24 April 2018

Summer in April

It is about to be summer in April.

And I’m not talking about the weather.

I’m talking about my kids being out of school!! This year, because of the timing of Ramadan, schools are ending early.

And I mean really, really early.

At least for this American.

Having my kids in local private school has helped me become a LOT more flexible. I mean, I didn’t even know that school was about to finish until a couple weeks ago.

And instead of the expected reaction: “What?! No WAY!! They can’t do that. It’s not enough school, it’s way too early. And they didn’t even tell me UNTIL NOW?!” …

My reaction was more like this: “Huh. Okay.”

There it is folks. This it the visible change of a very well-planned, super organized Mama learning to ‘roll with the punches’ with the best of them. I’m so thankful that God has helped me change in that area.

BUT

That’s not why I’m writing this post.

I am indeed writing about a transformation in myself.

But a different one.

You see, about a year ago, I would not have been able to bear even thinking about about one or two days with all four of my children at home without Mike around to help me (whether working or traveling). They overwhelmed me and it was so very challenging for me to have them by myself for  a day or two.

The thought of TWO FULL MONTHS of kids-home-for-the-summer before we even travel to the U.S. for TWO MORE FULL MONTHS of summer would have baaaaaasically put me into a coma.

A coma.

But at least then I wouldn’t have had to take care of them by myself, now would I?

Haha, sorry. Not funny, I know.

I mean I know it’s terrible. I’m their mother, right?! They’re MY kids. I don’t know what it was. All the needs maybe? The unending needs? The lack of time to ‘accomplish’ anything I wanted to? The ‘help’ I got everytime I did try to ‘accomplish’ something? The lack of adult interaction? Pity for myself? The sheer exhaustion? The fact that there are just so many of them?! Ha ha, I don’t know.

Anyway…

Here comes the good part.

I AM ACTUALLY EXCITED for TWO FULL MONTHS of kids-home-for-the-summer before we travel to the U.S. for TWO MORE FULL MONTHS of summer. (Sorry not sorry for the caps.)

Did you see that key word?

Excited.

Excited!

It’s whattchya call a miracle, friends.

God has changed my life and my heart in my mothering in the past year. He’s given me great ideas to shape our days, he’s given us joy and peace in our home that seems remarkable for a busy family of 6. He’s helped me to embrace my role as a servant (not a slave however, mind you). He’s given me help to give a gentle response more than I used to.

He’s done that and so much more in my life.

And it reflects in my home. In my children. In our relationships.

And I couldn’t be more thankful.

So, I’m sitting here as my last 30 minutes of my ‘freedom’ (old thinking) tick away. Not just the last 30 minutes until school starts up in the fall, but the last 30 minutes ever that I’ll ever have with all four of my kids in school at the same time (more on that another day).   I am even still surprised to not find myself panicking. I’m laying a tray with a special snack and drink for them to enjoy as they arrive home. I’m preparing some things that they’ll enjoy in the coming months. I’m tidying the house and crossing a few random to-do things off my list. And I’m taking a moment to kneel by my chair and thank God for my children and the changes He’s done in my life that I can have joy looking ahead towards our months together instead of fear.

 

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Photo of the Day


22 April 2018

Early Diner


Someone decided to help himself to dinner a little early.

21 April 2018

Suz’s Road Trip Tips

I have been meaning to write this post for years.

I mean years.

Also, there is a chance that I already wrote this post and forgot about it and couldn’t find it?

So anyway. You already know that we travel a lot on airplanes (those tips are linked on the left) and that we’ve gotten pretty good at that. Not that it’s easy or fun quite yet (but I have hope for a few years when B is older) but we do it!  Well, we also have been taking LOOOONG (I’m talking 24 hour road trips) since before we had any children and then many times with children. So we’ve learned a lot in that category also.

So here are my top tips, starting with the best one EVER…

1. Snack Boxes!!! 

What do we hate hearing more than “Are we almost there?” in the car? (I have no tip for this, sadly.)

The answer is: “Can I have a snack?” Especially if we heard it approximately 15 seconds ago. And 15 seconds before that. And 15 seconds before that. You get the point…

I have the solution. And it truly works.

It’s a snack box. One for each child.

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The goal here is to make many snacks readily available. But those snacks must be able to be eaten independently or this DOES NOT WORK.

It needs to be a box or bag that they can open alone. And each snack inside needs to be something they can open. If they can’t open the package or peel the orange, then pre-open or peel it yourself and put it in the box pre-opened.

Pack those suckers full of all kinds of things. Although I do try to steer mostly away from sugary things because that just riles ‘em up and that doesn’t really help our cause, now does it?

My older kids get identical things in their boxes to cut down on bickering. If it’s not something they normally like, oh well. They have three choices there… eat it, not eat it, or trade it. But you provided them with sustenance and that’s what matters.

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I also include an empty baggie for trash and a baggie with couple wipes in it for them to clean their hands after anything sticky, cause I’d want to wipe my hands after eating an orange in the car, you know?

Soooo the beauty of this is that your kids now have loads of snacks available. You tell them “Those are your snacks for today. Eat them whenever you want, but there’s no more after that.”

And it works magic, most of the time.

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I have one who will hardly touch the box. She knows it’s there and if she’s hungry she knows she can have it. But because it’s there she doesn’t whine about snacks nor does she feel hungry. I have another who will eat half of it in the first 10 minutes. Rationing is still something she’s learning to grasp, ha!

Give this a try! It has helped our family so much!

2. Hoard the water.

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People. Do you want to stop every thirty minutes for a potty break?

Noooooo you don’t. I don’t either. So I hoard the children’s water bottles up by me. If they ask, I pass it back for a sip and then it comes back to me. Is it slightly annoying to have to hand them around? Yes it is. But it is less annoying than stopping every 30 minutes? Definitely. Dehydration? Pfffffft. We can re-hydrate upon arrival.

3. Avoid the sandwiches.

I know that sandwiches seem like the perfect ‘pack for the car’ meal.

But c’mon. How often does this happen?

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Our car is usually so full that the bread never really made it out without some injuries. It took me a long time to realize that we should just skip the bread.

What do we do instead?

My favorite two things to pack for road trip lunches are:

1. Cold pizza. Because what is easier than that? And it’s not crumby. And it’s really not very greasy when it’s cold either!

2. Chicken Salad with pretzels. My kids like this. Dipping is fun. And pretzels aren’t crumby either. It’s also quite compact.

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Sometimes I’ll pack these divided containers, fill them up as we are driving and dole it out that way.

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It sure made these two happy many years ago!

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4. Braid that long hair.

If you have kiddos with long hair, and ESPECIALLY if you’re driving through the night… braid those locks to avoid this…

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Because this is nightmare to brush out.

Okay, there you go. Happy road tripping!

18 April 2018

Fourth Kid Alert


Sitting on the high counter near candles playing with huge scissors. (With a snotty nose, not pictured). Yep, he's a #fourthchild.

Carrot Pants



17 April 2018

Royal Mess


It looks like I've been a machine in the kitchen all day. But really all I did was bake banana muffins. This mess! What is wrong with me?!

Tired Pup


Asleep in my lap at 11am (normally naps at 1). I hope this explains the 10 time-outs I've had to deal with this morning. Tired little guy. Whew. This might be my chance for a second cup of coffee. He's snoozin' in his crib now...

16 April 2018

That Breeze


The breeze that comes through this window (and all the other windows/doors in my house) as I sit and read this morning is one of the 647,853 reasons I am so blessed by our home.

He's Awake


Wakes up happy. 💙

12 April 2018

A Thing About Her Hair

Lil’ A has a thing about her hair.

As in: she wants it done how she wants it done. A mini-hair-dictator of sorts.

Well, we have been working on contentment with her. Accepting what is offered and being thankful even if it’s not her first choice or even if it’s not her choice at all. It’s hard to decide to start training in this area, because, well… it’s not pretty!

So this morning, when I told her that I was going to leave in the two French braids that I had done the day before, she was NOT happy.

She wanted a PONYTAIL.

She had her heart set on a PONYTAIL.

The mini-dictator proclaimed PONYTAIL!

This Mama stood her ground, in a patient and calm way (thank you God for helping me out there).

So then it was full-on for probably 10 minutes. Screaming and crying and running away. She hid somewhere in the apartment and I had a hunch what she was doing.

I found her under the computer table with her hair in in a wavy mass around her head.

She had taken her braids out.

She had disobeyed.

I told her that she had a consequence for disobeying and she was even unhappier than before to not get a treat from the snack-shack at school today. She refused to put her shoes on, was frantically trying to brush her hair and was screaming at me at the top of her lungs.

Poor thing.

When she finally had shoes on and was ready to walk out the door she looked at me and spoke through her weeping “I’ll never do that again Mommy! I’m sorry, will you forgive me?” She was broken by her sin, I could see it all over her. She regretted what she had done.

And my heart just about soared right on out of that house into the clouds.

My girl repented.

She saw the error of her ways and she knew she didn’t want to go back there again. And she made it right with me.

I’m so thankful.

I’m so thankful to see evidence of God living inside her spunky little 5 year old being. Evidence of a heart that’s learning right from wrong. Evidence of a girl who knows how to make things right in relationship after sin has gotten in the way and messed it up. And I’m thankful that God is gently walking me through this mothering thing and is helping me to (sometimes) remain patient and gentle with my children.

06 April 2018

Still?!


Silly me thought we were past this stage... 😉

05 April 2018

Artwork


A match made in heaven. (Artwork by Lil’ A). The question is... Can you tell who is who?

Helmet Kid


Killin’ time with this cutie at baseball practice.
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