Everyday Life, Parenting

Wear The Beads

Lately, I’ve been struggling with what to tell people when they ask “So, what have you been up to?” It seems to me I should be able to sweep my arm in the direction of my three young children with a flourish and say, “Exhibit A.” I don’t want to be a one dimensional person, but really, I don’t have any other answer right now. When real life happens, it doesn’t always translate so well into a short and sweet small talk answer. Maybe when there has been a major life event, there is a good answer. But when there has been no big one thing? What does a mom of little kids say? We haven’t gone to Tahiti. We haven’t moved. We haven’t had a disaster of any sort. There have just been days one after the other like beads on a string. And I’m not talking pearls. No, no. These have not been pearly, luminescent days, though they all have their gorgeous, unforgettable moments. These days have been the clear plastic bead on a piece of yarn kind. The kind full of dishes, play dates, grocery shopping, cracker crumbs, breakfasts/lunches/dinners, sick children, sick self, and so much coffee.

Nothing special has happened in the last few months. Until I remember this: every moment.


Though they can seem like just a bunch of mundane minutes, these clear bead days are precious, too, and who decides that pearls made by some ugly oysters on a  dark ocean floor are more lovely than the gift a five-year-old considers a work of art? The clear beads are everywhere in my house right now, under dressers and in corners, clogging up the filter in the vacuum cleaner. They’re like the in-your-face, never ending responsibilities of mothering littles that can completely overwhelm me. But the curve of soft, round cheeks? The plump little toes in their first pair of sandals? The freckles appearing out of nowhere under sea blue eyes? Those facets of my right-now life can overwhelm me in a whole ‘nother way if I just see them with the right pair of eyes on.

I could choose to wear the necklace made up of those clear beads all tinted green, purple, pink, and blue and in no particular pattern or order, and know there is love in these days hidden all over the place and also bowling me over every morning as I roll out of my (absolutely wonderful) bed. Really, literally, bowling me over (Hello, 3-year-old son).  I won’t ever have a day when I feel like everything about motherhood is perfect. Peachy. Pearly. Almost every good thing is disguised in something sort of annoying when you’re in the thick of things. A hug when you’re tired of being touched. Really beautiful singing about Jesus when the baby is asleep. These things are beautiful and an exquisite gift and are driving me crazy all at the same time.  But if I don’t want to go crazy? There’s really only one good choice to make when I’m overwhelmed by all these clear beads rolling around my house and I need an answer for where all the minutes are going.

Wear them.


Wear the beads.

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

Vintage Finds: Friday Favorites, Ed. 10

Last week’s “No Week” when I decided we were going to slow down and say “no” to extra activities turned out to be a big joke on me. In the seven days immediately following my post on being intentional about staying home, each member of our family went down with a 12-hour stomach bug. Yes, even the eight-month-old. We were homebound beyond what I had even planned for a stay-at-home week. And I thought I was so clever.

A library trip right before the sabotage of our week saved us from utter desolation. We made the trek to the big library downtown and found some gems. My personal favorites are the vintage ones this time.

The Milly-Molly-Mandy StorybookWe are all tickled with The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley. It was published in 1938, so there are some times I have to explain phrases or why a six-year-old can go on errands, but otherwise it is a perfect read-aloud for my kids. Each chapter is a self-contained story that only takes about ten minutes to read. The themes are lighthearted and quaint, but relevant at the same time. The feel of the book is very similar to Betsy-Tacy by Maud Love Hart. It would be a great book to read before the Betsy-Tacy books for children in kindergarten. And I am totally in love with the illustrations! I want to hang them on the walls of the kids’ rooms. If you struggle to find chapter books for preschoolers or kindergartners, this one is perfect with it’s short chapters and age-appropriate themes.

Friendly TalesMy other favorite of the week is Friendly Tales, a collection of stories by Margaret Wise Brown that does not include Goodnight Moon, thank the Lord! I can only read that one so many times…though I cannot deny the words and images have become kind of comforting and nostalgic, even while they make no sense. But in Friendly Tales, you get to read The Color Kittens, The Sailor Dog, and The Burglar in the Dark. My three-year-old son especially enjoys this book. He loves the stories that feature “The Fat Little Police Man,” and I agree they are fun, but I have a feeling we’re going to have to be careful about  terminology for describing people in the future.

Meet Molly: An American Girl (American Girls: Molly, #1)In non-vintage news, I’ve successfully turned my five-year-old daughter into a fan of Molly in The American Girl Series. I have been patting myself on the back for this accomplishment all week. Like I’m the one who wrote such great books…thanks, Valerie Tripp! We read the first two in the series, and are eager to get to Molly’s Surprise. I love how these books make history more relative for children because they get to know a character who actually lives the history. I’m not sure if we’ll branch out to the other characters yet because the themes can get pretty intense. Maybe we’ll do Samantha next, though.

So that’s what I’ve been reading with my children this week. As always, I’d love to hear what you’re reading, too!

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