Irksome

Irksome via Daily Prompt: Irksome

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I love my children. I love when my children play nicely together. I love when my children play outside. Getting my children to play nicely together or to play outside can be a challenge.

The challenge of getting my kids to play is irksome.

Isn’t play what kids are supposed to do? Aren’t they supposed to build forts and play “house” and tell silly jokes? Why is it to hard to get my 5 year-old to ride a bike? Just ride the bike, right?!?

Well, here’s the irksome part. Most of the time my kids don’t get along or want to play outside because they want me to be a part of what they are doing.

Going outside is only fun if Mom or Dad are there to help with the heavy lifting and the bike balancing. Building forts and playing “house” is only exciting if Dad or Mom offer their expertise in the field of sustainable blanket roofs and the perfect temperature for imaginary hot tea. It really irks my kids when I don’t help build their forts or drink their imaginary hot tea.

It is important for us to teach our kids to play. Most of the time they are ok with me leaving them to their play, once the ground rules or foundation have been set. Make sure you are taking time to set ground rules and build foundations with those you love today. Someday they may not be there to bother you.

Put your energy into being active in the lives of those you love. The irksome feelings will wear off and the joy will form memories. Those memories will make you forget what they were ever fighting about in the first place.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am sorry to my sisters for all the times I wouldn’t play the games you wanted to play when we were kids. I know I really irked you then. 🙂

 

Communication is necessary. No bull!

Communication is necessary. No Bull!

No Bull - communicate

For a while my husband has been looking for a balancer bull to round out our herd of Red Angus cattle. He had mentioned a few times that he found some nice looking Charolais or other breeds but I told him we raise Red Angus and I had no real interest in any crossbreeds.

Low and behold at dinner one evening, my husband announced that our new bulls and heifers would be delivered the next day. The kids were excited. I was confused. When did we buy new bulls or heifers?

He went on to tell the kids that they were going to get some pretty, new white cows. He didn’t look me in the eye. I didn’t want any white cows. We raise Red Angus!

I didn’t say anything. I just began to clear the dinner table. After dinner we finished up another crazy evening of dishes, homework, baths, and bedtime. I was too exhausted to bring up our new white cows.

The next day the Charolais arrived as promised. We took our excited kiddos to see them in the lot. The kids named them and asked questions and fought over who got to open and close the gate. I didn’t say much. We raise Red Angus.

Each night we continued to check the white cows and the red cows. The kids continued to be excited. I continued to be silent. Life was too busy to talk about those stupid, white cows.  Continue reading “Communication is necessary. No bull!”

Meet the Locks

Meet the Locks – Funny Friday

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On our recent camping trip, we experienced some embarrassing but funny mishaps. We arrived at the state park on a Thursday. There were very few campers at the park, so we quickly earned the devoted attention of our camp hosts.

We were greeted promptly and provided doggy bags for the puppy, a park map, activities for the kids, fast fire wood delivery, and a wonderfully friendly history of our hosts’ entire lives. It was nice.

Upon returning with the aforementioned firewood, our hosts talked to us about the different types of fire building techniques. As they critiqued our fire building, shouting and banging started inside our camper. The three-year-old had locked himself in and could not get out. Of course we didn’t have a key, so my husband and I tried to talk him through the unlocking process with no luck. Our camp hosts patiently sat in their golf cart and called out advice and offers to go get their camper keys.

The three-year-old soon grew tired of our coaching and climbed up on our bed in the camper, stuck his face out to the window screen, and sang, “Nah, nan, nah, boo, boo.” This received tremendous laughter from our other two children and the camp hosts, but hubby and I were not as amused. The hosts then said they would go get their key for us. In their absence my husband got the idea to send our daughter through the hole under the fold-up couch. He was able to hold the seat up long enough for her to climb through and unlock the door (just in time for the camp hosts’ return.) We thanked them and assured them we were set for the night. We were wrong. Continue reading “Meet the Locks”

House Rules

House Rules

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Every home has its rules.

I purchased this set of lovely limitations from the bargain bin at Target. Each day I find myself creating new rules for my rowdy household. Rules like: Don’t put your feet on that, don’t put that in your mouth, we don’t use those kinds of words, NO you may not use knives. The list could go on and on.

The more I find myself repeating the mantras of motherhood; the more I believe them to be true. I really do want my kids to buckle up, keep their rooms clean, eat their vegetables, and keep their feet off the table. I really, really do believe that “Because I said so” is a reason for completing a task.

Often my husband and I discuss our fears about parenthood. Are we strict enough? Are we too strict? How does so-and-so deal with their child’s behavior? Whose side gave our kids their crazy habits? 🙂 I think all parents have these concerns and I believe that all families have to work their way through the perils of parenthood.

The best thing we can do for our kids is to establish expectations. If we set standards for behavior and communication, our children will grow into adults who value hard work, respect, and healthy relationships. We may feel like the meanest moms and dads in the world but in reality we are making the world a less “mean” place when we guide our sons and daughters to act and interact with appropriate behavior. Manners, pleasantries, common courtesies are all elements of civilization that must be upheld. If we don’t expect our children to demonstrate these basic behaviors, how can we expect society to reflect kindness and compassion for all?

Take time to establish your house rules. Take even more time to uphold them. If your kids see you stick to your guns, they will know it is important to you and that will make those rules important to them.

Put your energy into raising families that consider dedication and courtesy to be the standard. Demonstrate clear intent when it comes to showing your kids how others should be treated and how work should be completed. Giving positive feedback for appropriate behavior will only encourage children’s understanding for the importance of respect and reliability.

By: Melanie A. Peters

 

 

Bed Full of Eyeballs – Funny Friday

Bed Full of Eyeballs – Funny Friday

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Creating crafts is one of our favorite things to do. Sometimes our crafts need eyes, so I always keep googly eyes on hand.

My husband and kiddos were home alone on Monday evening, and when I returned, I found the house in its usual state of Hurricane Daddy-was-busy-watching-the-baseball-game. The aftermath of the recurring storm is always unpredictable and that is where the bed full of eyeballs came into play.

After calming everyone down and putting them back in bed for the third time, I headed to bed myself. As I picked up my pajamas, I found a googly eye. After pulling back my quilt, I found a pile of googly eyes. Clearly the kids found the craft supplies and used them to confetti my room while I was gone.

While a bed full of eyeballs sounds like the next major motion picture event for the scary movie genre, it was just another night in our crazy household. I removed as many eyeballs as I could find and fell asleep.

In the middle of the night, I was awakened by a strange noise. At first I thought it was one of the kids, but no one was up. My second fear was much worse, a mouse! But the noise stopped. I drifted back to sleep only to wake again as the sound returned.

I lay there slightly afraid because it sounded like it was under our bed. Now my husband is a terrific sleeper, so he did not wake. He continued with his peaceful snoring and restless leg slumber. The sound occurred again. Soon I realized that the pattern of the sound resonated after each time my husband shifted his legs. I turned on the bedside lamp and shook him.

“I think there is an eyeball on your leg,” I whispered as I tried to wake my husband. “What?!?” was his aggravated reply. “I think there is an eyeball on your leg,” I said again. I pulled the blanket off his legs and of course there were a handful of googly eyes stuck to his legs and quilt. He was annoyed and confused but wiped the eyeballs off onto the floor and went right back to sleep. The sound had stopped and so I fought my restless brain syndrome and finally drifted back to sleep.

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The next morning the alarm sounded way too early, as always, but I forced myself up and out of bed. After my shower, I went to wake hubby and could not help but laugh. As he lay sleeping on his side, there were two googly eyes stuck to his back. One was a big goodly eye and the other a very small one giving him a very lopsided monster look. When I pulled them off and woke him, he did not find it amusing.

I am not sure how anyone else would react to a bed full of eyeballs, but I think finding humor in the situation was necessary.

There are many lessons to be learned from this encounter with the googly optics of my craft cabinet:

  1. Keep the googly eyes up high and hidden, when I am going to be gone.
  2. My husband does not check to see what’s laying on the bed before he goes to sleep.
  3. My kids are always watching us (even in our sleep)
  4. If you ever find one eyeball in your bed, make sure you strip the bed to find all of the eyeballs before trying to go to sleep.
  5. Googly eyes really are creepy.

By: Melanie A. Peters

 

Taking a Break from a Break

Taking a Break from a Break

Taking a break from a break

 

On our recent fishing trip, my kids could not wait to get out of the boat and climb the big rocks lining the shore. After a ton of whining and pleading, my husband gave in and pulled close enough for the kids to clamor out and explore.

They were wearing flip-flops and life jackets so climbing was not easy but they LOVED it.

With warnings like “Watch where you step,” “Look out for snakes,” and “Don’t throw rocks,” you would think their spirits would be dampened, but no way. My husband was so excited to fish with the kids and I think it was a little hard for him when they were less interested in catching the big one than they were in the monolithic rocks. I was more concerned with snakes hiding in the rocks, but we have to choose our battles (July Positivity Challenge).

After a bit I calmed down and reminded myself we were on vacation and it was supposed to be relaxing and fun. If the kids wanted to get out and roam over the rocks for a while, it might mean I get to relax while they rest up from their fun. 🙂

Soon they climbed as far as was safe and were ready to jump back in the boat. They had taken their break from our fishing break and were ready to get back at it.

In daily life, I often find myself so absorbed in my to-do list that I forget that it is ok to take a break or that a few extra minutes snuggling or drawing with my kids won’t hurt the unfolded laundry or unwashed dishes. We all need to give ourselves permission to climb and explore a little bit. We might find that it makes us more productive in the long run.

Give your intentions a new direction today. Let that direction lead you where your heart takes you, even if it’s only for a few moments. It will restore your positivity and increase your energy and that is what having Intentergy is all about.

By: Melanie A. Peters

 

Mama Catches Happiness

Mama Catches Happiness

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After I caught this crappie at Truman Lake, my husband told my kids, “Now Mama is happy.”

I made them take my picture. I was proud of my catch and I wanted my kids to see my pride.

Heavy storms with lots of thunder and lightening blew through two of the three nights we were at the lake. The storm fronts seemed to have scared off the fish because we only caught about 15 fish the entire trip. My contributions to the fishing came in the form of this and one other fish caught, keeping the boys from falling in the water, and having minnows ready to bait my daughter’s hook. I just happened to catch this guy during one of the quieter moments of our excursion. I fished with my youngest son on my lap so he could “catch” one too, but he couldn’t stand the wait so we never snagged one for him.

Fishing with my kids is stressful and scary for me. I am afraid of water.

Water has frightened me since I was a teenager. As a camp counselor, I had to rescue two girls after they tipped over their canoe in a deep and restricted part of the camp lake. A year later I had to provide first aid to a man who sustained a head injury at a local water slide when he flipped off the mat (on which he was supposed to remain seated). People who are not afraid of water get hurt. I am afraid of water.

On our fishing trip, safety precautions were my number one concern. Appropriately fitting life jackets, secured seats, swimming lesson reminders, and safety whistles were all in place.  The waters were calm and my always zen husband sat confidently as he drove the boat. I clutched my youngest son for dear life. Continue reading “Mama Catches Happiness”

Dog on Vacation

Dog on Vacation

Dog on Vacation

Last week we decided to take an impromptu vacation to Truman Lake in Warsaw, Missouri. We have visited this lake in the past, but this would be our first trip with all three kids and the dog.

Taking the kids was not the shocking part of our planning. Taking the dog tested my husband’s bounds of comfort on many levels. He is not a fan of dogs in cars. He is not a fan of dogs licking faces or hands or legs or any other body part. He is adamantly against dogs in the house. Living up to the July Intentergy Positivity Challenge he gave in and allowed us to borrow a travel kennel from friends and bring our fur-baby along.

Bandit was the picture of puppy grace on the trip. He rode happily and quietly in the kids’ laps on the drive to and from the lake. Quickly did his business in the grass and took a nap in the kennel while we stopped to eat. Never once did the dog ask, “How much longer?”  or complain about what food we chose to eat. Not once did Bandit whine about one of the kids touching him or looking at him or breathing the same air he did. Never did we have to deal with him throwing a fit because he was hot, hungry, or tired. Continue reading “Dog on Vacation”

Overalls and a Pocket Watch

Overalls and a Pocket Watch

 

Grandpa Frank

Grandpa Frank in his overalls

I guess Father’s Day and this time of year make my memories of my grandpa’s overalls and pocket watch much more vivid.

My husband, father, and father-in-law do a terrific job of showing my children and myself what it is to be a father and a real man, but my Grandpa Frank had a very special way of filling both those jobs.

My Grandpa always wore overalls and a white t-shirt. It was his daily uniform, unless it was church or a special occasion. If it were a special occasion, you could count on him to be in a dress shirt, slacks, and a tie, and he always wore aftershave. Once is a great while, I will pass someone and smell that same aftershave. My heart does a little dance with the happy memory of him.

Grandpa was a farmer.

He was a successful farmer. He knew his land and his animals and he did his best to care for them. We all fought for turns to ride with Grandpa in the tractor or the dump truck. He always let us sneak sips of water from his watercooler. He filled it every morning with ice and water from the fridge so by midday it was the perfect temperature.

Grandpa used to joke that he, “worked harder farming after he retired than he ever did before he retired.” It took me a while to understand that the toll of farming was greater on him as he grew older and the farming  operation got larger.

Grandpa was a provider.

A huge garden was put out and tended by my grandpa each spring. We all helped with the harvesting and putting up the vegetables. We could count on having corn, green beans, beets, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes through the fall and winter. He dutifully raised chickens, year after year, so that Grandma had eggs for baking cakes and we all had eggs for ourselves. Every winter, as a family, we would butcher hogs and beef together. Those hogs and steers were raised by my uncles and grandpa so that our family would never go without. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of playing with my cousins during butchering week at Grandma’s and finally being “big enough” to help with tenderizing or cutting up the meat (not just putting on the labels).

Grandpa was a believer.

He believed that God would get us through the tough times. He believed that every year, no matter how wet or how dry, that God would help him make a living off the land.

He believed in love. In my lifetime I have seen few couples who are as dedicated to one another as my grandparents were to each other. Grandpa almost lost Grandma in 1980. They were in a terrible car accident. My grandma was in the hospital for a year and since has spent most of her life walking with a walker or in a wheelchair. Grandpa believed that he had been blessed with love and the ability to care for her and their five children. He did so without complaint or questioning God’s plan.

He believed in the weather man. I know this because I rarely heard him cuss, except about the weather man and missed predictions or forecasts of rain or heat (depending on what Grandpa needed for the week).

He believed in putting all his food together on his plate. Grandpa would pile all of his vegetables, meat, and gravy or whatever he had in one pile and eat it all together. “It all goes to the same place,” he would say and laugh.

He believed in Massey Ferguson tractors. The first time he met my husband, Grandpa shook Greg’s hand and pulled a Massey Ferguson ink pen out of his breast pocket and said, “Do you have one of these?” Greg replied, “No, sir, I don’t.” Grandpa put the pen in his pocket and turned back around in his seat. It was pretty funny for me, not so much for Greg.

He believed we could all pull our weight. A good portion of the time spent at my grandparents’ house was dedicated to doing chores. Taking out trash, sweeping the floor, folding towels, carrying things upstairs or downstairs, gathering the eggs, helping with the garden, or picking up sticks in the yard were just a few of jobs we grandkids were asked to do. The one job that I always found interesting was the dishes. Grandpa would do the dishes for Grandma. He said he didn’t mind doing them. He would tell Grandma to leave them, he would get to them, and he always did. As a girl I didn’t know many men who did dishes. It was proof to me of how much he loved my grandma and that he knew everyone had to do their part.

He believed in his grandchildren. He and Grandma attended every event they could for the 10 of us grandchildren. Attending ball games, concerts, plays, awards ceremonies, masses, and graduations was their way of showing they believed in us. When I decided to go back to college for my teaching degree, Grandpa said, “That’s good. We always need teachers. You will always have a good job.” When I graduated, he and Grandma gave me an engraved bell. It said, “We are proud of you! Love, Grandma and Grandpa”. He told me I wouldn’t need to ring it because I was going to be a good teacher. Continue reading “Overalls and a Pocket Watch”

Throwing Rocks at the Sky – at least you’re throwin’

Throwing Rocks at the Sky – at least you’re throwin’

During his Sunday homily, our priest told a story about a young man from Montana who would throw rocks at the sky when he was angry at God.

“It might have seemed pointless or foolish,” said Father Louis, “but at least he was keeping the lines of communication open with his heavenly father.”

There is a lot to be said for throwing rocks at the sky. As Father explained, at least the young man knew God loved him enough to take the complaints with the thanksgivings and friendly words.

We should keep this idea in mind when we are struggling in our relationships with anyone, God, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, spouses, children, anyone. We need to find ways to communicate our feelings to the best of our abilities.

Don’t throw rocks. (Remember the parable about throwing the first stone.)

We need to find body language and words to accurately demonstrate that we know and value the person enough to bring our problems or concerns to them. Even when we don’t necessarily think it will do a lot of good (like trying to land a rock in the sky), resolution or healing can come from talking out your troubles. At least you’re throwin’.

When it comes to your faith, knowing that you can talk to God, no matter what, keeps you close to Him. That closeness ensures the security you feel in your faith and God’s readiness to accept all you have to say. (Try to throw a few thank yous and praises in there with the rocky times.) At least you’re throwin’.

If your energy goes into throwing a few words of kindness, concern, frustration, or need towards those you care about, your intent will resound with greater positivity and result in communications that can reach past your horizons.

By: Melanie A. Peters