The Stink Eye in the Store….

Calling All Mommies! (And Daddy’s too)

Have you ever been in public and people don’t like what you are doing, not-doing, or saying to your kids? Have you ever received the ‘Stink Eye’ from a stranger? We’ll I have and frankly it sucks!

Yes-I have 5 children. I love all of them and although it’s more children than most people have these days I feel we are an average family. That is until we find ourselves in a store or somewhere out in public when people look at us like we are a large family you’d see on a reality TV show.

Recently I took the kids shopping with me. Before we even arrived at the store I prepped them about why we were shopping and what was on our list. We barely got into the store and they were already asking for things they wanted. I repeatedly told them “NO” which worked well for everyone except my 4 year old. He continued to push me on this issue and even came to the register in tears. While I would love to make his smile and give him the moon I think part of my job as a parent is to help him see that we can’t have everything we want right this minute. So after repeatedly being told, “No” he decided it was time to have a temper-tantrum. Kicking, crying, stomping, etc. he pitched a fit and people glared. I bent down and had a word with him about how he was choosing to show his frustration and he was okay until we reached the next store. This is when things got ugly…Although we now had Daddy with us there were 3 crying Menne children in our company. The baby was tired, the toddler was sick of the stroller and the 4 year old was again upset because we wouldn’t let him get a toy he wanted. Enter more glares and cue the stink eye. Yup, I got the stink eye from a number of people who were apparently annoyed with my children’s noisiness.

I don’t apologize for choosing NOT to give in to the demands of a 4-year old. I am sorry they cry sometimes and I honestly do my best to avoid taking them to stores when I know they’ll be crabby. The way people look at me you’d think I was doing bodily harm to my children. Come on people-Give me a break! Please refrain from using the stink eye! I much prefer a “I’ve been there” or an “I completely understand.”

Things my kids say 2.0

They never stop amazing me or quite frankly, making me laugh. Ok so I don’t laugh them, just smile and giggle when they walk away. My little girl is just so darn creative and funny. She says things like agent beetles & bathtisms and can even explain them.

Living in the midwest we have those lovely Asian Beetles which seem to take over buildings in the Fall. At first she thought they were lady bugs and was thrilled that they were around the doors, windows, etc. Then one ‘bit her’ and she was done with them. My husband and I have told her they are not lady bugs but Asian Beetles and although she seemed to understand she refers to them as agent beetles. Why? Well one could theorize she didn’t listen all that well but that is only half of it. She has decided they are just like agent P on Phineas and Ferb and they plot things like taking over our windows and biting 7 year old girls who try to play with them.

With the birth of our 5th child we are planning his baptism. Now this word alone is an interesting one but once again our daughter and 2 of our sons has created their own word from it, ‘bathtism.’ Why? Well because they get a bath in front of the church of course? There is a small ‘bath tub’ and water…so in their young minds they put that image and the word (as they heard it) together to make ‘bathtism.’

It’s truly amazing to see the world though the eyes of a child. They have such an interesting and innocent perspective.

Faith in the fast lane…

We are all so busy these days. Whether it’s career, family, or just life in general it seems we are going 100mph in 3 directions all at once.  If you are anything like me finding time for yourself can be challenging. As a mother of 5 between family, work, and volunteering it can be very difficult to squeeze in time to nurture my faith. No matter how fast are lives go I feel it is still very important to find time for faith. If you can’t find time, then you’ll just have to make time.

So how do we find or make time for faith in a fast-paced life? I don’t claim to have the perfect solution but this is what has been working well for me.

  1. A devotional. I have seen devotionals in bookstores and have even received one as a gift but didn’t pick them up right away. After cracking one open I soon learned it was a great way for me to get my daily dose of the bible as well as a practical example or message for me to think about throughout my day. I’ve tried reading right before bed, or first thing in the morning.  I gave up trying to have a routine and have since gone with whenever I have time in the day. My devotional has put on many miles being tossed into my purse or briefcase so I am ready whenever I have a few minutes to read. Rather than check my facebook or twitter I simply read the scripture on my smartphone and 1-page devotional message for that day. There are many different devotionals out there. I am recently finished one for women by Jill Briscoe and love it. Now my husband and I are reading a couples devotional book together each evening. I am confident you can find a devotional that works for you.
  1. Prayer beads*. I was raised Catholic but never learned how to use a rosary so when this concept of prayer beads was first presented to me I was skeptical. After trying it out I discovered how easy it was and how helpful it was for me to structure my prayer. I have 2 of these; 1 is meant for adults and 1 for children. I tend to use the children’s version. I have them on a key-chain ring and they hang in my car. Rather than listening to the radio or talking on the phone I hold my prayer beads and pray on my way to work each morning.
  1. Schedule Bible Time. It doesn’t always work well with our schedule but I try very hard to fit in bible time in the evenings with the kids. We usually do a “bath, book, bedtime” type of routine so one evening a week I replace book with bible. This has worked very well with the kids especially after they each got their own bible and bible case to carry it in. They love gathering on the floor with me to read together. Although they each have their own bible appropriate for their age we are still able to all read and discuss the same stories. It is so much fun to hear the kids explain to one another the various stories and talk about what they feel the bible is telling them.

*Prayer Beads: You can find beads to make this at your local craft store. I cannot take credit for this as I learned all about it from a pastor at a local church.

Happy Face Bead-This bead prompts you to talk with God about the joys of our lives, the things we love about God and the things we are thankful for that make us happy.

Blue Bead-This bead represents the things in life that make us sad or things we wish we hadn’t done. A time to talk to God for forgiveness.

Flower or Animal Bead-This bead represents the amazing natural world God created. The plants, animals, etc that we love.

Star Bead-This bead is for the ‘star person’ in our prayer life for the day. If you told someone you’d pray for them or someone you feel needs prayers that day.

Heart Bead-This bead is for the people we love…friends, family, teachers, coaches…and even the people in the world we haven’t met yet.