When Your Oxen (I Mean Kids) Are Messing Up Your House

My coffee table is covered in children’s books, a box of Legos, my Bibles, a box of crayons, a sippy cup, and ALL the little Lego men that I swept out from under the couch this morning.

There’s also a few preschool crafts and the remote control to the t.v.

Then there’s the center piece, all buried in there. It’s supposed to be an ornate pedestal bowl of THREE ornamental balls, but of course someone broke one…..when they were using it as a bowling ball, I believe.

Most of my house is as cluttered as that little table. I won’t even bother lying and saying it’s just because we’ve been busy lately.

Busy lately? Ha! It’s been pretty high tempo since about 2011.

We, like most American parents, live a little overwhelmed, stressed, sleepy, tired, and yes, we’re busy lately.

I rushed home from volunteering in the library this morning (BEST job ever– I love it so much I have trouble making myself leave it). As soon as I pulled in the driveway, the LOWE’s people were here with our new dryer.

Only I was being thrifty and purchased a dented dryer, so I have to send it right back because the drum is rubbing the dent in the side, making quite a loud racket. Problem not solved…

I unloaded the dishes and made myself lunch, but I needed some words of comfort.

Words of encouragement go a great distance when life is an uphill climb.

Kindness I read from a blogger a few years ago came back to me as I sat in my favorite chair, staring at that cluttered up coffee table.

She’s a mom of five boys, but she doesn’t blog anymore. Still what she said is with me though, and her words were so wise…

4Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.     

 Proverbs 14:4

Julie (the blogger) said that this verse reminded her of her life. Her house is full of oxen, and so her stable is never clean, but look at all the glorious benefits of having a house full of children, 5 boys in her case.

Yes, people without……oxen……have tidier spaces. People with more OCD may also be better at it.

People with the tidy mangers even occasionally say hurtful things to us.

In the past four years, several folks have (surely unintentionally) hurt my feelings about my house. They didn’t get it.

 

 

Normal, right? No, it gets worse than this. I do have enough pride to not show you those pictures

 

But what is that to us?

Our life is richer thanks to these oxen. There’s not a parent worth having who would not agree that their children are their greatest blessing.

Sometimes I’m actually embarrassed to tell people about all my children because it feels like bragging, which we try not to do!! This glorious blessing is not something any of us take lightly.

Empty stalls are for retirement. No thanks. I’d rather have my coffee table full of toys and my arms full of hugs. An empty nest will be something to embrace later, and I’m sure by then I will be ready for it.

 

For today, It’s better to have…..

coloring books in my dining room than empty place settings

Clean school shirts to fold on my couch than tidy rooms with no inhabitants

Video games in front of the t.v. than knick-knacks collecting dust

baseball hats on my hall tree than empty hooks serving no purpose

dried toothpaste in the boys’ sink than a guest bathroom that’s rarely used.

 

We can only clean so many areas at once, ya know? You do your best.

These little souls, made in the image of God, are put in our care for a season. It is our most precious duty. There is none like it, the charge to guard and bring up your children, both flesh and blood and adopted.

Your house is the stable, and your kids are the oxen.

And yes, it’s a messy job, but what a privilege!! What a privilege to have a house cluttered with preschool art and marked with chubby handprints. Be still my heart.

Eventually we will all be older and in a newer, cleaner phase of life. We will think we are still so busy because it will be hard to remember all this that we are doing now.

Maybe we’ll even shout to the neighbor kids to keep off the grass. Oh, I hope that’s never me.

But for today, the manger is full, and from the strength of the oxen comes the abundance of the harvest, and I am thankful. I hope you are too.

 

 

 

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The 15 Best Things About Having All Boys

The 15 Best Things About Having All Boys

This week I happened upon a super cute post by Janine Huldie titled The 8 Best Things About Having All Girls.

I had to read it! I needed a sneak peek into what that world is like because, mamas, the view over here, in my house of many little men, is a whole lot different!

Janine wrote a great article. You should totally go read it.

The 15 Best Things About Having All Boys

Things I stumble upon while the boys are at school. I feel certain there is a very important conversation going on here.

Naturally, Janine’s list inspired me to type out my own best things about having all boys, a life I never dreamed of having. Never in a million years did I plan to be a mom of all boys. No, I was not a tom boy. No. I never played a sport, unless you count cheerleading or church league volleyball, or gymnastics…….okay so really it would be more accurate to say I was never into sports.

I don’t fish, touch worms, or laugh at bathroom jokes, and I love everything sparkly and glittery. My toy of choice was Barbie dolls, and I’ve never made a mud pie in my life.

I was never a wuss either. I grew up climbing trees and doing bicycle stunts, and by the way, I killed a snake once.

But oh man, this world of testosterone I’m living in now is a unique ADVENTURE. Here are the 15 BEST things I could think of about having all boys. 

15 Best things about having all boys

#1. Their clothes are cheap, and you don’t have to buy that much.

It’s so easy. For setting my oldest 2 up for spring/summer, I bought them each a new pair of tennis shoes, gym shorts, a pair of camo shorts, sleeveless tees, one nice shirt a piece, and that was it. I was done. The others have handed down clothes.

#2. All boys want to be Batman.

Not even kidding. They have all gone through the Batman phase. They have all worn the costume. It’s universal, and it is the cutest thing ever.

15 Best things about having all boys

#3. The Hair

Wet it. Comb it. Done. So easy. Very little room for drama.

#4. Going to the Bathroom Alone

Once they are fully toilet trained, and they have a big brother to escort them, you are done.  Will you ever see me in the bathroom with a little person sidekick? Nope. Am I the one who has to take them to wash their hands at restaurants? Nope. All Daddy. And when Daddy isn’t there, I send them in pairs, with my oldest son. I’m a free woman.

#5. Bug Squashers

They squash the bugs for me. Never have I had to hear someone flipping out because they ran across a bug. They live for getting to squash pests. I’ve seen them kill spiders with their bare hands.

#6. They don’t expect me to play with them much.

Does that sound mean? Don’t worry. I promise I do play with them sometimes, a little. I’ll play board games or occasionally jump on the trampoline, and I love to read to them. But no one asks me to spend a bunch of time at a tea-less tea party or dressing a Barbie doll. I’ll even color, but thankfully, no one expects me to play pretend, which is a relief! They know my interests are a little different than theirs, and they play basketball or super heroes without me.

 

15 Best things about having all boys

#7. Boys love their mama.

“I’m riding with Mom!”

“No! I want Mommy do it!”

Mom. Mom. Mom. We are still at the golden age where it’s still all about mom.

#8. The hugs!

I’m sure girls are very affectionate too, but I just adore the way little boys are so physical. That means lots of wrestling with their dad, but lots of hugs for mom.

#9. The laid back atmosphere!

When you are dealing with a house full of dudes, the approach to social functions, free time, vacation, etc., etc. is seriously laid back. There’s not a person in the house that cannot get up and ready in just a few minutes, if necessary.

#10.Their toys are simple.

Hot Wheels. Action figures. Trains. Baseball cards. Skylanders. Done. No need for a billion tiny Shopkins pieces. No need for a $200 doll with a $40 dress.

#11. Hand-me-downs

I have 4 boys, but I actually only have to buy a full wardrobe for 1 of them, and then I get quadruple my money’s worth out of each item they don’t destroy.

#12. Body guards

I do feel extra safe already when I go walking with one of my already-over-5 feet tall and 100 pounds pre-teen boys. Just imagine how much more like a body-guard they will be in just a couple more years! We strut across those parking lots like we own the place.

#13. They’ve made me less prim and proper.

Yeah…. I can say “Everybody get their butts in the car” as loudly as I want because frankly, they love the word butt. It makes them soooo happy.

Me, showing off all my newest Crimson Tide jewelry.

#14. I get to focus all of my fashion efforts on my OWN wardrobe.

Who has the cutest Lula Roe leggings outfits in this house? Yep. It’s me.  Who has pretty colored hair clips? Again, me. And until the boys get married, I get to be the prettiest girl in this house.

and last but not least…..

 

#15. No crafting requirement

I don’t craft, nor do I ever have to craft again. A friend of mine, who is a girl mom, said that the girl moms make bows and do crafts at play dates. I don’t know if that’s true, but I was horrified at the idea of doing anything other than laughing loudly at playdates.

I hope you got a couple of good chuckles out of this list. Being a boy mom is a treasure. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Whatever your situation is, it has to be THE BEST, because we only get one go at life. Might as well enjoy it.

Are you a boy mom or a both mom? Be sure to check out Janine’s list if you’re a girl mom! I enjoyed her insight.

 

 

When Alan gets home from New Jersey tonight

This hilarious blogger tells it like it is about parenting when your spouse is out of town. SO TRUE

Remember how I said that Alan wasn’t going on any business trips in December?

Of course, I was wrong. This week turned out to be New Jersey week. You might think that a 14 year Army wife veteran such as myself would not sweat short business trips. I’ve been through more than one year-long deployment, several months-long assignments or deployments, and too many short trips to count.

You might even think that I should be so tough as to enjoy a little extra free time or nights off from cooking dinner, or some other crazy thing that might have held true 12 years ago before we had kids, but that is not the case at all at this point.

Women are always joking about the husband not being able to handle all the kids by themselves. Well, I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I am the mother, and I can’t even handle all this by myself.

Me when Alan is here:

Celiac-friendly melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. They were WONDERFUL!!!

“We are having roast and potatoes for dinner. Go wash your hands.”

Me when Alan is not here:
“What? Oh, you’re hungry? You need supper. Right. Supper…supper…supper…Hold on. I’m pretty sure there’s some frozen chicken fingers in here somewhere…AHA!!  Yes! Frozen chicken strips. There are only 5 in the bag, so one for each of us, and after that you can have cereal.”

When Alan is out of town, cereal is pretty much my answer to all of life’s problems.

School snack?

Cereal.

Breakfast?
Cereal.

Supper?

Well, we talked about that already. Frozen chicken and cereal.

I am obviously NOT going to be piling four boys up in the car and going out to eat or cooking mega meals or going to the grocery store.

Actually, my brain doesn’t even seem to work as well when Alan’s gone. It throws me off. It’s like I’m an earth with only a South Pole and no North.

Do you know what I missed this week?  I missed the way Alan takes care of us when it rains.

Alan is the person who always cleans the backyard before it rains.

If you don’t know what I mean, you must not let your children play in the backyard and just leave their stuff any old way out there, and you probably don’t have four boys. I feel like that’s my ultimate excuse for all of my failings in life. Four boys. Sorry.

So this week it rained for the first time in forever, and apparently our smallest fry had left his tennis shoes and socks out by the trampoline, unbeknownst to me.

Day 1:

“Where are his shoes, where are his shoes????” as I frantically search the house, the car, suitcases from last weekend, everything. I made him just ride in the car without shoes.

Day 2:

“I don’t understand where his shoes are!!!” I searched frantically through the house and the car again. Then I suddenly spotted them through my back door: out in the rain, the POURING rain. Rain day #2, in fact, along with not one, not two, but like four little white socks littered around the trampoline.

I actually had to take him somewhere, so I gave up and put a pair of shoes that’s a size too big for him that I was saving for him to grow into. I bought them for Daniel, but they were too skinny for Dan’s feet, which made them perfect for J.D.

This wasn’t a total loss because the new shoes actually fit him well, and he’s happy with them.

The downside: the old shoes are still laying outside by the trampoline, soaking wet, even now. Let me rush right out there in the cold and wet and get those…right…

Go ahead, shake your head. I know. This is my act, y’all. This is it.

I have no pride left.

Like none. Now whenever Alan lets me know that he’s leaving, I schedule a grandparent to come and stay with us to help out for at least one of the nights of his trip. This week it was my mom who came. I try to trade out between the grandmas so we don’t wear them out. Ha! (Thank you so much, Nana and Nonna!!!!)

There you have it, why I can never have an unbiased opinion about any national military event. I’m affected too directly. Not in a big hurry to get rid of Alan.

See, he’s not just any husband. The man is a machine. I spend most of my energy waiting on John David hand and foot, wiping his bottom, cheauffering kids, cleaning bathrooms, feeding them, and refereeing arguments.

Alan uses his energy to declutter. That man can pick up a full on tornado room in 5 minutes and make it look like Good Housekeeping. He also does laundry and washes pans. Oh! And he finds missing stuff!!

Plus, it’s just lonely, parenting alone, especially in a new place.

Alan gets home in 5 hours now. I only have to make it 5 more hours.

Only 1 hurdle left: I’m supposed to take the kids to Wednesday night church supper and AWANA by myself. I had to quit choir because every single trip crosses a Wednesday night, and there’s no way I’m coming home that late with 4 boys, all wound up from AWANA, to get ready for bed. Really the only reason I still even go to AWANA when Alan isn’t here is that I already skipped it so many times that Daniel is behind the other kids on his badges, and you know if Daniel is behind on something that it’s my fault, and it kills him to not have those badges on his vest. Sooooooo… we are all sucking it up and going tonight so Daniel can say his verse, get his badge, and then I promised them we can all go straight home.

Then I just have to get through bath and bedtime, and I don’t suppose I should let the little ones skip that yet again tonight….

I asked my doctor if I should try vitamins to see if that could help me have more energy to handle this gargantuan job, but my docs never take me seriously about this. They always say, “Well, but you have four boys……that’s why you’re tired.”

My doctor actually said that she thought vitamins would be bad for me since my blood work is good. I don’t know how to get more energy!

Stress, man! What an exhausting job! Do any of you dread your spouse leaving town as much as I do??? What tricks do you do to get through it?

I fantasize sometimes. Like this:

When Alan gets home from New Jersey,

–I am going to finish ALL my Christmas shopping–ALONE.

–I am going to take a bath, and lock the door.

–I am going to go for a hike, ALONE.

–I am going to check into a hotel, right down the street and SLEEP…..and watch t.v.—whatever I want to watch!!!!—and eat snacks in bed!!

–I just want Alan to take all 4 kids away for a weekend to anywhere, and I’m going to clean this house……oh who am I kidding, I’d end up writing and working on my blog anyway!

Merry Christmas, y’all!