Why I want to be just like my kindergartener when I grow up

Ya’ll. This boy! It’s like he’s good at everything I want to be good at. He leaves me with my mouth hanging wide open all the time. That little Daniel amazes me at every turn.

I want to be just like him!

Today I picked him up at school, and his teacher told me she thought he was getting sick.

I waved it off. He’s still getting over this cold they had.

“Mom,” he said, while he waited on the playground for his brothers to get out of school, “I need to go to the bathroom.” I sent him back into school to go to the bathroom.

20 minutes later, I was all, “Geesh, Daniel. You were in there forever.”

What a clueless mom I am.

Daniel handled it all like a champ. He came in, changed his clothes, and packed his suitcase all by himself because he’s going to Nana and Granddaddy’s house this weekend.

I forgot all about his teacher’s warning. I thoroughly didn’t have a clue.

Meanwhile, his fever was getting higher, and he was suffering from some sort of stomach virus.

Finally, he came into my room, laid on my bed, and said, “Mommy. My stomach hurts so bad. I don’t feel good. I might throw up.”

Boy, nothing gets your attention like that sentence does!

I felt him. He was on fire. I took his temp. Yep. Fever. I gave him Tylenol and a smidge of food and drink. I let him lie in bed and watch Home.

I look at his gigantic blue puppy dog eyes and adorable carrot top, and I just think, “Wow. Daniel. I want to be like you.”

I can’t tell you how often I stumble upon Daniel in a room, washing the mirrors or sweeping the floor. Not even kidding. This boy is better than me.

Yes, he is.

He’s a server. He loves to help people. He accomplishes all of his tasks to the best of his ability, and if he is ever lazy, I promise you he must be sleepy or sick.

So yes, I want to be just like him. He’s bold too. There’s a girl in his class that he likes. Does he torture her by pulling her hair and calling her names? Oh but no. Instead, he told her he wants to marry her and always sits by her. Thankfully, she is still his friend! Ha!

 

I love all my children the same. Adore them. They fill my heart with so much love and pride, and I see so much of myself in them. Every bit of shyness. That’s me. Every bit of laziness. Also me. Every bit of hiding in their room to read. So extremely me. Temper? Me.

But this? This sweet, loving, serving, hard-working little leprechaun? Maybe someday. Maybe someday that will be me too.

I love you, Daniel. Feel better soon.

 

 

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Caleb got himself this awesome Star Wars set. We take our Legos very seriously around here.

Now y’all know I love me some Valentine’s Day. I love any reason to celebrate…..so long as it does not cost me too much money. And Valentine’s Day is just that, an inexpensive holiday full of chocolate and people saying “I love you.” So I mean, really! What’s not to love???

For us, the key is to be low maintenance about it. Everyone gets chocolate as a gift, and I get the added bonus of flowers. No stress.

Yes, we had to do 4 kids’ classes of valentines this year, but we are not high maintenance  about that either. SOME of the parents are, and I just tell myself that those parents clearly just enjoy being crafty or have money to spare, and I do not let that ruin my holiday.

I’ll admit I did feel a little inferior when I saw what John David brought home though….

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Oh, pre-school….That big red bag was not the bag to hold it all. That was just another one of the valentines.

You might say I was out-given. That’s okay. I have four kids and little interest in crafts. Here’s what John David gave in exchange for all this candy and toys:

Our Funny Valentine Stories

We’ll call it the minimalist’s valentine.

Yeah…..it’s just a card. It was good enough for me when I was a kid, so I figured it’s good enough today. Now, in my defense, it did come with a tattoo inside!

…Of course, I had trouble figuring out how to get the tattoos to stay in the little cards. It took me about 10 cards before I realized there was a little perforated slot for the tattoos. So most of JD’s class actually did not get a tattoo because they fell right out.

Oops. Oh well. By the time I got to Daniel’s cards I had the tattoo slot routine down, so his class got them.

Thankfully, Daniel has a small kindergarten class of about 13 kids because he painstakingly picked out exactly which card to give to which kid .

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Daniel’s valentine cards

He was so adorable. He insisted on putting extra heart stickers on all the girls’ cards and extra-extra heart stickers on his sweet teacher’s card.

Daniel is my first perfectionist child, so he had quite a large trash pile of cards that he wrote and then decided that he messed up on because he wrote Daniel in the wrong place or his handwriting wasn’t up to his standards:

Our Funny Valentine Stories

hehehe I love these kids. They looked pretty happy when they came home.

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Yes, he did pass out on my sofa in a sugar-induced coma.

As for me, I had an awesome day. Alan took a few boys with him to buy my flowers the day before. He said the boys all grabbed arm-loads and arm-loads of the grocery store flower bouquets, and he had to put most of them back. “Whoa! Okay, boys, we love mama, but here. Just a couple.” They brought me home these beauties:

Our Funny Valentine Stories

I love them.

Alan also got me my favorite Valentine candy:

Our Funny Valentine Stories

I ate them all in a day, except for those nasty flavors.

Unfortunately, Alan actually bought me THREE bags of these goodies, so I gained a couple of pounds last week. Literally. I gained three pounds, one for each bag. Also when I look at sugar-food now I get nauseous.

Now before I go, I wanted to also say a big THANK YOU to all who voted for me for Military Spouse of the Year. No, I didn’t win the grand prize. But guess what!!!!!

I DID win for our local base. So this was a fun thing to be a part of.

THANK YOU for your votes!!!!! Hope you all have a sweet week full of chocolate and sunshine!

 

Tom Sawyer and the Most Important Commandment

Sometimes I choose involuntary titles to read to my children. As in, I pick the book, and they have to listen. I have four boys, and with their personalities this is necessary if I ever want them to read a single classic novel. It worked well for the Little House series and Old Yeller, so why not Tom Sawyer?

 

I do have the unabridged version of Tom Sawyer, which is on an 8th grade reading level and is chock full of big words, some taboo language, and outdated ideas. I think it broadens their understanding to read things like this.

And it is a hilarious book, as you would expect, certainly funnier than their beloved Captain Underpants, in my opinion.

I’m only reading Tom Sawyer to my two oldest because the little ones don’t have the attention span for that yet.

One chapter we read recently reminded me how much America has changed for the worse, though many changes, such as America’s dark past of racism, have been for the better.

What change was for the worse? Bible knowledge. These days most people have terrible misconceptions of God and the Bible. How could we have any knowledge of a book most people no longer study?

Tom Sawyer was no goody-good church kid. That much you know, but out of requirement he did attend church every Sunday. The kids in Tom’s Sunday school class could even earn tickets by reciting Bible verses…..much like AWANA today. Tom was obviously not one to spend much time practicing his verses, so he took to trading for tickets.

This was funny to me because Caleb used to do this exact thing with SOAR cards when he was in 1st grade. SOAR cards were handed out at school for good behavior and could be exchanged for prizes. Caleb used to take Lego men to school and trade them for SOAR cards. He and many of the boys in his class had a real underground black market going with those cards.

Anyway, in the book Tom hands in enough tickets to get the grand prize, a new Bible. Not only that, but when he receives the grand prize he gets to stand up in front of the entire church and receive applause.

So they brought Tom up, and they asked him questions like, “What is the greatest commandment?”

No, Tom didn’t know.

Most people in America probably don’t know what commandment is the greatest. Sometimes the loudest so-called Christian people are the very ones who have confused everyone from knowing what God’s message even was. Ugh.

So I ask you, do you know? What is the greatest commandment? Some of you know, and some of you may not, but I don’t think we can ever be reminded too often.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”                                  –Matthew 22:36-40

Because if we love others, we will naturally not steal, lie, cheat, or use God’s name in vain. When we love others, we want to respect, help, and honor them.

None of us are perfect, and none of us ever will be on this earth, but what we should be striving for is LOVE.

“We were meant to put ourselves out there for people. An earthly cause is nothing without a people it affects.”       –Beth Moore

Love God. Love people. The most important commandments. People often split hairs about raising children. Do they have all As? Are they good at sports? Are they leaders? Do they sit quietly with their hands in their lap? Are they outgoing?

Who cares? You know what matters? Do your children love God and love people and show that through their actions? That’s what matters in my book and in God’s book too.

Of course, they have to learn that from us. We have to show our children how to do these things through our own actions. I hope we will always look for ways to show love to God and love to people. It isn’t always easy, but it’s more than worth it.

As I type these lovely, ideal thoughts out, I wonder. How will I show love today? You know, I’ve probably already failed a few times at this, and it’s only 10:39 am. But it is never too late to make the next step in a positive direction.

 

 

 

Top Back Pain Tip from the Arthritis Lady

 

Mom and me at Kansas City International Airport

Last week Mom and I had to take an unexpected trip to Kansas. My aunt was in the hospital, in ICU. Mom and I were worried, so we trekked on out there.

I’m the arthritis lady that has to take a special trip to the doctor’s office so I can make it through an airplane and car trip. I have to schedule walks down the airplane aisle to keep my legs from going crippled.

Good news: My aunt DID get moved out of ICU, and we got to visit with her. Even in hard times, Aunt Linda’s sharp wit can save a dire situation. She’s funny when she tries to be. She’s even funny when she’s not trying to be. I hope I have that much grace when I’m in a situation like that.

Bad news: She has a long recovery ahead and will be in the hospital for a while yet, and she’s only in her 50s. Hospital stays are miserable.

Other good news: I got to see my cousin Amber, who I grew up playing with, so this was a big deal.

Mom, me, and Amber, taking a lunch break at Panera.

Other bad news: Amber’s back is maybe even more messed up than mine is. We have this family arthritis problem. We could have done without that part of the inheritance, Granny…

So Amber and I were both popping NSAIDs and muscle relaxers and spraying each other with BioFreeze. And by the way, we are still young. We are trying not to think about how much worse this could get!

Nothing was working too well. In fact, as annoying as it is, do you know what seems to help me the most??

Physical therapy exercises. I started them in 2010 when my chiropractor assigned me strengthening and stretching exercises, and I was hurting so much that I actually did them out of pure desperation.

I did them faithfully until I started feeling better. Ever since, I’ve had the hardest time getting back in the habit. I need my own personal physical therapist in my living room.

So I found this YouTube channel that is PERFECT. Actually, it’s more than a YouTube channel. It’s a whole website. I wrote all about it over at Monterey Premier. Check it out here.

 

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”   –Jesus, in John 16:33

 

It’s been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

Daniel had his first week of tee-ball. Alan didn’t sign up to coach this year, not even to assistant coach, but he went out there today and helped anyway. And you know what happened? Alan came home so refreshed and happy. It was a beautiful thing to see.

Alan says that Daniel will actually be one of the oldest, most experienced players on his team this year. Yayyyyy, Daniel!!!

Meanwhile, you know what annoys me? Pop culture.

Why? Because it has reached my children, at least one of them, and he has started saying “Dang, Daniel!” all the time. Insert me, looking like an annoyed vulture.

Now some of you have no idea WHAT I’m talking about because you don’t know anything about pop culture. Well, allow me to shrink your brain by catching you up. There was this video that went viral in 2016, originally on Snapchat, of these high school kids saying “D***, Daniel,” over and over again.

And go figure, the video-maker’s name is Josh. So of course, someone told him about it. So now he says, “Dang Daniel” all the time. He’s not allowed to say the original version. Of course, Daniel doesn’t get it at all. Only I get it.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the Ellen clip to explain.)

Speaking of my big boys, I thought this was hilarious. We spent last week hanging out at DaddyO and Nonna’s house r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g. It was wonderful. Check out the amazing amounts of sleep I accomplished, according to my Fitbit. I was so proud. (By the way, I noticed Amazon has the Fibit Charge II $20 off right now.)

Yep! Proud of myself

I wanted to find a funny movie we could enjoy with the boys. I found Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II!!!!!  I talked up how uproariously we would all laugh at this movie.

Father of the Bride Part II

We watched half of the first movie, and then Joshua proclaimed, “You said this was funny! I don’t think this is funny at all!” And then he disappeared upstairs.

What? Not funny? This stuff is HILARIOUS.  I guess there’s an age range for this humor. Remember this?

It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

It has been 7 months now since we moved in, and we are starting to feel settled. We’re using our GPS less and less, and the boys are asking to go back to California far less. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. It takes a year to fully adjust to a move.

I’d say it takes two years to actually get past surface-level relationships and put down roots. That’s the lonely thing about it. No one knows you well enough to relax, and you are still trying to figure out all the new people you’ve met.

I can learn their names easily, but sometimes it takes time to root out the kindred spirits from the high-maintenance ones.

It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

I feel like Alan and I did this ONE particular thing right that’s going to be the thing that makes life fun and frequent moving doable. These 4 boys. I can’t really say we gave them each other because God did that. If I had gotten to decide it myself, there would have been a Gracie and a Josie thrown in, and then our whole family dynamic would be different.

But this is better because this is what God gave us. I can’t imagine our lives without a single one of them. We have two sets of best buddies, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. The younger ones are learning from the bigger ones things, for better and for worse, ha!, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They fill our hearts with so much joy.

And no matter where we move they all have each other, and Alan and I have each other and these boys.

Best of all, we’ve never grown too comfortable with any one place or house. There’s no confusion about where home is. Home is not a building that can be taken away. Home is right here, wherever we are. Home is us. So we are always home.

It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home. It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

And now here they are, all telling me that Lego Batman movie premiered today, and they are just dying to know when I am going to take them to see it. Yeah…I might have promised them to take them to see that because Lego Batman is a serious obsession around here.

Maybe I can make it happen today……

A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”…            –Jesus  (John 13:34-35)

 

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