Mt. Kilimanjaro
1. I like music!

Okay, well I already knew I liked music. But I often get really stressed out when there’s music on and anything else is going on. I’ve always felt that music adds to the chaos, and I have to be in just the right mood for a dance party. But then I realized it’s because I wasn’t playing the right kind of music at the right time. After reading Tsh’s post and following all her playlists on Spotify, I’ve realized that playing the right music at the right time can actually calm the chaos. (I think the fact that she and I have the same personality means her playlists are right up my alley).

 2. We can survive

Without my husband that is. Earlier this month, Dan spent two weeks in Tanzania. He hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for this awesome ministry and was able to visit the ministry location as well. I managed 14 bedtimes without him, and the kids and I were able to follow along as he flew from Chicago to Istanbul to a few different places in Tanzania. It’s been so fun to watch our 3-year old grab the globe and ask, “Where’s Turkey again?” Even though the kids and I stayed home, we’ve learned a lot more about our world through Dan’s travels.

3. Kids express things very differently

I’ve always known my kids have very different personalities. This was made extremely evident during Dan’s trip. Neither of my kids do great when Dan’s gone, though my recently turned 7-year old handled this trip much better than she did his last trip to Africa (when she was 5). My 3-year old on the other hand refused to admit he was upset that daddy was gone. His missing daddy came out in different ways, mainly anger and defiance. So that was fun.

But once I realized what was going on, it made it so much easier for me to handle it. Knowing he was acting out because he was sad and didn’t know how to express it, helped me be more patient. I was able to give him a lot of upfront attention while also resolving to remain ironclad with my boundaries. For the record, I messed this all up considerably. But I tried hard and am still working hard to figure out how to parent my second child differently than my first.

4. It’s okay to stay home and do nothing

I already know this. I really do. Staying home and doing nothing is my favorite! But lately I’ve fallen prey to our culture’s all too familiar trap of: Do everything! Make your kid’s lives magical! When Dan’s gone on a long trip, I do try to make things more magical than usual. Fun activities are a great distraction from the reality of a missing daddy. But when neither of my kids thanked me for taking them to Trunk or Treat, my 3-year old threw a fit about his balloon sword being white, and my daughter was disappointed because we had nothing on our calendar for two days in a row, I realized that we needed to slow down. Because I don’t want my kiddos to think that the world revolves around them. Or that constant fun, kid-centric activities is what life is about. But if that’s what we’re doing, then of course that will be their expectation. It’s time to settle in for some go-play-outside or find-a-book-to-read days.

5. When in doubt, use two hands

Better yet, always use two hands. You see, I was grabbing two pounds of defrosted ground beef from the fridge. I forgot I’d added water to the bowl to speed the process along. So as I grabbed the unexpectedly heavy bowl with one hand, the bowl started falling. I grabbed it with my free hand, and the water splashed up rather violently, splashing all over the kitchen and conveniently going up my nose as I breathed in at just the right moment. It takes talent to breathe in a mixture of raw beef juice and water. And talented I am.

6. It’s a good year to be a Cubs fan

Having a second cousin who played for the Cubs (Doug Dascenzo), my husband has been a life-long Cubs fan. I married into it, and having lived in Chicago for over three years and working in Wrigleyville the entire time, I’m proud to call myself a Cubs fan as well. Here’s to hoping they clinch it by Sunday night!

What have you learned in October?