Family Life, Savoring Simple Moments

7 Amazing Powers of a SuperMom

We’ve all heard the term: “SuperMom”. What exactly makes her “super”? Can you really put her in the same category as Captain America, WonderWoman, or Superman? Perhaps you’ve cringed at being addressed as a SuperMom. You wonder how you could rightfully claim such a title, being well aware of your non-kryptonite-induced weaknesses and failures.

But even though Mommy may not feel like the superhero the world makes her out to be, her children see through different lenses. And I think upon closer observation, they will notice Mommy has some rather amazing powers.

7 Amazing Powers of a SuperMom

1. Her kisses make the booboo’s go away.

There’s just something about Mama’s kisses and cuddles that make all owies better. But even if a cut needs a little more TLC, Mommy seems to have a magical way of cleaning the wound and applying the perfect bandage.

2. She can produce a sweet treat at lightning speed.

Who can resist chocolate chip cookies? But how does she make them so fast? Little do her children know that she’s got tubes of dough stored in the freezer. But wait till she becomes a grandma … she’ll have the power to pull out all kinds of sweet stuff out of her purse to spoil any crying kid.

3. She can see from the back of her head.

She’s at the sink, washing dishes. So how did she know her little angel was trying to sneak a cookie out of the jar? Somewhere behind that tangled updo, she’s got a pair of eyes that never sleep.

4. She makes books come to life.

When she opens a book and reads, she transports her children to another world, where rhyming is normal, animals talk, and happy endings are guaranteed.

5. She knows. Before they can come up with an answer, she knows.

Don’t get caught in a mind game with her. She knows what her kids will do before they do it. And I would warn against any attempts of falsification. She’s a walking lie detector!

6. With one look, she can make her kids do what she wants.

Is there some invisible force behind those eyes? Maybe the secret is in that one raised eyebrow, hypnotically bringing her kids under her control.

7. Her tickling fingers have the power to render her kids helpless.

No, not the fingers! Must get away from them! They are worse than Kryptonite! And when she starts dispensing zerberts (aka, raspberries) on the tummies, it’s all over for these kids!

If you’re a SuperMom, what’s your favorite super power?

Perhaps you may not feel very super on some days, but I bet you, your littles think you have some pretty cool powers. Wishing all you SuperMamas a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Family Life, Savoring Simple Moments, Trusting God

The Day He Rode Without Training Wheels

“Mommy, I did it! I rode my bike!” Though I could not see his face, the enthusiasm in my son’s voice came through loud and clear over the phone. Doctors had told us early on that delays in Gabriel’s speech development could also mean delays in other areas, such as motor skills. Play dates at the park confirmed this, as I watched my son struggle to climb the jungle gym, while his younger sister whizzed passed him. Eventually, he improved, and he could climb as well as any 8-year-old. But, one thing that he was still not able to do was ride his bike without training wheels.

Even as a preschooler, he had a difficult time riding his tricycle, preferring to move that thing around with his feet, like the Flintstones. Graduating to a bicycle was another huge hurdle for Gabriel to overcome, but training wheels gave him confidence. He had the biggest bike with training wheels at the park, and I wondered if we would ever be able to remove them.

DSC_0010.JPGYesterday, my husband took him out to go bike riding. By God’s providence, one of the training wheels came off as he was riding. My husband decided to leave it off and encouraged our son to keep riding. When he could tell that Gabriel’s confidence was growing, my husband told him, “Son, I’m going to remove the other wheel. Just give it a try.” After a few minor falls, Gabriel was riding around the parking lot with no training wheels. A couple of bystanders watched and cheered on both father and son. One of them, an older gentleman, said to my husband, “Now that’s something to remember!” And after that parking lot ride, I received the phone call from Gabriel. I wish I could’ve recorded his voice and play it back for you all to hear. He was gushing with excitement. I could not contain the tears of joy, for Gabriel’s accomplishment reached deep into my heart.

I’m just like Gabriel. Timid, anxious, and afraid to fall. I want my training wheels because they keep me steady, but God knows when to remove them. He will keep me steady. And as I entrust myself to Him, I will discover that all along, He has always been holding me up.

 

(Photo credit 1: Lotus Carroll)
(Photo credit 2: billjank)

Savoring Simple Moments

Strum

Ukulele 102About 6 years ago, my in-laws came back from a vacation in Hawaii with a special gift for Gabriel, a deep brown, shiny ukulele. At the time, Gabriel was only 2 years old, but it was his grandpa’s desire that he would, one day, learn how to play that beautiful instrument. Of course, at the peak of his Terrible Two’s stage, he was interested in playing with the uke but not exactly as it was intended to be handled. Today, he still likes this stringed instrument but may not be ready to sit through lessons. He prefers to rock out his own way. 🙂

Thanks to those fine people who post tutorials on You Tube, my husband has learned to play the ukulele a bit. Perhaps, after watching his dad play, it may capture Gabriel’s interest enough to want to learn how to play.

Here’s a video that features two of Gabriel’s favorites: the ukulele and Steven Curtis Chapman. Happy Friday and remember to savor the simple moments in life!

 

 

(Photo credit: Edwin M Escobar)

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Savoring Simple Moments

Rhyme Time

Final presentation Grilled Shrimp dish_5998631876_lA few years ago, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, my husband took me to a popular local seafood restaurant. He knows how much I love seafood and that at almost every restaurant I go to, the first thing I usually consider ordering is some kind of shrimp dish. After a wonderful dinner, we headed to our next destination: a rap concert. Yes, that’s right, a rap concert. Most of you don’t know me personally, but I am not a big rap fan. So, why did I agree to do this on our very special day? Shai Linne was in town!

But … I still did not know who this guy was, and though there was excitement in the air when we walked through the doors and handed our tickets, I was still not sure I was going to enjoy this. If you don’t know Shai Linne, he is not so much a rapper as he is a Christian with the God-given talent of explaining deep theological truths in rhyme form. If you ever listen to his music, you may say, “It’s still rap to me.” But, whether or not you’re a fan of rap and hip-hop, listen closely and take a good look at his lyrics, and you will find more biblical truths in them than in some of the popular songs out there in Christian radio. On that anniversary day, my husband assured me I would not be disappointed, and I have become a fan since then.

Do you know who else are Shai Linne fans in our home? Our four children. I wanted to share with you their favorite rap song. It really reminds me of the book we’re reading together, Little Pilgrim’s Progress, which I shared about in my previous post. The song is called Penelope Judd and is introduced on the CD with the words of C.S. Lewis: “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

This is a cute video that someone made for the song, and my children often request to watch it. Enjoy!

“Off we go with no delay
Don’t let nobody try to make you stay
We’re gonna see the King, we’re on our way
And all the old things gon’ pass away”

 

 

(Photo credit: Breville USA)

Family Life, Savoring Simple Moments

Reading to Children

Picture BooksAt a very young age, I was an avid reader. I would come home from the library with an armload of books. My love of books continued through high school, and it was not unusual for my parents to find me sitting in the living room in the middle of the night, lost in the pages of a novel.

After my children were born, the time to read became more and more scarce. I read to Gabriel a lot up until he was around 2 years old. Though I still had a desire to instill in my children a love of books, I found myself reading less and less to them. I’ve heard from other moms that reading aloud to your children above their level is good for them, but Gabriel’s challenges with language and attention span were enough to keep me from pressing on. I almost gave up.

After recommendations from a couple of friends, I bought a book called Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen L. Taylor. I had read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress before, and I wondered if my children can handle sitting through this timeless tale. Upon closer inspection, I learned that Helen Taylor’s book is actually an adaptation of Bunyan’s classic, written from a child’s perspective.

“If John Bunyan were alive at the present time, I think he would forgive me for the liberty I have taken in attempting to unlock his treasury and to bring ‘that gold, those pearls, and precious stones’ a little nearer to the childish hands, which are always so ready to receive such gifts.” — Helen L. Taylor (Preface to “Little Pilgrim’s Progress”)

I looked at the sample pages online. It’s a chapter book with very little pictures. I had been wanting to graduate my children from the big picture story books, but I didn’t know if they were ready. Would they just tune me out when I read aloud to them? To their ears, would I just sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher? “Wah wah woh. Wah wah.”

I decided to take the plunge and began reading the book to them in the beginning of this year. What a wonderful treasure this book has been to me and to my children! During our lunch, I read to them a chapter from the book, and then discuss it over our PB & J’s. Even Gabriel, who still has difficulty with reading comprehension, is recalling many details from the chapters that we read each day. What I am most thankful for is that this book has opened up so many opportunities for me to share the gospel. Our conversations about the book has not been reserved for meal times only because the story has sparked so many questions in their minds about the Bible and Jesus Christ.

What began as a quest to get my children to love books more has enlarged to a heartfelt desire for them to love Jesus more. I had some plans, but God’s plans were greater.

 

Note: Remember that I was about ready to give up, but I was convicted by Ephesians 5:16 to make “the best use of the time” that God has given me with my children. He also used the following blog post to inspire me to take up this task once more. Perhaps it may spur you on as well.
How To Get Your Children Excited About Read-Alouds

 

(Photo credit: nickyfairless)

Savoring Simple Moments

Bricks

LegoSometimes, our house seems like it’s flooded with LEGO® bricks. For Gabriel, it is usually his first choice of play. Remember the cardboard box containing his LEGO world. He still has one, though the world has changed. But every morning, he goes to his box, fiddles with it a bit, and makes a few changes that only he would notice.

Most LEGO sets have a specific theme and instructions to build what appears on the box. And though that is what will be on display in our house for a few weeks, the intricate model eventually falls apart. We either try to put it back together again (but usually, by then, Gabriel has lost interest), or the pieces just get dumped into the huge toy bin.

One day, Gabriel remembered a Space Shuttle LEGO set and wanted me to help him re-create it. We saved the instructions, but what good is that when I was staring at an enormous box of bricks of all shapes, colors, and sizes? The task seemed impossible. So before we began, I put the kids to work, sorting everything by color. This was no easy chore, but they did it without complaint. Soon enough, we were able to construct that Space Shuttle once again.

20140127-165320.jpgCall me fastidious, but I love how our LEGO toys are neatly organized now. If you are a parent of avid LEGO fans and are trying to figure out how to get a handle on those pesky, tiny pieces, I highly recommend storing everything by color.

Gabriel never wanted to create anything of his own imagination. Bound by the instructions in the box, it took him a while to realize there was a whole world of creativity to discover with this popular toy. But one day, the idea sparked in his mind. He got to work, looking for the specific pieces, and it was so much easier for him with everything color-sorted.

Can you tell what he made? This is a fully-equipped kitchen with state-of-the-art refrigerator and stove, including a cute little dining table set for three and a modern clock to finish off the decor.

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And no house would be complete without a luxurious bathroom.

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His creation may not make it in the next issue of LEGO Club magazine, but it has a special place here on Especially Made.

 

(Photo credit 1: Slack pics)

LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.

Savoring Simple Moments

:)

CostcoGoing to the store with four children in tow is not an easy feat for this mother, but sometimes, I do what I have to do. One place we visit on occasion is our local warehouse store, Costco. Before we leave the warehouse, there is an employee stationed near the exit, checking everyone’s purchases and receipt. Believe it or not, this part of our trip is a highlight for my kids. I’m being serious … they will sometimes fight over who gets to hand the receipt to the “checker”. Why all the competition over this seemingly mundane task? Because they want to be the recipient of the smile.

Some employee must have been bored one day or just in a good mood, and started drawing happy faces on everyone’s receipts. Well, this simple gesture apparently caught on because almost every receipt checker at our store does this. (I did notice that this only occurs when I’m with my kids, though.) Whether this is a company-wide policy or it only happens at our store, I’m not sure, but it certainly makes my children happy. What is it about a smile?

20131009-010127.jpgContrary to my Gravatar profile image, I don’t have a naturally smiley face. I have to work at it. But I’ve seen how a smile can, not only turn my day around, but someone else’s as well. Have you ever smiled at the cashier, who was clearly having a rough day? I used to work in a large movie theater, and when people were late for the show, they were not too happy about waiting around in long lines. The few patrons, who took the time to smile and say “thank you” brought some peace to the chaotic rush of opening weekends.

With my brief career in the movies long gone, my days as a homeschooling mom are more busy than ever. And when I’m busy, I forget to smile. My children are great about reminding me, whether directly or indirectly by their silliness and funny commentaries. And there’s my keen observer, Gabriel, who will not hesitate to point out even the slightest change in my expression or tone of voice and question if I’m angry. A simple smile can ease his anxiety and defuse a potentially tense situation.

“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” (Proverbs 15:13)

“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones.” (Proverbs 15:30)

Not to be underestimated, that small movement of our facial muscles can lift up the heaviest of burdens. And, when our countenance is fueled by our joy in The Lord, the world will see a smiley face.

 

(Photo credit: GinkgoTelegraph)

Family Life, Savoring Simple Moments

Enjoy the Show

Near our house, nestled between a baseball field and a cemetery lays an empty field. For those who have lived in our city within the last 20 years, they may not have a clue what this place used to be. But I have many fond memories of this place as it was a destination for me, my siblings, and my parents on many family nights. It used to be full of people and activity. If you were to explore this desolate area, you would notice metal poles in the ground evenly spaced throughout and a couple of huge white walls towering over the vast openness of this place. This used to be the home of our local drive-in movie theater. Thousands of these establishments were found throughout the United States, but sadly, many have gone extinct, making way for the more luxurious stadium-style seating of multiplex cinemas and IMAX theaters.

Buena Vista: Abandoned Comanche Drive-In Movie Theater

Fraser Valley Pulse Spotlight - Twilight Drive-In Movie TheatreWe are so fortunate to have a drive-in theater still near us … only about a 15-minute drive. And this summer, it has become a family favorite. What’s not to love about the drive-in movie theater? You can bring your own snacks, recline in your seat, or have a little tail-gate party before the sun sets and the feature presentation begins. With the back seats removed, we laid out blankets on the floor of our van and enjoyed the experience of an outdoor movie theater on a beautiful, warm summer night. The only down side is that the movie let out so late. We made do by dressing the kids in their pajamas, and they fell fast asleep on the way home. We’ll definitely be coming back.

If you have one nearby, I hope you get a chance to go before it eventually ends up in the drive-in graveyard.

 

(Photo credit 1: eliduke)
(Photo credit 2: Fraser Valley Pulse & Metro Vancouver Pulse)

Family Life, Savoring Simple Moments

Party for Two

As soon as the oven door opened, I jumped at the piercing sound of the smoke alarm. Oh no! Something was not right. What happened? The cupcakes looked okay, but they were chocolate. It’s hard to tell if they burned. I placed them on the rack to cool. Hard as a rock. I began to peel the paper liner with difficulty as if they were glued on. When I inspected the bottom of the cupcakes, I discovered what I had already suspected. They were burned and soon would make their way to the garbage can. I was in tears as my husband suggested that we just cut off the burned bottoms. The control freak in me could not even entertain such an idea! How could I serve cupcake tops to all the guests at my son’s 8th birthday party?

20130715-170605.jpgWhen we throw birthday parties for our children (whether we have a guest list of 50 people or 5 little kids), I like to go all out: staying up many nights before the event, making decorations, putting together favors, preparing the food and cake, and attending to smallest details that most would probably overlook. (As a side note to my fellow bloggers, all the party planning explains my brief disappearance from the blogosphere.) Sometimes (ok, most times) I would have some sort of a personal meltdown during the preparations because something just didn’t turn out quite the way I had planned. So, for my son’s 8th birthday party, it was the cupcakes. Another lesson for me in surrendering all things to The Lord.

I was able to make a new batch of cupcakes the night before the party, but it required staying up till 2 am. We only invited family members to the party, but we have a large extended family so the head count totaled around 50. I had tried to prepare my son for what’s to come, rehearsing with him what to say when people greeted him or asked him the typical birthday party questions. I attempted to tackle his propensity towards anxiety in crowds before it happened, but he still got a bit nervous. Overall, I think he handled it very well. He played the games. He went into the Jump House with the other kids. And, he devoured his chocolate cupcake.

At one point during the party, when I was running around, like a chicken with its head cut off, my son pulled on my arm and said, “Mommy, do you want to play with me?” Because I was so busy with the party, I didn’t say yes right away. “Let me finish this first, Son.” However, one thing led to another, but he was persistent in his request. “How about if we play here in the kitchen?” I said cheerfully (truthfully, it was my sad attempt to multi-task). But, he wanted to play in the bedroom. So I went, leaving behind some minor tasks and guests, who were more than able to take care of themselves. My son and I left the downstairs commotion and retreated to the upstairs room to have a peaceful game of “I Spy”.

I almost lost sight of why we wanted to have a party in the first place. I thank The Lord for reminding me that in the midst of such a big and busy event, there were still plenty of simple moments to enjoy with my child. I just needed to stop and savor them.

Savoring Simple Moments

The 2-Minute Movie

Though my son, Gabriel, has some unusual obsessions for a child his age (U.S. Presidents and the Mona Lisa, just to name two), he also likes what any 7-year-old would be interested in. My husband found the following movie trailer based on the recently released Iron Man 3. It combines two of Gabriel’s favorite things: superheroes and LEGO®. It’s actually quite good.


Because of this newfound passion, you will find, around our house, many of Gabriel’s drawings of Iron Man, Tony Stark, his “great girl”, and “his friend”.

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His daddy asked him if he wanted to go see the movie, but he declined and is perfectly content with watching the trailer. Trailers have the best scenes anyway, and they’re free!

I guess we won’t be seeing you at the movies. Happy Friday!