Wednesday, May 18, 2011

silent night...literally

you know the scene: the mom sitting in the rocking chair at bedtime with the kids all cute in their jammies and breath all minty and clean. Rocking and reading and saying prayers and loving each other. I love that scene. always have.


I've tried. And some days I actually do it and love it. It's like my dream of what I thought being a mother would be like coming true.

But in all honesty, most days, when we hit 8:00 it's like I'm Princess Fiona, and an ogre transformation occurs. The goal is bed, and anything that delays me in reaching the goal is frowned upon. or snapped at. or just given the look. It's horrible really. Ok, but actually I TRY to stay really calm. And mostly I do. But it only lasts so long, and then it's even WORSE because "I tried really hard to stay calm but you keep disobeying so {freak out}."

But lately I've been really overwhelmed. kids, the pinkadink, class reunion, on top of keeping the house managed and the family fed. Funny how even things you LOVE (kids, the pinkadink, etc) can be really super stressful when experienced in abundance. :)

Ok, so last night, I was about in tears. Steve popped in after work for some quick supper, and then he took off for his improv show. And there I was with a MAJOR mess of a house, lack of essential groceries, orders that needed to get mailed out, and three CRAZY kids! (the weather was super nice, and instead of just burning all their energy at the park, they somehow took more energy home!) PLUS, it was already 7:30, and you know what happens at 8...

so we head off to the grocery store which has a post office in it. yay for killing two birds with one stone. But of course by the time I find everyone's lost shoes and get them buckled in the van, we're getting nearer and nearer to 8:00. So I tell them we're just going to sit quietly and listen to music. and it mostly worked! Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol has never sounded so wonderful.

So we get to HyVee. I tell them they can ride in a car cart (best things EVER, even though they're monstrous) if they promise to not be loud and crazy. and it mostly worked again! But of course our car cart had a bum tire, so by the time we pay for the post office packages and get all the way to the back corner for milk, we've had a few episodes of getting "stuck" on nothing, and it's surely past 8:00. But I kept my cool for the most part.

We get our other essentials (cereal, spinach, and grapefruit) and pay. I barely made eye contact with the checker and I think she noticed. I didn't want to be fake and cheery, so I just went about my business because I needed my kids in bed. really bad.

We get back in the van, Brielle got hurt or something, and lots of loudness. loud crying, Josiah and Lillian trying to talk over the crying. just BAD. really BAD for post-8:00. and I feel it growing in me. you know what "it" is I'm sure. and if you don't, then, you're really awesome, but you probably already know that.

So as we drive the next few blocks, "it" is getting bigger and bigger and closer and closer to my mouth. I'm fighting the crying toddler, the big boy who's dying to listen to Jar of Hearts and really really making sure I know he wants it, and not understanding the fact that it's NOT ON THIS CD!!!!!

and suddenly I get a "brilliant idea." (Lillian's been telling me lately that lots of my ideas are "brilliant.") sometimes, at bedtime, when I just can't answer anymore questions or get anymore drinks, I turn "blind" and for some reason when I can't see they stop talking. it's crazy. so instead of getting mad, I go blind. it's really fun. I have to find their faces and kiss and hug them and find my way to the next bedroom all without opening my eyes.

well, this time I couldn't really go blind because I was still driving. So I decided we should all go mute! so as soon as we crossed Blondo, we weren't allowed to talk any more. not just no talking, no noise. it would be "so fun."

and they did it! I'm the only one who said anything. ("oh crap! that salesman is going right to our house! we have to go around the circle and wait til he's gone before we pull in the driveway!") oh, and probably a "mom! you cheated!" or something of the sort followed. but besides that, it was silent.

Lillian wrote a few things down, but mostly we just used our eyes and our hands to talk to each other and they thought it was awesome. And I kinda did too! I was having fun-ish after 8! and even if they were in bed by 9 instead of 8, we had milk in the fridge, packages mailed, and a semi-calm mother.

so anyway, while we were far from thinking about the virgin Mary, ready to birth the Son of God, we certainly enjoyed our silent night.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

all i want for chrithmath...

seriously, we sing that song a million times every day. and we watch Melissa Lynn sing a lovely rendition of it a million times every day too. it makes for lots of singing about two front teeth in a day. But at least Melissa Lynn (or her parents anyway) get the point of the song, which is more than I can say for some other versions of it on youtube where the kids don't even mispronounce the words, which is the whole point of the song.


this is why we've been singing about missing front teeth.

this is what Lillian looked like on Easter.

this is what Lillian looked like a few days after that.

oh wait...wrong picture. oh, and I guess Mater has two teeth, but you get the point. hillbilly.


ah, that cracks me up.

ok, so this is what she really looked like when I wasn't telling her to give me her hillbilly face.

and this is what she looked like a few days after THAT.

My little girl went from 2 to 0 front teeth in a matter of like two days. I realize that it's probably normal, but it's my frist time, and I'm really really sad about it. I mean, she looks adorable with no teeth, and I love watching her talk. :) But I know that pretty soon her big huge teeth are going to come in because she's half Smits and most of us have big huge teeth. And when it happens she's going to look so old. But to me she's still my baby. So i know I won't be able to help but wonder why my baby has huge teeth.

Everyone with older kids is probably reading this and saying "oh, I remember that..." just like I now do with stories of pregnancies. But when you're living it, it's so strong. It's so emotional. call me crazy, go a head. it's just teeth. BUT IT'S NOT. it's childhood. and it's flying by.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

easter 2011

Easter seems like it flew by this year.

Admittedly, I didn't really do a whole lot during lent to prepare myself for "semana santa," which it will forever be called in my heart. :) And maybe that's part of it. When I was in Spain, semana santa was such a huge deal that there's no way it could "fly by" without you even it. Everyone was talking about it and preparing for it for weeks or months.

But here, I noticed the Easter candy out, and I knew I couldn't contact my friend Jenny by facebook til after Easter, and I saw ashes on a few heads at the gym on ash wednesday, and I was busy getting pinkadink orders ready and shipped out in time and making sure that my own kids' clothes were done in time. That about sums up my realization that Easter was even coming.

pretty disgusting when I think about it now.

so anyway, Good Friday comes along, and I realized that I hadn't even talked to my kids AT ALL about the significance of the week, or Maunday Thrusday, or Good Friday, or any of it. Not that they were clueless about the death and resurrection of Jesus, but they didn't realize that's what we were celebrating that weekend.

So on Friday morning I say to Lillian, "honey, do you know what today is?" and like a good public school girl she says, "EARTH DAY!" and I was like, what? beats me! turns out it really was!

But I took a little time to tell her about Good Friday and how it seems weird to "celebrate" it, but how since we knew what was happening on Sunday, it really was a celebration of God's love for us. And I wanted her to be able to talk to her friends about it if she wanted. So I made her sandwich in the shape of a cross, hoping that someone at the lunch table would make a comment and she could share. (I LOVE having her in the public school system by the way. Recent conversations have made me realize it more and more, but that's for another blog post...) So I'm packing her lunch and she goes, "MOM! I"m going to get strawberry milk at school today!" I make her choose white milk every day except Fridays, and then she gets to choose white, chocolate, or strawberry. "Strawberry milk is PINK! and it will remind me of Jesus' blood! Like when he said, 'This is my blood, poured out for you.' Then I can think about Jesus' blood all day!" and I thought it was the sweetest thing in the whole world.

But that's not where it ended. She then decided to make her whole outfit pink (a la her pinkalicious costume from halloween) so that she would never forget about Jesus dying on the cross. She looked herself up and down before she left for school and said, "woah. that is a LOT of blood..."

I love that girl.

So anyway, she went to school with Jesus' blood all over herself, and sure enough, she told her friends. And she even asked one friend if she knew Jesus. ("Mom...isn't it weird? Aashi knew about baby Jesus from a book but she doesn't even KNOW him! Isn't that weird that she had a book about him but she doesn't even KNOW him???")

Sometimes it puts me to shame that she's a better witness than me.

Okay, so after school on Friday turned into CRAZY TIME. My two sister's and one friend and Hazel and Griffin were in Omaha to drop the friend off and go shopping for shirts for the boys to wear with thier ties. So after Maddie left, they took one mall, I took the other (with my 3 kids in tow) and after hitting up like EVERY FREAKING STORE, plus meeting the Easter bunny, and then running away from the easter bunny, and then crying about the easter bunny, and needing to know where the Easter bunny was at ALL times, we found a shirt for Griffin, and Maria had found one for Josiah. PPPPPPPPPHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWW...

well, then we had to go to target for some reason. OH. It was to look for little shrugs like I do EVERY SINGLE YEAR. seriously. why oh why doesn't someone just make a little cute whiteish shrug to wear over an easter dress. We need one every year, and every year we don't have one. So this year Brielle wore her 18 month one, and Lillian wore Brielle's 3T brown sweater. ridiculous I tell you, but it worked.

ok, so I was going to feed my kids between the mall and target, but since my sisters were trying to get out of town, I just got them burgers to eat in the parking lot of target, and then ran in. Oh, but I forgot to mention that it was NUTS-O in my house right before that. All of us were in the living room (kinda small). So that's me, maria, mel, hazel, griffin, lillian, josiah, and brielle. Trying on shirts and fussing kids and figuring out sweaters and lots of noise and stuff. and I actually forget what happened at Target but I don't think it was very fun because by the time we made it home I thought I was going to curl up in a ball and die.

So Steve gets home, and I hear the angels singing. I was so frazzled by that point that he just took over and did bedtime by himself. I remember sitting at the computer stomp-typing (if you know what I mean) whatever I was writing because I was so worked up about something. the whole day. all of it. I was just DONE being a parent. I told him that I wish I wanted to read the Bible story with them, but I just couldn't. I was freakin.

and then I don't know what.

something happened.

I just got really super calm.

It was STRANGE. I call it the Holy Spirit. And he was like "nobody's gonna rain on my parade!!!" And I realized that it didn't matter how I felt, I had to talk to the kids. we had to read the story and talk about Jesus dying for us. for ME. for my SIN.

So I got our "very best children's storybook bible EVER" (the Jesus Storybook Bible) and we sat on the floor to read it. I was unsure if I was going to make it through, so I warned the kids that mommy might cry. and then we started reading. and sure enough, I cracked. I was BAWLING on the inside but only letting a little bit out so I could keep reading and not totally freak my kids out. and I couldn't stop. thinking about my sin. and my PERFECT display of it throughout the day. and his LOVE. and then my favorite line:

it wasn't the nails that held him there. it was love.

and all those "owies" on Jesus were for ME. Unfortunately, my kids probably didn't even pay much attention to the story because all they could think about was their mother falling apart before their eyes. But I can only hope that some day their own sin will bring them to tears like mine did. and they'll know how much they really truly need Jesus.

okay, phew. I can barely make it through this post. are you still with me??? :)

okay, so then on Easter we woke up and read the resurrection story first thing in the morning, and spent a little time mimicking their cousin and dancing around and yelling "Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!"

And then came the rush to get ready for church. why is it always a rush? no matter how much time we have... There were some great songs during worship, and in my head this song played over and over all day:

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again

And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

But I don't know if I did a good enough job of really talking to my kids about what happened. about what it means. about their questions. We read the story. We went to church. We sand the songs. But then the day was whisked away! It was like God put the song in my head a million times throughout the day so I could REMEMBER what it was really about. and I still just unintentionally ignored it.

So often we get caught up in the Easter Bunny and all the candy and fun. and pictures. for me it's the stinkin pictures. :) but see? they look so cute!

I don't want it to be about that for my family. I mean, of course I want cute pictures, because But I don't want it to be all about the pictures.

I want it to be about the victory over death. And hopefully next year I'll do a better job of making sure we know what it's really about. That the time away from home won't be so rushed and hectic. That we take the time to sit and talk about death. and about conquering death. and about love.

because it's all about the love. and if you don't know about the love, ask me. email me (don't call me though because my kids are loud and phone calls just never go so well.) so we can find a time to get together and you can hear my slightly pathetic attempt at evangelism. But God will use it anyway, because that's what He does. He uses sinners. and he loves them. and he loves me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

no one mourns the wicked...

I can't do another blog post without some sort of reaction first to the death of Osama bin Laden. The only problem is that I don't exactly know how to react.

I'll admit that when I first heard the news, my heart leaped a little, and I felt some sort of...justice I guess for the people most affected by 9-11. And I also felt ENORMOUS pride toward our military, not just the guys who are on "team 6," but all of them.

but then I saw the chanting and the screaming and the REJOICING that was happening all over our country. and it did NOT sit right with me. I saw the facebook posts about American "pride" which actually seemed more like arrogance to me.

Maybe it's because we lived in Spain for a bit that I can look "from the outside" and see what other people see. I wish it was unity that was portrayed. I wish it was pride. But to me it was arrogance. and sin. And I can just imagine other countries looking at us saying "here they go again" or something of the sort. I don't know...

I think our military deserves a lot of credit for the many years they've put in to fight terrorism, apart from their families, in horrible conditions. They will always be heroes in my book.

But I'm not so sure this is a time for celebration.

maybe we SHOULD be mourning the death of the wicked. It's one more man to spend eternity apart from his creator. and let's not forget that he didn't act alone. and quite honestly, I'm more concerned about my safety now than before he was dead, knowing that terrorists around the world watched our reaction to his death. They probably want nothing more than to give us another reason to weep instead of cheer.

Proverbs 24:17
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.

so there it is. I definitely celebrate the idea that "good will conquer evil" and that this man is no longer able to {directly} ruin the lives of so many people. But celebrate his death I will not.
"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
-Martin Luther King Jr.