Thursday, April 19, 2012


I'm checking and double-checking the invitation.

Correct date, correct time, no misspelled words.

But each and every time I glance at the card, something just doesn't look right...

That declaration:
"It's Drew's 7th Birthday!"

That's the part that doesn't look right. Can't possibly BE right.


I've done the math several times in my head and it always comes out the same.
He's really going to be seven in just a matter of days.

When Drew was two years old, we had a "Blues Clues" birthday party at our house, inviting all his little toddler friends (and their parents) for the celebration. I planned meticulously. There were no less than ten "stations" of things for the youngsters to do. The buffet of food was inspired by the cartoon character and her pals. Not a detail was omitted.

It took me five years to recover from that party.

Seriously. For years 3-6, I convinced my boy that a family celebration was quite enough. But for year seven, he's been insistent and I'm being brave.

We will have a few boys from the neighborhood over for a few hours. There's no theme. There will be no activity "stations". There will be no grand buffet. He asked that I inflate the giant water slide he got for that 2-yr old party. We also bought super-soaker water guns.

With these two details taken care of, my only plan of action on the big day is to order a few pizzas and let the boys be boys.

It might take my house five years to recover.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sugar, Spice and DRAMA

That's what this little girl is made of:

Miss M, at age 2 1/2, spends most of her days as either an absolute delight or a certified diva. We can't get enough of the former. Unfortunately, we're all pretty entertained by the latter.

She is sweet and caring and intentionally relationship-driven. She mothers her baby dolls, takes ownership of her big brother ("That's MY boy!" she tells us daily), and right now sleeps soundly in bed with no less than 8 of her current favorite toys by her side.

She has been known to ask to brush my hair while she pours out her toddler heart (melting mine in the process). She relishes the moments where she can tell us she's sorry and receive back wholehearted forgiveness. She talks, sings, dances, eats and laughs with gusto.

She loves pink, purple, frills and fluff. Anything with a princess image is immediately beautiful to her. She wears tutus and hairbows that reflect the motto that bigger is truly better. Her favorite show on television is Strawberry Shortcake, and listening to her sing the theme song in her little soprano range reminds me of tiny church handbells.

She closes her eyes and rocks her head back and forth when I sing to her. And with one twinkle of her little eye, she can cut through her daddy's stern exterior, rendering him absolutely powerless and utterly infatuated.

She is truly our little princess.

Unfortunately, it seems like she knows it.

Perhaps life as her parent might be a little easier on her "diva days" if she'd just been born with a rider.

You know... those instruction sheets that famous actors and singers send ahead to each concert venue so that their green rooms feel more comfortable, with all their wishes being catered to? (I've read some. They're hilarious. These superstars' demands include only certain colors of lightbulbs in their dressing rooms, exact room temperatures, only white flowers, only green m&ms in the candy dishes, specific brands of bottled water, specific shades of paint & upholstery.)

By trial and error, I've been able to put together Miss M's rider as we go. At this moment, this is how I believe she'd like her world to operate:

When she wakes from sleep, ensure that she has both an orange paci and a green one. (She wants to have a choice in her accessories).

Diapers should be "cute", preferably featuring Elmo. Winnie the Pooh will do in a pinch.

Nails should be polished. If polish chips, world should stop spinning until situation can be immediately corrected.

Hair should be pulled back with a big pink bow. White, purple & green bows are also acceptable, however blue should be avoided at all costs.

Shoes are essential. Pink shoes are preferrable. Leopard printed rainboots should be made available should she feel particularly creative. Brown church shoes mean you are just asking for a fight.

A wide variety of clothing in various shades of pink & purple should be made available. She'll methodically say "No!" to every outfit at least one time before she makes her final decision.

Do not give her blue as a dress-color option. It only means you are asking for a fight.

Waffles are great with syrup. Waffles are RUINED with syrup and butter.

Sippy cups should be made available in pink, purple, or princess themes. They should also be filled with soda.

All meals taste better on pink plates with pink utensils.

All other meals taste better than her own meal, and she should be given the freedom to eat freely from the plate of anyone she chooses.

Food choices should always come with condiment choices. Except ketchup. Serving her food with ketchup means you're just asking for a fight.

Rest & Relaxation:
Miss M enjoys a nightly bath with a moderate amount of bubbles and slightly warm water. Water with even a hint of "hot" is way too hot and may result in an emotional breakdown.

Television should be programmed to record all episodes of Micky Mouse Clubhouse, Strawberry Shortcake and Dora the Explorer. She will be able to definitively tell you which show and which episode she'd like to watch at any given moment. If you only have the "Hair" episode of Strawberry Shortcake, you're just asking for a fight.

At naptime or bedtime, her sleeping quarters should have the following items:
Green paci,
orange paci,
"pink panther blanket" (it's really a rabbit, but if you want to correct her, you're just asking for a fight!),
Minnie Mouse doll,
purple Hello Kitty doll,
Winnie the Pooh,
purple purse,
sippy cup,
and pink bucket
(just in case she gets sick in the night. No. lie.).

Of course, the world doesn't currently operate in tandem with her every wish. Which means she gets plenty of chances to break into gut-wrenching sobs, pausing between each to say, "I still sad, mommy! I still sad!"

"I know. I know." I usually respond (stifling giggles). She curls up in my lap, settles down and sinks in. She lingers longer than any toddler I have ever held.

And I'm all-over delighted that she is mine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Crazy Love

We were discussing Jesus' last week on Earth before His death and resurrection in our Bible lesson. It had been a few days since our Easter service and the egg hunt and the basket of candy and I just wanted to be sure that my nearly-seven-year-old boy didn't walk away from the weekend thinking that it really had anything to do with a bunny.

So, I tried to make the story age-appropriate (good luck... I can hardly grasp it myself... the horror of Christ's betrayal by a friend, beating, mocking, crucifixion, death. Then the unimaginable, astonishing miracle of His resurrection. A perfect sacrifice. Once and for all. Completing changing the way we approach our Heavenly Father. Completely offering eternal salvation to those who believe!) It was yet another one of the many moments of parenthood where I've longed to have a theology degree upon which to fall back.

I stumbled through the major moments of that Holy week, hoping to somehow make it personal, too.

"He did all of it for you, buddy." I stated simply.

He'd been listening the whole time, but his glance turned into a more intense focus. He searched my face... questions written all over his.

"He did," I continued. "Jesus died for you. And do you want to know why?"

"Why?" He asked in a barely audible breath.

"He loves you."

"Oh... I know."

"No, I mean, He really really loves you, bud."

"Yep. I know."

"He loves you like CRAZY! I mean, He is totally CRAZY about you!" I smiled big as I repeated the words.

He smiled and got that silly "boy" grin that comes before he says something he thinks will be stupid or funny or get him into trouble. And I thought I was about to lose his attention.

And in his best valley-girl impression he said, "Like... so... He loves me so much He could just DIE??"

"EXACTLY!" I jumped to my knees and the enthusiasm of my response even caught me by surprise.

"EXACTLY that much! That's JUST what He did for you!"


I let the moment linger. Then,

"Yeah, I feel the same way."