Monday, April 30, 2012

Didn't Know Turning 7 Could Be So Fun!

I can't even remember my 7th birthday! In fact I can remember very few cause times have changed so very much since Paul and I were kids. Birthday parties consisted of balloons, homemade cupcakes, pin the tail on the donkey, and a few banners. I loved celebrating my birthday growing up and mom always made my favorite meal and one gift to open. There is a lot about those time that I enjoy. Yes, I don't really remember very many specifically but I know that each one was celebrated. I'm not even sure how many of my kids' birthdays will be remembered but I'm positive that Mia will remember the 7th! Because we don't do birthday parties each year, they are very special. I have 3 kids and parties can be laborious and chaotic at times. Honestly......I'm lazy! There you have it! i don't want 20 kids running around my house, stepping in frosting, dragging out every toy in the world etc.......Also, I like keeping parties special and not having them as something 'expected' each year. So the kids never know which year they will be allowed to have one. We are spontaneous about it. This seemed to be Mia's big year. She finally won us over with tons of begging when she said "mom, you don't even have to buy me a gift, just a party!" Well, they already know that party equals no gifts from mom/dad. The party is our gift to her. So we agreed.........with terms. We agreed to invited 3-5 friends and we'd do a pool party after school on a Friday. I would get snacks and cupcakes, no meals. WE wanted to keep the cost low and yet still have fun celebrating. I have come to realize that having fun does not necessarily mean spending tons of money. I decorated the kitchen with banners and streamer that I got at dollar store and from my scrapbook closet ($1). Then I wrote 'Happy Birthday" with markers on the bathroom mirror. We decorated the table with a plastic cloth, cards and gifts from family and pulled out the baby book. Breakfast was spent opening gifts from Nanna/Pappas, siblings, and from friends far away (thanks friends for remembering). Nanna sent the most creative gift. Card with money and pictures of what Mia could buy: bathing suit and pool toys. We are taking Mia out later this month, just Paul and I and her, so she can spend her money!! Then we sat down and flipped through the baby book and talked about the day that Mia was born. She loves it and we do this each year with each kid. so much fun! Mia ate her bday breakfast and then off to school.
I came to school that afternoon and handed out cones that had been dipped in chocolate/sprinkles and filled them with marshmallows, craisins, and chocolate chips. Much easier than ice-cream! Kids came home with us that afternoon adn we had flip/flop cookies, dry cereal that was in sand castle buckets and shovels. We all felt like we were at the beach eating our beach snacks and listening to Island music. I also had fruit pre-cut in heart, star, and fun shapes. After enough swimming and splashing, the kids sang the traditional song and we ate yummy homemade cupcakes. I hate to admit it, but I think I outdid myself this year on flavor and deocor! I ate 3 more cupcakes that weekend. Yikes!!!!!!!!! They were that good! Mia was adorable and the Surfer Girl party was a success.
Since her real birthday is on Saturday, we went out to dinner, her choice. She chose Oreganos and off we went for pizza and pizzokies! Then surprised her by taking the family to a movie (rare occasion for us) and watched the new Chimps movie by Disney. An amazing time with just family and I think she felt pretty special. We felt very full from pizza, dessert, and popcorn!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Mamma Mia" Turns 7!!

Let me properly introduce you to our 7 year old! She is 7 and full of energy, soul, and undying passion! It's amazing how a mom can give birth to 3 kids and they are all so completely different! Mia broke the mold when she entered this sphere. She is our "mosaic". She is so unique and full of crazy expression. Her birth was actually quite the drama scene and we should have taken the hint then. She was not one to be unnoticed. The squad showed up at her birth due to the cord being wrapped around her neck and she spotted an entire 2 on the APGAR sca1e (10 being the highest). She was a blue smurf and still recovering from the rocky entry. She recovered and we saw those ridiculously enormous pools of blue open up and stare right into our hearts. She was precious and she was ours........all ours. Since her birth, she has managed to create all sorts of parties in our house. She even invented her own world that she calls "Janian World". You can hear her playing Janians on her bed and talking to all her imaginary Janians, as well as to her stuffed animals. She tried to explain the complex concept of all the characters but she lost us at "good kitty" and "bad kitty". Our giggle were unstoppable and we were blown away at her creativity, years ago!
Just the other day she told us that she couldn't wait to birth her own kids and that she knew she would be a great mom. I agreed and asked why she thought so. She mentioned all the wonderful care that she has been giving her "giggy" (her frog) and that she was practicing. Ohhh, we sure do love her. She is our spunky middle child. Her name means "like God" and "beautiful". She is living up to her name each day. It's not uncommon for her to ask about the homeless with impecable timing; usually while we are gulping down a 5 course meal in our air conditioned home. She is the unusual child that begs me take her to the pick up trash. She loves her earth! She would love to go totally Vegan but I told her to wait until she is older/healthier. She can't eat meant without mentioning how sad it is that the animal died. Oh, Mia.....we love you!
At any moment you can find her standing on a stool- helping in the kitchen, walking around on all 4 limbs and roaring at Lincoln, laying on her top bunk bed and whispering to her babies, playing swords outside with siblings, building forts in the living room, or collecting toys to give away at school the next day. Happy 7th birthday sweetie!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Loving the Person and not the Perfection in Kids

I keep constantly reminding myself that this is a 'season' in my life. As moms we travel though many seasons, at turbo speed, with our kids. Our peeps change as quickly as the rocky weather at sea. One moment our precious princesses are twirling around in pink fluff and in a blink they are shopping for a bras! What, who stole that time?! Who allowed the fairies to grow up into a mature adolescents?! Not fair! Talking to a "mom-to-be" the other day, I realized how much I thought I 'knew' before my kids were born. I mean, I had taught 1st and 5th grade and volunteered with highschool kids for 8 years. I knew soooo much about rearing and parenting, right?! Hardly! I now realize how completely obtuse I was and even came across as moronic to some. Sooo, what am I learning through these experiences as a mom of 3 kids??? Seasons..............take it in stride. This has been beyond difficult. Our 1st born was given a name that literally means "strong/chief helmet". Hmmm...who's idea was it to pass along such a name? Good one, Lisa! So after she was born, we had 3 chief helmets, 3 first borns coexisting under one roof! Eye-opening. There have been arduous moments that birthed many tears, many after-birth 'labor' pains, and self-examination! Looking at your children is like looking at yourself in the mirror. My sin unveiled and disclosed in such a real and personal way. Ouch! My deficiencies, blemishes, and flaws draped upon the girls like ugly robes. Who dressed them today? I did. These realities can only invoke grace. They must produce grace or we are finished now. Grace leads to love, forgiveness, acceptance, appreciation, and growth. Sooo, knowing that our kids will make mistakes, that they reflect us, and that grace is required, I am much obliged to welcome the many seasons. I welcome the loud noises from dumptrucks being scraped down the tile floors, drenched bathroom floors after a fun bath, spilled milk every day in partnership with wiggly bodies, disheveled bedrooms, loud voices, chewing/talking/spewing with mouths open and full of food, mismatched/stained outfits on picture day, sassy lips, and the arguing. I welcome these experiences and allow them to grow me, as well as the opportunity to grow/teach my children. I have to ask myself in some of these moments "Is this a big deal as I look at the 'Big Picture" in life? Loud dumptrucks........not a big deal. Sassy lips that reflect wounded heart......big deal. So deal with the character at hand and teach through the moment. Be a coach that marinates her words in gentleness. Be a parent who gives grace without strings attached. This is not mastered in my young life but I'm growing daily in these mosaic seasons of life.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A New Easter

This was the first year that I've ever participated in Lent. It was quite the experience. Someone asked me "why.....why would you even lent? Isn't that just for Catholics?" It was a great question. I decided to participate in a 40day fast in which I gave up desserts. As Jesus took off into the wilderness for 40 days to give up food and focus on his Savior, I too hoped to give up some luxuries and focus on the up and coming Easter. It was a meaningful learning experience for me and I also decided to watch the Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson this year. It first appeared in theaters when Mia was born, but I was not able to see it. Because it's so emotional and most certainly a true stor, I have put it off for 7 years. This a year of firsts for this 36 year old. Embarassingly so but oh so good for my soul. Glad I decided to lent and watched my Savior's story on film this year.

One other first moment for us............ we decided to give each of our kids a special egg with something encouraging written inside. Because God is always doing something 'new' in our lives, we wanted to reveal to our kids what we noticed God doing 'new' in each of their lives. Paul wrote a short letter to each of the kids and put them in their eggs. Each one read the note aloud after we had dinner. It was fun to encourage our kids and focus on what God is doing new inside of their hearts and acknowledge their growth on Easter.

Of course we did have the famous egg hunts in our backyard, egg coloring, and we ate a few chocolate eggs. Paul and I hid the eggs. Kids emptied the eggs and hid them for us. Eggs were collected and hidden again and then again....... Fun to see all the 'hard' spots that they chose to hide the eggs in.

Closing up this Easter holiday, hoping to constantly remember the sacrifice made for me years before I was ever born. Hoping to remember the grace that was given to me and the unconditional love that still pours into me each day from above. Focusing on the all the new things He is doing in my heart. What new things are happening in your heart?