And today she let Mommy in on the secret.
Nat has been secretly making bracelets to sell so that she can donate all the money to families in Afghanistan. She wants to give her profits to a nonprofit very near and dear to our family’s heart, Afghanistan American Friendship Foundation. AAFF builds freshwater wells and schools in Afghan communities.
Mommy’s first reaction to this plan was one of sweet joy. Our little girl is getting it! She’s thinking of others and realizes there’s a world outside our little home and she’s growing and stretching herself and WOW!
Mommy’s second reaction was not so joyful. It was, “Oh no. This is not going to work. This child cannot set up a little table on our tiny little driveway in our sleepy little cul-de-sac and expect to sell bracelets. How do I explain that this will not work?”
Then a little voice reminded Mommy of something. This Saturday is the neighborhood yard sale. Our cul-de-sac will be swarming with people.
And then the little voice told Mommy about this newfangled thing called “The Internet,” a place with blogs and Facebook pages where news of a tiny little bracelet sale can travel very quickly.
We might be able to make this work.
So here’s the deal. If you know us personally, let us know which bracelet you like. You can mail your donation or give it to Nat personally.
If you don’t know us personally, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your bracelet choice and your mailing address. We’ll respond, letting you know if it’s still available. Then go to AAFF’s website and make a donation. You choose the amount. We’re using the honor system here, people, so please be honorable.
Bracelets will only be available online until Friday, April 10th at 11:59pm EDT.
Becca had a bad dream last night. As with most children, it happens occasionally. If mommy or daddy can’t calm her with words thrown lazily from their warm cocoon of a bed, one of them will climb up the stairs to pray with her and comfort her in person.
This time around, Mommy was able to calm Becca down without moving from her own bed.
But then Mommy felt the need to go to her anyway. And place a hand on her sweet little head and ask God to calm her sweet little heart. The next morning, the following conversation occurred as the two snuggled in our rocking chair:
Mommy: Do you remember having a bad dream last night?
Mommy: Can you tell me about it?
Becca: A hippo turned into a crab and snipped a talking snowman.
Mommy: Uhm. Wow. Well. So…what was the scary part?
Becca: The hippo crab! He snipped.
Mommy: I’m sorry. That must’ve been scary. But you know that dreams are pretend, right? And that mommy and daddy are just downstairs and that God is with you everywhere.
Becca: Uh huh. Then I made up one about a cat and a dog.
Mommy: Was that a happy dream?
Mommy: What a good idea, Becca! To make up a happy dream. I’m glad God gave you that idea.
Becca: He told me in my ear.
Mommy: God helps us and takes care of us, doesn’t he?
Becca: I told him thank you. But not too loud. My sisters were sleeping!
So Mommy made sure to write the whole thing down. Not so much to share with others, but to remind herself of the precious moments with her little ones who happen to be growing up all too quickly. To remember the deep lessons taught by little hearts…hearts tender enough to listen.
Mommy and Daddy have become accustomed to three little girls in one small household. For the most part, we block out the usual squeals and screams that come with teeny tiny bodies filled with large amounts of estrogen. However, this partial immunity to noise is not a natural trait.
Especially to grandpas.
No worries, though. One of our papas has come up with an ingenious solution to our eardrum-piercing girly glee.
Enter the “Squeal Place.”
Need to let loose with a decibel-shattering shriek of excitement? Head outside to Papa’s deck, stand on the mat, and scream your heart out. This mat is essential when granddaughters encounter anything that includes Christmas presents, cute kitties, puppies, or anything involving the movie “Frozen.”
For added protection, adults should always don the provided “Adult Squeal Place Protection,” guaranteed to cancel out at least 50% of the deafening noise of over-excited, Christmas-hyped children.
After we read a kid-friendly version of the Christmas story (this year, we used the Jesus Bible Storybook), we snuggle up in Christmas footie pj’s and open our gift to Jesus, our sparkle box.
Mommy got the idea for our box from the book Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie. Throughout the month of December, she keeps an eye out for times when we serve others. When she catches us in the act, she writes it down on a slip of paper and places it in a small box. This year, slips included things like:
- We helped our neighbor rake her yard.
- Becca showed love by surprising us with back scratches and kisses.
- We sent boxes of toys to children all over the world through Samaritan’s Purse.
- Kat was supportive and encouraging to her sisters when playing games, whether she was winning or not.
- We showed hospitality to guests who didn’t have families of their own.
- Nat shared words of love and kindness with her sisters, being a good example of love.
- We help Mommy around the house without complaining (most of the time).
The box seems to help us understand that when we love others, we’re loving God. Mommy loves seeing our smiles grow as Daddy reads the slips of paper in the sparkle box. To see little hearts delight in loving and serving Jesus is a wonderful Christmas gift.
After the sparkle box, we sing Happy Birthday, blow out the birthday candles in our Christmas donuts, and settle on the couch to watch a short movie.
It’s a sweet and silly little way to welcome Christmas into our home without throwing us kids into yet another sugar-fueled holiday frenzy. What’s your favorite way to celebrate Christmas Eve?
This year has been a year of growing. Of learning. Of letting God stretch and mold Mommy in so many ways. And growth is good. Growth is necessary.
Growth is also horrid and exhausting.
As we limp into the final days of 2014, Mommy finds herself worn out and ready for January.
Thus, Halloween costumes (“Mommy, we ALL want to be ELSA! Surely we are the only little girls in this hemisphere who have had such a brilliant and unique idea!”) have not been made by hand. No months of planning, picking material, and crazed sewing into the night for this maternal one.
But her solution to Halloween costumes this year may just be the best one yet.
A few days ago, Mommy pulled out every single piece of dress-up clothing that we own. She strew the hats, shirts, skirts, and dresses all over the floor. Then she told us to make our own costumes.
We drew our designs. We rifled through piles of tulle, fur, and fabric. We squealed and played and imagined for a very long time.
It was the best day ever.
We will all be trick-or-treating as fairy-princess-mermaid-ballerinas. With tails. And we love it.
And you know what? The world keeps spinning.
We like to have a plan for each day. However, some days do not go according to our plans. Today was one of those days. Check out today’s plan and our reality.
8:00am Pick girls up from an overnight visit at Grandma’s house.
8:00am Picked girls up from an overnight visit at Grandma’s house.
8:45am Nat gets finger firmly wedged into a hole in Becca’s carseat. Much wailing ensues as we head down the highway towards school. Mommy, secretly giggling, promises to release the caught finger once we reach preschool.
9:00am Drop Rebecca off at Preschool
9:00am Arrive at school. Stop laughing as Mommy realized the finger is, indeed, STUCK. Leave Nat in the car while we rush Becca in to school, praying that Mommy is not turned in for leaving a child unattended and for being the very worst Mommy in the world.
9:15am Return Home and Start Nat and Kat’s Schoolwork
9:15am Send Kat inside while Mommy attempts to free a screaming, crying, wailing Nat from the carseat. Instead of exploring cells during science time, we are discovering the evils of friction while pouring olive oil all over Nat’s offending appendage. A quickly swelling digit leads to a discussion of why ice can help bring swelling down. Most of the time. But not this time.
9:30am Continue Math and Reading Centers
9:30am Nat is now in complete panic, screaming, “I don’t want to experience this!” every time Mommy touches her finger. The tears are flowing, the entire neighborhood can hear her screams, and the finger is still growing in size. Mommy makes frantic calls to her own mother and to our Daddy. Yes, yes we have tried ice and oil.
9:45am Stop. Pray.
9:48am Lightbulb moment! We can visit the fire station across the street from our neighborhood. Thank you, God!
10:00am Check Learning Progress with Each Child
10:00am Sheepishly pull in to fire station and explain the situation. “Sir, this is going to sound really, really weird, but…”
10:02am Firefighter quickly and efficiently frees Nat’s finger.
10:30am Complete Family Jobs (Chores)
10:30am Chuck the day’s lesson plans. Math? We’ll make cookies for our firefighter hero. Writing? Let’s practice our letter-writing skills and handwriting with thank-you notes. Social Studies? We just got a hands-on lesson in community helpers. Check, check, and check.
11:30am Pick Becca up from School
11:30am Hallelujah! We’re on schedule for something! Pick Becca up from school.
12:00pm Deliver cookies and thank-you notes to firefighters who are finishing their lunches. Firefighters become very excited over visitors and cookies. Receive our own personal tour of a firetruck and goodie bags filled with fireman hats, coloring books, stickers, pencils AND tattoos.
As far as school, we definitely didn’t learn what we’d set out to learn today. But we did pick up some important lessons:
1) Never, ever stick our fingers into holes. Ever. This goes for other appendages as well.
2) Pray first. Then act.
3) Olive oil and ice do absolutely nothing helpful in an emergency.
4) God’s plans are certainly not our plans. And we’re cool with that.
5) Firefighters rock.