remember this

There is a time to treasure every fleeting minute of their childhood. Just eighteen precious years to inspire and train them. We will not exchange this birthright for a mess of pottage called social position, or business success or professional reputation. An hour of concern today may save years of heartache tomorrow, the house will wait, the dishes will wait, the new room can wait, but children don’t wait. There will be a time when there will be no slamming of doors, no toys on the stairs, no childhood quarrels, no fingerprints on the wallpaper. Then may we look back with joy and not regret. God give us wisdom to see that today is the day with our children. That there is no unimportant moment in their lives. May we know that no other career is so precious, no other work so rewarding, no other task so urgent. May we not defer it nor neglect it, but by Thy Spirit accept it gladly, joyously, and by Thy grace realize that the time is short and our time is now, for children won’t wait!

Children Won’t Wait, by Helen Young

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Mother Blessing

I’m planning a mother blessing (some say Blessingway, but please don’t call it that.) for a dear friend and am thinking about birth–babies–blessings…I’m getting so excited.

I hope tomorrow will be as meaningful and wonderful as I am striving towards.
I’ll give you a sneak peek (identifying details changed, of course)

(Isn’t that the sweetest baby bummie ever?–It’s Aviana’s, who just lost her third tooth today; one of her top front ones which definitely makes it look like I’m saying farewell to that baby forever…)

I love bellies and babies and birth (and words that start with B) (and parentheses, apparently). I have a dream of someday being a midwife.
Right now with four small children and one of them very attached (to the breast) is not the stage of life when I am feeling like I can begin that journey, but I love being around expecting women and supporting them, watching their glow and inner growth as they bring a new soul into the world.
In Spanish, one of the ways to say “give birth” is dar la luz, which literally translated into English is “to give light.”
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I should have said

Yes, I know we just washed the window, but making your breath appear on it is so cool, and you have to touch it in order to see properly.

Even though that floor has just been mopped, it’s no big deal that you dripped pumpkin cookie dough all over; I love that you’re helping.
It’s totally ok that you lifted the mixer out of the batter. I know I’ve told you what would happen, but who doesn’t love a cookie dough rainstorm?
It’s fine that you knocked over the Christmas tree. Twice.
No, it’s not too noisy; it’s great that you’re STILL tap dancing.
I don’t mind that I JUST told you to sit on the potty and when I got distracted you disobeyed and disappeared. I’m so blessed to be changing diapers.
Go ahead and use all the blankets and pillows in the house to make the squishiest fort ever. We don’t need to keep anything “nice”.
I love that you love me so much you want to be right beside me all. the. time.
That’s how much I love you too.
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Ah. The children are all outside playing with Dada. I love winter. He has time to play.

It has been a long day. Everyone was screaming and fussing first thing this morning. That level of noise and defiance is hard to bear any time of day, but it’s especially dreadful first thing in the morning. And it seemed to last forever.

In a way, the hysteria is hysterical. Aviana completely losing it because her lego staircase won’t stay together. Cadrian stomping and screaming and clapping because I won’t hold him while I commence my day. Brielle whining because she wants juice or a shake and nothing else will do. I can’t help but laugh at my children sometimes–partially just to maintain my sanity.

I wonder if God is ever tempted to laugh at me. I mean, He breathed the stars into being and created the Mariana Trench and I’m stressing because we lost a library book. It helps me put it all in perspective and let go a little.

Like when I discovered Cadrian gleefully tossing plant dirt all over the living room while I was reading to the girls two feet away, I didn’t even freak.

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A Beautiful Song for Mamas

From the songstress: This is a song I wrote for my two precious daughters, Lucia and Pearl. We sing it a lot around the house! It is the first song I have completed toward an independent album I am working on. You can keep updated on my facebook page at or at…
or at

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Sleep. Anyone? Anyone?

I thought our little son was the best sleeper. I thought. Compared to his sisters, it’s actually true. Sleep has always been a struggle at our house when our children are babies and toddlers. My very first blog post was about sleep, and I only had one child then!

This picture is Brielle at 10 months. I was trying to train her to sleep in her crib at nap time. She was by that point sleeping in her crib at night, but she fought her naps so hard, she would make herself vomit (you can kind of see some in the picture if you care to look hard enough). She would cry for 90 minutes and sleep for 30. Not an ideal situation.

I read soooo many books about it, and nothing really seemed to help. Brielle wasn’t really even napping by 14 months. I have sleep horror stories!

So on to Cadrian. He’s a self scheduled baby. He pretty much comes to me at 9 o’clock on the dot to be put down for his morning nap. Same thing at 2 o’clock. He even does it at bedtime too. He’s our first baby to be put to bed awake and who will put himself to sleep. BUT.

He was nursing SO often in the night when he was sleeping with us, I was feeling really tired. Really, really tired. He was 10 months, plenty old enough to sleep through the night. We moved him to his crib, which is in a corner of our room. Ever since then, we have been sleeping in the guest room, and I’ve been getting up with him at 4 o’clock in the morning. (Sometimes he sleeps later, but he’s trained me to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning.) He usually goes back to sleep after nursing, but I can’t.

If we don’t sleep in the guest room, and try to sleep in our own room, he wakes up at least three times in the night. Last night it was five. He will Not Settle without being nursed. He escalates to terrified horror movie shrieks within minutes if he isn’t picked up. I’m beyond exhausted, I tell you.

I am at an utter loss. I am so tired, I’m perma-cranky. I have The No-cry Sleep Solution coming any day now. Maybe you can help me see another solution.

Incidentally, we don’t really have another place for the crib. Our upstairs doesn’t have heat, and anyway all the rooms but the guest room are icky. The guest room doesn’t have room for a bed and a crib. Aviana’s quiet time is also in the guest room, and Cadrian wouldn’t nap if she were in there.

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You are Free to Roam about the Country

Or at least your back yard.

Have you heard of this lady? That’s Lenore Skenazy. She got “in trouble” a while back for letting her nine year old son ride the NYC subway by himself. You can watch a clip of the “much ado” if you like.

Since then, she has written a book and started a blog both called Free Range Kids.

I was wide awake, long past my bedtime, due to a nap yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time perusing the website. I had no idea there was such a controversy about this.

If you’ve never heard of the concept of “Free Range Kids” (kind of catchy, isn’t it?), you’ve probably never heard of the “helicopter parent” either. At opposite ends of the spectrum, the helicopter parent never lets their child out of their sight, hovers if you will. The extreme heli-parent gives the child a ride to school even if it’s only a block, puts a helmet on their child while on a tricycle, stays within arms reach at the playground at all times, and carries sanitizer in a holster.

The Free Range Parent gives their child room to explore, room to find their own sense of independence and love of the world. The extreme Free Range Parent then would let their toddler cook dinner over the stove, play with knives and guns, climb cliffs naked, and walk to pre-school unattended.

Of course most people are at neither extreme.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and shockingly, I’m a “free range parent”. And yet, according to some, I’m overprotective. No doubt about it, I am very protective.

Statisticly, there were 36.4 million elementary school aged children in the U.S. in 2004. In 2006, 115 of them were abducted by strangers. 40% were killed. This means the “Stranger Danger” we hear about? Nonexistent.


From Ms. Skenazy’s blog: If you, for some strange reason, WANTED your child to be KIDNAPPED AND HELD OVERNIGHT BY A STRANGER, HOW LONG WOULD YOU HAVE TO LEAVE HIM OR HER OUTSIDE, ALONE AND UNSUPERVISED HERE IN AMERICA, FOR THIS TO BE STATISTICALLY LIKELY TO HAPPEN? The answer, crunched for me by Warwick Cairns, author of How to Live Dangerously is this: 750,000 years.It’s more likely my child will be struck by lighting or attacked by a shark. And we live in a land locked state.

It’s not that being kidnapped is the only thing to fear. I personally know of several families in which a small child was killed or severely injured by being run over in their own driveway. Letting your child be more independent than most of us Gen Xers allow for our kids is definitely not the norm. We tend to veer more toward the helicopter end of the spectrum. I understand that.

I let my baby play in the dirt. It gets in his mouth. I let him explore the mulch, rain water in the wagon, green apples from the tree. I let him eat off the floor. I let my five year old and two year old play outside while I’m inside. I let them be in a different part of the library than I am. I give my children responsibilities and expect them to be team players in our home to give them a sense of accomplishment and independence.

I realize that the country is different from the city too. I “roamed” as a child. We played all over our neighborhood all summer long.

I was exposed to my first porn while being a “Free Range Kid”.

This is why I’m protective. I’m not all that worried about my children’s physical safety. I am EXTREMELY concerned about my children’s mental and emotional safety. Especially while they are so young and don’t have any discernment of their own right now. I monitor everything they read, watch and see. We talk about what they watch and what we read, and then we watch or read it again, and talk about it some more.

I fast forward through the scary parts in the movies we do watch (like the chase scene in Cinderella). We don’t watch TV, except for Curious George, bless his cotton pickin’ heart, who comes on right when I need to make dinner. When he’s on in the summertime though, it’s still daylight, and the kids are outside playing.

I don’t do babysitters, except for family. I’m very picky about who I do playdates with.

When my kids get older, I sure hope they will think the irony is funny.

Sure, go ahead and play in the creek all day, use Dada’s saw and drills all you want, climb that tree and jump out of it onto the trampoline, but you’re not doing any overnights with people whose hearts I don’t know.

I guess I’m a Fr-Heli-Range Parent.

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Me: on Mothering

Well, it’s 2:20 a.m. Yes. I was so exhausted, that after nursing Cadrian and putting him to bed at 7, (yes, seven) I lay down for a bit and woke up after 11. And now I’m still awake. Nice, huh?

Seeings how it’s the middle of the night, what better time for some philosophical ramblings?Sit and Spin. Bare skin. Rain. It’s a win-win.

One of my philosophies on mothering is that is should be fun. Lots of fun. Spontaneous fun. We sometimes spend an entire morning doing chores, and we sometimes spend an entire morning on the couch reading books. We sometimes break out the glittery tatoos for no reason in particular, or paint butterflies and ladybugs on our faces because it sounds like fun. We sometimes go to the park, sometimes we do crafts, sometimes we play games and we sometimes bake. I have a routine to the day, but I also go with the flow. Sometimes I am stern and sometimes I am gleeful, but it is almost always fun. I want to give my children a magical childhood. One where they grow up thinking that every day is the best day of the year.
Along those same lines, I want to teach my children the joy of the Lord. Joy is something different than being happy. Happiness is temporal. It depends on your mood. If you had a good day, you’re happy. If you had a rotten day, you’re not. It depends on things that happen to you. It depends on the externals of your life. If you focus on happiness, you might think, I’ll be happy when the kids are older and less demanding. I’ll be happy when I have a different job. I’ll be happy if I can just….

Joy is different. Joy is internal. The Joy of the Lord is unable to be taken from you. Trusting Him, knowing He will give me the strength to get through whatever I need to get through, gives me joy.

And speaking of strength, check out those muscles! I think the lacy socks especially, give her that “I’m super tough!” air she was going for.
Most importantly, I want to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Depending on the translation you prefer, this verse also says “nourish them, bring them up tenderly in Christian discipline, nurture, teaching, chastening, correction, and admonition of the Lord.

This is a tall order being the failed sinner that I am. Thank God for His grace, which I rely on daily. I do the best I can in reaching my children’s hearts. I teach them right from wrong. I encourage them when they do right, and discipline when they do wrong. Discipline doesn’t necessarily equate punishment. Sometimes it does, and while there is always a consequence for our actions, I rely on the Holy Spirit to help me to know what it should be.

I’m not perfect. I mess up. I sometimes am too strict or lose my temper or miss an opportunity for correction, but I live by grace, and so do my children.

The Bible is my guidebook. Among other things, I teach them honesty (lying is listed twice on the List of Seven Things God Hates), patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, compassion, humility.

Right now we’re working on memorizing 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. It’s amazing how many opportunities in a day with a two and four year old there are to say, “Is that kind? Was that loving?” “Did you just demand your own way? Was that loving?” “Are you being patient? Is that loving?”

Of course, I want children who say “please” and “thank you” excuse me” and know how to use their silverware who are fun to be around and who don’t embarrass me in public, but more than life itself, I want children who love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind.

I work on constantly pointing them to God, because He knows, Mama ain’t got nothin’ on Him. That’s what I do.

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No More Whining!

I just finished reading Don’t Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman. I was nosing around on her website and found she has a no more whining kit. Good idea.

Her plan is pretty much this:
1-Tell your child you love them too much to speak like that.
2-Tell them they may come back and ask for whatever in a self controlled voice in three minutes. Set a timer.
3-Never give in to the whining!
You can hear more about it during this interview.

Whining really isn’t too much of an issue in our home (we have plenty of other issues to make up for it). My plan is simply this:
1–I don’t even answer the question or complaint. I stop them right there, looking into their eyes. I tell the child that whining isn’t a respectful way to speak to me. (I like self controlled voice better, so I think I’ll be switching to that.)
2–Sometimes I then talk to them in a hugely exaggerated whine so she can hear how it sounds, and how ugly it is.
3–I model a pleasant tone, and have them say what I want to hear in the pleasant tone. I then give exuberant positive feedback when they speak nicely, and respond to their request.
4–NEVER give in to the whining.

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