Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Disgusting Find of the Day

"Here, Mommy."

"What is that?"

"I found it."

"What is it?"

"It was by my carseat."

"And what is it?"

It's now in my hand. And what is it... it looks sort of like a smashed no-bake cookie. But I haven't (no-)baked those in ages, and the boys haven't ever eaten one in the minivan.

Hmm. But we did do McDonalds on-the-go last week.

What I have in my hand is a half-eaten, dried up, hard-as-a-rock hamburger patty.

Tucker is very linear and precise, and it bothers him deeply when both halves of the bun do not align with the hamburger in the middle. So, he took matters into his own hands. Gone with the beef.

And apparently he chucked it over his shoulder, in the car.

I'm growing more and more aware of the need to visit the car wash. And definitely the vacuum station.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Everybody Needs One

"Grandma, where is your little brother?"

"Well, Tuck, I don't have one."

He was stricken.

"What? You don't have one?"

"Nope. I only have sisters."

"Not even a big brother?"

"Not even a big one. No brothers at all."

He pondered.

"Well, you should get one, Grandma."

"Oh, really? And where should I go to get one?"

"You should go to where the Lost Brothers are. You could have one of those."

Apparently, some brothers don't appreciate the one they have, so she could snag one of those brothers to keep.

He truly can't imagine life without one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Little Dreamer

I worked late tonight. Too late, really.

I was on my way to bed, and I stopped into the boys' room for one more visit with the princes of my heart.

They were both sound asleep, out-out-out. They had been for hours.

I snuggled blankets under chins, prayed my favorite words over them, tousled sweet little noggins, and leaned in for an invisble kiss.

Tyler moved just a bit when I got close to him.

His eyes opened, just enough to know it was me,

and he whispered,


"Hi, sugar. Elephants?"


"Okay, buddy. I love you."

"I love you, too, Mommy. So much."

"So much."

"Night Night, Mommy."

"Good night, little man."

Now that is what dreams are made of.
That right there.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Worship, by a New Definition

You’re the first one awake
The last one asleep
Cleaning and making your plans
And there are days when it feels
Like there’s no time to pray
You wonder if God understands

But if ever you worshipped it’s now
If ever you kept your vow
You may not understand how
But if ever you worshipped, it’s now.

The memory of leaves in the fall,
Walking through the canyons so tall.
God was so close in it all...
Now your chance to worship seems small.

You’re the first one to taste
But the last one to eat
When everyone goes their own way
And it’s your name that’s called
In the deep of the night
One more hour of sleep floats away

But if ever you worshipped it’s now
If ever you kept your vow
You may not understand how
But if ever you worshipped it’s now

Every shirt that you fold
Every nose that you blow
Is a gift to the Father above
Every lunch that is made
Every game that is played
Is an offering of love

But if ever you worshipped it’s now
If ever you kept your vow
You may not understand how
But if ever you worshipped it’s now.

~ If Ever You Worshipped, D. Oertli

~ ~ ~

Tucker has a stomach bug.

I have cleaned up so many messes of bodily fluid today... I have genuinely lost count.

Two of them included explosive, projectile poop that landed on the wall. Twice.

It's been a day. A long day, that started in the middle of the night.

And yet, somehow, these words rang through my mind.

If ever you've worshipped, it's now.

Worship is a lifestyle. It's serving, loving, giving. I loved my children well today, the two who gave me more poop to clean up than I wish to recount, between a stomach bug and a regression in potty training.


But I really think that I worshipped the Lord, by loving those little boys today... by serving, cleaning, loving, being there to do it all.

...but it was only by the grace of God.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Snow Day Sunshine

Here's to breakfast picnics,
Playdoh crumbs on the floor,
snowball fights through the kitchen window,
rough and tumble wrestling matches,
and a marching band of my very own.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hi. I'm Tyler.

Tyler's face is a little worked over.

The bruise on his left cheek is from walking into a table at Big Bill's Pizza.

The scrape across his forehead is from plowing into the patio furniture on the deck.

The scratch on his right cheek is from a mishap with his brother, for which I disciplined appropriately.

I can account for all these little bumps and bruises, but he still looks a little questionable.

Or maybe he looks like a boy.

Maybe I should get used to these dents and scrapes.

Meanwhile, he looked at himself in the mirror yesterday and said (to himself), "Well, hello. I'm Tyler. I'm a brother, and I have very nice hair."

(I love this child.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's Time I Knew.

Robb did something to make me laugh - hard. (I don't remember what it was, because that's really not what this post is about.)

I said, "You make me laugh."

And he said - with a very straight face, "I know. I'm the only funny one around here. You never make me laugh. Ever."

"What?! Yes, I do."

"No, you don't. You are not funny."

"I am. People think I'm funny."

"Nope. Nobody thinks you're funny. They don't. Name one person who thinks you're funny."

"My brother. He thinks I'm funny."

"NO. No, he doesn't. At all. Because you're not. Go ahead - call him right now. Ask him if you're funny. He'll say no."

So I did. I called him. Left a message, offering him the opportunity to settle this marital dispute and restore his sister's sense of humor.

He called back moments later.

I put him on speakerphone, and he said:

"All right. Here it is: Not funny. You are not funny."


My brother continued. "It's time you knew. Not funny. Here's what I say, Trish. Lean into your strengths, and hand off your weaknesses. And being not funny is a weakness of yours. In fact, I use the term 'weaknesses' because that's how unfunny you are: I have to use the plural form. You are unfunny on many levels."

My husband was cracking up. Cracking up, I tell you.

(In all fairness, so was I.)

My brother said, "So, there you go. We don't think you're funny, and in fact there's a whole society of people who think you're not funny. We have meetings."

"You have meetings?!"


"Who is the President of this Tricia Isn't Funny Club?"

"Well, it varies. Whoever has the most recent unfunny story gets to take the lead. Most recently, it was Mom."

Nice. So, the jury's in. I'm not funny.

(I'm still not buying it.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I'm a nighttime girl. My mind wakes up around 8:30, and I can get the most done as the hours are winding down. (This was far greater true when I didn't have small children, but it is nonetheless how my mind is designed to work.)

Bring on the bedtime: I'm ready to think.

As a result, my time with God is most fruitful, profitable and predictable when it is the bow to tie up the end of my day. It works out well. I enter my office, turn down the lights, listen to music, write down lyrics, read my Bible, journal my heart out, and sort out corners of my mind. In the end, I am refreshed as I fall asleep, and I am renewed the next morning for a new day.

So, I have often resisted the recommended mindset that one's 'quiet time' should happen in the morning. Perhaps it's a life stage thing... but right now, I think a morning commitment would feel rushed as I sought to absorb (or release) as much as I could before the natives grew restless in their beds.

And, truth be told, I can't seem to get up before them. Or not much before them. (Perhaps this is the danger of being a night owl. Morning still comes.)

But just today, I found this quote, this collection of very freeing words.


Some of us are more naturally night people or morning people. Our situations further influence what time is best to set aside. The advantage of the early morning is the way it sets our attentiveness for the day. The advantage of the evening is the way it re-integrates us and settles us down for the night. It is ideal to set aside ten minutes to an hour both morning and night, giving more or less time as our situation allows.

More important though is not the number of times or duration, but our deciding on some time and duration and sticking to it, at least for a trial period of a few weeks. This means that once we’ve decided to do it, we treat it like brushing our teeth; it is just something we do, without agonizing over it each time. Brushing our teeth, once it’s a habit, is very simple. So is prayer time. If we leave open a crack for re-deciding every day, then it becomes complicated. We’ve undercut the very simplicity that prayer time can reveal. When you feel resistance to prayer time, just lightly see the resistance, and get on with it.

Don’t judge your resistance. Don’t even judge yourself if your resistance is so great that you give up your discipline one day. Judgment complicates our resistance and turns what is simple into a heavy struggle. Just gently notice what has happened, smile, and go back to your discipline the next day."

~Living Simply Through The Day

And so there it is. Freedom. Freedom from guilt, from stagnance, from a specific hour.

And I find myself wishing to call it a day.

(Is it bedtime yet?)

In the Early Years

"Mommy, I should never put PlayDoh in my mouth. Because if I do, it will get stuck in my froat and I won't be able to breeve."

"That's very true, Tuck. Who taught you that?"

"You did."

Well, well. He has lots of wise voices speaking into his life, so it could have come from a number of sources. Turns out, this one was my little nugget of truth.

"Well, I was very right when I said that."

"Yes. You were. You taught me that when I was a little kid."

Oh, I see. So long ago, when he was a young lad. As opposed to now, at age four. Good thing I snuck that one in while there was still time.

Rap Master

Tyler was dancing on the deck singing his self-composed lyric:

I say yes and Mommy says no.
I say yes and Mommy says no.

Yep. Pretty much sums it up.

Please, God!

So, in moments of parental distress, I have been known to pray, right before my children. I don't slip away to a quiet place, and I don't necessarily pray with a happy voice... more often a desperate one.

But I pray.

"Please, God. Give me patience right now. I can't do this."

"Please, Lord. Give me wisdom. Now."

"Please, God. Give my children hearts to obey. And kindness toward each other. Please."

"Please, God. Help me."

In part, I hope it teaches them that it's okay to pray at any time, in any place, with any tone in your voice. Because God is at the ready, willing to listen and help. But I also want them to see that I'm not trying to do this on my own, that I'm calling on the Lord to help me every single day, and that I'm counting on his equipping power and partnership.

And also, I just need the help right now, and I can't always escape to a quiet place, and the only way I know how to get it is to ask. Now. Loudly, sometimes.

Well. That brings us to Tucker.

We ate at Chipotle after church on Sunday, and Tucker gulped down his chocolate milk faster than anyone can say Kids' Quesadilla. He really wanted to get up and throw it away, right this very minute, and I really didn't want him to.

Because, I firmly believe, sometimes it's just good for a little boy to wait. On permission, on better timing, on his mother. I really feel strongly about this one.

Suddenly, Tucker threw his head back, rolled his eyes up, threw his arms wide, and prayed. Loudly.

"Please, God! Give Mommy wisdom right now! Help her to trust me to throw this away!"

Right. And God did give me wisdom, and the answer is: Wait until we're finished eating.

But thank you for the grand display, my sweet child. You've been watching.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mr. Mouthy

Tucker was practicing his grouchy voice this morning, where he acts like a grumpy bear at the breakfast table. He growls, lurches at the unsuspecting brother, threatens to throw people and things in the garbage, and sneers hungrily at everything but his breakfast.

It's not my favorite way to start the day, and we're working on it. (A few trips back to his bed have curbed this trend, but he seems to feel on many a morning that it's worth a try once more.)

Finally, I said, "Tucker, I've had enough of this angry voice. Do not talk again until your voice is kind."

And do you know what he said? Are you ready for this?

My four-year-old said, "Mommy, it's my life."

It's his life. His life. That's what he told me.

I burst out laughing, out of shock and sheer audacity. Oh, really, kiddo?

When I composed myself, I said, "Yes, it is your life. And it's ours too. And I don't want you ruining our mornings with your angry voice."

But I was thinking, "Yes, it's your life. And I'm going to go ahead and shape it for you for as far as your eye can see. For the next many, many years, expect me to be in charge of it."

His life. Please.

Of all the loves...

As we walked out of church on Sunday morning, we were all surprised (and some of us were delighted) to see that it had started snowing while we were inside. Tyler was very chatty about the 'snow everywhere,' and a woman standing nearby said in a very friendly voice, "Do you like the snow?"

And my very sweet child answered her, "Oh, yes! And I like poop too!'

At least he's honest.

(And I didn't make eye contact with her, since the conversation was very suddenly over. There is just no clear direction to a good path from that conversational rabbit trail.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Where Did You Learn That?!

Tap, tap, tap on my arm. "Hey, Mommy?"

But I was enthralled in conversation with my mom at the moment, and I didn't answer right away. Plus, it's good for little boys to wait, now and then. And then some more.

Tap, tap, tap. "Hey, Mommy?"

I put my hand on his. Message: I heard you. One moment, please.

Tap, tap. "Hey, Mommy Butthead?"

Stop that train.

"Excuse me?!?"

"Mommy Butthead."

"We do not say that in our family, Tucker. Where did you hear that?"

"Daddy says it. Daddy says, 'Hey, Mommy Butthead.'"

Okay, no, he doesn't. Let the record show, my husband does not call me - and neither will I answer to - Butthead.

He does, however, call our dog: Molly Butthead Terd-Wad.

And the loose translation of permissible language to little ears is Mommy Butthead.

And what is a Mommy to say, when the boys heard it from their very own supportive parental role model?

"Okay, Dadddy is talking about the dog. But Please don't say that. I know Daddy does. But... just, please don't."

(For the record, Robb thought the use was hysterical... but not so much in reference to Mommy. I stand fully supported of that ix-nay.)

And... I live in a frat house, with an elite vocabulary all my own.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


It's unfortunate when little boys choose to ignore the sound of their mother's voice.

Or her 'boice,' in Tucker's words.

It's really a bummer when they tune out entirely, or worse yet, when they argue the point of their disobedience.

It's especially sad when one brother makes a sad choice that changes the plans for the entire afternoon, and his brother pays the consequences also.

(No park visit for one means no park visit for two.)

But it is really, really great when the mom keeps her cool, states the plan, stands firm, and never raises her voice. It is a joyful occurence when naptime comes swiftly because boys are too tired to argue, because they have cried themselves to pieces over their own relinquished privileges.

I was victorious today, and a lesson was learned.

The fear of your mother is the beginning of wisdom, little boys.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pointing the Finger

We were on our way out the door, and the boys had received authorization and clearance to go into the garage, climb into the van, get in their carseats, and put on seatbelts.

(This is a very accomplished process for them, and it also allows me the last few minutes of solitude to get myself out the door.)

Suddenly, I heard wailing from the garage - the kind the makes me snap to attention. As I quickly gathered by deductive reasoning (since explanations were sparce), the kitchen door closed behind Tyler, nudging him down the two steps more quickly than he'd planned. No injuries, no smashed fingers, no skinned knees, but two very unhappy boys.

Unhappy with me. Really, a better word is angry.

Tyler cried, so tearfully and passionately, "You closed the door on me!"

And Tucker, ever the faithful protector when it is convenient for his cause, accused, "Mommy, you hurt my brother!!"

Okay, no, I didn't. And no, I didn't.

I was far from the door when it came closing, and while that may be in part their point because I didn't stop it from happening, I most certainly did not allow it with intent.

They were angry. Everything stopped while I clarified, under no uncertain terms, that I will never, ever hurt my children or let anything happen to them on purpose. Understand? Everyone?

Repeat it back to me. Clarity is of great importance, gentlemen.

We gathered ourselves, finally accomplished the task of the seatbelts, and headed on our way.

But the scene stayed with me, as I realized how very often I have let that play out with God, in very similar terms. Something comes crashing down on me, shatters nearby, or even gently nudges me faster than I wanted to go. And with whom do I place my blame?

God! Why did you let that happen? Why did you do that to me?? Where were you??

Of course the parallels have limits; God is omnipotent and omnipresent, and I am assuredly not. Even still, there are things that happen - not because he wishes them to, and certainly not because he wasn't paying attention, but merely because they happen.

Because things happen.

Doors slam, knees are skinned, dreams are delayed, hearts ache.

But maybe it's not really his fault at all.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Affirmation Morning

"Mommy, you have one lovely face."
~ Tyler

(Try saying that with a W instead of every L,
and you have a sweet bouquet of words
I'll hear in my head all day long.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Eye on the Prize

"The rewards far outweigh the challenges everyday," she said, a fellow mom of two young children, and she too can count her own challenges on a daily basis. I think she was speaking in hopeful suggestion, the careful answer moms give when push comes to shove and someone might be listening to see if she loves her job.

I respectfully disagreed. I'm not sure that's true.

Right now, the challenges most often outweigh the rewards. There is lots of pushing, shoving, fighting, arguing, complaining, whining, fighting and destruction. All day long.

There is lots of wondering, waiting, worrying, negotiating, praying, and hoping. All day long.

There is lots of wishing I hadn't just said that, or praying they won't remember this, or wishing I could hand-write and carefully choose the childhood movie scenes they'll take with them to adulthood.

There is lots of praying that God will fill in the gaps I left wide open today.

But then, when I'm not expecting it, they will hold hands on a walk. Or they will pray without prompting. Or use manners without reminders. Or play together without invitation. Or one will say, "He's my brother and I like him."

But those are the delicious meatballs on the mound of my spaghetti day. They are the best part, but they don't make the entire meal.

For now, there are more challenges than there are rewards. The rewards are precious and so, so worth it... but they are not far greater than the hard moments in between.

But. BUT. I have my eye on the prize.

Because one day, they will be grown men. And one day, I will look at them through the eyes of someone who has just met them.

And in each of them I'll see a man who is patient, kind, leading, genuine, and careful. And I'll think, "Yep. That's who he is. He does that now because we did that then."

So today, I'll stop complaining about the life stage, resenting the loss of my freedoms, imagining a different lifestyle, and wishing them to grow.

Because this is one good gig. Even if I could change it all, I wouldn't change a thing. Even on the hard days, my path is privileged.

I love you, sweet boys. We did okay today.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Public Memo

Dear Fellow Moms at the Park,
It was a beautiful, sunny day,
and I'm sorry we couldn't resist the splashy calls from the creek.
I apologize if you think that 50 degrees is too cool to play this way,
if you think I should have told them no.
I apologize that we made your parenting a little harder,
since your kids really wanted to play too.
I'm sorry.

But jeans will wash and shoes will dry.
And we had a really fun time.
And for that,
I am never sorry.