Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Not a Teacher Anymore

I have a really bad habit.  Actually, if I were still teaching it would be a really good habit. However,  I am so far removed from my teaching career that people who know me now have no idea I ever taught.  This is where good teaching habits go bad. 

I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I figure I share all my issues.  I share issues like I'm sitting on a nice fluffy couch paying someone to listen to my issues.  But, since I don't want to pay anyone to listen to my junk I just make you read about it.  Except, you come here by choice so maybe I should be concerned for you.

Yeah, that's it.  I'm concerned for you. 

And me.

Do you see what I'm doing here?  I'm stalling.  Stalling so I don't have to tell you my bad habit. 

But, I will.  Here it goes.

I frequently correct other kids in public.

Aye, aye, aye...I said it!

I only taught for seven years.  I've been out of teaching for 5 years.  Yet, I still find myself correcting kids whether I know them or not.  I am THAT annoying person.

I promise I don't think I am a super parent.  My kids can act like a bunch of hooligans, and Chubby Cheekers keeps me on my toes daily.  If I ever thought I was a good parent, Chubby Cheekers was put on this Earth to challenge that thought. The problem is if I see one kid doing something that hurts or invades another kid's personal space, I cannot keep my mouth shut.  I physically start twitching just watching it. 

Tell me I'm not alone here.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Okay, so I'm alone.  I'm seeking help.  I can completely understand if you want your children to run and hide from me.  It could be the only way to intervene.  Maybe I just need to realize I am not a teacher anymore.  I don't need to operate under the 'It Takes a Village To Raise a Child' motto.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Menu Monday

It happened.  THE tooth came out.


After thrashing, screaming, and covering her mouth her Daddy finally convinced her to let him have three tries.  The third time worked and that thang didn't even realize it came out.  Daddy's are so great.  If it were up to me, it would still be hanging there.  Hanging there like an old New Kids on the Block song.  You know?  Hanging Tough.  

Sorry.  I had to.  

I also have a menu for you today.  Nothing goes better with a bloody hole in the mouth than a menu for the week, riiiight????

Monday-Greek Tacos and Roasted Green Beans
Tuesday- Whole Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, and Salad
Wednesday-Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Salad
Thursday-Beef Tater Bake and Asparagus
Friday-Grilled Chicken, Peppers, and Honey Butter Crescents
Saturday-Club Sandwiches and Chips
Sunday-Easter Dinner

Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's Just Hanging There

You see this smile?

Yes.  That smile with little baby teeth.  It's about to change.  Little Miss already has her first loose tooth.  It's really just hanging there waiting for that one bit of resistance to nudge it out.  I'm not ready for it.  My little girl is losing the little and moving towards the big.  It all starts with the teeth.  Am I right?  Whaaaaaaaaaa!

A few weeks ago she and her Daddy were talking about ways to get it out.  She is so anxious for the Tooth Fairy to visit her room.  I'm not sure what she's imagining, but I know it has a bit to do with a fairy party and glitter and Pixie Dust all coming together in one location in the middle of the night in her bedroom.  She may not sleep.  I may have to get over my disdain for glitter and make something special happen.  Depends on how generous I'm feeling because I totally dislike glitter.

The funny part about the whole 'How Do We Get That Tooth Out' conversation was Little Man's suggestion.  We didn't think he was paying attention.  I mean that boy was Z-O-N-E-D in to the DS, but low and behold he pipes in...

I think we should tie a string to her tooth and I'll tie the other end on my football.  Then, I'll just throw the football as hard as I can.  That will be awesome and your tooth will for sure come out.  I'm reallllly strong.

Well, alright there buddy.  Not lacking any confidence are we?

As for Little Miss, she wasn't digging it.  If you can picture a 17 year old girl while I repeat what she said, you'll get a better picture. 

Uhhhh, Little Man, we are NOT going to do THAT!

So, the tooth remains.  It's just hanging there.  Not sure how we'll convince her to get it out, but I can assure you it won't be with a football and a string.

Now this next picture has nothing to do with a tooth other than I found it in a group of pictures and it is my all time favorite...

I mean, that beef cake on the right and that little thang on the left???  Melt. My. Heart.  Little Miss has such a great daddy.  A heart for God and a heart for her.  What's even better is she has a great uncle too...that just happens to look just like Daddy...that just happens to spoil her rotten...and just happens to carry a gun everywhere...and has the potential to arrest people.  Yes, she will be well protected come dating years!  We like that kind of protection.

Oh, you'd like to take our daughter out?  Go ahead and fill out this background check, finger prints here please, and a police car will escort you to each location.  Meanwhile her brothers and cousins will accompany you inside each venue.  Understood?  You have approximately 2 hours.

This will work out so well! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I AM That Crazy Lady

Mornings are a bit of a mad dash.  All 5 of us need to be in the cars backing out at 7:30am.  I guess I could help out in this regard if I woke up earlier on non-workout days, but if you tell Steven that I will HURT you.  Like really hurt you.  Like track you down and pull each finger nail out one by one.  I say that in the most loving way possible.

Anyway, getting out the door...it's an Olympic decathlon in which I am nowhere near the front, but once we're in the car I try to make the best use of our time before the kids are off at school.  We sing and joke and practice for tests and some days just chat. 

Yesterday, we were singing and the song Do Something by Matthew West was on.  Insert the crazy lady crying in her car.  The basis of this song is how angry we get when we see or hear of injustices and then we shake our fists at God asking why He doesn't do something about it.

Except He did. 

He made me and you.

We are the 'Do Somethings'.

The great part of us being the 'Do Somethings' is we aren't all the same doers.  We think and do differently, and I have the most perfect example of doing the do differently.

 My friend has the most beautiful heart.  She asked if she and her kids could join us in serving with the Tulsa Homeless Outreach last March.  I was thrilled.  She asked what to bring and I suggested drinks.  She loaded up her coolers with over 100 pops.  She filled a need of thirst and spoiled the homeless with something other than water. 

Don't get me wrong, water is GREAT!  We take water every month, but something new is always nice.  That pop was wiped out in about 5 minutes, and the men and women who were receiving smiled ear to ear.  I loved seeing their faces.  I loved that Sarah, my friend, said yes to serving that day. 

But, that's not what I wanted to share.  She brought what I suggested and something else. Something I would have never thought of.  Something so precious it still gets me a little weepy and emotional.  She brought 100 long stem roses for her boys to give to the women there.


Is that not the most thoughtful, sweet, precious thing you ever heard of???  In NO way would I have ever thought of that.  What was even more beautiful was it wasn't just the women looking for flowers, the men loved them as well.  Just like James and his newest puppy Little Man (I found that completely hilarious since our oldest in Little Man too).

 (If someone could shed a little light on what the heck MY kid is doing, it would be greatly appreciated.   I think he's trying to shoot a basket, but WHY is beyond me....)

The point to all of this is you can do something.  Maybe money and resources is what you are lacking.  Give time.  Maybe time is what you are lacking.  Give money and resources.  However, I've noticed in our lives giving what we have the least of is exactly what we needed to give in the first place.  Being apart of the Tulsa Homeless Outreach has enriched our lives in indescribable ways.  Our family loves meeting new people, listening to their needs and fulfilling those needs.  It is our greatest love language.

So here I am today challenging to Do Something and I'm going to list a few ways to get involved.  Sometimes it's lack of knowledge that keeps us from getting our hands and feet moving.  Here are a few ways to make a difference...
  • Volunteer to spend time with children at hospitals whose family members cannot be with them during the week.  My sweet friend, Lisa, noticed one day how many young children were all alone at the hospital because parents HAD to work to pay the bills.  She is now doing something about that.
  • Volunteer to form relationships with the elderly at nursing homes.  My mom is so wonderful about this.  She takes such great care of my grandma in Springfield, MO.  She's there a couple of times a month.  What I love about her is she doesn't just meet my grandma's needs, she offers her services to the other ladies and gentlemen at the retirement center.  When she is home, she helps care for a woman in a local nursing home.  She called the director and asked who had relatives living out of state.  She wanted help relieve the stress off those caregivers while forming a relationship with a new person.
  • Have a Beautification Day.  Pick up the trash at a local park.  Plant some flowers for a neighbor.  Mow someone's yard.  Buy some landscaping for an organization who is struggling.
  • Find out what needs local food banks have and start collecting.  
  • Adopt children through programs like Compassion International or Mission of Hope.  We sponsor Luis and Lesly.  Luis is Little Man's age, both born on November 6th, and Lesly is Little Miss's age, both born on October 15th.  In a year or so, Chubby Cheekers will get to form a special relationship with a child that was born on February 16th just like him.  This has been such a blessing to our family.  The kids have someone specific to pray for and love on despite having never met them.  We have dreams of going to Luis' home village in Peru and Lesly's hometown in Mexico and physically hugging their necks.  I can't even contain the emotions just thinking about it.  
These are just a few ways out of MILLIONS for you to get involved.  I can only promise you one thing.  You will turn into that crazy lady who is driving her kids to school bawling over a song about doing something.  Yeah, I said it.  I'm crazy.  Like you didn't know...

And if you are curious about the song I referenced, here ya' go...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Splinter In My Foot: A Lesson In Removing the Unneccesary

About a month ago I was walking across the wood floor with my socks on and got a splinter in my foot.  I guess that tells you we have been slacking on polishing the floors, huh?  That's not the point though.  I mean, we have slacked, but that stinkin' splinter taught me a huge lesson.

Right after it happened I grabbed my tweezers and pulled it out.  At least I thought I pulled it out.  The next few days I realized there had to still be a splinter in my foot because anytime I put pressure on my foot it was uncomfortable.

But, guess what?  I got busy and never did anything about it.  It was uncomfortable, but life could still go on.  Babies needed booties wiped.  Kids needed to be fed.  Duty called, and not for a splinter.

A few more days went by and I realized I was walking on the side of my foot to avoid putting pressure on it.  That little splinter had become more and more painful with each step.  Since I was having to alter the way I walked, I took the time to try and deal with that inconvenient little splinter.  Problem was, new skin had already grown over it.  It was going to take some work and time.

I tried almost every Pinterest how to on getting out a splinter.  I think some of the remedies helped, but really it was probably the large sterilized needle I had to use to break the skin.  Yeah, doctoring myself.  Not something I suggest unless getting yourself to the doctor takes an act of Congress for you to be able to go.

I digress.

Once the skin soften and I picked away at the new skin...and pinched...and poked....and dug...and pushed, I was able to grab the tip of the miniscule splinter and pull it out.  That thing was the size of tick's leg.  Seriously, how could something so little cause me to alter the way I walk for days on end?

If I had just dealt with it right from the git go, then I could have avoided all that pain. Instead, I took what I thought was going to be the easier route.  Just act like it wasn't there and it would stop hurting.  Brilliant idea, Amanda.

This only happened once to my foot, but guess what?  This happens often in my regular life.  How many times have I walked differently because I refused to remove the unnecessary elements in my life?  How many times did I think, "It doesn't hurt that bad.  I can deal with this.  It will go away."

Only it doesn't.  Not only does it not go away, but it gets bigger and hairier and nastier.  Then, I have to deal with the issue when it is bigger, hairier, and nastier.  It takes more work to fix than if I just took care of it from the beginning.  

It so reminds me of our spirited Chubby Cheekers.  Man, he is a passionate kid.  He loves, but he also has a very clear picture of how things should go.  Most of the time it is in the opposite direction of where Steven and I think he should go.  Being that I birthed that little boy, he gets to submit to me.  And, given that Steven is the man of the house, Chubby Cheekers gets to submit to him too.   It's a wonderful time.  So wonderful that sometimes, I think it would be easier to give into his little desires and tantrums and fits.  Seems like a good idea until those tantrums and fits get bigger and hairier and nastier.  Then I think, "This would have been SO much easier if I would have taken care of it when it was small and seemingly insignificant."

Am I the only one going through this here?  Maybe it's not your spirited child, but I can replay countless scenarios in my life where nippin' it in the bud would have been the path of least resistance.  Removing the unnecessary keeps me from pain. It keeps me in line with where God is taking me.  I know I shouldn't fight it, but gosh darn it, I sometimes do. 

Even though the splinter in my foot wasn't pleasant, it sure brought about a lot of revelations to my life.  I hope it helps you too.  At the very least, if you get a splinter you should definitely take care of it pronto!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Menu Monday

I don't want to sound like an overachiever or anything, but here I am with a menu.  Heeeeey!  I need a sign...


This is so true.  Earlier on Sunday afternoon while getting a pedicure, I decided to write out my menu.  I believed I could, and lookie where that landed me.  So if you see me today, it's okay to give me a 'Well Done Good and Faithful Servant' pat on the back.  

As I bask in the light of my overachieving spirit of doing what I used to always do...and then I started slacking...I leave you with our weekly menu.

Monday-Turkey Chili and Salad
Tuesday-Italian Turkey Sausage Spaghetti, Roasted Green Beans, Toasted Udi's Bread
Wednesday-Grilled Chicken, Veggies and Brown Rice
Thursday-Out to dinner...BASEBALL!
Friday-BBQ Chicken, Trees and Raisins, Sweet Potatoes
Saturday-Sandwiches and Fresh Fruit and Veggies
Sunday-Dinner at Mom's

And I don't want to excite you or anything, but I have another blog post in the works this week about a splinter in my foot.  This is riveting news her folks!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Break Photo Dump

I realize Spring Break was a week ago, but when you're in the trenches with 2 two year olds you write when you can...even if it's a week late...even if no one cares.  You pretend they care.  Then you dump a bunch of photos on them with super lengthy captions because you just need a little outlet from those crazy two year olds who have been fighting  ALL. DAY.  LONG.  

I've said too much.

Let the photo dump begin...

Sooooo, here are some of the loves of my life riding the cutest little boat that makes me want to puke just watching it go back and forth and back and forth, but everyone in the boat seems happy.  This pic totally sums up our weekend.  So much fun and great memories made.

 We woke up early Saturday morning and drove a few hours to hit up Silver Dollar City.  The kids were so excited to get out of the car and ride rides...and pee.  So being the super modest parents we are, we parked by the edge of the woods and let them pee over the railing.  I'll spare you the pic of that.

Once inside the park, the kids were so pumped.  Chubby Cheekers on the other hand was spending time pondering the deeper things in life.   Where was the nearest Snackie Station?  And that little thang out front...is she not the cutest little party animal you've ever seen?

Little Miss' first ride was the Big Swings.  She has always loved heights so I was pumped to ride with her.  She squealed and laughed the entire time.  That's my girl.


And here is the whole gang as we were waiting for our bus to take us back to the cars.  We had such a blast!  Definitely a tradition in the making.

Now this is what a successful day of riding rides looks like...


Once we returned home it was back to having all 5 kids.  If you know anything about Torres kids, you know you have to keep them busy.  So everyday I planned an adventure to somewhere.  An adventure that was free cause I'm cheap like that!  

I would like to see if you could possibly spot the child that was the most difficult on this day...

Yep, Chubby Cheekers wasn't digging the tree stump climbing.  All he wanted to do was get in the sand box.  The one that had sand.  I don't like sand.  My car doesn't like sand.  

Are they not the most professional looking explorers ever????

Showing off their muscles after conquering the Strenuous Trail.  I mean, shouldn't I be showing you MY muscles after pulling those two chunks of hunks in the wagon???
Again, can you spot the difficult child???
I think the thing about Spring Break that I love is the days of 'Get To's'.  There is not anywhere we have to be.  We get to do what we want.  We woke up together.  Had breakfast when we wanted.  Cuddled watching cartoons together.  Went on adventures when we wanted to.  I love the freedom, and thankful for these 5 crazy kids I get to spend my day with.  Some days they make me want to pull my hair out one my one with tweezers, but mostly I am thankful for the opportunity to have a closeness with each one of them.  Even that spirited little blonde boy.