Here's to our furriest, friendly and deeply full of love, Lilly.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweet Girl. We Love You.
|Peanut Butter Hair||
When you get a dog, you'll find your heart beginning to grow for the furry love with all they bring...
...sure, as they get older, they may chew through your walls...
...your rugs and pillows...
...but they'll also keep and protect your family with passion,
Never leaving their side, even during Superhero missions involving high flying danger with laser beam eyes.
...all while being patient as those same Superheroes practice for their day jobs...as Paul Mitchell employees of the month.
Yes, when you get a dog, they're not only a family pet, they become a family member.
Here's to our furriest, friendly and deeply full of love, Lilly.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweet Girl. We Love You.
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Have you ever stopped to look at your kids and think, "What in the world?"
Every child is a perfect blessing, I know, I know, but seriously...What is going on?!"
It all came crashing down when I realized, this generation is off the charts with their grasp on reality.
We were out the other day, when we saw another family with two boys, around 10 and 12 years old, wearing headphones with their cell phones, zombie walking behind their parents. Sure it was nice because the kids were happy, the parents were happy and the peace and harmony were enviable as our kids had each other in headlocks to the death, but really?
Then, we ran to get a bite to eat. The table beside us had a family of five. Every. Single. One of them spent their meal on their phones. They made no eye contact, not with each other, not with their server - and there was little to no conversation. Nada.
Before I could get all, "That would never happen in my family" about it, I'll take you through the misery at our house.
The other morning, our four were watching TV instead of getting ready for school. Their clothes were on, so in their minds, they were good to go. Two of the boys started arguing over wanting to play Xbox, (don't even get me started on the Xbox) while the other two wanted to finish the show.
"Guys, are you ready?"
"Shoes, teeth brushed, backpacks?"
"I can't find my shoes."
As I'm busily finishing their lunches, I shove some trash into the overflowing bin.
"Guys, someone needs to grab the trash."
While putting their lunches in their backpacks, I notice a few sheets that need to be signed, "What are these forms?"
"A field trip."
I'm starting to come undone. Not one of them have come to the kitchen, eaten breakfast (that I made) helped with chores, done one thing.
"That's it. TV off. It's time for school."
Four grumpy kids grumble to the kitchen, when it hits me. They're spoiled. They don't have to work, they don't have to do anything. Sure, they'll do their chores for allowance, but that's different. There's no motivation to do one thing for any level of responsibility. They don't have responsibility. There are kids in this world who have JOBS at their age, kids that take care of families and younger siblings, and my kids can't change a roll of toilet paper.
"Get ready for school, get your stuff and get in the car."
"But we're hungry!"
"Then stop watching TV and eat your breakfast."
"Where are your coats? It's freezing."
-Sweet Moses, why don't they ever wear coats?
"Guys, you HAVE to find your shoes. Where are your shoes?"
Scrambling in the car, my blood is now boiling.
"What do you guys do to take care of yourselves? Do you cook? Clean? Can anyone do a load of laundry? Do you know how to turn on the washing machine? Dishwasher? Do you realize in a matter of years, especially you older two, you're all going to leave this house? There are NO MOMS IN COLLEGE. Who's going to take care of you? When you're on your own, how will you have clean clothes, matching shoes, hot meals, toilet paper? Do you even know how toilet paper magically appears in our house? Do you think fairies come in the night?
As we pull into school, the Assistant Principal saw my face and knew it had been a colorful morning.
Grunting, I gave the kids quick hugs as they ran off, "I'm raising morons", I growl while he smiles back.
Driving to work, I was mad and upset with them and myself. They can make me crazy, which is what kids do, but it's just as much my fault as it is theirs. If my kids leave the house without knowing how to survive a day, there's a problem with that. The more time we allow our kids to sit and watch TV, play video games, be on their iPads and cell phones, the more disservice we're doing.
Sure, it's convenient, but at what cost? The social/emotional side is disturbing enough, but the sheer lack of responsibility and activity in everyday life is alarming.
One of my best friends, Tricia has about the best outlook of all. She'll tease her teenaged daughter saying, "You know, you have a pretty amazing life if you'd ever get your nose out of your cell phone and live it."
Amen, Tricia. Amen.
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Something happened on Sunday that reminded me of years back, with anger.
While sitting in church this week, our sweet friends Jennifer and Jason held their beautiful baby girl in their arms. They have three boys, so it's beyond adorable to see them with their sweet Princess wrapped in pink.
Shortly into the service, little sounds were heard as their baby girl was letting her voice be known. I watched as Jennifer jumped immediately and shot to the back.
The church has what's called a "Cry Room", where a sound proof room is provided for people with children so they can be behind the congregation and listen, without being heard.
When we had our first baby, it was in Texas in an old beautiful stone church where the "cry room" was called the back door. I can't remember how many times I paced and walked outside with our first son, wondering why we even tried to go to church in the first place.
It wasn't like that at first. When he was a newborn and would fuss, I'd do everything I could in a panic to quiet him as to not interrupt the service. Beads of hormonal sweat would fill my brow as looks from others around would turn with either genuine smiles, or perturbed glances.
It was one Sunday. One Sunday that stood out. A little sharply dressed lady who was dripping in money approached after church. I thought she wanted to see our little boy the way she bee lined directly through the crowd.
Smiling, she put her bony hand on his back and leaned in, "I hear him during church, love."
Grinning back apologetically, I responded, "Yes, I think he wants to join the choir."
Her eyes narrowed as she lowered her hand, "Yes, well maybe he should join the nursery first. That is where babies belong, you know."
It was punch to my post baby flabby gut as my eyes teared and my husband (who heard none of it) turned to me in confusion.
Another older woman, who saw what had happened, immediately approached. Assuming it would become round two, I readied myself.
She looked even more feisty than the last, so I knew it would be worse.
"Ooooooooo don't you listen to her!" She started, "I've known her my whole life and she's always been a mean ol' thing."
A laugh escaped me as she reached for our baby's hand. Lovingly holding it, she continued, "There's nothing more precious than a baby. Their laugh...or their cry is a gift from God. Don't you ever forget that - and if this little one wants to do one or the other while he's here - well then you just let him. Forget about her. I'll take him from you any Sunday you'd like and we'll just smile at her together.
Hugging her tightly, I wish it would've erased the harshness from before. In her passive-aggressive way, that woman shifted a fear into my heart, so anytime our baby made a sound, I wanted to leap into our car and go. It genuinely made me not want to go back to the church, but we did. Week after week and I walked, time and again outside, taking turns with my husband.
Looking back, I wish we hadn't. Knowing it gave her complete satisfaction every time we jumped was bad enough, but we really missed that time each week together as a family.
Why didn't we just put him in the nursery? We just weren't ready. Some people can, others can't, but it's nice to see churches now with a Cry Room to act as that middle ground.
After church this week, I found myself with Jennifer saying the same thing as the woman from before. Hearing Jen's beautiful baby's voice was more musical than any hymn. Truly God's gift. I understand that now, being on the other side.
I'm sure there are still others who don't agree. There's a time and a place and church isn't one of them.
The one thing I'll never understand however, is in our church, wouldn't they agree, a baby is pretty much the biggest reason we should be there to begin with?
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Have you ever heard of the expression, "Silence is golden...unless you have children"? Hmmmmm, yes. Ask anyone around and they'll tell you how that little red flag goes up anytime the house is just a little too quiet.
Take the other day, for instance. The new year had begun and our younger ones questioned the meaning of a resolution.
I believe the conversation began, "What's a 'restitution'? "A resolution is when someone makes a plan to change something for the better."
"Well, a lot of people resolve to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise, spend more time with family and friends...things like that."
One would think that might be the end of topic.
Later that day, in the peaceful quiet of the five minutes God sometimes grants us, we hear, "We did a restitution for Lilly".
"What do you mean?"
"She likes it!"
This is where I should take a time out to explain that Lilly is our dog. We were lucky enough to get her when she was eight weeks old - and she's just about the sweetest thing on earth.
She lives and breathes with our kids and where they are, you'll find her as though they're part of a pack.
Lilly's almost two years old now and she's grown to be a beautiful girl. Her coat is long and soft and her tail can often be found hiding little bits of leaves or things from around the yard when she plays.
Enter - the 'New Year's Restitution'.
"We cleaned her tail so all the knots and stuff are gone."
"You mean you brushed it out?"
"No, we fixed it."
"Fixed it. Come see! It looks a LOT better."
The familiar pit in my stomach let me know I was probably three seconds away from a complete and total conniption fit. Adam sensed it - and immediately dropped everything to follow.
Rounding the corner to the kitchen, there it was. A ball...no...a mass of fur so big, it could warm a small village in Alaska.
One area of massacre, then another, until we looked to find sweet Lilly, sitting patiently for her next attempt of a butcher/haircut.
I think I faintly heard my husband behind me saying, "Take a breath, it'll grow back..." but that was the last thing I remember before I saw red and wanted to axe murder someone.
I stood Lilly up to survey the damage, only to find the whole back of the poor dog chopped with chunks of hair missing and straggles of long wisps and sections they missed.
It looked like she had the mange.
Turning to our new team from Vidal Sassoon, they were beyond proud and excited.
"Now she won't have to worry about all that hair behind her. She's better! It's her restitution."
May your New Year bring exciting 'restitutions' to you and yours. Hopefully a little less hairy than ours.
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Adam and Bea live in North Carolina with their three boys and a girl, Christian 14, Ethan 12, Preston 10 and Lauren Elizabeth 8 years old.