my thoughts on motherhood, kids, books and stuff

Lesson Fail

Our home teacher, a visitor from our church, prepared a nice lesson for us about paying tithing and the blessings it can bring. He shared some personal experiences and encouraged our kids to pay their tithing and told them they would receive blessings and have a good feeling if they did.

lincleaves

Lincoln had a funny look on his face and I leaned over and asked him what he was thinking.

“Mom, I don’t want to pay my tithing and have blessings. I have that feeling sometimes when I go to the bathroom and I don’t want it anymore!”

Next week’s family home evening lesson: What are blessings?

Learning Together

Me: Lincoln, you seem really impatient tonight.

Lincoln: I realized that when I was whining so much.

Lincoln recognized tonight that he was being impatient and whiney, yet he continued to do it and I continued to react and be angry. When he had finally settled down enough to come over and give me an apologetic hug we talked about it and he understood why I had been upset. I apologized to him for my anger and realized that my behavior had been just as poor as his.

I am so glad that my children are so forgiving and we can learn together.

MomLinc

Books I Am Adding to My Christmas List

I mentioned the book “Nicholas” in my last post. The kids and I have loved reading it together so I thought I would share a little more about it.

nicholas I went to this site to look at their cool colored pencil canisters and came across the Nicholas books. Of course, I had to check one out at the library first to see if it would be worth the $19.95 (or $13.57 on Amazon) price tag. I think this is a set of books that would definitely be worth having in our home library. These books, which were originally written in French, are laugh-out-loud hilarious. They have old school binding and textured hard covers, and the small illustrations throughout are simple and comical. (I say “these books” having only read the first, but I have high hopes that I will like the others as much.)

They are about a young boy, Nicholas, and his friends and their adventures (or misadventures) as they attend an all boys’ school in France. They give their teacher a hard time, although usually unintentionally. They fight a lot, and they make up a lot. They are constantly trying, and failing, to stay out of trouble.

In the book you meet:

Nicholas – of course.

Eddie – who is known for his punches.

Geoffrey – whose dad is rich and buys him anything he wants.

Cuthbert – is teachers pet and wears glasses so the other boys can’t hit him.

Alec – who is fat because he is always eating (this book is not politically correct).

…and many other fun characters.

As I was reading about the author Rene Goscinny I was surprised to see that he wrote the Asterix comics that I loved (and had forgotten about) when I was a kid.

The first chapter begins with the boys being arranged by their teacher and a photographer in preparation for their class picture. Paragraph four was the first of many that made me bust up laughing:

The photographer decided we ought to be in three rows: one row sitting on the ground, the second row standing up with our teacher sitting on a chair in the middle, and the third row standing on the wooden boxes behind them. That photographer really had some fabulous ideas.

So simple, but it makes me laugh every time I go back and reread it.

In another favorite chapter of mine they are trying to set up a soccer game with eighteen friends. Part of it reads:

“I was still fighting Geoffrey, and I’d torn his nice red, white, and blue shirt, and he was saying, “Yah, yah, yah! Doesn’t matter! My dad will buy me lots more!” and he was kicking my shins. Rufus was chasing Cuthbert, who was shouting, “I’ve got glasses! I’ve got glasses!” Jeremy wasn’t doing anything to anyone, he was looking for his coin, but he still couldn’t find it. Eddie, who’d been waiting patiently in his own goal, got fed up and started punching the noses closest to him, which happened to belong to his own side. We were all shouting and running around and we were having a really fabulous time!”

I can’t wait to read the second book with my kids!

Loving Her Enough

It was not an easy parenting night for me tonight. The day went well, the kids were happy, things were fine until I heard Lincoln screaming in pain.

“Luca pinched me” he hollered.

I saw a flash as Luca darted up the stairs and down the hall to hide in her room.

IMG_0401

Luca is an amazing little girl. She has never been in trouble at school. She is always reverent and engaged in primary. From what I have seen she is kind to her friends. She is easy to take on errands with me because she stays close and obeys. If I leave a treat laying on the kitchen counter I can count on her to eat it only if she has asked and been given permission.

So why has it been three years of working on getting her to stop taking her frustration out on her siblings by pinching and scratching, and it feels like we have made no progress?

We have grounded her from play dates, electronics, sent her to her room for the evening, taken away birthday parties. We still have incidents at least a twice a week.

So tonight we took away her bi-monthly church activity that she looks forward to more than anything else. She gets together with a group of eight to twelve year old girls and they spend an hour and a half making crafts, learning new skills, and chatting and giggling. They took the summer off and tonight was the second activity since they started up again and she has been talking about it since…well, the last activity that was two weeks ago.

I told myself we would never punish by taking away a church activity, but we have tried everything else and we decided it was the thing that would make the biggest impact right now.

I went in her room to let her know what we had decided and I could hear her sobbing under her bed. I didn’t know her dad had already chatted with her and told her she wouldn’t be going.

I didn’t scold her. She didn’t need it. I could hear the disappointment in every sobbing hiccup.

I told her that dinner would be ready in a few minutes and it would be her favorite. Chicken,  mashed potatoes, and stuffing. If anything would make her feel better…

As I went back to the kitchen to put the food on the table I found myself wiping my own tears away. These are the times I hate being a parent.

The rest of the family started eating and she finally slid into her seat as we were about finished. Her eyes were red and her cheeks were tear stained.

We didn’t talk about it again. By the time she was done eating her dinner she was smiling and making jokes with the rest of us.

We ended up having a good night. The three big kids surrounded me in my bed while I read to them and we laughed and laughed at the funny shenanigans of Nicholas. By the time I kissed her goodnight she didn’t seem to hold anything against me. I love that about children.

I pray she will remember tonight the next time she gets angry. I want her to stop and think about her actions before she reacts.

But mostly, I don’t want to be the reason she ends up sobbing under her bed.

But I will. Over and over and over again I will. If that is what it takes to teach her an important life lesson.

I love her that much.

Why I Will Never Get Hired to Set Up Photo Shoots

Slushies

While Cutting Her Hair

I cut my daughter’s hair tonight. I was scared to do it, but Luca told me she wanted it short and I decided I better jump at the opportunity because I have hoped she would want to try a shorter haircut, but I knew she had been growing it out for awhile.

I was really nervous to cut her hair. I have trimmed it a couple of times before, but I have never really changed the style.

I don’t make very even ponytails and I have tried and failed to French braid her hair more times than I can count. I really wasn’t the best choice for the job, but she told me she wanted me to be the one to do it so I did.

We dragged a chair to the bathroom and for an hour, maybe more, and I cut, sweated and tried to keep myself from picking up the phone to make an emergency phone call to my friend who is trained and licensed to cut hair.

We talked about school starting and how excited she is to be in the same class as several of her friends.

We talked about her fun day with some friends at the Museum of Flight.

Kai got into the bathroom closet and opened and handed Luca a tampon.

“What’s a tampon and what do you do with it anyways?” she asked.

(deep breath) It was time.

So we had the talk and it went rather well. She didn’t blush or get embarrassed and she had plenty of questions to ask.

This led to questions about whether I thought she would have smaller or larger breasts than mine when she was older.

“I just hope they are big enough to feed my babies”, she sighed.

I very maturely slipped into the other room for a minute so she wouldn’t see me laughing.

She was so patient with me as I had her turn her head one way and then the other. Then I would tell her to put her chin on her chest. Again! She held still and only wiggled when she had to brush the itchy hair off of her arms and neck.

We laughed about how we went to get school shoes for the kids today and after measuring their feet discovered that her and her five year old sister now wear the same size.

“She is going to have bigger feet than me by the end of the year!” she exclaimed.

“Well, you will get to see what it is like to wear HER hand me downs for a change!” I answered.

Her hair turned out fine despite my worries. I could have set up an appointment for her and got it done better, quicker, and for a reasonable price, but I am glad she wanted me to cut it.

She seemed older and more mature to me tonight as we chatted and giggled while I worked on her hair. I became aware that undeterred by my desire to keep her a little girl, she is growing up whether I like it or not.

“Mooooom!” Anna called out to me from her bed after Luca showed her the shorter style. “Luca wants to get her ears pierced now!”

(moment of anxiety)

One step at at time. 

My Funny Lincoln

Lincoln is a thinker and often he will get sudden uncontrollable giggles over something he has just thought of or figured out.

lincolnbuttons

A couple of days ago I was serving lunch and Lincoln started giggling so hard he nearly fell out of his chair.

“What is so funny?!” I asked him.

“Well…when I was in kindergarten we had a practice lunch to get ready for first grade…but I didn’t even really need to practice, I eat lunch all the time!!!”

I haven’t been able to stop laughing since.

Boys Will Be Boys

During our stay at Long Beach, Wa, my mom and I were sitting in our beach chairs chatting while the kids played in the large sandbox outside the RV. Kai snuck up behind us and snagged my mom’s Diet Coke and ran off with it.

IMG_0413 

It was mostly water by that time so we let him think we didn’t know that he had taken it and he carried it over to show the nearly three year old neighbor girl that was playing in the sand with him.

As I watched him guzzle his prize while he squatted down by his friend I noticed he would take a big gulp and then he would strain as if he was trying to fill his diaper. I thought this was weird behavior for him as I continued to watch him for a few minutes.

Finally after a couple of minutes he erupted with the enormous belch he had been trying for.

He turned to the little girl and grinned from ear to ear.

She gave him a disgusted little snort and turned her body away from him as he let out a little chuckle.

I can only imagine the tricks he will come up with to charm the girls when he is a teenager!

An Impulsive Late Night Excursion

My mom walked with me to pick up my laundry in the laundry room one night at midnight while the kids and I were staying in Long Beach, WA with my parents. It was cold and very foggy as we walked back to the RV and we could hear the waves crashing just over the sand dunes. They sounded closer than we had heard them before.

“Those sound awfully big”, mom said.

“Wouldn’t it be neat to see?” I asked.

We looked at each other and quickly walked the rest of the way to the RV, dropped off my basket, grabbed our jackets and flashlights and headed towards the sandy trail leading to the beach.

We only saw a small circle of light from our flashlights before the light was swallowed up in the swirling fog and mist. We nervously laughed about whether there could be wild animals hiding in the tall grass that we were slowly making our way through.

As we came off the trail onto the beach I slowed down to a crawl as I listened to the deafening sound of the waves that were clearly closer to the trailhead than I had seen them before. Mom was much braver than me and grabbed my arm and pulled me out towards the sound.

“C’mon! We came all the way here, we might as well get close enough to see them.”

night waves

I hesitantly followed as we made our way to the spot where the soft dry sand turned into hard wet sand. We could barely hear each other over the roar. I don’t think anyone was on the beach with us, but there was no moon so I can’t be sure. We aimed our lights in the same direction to get a little more light and inched our feet forward until we came to the foamy white line that marked high tide. The waves rolled in only a couple of feet beyond that.

I have a fear of being swept away into the ocean so I was more than a little jumpy and mom kept teasing me and pushing me to get a little closer.

Then mom suggested we turn off our lights and let our eyes adjust to the darkness. We lasted about thirty seconds and then I squealed and turned on my light as I could see just enough from the starlight to see the tips of the white waves rolling towards us. We laughed as we saw that the water line was about a foot closer to us than it had been.

We turned our lights off and on many times over next half hour and laughed, and shrieked, and shivered.

As we turned to go I mentioned that I sure hoped we could find our way back to the trail.

Mom laughingly stated the obvious that we could just follow our footsteps back.

I nervously giggled a couple of minutes later as I realized the footsteps we were following were too big to be either of ours and we quickened our step as we veered our path to the smaller set of footprints to the left.

I don’t have a picture or a video of that night, but the chill in the air, the darkness of the sky, the small beam of light in the fog, the deafening roar of the ocean, and the laughter and fear I shared with my mom is burned in my memory.

We went to bed very tired and cold early that morning, but I am pretty sure that, like me, mom fell asleep with a smile on her face.

(photo courtesy of Sor)

Ready For Round Two

We have been home for four days and I am ready to head back for another week of this:

IMG_0227

and this:

IMG_0165

and this: (this is only one of three awesome kites we have!)

 IMG_0179

And I am sure there will be more messages for Brett:

IMG_0217 

IMG_0177

And more lantern lit goodnight self portrait pictures with the girls as we settle into our 8×8 vinyl lair.

IMG_0150

Next time I will take the Nikon camera, but I was rather pleased with the quality of photos I was able to get on my iphone! (And this is with no editing. I am feeling too lazy to Photoshop tonight.)

Maybe a few more days of peaceful ocean sounds and late night games of Farkle with mom, dad, and the kids will help return my desire to blog. I have hardly blogged, journaled, or so much as written a shopping list for weeks now and I need some inspiration!