- Wake and notice no one else is up yet.
- Put on Winnie the Pooh costume. Leave pajamas on floor.
- Go into kitchen to see what’s cookin’.
- Open silverware drawer for no reason. Hang on it. Leave it open.
- Take single bite out of apple. Note that it wasn’t as juicy as expected. Put apple back in fruit bowl.
- Change into last year’s Easter dress. Leave Pooh costume on dining room table.
- Hug kitty cat. Wonder if kitty cats can pop if squeezed very firmly.
- Drop kitty and lick scratches kitty left on arm.
- Wander into bathroom and “help” Mommy peel the stickers off the giant bandaids she keeps under the sink.
- Change into gymnastics suit with leggings and snow boots. Try 12 times to throw Easter dress onto ceiling fan. Leave dress on floor.
- Undress big sister’s American Girl doll.
- Hear big sister coming. Drop doll and scram.
- Disregard repeated signals from very full bladder that it needs to be emptied.
- Pee in pants.
- Strip naked. Leave wet clothes in pile on floor.
- Painstakingly and carefully write name on bedroom wall from right to left in all caps. Remind self to deny writing name on bedroom wall.
- Remember nudity is frowned upon. Put on swimsuit and tutu.
- Go back to kitchen for more to eat.
- Dump Lucky Charms on floor. Scoop handful from floor into bowl. Leave remaining Lucky Charms on floor. Leave bowl on fireplace.
- Decide eggs would be “healFier” for breakfast than cereal. Go outside to collect eggs.
- Get distracted by need to chase chickens.
- Remember egg mission and try to ride tricycle up steps to hen house.
- Ditch tricycle and go inside on foot. Hold edge of tutu with one hand and put eggs in with the other.
- Trip while going down steps.
- Smear smashed eggs off tutu while crying.
- Spot one egg on ground that didn’t break open. Wipe tears with dirty hands and retrieve egg. Only 3 cracks!
- Go inside and see that the numbers on the microwave clock say “7:02.” Time to wake Mama!
I finally decided I would attend the board meeting, and my children agreed to stand beside me holding up the projects they had been working so hard on.
The meeting time approached and I was a nervous wreck. Why was I even trying this crazy stunt? They had never allowed late entries before. Why would they allow us in this time?
When we walked into the meeting, and I immediately wanted to turn around and go home. The room was filled with weather worn ranchers and ranchers’ wives. They eyed me suspiciously.
I introduced myself to the president, tall and graying, dressed in work boots and head to toe denim, topped with a cowboy hat.
When I told him who I was and why I was there with my children, he said with a slow drawl, “Young lady, you’re welcome to address the board, but it won’t do any good.”
I tried desperately not to let the children see that I already felt defeated.
The meeting opened and the president introduced us and we walked to the front. I was shaking. My voice was unsteady.
I began my story of how I had overlooked the new rule of including w-9 forms with the paperwork turned in for entry into the county stock show. I placed all the blame on myself, and pleaded with them not to punish the children for my mistake. I pointed out the quilts and dresses they were holding up that they had already completed in anticipation of showing them.
I looked out onto a sea of stoic faces. The president was looking down solemnly at a paper he was holding, arms crossed.
I finished by asking them to please make an exception to the “no late entries” rule and allow us to participate. I thanked them for allowing me to address them and the children and I filed out.
When we got to the van, I told the kids it didn’t go well and we probably wouldn’t get to participate. They already knew. “At least you tried, Mama,” one said as we drove away silently.
I wondered if I should have just accepted defeat. Why was I asking for special favor? Why did I think my children deserved an exception?
The fact is that I knew the mistake was mine, and I hated to think of my children fulfilling all the obligations that were required of them, even going above and beyond what was required, and then being penalized because I had overlooked a new requirement.
And I knew if I didn’t go to bat for them, stand in the gap for them when they couldn’t ask for favor themselves, that no one else would do it. What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t ask for my children not to be punished for my mistake?
I felt at peace knowing I had done all I could to fix my mistake. All I could do was ask. Now we would wait to hear the answer, but we all felt like it would be “no.”
That’s why we all whooped and hollered and were knocked off our feet with surprise when we got the phone call the next day that the board had voted, after much debate and discussion, to allow late entries for the first time in its history!
We will be participating in the county stock show, and my children will get to show their quilts, dresses, goats, art work, and all the rest of the projects they have been working diligently on!
We are absolutely thrilled!
We have learned some important lessons during this trial:
- Mom should inquire as to any new requirements in paperwork before the deadline.
- It never hurts to ask.
- You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
- Mom is a child’s most important and powerful advocate.
- You never know what can be accomplished until you try.
- Burly men in weathered cowboy hats can still have tender hearts.
I am offering my Wholesome Talk ebooks for 1/2 OFF through December 31st. These are perfect for New Year’s resolutions! Use the code “HALFOFF” to get 50% off.
The kids version includes 30 scriptures on controlling the tongue, and I briefly explain what each one means in terms my own children would understand. I give examples of what the scriptures would look like in daily life, and include some dialogue that might occur between siblings or friends. Each lesson is short, intended to take 10-15 minutes to complete, and focuses on the scripture of the day.
I wrote this with my kids, ages 7 – 13, in mind, and it includes printable pages with dotted lines for copying the scripture and completing the S.O.A.P. method of Bible study for each scripture. (You can see a video of my then-kindergartener doing S.O.A.P. here.) There is also a cursive and a printed example of the scripture for the purpose of copy work, so this can even qualify as your child’s handwriting assignment.
This 30 day challenge can be used for 30 consecutive days, or if you wish, 5 scriptures a week for a unit of 6 weeks, or even one scripture a week for a 30 week unit. I used the same scriptures, in the same order, as the adult version of How to Manage Your Mouth, (I also included printable journal pages in the adult version!) You can participate in the challenge right along with your children!
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If you follow Smockity Frocks on Facebook, you may know that my children have been diligently preparing for our county livestock show and fair, which takes place in January each year. Livestock can be shown, but also handmade items. We always do both.
They start months in advance planning out and working on their various projects.
In the “Family Living” division, children can show quilts, canned goods, pies, knitted items, wooden crafts, welded trailers, or almost anything else you might see at an old fashioned country fair. They can be awarded blue ribbons and their item can make it to the auction on the last night of the fair if it is good enough. There, members of the community can bid on the items and buy them. Sometimes the kids make quite a bit of money for a quality piece of work.
Really, my children don’t care about the money. They just love getting to display their hard work and having people admire it.
That’s why we were all devastated when we found out that our entry into this event was denied because, when turning in the entry forms, I did not turn in w-9 forms for the children. These were required for the first time this year because a few children earn more than $600 in the auction. I had overlooked this new requirement, and the deadline had come and gone before I became aware of my mistake.
Not only would they not be able to show their handmade items, all the hard work with the goats would be lost, too. There would be no fair for us. No stock show. No ribbons. No crowds admiring their work.
My children were in a frenzy of tears and questions. I was kicking myself for not noticing the new requirement, for being so busy that I didn’t get the paperwork turned in earlier, for letting my children down. What kind of mother encourages her children to work hard for a promised reward and then allows the reward to slip from their grasp?
It seems silly now, but I was in tears myself. I prayed that God would show me a way to make up for this mistake. Then I wondered if God really cares about children participating in a county fair when there are so many larger issues in the world.
I showed up bright and early as soon as the offices were opened the next morning with warm cookies in hand. I also brought the quilt pictured above and I begged, teary eyed and voice quivering, for the county extension agent to make an exception and let us in the show with a late entry.
He was very compassionate and understanding, but explained that it was not up to him. The livestock raisers association of our county made these decisions by holding a board meeting. He then told me that this sort of thing had happened before and the board had never in its history allowed a late entry, but I was welcome to make an appeal at the next meeting.
I went home feeling worse than ever. What kind of mother…?
I explained to the kids what I had been told, and they had mixed reactions. One told me I should go to the board meeting and plead with them to let us in. After all, I had persuaded the library board to change its book check out policy by speaking at their board meeting. Another said, that would be pushy and we should just resign ourselves to not participating. The little ones cried.
I continued beating myself up. What kind of mother…?
I went back and forth arguing with myself about attending the board meeting which was to be held in a few days. I prayed some more. And wondered some more if God concerns himself with the failings of absent minded mothers.
Once there was a mother of, let’s say, 8 children.
This mother was a very busy lady, with very active children. Even though she was aware that she should keep her eyes on the end goal, the big picture, she often inadvertently, and to the detriment of her family, found herself focused on short term goals. This tendency played out in a very tangible way one blustery, winter day.
A soccer game had concluded on a bitterly cold, windy November evening. With her children following along dutifully behind, bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves, the mother trudged through one empty soccer field after another toward the large parking complex.
She kept her head down, only looking up occasionally, to keep the wind from whipping in her face. Finally, her feet left the soggy sod and reached crunchy gravel of the parking lot. She looked up to find the big white maxi van, usually easily spotted amongst normal size vehicles.
The van was nowhere.
She looked one way. She looked the other.
Finally she saw the problem. While walking with her head down, she had veered so far off course that she was now 2 parking lots away from her intended destination. Because of her mistake, she had to walk just as far to correct her path as she did when she started the journey back at the benches.
She groaned and altered her course. She strengthened her resolve. This time she kept her eyes up and faced the wind head on. This time she reached her destination and did not waver right or left.
Does this story sound familiar to you?
During my high school days, my drill team team instructor used to shout through her bull horn from the stands, “IF THE BLIND LEAD THE BLIND, YOU WILL ALL FALL IN THE DITCH!!!” when the leader of our 50 member team would carelessly strut past the 50 yard marker, where we were supposed to turn one at a time, one behind the other, and march with precision to center field.
Of course, that meant every single girl would end up in the wrong place, all because the leader missed her mark.
Sometimes we moms are so busy focused on when our toddler will ever pee in the toilet, or our 2nd grader will ever learn to read, or our 9th grader will ever understand exponents, or our high school senior will ever get into college that we forget our real destination.
Sometimes it’s even easy to forget that those milestones aren’t a destination at all. They are simply milestones. Markers on the way to the real goal.
When I’m frustrated by life’s little daily frustrations, backed up plumbing, car trouble, cranky children, it’s so easy to put my head down and try to plow through, just get through that one day, without looking up.
The trouble is those days tend to pile up, end to end. And before we know it, we look up and we are just as far from our destination as if we had never started, with our children following along behind.
As for us, our long term family goal is to be together in eternity. On days, or weeks, or months, when we find we have our heads down and our eyes not focusing on the goal, we readjust and remind ourselves of where we want to be heading.
Are you headed toward your goal, Mama? Your children are following you. What destination are you taking them to?
I was so excited to be invited to be a #SprintMom and try out the new HTC M8 Harman/Kardon Edition Sprint phone!
I was able to visit the Sprint store and hear straight from a rep all the cool features of this phone. Here are a few of the things that caught my attention:
- It turns on with a simple double tap on the screen.
- When receiving a phone call, you can answer by picking up the phone. No pressing buttons or swiping.
- All metal parts
- Screen replacement free, for up to one year
- Spotify Premium is a standard feature.
- The phone supports HD music tracks, so the sound is amazing!
- Beautiful, crystal clear photography
- FUN, built-in photo editing app
You can colorize, cartoonize, 3D-ize, and lots more fun stuff.
These are all straight out of the camera!
I was actually sorta bummed that I already have a phone, so I passed this one along to my 17yo son. You see, we have each been holding out, waiting for the other to buy him his own phone.
I kept saying we don’t pay for teens’ phones, and he kept saying he didn’t need a phone. The trouble is we can’t keep in contact with each other when he is out and about, and his friends keep calling me to see if he is available to hang out. So, we have both been waiting for the other to cave.
And now that I have this brand new, awesome phone to test out, well, it just made sense to let him have it. The good news is that it comes with a $50/month, unlimited data, NO COMMITMENT service plan!
So, he is stoked to have a phone with an amazing sound system, and I am relieved to be able to text him to ask him to bring home milk after the movie. It’s a win/win!
Do your teens have phones?
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