Happy Birthday!

a mom blog on tradition

Birthdays growing up were filled with anticipation and excitement, and it’s my desire to achieve the same enthusiasm in my own children. Of course I want them to feel loved, special, and appreciated throughout the year, but it’s nice to have one day that’s focused on demonstrating how happy we are that they were born into our family!
Although presents can certainly be a part of the birthday fun, I’m hesitant to create holidays where the presents override all other aspects. So I’m trying to figure out fun traditions to maintain that will be exciting, but not necessarily costly.
I think it’s fun to have them wake up to something out of the ordinary. For Rae this year it was balloons and streamers in her room and the downstairs decorated with the same. My mom used to have us come downstairs and be welcomed to our breakfast chair with a helium balloon bouquet tied to a bag of our favorite candy. Another idea might be to leave a “trail” of presents as their walking down to the breakfast table.
Another fun idea I’ve heard is to decorate a special plate that is only brought out for birthdays for the birthday boy/girl to eat all their meals on. Or designate a special hat or cape that only the birthday person gets to wear.
Meals can also be a fun part of birthdays…whether it’s inviting family over for dinner or going out to a place of the birthday boy/girl’s choice, letting him/her choose the meals for the day, or baking a special cake.
Parties can of course be an important part of birthdays, but It’s my goal to not have a HUGE party every year for each child. I think it can get a little overwhelming…and expensive, especially when you have multiple children! So I’m going to sort of “pick” years (for example, 1, 2, 4, 7, etc.) that the kids will get a big party with lots of family and friends. Then on the “off” years, we’ll either just have extended family over for cake and ice cream or do something special as a family.
Please share with us! What were some of your special birthday memories?



A mom blog

We have a little space heater in our living room that has buttons just begging to be touched. Rae knows not to touch them, but obviously, Ally’s too little to understand. But Rae doesn’t understand that sometimes Ally’s allowed to do things she’s not, simply due to the fact that she’s “still a baby.”
This morning I left Rae and Ally downstairs as I ran up to grab a load of laundry. As I’m sorting, I hear Rae cry, “Mahhhhhhhom! Ally’s touchin’ the heeeeeeater!” Ah, the first tattletale.
I didn’t have a sister growing up. And although I’m thankful for my two amazing brothers, I tell my girls already how lucky they are to have a “built-in best friend.” From different sisters I’ve talked to, it seems like although most generally go through various rough patches as kids, they end up close as adults. And so today’s tattle-tale made me think of the joys of sibling-hood…and all that I have to look forward to raising two girls….

-“Mom! She’s looking at me!”
-“Hey! She’s messin’ up my picture!”
-Christmas morning…waiting turns to open presents!
-The constant influx of DRAMA!
-Sharing…barbies, clothes, makeup, hair-ties, friends.
-Sweet secret whispers and giggles after the lights are out.
-Splitting time in our only bathroom between three women.
-Who said what.
-Who has power over the remote-control.
-Snuggles and hugs!

Please! Share your special sibling/sister memories!


A mom blog

Kids pick up on so many things that we take for granted. For instance, have you ever noticed how many nicknames end in the sound “ee”? For example, our dog, Jonah, we call Jonie; then there’s our sweet Ally and sometimes we call Rae “Reggy“. And not only that, but many “endearing” names have a similar end sound (sweetie, Mommy, honey, etc.)
Well, yesterday I was in one of those grouchy moods (you know the kind…the “I know I’m grumpy for no reason but could you just stop asking me questions and leave me alone” mood). And after Rae asked me “watcha doin'” for about the twenty-seventh time, I looked at her and said, “Rae…please just go in the other room. I am in a bad mood and I need some time to get my heart right.”
With a look of generous sympathy, she nodded and said, “I know, I know” (in other words, saying she knew what to do). She went over to her little wooden table, folded her hands and commenced to pray, “God, please help Mommy’s heart not be such a bad mood. And…Gody? (apparently her sweet little nickname for God–yes, tears were rushing to my eyes)…thank you for helping Mommy be happy. Aaaamen.”
I bent down to eye level and said to her, “Oh, honey…God already answered your prayers. Thank you for praying for Mommy.”
And thank you, Gody, for using my daughter to remind me what an intimate God you are.

Can’t fake it

A Blog about Faith

I’m obsessed with craigslist. I’ve been looking for this “Rose Garden Cottage” for Rae’s birthday and finally found one! New, it costs around $150 (how they can charge that much for a child’s playhouse that’s built out of nylon and plastic confounds me), but I found one on the magical craigslist for $30! Since it was local, we all went to see it. We pulled up to the house, and I went to meet the woman who was selling it. As we were chatting about the weather, her grand kids, and the mess of toys that have taken over our homes, my husband got out of the van to put the cottage in. She surprised me by saying to him, “You’ve got a quite a catch here, I hope you know! She’s so sweet!” I blushed at the complement (and at my husband’s concurrence.)
Once we all got back in the van, however, something sparked an argument between Hubby and I, and I’m forced to confess that I said some pretty wicked things. As I was lamenting my side of the argument, however, God stopped me in my prideful steps: How can I be so sweet and pleasant to a complete stranger and so grossly mean to my own husband?
It can be so hard to live for Christ in my own home. Sometimes I think it’s the place where I’m most challenged to face my flaws. Isn’t it easier to speak pleasantly and politely to the grocer in the check-out lane than to talk to our children in a similar way? Doesn’t it come more naturally sometimes to forgive a friend who’s wronged us than to extend the same grace to our spouse? I am praying that God will give me the strength to love my family the way He does. I want them to see Christ in me! Oh, that HE would become greater and I would become less! And when I fail (because it’s bound to happen)..maybe I’ll hide away for a while in a little Rose Garden Cottage.

Fly, Child, Fly

thoughts on Rae turning three…

Run, child, run
with the wind in your hair!
You laugh and you dance
as you twirl in the sun.

Cry, child, cry
with your fists small and tight!
You flail and you fight
and I rock-a-bye.

Dance, child, dance
with your arms open wide!
You grin and you dare
as you brave every chance.

Fly, child, fly
with your hopes and your dreams!
I watch as you soar
as life rushes by…

Autumn Fun!

A blog about family tradition

Here’s my first post in the new category, “Tradition!” Enjoy!…and please leave comments and other ideas!

Autumn is a great time for families. In many states, the weather is milder (not too hot or cold, not as much rain) and harvest-time means pumpkins, apple cider, and corn maizes! Many farms or towns host apple or pumpkin “fests,” which celebrate crafts, autumn, and COMFORT FOOD!
Of course you can always “google” to find things to do in your area, but there are other great sites to check out if you are looking to find a farm or orchard in your area. Pick Your Own lists most U-Pick farms categorized by crop and area, and has other ideas too!
Pumpkin Patches and More lists lots of fun autumn ideas and lists farms organized by state. We generally frequent two or three farms each autumn to pick apples and pumpkins, sample fresh cider, and go for a hay ride!

There are also lots of fun craft ideas for fall. One that’s fun, easy, and good for most age groups is pressing leaves. You start by searching for pretty, fresh autumn leaves (not crispy ones!)…you can go to a park for a “nature walk” or just walk around your neighborhood. Once you’ve got an assortment of leaves, take them home and place them between some newspaper. Place a heavy book on them and leave it for a few days (this will soak up any moisture). Once they’re ready, arrange leaves between two pieces of clear contact paper (I found mine at Staples) and smooth out any bubbles with a spoon. Or, if you don’t have contact paper, you can press them between two sheets of wax paper and iron the top sheet (put a paper bag underneath to protect your ironing board though). Once the paper is cool, you can cut out the leaves and hang them on the fridge, glue them onto cards, punch holes in them and hang them from the ceiling or make garland. You can also put glitter in between the paper for an extra dose of sparkle! 🙂

As for other fall ideas, there’s always raking and jumping in leaves, painting or carving pumpkins, and making applesauce (Rae likes to use the apple peeler/corer/slicer and is pretty good at it too!). If you frequent your local library, it’s always fun to get books out on the changing seasons or autumn. When we were kids, one of the highlights of autumn was a nature walk with our extended family every year. We all bundled up and went for a walk/hike, sang songs (which of course scared all the wildlife away, so I don’t really remember seeing any except a few birds!), and enjoyed both the company and the scenery! Another fun memory was taking a drive with our grandparents to scenic lookouts where we could observe the changing leaves and take pictures.

Autumn can be a great time to build family connections and make memories that last a life-time. Have fun! And let us know what else you and your family like to do!

Copycat Kid

A Mom blog

This morning I caught Rae trying to put my contact lens in her eye. She was blinking repeatedly, tears streaming down her face, looking at the little clear lens that just would NOT stay in! I said, “Whacha doin’ Rae?” Her reply: “Just puttin’ in my contacts, Mom.”
I said, “You don’t wear contacts, honey. You have good eyes–not like Mommy.”
That answer seemed to make sense, so she said simply, “Oh.”
(Luckily, the lens was not damaged and after a good cleaning, I put it in MY eye!)
Rae copies everything I do. If you keep up with the blog, you know that she recently wore a maxi pad (see “I’m so not Ready for Puberty“) but she’s also recently tried to get dinner out of the oven (using oven mitts, of course), get the baby out of her crib, drink my coffee, pour milk on her cereal, and put on my deodorant. She also has to copy whatever I’m wearing. If I have on “exercise” clothes, she’ll go put on a tank top and sweatpants. If I put on jeans and a long-sleeve shirt to start the day, she’ll look down at her pjs and run to change into…jeans and a long-sleeve shirt.
She also tries to emulate me in conversation. She’s recently started asking everyone “How are you doing?” And when daddy gets home she always asks, “How was work, daddy?”
I know that she watches me. I know that she tries to be like me. But I have so many fears that I won’t measure up. I desperately want to be a woman she looks up to, a woman who’s worthy of her respect. I want to be a velvet-over-steel, wisdom-filled, gracious beacon of love for my two beautiful girls. I can only pray that as they follow me and copy my hand gestures, and my interactions, that they’ll also learn to emulate my heart. I hope they can overlook my temper, my OCD habits, my quick tongue, and my fear of bugs, and instead, acquire my love for the Lord, my thirst for truth, and my heart for others. And if they happen to copy my fashion sense, well–I’m sure they’ll end up wearing contacts of their own.

I love you like rain

Oh Rae,
I love you like fire,
orange, burning, bright.
Like the crisp of autumn or
a strong, sharp melody,
you depart familiar and
pierce the darkness
with your blaze.
Unafraid and bold
you beckon all who would
to follow.

And My Ally,
I love you like rain,
soft, sweet, needed.
You are the comfort of cashmere,
the lull of a whisper,
the blue of the night.
You are joy and warmth
and smiles and sugar.
You coo and sigh
and I fall in love.