Monday, March 10, 2014

For the Foot Undies!

Futsal is fun to watch. It is faster and smarter than soccer.  Little Mother has made a few goals, but not consistently in her new occasional position as forward.  It was frustrating to watch her get within field goal range and watch the other team take it away.  It takes courage and confidence to take the shot. Briz and I lectured (we called it teaching), and yelled from the sidelines.  But nothing materially changed. 

So it was the final game of the season.  How to get her to try more often, to risk, so she can see success?  All three of the kids must buy everything but their underwear these days... long story, but our attempt to keep them from entitlement.  "Is there anything you are really desperate for?"  I asked.  "I've got to have foot undies by Friday for our dance competitions."  She replied. 

"How are you for money?" 

"I've only got $5.00 and they are $15.  I'm going to be in such trouble." 

"I've got $5.00 for each goal you make tonight."

"What about a really cool move?"

"Nope.  Only a goal will do.  Remember you'll need to take a lot of shots to get one.  Maybe even 10 to get one in the goal."

She's on fire that girl.  She charges, she swivels, she takes away. And each time she gets the ball I scream from the sidelines, "FOR THE FOOT UNDIES!"  How often does a parent get to say something like that?  It works.  She boots it in.  The game continues.  I continue my happy chant and enjoy the strange looks from the other parents.  She gets the ball, looks at me and I call her remembrance to the foot undies and in it goes again.  Foot Undies achieved, but really confidence achieved. I knew she could do it, she just had to take the shots. 

Choir concert one half hour after the game.  We are all lagging from the busy schedule.  I promise her friends.  Doughnuts for all, just do your best.  After a superb concert, we gather outside to the envy of all passers by for grasshopper, salted caramel mocha, raspberry mango and blueberry doughnuts.  I don't always have money for rewards... treats.... spoiling my kids.  But I did today.  And it was such a small thing for large happiness.

I wonder how often I dribble the ball outside the goal and my Heavenly Father is yelling, "Take the Shot!"  But I wait for the perfect opportunity, so afraid to mess up.  Other times, I am so tired I don't want to do what is best for me.  But he is so patient and devises rewards for even the smallest effort to give me courage to try again.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Heavenly Father's individualized pizza night


Some need a gluten free crust, most like regular.  Some like lots of cheese, but others need a dairy free option of nutritional yeast. I have pepperoni for some, Canadian bacon for others and a variety of vegetables for those with advanced healthy palates.  For the games, most can have sugar but others have to have a prize of sugar free gum.  Most drink pineapple soda but I make a sugar free option of peaches and cream for the two of us that are sugar free.  It is a LOT of work to pull off pizza night. 

I think of my children.  Could any three people be more different?  Three separate learning plans... one for special needs, one hard worker, and one too quick for her own good.  One has one friend, another has hundreds... literally.  The other has a handful of friends she likes to do things with.  Spiritually, same story. 

When my sweetie and I meet together to discuss the children, it is very hard to set tons of hard and fast rules.  One is ready for certain privileges and can handle the added responsibility and others may not be.  Nothing is across the board. 

Is it any wonder that our lives are so unique?  Can I wonder that Heavenly Father gives us such different paths, and works with us so individually.  Tonight, however, instead of just accepting that as a fact, I am filled with wonder at a God who can fill more orders than I can at pizza night.  Not hundreds of individualized orders, or thousands, but numerous children to cater to individually. 

And what is even more amazing, he meets each of us one by one on our own terms.  It is a real time commitment to give each of my daughters a special date each month of a few hours of undivided attention.  But this is the time they glow and bask in my attention; when they open up and share their lives.  Ladybug and I, we dine together in her school lunch room.  She and her friend, Sonja, escort me to my car.  It is a GOOD thing. And God, to him each of us is loved and dealt with as if we were the only one. 

It boggles my mind.  What a great bit of experience parenthood is and how very young and immature I am in the process. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Date at Scheels

I didn't know it mattered when we stopped.  But all three brought it up a month ago.  Individual dates please. We miss them.  We need them.  We assigned them all a day of the month... the day they were born.  Unfortunately, that gives me two within three days.

Sunshine says, "this is so not you Mom!  You don't destroy things.  Hmmm.  Little does she know I am a special agent in many of my dreams.  Russ takes a look at the picture and says, "I need to teach you how to shoot a hand gun.  You don't crumple over like that."

Sunshine's favorite restaurant is Zuppa's... Wisconsin Cauliflower soup and grilled cheese. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lunch in the School Cafeteria

  1. Strep test at instacare
  2. Write 2 hours
  3. Make Menu
  4. Grocery Shop
  5. Walk/ Work out
  6. Clean Room
  7. Futsal Game

I make my list.  It will be a full day. Plus, it is early out day and  carpool will be early.   I will need to use each minute. 

As I wipe the sweat from my forehead, my phone trills in the treadmill pocket.  "Mom, will you please come have lunch with me?"  I quickly text back, "Yes."

I dress and groom a bit more carefully.  My teen is proud of me and I wouldn't want to embarrass her.  As I rearrange my schedule to stop at Wendy's before my lunch date, I think of my husband's admonitions.  "She thinks you will drop whatever you are doing for her at any time.  Don't you know what she's doing?" 

I wait at the office.  The bell rings and students stream past in navy and tan uniformity.  A red shirt signifying student council catches my eye.  A hug.  A huge "to do" so everyone sees us together.  Introductions to everyone that passes.  I am sick and need to sit down but we make it to the lunch room. 

We gather a large crowd.  All the students that know me come up to get a hug and show their peers that someone knows and appreciates them.  Even some popular 8th graders join us.  I hand out the treats.  They share all around.  My little one is particularly loud and hyper, drawing attention to herself.  I know what she is doing.  "Look at me.  Someone loves me enough to bring me special treats." 

An 8th grade friend hugs me.  "Little Mother, you're so lucky.  My mom would never come.  And you brought a shake?" 

I blearily drive to Instacare, smiling.  I know what she's doing.  What's more, I know what I am doing.  I know that she only calls when she is feeling a bit lost and unimportant, when she needs a boost to her day.  My friends told me she'd stop wanting me once she hit jr. high, so I jumped at the chance to be with her.  I jumped at the chance to say, "Yes, I WILL drop anything to spend your 18 minute lunch hour with you."  If you need a pick me up, attention from your friends, or just the basic security that your mom brings.  I will give it. 

Perhaps our lunch dates are limited.  Perhaps not.  Either way, Nick, someone loves you enough to put their own needs and plans on hold.  I hope that this love will steer you to trust that your heavenly parents will always there when I am not.  That you will know love and be able to give it freely.  

8.  Parent Teacher Conference
9.  Dinner with Ed and Eleanor
10. Sunshine's Playdate
11. Bills
12.  Schedule Ladybug's summer camps
13.  Laundry

Briz comes home.  "Mom came to lunch today!"  She exclaimed, then rushed to explain to avoid a lecture.  I held my breath as well.  "Mom loves it.  She likes to meet my friends and be with me."  I smile.  Yes, I do for many reasons. 

The day is over.  My bedroom is not clean and the bills are not finished.  But my pre-teen, she knows.  It's been a productive day. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Whatever is, is right

They worked hard those two.  A fun week was just what they need. I would do my best to provide. But Little Mother, she wants a friend and Sunshine doesn’t relish being the lonely third wheel.  My friend is going on a cruise.  She has two girls of similar ages.  Was it providential? 


I gather games, craft supplies, and plan food.  I even bring a bag of candy for winner take all games (usually banned at our house). 


We squeeze through the narrows, hike Snow’s Canyon, roll in the sand dunes, and swim daily.  Nightly we play games, watch movies and eat ice cream.  What’s not to like?  But those pictures that show smiling girls, they are not worth a thousand words.  They don’t tell how one child is crying to me about being left out, how another ignores her, or how one runs to hide in the bathroom at dish time.  They don’t tell about one stomping off screaming, “I hate her!  This is the worst trip ever!”  They don’t show one sister choosing friends over her sister or the rejection another feels. 


And I, I am in charge of this group, this life experience, this “vacation”.  I had planned to write each day, to get so much done.  But I am taut with concern, angry with each little imperfection exhibited by my children, and sad that my preparations have not smoothed the way for the best trip ever. 


They have made this my worst trip ever!   I threaten to take them all home early unless they can get along and show more maturity. 


I read, ponder, pray and think.


 The poet Alexander Pope said, “Whatever is, is right.”  This is a way of saying an omniscient, all loving God only allows only what is in everyone’s best interest to blow into our lives, good or bad.  Really, in his view, it’s all good. They way to contentment is to actively trust by offering thanks in the moment of the annoyance, trauma, or disappointment. 


I want to find this paradise of happiness and I know it is a choice.  I stop to experiment.   I am walking with a little one that refuses to be with them for one more minute.  “Whatever is, is right.”   I think  of my joy at the sun, at the happy person scootering beside me.  What is wrong with this anyway?  This is all good.  “But it isn’t going the way I planned!”  There it is!  The thorn that keeps me from the happy state I am searching for.  I refuse to let go of the driving wheel, even on the small things.  I relaxed my control and sat back to see if I could see why this circumstance was “right.” 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Whatever is, is right Part 2

The rest of my "vacation" became an exercise in contentment with the experiences God choose to give me.  As I rested into the circumstance, I became aware of many things. 

I was not a master at interpersonal relationships at nine, I am not now, so it's okay that these little ones learn, grow and stretch.  When Sunshine has to work through her anger at a partner who won't carry her part of the load, it's all okay. 

 Sisters all prefer someone elses sister for awhile.  They benefited from a "switch of siblings." 

Even when I lost it and threatened the all to come home, it was okay, because one of them really dug deep and learned to control her anger.  They all worked to keep each other happy after that threat. 

And I, what did I learn?  More than I can pen in a few lines. But I needed to see the areas my children needed to work on.  It was informative.  In addition, I found that I needed to be okay with imperfection.  When I relaxed and allowed the situation to be less than perfect, all four little ones relaxed as well.  They subconsciously felt my acceptance and their angst calmed. 

In the end, I suppose it didn't matter that two of them will most likely never want to see each other again.  We grew, we hiked, we dug in the sand, and we had fun.  I learned how to experience happiness even amidst imperfection and chaos.  Does a week get better than that? 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Will you be my Valentine?

Will you be my Valentine?

What does that mean anyway?  The teens in carpool are full of conversation.  Someone has already asked _____ to be their Valentine. Would Spencer dare ask Gracie?  He says he will.  I ask what on earth does it mean?  They don't really know.  They do some research and ask the other kids at school.  They come back and report.  It's not like a boyfriend-girlfriend thing, but it means that you are special to each other, and even better, it's short term.  It only lasts a day!

Logan (Hobbit man) has asked Ladybug to be his Valentine.  Not thrilled, but okay with it, she agrees.  He skates with her for most of the time at the school party and she feels monopolized. 

Several ask Little Mother, but before she understood the serious meaning of "Valentine ness." She laughed and said, "Right."  They turned away crestfallen.  Finally, towards the end of the school day, Dillon asks.  She accepts his affection for the day. 

I kneel in front of each child that day. "Will you be my Valentine?"  I ask.  They all accept.  I make a breakfast for my Valentines, including my fun car pool teens, Emma and Spencer. 

I send giant sugar cookies to school to enjoy and share.  I make a  picture collage for my sweetie.

We have a Valentines dinner.

Ooops.  I wasn't supposed to do much for another two weeks (post surgery).  I guess the doctor didn't know that I had to prove my love to my Valentines.  I am sad.  I can't play games or do anything else.  I crash on the sofa to the Olympics.  Three of my Valentine's crash with me. 

Sunshine confronts me at bedtime.  "You cheated.  You asked me to be your Valentine, but I heard you say Dad was your Valentine." 

"Hmmmm.  I guess I'm a four timing Mom.  Yup.  I was hoping to love on all four of you today."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pizza Night

Each one invites a friend to make pizza.  I have games planned but am keeping it secret because the older girls don't think that sounds fun. 

Kate (Kat) and my little Mother put their dough together. 

Ella and Sunshine dumped theirs on the floor on the way to the oven.  Briz picked them up, added 

more sauce, cooked it and ate it. 

Who would think a game of spoons with UNO cards could get wild? 

Little Mother threw the deck of cards at her father after losing to the undefeated champion. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

To Learn

Four more years.
Six more years
Nine more years

Have we taught you what you need to survive on your own?
Daily there is a new lesson to learn, a new value to teach, and new idea to grasp.

Today I sit and teach you time management.
Dad works on math.

We who love you work tirelessly to help you.  Yet it is not against the clock as it sometimes seems.  There is enough time.  There is a better teacher out there than us who will remain with you after you leave our house.

I am not finished yet.  I learn each day.  I must give you the same permission to continue with your growth.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dead Sea Date

"We need to focus on us."   I say.  "We need to date more." 

He responds the not later in the month or week but the next day.  Not with a movie or dinner, but a trip to the Dead Sea Scrolls exibit for $23 a person.  Yes, he knows my heart.  He wheels me through the crowds, up the elevators and into the dark entrance.  The crowds curiously glance down at me.  I even get a few pitying stares when they think I'm not looking. 

The light appears. It spotlights a large water cistern. 

This water cistern. They say it came from the temple in Jerusalem.  They say it was there at the time, Jesus entered the temple, braided his whip, and cleansed the temple of greed, and men who sell and take advantage.   Almost my height, it would hold a lot of water to cleanse.  But then, its cleanse is ineffectual compared to sin erased and hearts new.  

Pottery stamps, a pair of leather sandals, a foot bath, fossilized dates. And then the words... those beautiful words penned with exact care as befits their status. Isaiah, the Psalms, Deuteronomy.  Then I lean in careful, to hear the ancient docent  tell the group of women.  "It's right there, and there again." He points.  HIS NAME.  In documents 2,000 years old.  I stand to get a better angle. 

My sweetie, he comes back and forth to me.  "Did you see that bathtub?  Or the table remnants from Herod's Palace?  We separate, then merge.  Separate, then merge.  At first I feel a tinge of guilt that we spend different amounts of time at each exhibit.  But then I realize, we ARE at the same place, doing the same thing.   

With each stamp, jar, or piece of jewlry, my excitement has grown.  He was here.  He walked this dirt.  This planet.  They knew.  They all knew from the texts 3,000 years old they called, they asked.  "Come. Oh come Emanuel."  I went to the enourmous stone taken from the excavation of the western wall. "You may say a prayer or write it."  They said.  "When the exhibit is closed, we will ship the prayers to the wall in Israel." 

What can I write?  What is the deepest desire of my heart?  I take the slip of paper and rest it on the ancient slab.  "Oh come.  Please come oh Emanuel."  I fold it up small and stick it in a crack. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, December 23, 2011