Friday, October 19, 2012

the ROCK.

I don't blog about him very often.
Not because he's not here.  He's VERY here (Well, except for that one time that we were trying to buy our new house and a credit company tried to tell me he was dead.  I assured them that I had 4 children and was moving and I absolutely would not allow him to be dead.  So, we fixed that, and NOW he's here.)

He doesn't get blogged much because Deep Rolling Right Field is primarily a mom's-eye-view.  Its mostly about my kiddos and about being their mom.  Its just that I don't think he'd necessarily appreciate me sharing the funny things he says, making him take pictures in bluebonnets, or documenting his milestones. And he hasn't ever run away from me in the grocery store or invited himself to a birthday party.  Those events are easy to blog.

But today deserves some blogging.  Its not his birthday. Not even Father's day or our anniversary.  Its just a day when I come to the realization of how much he carries, how hard it must be, and how proud I am to watch how he is walking a difficult road.

He is RRL.

He does family differently than most Dad's I know, is involved in ways many aren't.

He knows how to order for me at a restaurant (trust me, this takes major skills, love and patience)

He encourages me to be better and still encourages me to rest.

He leaves sticky notes on the dishwasher so I'll know the dishes are clean.

He goes along with my hare-brained ideas. And pretends to enjoy it.

He chooses to love people that are hard to love. 

He makes an effort to walk in our door in a way that sets a tone for our home. 
He kisses me and plays with them.

He listens to more podcasts in a week than I have in a lifetime.

He has a side-identity as a techy. And yet makes our home electronics tech-dummy-friendly (for me).

He is a better listener than anyone else I know. And never backs down when someone asks for help.

He loves Jesus. He wants others to love HIM, too.

He's not perfect and sometimes he makes a really big mess of things. 
But he isn't afraid to admit that and work to make it better.
The Daddy in our house ROCKS.
And what's more
He is building our house on one.
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock." 
Matthew 7:24-25 from The Message

Love you, Babe! YOU.ARE.MY.FAVORITE!!


Friendly readers of DRRF.  Would you join me in doing two things:
2) Would you pray for Ricky.  Especially for this weekend?
3) Would you consider supporting his efforts as he works with Teen Lifeline to reach hurting teens?  (check out this post about the 5K)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mom skillz

You know I'm going to say it.  I feel strongly enough about this to not back down until the fundraising ball gets rolling.  Would you check out my previous post about the 5K and consider helping us reach teenagers in our community?

NOW, for the point of this post...

Just in case anyone miss-perceived my "Mom confessions" to be a self deprecating post, I wanted to take one more shot at getting to the heart of the matter.  As a coworker (and good friend) and I were talking this morning, we emphasized that SHE was the best mom for her girls and I was the best my for my four kiddos.  Because we are both the very best people to teach them about Jesus.  It doesn't matter if we do a single other thing the same way.  It doesn't matter if we even agree on any other parenting choice, we are each loving our kids and teaching them to love Jesus.

And, to get that job done, we each have our own skillz.

When my kids ask (a million times a day):
How do you know that?  Where did you learn that? How did you do that?
Sometimes I provide a detailed explanation, give credit to my teachers or parents, throw out a"practice makes perfect" or "when at first you don't succeed".  But most of the time the answer I give is simple:
"Mom skills"  And they nod their understanding (that I like to think is full of admiration).

You know, those skills that you have completely mastered that make you their mom.  The skills that would be completely useless in any other venue, but are completely essential to your survival as a mom.  The skills you didn't dream about when you played house as a young girl.  Mom skillz are as different as each mom, but we all have them.  Its the identifying them, taking pride in them and using them that counts!

And here are a few of mine...

I can feed a baby while playing cards with my three big kids and talking to their Daddy on the phone. 

I can separate ANY two Lego pieces that happen to get stuck together.

I can turn anything into a game.  And convince my kids that it is more fun when it is a competition. (pennies for bribes, optional)

I can walk into a room and convince the kids that I have completely figured out what just happened.  Even if I don't have a clue.

I can count to 4 (and locate the corresponding child to that number) without missing a beat in a conversation.

I can identify princesses by the color of their dress, Thomas trains by their engine number and superheros by their masks.

I can come up with a song for just about anything my kids say
(some might call this a quirk.  I call it a skill)

I can completely change a conversation (and an entire mood) mid-breath.

I can (usually) remember which kid likes which foods prepared which ways.
( for example: one likes mashed potatoes, one likes baked potatoes, one likes sweet potatoes)

I can pray while driving and listening to "Silly songs with Larry" or Raffi's silly "Sing-along-songs"

I can interpret the foreign language of "kid-speak".  The language that has words which do not mean what you might expect, sometimes completely leaves out important facts from a story, and is filled with words pronounced quite differently than English.

I can hide and eat treats without getting caught so that I won't have to share.
*at one point in their lives I even mastered getting their chick-fil-a toy and driving through the drive through after lunch to get myself some icecream, without them being any wiser.

I can identify the location of lost shoes, the man from a favorite plane, a missing pacifier, a favorite shirt, all without even leaving my chair.  And the directions often sound something like "Yeah, I saw it last Tuesday.  Upstairs, in your brothers closet, under the blue blanket, in the back right corner, inside his white shoe."

And just this week, I discovered that I can conquer fears, use cat-like reflexes and impress my 6 year-old by catching an illusive grass hopper.  All while holding his baby brother.

Yep, I'm their mom. 
And I have skillz.

What are your MOM SKILLZ?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My four pumpkins!

WAIT!  Before you get distracted looking at the four cutest pumpkins E-V-E-R...
Would you please take a minute to read my last post and consider helping us help teenagers?
Thank you!

Now, for some pumpkins...

The Pumpkin Song
(tune: Have you ever seen a lassie?)

Have you ever seen a pumpkin, a pumpkin, a pumpkin,

Have you ever seen a pumpkin, that grows on a vine?

A round one, a tall one, a bumpy one, a squashed one.

Have you ever seen a pumpkin, that grows on a vine?

It just so happens,
I picked the cutest four pumpkins in the patch.
And brought them home where they belong.
But these four of mine, they didn't grow on a vine.
For every bit of color that the Lord pours into our lives
through pumpkins and fall leaves and green grass and trees,
How much more did He delight in designing and creating them!
  Thank you, Lord, for my Pumpkins! ABL    
If you haven't been around deeprollingrightfield long enough to fully know the joy of this tradition for us, here is a clue.
You can read more about this favorite tradition
here, here, and here.
Thanks again, Cass and Cindi for loving them and capturing them! This may have been the best year yet.
We love you!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I'm MAD!

This week I've been mad.
Really mad.
Maybe more mad than I have ever been before.
Because when I think about all the hurt, the lack of resources for people that are hurting, how the choices of one person can impact generation after generation...

Lately my frustration has been pretty narrowly focused.

And more than that, I hate when people are left in situations where they think drug abuse is their only choice.
A life that has been paved for them of sorrow, poverty, frustration, isolation, hopelessness.
And when an escape is offered, when drugs are offered, the choice seems simple.
Honestly, in the particular situation I'm closest to, I can see how they got there.  I can see why they feel trapped in a cycle that started generations before them.  I can see how they might think they'll never have more.  I can see how they might think it is too late for anything better.

And I get mad.

Unfortunately I've seen first hand how hard it is to find resources for someone who is already in too deep.  I BELIEVE in MIRACLES.  And that's a good thing, because that's about the only hope for someone who has already chosen the life of an addict.  It shouldn't have to get to that point.  It should be possible to help someone choose something different. Whether it is because someone should have told them. Or because they would not hear.  I wish they had seen the choice. Sooner.

And I get mad.
I want all seven of these faces to know they DO have a choice.  No matter what came before them.  No matter what the world tells them.  No matter how hard life is.  THEY can choose.

Sometimes when I get mad, I do something about it. But many times, I don't.

The thing is, I'm married to someone who does something about it.  Every day.  He has chosen a profession in which he immerses himself in the lives of teenagers for one purpose.  To tell them SOONER. 
You have a choice to
He works for Teen Lifeline.  A non-profit organization that tells teenagers "we will help provide you some tools to make that choice."

When a freshman in high school was killed in a tragic lake accident this last Labor Day weekend
Teen Lifeline was there to tell teachers, students, parents- YOU have a choice.  This is hard.  Really hard.  But YOU get to decide how you walk through grief and how it impacts your life going forward.  Let us help you walk.

When students come to the local alternative school, they sometimes feel like they've already been pegged as hopeless.  But Teen Lifeline is there to tell them...YOU have a choice.  Let us help you make that choice through peer support groups.

When teen aged parents make a difficult decision that their child deserves to LIVE, Lifeline is there.  They provide resources for young parents who might see the situation as hopeless.  To hopefully provide a different start for that new life.  To maybe start paving a path for that baby to make choices someday to live their own life better.

And what's more, Lifeline helps provide resources on social media, talking to your students about tough topics, and offers insightful seminars to discuss current information so that parents can also help make it clear to their kids- You DO have a choice.

And maybe, just maybe.  Of all of the teenagers encountered, at least a few will say
"I'm going to choose something different.  Something better.  I DO have a choice."
Maybe a few will have opportunities to make those choices before its too late.
And when a student hasn't heard that at home, at school, or in their community,
maybe Teen Lifeline is the only voice.

Would you help Teen Lifeline provide a choice.
Would you consider sponsoring our family team this month as we walk/jog/run together to raise money for this organization? 

I'm not asking you to meet a fundraising goal
or because this is my husband's job,
even though both of those reasons are true. 
I'm asking because this is something I believe in.
I'm asking because we can do something about it.
I'm asking because I'm mad.
and this time, I'm doing something.

ABL   If you would like to support Teen Lifeline and their efforts to provide a choice, here is the link to our fundraising page: TEAM LEWIS! Or, if you can't contribute monitarily right now, would you consider passing along the link so that others can fight with us?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

the one in which I have some things to confess...

So, maybe its just me.
I see pictures on facebook. Read blogged stories. Watch families in the grocery store.
And compare.
I assume everyone else has everything figured out.  Their houses are clean. Their children behave. They pintrest their lives from top-to-bottom. CERTAINLY they keep their amazing topiaries that the previous home owners gifted them ALIVE. (ok, maybe that last part is just a personal battle)

Its probably just me.
But, I'm having to really struggle through learning to balance setting high standards with having unreasonable expectations.  Its only taken me 6+ years of parenting to come around to the notion that maybe it is a bit unrealistic to think that I can have four children, work part-time, keep my house clean and laundry done, decorate new home, keep social commitments, volunteer for EVERYTHING...and STILL keep the stinkin' topiaries alive.  Yet, I still find myself getting emails asking for help (meals, volunteers, hostesses, etc) and immediately see flashing red lights that say EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT.  THEY'LL HATE YOU FOREVER IF YOU DON'T SIGN UP. QUICK. WRITE YOUR NAME. NOW.

This may sound completely ridiculous to you.  If so, I congratulate you for your ability to self-manage.  I applaud you for recognizing where your real priorities are.  I'm glad you don't feel the need to compare yourself with others. I really am. And its something I'm working on releasing.

But. Just in case.
Just in case there are others of you that find yourself with the same conundrum...
I have a few things to confess.

I prefer my kids eat fresh fruits and vegetables at dinner every night.
But sometimes we eat cereal. FOR DINNER.

I love coming up with creative and intentional things to do with my children on our days at home together.
But sometimes I let them watch a movie.

I want to teach my kids to be responsible for their own belongings.
But sometimes I prefer to clean-up and organize the playroom myself.

I like to keep my home neat and organized.
But I've been paying someone else to do much of the actual cleaning for the last 4 years.

I like for my children to be clean and neatly dressed.
But there are times when I can't remember the last time we bathed the baby.

I like to hear about the things my kids are learning at school and the people they are interacting with.
But sometimes after a long day at work, I just ask them to tell me something they like about ME.

When I'm with my kids in public, I like to maintain an appearance of being calm, cool and collected.
But typically I'm taking deep breaths, giving myself pep-talks and PRAYING (on the inside).

ALL that and...
I've mowed grass exactly NEVER.
I (still) occasionally drink straight out of the container.
My husband is usually the one who wakes up first when a child needs us in the night.
I nearly ALWAYS have a bag of peanut butter M&Ms hidden in the refrigerator.
AND I rarely wash my face before I go to sleep.
Gasp. I KNOW!

But the most recent amazing mom moment. And the real trigger for this post.  Is this:
I took my kids to the dentist this week.
For the first time.
And KJ is six.
And if you think I didn't beat myself up one side and down the other knowing I was going to have to face the DENTIST and tell him that I definitely BRUSH my children's teeth, but have never actually been to visit someone in his profession. You'd be wrong. 

While my children played innocently in the waiting room, I felt like I was waiting outside the principal's office.  I just knew I was going to be chastised. 

But we did it. We survived.  I might have been a bit crazy for taking all 3 at once. By myself. But, that's how I roll.  Late. And all at once.

The kids did great.  They loved the dentist (maybe mostly for his video games). 

And they now remind me constantly that they need to brush AND floss.  And letmetellyouwhat- I'm SO glad we've added flossing to the list of things I can't forget to do.
Because heaven knows I needed something else to forget to do.
And assume EVERY other mom IN.THE.WORLD is remembering to do it.
Making me...

And that's when it hits me.  I already am.  I absolutely am the very best mom for KJ, Cbug, Lou and their baby brother who still doesn't have a blog name.  And when I allow myself some freedom to learn and grow and improve, I actually enjoy the process.  So, starting with this less-traumatic-than-expected Dentist visit. I'm releasing myself to not be perfect. I'm releasing myself to live in this season of craziness and just be the best ME I can be.  And doncha just know it.  I happen to like myself better this way.  Tonight, we might even eat cereal (before we floss).

Shew, that feels better. Maybe, just maybe, if moms would do a better job of sharing what we are learning and not doing perfectly.  Maybe, if we join teams instead of competing. Maybe if we would tell about the time we forgot to (
We might just be able to encourage each other along the way. 
But maybe, its just me.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Behind the scenes...

Our three biggest were in a wedding a couple of weeks ago.
I had the cool opportunity to see the mother-of-the-bride a week before the wedding, the day before the wedding, the morning of the wedding, obviously AT the wedding, and the day after the wedding.  I know she was flooded with details. I know, for a fact, that not every single one of those details went the way she planned.  But I'll tell you what.  I want to be like her when I grow up.  She sincerely enjoyed making the day perfect for her daughter.  I never heard her speak a single word that let-on that any of it was stressful to her.  She was a picture of southern hospitality (she's a fellow TRUE southerner) and full of grace as she cared for her daughter, her family, her guests.  Inspiring.  As I was downstairs at the church, fussing over Lou's dress and hair, I just smiled as I pictured Tammie and Rebekah upstairs doing the same.  I loved watching them.


Being the mother of the mini-members of the wedding party is a whole different day.  Its doesn't have the number of details, not the same kind of stress, and nothing that my 3 did would keep the happy couple from getting married. But it is an adventure.  My job is to 1)keep them free from injury 2) keep their clothes free from tears/wrinkles/stains and 3) have them show up rested, calm and ready to S-M-I-L-E. 
Slightly more easily said than done. Hmph.

So, our "wedding day" looked a little something like this:
9am: Head to the Bride's house to drop off some food.  On the way there we have one of those conversations that you want to remember to ask your spouse HOW-IN-THE-WORLD they managed to leave you alone for.  It involved step-families and marriage commitments and all sorts of other heavy topics (and the bride lives approx 6 minutes from us).  The highlight was when Cbug said "So, since Mr K and Mrs T are still alive for the wedding.  And Rebekah is marrying Mark. I guess Mr K and Mrs T are adopting Mark, right?"  So much to unpack there.  I handled it like any season parent would.  "Yep, I guess so."

9:45 am Before I know it, all three of my cherubs are lined up at the MOB's kitchen bar eating muffins and drinking juice and water.  Because obviously the mother-of-the-bride has nothing ELSE to do today.  Which would have been fine, except that much of her family was on their way for breakfast and my sweet daughter dumped an entire bottle of water on herself, the barstool, and the kitchen floor.  Luckily the FOB and I were able to grab some towels and get it cleaned up without the MOB having to do any extra work. UGH.

10:30 Home. Watch a movie quietly. Until boys break out in full out wrestle and we have conversation number 28462984 about how we will (and won't) behave in tuxedos later in the day.

12:00 lunch. Kids are super silly. Even throwing food at one point.  I get frustrated and send everyone to bed.  Lou asks nicely to finish her yogurt.  I leave her at the table with only a couple of bites to go

12:30  Tucking kids into bed.  Go to kiss Lou.  See that she had not, in fact, finished eating her yogurt.  Instead, she had smeared it all over her  face and into her clean hair.  AWESOME.  definitely do not bathe her again, just wash her off in the sink and head her back to bed.

2:30.  Everyone awake and playing in playroom, I'm upstairs putting baby brother down for a nap.  I hear the flower girl say to one of the ringbearers "Would you like me to cut your hair?" and promptly come FLYING down the stairs to all her innocent glory in the playroom. just pretending.  And I manage to not pass out from that mini-heart-attack.

3:00.  RRL is home. Everyone getting dressed.  Feeding baby.  Packing no less than 15 bags that have to go with us.  Diaper bag.  Books and snacks bag.  Getting dressed bag.  Portable DVD player and other electronics bag. ETC.  Yes, we'll be at the church for no more than 3 hours.  Yes, all of this is completely necessary.

4:30  Arrive. On time. With time to spare. YAY us.

5:35 take some pics of kids.  I can easily fast forward this picture 20 years.Think about how I'll blink and Lou will be standing between her brothers in a white dress.  Shed a few tears.

5:36 Sentimental moment cut short when sweet hug leads to a flower girl sandwich which is causing boutonnieres to crumble. Must be rescued.

5:55 Everyone ready to line up and KJ has to go to the bathroom.  Of course.  But he manages to make it out just in time.

6:00 Wedding about to begin. Leave kids with bridesmaids. Pray they'll behave. Sneak to my assigned seat on the front row, where I join RRL and baby C- who is performing his wedding role brilliantly by being fast asleep.

6:10 watch kids come down the aisle, motion for Lou to come sit with us and watch with wide eyed wonderment while my boys, who can typically not sit still long enough to eat, actually stand in relatively one place for the whole ceremony.  They whispered in each other's ears, perfected the art of standing on one foot and then the other, and got lots of thumbs-up from their parents (and the Bride's parents, too)

6:45- Couldn't see boys walk back down the aisle and make it out of the sanctuary.  But word has it they made it 3/4 of the way without racing. Success. 

6:46- console Lou after she realized she once again forgot to drop any petals from her basket.  We go back in to drop them after the guests leave.

7:00- Make crazy faces and sounds while standing behind a photographer I've never met, just to get the mini-party-members to look at her camera and smile.

7:30:  Head into the reception  Smile and appreciate all the sweet compliments about our children. Smell like sweat. Take my heels off.  Let children have every bribe they request. Tell them over and over how proud I am.

9pm Realize that while our children could stay and dance (and eat candy) all night, their parents are barely able to walk to the car.  We are ready to head home.

10pm. Home. Exhausted. Happy. Falling asleep genuinely thankful to have had my treasures asked to participate in such a special way. 

It makes for a crazy day, but I love that my kids have had such fun opportunities to be apart of weddings at such an early age.  I love that they are learning, by watching, what it means to make this huge commitment.  Thanks, Mark & Rebekah, for setting such a beautiful example for them.