Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Who Are You and What Have You Done with My Daughter?

Your previously sweet little pixie daughter, suddenly is acting like a nasty empress.

Your normally laid back and unflappable daughter has a short fuse and total lack of patience.  

Your funny and charming daughter is acting like explosive anger is perfectly acceptable.  

Your all-conquering daughter thinks what she's doing is never good enough for anyone anymore.


Where is this coming from?

Why are they acting like this?

Is this from me?

What am I doing wrong?

Why do I get so alarmed when a new "thing" begins?  Maybe the thing is a new habit.  Maybe you could call it a phase.  I'm totally not downplaying how wrong those things are.  Not at all.

In our house, we don't excuse sin or sweep it under the carpet in the name of "cute" or "a bad day" or an age-related phase.

It's really helped me a lot to realize that these things happen because they are daughters of Eve, as C.S. Lewis puts it.  We are descendants in a sinful line, descending from Adam and Eve and their sin in the garden.  It's just that nature coming out.

I was just wasting too much time wondering WHY?  

I'll admit sometimes there are other factors too.  They do need more sleep.  Things may have been too crazy busy lately or they may be feeling overly emotional.  There might even be hormonal changes!  I don't brush off those factors.

This is about teaching them how to be Godly, even when they don't feel like it.

My energies were going toward trying to figure out where the nasty little empress came from and what other factors were involved, instead of working on being diligent to promote kindness and patience.  See the difference?

Right now, I'm training my eyes on the wisdom that the Lord gives to those who ask.  That's what I need for every phase of parenting.


Friday, May 19, 2017

What Does a Stage Hand Wear?

I've talked a lot about our co-op's original, student-written play and the recent performance.  What can I say? It's been the substance of our last three months, plus a project that our students have worked on for over a year.

Since I was managing staging and sets, that meant that this mama got to watch from backstage, while helping to switch sets and making sure all the right props went on or off.  Read: I was sweating from all the hard work.

Mamas, we can look good no matter what we're doing; I'm convinced of it.

I still remember the time I was performing a weeding frenzy on our garden plot.  I was covered in dirt in a swingy grey skirt, green muck boots and a favorite matching visor.  The neighbor told me I looked like the farmer's daughter, which made me smile.  I guess I was playing the part.

We can be well put together.  It just takes a little bit of thought.

For performance night, I wanted to make extra sure that my backside would be covered during all the bending and moving.  I do try hard to model modesty to the young people around me.  I also needed to be barefoot for maximum quiet set-moving.

Stunning Stage Hand

The swishy black tunic and black skinnies were thrift store finds.  My pretty silver earrings were a Kohl's splurge, courtesy of my mother-in-law.  I went with a simple silver ring and a long, inexpensive necklace.  If it breaks, no loss there.  I was comfortable, modest and well put together.  Hurray!!!

Next time, you're doing what mamas do best - EVERYTHING - put some thought into being modest, functional and well put together.  I really believe that it glorifies the One who made us.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Clothesline Quick Fix

It wasn't til I had a new baby in our house, that I realized this #mamalifehack.  The Rugged Mountain Man was helping me out in the first few days of having one of our little ones.  I looked outside to see his version of hanging clothes on the line.  I chuckled a bit, as everything was thrown over the line and secured with one clothespin.

"That is not how my mom taught me to do it!"

I couldn't believe how little time it took him though!  No wonder I avoid hanging clothes on the line. I asked myself why I'd been doing it my way all along, painstakingly hanging each item the "right" way.

Mamas, we are busy.

We must ask ourselves why we do things the way we do!

I should be careful not to stretch the clothing.  Yes, if you hang it just so, the clothes dry faster too.

For our family, most of the clothes going on the line are play clothes or jeans, so less wrinkles or more wrinkles aren't a huge concern.  And, most of the clothes these days are low-wrinkle fabrics.  Fabrics have really changed over the years.

Either way, it takes less than five minutes to hang clothes on the line, when I take a cue from the Rugged Mountain Man.  This #mamalifehack advises you to throw those clothes over the line, slap on a clothespin and move on with your life.

I promise you, Martha Stewart won't show up on your doorstep with a notice of violation and neither will your mom.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mom Guilt and Life Skills

Following many discussions on acquiring new rabbits, participating in hopping competitions and showing rabbits in non-4-H shows, I finally told Blossom1, "You research it.  You find a show that's close and find one that is not on Sunday.  Find one that is having a hopping competition too."  (Many rabbit shows are on Sunday, but we try to keep Sunday a day of rest for our family.)

Off she went.  She researched for days until she discovered a show a little over an hour from our place.  It met all the requirements.  I wasn't too thrilled though.  It was the day after the play, a pinnacle of the last three busy months.  Honestly, my plans for that Saturday included sitting on the couch, drinking tea, and maybe, if I felt a little ambitious, working on the grocery list.

Nevertheless, I discussed this rabbit show with the Rugged Mountain Man, because this show met all of the requirements.  We somewhat reluctantly decided the girls would participate, mainly because Blossom1 is passionate about rabbits.  I communicated that Blossom1's part in the play was not to suffer in any way AND she would have to prepare for it herself, as I had already exceeded my event planning capacity with the play, other life details and the usual minorly important details of feeding, clothing, and educating a family of six.

As all of the details for Egg White and the Seven Muffins came together, we wrapped up our school year and attended our last few practices, I noticed notes on the white board and piles in the basement.  Blossom1 had begun her planning.  Meanwhile, I kept my nose to my schedule grindstone.

After our stellar performance and all the unloading of props and materials in our garage, I turned my attention to the rabbit show.  This was about 10:00 pm.  I'd already been informed by Blossom1, that we needed to leave by 6:15 am.  What follows is my list of preparations for the rabbit show:

1. Move GPS from van to truck.
2. Pack bag of snacks.
3. Grab a pack of baby wipes out of the van.

As I lay in my bed, reviewing our evening's performance of Egg White and then, thinking of the next day, I felt a stab of mom guilt.

"I should've put more thought into the rabbit show.  It's SO important to her."

I turned over and went to sleep, thinking I should've done more, even though I'd already given 110% over the past three months to bring about something else that I knew was important to three of the four Blossoms.

The alarms went off early the next morning.  The girls did their usual choring and we headed out the door.  We arrived in time for our early registration and got our livestock situated.

Nothing was forgotten.
She had all the information specific to each rabbit to register for the shows we were participating in.
She was prepared for pre-show rabbit preparation.
She had prepped all the rabbits at home all week.
She had all the equipment for the rabbit hopping competition.
She had all the equipment for the shows.
She made sure she had money from her account to pay the fees and buy other equipment from the rabbit supplier.
She even had the address printed for the GPS.

Blossom2 helped to prepare and carry out all of this, but Blossom1 master-minded it.

I kept thinking something was going to go awry, since wasn't prepared.

My friends joke that I prefer planning six months in advance.  This is not far from the truth.  I'd literally planned for 5 minutes last night so I was astonished that there were no glitches.

Blossom1 had engineered a road trip for 6 rabbits and 6 people and she did it all by herself.

My mom guilt finally melted away.  I'd just watched her nail a life skill - managing logistics.  I resolved to stand back a little more and let the Blossoms do it, because, clearly, they can.

You're probably wondering about the results of the hopping competition, Sebastian did so-so.  At times he'd sprint through four jumps and screech to a halt only to be coaxed by one of the girls to hop over.  That's the fun of rabbit hopping.  Sometimes they hop and sometimes they don't.  It's downright comical.  In any case, a fourth place finish isn't too bad for his first attempt and a little experience under his belt.  Blossom2's suspicions were confirmed; he likes to hop!

For the rabbit show, the rabbits did well and the girls were pleased that Digory, one of our main meat rabbits, placed first and gained a "leg" of Grand Champion.  The judge also had some really good things to say about another of our breeders.

And yes, we came home with two new rabbits.  Evidently, that's what 4-h families do.  We collect rabbits.

At least it wasn't two new cows.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Don't Judge a Parent by What Their Kid Eats

The other day, Blossom4 rushed in the house, sobbing uncontrollably.  The following conversation went something like this:

Blossom4: "I atzidently ate a PIRE ant."
(I accidentally ate a fire ant.)

Me, while examining for signs of injury: "What???"

Blossom4: "I atzidently ate a PIRE ant!  I tought it was a buhlack one, but it wadn't.  It was a WED one."
(I accidently ate a fire ant.  I thought it was a black one, but it wasn't.  It was a RED one.)

Me, relieved at no sign of injury or blood: "You mean, a chicken ate the ant?  Not you, right?  It's ok.  Don't worry, it won't hurt the chicken."

Blossom4: "Nooooooo, I tought it was a BUHLACK one, but it WADN'T.  It wad a WEDDDDD one.  I was TWYING to eat dee ant."
(No, I thought it was a black one, but it wasn't.  It was a REDDDDDDD one.  I was TRYING to eat the ant.)

Me, incredulous: "Wait, you were TRYING to eat the ant???  You ate an ant ON PURPOSE???"

Blossom4: "Yet, but I tought it was a BUHLACK one.  I didn't know it wad a WED one."
(Yes, I thought it was a black one.  I didn't know it was a RED one.)

Me, quirking an eyebrow: "Do you do this often?"

Blossom4: "Yet, tumtimes, when I'm outtide, I eat ants, but ONEE the BUHLACK ones.  I neber eat da PIRE ants!"
(Yes, sometimes, when I'm outside, I eat ants, but ONLY the BLACK ones.  I never eat FIRE ants!)

Me: ................crickets.......................

I'm actually speechless for the first time in my entire life.

At this point, there's a scrolling sign in my brain.  It reads: I.can't.even.

Yes, ladies and gents, my four year old pixie daughter was upset, not because she was injured.  No, she was not upset because she'd actually eaten an ant.

She was upset because this unfortunate ant was the wrong color.