Those of you who know Ambrose know him to be a wonderful, outgoing little boy…who throws some out-of-this world tantrums. He’s volatile.
I love him with a passionate heart. But my love is imperfect. If he screams through the middle of the night, I’m tired and grumpy. If he screams in the car I’m irritated. If he screams in the store I’m embarrassed and annoyed. These are not qualities of a perfect love.
But God’s love is perfect and unfailing. His love is unconditional. His love is relentless. His love is beautiful. His love is enough to fill in the gaps that my parenting leaves. His love gives us a new identity.
When I call Ambrose “Mr. Crabby Pants,” God calls him Delightful. When I call him “Grump,” God calls him Joy. When I call him “Ambrose David,” God calls him “Beloved for Eternity.”
A delicious meal of steak and potatoes sits on the table, and it’s Ambrose’s turn to pray.
“God. Thank you. So sad. I don’t like snake. Amen.”
This cutie patootie likes to pray.
Look at what my sweet children got me for Mother’s Day.
Tulips are my favorites. Look at how gorgeous these are!
Thank you children and thank you to whomever provided the my children the means to get me my favorite flowers.
Only in Minnesota in May do we get a few inches of snow one day, more snow the next then three days later we’re out in our swimming suits. Our spring was terrible. I feel like I shoveled more in April than I had all winter. The gray skies and the dreary weather matched my spirits, though I would have enjoyed some fun in the sun.
Snow on May 3.
After such a gross spring we celebrated the warmth only as Minnesotans do. We pulled out our swimming suits and the hose and had ourselves a good ‘ole time. I sprayed some shaving cream on our slide and let the kids have a go. It really wasn’t as fun as it sounds. I thought it would provide hours of entertainment and big poofy messes of shaving cream. But the shaving cream wiped off the slide each time a kid slid down. Eh, it was worth a try.
Getting ready for some messy fun!
Cleaning the slide with her bottom and some shaving cream.
Little man isn’t too sure what to think of it. He thinks it’s “messy”
But the Little Lady sure enjoyed getting a little messy.
Shaving cream is becoming one of our favorites. It’s fairly easy to clean and the kids enjoy getting a little “messy.” Try it out with your little ones!
How does one eat 100 grams of protein in a day? This certainly isn’t a goal of mine every day, but these days it is. Oh right, I haven’t made an official announcement on our blog yet. Well, here it is! We’ll soon be going from man-on-man to zone defense. We’re having another baby! Baby Squirt (as Hazel affectionately calls the baby in my womb) is due to arrive sometime in October.
I’ve been terribly sick this time around. Not puking-17-times-a-day-sick like I was with Hazel, but more along the lines of can’t-handle-the-smell-of-any-food-so-the-smell-of-anything-makes-me-puke-about-2-times-a-day. Improvement.
This pregnancy combined with the sudden loss of my Dad is the reason for my hiatus.
Anyway, my midwife recommends the Brewer Pregnancy Diet which aims for 100 grams of protein a day. This is hard for a girl who doesn’t want to eat and I’ve been far below the recommended 100 grams. But I have found a great snack that I can easily sneak in 15 grams. Roasted Chickpeas. I used to make these a lot when we were eating a lot of beans, but have since forgotten to include them on our menu.
Here’s my favorite way to serve up a few cups of chickpeas.
2 cans of chickpeas, drained (I used ½ lb of cooked dried beans)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 375. Mix drained chickpeas with oils, soy sauce, and spices. Spread on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for ~50 minutes. Make sure beans do not burn. But you also want them to be crispy all the way to the inside.
It’s been one month since I last talked to my dad. We just said “hi” and I tried to convince him that he and Mom should move to Minnesota in a few years. I miss my parents and would love to have them nearer. He responded that it was too cold and too big here in the Twin Cities. I tried to counter, but he won that argument. It is colder and it is quite a bit bigger here than where they’re from in Wisconsin. We just talked. Not for long, only about ten minutes. But I enjoyed talking to him. His calls showed me my value.
I’m never going to talk to him again. Not in this earthly life at least. I miss him. One month has been far too long to go without talking to him. I want to talk about the weather and how spring brings so much hope and new life. I want to talk about what his grandkids are up to. I want to hear about what he’s planting in his garden this summer. I want to hear about the vacation he just took with my mom, my sister and her husband. I just want to hear his voice.
The reality is beginning to sink in. I will never see my Dad again.
Enjoying Dad’s help painting our new house. He was such a hard worker and a man who was generous with his talents!
When Hazel was a toddler I had heard all about sensory bins. I thought they were overkill. I mean, what benefit does it serve to let your kids play in an indoor sandbox or a bin full of dried rice and beans? Hazel was perfectly content to sit and read a book. At preschool she enjoyed all of the sensory activities there, especially the clean mud, but I left the sensory bins (and the cleanup) to her preschool.
Sensory fun at preschool!
Cutting straws and playing with playdough
When Ambrose was 18 months-old I finally woke up and started experimenting with sensory activities. This boy is a kinesthetic learner and needs to be touching everything. We spent the summer outside playing with water and in the dirt. I intentionally ran my fingernails in the dirt! In the fall we got a few rubbermaid containers to play with water, dried beans, colored rice, shredded paper, and water beads.
Sensory activities have saved my sanity. Ambrose can play for 30 minutes at his sensory bins, allowing me time to clean up after breakfast or make dinner. Yes, oftentimes these activities create a giant mess, but the benefits are worth it. I encourage the kiddos to clean up their mess, so it’s another training opportunity.
pouring water through a turkey baster. I rarely can find my turkey baster…it’s a favorite sensory toy.
Sensory bins are here to stay. It’s a wonderfully calming activity for both children while they work on their fine motor skills and explore the phenomena of the objects/materials.
The kids and I have been decorating for Valentine’s Day. Hazel knows that we celebrate Love on Valentine’s Day and especially how much we are loved. We are loved by our family, friends, and by a relentless God. We’ve been painting hearts, doing heart-shaped science experiments with borax, and hanging up decorations. So hearts are on her mind.
We drove past Papa Murphy’s and saw that they have a heart-shaped pepperoni pizza for $7. “Oooh, can we have a heart pizza?” Sure, why not. I brought both kiddos into Papa Murphy’s, bought our pizza, then left. Out in the busy parking lot I asked Ambrose to hold my hand, and he flung himself down and threw a tantrum. “If you’re not going to hold my hand, then I have to carry you.” I picked him up and struggled back to the car, placed the pizza on the hood, and put both kiddos in. After talking to Ambrose about his heart and behavior I got in the car and left.
That parking lot is a zoo. Anyway, after I finally made it on the road I noticed some plastic wrap on my hood. “Crap! I forgot the pizza!” Not remembering anything about physics, I hit my brakes to try to rescue the heart-shaped pizza. It flew off the car and exploded on the street.
The kids saw this all happen and I hear from the back seat from my 2 year-old “Fly away pizza. All gone pizza.” At this point I’m laughing so hard I can hardly breathe, and Ambrose sternly tells me to “Stop crying” (wonder where he got that from). Sweet Hazel, concerned for her Valentine’s celebration, tells me we need to go rescue it from the street. I tell her through tears, that our pizza got ran over. I hear Ambrose again “Stop crying Momma.” Isn’t he sweet?
Anyway, on his way home from work, Mike picked up another $7 heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s. As he drove past he saw our run-over, mess of a pizza. That night we watched Wheel of Fortune together and ate our $14 pizza.
God did not create us to fit in a box. You and your sweet ones, with all of your individual quirks and bents, will express your own unique family culture. Live well within the limitations of your personality and theirs and you will find more joy.” –Sally Clarkson, page 26
After reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart (which is a wonderful book by the way. One of my favorites for sure!) I searched online for a script of what to say before administering a spanking to my 1 year-old. I had no idea how a spanking bridged the gap between disobedience and recognizing a need for Jesus. I didn’t want to mess up. I wanted a formula.
Formulas can create condemnation and guilt. If we don’t get the promised obedience or sleeping-through-the-night or trying-all-the-food-on-the-plate or intelligence or whatever we’re looking for in a “tried and true” method, we feel like it’s our fault. We feel inadequate. Truth is, all of our children are different. Each of us is “Fearfully and wonderfully made” and that does not mean that we all will respond exactly the same to a standard tried and true method.
I believe that formulas are great, but if they don’t work for your out-of-the-box child, don’t fall into condemnation. Your child is unique and will require you to come alongside him in determining the best way to reach his heart.
I loved loved loved Sally’s perspective in this chapter. She warns against people pleasing but points us to pursue God’s calling on our family. She encourages us Mommas to plan what kind of family we want to be. To embrace who God created us to be. To listen to His voice and, thus, find freedom, joy, and fulfillment.
“We can only please God if we listen to His call on our lives. Each of us has a different personality, different strengths and limitations, and different passions and stewardships. God gives us great freedom to exercise wisdom and authority in order to rule over our lives and make them productive for our own families.” – page 33
Hazel: Momma, you’re a good Mommy.
Conversations with Hazel
Momma: Why’s that? What makes me good?
Hazel: I like it when you play with me. And you love God. That makes you a good Mommy.
Precious Hazel, these sweet words from your mouth are balm to my soul. You’ve seen my heart. A heart that loves the Lord and is rampantly pursuing Him and His will for our family. You’ve seen past my brokenness and have peeked in at a consuming love I have for God!
I realized this morning that my first memories in life are from when I was Hazel’s age. At 4 ½ she’ll carry these memories with her for the rest of her life. I pray that she remembers a family that adores her, but more importantly adores God.
She’s right. A good Mommy is one who loves God. After all, He is the one who wrote the manual on parenthood.