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Don’t Grow Weary!

I know it’s been quiet here at MyBusyHome… mostly because my busy home has been, well busy. I’m in a tough, demanding, active, crazy, overwhelming season of life. I have busy kids who hurricane around the house overwhelming me constantly with their endless energy.

There’s a four-going-on-thirteen-year-old, self-declared princess, who creates and perpetuates drama, but also initiates sweet conversations about God and life. There is a little boy running around in big boy undies, so busy with playing and jumping and laughing he sometimes forgets to do his business in the potty. And don’t forget the adorable, mobile baby who is as fast as lightning and has a fascination with electrical cords…

Some days I drop into bed at 11pm and I wonder how I made it through the maze of another day, and if I can muster the energy to do it all over again tomorrow.

So, I haven’t felt very inspired to write here about how to manage a Busy Home, because more days than not it feels like my busy home is managing me instead.

In days and weeks like I’m having lately, I find the greatest comfort in verses like Galatians 6:9:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

I cannot express in words the comfort that this promise brings to my heart.

I shouldn’t grow weary. I must not give up. I don’t need to stop doing what I’m doing. I can’t stop sowing into my children. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other… And, one day, when it’s time, I will reap.

Isn’t that a precious comfort? Don’t give up! It will take hard days, and long weeks, and toil and struggle and tears, but WE WILL REAP if we don’t give up!



Traveling with Young’uns

Last week about this time I was on a trans-Atlantic flight with a three-year old and a 20 month old.  Obviously, I survived (I don’t get all the credit, my adorable Hubby was there too!), and even more than “surviving”, I enjoyed the trip with my kids. *gasp!*

We have been basking in Chick-fil-A and Target for the past few days, but I’ve wanted to sit down and get out some thoughts about successful travel with toddlers and preschoolers.  This is not, by any means, a novel blog subject matter– tons of mommy bloggers have penned their tips and tricks about traveling with wee ones, but I have something to say about the matter too.

The major thing to focus on before traveling with your littles, is preparation.  Once you’re on the flight, or the train, or the bus you’re stuck with the preparations you made.  And I’m not just talking about the toys and snacks you packed for the trip (although these things are a part of preparation for successful travel!)

I read an article on CNN recently about parents and their unruly children on planes.  I am continually amazed at the… I struggle for the right word here… lackadaisical way in which most of modern society approaches parenting.  Honestly, if the parents in this article had been “parenting” their children all along, flying with their kids would not disturb and outrage other passengers and airline staff.

Prepare the Little Heart(s): If kids have been taught and shown consistently that

1. God loves them and gave Mommy and Daddy authority over them.

2. Mommy and Daddy love them.

3. Mommy and Daddy expect obedience because Ephesians 6:1 says “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right…” and Colossians 3:20 says, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

then, a great foundation for traveling with your children (or for that matter doing anything with your children) has been built!

I am not saying that if you have done an excellent job in correcting and training your preschooler in righteousness, you will have zero problems on a plane/train/bus/car ride.  Let’s be honest, toddlers and preschoolers can be a tangled mess of sin nature, hormones, and irrational behavior! I am saying that if you, as parents, have worked to biblically disciple your children, you have already drastically reduced the number of problems you will encounter on your trip.

Prepare the Big Heart:  As much as the little hearts need preparing, we can’t forget that our hearts need to be prepared for travel too!

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Before flying last week, I prayed for my own attitude to be good while traveling (isn’t it amazing how quickly we can get irritated when flights are delayed, security is slow, or we are otherwise made uncomfortable!), and I also asked some dear friends to be praying for our family as we traveled.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our travels were seamlessly smooth– and amazingly enough I still had a (mostly) good attitude when we discovered my bag was lost at 1am!

Prepare the Stuff:

  • Take the time to pack neatly in your carry-on bags.  Have all the important papers, identifications, and tickets handy as well as hotel information, taxi and shuttle numbers, cell numbers for people at your destination– make sure you’re ready to get where you’re going, and to get help if there’s a snag in the plans.
  • Have an extra set of clothes in the carry-on for each member of the family in case of diaper explosion, spilled dinner, potty accident, or lost bag.
  • Arm yourself with books, activities, and toys for the little ones.  For our trip last week I bought one small new toy for each of my children and wrapped them in tissue paper.  These gifts were presented to them when the excitement of being on the plane had worn off, and I’m pleased to say they spent a fair amount of time playing with their new toys.  I also had coloring books, blank paper, crayons, and stickers, books, and a few other small toys from home.
  • Have a few choice snacks ready.  I made a trail mix for my Bugs because they love trail mix and it takes them a good amount of time to eat it, picking out their favorites first.  I only used pretzels, raisins, and M&Ms, but you could add whatever you wanted to your own mix– nuts, yogurt covered raisins, goldfish, dried fruit, cereal, etc.  I also packed milk boxes and 100% juice boxes in my carry-on, and was not given any trouble getting through security since I had the kids with me.

Prepare to be flexible Yes, there will be some bumps in the road. Naps and meals will be rearranged and possibly skipped (especially if you’re changing time zones!), and it’s OK.  Planes might not leave on time, you may have to run to catch a flight, the flight attendants may run out of chicken and you’re stuck with salmon for dinner… If you have already made up your mind to go with the flow, it will not seem like such a big deal.

***When we moved to time zone seven hours ahead of our old one, we were told that kids usually take one day per hour changed to adjust to the new zone.  That was absolutely accurate with our children.***

Prepare to have funHave fun with your kids while you travel. Look out the window and talk with them about what you see.  Notice people of other cultures in the airport and appreciate how differently they dress and speak.  Get ice cream as a family during a layover.  Play tic-tac-toe together.  Eat some trail mix.  Watch a cartoon on the airplane TV.  Enjoy the sights through your child’s eyes.  Make up silly rhymes or word games.  Have a conversation with a stranger.  Smile a lot.  Don’t just “survive”, enjoy the experience together!

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Weekend Links

“Discipline your child…” {@Making Home}

When the Person that “Wears the Pants” in the Family is a Size 2T {@Making Home}

On Raising a Three Child Family {@simplemom}

whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

philippians 4:8

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Dealing with Bad Behavior

Before I had kids, I had a list longer than the state of North Carolina of things my kids would never do.  Maybe you had one too?  It went something like this:

  • My kids will never appear in public dressed in half clothes and half pajamas.
  • My kids will never traipse through the grocery store eating from a package that hasn’t been paid for yet.
  • My kids will not throw tantrums in public.
  • My kids will not pick their noses in public.
  • My kids will not have dried crust under their noses.  Ever.
  • Et cetera
  • Et cetera

It’s only taken two and a half years for (almost) everything on my list to fly out the window.  (Yep, Ladybug has picked her nose, thrown tantrums, worn a mix of pajama and clothes, and usually has something crusted to her face.)

But I’ve made some realizations about my list too.  You see, most of the things I desired for my children not to do mattered mostly to me that they not do them in public.  Where other people could see them.  And hear them.  And cringe.  And give me pity eyes.  And go leave the grocery isle I’m on.

But there are deeper issues present than just misbehaving in the grocery store.  She has a problem.  A sin problem.

The past couple of days I have really struggled with Ladybug.  She has been disobedient, disrespectful, defiant, and downright rude.  It has taken a lot of prayer and self-control on my part to remind myself that deep down she is a sinner.  My job as her mom is to help her see that her heart is sinful, and share with her that Christ is the only One who can redeem her from her sin.  Not just to make her behave.

My biggest tool for correcting and training Ladybug– do you mind if I say “correct and train” instead of “discipline”?  I feel like there is a certain connotation to “discipline” that might not quite convey what I am saying– is the Word of God.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,

for training in righteousness;

so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

One day recently as I was praying about parenting Ladybug, I read the above passage again, and as I continued on into chapter 4, I was exhorted to keep on keeping on:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction…

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

(2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5)

All together I feel like this passage (2 Timothy 3:16- 4:5) is a great word for parents.  Paul was not specifically writing to parents about their biological children, but for me this passage has been encouraging and challenging as I think and pray about my mothering.  In this passage, I see that:

1. God’s Word is adequate for teaching, training, correcting, and rebuking our children so that they will be equipped.

2. We are charged to preach the Word to our children– in season and out of season.  On good days and on bad days.  When they’re sick and hungry.  And happy and playful.  And jealous and spiteful.  And obedient and gracious.  When we feel like it and when we don’t.

3. We are to parent with great patience, and always look for the teachable moments to instruct our children.

4.  It’s going to be hard.  And we need to endure it.

5.  Parenting is our ministry.