About El Momma

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Idea of the Day

It's Summer. And It's Hot. So, we've got to come up with things to do that

1. Keep us active
2. Keep us cool
3. Keep us alive :-)

So, after a mis-hap this morning, Moustapha and I had the bright idea of me teaching the kids a show and then having them perform it for him and some other family members. So, I did (a little) research and settled on the musical Aladdin. The kids already know the movie and probably are familiar with most of the songs. And, I thought it would be perfect for our family. Bakri could be Aladdin and Maddux could be the genie & Abu. And they were both totally excited about it when I mentioned it this afternoon.

I went to amazonmp3.com and downloaded the soundtrack from the movie and a couple of songs (karaoke style) without words so they can practice singing with just the accompaniment.

Our first rehearsal went pretty well. I taught them two songs "One Jump Ahead" and "A Whole New World." The first song is a great song for boys- lots of jumping, punching and marching. That seemed to keep their interest. Now the biggest problem is- they are both Aladdin. So, we had to take turns practicing the song. Oh well. I hope our audience doesn't mind watching everything twice. You don't, do you, Moustapha???

I'll keep you posted on how this idea works out. We're having an issue with the camera. So, hopefully I'll have a new- working- camera before the "show."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Embrace the Chaos

Well, she didn't say it today. But, she said it last week and I am really trying to listen. Kelly Chapman, founder of Royal Purpose Ministries, Princess Prep School & Warrior Prince Academy spoke at the graduation ceremony this week. I was the music teacher for the school all week at the camp at First Presbyterian Church. Today the children performed and they were amazing! Seriously, they did a great job. Kelly said it was the best she had seen...and I don't think she was just trying to be nice! We had so much fun and the girls and boys learned everything so quickly. They were great.

One of the things that Kelly talked about in the graduation ceremony last week was embracing the chaos. I think that should be my mantra for a while, "Embrace the chaos!" Embrace the moment when my 2 year old is saying "I don't want milk....I do want milk" and I say "here you go" and he responds with "I DON'T WANT MILK!.....I DO WANT MILK" Okay, I'll embrace that moment!

And, embrace the moment when we arrive to the pool and we're just about to get in and I have to put my four year old in time out and he screams at me in front of lots of strangers. I say to myself "I am not embarrassed. I will be strong. I will be strong. I will be strong." He screams again. I repeat "I am strong." Again, he screams and tells me he doesn't like me. Okay, that hurt. "Mommy knows you don't mean that. Now, finish your timeout." And, in four minutes, it is finally over. We all happily get in the pool to hear the whistle blow and the lifeguards yell "break, adult swim." And, now we're getting out of the pool. I'll embrace this moment!

And, embrace the moment when all three of my children are playing happily together on the floor. And there is peace for a moment. Next thing I know, someone is crying, someone is running and someone is chasing. Embrace this moment!
And on another thought, take a moment to pause, and say a prayer. Pray for the child who can't walk or run around the house. Pray for the child who is malnourished and has no milk to want or not want. And pray for the child who has no water to swim in or drink. When I have these "moments of chaos" and I pray for things that are outside of these moments, God really speaks to me.

So, embrace the chaos! I know I will. I promise, I will!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Feeling a little sad about J&K+8

When I first saw the show Jon & Kate Plus 8, Bakri was really young. I never even knew when the original shows aired. Occasionally I would catch a few shows on a Saturday here and there. And, the few times I saw the show, I enjoyed it. I connected with the family because the sextuplets were around the same age as Bakri. And it was quite a sight to see a family dealing with some of the same issues we were (times 6.) I was encouraged to put Maddux and Bakri in the same room when I saw all 6 of the sextuplets sleeping in cribs all in the same room! And I knew I could get my kids on a schedule to keep sanity in my life, if a mom with 8 could do it! And, sometimes when I would feel sorry for myself (yes, this does happen sometimes) I would think about how easy I have it getting around the city with 2, and now 3 kiddos. How easy is that compared to someone who actually gets out of the house with 8 kids???

But, seeing a marriage fall apart and two parents separate has left me feeling really sad. I, like millions of other people, made it a point to watch the show Monday night. On this episode, Jon & Kate announced that they were "separating" and at the end of the show the words on the screen said papers had been filed that day to dissolve their ten year marriage.

Does that make you feel depressed? It definitely left me feeling heavy-hearted. Obviously, I don't know these people. They have put themselves out there for the world to see. And, many of us have watched and seen the covers of the gossip magazines. They made a commitment to each other ten years ago before God and their families and now after having 8 children together, they are getting a divorce. I just find it so troubling and heartbreaking.

I feel most sad for the children. We can sit and judge the parents all day long and all give opinions on who seems more difficult to live with. But, at the end of the day, those children are the ones that are going to be most affected by this life-changing decision.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yes, We'll Gather at the River!

It's true. We know how to live well...on a shoestring budget! :-) Last weekend, we went on a mini-holiday to visit our friends Julie and Will at their place in New Braunfels. We had an AMAZING time. They live right on the guadalupe river. The boys loved playing in the water and we all enjoyed our time with friends. It was great.

This is their outdoor fireplace.
They have a sliding glass door that separates the outdoor-screened in porch from the inside of the house.

Part of our fun weekend included a party to celebrate Julie and Will's wedding at the end of last year. We had a Couples' Shower at Whitewater Amphitheater. We enjoyed food by Wahoo's Fish Tacos (formerly one of our favorite LA hotspots), music by Seth Walker (very smooth style- check him out) and a fabulous atmosphere. After the party, Seth Walker opened for Jerry Jeff Walker. It was a super fun night! Thanks to Julie and Will!

Here's Bakri and another view of the porch.

Angela and Moustapha enjoying the party.

Me, Miss Trinity, Julie and her baby bump!

Moustapha and Julie in the kitchen.

Me and Miss T on the porch.

Maddux playing by the river.

Trinity on the porch. Can you see her two bottom teeth?

Trinity, having a great time with Julie.

Julie with her Aunt, her momma and my momma. What a great looking group!
Moustapha and the boys had such a good time playing in the tubes in the river. The river and lakes are really low this year. So, that made for a less rowdy crowd on Saturday. That was good for us, but not so good for business. Hopefully we'll get some rain soon.

Sweet Angela and Trinity. Angela has a baby daughter that is one month younger than Miss T. I think she was missing Meri that night!

Here is a view from Julie and Will's porch. I'm not sure how they felt about a family of five moving in for the weekend. But, we had the best time and can't wait to go back!

To Pacify or not Pacify

To say that every child is different is an understatement. They definitely are different. From the moment you first hold your baby in your arms and every day that comes after. They are unique and special. It's amazing that from the very beginning there are different things that make them tick.

Our first son, loved the pacifier when he was a baby. He only used it for sleeping. But, it seemed to make my life really easy. He found comfort in the pacifier. From the time he was a tiny baby I could lay him down in his cradle wide awake, pray over him, place the pacifier in his mouth and he would literally turn his gaze away from me and fall asleep. He LOVED his pacifier. When he learned to talk, he gave the pacifier a name and called it "Ba Ba."

Our second son never took to the pacifier. He just didn't care for it. So, he didn't use one. And, it was fine. He still slept great. We just found other ways to comfort him. He really loved stuffed animals. So, once he was big enough, we gave him a lovey to sleep with.

Our third child, our daughter, finds comfort in the pacifier when she is going to sleep by herself. She doesn't use it at other times throughout the day. When I'm laying her down at night or naptime, I place 3 or 4 pacifiers in her bed. She falls asleep with one and then in the night it makes it easier for her to find another. It works well.
For our first son, who loved his "ba ba," I was nervous about giving up the pacifier. But, it turns out, it was a much bigger deal to me than it was to him. Between age 1 and 2, he only slept with his pacifier. When he turned 2, we took the pacifier away. We put him to bed that night and there was no "ba ba" and that was it. He asked for it, but when we told him "ba ba" was gone, he was fine. I couldn't believe it.
Why do I always seem to worry about the outcome so much more than necessary? Things always work out. I just need to have a little more faith sometimes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Potty Training

We had two different approaches when potty training the boys.

The first one was the "wait until he is ready" approach. We decided to wait until he gave us the signs that he was ready. We were also inching toward a date certain (age 3) at which he needed to be potty trained for school.

Honestly he seemed more interested in letting me know that he wasn't going to use the potty than actually using the potty. So, as age 3 approached, I became ready and we moved forward. At 2 months prior to his 3rd birthday, we kicked potty training into high gear. He definitely was resistent. I remember one time knowing that he needed to go potty and sitting in the floor of the bathroom while he sat on the potty (resisting going) for an hour and a half. Eventually, he gave in. And boy, did I cheer.

We used the "sticker method" with Bakri. I hung a ribbon vertically in the bathroom with a sign at the top that said "Bakri goes to the Potty." Everytime Bakri used the potty, he got a sticker and I added one to the ribbon. He loved watching the stickers increase.

With our second son we tried the "teach him early" approach. We definitely didn't force it, but it was a natural fit since we were training our older child.
Our younger son was 14 months old when we started this and so he got a sign and a sticker ribbon on the wall too. I also started sitting Maddux on the potty when he was really young, because I could tell he needed to go. This made him very comfortable on the potty. By 17 months, Maddux was mostly potty-trained and by his second birthday he was completely potty trained. He really responded well to the "sticker method." But, most of all, I think for Maddux, it worked because it's all he really knew and it was presented to him at an early age.

Sitting or standing?- We chose to train the boys to sit. However, they both quickly changed to standing once they were comfortable using the potty regularly.

Pullups or no pullups at night?- at first, we put Maddux in a "protector" at night until he went several days with a dry "protector" aka pullup in the morning. I've found that calling something by a different name can sometimes make all the difference.

Most things are easier with the second child, because you have the first child as the example and you've been through it once. This was the case with potty-training for us. We're definitely going to start early with Trinity. Having just one child in diapers is awesome!

I Promise to Not Give You Advice!

At the request of a few friends, I've decided to add to my blog. I typically just post things I have pictures of. Which, I am still going to do. But, I am also going to post about other things: potty training, dinner with the family, reading, how I go out with 3 kids, etc.

I promise, I am not giving parenting advice or advice on raising kids or being a wife. I am simply going to put my own experiences down in words. It will also help me remember when one child reaches a stage that I've already been through with an older child and I forget what worked OR what didn't work before.
So, here goes. Hope I don't bore you too much!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Last Weekend Trip to Austin

Sue's_Reception-5, originally uploaded by hollyburkholder.

Moustapha and I went to Austin last weekend with Trinity to celebrate Sue and Brian's recent wedding. Here is a photo of us at the party. We had such a wonderful time catching up with friends and celebrating at such a beautiful location.

We wish Sue and Brian a lifetime of joy and happiness. Congratulations!