A Prayer for My Children

a prayer for my children (poem)

 

 

a prayer for my children

My boys, stalking sea lions in Monterey, just like their mom.

Today I was walking around my backyard, feeling thankful for the Nerf bullets in the grass and the bare dirt spots on the lawn because they are signs that my babies still live here.

They grow so fast, but for today they are still here with us, and I was feeling ever so thankful. This poem/prayer fairly burst right out of my heart, so I came inside and jotted it down. I hope you like it.

All of my children are boys, and there are 4 of them, so this is a little unique to that. However, a lot of it I know you may be able to relate to.

 

 

Dear God,

Thank you for these boys.

Thank you for Nerf bullets in the grass,

for a living room floor littered with their toys.

Thank you for their sass.

For tiny Lego men in the laundry basket and the noise,

Thank you for the noise.

 

Thank you for popcorn kernels in the couch,

for little plastic Batman in my bathtub,

and even the moments I beg them not to slouch.

Thank you for the way he runs when I approach with the washcloth to scrub

All that sunbutter off his adorable cheekies and his mouth.

 

Thank you for their fighting,

and their running, and their bouncing,

Their snacking, video-game playing, yes, even their messy hand-writing.

Thank you for the sounds of laughing, crying, and being rowdy.

 

Thank you for their tuition bill,

their baseball and basketball games,

The way they hug me, even when they smell.

And of course sometimes call each other names.

Thank you for the way they look after each other.

 

Thank you for all the dirt and clutter

and all the lessons to teach and walls to scrub clear.

Because what it means is that for now we are all here together.

And love is filling the house, and we are growing good men here.

Thank you for making me their mother.

~April Alan

 

 

 

 

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Spring Break Day 1: The Shirt War, Full House, Jesus, and The Vote

 

***This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, April receives advertising fees.***

As we speak, Joshua and Caleb are playing basketball in the driveway while John David and Daniel are rolling around on the trampoline together. Alan is eating supper, and I am updating my blog for the first time in a week. Slacker.

I’ve been working on photo albums through Snapfish lately. Y’all, photo books are 70% off this month (March), so I am making as many photo books as I possibly can. I have about a hundred I could make since the last time I was caught up on photo printing was 2013…

One of my newly created albums came in the mail today, of photos from 2 years ago. One of the boys was a little embarrassed to realize that in this album was an adorable photo of the 4 boys reading together in a chair, and he was in his underwear. Just his underwear. I might have jokingly threatened to share said photo album with future dates. He might have retorted back that the page will definitely be torn out long before that. Sigh. Oh well.

The photo is safe for now, and the picture is so cute. I’d show you, but well, I am at least nicer than that.

I’m trying to hold the boys to just family parties this year. Well, family parties + just 1 or 2 friends.

I took a vote this morning, asking everyone here if they’d rather go hiking today or stay home. Everyone but Daniel voted to stay home, so here we are.

I tried to go walking, but it started raining on me so I cut that short. I passed Joshua on my way inside. Apparently, rain drops don’t phase him. He came in with soaking wet hair.

Y’all don’t want to know how many squabbles I have refereed today. Ugh. This should definitely count as a special skill on my resume. I am extremely experienced at sending everyone to different rooms.

We did have an epic game of driveway birdie tonight, though…wait. No, that’s not what they called it…badminton! I had to ask them what the game was called. Ha! But it was super fun!

Remember that Mother’s Day that they bought me a Badminton set, and so we played that for Mother’s Day? Only now, the boys are actually way better at it than I am!

How seriously cute are JD and his buddy? And yes, JD is OBSESSED with Batman.

Joshua, Alan, and I were sitting in the living room today getting quite a show from a new sport taking place on our trampoline. Daniel and John David were out there together, and we watched them take their shirts off and have a shirt war.

Joshua observed, “John David sure is good at whipping Daniel with his shirt!” They had a better view than I did, and they kept saying, “Ohhhh Owww  Whoa! Ho! hahahaha! Is he okay…..yeah.”

For some reason this game made Daniel and JD quite happy, so we didn’t intervene. Perhaps we should all try it…. ha!

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I came home a couple of weeks ago with the complete DVD set of the original Full House. Why? Because I’m the world’s worst person at sticking to any sort of budget…..also because we have already watched Fuller House, so I felt like the boys had to see the first series to understand it better.

Alan took so long at Walmart this afternoon, on a trip to buy Daniel’s birthday present and Tostitos, that we watched 4 episodes of Full House while he was gone. Our family is all about it right now, so don’t be surprised if you hear the boys say “How rude!” or “Have mercy!”

*************

I heard 2 funny quotes this week that I wanted to share.

1.”Who is I love Lucy? Were they zombies?”

2. A leprechaun visited John David’s school. He left them Skittles and a messy classroom of confetti and such. I asked J.D. who the leprechaun was. He didn’t miss a beat, “Jesus.”

**************************

I came across some encouraging Bible verses in my reading today:

“Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”   John 6: 15

I’ve been thinking lately about how apolitical Jesus was. He was never interested in power or rule or talking politics. He wanted to teach about God, love, and healing people. I feel like as Christians we need to persist in getting our message of love out to the world. Things of this world are temporary, but our souls are eternal. Love is eternal.

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”    John 6: 27-29

 

Believe. Faith. Hope. Love. Against such things there is no law.

And now on to the rest of Spring Break. 1 day down, 8 days to go. I’m excited. I still have a  great deal of refereeing ahead of me, but it’s worth it because I also have days of Badminton and shirt-whipping.

opening presents

I’d upload photos for you to have a peek into our adventures, but my computer is so full it won’t let me upload anything new. Issues. I can only give you pictures that I can steal from Facebook. Triple sigh. You know that’s driving me crazy. But don’t worry. I will not rest until I fix this problem!

Okay, one more hilarious quote from tonight:

“Hey, Mom, I am five, and you are thirteen. No! 14. You are 14.”

hehehe Nope. I didn’t correct him. Is that wrong? I say no.

Have a great Spring Break, y’all!

 

 

 

 

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3 Funny Stories and a New Page

Daniel did a fantastic job with this underwater robot at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Robotics Fair.

We have now been a military family for 15 years. I know. I can’t believe it’s been that long either. It really doesn’t seem possible, seeing as how I’m only 29…wink, wink.

So I took the time to compile a tab on my menu bar that will take you directly to a list of links to articles that I wrote about this crazy military life that we are leading.

See it up there?

Check it out here.

Hope your week is off to a good start! I’ve heard a few funny things around here lately, and it’s been a while since I shared those, so here we go….

1.) The 1900s

Joshua, getting ready to watch Parent Trap for the first time, said, “Sure, Mom! I like your movies from the 1900s.”

And just like that I aged 100 years.

2.) Frozen again

Snicker if you want, but I still have Frozen songs on my playlist. (Seriously, someone give me some new song ideas to download!)

I was singing “Love is an Open Door” right along with Anna and Hans, and Caleb said:

“No. Love is locked in a safe. Please lock it in a safe.”

I let JD go walking with me. It took us like an hour to walk half a mile because we had to stop every few feet for him to collect acorns, stow them in his stroller, and drop and pick back up his Lego mini figures repeatedly. I have since been sneaking out stealthily whenever I want to get my walks in.

3.) J.D.’s new home

Remember how J.D. started preschool? Well, he’s so excited about this, and he’s going to school at the same place his brothers go to school and we go to church. We are there a good bit, you might say.

So John David has been walking around the building enthusiastically telling every adult who speaks to him, “I live here now!”

hehehe! I hope you will go check out my new Military Family page! Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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Changing my Expectations and Opting for Preschool-Mom Sanity!

Daniel's adorable drawing of Grandaddy

Daniel’s adorable drawing of Grandaddy. Don’t worry. Those things under his nose are supposed to be Grandaddy’s mustache. 

While working on improving the blog and sifting through my old work, I came across this OLD post that I wrote in 2013. I emphasize that it’s from 2013 because I do not want any of you to get all excited and start thinking I’m expecting a baby. There’s no baby. I’m so sorry to disappoint you. Ha!

Such a 'special' phase of life...Waiting in back rooms to keep children quiet during ceremonies....missing things......nurturing your children so they turn out to be good people

Being a preschool mom is such a ‘special’ phase of life…Waiting in back rooms to keep children quiet during ceremonies….missing things……nurturing your children so they turn out to be good people. It is hard, fun, but hard.

I’m sharing this because I want every pre-school mom I know to read it. 

Some of you are like me, and you are busy, busy, busy with those little ones, and you are disappointed that you are not out there saving the world. Or you know, at least serving on the PTA. Ha! Because that’s the same right? But why run yourself ragged? Yes, be involved in the community. You need that to stay sane, but once it gets to the point that you feel worn and empty, start cutting things. You can pick them back up later.

Okay, so here’s what I wrote at the time:

2013

It seems I will really never catch up on my housework now. I had booked myself too full of appointments and such the rest of the week to get much done. Alan is fantastic about helping, only Alan is too busy now to do much either. He had work, cub scouts, and baseball coaching this week. We both did our best, but the fact is that we currently have more work than capable working hours.

toddlers

You know what I think? I think God is preparing us for having four children. Four children, and not one over the age of seven. We need to learn our lesson now to stop signing up for activities, especially leadership roles (that’s Alan more so than me). Most all of my activities are physical maintenance and child rearing (like constant doctor visits). I did sign up to help my friend Margret with Staff Appreciation Week, and I haven’t even been able to be an effective helper! I do feel quite badly about that.

One thing that has been great this year is that I’ve met several more moms in the my neighborhood that also have preschoolers at home. Here I am beating myself up because I cannot do all the things that Joshua’s friends’ moms do with the PTA and volunteering at school, when that is simply not the phase of life I’m in yet! These moms are a few years older than me, with no preschoolers left at home. The fact is we have different roles right now. Daniel and the baby that is soon to arrive (we do seriously plan to name him eventually) are a full-time job.

I had the privilege of walking to my Yoga class (oh, yes, I did sign up for 1 yoga class/week) with Monica yesterday. Monica has a daughter in Caleb’s class. Monica also has a three-year-old, and she said some things that really made sense to me. She said something like, “I just figure for now, while I’m taking care of a little one, I’m just not much use to anyone for much else. Even when it’s not nap time, there’s only so much I can do. You never know what her needs are going to be, or what mood she’s going to be in.”
Oh, yes, never were truer words spoken!

I’m going to finish out the things I am currently committed to (well, as best as I can), and then I’m done. Of course, the Yoga class and the Fitness in the Park class I actually consider to be for my health. There are lots of negative health effects to gaining 50 pounds with each pregnancy, believe me! I’m still not convinced I can change that either though, but ugh I’m so tired of even thinking about pregnancy weight!
I even turned in my resignation for my Sunday school class a few weeks ago. I’m going to do it until the baby comes, and then I’ll just be home for a long time. When I finally go back, I will be attending Alan’s class, since he’s actually going to be teaching an adult class, starting in June.
Gradually, I’ll add back in nursery duty. When you’re breastfeeding you spend a ridiculous amount of time back in the church nursery feeding your baby anyway!

I’m not cutting everything, but it’s time to give my family a little extra grace and time and space to grow in. Reasonable expectations are a rewarding thing to have.
Praise the Lord for our sweet little boys. Can’t wait to meet the new one!

Have you ever gone through a phase where you simplified? Did you see a huge difference? I  certainly did, and I’d love to hear about your experience too.

 

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