Monday FunDay!!

I am not a fun mom.

Whew!  Let's just get that out in the open.

I always thought I'd be a fun mom, but life and health and personality and circumstances all conspired against it, and I. am. not. fun.  Billy is definitely the more fun parent of the two of us...and I've always been okay with that.  I've always told myself that it was okay that I wasn't a fun mom...after all, some people just aren't cut out to be fun in the parenting department.  It isn't that I don't ever have fun with the kids...I do...but it's not my M.O.

Recently, though, through a whole conglomeration of things, God has been pricking me about this.  Now...nowhere in the Bible does it say "Thou Shalt Be a Fun Parent".  In fact, there are verses that could be interpreted (and have!) in the other direction.  So what's wrong with not being a fun mom?

Nothing, in general.  I am totally convinced that it is possible to be a Godly, nurturing, loving mom without being a "fun mom".  Which is good...because I will probably never be a full-fledged, card carrying, bona fide, dyed in the wool totally cool fun mom!  

But, God began pricking me about *why* I'm not a fun mom at this point in my life.  There have been times in my life and in our family when being a "fun mom" wasn't possible or even appropriate, for a variety of reasons.  However, I've realized recently that many of those reasons don't apply anymore, and now the reasons behind the lack of "fun" in my mom-ness aren't particularly pretty.  They tend to stem from things like fear, habit, selfishness, and even occasionally just plain laziness.

Sigh. That sounds even worse in print on the screen than it sounded in my brain, and it was pretty bad in there.

So...as I said, God began to prick me and poke me and convict me that while not being a fun mom is not in and of itself a sin...some of the reasons behind my particular brand of "not fun" at this point in my mothering are.  He brought this to my attention in various ways, including some completely innocent comments by some of my children along the way. OUCH. 

But...when God convicts us, He also empowers and guides us.  I am so thankful for that!!!  Just about the time that I began to realize I needed to make some changes in my fun quotient as a mom, He sent along another blogger to encourage and gently prod me in that direction.  Nancy at There is Grace began a month-long blog link-up called Fun Mommy Mondays .   I read about it a while back and meant to participate...but I just didn't ever quite get there.  This morning when I saw her reminder, however, I did a quick about-face.

It's Spring Break week around here.  We usually don't take Spring Break the same week as the local schools, because Billy has never been able to get time off during Spring Break, and we prefer to take our time off when Daddy can be off, too.  Plus, Spring Break week always falls right before our annual testing, which is really not good timing.

But although we aren't officially taking Spring Break this week, our two oldest went on a one-day mission trip with the youth from our former church today.  I had great plans in their absence...the little girls and I would tackle some projects around the house and then they could have free time  while I worked on desk work I needed to catch up on.  I even had hopes of a nap hidden away in there somewhere.

Then I saw the Fun Mommy Mondays link and realized that my plans were not at all making the most of a prime opportunity for some very special time with the two youngest girls. My plans immediately did a 180.

We had an hour and a half between dropping the big kids off and taking the girls to the hospital for an early lunch with Daddy during Mom's physical therapy appointment.  I decided that rather than trying to cross some things off my to do list during that time, we'd do some shopping.  Not "here's our list, let's get this stuff and get out of here" shopping (the kind I tend to favor these days...:-/), but "let's go in and browse all the things we never have time to stop and look at" shopping.  (My first thought was to go to the park, but the early part of the day was rainy and cold...hence the droopy hair in these photos. :))

So off we went.  The girls were thrilled.   I was stunned at how quickly the urge to "hurry them along" hit.  We had plenty of time, we had nothing to actually buy, we were browsing.  For fun.  But my "we don't have time to stop and look at that, we've got to get this done" habit is deeply engrained.

So I practiced breathing.  And stopping.  And looking.  And laughing.  The first thing they wanted to do was try on hats.  But they stopped and looked at me first, waiting to hear my usual, "Don't even think about putting that hat on your head...who knows who else has had it on and what you might catch from it!"  I stopped and said a little prayer for protection from critters that live on hats in department stores and said, "Let's see what they look like on!"  The "eyeballs popping out of heads" looks on their faces were priceless.   We made a deal that they would scrub their hair with tea tree oil when they got home, and they had a wonderful time trying on hats everywhere we went all day.

Next on the agenda (theirs, not mine) was shoes.  They were both planning to use some of their early birthday money from Nonna to buy new Easter shoes.  Although we weren't ready to buy yet, they wanted to see what their options were.  They both, in different stores, found the "perfect shoes" at the "perfect price".  They were ecstatic. 

We didn't limit our shoe shopping to the practical, though.  We oohed and ahhed over the crazily high heels and even tried a pair or two on!  (Well, they did.  I'm pretty sure my ankles would break just trying these on, much less attempting to walk in them!  That would NOT have been fun. :))

I snapped a few shots of "Granny Kitty shoes" just for reminiscing's sake.  Granny would have loved these (although the faux skin ones would have been a bit on the low-heeled side for her, and she would have preferred a bit pointier toe, lol!)

Next we looked at baby dresses...just because they were cute.  And made us smile.  And make funny faces!

We did almost no actual buying all day (although we did scope out more than just shoes that we planned to come back for later...:)).  I did get the girls each a tiny notebook as a souvenir of our fun girls' day.  They have definitely inherited their mother's love of all things notebook related!

It was a simple day.  It cost very little money, and we only hit three stores all day.  And yet the girls raved and raved about how much fun we had.  It's amazing the difference that comes of taking "Hurry up...let's go" out of the vocabulary for the day and  stopping to look and laugh.  Even this "not-so-fun" mom loved every minute!   

Are you a fun mom?  Does it come naturally to you, or do you have to work at it?  What are some ways you have fun with your kids?  Leave a comment and tell us all about it!  I'd love some ideas for simple, inexpensive fun. 

Then pop over to Nancy's and see what others are sharing for "Fun Mommy" Mondays!

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It's a {Daybook} Monday...(or Maybe Not :))

Note:  I started this post over two weeks ago. It's been sitting in draft (with lots of companions, lol) ever since.  I'm going to try to finish it today.  Last week's entries are in black; today's are in green. 

February 18, 2013
March 6, 2013

Outside my window...
Cloudy and in the low 60s today...SO thankful for the mostly-mild winter we've had so far...pretty mild weather for most of the current 10-day forecast, which will put us almost to March...so maybe no more serious cold this season?  A girl can hope, anyway! :)

LOL...I have to laugh, looking back at that!  Two days later,  we were supposed to have a couple of days of colder...but not terribly cold...weather, with a few possible snow flurries on Wednesday and some freezing rain on Thursday.  We ended up with about 6 inches of snow on Wednesday!  Craziest thing I've ever seen (and having lived in AR all my life, I've seen some pretty weird weather!) Pictures can be seen here and here.  We've had some more colder weather since, but today is supposed to be sunny and in the mid-50s, and then we're supposed to be back in the 60s again for the rest of the week. Yay! :)

I am thinking...
about the excerpt from this article that Bro. Gary posted on Facebook this morning.  (I can't find a direct link to the excerpt, but the whole thing is good and worth the read!)   I started last week very motivated and encouraged and ready to take on the world...only to crash and burn in a major way by the end of the week.  God has been gently putting me back together over the weekend and strengthening me to climb back in the saddle (quite figuratively speaking!) and press on.  I realized as I read this this morning that a huge part of my crash last week involved letting past failures and my perception of future needs completely overshadow God's provision and grace for today and this moment, and consequently let them completely overwhelm me.  Learning from the past and planning for the future are both wise...but the most important thing is living today well...trusting and obeying and rejoicing and accepting God's grace in and for this moment.  Oh, how I need to learn and re-learn this! 

I am thankful...
for people...my husband, my children, our pastor and his wife, and dear friends...that God uses to encourage and challenge and sharpen me in so many ways. 

In the kitchen...
Trying to re-do breakfasts around here...made a yummy, warm, protein-heavy breakfast loosely based on this recipe from Pinterest. It was really good, and I have some ideas of how to further tweak it to make it even easier and quicker...maybe I'll do a quick blog post soon. :)

Made this again last night for dinner, and had leftovers for breakfast this morning...baked a bunch of potatoes Sunday evening, then the kids and I had a baked potato bar for lunch, and I used the leftover potatoes for the Country Breakfast Skillet for supper.  I took a picture, hoping to post it, but the picture didn't turn out well. :-( 

Also made this cake (also from Pinterest :)) for Billy for Valentine's Day last week.  Billy LOVES strawberry cake, and it has been many, many years since I have made him one (I got a stomach virus right after I made the last one, and it's taken me almost 17 years to be able to make one again! ;-)) It was very good, although I don't think I'd label it the best ever.  I have a couple of other recipes I want to try now that I've finally broken through the strawberry cake barrier. :)

I am wearing...
a gray hoodie and gray sweats.  Pretty sure it's chillier in our house this morning than it is outside.  I'm cozy in my sweats. )

I am creating...
a new chore system for the kids.  Different seasons in our lives bring changing needs in this area.  Our chore systems tend to be decided as much by areas of need in the children as areas of need in the house!  In our last "season", we needed some encouragement in the area of teamwork, so we paired up into 2 teams and divided the chores between them.  Now we are in a season of needing a little more individual responsibility, so we are moving back to a system where everyone has their own specific responsibilities.  And where we've always rotated chores weekly before, we are entering into a season where I'm feeling the need for everyone to have set chores for a while.  I'm having some shoulder/arm issues which are affecting my mobility at the moment, and with the possibility of surgery on the horizon, I'm feeling the need to have the ship ready and able to run without me for a while if needed.  We're going to focus on consistent, complete, cheerful mastery of each domain during this season.  I hope the kids are as excited about the upcoming changes as I am! :)

New chore system is working pretty well so far...we're still tweaking a bit here and there, but overall, I think we have a good plan.  Yay! :)

I am wondering...

After waiting months for an orthopedic appointment for my arm/shoulder, we are finally down to the one-week countdown.  The closer it gets, the more I'm wondering what that appointment will bring.   SO ready for answers and to be on the road to pain relief and better mobility!  

I am reading...

several books I need to finish and review, stat!  

I am praying...

for two friends having surgery today.  

Also praying for a family from my parents' former church in Conway, the David and Tracy M. family.  David has melanoma of the eye, and he is having an eye removed tomorrow.  I don't know this family well, but they (and Tracy's mother) were responsible for our visiting Oak Cliff  when we were looking for a church 17 years ago this month.  Tracy mentioned to her mom that we were looking for a church...not just for us, but for my parents, as well, as they were in the process of moving to Fort Smith from Conway at the time...and Tracy's mom mentioned that she had heard some things about Oak Cliff that made her think it might be a good fit for us.  We had visited quite a few churches at that point and we were getting very discouraged.  The next week Billy and I visited Oak Cliff.  I called my parents that afternoon and said, "I think we found a church".  :)   That led to 16 years in a church that has truly been family to us.  I can't say enough about the blessing that Oak Cliff has been to us all these years.  God also used Oak Cliff to develop friendships that I can't imagine my life without!  So needless to say, the M. family has a very special place in our hearts for their role in getting us to Oak Cliff (a church they weren't even connected with in any way...I love the ways God works!)  I know that they would appreciate prayers for his surgery and healing. 

I am looking forward to...
our monthly homeschool mom's Renew meeting tomorrow night.  The topic is "essential oils", and I have recently become very interested in learning more about the benefits and uses of essential oils.  I can't wait!

Ugh!  I was so excited about that meeting, but alas, it was not to be.  My arm/shoulder threw a bit of a monkey-wrench into the works (is that the expression??  I seem to be mangling those more and more these days. :) ), and I ended up having to stay home.  I will say that I have since made my first (very small) essential oil order, and I am very happy with the results so far.  More about that in a future post, I hope. :) 

I am learning...

a great deal about improving my blog!  One of the books I'm reading (and hope to review in the next day or two) is Christin Slade's e-book, Blog At Home MomIt's a great resource, and I recommend it highly.  I'm also involved in Christin's Blog At Home Mom group, and I am learning SO much from her and the other women there!  Hopefully that will translate into some changes you'll be seeing around here soon!

Around the house...

Just plugging away on decluttering and re-organization, one small step at a time. :)

A favorite quote for today...

verses from my reading in Nehemiah this morning:

“But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments.  They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.  Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies,  you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell."
Nehemiah 9:16-21

The whole chapter is so good, but I pulled out these few verses.  Throughout the chapter, the Levites are reminding the Israelites of God's glory and faithfulness, and of their own sin and faithlessness.  Over and over, they are reminded, they were proud and stiff-necked and disobedient.  They committed horrible sins, including erecting and worshiping idols.  And yet...God was always faithful and merciful.  While they did see consequences for their sin, God never abandoned them and never stopped loving and forgiving them.  What a beautiful and convicting passage.   

One of my favorite things...

Blog comments!  I don't get many, and I'm totally okay with that...I know that sometimes there are issues (with Blogger, with Disqus, with a browser or device) that make it difficult to comment, and I know that some people just aren't "commenters", for whatever reason.  And I know that I'm terrible about reading something and really appreciating it, but not commenting myself, for one reason or another. (I'm really trying to do better about that, though...and being encouraged by the BAHM group to do that!)  I'm thankful for those who respond to my blog in any form...in person, by email, on Facebook, or here at the blog itself.  That input encourages me!  But in the last couple of weeks I've gotten some blog comments that have really encouraged me, and I'm thankful for them!  One was from a lady in our homeschool group (whose children are are all grown now) who prayed faithfully for Ammah Grace and our family when Ammah Grace was in NICU 9 years ago. I never get tired of hearing from those who prayed for her and for us during those weeks...they hold a special place in our hearts! 

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Thankfully, the rest of this week looks pretty routine...chores, school, projects at home, two-week shopping day on Friday.  The calendar starts filling up next week, so I'm thankful for the calm right now!

A peek into my day...

Our current "hymn focus" hymn for school.  One of my very favorites!

Linking up with Simple Woman's Daybook today.  Be sure to visit her to see what others have to share! 

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