Snow Day

By 5:00 am we knew what lay in store for us-a SNOW DAY!!

When I was a kid these were the two best words in the English language. It meant alternating playing outside til your extremities were frozen with warming up by drinking hot chocolate filled to the top with teeny marshmallows. We would read books, maybe play a little Atari, and pray for more snow days. You might even dare your little brother to lick a metal object outside. (Photo cred A Christmas Story)

Now, as a mama who works from home and has been trapped, uh, enjoying her four children over the Christmas Break, is it wrong that I’m no longer as enamored with the Snow Day?

I’m just being real here, friends. Surely I’m not alone. I know for the rest of the day I’ll be seeing posts about the Pinterest Moms who are making origami dinnerware and weaving their own clothes with their kids, using their time wisely during this snow day but that’s just not me. We will be barely maintaining our grip on sanity and reality as we make our way through the Snow Day.(photo cred someecards)

Oh Snow Day, why today? The day I needed to go into my real office and handle two separate fires? The day after only one day in school so there goes the routine. The day I don’t even have teeny tiny marshmallows for cocoa and haven’t been on Pinterest in far too long.

I hear the sounds of children stirring, my only plan at this point is to let them all drink coffee and milk in their jammies and watch some cartoons til I get a better plan….(photo cred funnyminions.com)

Happy Snow Day friends, pray for me!­čĺŚ

┬ęMeredith Shafer 2017. If you want to connect with me, catch me at FacebookTwitterInstagram or http://www.meredithshafer.com.

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Kindergarten

Our baby girl starts kindergarten today.

I’m sure she’s going to be great. It’s me and her dad I’m worried about. Every first that my kids face, every moment and milestone just make this wet stuff squish out of my eyes. 

How can she be old enough for kindergarten?

When I found out I was pregnant with this little one, I was already a mom to the second power. But I had never been pregnant before–my oldest were adopted and I was just as surprised as everyone else that my baby maker was in good working condition. I had just gotten remarried in July of that year and in August I was taking a pregnancy test.

And then another. And another. And another…

The day I found out I bought this teeny pair of baby shoes. For some reason Mr. Wonderful came home for lunch that day and I wish you could have seen the look in his face when I gave him those shoes! In a space of two seconds he went from confused (why am I holding a tiny pair of shoes?!) to surprised (you’ve got to be kidding me!!) to elated (my baby’s having a baby!!).

That was a great two seconds.­čĺŚ

This baby girl was born into our family of boys and suddenly there was a little person who wanted to be like me. Dress like me. Fix her hair like me. Oh, she’s still her daddy’s daughter–super serious and stubborn and highly suspicious of strangers–but even with all these boys in the house she’s still my girl. My kid who wants to wear my high heels and play with my purses and “borrow” (read: completely bogart as I find it up in her room) my lipstick.All I can see as we’ve been getting her ready for school this week is every first that is to come: her first crush, her first dance, her first broken heart and date and driver’s test and going away to college and meeting the love of her life and walking down the aisle to start married life and babies of her own. I see all of these hopes and dreams within her cautious little mind, and that’s why this first day of kindergarten is about to wring me out.

(photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Of course I’ll miss having her here with me. So will her littlest brother. And her dad. But more than that I know this is start of the big pulling away, the forming of her own thoughts and opinions and life. This is when I have to start letting go, one piece at a time when all I really want to do is hold her tighter, protect her from all the gross stuff and bad people she will eventually encounter, and put her in my bubble of hugs and kisses and dancing around the kitchen (usually just me while she watches with eyebrows raised) and trying on new lipsticks. 

Mr. Wonderful and I are letting this precious little girl out of our sight all day, five days a week. We are putting our faith in a big God to go with her, take care of her and strengthen us.

I’m not sure I can take this day, but like other mamas and daddies across the globe, I’m going to suck up (most of) my tears, I’m going to send off my baby girl with a smile and a wave, and I’m going to console myself with breakfast at our favorite little joint and the fact that I still have one more kid at home with me.

Don’t even get me started on that one.

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2016. I would love to connect with you on Instagram and Twitter, swing by and say hi!

Schooooool’s Out. For. Summer!

Today is it. 

This is all she wrote, the last day, and by 3:40 this afternoon we’ll have another school year in the books. My kids are delirious and frankly, some of us were done with school weeks ago. Mostly me, but whatever.

(How picture taking really goes at our house. Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)
I’m vowing that this summer is going to be spectacular in its ordinariness. I’m not signing my kids up for origami or making your own goat cheese or finding the artist within. They won’t be learning to build robots or going to space camp.

Nah. We decided long ago that our kids were going to have to figure out their own fun, use their imaginations, go outside and stay there for awhile. There won’t be a lot of technology. The kids will continue to do their chores that help our household run and teach responsibility at the same time. Even the two year old has jobs here. He unloads the clean silverware from the dishwasher (after someone has removed the scary, injury-inducing knives, of course). 

Sometimes he is a go-getter and unloads silverware even before we’ve had a chance to run the dishwasher. I often find our silverware bunched in a pile in the drawer because he can’t see what he’s doing but that’s ok. He’s learning how to be part of our community.

We really only have two rules around here: work hard and be kind. Everything falls under those two rules and it keeps things simple in a fairly complicated house. With the Bigs going to their dad’s house every other week for summer visitation and the Littles just trying to figure out how to wear pants, sometimes it’s crazy up in here. Throw in at least three therapies or doctor’s appointments per week, various work obligations, my new baby speaking and writing career that I’m trying to get off the ground and it can get to be just too much.

So.

Work hard.

Be kind.

Simple rules that everyone can figure out.  What we will be doing this summer? Showing Jesus’ love to everyone we meet, spending copious amounts of time outdoors, running amok in the neighborhood, learning to ride bikes and be potty trained, figuring out how to build forts from blankets and eating sno cones and swimming til our fingers are wrinkly raisins. We’ll be going to church and serving our neighbors and redoing furniture. We will probably hang out with family a lot, take little road trips, make memories that involve juicy moments savored and retold, the memories enhanced and cemented with every telling.

(photo cred zsazsabellagio.blogspot.com)

We will be the Pinterest-fail family this summer. We will relax from the frenetic pace of the school year; unplug, rejoice, enjoy. We are going to have a summer fit for the early 1980s and I can’t wait-

(Photo cred smosh.com)

Blessings, friends!­čĺŚÔŁĄ´ŞĆ­čĺŚ

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

The Pause

I’m finding that, besides my prayers for my children, The Pause is one of the best tools in my parenting arsenal. That moment before I speak is critical–will praise or criticism escape my lips? Will it undermine everything I’ve done that day? Will I speak scolding words or good ideas of how we can all do better?

When life is chaotic (aka, every minute of the day) The Pause makes all the difference for me.   

(If you can’t tell Baby Houdini is swinging from the handle in the car while we wait at the bus stop­čś«.) It’s so much better when I don’t I go off half-cocked before I’ve had a chance to accurately assess the situation. Often I tend to make up this parenting thing as I go. This can make me fun and spontaneous, like when we ruin our dinner with ice cream and skip cleaning to run away to the park. This can also be tricky in the crazy of four kids, each clamoring for the thing they need right this minute.  This is an accurate representation of how our picture-taking usually goes. Easter 2016 pic–pretty much the best we could do that day. 

Sometimes I forget The Pause and words come out sharper than I intend or my frustrations with another situation, a different kid or even just a rough PTSD day spill out. No one is a winner when that happens.  A decade plus into this parenting gig and I’m just now figuring out how valuable The Pause is, so I speak life into my children. So I encourage and grow these little humans into big humans that love Jesus, each other and try their best to leave this world better off than they found it. 

I don’t care what my kids end up doing for a living. I think it goes without saying that I prefer them to do a job that’s legal and doesn’t involve poles or dancing or something that requires a death wish. Other than that, I just want them to be productive citizens who know how to be kind and work hard. I want them to learn from my mistakes in parenting. 

I hope they will learn earlier in parenting than I did that taking a deep breath before answering the one million questions allotted per child per day is helpful. That counting to three before disciplining a child is imperative. That stopping to figure out what really went on before the he said/she said will help accurately diagnose both the problem and the solution. 

I am no expert at The Pause. I am still learning how to embrace it and use it in each situation with each kid. But I am a mama who doesn’t give up. My children are going to do great things in their lives and it is up to me to nourish those seeds of greatness with my prayers. And before I speak into them all the good and blessing and love and instruction that I am supposed to, I will give them–and myself–the benefit of The Pause. 

I’m happy to say I’m a work in progress-  (photo cred Good Morning Quote)

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hey! 

Lazy Dayz

I’m enjoying a Saturday with coffee and nowhere to be. I’m loving the roaring fire and the fact that I’m still in my jammies. I am not even going to glance at my To Do list. 

 (Photo cred livelifehappy.com)

We get so busy hurrying and scurrying that we barely make a space in our lives to take a breath sometimes. That kind of pace can’t be sustained, at least not by the likes of me.

I hear my kids jumping around upstairs, I should probably check on the baby as I’ve lost my visual and he’s the kid who does this: 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016.)

Now you see why I have trouble getting anywhere on time and why I buy only washable marker. 

How cute is he even when he’s a mess???

Enjoying some breathing time today, how about you? How can you un-busy your world to enjoy what’s happening right this minute?

Have a blessed Saturday friends!

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Going Under

***Update: I didn’t get this posted before I went in yesterday. Everything worked out well, just enjoying some rest at home today. Blessings!***

I’m about to check into the surgery center for a minor procedure to help with some pain I’ve been having. If you don’t know what endometriosis is, it can cause a lot of pain for your innards.

I still wish I was doing something else today. For some reason I’m a little trepidatious. I’ve done this before so I don’t know what the problem is. I think maybe it’s because if Mama is out of commission for a bit things may be rough on everyone around here.

Would appreciate prayers, good thoughts, positivity, anything else you want to send my way. Hope y’all have a Fab Friday and I’ll see you on the flip side! 

 (photo credit George Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Laundry Truths

  
I got this from my friend over at Life, Kids and a Glass of Red–this is truth! (And you should go check out her blog, it’s hilarious!)

If you’re stuck doing laundry today like me, I’m sorry! Let’s chuck it all and do something irresponsible, like write on our blogs­čśé

Have a blessed Tuesday, y’all!

(Photo credit NickMom) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 9

This little sweetheart is my girl reinforcement in our boy-filled home, my sparkly girly girl one minute and tougher than nails tomboy the next. 
 Little Sister is a mover and a shaker already–watch out world! 

 #girlmom #30DaysofThankfulness #family #daughters #gratitude #thankful 

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Dear Kids,

Just wanted to say a few things. I know only 50% of you can read but I’m assuming the Bigs will read to the Littles. Do you hear me Bigs?

I know it’s been more circus-y than usual lately in our Traveling Circus. I don’t love that for you but I know a few good things will come from this time.

You’re going to figure out how to live with people in a community. This is a great thing when you’re an adult because you will be able to live among others who are different than you. It might seem hard right now when you’re a kid fighting with your brothers or sister but you’re getting some important lessons.

You’re also learning to live with compassion towards others. Our family has a lot of people and some of those people have some things in their individual lives that make day-to-day life more difficult. This means we all have to learn to communicate even during hard times. It’s good to learn to use your words–someday your spouse and kids and friends will appreciate this about you.

And within our family we have to have extra helpings of grace mixed into our daily life. This is a game changer if you can extend grace to those around you, and not just for them either. It’s for you as well, so you won’t harbor things like bitterness or regrets or resentful-ness towards others. I’m hoping that learning to extend grace early on will lighten your load as an adult.

And finally, the patience that we are constantly having to give each other is invaluable. Patience sometimes means not getting wrapped around the axle on the little things. It’s a much more freeing way to live that allows you to just be present in the moment.

Like I said, this life we’re called to and blessed with isn’t the easiest. I used to wish it was easier for you. But I now know that would be doing you a disservice. Learning these important character-builders as a kid gives you lots of time to practice them on your family, the ones who love you the absolute most.

This is a really good thing. 

I love each of you more than I could ever put into words. And I’m grateful that I have this gorgeous family from all over to call mine. I am the one who is blessed–

All my love, 

Mama

National Adoption Awareness Month

It’s November! That means there are some birthdays at my house, it’s time to be Thankful with Thanksgiving right around the corner, and it’s National Adoption a Awareness Month!

I loooooooove talking about adoption. I have two adopted kiddos and two biological kids and I can honestly say I forget about adoption a lot–these kids were just meant to be mine. I love them all so much and even though I pull my hair out at times, having a houseful of kids is still one of the best things I’ve ever done.

My oldest, who is now twelve (let the eye rolling begin), is from South Korea. This was an international adoption heavy on paperwork, time, finances, scrutiny, and scariness–I was in law school when I found out it wasn’t going to take the two to three years we thought. So I became a first time mom halfway through school and instead of life getting harder it just got better.

Oh, it was still crazy. But becoming a mom before I became a lawyer really helped keep my priorities straight. The little things didn’t matter as much anymore and I just didn’t have time to stress about everything. 

 My almost eight year old (how can this be?!) was adopted domestically. He is African-American, a flirt, and a ball of energy. All the time. This adoption was also special because for the first time I met one of my children’s birth moms. His birth mom actually placed him in my arms for the first time, and as her teary-eyed Mama and Grandma watched (let’s be real, we were all teary-eyed) we all bonded over this gorgeous baby. 

 Adoption is important. It is necessary. You may not think it’s for you and that’s ok. The world is reaching a near crisis level with orphans and even if fostering/adopting isn’t your calling, maybe you could donate time or money or supplies or support to those working in this area across the world. Maybe you could pray for all the babies and kids who still need someone to tell them they are loved and important and special. And for the birth moms who are making difficult choices out of a great love for their children.

This is an everyone issue. 

Every child deserves no less than a safe place, a warm bed, and a grownup who cares about them. Throughout the month of November I would just ask that you consider what you can do to help these children and their futures. 

You won’t regret it.

(Photo credit Adoption Love) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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