Archive for the ‘15 minutes better’ Category

Watching a little one run on the beach.

Playing in the touch pool with a bigger one.

Laughing in amazement as half a dozen children all run in the surf at once, soaking themselves to varying degrees despite the cool wind.

Feeling ever-so thankful for the rental-house washing machine. And for Costco brownie mix. And for the fact that I picked up UNO Attack before we left.  Not every day on the coast is sunny, after all.  But rain or sun, every day this week has been much enjoyed.

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15 minutes better

Today was actually a mix of ‘better’ and ‘nothing to brag about’. I’ve been staying up too late the past few nights and wasn’t feeling terribly patient anyway. Then my 10 and 12 year old ‘new’ girls seemed to take turns vying for ALL of my attention. They’ve only been home 8 months and are definitely still playing catch-up in the ‘attention-from-mom’ department, but today each little demand just made me more frustrated and cranky.

This evening my 3 year old was tired and I sat down intending to rock her–except the *12* year old heard me call the 3 year old and took the chance to plop onto my lap first. Most of the time I am overjoyed that my newly arrived preteen daughter WANTS to sit on my lap, but this evening I was ticked that she’d hijacked my tired toddler’s spot.

Fortunately the 3 year old tolerated a lap sharing deal and it was OK. In fact, in the resultant clamor from most of the younger ones for equal lap time, I ended up giving all 6 of the younger ones a cuddle in the rocking chair with me, one by one. So except for my initial surly feelings, it turned out to be a sweet time.

Another good thing that happened today was some one-on-one time with my 9 year old son when we went to get his prosthetic leg re-built this morning. I always enjoy the chance to take just one child someplace, even if it is just a medical appointment. On a whim I picked up some brainteaser cards as we were heading out the door, so we had something fun to do while we were waiting. Definitely quality time.

Then this evening we somehow managed to get the youngest 6 kids ALL to bed by 9. Sometimes it is closer to 10 before they are all settled. So tonight I used the extra hour to play a game of Acquire with my 13 and 16 year old sons. They whipped me soundly, but it was fun anyway. The younger ones make it challenging to find alone time with my independent teenaged boys, so it was great to spend a little time with them.

Now it is 11:30 and I really must wrap this up in hopes of being a kinder gentler momma tomorrow. But I am hanging on to the good moments that did fit into the day…and am hoping for more tomorrow.

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15 minutes today

Going for a walk with the 6 younger kids. In the cold. Saying yes when they ask to ride their bikes. Watching 4 of the younger ones tearing up and down the road full speed wayyyyy ahead of me, laughing into the wind. Pushing the 3 year old in the stroller and wondering how much longer she’ll want to ride in the stroller. Discovering I’ve somehow gotten ridiculously out of shape this winter. Chatting with my 12 year old daughter who seems to have taken pity on her panting momma, and who opts ride her bike v-e-r-y slowly alongside me so we can chat as I huff my way back home. Coming into the house red-faced and cold, but glad that I actually got myself out there to walk a whole 0.8 miles.

With my kids.

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15 minutes :: 10

I spent all day away from home, writing. I’m making progress– hooray! Then after a brief couple hours at home, my husband and I dropped all the kids off at church where they were having a kids play night, and we went out on a date. (Saw National Treasure– what a fun movie!!)

It was a nice day, but not good for fitting in time with the kids. I did finally think of a couple things, though. During my brief afternoon time at home, I snagged 3 of my big kids for a game of Phase Ten (yes, I like that game!) Often I am so busy with the younger ones that my bigger ones just do their own thing, so it was nice to have a bit of time just with them. Then when we went to pick up the kids from church, I opted to ride home with Eldest in her car so she and I could get 20 minutes of uninterrupted talk time. Very nice, especially since she had been away at school all week.

I hope some of you will also share your good moments. And if you don’t read Carrien’s blog, go check it out. She is doing some beautiful posts sharing her best moments of the day lately.

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15 minutes better :: 9

It was a really good day for nice moments. After taking our new girls to the dentist, I took them out for chocolate milkshakes. At 10:00 AM. Because that is our after-dentist tradition.

We spent the rest of the morning making valentines for the grandparents. Sequins, glitter glue, stickers….it was chaos all over the dining room table.

This afternoon I spent a couple hours playing Phase Ten with a kid who had lost TV time because of some major defiance yesterday. The child began very unhappy at having to skip the movie, and tried to crank around about playing the game too. But within 10 minutes a thaw happened, praise the Lord, and we have a lovely time. I think we made a way better memory than Bug’s Life could ever have given the child.

Late in the afternoon hubby took the younger kids to deliver their valentines and left me to cook dinner in peace. I’d been planning a ‘nice’ dinner of salmon and baked potatoes and salad. But after everyone left, I was inspired to make the meal just a little more special. The big boys helped me set the table beautifully. I even dug out candlesticks and found a few ancient candles.

When the kids got home, they were thrilled to see all the trimmings, right down to dishes of candy at both ends of the table. When the candles were lit and the lights dimmed, it seemed like a different place. I got twice as many compliments about the meal than I ever have for that same meal. The candlelight made everything extra special.

Today was way more than 15 minutes better.


Hoping your Valentines Day was just as good!

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15 minutes better :: 8

This afternoon I went extravagant and spent $6 at the dollar store for a bunch of Valentine balloons, just for fun. At home I handed the weighted bunch to my delighted 3 year old to bring into the house, then quickly instructed the 12 year old to shepherd her into the house fast before any of them got away.

The 12 year old half-heartedly moved to help her but quit when the 3 year old yelled at her. I repeated my request more firmly to the 12 year old, but not in time. Inevitably, frustratingly, a balloon slipped off and flew away before we could catch it. The 12 year old looked shocked.

“THAT’s why I told you to help her!!” I said sharply, and hurried the 3 year old into the house myself, fuming that the 12 year old had chosen to listen to the toddler instead of the mom.

I was oh, so tempted to harangue my daughter more. But with a huge amount of effort I decided to shut up. Five minutes later I even managed a convincing smile and told my daughter it was no big deal. “It’s just a balloon. Maybe it went up to heaven to your mom for Valentines Day.”

Her delighted grin made me very glad I’d managed to be the grown-up, despite all my inclinations in the other direction.

How about you? How’d your day go?

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Here are my ‘improved’ moments for the day!

–Sat with my 5 year old working on her math a couple pages longer than I intended. She just got a new FIRST GRADE math book and was so sweetly excited about doing math like a big kid that she didn’t want to quit. Oh, how I’d love to help her stay enthused about math!

— Spent a few minutes talking with my 9 year old about his math frustration. Listened a bit and discussed what he could do to feel less stressed next time. I can be too quick to lecture –my standard answer is to just tell my kids to bull their way through the work, whether they love it or not. But sometimes kids just need me to slow down long enough to acknowledge their frustration .. and to connect with them. (smacking my forehead) Duh! This is where one of my greatest strengths (my efficiency) can sometimes get carried so far that it can be a liability. Of course my kid needs to know I love him more than he needs to learn his fractions. I’m glad I remembered that today.

— Read the kids a chapter of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ at lunchtime– I actually began this habit a few months ago, so it is now a part of our normal day. But I wanted to mention it to you because I’ve found it to be a great way to catch everyone all together. Being able to listen while eating helps the youngest kids be less squirmy, too. Everyone is enjoying Little House.

–Spent 3 hours this afternoon helping my ‘tween’ girls pick new bedspreads — we were going for something that blended but was not identical, and it was quite a task. But FOUND something– and ate chocolate, and chatted, and had a lot of fun.

–At bedtime I spent a few of my precious (little-kids-in-bed-but-hubby-not-comatos-yet) minutes helping the girls figure out the dust ruffles for their new bedding. Apparently they don’t have such contraptions in Ethiopia. Sensible people.

How’d your day go???

(And by the way, thanks for the feedback. I’m going to keep doing this ‘feature’ at least for another week!)

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