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.

 

 

10 Months After the Move: Joy, Legos, and Hair in My Trashcan

his very first school picture

We have now been back in the South for 10 months.

I’m not fully adjusted yet. It takes me a year to adjust, and it takes 2 years for me to be fully attached with roots and friendships and all.

Until then, you settle for small talk, you get out as much as you can, you accept every invitation you can possibly accept, and you make the best of it. Also, it would be helpful to study a few maps.

I have been car shopping. I did some in-my-crazy-dreams looking at this Escalade. Laugh. out. loud.  I just wanted to see inside it.

The boys love it here. I don’t mean like it. I DO mean love it.

They regularly ask me if Dad could please just work here forever.

Their favorite thing about life in Georgia is their school. They all have made friends in their classes, their teachers are nurturing and way more patient than I would be if I were teaching them, and their brains are growing by leaps and bounds.

Such a relief!!!

The moving part makes me sad for them. We still have at least a year left here, and Caleb is already talking about how much he will miss his friends. This is a truly seasoned and wise military child.

Double trouble. They begged to sleep together that night.

I’m loving being back close to family. It makes it all worth it to me. Aside from that, living here is still growing on me. I do have a few friends and many aquaintences though, and I LOVE my MOPS group.(Moms of Preschoolers)

 

He’s obsessed.

Moving is getting less and less lonely as the months progress.

I have something that can get me past any issue. I have love. I have Alan and my boys. I have a couple of friends, and I have Jesus joy.

I’m telling you that Jesus joy is a thing. When I sit and pray and meditate on the Bible, this peace and joy fills me that is overwhelmingly comforting. There have been times when it was harder to get to that, but I am there now. I feel like I’m getting back to myself.

Caleb laid out all their clothes so they would be dressed alike for church.

I want you all to know how adept I am getting at actually keeping a PLANNER!

Yes! It’s funny. After being a fairly non-structured stay-at-home mom for 11 years, going back to working is a huge adjustment. Bear with me. As I get more organized, I know I’ll be a better blogger too!

The boys are all as hilarious as ever. Joshua has become impressively responsible with his studies. He is now taking tennis lessons too, which he enjoys.

Yes, I am living the glamorous chauffeur life.

The Eyeball villain from the Lego Batman movie

Caleb came up with the idea for his school to have a Lego creation contest, and his principal was so kind as to actually go along with that. So Caleb keeps building and destroying creations, in search of the perfect Lego entry for the contest.

In other news, Daniel now has 100 sight words, and he is so excited to go to basketball camp this summer. Actually, they are all going to basketball camp, all except JD. We are only doing day camps this year, though.

I will never live down sending them to that church camp last year where Caleb got bullied, and Joshua kept a countdown of the hours until they got home.

Sigh. You do your best. Some ideas work out less well than others. I’m their mother. I think they are turning out perfectly. Love, love, love these guys.

These 2 LOVE dressing alike.

John David has been walking around here singing the songs he has learned at preschool. I was most impressed with the way he sings the months of the year and the wheels on the bus.

Oh!!! And did I tell you that we had visitors from our California days???

Aiden was their best buddy back in their poison-oak catching, bike riding, baseball playing, woods exploring, mischief-seeking California days. 3 peas in a pod right there.

“Mom, can we get a dog?” No. After 11 years of cleaning up poop, that is not happening.

Mr. Tom has a lot of jokes, so he is JD’s favorite.

the lovely Amy and Tegann

 

Daniel occasionally gets up to some of his old tricks.

I pulled open the trash can the other day and saw THIS, but then I felt bad because he said he only cut it because it was in his eyes….yeah….you may call that a fail, but I call it raising one seriously resourceful boy right there.

You know, I’m just trying to use the power of positive thinking. It’s working.

bed time stories with, as JD says, “the best Dad ever!!”

Let me leave you with a couple of funny stories from the 3rd grade.

“Today at lunch, Monty turned SO RED because he chugged so much hot sauce.”

…..Well, I’m impressed…

“Today at recess, everybody wanted to play with Cory’s fidget spinner, but he wouldn’t share with anyone, so we all started chasing him. And then we all had to walk laps because they thought we were playing tag,” my son said, as he giggled to himself and shook his head.

Another great day in the 3rd grade, unless maybe you were Cory, and a pack of fidget spinning-wanting 9-year-olds were chasing you. Haha!!!

He is now a champion of designing your own Lego vehicles. I wish he’d kept this one together because I thought it was perfect.

So yeah, we’re almost settled in.

When we first moved in, I had such moving depression I had trouble remembering to smile or speak to people, and I had to start researching Bible verses about joy.

I’m happy to report that I’ve moved far beyond that now. Every wall has a corner. I have turned mine, and that feels a lot like joy.

Happy kids. Joshua set the record on all the basketball arcade games they had.

“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord is our strength. Amen.

 

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