Tuesday, August 12, 2014

 {through the window}

I was scrolling through some photos I took today. From the library. Because doesn't everyone take photos in the library?

The boys were having an outstanding time enjoying the wonder of books and games and fun space that isn't home. So naturally, I just had some play time of my own. A library really does make a creative backdrop for photos. I tried different angles and perspectives. Good stuff.

When I came across this picture of my K, it made me pause.

Because I feel like this alot. Do you get me?

Looking through a window.

I want to know you. I want to know what goes on in your head. So much of *you* is still foreign to me.

I would never assume that by knowing one child I would know all of my children, but there are certain patterns that three of mine follow.....

Not you.

And that's ok.

But just to get more of a glimpse into what makes you tick.
What powers you.
How you learn.
What energizes you.
How to help you be more independent.
How to teach you boundaries, limits, socially acceptable vs.... not. {Not that we are overly hung up on "social correct-ness" - but there are certain behaviors that are innate to some... and some need to be taught}
How you hear love, how you feel love.

Instead of just a window.

Oh, but how thankful I am for that window! Because you have found your voice, and your opinions do fly. The window is good and the window is a 100% God thing.

I'll take the window. A million times over, I'll take seeing you through glass over not seeing you at all.

Sometimes I feel like the window opens a crack, and I just relish the moments.

Like last night when we were laughing together, so hard. My eleven year old was teasing me and neither one of us could cork the fountain of joy spilling over as laughter. We were on the couch together, way past our bedtime, having the tickle fest of the century, and you threw your arms around my neck, looked me in the eye (even this... what an extravagant gift. He looked me in the eye... ), and said, "I love you better than peanut butter".

So, yeah. That's the big time. This kid loves me.

Those times are precious. And I do know how to make you laugh. Even better? You know how to make me laugh. And it still can take me by surprise. That sense of humor that is so real and so you and so hilarious.

 It kind of takes the edge off of the lack of filter you demonstrate when things don't go your way. Like a two year old fit coming from an ever growing adolescent body. *shudder* Not cool. So not cool.

I know the window is my grace from God. I have seen the statistics, I have heard the stories.... I'm humbly aware of the beauty in our window.

Monday, August 11, 2014

 {August} 10 on the 10th

This is what 10 on 10 is all about: taking a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month, documenting a day in your life and finding beauty among the ordinary moments. 

I missed 10 on the 10th in July. But I did it in my head and it was lovely. ;) We were in Iowa on the 10th of July - so much going on! 

Things have been good. Actually pretty mellow for the first time in a long time. We've been focusing much of our time and energy on building our photography studio. Every spare afternoon is spent prepping the area to have a foundation poured. It's been a big commitment, and oh-so-exciting! 

The 10th of August happened to be a Sunday. We try to keep Sundays restful and very low key. Often no matter how hard we try, that just doesn't happen. This week though? It totally did. Thankful!

This month is a mixed bag of phone pics and big girl camera pics. ;) I grab whatever I can find to capture the moments. So here we go. 

He's been so busy lately. Having him home all day and (mostly) commitment free all day was amazing. He's makin' the coffee.  

Sunday school is withdrawn at our church, for the month of August, to give teachers a much needed break. Not being at church until 10:45 was quite a change for our family! 

I made a very exciting purchase after church! Reading up on all of the great things it can do... {My first full frame! Camera nerds can squeal with me here...}

I totally match our bathroom

The boys are "making a game"  - the newest craze in the Mc household.

Finding a little window of time to tuck up in a corner and do some reading. Oh this book..... hitting home with impact! 

Trying to convince these guys that rest is good. And that they should rest. {And let mommy rest}. You can see how well that 's working...

My happy little family. It feels complete now. ;) 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

 Not melting, in Pure Michigan

Leaving the blog at "I'm a stay at home mom and I'm melting" probably wasn't a good idea. ;)

I promise I didn't melt. And really, this summer is the least melting-ish summer I have felt in a long time. We have settled into a routine,

                            and then we crumple up the routine and throw it into the waste basket in favor of adventure and lots of great outdoors.  

Summer life of a boy mom. I have decided that it is good. Very good.

We haven't magically ended all bickering and crazy, constancy, neediness, and All of The Things.

But we haven't melted.

We adventured for our traditional last day of school camping trip (and of course my "adventuring" comes complete with coffee bean grinder and blow dryer, but who's keeping track?).

Two weeks post camping trip Jay went to overnight camp for the first time. Be still my mama heart. All was well. And I will never forget his first words to me when I picked him up:

"Mom, the kids were loud and inappropriate." 
-Yeah, I guess our kids are a little bit sheltered.

Three days after Jay returned from camp we left for Iowa. Spent a week with my fam and relished the moments.

Two weeks post Iowa trip we went to the beautiful west side of our state and camped at Muskegon. Amazing. Probably only Michiganders will "get" this one, but you know those "Pure Michigan" commercials? Make me a little misty eyed. I at least get a lump in my throat. Dave is so funny when he hears or sees one of those commercials. He has to get me if I am not around and watch my face. I just can't... I mean that voice and all the great stuff in Michigan?! It's too much.

"So go to the beaches of pure Michigan.... and remember the things that are really important in life..."

Oh, I can't do it right.


Please tell me I am not the only one tearing up.


Anyway..... We love our Michigan. :)

And we have been loving our summer. I don't come up for air much, so writing definitely takes a back seat. I have all these metaphors and life lessons that want to pour out and be written, but mostly - right now, I just smile at them and move on.

So, while writing yields to boy wrangling, All The Food making, and The Adventuring,

Know that I am not melting and this fall I may be able to put a couple of sentences together over here. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

 Hi. I'm a stay-at-home-mom with a child training hangover

Every year we put our backpacks away. We smile the giddy smiles and we are fresh.

 I say, "This year, I will enjoy them. All of the moments, all of the everything. It will be different because I am in a different place and they area older... and it will be different".

We do our big camping celebration and then we enter our New Normal with confidence and excitement.

...And it's not that different. The adjustments are the same, which lead me to the guilt and the "what's wrong with me?!" and the disappointment.

There's plenty of good, and alot of hard. It's just life. I'm begging God for extra strength and extra grace to offer these boys. None of us are used to all being under one roof all day every day. We are navigating the togetherness.

The second day we were back home from camping I ran out of milk. No biggie. We always run out of milk. I'll just jump in the van... and.... Wait. I'll make sure every one is dressed and ready to go. K will need his braces on. And... he's too big for a cart, but doesn't quite have the endurance to walk through the entire store to the back where the milk is. And they will want things. I just need milk. I don't want to hear about all of the things. 

Milk is overrated. Who needs milk anyway? -Not me.

My brain knows stuff - Like the fact that my time has never been my own. How selfish to think otherwise.

I live for higher things. Eternal things. I want to serve my family. It's my ministry.

Truth? - I want to... want to serve my family. But right now?
 I'm rarely alone.
I'm getting up early,
staying up late,
and my time not being my own is taking on a whole new definition.
I'm battling this bigger/uglier desire to be affirmed and to be served.

Just like every year. Oh human nature...

Today K is at Grandma's. And I am grateful. Grateful for her patience with him. Grateful she has been highly involved in his care since birth, therefore is comfortable and used to all that having K entails.

I am grateful for this grace, because I needed a break. And I can either hate that I needed a break, or I can simply say,"Thank you", and breathe. He blesses my socks off and he needs alot. As he gets older, personal care needs take more. He learns so differently, and feelings of inadequacy are never too far under the surface when I am in the trenches of parenting him.

I'm getting used to the noise level, and I am learning when I need to step away for a minute.
Before I feel that rising heart rate and smoldering frustration escalate.
Before the unkind words and ugly little creature of self  reigns.

So much God is teaching me. I am not a fan of being shown my weaknesses, and that is right where I am at now. Trying to humbly see them, having the courage to hit my knees, and repent. To truly turn from selfishness.

Trying to give the tools for "working things out" when the fighting starts (this seems pretty constant right now), disciplining the disrespect, unkindness, and disobedience - I feel a bit like I have a child training hangover....

One thing that has been coming into my heart - loud and clear - is that I need to address gender differences with much more gentle grace.
Because you guys, I have never felt more keenly the fact that


The lone female in a home with 5 guys will want to aggressively attack things that seem wrong. That do not make sense to her. That annoy her.

Asking God to open my eyes to what needs to change in my parenting, to see my boys as unique and valuable creations, and nurture my relationship with each one has resulted in.... well, just that. He is answering. He is stopping me in my tracks when I begin to "discipline" that which is not wrong doing.

"It's a boy thing. Leave it alone" - I swear God is whispering that in my ear daily. ;)

The competitive EVERYTHING. What the? I do not care who finished their cereal first.
Or stayed up latest.
Or got up earliest.
Or kicked tail in Mario Kart (Kicked mom's tail in Mario Kart? No.Big.Deal. Everyone does it. Yes, even the baby) ;)
Made the biggest Lego battleship.
Jumped the highest on the trampoline.

WHY? Why does it matter?

Because it does. And much is accomplished when guys are pushed by a drive to do better. Does it need to be channeled and managed? Yes. But it doesn't have to be squelched.

The silly? The loud? The imaginative? The endless talk about

Mine craft
Their imaginary friend
What-would-happen-if _______________

I know it's investing in deeper relationships with them as they grow up. I know it's good. And sometimes? My brain feels like it is about to melt.

K asks me 10,000  several times a day what I am going to do tomorrow, what I am going to do right now, and what I am going to do after breakfast/lunch/supper/the laundry/bedtime. I know this is his way of having a connection with me. He is communication and ordering his world. But after the fifth time......

My mornings are fresh and I have new resolve. It's after about 8 hours I am done.
Need to breath, need some me time. 

What if we are ok answering 15 questions, but by #16 we start to snap back?

What is we are super fresh and full of self control and kindness in the morning, but after 8 hours or so we have used it up. Can't do it anymore?

And that scripture that talks about our entitlement to "me time"..... oh wait.

Renewing our minds? Yes. Refreshing our spirit and coming up for air? Indeed. But I am challenged with where I think I need to get that refreshment.

I know the answer. I know where I need to renew my strength. I know I can't do this alone. Practically "getting this" and really applying it is the process I currently find myself a part of.

I've always been the "stay at home mom who is hardly ever home". -During the fall and winter I am there with the guys in the morning, and when they get home from school. But other than that - I am constantly on the go. Imagine that. A stay at home mom who.... stays home. ;)