Friday, March 25, 2016

Celebrating Easter with Little Kids

How do you tell a three year old that Jesus died the Friday before Easter? How do you tell him that this word we don't say (kill) is what people did to our Jesus? If Jesus is a bigger hero than Batman, and hears our prayers, and protects us from the dark, then how and why did He die? How do you explain that He came to earth as a living sacrifice, that we mourn on Good Friday, and rejoice that He is risen on Resurrection Sunday?

The Jesus Storybook Bible - photo taken from our own copy
I'm really not sure there is a good way to do this. I'm honestly struggling with it all. That part of Jesus Storybook Bible where they say 'kill' and 'die' so many times makes my stomach turn. I don't want my little boy repeating those words because he doesn't have discretion yet. He has very little understanding of the enormity of their meaning.

Parenting is hard. This is far from a 5 step how-to blog post. I'm doing the best I can with what I have. There are so many huge issues to hit home in parenting and in our Christian faith, and balancing these against our kids' maturity levels is really tricky.

We will dye eggs this year, for the first time with kids, and I will give my children a small basket of goodies as usual, but the Easter Bunny is not perceived as real in this house. We are intentional about wrapping every day with Jesus, not just holidays. I could do so much better than I am - I think all moms feel that way - but we are seeing the fruit of our deeds when R sings "Grace wins every time!" or when he looks to the sky and says "God, you is my hewo (hero)."

Our simple Easter basket - the candy is more for my husband's enjoyment than R's
Last year we gave R a no-candy Easter Basket full of toys and treats that he absolutely loved. I tried this year to find more Christ-centered gifts, which proved very hard. There are very few items, besides books, in mainstream stores geared towards the Resurrection aspect of Easter. I found some cross and lamb shaped cookie cutters at Walmart, but thought...when would I really use those? Probably after I use the train-shaped cookie cutters I got a few years ago that are still in the package. So that's a flop.

There were these fat Jesus plastic Easter eggs. NOT. The best item I found in my online search was this promising DVD set from Veggie Tales, A Very Veggie Easter Collection, which I will definitely keep in mind for next year.

I settled on these books from Walmart that the boys can share. I love the "What Is..." books as a way to validate the fun aspects of secular holiday traditions while pointing kids (and adults) back to the real reason we celebrate. "What Is Christmas" has been a favorite around here for a few years. This kids Easter story was colorful and engaging for kids, while also being true to the Bible. 

I also included Annie's chocolate and vanilla bunny-shaped cookies, a box of chalk (which we go through like crazy!), a small pack of peeps, and 1 chocolate bunny. The candy will probably be enjoyed by my husband more than anyone else. (I may have also bought some Starburst jelly beans for him...and me.) 

So, tell me, how do you celebrate Easter with intention? How to you point your kids continually to the cross when they can barely understand?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Catching Up - What Have I Been Up To!?

Hi, long time no see! I realize I haven't posted in a while, but so much has been going on. It really is my desire to keep up with the blog and interact with you, so I will try to do better.

What Have I Been Up To?

GroVia Advocate Program - I have mentioned on the blog that I am now a GroVia cloth diaper Advocate. This is an official 'job' with GroVia, but it doesn't really pay. I'm a volunteer with a mission to reach my community (and YOU) with the message of modern cloth diapering. As an Advocate, I purchased a kit with one of every type of cloth diaper sold by GroVia with the purpose of showing interested caregivers how to use them all. In exchange for watching my presentation, I can refer new customers to the GroVia website with my code and they can receive discounts. I receive points for my referrals, which may result in material prizes, but for the most part I do this with the goal of growing the cloth community and educating those who aren't sure what cloth diapering looks like nowadays or how easy it is! 

Skin Allergies - We are no strangers to sensitive skin around here, but we noticed a few months ago that baby N was breaking out all over his back and belly so we decided to eliminate all fragrance from his laundry and saw enormous improvement. This meant rewashing all of his clothes and diapers in free and clear detergent as well as revamping our old wash routine. I am now using Tide Free and Clear, and since I have hard water, I am adding a water softener (Borax) to the load. This detergent is by far the most effective of the free and clear cleaners we have tried. All (brand name) free and clear liquid is NOT recommended for cloth diapers because it contains sodium cocoate, which coats fibers and can cause repelling in absorbent material. All free and clear powder is cloth safe, but Walmart only carries it in small boxes, which we were going through very quickly. 

Three Years Old - My oldest son, R, has turned 3 and with that has come a whole new set of discipline issues. He's been on the wild side for most of his life, but now his little mouth is much smarter. Pray for me. ;) I am thrilled to say that he is loving church and we are encouraging that at every turn, trying to point him to Jesus in every way. We are also starting a preschool program on the iPad - ABC! 

Velcro Baby - My youngest son, N, is almost 7 months old, and has always been close to me. He is ok if I leave him home alone with Dad or in the church nursery, but if I am home and he doesn't have me, his world is shattered. He will open that little mouth and just holler until I pick him up. It can be pretty difficult to type on the blog with a baby in my arms (he likes to help!) so that is one major reason why I have been MIA. 

Healthy Eating - I've been on a mission to reduce sugar, increase vegetables, eliminate dairy for myself, increase gut health, and enjoy real food more! Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea is now how I start my morning (both diary creamer and coffee were not treating me well). Here is a picture of one of my shopping hauls that I couldn't resist photographing. 

Anxiety Medication - After over 4 years of being off anxiety medication, I decided to go back on them. This time I am taking a new drug, and in the short time I have been on it, have loved it! I absolutely believe that God can heal us from our health problems, but I also believe that he equips talented doctors and scientists with the skills to care for serious mental health problems like Anxiety Disorder. I know my family will all be better off with a Mom who is less stressed and is more willing to venture out and take risks again. I want to dissipate the stigma that you 'aren't a good Mom if...' (you take medication, go to therapy, admit you are struggling, etc.) This deserves a whole post, but I need to include it here too.

Feminine Fashion Challenge - On a fun note, over the last few years I have been on a journey of developing a personal style that was true to me, while also conveying adulthood (instead of possibly having me mistaken for a teenager still!) I have found great encouragement from Caroline at The Modest Mom Blog and through her private Facebook page Modesty for the Modern Mom. This month she issued a feminine fashion challenge to the readers and I have tried to follow along every day. This challenges me to get dressed and present myself better than pj's ever could. 99% of the time I am wearing skirts these days. That is just what I am most comfortable in. I can get on the floor and play with my kids without my backside showing in jeans and I have stayed cool in the summer without wear shorts. This is something you will likely notice about me, and it may strike you as different, but that's ok! 

Thanks for reading my catch- up post! I apologize for being absent for so long and I absolutely want to try harder to be present on the blog. It is just so difficult when managing children with very different needs from each other, a household, and personal issues. I applaud some of my favorite bloggers with more children than I have who are able to juggle it all and hope to take a page from their book. Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday later this week!