What are you going to be when you grow up?

Back when I was either in high school or maybe WAY back in junior high, I took one of those perfectly accurate tests that tells a person what he/she should be when he/she grows up.  I very much remember what that test told me.  It was not a biologist, it was not a special-ed para, it was not a stay-at-home-mom.  (Although my dream job is still stay-at-home-mom, it is hard to convince Bill that it is my calling in life when all the kids are gone all day.)  That test told me I should consider being a plumber.  So I dropped all my future goals and took up the study of copper and PVC pipe fittings.  Except only not at all.  Plumbing is about the last thing God made me to do, right up there with accounting and folding laundry.

Our eldest, who I could picture being a farmer, or a pastor, or a history teacher, has no clue what he wants to be.  We toured the NDSU Ag department this summer and I think he is interested in looking into those options, but oh no! According to one of those accurate tests, he should be looking into becoming an airplane painter.  Oh yes, someone has to paint those things.  But not him.

Recently, the triplets took that test.  Crazy tested and came up with the obvious – he is to be a mechanic.  Princess is to be a teacher of some sort, just like she plans.  Curly really avoided the conversation and didn’t want to answer when we asked her what her results were. 

She shirked.  She tried to shrink under the table.  She told us she didn’t want to tell us.   And then the truth came out, “I would make a perfect computer nerd.”   The house erupted.  Nope, take that back.  Bill erupted in high fives and congratulatory shouts of joy.  Seems he has found his mini-Bill in the least expected of all places.  Problem is, she doesn’t want to be a computer programmer.  She wants to be a vet.  Yet, she loves to go to work with Bill and pull hard drives in the server room.  She pretends it is all about the free chocolate milk, but maybe, just maybe, she is gaining future life skills with her daddy!  He just couldn’t be more proud.

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What Else Should We do on a Friday Night?

Today brought about disappointment to the nth degree for one Pieper daughter.  And her mom.  And then in true fashion, a whole lot of anger as well.  Tears were shed, ninja skills were brushed up.  I wanted to be that angry mom who sent a poignant e-mail to a couple people, but I know better.  Instead, our family rallied around the dinner table.  We even had “Rally” cheers.  All the time, I was making my mom hit-list.  No one was safe.  Don’t mess with a mom.

Air 1 played in the background and we heard the same 10 songs they play over and over again – funny how one chunk of words sticks out at certain times.  Tonight it was something about how good comes from bad, and today, that good was knowing that two brothers love her deeply and also can make her laugh and laugh and forget for just a little while.  And oh did we laugh.  Six of us busting so much I had to get up and go to the bathroom before I peed my pants.  Aging sucks.  Today sucked. 

And then, because this is what we do when we can, we locked the outside world out, baked, and put up Christmas decorations.  We cried more and planned more ninja-ing, and hung garland and balls.  Dangling balls make me smile.  Even when we are breaking my rule that Christmas doesn’t belong in our home until after Thanksgiving. 

Tonight was Thanksgiving cheesecake baking night.

We made two new ones:

Carrot Cheesecake

and

Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

Tomorrow,  we finish up shopping and wrapping some things,  but tonight belonged to the beautiful girl who’s heart has been crushed but is still concentrating on decorating our banister.

And this has nothing to do with boys…yuck, who would want that kind of drama around here?  God, please help me get these kids through their teenage years with some sort of self-esteem left.  I still want to send that mean e-mail.

You know what else I have learned lately?  I have learned that I can admit how angry I am, and then wisely also state that I am not going to talk because nothing good will come out.  Except tonight – we made a family deal that everything we said tonight would be forgotten in the morning, so we let it fly.

Check One Off His Bucket List

Crazy has always drummed.  Since he developed any sort of his own identity and personality, he was pounding out rhythms.  It is cute when a little preschool boy asks for a drum set, so for Christmas ‘04, we went off to Toys R Us and got him this high end model for $50 and thought we had done our fair share.  He shredded it by beating on the drum heads with JP’s wrestling trophies.  He wasn’t easy on things.  

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If thine enemy wrong thee, buy each of his children a drum. – Ancient Proverb 

Once upon a time, this Crazy Man decided to stick his middle finger through the hole of his cymbal.  Yup, warranted a trip to the ER where a staff of wonderful doctors, nurses, and maintenance men cut the cymbal off for us.  They had never seen such a thing.  He was pretty impressed with himself. 

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I guess 8 year olds don’t drum on broken baby drums, so a few years later, we got Crazy his bigger set.

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(He decks it all out for Christmas.)

Over the years, we have added a few new pieces.  But now he wants a whole new set.  Guess the tweener set isn’t going to cut it now that he is going pro.  He wants this one but in white:

White, yes, that makes perfect sense for a pig.  “Black shows dust,” he says.  My answer, “Dust is the least of your stink hole of a bedroom concerns.”  We got him this sign last year.  He hangs it on the music side and JP changes it to the biohazard  side – both are truths.

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We have poured into his drumming passion with all the extra drumming we could sign him up for, knowing that some day, he would be able to use his gift to play at church.

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:"

1 Peter 4:10 ESV

We had no idea that this would happen at the young age of 13.  Today, I played percussion next to my son, who played the trap set.  It was pretty much awesomeness for this mom – worshipping with my kid knowing his heart was also thrilled because one of his goals had been accomplished.  It is really cool how God uses different gifts, personalities, and willing hearts to make His church what we are, and that age doesn’t matter at all.

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And that, my listening audience, is how this drumming thing seems to go for Crazy.

Crazy’s favorite drum jokes:

How can you tell when the drum riser is level?
Drool comes out of both sides of the drummer’s mouth.

What do you call a drummer with half a brain?
Gifted.   

What’s the best way to confuse a drummer?
Put a sheet of music in front of him.

 

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Drum jokes came from drumjokes.com. 

Back to School Photo Shoot

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It was the first day of school and this is how we girls roll.

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These are seriously different the “fun” shots of the boys.

Four kids and one mom, back to the grind.

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Our big guy is finishing up college this semester.

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And thus ends the first day of school Pieper round-up 2013.

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Parenting II

My last post was all about our parenting style.  Well, not really, it was just one funny story but whatever…

(Side Conversation:  We are watching Strange Addictions and who eats toilet paper???  We looked it up on My Fitness Pal and the calorie count isn’t listed.  When you eat toilet paper, do you still have to wipe when you “go” or is it a perk?)

So how the “love” part of Pieper Style Love and Logic goes a little like this:

JP runs XC and we have been known to be the loud yelling parents.  Generally, very supportive cheering kind of yelling, but once in a while I let out a “Holy crap, the finish line is right there, why aren’t you sprinting.  What are you – an elderly driver out on a Sunday afternoon?”  No, again, that is not true.  I have never yelled that.  Any kid who puts themselves through cross country is pretty much a winner no matter the outcome.

I read the article floating around Facebook about what parents should say as their kids perform and I have been working really hard on putting the advice into practice.  Everyday when he leaves for practice and again when he comes home I say the things the article tells me to say.  And we laugh. Or at least I laugh and he rolls his eyes and ends with, “Yeah, and you love me.”  (Read the article.)

“Yes, the internet tells me how to parent now,” I had to affirm to JP.  “Always room for improvement.”  Another roll eye.

Today, when he ran past me, and it was 95 degrees and he looked like he might pass out or die and I thought maybe I might too because I was sweating in all the wrong places, and he was sporting the look of death, and I was mirroring it, and why are we running in a heat advisory, and by “we” I mean he was running and I was doing the typical XC parent thing of walking from point to point to access the best cheering potential, and forgot to pack proper shoes and was doing it in flip flops…it was at that point when I nicely encouraged him while clapping like a seal, “Great run, almost there, Sweetie.” 

Yes, I did call him that in public and he is 15.  He didn’t hear me, something about being in “the zone” so it is all good.  But that is how I love on my kids.

MIA and LEMOI (Loving Every Minute of It)

I can’t say that I have had such a busy summer that I had no time to sit on my computer and blog.  I can’t pretend that I was camping in the deep forests, away from the internet.  It would be a lie to say that I haven’t had anything to blog about.  The truth is that I am uninspired this summer.  I didn’t feel like blogging, and since I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t do it.  That is how I roll.  I did other stuff.  I will post pictures someday.

We are about to go back to torture school.  Some in our family are excited about new schools (I will probably blog about that whole process another time) and some of us dread going back at all (read:  Crazy Man and I are dragging butt big time.)  I HATE this time of year.  HATE.  I have blogged about it before.  I am one of those moms.  But a couple days ago, I had myself a little slap in the face moment while straightening my hair.  (Yes, I still do my hair in the summer…sometimes.)

I was wondering to myself if the staff of the schools my kids will attend understand how awesome my kids are.  I wonder if they see past/passed (which one?  I don’t know and I don’t care right now) their report cards and test scores and try to learn who they are.  I wonder if they deserve the time they get with my kids.  And then I started to wonder if those staff members are dreading going back and my kids (and all the others piling into those buildings) are not on their lists of awesomeness like sleeping in, boating, and camping are.

And then I felt that little slap because I am being a hypocrite.  Parents all around my little town are wrestling with the same deal – they are sending kids to our school in about a week and wondering if we will take as good of care of their precious children as they do.  They are wondering if we deserve their kids.  They are wondering if they will be loved and safe in our school building.  And I felt a little guilty because right now, my attitude needs to change and it needs to do a 180 in about 7 days.  So this week, I am working on truly understanding deep down that I am working with the most precious children in the world and in doing so, I will also be praying that the staff at the other schools who will interact with my children will be doing the same.

I am crazy in love with my children.  Every year at this time, I become keenly aware of that.  Another summer down, another sad week for me as I let my own go again, understanding very fully how few summers we have left as a complete family together.  Here is to a great last year of middle school, and a great first year as a Mustang sophomore.  Have I mentioned how fantastic my kids are?

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

“Remember that the very best things in life can’t be captured in status updates.” – quoted from this great article, which in a funny kind of way, I found on a friend’s facebook wall. 

This is a great article about the one thing I struggle with – ok, I struggle with multiple things, but one thing I really struggle with: comparing myself to others.  I know I am not alone in this struggle.  I am not skinny enough, I am not involved enough, I am not wife enough, mother enough, cooking enough, cleaning enough, serving enough, relaxing enough, stylin’ enough, trusting God enough, homeschooling enough, helicopter-parenting enough, etc.  It is a daily struggle. 

The title of the article is Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life.  Well, thank God I don’t Instagram.  I am safe on this one.  But, obviously, I do blog, which some people think is insane, or a cry for more attention, or an overshare of the worst variety, but I do it because I love to “write” and it captures real life for my kids to look back at some day. 

I hope I don’t make our life out to be perfect.  I like to be real.  Once I was real on my blog and was pretty much chastised, beheaded, belittled, and sometimes, because of that, I am afraid to post real life stuff. 

This weekend, we celebrated the girls’ birthday.  Crazy Man celebrated his share of their birthday earlier at a hockey game, so this party was all girl.  We had a really nice time with the girls, and we had moments of struggle too.  Sometimes, it was too loud and too much for one sweet girl who has a hard time filtering.  Sometimes, the party she had pictured perfectly in her head didn’t happen like she had planned and she struggled to deal with it. 

 

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Life is like that for her.  It is at times unpredictable and unfixable in the moment.  So we cover for her, punt, and try to learn how to prevent future struggles, or how to use her “tools” to calm when it does happen again.  And sometimes, I am good at helping her, and sometimes, I don’t know how.  And it is hard to be the not-knowing-how mom. 

We went to Unglued where we decorated and devoured delicious Bake-ol-o-gy cupcakes of the grasshopper and pumpkin chocolate chip variety.  YUM!!!  We were graciously hosted in the back room of Unglued, where we learned how to sketch glass, bringing home treasured mugs.  Late night homemade pizza, early morning pancakes, very very little sleep.  It was a wonderful time with beautiful girls.  And I was spent when it was over.  And maybe the take away from this event was that big sleep overs are too much at our home.  How is that for real?  The mom who loves to host children, who has an open door policy, who will make homemade strawberry syrup for the homemade pancakes to make my kids’ day, also has a limit on how much I can filter- and filtering for two was more than I could accomplish successfully this weekend.

My status update this weekend would have been:  Eyes + Contacts < No sleep.  Apparently, trying to learn how to put in contacts isn’t highly successful after your birthday sleepover leads to no sleep.  Even the best chocolate ganache can’t overcome that truth.

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