Grant me patience
to deal with my

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Changing the way we do birthdays...

Last year, after Anna's birthday, I was really bothered. She had developed an expectation for her yearly birthday, and it wasn't met that year. To sum it up, she pretty much felt like it was all about presents and the quantity. The more, the merrier! As she opened presents for her 7th birthday, I sensed in her a lack of appreciation for what she had received. Common issue for that age. Younger kids can also struggle with selfishness and be very egocentric. "It's all about me" syndrome, right? 

Well, there was just something about her attitude that day that did not sit well with me.....So for the past year, I have been thinking a lot about birthdays, the way we (meaning Russ and I) do birthdays, and what it's teaching our kids. Somewhere along the way, Anna seemed to get the idea that a "happy" birthday was one that brought her lots of guests and lots of presents. That's not what I had intended her to learn. After her 7th birthday, I got to have a little talk with her about it all, after she grumpily complained that night before bed. We've had little talks on similar subjects many times since then. Talks about how toys don't bring happiness, talks about choosing to be thankful for what we have instead of seeing all the things others have that we don't, talks about children around the world and what their lives might be like compared to ours....

Of all the many hopes I have for my children, one of them would be that they develop self confidence in themselves, that they see their own value NOT because of what they might look like or because of what things they have attained in life, but realize how wonderful they are because of their character. What will they choose to do when no one is looking, what kinds of words will they choose to speak, how will they decide to spend their time and talents, and will they be able to, if need be, choose to have less things knowing that there is greater happiness to be found with time spent with loved ones, helping, serving, laughing, creating, giving, problem solving, working together and thinking about one another before oneself. 

A year ago, I wanted Anna to understand how much we loved her and will always love her....I wanted her to feel joy because of the securities of family and home and all the love that surrounds her. I wanted her to realize that a room full of all the toys her heart desired could never bring her contentment, satisfaction, peace, and happiness like she can gain by choosing to be grateful, hard working, generous, compassionate, helping and teaching others even when she might not gain much in return, always learning and finding ways to grow and develop into the person she wants to be.

So, birthdays are becoming something different for us. On our kids birthdays, we want them to feel special and loved and valued as a member of our family.....we don't want them to be disgruntled because they didn't get enough presents. Of course, there are many ways to have birthday parties, and just because someone does it differently doesn't make them more right, or better because of it...and it doesn't mean they are doing it all wrong either. We all get to choose what we feel is best according to our circumstances and beliefs. 

We just celebrated Carter's 6th birthday on the 24th of July. He is such a sweet boy, so kind and giving and fun loving. We decided as a family that the week of our birthday we get to choose an activity to do together as a family...anything we want to do...and on the actual day, we get to have a special birthday dinner of our choosing and then open presents from mom and dad and siblings. And of course grandma and grandpa, since they wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them, right? We also get to choose what birthday treat we want, like a traditional cake and ice cream, or something totally different! For us, we don't feel the need to stress out and spend additional money throwing a huge fancy party....honestly, as the mom, I really can't enjoy my kids birthdays when I feel like I have to do it BIG. Russ and I are just simple folk anyways. 

So mister Carter chose chicken salad sandwiches and watermelon for his dinner. Yum! And he had a fabulous brownie pudding whipped cream kinda "cake" for his dessert. He chose to go to Blast Off in Idaho Falls for our family activity. He got a real bow with arrows (that he LOVES), baseball glove, Superman toy, transformer toy, and a few treats that he was so sweet to share with his that's love. And the best part was he was happy and gracious and a joy to be with. The day before his birthday I was talking with Anna and Carter about how we were going to do birthdays and they wouldn't be getting lots of presents. It made me so happy to hear Anna's reply, "Mom, what's important is having fun and getting to spend time with each other, so it doesn't matter how many presents we get." I know it's going to be hard sometimes for them. It was hard for me, as a kid and teenager and even adult at times, to want more than what I had. Any human being will feel that way at times. But as my life goes on, I learn from experience that as fun as it is to get new things here and there, the happiness wanes.....but the happiness I feel when I am surrounded by my husband and children only grows stronger with time. And I know that as Russ and I put more emphasis on spending quality time with our children, they will learn it too.....because they already are. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Carter bug!!! We're gonna love you forever!!!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Of things imperfect, flawed and oh so wonderful!

Dimples....facial dimples that is....
Did you know that they are a facial muscle deformity? Yup.

But seriously, who doesn't love a smile with dimples??? Deformities CAN be wonderful!

 This hottie has dimples.

 Brennen has a dimple, but it's right in the crease of his smile so it is harder to notice.

Same with Kya. Her dimples are in the crease of her smile too

Anna and Carter have a very dominant one on the right almost looks like someone poked a finger into their squishy cheeks and left an indent that never went back!

My facial muscles are NOT dimples for least of the facial I am LOVING seeing them everyday when my kids smile.

Thinking about the concept of genetic deformities and how a dimple, a flaw, should be seen as a bad thing is actually seen in most cultures as a "sign of attractiveness and veracity", well, it got me thinking about other things we, as women and mothers, might see as imperfect or flawed and how we can come to notice the good in the things we are often most critical about.

I don't know about you, but there are all kinds of little things I can get worked up over: 

Whining and Crying.
Whining, Crying, and Rolling around on the floor.

Fighting and Arguing.

Messes and Clutter. Cleaning up other's messes and clutter.

Sweeping...multiple times a day. And even after I just swept, stepping on crumbs....gah!
And if it isn't sweeping, it's mopping. It seems pointless that we work so hard to clean a floor that will only get dirty again...but there is some little voice in my head telling me that I can't feel completely satisfied until everything is completely spotless.

Hahahaha.....spotless??? Anyone else find the humor in that?

Also, you know what else gets me?

Dust. And Sticky finger prints on windows, chairs, cupboards...well, pretty much any surface.

Never-ending laundry.

Cleaning out the Refrigerator!!!

Poop in panties....
Poop that for the 100th time I've explained needs to go in the potty! Poop goes IN the POTTY!!!

Pushing, pinching, hitting, running around like wild monkeys, jumping on the couches, throwing pillows, bouncing basketballs inside, begging for candy at the store, not using your words, refusing to eat dinner, coloring on anything other than paper, begging for a bike helmet and then crying because it has to be worn, making non-stop weird noises, potty talk....

Over the past few years, I have been working really hard at trying to ignore the bubbling hot steam that occurs in my chest cavity when dealing with raising kids, and dealing with household order and cleanliness.

I look at myself in the mirror and I often allow myself to see an imperfect and flawed wife and parent. I look around our house somedays and let myself only see the flawed and imperfect. And I even look at my kids at moments and let myself see only the difficulties that come with being a stay-at-home-mom.


There's so much more, and those dimples help remind me. A deformity everyone loves! And what hits me even harder is the cute little faces with those adorable dimples on them, those cutie pies who spill milk and dig in the garden, cute faces that can transform into the most pathetic grimaces, cute mouths that produce the best kinds of giggles and the worst kinds of wails, cute little pudgy fingers that rip pages in books and throw spaghetti all over the floor, well.... they all belong to me. My kids. Mine. I grew them and brought them to this world...I earned saggy boobs and stretch marks....bags under my eyes, varicose veins and protruding tissue in places you never thought possible, hemorrhoids, headaches, heart breaks, and most importantly....I earned a little bit of Heaven from those cute little dimpled faces.

And you know what?

My toilet needs to be scrubbed. My bed isn't made. There is lipstick all over my girl's bedroom carpet. I might not be patient all the time and there will be nights when everyone goes to bed without a story, or a drink of water, or another hug and a kiss because if I have to walk through that door one more time my head will likely EXPLODE! And that's okay. Because all things imperfect and flawed in life can still be wonderful because of the lives we share the imperfections with. They are what's most important. So, let's all just cut the pity parties, the criticism, the frowns and foot-stomping and start finding the wonderful moments that will be gone before we know it.

That's advice I am going to take with me this week....while I scrub my toilet and sweep and mop and make peanut butter sandwiches, break up fights, apply Band-Aids and help clean up messes and do time-outs and bike rides, story time, searching the house from top to bottom for that missing library book, giving lectures, doing laundry and creating the best blanket forts, giving hugs and kisses and dessert before dinner, ranting and raving, tickling tummies and even ignoring some tasks like dusting and window washing and that pile of clutter collecting on my dresser.

My life really IS wonderful...flawed and imperfect, and oh, so wonderful! 

The End.