Ezra Jack Keats totally wrote that book from a man's perspective. It doesn't show the mother spending an hour before searching for mittens that hadn't been seen since the previous year, the melt down that Peter's little brother had while waiting for said mittens to be found, or the fact that If you give a Mouse a Cookie makes an appearance in the middle of just prepping to go outside because said mittens are behind the dryer and if you're going to move the dryer then you are most definitely going to pull out the vacuum cleaner and spend half an hour putting all the things that have gone missing behind the dryer away.
Oh yeah, and if you're going to vacuum behind the dryer then you might as well move the washing machine and vacuum behind it as well! Phew!
Two hours later, we're finally ready to go outside... perhaps most of the snow was melted by this point. I went out for a short period because, if you're going to clean the house for an hour and a half and put on all those clothes on three bodies for the next half hour then you're most-definitely taking pictures to commemorate the day.
Then, back inside to warm up soup, hot cocoa, and grill cheese sandwiches while they play for a short while... and hold the crying, neglected baby. With a strict warning to not play in the playhouse and tramp through the muddy spots.
Twenty minutes later, pounding on the back door. Cruz has fallen trying to get up the stairs to the playhouse. (He's okay... apparently you don't get hurt when you're that padded.) And Eliana is covered in mud. Hooray! More cleaning to do.
But for now, hot chocolate, soup, and sandwiches. That is our grace for the day. A time to refresh. Get a clear head and remember just how much God has blessed us. Blessed us with 3 big kids that make messes. Blessed that we have mittens that are hidden behind our blessing of a dryer. Blessed that there's snow. Blessed that we have coats that need washing. Blessed that we have warm food and happy hearts as we get ready for nap/rest time.
You're almost gone already... just a few more days until she's four months! Whoops... life's been super busy! But that means I'll have lots to talk about in a few days when you are 4 months:
Rio, at 3 months, you love to coo and you are in love with your siblings. All except Cruz, who you're still not sure about. Often you cry when he comes too close but that may be because you're smart and know that he's not always the most gentle of creatures! You're holding your head up like a champ and are very alert! You love to smile and I think you're the most smiley of all of my babies! You are pretty easy going and are pretty content as long as you're fed! What a blessing you are to the family!
I've been watching the kids sleep a lot this weekend. The flu bug hit our house (so much for vaccinations)... they've been camping out on the living room floor. It's easier than me trying to run back and forth between bedrooms and hardwood floors are ever-so-much easier to clean.
(My one healthy one-- who has been a tremendous help this weekend!)
But I'm thankful. Thankful I've been blessed to be able to home school and can be with them on a regular basis. Thankful for friends, family, and a church who reminds me to preach the gospel to my little ones. Who remind me of the blessing my kids are--even on hard days.
The events of Friday help me to be thankful that my kids are sleeping on the floor in piles of blankets. Thankful for the messes. Thankful for the crazy-huge amount of laundry these little ones create. Thankful that they are safe today. In our home. Sleeping away. And that I can hold them.
Praying for those who can't hold their little ones any longer. And hoping they'll be reminded that they have a Savior who will hold them!
As mothers, we must always be in the mindset of preparing little hearts for the Lord. But honestly, I often fail at this. Sometimes, I can't see past the messy kitchen, the toys scattered everywhere, the bickering, the hungry tummies that need to be fed... whatever. There are a hundred million things that can easily distract us from our greatest calling as parents. To make disciples of the little ones God has entrusted us with.
One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the visual reminders this season affords as I decorate the house. I wrote about this over here a few days ago. But as much as it's a reminder for my kids, it's also a reminder for myself. The Christmas music that we play, is an auditory reminder of what I am to be about. As much as I am supposed to be about preparing hearts for the Lord through out the year, this time is a great reminder (a reset button) for me to be ever preaching the gospel to my kids. And ever preaching the gospel to myself.
Last year, I shared some of my favorite books for kids here. I've also shared about my love of Sally Lloyd-Jones and have shared about The Jesus Storybook Biblehere. This year, I hope to soon add this one to our Christmas book collection. I can't wait to read it... she has such a great manner of getting the heart of the gospel into kid language.
Okay, to wrap this all up... here's what I want to say... as much as you're reminding your kids about Christ during Christmas. Remind yourself as well! As you are trying to prepare little hearts for the Lord, prepare your own! Don't get so caught up in all the to-dos of the season that you forget to slow down and seek the face of your Maker, Who humbled Himself to come down and be born for you! If you preach it to yourself, then it'll become a natural flow out of your heart to your kids. More like a bubbling spring and less like the almost-dry well that your heart becomes when you aren't seeking the Lord! With that in mind, here's a resource for you-- and it's free, so no excuses! Okay?
Have a great weekend! And I hope you have a wonderful start to Advent season!
If you haven't heard yet, I have an incredibly talented baby sister... who is in her last year of twenties so she's not really a baby anymore. And I'm older, but who wants to count all those years up anyway? Ahem.
But back to what I was going to tell you. Wichita's Final Friday is here again and there'll be plenty of fresh art to go check out. But the art you hafta see is hers.
Here's the info and hope to see you there (cause you know I'm totally going to bring my whole brood in to handle the pottery)!
Today, or I guess it was yesterday I did life together with some wonderful women! It blessed my heart to hear their stories, learn their pain, cheer with their joys, and speak the Gospel to one another as we made tamales.
Honestly, it's easy for me to get centered in on my little family and not leave room for anyone else. But that's not what Christ calls us to. He calls us to live together as one body... and that's messy. As messy as making tamales. (Yes, my dishwasher is still running and there's another load behind it to be done but I'm out of detergent.) It's messy, but it's through the mess that Christ is able to do His healing work. And the wonderful thing about it is: He uses each of the members of the body to do His healing work. And that's beautiful, humbling.
And a bit daunting... but just for a moment before you're reminded that you're just a tool for His work and nothing is too difficult for Him to do. Then you just learn to lean on Him and His understanding... you trust His ways and you ask Him to help you minister to one another. Ah... it's good!
How was your Saturday? Have you planned how you'll do life together with someone else this week? Get to work!
(Um, yeah, this picture really has nothing to do with this post but I ran across it and thought I'd share. This is Cruz at Xochimilco with a marachi band singer who was also named Cruz. The end.)
This Thanksgiving weekend, I'm thankful for the ability and resources to bake 6 pies in one morning. Thankful for a momma who taught me how to make a great pie... and thankful for the one that was a flop. (Really, truly a humble pie... never again will I veer from my regular cherry pie recipe.) I'm thankful for a family large enough to devour 6 pies in a couple of days. I'm thankful for real whipped cream. Can I get an Amen? But back to my momma... she taught me how to flute pies... as my sweet friend Ginny recently said about her momma. (Our mommas are both awesome and great friends.) But I was thinking how, just the practice of making pies has been handed down from one generation to another.
It's something I intend to teach my kids. It's something we can share and a great way to get into conversation with your kids.
But perhaps you don't know how to make pies... that's okay! Teach them what you know... or learn something new together! Enjoy life with your kids! This week! Today! Go and plan something now!
But perhaps you don't have kids... or they are grown and gone... that's okay! Teach something to a friend. (I'm learning to make tamales with my friends tomorrow... they are gracious enough to keep on helping me to learn-- it takes more than once to get it down right-- it'll make my marriage better when I know how to do it right.) So go make something with someone!
And while you're doing it: Converse. Talk about life. Talk about the Gospel. Talk about God's grace... and have fun doing life together!
"God lives in the sweet and precious places, and he also can be found in the scandalous and obscene places. there is no where he is not."
Anyway, this got me thinking... mainly about songs that I haven't listened to in a long, long time. 90's anyone? Perhaps I'm showing my age. I keep on thinking the nineties were 10 years ago... but somehow they've gotten older on me and become vintage. I'm going to confess that I used to belt out songs from the likes of Destiny's Child when I was driving my first car. What songs did you listen to in high school and college? You should go back and try to look for the Gospel shining through. You might be surprised. Here's my first find:
"If you tell others that you belong to me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you are my followers.But if you reject me, I will tell my Father in heaven that you don’t belong to me."- Matthew 10:32-33 (CEV)
Go link up your own finds. Or just visit and vote for your favorite #letsgetpraisy quote.
Some of you may know that once a long, long time ago I used to teach. Okay, I still teach but I no longer get paid for it. Anyway, whenever one of my students had a rough time and for whatever reason ended up in tears, I would often send them with a friend to go wash their face and get a drink of water. These simple acts seemed to reinvigorate the senses of what was right in the world and wash away the wrong (and often a faceful of snot... which was an added bonus). Everything was calmer and a bit brighter afterwards.
Yesterday was hard for me. Everything seemed to be going wrong. Something that we were relying on fell through just as I was gearing up for Christmas season. I couldn't find a babysitter. We decided to not spend money to go to a conference I'd been looking forward to. We decided to not participate in a gift exchange. Lots of littles...which in God's big picture make very little difference. But yesterday, I just couldn't get over any of it. I was sad, sad and I try really hard not to go there. But it is my sin nature to go there and not trust my Heavenly Father Who has a storehouse of His goodness for me. And I totally went there yesterday.
Today is a new day. Today, I metaphorically washed my face. (I say metaphorically because I have yet to step into the shower. Ahem.) Things look better. I am reminded again of my wonderful Father. My circumstances have not changed. My house shows the signs of a person who moped about all day yesterday. Laundry is piled everywhere. Toys are strewn about. The floors, oh, where do I begin with the floors? We still aren't going to the conference. We gave up on finding a sitter and asked a friend to come to our house in hopes that we'll be able to keep the kids busy with naps and movies while we talk. The thing we'd relied on has not magically reappeared. Smaller things have popped up in its stead and hopefully will keep us afloat for awhile. Our God is good and faithful and He holds us. He changes our hearts to rely on Him. He calls His children by name and lets us fall asleep in His strong arms.
He gives us goofy kids that make innocent mistakes on their spelling.
Or put cell phones down their pants. (Thank goodness for onesies!)
He lets us see the joy in the mess of the house... the life that is so vibrantly evident through the mess.
Today, I'm looking forward to Christmas. Not because of the gifts. Because of the Gift. We are listening to Christmas music and I am hoping to clean up the mess and start pulling out Christmas decorations. Because I need a visual reminder about what this season that we're entering is really about.
God making Himself available to us, mending the broken, washing our faces and giving us a drink of His Living Water.
Actually, I'm beginning to realize the season is almost upon us. It does help that my momma is reminding me often that we'll be having our family Christmas at the beginning of December... I think we'll be decorating the house a bit early this year. Yea! Are you in the Christmas mood yet? Or does it hit you a bit later?
Recently, we put Eliana in tap/ballet class at one of our local park centers. Honestly, it's about perfect. It's incredibly affordable. (We get three months of lessons for the same price as the local dance studios charge for one month.) Her teacher is terrific and holds a dance recital for all the girls-- not only that, but she goes above and beyond, making costumes for all the girls when ordinarily this would be yet another expense at most of the dance studios around town.
But the bonus in my mind was that there is a small library in the same park center. I imagined dropping her off at class and then taking the others to the library to spend the next forty-five minutes--keeping the boys occupied and leisurely perusing for any books we needed all in one fell swoop while she was doing her stuff. So, imagine my surprise when I realized during the first class that the library had just cut its hours and now wouldn't be opening until 15 minutes after class was finished. Booooo!!! That first class was completely fun to sit through since I had brought absolutely nothing with me to keep the boys occupied.
Several weeks later, after I had finally figured out how to keep the boys entertained through those looong 45, I decided we'd wait the next 15 minutes to get into the library. I'd brought a list of books I wanted to look for to go with the lessons we'd been doing in school and we were ready to go. As the clock ticked closer to opening time, a crowd of elderly people began to form-- eagerly waiting to be let in. As we neared two minutes until open, the baby decided to wake and Cruz became increasingly aware that he'd already spent an hour in the stroller. But I also had two big kids who had also been waiting patiently for the opportunity to peruse the children's books shelves.
(sticky-faced Cruz-- yes, lollipops may be on the list of things to keep the boys busy during our wait)
We finally entered and I realized that the library building had somehow magically shrunk since I was a child and as I began to look for books I began to realize just how crazy I had been to think that somehow there might be a good portion of the books I was looking for on their shelves. Out of a list of over 30 fairly well-known books, I found two that were on my list. To top it off, the baby was beginning to believe that she should be fed but all the chairs were already fill with the previously mentioned library patrons and Cruz was now nearing on a full 90 minutes in the stroller and was beginning to mess with his already greatly agitated little sister. Over her cries, and his shrieking I half whispered-half shouted directions to my older two to make their final selection and get over to the counter to check out.
I pull out my debit card to try and pay our fines from early this summer. (I try so hard to not accrue fines and when I do it's always right before or right after I've had a baby. Then, it takes me forever to get the guts to pay it off because somehow it seems like I'm having to do penance to the librarian and explain exactly why it's taken me so long to get there to pay it off... see, I just had a baby and I'm just now beginning to venture back into the world and especially the library.) But now, I have a loudly crying baby and the lady is swiping, swiping, swiping my card and nothing...
"Maybe if I try the other computer," she murmurs to herself. She swipes it some more and then returns to her regular computer. (Apparently STAR system crashed for about 15 minutes in a certain area that Tuesday and the library I was checking out at just happened to be affected... and I happened to choose the very time that it failed.) The baby is throwing a royal fit, Cruz is kicking and swinging at anything he can now, my big kids have now been standing at the desk for more than five minutes and are beginning to get restless themselves, and patrons are turning around to glare at us. I start digging into the depths of the diaper bag for my checkbook... why checkbook must you always fall into the depths?
Never again. Last week, I got online, reserved all the books and DVDs I wanted for our school, had them sent to the same library. (I figure waiting the 15 minutes after class is still shorter than taking a separate trip and having to load/unload the kids at a different library.) The selection was amazing because I was able to pull books from any library in the city, and have them sent to that specific library... I was able to find every book I wanted minus one! I sent the big kids to go find one book each while the librarian found my stack of books, I paid a total of three dollars for the 12 items I reserved, STAR system was up and running, the kids were quick in making their selection, and we were in and out of there in about 5 minutes.
(Our library book bag after a successful trip!)
Now, I love the library. I love books. (Although, I rarely get to read a book for my own enjoyment at this point of my life.) I think it would be heavenly to work in the children's department of a library or bookstore when I retire from my current job. My husband and I on the rare occasion that we go on a date often end up at a bookstore. But! Right now, my little kids are not at a point where the library works for us to hang out and soak up whatever reading we want to do. And I love my new library system. Spending $3 is worth not having to search for the books I want or drive all over town to get them (less than a gallon of gas even!) and definitely worth shortening our very loud and noisy trips to the library to five minutes. Amen!