Thursday, May 30, 2013


Things I ponder...

How do they know Theo is near-sighted if he doesn't yet know the letters of the alphabet?

Am I lying when I repeat the phrase "I will not repeat myself" over & over thru out the day?

Why does it take my daughter 6 minutes to wash her face but I can't get her to brush her teeth for longer than 27 seconds?

Why does Mic randomly say "chicken"? Or better yet... Why don't more people randomly say "chicken"?

Can I just allow the older two to eat in the living room, not vacuum & let Maverick crawl around & call it "introducing solids"? Or do parents get called in on that?

What's up with pens? The nice writing, expensive ones are never around... But the out-of-ink, from the festival booth, pretty-sure-I-already-threw-you-away ones are multiplying in my junk drawer? 

How do we know people are color blind? If I teach my babies to call what they see "red" but they're seeing different colors how would I know?

Does Maverick's pointer finger work like a bug's antenna?

Is having a telephone up to my ear the international sign for "tell mom a story right now"?

Does it count as tummy time if Theo is laying on his belly on my belly & we may both be sleeping?

Do only hillbillies bathe their children outside with the hose while watering the garden?

At what age does it change from "she's learning to ride a bike" to "I don't ride bikes"?

Who invented singlets & why do wrestlers still sign up for that sport if they know they will be required to wear one?

Why do I dislike my own crooked teeth so much yet absolutely adore my son's snaggley grin?

From which source do I truly seek strength for my day: the Holy Spirit or caffeine?

Isn't it weird that the word weird doesn't follow the "i before e except after c and when it says a" rule?

Since we're on spelling... Which letters are supposed to be doubled in "tomorrow"? And is there anyone out there who can actually spell "restaurant" correctly without auto fill?

Why is it important for kids to learn nursery rhymes?

What do my children have against covering up with a flat sheet?

What happened to phone booths? I mean, obviously we're not using them anymore, but are they still around? Or did people get hired to take them somewhere? Is this a profession? Is there an A&E show about people who move phone booths into warehouses or something?

Why make the bed when you're just going to sleep in it again? Should I also be tying my shoes after I take them off?

How come water fights are so fun? You're both trying to get wet but not get wet at the same time...

Who first came up with the idea for Mount Rushmore? And did anyone think he was kidding?

Is there a lego gene that enables some people to create from legos? Because I don't have that gene... 

Are there Spanish-speaking people who can't roll their "r's"? Because I think I have a Spanish speech impediment. 

Why won't they make more Avitar movies (The water bending one not the live-action Ferngully one)?

Are female mimes called ma'ams?*

Why am I suddenly clever when I should be sleeping?

*props: while I do ponder this, it is only because my hilarious & way-too-clever-when-I'm-trying-to-sleep husband brought it up... I'm fairly certain this is APA correct siting happening here...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Learning together...

Motherhood is a team sport. 

You realize how little you know when you step into the world for the first time with your baby in your arms instead of your gut. It's overwhelming and marvelously terrifying... Because we all could benefit from a larger grasp on how little we truly know...

First thing I suggest learning is this: we need each other. We need other moms. Moms who are right where we are, moms who have made it thru, moms who are just starting what we just passed, moms who are different from us, and moms who see things similarly... We need them to help us & challenge us & inform us & comfort us... We need to watch & listen & talk & observe... We need to learn what works & what doesn't work & what just doesn't work for us... 

This crucial first lesson is the key to unlocking a world of answers, tips & tricks to thriving in motherhood. A sampling of the life-altering wisdom & tid-bits I've drawn from other moms...

- the days are long but the years are short
- teaching babies "no" is easier than teaching a 2 or 4 or 13 year old "no"
- baby wipes take almost anything off of almost anything
- baby food is not a big deal
- be the parent by setting the expectations & boundaries 
- enjoy my kids
- listening is invaluable 
- mom spit somehow kills germs off of fallen pacifiers & utensils
- consistency is key
- laying a baby who is awake down to play is more than ok
- sometimes a baby just needs to cry
- sometimes a mama just needs to join in said crying
- kisses & snuggles should be doled out in excess 
- potty training a boy requires a long t-shirt, carpet spray, and nothing else...
- tuck in time is important
- don't automatically say "no"
- playing like a kid with my kids is fun... even when it doesn't sound fun
- how to wear a baby
- limit my cautions to things that require more than a cast to heal so that I don't instill unnecessary fear
- get rid of stuff... excess is overwhelming for everyone 
- when a baby won't stop crying & the "losing it" feeling is creeping in... lay them down somewhere safe & walk outside for a quiet breath & prayer... don't escalate with the baby 
- there are worse things than Santa not being real
- my words are powerful even when I don't mean them
- read to my babies
- teach babies to sign & it cuts down on the whining
- be strict enough that I like my kids & easy going enough to like myself
- every opportunity is a teaching opportunity
- provide appropriate clothing then let them wear what they want to wear... even if it's baseball gear to church 
- just because they're awake doesn't mean it's time to get up
- guard them... their eyes, their ears, their hearts... guard them
- wrestle them... often
- spank... but not in anger
- put the baby bouncy seat in the bathroom so i can shower while they play
- discuss what they see on tv & in public that is not biblical
- nap when they do anytime I can
- make them search for me in hide & seek
- I don't have to keep everything 
- school pictures aren't a necessary purchase
- blow outs mean its time to go up a size in diapers
- movies can be memory-makers too
- "go play" is a necessary instruction
- God has a purpose for my kids' lives right now 
- nap time can still be enforced even when they no longer sleep
- nursing is great... hard but great
- celebrate summer vacation
- always answer honestly... even when it's a hard answer
- point baby boy parts down while diapering
- early bed times = better behaved children (& adolescents)
- my goal shouldn't be "fairness" but what's needed for each individual 
- parent with grace & truth
- support them in doing what they want to do but are scared to do
- they're in real danger of catching my self-hatred if Christ doesn't intervene 
- leave them with trusted sitters early in life
- it's ok to parent differently...

My hope is each mom who reads this will be as blessed by the team of moms around them as I am. Fight judegemental condesencion or fearful solitude... none of us know it all. Reach out in love today. You're not meant to mother alone...

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored..." (Titus 2:3-5)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Things that make you go hmmm...?

Questions I often find myself asking...

Which came first, the screaming or the gas?

Are you wearing underpants?

Are they the same pair of underpants you wore yesterday?

Are said underpants on backwards?

Did you swallow that?

How many scoops was that?

Who's spit up is this?

When was the last time I showered?

Who's crying?

Why is Theo's pump beeping?

Whose toothbrush is lying next to the toilet?

Where did you bite your sister? No, I mean where on her body not where you were standing...

Where's Maverick?

Is that stain from pre or post-digested baby food?

Who's choking?

Where do you need a kiss?

What language are you speaking?

Who told you that?

Do you want a spanking?

Why is the floor wet?

Where is my phone? Can you call my phone? Is it on silent?

What happened to Maverick's hair?!?

Are the contents of Theo's stomach leaking out into his bed?

What's Maverick chewing on?

How did Theo get way over there?

Did you drop your brother?

Do you smell that?

Did you brush your teeth well enough that Miss Ashley will think they're shiny?

Do you need to poop?

Is Theo's button seeping? What is seeping from it?

What are we going to eat tonight?

Why are you mumbling in the backseat while we're driving with the windows down?

What did I say?

Do you want a cotton ball?

Can you do that again?

Can we pray about it?

How's your heart?

Why are you in different clothes than when I put you in bed?

Which superhero should I be today?

What story do you want to hear?

What song should we sing?

Where is your food supposed to be?

Who's there?

How did you get up there?

Why do you kinda smell like fritos?

Who ate the last banana?

Where did you put it last?

What is THAT?

What do you think?

Are the clothes I just washed & folded in the hamper now?

Where'd that nuk go?

What are you supposed to be doing?

Would you describe this diaper aroma as "barnyard" or "ammonia"?

What day is it?

Who wants to babysit???

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Theo's birthday

One year ago my life silently changed forever... 

It was May sixteenth of 2012 when my baby boy was born. I didn't have contractions (except for the Braxton Hicks that recently had started)... I didn't cry (except for pregnancy-induced sensitivity)... I didn't push (unless maybe we played on the swings or I mowed the lawn)... I didn't scream (at least I hope not)... And yet my tiny miracle boy came bursting into this world on this day. 

He had a short 24-week stent in the womb... Not enough time to close the hole in his heart... Or fully develop his eyes... Or have his lungs working on their own... A mere 1 pound 12 ounces was all there was to hold... And i honestly wish it was my hand which he was laying across in his first photo... But there's much to celebrate...

I applaud the nurses who cared for him when we weren't yet there. 

I marvel at the doctors whose medical skills allowed such a tiny baby to have a chance. 

I admire the courage of a terrified birth mom to look at the child she just bore and see my son. 

I'm thankful to the many therapists and specialists who believed in the huge potential locked in a teeny body. 

I'm honored to be a part of the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network who join together families who are born apart. 

I praise the Creator God for forming him so perfectly...

On this vastly significant anniversary of Theo's arrival into this world I'm overwhelmed that God called our hearts to be open & that it is Theo He wanted to fill our arms with. 

One year ago we didn't know his name... Hadn't seen his smile... Hadn't touched his smooth tiny hands... Hadn't kissed his awesomely flat head... But God made him & then gave him to us... An honor I'm overwhelming humbled by. 

And while we celebrate a healthy heart with no holes, lungs that breathe on their own, a son who can nurse like a champ, eyes that have grown, an adorable round head, neck control, feet eating, giggles, and rolling freely... A miraculous year... we also party because Theo has now been home for more time then he was away from us...

Yay Theo!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Momma's Day...

My momma is amazing... she has taught and continues to teach me...
~ how to love
~ to say "no" now so you can say "yes" later
~ it's ok to cry
~ that pain is not weakness... nor should one seek only to avoid pain... but instead pain is an opportunity to make God's strength a reality in daily life
~ never mess with a cub when momma bear is present... or anywhere in the vicinity... or if said momma bear will travel...
~ a house should be always full of singing praises
~ how to draw the coolest stick-figure representations of our family
~ about birds
~ consistency is non-negotiable in the mothering job
~ to be passionate...
My momma rocks... she doesn't like to brag but she...
~ is one of the most generous people i know... and i'm surrounded by generous people
~ sings with soul
~ gives the warmest, softest hugs
~ has an enormous laugh that is contagious
~ is Boggle champion... i'm not joking... my mom CAN beat your mom at Boggle...
~ is super smart... not in the show-off kinda way... but in the has-a-lot-of things-figured-out-and-you-should-listen-to-her sorta way
~ has incredible style
~ is so very beautiful...

As if having 31 years with a momma like this wasn't enough God has blessed me with the best mother-in-law EVER! i'm not exaggerating... this is true. She loves me like a daughter and has raised a son who knows how to work, and play, and serve, and love, and cook...

... And then there's the others... They might not know that they help teach me how to be the mom i am... or at least am trying to be... They probably don't realize that i watch them and hear them and remember what they said years ago (sometimes daily)... They are the "older" women (although some are not that much older in years but very rich in experience) Titus 2 talks about... they are my own mom & mother-in-law & grandmas & more... they might even be you... 

So thank you for encouraging me to be a momma who...
~ enjoys my kids
~ teaches my babies what "no" means
~ let's go of what doesn't matter... such as what they wear or if they want to jump on a bed...
~ re-directs energy
~ chooses to encourage a spirit of adventure instead of teaching a spirit of fear (even when it's hard to watch...)
~ plays with my kids
~ listens now so i can hopefully have an invitation to listen later
~ wonders at my kids
~ considers my "no" answers before automatically giving them
~ always answers truthfully... even when it's hard to explain or awkward or not popular...
~ dances
~ doesn't count to three...
~ runs with my kids
~ figures out when they need to talk most and makes myself available... even if it's at bed time
~ recognizes manipulation
~ prays with and for my kids
~ confesses my sins and asks for forgiveness to my kids
~ lets my kids get messy
~ models accepting who God made me instead of giving into self-hating comparisons
~ loves Jesus
~ enforces outside play & early bed times
~ demonstrates that doing my best is more important than being the best (i.e. when i sing to them or draw them pictures...)
~ balances what the "experts" say with what works for our family
~ doesn't buy over priced school pictures
~ believes God has ministry for them even now
~ laughs... but not always when they can see
~ takes breaks for refreshing myself so i can serve hard
~ cheers for them
~ is present and doesn't lose right now by wishing for tomorrow or missing yesterday
~ allows my kids to "help" even though it makes more work for me
~ doesn't just do what's easiest right now (aka getting up and dealing instead of threatening again...)
~ purposely enjoys being away from my kids so i can purposely enjoy being with my kids
~ surrenders all the natural, nagging mom-guilt to Jesus 
~ disciplines my children in love
~ makes my house a place they want to bring their friends
~ gives my children responsibility (aka chores)
~ teaches my kids about consequences... even when it's hard
~ tells my kids to "go play"

So enjoy this Mother's Day knowing that you are part of a force that is shaping the world... & hopefully you get spoiled with 27 hand-drawn pictures, plastic jewels from a treasure chest, and end-less hugs like me!