The Silver Lining

It was a tough motherhood week last week. The boys were very busy, the girls were teething and then ill. I had to be a grown up more than I wanted to. Some days I feel like I am teaching and reteaching and then reteaching again with the kids.

It can get frustrating.

This week I made three last minute grocery store trips. Elizabeth managed to lock herself into her room, and then also managed to lock her and I into another room the next day. I still need to get to the hardware store to buy new door knobs, currently most of the doors have no knobs. . .which makes it tough to block twins from getting into off limits rooms.

Needless to say, yesterday I was tired. And I was cranky. I was looking forward to getting out on a play date with friends. And then, a crabby toddler crawled up on my lap, popped her thumb into her mouth and fell asleep.

So I sat. And I rocked her. I nuzzled her fuzzy head and told her about all of the dreams I have for her. I whispered about how I wondered how she would look. I told her how I was afraid to mother one daughter let alone two. I savored her weight in my lap, her sticky warmth. I was just present.

Later that afternoon, Elizabeth was taking a second nap (she has a cold, hence the crabbiness). Emily was restless, but not wanting to go to bed. Finally I pulled her onto my lap. She put her little head on my shoulder and we rocked. I repeated all of the things I told her sister. I nibbled her little ear. And then she fell asleep. She NEVER falls asleep on my lap.

I savored it all.

Everyone has bad days, even bad weeks. However, there is nearly always a silver lining. God gives us glimpses of the good amidst the hard times. It is funny how even a sick toddler can make my day!

Chime in! What has been your silver lining this week? Sometimes they are hard to find, sometimes easier! You know I’d love to hear from you!

The Trouble With Twindom

twins
At the end of the day, they are sweethearts.

The trouble with twins is that while we have two times the fun, and two times the snuggles; here at 20 months of age, we also have two times the tantrums. There are challenges with raising twins.

I’m not going to sugar coat this. I’m not going to lie. Some days I feel like I have a twin crying All.Day. Long.

Combine the tantrums with our family tendency for late talking, we have tantruming toddlers who cannot talk to me. Not that I really want to know what they think anyway. I’m fairly certain they would just tell me that I am mean for not allowing one more cookie, or insisting on a nap or not putting the shoes back on for the fiftieth time in a day.

Going out in public is getting tougher. Neither girl is fond of sitting in a shopping cart. However, neither girl really wants to walk  nicely next to the cart either. Have you ever read Llama Llama Mad at Mama? In the middle of the story, the climax, if you will, the little llama throws a tantrum of epic proportions in the middle of the store. Groceries, shoes, toys, and clothing go flying. This is but a wee insight into what happens when I shop with the twins.

This would all not be so disturbing, except that I am an experienced mother! This is not my first rodeo! I have four other kids who I stayed home with, and took grocery shopping, and took them in fitting rooms with me so I could buy jeans that fit. And while the boys may have whined and complained; none of them threw fits that caused fellow shoppers to stare at me as if I were the one throwing a fit.

So what is a mom to do? For now, I stick pretty close to home. A cop-out perhaps, but sanity is important too. I can wait until after school when I have older brother assistants, but they are not fond of spending their free time running errands either.

I was sharing my toddler twin woes during a playdate on Friday. All of the moms of singletons clucked politely and said silent prayers of thanks that they had but one baby at a time. However, sweet Mae, mom of two sets of twins, two years apart, laughed. She said, “I wish I had some great Mom of Multiples wisdom for you, but I’ve got nothing.” And then I realized that we are all wallowing through this motherhood thing.

Advice from other moms may or may not work. . .we are all a product of our current and past environments. Some days I even dream of the freedoms something like a live in housekeeper or nanny would give me. And yet, I wonder if extra help could even complicate things further.

What I do know is that no matter how difficult these days are, I would not trade them for life without my crazy, moody, sweet, beautiful twins. They are a blessing beyond words, and a lesson in patience for me as well.

Chime in! What are your kids teaching you? Patience? Acceptance? Unconditional love? You know I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have twins, are expecting twins or know someone who is? Make sure you click on over to my “Got Twins?” page and learn more about the wonders of twindom! Lots of advice and experience from pregnancy, breast feeding and beyond!

The Once a Week Lunchbox

Once aweek lunchbox

 

Once  aweek lunchbox

Once upon a time, when I had just one or two children, I was a big fan of Once a Month Cooking. Now that I have six kids, I should be a bigger fan, but to be honest, it is the daily and weekly meal planning that helps keep me sane. I love to cook dinner, so I actually did not enjoy having that task removed.

What I hate making is lunches! I don’t like feeding lunch for my kids during the summer. I’m not a huge fan of coming up with lunch ideas for the babies. I’m glad that the Rev. likes to pack leftovers for his lunch. (That is, when we have leftovers).

So, after the girls were born, I took a vacation from lunches. I had the boys all buy hot lunch from school. Our mornings were happy, the kids were happy. However, hot lunch expenses add up.

When I saw these great lunch ideas on 5Dinners in One Hour. (She also sells a lunch plan). I knew that this would be what would work for our family! I bought two restaurant quality bins to set on a shelf in our refrigerator, and I have one dishpan that I keep in the pantry for dry goods.

I sat the little boys down and asked them what kind of things they would want to pack in their lunches. Then I set out on Sunday night and made the food! (It took a while, probably two hours, but the kids prefer large carrot sticks to baby carrots, so that took time).

I made 18 ham and turkey subs. (I bought 18 Bollilo buns from the Bakery section of Sam’s Club for under $4. . .they are delicious!). I cut up an entire two pound bag of carrots. (I packed them in snack sized bags, one cut up carrot per bag.) I sliced apples and dipped in lemon juice. Half an apple per bag. I also have small portion cups with caramel sauce for dipping. (about a teaspoon). In the pantry bin there are pretzels (with peanut butter for dipping), Cheerios with raisins (one of Ethan’s favorite snacks), granola bars, and dried fruit strips.

In the morning the boys pick out what they want in their lunch and pack it themselves and top it off with a water bottle!

They are happy, I am happy, and we are saving money!

 

Chime in! What are some of your time saving lunch tips? What are your kids’ healthy favorites? You know I’d love to hear from you!

If You Give a Mom Some Coffee

If you give a mom some coffee, she’ll probably want some cream and sugar to go with it.

So she’ll go to the refrigerator and find the last of the half and half (and say a short prayer that it is still fresh).

Then she will open the sugar bowl and see that it is empty.

So she’ll go to the pantry to get the sugar canister out–and her 7 year old will remember that he wants breakfast. Now.

So she fries up two eggs and makes perfect toast.

And then she sees that Twin B has taken off her diaper. So she diapers and dresses two babies.

She goes back in the kitchen and sees breakfast dishes all over the table, so she washes them.

She sees the sugar canister on the table and remembers that she wanted to make some banana bread. So she bakes a loaf–or two.

She throws dirty dish towels into the washing machine, and then she smells banana bread. It is done.

She cuts a slice, and then decides a cup of coffee would taste great with it. . . .

Happy Mothers’ Day!

family photo
Three generations of mothers. (I'm the one with bad bangs)
It is kind of nice to have a special day, isn’t it?

Do all of us moms deserve a special day? Who knows? Sometimes I wonder if my kids deserve a special reward for having to put up with me as their mom.

And yet, they still love me.

Because, when it comes down to it, Mom is always there. She may be late, or too early, or she may yell too loudly from the sidelines, or forget that you prefer no special sauces on your food. Sometimes she gives you a school shirt for your birthday, when a few more Legos would have been more fun.

I’ve been working this mom job for longer than I’ve held any other job outside the home. I’ve been working this job for 15 years!  I have at least 17 more years of hands-on care! We know that motherhood does not end when the chicks leave the nest either, my mom has been on the job for almost 40 years now. (yes, I’m THAT old.)

With motherhood there are no raises, or promotions. There are no real vacations (and if you have ever taken a family vacation, you know what a misnomer that is). With motherhood the hours are really long. There is no union backing. A mother has only on the job training, and the training is inconsistent at best.

I’m blessed to have a willing co-worker, AKA the Rev. He has my back. He senses my fear. He does not hold my many failings as a wife and mother against me. He teaches our children to do the same.

I have a mother and mother-in-law and wonderful aunts and local mentors that I can turn to in times of confusion, or stress, or even just to share some joy, and I’m so thankful for those connections.

Motherhood is something that bonds us as women. Even women who are not mothers themselves have had a mother. I think often on my dear Aunt Elizabeth. She was my grandma’s sister, and the woman that we named our Elizabeth after. She had no children of her own, but she loved my grandmother’s children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren as if we were hers. She passed on wisdom, and recipes, and laughter.

I often wonder if someday I will be that same sort of woman who is remembered for being such a special and dear mother. Do I want our children to remember that every night after dinner was a battle of the dishes, or do I want them to remember that they always got to pick the menus on their birthdays and special days. Do I want them to remember me yelling at them to tuck in their shirts on Sunday mornings, or do i want them to remember how nice it was to sit and worship together as a family every week?

So, I hug my children tighter. I try to fill their memory banks with good things. I pray that God would grant me the wisdom and strength to be a memorable mother.

Chime in! What has blessed you the most in your career as a mother? How do you try and support other mothers? You know I’d love to hear from you!