Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life with Boys

I have had 2 boys for 4.4 years now. It is funny that most of my friends have girls. Multiple girls, at that! I often wonder what it would be like to have girls. So if you DO have girls and have ever wondered what it would be like to have BOYS, here is what I have learned so far:

-Even without them ever having been exposed to violent shows on TV or violent friends, boys are by nature a bit violent. Sticks turn into swords. Straws turn into swords. Heck, anything that is longer than 6" turns into a sword, and they can even make things shorter than that turn into a sword. (This did not happen until after year 3 for my son, although now little brother has promptly followed suit)

-Boys are competitive. Especially if they have a brother. For the past 2 months, every time we have pulled into the driveway, it is a RACE to see who can get out of the car first and knock on the door first. Backpacks and toys are strewn across the front lawn in this race to the "finish line" - the front door. Time outs are given daily for pushing, shoving and hitting to see who can "win." I am looking forward to this phase ending sometime in the near future.

-Boys love to throw things. No gentle play here. They want to see how far their pitch is, and they want to see the results of their throw: the more bounce, the more dents in the wall, the more people the item hits along the way all mean more points to them. I was with a friend at the beach one day (who has a little girl) and she could not understand why Micah would not sit still and build sandcastles in the sand with her daughter. Sitting still in the sand? Um, nope. Not for a boy. They want to be chasing waves, making mud moats around the castle, and throwing sand to see the wind catch it and hear people scream when it hits them in the eyes.

-Boys are FULL of energy. They can't sit still long enough for a tea party. Their play involves "action", full of battles, fighting and cars crashing.

-Boys LOVE being messy!! The more mud, the better.  Let's not just color in the lines, let's color all over our bodies, too!!

-Boys are fascinated with Superheros, Transformers, Ninjas, Guns, Army guys, Army tanks, Wrestling, and Astronauts EVEN IF THESE ARE NOT IN THE HOUSE OR ON TV! That is one of the strangest things to me. My boys have ever only watched PBS Kids, The Wiggles, and Thomas the Train. Yet somehow, when we're out and about, we will walk by a window with a Transformer ad in it, and suddenly that's all they talk about. Suddenly they are pretending their toys are Transformers, and they are pretending to BE Transformers. How did that happen? How did they know?!

-Boys love girls. At least my boys do. Oy. Micah still has a crush on a classmate that started over a year ago. He blushes when we mention her name, prays for her at night, and sticks his whole hand in his mouth when we see her (don't ask - I think it's a nervous habit) :)

I was honestly afraid to be a mom of boys. I didn't want my boys to get hurt, play rough, or be exposed to these things. But thankfully they still have not had any broken bones, I watch them carefully, and still try to protect them from all the violence in the outside world. They are learning how to be boys, and we are trying to teach them how to not hurt others and be considerate of others' feelings.  These boys have taught me how to love better, because they are so loving to me.

One thing I can say about having boys is that each day is truly an adventure, full of lots of fun, and there is rarely a dull moment!!

Here are some great books on raising boys:

(Case in Point: When Micah saw me adding this picture to my blog, he said "I wanna buy that sword sometime!")

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And The Winner Is...

MINDY!!! You have won the Sara Groves CD/Journal!! Congratulations!!! If you can, send me a message with your address and I will get it in the mail to you.

And now, introducing my new china cabinet- the one I got for only $30 from Kmart (the store I always vow to never go into again, then find myself walking in when I occasionally run out of toilet paper):

Oh, did I mention I put most of it together myself? Well, when my husband went to finish the job, he found that I had installed a middle piece backward (where the drawer goes in) and we'd have to unscrew the entire thing to fix it. He rigged it so it works anyway. Oh well...

Many times I go into other people's homes and think they are so creative and cute. In our house, we have a lot of "mission style" furniture, but now that we have been married 10 years (and some of our furniture was not new to begin with), I really want a new "style." I would love to combine the mission style with some classy shabby-chic. For now, my one shabby chic bookshelf sits alone in our office, not living up to its potential. That brings me to these curtains. My mom came over yesterday to teach me how to sew. What I thought would take 10 minutes took a few hours, because she is actually a real sewer. We made three panels of these curtains for my kitchen. Now that I officially know how to sew curtains, I can change them when I want to. However, because I have no sense of style and no decorating style, I don't know what I want next. Hmmmm... Anyway, here they are. At least they match the china cabinet (although they do not match our 1970's tile). :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Me Monday AND a Giveaway!!

What is "Not Me Monday"? Check out MckMama's blog to find out!

This week I did NOT lose my patience so many times with my boys, that Micah's most-often heard phrase was "Mommy, stop being mean at me!" I do declare (said with a Southern accent)! I am so glad that some reality television show is not following ME around.

Last Monday (while M was gone at a retreat for 2 days), I did NOT attempt to take my boys to Disneyland BY MYSELF, and then the next day, decide to take them to Chuck E. Cheese BY MYSELF, and then wonder why I was so impatient all week long. It is now Monday again, and I have still NOT recovered (for real).

This Friday, I took Jaden to his little class-thing (kindof like "Mommy and Me") where I did NOT have a "sweaty feet episode" (read about those here), and leave wet foot prints all over the gym mats, leaving every other mother wondering what in the world was WRONG with me, and them probably wondering WHY I kept standing in the corner (where the mat stopped) during the whole class. Not me!! I don't have any weird, disgusting body "disabilities"!

OH- and I did NOT walk into Kmart, find a Martha Stewart country china cabinet at 90% off (for only $30), bring it home and attempt to put it together BY MYSELF in the garage. I did NOT screw some pieces in backwards, which caused a huge commotion when I needed Martin to unscrew the ENTIRE piece of furniture (about 2000 screws) to fix it. He did NOT unscrew the piece (for real) but left it as it is, and I have to DEAL. (pictures to come later).

That was my week. How 'bout yours?
And NOW (drumroll, please), a GIVEAWAY for my 195th post!! You may or may not know that I am a HUGE fan of Sara Groves. I will be giving away a cute little book and CD of her children's songs that I received as a gift at the MOPS convention. It is called "What Every Mom Needs: Audio Snapshot and Journal" and is a small journal of questions that you can reflect on as you listen to the touching music about moms & babies. I LOVE this CD but already have one of my own, and would LOVE to share it with you. You can listen to some of the songs here.

All you have to do to enter is to leave me a comment!! Just let me know that you stopped by!!
This contest will be open until Wednesday midnight.

Monday, October 12, 2009

No More Supermom!

At the MOPS convention (which I realize I still have not blogged about), I heard an amazing message from Elisa Morgan, the former President/CEO of MOPS International. She just wrote a book entitled "She Did What She Could." Elisa takes the story of Mary Magdalene, who poured perfume on Jesus' feet. She was criticized for pouring expensive perfume, over a year's wages, over her Lord's feet. "The money from this perfume could have been given to the poor!" they cried. But Jesus replied, "she did what she could." (Read the passage here) Elisa encouraged us, as we look at the world around us and feel burdened for all the needs that are out there, to just do what we can, one thing at a time. Nothing is too small.

After this convention, I went to MOPS last week, where our speaker (who had not been to the convention) spoke about how our relationship with God changes when we become moms. She talked about how many of us are used to the "prescription" of daily devotions that has been indoctrinated in us since we were young: we must spend 30 minutes to an hour a day with the Lord, praying and reading the Bible (and it helps if you use the ACTS method and journal, too). Then when we become moms, we beat ourselves up for not being able to do it anymore. And then Suzie said it again: "You do what you can." You take moments throughout the day to pray, to read Scripture (she said she'd keep her Bible open on her counter to a Psalm and read one verse every time she walked by it). You do what you can. There is a fine line to be walked here, as some of us (me included) can easily start to excuse laziness with God's grace. But the point is, we may have to do things differently after we become moms, but we find what works for us, and we do what we can.

That brings me to this (possibly unrelated to the paragraph above) question: since when did we start thinking that multi-tasking is a virtue? When did we, as Christian moms, start buying the lie that we need to be Supermom? That to be a good mom, we have to have it all together and do so many things at once, and do them all well? I WISH, how I wish, that someone would have told me as a new, young mother: "You don't have to have it all together. You can't do it all. You don't have to be Supermom." Because oh, how freeing that would have been. Instead, I bought into the lie too. And then I beat myself up daily for not being able to live up to the world's expectations.

All God expects of me? To do what I can. In His strength. Some moms have more on their plate than others. And He gives them the strength to do it. But I should not desire that, but be content with the lot in life God has called me to. You don't have to be Supermom to be a good mom. Let's all just "do what we can do" and be content with that. As I become a more "seasoned" mother, I realize that multi-tasking and doing 100 things at once does not make me a good mother!! What will make me a good mother is doing just what God has put in front of me really well.

Here are more thoughts on the book and an excellent interview with Elisa about this very subject. And if you have time to watch this, take a few minutes and be so encouraged by this short message!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blaming Jesus

For the third time in the past week, Micah has blamed something bad he did on Jesus. Yes, you read that right. Today at the table he told Jaden "Shut your mouth, Jaden!" When I gasped and asked him where he heard this unacceptable phrase, he said "Jesus told me, mommy." When I've asked him why it is okay to hit his little brother, he has replied "Jesus told me to." Hmmmm... I think maybe we need to step it up in the theology department here at home :)

Micah has been on my heart a lot this week. More than normal, I guess you could say. I realize that this time next year, he will be entering Kindergarten. I have been going back and forth about this in my heart for the past few weeks. Homeschool, Christian school, or public school? I was raised in Christian school from preschool through 10th grade. I really loved it. It was what I needed: small class sizes, teachers who cared, Godly instruction, etc. When I went to a larger public school (in high school) I felt lost, invisible, over-crowded, and I struggled inside. Maybe it would have been easier on me if I would have been in public school sooner, but I still think that the smaller schools suited my personality better. Martin is a successful product of public schools. He had a great experience, made Christian friends, and made good choices. Both options worked for each of us individually.

I am not one who believes in "sheltering" my child from the world or having them live in a Christian bubble (not that all homeschoolers believe that, because I know many who do not do it for that reason). I do see the advantage of homeschooling. I also see some disadvantages not only for myself, but for Micah (I won't go into all that at this point, but there are a few main reasons I do not want to pursue this option for us).

I love his little private preschool right now because he is in a safe environment, learning about the Lord, and in a class with 9 other kids who are (for the most part) really good influences. How I wish he could just stay there forever. However, the Christian schools in our area (above preschool) are all $600-$800 a month. That option is pretty much OUT.

We did happen to move into an area which supposedly has one of the best elementary schools in the entire area. People praise it because it is "small" (500 kids vs. 800) and has great test scores. Those things aren't the most important factors to me. All I really want is a school where my child will be safe (in all senses of the word). When I walk by there and see 200 kids on the playground at one time with the teachers huddled in the corner, "safe" is not what comes to mind. The other kids are what I worry about - kids exposed to things that Micah has no idea about, kids who may make fun of him, but also kids who need Jesus and may be able to see Him in my son. Micah is not like a lot of other 4 year olds. He is especially sensitive, he is what some kids might call "different" because he is quiet and introverted, and can easily be overlooked. He bottles his emotions inside and can get hurt very badly and not let on until hours later when he explodes. He gets overwhelmed in large groups and they stress him out. I can already picture going to school just completely stressing him out.

So how do we make this decision? I mean, the cheapest, easy decision would be option #3. But that is not settled in my heart yet. Quite the opposite, my heart is fighting it. Today I thought, "wouldn't it be great to find a homeschool 'group' where I could pay for someone to teach my child in a homeschool environment, where he'd be surrounded by 10-20 kids each day?" Honestly, I would like that option. For now, we just pray and wait. I am taking walks by this school each week, praying as I walk.

How have you made this decision for your family?