Remembering to be Grateful on the “Long Days”

One of Those “Long Days”

Today is one of those “long days.” The husband has to work a baseball game tonight, so he won’t be home until late. Normally, about dinner time and bath time I look at the clock and take a deep breath knowing that soon daddy will be home and it’s no longer zone defense but back to man to man – two on two; however, with a late game tonight, I will have to skip that deep breath and truck on along to bath time. A quick pause, can we seriously praise single parents!! They are certainly rock stars in my book, that’s for sure!

Example of a Previous “Long Day” in our Household

During one of these long nights not too long along, one had a fever while the other one was throwing up in the bathtub, which meant our entire bath time routine was out of whack. Routines are our lifeline around here. With two little ones, I have to stick to them, or I’d be put in a home. Especially when both of your little ones appear to be a little, ok a lot OCD and Type A. Sorry boys, you get it from both of us. You had no hope.

Normally I have jammies and diapers in the bathroom so I can get one child out and dressed while the other one plays in the tub for a few more minutes. Heaven knows if I left my daredevil two year old in the tub for a few minutes without being in there, which I don’t recommend doing ever anyways, the bathroom would be a swimming pool with water everywhere, and he’d be jumping off the edge of the tub like it was a diving board. Better to just avoid any circumstance that could possibly include a trip to the ER.

Since I couldn’t follow our normal routine, that meant the older one sat naked in his rocking chair and rocked while I got the little one ready for bed. I put his jammies on and set him down on the floor, started dressing the other one, and then I heard the “baby” playing in water. Pause. I ran to the bathroom, and of course he had found the toilet. He was just standing there a splish splashing. Not only did he find the toilet, but there was a blood trail from the bedroom room to the toilet, so I’m asking myself what on Earth happened.

What Had Happened Was

Well what had happened was… his finger got stepped on and turned black and swollen from the blood underneath the nail awhile back. We had been waiting for the nail to fall off, but it just hadn’t gotten that far yet. Well, apparently the blood decided it was tired of being trapped under the nail and thought that night would be a great night to start oozing out. Hello blood trail. I got him a band aid and of course he chewed it off in under a minute flat. Someone in the medical field should really invent a way to stop a child’s finger from bleeding because band aids just aren’t a viable option with a one year old. Million dollar idea, someone run with it!

At this point, the older one also got to the toilet and pretended to smash his finger in there because he too had a “boo boo” and needed a band aid. I’ll give him points for associating that’s where the baby’s finger was bleeding, so he needed to go there too.

Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

Seriously though, I needed some wine. I always ask myself if it’s inappropriate to have a drink in the evening before the boys go to bed, but I always immediately feel guilty for that. It’s that Catholic conscience of mine. Thanks Dad. His favorite phrase to my sisters and me growing up was, “Let your conscience be your guide.”

It would go something like this:

Me: Dad, can I go to this party?
Dad: Let your conscience be your guide.

Me: Dad, can I stay at this house after prom?
Dad: Let your conscience be your guide.

Me: Dad, I don’t think I’m going to youth group tonight.
Dad: Let your conscience be your guide.

Oh how I hated when he said that, but don’t doubt for a second that I don’t plan on using it myself when my kiddos get older. Clearly it was effective.

Back to the Story

Anyways, back to the story, I got both kids settled down and dwindled a few more minutes off the clock until the baby just couldn’t hold it together another minute without some milk. I picked him up, he’s pretty darn heavy, so I kind of carried him by his stomach in one hand and the milk in the other. Why is that important? Well, he threw up again. Yes, really.

We cleaned up and went to his room for bedtime. On nights that Chad isn’t home, the older one comes with me to to the baby’s room and sits in the glider with us until I lay him down. Sounds sweet and all, but normally I’m telling him to stop screaming, whisper and to sit down. That night was no different, eventually I was telling him those things, but in the brief few moments before that, it made the whole #jesusandwine night worth it.

Be Still My Heart

I’m cradling one in my left arm while he was drinking his bottle, and the other was sitting in my right arm. My big boy said, “twinkle twinkle star.” This is his favorite song. I sing it to him most nights, so again, points for associating baby’s bedtime with his own bedtime song. So, together we sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I looked down and baby boy was smiling up at us. Oh, be still my heart. Then, brother said, “happy birthday?!” Another top three favorite song of his, as this is the song sung while we brush his teeth. So naturally, we sang Happy Birthday as we tried to drift baby off to sleep, and again, he smiled. Doesn’t everyone sing Happy Birthday as a lullaby? That was about big brother’s limit of sitting and being sweet, so the loud talking and the standing in the glider began, which meant baby got tossed in bed quickly so I could get the screaming child away from him.

I put the two year old in his bed, and he said, “momma sit.” That’s the norm these days. He wants me to sit by his bed while he holds my thumb (this has been his comfort since he was born pretty much), so I do. While I’m sitting there, we said our prayers. As ready as I was to drink my wine and watch my shows, I knew deep down they wouldn’t always want to hold my hand and have me rock them, so I sat there just a bit longer than normal, and I quietly thanked God for choosing me to be their mom.

Bring It On

I know with another long night is ahead of us and me being outnumbered by the little ones, there will certainly be more #jesusandwine moments to document. Moments that will have me counting to five, or maybe ten so I don’t lose it; however whatever those moments may be, I know one thing for sure: I am certainly undeserving of those two, and oh so grateful they’re mine, so bring it on.

Books Everywhere

Let’s Throw Everything!
I’ve decided it’s just a natural instinct for a boy to think they have to throw EVERYTHING. I mean, yes boys, I’d love for you to throw every book off of your book shelf. #jesusandwine

Toddler Devotion Example

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Tips for Devotion Time

I am not even going to pretend that it’s easy to do a devotion with my wild boys. They are one and two, so needless to say, their attention span is SHORT. Did I mention they were boys? Yeah, I have decided after teaching for a few years, being married, and having two of my own, that means their attention span is even shorter.

With that being said, here are a few helpful tips I have found through trial and error that help get the devotion in and productive:

  1. Keep it short. As said before, their attentions spans can’t handle anything too in depth, so the shorter the better!
  2. Incorporate music. My boys absolutely love to dance and sing – singing and dancing to “Shake Your Booty” is their personal favorite. Also, remember this helps those kinesthetic and musical learners. Kids love to learn by moving, shaking, and singing! Singing will also help your toddler with language development, so that’s an added bonus.
  3. Do an art project. This is a little more difficult for the younger toddlers like my 14 month old but great for my two and a half year old. If you can, find a way to do a hands-on project that relates to the devotion. It extends the devotional time, while maintaining the child’s attention. It can also help with their fine motor skills. If you have a young toddler like me, I talk out loud so he can hear what my older child and I are doing, but I give him something else to play with – usually an activity to work on his fine motor skills as well.

Devotional Book

One of my sweet friends gave me a ton of books when I had my oldest son. She also happened to be my youth minister in high school, so there were plenty of religious books in the pile, which I loved! She has two boys close in age like mine, so I love getting her advice any time I can. Her boys are now in 5th and 6th grade and are little angel babies. I ask her if there is still hope for my boys to be as sweet as hers. She assures me there is, but on my Jesus and wine kind of days, I’m just not so sure.

Here is the book she gave me that we use all the time! It is pefect for little ones with short attention spans!

Example Devotional for Toddlers

To start our devotion, I read a story from the devotional book, which this time was about Peter, James, and John in the sailboat. Another reason this book is so great is because it has a CD that comes along with it, as each story has a song that is related to it. The song related to this story was, Peter, James, and John in a Sailboat. If you’re like me and don’t own a CD player, I pull up YouTube on my iPad or AppleTv and there ya go!

Once we read the short story, I pulled up the song on the iPad. YouTube can sing a lot better than me, so I let the music video take the lead from there. There are all different versions of each song, so that can be fun too. We found some that were a cartoon version and some that had dance motions to them!

After we watched a few of the songs and sang along, it was time to start our art project! This project was actually completed around Valentine’s Day, so I chose pink and red as my main colors, however, it is a totally appropriate craft to do anytime of year even though it uses hearts. Just change up the colors you use and it will look great!

After being a teacher and working with some amazing people who were willing to share all of their resources, I am a major believer in not reinventing the wheel and using the materials you already have, therefore, improvise! I used construction paper because that’s what I had on hand at home. This could also be done with felt, colored art foam sheets, etc.

Since we read about Jesus providing fish for Peter, James, and John, we decided to create a fish out of heart shapes! It is a total of five hearts: one, large heart for the body, a small heart for the fish lips, a small heart for the tail, and two small hearts put together for the fins. Once all of the hearts were glued together, I drew an eye on the fish with a sharpie. Had I had googly eyes at home, that would have been much cuter to use! I then let James take a blue crayon and color at the bottom as if the fish were swimming in the water. Last, I wrote a quote from the bible story we read on the art project to help remind us what we talked about.

He liked to pretend the fish was biting his finger and then scream, “ow!” and laugh. That one is all boy!

This was a super easy lesson, and it didn’t take long at all. It was pretty much fail proof minus the lovely moment of James trying to eat the glue…

But hey, that’s the reality around here. The little one was asleep during this time as well which, selfishly, makes things a little bit easier. This project had us talking about Jesus and didn’t have me asking for wine, so that’s a win in my book! I hope you and your little ones enjoy as much as we did!

Terrible Two’s

TERRORble Two’s

Boy oh boy, did whoever named the terrible two’s accurately do so. The only thing I would change would be the spelling. It should be the TERRORble two’s because at times, my two year old is a holy terror. Don’t get me wrong. I love him dearly and adore his strong personality that I know will get him far in life one day, but I simply cannot make up the things he chooses to throw down about. Yes, that’s right, THROW DOWN. Sometimes our entire day is just that, a throw down. And I’ve been told the three’s are worse. The only thought I have on that is, “How can that be possible?!” That’s a rhetorical question. If you know, please don’t tell me. I’d like to live naively for just a bit longer. If you do not follow #assholeparents on instagram, GO NOW. It is seriously amazing. It sums up my life in hysterical pictures and comments, that once again, you just can’t make up. Now, let’s just take a glimpse into a few terrible two moments, aka #jesusandwine moments, from today. Trust me, there will be many more documented in the future.

Let Me Throw Down

Before James goes to sleep (nap or bedtime), he likes to watch a little of his favorite, Mickey Mouse. It’s usually time to go to bed before the show is over, which James does not like. I can’t really blame him on this one. Who wants to go to sleep in the middle of their favorite show? Anyways, Chad and I so cleverly, at least we thought, figured out that if we fast forward to the end of the show, the fan favorite Hot Dog Dance, James thought Mickey Mouse too was going night night, and he would willingly go to his room. Well, all good things must come to an end, right? That end came this morning. James figured out what I was doing, and what do you think he did? Threw down of course. Stomping those footed pajama feet of his and screaming. It’s never too early for Jesus, but is it too early for wine?

And yes, he is two and I put him in footie pajamas for nap time. Want to know why? If I don’t, the beginning of nap time results in James stripping, including his diaper, going to the bathroom in his crib, and momma changing crib sheets for the 10th time this week. You my child always have the cleanest sheets in the house. Your Mac would be so jealous of how often your sheets are changed. I would google, “How to get your child to stop stripping,” but I’m thinking I might not get the best search results.

At Least We Have Manners

James goes to school two day’s a week. He screams every time I drop him off. I ask his teacher every time I pick him up if he behaved, and she always tells me yes, but she doesn’t elaborate. The former teacher in me doesn’t think she’s telling me the whole truth. I know there have been a few times that unless a student did something the parent really needed to know about, I probably fibbed a little bit as to their child’s everyday behavior.

My mom was in town last week and picked him up from school. His teacher told my mom that he was so sweet and had the best manners. My question to my mom was, “Why can’t he be like that at home?” Sweet that is. I’ll give him one thing, he is so mannerly. Chad and I always discuss how if our children misbehave, we want it to be at home as opposed to in public. Of course we want them to behave at home, but if they just cant manage to hold it together one more second, we’d rather them behave in public than in front of us. I told Chad the other day that James may be terrible at times, but he’s going to have manners while being terrible. Give me a moment to brag, please. The sweet little thing say’s ma’am and sir, thank you, you’re welcome, please, and my personal favorite, “ blesh”, aka, bless you. Please don’t let that baby figure out the words are actually bless you anytime soon.

The Silver Lining

After bath time this week, Chad was getting James dressed for bed, and I was getting Weston dressed for bed. I am always thankful when Chad’s there so we can tag team them. They may have been fighting over me and hanging on me all day long, but when Daddy walks through that door, it becomes a quick, “Who’s Momma?”

Weston has a canvas above his changing table that of course he has figured out how to kick off the wall with his feet. Naturally because why would we have one calm place where we don’t find something to mess up? Does that place exist?

So in due time, he did just that, kicked it off. It landed on my head. I must have made a loud comment because the next thing I heard was James screaming from the room next door, “You ok momma?” Oh, be still my heart. Those few seconds make those terrible two tantrums leave your mind and fall in love all over again. Until the next tantrum of course, which probably happened five minutes later.

The night came to an end as they always do, even though some days I feel like they’ll go on and on. At the end of the night, I said thank you Jesus for my boys and wished I had a bottle of Moscato chilled in the fridge.