Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. We survived another year of VBS! It was exhausting but fun. The girls loved it. Levi was not a fan. He really struggled with being in nursery for 3.5 hours every day. Poor kid. There's a new-ish family at our church with a boy named Levi who's only a few months older than my Levi. I'm unreasonably upset that he'll always have to be Levi V. at church. It already caused problems this week. I tried to label everything (Levi's bag, cup, even himself) but they got him mixed up with the other Levi - they tried to give my Levi the other Levi's blankie, they couldn't find my Levi's Binky because they were looking in the other Levi's bag, etc. I'm naming my next kid Pepper (after the doctor of course) so it's less likely that there will be anyone else named that in his/her class.

2. I tried something new at VBS this year. Instead of leading the preschool class, as I've done for the past few years, I took on 2nd grade, so I could be with Lucy. I had a nice small group - only 9 kids each day - but it was no walk in the park. Haha. I had 2 runners that had to be watched constantly. And I was amazed by the difference between the boys and girls. The boys were always running, playing tag, wrestling, and attacking each other. If I had a nickel for every time I said, "Keep your hands to yourself" this week, I'd be a gajillionaire. It honestly drives me crazy. Lol. This week is a reminder of why I abandoned my teaching degree well before I finished it. The girls were by no means angels, but they were a lot easier to handle. And they were the only ones interested in learning the verses. I had 3 girls who learned all the verses for the week - 2 homeschoolers and one Christian school kid (Lucy). They've obviously memorized verses before.

We had a lot of fun, though. Kids say the funniest things. And it was interesting to see how some of the un-churched kids view church and God and the Bible.

3. Two different things happened this week that reminded me what a small town we live in. One of my friends from Grand Rapids brought her kids to VBS at our church this week, so we decided to go to the park afterward one day. I gave her directions to the park, then ran to Subway to grab lunch. There was a wicked long line and she wasn't sure she was at the right park, so she asked some people who were there. They weren't sure what the park's name was (we all just call it "The Park" because it's the only one in town), so they asked who she was meeting. She told them my name and they assured her she was at the right place because they knew me and knew that was the park I go to. Haha.

That same day I got this screenshot of a snapchat from my nephew.
The top line is what my nephew wrote. The bottom line is the snapchat story of one of his friends. I'll try to explain this for people who don't do snapchat. Some chick at Subway took this picture of Levi and me unbeknownst to me. She put it on her snapchat story (like a facebook newsfeed) and all her friends could see it. One of her friends was my nephew - who recognized Levi and me! Haha. Small world!

4. Lena conquered another of her potty training fears this week: using a bathroom outside of our house. Until this week, she never used the bathroom if we went anywhere. She apparently has a bladder of steel and can hold it for hours. I was stressing out about what this would mean for school in the fall (she's going 2 full days a week). But this week she had her friend Harper at VBS with her - and the classroom they were in has a bathroom with 2 little kid sized toilets. She and Harper conveniently had to go potty at the same time every day, so somehow having a friend to go with made it easier for Lena. Since then, she's used the big bathroom at church a couple times, which is major progress. Whew!

5. And in a strange twist, Levi (who is 17 months old) has suddenly become very aware of when he pees and grabs his diaper every time. If he poops, he grabs his diaper, gets my attention, then toddles over to the diapers and lays down for me to change him. I just finished potty training my 4 year old! Do I really have to start the next one already?? My sister had her boys potty trained before they were 2, but I can't even fathom a kid this young understanding it. Not to mention that he is so tiny, I'd never find underwear that would stay on him!

6. I feel like Levi's had a word explosion lately. He's started to say no, yeah, ball, and ow in context this week. He also says hi, bye, ready-set-go, uh-oh, and yum. And he'll repeat "mama" and "dada" if I ask him to, but he doesn't call us that.

7. Pictures
Summertime = skinned knees and dirty toes

My dad has honeybees this year and they made us some honey! The girls love it.

Pretty sure VBS is more convicting for me than it is for the kids.

Fully clothed and lounging in the pool.

Backyard campout! (They're pretending to sleep. I don't think much actual sleeping went on.)

Our ginormous tent. This will be our home for labor day weekend. I'm so thrilled. ;-) 

Memorializing a good hair moment and showing my sisters how hip I am with my word usage. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. Someone remind me why I wanted Levi to walk. He is so exhausting. Lol. Did I feel this way with my girls? I feel like I can't keep up with the kid. Maybe I'm just getting old, but he is into everything. I can't take my eye off him for a minute or he's pulling cups off counters or throwing shoes in the trash or pulling things out of the trash or throwing things in the toilet or bathtub (we're learning quickly to keep the toilet lid closed!). I love this age because he's starting to show so much personality and learning so much every day, but I forgot how tiring it is. 

2. On Tuesday, we had a very busy day. The girls have been begging to go school supply shopping, so I finally printed out their lists and headed down to Alpine. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that Lena is going to school. When I first looked up the lists, I went straight to the 2nd Grade page for Lucy. I didn't even think about the Preschool list until later. Haha. The girls loved picking out folders and notebooks and pencils. Then we went to Toys R Us for their "Buy a Backpack, Get a Lunchbox Free" promotion. I'm always surprised by what they choose. Lena chose a Trolls backpack and lunchbox. She's seen that movie once and never talks about it. Haha. Lucy didn't want a character backpack, so went for an Aztec print that is actually really cute. And a lunchbox that has some cheesy saying like "Be You" on it.
Organizing their loot. (Oh, and the lunchbox says "Believe in Love.")

3. Before we even went shopping, I prepped the girls that we were not going out to eat. I even packed a lunch in the cooler so we could stop at a park or something on the way home. But as we were walking out of Toys R Us, Lena's eyes lit up as she caught sight of the building next door. I could read her mind before the words even came out of her mouth. "Mommy!" She exclaimed. "You said if I pooped on the toilet we could go to Chuck E. Cheese!" Kids and their stinkin' steel trap memories. I bribed her with that months ago in a fit of desperation. But she didn't forget. And I'm a big believer in keeping my promises. So we ate our lunch in the car, then filed into Chuck E. Cheese for 2.5 hours of fun. Oy. Toward the end, Levi completely melted down, and ended up like this:

The girls had a blast, though. And even Levi enjoyed running around like a manic chimpanzee until the novelty wore off. Most importantly, I'm pretty sure I've paid all my bribes in full.

4. After living a little recklessly this summer, we're buckling down on the budget again. Having two kids in Christian school is reminding me that we're not made of money and we're going to have to be more careful with our spending. So I've started tracking every dollar we spend. Boy is it depressing. Of course, this was a bad week to start, thanks to school supply shopping and unexpected bribe expenses. And then, to top it off, my sisters wanted to have a girls' night, and I can't say no to that! So we went to Olive Garden where I spent $25 on my meal alone!! I've come to the startling (some may say earth-shattering) realization that Olive Garden is not my favorite restaurant anymore! I know. I'm as shocked as you are. I thought I'd go to my grave with a breadstick clutched in each hand. But it's been disappointing me more and more every time we go. The pasta is always dry, the portions are ridiculous, and now they won't let you order a lunch portion during dinner, so you have to pay full price - and the prices have gotten way too high. My favorite meal there is $18! Ain't nobody got that kind of money for a little pasta and artery-clogging alfredo sauce! I need to be saving my money for the angioplasty and triple bypass that is inevitably in my future.

5. One of my greatest parenting regrets is making little compromises with what my kids watch on TV. I started out so gung-ho about wholesome programming, but slowly started lowering the bar. Don't get me wrong. They're not watching Game of Thrones or anything, but I'm still slightly uncomfortable with the Disney shows they devour on Netflix. So I'm always looking for better alternatives that might capture their attention. I read tons of Christian mom blogs and am constantly pinning books, movies, and CDs that might live up to the task. I randomly ordered CDs of The Brinkman Adventures from the library, not really expecting the girls to give it more than 3 minutes before declaring it boring. So I was shocked when Lucy asked to listen to it, then devoured all 4 CDs in 2 days! She's actually been listening to the same stories over and over. They're a little too scary for Lena, but Lucy asked me today to order the next season. Woohoo! Something wholesome and godly to fill her ears instead of "Hey Jessieeeeeee."

6. Along those lines, I read an amazing article this week. Go read it (and the follow-up she links to at the end) and then come back here and read my thoughts on it. In part two, the author wonders why this article of all that she's written went viral and got so much attention. Here's my opinion: This is a new concept for so many of us - one that we're hearing more and more of, but is still very new. It's totally the opposite of how we were parented, so we can't quite grasp how to do it. Growing up, it was very clear to me that obedience was not optional. My parents and the parenting figures in my life used the A+B=C approach. If the child doesn't obey, he gets consequences. As long as you're consistent with that, they will eventually learn to submit and obey. If kids aren't being obedient, it's because their parents don't effectively discipline them.

As a parent myself, I totally have the idols the author of that blog was talking about. My idols are my reputation and expectations. I expect my kids to follow that A+B=C approach. When it doesn't work, I feel like a failure and feel that others are judging me for being unable to keep my kids under control. Lena's ridiculous battle with potty training was kind of pivotal for me. It humbled me like nothing else in my parenting journey so far.

But what resonates with me (and apparently a lot of other people) about that blog post is that we want something different. We don't want to be Pharisees. We don't want our kids to obey for the sake of obedience (or to avoid consequences). We want to reach their hearts. But we also don't want to teach them to abuse grace. We understand the necessity of discipline, but want to weave it in with the gospel. And we don't know how. We don't understand how to parent with grace because we didn't grow up seeing that modeled. [Quick sidenote: this is not a judgment of my parents or any of the parents who were influential in my life. Their methods worked great on me. Fear is an excellent motivator in my case. But I've seen firsthand that it was not effective for a lot of my generation. And no "method" is foolproof. That's exactly what the author's point is.] So we're grasping at articles like this that give us hope there is another way.

7. Pictures
Levi got his first haircut this week! I was super nervous, but he did great, and still looks like himself, so I'm happy.
The stroller fell out of my trunk onto my foot this week. This is my war wound. 

Roasting marshmallows at the library.
I got the girls a glittery, sequined dance dress at Once Upon a Child and made the mistake of washing it with their other laundry. Sparkles for days. Everywhere. And Levi's sticky little feet picked them all up.
Pool and popsicles. (This was before the haircut - can you tell? Haha)
These two . . .
And then there's this little fashionista. Lol.
And finally, a rare picture of Lucy legitimately laughing. She's all about posing, lately. I love catching these candid moments. 

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