Montgomery party of six

Montgomery party of six

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I want to be brave!

I just read an amazing post by jen hatmaker (i copied it below) and what a great read for me.  I want to be brave!

Over delicious Greek food with my girlfriends, we had this conversation:

Me: I was made to parent boys, yall. I love boys. I love them dirty and reckless and dumb as a sack of diapers. I love their ridiculous “projects” and adventures and all that. I love how they are always one step away from dismemberment or death. It’s so fun. Boys are the best.
[Blank stares from my girlfriends]
Me: What?
Amy (mom of 4 boys): Last week, I caught Grey (3-years-old) on top of my dresser fetching a hunting knife from Brad’s “hiding place” so he could cut the top off a water bottle because he couldn’t get it opened and I was still sleeping. I believe we have two different definitions of “fun.”
Lynde: Um, you do remember that I wouldn’t let my 14-year-old high school son go to our suburban neighborhood park because I was convinced people might be selling drugs there, right? You’re barking up the wrong tree, sister.

They are totally right. I’m cut from a weird cloth here. I have the parenting sensibilities of a typical 1970’s mom whose only concern with her children was that were under her feet and needed to get outside.
What?? Oh, I guess 8 kids on the trampoline with no net is


The first line of Remy's prayer last night: "Dear Lord, I wish my mom and dad were ninja."

She lives in a house of boys, Lord. Just ignore it. 

This picture is my whole life's happiness. Please note his friend's bare chest and football pads, in which he looked in the mirror and said, "Caleb, dude, this makes me look buff."

Oh sure, when my kids were babies I lived in total fear, because obviously now that they were living outside my body, the universe was conspiring to kidnap/maim/emotionally injure/murder them. It was just a matter of time. Were it not for my diligent oversight, our neighborhood would undoubtedly be overrun by white vans with dark windows waiting for me to simply turn my back whilst they zipped my kids over to the black market.
But then I kept having more babies, and you know, those chillins started wearing me out. I began to use my precious mental margin less on strategies for rescuing us from a submerged car and more on just getting everyone the freak through each day. We emerged from several potentially life-ending scenarios unscathed: public restrooms, parks, driving over bridges, eating raw carrots, not-washing-hands-after-pee-pee, and I began to lighten up.

As a product of my own parents’ philosophy, perhaps this scene from 1985 might illustrate my point:
We were at our family cabin outside Colorado Springs for our summer vacay. My brother, 7, and our cousin Dorie, just 9, were outside at night in our family station wagon, curled up in blankets with the portable VHS TV, watching – wait for it – Candyman, which despite the enchanting name, is actually a petrifying horror movie for grown adults. (TV timeout: Really, Mom and Dad? Candyman?? For a 2nd  and 4th grader?? You understand my generation won’t let their kids watch Scooby Doo because of the fake ghosts, right?)
So as the two elementary-aged children were watching a parent-sanctioned horror movie in the middle of a dark forest, my dad and uncle decided it would be “hilarious” to sneak up on the car, make weird scratching noises, then scream and bang on the car in unison. Twenty years later, my brother and cousin will still pee their pants at the mere mention of it.
While Candyman and subsequent terror might have pushed the boundaries, I miss the days-gone-by of laidback parenting. I love boys to be boys, kids to be kids. I like to send them straight into the forest with hammers, knives, nails, duct tape, and hand-drawn blueprints and not hear boo from them in five hours. When they come home filthy and scratched, telling tales of skateboard ramps gone wrong and forts, I cannot express how much this thrills me.
I often feel like I’m surrounded by parenting books and mom blogs that are just…so precious…so earnest…I struggle to find connection and walk away discouraged and disillusioned and frustrated.We Hatmakers are simply not precious people. From Precious Ones we did not come, and Precious Ones we will never be.
Honestly? I like a little grit in my story. I often feel suffocated by my generation’s insistence on safety and control and perfection and hegemony. I genuinely like my kids to be a little wild and free. I want to have to say to my sons, “Only boys would think something like this up,” and pretend to be put out when really I’m enamored.
We are on a spectrum as parents, aren't we? At the beginning, it is full control, total adult responsibility. At the end of the main session, when they crush our hearts and leave for college, wethey need to be weaned off. Somewhere in the middle, the needle has to move toward launch.What better place to practice growing up than under our roofs, still protected from total self-destruction by the safety net of childhood?
I’ve seen older kids babied within an inch of their lives, headed off to higher learning with no clue on how to be resourceful, how to figure it out, how to handle life’s knocks and bruises. Over-protection has its place for, say, kindergarteners, but at some point we need to put down the bumpers on the bowling lane.
Psychology Today stated, “According to a recent study by University College London, risk-taking behavior peeks during adolescence, suggesting that teens are "programmed" to take risks more often than other age groups… Contrary to popular belief, not all risk-taking is bad. In fact, many risks are not only good, but promote healthy neurological development and growth during the critical adolescent period.”
Not all risk-taking is bad risk-taking. For the love, don’t we want to raise kids who go for it? Who are brave and headstrong? These are not just the marks of achievers; they are the hallmarks of disciples. If we expect our kids to engage this broken world one day, safety has to be somewhere around #14 on the list. Our children will be totally ineffective if they are still afraid of their own shadow.
Are they going to blow it or fail or struggle in this parenting tract? Of course! Erwin McManus said his teen son asked him once: “Dad? Would you ever let me be in a dangerous situation?” Erwin answered, “YES! Totally!” and his son said, “I thought so. I was just making sure.”
We love Romans 8:28 for our kids: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  But can we accept the very next verse?

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
Being conformed into the image of Jesus is not a pretty process, because our kids are born into sin and God has messy, real work to do to transform them into disciples. This process involves sacrifice and loss and struggle and failure and courage and maybe even danger and cultivating a single-minded obsession with the kingdom. They may embarrass or disappoint or scare us as they wrestle with God, but can we see his redemptive hand in their lives even then?

When have you grown the most? Changed the deepest? STRUGGLE. Failure. Loss. Risky obedience. Messy relationship mending. Our kids are the same. Our job is not to shield them from everything hard, but to parent them through it with wisdom and discernment. We should not pull our kids completely out of this culture in some parallel Christian universe, but teach them to navigate the real world with grace and conviction. This requires a gradual process of letting go, so our kids can actually live a real life with real people and real problems and discover the real God who shows up there.
I don’t want my kids safe and comfortable. I want them BRAVE. I don’t want to teach them to see danger under every rock, avoiding anything hard or not guaranteed or risky. They are going to encounter a very broken world soon, and if they aren’t prepared to wade into difficult territory and contend for the kingdom against obstacles and tragedies and hardships, they are going to be terrible disciples.

I don’t want to be the reason my kids choose safety over courage. I hope I never hear them say, “Mom will freak out,” or “My parents will never agree to this.” May my fear not bind their purpose here. Scared moms raise scared kids. Brave moms raise brave kids. Real disciples raise real disciples.
May we let the leash out, bit by bit, and allow our children to take big giant gulps of LIFE. Because their time under our roofs is waning as we speak, and we get one shot at this. One more quip fromErwin McManus, because THIS, this is the stuff:

One summer Aaron went to a youth camp. He was just a little guy, and I was kind of glad because it was a church camp. I figured he wasn't going to hear all those ghost stories, because ghost stories can really cause a kid to have nightmares. But unfortunately, since it was a Christian camp and they didn't tell ghost stories, because we don't believe in ghosts, they told demon and Satan stories instead. And so when Aaron got home, he was terrified.
"Dad, don't turn off the light!" he said before going to bed. "No, Daddy, could you stay here with me? Daddy, I'm afraid. They told all these stories about demons."
And I wanted to say, "They're not real."
He goes, "Daddy, Daddy, would you pray for me that I would be safe?"
I could feel it. I could feel warm-blanket Christianity beginning to wrap around him, a life of safety, safety, safety.

I said, "Aaron, I will not pray for you to be safe. I will pray that God will make you dangerous, so dangerous that demons will flee when you enter the room."
And he goes, "All right. But pray I would be really, really dangerous, Daddy."


Tough, right?? I'm with you, Mamas and Daddies. Knowing when to let go is hard. Have any tips or stories to help us become brave parents? 

Monday, January 21, 2013


last saturday i was feeling under the weather, but decided to head out to celebrate jamie's baby boy.  turns out the sprinkle i was headed to was a surprise sprinkle for noah and i.  no wonder melissa laughed when she picked me up and i had my mask in hand and uggs on with my dress.  it was such a sweet morning.  i felt totally spoiled!  karen(thank you!!) had organized some dear friends to gather and celebrate over breakfast and games(yes, i said to follow.).

she did not skip on a single detail.  karen went over the top!  it was all gorgeous.

karen tried to get away without holding up her VERY LONG string.  nice try.

clearly she thinks i look skinny;)
three more weeks until we meet this little love!

i will be spending a day at la costa!  thanks friends!

and a seriously huge thank you to melissa, my sweet friend that captured the morning.  she has tons of other photos to edit and go through and yet she took the time to share these with me.  i rarely get in front of the camera when i am pregnant, but knowing this is the last, i am so grateful for the memory.  here's to sweet friends that continue to put up with me, especially when i am pregnant!  i am a very lucky girl.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

asher turns 2!

our rowdy two year old was greeted by our crew with balloons... his favorite!  he was pretty excited it was his birthday!  

we had planned a low key birthday for and two friends playing trains.  turns out the flu got the best of us and asher started in on tamiflu.  nothing like a trip to the doctor on your birthday.

gaga popped in to give asher his gift.  she then quickly left before catching our nasty germs. 

still smiling as he got ready for bed.

asher, you are a pistol and i love it!  you have been a mama's boy from the get go.  i probably held you too much(or so dadddy says) due to the fact that i dropped you on your head at 3 months.  you have so much personality!  you love to boss us all around, telling us where to go and what to do.  you are NOT low key.  you are a total entertainer and love to get us all laughing.  we were certain you would be our easy going third born.  we were wrong.  you will not be left out or run over.  you are a great little talker and never mind telling the rest of us what's going to happen.  i love that you tell us that you are 3 years old in hopes of getting gum.  one more year and you can chew your little heart out.  you love to eat and i mean EAT!  you can throw 1.5 costco hotdogs down at a time.  it's amazing.  you also enjoy fruits and veggies which sometimes surprises me.   you are not shy.  you run into a room and quickly make yourself at home.  the nursery is a different story, but some people(mommy included) need more time warming up at church.  we love how you keep us on our toes.  i laugh at how hard you work to keep up with the brothers.  you take hit after hit and continue to go back for more.  i love your persistence(most of the time).  it's a really good thing you're so tough. asher, you have already decided you play with big boy legos since you won't be the only one playing with the duplos.  you are a great mess maker but you do a pretty good job cleaning up when you have to.  no david has become a new family favorite(thanks drakes!).  you love to "read" the pages, screaming along with the brothers.  daddy teases that it's an autobiography for you guys.  we are constantly amazed at all you learn and how quickly you have grown into a toddler.  we love you so much and can't wait to see all that God has in store for your precious life.  

the flu

and then it hit!  isaac tested positive for the flu, strand a. fortunately this is this magic medicine called tamiflu! he started it that day and within 24 hours was returning back to his normal isaac self.   

 unfortunately, the other two started to show symptoms by this point(dr. metsch wasn't kidding when he said we'd see signs within 5 days of exposure).  let's hear it for tamiflu!!  this flu wasn't the barfing and diarrhea bug(praise the LORD!!), but more of a respiratory deal.  they did all get nauseous with their first dose, but that was about it.  i ended up with some sort of nasty cold as well(wish they let pregnant people take tamiflu!).  the good news... we all are well... finally!  i love having a healthy house.  three more weeks until #4 arrives and we're hoping to stay healthy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

prior to the flu...

the week before the flu hit our crew we had plenty of fun...


 park time...

walks with friends...

ok, so this wasn't so much fun, but too funny not to share.  i found this guy occupying one of the parking spots outside of buybuybaby and target.  the sign says it's for those who are pregnant or with young kids(or something like that).  turns out this guy is probably NOT pregnant and sure didn't have any kids with him.  glad he felt like that spot was saved for him.  this is the second time in the past couple of weeks i have seen these spots occupied by people that probably took a shower in peace and slept through the night comfortably.  i have one thing to say(ok, i have few choice things i'd like to say, but will refrain)... those spots are NOT for you, buddy!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

menconi cousins in san dego

 my cousins rented a couple of houses on the beach of cornado for a week.  we rarely see them since denise (and family) lives in visalia and celeste(and family)lives in texas.  always fun to catch up and see how big their kids are now.  crazy that many of them are now in college and even playing college football.  where has the time gone???

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


 new year's eve we kissed these three goodnight and headed out for some celebrating!  the beauty of children that hit pillow by 6pm is plenty of time together without kids.  the downside is we start the morning by5:30/6am.

nothing says happy new years like a night of games!  i will say that i laughed pretty dang hard at a few things i "learned" while playing that night.  thanks for hosting dassos!


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