Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Remember

I remember sitting with you, nursing you, rocking you when you were just a few weeks old, a Baby Einstein cd playing in the background.  I remember, then, understanding the particular ache of being a mom as I sat, crying, when I heard Canon in D.  I cried because I was hormonal,  I cried because I was overwhelmed.  I cried because life was so different and I wasn't sure if I was ready for that much different.  But most of all I cried because I realized that moment by moment time was passing, moments that would never come again.  I realized that each moment spent rocking and holding you was a moment that I couldn't get back and that each day you were growing.  You were growing and moving towards something bigger and more than that moment of me holding you.  That one day I would be watching you walk down the aisle and that the joy of that day would far outshine any sadness I felt but that hidden in tiny, baby girl you was the future.

I remember December 2007, the last time of just me and you.  Your brother's due date came and went, I can't say that I was altogether sad about that.  We had moved past the infant stage and were now a pair of girls about town.   I remember hot chocolate at Border's, visits to the museum, reading books at the library, jaunts through the zoo, snuggling under blankets and eating pretzel sticks.  You loved Elmo and reading books with me in the morning in your bed.  You baked cookies with me, we did art projects and I wasn't quite ready to let you go, this time of just me and you.  Each day I woke to a new day with no new baby I gave a tiny sigh of relief and went about planning our day.  Then one week after my due date......................our world was quietly turned upside down and made all the better for it.

I remember you turning 4, June 2010.  It was a big year - we finally made you get rid of your binkie.  You were only using it at watching time and bed and it was far past time to be done.  Such an incongruity for my girl - my girl who was talking clearly, knowing her letters and such a serious soul at just two.  But you are a girl who likes to be comforted and change is never good in your mind so we let you keep it.  But at 4 we traded you your binkie for the privilege of gum and you never looked back and I wondered why we let you stay back for so long.  I remember this birthday, too, because it was the beginning of your last year at home, this year before kindergarten.  Again, that mother's ache............

I remember that year, that year before kindergarten.  Not every day, not all the time but often I would think this is the last picnic at Jackson park with all three, the last time we all get to go to the fair together to see the horses and sheep and kick about all the dust and mud, even so far as the last time the four of us would grocery shop together.  We were such a unit after all these years of togetherness, day in and day out.  We had made it through three infancies and now everyone was walking and talking and playing together.  I remember wanting to enjoy it, each moment.  It was hard to think about sending you on.

I remember your first day of kindergarten, after all the years of dreading that moment, the first moment of letting go.  You were so timid, a bit scared.  I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into.  You were in your new pink shirt, white shorts and shiny shoes.  Your too big backpack and matching lunch box hung at your side.  It was time.  We watched you walk in and I held my breath a tiny bit that day.  It seemed such an enormous moment, I just wanted to get through it, past it and know that it was going to be ok.

I remember a few weeks ago, feeling a bit tricked, a bit foolish.  I had thought that getting past that first day of kindergarten was the hard part.  I had looked to that day with such dread for so long that I thought once we were past that one day, the ache would lessen, it would be the new norm to be down to two and not three.  But what I had come to realize is that is was just the beginning, that the end of kindergarten would be just as hard.  It meant that kindergarten was over, never to come again.   That sweet first year of school, filled with excitement and the newness of jobs and friends and recess and gym.  Kindergarten being over doesn't stop time it just means it's moving and moving more rapidly.  This first year of school flew by, at warp speed.

I remember..........I remember, my sweet girl, I remember the screaming, spiked haired infant you, the sweet spirited toddler you, the running through the park you, the snuggling under blankets, drinking tea and reading books you.  Your moments are sealed in my heart for whenever you want to take them out and remember with me.  I love you.  I am so proud of you.  I love the year you have had in kindergarten.  You have far exceeded our expectations of you.  You have made friends, loved on your teacher and have met the world head on.  I can't wait for the summer to begin, for adventure to happen, for moments to be had.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Follow Up

It all started with a text.....

Joe had asked me to do something for him via text.  I told him something or other and then I might have mentioned that I was on the kitchen floor.  I was having trouble finding the energy to get back down the stairs.  I had just made my 578th trip to the bathroom that day and I wanted to get back to "Endgame" on hulu.  (Yes, it appears I have an affinity for floors lately - so cool, so hard, so unwavering in the face of weariness)

This tends to freak Joe out.

I see it as a resting point.  A little hangout for those in need of a break.  I was going to get up and make it back down the stairs at some point.  No worries.

He made me call Tama.

I did.  I told her that it was day three of being drained of all life force and I was a bit weak and might have taken a little rest on the kitchen floor but Joe was being a worry wart.  I was sure I was going to be fine tomorrow.  And, remember, I had some Endgame to watch on hulu.  It is only 13 episodes long and due to my little episode with the stomach bug I was moving right through those babies.

She pretty much said dude, get yourself to the doctor, you IDIOT.  You might be dehydrated and you don't want to take chances with that.


Well, now we are in a little bit of a quandary because my parents are out of town, Zia Maria is sick, we don't want to really expose too many people to this awful thing, ENDGAME IS WAITING FOR ME and we have three children.  So of course we call Steve, our neighbor.  This is completely logical to any of you who have met Steve or have heard of the Steve.  He is particularly well known for chasing children with brooms, popping up at our windows, wearing crazy costumes and his fantastically kept garden.  He is one of our children's favorite people.  He's about 60 but never really acts it :)  You might also see him riding his bike around Canton collecting aluminum cans.

I call.  He comes within 2 minutes and off we are to Aultcare.

All I can think NOT poop in this man's car, do NOT poop in this man's car, do NOT poop in this man's car...............I am a ball of nerves and Steve keeps chatting, oblivious to my INTENSE discomfort because I am trying SO HARD TO BE CALM and NOT poop in this man's pristine car.

I make it.  I run in to the building and hot foot it to the bathroom.

They check me in and I settle in for the wait.  Miraculously about ten minutes later I am called in.  The nurse checks me.  When she asks my weight, I proudly exclaim my number wanting to get it on record.  We go through all the rigamarole and she thinks I am probably dehydrated but will wait for the doctor.  I am laying down at this point because this is pretty much the most activity I have seen in the past 2 days or so and I was getting more and more nauseous as the time went on.  So I am laying down waiting.......this usually takes FOREVER but, no, about 10 minutes later the door opens.  I expect one of the usual older men I see (Let me interject at this point - I am now TERRIFIED that I am red-flagged  at this establishment due to how frequently I have come to them to see if I have strep throat, maybe 4 times in the past 5-6 months.  The whole strep throat leading to psoriasis thing has me PARANOID plus I had strep 2 or 3 times this winter and I just want to be on top of it.  But almost every time I come the doctor looks at me as if I am a FREAK for coming.  But it has been strep before and DUDE, I GET COVERED WITH RED BUMPS.  So I am always wondering if I am on some special hypochondriac list they have and picture them all giggling over my name around their nurse's desk.........anyway.......)  but no, this time I turn my head and there is a rather attractive doctor in his 40s.

This totally throws me.

When he asks what I am in for I stare at him for a little bit.

I am not quite sure how to form the word diarrhea in front of this man.

I decided that with my wrinkled, stained dress, hairy legs, white face and tangled hair saying the word diarrhea at this point was pretty much icing on this pretty little cupcake.

He checked me out, ordered a shot and told me to get myself to the er for an iv, I was dehydrated.  Dang.  Tama was right.  AS ALWAYS :)

That meant another, longer, tense ride in the pristine white car...........don't worry, we made it.  I know you were worried.  You thought maybe that was the whole point of this telling you I had some big accident in Steve's car.  Mercifully, THAT DID NOT HAPPEN.  PRAISE THE LORD.

Thankfully, I got admitted.  I got my iv.  I got some wonderful meds.  Everyone was nice.  It was great.  It will go down in history as the Memorial Day weekend that I got to be in the emergency room......

In a hospital gown...........

Answering personal questions about my last menstrual period, when was the last time I had diarrhea, when did I last vomit, could I be pregnant......................

With my sixty year old neighbor...........


Good times, people, good times.

(Joe did come later and Steve got to go home but not until after all the personal questions were answered, my hospital gown was put on twice because of a bathroom emergency and all the shots were administered.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012


This has been a good year.  A year filled with new friends, a great teacher, our girl discovering she loves music, loves the stage and actually, yes, she does love gym.  It has been a year filled with great blessing.

It has also been a year filled with GERMS, people.

Oh my what the first year of school will do to a family that has had no previous daycare or preschool experience.  

It has been rough.

Before this the kids were never really sick, not that frequently, at least.  Maybe once or twice a winter we would see a day or two of sickness of out of each of them.  Nico had a runny nose quite a bit the winter he turned two.  Francesca had some issues with throwing up when she started with milk - it was pretty much daily until we made a change in her diet.  But overall we got out and about, we were a normal, pretty much healthy family.

Until this year.

This year we have had sore throats, strep throat, random vomiting, migraines for mama (which I realize I can't blame on the school, I will own those), colds and so on and so forth.  I am embarrassed to admit that Fia's absences number well into the double digits.  I think in May alone she missed a total of 6 days.

But, my oh my they saved the best for last.............

Fia had it on and off for 5 days, missed 3 days of school.  She came home and said a friend had thrown up at school.  She said Mrs. B told the class there was a stomach bug going around.  Well, my friends, that bug landed here.

Joe got it first.  Missed 3 days of school.

Then I got it.

Still have it.

Have lost 7 pounds in 3 days. (And, yes, I realize this is just water and what not, that I will be back to my original weight soon enough but it is SHOCKING to get on the scale and see the numbers keep dropping. I would be happier about it if I could stay upright for longer than 5 minutes.)

Yeah, it's not pretty.

Well, I am still pretty but CANNOT believe that I am still laid up.  This morning Joe came into the living room and was in quite a bit of pain (I was lounging on the couch because any time that I would stand up I would become nauseous and I needed to conserve my strength for the times I had to RUN AS FAST AS I COULD to the bathroom).  He said he might have a kidney stone.  You're kidding, right?  WHAT ON EARTH.  I said let me get a shower and I will drive you to the doctor.  I got in the shower, raised my arms to shampoo my hair and that's about as far as I got.  I got out, said yeah, totally can't do this.  That took about all the energy I have right now.  You have to call Steve.  He said the pain was subsiding and that he was just going to relax.  Poor man.

He thinks he passed a stone this afternoon and feels much better.  Praise the lord.  We have pretty much exhausted our childcare resources in the past few days.

So as we enjoy this lovely Memorial Day weekend by passing our children off to as many people as possible and watching old movies in the living room while sucking down water like there is no tomorrow I can't help but think PRAISE THE LORD school is almost over.  Three more days and hopefully our immune system is all the better for having sent Fia to school this year.  It's been a FABULOUS year but I don't think we could take another one like it.

Of course the younger two seem to have escaped the worst of it and recover the most quickly.

I guess there is something to be said for licking grocery carts (Nico.......) and eating dirt (FRANCESCA!!!........."I just pretending, mom", she says as dirt is surrounding her mouth and she is spitting it out).

If we have another year like this year you might see me at Marcs subtly taking a taste of metal or sneaking a bit of soil into our meals...............................


Kind of.

I am still a bit woozy.  I'm not really sure what I am saying..........................

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From the Mouths of Babes......

My friend Tama is always quite frank with me.  I treasure this about her, I treasure this frienship, this mentor she has been to me for almost 14 years now.  She told me not so long ago that I am a little sensitive when it comes to my children, my eldest in particular.  She might have been a bit more blunt than this and maybe her eyes rolled a bit and her eyebrows raised a bit.  She thinks I have a tendency to make things comfortable for my kiddies, especially that eldest, so aptly nicknamed "my heart" on this blog.  That maybe a bit of discomfort would be good for them.

I get it.  I do.  Most of the time...........well, some of the time.  When your child's kindergarten teacher calls from school, in the second week of school, to let you know that your child is happily participating in gym instead of crying in the office........because she thought you would want to know.  Well, that is an indicator that perhaps EVERYONE knows that you are a little anxious about your child's well-being.

And that's good, right?  To be a concerned parent?  To want your child's happiness and comfort?

Yeah, it's good.  But it's sometimes a hindrance to your parenting and your child's growth.  And I am working on it.  Working on trusting God, trusting that we will get through this time together - He, I, Joe, my heart, my joy, my adventure and all the surrounding support we's a bit hard when we are just at the beginning.  The beginning of letting go of the eldest, the other two still firmly under wrap at home.....

One of the silly things I worry about each year is how we do Easter.  It makes me anxious because I want it to be big and exciting and special and memorable.  I have talked about it before on here.  I want it to be as big as Christmas because, HEY, CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD and that is BIG STUFF.  HUGE STUFF.  How to make it tangible for the ones I love and to honor the One we love?

Oh and, again, my eldest?  Well, she's at school now.........and you know what that means.......COMPARING stories.  Remember me wanting to make it comfortable and easier and good?  I dreaded her coming home with a disappointed look or wondering why there were no gifts or baskets and such. 

 ******DISCLAIMER:  Gifts and baskets and bunnies and what not are not bad things.  This is not a post where I want to cause YOU discomfort.  You CANNOT believe how much I go over each word I write on here so as not to offend those I love who might be reading this.  Each family, each person has to decide what is right for their own family.  This is just us.  This is just me, rambling for the record, mostly for my children to read someday.

So this year we made Easter BIG.  We had an Easter tree.  We did the Resurrection Eggs each day leading up to Easter.  We made Resurrection Rolls.  We dyed eggs and had an egg hunt at my parent's the weekend before Easter.  We had people over for Good Friday dinner.  We talked about sacrifice and sacrificed our time on Good Friday, visiting with some neighbors, doing things that would bring them joy.   We made the trek to Nelson's Ledges the day before Easter to see if we could move a rock, like the rock that stood in front of Christ's tomb.

I felt the excitement of the season.  I felt the anticipation.  And, yet, I still it enough?  Is it enough to drown out the huge baskets in every store?  Is it enough to drown out the aisles of candy and the talk of the bunny?  Is Jesus enough?

I cringe to write that last question.

But for me, for us.........that's what is comes down to.  Is He enough or am I going to give in to my anxiety, my need to keep up with the world, my desire for comfort?  Because it's kind of uncomfortable to go against the grain, to have kind, well-meaning strangers ask my kids what the Easter Bunny brought them and have them look blankly up at you.  It's kind of uncomfortable to walk past the aisles of treats and toys and candy with your kids and have them oooh and aaah knowing that it's not going to happen and it could easily.  That grandparents are just dying to buy them everything and anything because they are good like that.  

But it turns out that He is, He is enough.  He told me in the best of ways, knowing it's the way I hear Him best, at times.

I was taking down the Easter tree not so long ago, I kept it up entirely too long but it was so pretty and added a bit of whimsy to our living room,  and Fia was in there with me.  

She looked up and said, "Mom, can we do Easter like that again?"

Oh, honey.  Yes.  Yes, we can.  Thank you God for speaking so clearly and using the best way possible to get my attention.  

For them, it was enough.  He was enough.  This celebration centered around Jesus.  

Some pictures from our day at Nelson's Ledges.  It was one of my favorite parts of our celebration.  The day, the weather, the company were all perfect.

And the day begins, on the steps leading up to the rocks

Fia kept wanting to take pictures for the beloved Mrs. B
Nico was beside himself with excitement the WHOLE day

The wild one - cliff diving :)

Daddy leading the way

One day there will come a time when Francesca's face ISN'T dirty.......

Monday, May 21, 2012

Because of rest......

I awoke this morning.......kissed the man I love and said I missed you, I am so glad to be home, here with you.  I snuggled in for a minute more, soaking in the familiar feeling of us.

I awoke and didn't feel weary.  I loved waking up to Francesca and her hunger for breakfast and books.  We made pancakes together before 7 am and I was happy to do so.  We read book after book and it was good.

I awoke with excitement for the adventure that the day held.  It was a day of playing at the park with lunch inside the jungle gym - how cool is that to be the only ones at the playground and dine up top the slide.  We pretended to be pirates and chased one another all around.  We played hide and seek, Nico winning every time.  We ran until Francesca pleaded that she was tired and so it was back home we went.

I came home and was greeted with laundry baskets filled to the brim and a too long front yard.  I was greeted with floors that needed to be swept and piles that needed to be undone.  I didn't feel overwhelmed, I felt ready to tackle the challenge and actually went about the tasks with a certain joy at being productive and useful.

After play by yourself time, Nico and I played Candyland.  We played freeze tag and, my oh my, is my boy getting faster.  The days of deliberately getting caught are gone and it is time for game on between this boy and his momma.  Then I pitched the ball and he hit long and hard into the yard, running the bases at a furious pace.  I ran to catch him and succeeded half the time.  I figure I must make the most of these moments when he wants to play with me and I still can tag him out - the day will come when other boys will call and I am no longer able to keep up with my fast and furious boy.

Each moment of the day I felt the frustrations slipping away, the weariness not there as it once was.

And I was reminded of God's provision and His wisdom and His goodness when He gave us His law, His commandments.

We are to rest.  We are to rest as He once rested on the seventh day of creation.

Why do we ignore that?

Why do we deem it unimportant?

And in the midst of murdering, lying, stealing and not loving God it does almost seem silly that we are to rest - is that for real?

Yes.  Yes, it is.

We try to do this on Sundays.  We have gotten MUCH, MUCH better.  I look forward to that day, that day of resting but, well, there are three kids and a house and a village so it's not always the MOST restful.  That's life, that's where we are at right now.  We don't do chores, we read, we watch a movie in the afternoon and it's good.

But this past weekend I got true rest.  Rest that comes from getting away, getting away from responsibilities and little ones and chores.  Rest that comes from sleeping in and leisurely breakfasts.  Rest that comes from not cooking and eating juicy burgers and spicy fries.  Rest that comes from driving and talking and sipping diet vanilla cokes from Sonic.  Rest that comes from being with a friend who is easy and kind and knows what is needed in a vacation.

Isn't is amazing that God knows this?  That God knows that 6:30 wake up calls from little feet running down the hall are joyous when rest comes before.  That He knows that laundry and dishes and cooking can become enjoyable tasks rather than daily drudgery when your body has known stillness and peace.  That He knows delight comes once again when the spirit has been renewed and the mind has been cleared..........amazing.

My task for this week is to find rest in the every day, to find renewal at home, where I am gifted with so much.  How to find that stillness, that peace, that joy that I rediscovered this weekend right where I am.

I hope I can get better at this.

For my family's sake, I hope that joy comes with each dawning of the day.  That there will be more nights on the swing in the backyard with my love, talking over our day.  That there will be more reading books at night with my little loves instead of running to my chores at the end of the day.  That there will be more awareness of the gifts in my life.

All this joy........

All this peace.........

All this ease..........

Because of rest.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Sometimes It Is More About You............

Being a stay at home mom with three young children allows you to dig yourself quite the cozy little hole.  You snuggle on in and can be quite content for many years.  If you want to maintain any sort of sanity you streamline your life.  Things fit into two categories - what is absolutely necessary and what is not.  You realize that most things fit into the second category.  So many things become not so important when there are three in three years and you are just trying to get everyone fed, the clothes laundered, everyone sleeping (at the same time :), the house clean and maintaining a generally happy mood about the place.

Then one day you look around and people have started to dress themselves, wipe themselves, feed themselves, occupy themselves and your world opens up a bit.  You begin to experience a taste of freedom as the diaper bag transforms into one diaper shoved into your purse.  The double stroller makes way for bikes and scooters and a wagon for the zoo.  Half of the trunk space is freed up when you go on vacation because you don't need a pack and play, high chair, bottles, diapers for two, baby toys, etc.  Everyone gets a little suitcase and you are good to go..............ahhhhh, the freedom!

All good things.  Very good things.

But what you have forgotten while you have been stuck in your hole is that other people inhabit this world.  People you now have to deal with.  Huh.  

I am ok, more than ok with probably 99% of people I meet and see.  I love people.  I love talking to them.  I love hearing about their lives.  It's totally fascinating to me.  I have become the lady who talks to cashiers, to people in line, to moms in the park, etc.  I love hearing that the cashier at the Dollar Tree works two jobs, being a cashier is her second job.  She is a human resource manager in Akron somewhere.  She loves coming to work at Dollar Tree because she can clock in and out and it's a stress free job for her.  I love to hear from one of my favorite librarians that when she was at home with her kids some days her husband would come home and she would grab a beer and go outside.  She would drink it on the hood of her car because she just needed to get out of the house and take a break.  Once I was getting my hair cut and the girl doing my hair talked about her boyfriend and trying to figure out whether or not she wanted to stay with him or get married or what..  She told me all about her job and what she wanted to do once she was done with school - she was such a cool person.

Then there is the other 1%

I am not so good about that percentage of people.

I was better at being in the hole.

In fact this post was suppose to be about something TOTALLY different.  One of those conversations women have when they want to talk about someone but not in an obvious way because, well, good Christian ladies don't talk about people or create drama (right Pastor Lantz?  Oh the phone calls you have stopped with your words last Sunday...........don't want to let down the pastor by creating drama in anyone's life :) Although, I did call Kentucky once to speak to the other pastor's wife but it's 5 1/2 hours away and I just needed to vent and I am, as always, a work in progress........)  So I wanted to write a post about stuff and I realized the stuff I needed to write about wasn't other people's stuff but my own stuff.

God is good in that He writes wisdom like.............

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 
                       - Matthew 7:3

Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.
                      - 1 Timothy 5:13

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
                - James 4:11-12

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
                - 1 Thess. 5:11

So............hmmmm.  Maybe dealing with people again, living in community is not about me growing other people to be how I want them to be but it's God growing me into who He wants ME to be.   I rather liked being the person who chose who I got to talk to and be with and influence and be influenced by .  Now it seems God is choosing and He is challenging me not to love who I love but who HE loves (which is every darn person on the planet!).  And He is asking me to love not how I love but to love how HE loves (which is UNCONDITIONALLY and without requirements, not how I usually operate outside of my family).

Whine, whine, whine, grumble, grumble, grumble...............

This is so not easy.

It is easier to complain and blame and point out that seemingly HUGE speck of sawdust that, AMAZINGLY, I can see so clearly through the BIG OLD plank in my eye.

But I am working on, this moment, actually.  Because up until God began to move my hands on the keyboard and force me to look up those verses this was just going to be a WHOLE BIG post about the something else entirely.

But God is good.......better than me, thank goodness.  He who knows my heart can change my heart and He is.......little by little, person by person - changing me into looking more like Him.

Monday, May 7, 2012

YOU. ARE. AWESOME. (Just so you know.....)

Today in that scary calm mommy voice I told the kids to get inside, take off their shoes and go to their rooms until I told them to come out.

I was about 1 nanosecond from screaming SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!

They went to their rooms, quietly and when they were safely shut inside their rooms they began to scream and cry.  They must have felt they were safe from the wrath of mama behind the closed doors.  And I didn't care that they were screaming for the same reason - they were behind closed doors, not my responsibility anymore.

I called two friends.

First I called Bekah, my forever friend from college.  We never have to waste time on pleasantries.  We can go two days or two months without talking, it doesn't matter.  I will love Bekah forever.  I began with my kids are in their rooms screaming.  Francesca is whining incessantly and Nico is more rambunctious than ever.  They are both driving me crazy.   I think it must be my fault but know it's more of an ages and stages kind of thing.  I don't give into the whining, she has to try again but it continues.   Bekah says OH NO, two year olds whine.  She has had five of them so far and has tried everything in the book, they all seem to get over it but not so much from anything she has done.  As the mom of six and an old school parenting style I trust Bekah to be a straight talker.  She says a friend of hers asked if she should combat her two year old's whining with a bar of soap.  Bekah told her it would be akin to torture, she would be washing out that mouth all day long - a 2 year old whines.  I laughed out felt so good.  The pressure valve was released.

This is exactly what I needed to hear.

I needed to hear confirmation that I wasn't crazy and that I wasn't a bad mom.

She reminded me of ages and stages and phases.   I remember Fia whining, I remember Nico whining but was it this bad?  This constant?  Probably.  I needed to be reminded.

She reminds me I'm a good mom.

Bekah always tells me I am a good mom exactly when I need to hear it.  And if you know Bekah she nevers says what she doesn't mean.  So it means a lot.

My next call is to what I hope is my newest forever friend.  I don't give this title out lightly and am always surprised when it happens again.  When you find that friend where you don't seem to go through the total awkwardness of new friendship.   It is even more of a bonus when your husbands and kids get along :)  So I call Liga and give her the same story because two of Bekah's girls were following her around and she needed to go and I still felt the need to keep the kids in the rooms and to talk to another mom.

She says oh that's so good of you.  Something along the lines of good job for not yelling.

You really think that?  I was just thinking that I was awful for losing it.  But she reminds me that I DIDN'T lose it.  Just what I needed to hear.

Can I do anything to help? she asks.

Aahhhhh.......the peace that comes from understanding.

The joy that comes from a friendly, supportive voice.

Voices, women that tell you that you ARE a good mom.   That remind you that kids are kids, that you are doing the best you can and it's good.

They give you the time and space to laugh and to see the moments for what they are.........just moments.  They pass and you move on to better moments.

Parenting is an uphill battle.  It just is.  We are imperfect, our kids are imperfect.  When we expect too much or we expect every day to be joyful and content and well-behaved we are fooling ourselves and letting ourselves in for a world of hurt.  And when we start to try to be perfect for others, for other moms, for our parents, for strangers in the store that leads to stress and anxiety BECAUSE IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

How much better to call and tell of our hurts and our frustrations and our bad days.  It lets other moms and parents not be perfect.  It allows them to share their hurts and frustrations and bad days.

I guess I just wanted to tell you all that sometimes moms need to hear it.  They need confirmation that they are doing a good job.  They need it from people who see them day in and day out.  People who know their children, who know them, who see the job they are doing.

It's hard.  It's a long journey, this journey to raise kids.  The results aren't guaranteed - no matter what book you read, what prayers you pray, what classes you take, what rules you make.  So we need to rally around one another, cheering one another on, noticing the big and small things we do every day.  So many times we don't need advice or criticism or small silences in which we fill the space with our own negative thoughts, we need encouragement.  We need someone to listen.  We need someone who understands and even if they don't, then to still pat us on the back and say good job.  We believe in you.

So...................I BELIEVE IN YOU.

I know it's hard and I think it's AMAZING that you got up today to do it all over again and that you are going to get up and do it all over again tomorrow...........AMAZING.

When your kids are yelling and screaming and whining in the store.........GOOD JOB for not totally losing it and running them over with the shopping cart.......because I know you have thought about it :)

When it's hot and everyone is tired and no one REALLY wants to be at the zoo anymore but everyone is whining about leaving..........I am SO IMPRESSED that you actually took your kids home and didn't leave them there.

When you've been up all night with a crying baby, toddler nightmares, bedwetting preschoolers or kids who just want to talk and you are tired and cranky and everyone is needing you......GREAT JOB for making sure everyone is fed, at least partially dressed and keeping the household running......seriously, GREAT JOB.  Sleep deprivation is brutal.

Did you get your kid to school on time, fully dressed, with some form of lunch, their book bag packed and breakfast in them?  MIRACULOUS!  How do you do it every single day?  MIRACULOUS!

Every day contains parenting miracles.  Remember that.  Recognize yours.  At some point in your day you did some really good stuff.  And at some point today, some other parent did some really good stuff.  Recognize THEM.  Recognize their good stuff, their parenting miracles.

I love you all.  I want you to know that.  You are good people.

Thanks for reading my words.  It means something.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Great Temperature Wars

Almost eight years ago, before I was wise to the ways of marriage, I had my deliciously warm and comfy down comforter on my bed.   I loved this comforter.  I loved to wrap myself in it on cold winter nights and read books long into the night.  I loved on summer nights to turn on the fan full blast and still enjoy it's warmth.  I love to be warm and cozy.

Then I got married.

Joe moved in.


It was hot.  Seriously, hot.  I would sweat and I hate to sweat.  It is one of 96 reasons why I don't run.

The comforter had to go.  It was a sad day but I was still married to a wonderful guy so I dealt.  But it was just the beginning of the GREAT TEMPERATURE WARS.

I am going to venture and say that this is a common problem among married couples.  I think it is often ignored in any counseling sessions, marriage advice or any other resource that tries to prepare you for marriage.

There is one who likes it hot and one who likes it cold.

Which one are you?

I like it cold.

Joe likes it hot.

The man is his own heating source, let me tell you.  If you are married to one of these people then you know.  In the winter it is are laying in bed, freezing your little tootsies off and then in comes your sweetie.  One minute later and you are warm and toastie and most likely not wearing half of the articles of clothing you came into bed with.  It may be 66 degrees in the house but under the covers with the heating source it's reaching into the high 80s.

In the summer?

Not so much.

Pure torture.

I have not slept so well the past few nights.

In the beginning The Fight was simple - AC vs NEVER AM I GOING TO TURN THAT THING ON BECAUSE I JUST SPENT ALL WINTER FREEZING AND NOW I AM GOING TO BASK IN THE PURE HEAT OF THE SEASON.  It was also somewhat endless.  Joe cannot fathom WHY you would turn on the AC to then cover up while you sleep.  I cannot sleep without being covered up.  Plus there is a difference between warm and cozy and SWEATING TIME BOMB, WAITING TO TURN ON THE WRATH OF ONE WHO IS HOT AND HAS NOT SLEPT ALL NIGHT.  I know, it sounds dramatic but that is how I the beginning.

We have have reached a stage of compromise at this point in the game with minor complaining or "wondering" on both parts.  I wonder why anyone wants to live in a house that can reach 90 degrees (I KID YOU NOT.  It was once 90 DEGREES IN THE HOUSE.  I waited til it hit that number, took a picture of it and then turned on the AC)  He wonders why you need the fan on full blast and then cover up with a blanket.  I wonder how sweat running down everyone's back is an ok thing.  He wonders why anyone can freeze all winter and then want to be cold all summer.  (Part of this can be explained by going into my parent's house on a hot, sunny day and descending into their arctic basement where temperatures drop at a most rapid pace.........seriously, you need 3 blankets to keep warm in the summer there)  So on and so on.

But it's better and we are learning.  I really only need it to be cool when I go to sleep, so the fan goes on full blast when I am falling asleep.  I don't even think about AC until it gets to be mid 80s in the house. He acknowledges that AC is not evil.  I acknowledge that our budget is tight and we need to be careful about the bills, my staying home is a non-negotiable.

We have come a long way......................still have a bit to go but at least we know one another better.  Understanding might be far off but knowing and accepting is more than half the battle.

Any temperature wars at your house?

Do you like it hot or cold?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I am so tired.

I wonder why I can't catch up.

I wonder why I can barely keep my eyes open at times during the day then be wide awake at night.

I wonder why the floors I sweep seem to collect dirt and food and dust the moment I put the broom away.

I wonder how the piles keep collecting and the trash keeps piling and the stuff keeps spilling out of the closets.

I wonder if I am spending enough time with my children and it keeps me up at night and feeds guilt into my mind.

I make promises at dawn to myself, to God which are lost by the time day fully dawns and the reality of my tiredness and the demands of my day set in.

I cringe to even give voice to these thoughts because I know the my worries are few, my life is good and easy and filled with love.

I wonder if I can take any more of the thoughts crowding my head, the words that speak of weariness and constancy, the thoughts that crave space and time and breathe even when those things were just given to me mere hours or days prior.

I wonder if I can take another step downstairs to do more laundry, unload another dish, change another bed, cook another meal, play another game, read another book, make another call.

I take a sick child to the doctor and glance down at another's arms on which God's word was scrawled...

Jeremiah 1:8

It comes back to me as the tv turns on and quiet ensues, the quiet space in the day when I clean and cook and pick up.  It comes back to me as something that might be important.

I sit down with my lunch and hot coffee by my side and I look, I look for answers to my wonderings.

"Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, " declares the Lord."

I will rescue you from the dishes.

I will rescue from your weariness.

I will rescue you from your guilt.

I will rescue you from the pull of more and more and more.

I will rescue you from the laundry.

I will rescue you from feeling stupid about the ease of your life.

I will rescue you from normalcy.

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born I set you apart."

I set you apart to be a mother to these children,

I set you apart to be a wife to this man.

I set you apart to create a home that welcomes my people.

I set you apart for the tasks you have done today and are going to do.

I set you apart.

I set you apart.

"Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land............They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord."

Thank you Lord.  Thank you for setting me apart for this life you have given me.  Today I will embrace the tasks you have set before me knowing that I am advancing your kingdom with the work you have given to me.  Thank you for rescuing me from myself.  Thank you for writing your words so that I may see - whether on the arms of angels or in the tattered Bible before me.