Why I Blog

January 3, 2016

2015 was not a great blogging year for me. At the end of December I got a really cool report from WordPress showing my blog stats. It was really cool until I looked at it realized I posted a total of two times. Two times in 365 days – wow! That’s nothing to brag about. (On the bright side, I only posted one time in 2014 so technically I posted twice as much in 2015)

My goal for 2016 is to blog more. However, I want to be more specific in this goal so I am challenging myself to post at least once a week. I’d love to post three or four times a week, but considering I didn’t even post three or four times in an entire year I thought I’d try to be realistic.

I’m starting with asking myself the question of why I blog. Why did I start blogging in the first place? I thought back to when I started my blog. I had been posting things on Facebook about my kids. I’d post funny things they said or did or share my struggles (and humor) of motherhood. I liked sharing with others and I enjoyed hearing how the stories often helped other parents or made people laugh.  It also was very therapeutic to write about motherhood when I was stressed and up to my eyeballs in laundry and dishes. My mom encouraged me to start a blog to share these stories.  I checked into blogging and was excited because I could post more detailed stories (no word count limit) and add photos and other cool widgets.

So I think I have determined that my original purpose for blogging was to relieve stress in my own life as well as to give my readers some humor and joy in their stressful day.  Is that still the purpose of my blog? I think so, but it’s different now that my kids are older.

When I started blogging Drew was 13, Caleb was 9 and Emma and Ethan (the twins) were 7.  In fact my “Meet the Pastor’s Family” page on my blog still reads:

My husband Dwight and I were high school sweethearts and we have been happily married for 17 years.  We have a 9 year old son, Caleb, who has Autism and is non-verbal (he also has a fascination with flushing toys and other un-flushable objects down the toilet … we now have the plumber on speed dial). Then there are the twins, Emma & Ethan, who are 7 years old. They act like a little old married couple and so we affectionately refer to them as “Fred & Ethel” from I Love Lucy.  Our oldest son, Drew, just turned 13.   Wow, I am a mother of a teenager  ~ That makes me feel old !  I sometimes feel like I’m running in circles trying to balance a full time job, motherhood, and all the church activities and responsibilities that come with being a pastor’s wife.  Well, now you know a little about my family and my life … I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of our not-so-perfect pastor’s family.

So I guess one of my first tasks of 2016 is to update this page since the twins are about to be teenagers and Drew will be graduating from High School in June!

New Year’s Resolution #1 : Blogging once a week in 2016

What is your New Year’s Resolution? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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School Daze

August 17, 2013

IMG_5654School started this week and we are slowly adapting back into the routine of going to bed earlier, getting up earlier and having to do things like check homework and pack lunches. Wednesday night we ran out of lunchmeat and bread and so I decided I’d just run to the Dollar Store since we live in a remote location and the nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away.

Ethan joined me on my shopping trip with the secret hopes of getting a toy. I am a softy and so I conceded and let him have one dollar to spend. He ended up buying fake lottery tickets and playing a joke on Emma making her believe that she had won $5,000 – she was not amused when she found out it wasn’t a real lottery ticket.

When we got back from the store I was putting things away and found that the lunchmeat I had bought was “bacon lovers” honey ham. I had never heard of such of thing.

“Hey Emma” I called (since Emma is a big fan of bacon), “Look at this. I accidentally bought bacon lovers honey ham – it’s ham with bacon in it. What do you think of that?”

“Well, I love bacon, but I am not sure I would like it in my ham. Besides, I don’t even like ham.” she informed me.

“Wait a minute. What do you mean you don’t like ham? Last night you and Ethan made ham sandwiches to pack in your lunch and you even ate some of the ham as you were making them. And then tonight you had a ham sandwich for dinner.”

“No, I didn’t.” she objected. “That was turkey.”

“No, sweetie – that was ham. We just finished off a package of ham.”

“Really? It was ham? Huh, I guess I do like ham then. But I still don’t think I want to chance mixing ham and bacon.”

“Well, OK. Then you guys can just have peanut butter sandwiches in your lunch.”
They packed their lunches and got their backpacks and shoes and socks laid out and then started getting ready for bed.

Two hours and several requests for drinks of waters and hugs & kisses later, all was quiet in the house as the kids finally drifted off to sleep.

For those who are not aware I am currently taking classes and working on getting my MBA so after the kids are in bed it’s my time to study, do homework and write papers. I finished up my schoolwork, threw a load of towels in the washer, brushed my teeth and my weary body fell into bed around 1:30 am.

At 3:30 am I woke up briefly when I heard Caleb get up and go to the bathroom. I assumed he would go right back to bed so I didn’t get up. I fell back to sleep and was awoken again by Caleb standing over me and watching me sleep. I glanced at Caleb who was fully dressed for school with clothes, shoes and backpack on. I then looked over at the clock, blinked several times as I realized that it was 4:30 am. “Caleb, its way too early for school! Please go back to bed!” He took off his backpack and shoes and got back into bed. I went back to bed to try and get another hour or two of sleep.

“Mom, mom, mom!” I hear a little voice say in a whisper. I look up and see Emma standing at my bedside. It was 5:55 am.

“What are you doing up?” I asked her.

“Caleb woke me up at 4:00 and I have just been watching TV in my bedroom with the volume down really low.” Well, at least someone is trying to be quiet.

In the other room I could hear Caleb’s bouncing on his bed and laughing. Where does he get all that energy? I closed my eyes thinking I just needed five more minutes of sleep.

Emma came back in at 6:10 and said, “I’m hungry mom. Can you fix me some breakfast?”

I decided that sleep was not an option at this point so I might as well just get up and join the party. “OK Emma. What would you like for breakfast? Maybe an Eggo waffle?”

“Umm… I think I’d like bacon.” She said with a smile.

“Honey, I don’t have bacon. Unless you count that ham with bacon I bought by mistake. We have waffles, fruit loops, poptarts or fish crackers.” I replied.

“Oh, OK … I guess I’ll have waffles. I’m gonna go see what Ethan wants.”

“Wait, is Ethan up too?” I said as I followed her into Ethan and Caleb’s room. Ethan was stirring a bit since Emma was talking him, but he was still half asleep.

“I asked him what he wanted for breakfast and he said cinnamon rolls.” Emma reported.

“Cinnamon rolls? I don’t have cinnamon rolls. Remember, we only have waffles, fruit loops, poptarts or goldfish crackers.”

“Oh, that’s right. Sorry Ethan – you’re out of luck. Mom said we don’t have cinnamon rolls. Don’t feel bad though, I’m not getting the bacon I asked for either.”

Ethan just rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. I walked over and sat down on his bed and started rubbing his back. “Did Caleb wake you up too? He’s been up for hours and he woke Emma up at 4:00.”

Ethan yawned and said, “Well, Caleb woke me up but I just went back to sleep. But now that you and Emma are in here too and so I guess I’m not going to have any chance for sleep now.” Ethan, like me, had decided he might as well get up.

By this time it was 6:45 and probably time for everyone to start getting ready for school anyways. Ethan and Emma got dressed and Caleb started getting excited that everyone else was up and that it was getting closer to time for the bus to arrive.

We all ventured downstairs to Drew’s room and woke him up. Beware the sleeping teenager…..he was not happy to be awakened by his cheery siblings. He pulled the covers back over his head and mumbled, “Just five more minutes….” I know how you feel Drew!

By 7:15 the kids were dressed and happily eating their breakfast of waffles and poptarts. The bus came right on time at 7:25. I waved goodbye as they took off on their adventure for another day of school.

I would loved to have crawled back into bed since I didn’t have to be to work until 11:00, but I was scheduled to speak to Caleb’s class at 8:45. Caleb has autism and is mainstreamed into a general ed classroom. Every year my husband, Dwight, and I go and talk to Caleb’s classroom in the first week of school. We talk to them about autism and about ways they can interact, communicate and include Caleb. Since I needed to hop in the shower, get dressed and make my way over to the school sleep would just have to wait.

ImageAs I got ready for the day I thought about when the kids were infants and how every night was a series of feedings, diaper changes, etc. Especially that first six months of the twins lives. I don’t remember much from that period of my life and I blame that on the sleep deprivation.

I guess I should just be thankful that these short nights are much less frequent now and that, for the most part, the kids sleep all night. I am also thankful that on Saturdays I can sleep in since the kids are old enough to entertain themselves for a few hours.

This morning Caleb crawled in bed with me around 8:00 am but then after a few minutes of cuddling he went back to his room to play and I had the luxury of sleeping for another hour or so. I finally got up when I heard the kids talking about what they wanted for breakfast. Guess it would have been a good morning for cinnamon rolls and bacon… If only I had remembered to go to the store and buy some. Oh well, maybe next Saturday!

ImageToday I will be interviewed about my new book Running Through the Raindrops…Finding Joy in the Chaos of Raising Kids on Blog Talk Radio.

I am not an expert in computers and the Internet, but from what I can gather this interview can be listened to live at 3:00 pm EDT or any time after that as a podcast.

Simply click on the link below if you‘d like to listen in and join us! I will be reading an excerpt from my book so tune in to hear about the adventures of the pastor’s kids!

Click HERE to listen (after 3:00 pm EDT)

“What are we doing on Saturday?” Ethan asked me earlier this week

“Well, I have my book signing on Saturday afternoon and I am getting the oil changed on the van in the morning.” I replied as I finished setting the table for dinner

“Are we all going to your book signing?” he asked

“I don’t know. Do you want to come?” I hadn’t really thought about making it a family event because I really didn’t know if the kids would enjoy it.

“Yes, I think it sounds like fun!” Ethan replied. “Plus, all of us kids should be there because people will probably want to meet the stars of the book.”

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Emma & Ethan playing with the umbrellas

So, Saturday afternoon the “stars” of Running Through the Raindrops were all in attendance at my book signing and they had a great time playing with the props (umbrellas), sampling all the cookies and talking with those who stopped by to purchase the book. It was a successful book signing and I was so glad the kids all came along.

Now by “successful” I don’t mean I sold hundreds of copies of my book or that there was a long line of people waiting to meet the author.  It was successful because we had the opportunity to meet other parents and talk with them about the struggles and the joys of raising kids. We had some especially meaningful conversations with parents who also had kids with autism and had been through many of the same struggles we had. My husband, Dwight, and I really enjoyed meeting these wonderful families and, after all, that is the whole reason I started writing in the first place. I wanted to connect with other parents and share our joys, our fears and our frustrations.

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Caleb, Drew, Emma & Ethan

One of the most amazing moments was when a friend of ours brought her granddaughter, Hannah, into the book signing. Hannah is in school with Caleb and she also has autism and is non-verbal. When Caleb and Hannah saw one another they both smiled and started jabbering away. We couldn’t understand what they were saying, but Caleb was making his “happy sound” and jumping up and down so I think that they were excited to see one another. It was blessing to see a friendship that goes against what so many have defined autism to be.  Friendship is one thing that kids with autism are said to not be capable of understanding or obtaining but it was clear to us that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth!

So here is to my “stars”: Drew, Caleb, Ethan and Emma – I love you and I had an awesome time celebrating with you on Saturday!

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If you haven’t read my book and want to learn more about it you can click HERE for an interview I recently did with Michelle Lynn Brown. You can purchase Running Through the Raindrops on Amazon as a paperbook or Kindle. Also available as a NookBook and on Kobo.  If you have read the book it be great if you’d leave a review on Amazon – thanks so much!

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Time Marches On

June 2, 2013

Image 1Another school year has ended and I am now the mother of a 6th grader, two 5th graders and a sophomore in high school.  How can this be possible?  It seems like only yesterday I had three in diapers and one in kindergarten and today I rode in the car with my oldest son, Drew, behind the wheel.

He was driving to graduation to play in the band and I couldn’t help but think that three years from now it will be HIS graduation we will be driving to!  I mentioned that to him and he said, “Don’t remind me!”

I was a little surprised by his response and so I said, “Why do you say that? I would think you’d be excited to graduate. You know, no more school.”

“Well, I guess, but I’m not looking forward to leaving you and Dad and all my friends at school.  I’ll probably go to college close by so I can see you but it won’t be the same as living at home with you guys and being able to talk to you whenever I want.” Drew explained.

I thought it was just a mom thing that I was so worried about Drew growing up, but I guess he has worries of his own. I started to think back to my teen years and I remember having some of those same fears.  As I got closer to graduating I found myself more and more excited to finish and be done with high school, but I still had some anxiety about leaving all that was familiar and venturing out into the unknown.

I look over at my son, who now towers above me at 6’2”, as he carefully concentrates on the road and realize how lucky I am to have such a great kid. He really has a sweet, kind heart and has always been such a big help with Caleb and the twins.  Being the oldest is never easy, but he has never complained.

Pretty soon he will have his actual license and be able to drive alone and probably start dating and hanging out with friends more and more.  I am proud of the fact that he likes his family enough to want to hang out with us. He still gets along pretty well still with his siblings but they do have their moments when they get on each others last nerve.

The other day I was reading a book to the twins and it had the word “sibling” in it. I asked them if they knew what “sibling” meant.  Emma said, “Someone who drives you crazy but you love them so much you couldn’t imagine life without them.”  Wow, I thought …  that is a pretty accurate description!

ImageHere is the photo I took on the last day of school.  As you can see, Drew looks much less thrilled than the younger three.  After the photo was taken Emma said, “Geez Drew, you could at least smile and look happy. It’s the last day of school – it’s gonna be a fun day!”

“Maybe for you” Drew replied. “You are going to have parties and play games all day.  I have three finals to take. It’s not such a fun day when you’re in high school. Enjoy your elementary years while you can, pretty soon you’ll be taking finals too!”

Drew is absolutely right … pretty soon it will be Emma and Ethan taking finals and driving and that is an even scarier thought!

 

 

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ImageDon’t forget to check out my new book, Running Through the Raindrops … Finding Joy in the Chaos of Raising Kids

Now Available on Amazon in paperback and for the Kindle

They Grow Up So Fast!

May 25, 2013

“Hey Mom ~ Look! The nest is empty!” Ethan said with a frown. “I’m going to miss having those cute little baby robins to watch and talk to. They grew up way too fast!”

I had to agree with Ethan. They did grow up fast – kinda like my kids are growing up way too fast.

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In my last post “Signs of Spring” I shared that we had a mother robin who built her nest right outside Ethan’s bedroom window and she had laid three eggs. Two of the eggs had hatched and the mother robin was patiently waiting for the third egg to hatch.

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The next morning we checked and found that the third egg had hatched and there were three hungry baby birds with their mouths open, waiting for their mom to feed them.

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The momma robin made endless trips out in the yard and then brought back worms for her little babies.  They didn’t even have their eyes open yet, but they knew when their mom came near and they would wake up and open their mouths in anticipation.

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“Wow!” Emma said one morning as she watched the momma robin. “That poor momma bird never gets to sleep! She just feeds those baby birds and sits on the nest but I never see her close her eyes to sleep.”

“Well, that’s kinda like human moms, Emma. When you guys were little I felt a lot like that momma bird. I didn’t get much sleep and sometimes forgot to eat. I was more concerned with taking care of you than sleeping or eating or anything else. It’s what mommies do for their babies!”

“I still want to be a mom someday but it seems like a lot of hard work. Maybe I’d better start resting up now. I think I’m going to need all the sleep I can get now!”

“Yep! It’s  a lot of work. But it’s worth it!” I said and gave her a hug. “Now lets get dressed and get ready before the bus gets here!”

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As the days went by the baby birds quickly lost their fuzzy down and it was replaced by feathers as they began to look more and more like their mother. It was only a week after they were born and they already looked twice as big and had opened their eyes.

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We saw the father bird a few times but it was mostly the mother that came with fat, juicy worms to fed the growing babies. She would sit on the nest and protect at night and when it was raining or stormy out. However, as the baby robins continued to grow it became harder and harder for the mother bird to sit on the nest.

The next week I noticed that the mother came around less and less. She would still feed the babies but she didn’t sit on the nest during the day at all. Usually at night she would come back, but it was so crowded there really wasn’t room for her in the nest anymore.

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The baby birds began to start grooming and preparing their wings to fly. One by one, they starting leaving the safety of the nest to set out and explore the world for themselves.  The first bird flew off and the second bird was not far behind. Emma and Ethan were discussing the birds “flying the coop” and they asked me when the last bird was going to leave.

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“I think he is enjoying having the nest all to himself.” I told them. “Kinda like when you were born. Ethan, you were bigger than Emma and after you were born they did a quick ultrasound to check on Emma and they said she was stretching and seemed to be enjoying the extra space.  You hung out for a few more minutes, Emma and then you decided it was time to make your grand entrance!”

“Yep, and I’m older by four whole minutes!” Ethan bragged.

“Oh, boy! Here we go again!” Emma sighed and rolled her eyes. “You always have to bring that up!”

Later that afternoon we came back and found the empty nest. The last baby robin had finished his nap in the nest and decided it was time for his grand entrance out into the wide, wide, world.

“So long little birdies! It’s been fun watching you grow up. I’ll miss having you around!” Ethan said sadly.

“It’s OK.” I reassured him. “I bet if we look hard enough we will still see them now and again.”

And we have. They are all living in our yard and we occasionally see them in the trees or on the power lines. Not as up close as when they were living in the nest, but we still see them and we are still reminded of how we got to watch three little blue eggs become three beautiful robins!

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Check out my new book ~ Available now on Amazon!

Running Through the Raindrops … Finding Joy in the Chaos of Raising Kids 

Lori Elliott is the wife of a pastor, holds a full-time job and is a mother of four, including a special needs child. Lori has realized that life is messy and figured out there is no such thing as a “perfect” mother. Although motherhood can be overwhelming, stressful and chaotic, but there are those magical moments when the joy and humor you find make all the craziness seem worthwhile.

cover“What are you working on?” Emma asked, looking over my shoulder.

“I’m working on my book. It’s almost finished!” I replied. “Isn’t that exciting?”

“Wait, you mean it’s going to be a real, live book?  Like one that people can buy?”

I laughed, “Well, I hope that people will buy it!”

“Hey, Ethan!” Emma shouted (even though he was on the couch about three feet away) “Mom is writing a book!  It’s a REAL LIVE book, like one that people can buy.”

“What is your book about?” Ethan asked

“Actually, it’s about you … and you and Drew and Caleb too.” I explained as I looked at both of them, amazed at how big they were getting. “There are stories about all four of you. Some from when you were little and some from as recent as just this year.”

“So we are like the stars of the book?” Ethan asked

“Yes, you are the stars and the stories are all about the fun times we have as a family and the funny and cute things you guys say.”

“Well, I say the funny things and Emma says the cute things.” Ethan teased Emma

“I say funny things too!” Emma objected, stomping her foot in protest.

“You both say funny things and you both say cute things. I’m sure people who read the book will find you both equally entertaining.”  I said, trying to keep the peace and prevent a fight from breaking out in our living room.

So, for those of you who enjoy reading my blog, FB posts and tweets … You will soon be able to read them in a REAL LIVE book!

Keep an eye out on Amazon for the soon-to-be-released, “Running Through The Raindrops … Finding Joy In The Chaos of Raising Kids”.  It will be available as an e-book later this week and hopefully the print book will be available to purchase the following week  … Just in time for Mother’s Day (for any men out there who still need gift ideas!)