Here's to You, Single Parents

For the past five days I've been parenting on my own. Gilbert's been fishing in Louisiana with his dad, so from Thursday to Tuesday, I've been parenting solo.

Despite the fact that parenting alone during spring break meant neglecting a good bit of work, everything's gone really well. I made plans and stumbled upon plans to keep us busy, because I knew that if I spent the time at home playing referee to two brawling boys, I'd be N.U.T.S. by the time Gilbert got back home. So we made ourselves busy with visits to the following places: the library, my office, the neighbor's, the gym, the store, a birthday party, back to the store, back to the neighbor's, church, and LIFE group. We've had bed parties (some voluntary and some involuntary), made dinner, had baths, clipped fingernails, Skyped with Daddy, had dinner dates, and played outside. And, with the exception of battling my youngest at bed time, I've kept my sanity.

But Monday morning came along. I was beginning to see the light at the end of the single-parenting tunnel when I went outside to herd the boys into the van for school (where I planned to dump Beau, considering Monday's usually his day with Daddy); and the van wouldn't start. Normally in situations like this, I step inside or make a phone call in order to say this (imagine a slightly whiney tone): "Giiilberrrt. My car won't start." But I knew I couldn't do this. Instead, I traipsed over to the sweet, generous neighbor next door and instead said this (with as little whine as I could manage): "Amyyyyy. My car won't start." Thankfully she was willing to risk her big girls being late for school so that she could save me. Considering the fact that she's experienced true single parenting in her life, she knew how to manage in this situation. I did not.  After getting the van started, I managed to get my boys to school only 20 minutes late. After dashing to an auto parts store to find out my battery was dead, then to Walmart to have it replaced, then to my office where I was 15 minutes late to a staff meeting, then, after only 45 minutes at the office, back to school to pick up the boys (7 minutes late), I began to wonder how in the world single parents manage.

I've always had a large amount of respect for parents who do it alone, and this was not my first chance at being home alone with my boys, but Monday confirmed the HUGE amount of respect I have for people who have no choice but to take care of their babies independently. I cannot imagine what their days are like. So, here's my salute to you, single parents. I know your daily schedule is relentless, so I'll be praying for you tonight--asking for God's strength and guidance in your daily decision making and balancing acts and thanking Him that he's made you strong enough to keep your kids not only alive but well. I'm impressed.


Singing Boys

Look at this video of my sweet Cole when he was two-years-old singing "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." 

Isn't he adorable? Sweet, mild-mannered, calm (well, mostly). Now take a look at the wild side of adorable: two-year-old Beau.

This boy's our musically inclined, creative, free-spirit of a child. Cole's definitely fun too, but in much different ways. 

If I were to list all that these two videos highlight about the differences in my two boys, it would take me all night. But I'm head-over-heels crazy about both of them.



Well, Facebook's given me a LONG hiatus from blogging, but, as many of you know, I've decided to cut-back on Facebook time and focus on other things that are more important and that are healthier choices for me. So I hope to be using some of that extra time that I anticipate having by sharing my life through my blog. (And I'm going to make my best effort to keep this thing going without sacrificing precious time.)

My original purpose in starting this blog was to invite far-away friends and family to watch my sweet little one-year-old Cole grow-up. Now that Cole's a big brother (and a fine one at that--despite the fact that he enjoys torturing his brother, he's also capable of being gentle and sweet; tonight he helped him get ready for bed by brushing his hair, diapering him, and putting his pajamas on), I've got at least twice as many adventures to share in the way of motherhood.

I hope, though, to refrain from using this avenue solely for kid stories and photos that I think are cute. (Like this one.)

That's what the blog had come to before I slipped away for a while, and while I hope that you'll love those parts of my writing, I also hope to use my blog to share other parts of my life as well--my hopes, my struggles, my joys, and my successes in work, in marriage, and in my faith-walk. Because I'm trying to be relentless in my quest to be real, to be honest, and to be who God is calling me to be.


A Hilarious Cole Story (R-rated--be warned)

Cole was in the tub tonight playing. He had a cup he was using to scoop water. I was at the sink with my back to him.

C: Mom, look what I've got. I have Better Boobie Lotion. (As he's talking, he pours the water onto his nipples.)

K: What does that stuff do for you?

C: I don't know. Make your boobies better or sumpin'.

He's still got it. What's funny (or scary) is that he's getting to the age that he's starting to say those things because he anticipates that I'll laugh at them, not because he's naturally funny. Which he is that too.


The Alphabet, remixed

Cole: ABCDEFGHIJK(emomeno)PQRXT(too)PWXYandZ. Now your ABC is here. Next time won't you sing with me?

Kate: Why are there two X's in the alphabet?

Cole: Because God wanted there to be two X's in the ABC's.

LOVE IT! Gilbert mentioned trying to correct him. I say, eventually he'll figure it out, and if I had corrected it, I couldn't have gotten this adorable response.


A More Positive 101

I was thinking last night while lying in bed about how much I LOVE being a mom, so I thought I'd share the few reasons that I was thinking of at that moment:

1. Stepping over tiny Converse that have been sitting by my bedside table for the last week.

2. Pushing toy cars and pacifiers to the edge of my bedside table so I'll be able to see my alarm clock in the morning.

3. Climbing into bed and having to sweep crumbs out from Sunday morning's cereal spill before I can fall asleep. (This morning we had "Cocoa Fluffs.")

And one that I would have been thinking of if I'd heard it before this morning:
4. Cole singing I Will Call Upon the Lord this way: "The Lord limit, and bless (mumbling) rock, God's alvation be exhausted." I didn't even know he knew it. "We sing that at my school, Mom."

They're both pretty awesome kids. I am blessed, for sure. Being a mom is definitely on the short list of "Best Things I've Ever Done."

This is Cole showing Beau his new Bakugans. (Pronounced by Cole as "back-you-gun." Who knows the real pronunciation, but I've had lessons in Cole's method.) He actually studied the pictures in the manual and discovered all by himself that the pieces would fit together, and put it all together himself. But don't be fooled into thinking that in this picture he's sharing his "backugun." Just letting little brother look from a distance.


My 100th post

What a lame, lame excuse for a 100th post. I was logging on, trying to decide the most appropriate title for this downer post, when I noticed that I'd posted 99 times. This would be number 100. It should be a celebration, I think. But instead, I'm opting for a vent session. I hope you're prepared for this one.

I. Am. Totally. Overwhelmed.
Shock of all shocks, I know.
My house is a train-wreck. A pig-sty. A disaster area. No joke. I'm not one of those people who says, "Whew. My house is a wreck," when it really isn't. This is a lame attempt at making those of us in the true pig-sties feel better. But it doesn't. It only makes us feel worse about ourselves.

I'm just going to be totally, up-front honest about things. My kitchen floor was swept for the first time yesterday since February 7th. Yes. I remember the exact date. I can't even begin to guess when it was mopped last. January, I'm sure. And it's obvious. Chocolate milk spots I didn't get to before they were almost dry. Chocolate icing splattered on the floor. Kool-aid in one place, spaghetti sauce in another. And when I swept yesterday, dust flew everywhere. I'm not joking.

The toilets have rings around them. The bathtub drains are yucky too. The mirrors have toothpaste splattered all over.

The living room was last vaccumed on February 14th, only because we had movie night with 7 boys, and the popcorn could not be overlooked. Trust me. If it could have been, it would have. I killed a spider the other night under the coffee table and just rolled the coffee table back into place on top of it.

And I've only mentioned the most traveled areas of the house.
It's ridiculous.

And I've been feeling okay about it all, trying to remind my
self of all those people who've said that when my boys are big, it won't matter how messy my house was when they were growing up. I've been hoping that's true.
But tonight, as I looked at Cole's too-long, dirty, sticky fingernails I asked myself, "Exactly what am I doing around here? My children aren't even properly groomed for Pete's sake."

They're dressed and fed (although judging from Beau's placement on the percentile chart these days, that is debateable too; and it's only true for Cole with thanks to McDonald's or Culver's or Moe's). That's about all I can say.

What am I doing well these days, you wonder?
1. Washing bottles
2. Pumping breastmilk
3. Smooching on boys

Okay, so now I'm at the point in the post that I realize how pathetic I sound. So I guess I'll put you people out of your misery. [In proofreading, I just realized another thing that I can say about my boys. They're HAPPY. I guess I should get over myself, huh?]

Just needed a vent session. Happy 100th post! Yay! (That's about all the celebration you people are going to get. What do you want from me? I'm exhausted.)

** And don't even think about sending me some feel-better comment if you see your counter top for more than two days consecutively, or if you saw your counter-top for more than two days consecutively when your children were young. (Smile)