I planned to clean the kitchen this afternoon, here’s how it went: Wash two dishes. Hmm, I should wash that nasty frying pan. I really don’t want to. Hey a UPS package! Ooh, look, my bottles and lip gloss tins! “Here, Jimmy, take these eggs to Grandma’s.” Start making lip gloss, spill it everywhere. Why was I wearing a cashmere sweater while making lip gloss? Why do I even own a cashmere sweater? “Joey, stop stirring egg yolks around with your fingers.”
Start cleaning up the lip gloss. Eat a cookie. Why are the girls playing with colanders, pot lids and paper bags all over the kitchen floor? Check my e-mail. “No, you can’t have a cookie.” “Good point. Fine have a cookie.” Hey, I think I’ll make some hair conditioner while the kitchen is a mess anyway. Why am I making conditioner instead of dinner? Go to my laptop and look up how to make conditioner on the internet. Check my e-mail again. Why hasn’t she responded to my message yet? I wonder what’s going on on facebook? Hmm, nothing interesting. Make and bottle the conditioner. “Someone come get ‘Lena!”
Return to cleaning up lip gloss. Wow, it smells great! Take some from the stove top and rub it on my lips. …
How does one mom who already has more than enough to do suddenly end up in the business of making soap for charity? Especially, when she never made a bar of soap in her life before this past October? Well, it was a slippery (pun intended) slope, let me tell you.
As so many things do, it all started on youtube. In an effort to raise our awareness of those living in third world countries, one morning, during family devotions, I cued up a few videos showing the struggles of many Africans to obtain sufficient water and that, even then, the water is filthy and contaminated.
This touched my children’s hearts and led to my eleven year old’s comment, “Mom, how about we cancel our trip to Disney World in April and use the money to buy a well for an African village?” (This, of course, warmed my mommy heart, brought tears to my eyes, and made me think that maybe there was some hope for my kids turning out well after all.) Well, Grandma was paying for that trip, so that wasn’t really an option, but the discussion had begun: How could we help with this problem in Africa? And, more specifically, how could we raise the $2600 needed to provide just one well to an African village? …
Every weekday morning, before beginning any other school, I gather my children on the living room couch for family worship time. Of all our daily activities, this one seems the most doomed for disaster from the start. But, stubborn woman that I am, I persist. Not being particularly musical, I cue up several youtube videos with lyrics for us to sing along with. We read the Bible, each person prays,we do some Bible memory and occasionally act out Bible stories. It should be so simple.
Alas! It's difficult to read the Bible when someone is flipping the lights on and off so quickly that you feel you're at a 70's disco. It's hard to feel close to God when one son is praying, "Lord help (my brother) to stop kicking me so that I don't have to punch him," and another chimes in with, "Help (my brother) to get his finger out of his nose."
Then, the videos: "Wait this isn't the right one! I want the one that shows the goat standing on a mountain!" "Ha, ha, that guy has a funny beard!" "Click like!" Click dislike!" "Add to favorites!" "Ooh, this one has 2 million views!" All the while, I'm trying to model the desired pious behavior, an effort I inevitably botch by declaring, rather …
[caption id="attachment_94" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="I love the kid, but it's amazing every hair on my head isn't gray"][/caption]
“Mommy, Mommy, look at me!” I toss a sad looking tomato to Tillie, one our chickens, and look around for the source of the excited voice.
“Up here!” I look up, then up some more to find my youngest son a good thirty feet up a gnarly old oak tree. I encourage him firmly to carefully climb down.
Soon after, I glance out the back window to see him swinging from some sort of vine hanging from the same tree. As I watch, the vine breaks and he falls, lying motionless on his side for several very long seconds, before popping up again and running off to the next adventure, even as he rubs the sore spots from this one.
I sigh with relief and am reminded just how much I love him, then breathe a prayer of thanks that he’s made it through yet another day, asking, even in my thanks, for God’s grace in getting this child safely through to adulthood.
I stepped into the story room at the Chelsea Library as a plastic banana came sailing out of the playhouse. It was quickly followed by a second banana, an apple and some ice cream. Looking the culprits firmly in the eye, I said, “We do not throw things in the library!” Appearing mildly, chastened the two children stopped lobbing toy food across the room.
What makes the incident noteworthy is that these children, perhaps five and eight years old, belonged to someone else, someone who didn’t deem it necessary to keep tabs on her own children in a public place. Soon after, the younger child began yelling at Elena, my one year old, telling her that babies were not allowed in the playhouse and violently assisting Elena to the door. I quickly intervened, rescued my baby, and told the five year old, “We do not yell at babies or hurt them!”
Unfortunately, these minor encounters are not as infrequent as we might prefer. It seems the need to correct other people’s children presents itself somewhat often, bringing with it concerns as to what is appropriate and what is not. Each parent has their own level of expectation for their children and a personal method for dealing with …
Having informed my kids earlier in the day that they were giving up screen time for lent, I found myself in a bit of a conundrum with my husband on a business trip, five bored kids, and myself ready for a yoga workout. So, I offered the kids the choice of doing yoga with Mommy or cleaning the basement. Oddly enough, yoga won out and we were soon pushing the coffee table out of the den to allow a vast 6' by 10' space for the six of us to twist ourselves into various yoga poses.
Fortunately, no one seemed to realize that the yoga DVD should constitute screen time, and the questions never arose as to why yoga was allowed while Mario Cart was not. I instructed them to change into stretchy pants, which was followed by ten minutes of debating if jeans were or were not stretchy. We ended up with two boys in wind-pants, one in sweats, and Katie (3) and me in yoga pants, which she rocked in a way to which I could never aspire.
Two minutes in Jimmy (11) informed me that the DVD would be better named Yoga for Stress, as opposed to the true title, Yoga for Evening Stress Release. He then did the chair pose by actually sitting in a chair and somehow turned scale pose into something …