Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Tonight, I really hate being a parent. I resent my job duty that requires me to put on a brave face when all I want to do is roll into a ball and cry. I don’t like having to be strong when the little ones around me are coming unglued, when what I really want to do is come unglued with them.

I hate having to say, “It’s okay” when things really aren’t okay. When what I really want to say is “I’M SO FRUSTRATED,” but I can’t because it will break their little hearts.

I am, by nature, a pretty selfish person. Truly. I hate not getting my way; after all, I am the baby in my own family of origin. So having to rise above and be the mature, responsible presence in my kids’ lives sometimes makes me want to run screaming from the house. As a parent, I am FAR from having things figured out. Heck, I can hardly figure out what to feed the kids for dinner, much less know how to navigate their deep-seated emotional fears.

Dear God, how do I handle all of this? How do I get outside myself for the good of someone else? How do I persevere when every cell in my body wants to throw in the towel? How can I cause courage to spontaneously combust in a heart that is wet with fear and heaviness? And how exactly did I get myself into this parenting thing? I am unqualified and crappy at this job, and so afraid I’m going to screw them up for life. And then they’ll screw up their kids, and it’ll take three generations to undo the knot I’m creating.

Please don’t leave me to do this alone, God. Fill in for me when my parenting skills just aren’t enough. Instill long-term faith in me when my short-sightedness can’t see past today. Help me to show my babies grace and mercy when they don’t deserve it, the same way You do for me. Every. Single. Day. Amen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where Did the Time Go?

I am NOT going to be one of those parents who spend the first day of school saying, “Where did the time go?” I know EXACTLY where the time went!

It dripped away, second by second, with every single "Mommy, look at me!" at the pool and the playground. The time was spent watching Little Einsteins and Clifford, reading board books then picture books and then chapter books together. It was spent learning how to breast feed and cure diaper rash and train them how to sleep through the night. It was spent in three-minute increments of Time Outs. Time was spent at the library and at Parents As Teachers classes, learning how to make homemade books and do infant massage.

Where did the time go? It slowly bled away in birthday parties, singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and the first tastes of rice cereal and puréed pears. Time sapped the color out of my hair, turning it gray. (I won’t mention what it did to my tummy and my boobs.) Time passed with each fervent prayer I said, asking God to Just. Get. Us. Through. This! And then time was spent (and, frankly, wasted) on more mommy guilt than I ever thought possible.

Where did the time go? It passed with every single first: steps, words, haircuts, emerging teeth, lost teeth, potty triumphs, and biking without training wheels; all those moments I was fully present without being aware of the passage of time.

Where did the time go? It was spent waiting for every new first, just like the first day of school I anticipated for five years. Because I’ve always known today was coming. I prayed for it with a sense of begging on certain hard days, and a sense of dread on others.

I look at my babies: my son, ready for Kindergarten and about to explode with excitement. My daughter, who feels like an old, wise student that can show her brother around school. I look at them and I know the exact answer to the question, “Where did the time go?” It went second by second into the five years, four months and eleven days between his birth and this momentous day. And nine years, one month, and 23 days in the making for her.

The time was spent making them in to these children, full of promise and life._MDS9879 (2)

And every single second was well-spent.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Celebration

Today is the last day of summer for my kids because school starts tomorrow. Yes, I know the actual last day of summer isn’t until the fall equinox in September, but when you’re a kid summer ends when school starts again.

I started this summer with two goals: the first was simply to survive it, since it’s the first time I’ve been employed with two kids out of school for so long. The second goal was to try to have fun and make some good memories for my family. In looking back at some of the summer’s photos, I believe I’ve accomplished those goals and even more so: we didn’t just survive, we had a great time!

It’s no surprise how much I love photography. I heard about a contest on Shutterfly called Long Live Summer, and I am entering one of my photos in it. (I could win a family vacation to the Bahamas! Whee!) This week’s contest theme is Parties & Celebrations. Here’s my problem: I have narrowed my choice down to two photos, but I can’t figure out which one to submit! So I need your help. Let me know which of the photos below you like the best, and I’ll submit it._MDS8839_MDS8842

I hope your summer was as fantastic as mine, and that you did more than survive it too!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 2012 Review

July is over, and here’s how we spent it.

Mostly, July will be remembered for being HOT. There were record hot temps (100+) for almost two weeks straight. Ugh.IMG_1196

July was also the Battle of the Fruit Flies. I started keeping a running tally of how many of the flippin’ flies I killed. I finally broke 100 on day 15. ONE HUNDRED of the annoying little jerks are gone forever. Yeehaw! I started by chasing them with a fly swatter. That didn’t work too well. Then I set a trap for them. I put some cantaloupe guts in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap and poked holes in the wrap. They started congregating on the bowl. I would sneak up and use Jackson’s Backyard Safari Outfitters bug vacuum to suck ‘em up into the holding tube. Then I walked outside and released them. At one point, I captured nine at a time. After a week or so of this, I moved on to using the vacuum cleaner. Yeah, man! That eats ‘em up way faster. I got 13 in one fell swoop once.IMG_1180

About once a year, we take a trip to our local Six Flags amusement park. Since the heat was unbearable, we decided to arrive early and do the rides first, then eat lunch in the car and change into swimsuits. Then we moved on to the attached water park, which we had never visited before. It was lots of fun… until the one and ONLY thunderstorm of July just happened to ruin it. While seeking shelter in a nearby souvenir shop, we appeased the kids with ice cream before we headed home. It was fun while it lasted!IMG_1181

July 4th came, and the local cities and towns cancelled all fireworks shows because there has been a lack of rain. Our neighbors bought sparklers and shared them with us, and I got to take some of my favorite photos of the year. It’s like making art with my camera!_MDS8839

On one of our hot days (there was a LONG stretch where we didn’t play outside at all), Katie found some rolls of colored tape and decided to make Jackson a car track. (Yes, sometimes they can be loving siblings!)_MDS8857

On a lazy Saturday morning, we attended a kids’  workshop at Home Depot. The kids got to make a wooden moving truck then paint it.IMG_1193

This next photo makes my mommy heart swell with joy. Katie asked my boss if she could teach the kids in the Preschool room at church one Sunday morning. So he got her a script, we practiced and memorized it for days on end, and she got a chance to co-lead the kids. This was so awesome because she has been so self-conscious lately and won’t EVER do anything that puts her on display for others. I was proud of her for choosing to get outside her comfort zone and help lead other kids to Jesus. Attagirl!IMG_1198

The kids’ favorite pool toy went missing for two weeks. They forgot it at the pool and they were sad. I figured it was a lesson in responsibility, until we found another family playing with it later on. The spot where our name had been was scratched off. I asked the mom if they bought it, and she said yes. (This model hasn’t been available for a few years.) So I gave it back to her. But the next day at the pool (when this same family was there), the Toypedo was left when the family went home. Humph. I took it home and was planning to CARVE our name into it, but decided to take the high road. I am holding on to it until we see the family again, then I will personally return it to them so they don’t lose their Toypedo again. To avoid future ownership questions, I have burned our name into the other mini Toypedoes we own._MDS8917

I took the kids on a day trip to nearby Washington, Missouri. We visited a friend of mine from church, who is displaying some of my photography and Katie’s Living Water bracelets (for sale) at her print shop. We poked around Washington: saw the corn cob pipe museum, the river and a caboose, had lunch and ice cream, and drove trains at the train store._MDS8868

We went to a Babaloo concert at the library. This is a crazy local kids’ entertainer who sings all kinds of songs about things that make kids laugh (underwear, dancing, monsters in the bedroom). He ended the show by giving each kid a five gallon bucket and a pair of drumsticks. The kids went nuts banging their drums, and the patrons ran screaming from the library. (Just kidding.)IMG_1207

For one week of July, Katie went to her first LONG overnight camp. I wrote about drop off here, and a photo in this blog post shows the joy of our reunion. The day we picked her up, something cool happened. One of the girls at camp asked Jesus into her heart, and she was baptized on the day the parents picked everyone up. I love seeing baptisms!IMGP0554

Katie got a butterfly kit for Christmas, and we finally got our caterpillars delivered by mail. They made cocoons and emerged a few days later. It’s fun to watch them change and become something new – a great lesson for the kids._MDS9062

We’ve noticed two hummingbirds in our back yard. They are VERY hard to photograph (especially through dirty windows!), but I did manage one nice photo._MDS9077

Dan’s cousin is having a garage sale, and we are now the proud owners of a second LoveSac. We love our first one (even though Dan says it looks like college décor), and the second one looks great in our basement._MDS9080

July ended with a bang. One of my high school best friends drove from Georgia and brought her family for vacation. We got to visit the best St. Louis has to offer, starting with the City Museum. You can’t go wrong with a downtown building full of slides and caves and tree houses and mosaics and upcycled craziness and an indoor circus and a mini train and a skate-less skateboard park and a GIANT praying mantis and a ferris wheel on top! It’s Dr. Seuss meets Where The Wild Things Are with a bit of The Hobbit thrown in.IMGP0634

They visited the Arch and took a riverboat cruise on the day I worked (and my Jackson went to school).2012-07-31 Arch Photo1

We spent their last day in town at Grant’s Farm where we got to see (and touch) Clydesdale’s, watch an elephant show AND a bird show, see bald eagles, feed goats, get close to a red-tailed hawk and even closer to a hungry camel._MDS9282

Every year when spring is ending and I think about the upcoming summer and what cool things we might do, I always have these big plans and ideas. Usually the heat sucks lots of the fun ideas out of me, but I can look back at this July and say we did a LOT and made great memories. What a fun summer!


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