Poptarts, First Jobs, and the White House Rose Garden

Well, this last week has gone a touch better than the week before.  To start, I banished the words “I’m bored” from our vocabulary!  Anyone who dares utter these words quickly learns what being bored is really like (in the form of sitting in a dark room with nothing to do).  Okay, not really but you know what I am getting at!  We also planned a vacation for the end of the month!  Having something to look forward to (and of course, make useless threats against) works wonders for the attitudes in the house; mine included!  There is just the perfect amount of fear that I REALLY will make them sit through a guided tour about the  history of the White House Rose Garden to keep it interesting!

So, sunburns and rainy days aside, the bumps of the first days of summer seem to be smoothing out.  Just don’t get me started on how much food these teen/pre-teen humans consume.  It’s never ending!

My oldest started his first REAL job today.  I can’t help but feel like things are on fast forward with him.  I find myself making a mental list of the things that feel like they are sneaking up on me.  He only starts high school in the fall, but I can’t stop thinking about senior pictures and open houses.  My husband drove him to work this morning but I keep thinking about cars and college, texting and driving, and making sure he knows he doesn’t have to grow up too fast; that he doesn’t have to pack away childhood just yet.

I used to think that babies and lack of sleep were the most challenging parts of parenting.  I cannot tell you how wrong I was! It makes me nervous about what comes next, and if I’ll be saying these years were easy compared to high school, or college, or adulthood.   So, in the midst of the craziness of summer and me complaining about hovering kids, I am in fact also feeling like I need to freeze time, stop the the growing, and keep these little monsters as close to me as possible.  I am certifiably, hysterically, double-mindedly CRAZY!  Oh, well they have to love me; I’m the mom, right?!

Confusion.  Frustration.  Joy.  Love.  Growing.  Contentment.  These seasons in life make me grateful for a God who sees me and loves me in spite of the way I feel.  I am who I am, and you are who you are because of the grace He extends at our strongest moments and in our weakest disasters.  He is greater than our fears.  He is bigger than our joy.  He is more abundant than our worries.

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I am going to choose happy this week because even when the world around me is full of the unknown and keeps me guessing from day to day; HE IS GREATER.  He gives me rest and keeps me sane in the ever changing world of summer breaks, first jobs, and the never ending chaos of parenting.

 

Oh, and does anyone know how to schedule a tour of the White House Rose Garden?!!!

 

Playing Favorites

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I know it’s not popular to have a favorite kid.  As a matter of fact, admitting that you like one child more than the other is generally frowned upon in the parenting community.  As parents, we are supposed to deal out affection, punishment, and reward in equal portions; every child is created equal, especially when it comes to having more than one, right?!!!

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Clint and I have three kids, and I’m pretty sure that my favorite is Jaden.  He was, and is my answered prayer.  He is the oldest, and for the past 14yrs has been my tangible proof that my Jehovah has heard my prayers.  After three miscarriages, and thinking that I would never hold a baby of my own flesh and blood, Jaden made his way into my arms, and healed my heart in a way only he could.  He is the kid who finds a place for everyone he meets.  The way he does things makes me shake my head, laugh, and forces me to learn that I can’t control every little detail.  He never cleans his room, and is always wanting to go, go, go…come to think of it, maybe Isabella is my favorite?

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My Bella is the one child I have who was planned.  We decided it was time for Jaden to have a sibling and a month later found out she was on her way; so totally the opposite of Jaden.  Isabella was born on a day we picked, and has always slept through the night.  She was the easiest baby, toddler, child, pre-teen in the world.  She loves order and keeping things clean (a girl after my own heart), and is the most giving person in our family.  Bella brings so much laughter (she may look like me, but she is her Dad through and through) and help to our family; how could she not be the favorite?  She is quite dramatic though!  I could do without the drama…maybe Olivia is really the fave?

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Everything about Olivia Grace has been a surprise.  From finding out she was going to be joining our family (only SIX months after Bella was born), to her dramatic arrival (EIGHT weeks early).  If you’re doing the math, that makes Isabella and Olivia only TWELVE months and TWENTY-TWO days apart!   We always say she was so anxious to be in our arms she just couldn’t wait the whole nine months.  Livi has always been the child who sees what she wants and goes for it; no one can stop her.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  This stubbornness, and ability to fight no matter what is in her way, is the most admirable and frustrating quality she possesses.  I am pretty sure it saved her life from the moment she came into being; that and God’s gracious hand.  To this day it drives her.   My Liv is also the one who LOVES to cuddle, hates when I am upset with her, and goes out of her way to show love to anyone she meets.  She also LOVES to sleep…right now she is the front-runner 😉

Well, maybe not; she did yell at me this morning because we didn’t have any Poptarts….

The bigger point of my rambling on and on about my kids is that I’ve realized there is NO favorite.  My relationships with them are as unique as they are individual.

I can’t approach Jaden like I do Bella.   Or treat Livi like I do Jaden.  Or love Bella the same way I do the other two.  I can’t have the same relationship with all three of them.  I have been given these lives as a gift and in turn am responsible to see their individuality and cultivate it in a way that brings discipline, character, and love.  I don’t have a favorite; I have three little hearts that I love uniquely.

Jesus, sees us individually too.  Uniquely made in His image.  Set apart from everyone else.  Each and every one of us has His heart.  He carries every part of our being in His scars.  But, not one relationship is the same.  Some of us pray without ceasing.  Some of us are worshipers.  Some of us study until we feel like we are overflowing, and can’t help but share what we have experienced.  Some of us thrive in the quiet.  The beauty of Jesus is that He tells each of us to come exactly the way we are.

I will choose happy today because His love for me is as fierce as it is unique.