Tag Archives: children

Changing Seasons

A couple of weeks ago I was cooking supper when I looked out the window to see if my husband was home yet, when I realized the sun was still shining at five o’clock. I was so happy I texted my group text girls to tell them. The days had been getting longer, but I had failed to notice it until that moment.

I was reminded of that this morning when I took this picture of my oldest son and his 2 year-old sister.

boy reading to his sister

Four years ago, when I had just a 1 year old and an infant, I could not imagine this day. I was surviving moment by moment, day by day, praying my oldest didn’t hurt his brother (again) or destroy the house (again) while I fed his baby brother. I have a Facebook album dedicated to the disasters my boys created in those early years of chaos – flour and sugar poured all over my kitchen, foods smeared, bookshelves completely emptied. Repeatedly. Walls scribbled on. Repeatedly. In those moments, I couldn’t see a day in my future when I would not have a daily shenanigan to share. But here we are. Now I have a 5 year old that can pick up the baby when she’s crawling toward the fireplace, fix bagels and milk, and read to his sister. I have a 4 year old that can feed the animals, entertain himself with Legos for an hour, and play outside without running to the road every single time. (He still can’t resist a mud puddle, even in 30 degree temperatures. lol) My boys no longer empty every drawer of clothes in their bedroom. (However, their little sister does it for them at every opportunity. Ha!) Those 2 under 2 may still be occasionally creating chaos and making messes at 5 and 4, but they’re also big enough to clean up those messes. 😊  Oh what a difference a few years makes.

Take heart mamas of littles. The seasons change slowly, but one day you will look up from your work, and the sun will be shining at five o’clock.

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Super Why Live: You’ve got the power! {review}

 

Last Sunday was a big day for my boys. After church we enjoyed lunch with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. When lunch was finished, we headed to Memphis (an easy 1 1/2 hour drive from our home in Northeast Arkansas) to see Super Why Live: You’ve Got the Power! Thankfully the drive gave the little ones a chance to get a nap in before the show. It had been over 10 years since I had been to the Orpheum theater, but it was just as beautiful as I remembered. Even though it is located in the heart of downtown Memphis, a the corner of Beale Street and Main, parking was not an issue. We quickly found a spot just across the street from the theater.

Having never taken my kids to a live show of this kind, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the show or from my boys. (My youngest is only 18 months old after all.) It was a great experience though! I was impressed on both accounts. The lights, fun music, aerial stunts, and of course seeing their favorite Super Why characters was more than enough to get both of my kiddos excited and keep them entertained for the duration of the show. If only we had video of Stanton dancing and head bobbing! Kids (and parents and grandparents) of all ages could be seen in the audience, and the show offered something for everyone. I had lots of fun watching the show myself, and even more fun watching my boys enjoy it. I was also pleased that there was a short intermission break. This gave us a chance to grab a snack at the concession stand and let the kids stretch their legs for a minute or two.  It also allowed this pregnant mommy a chance for a quick potty break. 🙂 Then it was back to more singing, dancing, and searching for super letters (large red letters, projected to different areas of the theater) with Super Why and the gang from Storybrook Village. We also learned the answer to the question, who has the greatest super power? By the end of the show, my youngest was starting to get restless, but he stayed interested in the show, and we avoided a meltdown. Overall, it was a great family outing!

If you have some big Super Why fans in your house, I definitely recommend checking out one of the upcoming shows on their tour. My little Lincoln was still talking about the show yesterday!

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Mommy the Zookeeper was provided promotional tickets in order to write the above review.  However, all statements are 100% mine. Your opinions may differ.

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Praying (and shopping) for adoption

 

Adoption is something the Lord has placed on our hearts (my husband and myself), but we don’t feel that we are supposed to pursue it at this time. However, as Christians we are all commanded to care for the orphans and widows.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ” James 1:27

One way I love to do this is by supporting my brothers and sisters in Christ who are in the process of adoption.  I know multiple families who are in the process of adopting children, some from state foster care systems and some from foreign countries. It is a long, emotional, and often expensive process. There are two huge ways we can help those seeking to adopt. The first is prayer. While I have not been through the process myself, I’m sure it is an emotional roller coaster. Can you imagine knowing you have a child somewhere in another city or a foreign country, being raised by strangers, and having no control over how they are cared for? Not to mention the stress of the adoption itself with tons of paperwork, home studies, traveling, fund raising, and dealing with everyday life in the process. We also need to pray that everything goes according to God’s will and for the health and safety of the children. Again, I can’t imagine not knowing where my children were or if they were fed and warm and safe.

The second way we can support these families is to assist them in raising the necessary funds to bring their children home.

This week I’d like to introduce you to the Goza family! They are 13 month into their adoption journey, planning to bring home a child from Ethiopia. Please join me in praying for and supporting this family. You can read more about their story on THEIR BLOG.

You can also help them raise their funds by buying one of these adorable custom shirts (or another style)! (I just ordered some for my boys. 🙂

They can be found HERE IN THE ETSY SHOP.

More designs can also be seen HERE ON FACEBOOK.

Happy shopping. 🙂

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day from our zoo!

 

Don’t ya just love the big bruise on Brother’s forehead? I usually can’t bring myself to remove scratches and bruises in Photoshop. Those battle wounds are too much a part of who my rowdy boys are. 🙂 He got that about 3 days before these pictures were taken; he tripped over his own feet and fell into the metal strip at the bottom of the front doorway.

 

If you like their adorable shirts, check out The Orange Daisy.

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01.31.12

Arkansas weather can be very strange, and this winter (if you can call it that) has definitely been a strange one. We’ve had more than one day warm enough to play outside in light jackets.

As much running as my oldest wild one does, he also loves to lie in the grass and watch the clouds and planes. These moments only last about 30 seconds each though. 🙂

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{Wordless Wednesday} A Sunday Morning Breakfast

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I’m a Mama of Wild Ones

I’m a mama of two Wild Ones. I’m proud of them.

A friend of mine just posted on Facebook a link to THIS article from Lysa TerKeurst.

Wow. She hit the nail on the head. If you are (or aren’t) a parent to wild ones, read it. I am so glad I did. Her description of her daughter’s antics at the mall, could have easily been a scene for my life. Oh wait, there was a very similar situation with my oldest son and a friend’s toilet… More than once I have left a playdate in tears, feeling like I must be doing something wrong. None of the other children act that way? What did their parents do differently? No one else has to chase their laughing toddler through the restaurant because he could open all the doors before the age of 2 and refuses to stay in the play area! The other kids aren’t more interested in exploring the whole house, instead of playing with the toys. No one else has to ask for a new high chair, one with a working seat belt… At times I’ve even been treated by other moms as if I must be doing something wrong. It’s not uncommon for strangers to give my children dirty looks, or give heavy sighs as we go by.

With having wild boys, I have realized that so many people don’t get it. They don’t see what I do, and they sure can’t see what lies ahead. They assume we are doing something wrong in our parenting methods, never considering that God made my boys the way they are for a reason. Both of my boys are curious, unafraid to tackle a new challenge on their own, and love to learn from experience. How do those people think adults become that way? They start out that way, as little wild ones. 🙂 They both have the biggest, sweetest hugs imaginable – hugs that aren’t just reserved for mommy but are also for friends, family members, pets, church leaders, babysitters, and each other. Sometimes I get more joy from seeing them hug someone else than when they hug me. I’m their mom. They are born with strings tying their hearts to mine. I meet their daily needs and kiss their boo-boos. They are choosing to love others with those hugs though. The Boy is a born leader – no question about that one 🙂 Brother is an encourager, both to his big brother’s antics and to his mommy every morning when I think it’s too early to get up, but he’s there smiling at me and jumping in his bed. His laughter is infectious. I have always said that I can’t wait to see what amazing things God has in store for my spirited boys. What on earth could require so much energy, fearlessness, creativity, and love? It must be something big. But sometimes it is hard to remember that when you are dealing with rude comments and stares from strangers and people you know, and you’re chasing two toddlers going in opposite directions.

Last week, an older gentleman paused as he approached me in the aisle of a local bookstore. My heart sank; I knew he was going to say something negative or give a big sigh, and I really didn’t have the time, energy, or emotional strength to deal with it that day. I was chasing my oldest toddler across the store, trying to keep him from emptying the shelves or running out the door, while my dad held my youngest toddler (upside down, by his legs) to keep him from emptying the shelves. All I wanted was to get one sheet of stickers and have 3 pieces of paper laminated. (That sounded a lot easier before we entered the the store, found out the lamination machine needed to be turned on and heated up, and one of my sons decided that was  great time for a dirty diaper.) That man didn’t sigh though. He smiled and said, “Don’t get upset. They will grow out of it. Don’t get upset, Mama.” I could have cried, and almost did.

You see,  just that morning I had attempted to take the boys to the park for a picnic and some playtime before running a couple of errands. My husband had been out of town for most of the week for work, and had left that morning to take some fence posts to my grandma’s farm. I couldn’t put the errands off anymore, and the weather was nice for the first time in weeks. We made our way to the park, but after feeding Brother and eating my own lunch, The Boy was still screaming hysterically because I was cruelly making him sit with me instead of running off to play by himself without eating his lunch. While so many little ones want to drag mommy and daddy to the playground, he would gladly take off on his own adventure. Lots of people just ignored him, but a few people were not so kind. I heard more than one rude comment and saw lots of stares. Sometimes I feel like a ticking time bomb; I’m waiting to kick a stranger in the shins and scream, “I’m sorry you had perfect little girls that were too afraid of upsetting someone to be disobedient or a little boy who was too much of a mamas boy to leave your side for 5 minutes until he was 25! That’s not my kid! Deal with it!”  Then God sends that one person to give me an encouraging word or a helping hand, and reminds me that someday I will be that compassionate lady in the grocery store, mixing a bottle for the stressed out mama with two crying babies, unaware that it’s the first time she’s left the house alone with both of them, she hasn’t seen her husband in almost a week, she just had to juggle both of them to pee and change the newborn’s diaper in the dirty bathroom with no counter or changing table, and three other women walked by her without even giving an encouraging smile. (I would love to see that lady again, so I could give her a hug!) I also pray that on that day, my wild ones will be using their adventurous spirits and loving hearts for whatever God has planned for them.

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Lesson #1 Let them eat dog food.

Lately I’ve I’ve been thinking back over some of the parenting lessons I have learned over the last two years. Today I’ll share one of those.

Often parents remark about how you hover less as the number of children in your home increases.You realize the little things aren’t going to harm them and are able to let them be more independent, messy, dirty, loud, messy, adventurous, silly, and did I mention messy?

I was told many times before The Boy was a year old that I was, “extremely laid-back for a first time mom.” I always shrugged it off as being a result of my personality and my husband traveling so much. I also think it had a lot to do with me being exhausted though. Have you tried being 6 months pregnant and chasing a crawling baby across the house, only to have to hold that baby down and attempt to change his diaper while he, quite literally, stood on his head and left elbow to get away, kicking you the entire time? Yeah, it left little energy for dragging him down off whatever he was climbing on for the 100th time that day. It didn’t help matters that he was very coordinated from the beginning and didn’t fall when climbing. I knew he could do it, so why worry?

There was one thing I was constantly battling though. The Boy’s obsession with eating things drove me crazy! Baby gates blocked every doorway and I put everything away – dog food was moved to my bedroom and crayons were in a drawer and hardly used. No joke, he ate finger paints until he was 2. (Rarely was painting done in our house until recently. )

Then Brother came along! If I was “extremely laid-back” about things with my first son, I probably really scare other moms with my second son!

Lesson #1 (It wasn’t the first thing I learned, but for writing purposes that’s what we will call it.)
Let them eat dog food.

Now, before anyone panics and calls Child Protective Services, I’m not recommending you feed your children pet food. Definitely not. However, there are only so many hoops you can jump through, and so many places you can hide stuff. Millions of kids have grabbed a handful of Kibbles or a dog biscuit and crammed it in their mouth before mom or dad could get it away from them. I did it, and I’m betting you did it if you grew up with pets in your home.

Thankfully, Brother has not shared in The Boy’s habit of eating everything. He does, however, show the same love for dog food that his older brother did. Today was no different. The dogs had left a few pieces in one of the bowls in the kitchen, and I didn’t realize it until I was halfway between the refrigerator and the counter, arms loaded with leftovers I was getting out for lunch, and little brother was 2 feet from the bowl. I started toward him, immediately realizing it was pointless. “Have at it son. If you think it’s that tasty…”

It was not just about dog food though. It wasn’t even about realizing it was not necessary to drop everything, trip over the open dishwasher, and accidentally kick the dog just to pry open his mouth to dig out dog food, crayons, dirt, or any other non-food item I knew to be non-toxic that he could safely chew.
It was about that word I posted about yesterday. Joy. Today, like so many other times, keeping the boys out of the dog food, paint, or whatever mess it might have been, was not about protecting them. As usual, it was something that I know isn’t actually harmful. I just didn’t want to deal with a big mess or having to clean a dirty face and hands again. Was it really worth the fight of trying to pull the dog food out of his hands, making him furious, and probably causing me to spill our food everywhere? I decided it wasn’t. A little extra mess would be okay. If only I can remember that more often! If they want to get muddy and dirty outside, that has always been fine and dandy with me, but inside…oh inside the house is a different story. Well, where’s the joy in that for a little boy? Next week I’m planning at least two messy activities. (There. It’s in print, so I have to do it now.)

I went on with making lunch, and Brother happily helped himself to the last few pieces of dog food. Oh well, someday he will realize it tastes disgusting. Until then, I guess I won’t have to worry about him not liking anything I cook!

Isn’t it amazing how children teach us things through the smallest everyday events?

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my word

A few weeks ago I read this post by Beth B., over at Perspective of Love . Immediately I knew what my word for the year was – JOY. I didn’t even have to think about it. That was the word God had laid on my heart for two weeks prior to reading that post. Last year was not the easiest year for me. I was working a lot of weekends, chasing two kids under the age of two during the week (that had opposite nap schedules until a month ago), and I was utterly exhausted for months at a time. I honestly feel that I didn’t stop and see the JOY in my days enough though. God has given me lots of blessings to enJOY.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation,” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Philippians 2:14-15

Even worse, I didn’t often take the time to  share with others the JOY of having God in my life and the ways that I have been blessed.

Just today I made a rare phone call to see about getting my car serviced for a recall on the headlights. I say rare because if I can’t text you, I’m probably not going to call you. This has nothing to do with an aversion to talking on the phone and everything to do with my children screaming hysterically and climbing on me the moment I’m connected to another individual on the telephone. (Maybe that happens all the time, and I only realize it when I’m trying to make/take a phone call?) The man that I was speaking with could obviously hear my children in the background, and he asked how old they were. When I answered (1 and 2) his quick reply was the one I so commonly hear, “Oh…bless your heart!” While I have talked to many mothers that are offended by this response, I always laugh. I find it humorous that so many people think I’m doing something extraordinary by raising two young boys. Yes, it is difficult, but two under two definitely has advantages too. I’ll have to post those for you sometime. 🙂 Anyway,  when I got off the phone with him I realized I should have told him, “No, bless your heart!” There I was, barefoot, hair in a ponytail, lying on my couch in the middle of the day, with two laughing toddlers climbing all over me. That poor man was sitting behind a desk somewhere across town, waiting on 5:00 to roll around. Thirty minutes later, my oldest son was down for his afternoon nap and I was standing in their bedroom, swaying back and forth to the music from the kitchen radio with my youngest in my arms. JOY.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9

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