Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Red and Yellow, Black and White...

Ohhh...here we go.

I really don't want to go here...but I'm going to.

Racial comments--how I loathe you.

Most of the time, I just let these things slide, or roll right off of my back. However, I am human and occasionally they hurt me. But they don't hurt me for me. They hurt me for my sweet Little Man.

Generally people that know me do not make these comments, at least in my presence. But there are times when they may forget that my son is biracial--and a comment slips out. That happened earlier this week...and it hurt my heart. It hurt because I could see those beautiful brown eyes looking up at me with complete innocence. He is a baby, and he already has a label and a stereotype.

This is not necessarily only a race issue. It could be for people with disabilities, economic issues, whatever it may be. It is one of my greatest problems with society. Why do we single out and label people? Of course we have differences, but how bland would this world be if we were all the same? I am so sad for people that only associate with others "like" them. Their lives are not as colorful or enriched as they could be.

Now, don't get me wrong...I am really glad that we can see all of the beautiful colors in this world. I am an interior designer...I love color!

I just wish that society could see every color as beautiful and equal.

We had a guest speaker at church on Sunday and he discussed this verse: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27)

Everyone is created in God's image.


No one type of person is better than another. We are all created in His image. It would be ignorant of us to limit God to a "white man", or an "African American woman", or any other single being. He is multi faceted. He represents all of us.

That is amazing. As different as we all are, we are each made completely in God's image. I would encourage everyone to remember this. We are all in this together, and we are all God's children.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beauty and The...Guillotine?

Yep. See anything wrong here? You are seeing that correctly.

So here is the story behind this picture.

During the nightly shower, I asked Sister if she wanted her princess tattoos taken off so that we could put on fresh, shiny, new ones. She excitedly said yes--so off with the old. I scrubbed Tiana and Ariel off of her hands and moved on to shower the boys. I got everyone showered, dressed, and into the bed, and--lo and behold...mommy forgot to apply new tattoos. Sister must have forgotten too, because she did not ask again.

Cue morning.

Sister asks for her new princess tattoos. I promise that I will do it before we leave for school. Chaos ensues as I try to get 3 squirming children fed, dressed, and out the door. I get everyone ready, down the flight of stairs, and loaded. I start the car and we are headed to school. Nearing the end of the neighborhood, Sister bellows from the backseat," Mommy!!! I want a princess tattoo!!!"


I had completely forgotten about the new tattoos. So I made a quick decision to turn around and go home, because 1. I had promised, and 2., this is enough to ruin the entire day for a 3 year old. I raced back home, ran into the house, and pulled the 'treat jar' down off of the fridge. I pulled out the remaining sheets of Disney princess tattoos and scanned for the ones that she had specifically asked for--Belle and Cinderella.

I spotted the two together on one sheet and pulled it out. Unfortunately, it was not the normal 'bust' tattoo, but a full body one--from the top of their perfect hairstyles to the toes of the infamous glass slippers--but they would have to do. I cut them out, soaked a sponge with water, and was out the door. I ran to Sister's side of the car, jerked open the door, and slapped the first tattoo onto her hand. I tried to be patient for the 30 seconds that it takes to soak and stick to bare skin, but apparently I wasn't patient enough. Belle's head pulled off into a sticky ball of smudged color.

Chit again...

Let's just get Cinderella right. And wouldn't you know it. Her 'beetlejuice head' peeled off too. (If you haven't seen the movie, Beetlejuice, you need to go watch it in order to know what I'm talking about.)


Two headless princesses.

"Mom, they're ruined!" Sister pleaded.

"No, they're not....," I tried to convince her, but having no explanation for headless princesses, I tried to move onto another subject, silently praying that none of the kids at school would tease her about her princesses who had befriended the guillotine.


They are everywhere. I occasionally feel like the headless princess. If my head weren't attached to me, I would somehow lose it in the madness. I feel like my days move quickly from one distraction to another. If it is not children, it may be a spouse, or a friend, a bad situation, or even facebook. It seems impossible to stay focused on any one thing in this fast paced world.

I often yearn for the days when I was a child sitting on the back porch swing with my Granny, Pawpaw, and Grannie Minnie. A cool breeze would be blowing my ponytail, and cooling the sweat beads on my forehead. The adults all discussed things that I never understood, but it was so peaceful sitting there with people that I loved. It seemed so simple.

We cannot go back to when we were children, or even the days before crazy social networking, but I think that it is important for everyone to find that place of solace. It may be quiet time in the morning, a shower alone at night, or a date with a back porch swing once everyone else is sleeping. Wherever it is, try to find it as often as possible...because I believe that this time is what helps to keep us grounded.

" The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."--Psalm 23:1-3

Sunday, April 7, 2013

This Rat Race That We Call Life

Some days feel like an absolute rat race-the rat being me-running about in a little box-with no true start and no definite end. It can be exhausting. I had no idea how much it took just to take care of a child's basic needs.
On a typical day, I wake up to the screams, giggles, or voices of my children. They may or may not be sitting on top of me at the time. Nick usually brings whoever is awake and puts them in bed with me when he leaves. I guess that makes me sound lazy...but let me finish my day before you judge.
I get up when my alarm goes off-after I hit snooze a few times-and the race begins. I take everyone to the kitchen and start a cartoon episode...usually Caillou, but lately it has been The Jungle Book. I get everyone some breakfast with accompanying sippy cups, and start my dash to get ready. I use the term 'ready' loosely. The more appropriate term would be dressed. I throw on some clothes, pull my hair in a ponytail-or throw on a hat, and I may put some foundation on.
About this time, the breakfast is all over the floor, and the kids are all coming to me with specific needs. I slather every one's toothbrush with age appropriate toothpaste and hand them off. I run to the kitchen and start packing lunch(es).  While the grilled cheeses are cooking, I fix my coffee...usually two big Bertha thermoses. I go back to the kids and brush over their teeth with their brushes and begin to do the dressing routine.
 I am usually working up a sweat by the time I have changed 2 diapers and fought both boys to get their clothes on. Then comes Sister...she is never happy with the attire choice...even if she picked it out the night before. We usually find a compromise, and I let her choose her hairstyle. I fix it appropriately, brush Linebackers, and get Little Mans product in.
 Almost ready.
I throw lunchboxes and cups in their backpacks and load the car. Backpacks, diaper bag, 2 thermoses, jackets, purse, phone, keys, and any work that I might have to do. I put the dogs in the garage, run up the flight of stairs, and assess the situation. Usually one or both of the boys have their shoes and socks off at this point. I check the clock, realize that we are late, and hurry everyone along. I re-sock and shoe the boys and rush everyone out the door.
I carry Linebacker, who happens to weigh over 30 pounds, and grab Little Mans hand, dragging him down the stairs. Sister usually stops to pick a dandelion or play in the dirt while I am yelling at her to hurry. I get two of them in their 5 point harnesses and search for Sister. I finally get her in the car, and off we go-except...dang...my gas light is on.
One quick stop at the BP. Now we head to school. If it is just Sisters day, we can do carpool-thank you Jesus! But if Little Man goes too, I have to unbuckle all three five point harnesses, and try to get them and their belongings into the school without anyone getting run over. We take the elevator up to the preschool floor, as I watch them like a hawk on the way up(Little Man got his fingers stuck in the door once...heart attack for mommy). At this point, Linebacker wants down because he knows that there are snacks in Little Mans classroom. So I put him down and they all run in different directions.
Hopefully Sisters class hasn't gone to chapel yet and I can drop her off and then take Little Man. I  get them dropped off, get Linebacker pulled away from the snack table- back to the five point harness he goes. Now I run my home or work errands that I have been waiting to do with only one child. This entails a morning of loading and unloading, buckling and unbuckling, handing off snacks, and trying to focus on what I'm doing with constant distraction. It's a good thing that my car beeps if my keys are left in the ignition...I'm just saying...the police department would hate me.
I may be able to meet Nick for lunch, YAY, another set of hands! It also creates a moment for us to recap the day, last few days, or weeks that we haven't been able to discuss. Then it will be time to pick the kid(s) up from school. I go through the car pool line or do the pick up in reverse...then we usually head home.
By this point, everybody is ready for a nap. The whole way home, Sister normally cries because she wants to go anywhere but home and do anything but nap. The boys are usually asleep when we get there, so I transfer them one at a time up the flight of stairs and to their beds. Then I have a heated discussion with Sister about her nap. It inevitably ends with her crying herself to sleep.
At this point in the day, the bed screams for me to take a tiny nap, but responsibilities often scream louder...like the banana that just squished between my toes. So I do laundry, dishes, work, or whatever else needs to be done sans kids.
Eventually, someone wakes up and that is the end to my 'quiet time'.  I dish out snacks, change diapers, refill sippy cups, and settle in to entertaining everyone. We play for a while until it is time for me to start dinner. I try to find something entertaining on TV so that I can hopefully create something somewhat edible for the kids to eat. Cooking is not my strong suit. When I start this, Linebacker usually pulls the plastic picnic table into the middle of the room-he's always ready to eat.
I get everyone seated with sippy cups refilled again, and place their plates in front of them. Rarely do we get through a meal without an upside down plate on the floor. While they are eating I get towels, washcloths, and PJ's ready. I clean up the dinner mess that surprises me daily, and head to the shower. This is when I get my real workout-bathing three squirming children.
I get everyone bathed, every hair washed, and each child out of the shower one at a time. I might as well take one with them, as my clothes are soaked.
Lotion, diaper, pj's...times three. Then I brush Sister and Linebackers hair, and once again, apply Little Man's product. Now I try to do a quick run through the house to pick up the unbelievable mess that has occurred throughout the day.
Hopefully by this point, Nick is home. He eats dinner and plays with the kids for a while. I continue to do laundry, dishes, or straighten. Hopefully I can grab leftovers or a bowl of cereal for dinner. Then it is almost bed time. Milk for everyone, and it's time to brush teeth again.
Three sets of teeth brushed, sippy cups filled with ice water in case it's needed at night, humidifier filled up, and to bed the boys go. Sister gets to stay up a bit later to spend some time with Daddy. I usually get a shower while Sister recaps the day with him.
"Daddy, remember when the curb jumped right in front of mommy's car?"
Seriously...sold out by a 3 year old.
I get out of the shower, and Sister goes to bed. I revisit the laundry, dishes, etc. Nick goes to bed. When I finish my tasks, I make my way to bed. I check on all of the kids, brush the last set of teeth for the night-mine, and finally get to lie down. 
I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I took Sister to the doctor by herself this week(Nick met me and watched the boys during his lunch break-unfortunately we have no family in town...but that is a whole different post.) I didn't have to carry a diaper bag, a stroller, entertainment...anything. I only took my purse, AND I got to carry my coffee in. Sister walked in with me, we sat in the chairs and chatted. They called us back, and we walked down the hall. She stepped on the scale, and we walked in the room. Easy Peasy. We talked with the doctor, and left. Word!!!! It was AMAZING!
I lie down in the bed. My legs ache. My eyes burn. I am still tense from the hectic day. But I begin to relax. I finally get comfortable and am soothed by Nick's steady breathing.
"Mommy...." calls Sister.
I listen. Do I get up, or wait for another call? I debate. I am so tired.
But I get up. Because I know that this is only a season of time. And as hard as it is, I will miss it one day. I will lay down in bed with less responsibility and wonder what my children are doing in their own homes. I will wish that Sister would call me and ask me to snuggle.
So I crawl into bed next to Sister, and she starts playing with my hair. And I am content. Because I am enjoying these sweet moments.
We all have hectic moments in time, but lets try to remember to take in the good, in spite of the bad...
"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."--2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday, April 1, 2013

How Do We Reach Perfection?

One of these things is not like the other-One of these things does not belong.

I purchased these chocolate bunnies for the kids' Easter baskets--then ran multiple errands--then found out that the it does not have to be 90 degrees for chocolate bunnies to melt in the car. "Good job mommy", I mumbled to myself.

We, as women, have so many different hats to wear. Wife, Mother, Easter Bunny, House Cleaner, Laundry Washer, and that is not even counting jobs outside of the home. It is no wonder that we sometimes mess up. In fact, some days it feels like 24 hours of mess ups.

How could we possibly do everything that is expected of us, and do it all well?  How do we have enough time for our husbands, our children, our jobs, our homes, and ourselves? Some days it truly feels like a losing battle.

As if it isn't enough to try to stay above water, we compare ourselves to other women. Sometimes it seems that I am the only one who doesn't have it all together. Today was a perfect example.

Easter Sunday.

Everyone else's kids were dressed to the T. My kids had new clothes-thanks to the grandparents...so we were okay in that department. (I am omitting the fact that I failed to get Sister's undershirt dry...on with a jacket...)

All of the men and women had beautiful spring clothes. I was wonderfully dressed--like I was going to a funeral...black dress, tights, and boots. Shopping trip for me? Not a chance. And if I am completely honest, if I did have time, I would end up in the children's department.

The women were all smiling and holding hands with their husbands, and lets just say, it was not all roses and butterflies at our house this morning. Imagine getting up and trying to get three kids 3 and under dressed and ready for church, while they are all on 'Easter bunny' highs. Mommy and Daddy were not on the most loving of terms.

I imagine that the 'perfect families' went home from church to pristine clean houses and home cooked meals for lunch. We, on the other hand, tried to decide where we could go that was nice enough, but not so nice that we would disturb anyone. Sister wanted to go to 'Old McDonalds', and that probably would have been the best choice...but I just couldn't do that for Easter lunch.

These 'ideal fams' probably ate nice big lunches and then went to the park, or had quality time with the kids watching educational cartoons or doing flash cards. We got home and put everyone down for naps, ourselves included. There were a million things that I needed to do, but exhaustion won over.

When we got up from naps, I took every one's nice clothes off and handed over chocolate bunnies. They were running around in diapers eating chocolate. I'm sure the moms that have it together don't do that. Then I took advantage of this special day of rest to pick up the house and try to catch up on laundry...while also working damage control with the kids. (A full time job when they are loaded up with chocolate.)

I think that we women are sometimes our most harsh critics. Surely everyone else's home life is not perfect. Surely I am not the only one that has to smell the laundry in the washer to know if it needs to be washed again--or am I?

As I hustled around feeling "less than", I reflected back on the church service. Jesus died on the cross for us so that we don't have to be perfect. He loves us, flaws and all.

That's pretty cool.

So even on days when we feel less like the beautiful chocolate bunny displayed in the box, and more like the chocolate sludge sliding off of the edge of the earth, He loves us.

"Then Jesus came to them and said,'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"--Matthew 28:18-20