Embracing January: Bear Hunting

Last Thursday, my younger sister called for mutual motivation to get our houses clean. We enthusiastically made our lists (I ignored the fact that I have four children under age four, which often renders list-making a ridiculous exercise), and we started wrapping up the phone call. I haven’t been so pumped up to scrub bathrooms in a good long time.

Any mother of young children should know better than to have a long, involved conversation on the phone.

Especially when potty training. And most especially when potty training three preschoolers at once.

When all three kids are on relatively the same biological schedule, it can become difficult to keep up with, the… uh… immediate aftermath of each potty training “event.” Occasionally it happens that one trainee may escape without having been properly fumigated yet.

Welcome to a morning at my house. Aren’t you glad you stopped by?

Thursday morning, as I finished my phone call, a diaper went missing… the culprit cheerily shrugging shoulders in response to my shocked queries.


(Cheery shoulder shrug.)

“Um… I dunno!”

Things like this never happen in isolation. While I’m cleaning up one crisis, another is being pasted on the wall in honey, or scrawled in loving heart shapes on furniture. This morning, a second trainee simultaneously attempted an independent potty training run – success! And then struggled (unsuccessfully, do I even have to add) to make a clean break from the toilet seat… quite possibly the grossest part of potty training.

Somebody help me…

On a morning like this, it is entirely possible – although completely unprecedented and unexpected – that an unwiped wanderer might be discovered…



my pillow.

Oh my.

A new to-do item landed itself a spot at the top of my Thursday list: Burn bedding.

Some days I feel like every clean, delicate, feminine nerve ending that ever resided in this body has been frayed, frazzled, and cauterized. I really do try to read reflective meditations on rosy pictures of motherhood. I make it my goal, in theory, to aim for the ideal. Most days, though, a sense of humor is the highest form of meditation I can muster.

Thursday morning, I threw everything in the wash, loudly resolving to send all my kids to the bears, who, sensibly, take care of these matters outside.

Apparently this disturbed my sensitive eldest daughter (not implicated in any of the morning’s business). She ventured up, as the washing machine began its “heavy-duty” fury.

“Mom,” she said, obviously trying to determine whether to worry or to laugh.

“Mom, do I make you happy?”


How a child can turn frazzled nerves into a melted mound of mush.

If only she could know.

beyond words

I tried (after we were all clean, presentable, and reassured) to embed a slide show of the photo book of our meandering hike (can it be any other kind of hike, with toddlers?). Until I figure out how to do it, regular photos will have to do. These are all clickable, for larger views, for those who really love lots of pictures of the kids. 🙂

space to breathe...

to begin... as family...

to find... focus...

How is it that environment so affects state of mind?

to gather... old flowers like thoughts...

raising up... tangled mess...

confidence... to explore...

ascending... to joy...

together... to journey...

the path... homeward...

Thanks so much, again, for keeping me company this morning. A bear hunt turned out to be just the thing we needed to clear the air… and our thoughts.

Here’s to a CLEAN and refreshing week!

templates from Hip to Be Square 1&2 by Biograffiti

5 Responses to “Embracing January: Bear Hunting”
  1. mom says:

    What a riot!! And your writing is just as entertaining as the situation. Take heart — they rarely graduate from high school not having conquered potty training, so that means this phase has to end sometime. The pictures are amazing, amazing. I love ’em AND what you did with them. And they made me miss the kids again. Does that one picture have you in it? How did you do that? A timed setting?

  2. Nope… it’s not me! Although I’d love to be that flexible. Or that fast. Or tall.
    The kids & I hiked two days and got some good company on the second. 🙂

  3. Shelly Carlson says:

    I laughed until I cried!! I could just visualize this and could relate (in a way that a mom without four toddlers could relate :-).
    The hardest I have laughed in several years was a baby shower I went to and did a skit about diapers… we ended with diaper stories and they were HILARIOUS!! The best involved a family of four getting ready for church (pastor’s family). Oldest holding the baby (both ready for church), number three in the bathtub, number two almost dressed… Baby has a blowout all over the oldest who screams, mom leaves number three in bathtub who begins screaming to be left alone, mom and number two merge in the hallway to see the scene before them (NOT pretty), number two throws up. Woo-hoo, what a laugh we got and that story won the diaper blow out story of the day. HA again.
    I would love to be a mouse in the corner at your house! I love it that you choose to laugh. Blessings on you. Love, Shelly
    PS- the family was late for church.

  4. Oh nooooo… Yuck! I can just imagine it. Now you’ve made ME laugh until I cried!
    And thanks for making me not feel like a freak for posting about poop on my blog. I love you! 🙂

  5. Pat Larson says:

    I missed this one last week…and it was a great one! Oh Debbie! I admire you so much! I laughed (in sympathy) at the story, and absolutely loved the pictures of your walk. Keep up the good work…you are doing great!

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