A Spoonful of Sugar

Making every day life as a mom just a little bit sweeter.

May Moving Madness~The Boomerang Theory May 22, 2010


As you can see by this:


things are getting pretty stressful around here.

I don’t want to bore you with the details…you know, the tape, the boxes, the permanent markers, the packing lists, the, the….

oh, sorry… I said I wouldn’t bore you…my bad!

Although this journey has been a definite faith builder as I described in this post, it’s still stressful, tiring and well…

let’s just say that I wouldn’t go straight to fun.

We’re at a point where most of our stuff is in boxes, so it’s difficult to look around and see home, and for me, that’s hard.

I said yesterday that I was going to post about the two awards I received, and pass them on to other bloggers today,

but I’m going to need a little more time in order to do it well. I don’t want to just throw it together.

That wouldn’t be fair to the recipients.

They deserve more than that, so I will be honoring them in a future post.

Besides, I need to share with you a Mommy tidbit that I had to chew on yesterday and it got stuck in my teeth.

Here’s my story:

As a SAHM, this is my home, my office, my retreat, my workplace, and, well, my domain.

It’s hard to feel put together when everything around me is pulled apart.

Yes, I know that God is in charge, and I only have ten days to go.

That’s what keeps the little bit of sanity left in my brain from jumping out the window.

Well, that and my amazing husband and three incredible daughters.

Yesterday, I gave my 12 year old a plastic bin and told her to put all of their DVD’s in it so that they were packed, but accessible.

Well, she took them out of cardboard box #38, and put them in the bin as I had requested.

Great, right? Well, when I walked in her room 20 minutes later, I looked at the lid of that white bin that I had given her,

and saw that she had ‘labeled’ the lid of the bin in huge black permanent marker, canceling out any further plans I had for it.

It now looked like one of her journals, with flowers, smiley faces, exclamation points adorning it from corner to corner,

and a big #38 circled in the center and her name in block letters underneath.

Now, you would think that maybe I should look at that and say, “Aww! How cute! Look how creative she is!

She even labeled and numbered it appropriately keeping up with her psycho mommy’s packing list!”

No. I didn’t. My OCD took over and I flipped out.

“What were you thinking?!” I believe is the first thing I said. Then I think I followed it with:

“Now I can’t use that bin for anything else! I can’t get that marker off of there!

It’s not a cardboard box we’re just going to throw away!”

Brilliant. Great job, Mom. Way to go.

“I’m sorry, Mom! But I took some of those DVD’s out of Box #38, and it’s already listed on the packing list!

So I thought I had to label that too, or we’d be looking for box #38 and it wouldn’t be here!”

*SIGH*

Why was I so mad? Why couldn’t I seem to quickly get past this one? What the big deal!? It’s a stupid plastic bin!

WHAT’S MY PROBLEM!!!

I knew I was totally overreacting! IT’S JUST A BIN, PEOPLE!!! I wanted to scream!

I wanted to scream because I was really mad, but knew I was being really ridiculous!!

So, I turned, walked out of her room, into mine, closed slammed the door, and finished getting ready.

We were leaving to go to the graduation that my Home Economics class catered last night.

The whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”

principle that our moms drilled into our heads as kids?

Yeah, well, Moms? That applies to us, too. Walk away. Storm away if you have to!

Trust me, it’s far less damaging than spitting fiery hurtful words out at our kids and

expecting them to come out on the other side of our emotional explosion unscathed.

Ten minutes later, she walked in my room, sheepishly. “I’m sorry Mom.” she said.

Still upset, (for no reason that I can give that’s worth a flip) I looked at her and said,

“I know you are. I also know that I shouldn’t be as angry as I am and I can’t explain it. I am angry.

Furious! But I shouldn’t be and I don’t know what to say.”

Sometimes being completely honest with your kids, especially at that age, is the most beneficial.

They’re not stupid, and they have the memory of an elephant.

I’d rather my girls remember my crazy moments as times where they were able to have compassion for me,

instead of them causing wounds that will scar over and be a constant reminder of the hurt I put them through.

“As angry as I feel,” I said, “I know you did what you thought was right,

and I appreciate you trying to keep up with my lists and my crazy rules. I can’t explain my attitude,

but you need to know that it’s not about you, and I need to get over myself. Just bear with me.”

Just then, my ten-year-old walked in. Her middle name is Grace. Her first name also means Grace.

God knew what He was doing with that one.

She looked at me in my sorry attitudinal state and said, “We have Grace Tickets for you too, Mom.”

*SIGH AGAIN*

Well, I wouldn’t say that yesterday was the greatest Mommy day for me,

and I certainly wouldn’t say that I’m proud of my attitude,or my lack of ability to show self-control,

but I can definitely say that I experienced the Grace of God through my girls.

They hugged me, loved me, and softened my hard attitude in a matter of minutes.

No matter what that silly bin represented in my warped scattered mind, when it comes down to it, it’s only a bin.

A silly plastic bin that can be replaced in a matter of minutes with less money than I spent at the Dollar Store last week.

Weigh it moms. Pick your battles. Don’t allow your narrow-minded plans to dictate your attitude or reactions.

It may be permissible, but it’s certainly not beneficial.

You will definitely experience yourself through your children…good or bad, as a mirrored image.

So, allow me to give you a friendly woman to woman, mommy to mommy reminder.

What you put in those kids will inevitably come back to either haunt you, or bless you.

It’s what I call the Boomerang Theory.

You know, the whole ‘reaping what you sow’ thing?

It’s really true, and it really works….for you, or against you. Good or bad.

We are all going to have days that don’t exactly put us in the running for Mom of the Year.

It’s a good thing that kids don’t expect perfection, and neither does God.

They are not glaring down at us when we show our ugly sides and imperfections, but it’s our reactions to,

and whether or not we are ruled by those imperfections that dictates the outcome and ultimately our reputation.

Although I was irrational in my behavior and wasn’t proud of my attitude,

by stepping back, being honest and allowing room for Grace to be spilled, there was success in the end.

What emotional boomerang are you throwing out there that will inevitably come right to you?

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Stop, Look, and Listen! May 6, 2010

Filed under: Parenting 101,Parenting Pre-teens,Parenting Toddlers — Janine Chance @ 12:00 pm

I have a really bad habit of half-listening to my kids. Part of the reason for that is that we home-school, so they are with me 24/7, and they talk to me ALL DAY LONG! Especially my 7-year-old. She is definitely my chatty Kathy. I often tell her to breathe, for fear of her passing out due to lack of oxygen going into her lungs and the excess going out. (I only have myself to blame for that one…I myself could talk the hind leg off a horse!)
All three of my girls are funny, energetic little people, and I really enjoy who they are, but sometimes I feel like all that comes out of my mouth with all three of them is “uh-huh…yeah…wow”, but with very little excitement or enthusiasm. I get preoccupied and just listen, instead of really hearing them.

I noticed this the other day, and it bothered me. I don’t want to get to the point someday when my kids are all grown up, have families of their own, and I have regrets. I don’t want them growing up thinking that I am ‘too busy’ for them. Yes, I talk to my kids all day, but am I showing them that I am really interested in what they’re saying?

Really hearing our kids takes energy. Not because you don’t love them, or because you don’t care, or they don’t talk loud enough. It’s because a lot of their topics of conversation don’t particularly interest us. When they’re telling us about the latest ‘Sweet Life of Zack and Cody’ episode, we’re not always waiting on baited breath to hear how it ended. It may not be on the top of the list, but we still need to be attentive. Now I’m not saying that we have to stop everything we are doing, drop it all to sit in front of them like a groupie, but I know for myself, I need to stop, look and listen. Stop humoring their conversation, look at them, which shows them I’m giving them my attention, and listen to what they have to say and respond accordingly. I want to be their best audience! Even if it means telling them to ‘hold that thought’, until I can be completely attentive.

We hear all the time that ‘communication is the key’…well, communication goes both ways. I certainly expect their undivided attention when I am speaking to them, so I think it’s only fair to do the same, don’t you think? It shows them respect, and keeps those lines of communication wide open. It’s just another example of preventative maintenance. Being good listeners as moms gives the best example of how they can learn to do the same. You just never know what you might miss if you’re not really listening! Today, it may be about a Polly Pocket, or a Transformer, or about the latest Zack and Cody episode, but someday, it’ll be about a boy or girl they met, and we certainly wouldn’t want to give an inattentive ‘wow, really..uh.huh’ kind of response to that one because we weren’t really hearing them! Or even worse, because we haven’t listened all along, which translated to them means we just don’t care, they’d rather just text their friend about it. Yikes! That new episode of Zack and Cody is sounding pretty exciting right about now!

 

‘Us’ Part Two~ Baby Lion, Baby Golden Retriever and Baby Otter…OH MY! April 13, 2010


Okay, so yesterday I gave you the low down on me and the man’s story…you know, the 411? I hope you took time to take the test and find out the results. Pretty interesting stuff, huh? The whole point in taking the test is to find out your strengths and how great you are. Uh, no. Yes, you’re great and all, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t need to be continually reminded of our strengths…we operate in them daily. We need to become aware of our weaknesses so that we know what ‘parts’ we need to be building up. How can we be the best wives, moms, friends, sisters, if we are in denial about our shortcomings? Here…I’ll put it in terms us women can relate to. When you’re dieting and exercising to lose weight and you are almost at your goal weight, but the only part that’s not quite there is your butt, you’re certainly not going to do extra arm curls to try to get rid of it. Capeesh? Enough said.

The eye opener for me was watching my girls as they got older and where their personality types took them. I wrote yesterday about the fact that personality and character were both part of who we are, but personality is the core of who we are, and character can be molded and changed.

My oldest daughter is a Lion, with a touch of Beaver, but she’s definitely got a little Otter and Golden Retriever in there. Her Lion can take over at times, and I have to remind her to ‘be the kid’. For instance, she was at her 7th birthday party, (she’s now 12) and was overwhelmingly concerned about the party favors, and the fact that a couple of the kids weren’t getting along to the point that it completely stressed her out. I had to pull her aside and sit on the other side of her emotional see-saw until there was balance. I looked at her and said, “Okay, how about, you be the kid. I’ll be the Mom. Your job today is to have a great time at your party. I’ll take care of the rest. Ok?” She breathed a sigh of relief, let her Otter take over, and was able to enjoy her birthday party.

My middle daughter is definitely a Golden Retriever. Completely loyal. She tattles on herself all the time. She’s sweet and is a great friend. However, she has a tendency to procrastinate, and worry. I often ask her ‘Can you be self-governed? Or do you need a ruler?’. We’re working on ways to be self-motivated. Setting goals and being diligent to complete the task is often the order of the day. I also have to encourage her to stick up for herself. ‘You deserve what you tolerate’ is a motto she is all too familiar with. To build up the Lion in her I give her opportunities to be in charge of a situation. Provide opportunities to operate in boldness. She also has some Otter in her, so that helps. She’s funny….has a great sense of humor.

As for the Monkey? Definitely the Otter of the group. Fun-loving, life of the party. Completely out-going…and she can talk the hind leg off a horse. My lands, that girl can TALK! Ever since she was a baby… we called her the ‘Nursery Greeter’ at church. She would welcome all of the kids as they came into the church nursery, take them around…you know, show them the ropes. Too funny. However, she is also the one I call back a hundred times a day to pick up her stuff, clean up behind herself. She’s got a little Lion in her, with a touch of Golden Retriever. I’m still working on the Beaver in her, though. She’s another one who knows the whole ‘self-governed’ speech all too well!

It’s my job as Mom to train them to live a life of balance. I want to encourage their strengths, but at the same time, train them to build up their weak sides. Yes, their personality is God-given. They are who they are. But their character is what God wants to mold. They can be Lions, without devouring those around them. They can be Otters, and still get the job done. The can be Beavers, and still have faith and a positive outlook. They can be Golden Retrievers, and still stand strong in the midst of trial.

I want to raise whole, healthy women of God, with the least amount of deficiencies as possible, and boy am I tired at the end of the day!

This post was linked with steadymom.com’s 30 minute blog challenge….whew! I just made it! Right at 30!

Also linked to:

 

Monkey See, Monkey Sous! April 9, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,Parenting 101,Parenting Pre-teens,Parenting Toddlers — Janine Chance @ 8:32 am

While my two oldest daughters were working with their Dad yesterday afternoon, I recruited my youngest to be my sous chef. I love getting my kids in the kitchen, one-on-one. Love those private lessons!

We made a marinated grilled leg of lamb, homemade mint jelly, roasted rosemary potatoes and sautéed broccoli. Yum! (I’ll post that one next week!)

I know, I know, it sounds like Easter Dinner! Well…it was! We went out-of-town last-minute on Sunday afternoon, so I made my Easter dinner last night!

So, Monkey came to me and asked if she could play the Wii while I made dinner.

(That’s what we call my youngest daughter because she literally climbs the door jambs and plasters her skinny little body to the ceiling. She’s nuts!)

I reminded her she was punished from the Wii…”Oh yeah, I forgot,” she said with a weak smile.

Honestly, I was so sleepy because I hadn’t slept good the night before, and the thought ran through my mind…’Oh, just let her play the Wii…just this once…what’s the big deal?

Then you can get your therapy session (cooking) in alone…with no distractions…nice and quiet…’

I snapped out of the fantasy, brushed the devil off of my left shoulder, smiled at the angel on my right and said,

“Why don’t you come in the kitchen and be my sous chef?”

Disappointed about not getting to play the Wii, but realizing that this option wasn’t so bad, she looked me quizzically and said, “Do I get to chop anything?”

Of course, that’s their favorite part…it makes them feel like real ‘chefs’!

“Absolutely,” I replied.

This was the prep work for chopping the mint. Selecting the best leaves, discarding the yucky ones…

Sorting, measuring, fractions…ahhhh…makes a home-school mama’s day!

Then comes the fun part…chopping!

I have this great little knife my MIL gave to me years ago.

It’s got a handle on it that her little hand fits into perfectly which makes it easy to control and it’s a ‘rocker’ knife. I love it!

Carefully…hand on top, keeping the little fingers from becoming part of the recipe!

You can really see the knife in this pic …if you don’t have one, get one! It’s got a great handle that her little hand fits into perfectly, and it rocks back and forth easily.

Oh yeah! She’s got the hang of it now, baby!

I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and said no to the Wii…for her sake, and mine!

I kept my promise.

My promise to love her enough to follow through and help her make positive decisions.

Giving in is so tempting ! However, it will never serve you or your children well.

The easy, non-confrontational road looks so serene and pretty for the moment, but inevitably ends up either a dead-end, really rocky and you end up blowing out a tire, or sends you both off a cliff.

This alternate route ended up being quite picturesque, very smooth, and we reached our destination without a hitch!

The dinner was yummy, too! Bonus!

 

Stop the Madness!!! March 27, 2010

Filed under: Discipline,Parenting 101,Parenting Toddlers — Janine Chance @ 8:22 am

I was just talking to an awesome, sweet friend last night who had come for dinner with her hubby. They were so excited to come for a grown-up dinner without the kids, for a change. I only had my 7-year-old here, so it really was a grown-up night! I fed her early, set her up with a movie, and wa-lah! Only 4 plates at the dinner table! (Great dinner, by the way, I’ll be posting the recipe tomorrow!)

We were talking about her kids and what she was struggling with as a mom. A whiny 4-year-old girl, and a clingy almost 2-yr.-old boy. Moms, if you think you are the only one dealing with this stuff, you’re not, and here’s the proof. Welcome to Mommy-hood! Fun? Not exactly. I wouldn’t go straight to fun, but at least you know you’re not alone.

She was telling me how she tells her daughter to ‘use her big girl words’, but that it wasn’t working and asked what I thought she should do. I told her that at four years old, she was way beyond using ‘big girl words’. She knows that already, and shouldn’t even be entertained when the whining starts. Now, you may read this and think, man! She’s mean! To the contrary. I think we do our kids an injustice when we allow behavior to continue that will make life harder for them in the long run. I used to tell my girls, “I don’t speak whinese,” and kindly send them out of the room. Sorry. Talk to me like you’re 4…because you are! If you tolerate whining for even a second, they will never stop. If they really want that cup of juice, they’ll get the picture real quick. You don’t have to be Stalin or anything, but firm is necessary. You can send them out as lovingly as you want to, but sending them out is important. We see all of these campaigns for ‘no tolerance’ when it comes to drugs and alcohol. We need to start that ‘no tolerance attitude’ with our kids when they are little.

Second issue…clingy 2 yr. old. All kids go through this stage, I think. The clingy stage drives us crazy because we can’t get anything done without them on our hip, and they aren’t weightless newborns anymore! Stop the madness! I told my friend to put him down, because he won’t die from crying. Let him cry. He’ll make it. “But it drives me nuts to hear him crying for an hour because he wants to be held!”…solution? Pick a spot in his room, and tell him this, “You can cry if you really need to, but not in here. Go to your room and cry…and cry quietly.”

She laughed when I said the ‘cry quietly’ part. I used to tell my girls that all the time. “I know, sometimes we just need to cry. That’s fine, but you need to go to your room and cry quietly. When you’re done crying, you can come back out.” You don’t have to get mad, or discipline, (unless they throw a fit and need to now be disciplined because of obnoxious behavior.)

Whatever you do, don’t pick them up! After they have gone to their ‘crying place’, and come back out without a tear, you can then sit down, put them in your lap, and tell them how proud you are, and how much you love them. Just for a few minutes, though, then kindly tell them that you have things to do, and you can’t pick them up right now. They may start freaking out all over again, so, start the process all over again. Welcome to parenting 101. CONSISTENCY! Sometimes we have to put aside what we ‘need’ to do, and dedicate our time to being consistent with our kids. Such is life!

So, Moms, I encourage you today. They are not going to whine forever, and you won’t be carrying them around the halls of their high school. It’s not forever, just for now, but be firm, don’t give in, and don’t give up. You can do this thing!

 

Disney Do’s… March 23, 2010


There are two great blogs that I love reading and they both have a link share on Tuesdays that I have participated in.

Lifeasmom.com has a Mr. Linky today about a Disney Extravaganza, as well as the 30 minute blog challenge with MckLinky on Steadymom.com, so here is my offering: (this post meets the criteria for both, meaning it was posted in 30 minutes or less, and it’s about our Disney trip)

The fam!

Our girls in from of the famous castle in Disney World!

We took the girls to Disney World in Orlando back in April of 2008. They were 10, 8, and 5 years old at the time. WE HAD A BLAST!! By far the best family vacation EVER!!!

Tip #1~One of the absolute ‘do’s’ in my book is to do the Fast Pass thing. Go to the ride of your ultimate choice, get a Fast Pass ticket, which will tell you what time you need to be back to ride, and you go through the Fast Pass Line lickity split! It was awesome! We picked our faves, and loved not wasting any more time than necessary. We discovered on this trip that all three of our girls were roller coaster fanatics, so we concentrated on getting Fast Passes for all of their favorite rides.

Tip #2~ Unless you are looking for the ultimate zoo, I wouldn’t recommend Animal Kingdom. It was like a zoo on steroids. The few rides they had were okay, but we wouldn’t go back. (Side note: My oldest daughter lost a tooth

Kaitlyn, moments after losing her tooth in Animal Kingdom!

in Animal Kingdom…as soon as we walked through the gate, it fell out and we went running to the ladies room! Too funny!) Anyway, I’d rather go to the state zoo if we want to see animals, and stick with the theme parks in Orlando for awesome rides and attractions…but that’s just us.

Tip #3~ Our girls were at an age where we gave them some choices of what we could do with the money allotted for our trip. They had the choice to either have breakfast with the Disney Princesses, or we could take that money and go to Busch Gardens in Tampa for the day. We told them this at the beginning of the trip so they had time to decide. Once they discovered their love of rides and roller coasters, the princesses took a back seat and we headed to Busch Gardens after our 3 days at Disney World, with no regrets! It felt like a vacation after a vacation and we had the best time there, too!

Daddy and the Girls climbing the 'Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse' in Disney World!

Being goofy...waiting to get on a ride...who says waiting is no fun!

Tip #4~ Stay at a hotel close enough to shuttle. The shuttle buses rock! The only down side is that you’re tied down to a time frame, but that can also be altered. We were thankful we didn’t have to park, pay to park, or worry about driving after a long exhausting, but wonderful day at the park.

These are just a few of the things that come to mind as far as our Disney experience is concerned. Hope this was helpful, and hope you have a great time in Disney World! We can’t wait to go back!

We’re heading to Universal Studios before the end of the year!

The end of Day 3 in Disney…waiting for the shuttle. This is how we all felt!

 

I’m always hiring… March 21, 2010


When my girls seem to have nothing better to do than to instigate problems, or start trouble with one another, I give them a job. My oldest daughter, as smart, kind, and wonderful as she is, just can’t help herself sometimes. She gets to feeling feisty, and messes around with her younger sisters. It happened about five minutes ago.

She’s giggly today, with lots of energy. Not always a good combination. I heard her go to the back of the house and stir up something with her youngest sister. “Stop it Kaitlyn!” is all I heard. I called Kaitlyn into the room, and calmly said, “It’s obvious to me that you need an occupation…clear the table from lunch, please.”      “Yes ma’am…” was her reply.

Now, that didn’t stop her from laughing and being silly, but, it gave her an outlet for some of that energy, it intercepted what was going on between her and her sister, and I got the table cleaned off. Bonus!  I tell my girls that I’m always hiring…if you need a job, I’ll give you one. For me, it’s multi-tasking without lifting a finger!

Sometimes they just need some re-direction. If I disciplined my kids for every little thing, they’d be in trouble 24/7. As I’ve said before, pick your battles. Re-direct when you can. It keeps things more sane for you, and less dramatic for them, and everyone goes to bed happier.

 

One Good Reason… March 18, 2010

Filed under: Laughing out Loud,Parenting 101,Parenting Toddlers — Janine Chance @ 4:00 am

Ah yes, the endless days of sitting on the bathroom floor watching as your toddler’s legs practically go numb from sitting…waiting. Reading that Dr. Seuss book one more time, while you are thinking of all of the things piling up outside that bathroom door. Bills that need to be paid, laundry that needs to be washed, phone calls that need to be made…ugh. And you are in here…waiting.

That was child #1. You could’ve left it at that…then you had one more…

Child #2. You sit for a little while, then send in child #1 to read them a story, the ultimate in multi-tasking. Giving Child#1 the opportunity to practice their reading while entertaining Child #2. At the same time, you are allowing Child #1 and Child #2 to bond. Yes, while going potty. Strange hearing myself say it now, but totally rational at the time. While all of this is going on, you are picking up toys, folding laundry, and paying bills while putting your Mommy Management skills to use by passing by every few minutes to get a potty update, and inform Child #1 that she needs to call me when it’s ‘wrap up’ time…A.K.A.~Wipeage.

You could’ve even left it there…but…(no pun intended)

Child #3. You send them in by themselves to get on the potty, and call for Child #1 and Child #2 to take turns watching/entertaining Child #3. After about 5 minutes, both Child #1 and Child #2 have found much enjoyment in making Child #3 laugh, so they decide to stay in the bathroom and put on a show. Child #3 is laughing so hard by now that she experiences immediate success! But, that is no longer important, so she still stays on the potty, legs going numb, for fear of missing out on the finale. After 20 minutes, (now that I have completed my phone calls, mopped the kitchen floor, marinated the chicken for dinner, and vacuumed all of the Cheerios out of the high chair) I go in for the ‘wrap up’, only to find the bathroom vacated by all, which can mean one of three things. Child #1 endured the task of wipeage, Child #3 is running around naked, or it was long enough for ‘drip dry’ to occur and she pulled her pants up and went along her merry way.

This post may have more information than you cared for today, but the hard facts are difficult to mask. Life is definitely more exciting with three kids.  This is just one good reason to have more than one…Enjoy yours!

 

Scooby Snack~Tip of the Day! March 15, 2010


Do you worry about what your kids are taking in when the television is on? This is one website I won’t live without, so I wanted to share the wealth! It’s the best, most informational site giving the most accurate previews for movies, DVD’s, books, television shows, and even video games. Check it out! You’d be surprised at what you thought was okay for your kids to watch!

http://www.pluggedinonline.com/

 

Sooooo big!


“Sooooo big!” I remember saying that to my girls when they were old enough to hold out their chubby little arms with toothless grins from ear to ear with absolute sheer delight. I also remember saying things like, “What a big girl you are!” when they would clean up a toy all by themselves, or use a spoon instead of their fingers while eating Cheerios in strawberry yogurt for breakfast. *Sigh…*

Kaitlyn working on her song...

Now I look at our oldest, Kaitlyn, who has just written her first song on the guitar and is going to Detroit, Michigan in August with her youth group for a drama competition. Uh, yeah I’m going with her!!! (That was for those of you saying…’Is she nuts? Sending her 12-year-old off on a plane to Michigan with her youth group?’)

I watch her with her friends and think to myself, how did she get so big, so fast? She is so beautiful, talented and a genuinely nice person. I am proud of her choice of friends, excited about the path in life she is choosing, and I love the relationship that she and I have.

Madelyn, our middle daughter is 10, and is probably the most compassionate person I have ever met…. almost to a fault.

Madelyn, my 'blogtographer'...she took this pic of herself.

She is always saying that when she is a mom someday, she is going to have to live next to me or her older sister because she doesn’t think she’ll be able to discipline her children…she says we’ll have to do it for her. I told her she’d get over that one. She is definitely my most dramatic, but has gotten to a beautiful place of balance with it. She is sweet, but has a crazy good sense of humor. Definitely makes for some interesting family dinners. She plays the drums, and preached her first sermon to the children’s church last week. I was so proud, especially when she asked me to ‘smell’ her sermon notes. I thought she was going nuts until I actually indulged her. She sprayed it with coconut lime body spray. (I told you she had gotten to a beautiful place of balance with her dramatic side!) Too funny.

Then there is McKenna. The Energizer Bunny of the family. We all use the treadmill so we can exercise and improve our health, while she uses it to exhaust all of her extra energy. She doesn’t stop moving, or talking, and since she lost her front tooth, it is quite entertaining. She is funny, always happy, and is always looking out for the other guy. We call her the family cheerleader. Constantly rooting for everyone. When she picks out her outfit for the day, being able to do a cart-wheel in it is definitely a prerequisite. She is also a peacemaker and we all absolutely love and enjoy who she is. She was my ‘surprise pregnancy’… I’m so glad God knew better!

McKenna, showing off her crazy muscles (and Tinkerbell tattoo!) during a gymnastics lesson at home.

So, yes, all of those times we look at our infants, or our toddlers and say “Soooo big!” We really do mean it. They are so big to us at that time. It’s exciting to watch them grow. Whether it’s seeing them roll over for the first time, take their first steps, or write their first song. It’s really important as moms that we have as few regrets as possible.

I guess that’s why I wanted to honor my kids today in this post. They are not perfect people, for sure. I could also sit here and go on about the things that bug me, but not today.

Today, I want to look at them and say, “Sooooo big!” and see their now long, slender arms stretched out wide, with big, beautiful, full smiles on their faces…because I still have some “soooo big” time left with them, and I am so thankful for that.