Tag Archives: Parenting

Stolen Moments

Although I describe myself as a stay-at-home mom, I substitute teach once in awhile. Several blog posts could be written about those adventures, but we’ll save that for another day.

Today, I subbed in the classroom next to my third grade son’s room. Our lunch hours overlapped and we took the opportunity to have lunch together. We sat at a couple student desks in my classroom, eating and talking about our day so far.

Just the two of us. No distractions.noah and me cropped for blog

When we finished we went down to the office and bought some special candy bars that were on sale there. Then back to the classroom to share this little secret treat (secret because the rest of the family wasn’t going to get one, hee-hee).

When it was time for him to go back to class and for me to start teaching again, we hugged and wished each other a good afternoon.

What we talked about wasn’t earth-shattering. In fact, just a few short hours later, I remember very little of our conversation. But I think both of us will remember our stolen moment, when it was:

just the two of us.  No distractions,

for a long time.

Marriage Math

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I grew up reading The Family Circus in the Sunday paper. It was one of the few comic strips I could relate to as a kid. Now that I’m all grown up, I don’t read the comics much anymore. I’m more interested in the coupons and grocery circulars these days.

For whatever reason, on June 3, 2007, I picked up the comics and saw this. It was very fitting. I was just one month away from delivering our fourth child. I’ve mentioned before that she was a surprise. Truth is, she was a shocker! Let me be clear–she wasn’t a mistake or an accident–just a big surprise. One we hadn’t fully wrapped our heads around by the time I was eight months pregnant.

But this spoke to me. It has been on my refrigerator ever since. It’s one of the few things I put back on the new fridge after the remodel.

I’m reminded every time I see it.

I’m reminded of how this blissful chaos came to be. My husband and I fell in love.

I’m reminded that this chaos is short-lived. They will grow up (are growing up) so fast. They will move out, hopefully marry and give us lots of grandchildren.

And when they do, we will once again be two.

I’m reminded to cherish every moment of this chaos and to nurture the relationship that started it all so it will still be alive and well when the house is quiet once more.

Thankful. So thankful.

Today, I am giving thanks publicly for the teachers who have touched my children’s lives.

Everyone knows parents are the first and most important teachers in the lives of children. I agree. And I can confidently say my husband and I have done well in that role. However, I recognize the incredibly significant contribution their school teachers are making in their lives.

Three of my children are in school–grades 6, 3 and 1. We are blessed to live in a terrific school district. It’s one riddled with financial problems (we live in Michigan–the worst economy in the country right now), but even with cut, after cut, after cut, year after year, after year, the teachers and staff do an amazing job for our children!

Each one of them has done something for my children that stands out as going beyond the call of duty.

One simply directed my son and me to books that would help with confidence and self-esteem.

Another gave my son additional homework assignments because he was bored with the regular assignments.

Another makes each child feel as though they are the most important child in that classroom.

One encouraged extra-curricular programs that played off my son’s strengths while challenging him in areas that were more difficult.

Every one of them, without exception, has fostered in my children a love for learning, creativity and a desire to go to school and do their best.

You may think, “Well, isn’t that their job?” Yes, to a large degree it is. But there is a big difference between a teacher who goes to work, does what is required and collects a paycheck and a teacher who loves the children, loves her (or his) work and brings passion and excitement to every lesson. Those are the kinds of teachers my children have been blessed to have.

And for that, I’m thankful.

Note:I wish that I could name each teacher and the school my children attend in this post to make the praise that much more personal. But, the internet being what it is today, I think it’s in the best interest of my kids to err on the side of caution and leave those details out. Should any of the teachers written about here read this, they will know who they are and that they are appreciated.

We go together

like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong…

Danny and Sandy may have made it famous in Grease, but it fits my husband and I so well.

After nearly 21 years together (oh my gosh, does that make me feel old) we’ve got a system. Especially when it comes to parenting.

There’s stuff I’m good at…potty training, birthday parties, picking out clothes that match…

There’s stuff he’s good at…installing car seats, cleaning up after them when they’re sick, teaching them how to swing a bat, …

We agree on discipline 99% of the time.

When one of us is about to strangle one or several of our children, the other is always. always. calm. There has never been one time when we both thought we would lose it.

When our world turned upside down 17 months, 1 week and 7 hours ago (but who’s counting) by him being laid off we began spending all day and all night together every day. He now works from home and I am a stay at home mom.

That kind of togetherness is usually reserved for retirement. A time in life when, if you’re lucky, you have some financial and other freedoms that allow you to get out and enjoy life together. It’s a different experience when you’re broke and still have four young children at home.

So how has all of this togetherness impacted us? You’ve heard the expression “familiarity breeds contempt?” I wouldn’t go that far. We still get along very well. We still love each other. We still have faith there are brighter days ahead.

But, a break would be nice. I don’t mean the kind of break Ross and Rachel took on Friends.

I just mean a little time away from each other.

We got that this week. Rather unexpectedly. He left yesterday at noon for Chicago and is on his way back now. I’m sure he enjoyed the drive–time for thinking, music, quiet, maybe prayer. I know I enjoyed yesterday! Our youngest went down for her nap just before he left and slept until after the other kids came home from school.

I had lunch, watched TV, listened to some music, played a couple video games, did some housework…for three hours yesterday it was all about ME ME ME ME ME!

Today was different. Well first, I overslept (hearing the alarm would be another thing he’s good at). But, I still managed to get three kids up and out the door in 15 minutes. They brushed their teeth and had breakfast. I’m not sure they put on clean underwear, though.

So they left. It was just Sarah and me. I was BORED BORED BORED! I played with Sarah, did some housework, watched Elmo in Grouchland…

I missed him!

So you’ve also heard, “absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Yup!

Hurry home, honey! 100_9655

I’m thankful times four.

It’s Thursday, so you know what that means. Time for me to tell you about something I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for my four children. All-layingdown-horiz-2 rotated and cropped

This is a tough post to write. I could really stop now. If you’re a parent, you know that I’ve already said it all, right? Or, I could go on for days and days. If you’re a parent, you know that there’s so much more I could say, right?

I will aim to strike a balance somewhere in the middle.

Each of them is healthy. I’m thankful.

Each of them is kind. I’m thankful.

Each of them is bright. I’m thankful.

Each of them is funny.  I’m thankful.

Each of them is unique. I’m thankful.

Each of them is happy. I’m thankful.

The Lord has blessed us with the four children He chose especially for us to raise. And I’m thankful.




Stain or badge of honor: the choice is yours

Are you a parent? If you are then you have undoubtedly found unidentifiable smears, splotches and stains on your clothing. Often, it seems these blemishes don’t appear until you are about to walk into the boardroom for an important meeting or you’re walking out the door for a fancy evening out.

UGH! How embarrassing!

What will people think of you?

What kind of person walks around with stains on his or her clothes?

I’ll tell you what kind–

The kind who cuddle and hold their newborn baby to feed him a bottle and get spit up on afterwards.

The kind who patiently feed pureed carrots to their baby and catch it all when she sneezes with her mouth full.100_4696

The kind that hugs their little boy as the last thing they do before they leave for work even though he’s in the middle of eating pancakes with syrup on them.

The kind whose little girl stops finger painting long enough to run to them when they come in the door and they scoop her up and shower her with kisses before taking off their “good clothes.”

Sure it’d be nice to be able to do all those things and still have clean clothes, but it’s not gonna happen! So grab your Tide-to-Go and wear those badges of honor with pride!

Brotherly Love

I wish I had a better memory. I wish I had taken more time over the last 11 years to journal all of the wild, wacky and wonderful things that my kids have said and done so I could remember them all forever. But alas, I don’t have a great memory and I didn’t have time, especially early on, to write it all down.

That’s why I cherish the moments I do remember with complete clarity so much more. They must be very meaningful for me to be able to recall them so clearly, right?

One such memory is that of a 3 year old Zachary crying inconsolably about something. We were sitting on the end of the couch and I was trying so hard to calm him down, but to no avail. Then along came Noah. He was just 10 months old. Not walking yet. He got one of Zachary’s toys, crawled over to the couch and reached up his little hand to give the toy to his big brother. That was all it took. Zachary stopped crying.

I recognized in that moment that they had a bond that only they would share. An ability to communicate with one another that only they understood. The beginnings of a friendship that will outlast every other relationship in their lives, for the rest of their lives. As an only child myself, I still can only wonder at this beautiful brotherly love.

Brotherly Love

There have been glimpses, reminders of this love, over the years…

When Noah was learning to talk and not even Michael and I could understand him, Zachary knew what he was saying and would translate it for us.

When Zachary learned to read, he spent countless hours reading to Noah.

When Noah started school, Zachary looked out for him, like any big brother would.

Now Zachary is 11 and Noah is 8 1/2. Summer vacation 2009 just ended. A summer in which they seemed to bicker from son up to son down (that’s not a typo, by the way) and would then plead with me to let them sleep in the same bed night after night. A summer when it became very clear that Noah thinks Zachary hung the moon.

Now school has started and the bickering has lessened since they have more time apart. This week, I was reminded again of this brotherly love my boys share when Noah was chosen as the star student of the week and had to answer the question, “Who is a person you admire?” His answer, “My brother, Zachary.”

I know. The teen years lie ahead. They’ll likely bloody each other’s noses once or twice before that’s over, I suppose, but I know that the foundation is there for them to be more than brothers as they grow up, get married and start their own families. They will be friends. They will have each other’s backs. They will love each other. Forever.