Showing posts with label Kids and Conversations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kids and Conversations. Show all posts

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mom Guilt.

This afternoon my girls started walking out the door to head next door to my sister's house (yes, she lives next door) and immediately I went in panic mode. My sister has a brand new three week old baby girl and who knows where my kids hands have been. I don't keep perpetual tabs on what their fingers are digging in or playing with, but I know whatever it is, it probably made their fingernails grimy and black and sticky and I can only assume that no one wants the gritty fingers of adventurous children touching the cheeks of their first precious baby girl. So I panicked. I made them scrub their hands and I pulled out the toenail clippers, because I couldn't find a fingernail one. A toenail clippers will do just fine. And I cut those babies down as far as they would go. I breathed a sigh of relief. Almost. I knew Leila had just been running through the dirt without her shoes on. Here's to sending her off and hoping she doesn't take her shoes off while she's out of reach.

Mom Guilt.

Last night, my son sort of went into a mild hysteria. It suddenly dawned on him that school was just around the corner, when I told him at 10:30 it was time for bed and it was time to get on a school bedtime schedule. His bedtime is actually 9:30 on school nights, but I'm easing him in. He nagged, cried, yelled a little, begged and then he mumbled something about people 'controlling his life.' And before I knew it, the word "brat" popped out of my mouth and everything in me wanted to pull it out of the air. I also wanted to take back a summer full of bedtimes at midnight for him, but what can I do about it now? Deal with the repercussions of my inconsistencies as a parent. Inconsistencies suck.

Mom Guilt.

Last week, the girls were playing quietly and working hard all day in their bedroom. I saw blankets and tables being dragged into their room and I turned a blind eye to the inevitable tornado I was sure had hit their bedroom. I knew it was being demolished. But they were being so quiet and I was enjoying the silence.
And also, I'm a type B personality. I'm not saying a bit of panic or irritability doesn't set in when the house is a mess and people are on their way over or if I'm trying to work or watch TV and there are clothes and lucky charms strewn about. Stress happens. But usually, I tell myself to chill. Enjoy life. Yes, I can enjoy life in a mess, because my kids come before the house. My happiness is found in Jesus. And I simply don't have time to do it all. Particularly not in the summer when I have 4 kids and their friends over all the time. So I rest in the fact that I will get to it when I can.
However, this particular Saturday, I had just recently put the mattresses back on the bed from the bridge the girls built the day before with them and I left the house. The moment we had re-entered the house, I caught them in their room with the mattresses back off the beds and they said they were "making a book" with them. I put the kibosh on the book making fun and Jada told me in character of a typical nine year old that I was mean. In fun, I took the situation to facebook and asked how many moms out there were 'mean' like me and would not let their kids turn their mattresses into a book. The response basically bit me in the tush because it boiled down to 98% of them were mean by their own claim and were seemingly appalled that I had let it go that far.
I basically got the "I would never!!!" vibe.
And suddenly it kicked in.

Mom Guilt.

Most days, I realize the mom guilt or self condemnation by any nature sets in when I compare myself with other people. Other moms. Other pictures on my Instagram feed. Probably type A's. In any case, I compare and I suddenly feel like I don't feed my kids the right foods. My kids aren't being home-schooled. I don't do crafts with my kids (at least not on a regular basis). I'm not a room mom at their school or on the PTA nor do I care to be. I let them make bridges with their mattresses occasionally. And yes, they eat in their room and their carpeting is paying for it. (Not to mention, my eyes and sometimes my feet.)

Am I the only one that feels the tremendous guilt weighing down on you when you find out what someone else is doing or isn't doing? Perhaps you are a working mom who longs to be at home with your children. Perhaps you are a stay at home mom, who feels like you should be providing better for your family. Maybe you rush home after a busy day only to feed your kids cereal or a peanut butter sandwich. Maybe you feel like you don't have time to study up, much less have money to buy organic, gluten free, paleo foods for your family. I've been in tears as I've watched other moms from a distance. I've seen their successful businesses made with 6 kids in tow while they homeschool and pastor a church or travel the globe and I think to myself, "How Lord? How do they do it and still seem so happy?"

All I can come up with is that God has equipped them in this time and this season to do what they are doing. And same goes for you and I. God has equipped us in this time for this season to do what we are doing. He hasn't asked you to do more. He hasn't asked you to do what that girl is doing. As a mom, God gives you the direction, you the grace, you the time to just be MOM. Being mom doesn't come with a rule book or a play by play. And the rules and suggestions of our culture are always changing so you certainly can't go by that. You have to go by your heart, your intuition and where He is leading you to. Sometime his leading allows for some unstructured fun in your kids bedrooms. I'm not kidding. I've felt that 'nudge' to let go of my own self proclaimed precedent about what life or family should or shouldn't be and I've learned to go with the flow.
I've followed His leading. His simple leading to enjoy life. Enjoy my family.
Don't wait for the weekend or for vacation. Enjoy it today, even in the rush.

I'm not saying structure is wrong. Or rules are wrong. Or schedules are wrong. They are all great. And perfect for you, if you know how to work them and maybe you thrive on them. But I'm talking to the 'everyones' who feel guilty because they don't feel like they match up to the next persons way of doing life. Maybe you are a structured by the book kind of mom and you wish you were more laid back. All I know is this: Follow that God appointed parental intuition on the inside of you. It's there for YOU and YOUR family.

I'm always learning. I'm always re-evaluating. I told my son last night as he was in tears about 'having to go to school to learn' that  90% of our life is learning (okay I don't have the statistics on that, but you get what I'm saying.). It never stops. I told him, I'm learning right now how to talk to you & work with you. Life is a continual process. And when I screw up and say something to my kids I feel badly about, I make sure to set the standard at apologizing with sincerity. Mommy makes mistakes, but I shouldn't have said that. I didn't mean it. So they know that it's okay to make mistakes, but it's better if we learn from them and resolve the problem or hurt we created.

So for all of us moms. Or parents.
Know that you are fully equipped with everything it takes to be a good parent... or a better parent if that's what you desire.. It doesn't take more money or healthier foods or more craft nights, being on the PTA or less mess. Or maybe it does. But just know you have what it takes. You have the ability to make sound decisions and fill their hearts with love and adventure right where you are.
You are enough.

Because He made you to be.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Your One Stop Shot For Perfection

"There is no such thing as a perfect mom. There is a loved mom. And a needed mom. And if you are there, that's perfect enough for them."
Those are the words I found myself writing earlier today when asked "What is something unexpected you've learned from being a mom?" It slipped off my fingertips with all the grace and dignity in world. (She says sarcastically).

I remember when I was around the age of 14 and getting into a scuffle with my mom (not an actual physical one) because in our Sears (or JC Penny, maybe?) 'family photo' I was not smiling. Back then you only got one shot to make your family look perfect, and I apparently ruined it. I was the oldest, so obviously I was to blame.  As soon as we got home and re looked at said photo, it was discovered that I was in fact smiling.
It was just a crappy picture in general (and I needed braces), so I don't blame anyone.
I'm not bitter...

Back then you had your one shot at perfection. 
Fast forward 20-(5) ahem years later and it seems our complete identity is somehow summed up in the perfection of our perfectly perfecto photos on our perfectuous Instagram (or Facebook or Twitter) feed~
Our adorably and perfectly cute kids (I mean!) with their cute outfits (You guys, I can't!) making cute (and not messy at all!) crafts. Today, we've taken away the JC Penny backdrop and have replaced it with the current definition of being a perfect mom with a perfect family. We plop it into our photo editing program and suddenly, we are "Perfecto Mom!"
Yes? Um, no.

I've got news for your friends. Our perfect Instagram feeds are not an indication of what a great mom we are.
It merely indicates what a great photographer we are. And even that's sketchy in this day & age because apparently anyone with a camera can have their own business.
My sister truly has a great eye when it comes to photography, particularly fashion photography. At least I think she does. She doesn't just have an eye for the picture taking, but for the photoshoot and style as a whole. She follows these super adorable Instagram feeds of these kids all decked out in the cutest kid swagger that can be and she always asks me if I "follow them" and "why not?"

Well, because I have kids. It's not reality .

Although, it makes for a cute kid photo, there is very little real about that photograph. It just doesn't inspire me as one would hope. What does inspire me is real life moms in the trenches of nitty gritty dirty momdem (that's not a word, I know) finding God's grace to wipe boogers and calm fevers and raise teenagers and eat old macaroni and cheese they find caked in the cushions (is that stretching it?). Moms who have special needs kids. Moms who want to have more kids. Moms who have too many kids (I know that's not possible, but you get what I mean). Moms that are probably tired of their kids, but Moms who still sacrifice their world for their kids.
Of course, they manage to mess it up, but they aren't afraid to admit it.

Moms that have to get up 6-7 times a night with their baby who won't sleep.
(Me. That last one was me. I inspire me.)

I'll admit. 
I get a ting of jealous of the perfect Instagram feeds. The one's that everyone follows. The ones that have perfect photos of how stylish and white and clean life must be on the other side of ...the midwest? Accessorized in balloons and stripes and chevron. With colorful quilts and mugs and quotes. I think we all get jealous to some degree. (Unless we really do have it all together.)

I LOVE those photos. I do.
But what I love mostly is truthfulness. And if I find an Instagram feed with both those things, it's pretty much the best day ever. However to compare myself to one of those feeds (highlight reels), because my photos don't always have the best lighting or I haven't gotten around to redecorating my living room in 5 years or my kids hair hasn't been brushed in two days (and even so, I still want to take AND post a picture) is where I have to draw the line. We all do.

Because our Instagram feeds are not an indicator of what a great mom we are or what a perfect family we have. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to humanity. Technically.
Unless of course you are looking through the two little eyes who look up to you. Than you just being there makes you entirely perfect. Perfect to my 5 month old is buckling his bouncy seat seatbelt apparently, because that is what I just had to take a quick break to do, and he thought it was HILARIOUS!

It's a sad day if we we ever become too embarrassed to post pictures of our lives or our kids because the picture in itself doesn't match up to the creative, bright and colorful, 'we have so much fun together' stamina of someone else's family pictures on social media. Are we trying to show off how much we love our kids and celebrate our lives... or just show off? I dare say our social media activity some days can actually be an indicator of where we are lacking, because we are too busy trying to present the perfect image to everyone else.

We have all heard it said before. The thought isn't new in this day and age.
And Steven Furtick said it best when he said "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scene's with everyone else's highlight reel."

The struggle is real, friends. Isn't it? We tweet about it, blog about it, preach about. Yet we still do it.
We compare. We let our identity be wrapped up in big bulbs on our deck and trendy banners on our fireplace and in a seemingly perfect presentation of who we really are. Awhile ago, I tweeted something like this "A Pinterest Girl is not the same thing as a Proverbs 31 Woman!" and it was one of my very few tweets that had a decent feedback. Achieving perfection in the eyes of the public is completely different than in the eyes of our Children...
and certainly different than in the eyes of God.
It's unfortunate. Because when we see someone, we should see the very thing He sees in them.
And it is who we should see in ourselves~ just the same.

Charm is deceptive. 
Beauty is fleeting. 
A woman who fears the Lord 
is to be praised. 
Psalms 31:30

We probably breeze past this scripture too often because we hear it so often and attribute it to modesty, yet what about the charm and beauty we so often put on display for the world to see in the other areas of our lives?
Is that what we are to praise?

My hope and prayer for my life (as a woman) is that I find my perfection:
~ In the eyes of my creator & redeemer. That everything that I do in my life is glorifying to Him. That it's not a false sense of charm or beauty of any kind that deceives others or even myself into wishing, thinking, hoping that my life is better than theirs/ or should be as good as theirs...

My hope and prayer for my life (as a mother) is that I find my perfection:
~ In the eyes of those little precious hearts that matter most. That my perfection isn't found in perfect social media photos or non messy craft days found on Pinterest only, but my being "perfect" is just being Mom to them when they need me to be. Perfect to them is being there. That's it. Nothing fancy or pinteresty about it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Update: Wesley (one year later)

Seriously! Is this happening? How is he a 5th grader already?
It's funny because when I (or anyone else) looks at Wyatt, we immediately see Wesley when he was a baby. 11 years goes by so fast Mommas. I wish someone would have told me. I'm sure someone did, I don't think you don't really get it until it's gone by. You are in the smack dab in the middle of learning about raising this kid. Not just kids in general, but *this* kid and suddenly this kid is a big kid. When we say every kid is so different, wow, is that true.
Last year around this time, I wrote about how Wes was tested for Aspergers and he was *diagnosed* with anxiety and depression in this post Aspergers & Emotional Disability or Fearfully & Wonderfully Made ?. I talked about how I knew that was not Wesley's identity. I knew we had things to deal with, obviously, otherwise he would have never been tested but I also know God has a plan for Wesley's life and those words aren't included. Over the course of his 4th grade year, he was also tested for ADHD in which the results came back borderline.

Let me just say something about this, for all the parents that struggle with faith vs diagnosis. I know for some of us, we feel that if we find out whats going on that we are not standing in faith concerning the issue. But for our family, it has helped us so much.

Clearly, over the course of almost 11 years of life, we had our struggles. In and out of the principles office he went. Meetings with teachers every year since pre-school. In the beginning, we just all thought "Wow, he has a temper or boy is he emotional." Everyone else thought "Wow, you need to discipline him better or Boy is he naughty." Until the ending of 2nd grade, his teacher recognized something familiar and just made mention of it. Once we started testing, therapy & diagnosis process, he has only progressed. There has been nothing negative in the process. We are, as his parents in full control what we have him do. No one is forcing us to do anything. And we (especially I as his mother) go to the Lord about everything. If I ever needed the Lord's help, it was in this area of parenting. Seeking his wisdom concerning each of my kids individually is on my agenda-DAILY!
Wesley has had lots of prayer from my family too over his life and I am so thankful for that.

But as a mom, I appreciate just knowing I am not alone. I also appreciate knowing he is not alone. And I am learning daily how to communicate with him. It doesn't hinder my faith in God to know what I'm dealing with because I know where we stand. And I know that He is greater and lives inside of us. It doesn't help me to pretend that we haven't struggled with things. What helps us and him is knowing what is going through his mind and how he interprets things, so that I both know how to pray with and for him and also know how to communicate with him.

He is getting older, so with the territory comes eye rolling and attitude on occasion, but my biggest and main concern is that Wesley knows he can talk to Jeff or I about anything as he grows into a teenager. I make sure to sit down with the kids. I go to their rooms and talk to them about their friends, their classes, what they like and dislike. Not every day, but I do it because I want them to be able to confide in me. All of them.

Wesley is so completely different from Jada. And Jada is so completely different from Leila. It's seriously crazy how different these kids are, but I love their differences and I can see God using them so much in their lives and futures.

This past year, he was moved to public school after being in private for 6 years. He has been able to take advantage of special education and school counselors, which were not available in private. But he has not had one single issue where he even needed major intervention since switching schools. The only thing the special ed teacher has helped him with is remembering his homework each day.
He was feeling rushed at the end of the day and he would get distracted, forget his homework, which in turn would cause him to get in trouble and was creating a lot of anxiety for him the first few months of his new school. So we remedied that. And since then, he almost always is joyful, loves school and has a good attitude concerning it.

If you have ever dealt with similar issues, you can't imagine the relief we had at the end of his school year as everything turned around for him. Not a single principals office visit all year. Not a single out of schedule meeting with the teacher. And after we dealt with the homework issue, he was in a better mood, he started making friends at the end of year and he is happy. So I am happy.

Towards the end of his 4th grade year ,we received an email and had a meeting with his former principal at the private school he attended, in which he welcomed Wes back for 5th grade this year. I don't know why, but even though we had been praying for this to happen, I just didn't feel it was the right fit for Wes yet. I kept talking to the Lord about it, but something didn't feel quite right. Maybe he wasn't ready, I don't know. But I just followed that quiet voice inside me. So he is back in public. Next year he is off to middle school and we have another big decision to make, obviously. Do we keep him in public or put him back in his old school where the kids knew about some of his shenanigans. I wonder some days if he still has a reputation or if he will be accepted because the Wesley they knew caused quite a commotion some days.

As the year progresses, I am keeping the middle school situation in prayer obviously. I see so much improvement. I am so thankful. He is so full of love. And he is so smart. And I push him a little socially & physically to do things that he doesn't always want to do (because he'd rather be on the computer in his room), but he is always happy afterwards and wants to improve even more so.

This year has been a defining year for me as a parent. I have never thought more about intentional parenting as I have this past year. And I love it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

11 Ways We Turned Our Family Fun Day Into The Apocalypse

the photoshoot in which Jada would not stop teasing Leila
This probably won't sound intense, but it sure felt like it.

In that moment on that day (Saturday) when anticipation filled the air.
Anticipation for what you may ask? Family Fun Day of course.

I will admit it. I set my hopes high. I think we all do when it comes to Family Fun Day. We have some sort of delusion of grandeur that everyone will be as well behaved and anticipate this day as much as we do as a parent.

But if you have a truck full of kids like I do...(or if you have a toddler who is very particular like my friend, Lisa, does) you start to ask yourself 'why do I bother?' Because Family Fun Day just isn't very fun when you the fun is sucked out by the kids who should be having the fun. Let me clarify. Sometimes the kids actually ARE having fun as they antagonize and instigate. But Family Fun Day for us this past weekend ended in a near melt down.
I wanted to take the family to celebrate our heritage and culture, so we started getting ready for Indian Summer Festival!
It started bad and just got worse. I should have known.

1) Leila's comb-over. I tried to fix Leila's hair in french braids. She has a huge clump of knotted up hair that she will NOT let me brush through, so for a week now I have been brushing 'over' it in order to hide said clump. This wouldn't work with french braids. A lot more hair separating is needed. SO I get lots of wiggling, yelling and crying instead. We ended up with regular braids brushed over clump (as shown above). This is how our day began.

2) Photoshoot gone awry. So the braids were necessary for my little native girls. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen I was pretty excited to go. So I got the girls all braided up, clump comb-over and I wanted to take some pictures. The better portion of them were of Jada pretending to be picking her nose and wiping it on Leila and Leila was getting mad (as shown above). And there was a lot of me saying "JADA! KNOCK IT OFF!"

3) Leila wants chocolate milk. We are driving away from the house and she starts yelling and crying that she is going to puke if she doesn't get chocolate milk. I tell her I am not stopping for chocolate milk and whining and crying is not the way to get her way. She keeps whining in hopes I will make a stop for her. I didn't, obviously.

4) We got lost. How on earth we could get lost in a city we have lived in our whole lives pretty much, I will never get. But we still manage to do it. A trip that should have taken about 12 minutes ended up taking about 30. And the last 20 of those minutes was spent in a 2 mile radius trying to find a parking lot.

5) We got there late. We left later than planned. We drove longer than planned. We parked farther away than planned so we had to walk longer to the main entrance than planned. Everything just takes longer with kids. A lot longer. You would think I would know that by now and plan better. But as much as I plan better, I never plan for kid fights and last minute announcements of "I NEED chocolate milk or I will puke" as we are driving away. And when we finally reached the gate, there was a line that was way longer than I expected.

proof that we actually did make it to Indian Summer for the 25 minutes I claimed

6) There were 'bees.' Bees are not a friend of our family. Really they are wasps, but you get the point. My oldest child is terrified of bees. He runs (like Phoebe on Friends) and he screams. Well, if there are a lot of bees, there is a lot of screaming and running. He knows people are watching. He doesn't care. He panics and cries. I feel really bad for him, I do. I seriously have no clue what to do to help him.  He never enjoys anything outdoors in the summer, which means neither do we. But the whole 25 minutes we were at the festival, he didn't stop screaming and running. Yes, I said 25 minutes. That is how long we lasted.

7) Jada wanted to take a nap. First let me say, Jada is 9. She isn't 2. We finally get to the festival late. Wesley is crying. Leila has  matted comb-over hair and a booger on her arm from Jada. Jeff and I are irritable from the extra long drive and getting lost. We hadn't even made it to the pow-wow yet and Jada starts crying and whining (oh that whining) because she has now decided she wants to go home and lay down and take a nap. Her words, not mine.  I told her to lay on a bench and she said 'No. People put their butts on there.' Okay, I can understand that so I told her to lay on the ground with Wyatt's blanket. But that wasn't acceptable either. Home was the only place she wanted to be.

8) War breaks out. At this point, Jeff had finally decided that he would take Wesley to a safe haven (a place free of bees) and come back later and pick me up. The panic Wes was dealing with was more than it was worth to try to push through it, for any of us. So we decided we would swallow the $19 we paid for Jeff's ticket and parking so he could get Wesley to safety. The girls both decided they wanted to go with Daddy. I had a feeling that was a bad idea, but hey, it meant I could get a break. Just me and the baby. Not really. Within 2 minutes I saw them all walking towards me and Jada was crying and Jeff was ticked because the kids were already fighting with each other.

9) We give up. 25 minutes into the gates of Indian Summer and I hadn't even met up with my family yet who was saving us a spot, but we couldn't deal anymore. The entire day thus far was a bust and I couldn't see it getting any better. I prayed for strength. Seriously, I did. I breathed the heaviest breath ever along with a loud sigh and said "Lord, give me strength to do this."

10) The kids are 'sorry.' Wesley and Jada are both crying now because they don't want me to be sad. Of course I was upset. They were whiny and misbehaving and we had to end up leaving because of it. And Leila was now crying as well, but because she wanted to stay. So now $33 is wasted instead of just $19.  I made sure Wes knew with his repeated "I'm sorry mommy" that it was not his phobia that got him in trouble, but it was the fighting with Jada. Although the phobia is stressful for us, of course he can't help it. I am trying so hard to get him to understand the screaming has to stop though. He holds it back just fine in front of his friends when he sees a wasp. He just runs away like any other person, so I know he can do it. But for some reason, when it's just him and us (and the general public) he has no problems with making a scene.

after we left the festival and before the apocalypse we stopped to stare at water?

11) The Apocalypse. Or what felt like it anyways. So on our way home, the kids are told to not speak to one another. Not a peep. You know how that goes. Jeff and I decided to treat ourselves to WINGSTOP-(because that makes everything better.)  And we have to stop at Target and grab some easy quick food and drinks for the kids. As soon as we walk into our house, it's like everything that can be shaken is shaken.

It's that moment when you have a million bags, cameras, diaper bags, purses, the baby seat and your food of course and you are trying to bring it all in. The baby is crying and wants me to feed him. I have to go to the bathroom. The dog needs to be let out. Leila is crying about chocolate milk (again). Jada is asking for cookies before dinner and complaining about what dinner is and teasing Leila. Wes has calmed down but is talking a lot and digging in the fridge for the 'pre-dinner food' that he always seems to need. Everything is going on and no one is calming down, and we can't even hear ourselves think. We told the kids to go upstairs to their rooms, (both because of the fighting and because 'Jada needed to lay down and take a nap') and we told them 3 or 4 times with no response. They acted like we didn't even say anything. And that was it. The apocalypse happened.
I almost felt bad for Wesley because he was just talking at this point, but it happened to be when everyone else was doing everything else, so he probably couldn't even hear us tell them to get upstairs. But enough was enough.

I told a friend of mine that I felt like my hopes and dreams for a perfect family fun day were shattered. I was joking of course but it was one of the top 3 most chaotic days out with my family. Sometimes, I seriously don't know why I try. Ever feel like that?. My kids are much happier and well behaved at we save money. It's just more work than it's worth. I'm learning little by little to plan better.

What goes wrong this time, I will try to remember next time... if there is a next time.
Depends how brave I am.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Phew! This week has been LONG. And tiring. I have so much going on in my brain right now, I can't even begin to go there.

In this season of transition for the family, I have been learning (EVEN more if that's possible) to rely the grace of God to carry me and give me strength.

Don't get me wrong. I like getting back to a schedule, but that also means getting to bed earlier, getting dinner on time + all that. Granted it's only been a couple of days of the fall line up here in the Smith home (so I should give myself a little grace as well) but I already feel like I'm falling behind. Or at least I just haven't gotten ahead yet like I hope to do while the kids are in school this year.

I've been in my car almost non stop traveling back and forth to schools and home, etc. I am trying to teach Leila the ropes of how to take the school bus so I had to put her on the bus and drove out to her school (25 minutes) so that when she arrived, I was there for her.  I did the same thing after school. I drove out there (and when she saw me she start sobbing by the way), I made sure she got on the right bus okay, followed the bus over to Jada's school to make sure Jada got on the SAME bus that Leila was on and then met them both at home. Tedious, but not trivial. School is a semi new experience for her, then you add on taking the bus for a LONG bus ride (partially without big sister) and we have a girl in tears traumatized and scared. I had to do something.

I really hate it. I hate that I am part of my daughters traumatizing experience.
And I really miss my kids already.

Plus my husband has been really busy at odd hours so I'm left doing a lot of the stuff alone that he normally helps me with. More pics next week. School. Vacation. Summer.
I'm just behind in general.

Am I the only one who hasn't printed out photos in like 8 years?
This is my plan this year. (random thought).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Because I Told You So

Proverbs 31:26
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

As a parent, I question myself a lot. 
I question my husband a lot. Our tactics. Are we carefully parenting? Are we mindful of how our words or actions can affect our children long term? I scrutinize my own words once they hit the air. And I judge myself. Perhaps sometimes too harshly, I don't know.
Those times when I lose my patience.

I really think about the future a lot as a parent. I think about their future.
If I am honest, I would say it is an area where fear has crept in and I have to continually ask the Lord for wisdom,
"Am I doing this right~this mom thing? Am I really the best mom that he (or she) could have?"
My kids tell me all the time that I am the best mommy in the world. Of course they think the world of me, but I want more than that. I want everything for them. I want to teach them to think about the future. Not in 'what do you want to be when you grow up' kind of way. But more of a 'WHO do you want to be when you grow up' kind of way?
And I want them to WANT to be a person of integrity and character. I want them to WANT to love Jesus. I want them to WANT to treat others with respect and kindness. I don't know that I was ever really challenged with that question-who do you want to be? I don't know that it would have mattered to me at such a young age.

Is everything 'because I told you so?'
Is it? Seriously? Is it? Is that just how it is with kids? At what point do they decide to start treating their siblings nicely just because they love them? I mean, DO they love them?  At what point do they decide to do their homework because they are simply motivated to do so on their own? Okay, that second question may have been reaching, because I don't ever remember being motivated to do homework, but I know their are kids more ambitious than I was. How do I make my kids be one of those kids? How do we get our kids to think about their future?
I read this incredible post by Lysa TerKeurst called Before They Go To School...Have This Conversation  and it spoke volumes to me. It was all about teaching our kids to pre-decide who they want to be. Who do you want to be when your friends are making fun of someone? Who do you want to be when you come across drugs? Who do you want to be when your mom asks you to clean your room? It's all about WHO you want to be...Decide right here and now what you will do when you come across this, this or this... Decide right now what attitude you will have no matter what when this happens.

(By the way this is just as good for us adults. I'm all about pre-deciding lately)

Does that make sense? Our kids are young. We make them do what we (our family) do, of course. And we will continue to do so. But I also want them to one day choose for themselves to do it because we are instilling it in them to do it the right way and it's something admirable and it's truth. Not JUST 'because I told you so.'  I want to get it into their heads now to choose the right attitude before they become teenagers and choose the wrong one. Make a decision NOW who you want to be and start working on that person. Don't wait until your life is filled with mistakes that you have to go back and try to fix, patching up scars and broken hearts. I want to shield them from the mistakes I made. I want to shield them from hurt. And the only way I know to do that is to teach them to decide WHO they will be in 10 or 20 years and start making their choices now to be that person.

It's so hard to do though with kids. Their world is NOW.
They can't seem to comprehend that choices we make today affect our tomorrow. Their laziness about their messy room may not seem like its a big deal today, but it is the attitude about it that may very well affect their life tomorrow. It's a daily prayer of mine as a parent to get this right. I love the word intentional. It means I do things on purpose. I don't want to parent by default. Some days we can't help it. Toddler meltdowns. Newborn cries. Pre-teen attitudes. Teenager drama. Life doesn't always go as planned. But I can always intentionally look to the Lord for wisdom. And in between all the ins and outs of a sometimes messy momma's life, he can give me the words to say with the patience to say it (not scream it).

I was thinking about this today on our exhausting car ride home from our mini vacation today. One in which ended with my oldest son being grounded from the computer after his complaining followed by disrespect for me followed by public defiance. He kept asking and crying for another chance after we had given him several already. My mind was exhausted. I cried silently "Lord, I don't know what to do. What am I doing wrong?"

I heard this.  You are more.
You are more than a strict mom and more than a too permissive mom. You are more than a mean mom and more than a not enough mom. You are more than a mom that yells too much and more than a mom that doesn't discipline enough. You are more than an exhausted mom and more than lazy mom. You are more than a tired mom. YOU ARE MORE. I gave you THESE children and I gave you the ability to handle them, care for them, nurture them, teach them, discipline them, instruct them, love them & play with them. YOUR kids were given by ME to be blessings to YOU. I trusted YOU with these precious lives because I knew with my grace and my strength you are MORE than what you see or feel.
You have ME living on the inside of you to guide you and lead you through their different life transitions. Keep asking me and I will keep instructing you...and don't be afraid of their future. My word says "Start children off in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not turn from it." `Proverbs 22:6

The Lord just reassured me that its not by my strength, but by his strength that lies in me. 

As parents, we should never ever hesitate to ask God for his wisdom. Cry to him & reach up asking him for a refreshing of strength each day. Commit your day to him before it even begins. Commit those little lives to him each day. If they are more His than ours, then He will be there to instruct you how to love them. Being a mom is hard. It's lots of work. It is a life of selflessness and patience, endurance and never giving up. We should never have "had enough" of them, nor should we give up on ourselves. We can do this.

Linked up with Mommy Moments.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

5 Intentional & Mess Free Ways To Spend Time With Your Kids

Sometimes as a mom, I just need a day where the mess is minimal but the smiles are still big!
Dividing my time among the kids isn't easy and feels almost impossible when I am constantly cleaning up after them...and as I clean, they mess right behind me. I try to go with the motto, oh well, because their happiness (& fun) comes first. But their happiness doesn't always have to mean messes.
Really, I think in this day and age we underestimate the good old fashioned quality of just spending time with our kids. We want to make sure whatever we do with our kids is picture worthy for our instagram or pinterest accounts, but more often than not our kids just want to be with us. Messes can be made at times, but it's not always necessary. So I wanted to give you a few of my favorite activities (and theirs!) to do with my kids. Without the mess and without the cost!
And they LOVE me for it. Everytime.

MONSTER DRAW MIX UP-(a piece of paper and 2-3 crayons or markers)
Ok, I just made that name up. But my kids love it. All you need is a piece of paper and some crayons or markers, etc. One kid starts by drawing a part of a body. It usually ends up being a head. Then they pass it on to the next kid, who adds their body part (eyes, lips, antenna, whatever) and then they pass it to me, the Mom. All we do is we keep passing the paper round and round and we keep adding body parts/clothes/accessories. It usually ends up coming our looking pretty odd, which is why we call it a monster. The kids LOVE it. And it usually only works well if I play the game with them. One piece of paper, 4 markers, 3 kids, one mom...not much of a mess at all.

WALKS & CONVERSATION- (legs, free time & willingness to listen)
This is probably my son's favorite thing to do with me. I'm not kidding. He just told me before I wrote this that he is not like most kids so I guess give it a try and see. You really just have to be willing to not be too busy to really listen to them intently and have conversation with them. It works best with my son, because he loves to talk. He will yammer away for 45 minutes straight about Mario and Minecraft and I try hard not to let my mind wander. I really have to listen to because he asks me my favorite this or that so I can't get by with just a "uh-huh" or "oh yeah?" It's usually a one kid activity so that he/she isn't interrupted by siblings and feels special. But every single time, he tells me this when we are done "I love talking to you. You're not like most adults. Most adults don't listen. You listen to what I'm saying."

DANCE PARTY-(energy & music)
The girls especially love this one. Wesley will join in too once in awhile. But it's really brainless, fun activity to do with kids. Kids love to dance. Just watch them at weddings. They love it even more if you are taking video of them dancing or if you dance with them. So that's what I do. I dance with them. I get tired, take a break, find a new favorite song and go at it again. They still aren't too old to hold hands and go round in a circle.

GO FISH-(plain deck of cards)
Why must we complicate things? Everytime I go to the store I see those kids decks of cards, you know, Go Fish, Old Maid and such. I always tell myself to buy them and teach them to my kids. But for some reason I never did it. And recently, while we were camping, my son got stuck without the internet or 3DS and he couldn't sleep. I pulled out the deck of cards I brought along and played Go Fish with him. Super easy. Then I came home and taught it to my oldest daughter and my younger daughter walked in. Next game, she had to play... and now they ask me to play ALL THE TIME. Really? Go Fish? Yep. And the deck of cards has been sitting in Jeff's sock drawer for a very long time.

WATCH A MOVIE WITH THEM (a movie & free time)
It seems like such a simple thing to do and yes, we probably do it from time to time anyways by default or we pay $40-$50 to take the whole gang to see a movie. But my kids are extra cuddly, extra cozy and extra happy when we can either a) Have a family movie night or b) I just sit in their bed or they sit in mine and they say "Mom, you want to watch a movie with me?" and I answer them "Sure." They seem so disappointed or just sort of turn and walk out if I'm unable to or I tell them "Go watch a movie with your sister." It's intentional time with them (and put your phone away too!).

Here is one of our monster mix up drawings. I hope you have a sense of humor, because this one made me laugh and I can't ever get rid of it.. I never told the kids what "the problem" with it is. They will figure it out, one day.

Monday, June 30, 2014

You're Mean, Mom

You're mean...(pause), Mom.

I have been pondering over what to write about these girls. I wanted to share their new pictures, but I figured I had to say at least something. And I've been thinking over what it means to have daughters, to be a daughter and finally to be a daughter of God. Thinking I could in some way end this post with some grand inspirational challenge to myself or to the world wide web.

Instead, Leila comes in my room and out of nowhere says "You're mean...(pause), Mom.
What on earth? 

This happened right after Jada came in and asked me to tickle her edge of her thumb. She didn't so much ask as she just stuck it in front of my face, but I knew what she wanted. (She ripped her thumb nail and it hurts so she has been asking me to tickle it.)

So this is what being a mom is all about? Thumb tickling and being told your mean for no reason.
Good times.

This past weekend a few friends and I were sitting at the park with my mom, feeding off her wisdom. 
I love my mom. She is hilarious. And it's usually on accident. She was raised on an indian reservation and she talks very "up northy." She pronounces things funny sometimes,  says things that come out wrong and sort of blunt,  but it's hilarious and does things like wears two shoes from two separate pairs in a shoe store... on accident.

Ok, that shoe thing happened before I was born, but it's a good example of the kind of things that make us kids laugh all the time. If I gave a recent example,I would probably be the 38 year daughter getting scolded.

I'm convinced parents never stop instructing and redirecting their kids no matter how old they are.
And it should be that way. To some degree. Because they are always making efforts to help them in every other area of life.

Anyways, so my friends, mom and I are at the park just talking and we are kind of in a circle around my mom and she is just simply being "Mom" and giving her input. She cuts to the chase when she is talking and out of her mouth comes a fountain of profound wisdom. I'm so glad I'm not even joking. My mom and I are different in the way we present our thoughts, I guess. But I value her advice and wisdom so much because I know it comes from a place of sound experience and intimate prayer and time spent with God.

And I know that I want my daughters (and sons) to think the same way of me. I'm not just the mean mom who is good for tickling thumbs, but I am the mother they can laugh with (and laugh at), learn from and lean on when they need me, no matter how old they are.

My sister was laughing so hard when she noticed how we were all sitting around her gleaning from her vast river of knowledge and insight. But it's so not taken for granted. I hope she knows that.

I'm watching Jada quickly approach her pre-teen years and it shows in her attitude (not to mention Wesley) and I listen to them and I remember myself at that age. I remember how sassy I was. How disrespectful I was. I was obedient, but had a sassy mouth. Standing on the outside, sitting on the inside I guess you could say. But when I hear my kids talk to me, it makes me nervous some days, because I think back to my relationship with my mom when I was a teenager and I think "Oh brother, they sound just like me..."

I never ever want to hear my kids tell me I'm a mean mom or they hate me.
It's not cute now...and it definitely won't be cute when they are teenagers.

Before I had kids, there was a big part of me that hesitated on even having them simply because I remembered how horrible I was and I see what my parents had to deal with as us kids were all going through our stages of life. It scared me. I didn't want my feelings hurt by my own children, nor did I want the responsibility of making sure they turned out happy and successful once they were grown.

Let's face it, that is a HUGE undertaking. One I am learning now.
And I hope I am doing it right.
What if I'm not?

I am here for my kids. My life is a service to my family. That is who God made me to be. But in return, for the most part, they are adoring me. And I treasure it. They want me, want to be with me, want to sit in my bed with me while I type, want to go to the store with me, want me to snuggle them,  want me to lay with them until they fall asleep. They adore me. And I'm glad they do. Because I adore them.

As much as I love these girls adoring me now and hanging on my every word (even when I'm not talking to them)... my ultimate goal is for them to love and respect me enough to continue to listen to me and adore me when they are grown women. I want to be to them, who my mom is to me. So in turn, they look at my life and the example I set...and want to be that person in their own families.
Does that make sense?

Maybe we will go through some rough spots. Maybe they will sass me now or think they know it all when they are teenagers. But when they become young adult women (and young men) I want them to be able to come to me without being scared. I want them to know I pray for them. I want them to be able ask me things confident I have their best interest at heart. I want them to see me putting God first. I want to set the example of who they want to be like.

That is what I want for my daughters.
They sure are cute now. All my kids are.
And my sister can make them look like little rockstars. And I love it.
But I want them to be happy. Really happy. Temporary happy is fun. And it's fun to surprise my kids with things they want. But as all us grown ups know, what we value now is quite different than what we thought was important as kids.

Photos taken by Joanna Photography.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I Try To Pretend I Care... But I Don't

I am desperately trying to pretend that I care. 
That I care what my house looks like.
What my unwashed hair looks like.
What I will see if I walk to down the basement 
as mountains of dirty laundry screaming at me "Wash me!"
I'm trying to pretend that anything matters in this moment 
but being who I am called to be right here, right now.. 
What is it that I am known most for by those that need and love me the most?
Easy. Mommy. Mom. Madre, if they are feeling "spanish"...
or M.O.M. if they are feeling sassy.

I'm trying to pretend that when I look at these freckles
all I want to do is make sure my home looks like a Pinterest perfect home.
All I want to do is blog. Or stare at my phone. Right?
I'm trying to pretend when he tells me about the next gadget he wants,
that all I really want to do is go out and buy myself something cute instead.
I'm pretend that anything else matters.
That looking cute matters.
But his excitement over his never ending research of electronics or games,
his enthusiasm for creating new videos or writing plays keeps me more than entertained.
He says he is not talented, but he is beyond talented and creative. 
I keep trying to make him see it.
I keep trying. I pray one day he recognizes that this eagerness to create is a gift.
And it's simple for me, he is what matters.

As if there is anything in the world that can make me laugh more than she does.
As if anything can possibly annoy me more than her drab sense of style,
as she slips on her giant tshirts and sweatpants every day...
and some days I swear she does it just to annoy me.
Because she knows. Oh she knows. 
I beg her every day to put on something cute (as I'm digging rocks out of her pockets)
Even something cute and comfy will do.
But no. She wants baggy and drab. And she walks away laughing at me.
She walks away confident in her style...and just laughs at me.
And of course, I can't help but laugh. 
As if anything could make me laugh more than she does.
How could anything else possibly matter?
I'm tempted to throw away the "ugly" clothes,
but I know she would be digging in her brother's closet then.

And this one. She is my bright eyes. I don't even need to find ways to make my world 
(or pictures for that matter)
look beautiful & perfect when she is in my presence.
Her bright blue eyes and rosy red lips light up pretty much every room. 
That's a given.
Just watching her dress herself up in anything pretty
and stare at herself in the mirror with her giant flower headband 
and plenty of added necklaces and bracelets
to make up for her big sisters lack of style pizazz 
is what adds a simple elegance to my very normal days.

And those moments where I am not listening intently (and sometimes distractedly) to Wesley...
Or those moments where I am not arguing with Jada about her clothes, and sometimes laughing...
And when I am not helping Leila primp or fix her hair or change her clothes for the 12th time that day...
The moments when I am not doing those things,
I am staring at this kid. Or feeding him. 
Or changing his diaper more times than Leila changes clothes.
Brand new to the world. 
I am still trying to make him smile even though I know it's too early.
But he just looks at me, then looks around. 
He grunts, poops, cries, eats and goes back to sleep.
I'm simply loving him at this point in time. 
No fights. No discipline. Nothing too intense.
Just letting him know that I am still his Mommy.

So, if I seem a little quiet.
Perhaps a little preoccupied.
A little distant.
A little consumed.
Maybe a little unmotivated, even.
It's because I am. All of these things.
And as much as I try to pretend I care than I may be coming off that way.
I just don't care. Because right now, I'm just a little distracted.
Too distracted to blog or look pretty or clean my house.
I'm distracted with being the "M.O.M" that these guys need me to be
at any given moment.

And I'm loving every minute of it.
No, seriously. I am.

.....and that's all for me for now. 
the little one is awake...and needs mommy.
he seems pretty angry about it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Introducing Wyatt Cash~ a little earlier than expected...

If you aren't following me on instagram, it's very possible that you haven't heard our happy news...
Two weeks ago, Wyatt Cash was unexpectedly, but lovingly welcomed into our family.
We are now a family of SIX! I can hardly believe it.
Talk about a tired mama!

Wyatt's actual due date was June 8th, but he was scheduled to be delivered on May 27th via csection, the day after Memorial Day. Instead Wyatt, joined our great big wonderful world on May 6th. I was 35 weeks, 2 days pregnant with my little man. He was born 5lb 12 oz and 19 inches long.

I mentioned before that I have a history of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Two of my other three children were delivered early as my blood pressure started creeping higher and higher, my arms, legs, feet and face started swelling and I started seeing stars...
so I knew the signs and what to watch for.

I have to be honest.
Out of all the things I was struggling with during my pregnancy- bleeding until I was 16 weeks pregnant, the threat of toxoplasmosis, an ulcer...pre-eclampsia was the one thing I didn't set my faith on or against.
I knew that if it set in again during this pregnancy, the baby would come just a few weeks early and that meant an end to what felt like torture of the third trimester. I dislike even saying that, because I am ever so grateful to be pregnant and to carry them to term, or almost to term, but I am not nor have I ever been your glowing pregnant mama, that's for sure.
Total honesty here.
I felt quite miserable and my swollen feet and skin felt like it was busting at the seems. To top it off carrying an extra 58 lbs on my 5'3 frame left me feeling almost impossibly immobile.

So, the thought of delivering a tad early, sounded like a dream when I was in the midst of feeling so yucky. 
I did not however expect it to happen quite so early and I blamed myself when I sat there in tears, listening to the pros and cons of my health and my baby's health as my doctor urged me that she didn't feel comfortable letting me continue this pregnancy with my blood pressure so high and other things showing up during the lab tests done.

That afternoon, she told me if she were to let me continue to try to stick it out, it would maybe give me one more day, but then we would be running the risk of jeopardizing my health. So I had to decide... and I had to pray for wisdom...

Sunday, May 4th I took a hot bath and I started seeing stars. So later that day, after checking my blood pressure at a local grocery store and it being insanely high, I asked a friend who works at an urgent care to take it for me and it still came up high, but not quite as high as the grocery store reading. So I called my doctor and he wasn't quite convinced of the grocery story machine reading, but he told me to come in the next day.

Monday, May 5th, I went in. I saw a nurse practitioner and she took my blood pressure 3 times and it was high each time. She did several lab tests on me and a stress test on the baby...and told me the way things were looking, she didn't think I would make it to our scheduled day.
She told me to come back the next day to have my blood pressure checked again and I did.

Tuesday, May 6th, Jeff & Leila came with me to get a simple blood pressure check. I packed my hospital bags, just in case, but Jeff didn't seem convinced anything would happen other than them letting me know it would be sooner than we thought. I went in, had it checked and they sent me straight down to labor and delivery to be monitored for a while. Each time, even with rest, it stayed high and I was told to find someone to watch Leila because they were preparing the OR for surgery right away. Today would be Wyatt's birthday.

As much as I tried or thought I was prepared for this, it still completely caught me off guard. 
Because I knew I had Wesley at 36w4d, I was hoping to make it at least that far.  I knew he was ok and healthy born at that stage and that was my main concern.
The doctor explained everything to me, that I wouldn't be able to see Wyatt for 24 hours, that Wyatt would be in the NICU for 2-2 1/2 weeks...but that the alternative of not delivering now...would jeopardize both our health. All I could do is cry. We not only had to decide whether or not we would deliver right then and there in the spur of the moment, but whether I would still get my tubes tied, which was in the original plan. The insurance papers were signed and both I and my doctor were prepared to go ahead... until this happened. It all felt so overwhelming.
So, Jeff left in a rush to find someone in my family that could take Leila and that could pick up our other kids from school within the next hour. Luckily, my family all stepped up to the plate and I am so grateful.
I sat there bawling, feeling responsible for this somehow. How could I have wanted this to happen?
I mean I didn't want it, necessarily, but I expected it because it happened before and I admittingly did want to deliver at least a little early afterall, just not THIS early!
My mom came in, prayed with me and encouraged me to see this as God's way of protecting Wyatt and myself, and that he brought us this far and we should trust Him that God would protect us both...

So within just 2 1/2  hours of getting a simple blood pressure check, I was having surgery and Wyatt was born. It was a quick & easy as they all seem to be, but afterward was the hard part. I was so grateful when I heard him crying. Our doctor told us to be prepared, because premature boys are slightly sleepier and lazier than premature girls and we may not hear him cry. So as far as the care he would need, we would just play it all by ear, depending on how he was doing. But he cried, praise God and that gave me some peace of mind for what the next 24 hours held.

Wyatt on Instagram
A NICU nurse brought him over to see me for about a minute and that was the last time I got to see him for 24 hours because I was on blood pressure meds that kept me monitored in my room for 24 hours. I think that was the hardest thing. I couldnt sleep that night. I kept dozing off and would wake up jolted every time.
I had to depend on Jeff to run down and see him and tell me how he was doing every little while.
He got to be the one to introduce Wyatt to the whole family, while I just laid in my bed. I knew he was on oxygen. I knew they had to insert something into his lungs to open them up, but he recovered extremely fast and within a day and a half was completely off the oxygen. And from that point on all we had to watch was how he was eating and whether or not he needed a feeding tube. He ended up doing great, not needing a feeding tube. And he was released from the hospital with me 5 days after he was born. Forget 2 weeks in the NICU, this boy wanted to come home with his mommy...
and we are so thankful for everyone's prayers for Wyatt and myself during this time!

The last 2 weeks with Wyatt have been the most wonderful weeks I can imagine. Despite the recovery from the c-section, and despite being tired running him back and forth to the doctor for weight checks and bilirubin checks, we have been loving on each other so much. SO many snuggles. And his big brother, two big sisters and Daddy are completely crazy in love with him too.

Every time I hold him, I still can't believe he is supposed to be in my tummy for three more weeks, But God knew what we needed and when we needed him and His love and mercy toward our family has been overwhelming. Sometimes it's hard to realize it when you are in pain or having sleepless nights, but all I have to do is look at Wyatt's tiny precious face and I am reminded of how incredible new life is and what a wonderful miracle it is that God has given our family.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Exhausting and Precious Moments of Life...

I've spent a great deal of my latest posts sharing what I'm learning or just thinking about as life happens. My mind never stops spinning, depending on my day or week and I bleed out onto my little online journal here. I write to encourage, but I mainly just write as I myself am encouraged or learning and it's painful almost to not get it out. It's like a kid letting all that energy out. 
Except all the energy is in my mind. Many times in my heart.

Aside from my journal of thoughts and musings, life is still happening. The physical, tangible pieces of life never stop. And it's been busy and exhausting. Only if you follow me on instagram do you really catch a glimpse of what I may be doing from day to day.

The pregnancy is progressing and basically I've become enormous. I've gained I think around 32 pounds and I am 28 weeks pregnant. The simple things in life have become difficult. You know the things like breathing, putting on my socks. And even pretending to think about the fact that I still have 11 weeks to go until my scheduled c-section almost wants to bring me to tears. Knowing I am just going to keep getting bigger and bigger.

This morning I woke up determined I have to do something to encourage and help myself because I want to enjoy the rest of my last pregnancy ever. I don't want to loathe each day as I have to get a head start just to roll my way out of bed. You know what I mean by the headstart? The 3-4 time half roll, just so you can make the full swing roll up and out of bed? Yep, that's me. I have not been exercising at all, nor have I even been close to watching what I eat. It's funny how people give me hi-fives and try to justify that it's ok that I eat like crap because I'm pregnant. It seems like just the opposite to me. Not only am I supposed to be taking care of this baby within, but eating junk along with no excercise isn't helping my energy level whatsoever. 

Plus I've also started swelling the last few days. So something is going to change. I AM going to enjoy these last few weeks and months of pregnancy. Not only that, but I AM going to enjoy my family. I'm not going to be irritable and too tired for them, when I'm just weeks away from welcoming another child into my world....
and theirs.

I don't want my precious babies to suffer from 'lack of mommy' just because I'm too lazy to eat right and move. I'm about to go from a 10 year old, 8 year old, and a 5 year adding one more. I need my energy, yes?

Anyways, I've kept myself busy. We have kept the kids busy. Going from Tae Kwon Do to Cub Scouts to Family trips to church to the movies and then some.

I've encouraged myself in the Lord for the simple reason of keeping my mind off the fears that keep trying wiggle their way into my thoughts about this baby, or my kids or my health or family. I refuse to allow myself to dwell or worry about things that have no substance. Yet, its a constant and daily decision for me to keep my eyes fixed on the very author of my faith. And I am so thankful that God's grace has carried me this far, through some scary and heartbreaking moments these past 7 months.

As I enter the third trimester of my final pregnancy, I intend to not only keep the family busy just for the sake of my sanity, but keep them busy for the sake of their joy and mine. They are the most precious gift to me. I tell my kids all the time, "God must have loved me so much to give me a Leila." ("or Jada or Wesley")

The most precious gift I could ever receive...
The most exhausting and precious gift.

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
~Psalms 61:1-2

Monday, March 10, 2014

Beyond Newlyweds & Toddler Tantrums

Yesterday as I was talking to a couple of friends at church, a mother and her adult daughter, we began a discussion of our children and some heavy issues that have risen as our children have grown older. I mean serious stuff that you only think of affecting teenagers or adults, yet these issues seemed to have made their way into our children's lives~our children who were just preschoolers a few years ago.  Discussing these, we brought up our fears over whether these things would make their way into their lives as teenagers and adults. Fears that I don't even want to discuss generally, because I don't like to give fear and worry a place to grow and develop into something more than just fear. Yet, we take these issues seriously because these are after all, our children.

Honestly, there was a small part of me that was thankful that I wasn't completely alone. It's far easier to talk to someone with children that are older, when you  have older children. And I remembered back when our church had a panel of women speak that had grown children offering wisdom and helpful advice to those of us that were in the beginning stages of motherhood. At that time, I only had Wesley and he was just a little guy....maybe 2 years old.

Since then, all kinds of things have come up. Things that I never imagined. And alot of times, feeling helpless, I take my questions or concerns to facebook. I have alot of friends on there with teenager or college age children...and sometimes you just need the encouragement from someone who has been in your shoes. And other times we are able to offer advice and encouragement to someone because we have been in their shoes.

We are always able to pray and listen to others. But sound wisdom and advice that can be respected can really only come from someone who has been where you are standing.

When I first started blogging, I had another blogger ask me to write a piece for her blog on marriage. Because I had been married for 16 years at that point (now going on 18 years) and she felt that I may have a thing or two to offer much of the blogging world, seeing that the majority are younger than I and have been married far less years than I. It was true, I did. And I had a lot of people email me after writing that piece. I shared it several times on different blogs, and those people shared it with others...
And though I have made it through 18 years, I still don't believe I know everything. Nor do I always follow my own advice.

While I respect and read many blogs and listen to many speakers and the knowledge and wisdom they have gained about marriage, children, ministry or life's issues in general... it's when someone has walked ahead of me that I feel I can truly seek something out that I may need to hear. I always feel myself smirk when someone who has been married a year or two gives me marital advice. That doesn't mean I don't take their relationship advice to heart...and to the Lord. Because I do. I'm always looking for opportunity to learn. But my initial reaction is generally "I hope your advice works just as well for you in 15 years."

I cherish the prayers of all I have gone to for prayer. But I also cherish the advice and wisdom who have counsel to offer, because they know what I am still trying to figure out.  
That stage of their life has passed.

And that goes for myself too. I never try to offer advice or even relate to something I don't really understand yet. I have another friend that has grown children that has had some struggles & fears recently. And I can't begin to even fathom what she is going through because my children are still fairly young. I offer her prayer and scripture and encouragement and it's genuine, but I can't begin to help or offer 'advice' in areas I have no experience in.
And believe me, I too, want the good healthy wisdom of those who have had teenagers, because I see those years approaching quicker than I realize. I see the attitudes, the more serious issues try to sneak their way in...and I want to know. How do I deal with this? 

 I've been in tears more than once this past month, completely clueless how to approach certain things. Things that feel bigger than toddler tantrums or sippy cups.
When my ten year old comes home telling me how lonely he is or crying that he is depressed, that sounds big to me. It sounds unheard of. It sounds almost ridiculous. Yet it happens. And it's happened to me. 
And I have felt alone trying to figure this out. Trying to be the momma God called me to be. 
To the children that God gave me. I know God knows I can do it. 
So that must mean I can do it.
But sometimes we just need a little guidance from someone who has been there. 

It prompted me to ask this question on twitter a little while ago "How many momma bloggers out there have children over the age of 10?" So far, I haven't gotten one reply. I know a handful of bloggers that do, and that have had similar struggles and I am very thankful I am not alone. But from the blogs I have come across mostly, the women are young mothers of young children.  

Not that I am OLD...and I am obviously pregnant again AND I have a preschooler, so I can easily relate to this 'early childhood' stage of life, because not only am I still living it, but have been through it a few times already.

But there is a world of difference between having a baby, a toddler and a preschooler...
than having a preschooler, an older child and a child approaching teen years.
And I'm sure that goes for having a preteen, a teen and a college kid.
And those seasons creep up quicker than you know.

I just wonder who could benefit from older women, and by older I don't mean OLD old. I just mean women who have been there, who are a few steps of head. Women that can not only relate right here and right now because they are in a similar stage as you, women that are friends... but women that have been through it and can offer truth and encouragement.

Am I totally alone on wanting wisdom from someone wiser? Maybe I do have some advice to offer, because I do have older children and have been married longer.
Yet I still need it from someone else...

I thought about over the weekend during my discussion with my two friends, about throwing a panel together at our church for all the mothers of children not yet in their teen years BY the mothers that have been through the whole 18 years of life with children already.

But I'm wondering about this online world as well. One website I love is Thrive Moms. I go to it often and I get alot from it, and not only that but I have actually went to these wonderful ladies for prayer.
But I'm quite sure all these wonderful gals are younger than I...
and sometimes it makes me sad that I have nowhere to go to seek prayer and advice from ladies who are in my season or who have passed my season. While I see breastfeeding and sippy cups and toddler tantrums in my near future. I also see two teenagers in my future just as quickly.

I don't exactly know what I can do about it right now. But I feel a tug on my heart to do something or be a part of something. Because I know what I need. I cherish the encouragement from the wisdom of others. I imagine other mothers or wives need it too.

If you have any thoughts, or let me know. I'd love to hear it.

Proverbs 15:22
Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design