Category Archives: mom issues

Why Love>Hope

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I was texting my girlfriend today about how her week was going. We are both currently riding the same struggle bus with our teens and it’s quite a roller coaster at times. I was trying to encourage us by sharing some thoughts from 2 Peter which says we have everything we need to do our job as mama’s when out of the blue, a thought popped into my mind…..

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Love is greater than Hope

I work with clients who, at times, become very depressed, even suicidal. In those moments I pray for  wisdom to help them find hope to cling to. Hope is a beautiful and precious belief that meets us in our dark places to give us a glimmer of light. It empowers us to keep going, when quitting feels like the most rational choice. So I have often wondered about the verse that says, “Now these three remain- faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) Why is love bigger and better than hope? As I was mulling over these thoughts I realized something new. While hope allows us to keep believing we can move forward, love gives us the reason we would want to. Hope is how we find strength to face tomorrow, love is why

I do not usually enjoy American Idol auditions because it is so painful to watch people who have a firm delusional belief about their abilities make a fool of themselves. I get so embarrassed for them, I just have to walk away. When your hope is placed in the wrong source it can be a trainwreck. On national TV sometimes. If we do not understand why we hope, then we may begin to hope in the wrong things. Finances, relationships, our looks, careers, children, houses….. All unstable and unworthy sources of lasting hope.

“…we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character and character, hope. And our hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through His Holy Spirit whom He has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

The hope we have in Christ will never be misplaced because His love has proven Him to be trustworthy. It is not my love that I lean on, but His love for me that creates hope. I can hope confidently for Him to work all things together for the good, because I have seen at the cross His love that led Him to suffer in my place and then work even his death for the good of all who will trust in it.  I can hope that even as my children struggle through their teenage years, the love that took their place at the cross will never stop pursuing them. And as I ride the roller coaster of adolescence with my children, I can hope, not in them getting it all right, or even me  getting it all right. But instead that Jesus got it right in all our places, and that His love will never fail or fade.

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The Day You Take Your Son To College

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It feels so normal. Hustling everyone around to get out the door on time. “Emma! Do you have your shoes on yet?!” Exchanging glances with my husband as he sees me check the time, knowing I am about to hurry him too, he offers “I’m just looking for my glasses then I’m ready.”

But today is not normal at all. Today we will start the day with three children at home and end with two. Today our van is packed to the top with most of our son’s things to relocate his life to Nashville. Today he leaves for college and life changes for us all.

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We arrive just a few minutes behind our scheduled time. Vanderbilt has a huge campus and finding our destination, “lot 77” takes a phone call and some rerouting, but now we are in a long line of cars and vans with mini fridges and suitcases and pillows all crammed around families with precious cargo. Kyler does not love all the overly caffeinated welcoming crew screaming and making us honk our horns while waiting in line. He is ready to get moved in and not feel so new and watched. I kind of like all the festivities. At least the college is acknowledging what a big day this is.

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We are greeted by a pack of kids in fluorescent green Move In Crew t-shirts, eager to help unload our van and find Kyler’s room. The husband is sent off to a parking garage with our van and Emma grabs my hand as we follow behind the green t-shirts. “I’m sad Kyler is leaving today” she whispers. I squeeze her hand, kiss the top of her head and blink back tears that are welling up. Time for that later. He is the first of his roommates to arrive as we walk into the empty space that will hold his life next year. Time to find comfort in my familiar role of nesting and I am delighted to direct everyone in unpacking and sorting. Emma and the husband set off to locate some breakfast for us and Kyler and I settle into our familiar patterns of working on a project together.

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It is surprisingly easy to get everything settled and I begin to feel unsure. I anticipated a longer process, not wanting the day to rush by quicker than it must. We have been introduced to a myriad of smiling, helpful welcoming people, all with clip boards and instructions and stickers for us to wear. We are now officially Vanderbilt Parents and a Vanderbilt Sibling. We decide to loft Kyler’s bed to give more space below, so the men redo the bedding while I read instructions and Emma swivels in his desk chair. Our next job is to walk across campus to the Commons, where he can get his ID, then on to pick up text books. His roommates have not yet arrived, and he is getting anxious waiting, so we decide to head out to explore a bit and check off our tasks for move in day.

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The day continues on, minutes ticking by as I try to take in all the details of his new home. Thinking about home, I text our middle son to update him on the progress of the day. He is not the kind who enjoys big crowds of strangers, so he opted to stay back. I wonder how he will adjust to being the oldest child in the house. The only big brother at home with Emma. My mind wanders back to when the boys were little and no matter what we asked Klynt to do, his first response was “What about Kah-ler?” in his two year old squeaky voice. They have always been together and now they branch off.

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We meet his roommate Dre, and I am so thankful. He is very different from Kyler but I sense they share some common values as we interact. I resist the urge to take a picture of them, knowing the look my oldest would give me if I tried. We grab lunch off campus at our favorite Indian restaurant. Kyler attends a presentation by one of his deans and then it is dinner. We are all tired. We follow him back to his room one last time before we go and I feel myself wanting to stall a bit, but knowing it’s time. My husband leads us in a prayer and then we hug him tight. The tears are about to burst when I realize I have not taken one picture with Kyler all day.

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And then, we are done. We walk out and he closes his dorm door behind us and we head to the car. Emma wipes her tears with the back of her hand, but I just let mine fall. I cry because I love him so much. I cry because he is no longer nesting with me. I cry because it feels so strange to let go of one whom I have held so close for so long. I cry because while I am happy for him,  I am sad for me.

I know I will see him again, probably soon. I know this is right and good and everything we raised him to be: a strong, independent, smart, loving and Christ following young man. But for tonight, I am not consoled by what I know. I am raw and inexperienced with this phase of parenthood and my mind keeps wandering backward to the comfort of all that I have known, all that is familiar when you have been a mama almost 19 years. Tonight I simply sit in the strange empty newness of releasing a child into adulthood and trust that God will bring comfort and joy tomorrow.

Motherhood- It’s Totally Getting in the Way

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Motherhood- It’s Totally Getting in the Way

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We dug out every type of long poke-y device we could find.Teenage Boysimage

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There’s been a lot of life lately. A lot of grocery shopping and dirty dishes and cats getting hair on things. Oh and laundry. And floors to be ripped up because refrigerators leak sometimes. And then there’s the teaching of Sunday School and throwing birthday fiesta’s and paperwork- always mounds and mounds of paperwork. There are empty pitchers in the fridge and attitudes and sleeplessness (hello-40!) and let me just tell you- some days you wake up and think:

What exactly is happening here?

Didn’t I have plans for my life that involved beautifully dressed children and sipping wine on my patio and impacting the world through my amazing insights into scripture? Wasn’t I going to be at the homeless shelter monthly and learn to speak Spanish fluently and also finally figure out how to grow things? Why am I not at the gym or traveling the world or up to date on the latest viral video?

Motherhood.

It definitely gets in the way of our picture. You know the one you had at 20, where you always answered patiently and the house was “lived in” but still magazine worthy and you were……. well, lovely.

Motherhood does not actually offer that picture. Maybe we’ve confused it with Hollywood. No dear friends, motherhood offers us something entirely different, if we allow the Lord to use it.

Something Better.

Motherhood tackles us and wrestles every ounce of pride, self glory and ego out. It confronts every fear, inadequacy and wound and offers healing. It changes us; if we let it. I suppose I fought it more, those changes, when I was younger. I didn’t want to let go of my pride- I was going to be the one mother who never really screwed up anything important. It was okay with me if I forgot a PTA meeting or didn’t have the matching outfit ready for the picture day- those were acceptable flaws. But real mistakes, actually sinning against my children- I was going to be the one managed to rise above, who had no regrets.

I hid all my fears. Fear that I couldn’t figure it all out, fear that bad things would happen to my kids, fear of failing- but one by one, they’ve all been exposed. Motherhood is not a very safe place to hide out from fear. In fact, it exposes it faster than any other role I’ve ever lived.

And in return, the Lord, through this messy and beautiful and annoying and fun and treasured gift of Motherhood has changed my heart. I no longer believe most of what I used to about myself. I know how terribly sinful I am, but as I love those children He has given me, I get a glimpse of His love for me- unconditional and radically big. I am no longer quite so afraid- because I’ve watched Him use bad for good, turn pain into joy- both in me and my children.

And not every day or week, but sometimes, I get those moments where I think my heart will absolutely burst open with the love or joy He pours into me that I get to turn and pour into my babies. And for those times, I am thankful that Motherhood gets in the way.

The Elf on the Shelf: A New Way for Mama’s to Get Sucked Into an Old Trick

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Cover of "Elf on the Shelf"

Cover of Elf on the Shelf

I have developed a slow fondness for Pinterest over the past two years. At first I thought everyone was just plain crazy enjoying it so much and really didn’t get what was so great about it. Then after using it awhile I began to see the fun, and truth be told it has been helpful in designing say, the world’s cutest homemade peacock costume ever. But as the Christmas Mania amps up online, I have noticed a new and interesting trend related to that mischievous elf many are fond of. As mama’s far and wide pin cute or ridiculous or helpful posts about the Elf on the Shelf, other mama’s are busy pinning subtle “anti-elf” posts. Now, I consider myself outside the entire phenomenon, as I began plenty of my own traditions with my kids in the “pre-elf era” and had no interest in adding another one to my December. Plus, my kids were really too old to be delighted by an elf by the time it became a craze. So, I have observed the whole thing from a safe distance as I watch the younger mama’s enjoy their littles in this way.

But this year I am seeing this subtle form of comparison emerge via social media. Perhaps it was always there. Perhaps it is a reaction to the extreme’s some women go to make the holiday perfect for their kids. But whatever the case, I have noticed it and frankly, I don’t like it. Here’s how it appears to be shaping up through indirect, sideways comments:

Pro-elf Mamas: Look at this cute way to delight your kids with elf doing hand stands in the middle of cereal spelling out “Be Good”. Look how our elf got into the toothpaste. See how your elf can create merriment through getting into a snowball fight.

Anti-elf Mamas: We’re doing the daily advent reading. We are baking clever and precious Happy Birthday Jesus cupcakes in the shape of wise men. Try the Kindness Elf Plan instead. (Only worldly, uncool moms spend so much money and energy on something unnecessary and nonspiritual in nature.)

Sigh. I get that some of you are just doing your thing and feeling good about it. But one of the oldest tricks in the book that Satan uses against us is comparison to each other. There are only two children that comparison ever gives birth to: pride or shame. That’s it. Either I look at you and come out ahead or behind. Better or worse. And the really amazing thing is that there are women on both sides feeling both ways! The Elf on the Shelf is not the problem or solution to being a better mom.

Can I suggest that we pick a better standard for comparison than each other? If we compare ourselves to Christ it gives birth to entirely different fruit: humility and affirmation. When I see myself next to a perfectly loving and holy Savior I am humbled. I do not deserve his love or grace. But when I see the lengths He went to, to offer them to me- well I realize how much He loves me; what I am worth to Him. I will never measure up to Christ and I don’t have to because He came to be perfection in my place! So it frees me to quit worrying about you: what you think of me, what cool things you are doing that I haven’t thought of yet, what mistakes you are making. Instead I can enjoy and celebrate you! We are following different paths as we raise our families, but that’s okay. My mom used to say, “there’s more than one way to cook a chicken.” I’m not saying personal convictions don’t matter- because they do. Follow what you believe is right for your family! But don’t decide that your path, on morally neutral subjects like the Elf or Santa Clause or how many gifts you give (or organic food or homeschooling- oh yes I said it!) is what every family ought to be doing. Offer the freedom to others, that God in Christ has offered you.

Preparing the Chicks to Leave the Nest

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As we are beginning Kyler’s senior year in high shool today (remarkable calm this morning by the way- sometimes the Holy Spirit acts as Valium) I have been thinking about all the ways we work to provide for our children while they are under our care. There are countless tasks to nurture and love and raise children. Yet for me, there have been times I realize I have forgotten that my job as a mother in the first 18 years of my child’s life is that of a steward. God has entrusted me to care for this child, but not possess them. The goal is to raise them and then launch them into adulthood. In other words, a huge important part of what I need to do, is get them ready to survive and thrive without me!

So, in light of that goal, I am offering my suggestions of important areas to train your children in, prior to launcching them from your lovely nest.

1. Teach them the gospel- as it applies personally to them. Often christian parents do not share the full gospel with their own children because they forget- my child cannot be saved by simply being around church or me. They are a sinner in need of a savior as much as we are!  Your child needs to understand, they are seperated from God because of their sin, and God loves them so much He sent Jesus to die for them! But they must personally choose to place their own faith in Jesus’ death in their place.

2. They need to know how to handle and resolve conflict. Often, as adults, we are still working through our own fears of conflict so we neglect to teach our children healthy ways to confront sin, talk about hurts or resolve differences. We begin by modeling healthy skills to them in our marriages or other adult relationships. But also, by showing them it is ok to express their feelings and disagree.

3. They need to know how to take responsibility for themselves. This includes waking themselves up, arriving on time, making conversation with others, saying I’m sorry when they fail, getting and keeping a job, “showing up” for family and close friends and setting boundaries. In an era when many parents want so badly to shield their children from pain, it’s important to remember that it’s okay for kids to face some stress as they learn responsibility and those consequences will save them a world of pain later.

4. Teach them how to balance their checkbook, pay bills and budget. Teach them why credit cards are dangerous. Teach them why we tithe and how to save. In other words, give them some tools for managing money.  The bible has so much to say about money for a reason- it is a powerful temptation to place as the god in our life, and yet has just as much potential to be a tool used for good.

5. Help your kids identify their God given ‘bent” that can give them direction in choosing a future career, college and life goals. Kids don’t all come out driven and self-aware. Some kids come out of the womb declaring a future occupation it seems, while others shrug their shoulders and give the classic “idunno” when asked what they want to be “when they grow up” well into their high school years. One great blessing you can give your children in helping them understand their personality, strengths and weaknesses, so they can make a wise choice.

6. Teach them about sex. Not the “awkward, let’s read a book and pretend not to be embarrassed” talk, but conversations about the beautiful purpose and gift of sex. And how it is sacred and it can be the ultimate expression of love, but when experienced out of the context of marriage, it always destructive and can be completely devastating. Give them the facts of course, but the facts alone aren’t enough to prepare them to deal with such a powerful force.

I’m assuming you have already covered hygiene, education, living in a community of faith, college football (ok, maybe that’s just us), doing laundry, nutrition, dating and marriage, 80’s rock and the joy of eating Indian food (wait- just us again?)  and for the love of all that’s good, let’s agree collectively to teach our kids that 7 forms of social media is probably enough so we can all quit having to spend so much time monitoring  tweets!image

Modern Mom’s Serenity Prayer

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My mom mantra....

My mom mantra….

God,

grant me the serenity to accept: the dirty dishes, dirty laundry, late nights tending to sick kids, car pool lines, endless arbitration between children, lack of me time, lack of alone time with my husband, lack of fun money and new wrinkles and emerging gray hairs;

the courage to: say no, apologize, take risks, sacrifice when no one sees, do the right thing regardless of the consequence, love others deeply, discipline my children, discipline myself, invest in the lives of my sisters in my church family and pursue healing;

and the wisdom to: quit comparing my life to everyone’s pinterest boards, quit measuring my self worth in the number on a scale or tag in my jeans, quit self medicating with shopping or eating or Facebook, start believing what You say about me is true, start accepting grace in the form of forgiveness, remember I am a work in progress and to find joy in my highs, lows and even mundane because life is a gift from You.

Amen.

Loving my ADD Girl

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I was cooking dinner and thinking about six or seven ideas at once. Do we really want to host a July 4th cookout as our grill is close to death? How much is 1/4 cup of olive oil, without actually measuring? Why is it so hard to get motivated in the summer to go to the gym? (You get the idea) I was in full on multi-task mode, and in walks Emma.

.….and so I just give them different names because I don’t really like to use my diary as a real diary. Instead I write stories about things that happen and turn the people into animals. Like, um………….

Silence, while she tries to remember what she was about to tell me. Patience, Debi, patience.

um, I mean……… Wait. What was I saying?

Something about changing people’s names? What are you talking about anyway?

We both look at each other. Blink, blink. I see her little wheels furiously turning in her head to grab that fleeting thought and pull it front and center. Almost…… Almost……. Ah-a! It comes flooding back in her eyes!

My diary, mom! But I’m not using it as a diary, like I was telling you. I write stories instead And then I make my friends animals in the stories, but  I change their names, so no one would know who it  really was if they found my diary and read it and-Hey! THAT’S where I left my purse! I’ve been looking all over for…….

And off she wanders leaving me to regroup my thoughts and continue cooking, while she mumbles to herself. Bless her. Bless me. It’s not easy to be a 10-year-old girl whose mind wanders all the time. She gets in trouble for zoning out when she’s been told to brush her teeth. She is regularly overwhelmed by the disastrous state of her bedroom. She feels embarrassed when  her teacher has to call her name to get her refocused during class.  It’s not easy to be the mom of an ADHD child either. There are the practical struggles of constant messes and lost items. There are the worries about medicating vs. not medicating. Weighing information about gluten and food dyes, sugar, sleep, and all the other newest science to decide what is best for my child. Concerns about testing performance and her self esteem. Frustrations with homework time that is supposed to take one hour, but takes her two because she just can’t focus for one. more. minute. Bless her.

But, here is what I have learned by getting to be Emma Joy’s mama: for every obstacle her little brain encounters God has given her a beautiful strength to balance it. Disorganized, yes. But creative and artistic too. Forgetful certainly, but deeply caring and concerned about her friends and family. Lack of focus on a daily basis, but the most sensitive and sweet spirit toward Jesus. Spelling tests are crazy hard, but science clicks.

You know what else I’ve learned: I am one impatient mom. I suppose I have always been this way, but my other kids were able to get in “my groove” so I never really saw it. Emma cannot find the state where my groove is located. And it drives me crazy  if I’m honest. I hate that about myself but it’s given me the chance to grow, as a mom and a woman. Sometimes in life we just have to meet people where they are because they are doing their very best and it is not going to measure up to our expectation. And my sweet girl has taught me that lesson. Also to focus my attention when I’m with her instead of multi-tasking so often. She does better when I am making eye contact. And when did it become okay to surf Facebook instead of look your child in the face while they’re talking  anyway? So I cannot say I’m grateful she has to deal with this issue her whole life, but I AM thankful for the ways it is making me into the mama I know God wants me to be.

Reading her newest library book with her favorite companion, Welly.

Reading her newest library book with her favorite companion, Welly.

Glimpses are my Manna

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I am, as I’ve been posting, in a new and uncharted season in my mothering. Two teenage boys and one ten year old girl and me, trying to figure out how much to let go- how much to reign in. In the midst of this strange new parenting world, I find myself unsure and unsteady in my role. I recognize failure at times. I see the tension mount between me and both boys as we all try to learn how to relate to each other and yet maintain the feeling of normal. It is in these times I long to see God’s grace for me and for my kids, to comfort me as we journey and unintentionally bruise each other’s hearts along the way.

In the Old Testament God gave His children a very literal portion of provision, manna, as food on a daily basis during their wandering in the wilderness phase. I’m presuming Moses shared some of my feelings about being in a new and uncharted place as they wandered around trying to find the promised land. God gave them this manna for nourishment, on a practical level. But on a deeper level, it was a way of reminding them that they were utterly dependent on Him to survive. Because, let’s face it, you cannot make food fall from the sky! (Total side note, I have always loved the book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs! Moving on….) So every day, God provided His grace to sustain His children in the form of manna on the ground for them to collect and prepare meals for their families. The only caveat was each person could only collect enough to feed their family for the day. Not for a week, or month. In fact, if they took more than one day’s worth it would rot. God knew the tendency to be fearful about the future and try to create false security in stockpiling was very real, so he provided a way to keep His children from indulging that fear.

Yesterday, I got some manna. The hardest part of letting go is not always recognizing the person in front of me. Feeling disconnected and out of the loop of their life. Not knowing why they are responding in a certain way, or what the look on their face really means is difficult when you have studied intently each child from the moment they were placed in your arms in order that you might love them well. So, often I find myself tearful or down because a “normal” parenting moment has become tense and strange and I walk away, not sure if I caused a problem or if the parenting simply highlighted my child’s heart issues, or if this is all just the inevitable course of growing up. But yesterday, I got a glimpse of reconnecting. A picture of what we really are below the teenage mood swings and parental tension. It was a normal evening, nothing unusual, and yet for some reason my middle was in a light hearted mood and seemed to want to interact with my husband I. We got some dinner together and he had us both laughing at his antics and even spent some time chatting about his thoughts on various topics. It the feeling of exhaling when you didn’t know you had been holding your breath- unexpected relief and comfort. Later my oldest volunteered to be helpful with some things I needed for my yard sale. While making signs he shared about his newfound love for reading God’s word. Another glimpse. Inside his head and heart where I do not always have access, God is doing His amazing work of transformation and He let me catch a quick glance at it.

These little glimpses into the unseen work of God sustain me. When parenting involves discipline and I feel the loss of closeness to my children in their anger, they help me to remember why I keep at it. When I fail and wonder if my children will be completely screwed up by my mistakes, they remind me that God is sustaining them too. When I wonder what it will be like in he future, I am reminded to only ask for enough for today, because today is all I am promised, and trying to secure the future will pull me away from my Sustainer into Self-Sufficency. There was a time in my life where being showered with gifts or expressions of love on Mother’s Day felt paramount. But for now, all I ask for is another glimpse into the harvest God promises He yields from seeds of faithfulness sewn into my children. 

Chef Hat- Italian Shepherd Pie

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I have never been a fan of traditional Shepherd’s Pie. It’s always seemed a little bland to me. However I came across this recipe a year or so ago, and after modifying slightly, I have a new “all family” favorite. (And if you’re a mom, you know those are the keepers!)

Italian Shepherd Pie

1 pkg. Perdue Sweet Italian Sausage (casings removed, and browned)
1 can petite diced tomato
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp.oregano

Can you tell I shop at Kroger?

The aroma of this little combo is heavenly….
After browning the sausage, add the tomato’s and spices and turn to low, cover and let simmer while you prepare the potato part. 
2 packages Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato’s
8 oz Italian blend shredded cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
(optional) French Fried Onions (this add additional flavor/fat- sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t)
Prepare potato’s according to package directions. Add cheese and spices and stir until melted. Pour meat mixture into 9×13 glass baking dish and top with potatoes. Cover and bake @ 350 for 30 minutes. If desired, uncover and top with french fried onions for 5 additional minutes.
You can use plain potatoes and add garlic powder to alter for gluten-free diets
The potatoes are really thick, and this makes enough for a family of 5

Because Daddy’s Can’t Have All the Fun!

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My super cute acomplice in our secret mission to get ice cream!

In a normal week, my life is fairly routine. Partially, because as previously established, I like being a hamster on a wheel. Partially because being a mom of three kids requires some structure to make sure they all have clean underware, lunches for school and rides to and from all activities. And also, it seems like the role of mom is keeping the household running smoothly. Mostly evverything we do in the Russell family has some kind of plan: dinners? Meal plan. Dirty house? Chore plan. Sassy pants kids? Discipline plan.

So in general, mom takes the role of planner. And in our house, dad takes the role of “big softy”. Sure the kids have a bedtime, but, wee’ll let them stay up tonight because we’re having so much fun. Sure, you planned for us to eat leftovers, but, we’re going to get Taco Bell instead. (This is not to say dad takes the role of softy about sassy pants kids, however. In fact, in our house, dad takes the role of drill seargant if disrespect/defiance are involved) So over the years of day in day out mom and dad living in their respective roles, the kids come to know what to expect. Which dear friends, is where a wonderful ooportunity lies. Every so often, you need to startle your kids with something silly/spontaneous/unexpected. I have come to call these secret missions. My favorite secret missions involve creating a mess, which historically I never sanction, or getting junk food late at night, which is equally unusual as I am the Health Patrol. If you combine the two, all kinds of hilarity ensues! When my kids were much younger, the unexpected twists were geared toward their ages and me not losing my mind the next morning. Playing in the rain, eating popcorn for dinner while building the world’s largest lincoln log village on the dining room table, going out after bathtime in our jammies to get an ice cream cone: fun but not anything that would create the world’s crankiest kids in the morning. As the kids have aged, my favorite secret missions still remain breaking the rules on food and messes. And let me tell you, nine year old girls, LOVE a good secret mission. So last night, when Emma told me she was craving some ice cream, I seized the moment. She and I were going to play a little Chutes and Ladders downstairs by ourselves. All the boys were otherwise occupied. So I looked at her and said, “Come on sister! This is the perfect time for a run to Dairy Queen for a Peanut Buster Parfait!” It was 9:30 and she was in her jammies, so we bundled her in one of my zip ups and snuck out of the house. Ice cream tastes better when there is a level of covertness involved, I assure you.