Nifty {Slightly Traumatic} Sixty

If there is one thing our family does not excel at, it is vacationing.

Like the time my 13 month old got strep and a double ear infection on our beach vacation. (The same one where we hit a deer…possibly the only deer in the state of Florida.)

Or the time – on our first solo vacation since our honeymoon – my husband contracted Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease and my 8 month old broke his collarbone at home.

We do not travel well.

Which is why when my brother, my boys, and I decided to drive up to Kansas to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday last week, I should’ve expected more of the unexpected.
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Attempting Advent

Growing up in a church that didn’t participate directly in Advent, I have come to adore this tradition as an adult. (I think everyone has, actually. It seems like Advent has made a splash in evangelical churches in recent years. It must have a great PR team.)

And as a parent? Oh, man. It’s the best.

Each year we attempt an Advent calendar with daily activities.

“Attempt” because I try really, super hard not to set unreasonable expectations. For instance, our activities are things like “read a Christmas book” and “make an ornament for a friend”.

I try to scale my real desires of “create a 6′ ice-sculpture” or “feed every homeless person in Texas” back a little. Keep it realistic, you know.
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Joy to the Mess

I see you, moms who send your kids to preschool in matching monogrammed festive wear. You look totes adorbs walking in to drop off all calm and collected.

I see you, and I raise you a toddler with no shoes and a single sock halfway on. We’ll hold the door – you go on ahead. I’ve got to finish brushing the McDonald’s biscuit crumbs off my kids’ pants before we go inside.
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Sassy Meatball

It’s funny that no matter how many kids you have or how close together they are, you forget certain things about certain ages.

When I was a new mom with my first punkinangel, I was constantly asking my mom when babies were supposed to do things. Crawl, talk, eat with a spoon, walk, etc.

Her answer was nearly always the same: “I don’t remember.”

What do you mean you don’t remember?!” I’d think, as I carefully glued the 524th identical picture of my firstborn taking a bath into his overflowing baby book. “I’ll always remember.”

Spoiler: I already don’t. I didn’t have to wait long for that inflated confidence to be laughable.
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Remembering our Ebenezers

All throughout the Old Testament, God’s people are always piling up rocks. Sometimes altars, sometimes landscape formations…I don’t really know.

But these stones are always directly tied to an encounter with God. A moment in time when heaven meets earth in a tangible experience.

They see God perform a miracle, they set up stones of remembrance. They witness God’s protection, they build an altar. They experience God’s deliverance from their enemies, they build a memorial.
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Attention Deficit Mom Disorder

Yesterday I did that thing where I put a kid in time out, forgot I put him in time out, and stumbled across him much, much later.

He was all, “Mommy, can I come out now?”

I replied with, “Have you had enough time to think about what you did?” (Also, could you be a dear and remind me what it was? Because it’s been long enough I forgot.)
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Kind is Cool…er than Bullhorns

Pulling into church last week, we heard a man’s voice carrying through the parking lot.

As we looked to where the sound was coming from, we saw a dad with his wife and daughter, megaphone in one hand, doomsday poster in the other.

“JUDGMENT DAY IS COMING. YOU’RE GOING TO LEAVE HERE AND GO DRINK YOUR BEER AND GORGE YOURSELVES ON SPORTS, BUT GOD IS GOING TO SEPARATE THE SHEEP FROM THE GOATS. THIS CHURCH BUILDING STEALS MONEY FROM THE WIDOWS AND ORPHANS.” 

et cetera, et cetera.

Turns out our church isn’t special – we’re just one of several megachurches that is targeted by this group. It was our week for the…uh…Judgement Day public service announcement.
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America’s Funniest Home Fails

One of our favorite pastimes as a family is watching America’s Funniest Home Videos on Sunday nights.

(You know, the show that is currently in it’s TWENTY-SEVENTH season. Yes. 27.

Only 49 fewer seasons than Law & Order.)

About 6 months ago I decided to try submitting one of our own home videos to the show. Not because the video was *that* funny, not because I was trying to win $1,000,000; simply because the thought of surprising our boys with a cameo on their favorite show sounded magical.

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Learning to Unplug as a Family

Junior high is a rough time. It’s awkward, it’s pimply…you’re trying to figure out who you are and where you belong. You’re trying not to panic about your body parts that are growing and doing weird, new things.

Junior high is a lot of social experimentation. Not necessarily experimenting with drugs and alcohol, more like experimenting with friendships.

Learning what is kind vs. what hurts people’s feelings. Learning what traits draw others in vs. alienate the general population. Learning the difference between high-energy and just plain obnoxious.

I wouldn’t wish my junior high self on my worst enemy.

But.

When I had a bad day in junior high – when I was super obnoxious and alienated everyone in the vicinity with my hyperactive energy – I got to go home, relax, maybe watch an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and start again the next day.

My social life took a break at 3pm and reconvened in the morning.

Now?

It. never. stops.
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Little Little Brother

“So the other day my son, David — I mean….Davis….”

– actual words that came out of my mouth

Being a third child is a struggle.

Being little little brother is definitely a struggle.

We had a BABY vs. WILD themed birthday party last month to celebrate one full year of his surviving the suburban wild.

It wasn’t until the day after his birthday that we realized he never opened his birthday present. His one, single birthday present.

David sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Even at his own birthday.
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