Friday, March 25, 2011

One of Those Days...

 Today has been one of those days for me.  You know the ones.  Where nothing seems to work in your favor, nothing of any real importance is accomplished, and every square inch of your house is covered with dirt, dust, or a spiderman toy.  (That's not just my house, right?)

I woke up this morning with such high hopes!  I was in a rather chipper mood and, after having my much-needed cup of coffee, I was determined to get some big items checked-off of my to-do-list.  (Are you a to-do-list person?  I so am.  There's just something gratifying about crossing off things I've needed to get done.  It's the little things in my life, ok?)  The biggest things on my list had to do with Seth's upcoming first birthday party. Part of my plan was to set up our dining room.  Here's how it looked at the beginning of the day:

So, I set out with these things to do and that may have been mistake #1.

Who knew that 2 out of my 3 boys would wake up with pink eye?  Or that the 3rd one, the only one without pink eye, would throw up in the very back of my car in the middle of traffic?  Who knew that after a seemingly innocent trip to Hobby Lobby I would wind up back in my car (the throw up car) crying a flood of tears because they refused to accept my return? These are the things nobody tells you to expect at the beginning of a day.  Although, as a mom with 3 kids five and under, shouldn't I expect these things to happen every day and be excited when I have a "normal" day?  Maybe my perspective needs to change.

Needless to say, my to-do-list is staring at me right now.  Untouched. Not a line crossed off. This is what my dining room currently looks like.  I'm sure you'll notice the huge change:

Thankfully, I don't have too many of these days.  But it's on days like these that I do wonder how people manage without a relationship with Christ.  I know that even on the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-days, these little hiccups (and they are indeed very, very little) draw me to a closer walk with my Savior.  He teaches me so many lessons on days like this!  If I pray for patience, as I so often do, will God simply grant me patience?  He could, but I don't think that's how he chooses to work.  Instead, when I pray for patience, he gives me an opportunity to be patient.  Or when I pray for joy, he gives me an opportunity to be joyful.  And it almost always happens in moments where I'd rather be anything but joyful.  Like when my kid pukes in the car.

Jesus teaches me in these moments.  And he gives me hope for a new tomorrow! (Hopefully one that includes a clean(er) house, no pink eye, and a little less throw up).

"I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken." Psalm 62:5-6  
My heart is so completely content in knowing that HE is my rock, my fortress.  And that while days like today shake me up, they don't shake him up at all.

Guess what else I didn't know would happen today?  Who knew that my sweet, wonderful 5 year old son would see my stress-level rising and take it upon himself to cheer me up with this:

4 "flowers" from my boy.  We'll wait till he's a little older to tell him that those are, in fact, weeds.  But, those weeds, they made my day.

Noah...I love him.  Puke and all. :)


Monday, March 14, 2011

Boys and Manners

I realize that as a mom to 3 boys there comes a time, and rightly so, where I can no longer instill certain qualities into them, but my husband can. That a time comes, for all boys, where they start clinging to dad more and wanting to participate in the "guy-things."  And this is right, it is natural, and I am all for it.  But during those few precious years that they actually desire to be with me more than anyone else, I am determined to instill certain elements of refinement into them.

Manners, for instance.

We are big on please and thank you.  And I am a southerner, so having my boys say yes-mam, no-mam, yes-sir, and no-sir are at the top of the priority list for me.  I also have a running list of things we do not say.  "Gentlemen," I assure my boys, "do not say fart in front of a lady.  And I am a lady."

I try my best to influence this house full of testosterone toward a civil and respectable upbringing.  But occasionally it works the other way around and I find myself saying things that only a boy should say.

For example: this past Friday I got together with my Bunko group.  They are 16 of the most beautiful women I know (inside and out).  I could write a whole blog bragging on how great each one of them is.  Maybe I will one day.  But I digress.  Bunko is the night each month that I desperately need both as a mom and a woman.  It's nice being around other humans who appreciate the finer things in life.  Like lipstick and flat irons.

Anyways, we get together once a month for dinner and to play bunko.  This past Friday, towards the end of the evening, we were looking for one of our girls who'd gone missing somewhere in the house.  We couldn't start playing without her.  And before I knew what was flying out of my mouth, and before reason could take over, I yelled (at an awkwardly quiet moment), "MAYBE SHE'S ON THE POT!"  As soon as I said it, I ducked my head in shame and horror.  And I quickly reminded my 16 friends (well, was on the pot, remember) that, pardon me, I live with 4 boys, sometimes I have no manners.

This bothers me on 2 levels: (1) that I said it. (2) that I would even think to say it.

What's funny about this entire scenario, though, is that we do not say "pot" in our house.  If, in fact, one of my boys ever tried to refer to the toilet as a pot, I'd correct them.  And here I am, a full grown "lady," and I didn't just use it in a casual conversation, no. I yelled it in my friends house in front of women who, prior to that moment, probably thought of me as someone with pretty good manners.  Internally I tried blaming it on the fact that there's no other estrogen in my household besides my own. That I'm outnumbered. That this was bound to happen.  I am becoming like them!

But of course, that's not the truth.  I am still determined to teach my boys a little about refined things.  These are the things, I know, that do not necessarily make or break a man's character. But for my sake, and the sake of my future daughter-in-laws, I am working hard to get these good habits into my boys. To teach them about manners and decency.  To not burp at the dinner table. To put their dishes away after every meal.  To put the seat down after using the pot.  Er....toilet.

                             p.s.  This sign might need to be posted in every little boys bathroom.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Line-Up...

Because the main idea of this blog is to document the strange and hilarious things my boys do, and because I think they are so darn cute, I thought it would be appropriate to officially introduce them to you. So, here's the line-up:
This is Noah: our first-born, the one who first made us happy to be parents, the one who still makes us laugh everyday.  It's been amazing to see how all of our kids, but particularly Noah, have embodied the meanings of their names.  Noah means "to bring rest and peace to God's people." And while he is every bit a 5 year old little kid who likes to catch bugs, jump in any puddle he sees, eat worms (yes, you read that right), and play in the dirt, Noah has always had this underlying desire to be peaceful.  He's had more of an opportunity to do this as he now has 2 younger brothers. But even back in the days when it was just me, the husband, and Noah (what sweet days those were!), he had a peaceful spirit.  He really made the transition into parenthood easy for us.  And then along came our next little guy...

Here's boy #2: Jackson. Oh, how to describe Jackson?  Let me just say this about our sweet 2 1/2 year old middle child: he taught us, and continues to teach us, that no two children are the same.  I'm not sure what I expected after having such an easy first child, but I guess I sorta thought they would  have similar personalities.  WRONG.  Dead wrong.  From the blonde curly hair and fair skin, to the strong-headed, do-it-himself personality, Jackson is his own person.  As he's gotten older, it's plain to see that he is taking after his dad.  He loves motorcycles, guitars, and any sport that includes a ball. ( He also loves to dance.  And I have no idea where he gets that from.  My husband denies this trait, but I have my suspicions.) Jackson has taught me patience and more than anything else, grace.  Grace for him, but especially for other parents who have strong-headed children. Gone are the days where I look at people in Wal-Mart with a screaming kid and think "they must be bad parents."  Because, not only has it happened to me, but chances are it will happen again. And I could sure use people looking at me with a little grace as I do my best to teach Jackson, even in Wal-Mart, how to control the fire God has put in him.   And that brings me to our newest little guy...

Meet Seth.  He is 11 months old at the moment and will be celebrating his first birthday in a few short weeks.  He has an uncanny resemblance to his bigger brother, Noah, and his personality, thus far, sure is a lot like Noah, as well. Seth was a surprise for us from the moment we found out I was pregnant to the moment he was born.  Unlike the previous pregnancies, we decided to wait until his birth to find out the gender of this surprise child I was carrying.  My sweet husband was convinced this was our girl.  I, however,  was in limbo the entire time.  I had no idea, much to my frustration, what was inside my belly.  And then, after 9 brutal months of wondering and waiting, he arrived.  My awesome OB let my husband be the first to see the baby's anatomy and then announce it to me.  I will never forget my husband as he said "It's a...a boy? What?"  I love that he phrased it in question form when he announced it to me, as if there may be some dispute about it.   And as I recall I laid there and said "of course it's a boy" as if I'd known the entire time.  Of course, I had no idea, but still it was as if it settled on me in that instant that this was my life. A life destined for camping trips, baseball games, and blue jeans.  Or maybe that was just the morphine talking. I can't be sure.  But Seth, our sweet little Seth, has been the perfect surprise for us.  He is what made us the Friesen Five, after all.