Thursday, February 24, 2011

Notions Be Gone

I am really, and I mean Really, and I mean REALLY not a fan of this notion of the “Super Mom”; that there is a certain kind of mom with super mothering powers that another mom does not have. There is no “Super Mom”. Not one in the whole, wide world. None.

Take me for example, since this is my blog after all. Here are some of the reasons I am given for being called a “Super Mom” about 86 times a week:
1.I homeschool my kids.
2.I do lots of fun and/or adventurous things with my kids.
3.I love being a mom.
4.I take pictures of lots of things we do and post them.
5.I keep a journal that I intend to give to my children some day of everything I am thinking about as I read through the bible.
6.I keep this blog.
7.My family is very involved at church and outreach ministries.
8.I try to keep myself and my children in decent physical shape.
9.I love my husband, and I want my children to adore him as well.
10.My children are well behaved.

None of those things take super powers, nor are they done very well half the time. Thousands of gallons of blood, sweat and tears go into making a life I can look back on feel satisfied with, and still I feel nearly daily like I fall short, which brings up my next point; the things between the lines in my above list that most people who see my life from the outside don’t see. That’s simply because it’s not terribly motivating or even possible to take photos in the midst of the great dramas that are a nearly daily presence in every home and family around the world.

Between the lines:
1.I have a temper when interrupted, pestered, have to repeat myself too many times, don’t feel like my children are living up to their potential and so on and so forth into infinity.
2.I photograph the fun things, but not the afternoons I rely on the TV to babysit my kids while I get something done or when my kids are beating on each other.
3.I love being a mom, but I get exhausted, overwhelmed, wracked with guilt, grouchy, self centered, lazy, and fly off and say things I shouldn’t more often than I’d care to admit to even myself.
4.I am not always super consistent with my journaling. It comes and goes in waves depending on how time consuming the Bible study I am teaching or taking at the time is. I just don’t take the time for it like I should at times.
5.I keep this blog, but I love it just like someone who scrapbooks. . . Also, I cannot scrapbook or do anything terribly creative. I’ll go nuts.
6.I sometimes spend too much time on my computer.
7.I spend money on foolish things.
8.My children do not eat all organic or unprocessed. I just don’t have time or energy for that. I HATE to cook and avoid meal prep whenever I can. (Fortunately Stephen is and awesome grill chef).
9.I spend too much time disgusted with the stretched out skin on my stomach and love handles.
10.I love my husband, but I am a temperamental pain-in-the-butt as much as anyone, and my children get to see that at times.
11.My children fight, scratch, bite, hit, name-call, disobey at least once a day a piece, which really adds up to at least one temper tantrum from mommy a day.
12.I am not a super organized person and incredibly easily distracted away from what I am doing from moment to moment. My house can be a mess and our schedule is all over the place.
13.I don’t spend enough time one-on-one with my children.
14.I get my priorities out of whack in all of my relationships.
15.I get bogged down in the things that I feel I am entitled to but can never quite obtain.
16.I depend too much on coffee to keep this whole thing moving.

So, what is my very non-super-momish motivation for doing anything other than wallowing around the house feeling like crap about my life and my contribution to my children and those around me?
1.I stay mindful of my desire to leave this world having made a positive dent in the lives of those around me, and right now my energies in this department are on raising quality children who can spread the love of Jesus to the world times 4.
2.I am highly motivated by the desire to keep my relationships with my husband, children, extended family and friends strong and healthy as well as by nurturing the relationships between my children and their siblings, father, extended family and friends.
3.I LOVE my memories. I am SUPER motivated by creating memories to look back on and laugh at or feel empowered by. My childhood was FULL of amazing memories and experiences, and I want the same for my life now as well as for my children’s lives.
4.I try not to let negative emotions or bad attitudes be my catalyst for anything. Fear/worry/anxiety, guilt, anger, frustration, unforgiveness, pride, laziness and so forth are not a good foundation/catalyst for anything, so I honestly try to shut down those thought and replace them with the truths of God’s word. Then I try to (but not always succeed at) make the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) as well as courage, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, and hope my catalyst for the decisions I make and for how I conduct myself. This is not a super power, but instead a decision I have made to be mindful of why I am doing what I am doing. When I get stuck in a rut of negativity, my life really sucks, and I have work and work to pull myself out of it. I replace those thoughts with hope in God’s redemptive power over all of my mistakes in mothering or in any area of my life, and then trust God in His sufficiency in all areas of my life. From that His fruit (listed above) and character flow through me.
5.I stay fit by loving and staying mindful of its benefits to my health and my mental well being. It hurts to push myself to the max in my training, but it’s cleansing as well.
6.We only get one shot at this life, so I’m going to do my best to not waist it.

Here is another thing I have noticed. There are definitely times when I feel like I have done nothing of any quality with my life or my children. I feel like I have wasted my life or my children’s lives. Then I sit down to do this blog. I look back through past blog entries and see all we have done. I go through my newest pictures to post my next update, and I see that we have, in fact, had a very colorful last few months/life. If it weren’t for the fact that I have this amazing catalog to keep track of our memories, I could get caught in the same trap as anyone in thinking that I stink and other moms are amazing. So, maybe it’s not that other moms don’t do anything of any quality, but that they are not mindful of the amazing things they do in nurturing and caring for their children.

I also think it needs to be mentioned that just because your life looks different than another moms, doesn’t mean you aren’t doing your absolute best to raise quality, contributing individuals. For example, my good friend Sheryl and her husband do not travel all around the country with their children like we do, but they do take an amazing, bonding, memory filled trip to Disney World as often as they can. My kids aren’t highly musically trained like some of my friends or family members’ children are by their age, but we do invest in teaching and training them in areas that we are more familiar with. Even if you are completely “opposite” of me in that your kids go to public school or you don’t nurse your babies, or workout together. Maybe you don’t blog, you only have 2 children, you never take pictures, or keep a bible journal. Even if your family’s needs require you work outside the home, it doesn’t mean you are disqualified from living a colorful life to the max or doing things that inspire your children to become amazing, contributing adults.

A while back I asked for ideas about what to write my next blog update on as a way of inspiring me to write. The list included, running with my children, bible journaling, homeschooling, how I am such an awesome mom (I kid you not), and so on. I thought about them all, but couldn’t get myself to write about any of them and here’s why. All of those ideas give this impression that it is what I do with my life that makes me the mom that people call “super mom”, and I think that completely misses the point. It’s not specifically what we do, but rather what our motivations are for what we do. Do you put your kids in public school because you stink too much as a mom to keep them home, or because that is what you feel God has called your family to. Do you work outside the home because your kids would drive you crazy if you stayed home or in order to provide a huge home and expensive clothing or because it is what your family needs and what God has called you to? Do you work out because you hate your nasty body, or because you enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle? Do you avoid adventure and memory creating experiences out of fear, guilt, laziness or frustration or do you allow yourself the pleasure of enjoying the benefits of putting all of that aside and giving something new a whirl as a way of drawing your family closer together? We all need to break our lives down the reasons behind our decision and make sure they are ones based in faith and the fruit of the Spirit and hope in the Lord’s redemption and faithfulness to you rather than in defeatism and negativity. What follows from pure and positive motives will be a life where you can be excited about the amazing things happening to you and to and to those around you rather than one wracked with jealousy or where you are constantly feeling beaten down. Your life will be a blessing to you and to those around you rather than a source of pain, drama, and unbearable obstacles. Nothing is more miserable than a person who is absorbed by what they believe they are entitled to and can never quite obtain. Clearly, you can tell from my “between the lines” list, that I am not 100% amazing at living this either, but I can tell you that I get better and better at it and with that has come longer and longer waves of the greatest thing any man or woman has ever known. . . True, God given, satisfaction.

Lastly, before I jump into what the kids are up to, I created what I now consider to be one of the worst ideas I have had. . . Well, maybe the worst idea behind driving backwards as fast I could go down a residential road in a car loaded to the brim with all of my high school friends while bystanders watched perplexed, but definitely up there. . .OR behind my decision to help my church youth group get kicked out of all St. Cloud fast food restaurants by belching. . . But up there. For this blog update I made collages of pictures instead of posting each of the 150 pictures from the last few months. It really looks awful and it makes no sense, but once I committed to doing it, I stuck with it, and it sucked a bunch of time I can’t get back and. .. .whatever. I gave it whirl to see what it would be like, and I won’t do it again.

-very patiently and methodically potty trained Eli in about 36 hours. He always liked to change Eli's first, wet, diaper of the day. The morning of November 30th he asked if he could just put underwear on Eli. I said, "I suppose", but I had a pit in my stomach because I HATE potty training. After Evan put underwear on Eli, and I found our little potty seat to put in the kitchen, Evan diligently took him to the potty every 15 or 20 minutes for a few days until Eli started telling Evan when he had to go potty. It was totally crazy to watch, and I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it with my own eyes. By that Sunday, Eli was telling the nursery workers at church he had to go potty and was completely dry when I picked him up. I was so proud of Evan and his diligence and patience. I should mention that they each got a piece of candy after each successful attempt.
-"Mommy, I ate so much I broke my stomach bone!"
-"GUYS! Shut your mouth when you eat. They haven't made that a table manor yet, but they are about to".
-When he's running a fever he thinks everything tastes like pickles.
-FINALLY grew in his two front teeth after over 2 years of waiting. He is so proud of them and smiles so much more now!
-is the bossiest creature to ever, ever, ever to live outside of maybe me.
-is a leader with character. He might be bossy, but what he is telling others to do is the right thing. He has a strong conscience and moral compass, and I admire him for that.
-has the best freckles on the bridge of his nose of any human ever known.
-has developed a passion for reading. That is very satisfying for me to see since I had the pleasure of teaching him how.
-is a very affectionate child. He loves to cuddle.
-wants to be a secret spy when he grows up so he devotes himself to sneaking around the house as practice.
-has a passion for animals. Too bad I HATE the idea of getting a pet.

-is one of the most giving children you will meet. Before many people come over, Julia can be found in her room, digging through her things, looking for something to wrap up and give to them.
-"Mommy, for my birthday in April I want an American girl doll, a pillow pet, a princess baby, a baby carriage, a hair salon, a princess candle, a ballet movie, a princess kitchen thing, cards to send to my friends, a backpack, a princess castle, and two swans swimming in a lake".
-is so, so girly and almost prissy despite the manpower around her all day.
-has such a kind heart. She will clean the house when she is in the mood just to make me smile.
-is a very moody child, which I assume comes with being a girl.
-is easily my most cooperative, hardest working student during the school day.
-is afraid to wiggle her loose teeth, so they were being shoved straight out of her mouth by the adult teeth that grew up behind the baby teeth. For a couple of months she had two rows of front teeth until she got the courage/the bribery became big enough to let Grandma Tynes yank them one day. (Pictured below).
-has a very love/hate relationship with ballet. She has moments where she wants to quit ballet several, but I have made her keep her commitment to finish out the year.

-while rubbing Grandma Tynes' hand he says, "Grandma, you are REALLY old!"
-while riding in Grandma Ringsmuth's van he says, "Your minivan is SUPER old!"
-while eating dinner he randomly declares, "Daddy, one time I met a guy who was even fatter than you!"
-*Sniff, sniff, sniff* "Mommy, it smells like you need a shower!"
-“Quin! Quin, Michael Jackson says, ‘I’m bad’ the whole song and then at the end he says, ‘Who’s bad?’! SOOO funny! . . . Ooooooh, I love that guy.”
-LOVES to make faces at himself in the mirror. If he is ever missing, I can usually find him totally absorbed by his silly faces in one of the bathroom mirrors.
-Has a VERY crude sense of humor. He loves crude jokes and words. I blame his daddy, of course.

-has a thing about wrapping everything around his neck, which may be the death of me.
-was potty trained by Evan in about 36 hours.
-Has two different colored eyes. The right eye is more brown and the left is greenish-blue. It just happened in the past few months. (pictured below)
-is randomly turning out to be left handed for most things. I know of no left handed family member on any side, so we'll see if this sticks. You can see in the pictures of him drawing below that he is using his left hand.
-will NOT fall asleep in his own bed for nap time, but does crash and burn wherever he is. I mean literally wherever. (Pictured Below).
-has an amazing sense of humor. He keeps us laughing.
-LOVES to draw. He spends a large part of the school morning drawing his little stick figures, race cars, and animals.
-can put together a 25 piece puzzle on his own and is over-the-top excited about himself when he completes one.
-his brain is on a constant mission to entertain itself with all kinds of interesting shenanigans from coloring all over his body to shoving a popcorn seed up his nose to amazing lego creations.
-the child is obsessed with LEGOS and does an amazing job at his creations for a two year old.
-is definitely, definitely not a baby anymore unless he can work it to his advantage.

Random Stuff:
Evan: Mommy, can you turn on Bon Jovi? Quin, my favorite singer is Bon Jovi.
Quin(My 6 year old nephew): My favorite singer is Justin Bieb-o. Do you like Justin Bieb-o?
Evan: Who in the heck is Justin Bieb-o?
Harrison: My favorite singer is Michael Jackson. He sounds like a girl.
Eli: My favorite song is the big green tractor song. Mommy, do you have the big green tractor song?
Aaron(My 4 year old nephew): My favorite singer is my mommy. I just love my mommy.

We try to play hide and seek together each Tuesday night. It's LOADS of fun and Julia and Evan are getting pretty good at it. Harrison is pretty terrible yet, and Eli wanders and cries about everyone running away and hiding from him.

This boy literally falls asleep wherever he is.

I think this photo collage of my solo trip to St. Augustine, FL recently speaks for itself to convey my views on taking photos of sites you could easily Google and download from a profession. I say, buy a post card and take photos of yourself and loved ones. It also demonstrates my determination to be a goof until the day that I die.

Grandma and Grandpa Hillman and their much beloved dog, Teddy, come for a visit.

We loved having Great-Grandma and Grandpa Hillman and Auntie Sharon come for a visit! Teddy spent the whole time "loving up" (as you can see) on my children. We also enjoyed Thanksgiving lunch with everyone and tea party with the ladies.

This is just several cute pictures of all of the kids together. I especially love the one of all of them hiding in the bushes at the park.

I just lumped all of our homeschool pictures in together. Evan loves to teach Harrison to read. We spend MUCH time doing school on the vent with this blanket to keep us toasty warm. We make many trips to the Tellus science museum where our annual pass is this year. Also, notice Eli's left handedness and adorable scetches.

Eli went grocery shopping as Batman, mask and all and TOTALLY took out that display while trying to rescue the mouthwash. . . I am tired even looking at this photo.

Gallon Guy from our Sonlight curriculum has tought me what all those years of public school never did. I will never forget the conversion again.

This outreach oppportunity to bring Christmas directly to a family in the projects of Atlanta was a huge blessing for our family and our Sunday School class. Look at Evan help carry in the gifts! We fell in love with this family.

Julia at her ballet class. SUCH a beauty she is, inside and out.

Harrison was PUMPED about the massive, wall-sized mirror to make crazy faces in for a whole hour. He was unaware anyone else was in the room.

This is our herd of deer. We feed them and they diss us. Seems fair.

Here are Julia's two rows of teeth like a shark and then the bloody holes where they baby teeth once were. The Adult teeth are already moving forward to take their rightful place.

SUPER BABY!! That's what he calls himself.

We LOVE to read in my bed with the heating blanket on high.

Aunt Jessie comes for an exciting game on our Kinect thingy.

My Christmas Sweater on crack was a notable addition to our holiday festivities.

Our annual, pathetic, Gingerbread house. The day after Christmas, they try to eat it without chipping their teeth. Good times!

Yeah, Evan just freehanded this horse one day demonstrating artistic ability out of nowhere that far exceeds my own.

PRECIOUS Christmas morning memories. There is a video below of them on Christmas morning that I will treasure forever.

We took the kids cosmic bowling on New Years Eve and had a blast for the high, high price of $65. We did have tons of fun and took a cute video that I posted below as well.

We have spent a lot of time with our good friends, the Carmichaels, lately. My best friend Sharon and I had all of our kids at the same times (except for my bonus child, Harrison) and our kids are best buds too.

Julia is the best little baking helper now! She is getting very good in the kitchen and can't wait for me to let her make something on her own.

Just awwwwwwwww!

YAY! A beautiful, January day to ride the new bikes at the great park by Grandma and Grandpa Ringsmuth's house. Grandpa is teaching Julia how to ride her new bike. Evan owns the trail and the grass, and Harrison and Eli never tire of riding.

We had THE BEST time with our snowmageddon this year. All of our stranded neighbors turned out for 2 solid days to sled with us down our hill. It was a great time for everyone.

We are POOPED from a day of sledding in the yard. I love this photo.

When the snow melts in GA, we sled down the stairs. Same deal.

Evan and Stephen worked hard on this beautiful. . I mean handsom, pinewood derby car for the boyscout races. Evan won a round that I posted in a video below.

The Carmichaels joined us for our annual, AWANA MR/MRS Potato Head creation day. I think Courtney ended up winning first place for hers.

Oh, man, were the kids ever STOKED about this Firehouse tour with our homeschool coop!

This is one of Eli's fascinating Lego creations he devotes much time and attention to.

Here are his two different color eyes. One is more brown and the other greenish-blue. It just happened in the past few months.


The kids are warming up for a one mile run. I have started encouraging them to run a mile with me after I get back from my longer runs. I would love for them to get to the point where they are running races with me.

Our good friends Paul, Cody, and Caleb join us from Mississippi for a weekend of fun.

Evan made and won first place at AWANA for their "Come as a heart" night with this precious, strapped on view into his heart.

MR.ERIC COMES HOME FROM FROM ISREAL TO PLAY!!!! Too bad he has to go back so soon.

We had THE BEST time EVER when Quin, Aaron, and Lauren came for 8 days to visit while Jeremy and Natalie vacationed in Mexico. We did not want to send them home. The heart on that basket was made by Quin and it says, "I love Julia" and the note in the bottom says, "This bot (boat) was made with love". I also had a good laugh at the way they showed up for school one morning. . .I have this crazy joke that starts, “Two Batmen, Mario, Luigi, a Power Ranger, a unicorn, and a baby sit down for school one day. . .

They had lots of fun playing in the warm, GA backyard. Lauren is so young she had no real memory of playing outside before this week thanks to an extra snowy winter in MN this year.

Julia was SO thrilled to have a girly of her very own for a week. They played girly stuff, went to the ballet and had a very fancy tea party.

Why they love this lame-o park down the street, I'll never know. They ran to the park like it was Disney World.

We had professional photos taken of all of the kids at the Marietta Square this day in matching clothes. SO CUTE! Then we at the kids' favorite pizza joint and crashed in Grandma Ringsmuth's livingroom.

For real, does life get any better than this. No, no it doesn't.

Here is our traditional Christmas morning in the Tynes' home. This video is so precious to me I wouldn't part with it for anything.

Rabidly fun times at our once annual cosmic bowling New Years Eve celebration.

Evan graciously accepts a win at his pinewood derby races with his boyscout pack.

This is the most beautiful several minutes ever filmed for realz.


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  2. This blog helped me be a better mother today. Thank you!!!
    - Natalie

  3. Love it all! This post was a big blessing to me too. Love seeing all the pictures and love how Evan trained Eli to use the potty. My 4 yr old was helping my 2yo too and it just amazes me how they will do anything for an older sibling! lol

  4. I always like and appreciate your blogs....always laced with wisdom and affirmation that we are all deep down doing the right things.