Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A pretty roadside picture

    I like to take the kids on a drive during the afternoons most days so that they will take a nap. It's the only sure fire way I can guarantee sleep! Today we happened to pass by this beautiful field of "weeds" and I had to snap a shot.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Baseball practice

I love my kids. They are both very different individuals, and I love every inch of their unique attributes. Lincoln at four years old is very affectionate and loving, and loves to snuggle. He takes care of his little sister, but he can also tease her until she cries. He loves to roughhouse with her like she is a brother, but he watches that others don't get too rowdy. He is cautious and quiet, observing most situations before jumping in when most other kids are running ahead. With family and friends he is funny and energetic, with a beautiful sense of humor. He is athletic and strong, and runs around the yard like a crazy man. He is always looking for dad, and waits desperately for the moment he finally gets home from work. When his hair grows out he looks like Wolverine from X-Men and tans as dark as Adam as soon as the weather warms up even with sunblock slathered on an inch thick.

Trinity is two, almost three coming up in June. She is like her brother in that she can be quiet and surveys an environment before taking a plunge. But, she enjoys her personal space and her own bed. She has always slept through the night, where as Lincoln still struggles to sleep eight hours straight without calling for mom. She is easy going and care free. She loves to laugh at her brother's jokes, and doles out hugs and kisses without reserve. She loves to help, and wants to be a part of daily chores and activities. She tans in the summer while running through the grass chasing after her brother, and her hair turns a beautiful blonde. She hates her hair getting brushed, and prefers two ponytails to one. She is my sweetheart, and a lover of babies.

So, why is this blogpost titled "Baseball Practice"? Because that is what it's really about, but to get the full picture I think the background information is helpful. Now for my story.

We signed Lincoln up for baseball this summer, and he has started practices. The first practice went great, although he was a little slow to start. He waited to see how the others were acting before deciding how he would fit into the situation. By the end he was running the bases and hitting the ball like a big boy.

The second practice did not go as smoothly. He unfortunately fell asleep on the way to the diamond, and sleep is to Lincoln like breath is to our ability to live. I tried to roust him, and he woke crying that he wanted to go home. It also happened to be our snack night, not to mention we had missed the last practice-I did not know what to do. I couldn't really leave, but I hated to see Lincoln upset. Thankfully, Adam was able to show up that night, and we at least got to the field toting a stroller, two kids, two coolers, and a baseball bag (not sure how I would have done that myself even if Link had been feeling well, but that is one of motherhood's mysteries). We walked up to where the other families were waiting for an earlier practice to wrap up, but Lincoln was not having anything to do with baseball. He was tired, grumpy, and his personality of being naturally reserved was working against him.

At first I was angry, but I knew deep down this is my son and this is a normal reaction from him. And honestly, it was really my fault. At four years old he is one of those kids that still needs a daily nap and I should not have put it off like I did. But I was doing damage control at this point, and racked my brain for a solution. How in the world was I going to get this kid out on the field?

I am still growing as a mom. There are a lot of things I do wrong, I lose my temper, and I yell when I shouldn't. But I do pray that God will continue to work in my heart a spirit of compassion and patience. That night, I grew a little as a mom by God's grace.

I bribed Lincoln, I begged him, I pleaded with him-please, just get on the field and participate in practice. He finally went out grudgingly, but as I went back and sat with my husband, Adam said it looked like Lincoln was crying. His back was to us, so I couldn't tell, but after walking back to him I could see his shoulders shake. He turned his face to me, and I saw his tear stained, blotchy cheeks and I felt horrible. He was miserable.

I pulled him aside, and gently hugged him trying to calm him down. At this point I was about ready to leave the snacks and get out of there. But I asked one more time if there was anything I could do that would help him to finish practice. He said, "Mommy, can you please just stand over there and not leave me," pointing to first base. After all the things I had tried to offer him, all he wanted was for me to stand on the sideline where he could see me.

I did as he asked, and like a trooper, he finished an hour and a half long practice. The coaches were so patient and caring with him, and they were okay with me staying on the field. As long as I was out there, Lincoln was willing to finish practice. He still looked miserable the entire time, there were a couple moments I saw him tear up running the bases, and at one point he refused to bat, but he stayed out there the whole time and he put forth a good effort.

Now, I know we cannot do this every practice, and really I believe this was an isolated event because he was so exhausted from playing all day before baseball. But I think we both learned something from that evening. Lincoln learned he can push himself physically and still survive! And I hope he also learned that his parents are willing to walk through difficult times with him, even though we are not perfect and don't always react like we should. As for me, I learned to make sure my kids get naps in every day that we have an event in the evening! Even when other moms laugh that my four year old still requires a two to three hour siesta. Seriously, otherwise the end result is obviously not pretty.

I also learned something else. This situation and many others with my kids have tugged on my heart-How am I answering my call from God as a mother?

Sometimes, I really do not feel like a good parent. I am not naturally maternal, but I love my kids with all my heart. I was never one who enjoyed to babysit, I quit after one week working in a daycare during college, and to this day watching other kids is not really my thing. But with my own children, I love them desperately, and pray that God would show me how to be a better parent.

That night, my first reaction was anger, and I was wrong. In the end, love won out, and after I listened to what my son really needed with a loving and patient heart, he was able to finish practice. Unfortunately, love is not always my first reaction. Usually it is anger or frustration, but I pray that God would continue to show me the error of my ways and lovingly apply correction as I need to do also with my children. I am not perfect, will never be perfect, but can and should grow by God's grace into a better parent. Even if it does not come naturally to me. He answers prayers according to His will, and I thank Him for the blessing of being a mom. It's not easy, and most of the time I mess up, but I do pray I can use my mistakes to point my kids into the direction of God's forgiving embrace by using myself as a prime example.

A goat drama

So, you may have read, we live on a small farm. We own a dog, three cats, and two goats. The goats (one Boer and one Pygmy) live happily in a pen and have the run of most the bottom half of the barn. Blue and Dandy are best buds, and Blue in particular is very friendly and loves to be petted.

The other day, I decided to tether Blue out so he could eat grass outside of the pen. He hasn't been out much, so he was a bit skiddish but I thought he would be okay. He was a little edgy, but he quickly focused in on eating the yummy weeds.

A few minutes later however, the kids came running around the barn, and scared the hookey out of the animal. By the time I rounded the corner as well, all I saw was the leash flying up in the air, and landing on the ground with no goat on the end. Lincoln yelled, "Mommy, he's in the barn!" At first I was relieved, but that quickly turned to fear. I entered the barn only to see Blue run up the loft stairs, which is an unfinished second level that opens to the lower level where the goats stay with no rails. All I could see was him taking a nose dive off the edge and making a splat on the ground.

At that point I went into survival mode. I yelled at the kids to back up so I could sneak up on Blue and hopefully prevent a catastrophe. I regret now being so angry with them, but in the moment I was operating out of sheer terror that this goat was going to jump to his death. Kids, I'm sorry!

Seriously, this loft is a disaster waiting to happen, and trust me I know it needs some work. For now it's blocked off temporarily-but back to the story.

I had him down almost the whole way twice, but the first time the kids scared him back up and then the dog scared him a second time. After again begging everyone to please back up and get the heck out of here, I finally was able to get the collar back around his neck, dragged him down the stairs, and said a thank you to God when he finally trotted back into his pen.

I always said I wanted more animals, but with stories like this I am not so sure anymore!