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Game On

Have you ever been in the middle of saying something and realized you didn’t mean to sound that way? Or started speaking and it comes out as though you’re insufferably agitated, except that you don’t actually feel as upset as you sound?

Hello, I’d like to introduce myself. I am that person.

About a week ago, I had a startling come-to when I heard myself speaking to my kids. I wasn’t being kind or gentle or patient. I wasn’t communicating in a way that made sense to them. But strangely, I wasn’t even communicating how I actually felt- my words were way more agitated and demanding than I intended them to be. Ew. I would not want to be in my kids’ shoes as they look up at this weird monster mommy spewing strange ugliness from her mouth.

I realized I have been way too serious lately. I think I have new wrinkles between my eyebrows. My patience for kid-stuff seems to have gotten lost somewhere or melted in this desert heat. I haven’t been Nice and Nurturing Mommy, which is maybe why Micah has started calling me Sir.

So, I decided to try an experiment with myself. It goes like this:

Play more games.


Dear me, ease up a little! When I feel grumpy, the last thing I want to do is play Mario or Angelina Ballerina or Super Why (“Mom, you’re Super Wide!” Norah says) again. But playing games with my kids is an easy way to connect, enter their lighthearted world, and shed some seriousness between us. Really, it isn’t hard to play games as we go about our everyday life, and what it often comes down to is my decision to do it. Sometimes I don’t want to because I don’t want to be silly and laugh with my kids. Sounds stupid, right? But sometimes I just want to be serious and grumpy. I want everyone to obey and be quiet and just calm the heck down. Then I end up making everyone grumpy with me. So this week I’ve started gaming.

Since we need a game all of us can dive into, we came up with some super silly ones that can be played anywhere. We can revert to these quickly whenever we need a good laugh together. Or when I’m about to lose my mind because they just won’t take anymore bites of their dinner, dang it!

1. The Rule Game: each person takes turns saying a rule they make up. It has to be outrageous. Last night Micah made the rule that we never put flowers on our toes. Norah made the rule that we can never drink coffee, at which point I threw my head back and shouted a desperate “Noooooooooooooo!” straight to the heavens. I know God heard and had compassion on me.

2. Snail. Who knows where this came from, but one day our fingers turned into snails. We often play this at meals because it’s a sure fire way to keep my kids in their seats. By making our first two fingers into snail antennae, and bobbing them up and down when we speak, we can create innumerable snail adventures all within the confines of our trusty dining room table. (Snails can only live on dining room tables, obviously.) We gave them names to create an ongoing game. Norah’s is Cutesy Baby, and Micah’s is Super Basketball Star. Mine, quite anticlimactically, is Snail.

3. Word Face. This one is simple. Say a word, any word, and make a face. They don’t have to match. It helps if you also do some weird motion or noise. The best part about it is how absurd it is, and how absolutely hilarious the kids find it.


4. What I love about… : This one isn’t funny, but I’ve found it very useful in breaking the heat of the moment when I’m about to lose it or when we just need to calm down a bit. I’ll pick a person and say, “ok, for the next three minutes, the only words we can say are what we love about Daddy (or whoever else I think of in the moment)”. This one helps to break the whinies too.

5. That’s too bad. I don’t know about your family, but we can ramp up considerable amounts of drama around here. Sometimes I have to just roll my eyes at the level of screaming over the tiniest things. So, for things that aren’t really a big deal and don’t need to be coddled, we’ve started ramping up the drama more. If they bonk their leg, we’ll say, ” oh, that’s too bad both your legs fell off and now you have to slide around on the floor for the rest of your life !” Or if they are being crazy and run into something, we ‘ll say, “that’s too bad you thought you could just break down the wall with your head!” This morning Micah didn’t want me to take a shower because he didn’t want to “be alone.” So, naturally, Davy and I started telling him it was too bad that he was all alone in the whole world, without any Daddy or two sisters sitting next to him on the couch. Of course, he’s the loneliest boy in the whole world, with no one next to him on the couch to tickle him for the rest of his life (at which point everyone started tickling him). Usually we make it as absurd as we can, which gets them laughing.

By finding little games that I can throw into the day, we break up the seriousness of discipline and the request repeats (Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes!). And often when I’m throwing in some playing, things like “put on your shoes” are met with more cheerful attitudes than when I’m walking around with my eyebrows furrowed and I bark, “Put! On! Your! Shoes !” Surprise surprise.

I feel better about the day because, amazingly, I benefit from silly games too. Laughter, especially shared with my family, helps me enjoy everyone more, which helps me enjoy life in general. So, the next game I’m planning to add to our arsenal is a dance off. Norah’s already practicing to be Disco Disco Crazy. Come on over and show us your best moves.




PS. Here’s a cute baby.



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Raising My Expectations

I walked into the bathroom and found Norah putting change into a plastic container.

” What are you doing, Norah?”

“Putting money in here.”

“Why?” I ask.

“For the poor children.”



I felt kind of surprised. I wish I could say we are a very outward focused family – one that continually looks for outreach opportunities and not only talks about helping others, but actually does it. I really, really wish I could say that. But I can’t. Lately, especially in the space of time that Norah can actually remember, it seems like our lives have been focused on simply making it through the day. Getting my kids fed, bathed, clothed; refereeing, acting as doctor, and keeping them from smothering the baby is my (very full) everyday routine.

“What made you think of doing that, honey?”

She looked at me with a straight face, not one seeking approval or praise, and said, “Jesus told me.”

Oh my. I had noticed lately that when things started to heat up in her little life, she disappeared into her room for awhile. A couple of days ago, I overheard her say in a very agitated tone, “Jesus, thank you for my better attitude.” But I didn’t ever actually expect that Norah was having a real encounter with Jesus.

But why didn’t I? Why wouldn’t I include “Jesus meeting my daughter” in a daily list of expectations, instead of on an “I hope this happens someday” list of expectations? No matter that she doesn’t understand the difference between a Thankful prayer and a Request prayer. No matter that she doesn’t understand what being a poor child really looks like. Her having a spiritual encounter with God shouldn’t be so surprising to me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my expectations lately. More specifically how my daily expectations are not being met. Like how I should be able to clean something in my house and get my kids outside and read more and teach them how to read and get yesterday’s laundry out of the dryer and fold last week’s clean laundry to get it out of the laundry basket and make a meal plan. And somehow stop my kids from fighting and keep the noise level down and create a napping routine and try to remember how long it’s been since the last feeding/changing/bath and –

And Norah’s beautiful encounter shattered my expectations. I’ve been aiming so low. When I set my eyes and my expectations on what is below my shoulders – cleaning, laundry, perfection in myself, and my kids becoming “better people”, I find myself continually disappointed. I never arrive, so my expectations are never met, so I feel upset about life. There is always another dish to clean and load of laundry to do and squabble to work out and character issue to discuss. I’ve been trying to figure out why I make expectations out of these things. Sure, they have to be done, but why set my heart on them? Why not set my heart on what’s valuable: meeting Jesus daily and teaching my kids how to meet Him daily, investing in my kids, modeling character, and reaching out to others? Why not set my daily standard on those things, knowing that if I focus my energy on these, we will reap beautiful reward?

Lowering my expectations and raising my standard means I have new hope for the day. It means I can let go of controlling the noise level and feeling inconvenienced by the mud and stop counting the number of burp cloths we’ve gone through. By raising the standard, instead of just expecting to be doing the same old stuff, we invite life here. Because opening ourselves to the creativity and will of God means no more disappointment about not meeting my own imperfect expectations. It means that what I look for are the opportunities – to hear God speaking to me, to create an atmosphere for Him to speak to my kids, and to create a family culture where we act on what He says.

I can’t say I know exactly what this looks like in “real life.” But I know for sure that changing the tune in my own heart sets the stage for the rest of the family. Raising my eyes to Jesus throughout every day will cause my kids to want to see what I’m looking at. And that’s exactly where we are going to start.



And Now There Are Three.

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who said she would never have kids. And now she has three.

Ok, ok, give me a break. I know my storytelling abilities should be way more developed by now, but I’ve never been great at storytelling. I did tell the truth, however. Once I genuinely thought I wouldn’t have any kids. And now I have three. Welcome to the circus.

My sweet Elena was gigantic when she was born. Eight pounds, 13 ounces. I will mention this only once (please don’t hate me, Lovely Other Moms), but I thank God a million times over because I only really labored two hours with her. It was the weirdest and most amazing thing, and also the biggest answer to “an easy labor” prayers. My little love was (and is) perfect.



I held off on this post because I wanted to see what things were really like with three before I wrote anything about it. I didn’t want to be too gushy about the beauty of three kids. I didn’t want to harp on how hard it is. I didn’t want to bemoan my lack of sleep. So here’s what I’ve realized over the last 2 months: having kids, regardless of how many, is all about perspective.



Take today, for example. I ventured out with all three by myself and had quite the afternoon. It consisted of a rousing game of I Spy, a lot of smiles from strangers because of my baby in the wrap, a lot of scowls from strangers because of my loudly crying children, explaining exactly why I don’t put money in the rides at the mall, an extensive trip to Mars (an echoing countdown to blastoff included), chasing a bouncy ball across the store while dodging other customers and leaving my two year old spinning in circles and screaming, letting my four year old get drenched in a splash pad I didn’t plan for, and having my feet peed on. And while I genuinely questioned my sanity on the drive home (and for the next several hours, actually), I realized that this life is good. It’s not easy, but it’s good.

Keeping my perspective that this life I have is good, even in the mess and stress and craziness, means that I’m training myself to be thankful for everything instead of upset that there are hiccups along the road. Often the beautiful moments happen in the same sitting as the challenges – interactions morph almost instantly back and forth, and the presence of the challenges doesn’t diminish the quality of the sweet or meaningful moments. For example, just because one of my children (who shall remain nameless) decided to throw chewed food into my face at dinner doesn’t take away the sweetness of the fact that two minutes before we were reading a Bible story and having a really good conversation about Jesus calming the storm. Keeping perspective means that I intentionally remember the good and the potential for good in my children and my situations, even when my natural tendency is to be pessimistic.

So today I am thankful that I have three kids who are healthy and able to cry and have meltdowns, even if those meltdowns embarrass me.

Today I’m thankful for a baby who sleeps well, even if she only does so in my wrap.



Today I’m thankful for a car to drive us all around, even if I have to fight with the car seats every time we get in.

Today I’m thankful for keeping a kids’ potty in the trunk, even if it means having my feet accidentally peed on.

Today I’m thankful for the absolute, adoring love Micah and Norah have for their new sister, even though I spend a good majority of my time protecting Elena from smothering.



I’m coming back to the blog with a new sense of transparency. More than ever I understand what it means to be stretched beyond my capabilities – my heart feels close to exploding with joy and love for my family one moment and exploding with frustration and agitation the next. I never imagined the feeling of expanding my wings to hold all the love, emotions, and developments of three ages, three people, and three distinct personalities, and yet looking back to just eight weeks ago makes me feel like there had to have been a void – unknown and unrecognized – that Elena now fills. We are growing together as a living puzzle, and among all the learning and wonderfulness and difficulty, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Five Tips To Surviving Your Third Trimester

My dear readers, I owe you an explanation. I did not intend to drop off the face of the blogosphere, but it was inevitable. My reason for disappearing is good – I am currently about 95% crazy pregnant lady. Being only 4-6 weeks away from my due date (Dear God, please let it be 4!), my nesting drive is in full swing. Every morning I wake up with a list longer than my pregnant brain can actually remember of things I want to accomplish before Elena comes, and everyday I accomplish about 1/3 of one of those tasks. The irony that I am more motivated to get things cleaned and organized during the same season that I am at about 20% of my ability to move has not escaped me. And yet, everyday I hope…I dream…

I have also been mentally consumed, not with writing my next post, but with deep and life altering questions. I find the need to imagine my way through scenarios such as, if I drop my keys, is it faster to call for Micah across the house , convince him to stop what he’s doing , and come help me? Or is it faster to squat to get them myself? And if I choose to get them, is there the possibility of me actually getting back up off the floor? Another frequent question is, how can I plan my trip around this grocery store to take the fewest number of steps and still get the maximum number of samples?

So here, my readers are five tips I’ve come up with to survive the third trimester of your pregnancy, especially if you have two other children in tow. Feel free to share this wisdom with sisters, daughters, friends, cousins, etc.

1. Train yourself to think of the hippopotamus and the whale as beautiful creatures. This will help you immensely when getting dressed every morning.

2. Don’t stress about the mess. Think about it. It’s so much easier to park yourself in the middle of all the toys that are already out and play with your kids for a couple of hours instead of bending over to pick up the same car six times a day. Think of it as organizational play and make piles of the ones that you’ll scoop into the give away box when you finally get the energy to stand up.

3. When in doubt, go for the dark chocolate. Hungry for a snack? Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. Can’t decide if you prefer dark blue to baby blue in the nursery? Dark chocolate is the perfect brain food to help you creatively solve this problem. Arguing with your husband over just how many prenatal massages you need? Come, let us reason together over some dark chocolate.

4. Groaning and grunting are perfectly acceptable forms of communication with your family for weeks 32-40. Just try to explain to your two year old that she is actually still big enough for real words, but that mommy is too big for them.

5. Bond with that baby. It’s easier to endure all the discomforts when you remember that there’s actually a tiny human in there. Take the opportunity to lay on the couch and watch your bump move, and let your kids do the same. Talk and sing to that unseen wonder, and teach your kids the excitement of seeing the baby respond to what you do. I’ve taken many a necessary short nap while my kids shout jibberish into my belly button and kiss my stretch marks.

So there you have it. And now I will leave you for some chocolate ice cream and a brainstorming session on just how I’ll get off the couch when I’m finished with it.

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The Powerful Trade

Me: And the earth shook, and an angel came and -
Micah: He pushed the stone away! Mom, if I were like eighteen hundred years old, I could push the stone away, and the angel wouldn’t have to. I would be strong enough, maybe even stronger than Daddy!

There is a sweetness in the innocence of our kids. I love the way worlds merge and they understand everything in such literal ways. While I choose to believe that Jesus literally died for our sins, that an angel literally moved the stone away from His tomb, and that Jesus literally came back to life, the reality of the Easter story isn’t even a question to Micah. The real question for him is how many years old he has to be before he’s strong enough to move the stone (and also maybe how old Daddy really is, since by 1800 years old, Micah only might be stronger than him…)

Micah’s ready acceptance of Jesus’ death and resurrection speaks volumes to me. Not only does it test my heart – do I really, fully believe the way my four year old does? It also shows me the beauty of the simplicity of the gospel. Almost every kid understands the power of a trade, and almost every kid understands the sting of a consequence or punishment. Jesus didn’t just come to save adults. He came to save everyone, and in His beautiful wisdom, He did so through concepts that even kids can understand.

The other day I was trying to explain this to the kids. “It would be like if you did the biggest disobedience you could do. And Mommy was going to give you a gigantic time out, but then Jesus came and said, ‘I love Micah and Norah so much that I will do their time out for them. That way, you can forgive them, Mommy.'”
Norah started jumping on her bed at this point, but Micah said, “Yeah, and then I would not want to do that disobedience ever again. After that, I would ask Jesus to make me never do it again.”

At it’s most basic level, Jesus speaks His sacrifice to our hearts, whispering that His love is the motivator for making the trade for us. He didn’t do it because He wanted to have one up on us or hold it over our heads. He did it because He wants us to be able to be forgiven. He came to take the consequence for our biggest (and smallest) disobedience, willingly enduring the punishment so that God could forgive us and restore us back to Him. There is power in that trade. There is a heaviness and a beauty to that sacrifice. Christ, pure and sinless, enduring the wrath of a good God, justified in giving us punishment for our full, willing, and intentional disobedience, so that we can be allowed to be part of the family of God. So that we aren’t separated anymore from the wholeness that comes through being welcomed to God’s family.

Like a father, God can’t let us get away with disobedience and sin. It seeps into the cracks. It corrodes the good that it comes into contact with. My kids know what that’s like. How many times has everyone in the family become grumpy just because one of us woke up grumpy that morning? If they’re choosing to be ugly to us, or have yucky attitudes, or be willfully disobedient, they can’t be around the family. They have to be separated – a.k.a. “sit in your bed until you are ready” – until they can choose to say sorry and change their attitude or the way they’re treating us. In the same way, when we sin, we have to be separated from God, until we choose to accept the trade Jesus has offered us, asking for forgiveness, accepting that He already took the punishment for our big disobedience and that He can return us to the forgiveness and open arms of God the Father.

When I think of Micah trying to determine just how strong he would have to be to move the stone for Jesus, I can’t help but tear up. Jesus, powerful enough to take our sins and conquer death and the grave, big enough to shoulder the weight of the world’s sins (past and present and future), and strong enough to provide a bridge for us to a holy God, is still tender and focused enough to make the message of His sacrifice accessible even to small children. It isn’t a matter of whether this could happen . To Micah, it’s a matter of joining in because it is so exciting. Who doesn’t want to accept and be part of a trade this powerful? Who doesn’t want to trade their punishment for the biggest disobedience for being forgiven and restored to a family that loves you so much? And if being 1800 and strong enough to push that stone away and hurry up the process is the way to do it , Micah wants in.

At bedtime tonight, I told the kids that whoever asks Jesus to forgive their sins can go to heaven when they die because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. “I’ve already done that, Mommy,” Micah said. “But I really want Nay Nay to do it. I want her to know what it feels like.”

Me too, buddy. Because being forgiven and being restored is the most incredible thing , especially when we understand just how much we don’t deserve that trade. And the beautiful thing is, we don’t have to be strong or big or super smart to accept the trade. We just have to believe. Jesus has already done all the work. Instead of having to push the stone away ourselves, make the trade ourselves, or find a way to forgiveness for our dark secrets ourselves, we can do the other thing the angel did: sit on the stone and say, literally, “Jesus is not dead. Jesus is alive!” And because He lives, so can we.

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Shedding Selfishness

So, I didn’t expect to write this post so soon. I thought I’d give it about two weeks to really track my progress and change. But I’m one week in and it deserves a post. I warn you , it is long. But please read through it because it is my heart on a…screen.

I deleted my “go- to” apps off of my phone.

A couple of weeks ago, I reposted this post about trying not to use my smart phone as often. I have a theory that consistently turning to my phone circumvents my brain’s natural processing. I am more distracted, less able to process complicated issues to their fullness, and less likely to engage in depth (conversations, books, problems that need attention, etc). But for all the nice talk of that post, and for all of my good intentions, my phone and my go-to apps are too alluring.

So I deleted them. I didn’t want to, and honestly I struggled to do it for a long time. But one night I was praying about the negativity I’ve picked up toward my children over the last few weeks. It was really bothering me that my patience had seemed to disappear and I was frustrated over small, insignificant things all the time. I watched myself from an outside view and shuddered at what I saw. This was not the mom I wanted to be. This is not the mom I am, but this is the mom I am letting myself become unless I make some changes. I felt God challenge me again to delete these apps from my phone.

Now, please note that this is my experience and mine alone. I am not saying you are a terrible mom if you have go-to apps on your phone, nor am I saying you have to delete any of them. I’m just sharing my experience.

After a short argument with God ( yes , sometimes I revert to the two year old behavior I have never actually overcome in my heart), the whole issue about my apps came clear: I was using them as an excuse to feed my selfishness. Parenting is hard. It’s exhausting and can be frustrating when you are in a challenging season with your children. Somewhere I had let an idea creep in that because I’m giving so much to my kids – my attention, my sleep, my efforts, my life – I deserve to be a little selfish. After all, what about me? I mean , for reals, what about me, dang it ? I deserve a break every so often. In fact , I deserve a break whenever I start to feel overwhelmed because I’m in this for the long haul, which means I have to pace myself. Right?

Wrong. Instead of putting my big mama pants on and really going into this for the long haul, I got into this habit of just doing short sprints. I invest just long enough to feel the tug of agitation, and then I check out by checking on my favorite apps or sites. I’m wearing sandals instead of running shoes, and then I’m wondering why the heck my feet hurt so bad. The habit of having a go-to on my phone is short circuiting my ability to see something through with my kids, whether in discipline or in fun. How many times has the pull to post a picture of the fun thing we’re doing interrupted or stopped the fun thing itself? How many times have I not followed through on a consequence because I just want tell someone how hard it is in this moment? How many times has the draw to see what’s going on in the outside world caused me to shirk something that needs attention?

Too many, sadly enough. I am embarrassed to admit it, but my own selfishness has caused my love for technology to increase to a point where my kindness, patience, and grace for my children has diminished. I’m putting my own desire for a break and the lie that I deserve this above investing in my kids. I have turned my favorite job and responsibility into a burden because I am putting my own feelings of ” this is really hard” into action. I am doing this instead of buckling down, taking my kids by the hand, and pursing goodness, gentleness, grace, and solid relationship together, even if it is really hard. Because, honestly, no one ever said it should be easy. Easy is overrated.

Back to the challenge: I deleted these apps from my phone and instantly, I felt freed. It was weird , but it was almost like cutting myself free from this tether that always got the best of me. I finally stopped being pulled all the time, and I had control over when and where I could check them. Here are the things I noticed almost immediately after I made this change :

- I could focus. I stopped thinking of everything in terms of a short status update and started looking at life as a whole. Interconnected. A process instead of a one liner or a single picture. Because of this, I could focus on the moment as part of a stream of life and invest now so that it creates a better foundation for later. I could see patterns in behavior and words instead of just hearing fussing.

- I could anticipate my kids ‘ needs better. I had this habit of checking my apps whenever we had a minute of downtime. Not having this option enables me to see the need for a change of scenery, a snack, or a snuggle before the need is so intense that it causes them to be agitated or frustrated. We’re having a lot more peace simply because I am actually doing my job before everyone is mad.

- I have so much more time. I am accomplishing so many more things in a day than I thought possible, partly because I’m fighting that “I need a break” selfishness and actually getting proactive. And partially because a lot of technology is a time eater. Even though it can feel productive, it doesn’t actually accomplish anything. Often it left me feeling like I still need more of a break because it didn’t fulfill my desire to be productive.

- I am much more content and happier with what my life is like now. I try hard not to compare myself to other people, but this becomes inevitable when everyone is focused on posting beautiful pictures of themselves, “progress” updates where we see how much they did today or how well they ate or how long they worked out, and especially the comparison of children and how smart/cute/creative they ( or we as parents) are. I admit to doing this too. But not having that bombarding me so many times in the day has really freed me to see my life as beautiful the way it is.

I chose to write this (now extremely long) post to be transparent to you. This is my love affair with technology that I am finally casting off, and it feels pretty darn good. There is nothing so important about faceless technology and it’s alluring applications that trumps the value of my children and husband. They deserve my face, my smile, and my eyes without a phone constantly between us. So here is my commitment, and maybe my challenge to you: I will value my family above my phone, tablet , or computer, and I will love doing it.

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To the Lady at the Mall

*Disclaimer: this post is intended to be sarcastic.*

Dear Lady at the Mall,

Yeah, after the way you looked at me waddling toward the play place, a child on each hand, I discovered the smear of toothpaste from someone’s small lips all over the underbelly of my shirt. You had a look of pity in that smile, and I had assumed it was because I’m great with child and have two others under five. But now I think it’s probably because you realized I didn’t get the chance to glance at myself in the mirror before we left the house. It’s true – I didn’t. Because if I had taken the time to do that, one of my kids would manage to lose the shoes I had already double knotted on their feet and the other would’ve peed their pants.

But don’t worry, Lady. I am totally owning this toothpaste stain. This Big Mama is working it. Rocking it, even. As you probably already noticed, it matches pretty well with the wrinkled look and dark eye circles I’m sporting. At least I’m wearing some bracelets. I am quite the pair with my daughter, whose twenty barrettes around a crooked and messy ponytail create some awkward bumps under the sweatshirt hood she insists on wearing, even though it is 73 degrees outside. You must pity my poor son, who looks very normal and unfashionable in his pants and tshirt. His only defining characteristic this morning is his unruly cowlick. I confess I tried to wet it down with about three gallons of water, but no one listens to me, least of all the unruly cowlick.

Yes, I know I’m carrying a bright pink lunchbox into the food court of the mall. We do that “bring your own lunch” thing, and I’d thank you not to let my kids in on the fact that everyone else gets to eat chicken nuggets and ketchup when they come here. Listen, I already masterfully diced my kids’ lunch into appealing snack sized bites and packed them into cute snack cups. Nevermind that I will end up feeding them each bite anyway because their arms suddenly develop headaches at the sight of real food. If you ask me, I’ll tell you we are playing mommy and baby birds. But if you simply watch, it might look more like I’m pleading and threatening rather than playing. But not bribing. A mom’s gotta draw the line somewhere.

That’s right, my son is the one running at top speed and honking in his loudest voice. This play place doesn’t really require inside voices, right? Race cars and trains and construction trucks all make that honk, and it’s important for those honks to be done somewhere that’s not the car or the kitchen or in my ear. I’m sure you can get used to it if you sit here and watch us long enough. But you can go ahead and sit in a different part of the food court if you want . These honks will follow you there too , but they may sound more endearing if you’re farther away and you give them a chance to drift toward you through the air. It’s all about the distance, really. They’re very tolerable about 50 to 100 feet away, at which point they kind of break into various harmonies of each other.

And don’t worry about sticking around so you can gasp at all of those crazy tumbles my daughter is taking. The nose dive off of the squishy pig really wasn’t so bad, and the little boy she smashed into at the bottom of the slide was totally fine. His mom only rushed over because he’s, like, bigger than her and didn’t even cry. After all, she is the only girl here and is trying to keep up with all the boys. We’ve already discovered that no little boy respects a girl playing with a hot wheels car – they think it’s some kind of mistake. They take it away like it’s an insult for her to have it. How else will she stake her claim at the play place without a little rough and tumble?

Oh, ok. I’ll let you go now. No worries , we can handle the rest of this outing alone. I promise we will make it out of here and all the way home, with or without incident. You never know, really, which it will be, but it will be one of them. I’ll let you imagine the worst, and then I’ll scale it back just a bit. I’m really glad you were here to watch us today. It was so heartwarming to see the looks you have for us. I’ll let you know next time we come, and maybe you can plan to lunch at Chuck E. Cheese instead!


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