Category Archives: A Mom’s Take

A Solid Investment

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Our wooden play set stands guard in our backyard of dead, dry grass as a beacon of hope for warmth and long days outside.  We moved to our home a little over 2 years ago.  One of the first, big, non-negotiable purchases we knew would be a play set with swings.  It has been a staple in our outdoor play and many times during this mild Missouri winter, we have been outside playing on it.

Today was one of those days.  A day “too cold” in Momma’s opinion, but just right for all three kids.  I heard them through my cracked open kitchen window.  They were laughing, shooting storm troopers together and of course there were the predictable set of tears and screaming.  It was an accident.  It is hard for our three year old to remember to watch for swinging feet and spinning tire swings.  Especially after not being outside for a few weeks.

They all came in chilled to the bone, but gleeful.  Time with each other on their play set was just what they needed in the great outdoors to run, scream and pretend.  I asked more about what they pretended and they each went into different versions of a Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  I am thankful they can be so happy together on a cloudy afternoon.

That play set was a solid investment.  Their cackling laughter is worth every penny.  I am so glad we didn’t wait.  I know it would be have been a big mistake if we had delayed or never installed the play set.  Glad as parents we just did what needed to be done.

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K.I.S.S. – A Quick Tale from a Former Poser

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We have probably all heard the K.I.S.S saying before.  I don’t like what the last “S” usually stands for.  I don’t like to throw in derogatory or demeaning names just for the heck of it. (ok – personal soap box is over)

The K.I.S.S. idea and motherhood has been a struggle for me to keep things simple.  Ten years ago, when I started staying home I decided to become Martha Stewart.  Literally.  I put her up on a pillar of what was right, expected and needed by my family of 3 at the time.  I would make meals from scratch, stay up on all laundry and ironing and I would set ridiculously high expectation levels that robbed my life of JOY.

Until one day I stumbled on a show hosted by Martha Stewart’s grown daughter, Alexis.  It popped my self-imposed and society-imposed bubble of Martha Stewart goodness immediately.  OUCH!  I felt different after hearing another side of the perfection saga of Martha Stewart.  Alexis shared that as a child she couldn’t live up to expectations, she didn’t have fancy treats or meals, and rarely a Halloween costume.  Seriously??  And here I was trying to be Martha!  The construction, expectations, and appearance boiled down to a pretty poor relationship with her only child.  No thank you that is not the legacy I was after.

I knew I had to learn the greatest lesson that Martha could teach me.  I needed to learn and live K.I.S.S. – – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  I still enjoy a craft or 12, but I don’t want perfection.  I still enjoy cooking, but a meal from Costco to warm up is ok by me.  By keeping it simple, I can keep up.  My kids can depend on me to sit and listen.  They know I would rather read with them then have a clean and empty kitchen sink or sparkling bathroom counters. And I am focused on the simple things.  It pours into how we live, how we celebrate and how we can do more for others.

I highly recommend in this time of out-doing yourself, your neighbors, and society that you K.I.S.S – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  Trust me the impact is worth it.

Blessings at Christmas to you and your family.

Kristin Wooldridge

A Recovering Martha Stewart Poser

My 3 year old knows more than me…

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He is starting to process and talk more.  He has been what most would call delayed.  We say he is a late bloomer.  He has impressed us for a couple of years with his resourcefulness.  He could imitate sounds for things that he needed or wanted, which always reminded me of the character from the Police Academy movies.  The sound, “shhhhh” was for the water dispenser for our fridge.  “Woof” was all he would say for our dog, Harley.  It was simple but we all got it.

As I said, he is starting to really bloom.  I have teased that it is like watching someone who imigrates or visits here with broken English as he tries to find the right words.  He is focused.  He usess gestures, taps his foot and looks around saying, “eh” or “um.”  If you give him time, he gets it together.  He beams with pride, if you ask him the right claryifying question back.  And he loses his red-headed temper when you are way off base.  He is even known to cover his eyes with his hand and shake his head back and forth in dismay and disapproval.  (Which cracks  me up, but I would never let him see me laugh)

His two older siblings came out of the womb talking non-stop. (hmm… that is definitely hereditary if you ask my Mom)  But Rhett has been much later to talk and question.  He is now sharing his highlight reel of his preschool morning and it is amazing.  He is starting to not just listen to books at bedtime, but repeat, sing along and now ask “why.”  It is music to this Mama’s ears.  Even all the whys.

You may be wondering how a 3 year old is smarter than me.  It all happened as we read before bed this past Saturday.  We were reading a family favorite, Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado.  He has heard this book hundreds of times and I am sure I have read it a thousand times or more in the past 10 years of bedtimes.  It is an “auto-pilot” book.  Meaning I don’t need to read it with the words.  I can just recite it and I don’t often pay close attention to the meaning behind the words.  We were snuggled together and he was very relaxed sitting on my lap in our chair.  All of a sudden he turned to face me and took  me by my cheeks.  He pulled me close and I fought the urge to go into “mom-mode” of “hey, let’s get back to the book.”  But something happened that has never happened before.

He looked deep into my eyes and beamingly said, “Me love you like God love you Mama!” Oh, the tears of joy I instantly had were so full of love.  I covered his face with kissed until he started squealing.  I told him repeatedly, “you got it buddy!”  He gets it better than I do.  He pulled away and said, “Me see God soon?”  And I replied, “God is in everything you see.”  Rhett looked around and said, “Me meet God on Tuesday.”  I said, “Maybe so.”  And he smiled back.  We snuggled down and finished our book with a mom that was not on “auto-pilot.”  We prayed and I tucked him in tight.

As I stepped out of his peaceful room, I thought I can’t wait to share this story on Tuesday.

Hope you have a great Tuesday and that you can find the blessings in the abundance we all have in our lives from God.

Love,

A Mom of A Late Bloomer

BE A BLESSING!

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It all started when Ian went to Kindergarten in the fall of 2008. I would bubble up with all the remember to’s when he left me each day for school.

Remember to play nice.

Remember to use your listening ears.

Remember to be good.

Remember to share.

Remember to take care of yourself.

Remember to help friends who need help.

These don’t even cover the magnitude of what I thought I needed to remind him of each morning. It became quite a long speech. One day it hit me that he didn’t need a bullet point list on how to be at school. He had received that foundation. What he needed was encouragement and inspiration from his Momma. I thought long and hard about what to say in a quick, loving send off.

Be good – but it sounded like be better than others

Be the best – but it sounded like a lot of pressure for a 1st born/type A kiddo

Follow Instructions – but it sounded only rule focused and not creative or relational.

Then I started to learn more about God’s intentionality about each person being designed with a true gift and purpose. We are to use our individual giftedness to be a blessing to ourselves and others. It flipped a switch in my brain. A true EUREKA moment happened. I had found it. My blessing and sending off each time my kids headed to school or anywhere became…

BE A BLESSING!

In the morning now for years, I focus on each of them before they leave our home. Right after jackets and backpacks are on, I take them by the collar and look them right in the eye. I smile and say, “Be a Blessing!” No matter our morning. No matter how tense the time may have been. I bless them. It has become a Wooldridge Ritual. Even Amon surprised me when I was heading off to my seminary retreat in August. He took my by my shoulders and told me to Be a Blessing! It was the first time in over 4 years of blessing our children, that I was blessed before I headed out on a new journey. It felt GOOD! I felt like I was commissioned and blessed with love.

Even today as my three kids left for school, I pulled each of those yahoos by their collars and looked them in the eyes. I then happily sent them off with their blessing!

It is powerful.

It is intentional.

It is positive.

It is from love.

It is inspirational.

I pray for the them to do good, kind things to themselves and those they come in contact with. And that they can make choices that they can be proud of or at least learn from. Raising loving, positive kids should never be easy. It is all about constant choices, communication and pressure. But it is rewarding and amazing to witness their wings being developed. Man, oh, Man – – are they going to take off some day!

SO REMEMBER…

BE A BLESSING!

A little extra I had to share with you::

Today after Ian and Kaylee left the house. I turned my attention to the final details of getting Rhett out the door. I heard the back door open and I wasn’t surprised to hear MOM yelled. It happens often…

Someone forgot a coat

Someone forgot a permission slip

Someone forgot a lunch

Someone forgot a library book

Someone forgot their glasses (usually this one)

I came quickly back into the kitchen to see Ian beaming. Then he started to repeatedly and loudly chant to me.

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

What a great chant to start my day! I am blessed beyond measure.

Praying that each of us can B E A BLESSING to those in our lives.

(Thank you for your grace and support as I have been absent from blogging. I am praying to be more intentional. It helps me express my thoughts and I hope it provides encouragement to you as your read. Thank you again for your support. I count each of you who read this as blessings in my life. BE A BLESSING!)

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4 (Count’em 4) Wooldridges are Back to School

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Oh me! Oh MY!  The joy of learning and the excitement of the unknowns.

> Who is my teacher?

> Who is in my class?

> Can I make new friends?

> Will my teachers like me?

> Can I handle the work?

> Will I find my way??

These questions are what are facing me and my 3 kids.  Ian headed off to 4th grade to be an “upper” classmen at his elementary school.  Kaylee bounced off into 1st grade like it could be a cake walk and was ready to be with her friends.  Sweet Rhett even boarded the bus this morning for his first day of preschool, which left us both very shaken and teary eyed.  I am used to them going to school.  But it is my turn this fall too.

I have been out of college since 1998.  14 years.  In those 14 years I have worked and enjoyed a fast paced sales career.  I’ve stayed home for almost 10 years to support Amon’s career path, raise our sweet kiddos and find what makes me tick.  I’ve also lead an amazing ministry at my church for 6 years.  The known has been GOOD.  It has been quite a journey of ups and downs but it helped prepare for my next step.

It has opened me up for what I could be and that I can be more.  So here goes!  My backpack isn’t Hello Kitty, but my new school bag is filled with syllabi, notebooks and required readings.  I am reading and writing all the time and devouring what I am learning.

My new journey starts officially Wednesday when I travel to Conception Abbey for the CREATE cohort retreat for 4 days.  I applied and interviewed back in the spring.  I was notified in the middle of May that I was selected as one of ten in this newer Masters of Divinity program at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.  I will work closely and study with these 9 other students over the next 3 years.

How I will be shaped and how I will grow is unmeasurable.  I am so excited to lean into the work and grow.  I have no firm plans for after I complete the program.  It is open-ended and I can’t wait to see the pieces add up.  And as a planner this FREAKS me out!  But I know to my core that my openness to creativity, the learning and the journey will be my responsibility at God’s work in my future.

What is known is that when the program is completed I will still be sending off my children to school… to kindergarten, to 4th grade, and to 7th grade.  And I am excited to be on this journey with them.

Keep us in your prayers!

Chasing My Tail and 3+ others!!

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Awareness: Haven’t blogged here in 2 months and 2 days. I do write every day (well almost) but I haven’t had the time to type them up here… hence this post. I am going to do better at posting. It really helps me grow.

Here goes… disclaimer… if you know me well you know I love our three wild.woolly.wooldridges but I needed to express how motherhood is selfless at every moment unless you are in Mexico and their grandparents are being selfless to care for your kids.

The only room that really is staying clean (most of the time) is our kitchen. It is the site of three culinary experiences a day right now. Well, maybe not that great, but I’m trying to keep 3 eaters happy and well-balanced. With that comes planning mess, prep mess, cooking mess, dining mess, and cleaning mess and post dishwasher unloading. I get that it is important but not much else is happening these days in the rest of the rooms or personally in projects and plans.

As I was clearing another pile of O.P.S., Other People’s Stuff (a family of 5 makes/creates/receives a lot of O.P.S.) from the kitchen counter, I found a half-sheet from my eldest’s Sunday school class folder. It stopped me in my tracks as I was headed to the recycling bin.

If a task is once begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.

Really???? Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

This is probably how I felt before I had children. When I was on my own or newly married. But I think it took mothering for me to get over this way of doing and also judging others for not doing like I was. Now I can get interrupted just once on the way to the pantry and I can’t remember the ingredient I was after. Countless times I will walk around the house and shake my head at the open, half-emptied dishwasher, the drippy ice cream container on the counter, the forgotten toilet bowl cleaner waiting to be swished for hours (extra clean if it sits all day, right?), and I can’t forget the stinky laundry in the washer. (it isn’t like this everyday… but to be boldly honest… it does happen!) I’m pretty sure I don’t have Adult ADHD, but I am sure that moms, especially me are here to help our people, drop what we are doing to mediate a fight or kiss an injury and snuggle until they are better. I don’t jeopardize my children over the task at hand if I can help it and they need me. I’m not saying I’m perfect at either the tasks or the mothering… just trying to find balance.

The top part of the sheet could make me guilt ridden because I should be more focused to deeds and not needs. I am pretty sure I can’t get “IT” all done. But the bottom of the sheet saved me.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10 NKJV

Praise the Lord!!! My hands are always being called to touch and do. So be it refereeing, snuggling, playing fire trucks while wearing a SWAT helmet, I will do it mightily. This verse helps me see the blessings in my blessings and interruptions. The parenting saying goes, the hours are long, the but the years are short. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would do as a mother. But I can see the years flying by.

Our home (especially our kitchen) is clean enough. Our home serves pancakes from a bag multiple times a week even though my eldest says they are not his favorite. Our home is loving, loud and squirrelly everyday. My kids won’t and don’t measure me by my to do list. They measure me by my love and presence. And those I will continue to do mightily.

NOTE: 1 minute after hand-writing this post: Kaylee asked what was for lunch as I looked over at the counter full of breakfast dishes. While typing this all 3 kids came to me with a complaint, need or dispute. BUT I SOLDIERED ON AND POSTED!!!!!!

Now there is screaming in the basement… off again… no supermom cape… a mighty mom who will be planning and making and cleaning up lunch soon.

Motherhood is like a box of chocolates…

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(9 months a year for 6 years I have written to the women of MOPS@2BC–  in our newsletter – this was for May 2012)

Forrest Gump may have thought life was like a box of chocolate because you never know what you are going to get.  I agree with good old Forrest, but I would have to say that motherhood is a better take on the unknown.  (Heck sometimes I don’t have a clue how even the next 5 minutes are going to go, let alone a whole day, week or month!)

In my life, I can and have made choices and had free will on my side.  I could choose to a point what I studied, where I worked, what I ate, how much I slept and who I was with, etc.  Motherhood is thrust upon all of us in different ways, but it still hits hard with emotions, love, sleep deprivation and being a little crazy all at the same time.  And many times when faced with what decision we need to make for our kids, we feel lost.  I know I do.  The unknown isn’t always as neat as a chocolate box.  It isn’t easy to predict and of course, their temperament and reaction play heavily into each choice.

Many times I feel like I have selected my favorite “chocolate” (a.k.a. my plan or choice), just to have the sudden rush of missing the mark and failing.  In failing, I become a better parent.  It helps sharpen my awareness and it helps me to relate to my motherhood chocolate box differently.  I start identifying the shapes that I like and that also give my child some freedom and independence.  Those moments taste like warm caramel wrapped in chocolate.  Simply delish.

The harder to swallow moments taste like that coconut nougat that I avoid at all costs and offer to anyone near.  We all have those, right?

My prayer for each of us this summer is to enjoy and savor each bite of chocolate with our kids at home and underfoot.  They won’t be there long, ladies.

Be good to yourself, so you can be good to your people.  Hope to see you over the summer!

Faithfully,

Kristin