Love and Marriage. This post is so complicated it has its own glossary.

 

"I love you." "I know."

“I love you.”

“I KNOW.”

 

So, here’s a conversation I had recently with the one I like to call Big Blonde (aka, the hubs).  He likes it when I call him that.  In his mind, I am pretty sure, when I call him Big Blonde he kinda squares his shoulders,  all big and manly and tall and strapping and such.  Like Paul Bunyanish.  Or maybe Babe, the Blue Ox-ish.  I’m not sure.

I kinda just call him that so I can stop confusing him with my five-year old, Wee Blonde.  They are rather easy to get mixed up.

Anyhow, our witty banter sounded something like this:

The setting is the dinner table. We are bravely trying to attempt what is sometimes referred to as polite dinner conversation while our boys have found a way to sword fight with two limp green beans.  When the blonde one was reprimanded, he silently, all eerie ninja, SLITHERED down from his chair.  All the while, he maintained eye contact, perhaps attempting the Jedi mind trick, landing in a toddler puddle on the floor.  This was his most epic attempt to date to avoid ingesting green beans.  So. As I was trying to explain “manners”  the hubs and I talked:

Me:  Hello.  I’m your wife.  How are you?

Hubs:  I’m fine.

Me:  That’s great.

Hubs:  Mmmm nom growl mmmm.   (Shoveling food.  See “manners.”)

Me: So… how was your day?

Hubs:  Fine.

Me:  *Pointedly waiting*

Hubs: Oh!  And yours?

Me: It was fine.

Hubs: That’s nice.

Me: Dear, puppies are nice.  This is awful.

Hubs: Well…  Is there any-

Me: The Tony C’s?  I knew it.  The stroganoff is not seasoned well at all.  And it’s gluey.  Who makes gluey stroganoff?  Me, evidently.  NO BLONDE, YOU ARE NOT EXCUSED UNTIL YOU SWALLOW ONE GREEN THING.  PARK IT.

Hubs:  I was going to-

Me:  Even the water is bland.  I should write a cook book. For toothless people with no taste buds.  (Big gesture here; I’m getting into this.)

I’d call it:  Bland Meals – How to Create Food that Will Non Plus Your Entire Family With Meh.

Hubs:  Dear. You’re over-dramatizing this a bit.

Me: WAT.

Hubs:  I WAS GOING TO ASK: Is there any chance we could get a sitter for Saturday? I was thinking we should go out.  It’s our anniversary.

Me:  WOULD YOU SIT DOWN.  STOP GASPING AND CLUTCHING YOUR THROAT.  FOR PETE’S SAKE,  IT’S A GREEN BEAN, NOT ANTHRAX.

THE POISON, NOT THE ROCK BAND.

Hubs:  *pointedly waiting*

Me:  What?

Hubs:  Would you listen better if I tried to attack you with this green bean?

 

 

 

 Glossary

Polite Dinner Conversation:  What I think all other families are engaging in around their dinner tables.  BUT NOT US.  NOOOO HO, we have to deal with food that pleads for its life before a toddler eats it.

Manners: I don’t know.  Maybe someday?

Fine: Taken at its word if uttered by the hubster. Totally okay.  Nothing wrong at all.  No subtext.  Really, actually, and truly FINE.  I KNOW.  It’s kinda mind-boggling how this is even possible.

Pointedly Waiting:  Most people in marriages find themselves doing like 88% of the time.  This type of waiting is not because you’re actually waiting; it’s to make a point, thus sending a clear message that whoever you are pointedly waiting AT owes you, big time.

Fine: If there ever was a word uttered that should strike fear in the heart of the listener, this is it.  This is the Hannibal Lecter of utterances.  Back away slowly.

Tony Cs: Some sort of magic fairy powder that fixes my cooking.

Stroganoff:  A food laden with self loathing and despair.  Not to be confused with its younger, goofy brother, Hamburger Helper, a boxed food item that toddlers and college kids will tell you is The Food of the Gods.

Over-dramatizing:  SOMETHING I DO NOT DO, AT ALL.  NOPE.  NEVER. I AM DEEPLY OFFENDED THIS IS EVEN ON HERE.

Anniversary:  When you stop, look at each other, smile and say:  YES. And Always.  I choose you, forever and ever, amen.

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This was our wedding song.  We didn’t have the cool sax player with the mutton chops,  but it was still awesome.  More today than yesterday, my sweet.  Happy Anniversary.

Happy Anniversary!

MjAxMy0xMzMxMjJjNDdkZmM5NTc5

 

 

IT’S MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF MOMSIE TODAY!!!!!

LET’S PARTY!

WOOO HOOOOOOO!

Let’s make pina coladas except without any alcohol, and sit on the porch and talk about MEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Or maybe just lemonade?  And some cookies?  Perhaps a cake?

 

*taps mike*

Hello?

Hi Red, honey. You look kinda… quizzical.  Do you want to come and celebrate ME today!?  It’ll be fun!  There’ll be cake!  Maybe!

Oh, you have weally bad news?

You need help?

In the bathroom.

 

Celebration is on hold until further notice, ya’ll.

But thank you for making it possible in the first place!

 

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Super Spies and #Netflixstreamteam

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It’s three am.  This is clearly a time that no human should ever be awake.  Unless, perhaps, you are a doctor or a police person. Or the president.    But no OTHER humans should be up.  AT ALL.

And yet, here is Red, standing next to my bed about two inches from my shut eyeballs.  His little face is glowing like an heart attack inducing alarm clock.  For the past three nights, Red waits until about three am, and then… he wakes UP.  Like BIG UP.

Like, he decides he’s Jimmy Fallon and I’m his next guest, UP.

I am ensconced so firmly in my sleep that when I am woken by Sir Chatsalot I am unsure of who he is.  There is this… a child here.  How did he get here? Clearly, he is not supposed to be here.  How did I have children?  Perhaps this is a post for a different type of blog.  But still, child, who are you?

And then, the questions:

“Where’s my balloon?”

“Canna I fly my paper airplane tomorrow?”

“Is dis a big ouchie or a little ouchie?”

“Can you tell us about your next movie?”  (Ok, he didn’t really ask that one, but I was trying to continue the Jimmy thing…)

 

This is super annoying, I know.  Even Jimmy Fallon fails to entertain when one is in DEFCON 5 level sleep.  And it would be immediate fodder for a stern talking to and immediate escort back to bed, if not for that fact that my sweet Red also has had a fever these past two nights.

Evidently, a 101 temp makes Red very… convivial.  He wants to share his deepest thoughts and dreams, and he wants to ASK about mine.  So at three am, I answer the poor dear as best as I can with assorted grunts and ahums, check temps, administer water, maybe meds, find Captain Spots (his stuffed hyena, of course), and get his chatty little bum back in bed.

So, here’s the problem.  I might have said, in my three am mutterings, that Red could go to VBS in the morning.  I might have.  There is no actual PROOF of this, but since the kid was basically asking me everything short of my blood type and do I prefer regular or spicy sushi rolls.

So BAMMO, next morning, there is a sad SAD little toddler who is gonna miss Da SUPER SPIES!  And he IS a SUPER SPY!  And der were clues!  And he is gonna MISS da clues!  And, most epic and catastrophic of all:  he is gonna miss da caaaaaaaaandyyyyy!

My kids don’t get out much.

Our church’s VBS (vacation bible school, for those of you who are terrible heathens or who have no children to farm off to these things because, FREE CHILDCARE!) is the International Spy Academy this year.  It’s got Jesus ,and SPIES!  My older child has been running around the house with a magnifying glass and some clues that make absolutely no sense because, well, he created them.  It has provided hours of entertainment.

And now, I have a sick spy who is obviously feeling demoted.

So, what does Momsie do when she needs to provide comfort and extra special care?

NETFLIX!!!!!  :)

Thank you Netflix, for saving the day.  Red sat on the couch in his Elmo jammies (spy uniform) and watched this classic not once, but three times today.

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I realize it’s not exactly SPY material, but ders da clues!  And da magnafrying glasses!  And we will solve the case, together, right Mommah?

And we did.  We cuddled, ate grape popsicles, and rooted Basil on as he uncovered Rattigan’s dastardly deeds.

Did I mention we cuddled?  The whole time?  Sometimes a sick toddler who allows himself to just rest and take in a movie is a mommah’s dream.

And before you snark at me about copious television watching, YOU try to tell this one that he can’t go play spy with his brother at da church.  Go on, I dare you.

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I Got Your Polar Vortex Right Here

 

 

This is the polar vortex. Is it just me, or does it seem to be giving us a saucy gesture? Maybe it's just me.

This is the polar vortex. Is it just me, or does it seem to be giving us a saucy gesture? Maybe it’s just me.

It’s 6 pm. I am trying to make dinner, keep the cat out of my laundry (laundry is his enemy, and he must vanquish it), and head up the Toddler Peace Summit Summer 2014.  I quit the Summit after 5 minutes.  I’m not smart enough.  I started pretending that I was from Chechnya and needed a translator and nobody could find one.  That was kinda fun.

Hubs will be coming home from work soon.  He will be thrilled to be home, let me tell you.  It’s because it’s so peaceful here.  So… calm.  I’ll be greeting him with a big red-lipsticked smoocharooni, a martini, and a lovely pot roast.

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If you make one wrong comment about this empty saucepan, I will strangle you with my apron. And the wallpaper in this room is driving me crazy.

 

Well.  Nix the martini.  Sometimes I hand him a glass of water.  It even has ice in it.

And really, not so peaceful here.  Wanna know why? Because Toddler Peace Summit 2014 has taken to the streets.  There’s loud protesting and currently the toddlers have taken the cat hostage and they are all working on their Manifesto.

 

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Heeeeeeeelp!

All of this makes Momsie rather… tense.  The toddlers, being toddlers, have absolutely no clue what “tense” is.  That’s their job.  In fact, I think it’s part of their Cluelessness Manifesto.  Momsie is tense = WE MUST AMP UP THE TODDLERNESS!!!!

And because of this ampage, a terrible, terrible thing happened.  I burnt my biscuits.  My precious, my preshus lovely fluffy little biscuits.  So ready to be smooshed with butter and honey, now huddled on the baking pan like sad hockey pucks.

And I. Had. HAD ENOUGH.

It is precisely at this time that the husband comes sauntering in.  You guessed it.  He is toast. Just like the biscuits.

 

 

Transcript:

Me: ANGER AND RESENTMENT-LADEN SILENCE

Hubs:  Hi!  How are you?

Me: ANGER AND RESENTMENT-LADEN SILENCE.

Hubs: Hey boys! (Boys start freaking out because evidently Daddy walking in the house is like Moses just dropped by to say “Heeeey.”)

Me:   I’m fine.  (Holy cow.  Cue scary music here.)

Hubs: Wow.  Ok.  Really?  Your face is all twitchy. Why are you sitting on the floor turning that light on and off?  Wait, isn’t this a scene from Fatal Attraction?  Can I eat my dinner first?

Me: I burnt the biscuits.

Hubs:  Ohhhhh?  (He then tilts his head to the side just like a Labrador Retriever.)

Me:  I burnt. Them.

Hubs:  Why?

 

Let’s take a bit of a break here.

Really, he is in engineer, so asking “Why?” is not his fault.  It’s not.  That’s part of his job.  Or so he tells me.  I kind of think he must just trot around at work yapping, “Why, WHY?” at everyone within reach.  I wish he would just get it out of his system at work so he would NOT utter it at home. Really, he should know better by now.  When one has dealt with the toddler mosh pit of my day, when one burns the absolute best part of dinner (the rest of dinner was beige and warm, that’s it),

YOU DON’T ASK, “WHY?”

Here’s what you say instead:

Hubs:  Oh my dear.  Clearly you need a break.  Here’s five thousand dollars.

 

So it just kept going, this conversation.  If the hubs knew what was best, he woulda hightailed it upstairs to free the cat and find some chocolate. But no.

Hubs:  Are you mad at me?  You’re mad, aren’t you.  Why are you mad at me?

Me:  No.  I’m not mad.  I’m just tired.  (‘Tired” is code for = so mad.  So, so mad.)

Hubs:  Because really, this is a teachable moment!

Me: Ok. Now I’m actually mad at you.

 

I think it’s best to stop here, to remind all you newly married folks,  that conversations like this really do happen when you’ve been married for a while.  For reals.  I do remember once at our premarital counseling (where hubs and the pastor talked BASEBALL for the majority of the time) that we did all come up with at least one tenet about How to Stay Married for a Really Long Time:

We should communicate a lot.

I KNOW, right?  Pretty brilliant.  I am pretty sure no one ever thought of this idea about marriage before.  I should write a book.

At any rate, the rest of the evening was a bit chilly, but by tooth brushing time I had stopped quoting lines from Fatal Attraction.  After all, when you’re married to an engineer, it is likely your darling husband takes literally everything, um, literally.  Thus, “I’m not going to be IGNORED, Dan!” carries little weight when your hubs’ name isn’t actually Dan.

 

 

 

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Words’ Worth

 

typewriter-once-upon-a-time

 

Well, you know how it begins.

 

Once upon a time, there was a girl.

She was pretty ordinary. Kind of nutty.  Had her moments of brilliance.  Had her moments of shame.  She was nothing too extraordinary, in any way.

Pretty much your run of the mill girl.  As far as girls go.

She was a teacher, a runner, a friend to a few very great people, and an owner of a truly remarkable dog named Norman.

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It is good to interject here that she loves and adores this dog and she believes, firmly, that he will be at the gate of heaven when she kicks it. He’ll be waiting there for her, thwacking his tail back and forth, so that his whole hind quarters waggle, just so you know.

Anyhow.

There were some days when her nights seemed extra long.  When all the feelings she had piled up on her insides and she had no idea in holy heck how to untangle any of them.  There was a skip in her brain that kept hiccuping over itself, like a bruised record needle.  And so, she drank a glass or two of wine, and that smoothed out almost all the issues.

Until, of course, it didn’t.  She kept up appearances, though, because run of the millers know how to do that.  She kept her hair smooth, job intact, all records were clean.  All doctor appointments were kept.  Church on Sunday.  Coffee with friends.  That sort of thing.  Despair, though, wrapped around her shoulders during all the in between times.  It clung on in the mornings, after lunch.  Sometimes before lunch.  It was all around.  The despair was still there even though these really big and wonderful things had happened to her.  Her sweet love had married her.  Her darling boys were born.  Her life was a portrait.  It made her more sad, even, to realize how tangled up she was, despite the beauty all around her.

The part that really befuddled her is that she thought she was so much smarter than all of this addiction stuff.   But yet, she had decided to step squarely on that land mine anyhow.  And then when she tried, again and again, to stop stepping on the landmine, she found that she couldn’t.  It was maddening.  She was a “just pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” kind of girl.  She should be able to do this.

This went on for a million years.

She felt foolish.  And sad.  She worried a lot (more than even her normal quotient, which was all the time) that her church, her friends, would see her treading water amidst the wreckage, paddle up in a life raft and shout out: “You there!  You! The drowning one!  We need to ask first:  Are you a fool? Because if you are, we can’t help you.”

Here’s what happened instead: Her husband, and her friends, and her church paddled up and said: “Are you a fool?  Well.  Aren’t we all.  Get in.”

So, she quit drinking.  Actually, she didn’t quit.  She gave up, and she allowed her sweet God who loved her very very much to take charge.

And she went to meetings.  And she prayed and prayed. And sometimes she sat in her laundry room, weeping, saying, “God grant me the serenity, please.  PLEASE, God.”

And she kept going, through big fat failures, and pain, and joyful days that gave her hope that maybe all this sobriety stuff was possible, really possible, and even maybe just worth it, after all.

During it all she wrote like crazy, because, she liked to do so.  She had to.  It unlocked her heart a bit, to write.  It unraveled things, smoothed them out, like linens in a drawer, all crisp and white, ready for use when the guests come.

And then, she decided to enter a contest with her words. And she got an award.  And then, an article was accepted.  And another one. Another award was given.   And there was something in all of this that straight up fed her soul.  The clicking of the keys in the late night hours, it was her best lullaby.  She would wake up, when it was still dark outside and the birds were just starting to sleepily chirp awake, and she would be casting out words and drawing them back again, working, working on her nets of sentences and ideas.

She still does this.  5:15 a.m, the words wake her up.

And I guess, she just wanted to say thank you.

I guess I just wanted to say, thank you.

Thank you for reading.

Words cannot express how grateful I am.

But I won’t ever stop trying to write them.

No one will ever replace Norman.  But this creature? He is a doggie (Norman variety) with cat fur on.  He gives me joy.

No one will ever replace Norman. But this creature? He is a doggie (Norman variety) with cat fur on. He gives me joy.

 

 

 

To Blog or Not to Blog… That’s the Big Fat Question

 

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This doggie is blogging. Don’t worry, it will make more sense after you read the post.

 

It seems I am now diving into the  TAKE MY MOMSIE SHOW ON THE ROAD world of speaking and leading workshops.  In October, I will be leading a presentation and workshop about humorous writing at the Indiana Writer’s Consortium.  I haven’t quite figured out how I am actually going to get to Indiana, but if they ask it, Momsie will come.

A while back I got up on the podium and spoke to a bunch of moms about recovery.  That wasn’t terrifying or scary at all. Nope.  But I was told I did OK.  I don’t really know because I don’t remember any of it.

Then, just a few days ago, this little publication called Huff Post Live interviewed me about the same topic.  Do I remember that one? Not a bit.  But I have video proof of it right here.  AND I do remember this: my interviewer was cute and nice.  For that I am very grateful.

And finally… I am gonna present this weekend at our local library about, you guessed it, blogging.  Because?  Well, everyone and their dog has a blog.  I finally decided to tell people about why it’s ok to be the dog.

I am a Momsie of many trades, I tell you.  Very busy and very grateful.

 

HAPPY MONDAY, FRIENDS.

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Mom Essentials

 

 

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Joining up with Kasey Johnson on her Mom Essentials Blog Tour today!  I am thrilled to be invited along!

Six a.m.   I am shellacked to my bed like a bug on a windshield.  I have a cold.  My head feels like a watermelon, and I have just peered at the clock with one squinty eye, praising Jesus that I have at least one more hour of solid rest before we’re off to the toddler races.

Except, there is this strange sort of snuffling noise by my ear.  A decidedly wet noise.  It is exactly the noise a desperate toddler makes when he is in his pre-meltdown, sup-sup stage we moms refer to as:  Before the Sobbing Hits Us All.

I slowly turn my head and there, nose to nose with me, is Red, quivering in toddler anguish: “I have to tell you sumthin.  Icanna find my purple round fighter thing, and I weally NEED it.”  I must have looked rather dubious (ticked off).  So, he took a deep, shuddery breath, pressed his damp face on mine and wailed:  “IT’S VERY SPECIAL TO MEEEEEEEE!

Let’s back up:  I have no idea, but I think he might be referring to some made-in-China broke-down piece of a toy that he got at McDonald’s about three months ago.   It is not even a toy in its entirety.  It is an EX toy.  For some toddlered nutball reason this morning it had turned into a Raiders of the Lost Ark epic quest to find it. Except without the cool opening sequence in the temple with the gold idol thingie.

It is then that I might have spoken rather tersely about priorities and how sleep is WEALLY special, and how maybe he could just wait to look for it, like, after coffee?

This took the slobberyness up to a level orange on the danger alert system.  Evidently, this toy was essential.

Wailing followed.  From Red, too.

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No. Really. You deserve a break today.

 

Parenting is a constant epic quest to figure out what is important vs. what is not.  Every DAY I am presented with my own weally weally important things (Moisturizer?  Yep?  Shower today?  No time.  Bible with a side of 6 cups of coffee? YEP.  Planking?  Noooooo.)

And that’s just by 7 a.m.  As the day wears on, Momsie starts to get overwhelmed by more weally important choices:

  • Cheerios?  GMO laden.  Cancer circles.

  • Prayer time with the kids?  Yes, but one kid just smacked the cat with his  bible.  Um, timeout first?  Or do I just lay hands on him and grimly pray for his toddler soul?

  • Some TV? No TV? TV ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY?

  • Wailing and slamming doors from upstairs?  Do I let them keep Conan the Barbarianing it up there and hope they make it out for dinner?

  • One child keeps playing hide and seek all by himself?  Should I call a psychologist?  Is it a phase?  Maybe I should try it?

  • Organic? Or college fund?

GOOD HEAVENS.  WHERE DO I START?

 

We start with the essentials.

 

Kasey Johnson’s new book, Mom Essentials –  10 Words Successful Mothers Live By,   encourages us on our way.  She speaks simply and eloquently about her own Mom walk, and how finding a path paired with her 10 Essential Words has helped her live a life truly tuned in to what matters.

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Kasey Johnson

As a Beacon Press Off the Shelf blogger, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview her about Mom Essentials.  Here are some of her thoughts about her book:

1. Your first essential you chose for the book is about balance. Why did you start here?

Being a mom means we take care of others. I’ve talked with too many women who lose themselves in their daily tasks and the constant routine that is present when raising young children. When our children grow older, their dependence on us changes and that change can seem impossible to accept if we never established who we were before we became a mom. Through scripture and prayer we are better able to maintain a balance between what we do and who we are.

2. In this chapter you suggest that “when we write things down, we keep our memories and our perspectives in check.” Do you journal? How has writing helped your relationship with God? Any suggestions for how to get started or stay consistent with writing or journaling?

My mother gave me my first journal when I was 8 years old. Journaling each night became a habit and it’s followed me into adulthood. As a working mom journaling has lost its consistency, but not its priority in my life. I have a sturdy notebook I keep in my car (that’s where I tend to live most of the time). It’s more like a composition book so the pages aren’t removable, but it’s a great resource to have close by when I want to remember a situation, a funny comment, a challenge, a Bible verse – ANYTHING that presents as significant in my life is written down. Sometimes I flip through the journal and read my thoughts, frustrations, challenges and praises. Remembering these moments brings a kind of encouragement that can only be appreciated when I compare my present with my past. I try to remember that journaling doesn’t have to be lengthy, poetic writing. Instead I use my journal as a place where I can be honest and put my thoughts down on paper so they won’t keep rattling around in my head.

3. Your description of “success” for moms describes a daily progression (a long one, usually) – we are becoming, not being. Could you give some advice and encouragement for moms who are struggling with this concept – that our walk to success is a process? (Ahem. This question is for ME. Progress not perfection… :)

Okay, first off – I am sooooo excited you read that part! I’m always hoping women hear my desire to not think about success as perfection – you’re exactly right – it’s a process.

I hope I’m not the only one who dies a little inside when I see a celebrity who is a new mom plastered on the cover of a magazine in a bikini. She looks amazing and in response I look down at my sweats and grab a bag of Peanut M&Ms! Sometimes we feel pressure to be all things to all people and in turn we stop being ourselves. I will always strive to do my best but I refuse to allow someone else’s expectations to determine my priorities.

4. How did you learn all your organizational skills? Is it just a natural talent?

I’ll be honest – part of it just comes naturally. I’m a type-A control freak but it’s funny how becoming a mom changed my focus and priorities.

For example: Our house is a type of magnet for all the neighborhood kids. I love that they feel comfortable at our house and our door is usually open. But I grew weary of the kids coming, tearing into the toys and then running off. None of them could read so I turned to pictures. My boys and I spent a day organizing toys by theme and had a blast setting up scenes for us to photograph. We printed the pictures and taped them on the bins (I’ll try and put some pictures in this document so you can use them if you’d like). I had a problem – kids weren’t cleaning up because they said they didn’t know where everything went. So I created a solution and I taught my kids to take things one bin at a time and I removed their excuses. Even today I will ask my boys to clean up a room or an area and I’ll hear them call out, “I’ll take care of the blankets!”, “I’ve got the costumes!” or “I’ll take the clothes upstairs!” – I just smile as I listen. I’ve taught them how to manage a room, to manage things and not allow the things to manage them.

I only care about being organized because I know if I keep grip on the things in our life they can’t create problems for the people in my life.

5. What’s next for you? Do you have any other books in the works?

I am working on the next 3 books in the “Essentials Series”. These books cover topics like discipline, school issues and parenting stages. It’s an exciting time but I’m taking things one year at a time. I might not be able to write these books for quite a while, but I’m loving the content my children are providing each day – it’s amazing how I can feel called to write about a topic but then God requires me to wait (sometimes years) to truly find the content and direction He desires. It’s tough for me to be patient, but I see how much better this project is because I didn’t rush things.  People always come first and I’m praying God will continue to guide me and keep me focused on the essentials.

 

Thank you, Kasey for the interview!

For you tired, you poor, you huddles masses of overwhelmed Momsies out there – take an afternoon, make a cup of tea, put your feet UP, maybe even allow a little toddler tv, and just read this book.  It will be a balm for your soul.

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