Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stuff I do, or don't do... part two.

Awhile back, I posted this blog about what I DON'T do.
Seems there are a LOT of you out there
NOT doing stuff.

So, I give you...
another list of things I do or don't do to make my life easier!!

Make a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly menu
Please. I probably COULD do this, and in fact I've had moments of organizational bliss where I decide I'm going to plan this elaborate menu, shop accordingly, use up leftovers making creative new entrees...only to have the chicken not thaw out in time and wind up making pancakes for dinner. Yeah... I gave up on that one. We have a few standard meals in our house that I can always count on being enjoyed by the masses... and I just make sure I have the stuff here to make those meals whenever I like.

Use TV as a babysitter
Once upon a time I thought that the only programming coming from the TV and entering my sweet child's brain should be PBS or one of those brain-enlarging VHS movies (yes... my first children came along in the age of VHS.). Now, I'm likely to stop the crazy noise level or running through the house on a too-cold-to-go-outside day with an announcement of "who wants to watch a movie?!?!!!" I put on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so I can drink my coffee before it gets cold. I record Little Einsteins on the DVR so it can be ready if I need to do something - like, oh... say... go to the bathroom alone. Yes, TV is a cheap babysitter around these parts. I am not proud of this... but it's true. 

I don't play Barbies... and I don't build Lego houses
Frankly... this is hard to admit, but my tolerance and/or imagination is just lacking in the kid pretend department. I'll sit for a few minutes and do playdoh snakes and balls... but I just can't dress and undress dolls over and over. I will sometimes detangle their hair and put it into new ponytails... but that's about the extent of it. I'm lego-impaired. I'd prefer it if they would find a larger kid to play legos with... after all, there are no shortage of children to play with around here.

Other things people assume about me 
when they say what a "saint" I am that are clearly untrue:
My house is currently a disaster area, I'd be mortified if you showed up to say hello and I may not let you in, unless you brought coffee. Good coffee, though... not gas station coffee. I'd grab my coat and meet you on the porch for gas station coffee. 

I am SO incredibly disorganized. I'm about to go through my house with black trash bags and just take stuff to Goodwill instead of attempting to sell it on this cool facebook group for local people to sell stuff... because I know if I tried to sell it, it would just sit on my dining room table for weeks. I can't throw stuff away unless I'm in that "mood" and then I throw EVERYthing away. I get mad and threaten to get rid of!!

I don't do my quiet time every day. I pray all day long, I converse with Jesus... but no... I don't sit down and open my Bible every day. I don't shower every day either... but Jesus still loves me, smelly or not - quiet time or not. Frankly, there isn't enough quiet around here to designate a quiet TIME.

I drink too much coffee, skip meals, don't drink enough water, 
and generally make poor food choices.
I'm trying to get better... but I will never be able to do very well in this area.

My husband and I argue about stuff. Mostly stupid stuff... mostly unimportant stuff... but we argue. I've wronged him, he's wronged me, we sometimes yell or say mean things when we are angry. Yeah... it's true. See how un-saintly we are??

I get so incredibly frustrated EVERY SINGLE MORNING when my little three get up before 6am. It's been 18 months since we got home. You'd think I'd be used to it by now. I'm not. There is no fixing this. They will do this forever, I'm sure of it. I am hoping for a sleeping-pill effect in their teens so that I can go wake them up by flinging their door open rudely and announcing that I'm awake and I'd like to go downstairs and have a snack - NOW. Yeah, I will enjoy that EVERY single morning.

I'm sarcastic, snarky, and rude... I lie and have poor self-esteem. Every single time someone tells me what an awesome mom I am, how wonderful our family is for our adoptions, what good people we are or what a wonderful family I am... I am thankful that they can't see the real me. I'm so thankful that the Lord is using whatever they DO see to minister to their hearts, but I am far from anything they call me. 

I get frustrated and yell. Then I lecture. OhyesIdo. I hate that about myself... I try to change... I prayerfully ask the Lord to calm my temper. Sometimes, I just lose it. Thankfully, it's rare(ish)... and usually as a direct result of stress (hubby travelling for a long time, bad adoption process news, coupled with over-tired kids with too much homework and not enough outside time). 

I'm not Paul (from the Bible) either... 
but I can relate.
Romans 7:19:
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Maybe you've been a Christian since you were a baby in the nursery, but I have not.
I struggle against that former self. I struggle to do the good that I would do.
I struggle to be who God wants me to be. 
I struggle to live the life that He has for me - 
with all the plans to prosper me and not to harm me, 
and the plans for my hope and future. 
I struggle because I'm just a regular mom with all the crap all of us have.

Bottom line... if you are waiting for your life to be all 
"Julie-Andrews-in-ANY-of-her-movies" before you
jump in to the next thing the Lord asks you to do... just jump in now.
I'm sure not perfect.
I never will be.
I ask the Lord to identify and remove the most annoying traits I have...
and I pray that He can use me anyway, in spite of ME being ME,
and amazingly...


  1. Thanks! I just shared this post with my husband as well...we relate with SO much of planning, mornings, tempers, quiet time (and it's nice to know I'm not the only mom who just doesn't do the "playing" thing very well...or often. I will happily read aloud, join in drawing and learning activities, provide assistance when it is *genuinely* needed...but play just about does me in...although I manage some to ease my conscience here and there). We are works in progress, and the redemptive opportunities in parenting do not escape me!

    1. Works in progress - - certainly!! Hopefully we get to the end of our story and look back and are pleased with what we see. (No pressure...sheesh!) ;)

  2. This is an awesome post. Thank you. I feel much better.

    1. LOL - glad I could make you feel better! ;)

  3. I am right there with you on so much of this (I do make a weekly menu, but sometimes the chicken doesn't thaw and we have cereal for dinner). Would love to know what your go-to meals are! On the sleeping hours of the little ones, I can tell you what worked for our 4 year old (home 15 months from Ethiopia). His 7 year old sister adjusted a bit sooner...he was still getting up at 6 every day AND getting up 6 and 7 times a night. We stopped it fairly easily with two ridiculously simple things of which I am not proud...but desperate times call for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as the occasional babysitter, right ? #1: We offered him two skittles each morning when he didn't wake anyone up. That is, if he woke us up in the night, no skittles. If he woke up a sibling in the morning or came into our room to get us before we were up, no skittles. I hate that kind of stuff. But we did it. And it worked pretty well. Soon, he asked if he could have a smiley face chart for it (because a sibling had one for something else and he wanted to feel big enough to let us use these ridiculous ploys on him). Sure, we agreed. So step #2: A piece of paper on the wall by his bed. Every morning when he hasn't woken someone up, we put a smile on it. We could draw them, but I have some round stickers that I draw on with laundry marker. I put them up in rows of three. When he fills a row, he gets...wait for it....three whole skittles. So he goes 3 days without waking anyone up and gets 3 skittles...he does not realize that this is not actually as good as getting 2 for a single day. Works great. Except for the fact that he was still getting up too early in the morning (but doing better in the night). I researched those little clocks that turn on at a certain time. Like the goodnite light. There are about 5 versions, ranging in price from 30 to 50 bucks. All had some pretty serious flaws. I almost gave up. I tried wiring our own version by using a timer attached to a nightlight, but the outlet on the timers are in the wrong place for the nightlight to work. (not worth going into detail here...but it didn't work). Step #3: Finally, I decided on the OK to Wake Owl. It isn't a clock, but it is perfect in every other way, and I don't really need the clock anyway. It stays dark all night. Then it turns green in the morning for 30 minutes so that if he wakes up in that window, he sees it is green and can get up. We set it for 7:15. If he gets up or wakes anyone else up before it turns green, no smile on the chart. We do NOT let him play with it as a toy or snuggle it in bed. We turned off all the music on it. It is silent. It sits on a shelf where he can see it. He named it Bob. For the first 5 or 6 days, he would wake his brother to ask questions about it. But he got used to it, and it has worked every single day since. It's been about 3 or 4 weeks. It cost around $27 or so. It is my best friend. Bob.

    1. Wow- I may need a Bob! Thanks for the tip!

  4. I love your honesty....thank you.

    1. Just trying to de-mystify a bit. I know I should just say "thank you" when I hear how "saintly" people think we are... but sometimes I think I need to shake the scales off of their eyes and show them we are just REAL people, with REAL junk, just trying to do our best and say YES to what the Lord asks of us. That's not heroic... it's actually the least stressful way to live.

  5. You should read the book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids; a total mommy-guilt-reliever. Basically uses research to show how all that stuff we kill ourselves doing has no significant long-term impact on our kids or how they turn out (could be be depressing too depending on how you look at it). It was really interesting. And my favorite part was where they said if you want to do something to truly CHANGE a child's future for the better, then adopt from a third world country. :-) There's obviously a lot more to the book than I'm mentioning here. I'll let you borrow it sometime. According to this book, you have the right idea, Chrissy! And so do I, because I think I do just about all these things too!

    1. I will check into that for sure, Amy!! Thanks for the tip! Sounds like a good mommy-read!

  6. Oh how you made my day! I could copy/paste the entire thing about myself... except for drinking coffee... I sneak Coke whenever the kids aren't looking... AND when they are. I have recently discovered the showering every other day gives me 15 minutes more time to sleep every other day. I get called a saint often and I think how it is a good thing they can't hear how often I loose my patience and flip out. A couple weeks ago I was looking forward to my dentist appointment thinking how they would give me nitrous and how I would actually get a moment to truly rest. Today I was looking at a book my sister gave me, "I was a really good mom before I had kids", and I saw on the back cover something about 'you know you're a mom when' and one of the things was 'you look forward to your dentist appointment as your *special* time'. Oh how I laughed! It's a GREAT book. Seriously, I will ship it to you if you are interested. After I re-read it that is. Josh and I are reading it together. It is a quick light read and it helps bring rumor to the madness.

    1. Well... I vote take up coffee instead. It has anti-oxidants, ya know... I think that means it's a health food It comes from a bean, making it a legume - in the vegetable group, along with cocoa beans. I'm all healthy-living up in here...

    2. Yes, but after all the cream and sugar that I would put in it, it wouldn't be so healthy anymore. I am trying to give up soda but I'm and addict. I've been on the wagon, off the wagon, so many times. :(

  7. Every single thing... I mean we could be twins in different bodies... Lord knows I have a 4 year old, an 18 month old and two six month old babies... I only ever intend to shower every other day and sometimes even that gets put off. The next time my 4 year old "cleans" the bathroom sink with an entire roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand soap and I absolutely lose it, I am going to remind myself not to feel quite so guilty! I love your posts... every one. Loved every bit of this one. Thanks for your transparency. Yes, we are blessed and they are blessed but somedays... I am sure neither of us feels like it!

    1. Girl, 4 kids, 4 and under?? That's some serious WORK! I'm proud of you for having toilet paper in the house! It seems to be what I run out of the most and what reminds me to go grocery shopping, since I ignore all "we have NOTHING to EAT in this HOUSE!!!" whines from my kids. :)

  8. although... oops... I have to admit I love LEGOS!!!

  9. you don't know me but I'm wondering how you got into my brain?! :)

  10. Thanks for an amazing, transparent, True! post. Enjoying your posts, didn't want to lurk as I am a new blogger and am learning how nice company is! Thanks for the great work and inspiration. One question, When ON EARTH do you have time to write? ;)


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