What do you do with a snowball in your face?

They were wild the other night. Spun up on sugar and a day full of being indoors, months of being indoors. These have been months of being only outside until you couldn’t stand the cold any longer, which is like five minutes or twenty, if you are my oldest son.

And then it was birthday night at church last night so of course cupcakes at 7pm are a perfect recipe for hyper little boys. I picked them up.  After the neon yellow and orange shoes flew across the lobby while one refused his sweatshirt and the other refused his gloves, we headed out into the zero degree night. Our boots crunched over the icy snow as we stepped out of the warm glow of the church building. Before I could catch my breath from the bite of the bitter cold they were both off, down the path into the inky dark night of the parking lot. My heart caught in my throat because they don’t know how dangerous the dark is. Every time it is like this…with boys who are primed and ready for adventure but a mama whose trying to protect her nestlings as they learn to fly.

The younger one, he is more likely to listen to mamma’s pleas, he slows, returns to walk with me down the path toward the car. The older adventurer, he is out of sight. My eyes scan the shadows urgently, needing to know where to look. Then, thank you, Lord, the tip of a red hat behind a huge snow bank bobs up for an instant.

“Make it a game. Relax. Have some fun.” I tell myself because I know I worry too much and I don’t want my boys to just tune me out because mamma always spoils the fun.

So the youngest and I loudly wonder where oh where has that big boy gone?

Then, just as we round the end of the snow bank, ready for a surprise and a laugh and a sigh of relief that I didn’t loose my every loving mind when he ran and hid, that boy of mine threw a snowball. Right. In. My. Face.

I was so surprised I could barely breath. And it was so cold. I wanted to explode but somehow, instead…

I laughed.

As my face stung and I caught my breath.

I laughed.

They asked me why I was laughing.

Because, dear sons, if I don’t I will dissolve into a puddle of mamma tears and fire right here in the dark parking lot.

I think laughing was probably the best thing I could have done just then.

And then we got into the car. I have to confess, I was still steaming but once I was able to calm down we could discuss why icy snowballs in someone’s face in the dark are dangerous and not a good idea.

These boys of mine – I love them wildly, of course, but it still amazes me how they can push my buttons. I’m working on remembering to laugh, when I want to scream, and to find a safe way to release my emotions. And then to talk through the issues with my boys. This is one of those places I’m being refined by the hot fires of motherhood.

Have you ever had a moment where you thought you might implode? What strategies do you use to diffuse in those situations?

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The end of a year

The last two months of 2013 were a blur of activity book-ended by sickness and punctuated by tears. Sounds pretty awful, when I write it down, eh? But it was in fact all covered in grace. Still, I am weary and needing to regroup. It feels like I just sort of fell across the finish line of last year, limped into 2014 and am still trying to catch my breath.

I found this year that, as the calendar page turned to November, it grated hard on my soul. After the beautiful day of the Hot Chocolate 5K, I found myself sick with a bad chest cold that lingered too long. The weather turned cold, too. We celebrated a special seven-year-old and, thank God for whoever invented the Indoor Waterpark!

Through the end of November and into December, with the press of the holiday activities, I tried to close my eyes and not miss my baby girl so much – but I did. Then there was deep sorrow, that isn’t mine to share here, but made me weep for other mothers and fathers dear to my heart who now walk without their precious babes on this earth. So many tears. God must have a very big bottle to hold all the tears, I think.

Then came the time to remember, to celebrate God come to be with us, and to long for Jesus’ second coming. I found myself sick with fever and cough and aches so bad there was nothing to do but stay in bed. So my amazing husband made Christmas for us – cooking and cleaning and feeding us all – while I slept. All the way until New Years and a diagnosis of pneumonia. Oh, and in the midst of me being sick all three of them had the stomach bug – fun (um, not really). And a gerbil escaped…and was found while up in the middle of the night with a sick child – a silver lining? 🙂

And that grace? In-laws who welcomed us – sickness and all – for Christmas. My momma cleaning my kitchen. A sweet friend bringing soup and pie, a movie and yellow flowers on New Years Eve. Medicines and prayers and kind doctors.

Slowly I can breath again. Breathing slowly into this new year – resting and healing.

March

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DSC02361DSC02362 DSC02376We are moving forward into a new season. A season that will require a lot of courage and strength. A year is quickly approaching. The time when we will remember and celebrate our daughter’s one year birthday in Heaven. The time when we will remember the days she lived here on this earth.

We bravely wait for life to be renewed from the frozen earth beneath our feet, trusting that winter will soon give way to spring and the warmth of summer. The cold wind of fear for what these months will bring tries to wind its way around my heart. This month I am stepping out in hope, in faith, in love, on many fronts. I am learning to breath deeply and to be right here with my whole heart.

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I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord. 

These Days of Winter

While it no longer looks like winter here (but they say we’ll wake up to snow in the morning), a few weeks ago we had a bunch of the white stuff. While I have in no way been complaining about the second unusually mild winter in a row this year, the males in my house were overjoyed to finally have some white stuff on the ground with which to play and are then quite saddened by the rain which has melted it all away.

Two Saturday’s ago we all had a blast sledding for a few hours in the cold sunshine.

DSC01926 DSC01934 DSC01944 DSC01995But since we haven’t had much opportunity for outdoor play in the snow, what with lots of rain and mild temperatures, we’ve had to find other ways to keep busy…

DSC01889 DSC01895like water colors. The boys and I had a blast making these. I saw the idea here.

And then we were on to messier endeavors…

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DSC01907 DSC01909Life with these two crazy ones is so precious. Loud, wild, exhausting…yes! But so so beautiful even in all the crazies. They are full of LIFE and I love them so. And that man who is far more adventurous with them than I even am? There are no words to say how much I love him.

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Thank you, God, for these precious ones you’ve given to me.