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This is what I wish happens at our house every morning:

I wake up promptly at 6am, well before the kids, refreshed after a good night’s sleep. I spend an hour with the Lord while sipping my freshly brewed coffee. After being energized physically and spiritually, I walk (while humming) to the boys’ room and gently wake them up saying, “Good morning darlings, it’s time to get up and get ready.” They rub their sleepy eyes and respond, “Good morning, mother,” and immediately start getting themselves dressed without me having to tell them. I go into the kitchen and make us all a balanced breakfast. We sit down to breakfast as a family, Daddy kisses us all goodbye and leaves for work, and I walk both kids leisurely to the bus stop.

This is more like what happens at our house every morning:

The boys break into our room around 7am, screaming and laughing. They jump into our bed and I dream that I’m being ambushed by the enemy. I finally kind of wake up only to see a 24lb toddler straddling my stomach and jumping up and down trying to ride me like a horsey. With every jump he screams, “Mama, I want ‘nack!” (Translation: Mama, I want snack!) I manage to roll off the bed unhurt, leaving Larry to deal with the two jumping monkeys. I go into the kitchen to tend to the first order of business, boiling water for my morning coffee. The kids come into the kitchen and I try to make them eat breakfast, but they’re too busy arguing about who gets to press down the plunger on my French press. I kick myself for teaching them the verse, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first,” because now they quote it to each other and to me when they argue. I soon tire of refereeing the shouting match and send them to their room to get dressed even though they’re only half done with breakfast. Larry tries to kiss me goodbye, but I’m too irritated to kiss him back. I sit in the kitchen and savor my coffee in my one minute of peace. As I’m sipping, I look over at the clock and….oh no, only 15 minutes until the bus comes! I go in to check on the kids and they’re lounging around naked in their room. I get Turner dressed and make repeated threats to CC to get some clothes on. After the 10th time, he finally complies. I throw some lunch into his lunch box, some clothes on myself, and leave the house teeth unbrushed, hair uncombed. CC races down the sidewalk on his scooter with me following with Turner in the stroller at breakneck speed until we get to the bus stop. Thankfully, the bus isn’t always on time and the kids have time to play a few rounds of hide and seek with the other boy waiting there before the yellow school bus pulls up. Turner and I wave goodbye to CC and walk leisurely home where I have a second chance to begin the day again in the right way.

What do mornings look like at your house?

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Fixing the stop sign

Fixing the stop sign

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We just got back from our epic summer family adventure to the East Coast and what an adventure it was! We hit three cities, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, in nine days relying on a single umbrella stroller, an ergo, and public transportation. The last time we were out on the East Coast was more than two years ago when CC could still fly for free. I was determined that we make it out there again before Turner’s second birthday in June. We had a long list of people to see so each day we set off to visit friends and every night we were in a different home enjoying food and fellowship around the table while the kids caroused happily with new found playmates. Some days we were so busy getting from place to place, catching trains and buses, that Larry and I felt like we were competing in Amazing Race, only with kids. (By the way, I think that would be a great idea for a show – Amazing Race, Parents with Kids Edition – I would totally watch it). We managed to fit in a little bit of sight seeing, but we didn’t stress out about having to see everything, and in all honesty the kids were usually more happy to just stop at a local playground or run around someone’s back yard than walking the Freedom Trail or seeing the Statue of Liberty.

 

Swan boat ride!

Swan boat ride!

Playing baseball in the park

Playing baseball in the park

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Taking the T to Amtrak

We took the Amtrak from Boston to New York where my whole family lives and introduced Turner to his brood of cousins. I have two siblings who each have four children, ranging from 19 years old to 8 years old. It was a challenge, to say the least, to do things with a group of 10 children and 8 adults and there was a lot of chaos and noise, but it helped that there were so many extra people to take care of and entertain the kids. It was so heart warming to see all the older cousins take a genuine interest in our boys. Being with the cousins was by far CC’s favorite part of the whole trip and probably what he will miss the most.

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Our clan

 

Waiting for our flight

Waiting for our flight

Normally when we get home from vacations, I’m exhausted and happy to be home. But this time coming home was a little bit bittersweet knowing that it will probably be a while before we’ll be able to see our family and friends on the East Coast again. Instead of being exhausted, I feel like this trip has refreshed me in so many ways. Now I’m a firm believer that families should take every opportunity to travel, especially with young kids. There’s something so healthy and beneficial about seeing and being with people from another part of the country or the world. It’s also a precious time to bond as a family; CC and Turner spent a lot of time fighting, but also played together in ways we haven’t seen them do at home before. The biggest reason for us not traveling more is the expense, but now I think it’s worth it to scrounge and save to give our kids and ourselves this valuable experience.

What is your experience of traveling with small kids in tow?

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I’m happy to report that our little super hero is feeling much better this morning. After some children’s Tylenol and going to bed early last night, he bounded out of his room at 5am this morning full of energy and ready to start the day. Fortunately, a bowl of cereal and our stubborn refusal to get out of bed convinced him to go back to sleep for a couple more hours.

I had an interesting conversation with him over his second breakfast of French Toast and I wanted to write it down while it’s still fresh in my mind so I wouldn’t forget later.

CC: I vote for Turner to stay alive!
Me: Uh…I vote for that too.
CC: I vote for us to stay alive to bring God back!
Me: Hm…amen.
CC: Why are there so many names for God?
Me: Like what?
CC: Like God, Jesus, Jesus Christ, the Lord…
Me: Well, “Lord” is His title and “Jesus” is His name. Just like Teacher Susan. Susan is her name and Teacher is her title.
CC: And Teacher Marcia and Teacher Zoe and Teacher Mathilda.
Me: Yes, Teacher is their title.
CC: Teacher Mathilda is the fat one.
Me: It’s not nice to call people fat.
CC: But she’s fat.
Me: But it’s not nice to call people fat, it might hurt their feelings.
CC: Oh. So God has many titles in the Bible?
Me: Yes, Lord is one of them. Lord means like…King.
CC: The Bible also tells us God loves us.
Me: You’re right it does.

It still surprises me when CC brings up things about God and I’m amazed that he’s already thinking about these things. It’s a real exercise for me answer him in a way that he can understand but yet not oversimplifying the truth. I really enjoy having these conversations with my son because his questions always force me to look at things through the eyes of a child. They often see things that we take for granted. So I’m glad to be reminded today by a 4 year old that the Bible indeed does tell us that God loves us. And yes, we should vote for us to stay alive to bring Him back.

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The prompt for this week is…

Hero

GO

He says he wants to be Superman when he grows up. He wears his brown Curious George hoodie jacket as a super cape and has got all his friends at preschool doing the same thing. Once he complained to me while in the car about not having super heat vision. He really wishes he could fly.

My little hero is not feeling so super today. He woke up complaining that little pokey things were doing ring around the rosy in his head. Maybe it’s because he lost his super hero jacket on the school playground the other day. There’s no flying off the couch or saving the world today. Just a little sick four year old who needs his mommy to lie down next to him.

As I stroke his achy head and look into that face that’s not quite baby and not quite grown up, I want to tell him that he will always be a super hero to me. I want to tell him how much I admire the person he’s becoming. I want to tell him that he’s brave and courageous and strong and that he doesn’t need a super cape or super heat vision to prove it. There’s so much in my heart I want to tell him, but instead I kiss him on the forehead and tiptoe out of the room. Even super heroes need good naps.

STOP

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