Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I am grumpy today. G-R-U-M-P-Y! I love my children, but today is a "I might go bonkers" day. My son is 11 months and I am terming this the "love-hate" stage. He is doing so many things that are just flippin' adorable: using sign language a bit, waving, giving high fives, finding his sister hilarious, playing "godzilla" at his train table. The problem is that this cuteness and pure annoying behavior is occuring simutaneously. He is at the "why dont' I cry every time mommy walks out of the room" AND when mom IS in the room "why don't I hang on her leg if she tries to do ANYTHING other that give me her undivided attention while I play" stage. These two stages happening at once lead to an emotional rollercoaster for me. One minute I am thinking "this kid is the CUTEST kid EVER" and the next I am thinking "if this little booger does not let go of my leg he just might get kicked." (caveat- I would never actually KICK my child- but that doesn' t mean I don't have that urge when he is hanging on my calf...don't judge me;P )

My daugher is doing her own emotional somersaults. She says HILARIOUS things. She does ADORABLE things like yesterday- she was muttering to herself on the way to school and I asked her what she was doing, she said, "Oh I am just praying for our days, mommy." She is very capable and can do many things on her own. Unfortunately, she is also experiencing complete emotional extremes. She can go from adorable to nightmare is 0.4 seconds flat....leaving her family in her wake looking at each other, saying "what the heck just happened!" I read books- I know what is going on: she struggling with getting older, but still feeling like she needs her mommy. She is going to school where everything is controlled, so she tries to challenge everything at home. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! I guess that knowledge does help a parent have a bit of compassion and composure but truly it doesn't keep you from needing chocolate indulgences and a good scream yourself now and then.

I haven't been feeling great this week, as well. Monday Marc came home from work early so I could take a nap and a hot bath. I had to laugh when at the end of an AFTERNOON (not a DAY, mind you- an AFTERNOON!), he proclaimed "I am so glad I get to go to work tomorrow." You have to laugh so you don't cry. I love my kids, but tomorrow, you might find ME hanging on Marc's leg and whining "don't leave me!"

Yep- bonkers. I may go bonkers...though one could argue I'm already there;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

People TYPICALLY throw shells away, right?

My sister just returned from atttending a funeral. She said something that really stuck with me. "I was reminded that our bodies really are just shells. Once the spirit is gone, we almost look plastic and so unlike ourselves." I know this to be true. How often have I left a funeral home after a viewing and thought "I could hardly recognize them". People really ARE much more than our exterior. WHO we are comes through in expressions, actions, personality and THAT is what people know and love. Peanuts have shells- they get thrown on the floor in restaurants. No one cares if they are misshapen or even ugly, they care if there are yummy peanuts inside!

It been really nagging at me today because I recently have been frustrated with the ups and downs of post pregnancy weight loss. It has been difficult for me to lose weight and to find time for work outs and such. It's hard to maintain motivation and push through to get back the "body" I want. What I realize today is that I've lost focus of what is important. Yes, we should be good stewards of the bodies we're given, but we should NOT define ourselves by it. My beauty is not based on how sexy the world thinks I am or on whether or not I took the time to blow dry my hair. I want to be beautiful on the inside. I want to be a blessing to others and to spend energy investing in what is important- eternity, others, love.

My body is just a shell; a shell that will die and disinigrate. My soul and spirit are really "who" I am. I want to invest my energies there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Marc and I got married at twenty three. We had 500 dollars in our savings account and my grocery budget was a whopping $150/month. We were blissfully happy, but we were not swimming in cash. While we would have loved great furniture, we had to settle with making a hodge podge of items look somewhat attractive. At that time, I had dreams of someday affording new furniture. I was certain we'd arrive home from long days at work, unlock the front door of our home and walk into the pages of pottery barn magazine.

We did slowly purchase new items, but what my dreams failed to take into consideration was the arrival of children coinciding with our increasing income. The home I thought would look like magazine perfection is filled stuff.

When you have an infant, you can hide certain things and for a short time you have a sense of pride that YOU have managed to so smartly purchase just the right items so that when you want to hide them you can make your home looked like a baby has never been there. The problem is slowly you accumulate more stuff. You experience more christmases, more birthdays and while desperately try to declutter and get rid of what you can, you one day realize you are "that house".

We now have some great peices of furniture. I like them a lot, but they are overshadowed by a large princess play house, a pit of balls, a childrens craft table, a play kitchen's new addition- a very large train table (early birthday gift for Phin). We have very generous grandparents and very happy children, but I guess that House Beautiful won't be photographing here anytime soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A restroom conversation

After Ava was acting a little grumpy, clining to mommy in restroom and therefore being slightly rude to her grandmother who is visiting and kindly suggested she wait outside with grammy so mommy can go potty on her own.

Me: Oh, looks like someone is grumpy. I know what that means, that means it is naptime! (and indeed it was 1pm, her typical naptime)

Ava: NO! you said we were going for ice cream after lunch, mommy.

Me: Well if you want to go for ice cream you better take those grumps and THROW them in this trashcan. (throwing motion towards trash can while speaking)

Ava (then COVERS HER MOUTH WITH HER HAND): No, I think I am going to keep them cuz, mommy, I might bump into something soon and then I want to whine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A little sleep goes a LOOOONG way

My daughter has been sleeping rather poorly since starting preschool. She has been having nightmares; I don't know if they are related to the start of school or simply the fact that she is now three and a half- the exact age the books say nightmares and fears climax. The cause doesn't really matter, what does is the effect they are having on her quality of sleep! It's been a perfect storm. Great change and poor sleep are resulting in crabby kid with poor emotional control. It makes me wonder if God thinks I need to become more patient? I certainly am having to work hard to maintain my OWN emotional self control and keep perspective.

Handling these nightmare nights is yet a new stage of parenting and of wondering if you are helping or hurting the situation. It is yet another series of debates and discussion with my husband and myself about how to handle them. Should we let her sleep in our room? Should one of us sleep with her? If we do, will it become a habit that is impossible to break? Do you send a THREE year old back to sleep in the dark of night when she is obviously terrified?

Though I've questioned myself I've tried to take my own advice and trust my instincts even if I am not sure why the instincts are what they are. My husband has been gracious enough to also say, "I'll trust your instincts on this one" and even if he's questioned me in the middle of the night has come back in the morning to say, "Hey I think you made the right call." To make things even better, a good friend reinforced my decisions as good based on her experiences with her kids who have gone through but also outgrown this stage.

We let her sleep in our room, on the floor, if she's obviously afraid. We haven't allowed her to manipulate us into starting the night in our room. My friend assured me it wouldn't develop into a habit and indeed it hasn't. She hasn't had nightmares this week. It seems the allowing of her to feel safe when she is afraid has increased her security and therefore probably decreased her restless sleep state. She has slept soundly this week and thank GOD my sweet three year has returned. I mean even two weeks of the "child you fear you'll have" made me worry that our sweet princess was gone forever and I'd ruined our lives putting her in preschool.

Her sleeping better ALSO means WE'VE slept better...even with our stuffy heads and runny noses. I am reminded again never to take good sleep for granted- it is SOOO important; a necessary luxury. Oh sweet sleep, thank you for returning to our home!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aneed for President- 2012?

Mom's don't get sick days. Have I blogged about that before? I've certainly griped about it a time or two. I propose instead of fighting about healthcare and proposing a program that will not work, our government refocus their effort on creating a new government program. This program could be called "Mother Relief Services" or something terrible like that. Moms could call in and our lovely tax dollars could be spent on sending relief workers to american homes, when a mom is sick or just needs a "mental health day". Should I start a petition? How many signatures would it take to get my congresswoman to take that up?

Seriously, this is one thing that I'll never get used to about motherhood. How do you adequately care for your children when you look like a walking Nyquil add- you know runny nose, watery eyes, zombie like body movements? How do you find energy to answer your toddler's "Whys" when your head feels like it's been overinflated with LEAD? I mean this just shouldn't be! I am quite sure it is not in the children's best interest to have such a caregiver! I mean God forbid an emergency occur that requires some sort of swift action or good mental accuity, because in such a state a mom simple cannot perform up to her superhero potential.

I have been in this rather sad sick, state since late afternoon yesterday. I definitely wasn't a sexy sight for Marc to behold when arriving home from work and I couldn't wait for the next nap or bedtime for my children. There are just days that would be best spent in bed...preferribly with someone rubbing your temples, bringing you hot tea and soup, and hey why not singing a lullaby or two. Yep, that is how things would be if I were president- which is probably why I am not;) So instead of leading the free world, I will lead my little hinney to bed because let's face it no one's comin' to rescue me tomorrow but my children WILL certainly be rearin' to go at 6 am.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just huggin' a little tighter

A year ago today a couple from our church lost their little boy at 39 weeks of pregnancy. Desmond should be a year old today, instead they are faced with the year anniversary of his death. How are they getting through these days? I don't know if I could get out of bed. How do you find hope again?

I love to be sarcastic and make jokes about the frustrations of motherhood, but today all I can do is hug my kids a little tighter. We have no control. I can keep my children as safe and as healthy as possible but I have no control over their heart beat, I can't make them inhale and exhale. I know without a doubt that God is Sovereign and good; I know his heart breaks as he sees the pain M and E are experiencing- but how can one even make sense of the senseless? Oh that Jesus would return- this is such a broken and fallen world!

I have been profoundly changed by Desmond's death. I have lost two babies very early on in pregnancy and it was horrible. But who thinks loss is even a possibility when you are at the 39 week mark? I was 35 weeks pregnant when Desmond was still born. I had to chose fear or trust. I have to trust that whatever life throws my way God will carry me through; Life is painful.

Why am I so fortunate to have two beautiful children? I certainly don't know, but I do know "to whom much is given, much will be expected". Oh Lord, let me make the most of the days I have with them. Let me raise them to love and glorify you with their lives. Give me wisdom with discipline and help me to cherish them for the blessings they truly are. Lord help me not to lose sight of you when life is confusing and painful. Wrap your arms around M and E today and everyday. The pain of their loss is deeper than anything I can imagine- Please, Dear Heavenly Father, hold them tightly in the palm of your hand.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Unsolicited Advice for the Mommy to Be

My cousin-in-law (is that a word?) Heidi is going to be having a little baby girl very soon. I was very late checking in with her to see how she's doing. (How I wish my thoughts about doing things would transfer into actions like 90% of the time! The other 10% SHOULD stay somewhere in the desert of my brain because there aren't kind thoughts or actions and I prefer freedom to prison.) Now she has not asked me for all this advice; she frankly probably doesn't want it. This is why instead of sending an obnoxious TMI email, I am blogging. Something about seeing someone in a stage of life that I've been makes my brain go into OVERLOAD with advice. This happens at weddings, new babies, and now with people having number two babies. I KNOW that everyone is different and I certainly have learned every baby is different, but I still can't STOP the flow of "wisdom"....

1) Ignore those people who, with a condescending smile on their face, say, "Sleep now cuz you surely won't sleep when the baby comes." It may be true, but it's rude. What 8-9 month pregnant woman is sleeping? It only makes her anxious about not sleeping and further leads to even more insomnia. A woman at this stage of pregnancy does not need to add to her list of "things to worry about."

2) The is no way anyone can prepare you for how hard it is to PUSH a baby out of your body. The exhaustion that quickly ensues will shock you. You will want to scream, not just because of the ring of fire taking place around your vagina but because people keep telling you to "PUSH". You want to scream, "What do you think I have been doing? SHUT UP!" (really you'll want to use much filthier language)
Now why this comes as a shock to women is really uncertain. Logically, it can't be easy to push a bowling ball through a peg just know you'll never work so hard in your entire life.

3) Sleep when baby sleeps. Yes, this is important and yes you'll plan on doing it. But when your hormones are crazy- it is VERY hard to do. First, you'll cherish the time on your own, so you'll want to "do your own thing." Second, it's just hard sometimes to sleep- so try your best, but again don't "worry" about it. Logically know you WILL sleep again and you WILL somehow survive. Do your best to care for yourself, but don't let it make you anxious.

3b) Put your baby in the nursery while in the hospital. Everyone talks about sleeping in, but whoever told me to put the "oxygen mask" theory into effect here is one of my heros. Both my children slept in the nursery. They fed them ONE bottle and one only (skipping one feed) allowing me to sleep 6 or 7 hours in a row. (I had zero problems with nipple confusion and breast feeding.) Once you are home, this isn't an option- so take it while it is.

4) If you have one of the "easy" babies who sleep 6 hours at night the first week know that it is possible and you don't need to feel guilty. Those same babies WILL give you headaches for some other reason later in life, so take the gift they are giving you now.

5) If you have one of the "I WILL NEVER EVER EVER SLEEP" babies...cry, scream, enlist help, and vent about it lots. If someone won't listen, talk to someone else. It is hard. Of COURSE you'll make it, but sometimes everyone telling you that doesn't help in the moment. You just need to complain and have people HELP you. DO NOT be afraid to ask for or accept help...sleep deprivation can do crazy things to a person; let people help you avoid those crazy things;)

6) You WILL have crazy thoughts after having a baby. The way you know you AREN'T crazy is if you recognize that the thoughts ARE crazy. Something about hormones and sleep deprivation= insane thoughts...they are just thoughts, you are okay.

7) You will miss your husband. He'll be sitting right next to you and you'll miss him. Talk about it. He misses you to. It's just adjusting to change in life stage.

8) You may cry for lots of reasons or no reason at all for a couple weeks after baby is born. This is normal post-partum blues. As long as it is just the first couple weeks, don't worry. Let the tears flow- you can't control them even if you try. It is cleansing. If it goes past the first few weeks, check in with the doctor- there is no shame in getting help; there is shame in ignoring the need for help.

9) You do not have to answer to phone; You do not have to return calls. You can go out lots or you can never go out. Every mom is different. Do what feels best to YOU and it will make your adjustment much easier. Don't let others expectations of you rule your actions.

10) The best advice I ever give: TRUST your INSTINCTS. With time, you'll continue to realize how RIGHT they are! Books are awesome- they give you lots of insight and things to try, but also trust the gut God gave you! YOU'LL know your child best.

11) There may be times in re. to the above that you feel you don't have instincts at all- that's okay, maybe your husband does or maybe not. Just read a bit, talk to others, or a doctor- it will get figured out.

12) Take lots of moments to ABSORB motherhood. Stare at your baby intently. Breath deeply and inhale that baby scent that is gone before you're ready. Cherish the feeling of a sleeping newborn upon your chest. It's wonderful and they really do grow quickly.

13) Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing, but it is not necessarily easy. It may be and that is awesome, but MAKE sure to check in with a lactation consultant BEFORE you leave the hospital. Make sure you listen when they tell you about the babies "latch"-this is NOT an area to let slide. If you are lazy about this and let the baby nurse however he or she wants you will get sore, bleeding nipples and that, my friend, SUCKS. If you do get sore nipples- use Soothies- they help. (Oh, and it is okay to be mildly horrified by how large your breasts and nipples become. It IS weird. The worst part is that in a few weeks you'll forget what they looked like before...but don't worry after baby number one- they return pretty much to normal. number two is a topic for another day...)

P.S.- The best breast pads are Lansinoh. The best pump is the advent one- it is amazing. The electronic is expensive and the Medela pump-in-style works well too. But if you are going for manual for traveling or whatever- Advent Manual get's SO much milk and does not hurt- everything else is CRAP and induces large amounts of pain.

P.S.S- introduce a bottle once a day by week two- just once a day won't hurt breast feeding. If you wait to long- it is a NiGHTMARE to get them to take a bottle. I know too many friends that were desperately trying every bottle on the shelf trying to get baby to take one before they returned to work;P

14) Your baby needs to sleep more than you think. You will have a happier, healthier baby if you learn their sleep cues and put them down in their "window". Sleep is something WORTH working at and for. You will at times feel like it is SO hard, but before you know it your baby is "sleep trained" and you are one happy mama. (Note- good habits, like putting them down awake can start in the beginning, but sleep training doesn't happen until lie 5 months or so- you'll know when you AND your baby are ready)

P.S. In the beginning, try to establish good habits, but not at the sake of your sleep or sanity.

15) It doesn't matter how someone else did something or when they did it- you'll know when you are ready.

16) You husband has really good insights on the situation. It may be SUPER annoying but sometimes it is worth trying what they are recommending. When we are entrenched in a situation sometimes it is hard to see how we are contributing to it:)

17) Find a good babysitter(s) and pay them well;)

18) Pray lots and know that God is with you in the mundane. Sacred parenting is my favorite parenting book- it isn't a guide, but he so eloquently articulated the feelings I've experienced. My favorite part is at the very end when he refers to Matthew 25:35 and 36. Who is hungrier than a newborn? Who is more a stranger than a child just entering the world? Who is more naked? What you have done to the least of these, Jesus says, you have done to HIM. He delights in your care for your little one!

I am sure lots of mommas can comment with more daughter is currently asking me to pay attention to her and as tempting as it is to continue to indulge my self-importance by touting more advice...I shall chose what is really important.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Emotions are on the first hill of the worlds biggest roller coaster....

I dropped off Ava for her first FULL day of preschool today. I am quite nervous to see how it goes...and I have quite a few hours to wait. I am realizing today how emotionally schizophrenic motherhood can be! I am THRILLED to have a bit of extra time at home. Phin still naps twice a day, so I'll have time to really spend with the Lord and time to get stuff done around the house. This feel luxurious and I am just enamored. At the same time, I have knots in my tummy wondering if Ava will do fine being at school ALL day. Will she nap? Will she miss us?

The past four or so days, she's been extremely emotional. We've dealt with temper tantrums and crying. This is not usual for Ava. She gets cranky when she's tired or sick, but neither seem to be the cause. It seems she is adjusting to change. Apparently, she has said, "I miss mommy." to Marc when I am just in another room. That makes me a little sad. I know I am a huge source of security for her at this age, so I wonder if knowing I am not going to be around two days makes her feel insecure? Last night we was excited about starting school, but then she said, "I don't like school. No, I do like school." Hmmm. Perhaps she likes it but is still uncomfortable with change? I am like that many times.

She thankfully was not emotional this morning. We had a completely stress free morning and she even got to play with her barbies for a few minutes before we had to leave. She sought out girls on the playground who she didn't know without any hesitation. She has good social skills and I was proud watching her. She'll be fine, I am sure.

Still, I sit here conflicted. Do other moms feel this way? I watched a mom in the nursery on Sunday, whose son is having SEVERE separation anxiety. I mean SCREAMING by the church gate, unwilling to let anything or anyone distract him. He wanted mommy. She left for a while and checked back. She tried staying a bit, but he wouldn't even play unless she was RIGHT by him. Now, I don't know how she was feeling, but I know I would be annoyed and actually a little angry, but at the same time feeling like sheltering and holding and lovin' on this little boy. I have been completely outraged with Ava's tantrums of late and at the same exact moment felt like I want to just hold her and take away all the emotions shes trying to juggle. Those two things are hard to reconcile in those moments of stress. AH! and I am supposed to teach my child how to juggle, handle her emotions?! Good thing she can't read my mind- what it do to her security to know I am actually just as out of control as she is?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ava's take on the Sunrise

This morning Ava saw the sunrise.

She can running to me and said, "Mommy, did you see the beautiful sky?"
My response, "You saw the sky this MORNING?" (If had spoken my mind, my response would have been, " Clearly I am still in bed and I would LIKE to be sleeping.)
Ava: "Yes, God took the kind of cloudy sky and made it whiter with some orange."
Me: "Ava, that is called the sunrise. Isn't that a cool thing?"
Ava: "I know and it was great. I saw the orange- that means my birthday will be here soon."

I hace NO idea why she thinks this means her birthday will be here soon, other than the fact that she went to a birthday party last weekend and currently for about a week after every birthday party she attends she starts to plan her next birthday party and decides what kind of present she wants. March is a long ways away, kiddo, but you keep thinking positively;)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

I am a mom. Have you ever had a moment where that simple fact hits you like a ton of bricks? There have probably been moments where I feel the weight of the role is as heavy as a ton of bricks, but this was a wonderful moment- A moment of joy. I am a mother. I am so blessed and so fortunate.

At first I started down a prideful road and started thinking about how "good" of a mother I've become. It wasn't long before the Lord reminded me how many "bad" moments I've had. I AM proud to be a mother that lavishly loves her children and does a really good job much of the time, but the pride is not in my own abilities but in the fact that God is gracious enough to walk this journey with me.

I've shared with many a person that I had this idea in my head prior to being a mother of what a mother was. I suppose I thought that when they handed me my naked, crying newborn I'd instantly change into that person. The fact of the matter is motherhood doesn't change who you are at the core of your being. I am still me. Motherhood HAS however magnified every strength and weakness I have, it's magnified my talents and weaknesses. Motherhood forces you to either crumble under that magnification or grow. What I realized today is how much I've grown! God is good.

My little girl had her second day of preschool today. I watched her join in with absolute abandon and I was so proud of the delightful little girl I've been given. Simutaneously, I was able to see the baby boy in my arms watch the children playing on the playground; he was filled with delight. What a pleasure it is to raise these kids! GUSHY, HEART BURSTING moment of pride;) These are MY children and I am their MOMMY.

Motherhood is bliss and chaos all rolled into one. It is moments of sheer terror and elation experienced within seconds of each other. It is emotional. It is stressful. It is what it is. At first, I fought for control. (I am sure God had many a chuckle watching me strive to control the uncontrollable.) This year I have reached a new level of surrender. I am in a free fall and it is wonderful. "Let go and Let God." If mothers wore bumper stickers- that would be mine.

"I am a mother, hear me roar." Hear me laugh; Hear me cry. Hear me praise my King eternal for the wonderful priviledge in partaking in his creation, and in partnering with the most wonderful man in raising our children.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The First Day

Ava had her first day of preschool. It doesn't feel to a mom very much like pre- school. It feels like school and it makes you realize that your child is growing up!
I usually let Ava pick out her own clothes, or atleast don't argue with her with she has her own ideas about what matches and doesn't. Today, however, I was in scrapbook mom mode. It was all about the "PICTURE". Thankfully, Ava, loved her green apple skirt and apple tights and was even excited about my suggestion of pony tales. She did NOT like the plain navy shirt that looked ADORABLE with her skirt. You see her pink and blue striped shirt also has an apple on it, just like the skirt and tights. In her mind, no other shirt would suffice. I had her lay out her clothes last night so Marc was in on the process. Her papa, kindly reminded me that it might be better to have her in clothes SHE felt comfortable wearing than clothes that fit my idea of the "perfect" first day outfit. He was right; she looks cute no matter what so I didn't make a fuss. I even let her chose her Dora "crocs" when the brown Mary Janes would have been so much better for my picture;)

Ava's preschool breaks them in slowly. They divide the class into small groups and the kids attend in small groups for only one hour for their first day of preschool. Because it is a twenty minute ride up there, I had a sitter watch Phin since it also fell during his nap time. I asked her to come early and I took Ava out for a special breakfast. I had thought bagels would be a great idea; do you know what my child wanted? She wanted EGGS BENEDICT and pancakes. Now, this is what I usually order at our fav spot Walker Bros. She has sampled mine many a time, but it caught me QUITE off guard. A three year old already preferring Eggs Benedict...aye yaye yaye! She even said to me today, while enjoying each and every bit, "Mommy, can you making this sauce to put on my lunch." She has no clue what a fortunate little girl, she is!!! (But I love it too, so I guess I'll be looking for the "perfect" hollandaise recipe- suggestions appreciated.)

Anywho- I walked her up to meet her teacher and I have to laugh thinking of it. The kids were ALL fine, but as they walked inside quite a few mamas were not. It was quite a sight! Funny and totally understandable. They had a coffee time for the parents so I was fortunate enough to be able to meet some great parents and am excited to get to know them all over the next year. I LOVE our choice of preschool!!

Ava had an amazing day and is VERY excited to return. She has a half day on TH and then starts going full day twice a week next Tuesday. How strange and how wonderful all at the same time to see your child blossoming into this beautiful, funny young lady. She adores her teachers and I have to say I do too. It is obvious that they love the kids, their jobs, and Jesus. We are paying a bit to attend Christian Heritage but knowing my daughter is not just cared for but THRIVING is worth more than they could ever charge (though if anyone from CHA is reading this, please don't raise my tuition;).