Archive for September, 2011

This is the story. We had small group meeting at the house tonight. It is the end of the evening and I’ve sent all of the puddles upstairs to take a bath and get ready for bed. I hear the water running upstairs so I busy myself with cleaning.  After about 10 minutes I head up the stairs and there she is . . . Ainsley is in her room . . .  stark naked . . . windows wide open (and its dark outside) . . .  standing on her bed with a microphone in her hand singing and dancing. Sigh.  Ainsley, seriously?! It’s cute and adorable but did the entire neighborhood need to see that!

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The mistake . . . letting all of the neighborhood kids come over and attempting to keep working all at the same time.  Now the doors to my office were open and I did make periodic visit outside of the office to tend to the needs of all of the children.  I counseled the fights and fed the hungry and found the occasional lost toy, but I neglected to command that the kids clean up their mess before they left.  And the mess was extensive.  Every room that they were in was a disaster. Food wrappers hid in the playroom, all of the dress up clothes scattered on the floor, and 80% of the barbies were piled into the Barbie house (around 22 of them) along with all of their accessories. Wow what a mess!  Beside the fact that all of our living room furniture was moved out of our living room and stacked in other rooms. I walked out of my office at one point to find two kids hiding behind the cushionless couch that was standing on its end while shoved into the corner of the entryway.  Serious disaster. I should have said no to “Can so and so come over to play?” But my need to not have conflict with my children so that I could get work done led to one very bad decision.  I said yes.  Have I learned my lesson? Yes.  Have my children?  I hope so.  They complained and whined all day about all of the work that they had to do and I finally had it and told them that they needed to train their friends to clean up after themselves if they didn’t want to spend all of Saturday cleaning. And not to place all of the blame on others. My children are/were/will continue to be huge contributors to the disaster with their rooms.  And I am greatly to blame too.  Most days I am willing to say no to them, but there are times that I have no desire for a fight.  But I am the parent, so suck it up Katherine and parent!!

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Quote of the Day 2

“Why does it hurt here, honey?” I asked Chris about my ankle.

“Because it’s black and blue and stuff.”

Thanks for the medical advice, dear.

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Quote of the Day

“Mommy, I am the only one in the family who doesn’t have any, except the babies and they really don’t need it anyways,” declares Ainsley.

“What are you talking about?”

“I don’t have my own stickies.  Everyone else has them but me.”

“Why do you need post-it notes?”

“Because I need to put a note on the door like Madie.”

“What would your note say?”

“It would say ‘Don’t come in my room Mommy and Daddy. Unless you can follow my rules. And if you can’t follow my rules then you can’t come in my room.’ ”

“Wow. That’s a lot.  I don’t know if you can fit all of that on a post-it.”

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Years ago, while we still lived in Nebraska, I fell head first down the stairs.  That time I broke some toes and bruised my tailbone and my ego.  This time . . . I severely sprained my ankle.  I didn’t fall headfirst (that was good). But the result was still tumultuous.  It is a couple of days later and my ankle is still swollen and turning all different shades of colors.  I am a little upset.  It should be better now.  I mean NOW!  I dread going to the doctor, but since I can bear weight on my foot, I am self healing. After doing all of the right things (icing it for a day, medicine, elevation, etc.) and it still really hurts, I went ahead and called the doctor to see if I could get her to look at it.  No go. The doctor is booked until Monday. So I am back to the self-healing.  I need a quick fix.  I have work to do, a house to clean, children to take care of . . . oh, and a husband to tend to (can’t forget him). I need that magical medicine so that I am not hobbling around the house. Doesn’t God understand that mothers need faster healing powers that other mortals?  (I know my mom has said this same prayer many of times, and I don’t know how effective it was for her either.  Of course, she was never sick. wink-wink.)

I am seriously thinking that our next house is going to be a ranch-style with no basement.  That will solve a lot of problems.

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Quote of the Day

Ben is filling out a questionaire on a form.  The question is . . . what is your favorite book?

“This is hard choice.  I don’t know which one is better.  Transformers or Dr. Seuss. They  both have their good points.”

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A day of remembrance

I dreaded going to church today.  I knew that Chris was preaching about 9/11.  I already cry every time the topic is brought up.  Not because I knew anyone directly effected by destruction, but because I just remember how scared I was.  I was pregnant with Madie and away from my family.  I was the director of a private school at the time and had about 60 students and 10 staff members in the building at the time.  We had dozens of parents calling in, wanting to pick up their kids, wondering what our plan was, were we in lockdown, etc.  A lot happened that day.  I was glad that I had a busy job with students and a staff to take care.  It kept my mind from wondering into dark places. In my quiet moments, I would just rub my growing belly and worry about what kind of a world I was bringing my first child into.  The world changed that day.  It certainly hasn’t turned out as scary as I thought it might on that first day.  My children don’t know of a world any different.  They can’t imagine it as it was before.

The sermon was a good lesson on forgiveness and what God calls us to do.  Ironically, Matthew 18:21-35 happened to be the Bible verse that our lesson in Sunday School was based on.  The discussion was interesting.  What God asks us to do is hard.  Very hard. But as our classes discussed, the only one who truly suffers in conflict is the one who needs to give the forgiveness and does not.  I sometimes think that kids have a better idea on how to do this than adults.

Even though, forgiveness was not on my mind that day 10 years ago.  I can’t imagine a discussion today about 9/11 without it.   The topic is still a political minefield.  I will be glad when this day of remembrance is over.  I often wonder how previous generations dealt with the attacks on Pearl Harbor.  What were the emotions that they felt 10 years after the event?  I never did ask my grandparents about their memories of that day.  I think I’ll remedy that the next I visit Grandpa.  We might have much to learn from them.

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I was reminded tonight of a story that happened a few weeks ago.  It really is too good to not document it somewhere!

I was sitting in my office when suddenly I hear Ben coming down the stairs crying.  I ask Ben what’s wrong and he’s crying so hard that I can’t even understand him.  Something about Ainsley and Madie, so I head up stairs to find out what’s going on.  After many tears and many interruptions and talking on top of each other, this was what happened . . .

Ainsley found a tube of lip gloss in the bathroom.  Madie swore it was hers. Ainsley insisted it was hers.  I guess Madie wanted it more than Ainsley.  So Ainsley said she would give it up for something special of Madie’s.  Madie offered her two favorite stuffed animals.  Apparently that wasn’t enough for Ainsley to give up ownership.  So Ben, wanting his sisters to all be happy, gave up one of his favorite toys to Ainsley in order to finalize the deal.  At this point, Ainsley gave up her rights to the tube of lip gloss.  With the deal finalized, it is at this point that Ben comes downstairs realizing what he has done and is thoroughly upset by it all.

After I figured out what the story is, I had many thoughts.  One . . . Wow that Ainsley is a smart one.  Two . . . I can’t believe that Madie said yes to that deal. And three . . . that is so sweet of Ben to give up so much to make his sisters happy.  After I collected myself to not laugh out loud, I explained to the kids that this was a lipgloss that I bought for “ONE DOLLAR”. That all of this was over a dollar tube of lipgloss.  I made Ainsley give up the lipgloss and told her that she had to share with Madie.  I made her give up all of the toys that she received from her siblings and tell them sorry.  I made Madie accept the lipgloss and offer it back to Ainsley to share.  I told the kids that they will always be siblings that they needed to get along with each other and that “stuff” was not as important as family.  I also told Ben that what he did to make peace was self-sacrificing and told the girls how lucky they were to have a brother like him.

I am not entirely sure whether I should be worried or impressed by Ainsley’s ability to bend others to her will.  Either way I am still surprised with the adventures that these children share with me every day.  I think that I wanted to write this one particular adventure down so that when either she becomes an extortionist or a CEO of some multinational business I can say that I was a witness to the beginning.

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I value homework.  I understand the need to continue the learning at home, but this homework thing had better get easier soon!  I’m not entirely sure who the homework is more work for . . . the student or the parent.

Now granted, part of my frustration is due to Madie setting an unrealistic example for her younger siblings.  Madie has always done well academically.  In first grade I could send Madie to her room and she would quickly get her work done ON HER OWN.  But my other two . . . let’s just say . . . and how can I say this positively . . . homework and my 1st/2nd graders are like oil and water.  This is not to say that A and B aren’t brillant.  Far from it.  But when the bell rings, they are done. DONE. Playing barbies and riding scooters is the preferred method for spending time after school.

But then again, Ainsley has spelling, math, fluency, flash cards and reading  (and this is every night).  You have the entire week to get it done but this was a short week and we had Girl Scouts after school yesterday, so we are having to cram a lot of work in a few nights.  That could be the reason for the 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Of course, the moaning and whining and pleading certainly didn’t make the time go faster.

We are done.  They are upstairs taking baths and getting ready to start this all over again tomorrow.  I think that some cuddling, book reading, and a lot of good nighttime rituals are what’s called for to reward ourselves for all of that homework we did and for all of the good time playing outside in the wonderful weather that we didn’t get to do.  And hopefully tomorrow this will go better and at some point my wonderful children will go straight to their room (after hanging up their backpacks and putting their lunchboxes up) and complete their homework all on their own.  I can dream. Can’t I?


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