Dear Future Daughter of Mine

DSC_2319   To my dearest daughter.  Someday you will be able to read this and I pray that when you do you will know how deeply loved you are.  I love and cherish your feisty demeanor, your endearing smile, your infections laugh and your uncanning ability to make friends wherever you go.  I love your fearless nature and your ability to see and replicate.  Your first time down a fireman’s pole at the playground was after watching another older child do it.  Really, you taught yourself to swim.  The other day you saw a kiddo swinging upside down and thought to yourself that looks fun, I think I’ll do that too.  And you did.

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I know that we often clash and engage in many ongoing battles over trivial matters like two bucks locking antlers in a futile attempt to draw the attention of a female doe.  As my voice becomes more stern, your little body stands tall, eyes firm, ready for battle.  At that moment, emotions are raging, both of us wanting to win and have the last say.  I tell others that you are just like your daddy and that’s why we butt heads; when in reality you are me- strong, independent, with a false sense that you are never wrong.  And for that, I love you, though I may not always show it.

12620781_10153776515921043_281174930_oI want to let you know that I’m sorry for those days I lost my temper, for those many times I demanded too much of you, my four year old.  How can I expect you to ignore all the siren toys in your room, calling you to play instead of cleaning your room all by yourself.  I’m sorry for the times I put my wants and needs before yours.  For those times, you asked me to play and I didn’t.  You are my ray of light.  I should bask in your warmth and glow so much more.

12633048_10153776510211043_44175359_oSarah, you are a wonderful girl.  Your father and I are so blessed to be your parents.  You do not realize it yet, but your little brother idolizes you.  Please keep that in mind as you grow older and become a teenager.  No crazy stuff please! Whatever you do Evan will follow suit.  And baby David… he gets the biggest toothless, gummy grin when you are near.  I love seeing you care for him, sing to him, play with him and protect him.  You are going to make the most amazing mother.  I can say this with the upmost confidence.

I am not a perfect mother.  There is so much more I need to learn as well as change.  I apologize now for my past mistakes and mistreatments as well as further misgivings.   I thank you in advance for your forgiveness.  “It’s alright mommy.  I give [forgive] you. I love you.”  Oh what joy those phrases bring to me.  You are the light of my life and I promise that I will be the best mommy I can be.  And when I falter, that means mess up, please love me, forgive me and hold my hand.  Together, with daddy and brothers, we will navigate this thing called life.  I love you bug.12636868_10153776509641043_1530683575_o

Are You Gonna Have Another?

So are you guys done or you going to have more kids? I cannot tell you how many freaking times people have asked me that.  As I smile on the outside, on the inside I’m yelling “None of your damn business!”  I still haven’t decided.  And by “decided” I mean that I still haven’t accepted the fact that Jonny is most likely right when he says he feels like there is another one waiting for us.  Either way, I do not want to talk about it at this stage.

DSC05357Is there another kid of future?  I don’t know, maybe.  But for right now all I can focus on is my life at hand and the three minions I’m currently trying to keep alive.  Motherhood, being the most rewarding and beautiful calling on earth, is freaking hard.  My first two, Sarah and Evan, kick my you-know-what a decent amount of time. Seriously, who would have thought that the newborn would be the easiest?  But then again all my kids were easy until they started moving; thats when it all went downhill.  Ironically, as I am sitting here, I’m listening to high pitch screams as my two oldest push and shove each other over a tiny pumpkin that is still left over from Halloween out in the front drive way. And down goes Evan.  Yes, we are those people.  We buy the pumpkins with every intention to have a great family night cutting up and creating fun creations and then the New Year comes in and the pumpkin is still sitting untouched outside.  It now sits on my counter top, waiting for me to possibly turn it into soup but inevitably it will go bad and get thrown into the trash.  Why am I sharing this you ask?  Just to illustrate the fact that my life is in a constant state of chaos.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my life.  This is the chaos that I’ve wanted for years.  I’m finally getting a chance to stay home raise three beautifully wonderful, sticky, head-strong children while DH spends his days away from home bringing home the bacon, while attending school and serving at church.  Being a SAHM is a calling I have felt drawn to.  Nevertheless, chaos it is.  Fair warning, if you ask me the following: “So, are you guys done or are you going to have another one?” you may get hurt.  A throat punch, quick and unexpected may be in your future.  In reality, this may not happen but oh if you could see inside my head.  It’s hilarious.  The punch.  The look of surprise, mixed with pain in their enlarged eyes as my maniacal laugh echoes in the background.   Sorry you asked on a bad day.  Today’s goal is short and sweet- survival.

What is survival look like, you ask?  Everybody has their own version of surviving.  My survival looks like messy hair thrown into a bun, a makeup-less face and a comfortable oversized shirt riddled with a variety of bodily fluid and food.  Honestly, between the two older kids morning demands and breastfeeding my youngest, I’m lucky if I remember to put deodorant on for the day.  And if I can make it during the day without what can be  called a moment….I call it a success.
You must know what I’m talking about.  If you are a dad and mom then you not only know what I’m talking about but have likewise experienced it in one agree or another.  For those of you who are confused, a moment is that period/time when you are screaming bloody murder either out loud or in your head.  You are about to lose it; not knowing if you can take anymore.  At that moment, all you want is two inches of space or three minutes of alone time to go poop.  That moment is the thing that drives motherly guilt day in and day out….at least it does for me. 
Alright.  Alright.  I know that I sound like a big whiner and I totally hate motherhood.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I love my life.  I love being a mom. I love my 3 children! 12562884_10153766597676043_2045338791_o-2
I love the pure look of joy, when their eyes light up as they  play together; especially when its peacefully play. I love it when the midgets are chasing each other around the house wrestling.  Their giggles are so infectious that you can’t help but smile along.  I love it when my lil’ man runs up to me with a huge grin, says “mommy” in the most endearing way then wraps his tiny, chubby hands around my legs in a giant hug, then immediately turns away to do the same with his baby brother and sister. Seriously, that kid is a lover.  How can my heart not melt when Sarah hands me a gift bag of her toys and reads me the note she wrote: “Dear mom, I love you so much [insert sweet inflection].  I got this gift for you because you are my best friend.” And cue the tears.  And I couldn’t not mention, the huge grin my three month sumo baby gets when he and I make eye contact.
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Those crazy, unique, little people and my sweet husband are the reason why I love my life and why I love my chaos.  If we decided to grace the world with another Kistemann you will know…promise.  Until then enjoy watching the circus and keep your questions to yourself.

Bribery. Reward. Tomatoe. Tomato.

When you are the mother of three young kids under the age of four, you do what it takes to survive. My oldest, Sarah is a very spirited 4 year old. She is a stubborn, sassy, 21st century spitfire. Good luck getting her to do something that she doesn’t want to do. She and I tend to butt heads often. I hate being that yelling mom but let’s face it we all do it. I’ve used my teaching strategies- redirection, timers, accountability charts, proximity and more with a varying success rate. Additionally, I’ve read blogs and magazine articles about parenting a strong-willed child.  Let’s just say  I use a lot of if/then statements.  I really try to allow her to make choices after clearly defining the positive and negative consequences of each.
What I’ve come to find is that my daughter has many sides. Yes, she is incredibly strong willed, but also kind, empathetic, helpful, creative and imaginative.  I love the kind, helpful sides of my daughter and want to see them more.  So I praise like crazy and reward/bribe when Sarah demonstrates positive attributes like helping with meal prep and execution, completing her chores, loving on her brother, etc.  Little miss has worked towards and received stickers, art supplies, an Elsa Barbie doll from her Grandma Baugh and recently some fun puppy boot socks. #BootLinerSock
Sarah was pretty stoked about the socks. They are adorable, warm boot liners that fit perfectly in her Hello Kitty rain boots.

Bonus- I received them for a heavy discount (a little under $2) in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. Sarah liked the grey and white spotted character. I quite enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I can let her play outside and she will be warm. I also love that the ears have a tag that say left and right. It’s great for word recognition!  20160104_144120And if they can’t read, kids can figure out which boot is which by matching up the white ears to touch. Even if I didn’t get the product discounted, I would have bought them.  They can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/LANS-Rain-Boot-Liners-Kids/dp/B018ZQKOG0/

Wow…got a little off topic there.  What’s the point?  Bribery, or what I term as getting your kiddo to work towards an obtainable goal, is not a bad thing.  If it means less contention in the home then by all means go for it. We’ve got to spend less time worrying about what others may say or think.  Do what you have to do to survive and if possible thrive.  Items from the dollar store aren’t going to break our budget.

The Other Side of Christmas

With Christmas comes joy and cheer.  Families and friends gather to enjoy each other’s company, to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and often times exchange gifts.  This can bring much joy as well as great anger and tears.  I have experienced both.

Since Christmas my two midgets have been in an on-going battle…playing with the other’s favorite toy.  Evan received Buzz Light Year from the Big Fat Guy.  It was the perfect gift seeing how my son makes us watch Toy Story at least once a day.  Christmas Day he wouldn’t let that thing out of his hands.  He ate both meals with Buzz, as well as napped and slept with Buzz that day.  And since that day my daughter has used her ability to run faster and her strength to torture her brother by taking Buzz away.DSC_0726_2

Not to be out done, said son has decided those tiny pet shop toys his sister, Sarah, got from Santa must be pretty cool.  Taking cue from his older sister, Evan has engaged in thievery.  And so the battle ensues.  Loud screams are registered as is my ever growing headache.  You would think his arm had been cut off by the sound of the bloodcurdling scream which is magnified by two tiny tight fists and a stretched out, shaking body.  It’s a thing of science how quickly Evan’s face goes red.

Just as every moment counts when talking someone off a ledge or speaking with a surrounded bank robber, I must act fast.  Using the timer  and misdirection work a decent amount of time.  I don’t have a mega phone so occasionally I have to use a slightly elevated “teacher voice” (to put it nicely) which I’m pretty sure puts the neighbors on edge.  Bribery I’ve found works better.  Surprise.  Surprise.  Thank you Christmas for developing this oh so precious hat.

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Pop Goes The Elbow

Well… I wore the medic hat. You can call me Doc Kistemann.  Recently, my family visited California Adventures at Disneyland to enjoy the holiday themed events and lights.  There I had the opportunity to wear my “hat” (not my goofy one; the medic one). While waiting in line to ride the toboggan at Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Wonderland, my son got tired of waiting and wanted some of Olaf’s warm hugs. With the full weight of his little body, he threw himself to the ground.  What would have been simply an embarrassing moment turned into a much sadder one. I was holding his hands when he dropped. Out popped the elbow. I knew he was hurt but I didn’t realize to what extent. We went down the toboggan ride and immediately went into the Frozen Sing-a-long.

That’s when Evan became a hot mess and really cried. My husband thought his elbow may have popped out of place and took him to the nurse. The Disneyland nurse gave him ibuprofen but she wasn’t allowed to set anything.  A similar incident happened to my daughter a year or two ago with my mother so I was familiar with what to do.  Last time, I contacted my brother who is a physical therapist for instructions. He told me what to do and to search YouTube for Nursemaid’s Elbow.  I did and was able to pop Sarah’s elbow back in place.  This time I quickly went to YouTube to remind me what needed to be done.  It took two or three times but I was able to pop Evan’s elbow back into place. Within minutes my son went from complete misery to a happy little boy again. Here’s a link to the video I used. I recommend this video to all moms out there because let’s be honest kids are crazy.

** Make sure to keep the arm extended and the palm of the hand facing up**