Tag Archives: mommyhood

Four Great Christmas Books for Young Children

This post originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

I have a big red bin full of books I pull out only during Advent and Christmas time. It includes silly ones about melting snowmen, and a couple of those touchy-feely Usborne books for toddlers, but it also includes a few beautiful stories. Of course, like everyone, we love The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but these are a little lesser known. Here are my favorite books I read with my kids during this season.

Song of the Stars. This Sally Lloyd-Jones beauty is one of my favorite books ever. With beautiful illustration by Alison Jay, it is similar to SLJ’s Jesus Storybook Bible (which has a WONDERFUL telling of Jesus’s birth, by the way) on keeping Jesus at the center of the season, and emphasizing his saving of us all, not just his birth. The story begins with the tangible excitement of his coming, rustling through the leaves and being sensed by all of nature, this gift that would change the world.

Room for a Little One. This one is a toddler book, but it’s so sweet. My kids have loved naming the animals as we go through it, and seeing Jesus’s birth from the perspective of those unsuspecting characters. It’s by Martin Waddell.

Birds of Bethlehem. Now THIS is a neat book, by Tomie de Paola. We see the story of Jesus’s birth from some birds in and around Bethlehem. They are chattering away, sharing stories about how a baby has been born, angels sang, shepherds and wise men visited, and what it all means.

The Gift of the Magi. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this story by O. Henry. A beautiful telling of a couple who have nothing to give to each other, but end up showing their love by giving everything. The version I have is illustrated by P. J. Lynch, and is simply stunning. I can’t read it without crying.

What are the most treasured Christmas books in your family?

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! Enjoy our funnies!

Me: Would you like some applesauce?
D: Applesauce is my life!
Me: Quoting Frozen again?

D: I want watermelon!
Me: I don’t have any cut. How about cantaloupe?
D: Yeah! (Proceeds to eat approximately half a cantaloupe, right after lunch.)

D about everything (inanimate objects, that is) he likes: ______ is my best friend ever.

J, seeing a teenage boy riding his bike, obviously without training wheels: That is a really talented boy.
Hubby: Here ya go, D. Your smoothie is ready.
D, running to the stairs: J! EK! Smoothiiiiie!
Me: You’re such a good brother.
D: I’m not brother, I’m D!

D, potty training naked, toots, then looks behind him on the floor, sees a piece of a brown leaf: Mom!! Pick up that toot!

 

It’s Hard to Say “I’m Sorry”

Nothing makes me apologize like just being a mom.

Oh, I should say it louder for the people in the back?!

It is SO IMPORTANT to practice saying “I’m sorry” and being humble when you’re a mom.

Let’s think. Who is it easier to lose your temper with than your kids? Who is it more likely you’ll fumble your words with than your kids? Who is it that sees the most exhausted, short-tempered, foolish version of yourself? Your kids.

I don’t know about you, but being a mom of three seems like a good reason to apologize for everything. I’m constantly “hurting someone’s feelings” by telling them they need to eat their vegetables. I’m always mortally offending someone by telling them they have to turn the TV off. (Anyone? Beuller?) But what’s even more important is that I actually apologize when I do something stupid in their presence.

Let me explain.

I inherited a short temper and tendency to shout from my parents. I don’t think I came away with any wounds necessarily, but I did learn to get angry and shout about it. Feel me? So when I have big feelings (that’s kind of a lot, because I’m a type 4 on the Enneagram) I sometimes speak before I think (oops), I sometimes shout when I oughtn’t (oops again), and I can’t help but fail my kids again and again and again.

But what better thing for my kids to see than the fact that I’m not perfect? What better way to teach by example that I need Jesus so much that it hurts to admit it? What easier way to include Jesus in everyday interactions with my children than continually apologizing to them, and showing them my need for Jesus to be present with me, Holy Spirit to counsel me, and God to forgive me for the words I’ve spoken out of turn?

Now, hear me out. I’m not condoning shouting at your kids or being angry all the time. But I am advocating for repentance. Visible, true repentance. My daughter – most like me, for better and worse – has had me in tears at bedtime, praying for forgiveness for us both. My first response isn’t always to ask God to help, but I’ve learned it truly does make it easier on me when I’ve started my day with a plea for the patience that doesn’t come naturally, and the turning over of a new leaf when I “literally can’t even”.

Here, right now, in front of all of you (millions of readers, am I right?!), I say this: I am not perfect. But I love hard, I try and try again, and I ask God to fill in my gaps. And that’s how I mom. I do it with love, and grace, and Jesus.

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! The pickin’s are a little slim this week, but let’s just say it’s because I’ve been more “in the moment” and not because I’ve been horrible at writing things down. Okay? Okay. Enjoy the ones I’ve got!

D: I went to da docker (doctor).
Me: Oh really? What did he say?
D: My name. My brown name.
Me: …oh…

EK: I’m really smart. I can do a puzzle in one minute or ten.

J, standing still against the wall: I look just like a picture!

D, having unbuttoned his whole shirt: Mama, my shirt is broken!

Me, post-workout: My butt is so sore!
J: That’s because you’re sitting on my foot!
Me: …….

J, telling me something I absolutely already know and probably told him myself: Mom! Did you know that…. (fill in the rest with a fact everyone knows)?!?!?!

What are your kids saying these days?!

10 Chores That Young Kids Can Do

This piece also appeared on The Grit and Grace Project.

One of the things I’ve tried to establish early in in my parenting is my desire to raise responsible children who contribute to their community (be it their family, classroom, society, etc). In our culture, this can be difficult… they’re busy, they want to watch TV, or they’re used to being told “You’re too young to do that.” But I’ve got 9 things my kids can and should be doing to contribute to the housework load.

1. Help unload the dishwasher. My kids do their plastic dishes, their cups/bottles/all those parts, and all the silverware (not including sharp knives). I just ask whichever of them is around when I need to get it unloaded, and almost always, they’re eager to help.

2. Put away their laundry. This one is a big one. We often watch some TV before bedtime, and I set a timer for 4-5 minutes at a time, and we pause the TV, and everyone puts some clothes away. Sometimes it’s their own clothes into their own dressers. Sometimes it’s towels, or something of mine or Hubby’s that I have them carry to our room for me to put away later. They’re quite good at helping, and they’re learning to keep their drawers organized… or everything won’t fit!

3. Clean up their toys/pick up their rooms. I don’t make them do this all day every day. We frequently have toys left out, even when we go to bed sometimes. But I do ask them to keep things fairly organized (in labeled bins!) and mostly off the floor. If it gets too out of control, we spend a morning or evening cleaning EVERYONE’s room. But I help, not really facilitate. They know what to do.

4. Bring dishes from the table to the sink. I like having them help clear the table. That way, they can’t just get up whenever they feel like it. They tell me they’re full, and I say when they can get up, take their dishes to the sink, get their hands and faces clean, and go play.

5. Gather/Sort/Switch over laundry. I have them bring their dirty laundry to the laundry room, and often to sort it, help me start a load, help me switch it to the dryer (they’re a little short to get in my top-loading washer), and bring it out to be folded.

6. Clean the table/windows/doors. I let them loose with a roll of paper towels and the Method Glass Cleaner. Boom. It’s not as streak-free as when I do it myself, but they learn that their contribution is valuable at any level.

7. Sweep/pick up crumbs. My kids really like to sweep, and I have a handheld broom and dustpan for them to get everything up off the floor. We try to do this once a day (but then again, it depends on the day).

8. Weed, water, and harvest in the garden. They love this one, simply because they love being outside. We’re teaching them to recognize weeds, and the right way to pull them up (getting the WHOLE weed). They’re also learning when our vegetables are ready to pick – or to eat right off the plant, in the case of several tomatoes and cucumbers!

9. Pack lunch. This one I’m going to start soon. Once I’ve given a good idea of what a healthy lunch looks like, I’m going to have things semi-prepared for my kindergartener to grab a few things to put in her lunch box each morning. I’ll choose a bit, and let her choose her snack and a few add-ins. That way, she’s more excited about eating it because she picked it.

10. Help make the bed. I haven’t set a good precedent about this one, but I often find myself having them help, even if it isn’t first thing in the morning. Having lots of decorative pillows can make the job cumbersome, but pulling up sheets and blankets and putting the animals on TOP of the blankets is pretty darn easy. As is helping Mom or Dad strip the bed and change the sheets! My kids like the putting-on of the pillow cases the best!

What are some things your kids to around the house? Are there other chores I should start my kids on early?

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! Last week I was on vacation and allowed myself to NOT EVEN POST ANYTHING. So enjoy a couple of weeks’ worth of Crazy Things My Kids Say.

J: Did you know that sometimes when you potty, you can stand up? And then you face away from the potty and poop out.

J: Home is a better airport.

J, about 20 mins away from home: Did you know we’re so close to DisneyWorld?!

Hubby: We’re only about a 12 hours drive away.
J: I can count to 12!
Hubby: Reeeeeeeal slow.

Seeing the Charlotte skyline…
Me: Do you guys see that big building up ahead?
J: The one that looks like a giant big banana?!

EK: I want to be a baker!
Our friend Marie: Well bakers get up really early, like midnight, and work all the way until morning.
EK: I did not know that so I think I won’t.

EK: Hey! Watch out! I’m going on a big dump!
Me: *laughs hysterically*
Hubby: What?
EK: I’m going on a dump!
(Obvi she means pooping, in case we’ve gotten too G-rated in here)

J: I love you to the moon and back! And all the way around DisneyWorld!!

J, after riding in the car for a few hours: When I try to sit up, my booty hurts.
Me: From sitting on it so long? I’m sorry; we’ll stop soon.
J: I think there’s a swordfish back there, poking it.

Too much Disney movie watching…
Me: You’re trying my patience.
J: Like Mowgli is trying Sher-khan’s patience?

Me: You disobeyed me.
J: Like Simba disobeyed Mufasa?

Well, what are your kids saying these days? Let me hear the sillies!

Things Toddlers Say

HEY! We are leaving for Florida tomorrow for a week, so I can’t promise how good vacation mom is at writing down the funnies… so enjoy these to last you till then! Happy Tuesday!!

Hubby helping EK with a crossword puzzle: What’s the thing that goes on pizza that’s round?
EK: Mozzarella?

Hubby: What do y’all want for lunch?
EK: We haven’t had Mexigan in a while.

J, knowing about science: Baby ducks are not chicks. Baby ducks are baby ducks.

EK on Easter: Does Jesus die every year?
Our friend Drew: Well, it only happened once but we celebrate it every year.
EK: I don’t know if I believe that.

EK to our pastor on Easter: You did a really nice job today.

D, being more like me than ever: *Using his bacon as a spoon in his grits*

J at bedtime: Daddy, your love makes me a happy boy.

EK to me: Phew. I better not get in trouble any more.

What are your kids saying these days?! Inquiring minds want to know!