Thursday, March 29, 2012

Above All Else

My mom stopped by awhile ago to see her grand babies. She happened to catch us when I was in deep reflection on my role as a mom. As a result, I was a tad overwhelmed with the huge blessing and responsibility that comes with raising three children from babyhood to adulthood. I'm pretty sure she was the first person taller than 3 foot 2 inches I had seen that day and as a result the floodgates opened: "They have to know how to wash all their body parts ... and how to make good choices ... and I want them to love God ... " My mom listened patiently (as she always does) and then said, "I'm sure it's easy to get overwhelmed. Just remember to ask God for the wisdom to teach them what is most important. And know that you have time."

And that is one of the many reasons I love my mom. She is just so wise.

I took her advice to heart and as I prayed a sweet image of my children as adults filled my mind. I found myself pondering how I want my children to remember me when they have kids of their own. What aspects of my parenting do I hope they implement when they are parents? How do I want them to remember me long after I am gone? Framing my motherhood responsibilities in this light allowed me to pinpoint a few of the most important things I hope my children learn from my example.

*   *   *

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself."  
Luke 10:27
Above all else I hope to teach my children that the truest love they will ever know is found in the selfless love of Christ. I hope they learn that loving God and serving him with all they are is their most important and fulfilling purpose. I hope they take the love that God has graciously lavished upon them and use it to bless their siblings, their friends, their family, their neighbors and also people who may cause them hurt along the bumpy road of life.

HENRY - age 2 1/2

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23
Can you imagine spending your days with someone who exudes all the qualities above? How comforting to know that your closest companion will love you even when you disappoint them, be joyful and celebrate when you succeed and show you patience in every situation. I pray every morning for the spirit of God to direct my thoughts, my actions and my words. I pray because I desperately need God's help in this matter. By nature I do not embody the fruit of the spirit. But it is my hearts desire that my children learn from my example to also be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled.

"My father's house has many rooms; if that were not so would I have told you that I was going there to prepare a place for you?" 
John 14:2
Every day is a gift from God, filled with more beauty than words can express. I treasure the moments I spend with my children and I pray that they will approach life with a heart that recognizes the gift of the present. Equally, I want them to know that because of God's love for us we are part of something even more glorious than the day to day living we enjoy. I pray that my children develop a deep desire to experience the reality of life in heaven with our amazing savior and all the people we love who have gone before us. I believe in my core that one of the most important truths I can teach my children is that we will see our loved ones again and that death is not to be feared when we know and love Jesus. As a young child I remember clinging to that truth when I faced the loss of loved ones. In recent years that truth has been my comfort through great loss. I can't imagine dealing with the incredible pain of losing a loved one without the comfort that one day "he will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain." (Revelation 21:4)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Poor Boys

With two boys in the house a blow to the balls was bound to happen. And it did. Henry was trying to beat Adam into the bath the other night, slipped and caught himself between the legs on the metal edge of the tub. I've never heard him scream like he did at the moment of impact. As a result, Matt came running into the bathroom faster than I've ever seen him run. Luckily no real harm was done. It must have been very traumatic though because a couple days later Adam fell and got a bump on his knee. He screamed a scream reminiscent of Henry's ball busting scream. Henry came running into the room with a look of terror on his face and said ...
"OH NO!!!! Oh no, oh no, oh no!!!!!! Did Adam squish all the air out of his balls?!?"

Sometimes I just have to laugh. This was one of those times.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Baby Turns One!

The sweetest little girl turned one today. It's so cliche but it really feels like she was born just yesterday. This little love bug has showered us with so much joy over the last 12 months. There is just something about this baby. In fact, if you're reading this and you've had the pleasure of meeting her I'm pretty sure you've fallen in love. She is beyond words. We love you sweet Claire Elise. You added a spark to this bunch of Barron's that I didn't even realize was missing.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Goes On When The T.V. Doesn't

My parents rationed my television consumption when I was a child. I was allowed tiny bites. Very occasionally. I remember sitting all together on Thursday evenings and watching, The Cosby Show. Sesame Street was allowed on an occasional afternoon but it was quickly changed to Little House on the Prairie as soon as my older sisters dusty shoes crossed the threshold on their return from school. I don't remember ever watching Saturday morning cartoons. I don't remember missing it either.

I spent my childhood reading, listening to stories on record (yes, record) and playing outside. Hour upon hour was spent building forts (with running water and rather large fires), climbing trees with branches that hung precariously over the Sacramento River, riding bikes on the levee, playing on the tin roof of one of the many sheds near our house, and pretending to be Indians by hanging tobacco (green leaves of some sort) and animal skin (grapefruit peels) out to dry. I loved every moment growing up television deprived on acres of land. Don't get me wrong. On the occasional evening when my parents would go on a date and leave my oldest sister in charge we spent most of the night with our eyes glued to the television. We also made sure to turn it off at least 30 minutes before their expected return because the moment my mom got home she was sure to touch the back of the television set to see it if was hot from overuse. True story.

Fast forward 30 some years and I have to admit that my children watch much more television than their mother or father did in their youth. When Matt was young his family had a TV and VCR just for watching family movies. In recent months, Matt and I have taken great strides to limit the amount of television our kids consume. We are not a "no T.V. allowed" household but we have moved toward being an "occasional show when the kids have earned them" household. This movement comes because we know the benefits of rationing television. The biggest in our house being more pleasant children who really enjoy each other and have imaginations that are through the roof!

Here's the proof ...

A display of some sort.
Ping pong.
Taking a monkey for a bike ride.
More war.

The gang. Eating a pizza.
Protecting the gang from a monster.

The monster. Eating the gang.


Bird watching.

Bird watching and photo taking.

Pondering the little things.

Trapping animals.
He didn't stand a chance.

Dog trap.
Poor fool.

The monster attacking the kitchen.

"Helping" with dinner.

I have no idea.

Really helping with dinner.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Child Labor Endorsed Here

For at least 6 months I've been on a quest for the perfect chore chart. I'm lacking in the brain cells department lately so I've been scouring websites for an idea I could steal. About a month ago I found the holy grail of chore charts. I love it! It is simple enough that both boys can understand what's expected. It allows me to keep some chores the same everyday (get dressed, make bed, brush teeth) and adapt chores for more "deep cleaning" on the weekends. Here it is folks ...

And here's the proof that it works ...


Once the chores are done the boys get to take the sticker from the envelope and put it in the right spot.

Now I have a habit of starting things with the kids, being energetic for a couple weeks and then losing steam. I consider this chore chart a success because it has lasted over a month in our house! An accomplishment indeed. The kids are pretty programed with their morning chores. A few days a week while I'm making dinner I give them some new afternoon chores. And one day each weekend they get some more difficult chores in the "$" envelope and they get reimbursed for their labor. I love this particular chore chart because it allows me to teach the kids that some chores we do just because that's part of being a family and some chores actually earn a monetary reward! Once they've earned a few dollars my goal is to move toward teaching some money management skills: saving, giving and spending! Get Ready boys. Momma is on a roll.