The Deconstruction of Ten Minutes

The dirty truth is that you can prepare as much as you want. You can make sure that everyone has what they need. You can make sure that everyone has something to do. You can make sure that everyone is peaceable….but the minute you step into the shower, EVERYONE will need you!!! I do not understand this phenomenon!!! I JUST DON’T!! Truly, I am only in the shower for a max of 10 minutes. HOW can the world completely implode in TEN minutes?!?!

Today, I hadn’t even stepped into the shower when there was pounding on the door. Of course, if you have ever had to decipher the screams from a child while the shower is running, you know that it is IMPOSSIBLE!! Finally, I understood that the two littles wanted to put up a tent in the family room….a TENT. I hadn’t been out of the room for two minutes!!!! They were playing nicely with the magnet tiles and now, suddenly they want to camp with a TENT in the family room. You probably don’t even have to guess that the answer was no!

Before getting in the shower, I had given both big boys their lessons and gone over the instructions. I have told them numerous (think thousands) of times that if they need help and I am unavailable they need to go on to the next problem or subject. During the first half of my shower BOTH of them knocked on the door to ask for help. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

HOW can the world completely implode in TEN minutes?!?!

How exactly can I help you with your math when I can’t see the problem, not because there is shampoo in my eyes, mind you, but because there is a DOOR between us!!! Finally, I can see the light at the end of the shower tunnel and I am rinsing off, when my middle child (God love him!) comes to knock on the door to tell me that one of the littles called him a butt head and that the dog wants in the bathroom with me. Seriously, all FIVE kids and the DOG interrupted my 10 minute shower!

This same phenomenon occurs when I try to go to the bathroom and when I have to go to the laundry room in the basement. Everyone can be completely calm, but the minute I get downstairs, it sounds like we have been invaded by a storming army. Why is this?? Why can children not give us just a few minutes to ourselves? I don’t have the answers, but I know that moms across the land struggle with the same issue.

Kids are needy and they seem to really like us. I guess that’s why they want to share all of our time! I suppose when they are teenagers they won’t do this anymore and then we will miss it….or so I am told. For now, I am going to continue to deal with interruptions and dream of a long, relaxing shower where no one bothers me!

The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable. –Lane Olinghouse

(or get in the shower!)

Sensational Sunday–My Favorite Kid Apps

I have several different ages of children. For this post, I am just going to talk about a few of my favorite apps for my littles. These are apps that are great for the 3-6 year old range.

Learning apps: One of the newest apps that I found recently is Khan Kids. It is made by the creators of Khan Academy and is gear towards kids 2-5. I love this app. It is great for my kindergartners and it is a free app! Here is a video:

I also love the app Kiddopia. My kids really enjoy this app. It incorporates learning with very fun activities and super cool graphics. You can download a free version that has some activities. You can get the whole app for $60 a year. It really is a great app and has activities for ages 2-7 or 8.

The final app that I am going to recommend in this post is Hoopa City. It is in the Dr. Panda series of apps. It is a very fun app geared towards children 4-7, but my older kids like it too and will play when no one is watching! This app is similar to sim city for youngsters. You get to build your own city. By combining more than one of various items and you get new and bigger items. For example, if you combine 4 windmills, you get a power plant; 4 power plants and you get a nuclear power plant. We got this app for free through Amazon, but it is now $3.99 and worth every penny!!

These are three apps that my younger kids love! I hope that you enjoy them. I love that they make learning fun and that I can give my kids some screen time without the guilt.

I LOVE watching you play!!

Recently, our two oldest boys started a bowling league. Of the two, one of them is incredibly athletic. He can do almost any sport and it comes naturally to him. The other isn’t very athletic, but he loves to play. They’ve played soccer, done running, and now they are trying bowling.

Back when we signed the boys up to play soccer, I was amazed to find that parents were incredibly invested in their kid’s performance. Some of them were even talking about scholarships. These kids are in the SECOND GRADE!!! They should be learning fundamentals and having fun!! I know that winning is fun, but it isn’t the most important aspect of sports. I have seen parents scream and berate their kid for missing a goal, not being aggressive enough, and not blocking a shot. I have seen the joy and fun leave a kid as fast as his or her shoulders can sag.

As I sat in the bowling alley, I listened to the parents sitting next to me “instruct” their daughter on how to bowl better after each frame. They told her over and over to get her head in the game. I could tell she was frustrated. I wanted to pull her aside and just say, “Hey, just have fun! No worries!” But that’s hard to say when the parents are obviously NOT concerned with fun. Some of the kids in the league have been bowling competitively for years. My kids have bowled like five times. Of course, they threw some gutter balls and they didn’t break 100. The first thing I said to them when they were finished was, “Did you have fun?” Not what was your score, how did you do, or what could you improve on. The next thing I said was: “I really enjoyed watching you bowl!”

A few years ago, I read an article written by a coach. I don’t remember the article or the author, but I do remember what struck me as so important. The author said that the first words you should say to your child when they walk off from the field, court, or lane is: I LOVE to watch you play! Those words have nothing to do with a kids performance. They could have the best or worst game, those words don’t indicate that. That phrase expresses the joy that your child brings to you by doing something that they enjoy. Time for correction, tips, and teaching can come later. These words put no additional pressure on a kid to succeed.

The world is a hard enough place and kids will be there on their own all too soon! Right now, they should be doing activities for the joy it brings. They are learning valuable lessons while having fun: cooperation, teamwork, encouragement, winning with grace, losing with grace, practice, endurance, perseverance, and many others. If activities become miserable and high pressure for kids, they won’t learn these lessons.

Let’s start a revolution! When your kids finish their activity, commit to saying, “I LOVE watching you _____________!” being the first phrase that you say to them!!

I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I LOVE to play.” –Boris Becker

Sensational Sunday –Maybelline eyestudio eyeliner

Truth be told, I am not a makeup person. I only wore makeup for special occasions until I was probably 35-37 and decided maybe I should do it everyday. Even then, I feel like a makeup reject! I wasn’t a teenager that spent hours perfecting my makeup and I am not an adult who watches makeup tutorials on YouTube. That being said, I was out with some of my girlfriends one night and we stopped by Target, the holy grail of shopping stores! While we were there, one of my girlfriends suggested that I try Maybelline eyestudio eyeliner. It comes in a pot with a brush for application. It looks so much more complicated than the regular crayon type pencil I normally use, but I decided to give it a try.

It is so much easier than the other pencil/crayon applicator! I LOVE it!! With most of the pencil type applicators you have to press fairly hard and I never felt like the eyeliner actually came out well. With the brush, you control how much eyeliner is on the brush and it always go on smoothly! I highly recommend you try it.

I am ProLife

It has been a week since I posted. Between jury duty and sickness, I simply neglected my blog. That’s life! Then I had time to write, but needed time to think. Social media has been blowing up this week over the newly passed law in New York allowing abortion to term. I have seen angry posts, excited posts, grieved posts….and it has taken me a while to process and formulate my response. Here it is.

I am ProLife. I need to say that upfront. I am a huge adoption advocate. When I heard about the new law, I waited for the anger to come….but it never did. I have watched the videos and read others’ responses, I expected the anger to come, but it didn’t. When I watched the video of the jubilant signing, all I felt at first, honestly, was numbness. I just felt numb. I felt numb all week.

In this country alone, we have approximately 500,000 children in foster care. In the world, there are 153 million orphans!

The more I processed, the sadder I felt. I grieved for the babies that would never know love or a gentle embrace. The ones who would never find their purpose or experience life. I grieved for the moms, who will experience emotions and consequences that they probably aren’t prepared for. I grieved for the judgement they most likely will experience from family and community. I grieved for those who signed this law, because they don’t even realize what they are doing. Then I got angry.

I became angry. You see, I am ProLife, and I believe that as a Christian, Christians should be ProLife. ProLife means that I am Pro life in the womb, I am Pro adoption, I am Pro elderly, I am Pro mentally and physically disabled people, I am Pro taking care of the orphans, I am Pro helping the homeless. I am angry because I know so many Christians who will rage in anger at abortion. My question is: What are you doing about it? In this country alone, we have approximately 500,000 children in foster care. In the world, there are 153 million orphans! What are the self proclaimed ProLife doing about this?? Are we taking in the abandoned, are we adopting the orphans? Are we mentoring the fatherless? Showing love to the unlovable? That is what we are commanded to do! We, as the CHURCH, are commanded to stand in the gap for those who have no one just as Christ stands in the gap for us!

Love requires us to inconvenience ourselves, to make ourselves vulnerable to hurt and ridicule.

LOVE is a VERB!! It is a word that calls for action! It is a choice, not a feeling. Love requires us to inconvenience ourselves, to make ourselves vulnerable to hurt and ridicule. It requires us to reach out to those we don’t want to reach out to. It requires us to love those we would rather despise. Some of my ProLife friends have expressed anger and hope for judgement on those who passed this law, I don’t think that should be our response. We cannot expect those without wisdom and understanding to act with wisdom and understanding. Instead, we should feel grieved for them. I hope that their eyes are opened to the truth. We should be fostering, adopting, mentoring those children in hopeless situations. But we become too consumed and focused on having a comfortable life, on life being easy, on giving our birth children everything that we think they should have. This is NOT what we are commanded to do! We are not promised easy, comfortable, and prosperity. We are commanded to LOVE, to rescue, to offer hope, to lift up knowing that we will be rejected, ridiculed, abused…then we LOVE again!! My question is: Are we doing this? Are we doing all we can?

We WILL NOT end abortion through the government and the repealing of laws. This will never happen. Our hope isn’t in the government and laws. Our hope is in CHRIST!!! Only showing people, the people who our flesh wants to despise, LOVE and pointing them to CHRIST through LOVE not judgement, will we be able to end this great sorrow in our nation.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. –1 Peter 4:8

Tidying Up

There are a few goals that are almost always on most people’s New Year’s Resolutions: one is to lose weight or to get in shape and the other is to get organized. It seems that many of us try to accomplish these every year and see the start of a new year as a good time to start. Netflix seems to agree with us and so they introduced a new show, Tidying up with Marie Kondo.  It is all the rage! People can’t seem to get enough of it. My Facebook feed has been full of people who have been inspired to clean out, straighten, and organize their spaces to “spark joy” in their lives. What choice did I have, but to join the masses and watch the new show? Which is exactly what I did.

Right away I was terribly disappointed. You see, I like to watch TV as an escape. I am usually multitasking while watching. I could be working on my blog, like I am right now, or checking Facebook, or playing a game, the point is that I like to multitask. Well, Marie Kondo is Asian and English is not her first language, so when she speaks it is usually subcaptioned. Of course, this meant that I had to do nothing else, but watch the show. I had to really pay attention, which was a little frustrating.

Now I am going commando and letting the girls fly free for the rest of my life all because my undergarments don’t “spark joy” for me.

I will say that Marie Kondo seems like a lovely person and she does have some truly good advice on organizing. However, when she asked the people she was helping to take a moment and talk to the house, thanking it for being such a good protector, well, she lost me a bit. It seemed a little like she was praying to the house; eyes closed, kneeling, silently thanking the house. Sorry I don’t mean to be critical, but that sounds and looks like praying to an inanimate object, which just does NOT coincide with my own personal belief system. It was just a brief moment though, so I decided to overlook it.

This is when we come to the moment where Marie decides to help the woman go through her clothing. She tells the lady to pile everything she owns on the bed. Then she is to take each and every piece of clothing and hold it and ask herself, “Does this spark joy?” For those of you wondering, “spark joy” means, does it give you the same feeling as seeing a puppy. Just going to be honest here, but at this point all of my underwear and bras are now in the give away pile, because they have never made me feel like I am looking at a puppy. Now I am going commando and letting the girls fly free for the rest of my life all because my undergarments don’t “spark joy” for me. You know what else doesn’t “spark joy” for me? Anything that doesn’t make me feel like I am wearing my pajamas! Let’s talk about the other things in my home that don’t “spark joy” for me: dirty clothes, trashcans, bills, sometimes my kids and husband! I guess I am getting rid of everything!! Well, maybe not my bed or my actual puppy…..and, of course, I will keep my kids and husband. The point is that everything in your life can’t “spark joy”.

You might be asking, “What happens to the items that don’t ‘spark joy’?” Well, you donate them, of course! But not before thanking the item. So thank you bra for always holding up the girls, but you do not make me feel like I do when I see a puppy, so off to Good Will you go! Frankly, I am not partial to thanking inanimate objects. I guess it is fine, if that’s your thing, as long as they don’t start talking back to you!

As my grandmother used to say, “I watched that show twice, my first and last time!” I really wasn’t impressed or inspired to follow any of her organizing methods. The only one I have agreed to try, is her folding method. If this will help keep my children’s dresser drawers straight, then I will adopt it. If not, I won’t be wasting the extra time it takes to fold things the MarieKon way!

Exactness and neatness in moderation is a virtue, but carried to extremes narrows the mind. –Fancois Fenelon

The Angel of Vomit

Two nights ago, it happened. We have avoided it all winter. I have diffused thieve’s essential oil (which has natural germ killing power), washed hands, avoided places that were boasting of it, forced hand sanitizer on everyone, but it happened anyway! Two nights ago, my middle child came running into our room shouting those four words that every parent hears in their darkest nightmares: I’M GONNA THROW UP!!! I know. Just the mere mention of these words makes me break out in a cold sweat! The funny thing is that these words haven’t always struck fear into my heart.

I can remember when I only had one child or even just two. The idea of a stomach bug didn’t instill the same terror that it does now. Now we are a family of 7! That means that if everyone gets sick and the vomiting takes place every other day, we could be sick for 14 days!!! If, as it does sometimes, it happens every three days, we could be sick for 21 days….which is basically a MONTH!!! THAT. IS. A. NIGHTMARE.

Luckily, my children are past the throw up in their own bed or our bed and puke on the floor stage. At least I thought they were! My middle child who is 7, ran into our room shouting he was going to throw up. His daddy yelled, “Go to the toilet!’ Now I am going to assume that he wasn’t really awake, but with him you never really know. He, indeed, went to the toilet, sat down, and proceeded to puke in his lap. My husband helped him change and get new clothes, only for him to puke in his lap AGAIN!!! My husband is a saint and my hero because he allowed me to sleep through this whole mess. I love him dearly and married up….have I mentioned that?

Of course, a puker in the house changes EVERYTHING. For example, we were going to have chili last night for dinner, but I changed it to hamburgers because no one wants to clean chili barf off of the carpet. Now some people try to isolate the puker, but my kids share rooms and wrestle, so I figure that they’ve all been properly exposed. The biggest effect that it has is the cloud of dread hanging over our home. Go ahead make those plans…someone will puke. Go ahead let the kid drink milk because it is over….he’ll barf again. Go ahead let your guard down in anyway because you think the plague has passed…someone new will begin tossing their cookies.

I frequently feel like the captive Israelites in Egypt as the Angel of vomit begins to bear down upon us. I paint the door frames in the blood of thieve’s and pray that it passes over our home. Unfortunately, this time it didn’t. Sigh. Here’s hoping tonight is vomit free!!

Having children is like living in a frat house–nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up. –Ray Romano

Sensational Sunday–Exclusive Offer

The KiwiCo found out about my blog post on their fantastic Tinker Crates!!! They are such a GREAT company that they gave me a special offer: my followers can get their first months subscription for free!!! Thanks KiwiCo!!! Check out the link for a free month when you subscribe! Let me know in the comments if you take advantage of this offer and how you like your crates! If you haven’t already, follow my blog so that you can take advantage of this great offer!!!

https://www.kiwico.com/layingdownthela

Is the Cup Half Full?

*Disclaimer* If you are a male reader, proceed with caution. Highly female topic ahead!

Sitting around with some of my female friends, we started talking about men. One of my friends was telling us that she had a friend whose teenage son would do some of the grocery shopping and would even pick up feminine hygiene products for her and his sisters. This is super mature of her son, especially considering that many of the husbands wouldn’t buy them. My friend in fact was saying that in the more than two decades she has been married, her husband still won’t buy them for her. It was at this point that one of my girlfriends said, “That’s why you should just use the cup. Then you don’t have to buy tampons at all.” She, of course, means the menstrual cup.

At this point, we aren’t talking about a slight, embarrassing leak, but instead a front row seat to a MURDER SCENE!!!

Now this isn’t the first time I have heard about the cup, but frankly, the idea of using one is so far out of what I can possibly imagine that I just can’t entertain the idea. Yes, I know that there are many health benefits, but hear me out.

  • First, the level of comfort that you have to have with your own body is a level of comfort that I do NOT have. I understand that there is nothing dirty or wrong with my body so hold your comments, but still. I. Don’t. Have. It.
  • Second, there has to be a learning curve. Just like with all the other feminine products, there has to be a time period where you just don’t do it correctly. We all have that, “When I first used a tampon” story where we did it entirely wrong. Whether it was you didn’t get it in far enough or you left the plastic applicator in, we all have that story. I do not have the time to stay home and learn to use a menstrual cup. Life is just too busy.
  • Third, getting down to the true nightmare, we have all had those times when whatever we are using leaks. Although embarrassing, it is usually only slight. Everyone has that nightmare story of when you were in jr. high, high school, on a date and you stood up in your khaki shorts only to have everyone or your special someone see that there was a little blood on your pants. Now, imagine that it is a cup; a cup that somehow manages to spill…inside of you. At this point, we aren’t talking about a slight, embarrassing leak, but instead a front row seat to a MURDER SCENE!!! Can you imagine the horribleness of that amount of blood and liquid suddenly being unleashed in your nether regions?!?!?! My two friends, who evidently use these cups, assure me that there is no way that this cup can suddenly spill. Do I really want to take their word for it?? No! What if you have a violent sneezing attack or ride a roller coaster that goes upside down or feel the need to break out in cart wheels and the splits??? Instant murder scene. Can you promise me that this thing will NEVER, EVER spill?? Not buying it!
  • Fourth, imagine having to deal with this thing in a public restroom! You walk into the stall to take care of things and emerge looking like you just finished a surgery! Perhaps as long as you are alone, this wouldn’t be an issue. What if you have children that have to accompany you? Or if the bathroom is simply crowded. I can only imagine the looks you’d receive. GROSS!!! GROSS!! GROSS!! This is so far out of my comfort level, we aren’t even in the same hemisphere.
  • Fifth and finally, this was one that my friend brought up and I had not thought of myself, how do you know when the thing is full? Granted, I know that this fits into a learning curve, but truly, do you have to shake your hips back and forth and listen for the sloshing??? I. JUST. CAN’T.

These are the thoughts that go through my head when I have considered, ever so briefly, using the menstrual cup. My girlfriend, who says this thing will totally change your life, claims that I can’t write a post about this if I am not going to try it. I say, “My blog, my rules!!” But who knows, perhaps I will get a wild hare and try it. It would make for excellent blogging material I am sure, although I wouldn’t look for that post anytime soon.

A woman’s period is like once a month her body accidentally hits caps lock on her emotions. –Aparna Nancherla

Sensational Sundays Tinker Crates

I have wonderful in-laws who, for the past two years, have gifted my children with a 3 month subscription to Tinker Crates for Christmas. These are some of my kids’ favorite gifts, and I love that they last for 3 months! This year each child received a different subscription. In the above picture from left to right: Tinker Crate, Kiwi Crate, Doodle Crate, Koala Crate, and Eureka Crate. The crates are divided by age of the child and interest level and come with a STEM project.

The Koala Crate is for 3-4 year olds. It comes with 3 projects and focuses on 1 theme. This month’s theme was bugs. In this crate, you make a lady bug bag to hold a bug’s eye viewer, a bug matching game, and felt bug wings and antenna. It also comes with a booklet that tells all about bugs in a story format.

The Kiwi Crate also comes with 3 STEM projects. This month’s theme was mirrors and kaleidoscope puzzles. In this box, the child will make three different types of kaleidoscopes. The age for this crate is 5-8. My five year old required a little help, but not much. The instructions for each project tell the level of parent help that is required. It also comes with a story magazine that explains the science behind the projects.

For my artistic child, we ordered the Doodle Crate. It has one art themed project every month. This time it came with the materials to sew your own portfolio or satchel. It comes with excellent step by step instructions and the many pieces are divided nicely. Doodle Crate is for ages 9-16+, but we purchased it for our 7 year old. He LOVED it! He did require a little help, but not much. The kit also came with a sketch pad that he carries in the portfolio along with his colored pens. It goes with him everywhere. It seems to be quite durable and I think that it will last a long time.

The Tinker Crate is for ages 9-16+ and it comes with one STEM based project. This month’s theme was space and it came with everything needed to build a planetarium. The child had to punch holes where the stars are and then assemble the dome. It came with a base and light bulb to project the stars onto the ceiling. I love that these kits come with blue print type instructions and tons of information on the science behind the project. My son is nine and only required a little assistance assembling the dome.

The Eureka Crate is for ages 14-104. It is by far the most complex of the crates and focuses on engineering. This month’s crate came with a build your own electric pencil sharpener. It comes with specific, step by step instructions that walk the child through the assembly. It also comes with plenty of scientific explanations and facts. We bought this crate for my 12 year old, figuring that we might have to help him some. That didn’t prove to be the case. He had no trouble following the instructions and building his own sharpener that now sits on his desk. He has even gone back to using real pencils instead of the mechanical ones that I purchased this year.

These crates are priced from $20 to $30 per month. The longer the subscription, the more you save and many times you can find a coupon code if you search for it. Over Christmas, they ran a special which was 3 months for $40. We took advantage of that sale! As a home educator and the wife of a science educator, I LOVE these crates! I love that they are centered around education, but are so fun that kids can’t wait to complete them. I LOVE that each kit comes with everything that is needed for the projects. The only thing you may need to provide is a pair of scissors. My boys count down the days until the next crate box arrives and they are always sad when the subscription is over! The company is also great to work with. Last year, one of the kits had a piece that stopped working after a week. They sent out a duplicate crate, not just the damaged piece, but a whole crate free of charge. I have also been impressed that the crate contents are durable. My kids are all still playing with crate creations from last year.

I LOVE this product!! If you would like to check out this SENSATIONAL SUNDAY product, check out the link below!

http://www.kiwico.com

***Update****

KiwiCo found out about this blog post and wanted to offer my followers a special offer. You can get your first month free when you subscribe to any tinker crate line!!!! So if you haven’t already, follow my blog by clicking the follow button and entering your email. Then click on the link for the special offer!! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of your first tinker crate!!

https://www.kiwico.com/layingdownthela