Hotmess express: please keep your hands and feet inside the train at all times. 

What. A. Day. I mean really… like… I have no words. Ok. I lied. I have lots of them. Y’all who know me… know I always have words. 

Yesterday, I went to the doctor feeling like death was about to overtake me. Strep throat. Yikes! Can we just all stop for a moment and praise the Lord for medicine? I am not being sarcastic here. It’s good stuff and I am so grateful that I feel like I do right now and that I don’t feel like I felt this time last night. Meds are good. 

So… today. I woke up feeling ok-ish. Better, but not 100%.  I was planning to get some house work done, tote JD around town for an appointment, and rest up. Clearly, that plan didn’t work out. 

Jesse has been constipated. He has also been the hardest ever child to potty train. Anyone who has experienced those two things together knows that it’s a very, very painful combination. He can’t go.. therefore when he can go.. he goes… in his underwear. The alternative is gross, loose poop… also in his underwear. Also because if the comstipation. Sorry… mom blog. What did you expect? So, it was a rough morning. I thought we had managed to get it worked out. Then Jason found out that he had an accident at school. He also had one at school one day the week before. Oh and yeah… one day the week before that too. Ok maybe we were still on break then? Maybe we weren’t? I don’t know what week it is. But if we had been in school… he’d a had one. Like he did at the Christmas Eve service (you know while I was at the er getting JD’s 5 stitches). Alas, Inthought we had this whole potty thing over with and now… thanks constipation… We don’t. Back to today. So, Jesse tried to clean up mess on his own this morning. He washed out his underwear in the sink and apparently used and flushed lots of TP. He stopped up our main floor bathroom. This eventually led to a flooded basement. Yep. I figured that out like hours later when I returned home from taking JD back to the school from the dentist appointment to hear water flowing from somewhere. It was a waterfall… coming from the ceiling. Yay! Our toilet has had some issues running occasionally. No major emergency and not all the time so we hadn’t tinkered with it. Well… it was a bad combo with a stopped up toilet. I spent the afternoon pulling out ceilin tiles and trying to dry out the floor with toilet water dripping down on me. Yay again! Also… I asked those tiles to forgive me for all the times that I called them ugly. They are way better than dealing with damage in a traditional ceiling. They forgave me… I think. So… tonight and tomorrow we are doing a cleanse on the poor boy in hopes that we can finally get this under control. That means no preschool. Glamorous. 

As I mentioned… JD went to the dentist. I have PTSD from a terrible dentist experience with him a few years ago. I won’t torture you with those details. Jason took him after I picked him up and dropped him off to Hero Daddy! Turns out he needs a minor procedure. They will do it tomorrow and he has to be sedated. It makes my heart hurt. I hate it when he has to go through all this stuff. Even though I hate the dentist.. tomorrow.. I’ll be right there snuggling him up as he falls asleep and patiently waiting for them to finish up. Because that’s what mamas do. We push aside our worries and fears (that are mostly ridiculous anyway) and we love, support, and snuggle. Sedation means no school tomorrow. Glamorous. 

No school for either boy. Yay! I had high hopes for this first week of Jesse in 5 days. Plans to get caught up… work ahead… pack for vacation. Nope. Not happening so far. Oh well. That’s the life of a mom in a big family. There is always something. Glamorous. 

It’s very glamorous. You know… going to the store with 3 of your 4 kids by baby wipes to wipe your FOUR YEAR OLDS bottom while still having damp hair from cleaning up toilet water…Glamorous. 
I lost my mop. Yep. It happened. Y’all, I am the queen of hotmessness. I needed to mop the floors bc we tracked toilet water everywhere today. I couldn’t find it. I gave up and went to Walmart to buy a new one. I didn’t wanna go in my pjs. I literally put on cute leggings and shoes and left my pj shirt on. My coat was going to cover it anyway. A neighbor stopped and complemented me… I literally almost died. Clearly, my scheme worked and I would have been waaaay less cute if she could see what was on under my coat. Glamorous. 

This isn’t the life isn’t what I envisioned. I had no idea how terrifying, frustrating,  and insane motherhood would be. A soup only diet for my sore throat. Constipation. 4 year old poop. Constant dental work. Procedures constantly. Homework. A 7 year old that has been learning to read for 3 years. (Have you listened to a new reader read… it can be so exciting and also painful.) Lost mops. It’s not glamorous. There are days that I count down the hours until bedtime. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. It’s stressful. It’s messy. It’s gross. It is so worth it. It’s so completely worth it. My love for these kids far surpasses the fears, frustrations, and insanity. It doesn’t however mean that those things don’t sometimes wash over me. 

Regardless of the chaos today, I kept remembering a somewhat obscure verse in 2 Timothy 1: For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that is within you as well. (Verse 5) That’s what this crazy mom life is about. Faith. Faith to trust God that eventually perseverance in the daily trials grows me… that endurance will have its perfect result as James promises. Faith to trust God that he loves my kids more than I do. As Psams says he knit them together in my womb. He is there in the procedures, constipation, reading struggles, etc. Faith to choose to access the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control  that come from the Holy Spirit (Galatians) in my circumstances will help me to be a light in my home and in the world as I serve others. I want my faith to be like that of Lois and Eunice. I want my kids to see my faith and choose to follow Jesus. I want them to learn how to respond to a bad day by my response. I want them to learn to deal with themselves and others out of an overflow of grace. 

So today, I wanted to cry. I wanted to pitch a fit. I wanted to run and hide. I wanted to yell and throw ceiling tiles. I was frustrated. I was fearful. I was anxious. I was ready to throw in the towel. I wanted my faith to win. I wanted joy to ooze out. I wanted grace. So, I prayed and asked for help from the spirit. I asked a few girlfriends to pray. I recited 1 Thess 5:16-18 over and over. I didn’t yell. I didn’t cry. I didn’t throw ceiling tiles. (I did count down the hours until bedtime to myself a few times….ok… maybe Jason once.) 

Take away: embrace Jesus in all circumstances. He is at the ready. He is already interceding for you. Tap into that peace and joy. You’ve got this mama… even if toilet water is dripping down your back. In everyday there is a new chance to choose Jesus instead of our flesh… maybe 1,000 chances. 

Ps: Remind me to re-read this next time I look stressed. I am still a hotmess in progress. 

Pss: Ignore the typos. I’m not proof reading due to exhaustion. 

Parenting end game, does it matter? 

Read an article and watched a video this morning that both asked in essence the same question… what is your end goal for your kids?

I think it’s a good question that should be asked often as we parent. We should be intentional in our encouragement, decisions, and discipline. 
I will share about this on a personal order with my kids in my next post. I wanted to leave you with that question to ponder for now. 

So, what are your goals for you children? What do you hope to see from them now and in adulthood? Do you have any? Do you think there should be an end game in parenting? 

Update: The pumpkin has been found! I repeat.. the pumpkin has been found!!

So, I found the pumpkin.  It took under 10 minutes.  It was in a bag in my closet along with some other fall related items.  I remembered instantly when I saw it why I had carried it upstairs.  I had gone upstairs with a handful of items (including the bag with the pumpkin) and I had to rush back down because Jesse was screaming. The bag wasn’t intended to stay upstairs, but  I threw everything down in my floor and ran off to see what was wrong with Jesse.  Eventually, because someone was coming over, I had kicked it into the closet.

The pumpkin was not rotten.  YAY!  But… well… um… there was an apple in the bag.  It was.  Yep.  I had a rotten apple.. in a bag.. in my closet.  AT LEAST, I had remembered that there could be a possibly rotting pumpkin up there that caused me to find the apple.

I threw away the ENTIRE bag!  It was gross.

I had a good laugh this morning over how many people read this blog.  I was at over 100 views this morning. Looks like lots of people were wanting those 5 steps to a cleaner home.  It may have been my best titling job ever.

Thanks for all the input on ways to help me actually keep a cleaner home.  Also thanks for all the ‘you are not alone’ comments.  I had to share my favorite with all of you sisters of solidarity that also have crazytown homes.  My wonderful Granny (with whom I share a name) told me to put a few get well soon cards out and  then people would think that I had been sick.  It would excuse my mess.  I love this dear woman so much.  Clearly, you guys get that this stuff is in my genes.

Ok.. everyone.. go back to your day.  I am in hopes that the picture of the rotting apple that came out of my closet will help you all feel better about the state of affairs in your home, car, and life.  It could be worse.  You could have lost a pumpkin AND an apple in your bedroom!

Lilli’s 5 steps to having a cleaner home

In response to reading up on how to keep a clean house on Pinterest.  I would like to add my own version.

5 steps to have a cleaner home:

  1. Don’t have a husband.
  2. Don’t have kids.
  3. Don’t change your clothes.
  4. Don’t eat.
  5. Don’t breathe.

Ever feel that way?  That’s how I feel today (and most other days).  2 of the 3 levels of my house are fairly clean, but that 3rd one… have mercy.  It is a disaster zone. I am in a constant state of playing catch up.  As soon as I have caught up either something else is terribly behind OR my family undoes my caught-up-ness.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I remember a friend once told me.. someday.. your kids won’t remember how clean your house or car were.. they will remember all the time you spent with them.  I believe that is mostly true, but I do remember that my mom’s house was all clean for the most part.  So… don’t you think they will remember at least a little that ours is crazytown?

Let me give you an example.. Ada was furious last night because she couldn’t find any clean basketball socks.. you know.. in the bin of clean socks that are never folded so everyone has to dig through them to find two somewhat matching ones.  I was furious because she didn’t look in her sock drawer. I had just paired up the socks and put them away yesterday.  “BUT MOM, how do I know to look in my sock drawer… I NEVER have socks in there!” Knife to the heart.  Truth.  She is speaking truth. It was the first time in WEEKS that there were socks actually in the sock drawers.

Mom fail.

I guess if the worst thing she had to be mad at me about was where her socks were located then it isn’t toooo bad. Right?

Yesterday, I bought new cups for the kids.  Not because anything was wrong with theirs, but because we needed more.  My kids all drink out of those plastic character cups that Walmart and Target sale on the party aisle.  I threw away the old ones just after the move because they were old, gross, and losing their pictures.  I figured we were ingesting said pictures as they came off the cups.  Anyway, I bought each kid 2.  Jason said it wasn’t enough.  I disagreed.  They use the same cup all day.  It’s PLENTY.  One will be clean and one will be dirty. It’s not enough.  We always have dirty dishes.  We need more cups.

Mom fail.

I guess there are worse things than needed a few cups per kid because we always have dirty dishes in the sink. Right?

I lost a pumpkin in my bedroom.  Yep. It was a fairly decent sized, bright orange pumpkin.  I don’t know why I took it up there.  I can’t remember past this morning. I DO remember it being there.  It’s lost now.  Somewhere… in my bedroom… hopefully not rotting yet.

Mom fail.

I guess there are worse things than losing a pumpkin in your bedroom. Right?  Nope. Nope, that’s pretty bad. It’s a pumpkin… lost in my bedroom.

How do you stay on top of things? I am going with child labor. That’s usually always my plan… the problem is… my child labor is always busy because our lives are as crazytown as our 3rd floor.  What works to help keep you on top of the house work?  (Also welcome is comments about how you aren’t on top of the house work and I am not alone. haha.. No really!)

 

Out of many, one.

Ada has said since she was 5 that she would like to be the President when she grows up.  An aspiration that has never wavered.. not for a moment. This was even prior to us moving to the DC metro.  From time to time, she adds in that she wants to be a professional basketball player/dancer/teacher/mom/scientist/doctor/etc, but always in the list is President of the United States of America.  More recently, she has asked and thought about what her path to the White House might be.  Like really… legitimately.. she is asking questions like what do you need to do before you become the president.  I love this about her.  She is my forever planner.  She always knows the next 10 steps. She has gotten LOTS of answers and opinions to these questions like: serve in the military, go to college, go to one of the academies, be a lawyer, be a doctor, work on Capital Hill, be in local government, serve in Congress, etc.  She is very excited to be a representative for her class to her school SCA for a second year.  She happens to think this is her first step to someday being president. One day, she came home asking me about Congress.  It triggered my memory that I had passes to see the House and the Senate that some family members couldn’t use on their trip to DC this spring.  I went to work planning a trip to take Ada to tour the Capital and watch Congress in session before the 114th ends.

Yesterday, I played my cool mom card and Ada skipped school to go to the Capital.  I last toured the Capital on a school trip in middle school.  It’s been quite a long time.  I was excited to spend sometime with just Ada and watch her learn about the legislative process.

We left home earlier than needed because the House was voting yesterday morning and our tour wasn’t until afternoon.  I wanted to be sure she got to watch the vote so we got there hours before our tour.  Of course, we were delayed (because you know..DC life), but we made it inside the Gallery while they were still voting.  Ada had read all about the voting process earlier in the morning so SHE explained to me what they were doing.  She also talked all about what she had learned about how a bill becomes a law. She completely fan girled over the Speaker of the House.  I am pretty sure she knows nothing about him, but his name, but she thought it was super cool to be sitting right there near where he was talking.  I did my best to tell her what I know about him (you know from the news and of course..social media). She attempted to get his attention multiple times which was super cute.  We laughed about how the representatives didn’t get quiet when called to order until like the 3rd time and how the Speaker and those talking to him never did get quiet.  Ada said they act like her 4th grade class.  Then we giggled over the two men speaking to each other and saying in every dialog either, “I yield to the gentleman…”  or “I thank the gentleman for yielding…”  It was funny and we have now adopted this into our normal lingo at home.

We left to explore Exhibition hall, have lunch, shop in the gift shop, and goof off until time for our tour. We really enjoyed reading all the info, seeing statues, etc.  We didn’t at all feel as if we were wasting time. It was fun to be together and there was plenty to learn about. Ada started reading these essay papers that we found and of course made one of the questions into a math problem.. SO ADA!   Ada was like a sponge and was loving every minute of it.  It was finally time for our tour.  I was expecting her to LOVE the rotunda.. I mean who doesn’t.. and she did, but I think touring the Capital Building had a much bigger effect on both of us than I had expected.

When Ada and I were debriefing on the metro ride home, she said that aside from watching the vote, the movie at the start of our tour was her favorite.  She said that she loved learning that “out of many, one” was an important phrase for our country.  This had also stood out to me as a great reminder of who our founding fathers wanted us to be. She said that going to the Capital made her want to work there someday.  She also said that it made her want to be the President even more.  I agree.  There is something that is so special about that building. I don’t know how to explain it, but I left the Capital yesterday feeling even more proud to be American.  Clearly, my wordy self is going to try to explain this below…

I am proud to live in a country with so many freedoms.  I am proud to live in a country that though we are many and of many opinions, we are one.  Maybe… the last few weeks or months we haven’t felt like one.  Maybe… the last few weeks or months we haven’t wanted to be one.  Regardless, we are one.  We have 3 branches of government that ensure that we are free and remain that way.  This is true no matter who it is that is taking the Oath of Office in January. We have hundreds of Americans that have been elected by their peers to represent their interests.  We have stood strong in the face of difficulty, heart break, success, failure, peace, and war.  Yesterday, Ada and I got to be in a place that came long before we did.  A place that was built as a reminder of who our country decided to be long, long ago. Sure, our society has grown, changed, and faced a lot of challenges over those years, but we still have the same Constitution.  We still have the same branches of government that are ensuring the same freedoms.  We might not always agree with every politician, law, or decision, but in the end… out of many, one.  I would rather be right here in the US (even though I may disagree with some in our government) than in a place where I don’t get the option to have the same freedoms, vote, or speak freely.

I am a conservative.  It’s just a fact about me.  I was raised by parents who are conservative.  I was raised in churches that are conservative. I have a conservative world view.  As a high school/college student/(to be honest) young mom, I sometimes thought maybe I didn’t want to be a conservative anymore. I thought maybe those with other view points were right.  So, I thought about issues and I weighed them against what I knew to be true, right, and just.  I landed right back where I started, BUT I am glad that I live in a country where other people can land in a different camp.  Where they can think and decide for themselves and are FREE to do so.  This ensures that I am free to do this. I am glad that I live in a country where I can vote based on these views and others can do the same.  We have a gift in this basic right.  I know that many are upset, hurt, and frustrated about our recent election.  I get it.  I didn’t vote for either candidate. I voted 3rd party and no matter how you feel about that, it was my vote and I have the same freedom that you do to vote my desires.  I just couldn’t vote for either of them and that’s ok.  It’s our freedom to do so.  Here is the thing though, out of many, one.  Whether you agree with the final decision or not, we are one.  Yesterday, I left the Capital feeling proud to be American.  I left feeling thankful that we are many! I didn’t leave feeling any less right about my stand on issues, but I did leave feeling glad to be reminded that others CAN feel differently. I left feeling convicted to pray.  I pray that all Americans would see the strength in the many instead of wanting to only see their view point be the many.  I pray that we can continue to protect the freedoms that we have been guaranteed.  I don’t want another view to lose their freedoms because I want MY freedoms intact. Currently, conservatives are unified.  For this I am grateful. Clearly, I think that I am right on issues or I would’t think them. We, as conservatives, need to remember that this doesn’t demean the rights of our more liberal citizens to have a voice.  They have that right and they should speak up.  They should have a voice.  I want them to have this right.  Why? Out of many, one. Someday, conservatives will again find ourselves in the same position that the democrats are currently in.  Then it will still be.. out of many, one.  This is a strength and not a weakness.  I pray that our country can find unity where it exists.  I pray that we can stand as one despite our differences.  This is one of the things that has made us a better and successful union.  Not because those in power have always gotten it right, but because our differences somehow balance it out in the end. I hope that both sides can use their voices to articulate their passions toward issues more and articulate their passionate feelings about each other less.  I am praying for our President-Elect and our Vice President-Elect.  I am praying for the team they are building.  I am praying for our members of Congress and the Supreme Court.  I am also praying for those who are hurt, fearful, and frustrated.  May we once again find away to believe that “out of many, one.”

Going to the Capital yesterday, was good for Ada and I.  It was good to spend time with my sweet girl.  It was good to watch her learn about our government.  It was good to remember how special our history can be.  It was good to see the beauty of one of our country’s most beautiful and treasured buildings.  It was good to remember that God planted me and my family here when he could have planted me anywhere else in the world.  May I make much of him as I love and listen to those around me no matter if I agree or disagree with them in the end.

The mystery of why pastor’s wives sit alone at church is revealed. 

As a child I remember seeing our pastor’s wife (and other pastor’s wives) sitting alone. She would be sitting toward the front without a soul in reaching distance. I remember thinking, “I wonder if she feels lonely.” I thought maybe she didn’t have friends or maybe people didn’t like her.  I haven’t thought about it in years.. until today.. as I sat alone.. toward the front.. like every Sunday. It hit me. What I had failed to see is that no one could have sat next to her if they had wanted too. See her kids had probably taken up half the pew during the songs. When they escaped to children’s church.. they had left an explosion of purses, Sunday school crafts, coats, and various other items taking up half the row. Yep. That’s why she was alone. Mom life. Pastor’s wife life. See my pew below… 😂


It made me think a little more about perspective. Everyday we all make judgements based on our perspective. Maybe we think a certain way about a person.. circumstance.. family.. co-worker.. etc. We do this because we saw a moment of their lives.. one snapshot.. one event.. one piece of the puzzle. Do we take the time to see the pile of stuff hidden by the pew? Do we meet folks where they are? Do we ask them questions?  Our perspective can be so skewed based on the little info that we have and yet we can rely on it so heavily. 

I want to make an effort to have correct perspective.. to understand people and the why of their life. Relationships are messy just like people are. It’s my goal this week to make an effort to KNOW an aquantice… not just know them. 

Thankfulness 

In many years over the last 10 or so I have taken the month of November to blog and/or Facebook status about something that I am thankful for each day. This year, I was busy. I was behind on life. I never started. I have thought about it a few times, but never acted. Yesterday, I kept reading posts where people felt dreadfully hopeless. Then it hit me. Hope. This month… this year… this day… I am thankful that my hope is not found in a political party or candidate. I am thankful that my hope is not found in a family member or anything else that can disappoint. 
My hope is found in God… in the creator of the universe… who is majestically powerful and intimately personal… in Jesus… who humbled Himself even to death on the cross in my place… in the Holy Spirit… who dwells within me to instruct, convict, and never leaves me. 
I have been singing this song in my head for the last two days: 


Yesterday, today, and for all my days, I am thankful for true hope. 

Happy Thanksgiving month!