Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why not pick the wildflowers?

This morning, while Becca was down for a nap, I tried to coax Lizzy outside. It's been rainy here for the past few days (because what would spring in Oregon be without rain?), and Lizzy has been BEGGING to go outside. So, I thought she'd jump at the opportunity to get outside since the sun was finally peeking through the clouds. I thought wrong.
But MOM, it's a little bit windy and the wind will knock me over!
But MOM, there is some sort of little bug on the blanket and he is NOT MAKING GOOD CHOICES AND NOT BEING A GOOD LISTENER TO ME.
But MOM, I just want to watch another episode of Dora.
But MOM, there is no snow for me to make a snow angel and I really want to make a snow angel.
I was getting frustrated. Because this was our chance for some one-on-one time. Time I know she craves. The stuff that she acts out if she doesn't get. And she was being so ridiculous that it was making it almost impossible to give it to her.
"Hey Lizzy, do you want to pick some flowers? We can take them inside and put them in a vase."

See, Lizzy loves to pick flowers. And I feel like I'm often telling her, "Please don't pick the flowers Lizzy!" The problem with Lizzy and flowers is that she will pick every. single. one. And sometimes, especially at other people's houses...they actually want the flowers that they purchased to remain in tact, rather than pulled apart and strewn about the lawn. Heck, sometimes *I* want that. But we've planted wildflowers in a few places in the backyard, and there's really no reason why she can't pick those. So, we did.

And then we went inside and picked out a mason jar, and I watched and took some photos as she arranged the flowers just so in the jar. The ones with too-short stems and all.  Then she smiled.

As a mom, these are the little moments that I am thankful for. However fleeting they may be. And today I can't help but think why NOT pick the wildflowers?



God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone,
 but also on trees, and in the flowers, and clouds and stars. 
~Attributed to Martin Luther

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day in the Life: May 2013

It's been awhile since I've done one of these Day in the Life fact, I'm not sure that I've done one since Becca was born. And since I can't even remember last week, I know there's no way that I'll remember these little details unless I write them all down.'s a look into a day in my life right now!

Tuesday May 28th, 2013:

2am- Becca is awake. I bring her back into our room, and nurse her in bed. Usually she falls right back asleep, but she didn't today. At about 3am, she's drowsy so I lay her back down in her crib, and she seems to go back down without a fuss...which is a miracle! We lay her down drowsy but awake at bedtime and she'll put herself to sleep just fine, but that doesn't normally happen for night wakeups or naps. Maybe I got lucky tonight?!

3:10am- Lizzy comes into our room and crawls into bed. I ask her what's wrong, and she says that she doesn't want the giant to knock her over. Should I walk her back to her room? Yes, probably. But I fall asleep before I do.

3:15am- Becca's screaming hysterically. I pick her up and try to soothe her, but it doesn't seem to help at all. I'm actually not sure that she's even awake. After 15 minutes of holding and rocking her while she screams, I go give her a dose of Tylenol. Maybe she's teething and hurts? At about 3:30, Justin comes out, and I pass Becca off to him.

3:40am- I think Becca's asleep. She calmed down almost immediately after I gave her the Tylenol...maybe that was all she needed? Justin comes back to bed. Lizzy karate chops me in the stomach...ouch. Praying fervently that Becca stays asleep!

4:00am- Becca's screaming again. It's one of THOSE days, apparently. I bring her back to bed with us, and she wants to comfort nurse. It's amazing how small a king size bed can feel when you add two kids to the mix.

5:50am- Becca sits up suddenly. Apparently, she's done nursing, and is wide awake and ready to play.


6:05am- I bring Becca out to the living room so that she (hopefully) doesn't wake Lizzy. I put her in the exersaucer, and lay down on the couch. I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes, hoping to get a power nap while she plays.

6:19am- Becca starts fussing. It's as if she KNEW there was one minute left until my alarm was going to go off! She's rooting around, and wants to nurse again. Weird, she doesn't normally eat this often!

6:40am- I wrap Becca up in a blanket, and we snuggle on the couch. Justin is leaving for work, so he stops over for kisses and goodbyes. I turn on the TV and lay Becca on my chest. She's asleep by about 7am. I lay her down in her crib, and lay down on the couch, hoping that maybe I'll actually get a little more time to sleep.

7:05am- So much for that idea. Lizzy's awake, and also just woke up Becca by yelling "GOOD MORNING EVERYONE!" Yeah. Good morning to you too Lizzy.


7:20am- Becca's back asleep. I make coffee and breakfast for Lizzy and I. She requests coffee and then giggles hysterically. She ends up with some yogurt, and I have a wheat bagel with peanut butter, some fruit, and coffee.

7:35am- I hear Becca fuss again. I run back and shove her pacifier in her mouth. I think she's asleep again! Happy dance in the hallway.


7:40am- Lizzy goes to get dressed. Usually, we lay out her clothes for the whole week, but I haven't yet so she picks something out--a black long sleeve shirt with candy canes and  black leggings. Oh well, not a battle I'm going to fight today. She'll change if she's too warm. I put on a TV show for Lizzy and finally sit down to eat my breakfast. If I can, I also like to work on the Bible reading plan I'm doing--right now, I'm reading through the New Testament chronologically. I jot down a couple of notes and then move on to prepping Lizzy's notebook for school.





8-8:39am- School time for Lizzy. Today, we worked on tracing her name, a few sight words, matching colors, a simple addition problem, a Bible Verse, and some time drawing. Lizzy has just started drawing people, and it's adorable. Today, when I ask her to draw a picture of herself, she draws herself holding hands with her cousin Payton. She's adorable.

8:39am- Becca's awake, but isn't upset. I let her hang in her crib so that I can color in a coloring book with Lizzy for a bit longer.


8:45am- Lizzy and I go get Becca out of her crib. We all snuggle on the couch for a bit, and then I feed Becca.


9:20am- I put Becca on the floor with Lizzy while I go to the bathroom. Side Note: 9 times out of 10, I find myself saying, "I need to go potty." Which is fine when you're with your 3 year old...but sounds much crazier when you're talking to a group of adults. Anyway...I come out 30 seconds later, and find Becca on the couch with Lizzy. Lizzy says, "I picked her up! We're snuggling!" We have a conversation at least once a day about how it isn't safe for Lizzy to pick up Becca quite yet.

9:25-10:30am- The girls play in the living room while I do some situps, squats, and pushups. I've been trying to do a few of each on the days that we don't do Couch to 5k. And by "I've been trying", I mean that I've done it for two days. Anyway...I'm on the floor, so naturally I become a human jungle gym! After that, I pay some bills while the girls play a bit more, which goes much more slowly than normal due to about 3 timeouts for Lizzy for kicking and throwing toys.


10:35am- Becca won't make eye contact any more, so I know she's getting sleepy again. I wrap her up in a blanket, and we snuggle on the couch for awhile before I lay her down at about 11am.


11:15am- Suddenly, there are guys with jackhammers right outside our house. Am I being punked? I brace myself for a wakeup, but Becca stays asleep, so I fold and put away a mountain of laundry while Lizzy plays on our bed. 


11:30am- I make Lizzy and I lunch, and we sit together and eat at the counter.

12:00pm- Becca's awake and hungry. I nurse her and then feed her some real food too.  Lizzy heads to her room for some quiet time before her swimming lessons later. She usually has quiet time from about 12-2pm. Of that time, Lizzy usually only spends a little over an hour actually in her room. The rest of the time is spent going potty, or coming out due to some crazy excuse (my nose itches, there's something in my teeth, I heard an airplane, etc)

12:15-1pm- Becca and I read a couple of books, but she's way more interested in playing with Lizzy's legos. We play together for awhile, and then I set her in the clothes basket with them to play while I pick up the living room a bit. Becca pulls herself to standing inside the basket and tips it over. It scared her big time, and she cries. I pick her up and give her snuggles. She snuggles right in, and closes her eyes

1:30pm- Becca's asleep, so I lay her down in her crib. This is UNHEARD of--I can almost never seem to get Becca's naptime and Lizzy's quiet time to overlap! BEST DAY EVER!

1:40pm- Lizzy starts playing her guitar and singing at the top of her lungs, which wakes up Becca. Of course. Crap. I pat her back until she's asleep again...about 1:50ish?

1:50-2:15pm- I use the next few minutes to transfer some music to my phone for our C25K run tomorrow. I also transfer all my photos from my phone to the laptop. Exciting stuff!

2:15-2:45pm- I get a snack for Lizzy, and help her find a swimsuit, towel, and goggles for swimming lessons. Becca's up at about 2:30pm, and her shirt is totally wet from drool. Please pop through already, little teeth! Change Becca's clothes, and we're out the door by 2:45pm.


3:00-3:30pm- Swim lessons for Lizzy. Today is water safety day. Part of the day is putting on lifejackets and practicing rescue floating. Lizzy is totally fine floating on her back without a lifejacket, but put a lifejacket on the girl, and she FREAKS OUT in the water. She hates being in the water with a lifejacket. Becca watches with a combination of terror and amazement--she does NOT like Lizzy in goggles.


3:30-4:00pm- I help Lizzy shower in the locker room and then we get her dressed. I have some quarters in the diaper bag, so on our way home we swing by Taco Bell to get a $1 slush/limeade for Lizzy and me.


4:15pm- We're home. I get the chicken for dinner in a marinade, and then sit down on the couch with Becca to look up a recipe on my phone. I look down, and Becca is asleep. Okaaaaayyyyy. Becca doesn't usually nap again before dinner, but I won't complain. We have a meeting tonight anyway and may be home late, so it's probably good that she's napping.


4:20-5:10pm- Lizzy helps me get dinner ready. We're having teriyaki chicken, and Lizzy likes to help "paint" the chicken with sauce.

5:10-5:35pm- Justin is home! So good to see him! He wrestles on the floor with Lizzy a bit. Becca wakes up, and I bring her into the living room. When Justin says hi, she waves!!! We do this several more times, and she waves every time. We all clap and cheer loudly, and Becca grins. Love her. 


5:40pm-7:00pm- We plate up dinner and then hop in the car. Justin and I are on the church council, and we have a meeting tonight. We also need to spend some time at church prepping for a big community BBQ and carnival that Justin and I are in charge of. It's only a couple of weeks away and I feel really behind this year! The girls are thrilled to see their Uncle Stump and Papa at church :) We also see Chuck, who gives Justin the baseball schedule for the year--whew. I've felt like our June was kind of on hold until I knew when his games would be!

7:00-8:00pm- We run to Wal-Mart to pick up milk, stamps, and a few other things. On the way home, we stop by Ryan and Renee's house to drop some things off, and we all talk for a few minutes. All the kids climb in the backseat and talk and laugh. Such a blessing to live so close! By 8pm, we're home and starting the bedtime routine. By 8:30pm, everyone is in jammies, teeth brushed, Bible Story read, prayers said, and Justin lays Lizzy down while I feed Becca one last time.


8:45pm- I lay Becca down. She's awake, and fusses for a few minutes, but is asleep by about 9pm. Justin and I each do some chores around the house--dishes, putting away laundry, etc. I make a chocolate mug cake, and it's pretty meh.

9:30pm- Justin and I snuggle on the couch and watch a couple episodes of How I Met Your Mother. We just found the show on Netflix recently, and have been working our way through the seasons. I love this part of the day.

10:30pm- We head to bed. I'm sure Becca will be up in a couple hours (yep), so I've gotta get some sleep while I can! GOODNIGHT!

(Sidenote: I'm sad that Justin is missing from the pictures! I actually did take a couple of photos that he was in, but he was wearing his work shirt with his company name clearly visible, so I elected to omit them. But he was here!)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

For the Days When Things Are Rough.

Today was apparently Someone Must Be Screaming At All Times Day. Normally, I can handle those sorts of days remotely well, but it's been a long week month six months, with not a lot of sleep mixed in. I knew Justin had to work late and I had to do the whole dinner & bedtime thing solo, and I was just feeling desperate. Desperate for quiet. Desperate to not be touched. Desperate for some recognition or appreciation or sleep.

We don't have a double stroller, so when I'm feeling touched-out and cooped-up like I was today, getting in the car is really the only option. So I grabbed the kiddos, and we went for a drive. Since just after college, when I'm most angsty, I tend to listen to either Sublime, or a little Christian band called Byword. But at this point in my life, it's easier to forgo the Sublime, and not have to worry about when my kiddo might start singing "Wrong Way." So. I listened to I Cry. On repeat. I drove for a half an hour--to church and back three or four times.

And at one point during the drive, before they both calmed down and Becca finally fell asleep (also before I turned the music up really loud and started singing at the top of my lungs),  I found myself thinking, 'I kinda understand those moms who just run away. I always used to hear about them, and wonder how someone got to be that crazy, but I think now I know.' 

Then, I thought, 'Um. That's some pretty extreme thinking. This is probably one of those things that I should never ever, under any circumstances tell someone that I actually thought.' And yet, here I am writing it for all the world to see a few hours that went well, clearly. No, but really. I know I'm not the only mom who has felt like she doesn't necessarily want to run away forever, but that a day or two might be nice. God forbid we say it out loud though, because then we may seem ungrateful. Because there are so many people who have it worse. And that's true, of course. But sometimes I wish that a friend had pulled me aside back when I was pregnant with Becca and whispered, "It will be amazing. But it will also be really really exhausting and hard. The two aren't mutually exclusive. It's okay to not love every second of every day."

So this is me, pulling you aside. It's hard. There is a tiredness unlike any tiredness I've ever experienced. At this point, I'm so tired that even a good night's sleep is a curse, because rather than rejuvenating me, it only serves to remind me just how tired I am.

There is laundry and cleaning that never gets done because 33% of your day is spent feeding one child, 33% of your day is spent trying to toss together meals, cleaning up pee and/or spit-up, doing laundry, and have a coherent conversation with your spouse, and the other 33% is spent playing with the toddler child, trying to make up for the other 66% of the day that you weren't readily available. And yet somehow, when the toddler is asked what she knows about mothers during the Children's Message at church on Mother's Day, she will STILL reply, "My mom NEVER plays with me. She is always too busy."

{Yes, I cried.}

The point is...sometimes, it's hard. Sometimes you may feel under appreciated. Under dressed. Under loved. Under caffeinated. Under prepared. Sometimes you may feel like you're in it alone. And when we feel like we're in it alone, like everybody else has a handle on things and can seem to manage both basic housekeeping and hygiene just fine while I'm over here swinging through Taco Bell for lunch and trying to remember when the last time I took a shower was...when we feel alone that way, it's harder. You're not alone. Whether at 3am or while your toddler is melting down in the middle of Target. There are days that suck, and that's okay to feel and say. 

There are SO MANY good moments. We all know this. But it still doesn't mean that there won't be long, hard days where you feel like nothing is going right and you just want to crawl back in bed. That's why the brilliant article "To Parents of Small Children" resonates with so many of us. It's the truth. There's good. There's hard. They often co-exist in this thing called parenting. And that's okay.

There's days where I lose it. Thankfully, there's grace, laughter, smiles, an occasional margarita, and moments that make your heart feel so full it might burst mixed in as well.

If you're in the good, soak it up and file it away for the harder days in the future. If you're in the hard, take a breath and do what you've got to do to get through the day. However you're feeling today? Just know that you're not alone.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

You Were Always There: On Faith.

Note: Over the course of the past three days, I feel like there have been a number of events that have led up to this post. I just feel like this issue has slammed me again and again, to the point where I can't just sit idly by and not say something. I recognize that my position and beliefs are not shared by most of the people who probably read this blog, and that's okay. I'd just ask that you take a minute to consider what I have to say...

A few days ago, Lizzy was in her room for quiet time. It had been a rough day, and I was trying to get Becca down for a nap, and was getting flustered that she was just screaming and screaming. Soon, I heard Lizzy start to sing to herself, as she often does during quiet time. Sometimes, it's nonsensical songs that she's made up herself, but this particular day, she started to sing:

Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name.

I peeked my head in the room, and said, "Hey Lizzy, whatcha singing about?" 
She responded, "I'm singing about God mama!"
"Lizzy, you're pretty awesome, do you know that?"
Lizzy shrugged and then said, "I know. God made me that way."
Yesterday, I was catching up on a book that I'm reading for a Bible Study I'm doing with a group of Mom's from Mom's Group. So far, I've really enjoyed the book and have gotten a lot out of it. But yesterday, I got to a section of the book that made me so frustrated, that I actually threw the book across the room. Essentially, what I took away from the passage was, 'Perhaps you've always gone to church, were baptized, or even confirmed. But none of those things really make you a Christian, unless you were old enough to really understand what you were saying. So, if you're not sure whether you're saved, pray the Sinner's Prayer with me right now, ask God into your heart, and then you'll know for sure that you're saved.'
Recently, a 7 year old girl that I know had someone ask her if she had asked Jesus into her heart. They continued on to encourage her that she needed to ask Jesus into her heart in order to make sure that she was saved, because she was baptized as an infant, and since she was too young to know what was happening, it didn't really count. It wasn't enough, especially since she wasn't fully submerged. She turned to her mom, and said, "Mom, why do I need to ask Jesus into my heart when he's already there?" 
Tonight, I sat down, excited to begin a devotional Bible reading program on my phone. I settled in to read the introduction, and came across the following paragraph: "Have you ever heard someone say 'I’ve been a Christian all my life' and felt a little funny about that? It’s not just about splitting hairs or semantics because the bad news is once we were not His people. Being found isn’t as beautiful if you don’t admit you were once lost." 

I've been a Christian all my life.
I was baptized when I was young. I wasn't dunked, I was sprinkled.
I never said the Sinner's Prayer. In fact, I'd never even heard that term until a few years ago.
I don't remember a specific moment when I asked Jesus into my heart.
I don't have a dramatic story of coming out of the darkness and into the light. 
There were times that I had a relationship with God, and times that I didn't. 
I continue to sin every single day of my life, and am daily in need of forgiveness.
But He was always there. He *is* always there.

Can I speak frankly, friends? I'm sort of tired of being told that my baptism wasn't real because I was too young to speak for myself. Or that I need to be baptized again to be saved because I was sprinkled and not dunked. Or that even when affirming my faith during First Communion, I didn't really know what I was saying or what it meant. I'm tired of brothers and sisters in Christ implying that my faith isn't "real" because I haven't said the Sinner's Prayer or can't remember a specific time when I asked Jesus into my heart.

Is salvation something that I receive based on what I've done? Once I've gone through a checklist of criteria? No. Salvation is by grace, through faith. The doing has already been done on the cross. And that faith part? It's simple. Straightforward, even. "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," (Romans 10:9, NIV). 

Can we, as brothers and sisters in Christ acknowledge that such a declaration can be made in 1,000 different ways? Through saying the Apostle's Creed during a weekly church service.  By saying the Sinner's Prayer. By a little child singing Jesus Loves Me. By asking Jesus into our heart. By a simple prayer of "God, I believe, please help my disbelief." There are SO MANY different scenarios that I can't possibly list them all.

It's not my job--EVER--to tell someone that maybe, possibly,*I* think they might not actually be saved, so they should do X,Y, and Z to make sure that they really are. It's not my job--EVER--to tell a child that they don't really understand what they're saying, or that they're not old enough to really believe. Lizzy understands. She lives out her faith in the simplest ways, sometimes with a purer understanding of God's truth than I have. During swimming lessons (and in Wal-Mart, and in the car, and while going to the bathroom), she often sings a song that she made up at the top of her lungs. Part of it goes like this: 
I'm so happy that Jesus is alive. 
Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ the Lord is alive!
And he saaaaaavvvvvveeeeedddddd me! 

She knows. She believes. She is saved. And as she gets older, I hope she never ever has to hear anyone tell her that her faith isn't as "beautiful" as someone else's because she had that faith from the time that she was young. Because honestly, that's crap. It hurts my heart. God rejoices in each one of our stories of faith. Whether that story starts at birth, 3, 15,  21, 52, 77, or on our deathbed. Whether that story starts in a loving home, a moment of terror, a hospital room, or a prison cell. Whether we ask Jesus into our heart, or whether we can't ever remember a time without Him there. To God, every story that entails the simple truth of Romans 10:9 is equally as beautiful. Equally as worthy. Equally as deserving of celebration. 

And assembled as one, in the name of the Son
lifting hearts, lifting hands, celebrating as friends
and proclaiming the Lord, all our praises afford
we are brothers and sisters in Christ. 
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