’re over in the blink of an eye – but to be quite honest, I don’t always enjoy being a mom.  I love my kids, of course.  They are so much a piece of me that I hardly remember life without them.  But raising them…it’s hard.

Of course, it’s supposed to be hard now.  “Put in the hard work when they’re young so that when they grow into teenagers you can reap the rewards of that hard work.”  This is another piece of sage advice I cling to.  On the days when it feels like all I do is battle, I remember that it’s better to battle them now when the environment is controlled than to battle them as teenagers when the battlefield is full of hidden mines and has a much larger scope.

But I would be lying if I said that I enjoy every moment of every day.  Because I don’t. 

I do, however, enjoy more than I don’t enjoy.  Stay with me…Yesterday, and the few days leading up to it, was a hard day.  There were many battles, many fights, many tears.  And I was battle weary.  Today, this morning, has been filled with sweetness.  The kids have played together this morning without argument (and when I say argument, I mean screaming bloody murder at one another – sorry to any neighbors who were awakened by Sloan and Tia’s death match on the front porch Sunday morning).  They’ve been pleasant and sweet, obedient even.  And it hasn’t been a stretch to enjoy them.  Yesterday, I had to search a couple of times for ways to like them.

So I was partly grateful to Toy Story for reminding me, yet again, that the time I have with my children when they’re young is fleeting.  Yesterday was one day.  There will be more days like it – days when loving my children is easy but liking them is hard.  But I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I dread this time in our lives coming to an end.  There are sweet days to come, moments to celebrate, birthdays to rejoice in, milestones to accomplish – but the days of them sitting in my lap, a stuffed animal tucked beneath their arms…those days won’t last forever.  And it’s those moments that I cherish the most.  I tuck each one away in the crevices of my heart.

And I will now commence to crying once more.  Dumb cartoon movie…

I didn’t know, but now I do

I was fifteen when I told my mom that I fully expected to have all boys someday.  “Why do you say that?” she asked as she pulled away from the movie theater where I had just finised watching Wesley Snipes slay the bad guys in Passenger 57 (I don’t know why I remember this detail so vividly yet for the life of me I could not remember scheduling a dentist appointment for myself this morning…).

“Because no matter how hard I try, I somehow seem to always end up alone with all the guys.”  I said this as if it were a curse.  But it seemed to me at the time to be true.  Looking back on it, I see more clearly what happened.  Yes, a large group of people were invited to see Passenger 57.  Yes, both girls and guys were included in the invite.  Yes, all of the other girls were smart enough to decline knowing that two hours of Wesley Snipes trapped on an airplane with terrorists sounded about as exciting as a jellyfish sting.

Ah, but in my youth I felt that it was nothing more than a sign from the universe that I was destined to be the mother of a motley crue of little men since I was obviously so inclined to be surrounded by them at all times.

Fast forward six years to my courtship with Lee when I found out the he was one of three boys, his father was one of two boys, his grandfather had all brothers and so on and so on.  For five generations this was the pattern.  Tucked in there somewhere was a cousin who had a little girl after three or four boys.  Needless to say, the Stuart men possess an abundance of the Y-Chromosome.  And this seemed to only further confirm what I thought I already knew – I was destined to be the mother of all boys.

I was really okay with this.  I didn’t much care.  Until, that is, someone made the comment that Stuart’s can’t make girls and that “hopefully I was okay with all boys”.  Well, I was but now I had a challenge and in my stubborn little heart I determined that I would create a girl out of sheer willpower.

(I wonder if that is why I was given the most stubborn little girl on planet Earth?  Huh…)

I am always careful not to minimize the blessing of a family full of boys.  There is a prevailing thought amongst society that somehow a family can’t be complete unless both genders are represented in the children.  While I will agree there are specific blessings that come with girls that are different from boys, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that had Tia been of the male persuasion I would have felt any less satisfied or enamored with that child.  All boys, all girls or one of each, the fact is kids are an enormous blessing. 

But I must say that there are a couple of things about having a girl that melt my heart.  They are things I didn’t know I would love.  Like cooking with my daughter and wearing matching aprons while we do it.  I didn’t know I would love that so much.


But now I do.

Or the simple delight that takes over her face when I ask her to help me make dinner:


I didn’t know I would love that…but now I do.

Of course the boys love to help me cook too.  But there is a different feeling that sweeps over me when Tia and I cook together.  It’s marked by the fact that deep down I know our cooking together is preparing her to one day cook for her own family.  It is more than fun, it is a mission and I feel deeply honored to share that with her.

I didn’t know I’d feel that way…but now I do.

I didn’t know how much fun it would be to see a little girl dressed in tights and leg warmers prance around a room:


I didn’t know what it would do to my heart to have my daughter ask me to help her with gymnastics.  I liken it to the swell of pride Lee feels when the boys ask him to play basketball or baseball with them.


I didn’t know how my insides would melt and flow out my ears every time she crawled up into her daddy’s lap and his eyes turned all starry.  I just didn’t know.

But now I do.


Of course, I also didn’t know that little boys, when they belong to you, have the ability to make you love playing ball, talking Star Wars and searching for worms in a way you never thought possible.

I didn’t know this…


But now?  Now I do.

We Were En Fuego

This weekend we:

Were feeling motivated and inspired so we took advantage of the rarity and tackled a few major yard projects.  First, we took down the swing set, much to the kids dismay.  They really loved playing on it, but after nearly five years we felt like it was getting a little old and unstable.  Why did we feel that way?  I think it was the fact that it shook perilously every time one or more children climbed on it…

We let the kids cross the monkey bars one last time before dismantling their beloved swing set.


After taking don the swing set, we decided that it would be nice to completely open up our backyard.  And in order to do that, the chain link fence would need to go.  So we took it down.  And we are both wickedly sore after doing so.  But the yard?  Looks awesome.


Notice the dog in the corner who is now leashed to a tree.  She is the only one not impressed with our hard work.

Notice the dog in the corner who is now leashed to a tree. She is the only one not impressed with our hard work.

We also took advantage of the great weather and planted flowers.  Have I mentioned that I love spring?



A few other weekend activities included:

– Lee and I attending the wedding of a friend.  I was her counselor at a children’s camp when I was in high school.  And she’s married now.  I feel old…

– My sweet friend Lindsey (who is also sister to the above mentioned bride), and I went to visit with the man who forever altered the course of my life when I was fifteen and he took me on my first mission trip to the former Soviet Union.  He is now battling a cancer that is extremely aggressive and is ravaging his body.  For almost three hours we sat and talked with him, laughing, reminiscing and soaking up his wisdom.  I would like to write more about Gary, but I need some time to process all that we discussed yesterday.  But I would like to ask that you join me in praying for him and his family. 

– Tia asked me to braid her hair so that she could look “woody pitty” for daddy.  So I did.  Then I took pictures. 





– I cleaned the wall after Landon played Picasso. 


What we did NOT do:

– Go to Sloan’s first baseball game due to muddy fields.

– Go to Tia’s soccer game due to lack of motivation.

What did you do and NOT do this weekend?

The confidence to walk away


Yesterday we had the first of what I trust will be many incidences where a crushed and devastated child came home after experiencing the hurtful behavior of a so called friend.

I will not go into the details of the incident here, except to say that it bordered on bullying and it broke Sloan’s heart.  It wasn’t physical, but he was emotionally crushed and, as his mom, I hurt for him in a way I’ve not yet experienced.  I get teary just thinking about it.

My sweet Sloan.  I’ve chronicled some of the wonderful, funny, immensely blessed characteristics that make up this remarkable boy.  He is kind and tender hearted.  Remember his love for our older mailman, Mr. Herman?  A couple of weeks ago he came in after retrieving the mail and told us that Mr. Herman’s wife was sick.  “We should pray for her,” he said.  And so we did.  And the next day Sloan made sure to tell Herman we prayed for his wife.  That’s the kind of boy he is.

Sloan is precocious, to be sure.  He’s very confident in a lot of ways, but also becoming more aware of what others think and some of his innocence is slipping away.  He’s becoming a little more self-concious, which makes me a little sad. 

One of Sloan’s best qualities, however, is his loyalty and his ability to make and love on friends.  This is a quality that cannot be taught.  It is inborn and innate to who he is and I love that about him.  He loves his friends with every fiber of his being.  Even if they hurt him.

That’s not to say he isn’t willing to fight back.  Sloan’s mouth can be his downfall at times.  We’re working on helping him learn to control his words because that’s how he fights.  It’s not constructive and it gets him in trouble.  But at least he’s not hitting anyone, right?

As we walked home from his friend’s house yesterday after “the incident,” I talked to Sloan about how important it is to choose friends who build you up; friends who make you feel good about yourself; friends that make you smile, not cry.  And even though he had just been ganged up on, his immediate respone was to look me straight in the eye and say, “But mom, I love them.  They’re my best friends.”

Sweet, sweet boy.

There were no tears, but I could tell his spirit was crushed.  We returned home and I began dinner and then I heard a few sniffles.  I looked over and he had his head buried in his arms.  I scooped him up and the dam broke.

“Why did they do that to me?” he sobbed.

Oh, it broke my heart.  I let him cry for a few minutes then set him down and reminded him that he was a child of God and he was incredibly special, kind and good.  I then thanked him for being such a good friend, even when he was hurting.  I refrained from saying anything nasty about the kids who hurt him, but I will confess that some very un-Christian monikers crossed my mind.

Points to me for holding back…

And after dinner we walked to a local ice cream place and got ice cream cones.  It did his heart good to get out and run off some steam.  And ice cream does wonders for healing the soul, does it not?

I remember how I felt as a kid when a friend hurt me.  I remember the devastation I felt and the confusion.  But I must say, the devastation I felt as a kid doesn’t even compare to the hurt I felt for my own child yesterday.  It cut to my core and it still aches.  I know this is only the beginning as I’ve got a little girl coming up behind him and if you think boys can be cruel – oh my!

Lee and I work hard to instill in our children the confidence that they will always be loved and accepted in our home.  And when the days of disappointment come, I want them to know that they can run home and cry and find comfort and healing.

I also want to teach Sloan that it’s okay to just walk away.  That’s hard for him.  He depends on friendships, thrives on them.  So teaching him to protect his heart without crushing that natural and precious loyal spirit will be our challenge.

And now I’m going to go wipe my eyes and blow my nose.  If only I had some ice cream to calm my nerves!