How Will the World be Different for my Sons After this Pandemic?

I have asked myself this question so many times in the past weeks. How will the world be different after this pandemic? What will the world look like as my boys grow up? What will be the markers in their mind where they remember things shifting? How will this mark this generation like those that came before them?

With Memorial Day coming around the corner, I have also thought about some of the big events in history that stand out to so many, where our soldiers have led the way with their bravery. Where the nurses, firefighters and citizens have done their part to move forward each day.

For many people they remember their Fathers going away to fight in wars. They remember hard times where food was hard to come by and families were worried about being bombed.

I was watching a Peter Pan sequel the other day with my boys, thanks to Disney+, and Wendy was the mom whose husband went away to war and the children were being put on trains to go live in the countryside for safety during the war. Thankfully, Wendy’s children were taken off to Neverland for some adventures with Peter Pan instead of going on the train.

While I watched this movie, I was grateful that during this unprecedented time I am able to stay at home with my kids. The grocery stores have caught up on the demand for most necessary items. We can leave our house and go for a walk to breathe in fresh air. We are not running to bomb shelters in the middle of the night.

Yet, I know many of my friends have been on lock down in their cities. Many countries are still facing the peak of the virus affecting their citizens. Many people are living in fear, especially fear for the future.

Again, I ask myself, “How will this change the way we live? How will this change the way my kids grow up?”

I am 37 years old. When 9/11- the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 happened I was a freshman in college. I was just getting adjusted to life in the dorms at the University I was attending. I had grown up in a time where we believed the USA was untouchable. That morning we were made aware of the false security we had been living in. We realized how quickly things could change.

I will never forget watching the towers in New York City crashing to the ground as I stood in front of the TV screen. Classes were cancelled. Life was put on hold. The United States became united as people hung up flags and were proud of their citizenship.

Everywhere you turned you saw people coming together, grieving together, and serving eachother selflessly together.

That moment in history changed people. It changed how things were done. 9/11 reminded people of their vulnerability and how much we need eachother.

Here we are again. Facing a time in history that is affecting the whole world. It is changing the way people do things. It is causing us to face the fact that we are vulnerable and most importantly that we need eachother.

I am not saying that our situation today is the same as a World War, but I am saying that this time will change how we do things. This time will be something we all remember.

My oldest son is 11. This year he started Middle School. Will he remember the new found freedom of being one of the “big kids” at the school? Or will he remember Distance Learning and everyone around him wearing facemasks?

How will having Proms and Graduations cancelled effect the Seniors as they move forward and make decisions in life? Will they life differently because they are more aware of how quickly life can change?

I do not know what life will be like in the future or what the world will look like for my three sons as they grow up.

The only thing I do know is that I will be here for them as they experience new things. I will be here when they cry because they miss their friends-yes even my boys cry. And I will be here to reassure them that they aren’t alone and I am here for them.

I am their mom and I will do whatever I can to comfort them and help them feel secure and confident. I will protect them like a mama bear and I will kick them out of the nest like a mama bird. This is what we do as moms.

Mother’s Day is Bittersweet

Mother’s Day is a holiday that brings about all kinds of emotions. The title “Mother” hits women’s hearts and goes deep. It is a word that reaches the crevices of our hearts.

Whether you are celebrating with a new baby in your arms, your children are all grown up, you haven’t been able to conceive, you’re grieving the loss of a baby at any stage of life, or your own Mom has passed away- we are in so many different situations and we are full of so many emotions.

These many emotions can make Mother’s Day bittersweet.

I don’t know about you, but I usually have to struggle through some unmet expectations – which of course I never voiced to anyone. Was I hoping to go all day without washing dishes and I’m grumbling to myself as I stand at the sink? Did I hope someone would remember me in my time of grief with a card or a quick text, but I’m left waiting for sweet words from a friend to arrive? Was a craving a fresh, hot cup of coffee that hadn’t spent the whole morning in and out of the microwave?

These unmet expectations can make Mother’s Day bittersweet.

If Mother’s Day isn’t complicated enough, this year most of us celebrated while quarantined with our families. In one moment, I felt so BLESSED to have my three sons and my husband home with me to make me breakfast and watch movies. In the next moment, I was FRUSTRATED to have my three sons screaming and hitting each other with pillows while my husband seemed to not be phased by the pillows flying through the room.

These extreme conditions of staying safe at home can make Mother’s Day bittersweet.

Motherhood is not easy. Mothers are BRAVE and STRONG. No matter what your situation is like this is true! We are WARRIORS! We fight for our families at the phase they are in.

Happy Mother’s Day because you are in the battle and as a Warrior you will come out on top! That is why we celebrated today and we will continue to be STRONG and BRAVE the other 364 days of the year as well!

My Experience in Quarantine

This time in history has affected each one of us in different ways. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your gender, your race, what you do for a job or the language you speak-we have all been affected.

Last week was a tough week. It was an emotional week. We had arrived to week four of distance learning and our kids were frustrated. Our second grade son was saying things like, “I hate distance learning! I hate doing all my school on a tablet! It was so much better to do school with my friends!”

And of course when my boys are emotional so am I.

I have done regular homeschool in the past so I didn’t think distance learning would be so hard- but I was so wrong! When I homeschool my kids I am the teacher and I make the decisions for what we will study and what activities we will do.

In distance learning I am caught in the middle, a referee of sorts. I am keeping the game moving forward but I’m not on a team. I cried many times last week because my boys would say things like, “My teacher said I have to do it this way. Mom, that’s not how my teacher does it.”

How do I respond? Sometimes I respond with patience and understanding, but not last week.

Last week my responses were filled with frustration. I would respond with, “Well your teacher isn’t here and I am. I also know that a persuasive paragraph should have five sentences!”

All of these feelings, and that was only school related. What about the weight I’m gaining? What about the shower I need to take? What about the meals that need to be cooked? Don’t forget the two year old who thinks I’m the only one who can help him open a pack of fruit snacks.

This week has been better- thankfully! What did I do? I cried out to those around me, LITERALLY.

This shot wasn’t possible last week

I cried with co-workers over a Zoom meeting. I cried with the women from my church small group. I cried with my husband. I cried by myself in my kitchen. And I cried out to God that he would help me push through the frustrations and worries that had been building up all around me.

God is so faithful!

We received a video from my son’s teacher, after reaching out to her via email, about my son’s struggle with Distance Learning. It was so encouraging to both my son and I! The days following the video were completely different, my son was a different child while doing school.

I knew friends were praying for me and they sent me some encouraging texts-reminders that I wasn’t alone. I reached out and shared how I was honestly doing and my friends were able to respond and love on me.

This week was better than the last. Not because my environment was different. Not because the people around me changed. What changed was that I decided to reach out to those who care for me.

Are you hurting? Going through a tough time? Find someone to be vulnerable with. Bringing everything out of the shadows is the best way to fight our fears and anxieties.

Choosing My Family Instead of Social Media

Last week I was going strong on my social media sites. I was excited about getting this new blog up and started. I was sharing my FACEBOOK page with my friends and inviting them to follow it. I was posting stories on Instagram and learning how to interact with my followers.

Suddenly it was Thursday. I found myself sitting on the couch in the living room with my cellphone in my hand. I was scrolling everywhere I could and supposedly watching a movie with my three kids and my husband.

I was being “efficient” and trying to get things done while we were spending supposed quality time as a family. Suddenly I felt a little hand take my phone away. My first response was to get upset. “No! You can’t play that dino game that you always ask for!”

Then time suddenly froze. My 2 year old, put my phone off to the side and put my hand in his. My heart melted. My child didn’t want to play with my phone, he wanted to hold Mommies’ hand while he watched the movie.

I can’t remember what we were watching, I only remember the desire I saw in my little boy’s face to be with his Mommy. That look sent my heart into a tail spin.

I knew in that moment that as I start out on this journey of blogging and learning social media I need to set boundaries. I do not want my family to suffer so that my number of followers will soar.

I will always choose him!

Once I read an article from Focus on the Family that talked about how to connect more with your kids in a world focused on technology. I thought about this article as I sat there beside my son.

The article talked about how many kids say they can’t open up to their parents because the parents are too busy and they are always on their phones.

This is not the reality I want in my family. I want my boys to know and feel that they are more important than anything that could be on a screen.

It was hard for me to not post pics this weekend of our Quarantine Easter. I may still post some but I made a decision last week to enjoy the moments with my family without always having a camera in my hand.

I will need to make a schedule and routine of when to write blogs and to post on Instagram so that I can keep things under control.

I know that just like any hobby or business there will be busier seasons. There will be times where I invest my time to work ahead and schedule posts so that I can be ready.

I will still invest in this dream that God has placed on my heart. This dream of encouraging other moms in this epic journey of raising boys.

What are you doing in your family to keep healthy boundaries with electronics and screen time?!?

Why Knights On Llamas?

Many people have asked me why I named my blog Knights On Llamas. Let me explain….

First, I wanted to write a blog about raising boys. Not a blog of how to raise perfect little boys, because I have no idea how to do that.

A blog with funny stories and encouragement for Moms like myself who wonder why God gave them all boys.

Second, the idea of boys becoming Knights is big in the blog world when writing about raising boys. I get it. I too want my boys to be chivalrous, brave and be willing to defend others.

The problem I have with the idea of raising knights is that it comes with an image of them riding in on big white horses, which makes me feel like it is something that is unachievable.

Third, I chose llamas because it seems more realistic to me. Knights riding in on llamas is funny and some what awkward.

The Llama Whisperer

This is the world I live. A world where I am training my boys the best I can and praying God will take care of the rest. As we walk through life things don’t look perfect and there are many awkward moments.

This is why my blog is called Knights on Llamas!

Oh did I mention that my dad owns Llamas?!? Yes. It’s a true story so my boys have grown up riding llamas and they have learned to love them.

Also, my husband is from Mexico so it brings in some of the cultural diversity of our family.

Llamas really are awkward but fun animals to be around. Oh and by the way-they only spit at other llamas so humans are only spit on if they get caught in the crossfire!

Paco & Vanita

Finding Joy in the Unexpected

Today my hubby and I were suppose to be traveling to Japan for an amazing getaway, JUST THE TWO OF US. We had our tickets bought and we were in contact with friends we would visit.

Grandma and Grandpa had taken vacation days at work and they were ready to do us a HUGE favor! (Let’s face it, watching three boys can require a lot of energy.) And they were up for the task.

Japanese Cherry Blossom

We had been dreaming about seeing the Cherry Blossoms opening up and being there to take pics in person. They are so beautiful!

And more than anything we were dreaming about some time as husband and wife. We could travel light and leave the stroller and diapers behind.

We could visit restaurants that were different and taste new delicacies without bribing little people to eat vegetables so they could have some artificial fruit snacks.

Instead, today my big getaway will be traveling to the grocery store in hopes of finding coffee creamer and hand soap-hopefully a big bottle with moisturizer! (Are your hands as dry as mine are?)

Today’s reality isn’t what I expected. Our family of five is together everyday all day and we are regularly forcing the kids to eat slimy food like tomatoes. Telling them to get out of the pantry where they could snack all day if we let them. (Some days I do, no judgement here ;))

It’s surreal how quickly things have changed in all of our lives.

These changes have caused me to evaluate what is going on in both my mind and my heart. Is it okay for me to wish I had somewhere to go? Is it okay that I’m hiding in a room and locking the door? I feel like my life is under a microscope and there is no where to escape.

It is also forcing me to dig into my identity and my worth. Am I a good mom? Are my boys watching too many videos or playing too many video games? What will others say about me if they see the homework my boys are turning in during distance learning?

These are all real thoughts and feelings that I’m sure many of us are dealing with right now. And we can add fear and uncertainty to the list to really shake us up in whatever season of motherhood we find ourselves in.

But today I am going to CHOOSE JOY even though I may not feel it. I believe that where my thoughts are my actions and feelings will follow.

I will choose Joy because my kids constant grazing in the kitchen means we have food to eat. My hiding out in rooms of our house means I have people who want to spend time with me.

Most importantly I choose joy because I know that better days are coming! I know that on the other side of this challenging time I will be a stronger woman, wife and mother!

James 1:2 (MSG)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. YOu know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Ruined Plans

I love how one glance at a pic and you return to the time and the place it was taken. Our pictures have so many great stories that go with them. I will be trying to share a pic and it’s story each week as part of Throwback Thursday. My hope is that this can be a fun time and give us some good laughs.

Meet our oldest son. He is 11 now, but in this pic he was just a few months old. It was Halloween, but we weren’t going to be out trick or treating. We were starting a short road trip to visit some friends for the weekend.

1st Halloween Costume

We had this super cute costume that a friend had given us and it HAD to be worn! It was impractical and hard to get on him but we forced it around his squishy little body because it was adorable. We thought, ” He will be so cute when he meets our friends for the first time,”

After driving for two hours we stopped at a Dairy Queen to have a little snack-breast milk and ice cream. We took our son out of his car seat and we saw a huge brown spot soaking through the bright blue fabric of his tiny costume.

There was no saving the costume. It was stinky and nasty. My perfect plan had been ruined and the Halloween costume rode the rest of the way in a plastic bag.