Thursday, August 4, 2011

days like these

i keep thinking about this crazy day i had with the kids earlier this week. and each time i replay it in my head, it simply warms my heart. so i thought i'd share...and i for sure want to remember!

it was one of those days where i strapped on my super mom cape and packed my mary poppins bag of tricks to take on the day. we had an agenda that i was sure would rock my kids' world. it didn't. it really didn't. here's how it all went down.

me: let's make chocolate chip pancakes!
them: nah
me: cereal okay?
them: yes that's fine.

over breakfast
me: are you guys excited to go to the zoo today?
them: will there be hippos?
me: no, but there will be lions.
them: oh, but will there be giraffes?
me: no, but there will be kangaroos.
them: oh, but will there be rhinos?
me: no, but there will be bears.
them: oh - this doesn't sounds like a zoo.
me: yes it is...and we are going to have a grrreeaaaaaaaattttt time - let's go!
at the zoo
me: let's go see the animals!
them: can we play on the playground first?
me: sure!
them: the slides are too hot.
me: okay, no prob...let's go see the animals!

we start by checking out the otters, ducks and turtles. things were going well, but we were just getting started. we hadn't even gotten to the really good stuff yet!

them: mom can we have a snack?
me: sure, let's have a seat and have a quick snack and then move along.

for the next 35 minutes, the two of them just sat on a bench, munching their snack. they just sat there...seriously. meanwhile, i was sweating through my was a hot one!
35 minutes later
me: let's go see some more of the animals!
them: yes, let's go see the giraffes!
me: sorry, no giraffes...but let's go see the lions....roar!

lions: snoozing behind a rock (couldn't see them)
me: let's go see the bears!
bears: snoozing in their cave (you could barely see them)
me: let's go see the monkey!
monkey: his home was being cleaned he no where to be seen!
me: let's go see the wild boars!
ella: those are the scariest things i've ever seen!
me (thinking to myself): apparently the animals aren't a big hit today. but that's okay, we'll abandon ship and go cool off in the fantastic splash pad!

in the bathroom
it's 125 degrees. it stinks. it's awful. but it's all good - they are getting their suits on, and we'll be splashing away in no time.  except that bennett thought he'd start the splashing a little early, and proceeds to stick his hands (no arms) into the toilet. i find this out when his wet arms wrap around my legs. gross.

at the splash pad
we arrive at the splash pad and it's looking like a great time!  i'm thinking, thank goodness we aren't at another zoo where we couldn't cool off.  the kids take 2-3 spins under the sprinklers...and then decide their done.  that's it? you're already done? did you see that cool elephant sprinkler over there? did you know that if you press that flower you can make the water do different things? nope - they were done. meanwhile i get squirted in the head by some 8 year old who thought he'd take target practice on the struggling mama.  nice. maybe now would be a good time for some lunch.

lunch went fairly well, once we got over that it was time for lunch, and not ice cream.  we bumped into some friends and found a nice shady place to enjoy our lunch (with the exception of the spilled drink and ketchup explosion).

lunch is also a highlight for e&b - because unlike their mom, there were some real cool mamas who had pockets full of quarters. these rock star moms were dishing out joy rides to e&b and about 15 others kids who were all crammed onto the cheesy 3 horse merry-go-round. e&b were quite impressed. they loved it. and asked multiple times..."mom, why didn't you bring any quarters." answer.

after lunch- we attempted the splash pad one more time. i was thinking, now that we are fueled up, maybe they'll have a bit more fun.  nope. they weren't having any of it. so... it was time to go.
car ride home
the kids doze off in the car - and i decide to recharge my battery with a swing through the d&d drive through.   well apparently the car stopped moving for just long enough for the kids to wake up. as i was pulling away - i'm getting half-asleep requests for munchkins from the backseat. i didn't turn around and get some. there was crying. lots of it. go back to sleep my crabby little ones.

bennett napped his heart out when we got home, while ella & i enjoyed some quiet time - watched some curious george, had a snack (not munchkins) and chilled out.  i then mustered up some fun and busted out a few games. first up - candy land.  which didn't go well once we realized that all the character cards were missing. she tells me she had taken them out a few days ago to use as a pretend phone.  um...i don't get that one either. next up - chutes & ladders.  it went okay - but honestly we don't really love that game, as ella says, this game is boring...and you know what,  i kinda agree.  up next - memory.  i then proceed to strategically set-up about 50 dr. seuss memory cards so that it wasn't too hard, but that the matches weren't right next to each other either. three minutes into playing, she said she was done.  we even tried where you could flip 6 at a time.  nope - we were done.
after nap
bennett wakes from his nap and we have ourselves some story time snuggles. we talk about how we didn't really see the animals we wanted to see at the zoo.  no zebras or giraffes or monkeys or hippos. bummer...but then a light bulb goes off.

me: i have a fun idea!  how about we get out the face paints and turn you guys into the animals you wanted to see today.
not too bad, right?
ella: yeah - i want to be a zebra!
bennett: yeah - i want to be a giraffe
me: let's go!
ella: can i be a pink & blue zebra?
me: of course! (yay – this is going well!)

upon finishing up with ella - she looks in the mirror....

ella: mom, i don't really look like a zebra.
me: of course you's the super cool magical zebra!
ella: not really.  but okay, let's do bennett's giraffe now.

bennett takes a seat and is rearing to go. didn't go well.  when i was using yellow - he wanted blue. so i use the blue, but he wanted green.  he then falls apart in a complete meltdown. we stop painting. and leave him a 1/2 painted face of 4-5 different blotches of color.  no big deal. we wipe it off.

later that afternoon
i have to run a quick errand and drop off some meals at my friends’ house. but the plan is go to the playground afterwards. we pack up, get in the car and head on our way. mid-trip, ella has a melt down.

me: ella what's wrong?
ella: i don't want to go to the playground with my painted face.
me: um...why no, it's so cool?
ella: i don't want the other kids to see me.
me: okay, we won't go.
bennett: begins to shout & melt because he hears this and really wants to go to the playground.

at this point i lose it...and break down. i’m done, sad, frustrated. why is nothing working today? this was suppose to be fun. why are my kids so ungrateful?

i pull into laura's drive way...leave crying kids in the car. i then have a 2 minute venting attack in her kitchen. she was having one of those days too. it felt good. it was exactly what i needed. thank you laura!

feeling a bit better, i get back in the car. i calmly tell them that we are going home. no playground. no more games. no more special treats. it’s time for dinner, baths, bed. i let it go. i pray to god and tell him i can't. i waved the white flag and surrendered it all.
what happened for the next 2-3 hours was a thing of beauty. while i made dinner, they made up their own games of library, shopping and house. there was giggling. there was kindness and sharing. there were please & thank yous. there were hugs and kisses for their mama. there was snuggling. and best of all, as the lights were turned out at the end of this crazy day, there were unprompted prayers of thankfulness for the zoo, splash pad, games, face painting, sister, brother, mama.

i don’t want to be a super mom. i don't want to be mary poppins. i simply want to enjoy every moment with these little people. i want to follow my father, and strive to be like christ.  but i don't. i'm not. i often get lost. i’m a sinner. and guess what , i'm thankful for days like these...the ones that simply don’t go your way to remind me of this. because even though, surrendering is hard.  and even though surrendering is so very humbling. it’s truly the best feeling when you do. how great is that?!


  1. beautiful. simply beautiful. thank you for humbly sharing and for linking up. xoxo.

  2. It really is about living in the moment, finding good in the bad and savoring it all! Great post.

  3. why does that sound so familiar? Sometimes all of our efforts simply fail. Thanks for being honest

  4. I had a similar experience at the aquarium a couple of weeks ago. Way for hanging in there so long, I probably would have cracked way earlier.

  5. It *is* good to know we all have these days! Thanks so much for sharing your heart.

  6. YES. I have had many of those experiences lately -- I try so hard to make them food they will enjoy...and they don't eat it. I plan activities...they aren't interested. So I do my own thing...they entertain themselves for awhile...then they melt down because they need attention. Being a mom is HARD!! Thanks for sharing your day with us. =)