What have you found in your car?

Me: “Sam, do you want to go see pirates and princesses at the beach tomorrow? There will be bounce houses.”

Sam: “I don’t know what’s on my schedule tomorrow.”

Me: “You are 8 years old. You dont have a schedule. I make it for you.”

I think my tween believes she runs her own life, for real. That she makes her own schedule and does what she wants. That makes me LOL. Are all tweens like that? This is my first experience raising a tween, so I have no clue.

My mom offered me some M&Ms.

Me: “No, I’m back on that no sugar diet.”

Sam: (acting concerned) “Why are you having a baby?”

Hahaha. Sam. She doesn’t understand the purpose of a diet. And if I was pregnant, I would eat all the chocolate in sight.

So, I put the kids to bed early tonight and decided to tackle cleaning my car. Few things scare me more than what I might find in the third row of my car. I know I’m not alone in this. I could share some pretty scary stories about what I’ve found in the third row of my car.

Who would survive a zombie apocalypse if one were to break out? Me. I’ve got enough fries in the back seat of my car to deter zombies for days. DAYS.

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How tired are you?

I was so wrong in thinking I was tired during the school year trying to balance work and babies.

Nothing, NOTHING compares to the exhaustion of summer.

My main mission of the summer began as I need to do whatever possible to keep my kids busy. Today that backfired on me. I am chasing around three kids while they are playing. Of course my husband has to work, so I am taking them to church, the pool, etc by myself. The only thing that is saving me at this point in the day is bedtime.

My kids go and go and go without stopping. I am tired just watching them. They are holding multiple WWE matches daily. My boys are learning how to bite each other, so I am dealing with that also.

Before my husband left for work, he reassured me that I was strong, independent and I could handle the kids on my own. He’s going to rake me over the coals on this one, but he’s got it easy just going to work. Taking care of the kids on my own is a whole other kind of insanity. He tells me to ask for help, but this is something I struggle with. I want help, I NEED help, but sometimes asking for it is out of my comfort zone.

I don’t think I am alone in the fact that I struggle to ask for help. I try and do it all, all of the time. By myself. I don’t know what it is and why I can’t bring myself to ask. On the other hand, I feel like I can nag my husband all day long to do stuff (I know I’m not alone in that one!).

On my way to church today, there was a man was talking about Paul. If you know the biblical story of Paul, you know that he was imprisoned. However, from his imprisonment God used him in powerful ways. This is so important because God can use people in the situation they were put in. I have been reflecting on this with my kids. Even through my life is insane, I still have opportunities to serve God in the place I am in.

How can I help you?

“I feel sorry for you.” A lady said to me today.

“One of your kids is missing a shoe.” Another lady said to me.

“I only had one kid. I can’t imagine doing what you do. How do you do it?” The first lady said to me.

I was lugging my four kids to the beach. I was confident I didn’t need help. Until Lincoln lost a shoe. And Ems ran ahead. I was insane doing this.

There is nothing like being able to have a little peace and quiet during the day. I have no clue what that’s like since I can’t even change in the bathroom alone without Emerson getting all into the suntan lotion.

Lincoln’s third birthday was today. Nolan is finishing off his second piece of birthday cake.

After dinner, Sam decided she wanted a smoothie. She went into the fridge and out spilled the pico. Onions and tomatoes were all over the floor.

My brother walks down. I told him not to go into the kitchen.

“Do I want to know what happened?” He laughed.

I don’t think I ever really want to know when it comes to my kids and messes.

After the fiasco with the pico, I catch Sam putting an ENTIRE apple from the compost pile and putting it into the smoothie. I literally can’t keep up.

All humor aside, I read this article about asking a mom “How do you do it all?” I get asked that question ALL OF THE TIME. So much in fact the question makes me nuts. In reality no one can do it all. Why do people ask? No one person is a superhuman. I certainly can’t do it all and I don’t do it all (even thought I try). So the article says that instead of asking that question, we should ask them “How can I help you?” I love that approach… because we could all use a little help. Some of us (me) more than others.

How to you pick a lock?

There is nothing quite like finding moldy, brown apples in Sam’s purse.

Sometime ago we must have went to McDonalds and she got apples and put them in her purse probably with the intentions of eating them later. She never did. I mean imagine if I had never looked in her purse. How gross would that be? I guess out of all the things I could find in my tweens purse, a moldy apple is better than other things. Am I right? It could be worse.

Today I discovered why we can’t have locks on the boys’ bedroom door.

Today I was doing the normal, giving baths and taking care of kids.

“Mommy!”

Who’s calling my name? I look around the house. Lincoln and Ems are in the living room. Where is Nolan? His bedroom door is shut. I put my hand on the door to open it. Its locked. He locked himself in the room.

I start to panic. How can I open this door? I grab a driver’s license and try to break in. It isn’t working. I cant slid the card around the lock. Should I kick the door in? No, Nolan is standing on the other side. He will get hurt. I’m yelling for him to try and unlock the door. He’s one, so I knew that wasn’t going to work. I’m praying and trying to think. I decide I am going to take apart the door knob. I get the screwdriver and get to work. I see his tiny hand slide under the door. He calls my name once more. I am hoping this works. It does eventually and I see him on the other side smiling.

Today I was looking in the mirror at the amount of gray hair I’ve got. It is rapidly doubling at a scary rate. I might be fully gray at 35.

Have you reached the top of the mountain?

It’s said Noah’s Ark is on the top of Mount Ararat. People for centuries either searched for it or said they’ve found it. But if someone wanted to go seek it, what would they need? They would need to know that the hike up the mountain would be dangerous, life threatening, take a lot of endurance and stamina…among a lot of other things. Most of all it requires faith. Hope that when you reach the top, that you might find something amazing. If you dont, you are left with disappointment. Disappointment is crushing.

Trekking through daily life with my kids is the same way. Everyday I feel all of these things. Raising kids feels like climbing a mountain. Like the biggest mountain that ever exsitsted. It’s tough. Its the toughest job ever. It requires faith. A lot of it. It requires endurance. There are so many things to endure. Watching your kids get an illness. Watching them have uncontrollable meltdowns. Sleeplessness (that’s a big one). Watching them grow up. TANTRUMS.

Is it life threatening? You bet. Having an 8 year old throw some large object at you is. Trying to avoid a fist fight among the toddlers while driving is dangerous. Watching your kid fly off the sofa at rapid speed takes YEARS off of your life. All the caffeine required to parent isn’t good for you either.

Disappointment comes when you are scrubbing pee off of the carpet when your 4 year old (who was potty trained) had an accident.

In the middle of all of it yesterday, I stumbled upon the book of Ephisians. I read Ephisians 4:11 which talks about the certain jobs people are called to do. Teachers, evangelists, people to prepare God’s people for works of service… Is this not all parenting is? When we get down to it, push everything aside and our only goal as parents is to raise our kids knowing and loving Jesus and living out his words. All the other stuff is second.

And the struggle of daily life and the chaos of kids? Matthew 6:33 tells us not to worry about tomorrow. Man, that’s powerful when parenting seems like your deep in climbing a never ending mountain.

Live day to day and worry about nothing at all because tomorrow will take care of itself.

Chasing toddlers counts as a workout, right?

Me: Lincoln, you can’t ride the dog like a horse.

There comes a time during my breaks from school that I feel rested and relaxed enough to go back to work. I love working. Even if I didn’t have to work because we could survive on one income, I would probably choose to work. It gives me a sense of purpose other than being just a mom.

I think I hit that point when I saw Lincoln try to ride my mom’s dog as a horse yesterday.

However, summer vacation is great for a lot of things like:

Cleaning out ALL of the french fries from the back of my mom mobile

Finish knitting a scarf I started over Christmas break (for real)

Cleaning my room (actually my husband did that one…his ADHD really comes in handy sometimes!)

Reading more of the bible and more time to go to church!

Getting my cardio in (chasing toddlers all day counts as a workout, right)

Sleeping in (7:30 wake ups from Linc and Nolie do count as sleeping in)

Date nights! (Movie nights at home count, right)

As a mom, I struggle to take time for myself and take breaks from my kids. I think breaks are vital. Breaks from work, breaks from kids, breaks from the everyday stuff. Date nights are good for marriages and time away from kids as a couple are good. It’s hard to find time to do these things. It’s not easy balancing all the things. But what I realized in having all these kids is you can’t pour from an empty cup. There are three important ways to fill that cup:

Pray for guidance and help (the MOST important thing)

Take breaks

Ask for help

I’m a total control freak. I hide it well but I love to be in control of every situation in life. It’s hard for me to ask for help. The last couple weeks of school I felt like I was the emptiest cup that ever was. I was tired, I felt like I was just surviving. I needed a break. Thank goodness for summer break. It gives me so much rest and relaxation. It gives me time to reflect. It gives me time to take up a hobby. In this case, its knitting. I’ve come to LOVE knitting… at the sake of sounding old.

I’ll be knitting this summer, unless I am picking Lincoln off of the horse… I mean dog.

Are you living your best life?

What if we all lived our live like Linc and Nolie?

They don’t care about messes. They make them and don’t stress about cleaning them up.

They don’t watch what they eat….they eat EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING IN SIGHT.

They play together (most of the time without fighting).

They don’t care about if they have dirt or food on their clothes… life goes on.

They eat as much birthday cake as they want…. and with their hands.

They don’t care where they play…I found them in a toy box today playing nicely.

They dont have a care in the world.

They are living their best life, right?

Not by a long shot.

It started with the preacher one Sunday morning at church. “You were saved to serve.” He said in his sermon. Saved to serve? What did that mean? How did it apply to me?

It’s summer vacation, of course. I’m looking on social media and people are posting about “living their best life”. I used to think that it meant vacations, money and things. Until that Sunday at church. And thinking about my own kids. And my job as a teacher, dealing with kids.

Living my best life is about serving the people around me. It means giving up my own wants and needs and putting others first. Serving others makes me really happy. It brings me a lot of joy when I am taking care of my kids. It’s a crazy life, but being a parent is a calling. Taking care of others is a calling. It is what we are designed to do. Why we are on this earth.

When stuff with the kids, life, finances gets crazy and stressful, I remember this one thing: I was saved by Jesus to serve others. It’s my main mission. It’s what it means to be living my best life.