Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lock the doors!

After looking at the training schedule and discovering that we are not needed on campus until this evening, the little boys and I have decided to have a lock-in.  We've watched Dinosaur Train, read a ton of library books, played toys, and just generally lounged.  I'm staging a stand-off at the washing machine until I can guarantee that everyone will have clean pajamas tonight, and I'm even considering thinking about a day beyond Friday.  I know... pretty amazing.

I have two pretty social boys. They love to be with friends and adore the youth that we're working with, but when your one year old just spontaneously breaks out in tears at random moments throughout the day, something's gotta give.  There's at least enough of my introversion in them to make them crave some down time, even if they won't admit that.

So here are our lock-in plans:

1. Read and snuggle.  And then read and snuggle some more.

2. Do something creative, even if it's building a fort using every blanket in the house.

3. Take time together at lunch for Bible time.  While my mind has been surrounded by the Word, I'm not sure their little hearts have heard His words in a while.  In this heat, I think we could all use a glass of water and a dose of Living Water.

4. Nap.  We are ALL going to nap, even if I only get to lie down for thirty minutes.

5. Nest. Put things where we can find them.  Eat things that make us feel at home.  Take time to talk and to truly listen to one another.

6. Talk about our favorite things.  Cause it really does make us feel better.   Thanks, Rogers and Hammerstein.

I even considered cooking tonight so we could stay home this evening, but let's not get too crazy about this.

Perhaps you're out braving the heat or are running errands around town.  We'll join you tomorrow, but today is Introvert Day in our house, giving our souls the rest that they need... at least until suppertime.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Starting at the End (of your rope)

It's Wednesday...I think.  The days have blurred together as Teacher Man and I have been tag-teaming through the last week and a half of ministry.  We have two and a half days to go before the training where we're serving is done.  On one hand, I feel like I'm doing so little.  On the other hand, I'm barely putting one foot in front of the other so more is not and option.  Each day, I start with the feeling that I only have enough energy to crawl back under the covers.  Yet there's a sustaining grace that is keeping me from running around my house screaming at the top of my lungs, and there have also been little bursts of blessing in each day that remind me that my cup really does overflow.

An encouraging talk with a friend.  Someone making lunch for me and my children.  A peaceful dinner.  A teen's passion for Christ shared in small groups.  My boys snuggling with their new honorary aunts and uncles.  An invitation to have my feet washed.  Some moments have filled my soul with such joy that I could barely breathe.

While I know that being pulled in all directions is not in the best long-term interests of my family, I'm grateful that we said "yes" to these crazy two weeks.  It's been an unforgettable season for each member of our little family, and we will miss these God-followers when they've gone home from the training camp we're staffing.  And maybe we're seeing the grace better this week, starting at the end of our own ropes and looking to God for a lifeline.

To the friends who have prayed, nurtured our children, and spoken words of encouragement; we are so grateful that God has placed you in our lives.  To the young people we have had the privilege of serving, you are incredibly dear to us and we wait with eager anticipation to see what our great God will do with your lives.  Thank you for letting us walk part of the journey with you.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

This amazing man has given me two beautiful sons.  

And I am beyond grateful that he daily lays down his life to raise them into men.

I love you, Teacher Man.  Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Day Off

Yesterday, we declared a family vacation.  In the midst of all the bustle of school and ministry, we needed a time out.  So we went to meet Thomas the Train. That's what you would do to relax, right?

The day included riding on Thomas the Tank Engine,

(It was a pretty relaxing ride for all of us.)

a bouncy castle,

a petting zoo,

pony rides,

and tables full of toy trains.

My boys were in heaven.

A world where everything is about trains, even storytime.  What could be better?

Today it's back to work with a very full week ahead, but I feel like we've taken a deep breath so we can take on a new week's challenges with His strength.  Amen.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Little Boy Who Cried, "Mommy!" (Why parenting is not for sissies)

Often in the morning, I'm awakened from a dead sleep by a little boy yelling, "Mommy!  Come quickly!  Hurry, please!"  The first times this happened, I charged into Caleb's room determined to fight the monsters in the closet only to be met by a little boy who was just really hungry for his breakfast.  Over time, I've taken the yelling less and less seriously.  In fact, he doesn't really do it anymore since it has become so ineffective.

That should have tipped me off this morning.  Both boys were sleeping in Ben's room, having a Brothers' Sleepover.  Some kids complain about sharing a room.  I'm pretty sure we've convinced them it's the best thing ever.  Plus, I'd deep-cleaned Ben's room yesterday and figured that I could do Caleb's while they were sleeping in Ben's room.  Note to self: deep cleaning is inviting disaster.

Early this morning, I heard happy sounds coming from the bedroom so I decided to let them be brothers for a while.  Caleb likes to read books to his little brother.  Ben likes to throw things out of his crib at his big brother.  Big time bonding.

Then the room went quiet for a while, followed by both boys yelling, "Mommy!  Mommy!"  I didn't run, but I did finally get out of bed.  Right now my morning sickness is worst first thing in the morning, and I do a lot better if I eat first.  My plan was to get both boys up and make my toast so that we could all have a happy day.  Then I opened Ben's door...

The stench was overwhelming.  As I looked around the room, I saw my son's dirty diaper flung onto the carpet, poo sitting on the floor, poo finger-painted all over the crib, and my baby covered in (You guessed it!) poo.  Caleb was just watching his half-naked brother in horror/disbelief.  (You'll notice there are no pictures.  There just wasn't time.)  This has never happened before.

I started yelling for Teacher Man.  There was no way I was braving this mess alone.  No. way.  For the next half hour, I cleaned Ben while Teacher Man attacked the mess in the crib.  Then together we cleaned the carpet and started the load of "poo laundry."  Ah, cooperative parenting at its best.

We both breathed a sigh of relief when we were done and the windows were opened.  It was one of those moments that we'd heard of from other parents but never thought we'd have to experience ourselves.  Then in the remainder of the day, Ben managed to spill coffee, dump milk, and as I was trying to write this I was interrupted by Teacher Man's cry for help... Ben just pooped in the tub.  Fabulous.

We're so ready for bedtime tonight; but before I close, I have a request for you: don't judge me if you see that my son's diapers are duct-taped closed.  It's for the best.  For everyone.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What happens to a schedule when you're pregnant...

Schedule?  What schedule?  This week has been about survival.  I've discovered that a tall glass of Coke and a piece of toast are my good friends.  My children have also spent an abnormal amount of time with other people or with their friends on the Dinosaur Train.  I just keep telling my type-A, get-it-done self that this is only for a season.

For the record, we did follow our Days of the Week task list.  I got the bulk of the laundry done Monday, got the bills paid and shopping lists made Tuesday, did my errands on Wednesday (without my children thanks to an amazing friend), stayed as far from the kitchen as possible on Kitchen Day, and vacuumed/picked up the house on Cleaning Day.  There may be a slight flaw in Kitchen Day.  Maybe.

All that said, everything was done at a much lower level and often with a lot of help.  Ben can put toys in his room.  Caleb can run things to different places in the house.  Teacher Man does a mean load of dishes.  I'm so thankful for my guys.  They're being challenged to show grace to this momma in a new, never-before-needed way.  Hopefully someday, Teacher Man's amazing example of servanthood will come out in my sons' lives when their faced with their own pregnant wives.

As for me, it's back to the couch to drink a ton of water and get a quick rest before I'm needed for the next Candyland championship.  Even on days that I feel sick, I still know I have the best job in the world.  And if you're going to be sick, this is a great reason.