Slow Is Smooth and Smooth is… Still Slow.

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I think the military owns that saying, the “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” one?

I think they came up with it when they were training the army people to carry big exploding things over bunkers and not drop them on their foot or trip over a shoelace, which is totally something I would do.

You can thank me now, that I never joined the military. You’re welcome, America.

Anyhow.

One of the greatest paradoxes of mankind is a child’s inability to move fast under request, when five minutes ago they were skidding up and down the hall in their underwear and socks, shouting, “I’M COMING FOR YOU, AND YOUR TORTILLAS!”

I know. I really have no idea, either.

Let me break down this paradox for you:

If child is left to own devices: running, shouting, skidding, flying, sometimes the splits, and also loud thudding will occur regularly.

If child is asked to “hurry up” : the sloth cometh.

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This book was a favorite at our house.                              For some reason, that other classic, “Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!” Yelled the Mom, was not as popular.

 

This morning before school, I watched Red push one arm through the sleeve of a jacket. My eyebrow started to twitch. I had to leave the room because it was like watching a sloth try to put one arm through a jacket, which is pretty hard because sloths have those weird claw hands that don’t fit through jackets very well.

I went into the kitchen. Poured a cup of coffee. Added cream. Rinsed off my spoon and put it in the dishwasher, like a boss. Took a breath.

Walked back into the living room. And there was Red, still trying to put THE SAME arm through THE SAME SLEEVE.

The other eye started twitching, so now I have a matching set. And then, there was the talking:

Punctual: “Red, it’s 7:58, you need to take it up a notch here.”

Organized: “Red, why don’t you put on your coat before your backpack?”

Wheedling: “Red, perhaps shoes are a good idea now.”

Military: “RED MOVE. JUST MOVE NOW. MOVE OUT. GO. GO GO GO.”

I know. It’s a sickness. The words just come out of my mouth, all slippery and desperate, because watching my son try to move from one end of the room to the other IS GOING TO KILL ME.

You’ll find me, one day, dead on the floor. Laid out. Done. And all because my son did something like this:

Puts one arm through sleeve (FINALLY THANK YOU SWEET FATHER AND JESUS TOO) and then, he proceeds to bend down and start patting the STUPID DOG ON THE HEAD BECAUSE NOW IS THE TIME TO BOND WITH THE DOG. NOW? NOW. NOW IS THE TIME.

He bent down, with me looming over him like an angry clock, and it was like he had never even noticed we had a dog before. “Oh! Hi Hosmer? Who’s a good doggie? Who is a good pupper? Rub you behind your ear?”

Only one sleeve on, no shoes, and a really sketchy understanding of how to put one foot in front of the other, and he wants to go all Bless the Beasts and the Children on me.

Well, I tell you.

I finally resorted to physically herding (pushing) both boys towards the door. They were chattering away and then, at one point, Blonde STOPPED to TURN to RED to TELL HIM SOMETHING. Like, all of a sudden he was practicing polite cocktail party chit-chat, only it was about Minecraft chickens. Which is a thing. Don’t ask.

I would have none of it. I just wedged myself behind them and kept moving them along, the Mom Barge, saying things like, “Move out. Press on. Westward ho!” and that sort of thing. It was very motivational.

Last I saw, they were both wandering in a serpentine pattern, in the general direction of the school. The serpentine is nice, because they’ll be protected from any sort of siege. Safety first.

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This is a test. This is only a test.

Parenting. Y’all.

It is not for the faint of heart.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today, and the them

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Let me explain:

I a tendency to be rather, uh, impatient. Like, just a tidge. Teensy bit.

Like, if I was gonna say… my impatience is one of the smaller states, it’s New Hampshire. It’s the New Hampshire of impatience.

Granted. New Hampshire is still about 10,000 square miles in size. Thank you, Wikipedia. So, there’s that.

Impatience is one of my issues. I’ll admit it. I am working on it, but it’s tough because working on myself takes AGES, and my gosh who has time for that? Ridiculous.

And here is the other thing:

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Yes, I know. Thing is blurry and in a shepherd’s costume, but I didn’t want to take the time to look for a better picture. Because impatient. Anyhow. This is Red. And he… well… he is not interested in the passage of time. At all. Like, he stops and smells the roses in every nook and cranny of his life all the time every second whenever wherever and HOLY BIG BEN WHAT IS HIS PROBLEMMMMM.

Yes. I am time-shaming my sweet child. I know. This is not my finer moment. I don’t CARE because TIME. TIME IS OUT THERE JUST SMACKING US AROUND ALL THE, WELL, TIME AND IT’S REALLY HARD TO DEAL WITH THAT.

The red. He makes me deal with time. I have gritted-teeth conversations with time, and with Red on a daily basis. Daily.

A daily test.

It’s only a test. Tests are not to be feared. They are just events that make us stronger. I have to remind myself that, also, on a daily basis.

The test-taking is daily because God loves us enough to not let us alone. And I remind myself of that too, on a daily basis.

This is only a test. If it was a real emergency, we need pray. But, the best part is that we can pray, anyway, anytime, anywhere.

Prayer. Our automatic answer key.

 

Well, here we are.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today.

The theme:

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When I was a child, my dad had a brilliant way of summing up any sort of awful situation with his usual vigorous sarcasm.

He would eye me, smirk a bit, and then say,

“Well. Here we are.”

Let’s say we are fixing a water gap at the farm, * and the tractor got stuck and the mosquitoes were swarming and it’s possible there was a snake thrown in there somewhere, in the brown murky water that we were sludging through… and he would grin and say, loftily, “Well, here we are!”

It always worked. I would smirk back, and the moment, in all it’s mosquitoe-riddled yuck, would lift a bit. The snakes were still there, but they would be charmed by dad’s wit, and would smirk too… and then sidle away.

To this day, when I find myself in some sort of pickle I say it. We’re at Aldis and both children are whining for Pink Sugar Diabetic Bomb Cereal? “Well, here we are!” We’re going on a “fun” family bike ride and both boys are tired and hot and then are riding at a speed slower than our computer loading up when it has a virus (which is often)? “Well!!!! HERE WE ARE!!!!!”

Recently, when the whole poop in the bathtub situation  happened, I looked at the bathtub, then at the husband, and said, “Well, here we are.” It made it bearable. Kind of.

By the way,  if you are not updated on this lovely saga in our house, I realize no one should ever EVER have to be subjected to the words, “poop in the bathtub situation.” I am heartily sorry.

Ok, so here I am. And here we are. Friday morning. Four boys in my house. They are working on a play that involved costumes and lots of swords and now they are asking to be filmed, because this is Spielberg material, they are sure.

I am trying, desperately, to just get some work done. I have deadlines. I have a lot of them lately. I have all these things that I have said YES to and I just… need… some time to THINK.

*growl* So. Very. Frustrated.

The four boys want to make costumes. Why? They want to perform a play that ends up to be some sort of avant-garde experimental theater thing that makes my head buzz when I watch because plot? Where? I know I shouldn’t be picky, but this thing is like an Andy Warhol production. But there is a lot of bowing and clapping that has to happen.

I can’t clap, y’all. I need to type. Like, fast. And typing? That involves both hands. And my brain.

This is not one of those posts where I set my computer away, and smile, and God blesses me with this wonderful moment of peace and realization that I need to stop, slow down, savor the moment. All that.

All that is really good stuff. But this is not one of those posts.

This is here we are. Me, trying to scrabble for time to think and write. Four boys, dancing around me in lion masks with swords and something about a racoon, the Chosen One, who fights the evil Darth Turtle. Or something.

Sometimes the HERE is so frazzling it makes my brain itch.

This is my here. I have no moral of the story or how it gets all better. But I will tell you this: TELLING YOU. Just writing it DOWN and sending it out there? IT HELPS.

It HELPS. Why? Because I know, I KNOW, that someone else out there gets my HERE. You get it. In all its low patience, annoyed, gritted teeth, not-so-good mothering moment, you get my HERE.

Thank you.

I am now going to watch Part Two, where Darth Turtle tells him, “Luke, I am your father,” and there’s a lot of shouting.

Lord, well, here we are.

I need Your help. Because my here, right now, is not my best moment.

Zephaniah 3:17  The LORD your God is in your midst.

Even right here.

*Water gaps: a fence over a crik (not creek, crik) that keeps cows IN but not snakes or mud or bugs or slimy monsters that swim where you can’t see them.  Tend to only get snaggled with tree limbs and debris on the hottest days of the year. Tend to be coated in mosquitoes. Tend to be swampy and murky and awful and have their own soundtrack from Deliverance.

The Wonderfulness That is Children

Did I ever mention to you that I have two kids?

Yep. I do.

 

I give you, Exhibit A:

photoBlonde: AKA, the 6 Year Old.

Short, blonde, rather squinty eyed. Tends to walk like Mick Jagger. Gets annoyed when told that.

Hobbies: long discussions about what is fair or not fair.

 

And exhibit B:

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Red: AKA the 4 year old.

Also known as: sidekick, “he did it,” accomplice, evil brother, nemesis, and Sparky.

Short, red headed, with angelic innocent expression and freckles. Has a future in the dramatic arts.

Hobbies: cat wrangling, eating, singing the same song over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

 

Oh and exhibit C:photo

AKA: the cat. Or Spicoli.  Or, The Dude.

White, furry, extremely mellow.

Hobbies: sleeping and being drug around a lot. Occasionally at the same time.

 

I show you these adorable pictures to tell you this:

They look all cute and stuff, right? Painting away at at their crafty little pumpkins, sweet toddler brows all furrowed with gnat-sized concentration. So preshus.

WELL, IT’S ALL AN ILLUSION, PEOPLE.

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Lately my children have been playing a fun game called:

I AM YOUR BROTHER. THEREFORE,  I WAS PUT HERE TO MAKE YOUR EXISTENCE MUCH HARDER THAN YOUR MOTHER EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE OR NECESSARY.

They fight. They bicker about who has more juice, toothpaste, cookie apportionment, blankets, stuffed animals, brain cells, mothers who are not yelling. Etcetera.

And by etcetera I also mean: They fight over who is breathing the loudest in the car on the way home from Sam’s CLUB and stoppit just stoppit it’s too louuuuud I canna look out da window while you are doing all dat BREATHING over der.

They bicker about paper towels, flies, fly balls, purple spoons, immigration law, and who’s on first.

 

Yesterday, we called a meeting. It was either that or I was going to pack my things and head to Vegas. There’s no arguing there, I hear. Surely not. A lot of booze and gambling, but surely NO arguing. Right?

 

Anyhow.

I set them both down at our “family meeting” place on the stairwell.  I was on the offensive, and it was imperative go for the jugular from the start:

Momsie: “Boys, hold hands.”

Red and Blonde: “WAT?”

Momsie: “You heard me. Hold HANDS. NOW.”

Red: Starts emitting nervous, high pitched giggles as if he’s a squeaky toy and someone sat on him.

Blonde: Sits in stunned silence. This is very rare. We all relished it for a minute.

MOMSIE: ” I AM NOW SPEAKING IN ALL CAPS BETTER DO IT.”

Red and Blonde then limply hold hands as if their fingers were frosted with Ebola. Blonde made a few retching noises. It was all for show. I think.

I take a deep breath, and start in on Lecture #34556 entitled:

We Will All Love Each Other Because We’re Family So We Have To

Subtitle: I Will Make You Rue the Day.  If You Don’t Get Along, You Will Rue It. RUE it.

Sub -Subtitle: Look it up, minion. R. U. E.

 

Ten minutes in, both boys are scooching around on the stairs in an interpretive dance known as I will get as far away from you as possible, while still holding hands.  Red is still giggling like a nervous woodpecker.

And I draw the lecture in for my grand finale:

Momsie: “And so that’s why we don’t fight. Because, after all, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Hmmmmm?”

Blonde: yanks up Red’s offending hand – “I’ma pretty sure Jesus would NOT hold hands!”

Momsie: “Uh, Ok. Why not?”

Red: giggling so hard he puts his head between his knees for breath

Blonde “ACAUSE THERE IS NO WAY JESUS WOULD MAKE DEM ALL HOLD HANDS. IT’S SILLY. DIS IS JUST SILLY.

AND JESUS. IS. NOT. SILLY!”

 

He had a point. Not once does it mention “and lo, Jesus was silly” in the bible.

And in all my Mom wisdom, I sputtered: “Well, Jesus DOES baptize people! THAT’s in the bible! Would you prefer I just douse you in holy water each time you start to fuss at each other?”

Red starts to levitate off the stair he is giggling so hard.

I know. It’s times like these that parenting becomes so utterly frustrating that my ability to reason clearly and in a non-sacrilegious way becomes impossible. So, if you’re visiting one day and my boys start to argue? Don’t freak out if I squirt water on ’em both, and thunder, “Be baptized with LOVE, both of you! Holy Spirit says CUT IT OUT!”

 

As for the cat? I haven’t seen him in a while. I wonder why?

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Z is for Zoo. Of course it is.

 

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Well, we’re finally here.  My Z for you.

And then what? For those of you in the know, there is no letter in the alphabet after Z.  So, it’s time for me to pack up my blog and head for something new – like interpretive dance.  Or perhaps a degree in the philosophy of The Simpsons.  (This one really exists; click here.)  Or, I could see if Gwen Stefani needs a backup singer…

JUST KIDDING. I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

I got material to share, folks.  It’s not like the letter Z was going to stop my kids from acting nutball.  Or the internet to stop providing me with stuff like this:

 

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You are stuck with  me, my friends.  Stuck.  Like litter at the bottom of the cat box stuck.

But I digress.

 

Recently my family ventured to the skating rink for an all church skate extravaganza.  It was epic.  Here are some of my observations:

1. All skate rinks have the same carpet.  Stare at it too long and it’ll give you a seizure.

2. All skate rinks have the same guy, kinda circa 1970’s, possibly with a comb in his back pocket, who smoothly manuevers the skate rink like a BOSS.

3. All skate rinks should not try to attempt any food items other than packaged Twizzlers and maybe a chocolate bar.  Hotdogs?  A risky business.

4. All skate rinks have bathrooms with sloped, tiled floors that reduce you and your toddler to nervous laughter because why just go to the potty? Why not try to add a couple triple sow-cow and limbo lessons in that bathroom with a five-year old who has questionable aim?

5. All skate rinks have to do the limbo. It’s a cruel world.

 

One other observation:  I haven’t skated since, well, probably college, and I am just not very good at it.  BUT – our pastor?  He was ON POINT.  He almost gave the moustached, 70’s guy a run for his money.  He just kept smoothly gliding about without a care in the world, which makes sense, because Jesus, you know.

I was a bit envious.  At one point, I pushed my four-year old out of the way so I could grab onto my husband’s hand/hair/arm to keep me from face planting.  I think the words, “Don’t worry about Red! He’s closer to the ground – he won’t fall as hard!” were uttered.  Evidently skate parks kinda bring out a rather grim Game of Thrones mentality in me.

Again, it’s a cruel world.

 

So, after the skate party, we all decided to go for ice cream.  This was a fabulous idea because here’s something I forgot: skating is hard work. At one point, I was doing a sassy scissor move and just kept getting stuck with my poor scissors going wider, and wider… Not pretty.  Not pretty at all.  My thighs were angry with me, and only a chocolate malted would help.  And possibly some fries.  To gently assist the Skateland hotdog.

We all piled in the car. It was getting to be bedtime, and we were tired, rather cranky, and overstimulated from that carpet.  But we were going for ice cream! Family fun continuing! It’s just down here a bit!

And then our Favorite Ice Cream Place That We Always Go To just up and disappeared.

Allow me to explain.  We were on the main drag of a rather small city – one we have traversed a majillion times I am sure.  We have passed this  ice cream parlor a majillion and one times.  We knew where it is.  We were going RIGHT there!  It was just down this road a bit!

Until, of course, it wasn’t.  And we ended up driving up and down and then up again looking for an ice cream place that has ALWAYS BEEN RIGHT THERE. IT’S RIGHT HERE.  I SWEAR IT! IT’S… not. Oh, oops, maybe further down?

 

At this point, both toddlers in the back have caught on that perhaps, something is afoot.  They can sniff out tension and trouble like a puppy finding Cheezits in the couch, I tell you.

And so, when that happens, so begins the play-by-play commentary from the back seat:

“Wat doin’ Daddy?”

“Where’s da ice creams? I wanna da sprinkles!”

Daddy, rather grimly: “We’re on our way, kids.  We’re taking the scenic route.”

“Wats a swenic route?”

Daddy:  “This is.”

“What’s DIS?”

Daddy:  “The scenic route.”

“WHAT’S DA SCENIC ROUTE?”

DIS. IS.”

Both toddlers peer out the window as if to spot an answer to all these troubles, like why they are not eating da sprinkles yet.

Momsie starts to giggle.

“But daddy, scenic route? WHY we are going?”  (My children start to sound like Yoda when they become flustered.)

“Daddy, WHERE IS DA ICE CREAMS?”

Daddy:  “We are taking the scenic route TO the ice creams and that’s final!  I happen to like the scenic route!”

 

I like the scenic route too.  Most of the time.  My children take me on it nearly every day.  We are often all a bit tired and disheveled, mainly from the fact that my boys must run and go and do everything all the time, and it’s hard to keep up, and allow for detours.  But, we are a family. God’s family. And we are on this journey together.

God asks us to take the scenic route.  It’s worth it. It’s not quite what I expected or want all the time, but worth it.

And yes, der will be sprinkles.

 

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Tuesday Takeout

chinese-takeout-boxNormally I would be waxing poetic about food here today.

But I am going to offer a different sort of Takeout.

Because:  I am at the library with my two boys.  The boys are playing trains and all is quiet, and I am filing some pictures and setting up my blog post for the day.  Should be able to rock something out in about 30 minutes.  If all goes well.

If all goes well.

Red approaches, eyes full of tears.  “Mah, mah train!  It’s WOST.”  I help him look, and settle back down to the post. Oatmeal cookies.  Yumminess and cinnamon.

Blonde approaches.  He wants assistance with the bathroom.  I help, of course, what mother would say no?  But I add a bit of a sigh for punctuation at the end of my assistance.  Still just on an ingredient listing.

Red is back.  He needs help with a block situation that seems to be working up to an EPIC tragedy.  I stop typing and verbalize some assistance.  He works through it.  I have lost my place.  How much cinnamon?  It’s paramount.  My sigh repeats.

Blonde approaches.  I sigh before he speaks.  I am on paragraph two.  He is on bathroom trip two, evidently.  I smile again, and will my eyes to mean it.  He can always tell if the eyes don’t mean it.  I have doubled the cinnamon.  Cookies are gonna be very very flavorful, I guess.

Red sidles up and hands me a book.  “Will you read to me?”  My first instinct is to sigh, AGAIN.  The audacity.  Read a book?  In the library?  Right NOW?  But… the cinnamon?  How will they ever know how much cinnamon?

And so it goes.  You know how it goes.

Post will be short.  I have boys who want me to read to them in the library.  Go here if you want a cookie recipe.  It’s better than mine anyhow.  Cinnamon issues.

Thank you,  Ree Drummond at The Pioneer Woman for your lovely recipe.  My toddlers thank you too.014

Sunday. Mushy post. Be Warned.

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These two? The two (slightly blurry because Momsie cannot hold a camera still) on the left here?  They teach me more in a day than I ever thought possible.  They are a daily crash course cram session in love and life, my friends.

Here’s a little example:

We are all getting ready for church.  When anything can go wrong in our house, or be upsetting, or just really frazzling or achingly ANNOYING, this is that time.

Time for church?  Oh, then the coffee maker needs to spill.  And da maper syrup (as Red calls it)?  That too will spill. (It is SO not a good idea for anyone to ever serve anything that merits a dose of maple syrup on Sunday morning.  Stick with packaged, terrifically unhealthy corn syrup granola bombs, if you must.  NO SYRUP.  I have yet to learn this lesson, but today might be the day).  Discovery that the cat has suddenly forgotten where her cat box is?  7:50 am on Sunday, of course.  Zippers breaking?  Yep, that time.  Momsie’s hormones spiraling out of control paired with despair and gloom?  Sunday Morning Coming Down.

You get the picture.

Anyhow, we’re all getting ready for our time of worship with our Lord and Savior, with gritted teeth and much grumbling (the getting ready, not the worship, and most of the grumbling is from me).  Momsie is at her parenting APEX, demonstrated by saying things like,

“DUDES REALLY.  FOR THE LOVE.  WE HAVE GOT TO GO IT’S WAY PAST TIME WE ARE SO LATE I DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW HOW LATE WOULD YOU PLEASE HUSTLE IT’S OK WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO WASH HANDS AND I MEAN NOW GET TO THE CAR OR SO HELP ME I WILL LEAVE YOU BOTH HERE WITH THE CAT!”

Toddlers don’t react well to threats.  Or rushing.  Or run on sentences.  I KNOW. But somehow I seem to forget.  Every. Sunday. Morning.

Whilst herding my sweet unherdables to the car, I forget, in the rush, a Very Important Bag that I was supposed to bring for the hubs (who is already at church due to his supposed “usher duty” which I find suspect.  He does wear the badge, and I have seen proof of it when he has to collect the offering, but honestly, I think he just does it so he can avoid our house at 7:50 on Sunday mornings).  And away we go, Momsie sighing with relief that we might just make it in before the first hymn, and the boys all combed and (hopefully) underweared…  and then I realize we gotta go back for The Bag.

“Mommah? What? Why you growl?”

“Why we turning round?”

“Mommah!  Ders the church!  DER it is!  DER!”

Momsie, through gritted teeth: “We have to go back.  I promised Daddy I would bring him his Sunday School bag.  I gotta go get it. It’s (grittttt) gonna be  O.K.”

“Huh.  We late?”

GRITTINGLY:  “Yep.”

“A pwomise?  You made a pwomise to Daddy?”

“Uh huh.”  Once more, with GRRRRIT:  “A promise.”

“So, it’s two pieces.”

“Huh?” Now Momsie’s confused.

I pull up to the house, but Blonde is still talking.  Jesus* asked me to stay in the car.  I did.

“A promise.  It’s two pieces.  Like a puzzle.”

I glanced in the rear view mirror.  Blonde found my eyes and locked on.

“Der’s da first piece:  You made a promise.” He holds up one hand.

“And den, da second piece.  You have to make it go.”  The other hand clasps his first.

“Dey go together.  Da promise, and den da doing it.”

Red:  “Like saying ‘Sorry’!”  We turn to him.

“You say sorry, but then you have to help!”  He clasped his hands.  “Dey fit!  Like together!”

I chewed on that all the way up the steps, to the bag, back to the car, and back to church.  We were late.

And I was exactly on time.

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*When I say Jesus asked me to stay in the car, it was not a big, loving voice that I heard, saying, “Sweet Dana, stay for a minute, please.”  Nope.  Just more like a soft weight on my chest that slowed me down and made me sit back a bit. He didn’t talk, outright.

But wouldn’t it had been cool if He HAD!  🙂

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And, now, I leave you with this. Let us pray your Sunday mornings don’t look like the following: