Thursday, September 20, 2012

I don't have to scrub my baseboards anymore!

I am quite certain all of you are super excited to hear that I have finally come up with a "chore system" in my house.  Am I rocking your world yet?  Here is the's actually working.  It is simple, I can keep up with it, I love it and most importantly I am not scrubbing my baseboards anymore!

So since this has taken me nine years to figure out.  I thought I would share it.

Step #1:  I created a list of chores that my children must do every week.  Their chores range from taking trash out to making their beds.   They are not paid for these chores.  I explained that some chores get done just because they are part of a family.  I don't get paid to do the laundry.  However, when I work an additional job outside of being a wife and mom then I get money for those duties.

Step #2:  I made these:  I purchase these little magnetic bins that hang on my fridge(Dollar Tree).   Each child has a bin with clothes pins attached to it.  On the clothes pin I put a "job" with a value on it.  IF their family chores are done then they can earn money for the additional "jobs."  The beauty of this is I can look around the house and simple write down what is dirty at that moment. They can earn up to $5 per week.  Jobs range from .50 - $2.00 depending on the difficulty. When they have completed their job they take the note and put it in the bin so I can pay them.  They will receive their paycheck  every two weeks.

 Step #3:  I get this.  A child working hard on vacuuming all my stairs.  Look there is even a smile!

Step #4:  Payday we have them give 10% to God, 10% to savings and the rest is theirs to spend.

I know this is a silly blog post. I have struggled to find the right system.  I think this is going to work for my family.  Maybe you can't tell but.....I am super excited that I don't have to clean my baseboards anymore!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One piece missing!

Today I watched my three-year old put together a puzzle.  I literally watched her for about ten minutes without her knowing I was spying on her.  As a former preschool director I have literally watched hundreds of kids put together puzzles.  Today however, I watched with total amazement as my little girl put the puzzle together.  She was so focused, so driven, so cute!  

Each time she would grab a piece to place into the puzzle I would have a dialog with myself.  "No honey not that piece" or  "sweetie, turn it the other way."  It took everything in me to keep my mouth shut.  I was equally moved each time she fit a piece correctly. I wanted to shout that's my girl.   I had to remind myself to not say anything or the moment would be ruined.  

As she neared the end of her puzzle, all forty-eight pieces (yep, she is a genius).  She realized there was one piece missing.  I saw the frustration, the panic as she looked for the piece.  Again, I wanted to jump in and help her but I waited.  In total disappointment she came to me. Here is our conversation 

"Yes, Brielle."  
"I did the puzzle." 
 "Oh baby, I see you did do it.  It is amazing."  
"But Momma, it is missing a piece."  
"Yes, it is honey. I am sorry about that." 
 "Momma, do you know my puzzle was very hard to do?" 
 "Yes, I saw you working very hard on it. It looked tough."  
"Why is there a piece missing?' 
" Brielle I am not sure. Why do you think it is missing?"  
"Because I am not allowed to see the whole picture." 
"Why aren't you allowed to see the whole picture?"  
"Because I need you to help me find the missing piece."

Oh I know this conversation is not profound.  However, it struck me.  Lately, I have felt like my life is like a puzzle but it is missing pieces.  I have felt frustrated and panicky and even disappointed.  I want all of the pieces to fit together to create a beautiful picture.  I have worked hard to put the puzzle together.  Really hard!  I want the reward of seeing the completion.  

God is so gracious to me as He shows me His love through a silly puzzle.  You see as I have put together the puzzle of my life.  He has lovingly watched.  He allowed me to make mistakes and rejoiced with me when I got it right.  Today however, He just needed to remind me that without Him I am just a puzzle with one piece missing. He is all I need to complete my puzzle!

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him
and he will make your paths straight.

P.S.  I helped Brielle look for her puzzle piece.  We found it and it made a beautiful picture!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Caden and the No Good, Very Bad Birthday!

Today is Caden's eighth birthday. Eight years ago I became a mom. This role has defined me more than any role in my life aside from from being of wife. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult yet wonderful. It is tiring and exhilarating. It is hopeless and hopeful. It a role that can't be done half-heartedly, not even for a minute.

I love to celebrate my children. It is my favorite! Today was our turn to celebrate Caden. We asked him what he wanted to do, he wanted to go to a local "fun center", eat at Red Robin and have an ice cream cake. Great buddy sounds like a fun day, let's go! So off to the "fun center" go we. We get there and Aubrey said " Mommy my tummy doesn't feel well." Folks, if I had a dollar for every time my kids said this I would be a millionaire a million times over. "Ok sweetie, do you need to go potty?" "Yep, Mom I do." So we go potty and we begin our journey through the fun center. The only problem with the fun center wasn't so fun. Rides were broken, staff was less than great and our poor Aubrey was too small to do any of the fun stuff. I decided to see if we could get our money back and leave to go to another much better fun center. Caden was a good sport. He wasn't as disappointed with the place as we were but he wasn't the one who just spent $50 for most of the rides to not work. We did have our money returned and our plan was to go to Red Robin next. We get to Red Robin to be faced with a 40 minute wait time. We decided to stay because this is where Caden really wanted to eat. Aubrey again said her tummy didn't feel well, off to the potty again. She came out proclaiming she was fine. Lunch was ordered. First round of drinks and fries arrived and Aubrey says again she needs to go to the bathroom. I asked if she wanted me to come, she does not want me to go with her. Two minutes later she comes out and I say "are you OK? She points to her mouth and proceeds to throw up everywhere. At this point I am stuck because in order for me to help her I would literally have to slide across the throw up. I say " Carl take her to the bathroom." I flag down the waitress and start cleaning up what I can with napkins. Then I hear a scream from the bathroom. A loud, heard it across Red Robin during lunch crowd on a Sunday scream which I know is my daughter. I run to see what is going on leaving my other two children in the booth. Aubrey had gotten her fingers slammed in the door along with throwing up all over the bathroom floor. I run into the bathroom to help her and slip on the vomit. Carl tried to stop me from running in but at this point I was totally focused on helping her. (Carl couldn't go in because it was the ladies room, he originally tried to take her to the mens room but it was full) I get over to her and she is weeping. She looks up at me with her giant blue eyes and says "Mommy, I am sorry I ruined Caden's birthday!" My heart melts, I begin to cry. I say "Baby, you didn't ruin his day. It is no big deal. Let's clean you up and get out of here." So we clean her up and leave Red Robin. We get in the car and Caden says "Aubrey, I hope you feel better, I am sorry you are sick." He wasn't mad, he didn't have a pity party he simply took it in stride. He also was worried about his sister. He wasn't worrying that his birthday thus far had been a disaster.

I am so glad this day didn't go as planned. Oh, don't get me wrong I would have loved to skip the puke and whole smashed fingers incident in front of an entire restaurant. However, I learned so much about the hearts of the ones God has entrusted to me. I learned that they love each other and God more than themselves! That my friends is a precious glimpse of the adults I pray they become!

We did proclaim a birthday do-over for Caden. We will try this again in a couple of weeks. Let's hope I don't need to learn the same lesson twice!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Starbucks is Jesus!

I know you are all thinking that I am about to rave about how I love Starbucks. You may think I am about to recite my favorite beverage in such a fashion that it seems as though I am singing a song. Well friends I have news for you, I really dislike coffee. I probably have only spent about $20 at Starbucks in my whole life.

A friend of my friend recently and very unexpectedly lost her husband. He died tragically in her arms a few days before Christmas. She is a very eloquent writer and I have been following her blog as her words have given me so much insight into the heart, soul and emotions of someone who is recently widowed.

Today her blog was amazing. As a writer she frequented Starbucks. She spent many hours there writing and working. After her husbands death she went to write at "her" Starbucks and told an employee her story. She explained to him that her husband had died and there were very few places she could go but she could come here and feel safe. She thanked the employee. Several days later she returned to "her" Starbucks with her children, she spent time playing games and talking about their Daddy with them. A third time she returned to "her" Starbucks. The manager pulled her aside and told her I have something for you, she returned with a bin filled with games, crayons, toys etc. The manager explained that she knew how hard it is just to get the two children out of the house and wanted her to know that this bin would be at "her" Starbucks just for she and her children. "Just ask any barista to get it for you, they all know who you are and that it is just for you." Amazing!

So for those of you who love Starbucks, here is yet another reason to support them. Starbucks is Jesus.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do You Need a Muzzle?

Today I spent the day with my friend. We went clothes shopping and then on to Costco. While enjoying our greasy pizza and all too bad for you hot dog our conversation turned to an event that had happened to her that morning.

My friend was at her child's school and was holding his half eaten breakfast in her hand.That morning she had made him a "pancake on a stick", a piece of sausage with a pancake wrapped around it. She was taking his leftovers back to her car when a mother looked at her and said "corn-dogs for breakfast?" The tone was a not so kind, I am appalled at what you are feeding your child tone. I am sure many of you who have children know the tone I am speaking about. My friend graciously said " Nope it's a pancake on a stick." I am not sure I would have been so gracious.

Her story reminded me of a story of my own. When my son Caden was a year old we were vacationing in Pagosa Springs. It was a beautiful July day and we were headed to play miniature golf. We loving sun-screened him up and headed on our way. He was a bald baby and no hat would ever stay on his head because he hated hats. We were getting out of our car to go play our game when a lady screams out from her car " You better get a hat for that baby!" Are you kidding me I don't know you and you are yelling your criticism at me? My husband was with me that day. My husband is a wonderful guy. He however will not tolerate two things in this world. He will not tolerate his wife being disrespected or his children being treated poorly. This poor ladies comments did not go over well with him. Without missing a beat he yells out to the ladies husband "I think you need to get a muzzle for your wife." I am sure his response was not the most appropriate Christ-like response but I loved it!

I am so tired of how we mothers treat each other. We all have our opinions and so many days we think it is our right to let everyone know what we think. I too have struggled with this. I think I struggled with this more before I had children. I believe wholeheartedly that God gave me my first born to humble me. It has been a painful process. I try to remember that generally speaking I don't know what is best for other peoples children. God did not give me their children. He gave their them!

I was broken for my friend. Her life has been less than pleasant over the past year. I think she is doing a terrific job just getting out of bed and getting her child to school on time, with a lunch and homework done. I wondered if the lady who questioned her breakfast choice knew my friends story.

I do catch the irony that I am writing about my opinion. I understand that we all have opinions and at times those opinions are valuable. However, I just wish we would all be a bit more careful and remember that we might need a muzzle and not a megaphone!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Mirror

Today begins a journey.

I am determined to live a healthier lifestyle. I know I have said this a MILLION times before! If you have read my blog at all you know this topic is a reoccurring theme. Why? The reason is simple it the most prominent area in my life that is not fully surrendered to God. It nags at me daily. I have gotten very good at ignoring it.

God however is not letting me out so easily. Last night Carl and I had a very lengthy conversation about our health, the health of our children and what changes need to occur. During the course of our conversation Carl suggested that I find scriptures to memorize to help me when this change in my life becomes daunting. I sweetly smiled and agreed but truly didn't think much of the idea. I want to change but it's all the work involved that scares me!

On Mondays I am blessed to have a neighbor that takes Brielle for a few hours. Generally, I use this time to clean and organize. Today, I decided to spend a little time on myself. I indulged in a pedicure and just relaxed for an hour. I also decided that I am worth it so I went and got fast food. Huh? Isn't that a weird thought? It would be a strange thought to people who don't struggle with food. I am sure the others who have struggles with food addictions didn't even question that statement. So home I came with my bag of garbage. I ate my bag of garbage. Then it hit me...I was supposed to change today. I was supposed to start a new healthier lifestyle. I failed again. Typically, when failure occurs I run to more food.

Today was different. I ran to God. Three weeks ago my sister-in-law gave me a book on weight loss. I thanked her for the book and promptly laid it on my desk. It hadn't been opened. I decided that I would open the book. To my great surprise there were pre-printed scripture cards ready for my mind to absorb. God wants to help me on this journey if I will let Him. I began to read the book and it was all that I needed. It spoke of failure and how it has become my normal. It spoke about pressing onward toward the prize. I felt energized.

I decided to take a few minutes to journal. As I was writing I felt like God gave me a vision of my future. I know this may sound very strange to some of you. It seems a little weird to me too. For me a vision is like a dream only I am awake. I know what I "saw" is exactly what God is trying to teach me.

I saw a room with a door. This room was rather large, white and it felt chaotic. I walked to the door and squeezed through. I found myself in another room that wasn't quite so sterile. It had a bit more warmth and it seemed a little more peaceful. It too had a door in it that was just a bit smaller than the door I had just gone through. Again, I squeezed through the door only to find another room with another door just a little bit smaller than the door behind me. It seemed like I entered twenty rooms. Each room more warm and calm and each door a bit smaller. I came to the final room and instead of a door there was a mirror. I ran to the mirror. I was very excited to look into the mirror thinking I would see beautiful, thin, healthier version of myself. Instead I saw Jesus. Literally, my breath was taken away. I began to weep.

This journey for me will be about knowing God better. I will have to trust Him each step of the way with every failure and praise Him for each success. I do pray that in the end when I reach the final room that I as well as others will see Jesus in the mirror.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Walk or Not to Walk!

I have entered a very strange reality in my life. I have two children in school, one at home, no full time job and time for myself. I am realizing that I don't understand how to take care of me. I feel guilty for doing things that are good for me. I have become so accustomed to taking care of everyone and their needs that I have forgotten that I must take care of myself.

Today I decided to take a walk right after I took the kids to school. I live directly across the street from a park so I walked across the street and began the journey of taking care of myself. What is so strange is the feelings I experienced as I was walking. My thoughts ranged from feeling blessed to live in such a beautiful city to what time is it I really need to get home I have so much to do. I was praying as I walked that God would teach me to take time for myself, all the while I kept thinking of the things that needed to get done for my family. I don't count myself in the list of things that deserve my time.

I pray I can break this cycle in my life. I have a great husband who is never frustrated or angry if I take time for me. I have the ability to do it for the first time in my life. I have a park across the street that has amazing views. Everything is lined up for me to succeed at taking time for me. Will I do it? ....That is the question.