Keeping the fun in our house

With the process of finding a house, getting ours on the market, and just life in general. The boys have felt off balance. We are trying to find a balance for them in this crazy busy life.

a snow mamaOne thing we let them continue to do is jump up and go outside with their friends when they knock on the door. There are a few kids in the neighborhood that all play together, and this playing outside is so awesome for the boys. Playing outside is crucial to mental and emotional health in a child, and this outdoor play is so energizing for our boys!

 

 

a minecraft mamaWe also have removed most of their toys from the house right now. This means that boredom can set in easily. Each boy has a special “Treasure” box where they kept their favorite toys. a boys treasureThese boxes are now in their bedrooms, where they can dig in and find a special toy. They love that their treasures are close at hand, and safe. I love that they can play.

a star wars mamaMy boys also love to create. In the past they have created art work and adorned the walls of our house with their creative energy. For over a year our dining room was labeled “The Bat Cave” on construction paper cut in the shape of a bat.a bat cave mamaTheir bedroom was the movie theater, and there was a “Coming soon to a theater near you” poster in the hall. There was also a “Minecraft” Enderdragon a end for mamamade out of several pieces of construction paper on the wall. a stop sign mamaThey need this creative outlet. We now encourage journal writing with pictures, and origami.   They are planning out their creations for our new home.

We also managed to keep their crazy video games in the house, a video gamebut keep them from being a focal point of the entertainment area. We packed away the games they play rarely, kept the new ones from Christmas, and made sure their iPod’s and Kindle’s were accessible.

a baseball mamaAll of this is important to keeping them happy, and keeping our house looking ready at any moment for someone who may want to make it their home. We do not know what the next chapter will look like, but what I do know is that it will be filled with love, creativity, energy, a lot of video games, and boys. We are not in the market to pretend we don’t have kids, we are in the market to be certain our boys have what they need to be happy, and the tools they need to be successful! We also are looking forward to finding our future home.

So what is your story? How did you keep your children entertained while trying to make your house ready for sale or moving?

 

Blog it Forward

cropped-mamaisonlyhuman-blog-label-1.jpgI logged into facebook tonight and was greeted by a beautiful challenge from a friend. It was not directed at me, but when Chelley posts something that touches my heart, I try to respond.

Well today’s message was striking as it was about giving back.

We try to give back often, and visibly for the boys. At Christmas time it can be hard to keep the giving spirit for them when everyone is asking them what they want. My boys always do something for their teachers every year. A gift card, a hand made present, a picture they drew.  This year we did something completely different.

The boys were asking about the children we sponsor, and how to help them. They were asking on the day we received the catalog for Christmas giving. They looked through it more vigourosly than the Toy ads. They decided on three rabbits, money for education in the US, money for education outside of the US, seeds for one family to plant a harvest, and four soccer balls. These gifts will go to children who live in places where poverty is flourishing. These gifts will be the first of many.

The boys wrote notes to their teachers letting them know the donations that were made in their honor.   To my surprise, the teachers responded happily, and with notes of true gratitude. My boys came home with  such joy that their presents made their teachers happy. They couldn’t wait to give again.

They obviously do not have such a giving spirit every day. I hope this small teaching moment, repeated often, will allow them to see the good they can do for others.

It is not just money though. reminding them to hold doors, use their manners, and be respectful are just as important. I pray that if they see someone struggling with a bag, finding change, or even with a dead battery on the side of the road, that they will use available resources to help that person.

How can you give back? Pay it forward? What will you do?

 

I am challenging Lisa who has three boys like me. We have known each other for almost 10 years, and truly live parallel lives. We even share a birthday! We both love to give to others, and I know she will be willing to blog it forward!

 

I am also challenging Paula who is someone new to me. She follows my blog, comments, and seems to be working hard to overcome her fears and struggles with working out. I am sure she will take the challenge to pay it forward!

Feel free to join me and many other bloggers in “blogging it forward”

Head Here to see how you can help!

 

Happy holiday season!

Love,

Melendy

 

Something Isn’t Right

Anxiety.

It boils over in a moment. It happens when you least expect it. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been to the hospital with an anxiety attack. I manage my anxiety with planning. I probably should manage my anxiety with medication. but I just am not there.

Change.

Change is the catalyst for an attack. A new schedule, a new teacher, a detour on the road. All of these can lead to anxiety. How do you manage? How do you crawl  out of the hole that you dig for yourself when you see the change coming? For me, I meet change with more change. New clothes, shoes, bags. I drive the detour long after the road is repaired. I spend a Sunday cleaning bedrooms and downloading college syllabi because I know I cant avoid the change.

My son, he doesn’t know that the anger that boils out of him during a time of change is anxiety. He doesn’t know that mama prepping him with what is going to happen weeks before is mama’s way of avoiding the boiling over. He doesn’t know that mama understands the boil over  way too well. She feels it every time an outfit doesn’t fit. She feels it every time she cannot find her car keys in her purse. She feels it every time the tag on her dress scratches her neck. She knows the boil over all too well. She wishes he didn’t have to.

He doesn’t know that tonight I told his teacher that change in routine makes him anxious. He doesn’t know that mama spends her days putting out fires before they are set so that he doesn’t get set off. If only he could.

Someday he will know. Someday I will teach him to manage change. How it makes him feel. How it makes his blood boil over. How he needs to control that feeling. but for now, I try to prevent that feeling for him.

Change is scary no matter who you are. anxiety, or not. Change in and of itself is the root of the anxiety and anger I feel on an almost daily basis.

Many around you may be suffering with anxiety. Help them. Be consistent, be considerate, be present. For me, knowing that when I finally work through my boiling over my family is there for me makes the boiling over easier to deal with.

Revamping Mama

this is a statue in our hotel, it is from Africa, and reminds me of how any mother holds their child.
this is a statue in our hotel, it is from Africa, and reminds me of how any mother holds their child.

As we travel for our vacation my husband likes to drive. I am sure it is some masculine testosterone thing about leading his family and being in charge. To me, it is him feeling comfortable. Safe. So I let him. Besides while he is driving I can read.

I have met many people who tell me how carsick they get it they read in the car. (and as of his reading this, I discovered my husband is one of them!) I feel very blessed to not be one of those people. I love to read, and long car rides are a great place to escape and do it.

I brought 6 books for this vacation, and I may need more because I am through 2 already, and we just arrived!
The one I started yesterday has me captivated. I haven’t finished it yet, but I am afraid for it to end. You know that feeling when a book ends and you wonder what happens next. I get as engrossed with the characters in the books I read as I do with my best friends. I am emotionally invested for better or worse, These characters have me.

This book is captivating me.
This book is captivating me.

This story is about a mother.
About a daughter.
About relationships.
It weaves in and out. Every chapter from the point of view of a character, almost every character in the book having a chance to share their perspective.

from the floor of our hotel.
from the floor of our hotel.

The mother works with elephants. Why is this important? It is important because as a mom I have a child who is obsessed with Elephants. We went to the zoo every day to watch them eat and get bathed. We have books, stuffed animals, drawings, mugs, mobiles, blankets, t-shirts, etc… With elephants. His room is painted elephant grey.  We know elephants. When I chose this book, I had no idea that this was going to be such a major topic. There was a reason this book spoke to me louder than the four I had in my hand at the bookstore that day. This book is speaking to me louder than any other. The relationships jump out at me.

A mother elephant has a strong connection with her calf, and elephants as a whole are a matriarchal society. The mom is in charge. The details in this story are gripping me to see the mom I once was and the mom I want to be again.

staring our the window at the ocean.
staring our the window at the ocean.

The hustle and bustle of life take away my ability to be patient. I have no tolerance for silly or crazy actions in my house. Sword fights? Forget it. Painting? Too messy. Legos? Well ok, Legos are everywhere. I used to be the mom whose house had crafts everywhere, trips to the beach and the zoo. Picnics in the backyard. Walks to the playground. I will admit, as my oldest aged, I tired of these things. For him everything had to be routine. If we did something once it had to be part of the routine every day. It became harder to manage his needs and raise a second and then third child. His demands for everything to be the same were becoming more and more unrealistic. And so, I became unable to enjoy those things with him, or any of them. Selfish? Maybe. Worn thin? For sure. Matured? Probably not.

I have all these questions running around my head. Can I be a good mother if I am bored with childish activities? Can I function as a mom if I have more energy for teaching than I do for playing with my boys? I don’t know. Am I the mom I want them to remember? No.

What I do know is that for the last year or so I have been trying to rediscover my love with the “mundane”. To tap in to my child side while maintaining my authority and their respect. We travel to the beach or the zoo. Aquariums and museums. I will let them get soaking wet at track practice in the sprinklers (and then soothe their rashes when we get home). I am playing video games with them, letting them share in picking the music in the car, and doing more of letting them make choices. Trying desperately to put a hold on their childhood while it is still reasonable to do so.

I am also starting to help them be independent. I should have done this a while ago with the oldest, but I didn’t. Am I a bad mom? No. I just wasn’t ready to let go. I wasn’t ready to let them make a mess, make mistakes or even make the decision that I had failed them as a mom. I wanted them grown up, but dependent on me. So they had to be still, not speak unless spoken to, no toys got played with. You can’t have a mess. This wasn’t helping them. It really wasn’t helping me.

this quote hit hard
this quote hit hard

I have to remember that my job as their mom is to teach them love, kindness, respect, compassion (for others), and joy. I am working on this (although it is a true uphill battle sometimes)! I am picking my battles, finding the joy in their chaos, and learning what they love. There is a fine line between loving your child with love, and loving your child with disciple and boundaries, sometimes that line is impossible to see. We as a family needed to find an escape from our current routine.

Track was probably the best thing for this because we were together. Their father and I assisted in coaching and were able to give each child attention and love in a way we hadn’t before. We supported them, raised them up, believed in them, kept them focused on their goals, and allowed them to make choices. They in turn felt respected, respected us, and had fun.

A few weeks ago the boys and I visited the zoo for a nighttime zoo event called “born to breastfeed.” It was a night about mothers and breastfeeding. Women supporting women. And I was drawn to the elephants. These three elephants have lived in the zoo for a long time. The same ones my oldest loved when we could go to the zoo every day. I reminded him of bringing him to the zoo every day and he said, “you did?! I don’t remember that!” My heart broke a little. I want them to have memories. Good ones, and ones that they ( like an elephant) will never forget.

As we journey through this vacation together, I am trying to remind myself to stop, breathe deep, and let the children I am raising remind me how to be a kid again. Tonight that meant getting in the pool and going down the water slide. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.