The Hot Mess Blog Hop

 

This week I was reminded of something. I am a big, giant failure. I am a hot mess.

Now I know. That’s negative self-talk, and we shouldn’t do that. Yeah. I get it. Thinking positively is how you recover from the things that do happen as a result of when we mess up big time, or when someone else messes up and we have to deal with it.

In my case, it was me that messed up. I got a speeding ticket because I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing.

And I never speed! I drive so slowly these days, passengers often complain! After four kids, I just don’t have the energy to speed. But I also don’t pay attention to what I’m doing, and that often gets me in trouble.

Don’t roll your eyes now. There’s more.

I didn’t just get a ticket. I then proceeded to procrastinate paying the thing until the last-minute. It was so last-minute, and it fell over a weekend and a holiday so that my money arrived at the courthouse several days past due.

Yeah.

I didn’t think that was a big deal either. Well, I was wrong, and I got a nice little certified letter in the mail to let me know about it. And when I say nice, let me assure you that the lady I talked to down at the courthouse about all this was certainly not nice.

“Well, I was trying to do the right thing and pay my ticket…”

Dripping with disdain and disgust she mockingly asked me, “What right thing were you trying to do?”

Ouch.

“I was trying to do the right thing by paying my fine.”

OH, just hand me my dunce cap, and stick me in the corner. Obviously the power is not in my court here, and I have no one to blame but myself.

I have been severely humbled, and my bank account will soon be quite empty as a result of it all.

But that’s life, right? You pay your fines so they don’t take your driver’s license away, and you cover your face in shame because you are supposed to be a Christian writer and mother and deacon’s wife, and here you are defending yourself to the state of Georgia for breaking the law….

Yep. I am feeling pretty low.

But what’s a girl to do? You pick yourself up. Pay your dues, and get back up again.

Always get back up again.

I’ve been meaning to start a “Hot Mess” blog hop for a long time. All the successful blogs out there are telling you how to improve yourself, how to make more money, how to make over your budget, or how to organize your closet. They even sell courses on it.

Well, friends, I don’t know how you can do any of that stuff. If I did, I’d definitely use that information on myself. 

You know what I am? I’m just a hot mess, saved by grace. That’s right, grace. From the time I was 4, I could just feel the presence of God. I knew he was there.

When I was 7, I decided to ask Jesus to save me from the punishment for my sins. The Bible says that God loves us so much that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He knows we’re humans. He loves us anyway.

I am saved by grace. Some days it seems like I need more grace than others. The Bible teaches that God is not a respecter of persons. We are all equal in God’s eyes.

So this blog hop is for any blogger. We are all a hot mess in need of grace.

We’ll meet back here next Friday at 12pm and do this again, and I’ll choose a feature.

There’s just one rule:

#1. Remember this is a family place, so all …..ahem…..not-family-appropriate content will be removed.

Bonus points if you’d follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram…or WordPress, but I don’t have a link for that one.

Comment below if you want an email reminding you of next week’s Hot Mess blog hop.

Now let’s party! Let’s do some mingling!!!




Thoughts on My Last Baby’s First Day of Preschool

Thought from my last baby's first day of preschool
thoughts on my last baby's first day of preschool

I tried to take his pic outside by the car, but my iPhone spazzed, and I had to re-start it. I tried again once we got to his class, with my now working phone, but JD said, “You already did,” and walked off to show his new teacher his Lightning McQueen backpack.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in a week. Maybe it’s because he’s my fourth son, my last baby. I don’t know, but today I dropped JD off at his first day at preschool, and I cried all the way home.

He’s three and a half, and he’s ready. We knew he was ready. He knew he was ready. His brothers are even excited for him.

Thought from my last baby's first day of preschool

And he handled it like a champ. He proudly put on his brand new Minions tennis shoes, showed me where to write his name on his new Batman lunch box, and rushed me out the door. He didn’t even pause long enough for his “First day” picture, he was just so eager to go.

And what did I do? Well, I handled it like a grown-up. I cried all the way home. I was supposed to go straight to the grocery store, but I couldn’t. I had to run home to my refuge, crying.

I’m fighting the urge to sit down in the floor with a Coca-Cola and a fat stack of baby photo albums and boo hoo.

I haven’t had days off like this since 2010. I’ve had part-time babysitters that came and took care of the boys while I went to doctor appointments, but this is different. I might finally write my book!

There is something extra special about time off when you are taking care of small children all the time. It is beyond necessary.  I hope if you are a mom of pre-schoolers that you will sanctify at least one day a week to have time off from taking care of children.

Schedule it! Make someone commit to watching those babies for you while you take 2 hours off, or whatever you can get!

Make them put it in writing.

“I promise to watch these sweet, precious children on this day at this time every single week so Mommy doesn’t lose her mind or end up with a heart problem.”

I miss that sweet little boy already. Oh, I love him so much. I can’t believe he is my last pre-schooler. I’ve had at least one preschooler, usually more, in this house for 11 years now, and suddenly I find myself almost finished with this phase. I only have 1 1/2 more years!

Oh, no. I’m going to start crying again if I talk about it. How I’ve loved it. I have loved every minute of taking care of these babies. Okay. That’s not true. I didn’t love every minute, but I loved THEM every minute.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

JD sleeping on me just this past weekend, and Caleb showing of his latest Lego creation. I do love this job. I love it.

Sometimes I long for them at ages that they used to be that we will never get back. They are still here, but that age of them is gone forever. Sometimes I think back to, for example, baby Daniel, the round little ball of baby, my two-year-old boy who followed me around relentlessly wanting to help me do everything.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

two-year-old Daniel

I think about rocking my babies at night, and while I don’t want to go through all that we went through again, I’d give anything just to hold one of those sweet babies and rock them and feed them.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

holding one or two-year-old Caleb. He was a little sea-sick. (Destin, Florida)

I think about one-year-old Caleb and how he thought his big brother was the greatest person of all time. I think about them in their little Halloween costumes and how they’d take turns sitting in my lap to read books.

Okay, now I’m pouring tears, and I have clearly crossed over to the bad, bad, super sad place, so I’d better stop thinking about this.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

Me with my very first toddler. I can still remember that feeling of new love you have when you first become a parent. It’s so much it feels like your heart could just explode with rainbows and joy.

 

I’m going to clean up my face, put my contacts in, and I’m going to go to Sam’s. I’m going to go be a grown-up, because that’s what you do and because we are almost out of milk and totally out of my coffee creamer. And I’m going to just be thankful for the time that I had with each of those adorable baby boys. I’ll keep enjoying them at the stages that they are now, and one day I’m going to be one awesome grandma.

Granted, I’m already under doctor’s orders to not lift any babies over 10 pounds because of my arthritis, but I can hold them in a chair, and I can take lots of Tylenol.

Then at 1:00 today, I get to pick JD back up and cuddle him for as long as he will let me, which if I put in a movie, might actually be a long time.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

Don’t get me wrong, I have times when I’m so beaten down by kids that I’m not this sentimental, when I’m happy for a break. But today was JD’s first day of preschool, so today was not that day.

I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: 2 God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead.

 

 

This is meaningless, a grievous evil.

3 A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.                         Ecclesiastes 6:1-3

Enjoy those babies while you can. I guess that’s my point. Enjoy them, but take breaks because you really can’t pour water from an empty pitcher, and you know they will drain every drop from you. Take time to refill that pitcher and enjoy those little ones. That’s what I’m doing today. I’m re-charging….and I’m buying milk.

 

 

 

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to school!

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

Yes, my dad let my three-year-old drive his wheelchair. But boy, did he have fun!

We just finished the longest Christmas vacation ever. 3 weeks!!! Full weeks!! It was a blast.  It was genuinely fun because we didn’t spend the whole 3 weeks in any one place. We went south, then we went north, then we went home, then we went back south, then back home. We had a good time with it!

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

We watched pretty much every Christmas movie ever made.

And we were terrible.

Truly terrible.

We let the kids stay up as late as 10 some nights. I know. The shame! Other nights we put them to bed at 8, but there was one night we were at a big reunion party. It was an hour and a half from home, and by the time we got home and got the boys all in bed, it was after midnight!

I know!!! We are never this shocking. We are such boring people normally.

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

Some people skip stones…..we chunk boulders. (Don’t worry. Only into the water, and no one got hurt.)

I don’t think I got out of bed before 7:30am a single morning.

Discipline? I would say we were the opposite of disciplined…

We took the kids to two different movies. We let the boys sleep as late as they wanted, and for some of them that was actually until 8 or 8:30am!!

A disproportionate amount of corn dogs, candy canes, and chicken fingers was consumed.

JD has about quit napping completely.

The boys played so much Skylanders they’ve already beaten the new game twice.

 

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

decorating the Christmas tree cookie cake

We built Lego creations, we colored, we ate ice cream, we played with cousins and friends. We got spoiled by grandparents. We completely forgot about reality.

I kept saying things like, “Tomorrow we HAVE to get back on schedule. Tomorrow we’ll all go to bed at 8, and I’ll set alarms and get up at 6….”

Never happened. Never.

REAL life starts again tomorrow. Oh, yes, the kids are going back to schoo

Dan and I found this centipede(?) on a walk. I’m not a bug expert. Centipede was my best guess.

And so tonight we didn’t even bother to put everyone to bed until 9 or 9:30. I made coffee and did the dishes. You will be happy to know that we did actually make them shower.

Alan is furiously re-immersing himself in work emails. He took a ton of time off too.

I laid out my clothes but totally forgot to lay out THE BOYS’ clothes. Who knows if we’ll be able to find anyone’s shoes or belts tomorrow.

I set my alarm for 5:30am…..but you know I’m the worst EVER at getting up when my alarm goes off. I set my alarm, and Alan actually laughed. Sigh.

I’m scared y’all. I think we actually had too much fun on our break. I don’t think we can go back to real life. I’m afraid no one will be able to wake up tomorrow morning!!!

I don’t think this is an irrational fear.

We played Star Wars. Ha! Just kidding. THEY played Star Wars. I’m not that cool.

Why does real life have to be so very very real and strict and work-like???

Ah, but it does. You can’t train children for the world without upholding standards in their childhood. You can’t expect them to go to college if you don’t first teach them elementary math. And have you seen elementary math??? It’s not all that easy!

Tomorrow is the big day! Are you ready?? Were any of you as big of slackers as we were??? Tell me we are not alone!!!

Well, if you were, we would like to wish you all the best of luck. I’m sure everyone’s shoes will be clean, dry, and easily found. Everyone will be on time, and no one will cry. Well, maybe me at 5:30am. I might cry. I’m just not so sure I “got this”!!!

Okay. Deep breaths. We’ll be fine. What’s a good verse we can recite to ourselves?? Oh yeah.

Joshua 1:9

 

Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Gotta go. The Benadryl I took to make myself go to sleep earlier is finally starting to kick in…

 


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This Christmas: 1st Year at Home, 1st Non Disaster Story

I guess you know which stocking is mine.

This might have been the easiest Christmas in 14 years of April and Alan family Christmases. We only had to travel two hours, and we woke up on Christmas morning IN OUR OWN HOUSE. Have you ever??? I mean, we had almost never!! Do you do this? Do other people do this every year??  It was so nice!

I mean have you read my other Christmas stories???

Our Nightmare Before Christmas

The Funeral, Christmas Trip

New Years in San Francisco

Well, I’m happy to tell you this is NOT one of those stories. We did go and see our families, but we were able to do all of that and still be at our own house on Christmas morning.

Around 7 or so a.m., we heard Boy #1 begin talking to Boy #2. They simply chatted calmly in bed. Some of the boys woke up the other boys. I don’t remember who got up first, but a miracle happened…..

No one came and jumped on us…..

They gathered themselves in the living room, just the four of them in the living room to patiently wait for their parents to get up.

Whaaa???? We were so pleased with all this that we didn’t make them wait. We went ahead and joined them.

My heart brimmed over with awe at the fact that they were all sitting in the living room, waiting patiently.

I love watching my children open their presents. Christmas is a whole other level of special for children. When is it that we lose that? Let’s get that back.

Caleb, opening a present they WEREN’T expecting: Lego Dimensions

Yes, he’s actually CLAPPING. He’s so excited. There were a few To: Caleb and Daniel presents this year. They may look ages apart, but it’s actually only a 3 year gap. Some kids are tall. Some kids are shorter.

SO HAPPY

Be sure to see the 50 second JD video on Facebook, and share in the excitement.

We all went to church together. It was nice, though nothing topped the Christmas Eve service.

Christmas Eve service

There was something about the meaning in lighting these candles and taking communion with so many fellow believers that made Christmas more real to me this year. We sang Silent Night, and I wanted this moment to never end.

Too quickly, we were all headed back to our houses when so often I just want to curl up at the altar and soak it all in…

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”       Luke 2:10-12

…But it was back to Christmas as usual, and I can’t help but wonder. Are we entering a new phase of our lives?  There simply isn’t a BABY anymore. JD is 3 1/2 now. No one is a baby. Life is c-a-l-m-i-n-g down. No one wore a diaper, no one carried a sippy cup, and no one got out of their seat. No one even colored on himself.

Wow.

I think I might cry!

No one was sick this Christmas either. JD caught a cold, accompanied by a very pink eye, but even that ended in two days.

OH, and guess what! Once Christmas day was over, Alan took my minivan to the shop, and I now have a clean minivan, with a heater that heats, and a functioning defroster! Somebody get this man a trophy!!

I feel like we just had the perfect Christmas. I can safely say that because Christmas is fully over. Saying Christmas was perfect can’t possibly jinx it now.

Of course, I did find one baby to hold.

Ah, sparkling pretty lights. I may never take my Christmas tree down. Plus, I’m hoping Alan will do it for me. Hmmm…I wonder if Alan is hoping that I will do it. I seriously don’t even want it taken down. Let’s just leave it up until next Christmas!

Hallelujah! And may we never forget what it’s all about. This is an incredible excerpt from the Passion of the Christ. You do have to click the link to YouTube to watch, but it’s so worth it:

 

Wishing you all a blessed 2017! May your kids behave. May your rain be snow, and may all your prayers be answered.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”        Luke 2:13-14

Persistence: My Word for 2017

Persistence: My word for 2017

Daniel’s persistence is paying off in basketball skills. That same principle pays off in other areas of life too. Look at his feet in the picture! This shot doesn’t look like it went in, but he took about 200 more shots, and many of them did go in.

The Christmas presents have all been opened, the grandparents have all been visited, the cousins have been played with, and the tree…..well, the tree is still up. It’s pretty. I’m reluctant to take it down.

And today is New Year’s Eve. Time to pick a goal, a resolution, a plan!!! Or as my adorable little boys say, “It’s time for our New Year’s revolution!” That makes me smile every time.

Persistence: My word for 2017

I may not have daughters, but I have adorable nieces.

So did you set goals? I have goals in mind, but this year I’m focusing more on this word: persistence.

For me, that’s about persisting in what I know is the right thing to do, even when I’m not seeing immediate results. I’m often guilty of throwing in the towel when results aren’t as big and quick as I want them to be. I get bored with a thing and move on to another. That’s not a highly productive way to live.

Persistence: My word for 2017

Fishing takes persistence too. The boys enjoyed fishing this Christmas, but they didn’t catch anything this time.

I want to be more persistent:

 

Persistence: My word for 2017

one of my boy’s Bible journal tabs

-With Bible reading and prayer

I have found this to be most effective when done in the morning, and mornings are rough when you are raising children. One thing I am working on is getting up earlier to get this done before the morning rush, but when I fail to get up early, Bible time has to move to 8am, and that’s okay. Late is better than not at all.

-As a wife

The hardest part for me sometimes is just being “nice.” Bahhhh. Niceness. But niceness is extremely important in a marriage, in any relationship. I want to be right more than I want to be nice. I actually need to stop being so persistent about being right!

Persistence: My word for 2017

-As a mom

The hardest part for me is sticking with a plan. I’ll assign chores, and I’ll make sure everyone’s dong their assigned chores for about a week, and then I start to slide, especially about the “kitchen helper” chore. They need to do it. It’s good for them. I need to persist in making sure they are there to help me with dinner and not be lazy by doing it myself.

Yes, sometimes simply doing it yourself is actually the lazy way out. Training a tot to do a job is much more work than just handling it for them.

I need persistence with discipline too. It’s such a drag, but the kids are so much more pleasant to be around when you do it consistently instead of hit and miss.

-As a blogger

There should be a schedule. Posts should come out like clock work instead of so very mixed bag. I know there should be a schedule. I can’t promise a schedule, but I will make one. I can’t promise to stick to it, because I am a scatter-brained, free-spirited mom of four.

-As a writer

I’m hoping to enroll JD in part-time pre-school a couple of days per week. This will help me get more writing done, and I can start going to the dentist again.

-With my health

I’m using a Fitbit Charge II to help me get into better patterns this year, and I’m loving it.

Persistence: My word for 2017

-With my house

I’m good about getting dinner cooked each night, and Alan has now taken over the laundry. That goes a long way. However, I need to be more persistent about spending an hour or two  each day cleaning house. Yes, in our phase of life it requires that.

 

So who’s ready for 2017? What would you like to accomplish this year? Do you have a word? Our pastor gave us a list on Christmas day of words we could pick from. It was a helpful list. I lost that list, and I can’t remember them all. Persistence was on there. I think it had several fruits of the spirit, so I will do my best to re-construct the list:

Words to Focus on for 2017:

faith

hope

love

faith

persistence

joy

peace

goodness

self-control

kindness

Persistence: My word for 2017

Us with Alan’s side of the family

Persistence: My word for 2017

This is us with Alan’s mother’s side of the family. It was a fun Christmas.

Happy New Year’s! I hope it’s a happy one! I’d love to hear about your goals.

Did you blog about your goals? Link up below. We’d love to read it!



 

 

 

 

 

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