The mornings usually begin nice and early thanks to my four month old alarm clock, Samuel. While I am giving him his bottle I usually welcome two more little munchkins into my bed. I love to start the day with a good cuddle. But the serenity of those early-morning cuddles is very short-lived before the squabbling begins. “That’s my blankie!” “No MY milk!” “Can we watch cartoons?”
Tuesday and Thursday mornings tend to be nice because I have the chance to be alone with the boys when Lydia goes to her preschool. That is usually my opportunity to get some housework done. It is surprisingly MUCH less crazy around the house when our rambunctious little Lydia is absent. I love it when she comes home though. She is full of stories and loves to show me all she has made from that morning. But this also tends to be a quite hectic time. All of a sudden I go from a somewhat quiet house to the crazy lunchtime rush. My sisters always laugh when I tell them that one of my kids favorite lunchtime meals is scrambled eggs with green beans…now that is normal, isn’t it!?
I am more than willing to extend all of my energy during these morning hours and get everything done that I need to because my reward is yet to come…NAP TIME! This is my quiet time. Without this hour or two of “self-time” I would not be able to make it through the day (and the coffee helps too). I rarely every sleep during this time…my rest time usually consists of reading, blogging, or …the DVR! J
Finally comes the time when daddy comes home. I have not yet figured out why this seems to be the most chaotic and loudest part of the day…maybe because the kids are so excited about seeing daddy, maybe because it is close to dinner time and they are hungry, or maybe there is just an alarm that goes off all over the world that tells all children that it is time to go CRAZY!!!
Dinner is always interesting, starting with our prayer time before the meal. Daddy starts to pray and since daddy prays Lydia has to pray, then if Lydia prays Hudson has to pray, then of course since everyone else prayed mommy has to pray too. By then the food is cold, but it has been prayed for four times, so it works out. At the ages that my kids are right now we don’t have much more of a conversation than, “Make sure to eat your peas,” or “Take two more bites of chicken,” or “Don‘t rub the salad dressing in your hair,” or “If you finish your spaghetti you can have some ice cream!”
Depending on the night (or the amount of salad dressing in the hair), the kids have baths after dinner. The kids love bath time - and I love clean kids! But my favorite family time activity that we have, specifically in the winter, is fire time. Lydia and Hudson like us to build a fire in the fireplace, turn off every single light in the whole house, and have a dance party. This is actually very good exercise and it is really fun to hear the laughter and see the smiles of dancing toddlers. Then we settle the kids down to read some Bible stories and pray together. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like the kids are listening or learning during this time, but more often than not we are surprised with how much they understand. It’s also interesting to see what Bible stories they enjoy most - Lydia’s current favorites are the Exodus from Egypt, David and Goliath, and Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.
The last part of the evening is such a sweet time. I am usually eager to move on to my time with Matt, but it is so rewarding to take the time to talk to, sing with, and pray for each of the kids. I pray that that time will both strengthen their bonds with me and soften their hearts towards Christ. Of course, merely putting the kids to bed doesn’t necessarily mean they go to sleep. For instance, Matt went into Hudson’s room to check on him about twenty minutes after putting him to bed. When Matt walked into the room he noticed Hudson’s pants and blankie on the floor, but no Hudson. He looked in the bed, but no Hudson. He looked in the closet, but no Hudson. He looked in the kids’ bathroom, but no Hudson. He looked in Lydia’s room, but no Hudson. He looked in the living room, but no Hudson. Finally, Matt noticed that our bedroom door was half-way open. Matt went into the bedroom and found the pants-less Hudson sitting on the floor in our bathroom - with all the lights off - putting band-aids all over himself. Matt scolded Hudson for getting out of bed and for getting into the band-aids and put him back to bed. And wouldn’t you know it, just five minutes later a pants-less Hudson re-emerged from his bedroom attempting to sneak back to our bathroom for more band-aids!
Each day certainly brings its own craziness and business! But if I have learned one thing from this experience it is that I want to appreciate the little things in life and enjoy my family. And most importantly, I want to model Christ’s love for them day in and day out.
Lydia (turning 4 in 2 weeks), Hudson (2 and 1/2), and Samuel (our enormous 4-month old)