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How to fail at staying home with your kids

School breaks always remind me why I hate my life. 

When everyone sees them as an opportunity to bond with their children, I see it as entrapment. When everyone else gets to do fun Pinterest crafts or explore "25 family friendly places to visit on break," I feel like I got a week long prison sentence. 

All I choose to see is more mess, less patience, and no fun. 

I mean, I wish we could do something fun. At least more fun than hours and hours of Barney. I would love to do crafts, or go somewhere, but I can't. I can't take my 3 kids anywhere alone. 

Am I whining and jealous? Of course.
Being ungrateful and selfish? Absolutely.
Honest about my feelings? Trying.

The hours are filled picking up shredded paper from books, changing diapers, and listening to whining.  Mine being the loudest.

Brooklyn hits. All day.
Ellie begs. All day.

Jayden wanders. All day. Then, when he's bored or has been hit for the trillionth time by Brooklyn, he starts whining.  And no one wins when Jayden whines.

And Oh. My. Gosh. They CONSTANTLY need something. 

Like I said, school breaks are torture. 

I used to try. I tried to go places and do things. But they always end with me losing my patience and hating everyone. I can't say doing absolutely nothing all day makes it any better. 

As soon as Justin leaves, the countdown begins. It's like he shuts the me into the lions den and I just watch the minutes tick slowly by. Remember fear factor with the ants...exactly like that. Let. Me. OUT!

I hear the home-school-hannah moms "bless her heart-ing" me right now. "Pray more. YOU set the tone in the house. Smile and use a calm voice when addressing your children." Bla bla. You are absolutely right. 

And no offense, but God clearly must have given me more than I can handle. I know all the right answers. They just don't influence my mental health or decision making all the time.

Isn't that usually the case? Our emotions just get the best of us. Perspective just goes out the window. Too many hours. Too many requests after being told no. One too many defiant behaviors. 

So much for getting anything done, either. 

I'm so mad I can't enjoy my children. I wish I could take them to a museum, or pull out the paints. I wish we could imagine, and build forts, and have adventures. Sometimes I rally. I forget all the fails and try, only to be disappointed. And don't even get me started at how disappointed I am with myself.

And yes, I could get help. I am sure a high schooler, or my mother-in-law, or a paid worker could help.  But I don't want to need help. I want a normal, healthy 8 year old boy. I want a normal, healthy 5 year old girl. I want what I will never get. 

School breaks are a reminder of all the things I don't have. And once I get all this negative whining out, I will find the blessings. I promise.

I will find the sweet moments of cuddling this week as precious. I will want to freeze time when I get a smile or a laugh. I will grab all three of them, turn on "all about that bass" and dance on the coffee table. I will pray, like I do every night, thanking God for another day as a family, together. 

But I'm not there yet. I'm still in the trenches, getting hit, changing poopie diapers, and putting Ellie in timeout.

Soon, will stop being selfish. I will rally once again. 

I will find them...those blessings. 

Buried underneath the stress, the disappointment, and the mess.


This is just Monday. 


it takes a village

Do you know who these lovely ladies are? 

Part of our village. Therapists. Teachers. Social Workers. Psychologists. District Reps. Hearing Itinerants. Principals. 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

There are hundreds more. Teacher aids, nurses, doctors, specialists, case workers, grandparents, friends, volunteers, buddies, and teenagers. Some in the past, some still with us, and even more to come.

We truly have a village.
And for that, I am grateful.

They make days like this easier. Days that I have to walk into a room and talk about all the things Jayden can and can't do. Days that could be really sad and emotional.  And, at times, no matter how wonderful the people are in the room, days like these can still be tough.  Which makes me even more thankful for our village.

These women really LOVE him. 
These women KNOW him. 
And, with every word they speak they protect my fragile heart.

They gently dance around a new label for Jayden. He's going to be nine soon and "developmental disability" is no longer an age appropriate label for the State of Illinois.

We easily land on "multiple disabilities."

"Nine?" I think. "It's going by so fast, which means.....ending too soon." 

"Don't go there, Stefanie." I tell myself.  

"No need to go there yet."

We chuckle about placement. I mean, where else would he go?! He is at home at Laremont.

I notice the Kleenex box on the table. There's always one strategically placed by the parent.  I've used those before in meetings like these. But not today.  I don't have to fight for services. They just know.

We celebrate Jayden. We talk about how everyone loves his smile, and his calm, gentle spirit. 

Much of that is due to the staff that anticipate his needs and speak his language. His teacher sets the tone with her laid back teaching style that works so well with Jayden.

We set goals. They are going to help him continue to make choices between two objects by looking at the desired item and grabbing for it. That's how he communicates. 

At eight years old. 
And I, couldn't be more proud. 

Extended school year? Amen.
Para-pro? You betcha.
Transportation? We love the bus!
Minutes? All of them. 

State standardized testing accommodations? We all laugh. The state requires his teacher to test him on general education third grade work. What are third graders even learning these days? I wouldn't know.

Sign and date. 
And then I asked to take a picture.

I wonder how often THAT happens at an IEP or three year evaluation? I just wanted to remember this moment. The faces of our village.

Days like these are all so, well, normal now.  

In the past 7 days I have had 8 appointments. Isn't that crazy?

And no, I don't know how I do it all. My first answer is not well.  The second, more accurate answer, is Christ.  Sounds like an easy answer, and on some level, it is. I just trust Him. I trust that He loves me. I trust that He loves my kids. I trust in His promises. I trust that He is using me in those meetings. I trust that people can see Him through me.  That's why some people say I'm strong when I'm really a hot mess. Not me. It's Him you see. 

And, I see Him though my village. I see how He uses them to reflect His love and care and goodness for us.  Some of His promises are made true through the people He adds to our village.  

"I am with you" He promises. 
"I will make good things come from this" He says. 

It's really quite beautiful if you ask me.


A humble prayer


Thanks for stopping by Boyce Lane! I was cleaning up my "notes" on my phone and stumbled upon this journal entry. It's a humble prayer I wrote when we had a quiet time during the high school small group I was attending this time last year. It was such a great reminder for me today I thought I would share. God bless you, especially those mama's that are home with kids today...darn you, Casimir Pulaski.  [wink]

It's hard to fall in love with someone you can't see....
but I see you in my children's eyes. 

Someone I can't hear.... 
but I hear you in the voices of my friends. 
I hear you in your Word. 

It's hard to feel you...
but I know you're near in the way you 
provide my every need. 

Maybe our love isn't a conventional one. 
But isn't that why it's amazing?!  

Maybe it's more. 

Maybe it's more intimate than words. Maybe it's in the chase, I fall in love. Maybe it's not in the falling, but in the staying.  The good, the bad, the tops and valleys, the boring and mundane, the exciting and new. 

Lord, help me be obsessed with you. I want to think of you often, meditating on your word, but even more, having it alive in my character. 

Everything that is valuable takes work. And, work can really be good when you are doing exactly what you're designed to do.  Giving you glory is what I was designed to do, the "hard stuff"  is dying to my will. 

More of you, less of me, Lord!  
I want to be reckless for you. 
I want to be wrecked by you. 
I want to be consumed by you. 
I want to be bold for you. 

Luke warm is where we realize you are not our obsession, we are fair weather fans. 

We have made you our hobby instead of our breath. 

Luke warm, the God of the universe spits us out. We need to ask ourselves if we are comfortable with luke warm too long, did we ever really know you? How could we really love you if we don't know you? 

So, how do we know you? 
People who shine brightly pointing towards you. Spending time in your word. Trusting you by being obedient. 


Lord, you are so amazing. 
Help me seek you. 
Discover you, long to be with you. 
Lord help me learn and live your words. 

Help me take you at your word-claiming your promises as my own-resting in who you say I am. 

Make me humble.
Mold me.
Get crystal clear, for I am foolish, what to do in the moments I breathe so I may give you glory.

Lord help me be wise. 
Audience of one, Lord. 
What you think of me is all that matters. 

Not even what I think of myself.