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Posts Tagged ‘birthdays’

Is this Normal?

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Ten years ago, I brought two babies into the world. I prayed for twins and got them. The sense of fullness and completeness I felt as I held a baby in each arm is indescribable.

From the very start Ethan and Owen were completely different in their personalities and yet they’ve always got along beautifully. Even as babies they would look out for one another.

You can believe it when people say that twins are double the trouble, though. Together, those little munchkins could do anything. If they couldn’t reach something, then one would lay down so the other could climb on top. I’m serious! But they’ve been double the blessing too. I don’t regret praying for twins.

We had all the usual birthday stuff today: balloons, fruit faces (see Birthday Crazies ), presents. The kids even convinced me that they should have a day off of school and watched a movie instead.

When Kevin got home from work, he called me outside to see the helium balloons in the back of his work truck. He sheepishly told me that the balloons were cheaper if you bought the theme pack. There were two round spider-man balloons, two red stars, and one awesomely cool—and massive—spider-man shaped balloon.

Somehow the biggest balloon got away from the others, and Kevin and I stared stupidly at each other for a moment as the ribbon slipped out of reach. We watched the balloon spiral in awkward loops as it rose over the house.

Suddenly, Kevin sprinted towards the house. “I’m going to shoot it down!” he yelled back at me.

I followed him and called to the kids. “Come outside quick and see the spider-man balloon that’s floating away!” Everyone stormed outside, and we watched the balloon soaring higher and higher into the sky as their Dad tried to shoot it down.

I don’t even make this stuff up. My life really is this hilarious.

After dinner, my sugar high kids turned out the lights and ran around in the dark with glow sticks. Then the boys found out that the sticky hands and hex bugs that they got for their birthday were glow-in-the-dark too. The wild mayhem lasted and hour, and I laughed the whole time.

Yeah. My job rocks. 🙂

 

Is it any wonder people thought I had two sets of twins?

Is it any wonder people thought I had two sets of twins?

 

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Last night as my husband blew up the birthday balloons, I pulled out the gifts to wrap for my oldest daughter. Groan. The children had beat me to the wrapping paper, and there were only a few shreds left. There was a time when this situation would have left my sick with stress…

My mother used to make us beautiful birthday cakes in the shapes of animals. I think that I got it into my head that being a good mom meant that everything had to be just perfect for a birthday.

I am someone who wings everything, so the combination of perfectionism and me is just a disaster waiting to happen. My children’s first few birthdays were pretty miserable. I was worried about the presents not being good enough and about the cake not being pretty enough and about there not being enough people at the party.

One year I put too much cake batter in the pans, and the batter overflowed and burned in the bottom of the oven. It was a laugh or cry moment as I sat looking at the ugliest cake imaginable with the acrid smoke burning my eyes.

I realized then the birthday wasn’t ruined because the cake was. The birthday was never about the cake—it was about celebrating my daughter.

IMG_1914[1]Soon after that, I read a magazine article that talked about the importance of traditions that made the birthday child feel special. We began to implement some traditions on the next birthday—all of them to let the birthday child know that they are loved.

One fun tradition that we have is the Fruit Face. I arrange fruit in a bowl in the shape of a face and place it in front of the birthday child at breakfast. These aren’t works of art; they’re just silly and fun, and they make everyone laugh. It’s just one of the little ways that I say, “I love you.”

As I reflected on my daughter’s fourteenth birthday and the presents wrapped in flyers, I realized that it wasn’t at all stressful like birthdays used to be. I have learned that birthdays aren’t about having everything perfect; they’re about showing love—and that’s something we have an abundance of.
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Part of me was hoping for a dramatic ending to the day’s scenario. (Wouldn’t pictures of a splintered door make for an exciting blog post?!) But, as it happened, my son quietly appeared after an hour and a half and ran outside to play. He emerged calm and cheerful and we had a wonderful day.

Doesn’t it just give rest to your soul knowing that our sovereign and loving God, both opens, and closes the doors in our lives. His timing is perfect. His ways are perfect.

I’ll end with a few pictures from the day.

Joel helping Myra open presents.

Joel helping Myra open presents.

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The cake that Myra made and iced.

The cake that Myra made and iced.

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April 10th 2013, 11:00 am

I’m curious about how this day will turn out and decided to write this journal style. I’m inwardly laughing and I know that I shouldn’t be!

It is Myra’s 13th birthday today. (Wow, thirteen years ago I became a mom!) One of my 8 year old sons tends to go wild when the routine changes and he doesn’t handle excitement very well. I noticed that he was starting to get really hyper over all the birthday excitement. “I’ve got to get things under control.” I said to myself.

Too late…

My son got in an argument with a sibling and stomped off to his room. I pushed against the door and found it wouldn’t budge. “Please move away from the door,” I said and then gave the door a harder shove.

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“I’m not against the door,” was the reply. That’s when I noticed that solitary seeking son had wedged screw drivers under the door, and that I, had gotten them stuck tight by pushing against the door.

I’ll admit. I really haven’t tried very hard to open the door. There was room under the door to pass some school work and pencils and I will be able to give him some food, (crackers anyway.) Things are wonderfully calm and peaceful and I think that it is a fitting consequence for the aforementioned outburst.

I find it absolutely hilarious and I’ve had a terrible time trying to keep a straight face around the children. I am reminded about being locked in a bathroom with a friend when I was about his age (maybe a little older.) We were there for hours and hours and my friend’s brother threw us cherries through the window, (that was unfortunately too small to get out of.) Finally we were rescued when a family friend broke down the door. It’s a good memory. Maybe that’s why I’m laughing inside. He’s making memories!

I also know that my husband will not see the humor in it, especially if he has to break down the door…

Oh my… I’m sure I’ll never grow up!

To be continued…

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I’m writing this on the eve of my baby’s first birthday. Is it really a year since sweet baby Joel swept into our lives?

It feels like time has been playing tricks on me. It just doesn’t seem logical the way the days fly past like so many leaves in an autumn wind.

I remember when I only had two little ones and the days were so long. I loved playing with my babies and being a mom, but, I always found PIC_1543myself looking ahead. “It will be easier when she is six months old, a year, three years…” I would think to myself. And in many ways it was, but now that my little girl is almost thirteen, I realize that those years are all to short and I can never have them back.

God has a beautiful lesson for us to learn in this season of busyness, that of dying to oneself. I am tempted to chafe at times when the children are sick and I am up out of bed umpteen times in the night, but then I remember that it is just a season and I can redeem those sleepless nights with prayer.

Sometimes it’s hard to see past the trials and hardship of fulltime motherhood, but there is so very much more if we choose to look for the moments of joy. There is nothing like the thrill I get when I slip into Joel’s room to get him after his nap. Sometimes he’s lying down playing with his fingers or sitting looking expectantly for me, and then our eyes meet and his whole face lights up with delight. {dreamy sigh}

Life with little ones is filled with the unexpected. Three year olds are so wonderfully witty and curious. Giggles abound. A simple walk outside is filled with wonder: a bug, a rock, a cloud.

I don’t say to myself anymore, It will be easier when…

Now I pray, Oh Lord, help me to make the most of this time.

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P.S. I took most of these pictures on Tuesday. Yes, we still have that much snow! 🙂

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A Time To Play

I always find that I spend time in deep reflection on the eve of my children’s birthdays. It is a little painful to realize how quickly they are growing. It is when I become acutely aware of the passage of time, a lot like when the leaves fall from the trees and I say good-bye to a summer that will never be seen again.

William’s third birthday came and went a week and a half ago. He could remember Myra and Melanie’s birthdays and was delighted to know that the balloons were in celebration of his birthday. We sang “Happy Birthday” to him and he beamed. What a special three years it has been!

It is at times like this that I realize that this is, and will be, the pinnacle of my life. It is when I realize that the days, the weeks, the years, are slipping past like the sand in an hour glass.  For the rest of my time here I will look back on these crazy, busy, wonderful years with a smile in my eyes and an ache in my heart.

I am very privileged to have several dear friends whose children are grown. They have so much wisdom to share with me, but perhaps the thing that they most want me to know is that these years when I am surrounded by my little ones are short, so very short. Their message to me is to enjoy this time, and yet I often forget, and the realization that the time is passing quickly sneaks up on me and surprises me every time!

I have found that the best way to really enjoy my children is to be play with them. I don’t know why, but I find taking the time to play with my children is very hard to do. It feels like I’m not accomplishing anything, but in reality it is connecting the hearts of my children to mine and that is one of my most important tasks here on earth.

So here’s to a summer of tickling my baby, playing tag, building castles out of cushions and sheets and splashing in the water. I want to look back on this summer and know that we played together, that we laughed together, that we had fun together. 🙂

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I know it’s what everyone says as the watch their babies growing up, but really, I don’t know where the time has gone. Tomorrow my little one turns two, and I am filled with a strange mix of joy and sadness. I am joyful for the milestones reached and the wonderful journey it has been and will continue to be, but I am taken aback by how quickly it is all happening. Every time I go through William’s clothes I am reminded that he’s leaving his babyhood behind.

I always feel this way just before my children celebrate their birthday’s, especially those of my youngest and oldest. I wonder if I am making the most of this precious time that I have with them. Are we concentrating on the important things?

You might be thinking, “Uh, oh, the terrible two’s!” But I love having a two year old in the home. I am of the opinion that every home should have one. 🙂 It’s such an incredible time of wonder and discovery of laughter and fun. It’s a time of growing independence, but also of needing Mommy for a cuddle after waking up or falling down.

And so… I say good-bye to William’s babyhood with a tinge of sorrow, but I am looking ahead with joy to the new adventures we will have.


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