Brick School Lessons

Nadie, our oldest child, began “brick school” this year after six years of being homeschooled.  That is the term that we use to describe “non-homeschool,”  because “real school” insinuates that homeschool is not real school.  It was not a decision that we took lightly, but God let us know that it was time.  I repeatedly warned Nadie that she was about to wake up in a new world, but no one warned me that I was going to get walloped as well.  I shared my experiences on Facebook as I was taking my brick school beating.  These are those posts, in order…

August 4, 2016

First brick school lesson learned. Unlike a lot of the homeschool world, start times are for real and not just a suggestion. How many tardies until they kick us out?

August 7, 2016

Brick school lesson #2 learned today. Going to Walmart the night before school starts is just a bad, bad, bad idea. It’s not just homeschoolers that procrastinate either. Stephen Rudolph, how many more of these lessons must we learn?!??

August 8, 2016 (apparently this was a big day for lessons)

Brick school lesson #3 – That seemingly small packet of papers they give you to read, sign, and return by the first day of school…Do NOT leave that until Sunday night to deal with. You will be up at 3:30am wondering what in the world happened to common freaking sense that such simple rules require a signature. And you will ponder your own school years, and try to remember if you had to sign a pledge to adhere to basic behavioral guidelines. And if you are like me, you will remember that you did not sign something like that. What you DID do is hear that if you couldn’t act right, they would call Jenny McLaurin Sanford (insert your own parental name here) and let her take care of it. And that was enough. No signature needed. Meanwhile, I could have read War and Peace. Twice. Guess I’ll catch a small cat nap before it’s time to get up and go to my first day of brick school student drop-off. CANNOT BE LATE. Stephen Rudolph, this is really not looking good for me. #ifyousendahomeschoolmomtobrickschool

Brick school Lesson #4 – Do NOT employ the Jack Butler Method in carline. Luckily, I did not. But I could feel the tension from inside the car for those that did. All I could think of was Kenickie from that scene in Grease…”Hey, you’re parked in a No Parking Zone!” “The whole place is a No Parking Zone, Crater Face.” Stephen Rudolph, we will need to do a practice run before you ever attempt this.

Brick school Lesson #5 – While I am not advocating for the Jack Butler Method, I understand the desire to do so. Especially when you pull into the carline and, within two minutes, you find out that the child in the seat behind you has an insanely intense aversion to non-moving motor vehicles. So he starts to tell you that you aren’t doing it right, and that you need to go around all the cars “in your way.”
“They ah not even moooovvving! You jus need to go THAT way on the side! We ah nevah going to make it! I will die fuhst!”
I learned that, from now on, Oliver will be supplied with a tablet and an educational assignment, or a game, or something to entertain him whilst we wait in carline. Or a mild sedative. It’s still a toss up. Stephen Rudolph, not trying to brag, but I made it through day one with no tardies.

To all of my teacher friends, how many emails can I send, and questions can I ask, before I begin to annoy the teacher? Nadie has implored that I not make her look like the “weird kid.” How many questions/emails am I away from that??

August 9, 2016

Brick school Lesson for today was Nadie’s alone. If you want to buy your lunch, better make certain that you don’t forget your lunch money😂
“I know! I know! Leave me alone. I know a good place to keep it.” “Nope. I don’t want you to send anything. I’m going to buy something.” “What’s an IOU? Is that even real?”
Why, yes, Nadie. It is real. And now you know.
Stephen Rudolph, delinquent on day two. She’s definitely ours.

August 10, 2016

Brick school Lessons from the past 24+ hours…(Andra, here you go!)
1. Apparently phonics in brick school are different from homeschool phonics. After just three days at brick school, Nadie has picked up extra syllables in many of her words…”Nooooo-uh. I’m tiiirrrred-uh!” “That’s not truueee-uh.” “I’m huunnggrryy-eee!” “Why can’t Oliver do thaaat-aaaah?” “I don’t want to go to get uuupppp-uh! It’s sooooo earrrlyyyy-eeee!!!” These are also magic syllables. They make hair stand on end, skin crawl, and teeth itch for all those within earshot.
2. Today I found out that there is a car line caveat. I saw a car stop just across the street from the line which I had just gotten into. The car turned its blinker on as if it were going to turn into the middle of the line, several cars ahead of me. Surely not. Surely this person would not sit there with a flashing freaking light and think that they were going to get in front of me and the fifty people behind me? Suddenly, another car pulled in behind the first and put their honking blinker on. Whhhaaattttt?!? Are you kidding me?!?! Then there was another and another. Many others passed them and went to the end of the line like the rest of us. What was this? Like a VIP line? Is this what the parent’s of honor roll kids get to do? (Because, if so, I was going to get Nadie right on that.) As the line began to move, sure enough, these “VIPs” started turning into the existing line right in front of other cars with captive parents and siblings. I was most unhappy. Others must have been too because horns started blaring. I thought, “Well, this is it. My first time actually using my pepper spray is going to be in an elementary school car line.” Oliver was all, “What ah they doing?!? It’s not theh tuhn!” I’m all, “I KNOW!” Sadly, I’ve been told by my trusted friend that this is a thing. This has been my least favorite brick school lesson to date. I did not let a car from the VIP line in front of me. Sorry, not sorry.
3. I’ve not had any tardies all week!! But I know it’s coming. We are all already getting way too comfortable about sleeping an extra ten minutes. It won’t end well.
4. Oliver has quickly learned to greet Nadie with a barrage of all the cool things he did without her during the day. He has to really spit it out fast. Once she starts talking, his chance is over and the ship has sailed. Today, he was sitting in her seat when she opened the car door. He said, in rapid succession, “Boo!! Hahahaha! I’m in youh seat! I had cheese dip today and watched tv. And you didn’t. You go to schhhooollll!” He’s playing with fire.
Stephen Rudolph, you are missing all the fun. When we were choosing up sides, you should have opted for the stay at home parent.

August 11, 2016

Brick school Lesson #? (I’ve lost count?) – You mustn’t EVER joke with those running the car line at brick school. While things can get a bit touchy (I have more to say on the VIPs later) with those IN the car line, I have to give serious props to the school and teachers for the efficiency of the line management. It moves pretty quickly once it gets going. As you approach the school, the kids are placed around the semi-circle drive behind a white line. Magically, they are standing on the sidewalk precisely next to where you stop. It’s impressive, really.
Today, as we came around the circle, I didn’t see Nadie. I pulled up to my spot and there was a young boy standing next to my car. I rolled down the window as the teacher prompted him to get into the car. I told her, “That’s not my kid.” She looked at me and then at the boy and asked him, “This isn’t your car?” Judging from the size of his eyes and the look on his face, he was way ahead of the situation than everyone else.
I said, “No. That’s not my kid, but he’s cute. And he probably acts better than mine anyway. I’ll just take that one.” Right then and there is when I got my brick school lesson for the day. She put her hand across the child like I was going to try to take him (Like I want another kid to pick up in a car line.) “Ma’am, what is your child’s name?” Ugh. I was just kidding. But there is no kidding in car line. I hung my head and told her which one was mine.
Not sure exactly what happened, but they had it fixed in no time and out came Nadie. Oliver was not with me, or I feel certain that he would have wanted to negotiate further on the possibility of a kid swap. Which probably would not have gone over well either. Stephen Rudolph, we are going to have to switch cars for a few days or something. I’m not winning at this brick school car line thing.

August 15, 2016

I told her this morning was an opportunity to see just how fast she could get from the car to her class. Like an Olympic sport. Go for the Gold, Baby Girl! Stephen Rudolph, hopefully all these years of Rudolph Time prepared her for her first near-tardy. As we left this morning, she said, “Well, we made it to the second week without being late.” Oh ye of little faith! You made it with two minutes to spare.
Look at the time!
Look at the time!

August 19, 2016 (This is not a Brick School lesson in and of itself, but it is a direct result of the slow learning curve I experienced in my Brick School lessons.  It felt it should be merited as such.)

I went and picked Oliver up from my grandmother’s today. As he climbed into the car, he paused and said, “Hmmmm. Something is awhy in he-ah!”

Um, something is awry? In this car? The car that I spend 85% of my waking hours in? The car that hauls kids and dogs and food and anything else that manages to sneak its way in? How could anything be awry in a car where everyone is so diligent to clean up after themselves with every trip made?!?!
“What exactly do you think is awry in here, Oliver?”
“Well, it smells like the YMCA in he-ah.”
Touché. That would be my turkey and pesto sandwich that I scarfed down in between errands and drop-offs and pick-ups and appointments. And it was good, even if it did smell like the YMCA. Stephen Rudolph, I would like to submit a request for a coffee maker in the car. And maybe some air freshener.

August 23, 2016

I have to thank my sister for posting this one…

September 12, 2016

Brick school lesson number eleventybillion…Brick schoolers have recorders. Recorders are considered musical instruments in the brick school world. We were actually required to purchase this thing. The brick school child brought this “musical instrument” home today to practice her “music.” For the LOVE OF HUMANITY, why?!? It even has a cord attached to it so that she can wear it around her neck and it conveniently travels with her. Ugh. I told her that it would attract Cobras if she kept playing it. She asked if they preferred Hot Cross Buns or Ode to Joy? Stephen Rudolph, you are going to have to address this sarcasm that she wields at me. I somehow feel that there is some karma attached to this. Her recorder and music sound very similar to The Sorry Song that the ice cream man plays over his speaker when he is all out of ice cream😳 Dang it, I knew that that would come back on me.
Recorder practice...
Recorder practice…

September 21, 2016

So, my brick school lesson today came directly from my child. And it has got me seriously thinking about my future. Without going into the whole long story, I’ve decided that I need to convince my children now that FaceBook has been permanently shut down. Because that child could not wait to get to school today and tell her teacher about some things that I may not have needed to be broadcasted. And she just did not care that I didn’t want it known. She’s all, “Oh, my teacher is gonna get a kick out of this.” It occurred to me that if Nadie was on FB, she’d be airing my business online, tagging everyone I know, and posting pictures to boot. That is something I just cannot have. So if everyone could just back me on this, that would be great. Tell her it was the government. She’s been homeschooled in Stephen’s den of conservatism, so that should fly just fine. Stephen Rudolph, she’ll rat you out too. We need to be proactive on this.

I had to quit the Brick School Lessons after learning the Ultimate Lesson that not everyone on FaceBook has a sense of humor.  It is almost Christmas as I am writing this, and for those that might be wondering, I have had a few “warnings,” exceeded the tardy limit, and may have had a note sent home about unexcused absences or something to that effect.  However, we made it through our first semester of Brick School. 

We Are on a Break

So, I’m not even going to go through the platitudes of why I randomly do or don’t blog.  I’ve given up on any of that.  However, I have learned that writing (is it still called that if it’s typed?) is good for me.  It’s cathartic.  And in today’s world, don’t we all need a little catharsis from time to time?  After all of this election mess, I am finding that I’m going to need an outlet for all of the thoughts swirling through my brain.

Now, I am fully aware that in the year 2016, the fashionable thing to do in this case would be to sign up for a half-marathon.  Then, of course, I would start “training,” get an app and sports watch to track my progress, post all of the above on all social media platforms, wear my sports bra and shorts with the 1/2 inch inseam to the grocery store, and then get a sticker to put on my car that merely says “13.1.”  Because somehow running stickers have become a necessary automobile accessory.  Why did long-distance running have to become the new mid-life crisis?  Could we not have come up with something better than that?  As a bit of a conspiracy theorist, I believe that my generation was somehow programmed (maybe by the shoe companies?) for this phenomenon.  We were mere babes, or in-utero, during the Chariots of Fire era. That moment in history when the world was being inundated by movie images of athletes running in dramatic slow-motion, while its ear-worm of a theme song droned on in the background.  I never actually saw Chariots of Fire, that I am aware of anyway.  But I know there was a lot of running in it.

All of that to say, I’m not running.  And if you see me doing so, please call for help because I am in trouble. After dismissing other non-contender activities that involve too much money, time, preparation or anything that’s fun, (my kids have a strict policy against me having fun) that leaves this blog to assuage the raging thoughts.  So here I am.  My own tiny spot in cyber-space.  This is actually a space that even my kids cannot infiltrate, and they are all but omni-present.  So why share publicly my little nook of the internet?  Mostly because I think that we as humans enjoy connecting with other humans that understand our place in life.  There is comfort in knowing that someone out there “gets” my quirky, adulthood is overrated, no personal time, kids and dogs everywhere, waist-deep in laundry, we are out of toilet paper and late AGAIN life.

I’m also sharing because I have a deep-seated, Ross and Rachel, love/hate relationship with Facebook.  And right now I’m feeling like Facebook and I are wanting different things out of life.  For the time being, we are taking some time apart.  We are “on a break,” so to speak.  Sure we will still run into each other at parties, but I am branching out and forming new relationships.  I’m also revisiting some past relationships, this blog specifically.

In the past, I have tinkered with blogging.  It started with a Caring Bridge site for Oliver when he was sick.  It truly helped me through a difficult time.  I’ve been encouraged by others to keep it going, but ain’t nobody got time for that.  Now, I fear that I am going to have to make time for my own sanity.  Aside from the afore mentioned cathartic aspect, I need something that is mine.  Something that stimulates parts of my brain other than the Mommy part, yet doesn’t require time wasted to wade through unwanted “stuff.”

Blogs do not have news feeds.  That means I don’t have to see a picture of someone’s lunch pop up on my screen while I’m trying to enjoy some Grumpy Cat memes.  It also means no accidentally ending up on some click-bait site advertising the latest on Honey-Boo-Boo and Mama June.  But best of all, the content is my choice and not some jacked-up algorithm’s.  Who writes that stuff anyway?  Most likely the same individual that continuously suggests “People That I May Know” right in the middle of my newsfeed.  Yes, I know them.  No, I don’t want to be friends with them, but now I have to because I just accidentally sent a friend request.  Thanks, Facebook.

Anyway, it’s time for a change and a bit of a break.  Maybe it’s even time to start a new trend in mid-life crises and bumper stickers, “______ is the new Half-Marathon.” And that blank space can be filled with whatever you want, just like a blog.

That being said, I’ll drop by later, Facebook.  We all know that I can’t completely leave you.  Hello, again, Blog!





So apparently it has been almost a year since I last updated the blog.  Did I blink or something?  Ugh!  As I read back through some of the older posts, I am sad that I let it go for so long.  My whole point in wanting to do this was to document this crazy, busy life we live.  I know my failing memory will forget these days.  These often very long days with young children.  It’s fun to look back to almost exactly one year ago today and know that the kids were driving me crazy.  Not at all unlike today.

To update:  Nadie will be starting second grade in a few weeks.  She is now seven years old.  I am hoping it will be easier than first grade.  Or, better yet, that I will be more diligent in not trying to homeschool in my own strength.  God has called us to it and it is only through Him that we will be successful.  It would serve me well to remember this! Oliver is going into the three year old class at Parent’s Day Out as he turned three in April.  He loves school!  And now that he is completely potty trained, I can quit searching for colleges that are willing to change diapers.  We are right on the verge of beginning yet another school year and life is about to seriously get cranked up again.

I am going to attempt and go back over the past year and update some other events that transpired throughout the past twelve months.  We’ll see how that goes.  Sadly, I have learned how much easier it is to throw a status update up on FaceBook than to take the time to actually blog.  But I am working on it.  I have realized the error of my ways.  So off I go!  Run, run Rudolph…


Sometimes we call Nadie “Octo-Mom.” The reason being is that she plays with her babies all the time, and usually she will tell you that she has anywhere from four to ten kids. Normally there are a few in the stroller, one is often at school, and inevitably there is one in her shirt as she is always expecting. She will bring them all to me and ask me to babysit as it is time for her to go have an ultrasound to find out what the new baby will be. Boy or girl? One or two? There’s always an air of excitement as we wait to find out just what she has in there.

Sometimes she will cajole Oliver into being her baby. There is one of her strollers that he fits into quite nicely. Nadie will go and get him some cheese or cookies or other bribe in an attempt to get him to do her bidding. This is my least favorite scenario as it will usually end in a fight. Oliver will only take her commands for so long before there is a mutiny.

The other day she came to me and was telling me about her four kids. There was a sixteen year old, a ten year old, and twin three year olds. “Wow, Nadie,” I told her. “You must have your hands full with all of those kids.” She replied, “Yes, I am really busy. But, luckily, the ten year old plays really well by herself. She just plays with her Barbies and stays out of my business. But don’t worry, Mama. It’s not any of the tacky Barbies. Just the ones that come with a church set.” That was all new to me! I didn’t even know there was a Church Barbie.

But there are a lot of things that I don’t know about Nadie’s world. How does she manage to stay in character so well? She will fume all day about forgetting to charge her cell (plastic, purple) phone. And when she does remember to charge it, and I hear her talking on it, I would swear that there was someone on the other end of the line as it truly sounds like she’s having a conversation. Why does she start talking with a British accent when she puts on a princess dress? Why is it she says her “husband” always seems to call her when she is in the middle of something very important? I will hear her answer her cell and say, “Are you really calling me right now??” What makes her think to ask, as she takes her grocery cart and goes to Target, if I’d like for her to call and let me know if she finds a good deal? So much imagination, it just boggles my brain.

But that is just Nadie. Always a mommy to someone. Always trying to get someone to participate in her world of pretend. Constantly reminding us that she isn’t really bossy, she just has good ideas. She is full of life and never meets a stranger. If possible, she would live on a stage. Forever performing some sort of dance or show, an audience is always appreciated with applause encouraged.

And underneath the drama, fanciness, and mothering of the masses beats the heart of a little servant. She is always willing and eager to help in any way she can. Nadie loves nothing more than to surprise Stephen or me by laying out our pajamas and toothbrushes, fully loaded with toothpaste. She waits in her room patiently listening to hear our response as we walk in to find our surprise. She has been known to fix drinks, fetch shoes, brush hair, or rub feet. Even an absent-minded utterance of, “I’m cold” will have her bringing a blanket before you can blink. She can also say a prayer that will touch the very depths of your soul. There is nothing sweeter than a little one that loves the Lord.

This is my Nadie as she is today. Aged six years and four months. With life being what it is, I fear that I will forget these precious times. I want to remember these things she does and says. Not only because I cherish her and her sweet spirit, but also for posterity. One day, I pray, Nadie will give us a handful of grandchildren. It will be great to refer their frazzled mama to the answer to the eternal question, “I don’t know why they act the way they do?”

Back to school!

Nadie is officially a first grader. She went for her first day of class last week and Oliver will start this week. He will be going two days a week at our church’s PDO. I am super excited about all of this. It means, for once in over six years, I will have a chunk of a day where my children will be in the care of someone other than myself. It means that I won’t have to sneak to the bathroom, referee any fights, try to perfectly execute putting the top on a sippie cup, or ask anyone to use an inside voice one day a week for a few hours. Fun stuff! And while I’m not exactly sure how I will be spending this new free time, I am sure it will not be disappointing.

It will be fun, but I also know that I will miss them while they are gone. Funny how that works. Stephen and I notice it too on those rare date nights. Inevitably we end up talking about the kids and missing them. I suppose it is because they are our constant responsibility. We clothe and feed them, bathe them, instruct and teach them. Basically, we sustain them in almost every way. They are also a part of us as they are our own flesh and blood. So while some days I can think of nothing better than a few minutes without them, ultimately I desire to be with them because I love them so much.

I am learning that my heavenly Father feels the same way about me. He provides for me and sustains me for I am His. He desires to spend time with me. He misses me when I get all tangled up in my day to day activities and neglect that time with Him. It is something that I am so guilty of these days! Part of being in a relationship is spending time together. I cannot know my Lord in the intimate way He desires if I am not in prayer and in his Word.

I always tell Nadie and Oliver how much better life would be if they would choose to obey. If they would make good choices it would allow their Mama and Daddy to do fun things with them that there is no time for when we have to constantly discipline and repeat requests. If they would obey it would revolutionize their life for the greater good of everyone. Wow! Really, Anna?? Isn’t that the same thing that God is telling me? He rewards those who seek Him! He pours His blessings on the obedient! What am I missing out on by not having that time with God?

Quiet time is something I am really working on these days. It’s kind of funny because “quiet” is not an adjective that comes to mind when I think of our lives. But, as I am learning, it has to be intentional. Something that I plan for and put as a top priority. So, as we get back into school, Wednesday Night Alive, FPU, soccer, and everything else, I will be adding Mama/God time to our already packed schedule. It is a matter of obedience. And I am excited that the Lord has called me out on this. I am anxious to see what He is going to do. One thing is for certain, it will NOT be disappointing!

It’s Coming…

Ok, so I know it’s only the end of August, but I am starting to get excited about Christmas. I love Christmas!! In the past week or so, I have been uber tempted to get out the Christmas music. I love, love, love Christmas music! As soon as the last trick-or-treater has left, Third Day Christmas Offerings begins its two month stay in my car’s CD player. It drives Stephen crazy. Whether it’s the early onslaught of the season or the fact that he gets to hear Mac Powell sing the same ten songs 500 times each, I don’t know. Either way, Stephen is usually far less enthusiastic about it than the kids and I.

I hope that Oliver will enjoy our little tradition as much as Nadie does. On that first November day, there is always a big introduction and I tell her to listen carefully. She listens for a minute and then she’ll say, “Is that Mac Powers, Mama? Is it almost time for Christmas?” Yes it is! And then we sing and sing. SO MUCH FUN! When Nadie was two, she could sing “O, Holy Night” all the way through. We have video footage of her singing it one night while she was in the bathtub. It is so sweet, and I like to go back and watch it from time to time.

Nadie had imaginary friends when she was little. Emily and Ashley. They were around most of the time and we always knew what Emily and Ashley were doing. But, that very same Christmas when Nadie was two, a new friend came into the mix. It started around New Years. She began talking about Sader (pronounced with a long A.) She would ask me all the time, “Mama, where’s Sader? When is Sader going to come?” I had NO clue what she talking about. I would constantly hear her talking to Sader on her princess flip phone. Then she would come tell me, “Well, that was Sader. He’s coming soon.” I would ask her questions about him, trying to figure out who this Sader was. She always answered the same, “You know, Mama. Sader!” No, I didn’t know and it was making me nuts.

I asked my mom if she knew anything about it. Maybe Nadie had seen something at her house. She didn’t know. Neither did Stephen nor my sister. We were all stumped. All we knew was that Sader was coming and Nadie was very excited about it. And that, apparently, she thought we were a little dim witted for not knowing just who Sader was. Even Emily and Ashley knew Sader, so what was our problem?

After about four or five weeks, I was fully expecting Sader (whoever he was) to walk through the door one day. She was that insistent about it! So I asked her, yet again, “Who is Sader?” She looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, “You KNOW, Mama! Like in the song. ‘It is the night of our dear Sader’s birth’.” No wonder she thought I was slow! We had only sung that song a 100 times. But leave it to a child to understand the excitement of the coming Savior!

Nadie doesn’t remember any of that now, but I will never forget. It was one of those moments of realization for me. Not only the joy for the birth of our King, but the exciting anticipation that He is coming back. Our Sader/Savior will return! And that just makes the Christmas itch even worse for me. Maybe I will sneak in some Christmas music today. More importantly, I should probably take my cue from a two year old that not only eagerly awaited her Sader, but stayed in communication with him until that time came.

Closed Captioning

So, the kids are driving me NUTS lately. Both of them. Nuts! It has been a difficult couple of weeks. I think it is time for school to get started. We need to get back on a schedule. Hopefully that will help. I say hopefully because I have hope that a schedule will change the issues and behaviors that have been rampant at home. If it doesn’t and the behavior is here to stay, well, then I don’t know what will happen.

It seems the crux of the problem is my voice. There seems to be a discrepency between the children and me when it comes to the utterances of my mouth. On the one hand, they love the sound of my voice. So much so that they require that I repeat every sentence, instruction and command at least four to five times. Sometimes even more. It seems that they enjoy it to the point that they urge me to use some of the loudest tones to which I am capable of producing. I, on the other hand, am sick to death at the sound of my own voice. I do not care to hear myself say the same things over and over and over. And herein lies the problem.

At one point, I considered the fact that perhaps they were both hearing impaired. Maybe, just maybe, those sweet little ears weren’t hearing me say, “NO” or “Please pick up your toys.” That would certainly explain the total lack of comprehension that was displayed when they were given a simple command. But I had to dismiss that theory as I realized they would come running to the sound of the refrigerator opening, the crinkling of a cookie package being opened, the creak of the bathroom door as I was sneaking into a moment of privacy, or the fact that Nadie knows the details to a phone conversation I was quietly having in another room. My theory was busted! Those little ears can definitely hear.

So what is the problem? What is causing this phenomenon? I know they both can hear. I’m pretty sure that my voice actually does produce audible sounds. Other humans hear me just fine. They both seem to be mentally capable of understanding instruction. For instance, they both can go and choose something to eat (rather quickly, actually) when I ask if anyone would like a snack. What is at the heart of this selctive hearing that both of my children seem to posess? And better yet, how can I alter this behavior?

Ultimately, they are children. And this is how children behave. How interesting it is that God calls us His children. Yes, He is our Creator, which puts him in a parental position. But I think part of why He calls us that is because of our incredible knack for not listening to His voice. We go about our daily business forgetting to stop and listen to what the Lord may have for us. And, by “us” and “we,” I really mean ME.

Much like Nadie and Oliver, there are various reasons I don’t listen. Often I am just busy with day to day life. Sometimes I may not like what I am being told. Or maybe I’m tired. And then there are the times when the things He calls me to do just seem too stinkin’ difficult. So here I am, a grown adult acting very similar to my six and two year olds. How exasperated my heavenly Father must be with me at times!

Thankfully He is patient with his children. Which is often a lot more than I can say for myself. And even though I may not always listen to him, He always listens to me. He always hears the voice of his children. And that is an important thing to a mama who has gone unheard all day. A mama that is at the end of her rope with repeating her requests time and time again. A mama that loves her kids more than anything but briefly entertains the idea of luring them into the backyard only to close and lock the door behind them. So as I ask one more time, “Please stop fighting and pick up your messes,” I will also ask the Lord for an extra dose of His divine patience to help me through the moment. At least I know one of those requests will be heard.

Mirror, Mirror

One of the things I enjoy most about being a mama is watching my kids play. Not only does it bring back memories of play from my own childhood, but I am amazed at their creativity. It is always interesting to see what they may come out with. Nadie’s favorite play usually involves dress-up and a baby doll. She has always been a huge fan of the costume, no matter what she may be doing. Other favorites for her include spa, doctor, and preparing stuff in her kitchen for the restaurant she is running. Oliver is a car and truck man. He loves his vehicles. Well before he turned two, he would take his cars and lay down in the floor and roll them around for long periods of time. He likes to line them up in rows too. Other favorites for Oliver are trains, balls, and being outside. He also likes to use the toy laptops.

Another aspect of play is the fact that it is reflective of real life. Watching them can be a good indicator as to what is going on in the family. For instance, when Nadie was younger she would pretend to drive Big Big’s truck. She would go to the drive-thru at Starbucks to get everyone a coffee. After Oliver came along, instead of Starbucks, she began going to Walgreens to pick up prescriptions. Very appropriate! Now, as she rides her Barbie jeep around the backyard, she will say, “Hey, it’s Happy Hour! Anyone want to get out of the house and get some Sonic?” (In case it isn’t clear, going to Sonic during Happy Hour is what we will do when I need a BREAK.)

For me, I get the added bonus of Nadie being very reflective of me. She says and does things that make me stop dead in my tracks as I know I have heard them before. Talk about a wake-up call! Today I heard her talking to Big Baby. Apparently Nadie was about to leave the house without her hair done, no jewelry, and no shoes. Luckily her daughter, Big Baby, was kind enough to remind her to put herself together before they left the house. She came and told me how grateful she was to Big Baby, “I am just so crazy these days. I can’t remember anything.” Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?

It is a daily reminder to me that I have four eyes that watch every thing that I do and say. Very closely. Wow! No pressure there, right? It is frightening to say the least. What will they say of me when they are all grown up? “My mother loved the Lord and tried to follow Him daily.” OR “My mother couldn’t remember to put her shoes on when we would leave the house.” And yes, I may have gotten in the car to go somewhere with my slippers on ONE time.

How can I model Christ to my kids all day every day? It’s certainly not easy and is something with which I struggle. Especially when I see some of my “not so proud moments” come back to me during playtime. I guess I will just keep doing my best. I will remind them that Mama makes mistakes too, and ask their forgiveness when I do. We will pray together on those super hard days and ask the Lord to help us through them. And I will love on them as much as I can. Then, if it gets where we just can’t stand it anymore, we may have to step out to Sonic for an iced tea and two rootbeers. Hopefully I will remember to put my shoes on before we go.

Tea Room

Today we went to one of our favorite places, The Grapevine Tea Room. I guess when I say “our”, I really mean Nadie and I. Stephen really likes the food there, but since it is only open from 11:00-2:00, he doesn’t get to go very often. As for Oliver, he too likes the food. And that’s where it ends. Even though he still isn’t talking too much, it is usually quite clear what his feelings are on something. Today, he made them crystal clear.

We got there early and the place was already full. This meant that we had to park across the street and walk. Oliver was fine with this as he loves being outside. He was perfectly content until we opened the door to the Tea Room and stepped inside. Immediately he let out a moan and tried to pull away from me. It was almost as if he could smell the girlishness of the place and he wanted no part of it. Thus he began his struggle to escape.

It is not a very big place. A small house that has been made into a restaurant and gift shop. It basically has two small dining areas/rooms. This made it especially uncomfortable for me when he started screaming to get away. As did the fact that the gift shop is combined in the dining areas. A gift shop full of glass, porcelain, and other various breakables. It was all I could do to keep a hold on him, much less keep him below decibal ten. I could feel all the eyes focused on us as I did my best to settle him down. Luckily we were seated quickly.

Things didn’t improve much once we were at the table. Oliver just wanted out. I don’t understand it at all. At the age of two years and four months, how is it he knows that he is not in a boy friendly environment? He would look at me repeatedly with his little hands up as if to ask “why?” Why did you have to bring me here? He didn’t want his cars as they wouldn’t roll properly on the lacey tablecloths. He would point to the fancy glasses and go “awwww, nooo.” It was like he was completely miserable for no other reason than he just didn’t belong. Nothing I said or did seemed to bring him any comfort nor tone down his wails of protest to this den of feminintity. And then he saw it . . .

I don’t know how, as I never would’ve noticed it sitting in and amongst the other trinkets for sale. But Oliver saw it. And when he did, his entire attitude and demeanor changed. Across the room there were shelves housing lots of knick-knacks and other various odds and ends. There amongst them was a car. A small bank in the shape of an old-fashioned, red antique car. He was so excited! And after that, he was a different child. We didn’t hear another word out of him to the negative. He dined quietly on his grilled cheese and fruit without another fuss.

I know there is an ongoing nature/nurture debate in this world. But I can tell you that Oliver Harrison Rudolph has a very natural aversion to the girlier things in life. It is all such a new experience for me. A boy. This wonderful creature in my life that completely mystifies me. I am learning daily just how different he is from Nadie. Sometimes it is just from observation and interaction. But sometimes, like today, I get a stern reminder from him. A reminder that I still have some things to learn about little boys. Maybe next week we can go eat somewhere a little more suited to Oliver’s masculine tastes. Perhaps a picnic in a car lot or a nice construction site? Wherever we go, I am sure he will have an opinion on it that he will be more than happy to share.


So I have started a few new posts and come to a complete halt before I can finish them. I suppose I have some sort of writer’s block. So, I am just going to get something out there. Something. Perhaps the best thing I can do right now is to just count our blessings. Our many, many blessings. Why? Because we have hit a rough patch lately. I guess most people do that from time to time. And so it has been for us too. With that, the glass has become half-empty instead of half-full. So, tonight, I want to turn that around. Not just the cup, but the ickiness that has been hanging over us for the last few weeks.

I am thankful for my family. God has blessed me with two beautiful, healthy children and a husband who is my very best friend in the world. I am thankful that we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and clothes on our backs. We have a very close extended family of both blood relatives and precious friends. We are free to worship in a Bible-believing church. I am thankful for the many individuals that died to give me that freedom. I have been given the gift of staying at home with my children every day and even to homeschool. Truly I am blessed. But it’s not what is important.

The God of the universe knows my name. He knows every hair on my head. He knows the very depths of my heart and mind and loves me just the same. I don’t know how or why, because I find myself utterly unlovable at times. Not only does He love me, but He died for me. Died For Me. To really meditate on those three words makes it all the more amazing. He died for this whiny, forgetful, unorganized mess of a person. And that’s what is important.

It seems like I would learn after a while. Just like Peter, if I take my eyes off of Him I am inevitably going for a swim. And I will go thrashing about in this life trying to fix things in my own strength. Until, once again, He reaches down and pulls me out of myself. It’s then that I look around and realize that my cup isn’t half-full, but overflowing.