Pastor’s Kids are NORMAL

You know your Pastor’s Kids are “normal” when

1. They kick and scream on their way out of the church service

2. You have to carry them out kicking and screaming only after giving them “the Look”.

3. After having a potluck with red juice you cannot stop your kid from throwing things off the second level balcony

4. Your kid steals from the missionary kids

5. Your kid yells out “This is BORING.” or swears uncharacteristically at a bad time.

6. They have an insatiable desire to take communion because it’s food late in the service.

7. They offer to help in Nursery

8. They are willing to have company over at the blink of an eye.

9. They know all the lines to Veggie Tales songs and refuse to watch another one.

10. They feel free to run and give Daddy a hug up on stage.

 

I love being in ministry and hope to be in this with my family for many years. It has been the most crazy, rewarding, humbling and fun time ever.

 

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Toddlers, anyone?

I like to get under the skin of my oldest child once in a while, just to shake things up. He has Asperger Syndrome (which is on the Autism Spectrum) and has very black and white ideas of what life should be like. While he was a fabulous older brother to his siblings when they were little, he now thinks younger kids are a totally different species. They are stinky, messy, loud and tend to break his things. We were in a Dr.’s office today and there was the cutest little almost-two-year-old ever. She was active and chatty and just lovely. So, since I like to mess with his mind to keep things lively, I suggested that maybe we should “get” another baby. Good thing we were in a psychiatrist’s office and she called him in right away, so they had something to talk about. I may or may not have gotten in trouble for joking with him like that. After his session, she asked me into the office, as usual.  I explained that it was just me trying to be funny (ha ha…anyone?) and that it was not at all possible that we were going to be adding to our family in the next two decades….

Toddlers, I love toddlers…when they are with other people! That stage lasted so very long in my house and it was rife with tiny bodies but huge strong-willed behavior. I like to think we are growing the next generation’s leaders…all within my house. They all like to boss everyone else around and not listen to anyone. It is a big responsibility to see the gift of leadership in several children under our care. By God’s grace they will become (and are blossoming into) leaders that will change their worlds.IMG_3077

What did the toddler stage look like in church? You could ask the people who attend our little church in the wildwoods field, but they might all be blocking out that particular stage as effectively as I am. All I remember is trying to all sit in a row, hopefully not in the very front (which the kids inevitably picked), and keep them all entertained/quiet/not yelling while the Reverend did his fine work preaching at the front. Often, that neat little row became a war zone and I was dragging one, two or three kids out for a sound whooping (as if I would do that…) talking to/time out. Crayons were scattered EVERYWERE, peeled papers from crayons littered several rows around us, little cars were on and under the seats…it was a little piece of chaos right there for everyone to see. The grace that surrounded us in those years, by the people we were there to serve, was incredible. Truly. They surround us in love still…even after all the crazy years.

One Sunday, the Reverend recorded his sermon. He sat down, in the living room, to critique his own work. I sat down, with a little dread, to watch with him. All I could see was the front row. When he set up the camera, there was no one in the room. Of course, someone (not me) chose the front row and we were all lined up, front and centre on the recording. I told the Reverend that he may as well just stop the video now because all he was going to see was me giving everyone the “stink eye” and the pointer finger…you know the one. It’s the one that says “You, come here!” or “You, stop or else…” That Sunday was a particularly rough one. I couldn’t stand to watch it. I was embarrassed about how I would actually look. It wasn’t the kids I was worried about, it was me.

I’m glad to say that as the kids age, so am I. Aging, that is. I don’t get as overwrought about all the little things that kids do. I don’t have the energy. Also, my “stink eye” has been perfected over the years.

My kids are going to need years of counselling. Am I alone here?

Doing time in the nursery

This time it's green tea.

This time it’s green tea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an active volunteer and member of our small church, I do time  in the Nursery Program we run for the little ones during the sermon part of the service. I love me some toddlers and preschoolers and yet feel that sometimes I come across as scary and slightly crazy as “Animal” from the Muppets does. I can act a mite nutty  so it actually works for me in the Nursery Program we have in the church. They think I’m nuts and they are crawling all over me…except the shy girl with the soother. Poor thing. Think I may have scared her.

It was my turn today, and I must admit my arthritic pain was making me feel more like a grandma. Stiff, old and a little snarly, If I am going to be totally honest.

There was an absolute darling amount of children in that Nursery and I pulled some of my kids in just to help with keeping some of them entertained. I also did not want my children having a brawl out front while The Reverend was preaching and I would not be there to stop it. They were big helps! I’m glad I “recruited” them.

In the meantime, I was having a particularly silly pretend tea party with a young lady (3) who usually doesn’t really like me. Today she was hugging me, and telling me she “really liked” me. She would NOT let me go! So we had a good time scarfing down pretend food and tea and kept party going while the silly faces and sounds abounded. She handed me a “pot of tea” right to my face like here drink it “NOW”. I almost tossed it back until I saw there was something moving in the “tea pot”. This something startled me so I ….

a) Screamed and ran out of the room crying, upsetting The Reverend so much during his sermon that he had to stop

b) Drank the definitely alive spider in one terrific gulp and belched loudly afterward, like a good pirate. I was pretending to be a pirate at the “Tea Party”.

c) Screamed, threw the spider onto the floor and crushed it in front of 10 toddler/preschool witnesses.

Tell me which one you think it was and win the reward of being the smarty pants.

I’m still trembling a little it whilst singing in my head, “There was an old lady who swallowed a spider, it wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her…perhaps she’ll die.”

English: Unknown spider

For the record, the little hostess did not tell me she was serving live food to the guests…

You have a COOL mom!

Alberta Highway 16

Alberta Highway 16 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My son’s face fell when he heard the news that The Reverend was not able to drive he and his two friends to an event that night. I looked at him and said “You don’t think I’m cool?”  My son finds it hard to hide the truth. “Um, uh, well, oh, um….” He tried.

It was official, my eleven year old didn’t think I was cool.

“So, what you are saying is that your Dad is cooler than me?”

“Well….” Avoiding eye contact completely.

I asked for it really.

We were on our way back home when they started talking about barf. I have a fairly awesome sense of humour but there is only so much barf talk one mom can take. I told them “If you say the word barf one more time, I am going to stop and make you run around the van ten times!” They took this as some sort of personal challenge.

**Whisper, whisper…even more hushed whispers, giggle, giggle**

I stared at them in the rear-view mirror. I knew they were up to no good.

More whispers “blah, blah, blah…barf.” I heard it plainly. It’s like they wanted me to pull over.

I did. Safely…I promise!

Two of them were definitely involved so I said “Get out and do your laps!”

They tried to look shocked. I’ll give them that. More peals of laughter and two 11-year-old boys started running around the van. I eyeballed the third, who looked completely innocent. I am nobody’s fool though.

The third “innocent” friend laughed and counted. As the two started climbing back in the van their friend piped up “That was only eight laps!” The two backed out of the door and finished up an extra two laps. Suckers!

I am certain I heard them whisper to my son “You have such a cool mom!”

A look of horror, or was it admiration, passed across my son’s face as I put the van in Drive.

I hoped their parents thought I was cool too because I could have been in big doo doo.

Someone, OPEN THE WINDOW!!

Glowing Bowling Alley

Glowing Bowling Alley (Photo credit: atmtx)

Last night, I went along with the Youth Group. We haven’t had one at our church for a few years because of population issues, meaning, there are only so many that go to our church. We are officially starting it up again and last night’s activity was a short road trip to join another youth group for Glow Bowling. The Disco ball and fluorescent colors of the girls clothing took me back a few decades. They didn’t even have electric score keepers so it was old school big time!

We were lucky enough to get the boys for the forty minute trip. Woo hoo!  I love pubescent boys. That may sound weird, but I mean it in the most hilarious sense. They make absolutely no sense at all! None. Even their fart talk goes off on some sort of rabbit trail that leaves adults (except the men) wondering “Huh?” Everyone was getting along and giggling like school girls, so it was all good. I am immune to fart talk and it doesn’t even phase me until they start trying to give real examples. That’s where I draw the line in a small vehicle. A Grand Caravan is not big enough for those kind of competitions. Good news, they are still afraid of me because they are just getting taller than me but not quite far ahead of my height to know whether they could take me down. When I said “Change the topic!” they actually did.

I heard one of them say about one of the girls “I think she likes me. She was looking at me. Pretty sure she has a crush on me.” It could be that the look the pretty gal had given him was akin to “What kind of alien is he?” and “How do I not get in the same vehicle for this trip?” but then again, I could be wrong. I was an adolescent girl once. I do know how their minds work with all the drama, crying and manipulation. I get them. They are weird in their adolescence too but I get it. I am  certain her excited and hyper fluttering about was not flirting with him. She is just an excitable person. I did not burst his bubble as I listened to the other boys speculate. They didn’t seem to know what a girl looks like when they have a crush on someone so they were no use. “She acts kind of flirty around me.” He continued. Before getting into van, a few minutes before,  he had pretended to be invisible. The logic would go that if he was trying to be invisible then how would he know it was him she was flirting with? I’m not completely sure why he was trying to be invisible before getting in the van…??

I can tell you this with absolute certainty. Boys talk more than girls. I have been around boys quite often in my lifetime and almost every one of them can talk the hind end off a deaf donkey. I am pretty sure that when men get married, there is a grand conspiracy among them to make us women think that they can’t talk. Ha! I know it ain’t true, Y’all! Even the “professionals” and all the stats say men talk less than women. I have found the answer…They don’t seem to be able to talk much because they talk it all out before they turn twenty!  It’s true!  Boys talk so much when they are young/pubescent/trying to impress girls that they simply run out of their allotted amount of words when they get married.

All that to say, it was a fun evening. Being in the van with the boys took me back to my earlier days in Youth work and it was a fun flashback. Even the Reverend acted a lot like a pubescent boy last night. Middle-aged boys…maybe they never truly grow out of it. Good thing us girls grow up and don’t have any more fun.

Ha.

The Reverend’s Wife has a magical purse

Spring Green Purse

Spring Green Purse (Photo credit: Jilted Ballerina)

The Magical Purse shall be named Eunice. My purse collection has been through so many transitions throughout the years. In the beginning it was called “Diaper Bag of Huge Proportions”. After all, with four kids arriving in five years, a large carrying case was just the thing to tote when we were out and about. It carried all the tricks we needed.  If one looked one could find almost anything except a Kleenex. I didn’t believe in Kleenex’s…or maybe I always forgot to put some in those magic pockets? Regardless, there was always another mom with a bag of tricks to beg for tissues from.

The Diaper Bag of Huge Proportions went from ginormous to fantastically and fashionably small when I picked a new bag, after all my children were toilet trained and weaned from the infernal sippy cup. I was almost giddy with excitement as I picked out Eunice. She seemed weightless in comparison to the cumbersome tote. I still needed tricks, but a smaller handbag meant less tricks.

Sadly, I discovered that my Eunice just wouldn’t hold enough tricks for the crowd. In church one day I was giving a certain child the “evil eye” when I remembered since-forgotten bigger bag of magic. I recalled the snacks that kept them quiet. The little cup of Cheerios would go a long way to keep them occupied even still! The only snack I may have in my purse, at the moment, is a stale gumball from last year’s Harvest Carnival. I guess I could brush the hairs and lint off next time they ask. A soother would quiet them for a time back in the day, but now? I don’t even have a stick of gum to adhere their teeth together. I need lip balm and hand cream in there somewhere for the dry skin that will surely arrive at any moment. then there are the medications (see largest purse you can imagine) that keep my head from spinning off it’s holder, called a neck. A first aide kit seems like an essential with all the falling off chairs, skidding out on skate boards and hang nail crisis.

In the middle of the freakishly unpredictable winter it will not do to have a small Magic Purse, poor Eunice! There are reasons I need a bigger bag and regretfully I will indeed need to purchase a bigger tote that will carry all that I need. I thought my kids had outgrown the need for a Mother’s Magic Bag of tricks but alas they have not. Good-bye fashion-friendly handbag, hello more frequent visits to the chiropractor.

I need room for my magic wallet, which according to the kids, contains enchanted money. I tell them it’s a credit card and there is nothing magic about it. I consider the coupons stuffed in the pockets more enchanting than those silly store points cards, yet I somehow I keep using them…they earn me points and points means money, right? Mommy needs a little magic now and again!

It seems that there is always a reason to have a bigger purse and I have found several. When my kids are getting antsy in church, I will (when I get this bigger bag) pull out the bubble timer that has mesmerizing bubbles but It also works as a timer. “How much longer is daddy going to preach???” I could say ” Let’s count how many times you have to turn the timer before he ends.” It would be brilliant, at the very least, to have a pad of paper and a pen so they can write sermon notes (uh huh!) or doodle the latest hair the Reverend is sporting. A stress ball would be handy to have just in case a brother is dancing on the last nerve of a certain sister. Just squeeze the ball instead of punching, sweetie.

A purse like that could save me a lot if trouble!

Poor Eunice. She was a nice purse. I was too hasty when I kissed that diaper bag away…I should have kept it and saved the Reverend a few dollars. I will miss you, Sweet Eunice but I may pull you out again. It’s not good-bye forever. It’s just farewell until the kids are grown and I can find you in that dusty dark corner I will put you in. Perhaps that dusty gumball will have some use again.

Just when you thought it was safe….

…to enter the pew beside us.

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Strange things can go terribly right or wrong if you are sitting in the row behind or in front of us in church. As the Reverend’s illustrious, if not notorious, family  you can be highly entertained or greatly annoyed if you choose to sit near us.

There will be days I look over at my crew and think “Glory Hallelujah!  God has answered my prayers. They are all sitting so NICE! They are finally growing up.”  I am pleased to say that this happens more often than not these days.

Then there are those Sundays where there is a carefree child dancing to her own tune in the middle of the sermon in front of the pulpit. It could be that she was dancing before the Lord, but it could also have been a little distracting for those actually trying to listen to the Reverend. Instead she was twirling and dancing to her own tune. At least that hasn’t happened in a while.

There are other times my boys suddenly think bodily noises are hilarious and appropriate in a hushed crowded room. They may start making some not-as-polite-noises from their mouths  or armpits.

I especially love (read a little sarcasm) the days where one or the other or all of them must be dragged screaming from the services something to the tune of “HELP ME! HEEEELLLLLLP ME!” True story. She may have even yelled “DAAAaaaaaaAAAAD!!”

Then there are the average Sundays where I pray that my children might glean at least one gem from the service. It usually happens that two sit on one side of me, and two on the other. This seating arrangement allows me the arm length ability to whack tap them “lightly” on the back of the head or shoulder as a reminder to mind their manners and be quiet or sit down or pay attention. Yes, I am that mother. Whacking my kids towards stronger spiritual walk. If that doesn’t work, I have the Mom’s Withering Look. We all know what that looks like because we have all received it at some point. I can stare from the other side of the church and my kids know they are busted.

Despite all of that, My prayer is that even if they are looking bored, picking their noses or what-have-you, that some small amazing piece of what is being said and sung will be said and sung right into their hearts.  God LOVES the little children. HE sees them as they are and loves how he made those crazy creatures. He want’s our time together, as a body of believers, to be one where the little children are blessed and asked to come to him.

I love our critters, just the way God made them. Ultimately, when we arrive at church we are there to get down to the business of letting God impress on our hearts and on the hearts of our children the love he has for US and the grace he gives to all. We are there to worship God and in doing so show the children around us how worthy He is to be praised.

I pray the grace that I show to my children, and the children in our midst, gets deeper as I realize that the grace that God extends to me is as deep as an ocean.

Sometimes I can act ridiculous and yet He still loves me. I’m so glad he doesn’t whack me on the head. That is one very big hand.