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Friday, February 24, 2012

Old Yeller

I'm a yeller.
I hate to admit it, but it's the truth.  I am embarrassed by it and you would think with the amount of education I have I would know better than to yell.  I do know better and I still resort to it.  Every time I do it, I feel guilty.  I promise myself and my children and God that I won't do it again and within minutes (often times seconds) I am yelling again.  It is ugly and it's not the mother I want to be.

Yesterday, after reading an email devotional and a lovely morning with my Book League girls commiserating about our "failures" as parents, I was left with guilt on my heart for my behavior.  I try to ignore it by blaming the behavior of my children, but it isn't their fault.  Although, I would wager that ANYONE  left with Willie J long enough will concur that it might be  a little bit his fault.  It left me with a fear that someday the children will look back on our time together and not know that  I cherished everything they brought to me, good and bad.  I am not ignorant to the fact that this is all my  perspective of the situation.  An outsider may look in at our house and think that my children are behaving completely appropriately and think (rightly so) that I'm over-reacting a little.  Most days, the "little" things are easy to ignore and I am not the crazy lady yelling at her kids ALL of the time.  But there are days when I feel like the bad is outweighing the good, when I have four half naked heathens running around with uncombed hair, dirty faces, toys strewn EVERYWHERE, eating their food with their hands and screaming just to hear themselves scream.  Days when I swear I could have put the following phrases on a loop and left the house because my presence was never felt.   Time honored phrases such as:













and I wonder if anything I am doing as a parent is doing anything to help these children grow into respectable, independent, productive adults.

It's so easy for me to resort to yelling and in doing so I'm not only harming my children in terms of hurting their feelings, I'm harming them because my yelling is empty parenting.  Yelling is me not wanting to take time to deal with the situation hands on and that's bad parenting.  So I'm resolving to do better by myself and my children.  Each morning, I will try to turn to God and ask Him for guidance to parent with wise words and a kind heart.  To take the time to parent with love and attention - the key factor being the attention.   So frequently, I am distracted by the things I need to be doing that don't involve my kids that I put off their requests until I am a broken record of  maybe, later, not now,  and tomorrow.   I want to turn to God to help me control my yelling and help me to convey to my kids my appreciation so they know how much I adored every single second I was blessed to spend with them.  

Because even though there are moments that I think I'm going to lose it, I have the privilege of being Momma to these precious ones and I am so very thankful.  So here are some photos of the very precious moments I find with my children.  

 Maggie on a recent trip back to my hometown.  Maggie is growing her hair out for my sisters wedding in June and it is just in an ugly phase.  She's got a crazy curl at the back of her neck which prevents her hair from being completely straight, but the top layers of her hair are completely straight and, well, it's really just a mess.  She's perpetually wanting to wear her hair down and I am constantly pulling it back into pony tails, pig tails and braids.  Some days she wants her hair "cwurled" and I oblige, but the "cwurls" just don't last.  I'm hoping a professional stylist will be able to get her hair to stay curled for the wedding day.

Whitaker raids the Valentine candy!

Lollipop, candy hearts and a book.  What more do you need?  Except two incisors?  This boy has his two year molars, but no incisors.  I'm starting to wonder if he might be a vampire since he only grew in fangs.

A beautiful day in February and the boys go for a ride on Willie's motorcycle.  This was such a precious day for me.  Willie struggles a lot with sibling rivalry in terms of over doing it with Whitaker.  He doesn't come out and hit him or be overtly mean to him.  Instead he loves on him too much.  He gives that extra long squeeze during a hug or pulls Whit along instead of holding his hand.  I've tried giving Willie lots of Momma time in the afternoon when Whit is asleep, but it hasn't been working.  On this day, I allowed Willie to take his new motorcycle outside to ride and he generously offered to take Whit with him and they enjoyed a great day together.  Will also took Whit to the swing set and he pushed Whit on the swings which was so sweet to watch.  

Willie is afraid to sleep by himself sometimes so he crawls up into the loft with Walker.  Walker never ever complains and he always makes room for him.  Even though Willie insists on sleeping like this!

Maggie and Willie love to pretend play mom and dad.  On this day, they were playing "Mary and Jofas."  (Joseph)  They complained that the towels they were using kept falling off, so I secured them with some old scarves.  I was a hero!

Whitaker isn't so happy about taking a picture with his Momma.

Walker on his actual 8th birthday.  We went to Dairy Queen to get whatever he wanted . . . a banana split.  Of which, he ate only the vanilla ice cream and the hot fudge.  Next time maybe he'll trust me when I say, "Why don't you just get a hot fudge sundae?"  He got the birthday crown at school that day and then I was surprised he wore the crown to the YMCA that night for his rock climbing club.  I have been anticipating the age of embarrassment coming upon him, but so far, he is still young enough to want people to know it is his birthday and do little boy things.  Even though he is growing into quite a little man.

Most nights the kids all want to sleep together.  We limit it during the week, but on weekends, they all want to sleep in the loft bed together.  So far, no one has fallen out!

Whitaker joined me in bed one morning with two chocolate chip pancakes and some cheerios.
He didn't share.

Willie and I baked cookies together for Valentine's Day.  He cracks me up with the towel on his shoulder just like me.  After we took this picture together, he spent about five minutes petting my face.  Willie is a petter and must always pet me.  I sometimes get annoyed by it - especially when I am not sure where his hands have been, but it's also one of the most uniquely "Willie" qualities he has. We baked the cookies and decorated them with Maggie and Walker and then the kids gave them to their classmates on Valentine's day.

For dessert on Valentine's Day, I made ice cream cookie sandwiches and we had heart shaped strawberries.

I don't know how they sleep like this!

My sweet angels!

Walker and his buddies on the way to Pittsburgh to see a movie at the Science Center.

Walker and his buddies after about 20 trips to the chocolate fountain bar!

Willie and Maggie get to have a slumber party in Maggie's room.  Willie is ALWAYS hot and takes his PJs and covers off.  Maggie is a bed hog and a crazy sleeper.

When I go in to check on Whit before bed, I never know what I'm going to find.

This night he looks like he's holding his crib up.

This night, he had to hide under his donkey.

Walker was surprised with a DS from his Nana for his birthday.  For some reason, he decided to sit in the doorway and play with it.  I think it was because I had suggested he might want to go outside to play.  I guess he misinterpreted what I meant by that.
As I proof read this post and review the pictures, I realize that most of the pictures I posted are of the kids sleeping.  Hmmmm. . . I suppose that's a little bit telling of where I've been lately in terms of where I find the most peace, but I am blessed with the gift of tomorrow.  A chance to do better as a mother.  A day with no mistakes.  A new day to give to my children what they are truly asking for and to show them my appreciation for their uniqueness.

Another day to thank God for the blessings those little critters are to my life.

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