Saturday, July 30, 2011

What I (Don't) Wanna Leave Behind

"See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."    - Psalm 139:24

  Motherhood has GOT to be the most humbling experience - in the WORLD!!  At the same time, it is the most joyous, fulfilling, loving, and heartwarming experience in the world.  When you think about what we're charged with as mommies, these beautiful, precious, tiny, moldable, little lives - it can really make you think about what you don't want them to learn from you.  Thus, the humbling experience. 

  No one likes to think there is anything about themselves that isn't perfect.  That's just no fun at all!  But when you see your child do certain things that aren't so preferable and you are absolutely, without a doubt, positive that she got it from you...that is a little humbling because it is a direct statement of, "I'm not perfect."
So, there's a lot of things that I want to leave behind for my kids and I want them to learn from me, but here's what I don't want to leave behind:

- my lack of patience
- my struggle with anger and frustration coming out at the wrong person
- the way I secretly hold a grudge toward someone from past hurts without them knowing
- the way I can hide my feelings
- the way I can let my feelings show without holding back when I should
- the way I always want to be in control of my surroundings and life
- the anxiety I feel when things are out of my control
- my inability to keep in touch with close friends (more than just fb) just because we don't live nearby anymore
- the way I am my biggest critic in everything I do, especially being a mommy (not that I hope they have another big critic, but that they won't be so hard on themselves)
- lack of consistency in planning, cooking, housekeeping...all the Proverbs 31 things
- the way I try to completely avoid any and all conflict because I despise it
-  how my first reaction, too often, is to think of "why I shouldn't or can't" and THEN help, talk to, or befriend someone else

  Now that I'm getting a tiny bit depressed about these things about me, I'll stop.  All of them aren't necessarily "bad", none of the "good", but they are things that I hope my children do not learn from me.  And, no, they aren't doing any of the things I've listed...they just "wag" their finger when they talk like I do, for example.

  I read the verse from Psalm in my morning Bible study a few days ago - and it hit me hard!  I am not perfect (obviously from the list above), but how many times do I ask God..."Show me and change me."  I don't want to know where I'm wrong, but if I want to live the life God truly desires for me to live and I don't want to risk passing along a sinful way of life to my children, I have to ask Him.  Daily. Constantly.  And it is humbling.  But I know He will show me and change me and help me to not do the things I don't wanna leave behind.

Friday, July 29, 2011

One Night At A Time

  This past week, bedtime has been a nightmare.  My kids have always gone to bed without a problem, usually around 7:30, leaving plenty of mommy/daddy time or just me time if Jacob's working.  But this past week...aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!  Picture me kicking and screaming and crying and pulling my hair out in a glorified, temper tantrum....set on by the frustration of this week's bedtime.  Literally, I have been in tears every night, sometimes multiple times.  And I've not been the only one in tears, either.
  What brought this on, you ask?  The girls now share a room.  Have you EVER tried putting two small children in a room together, unsupervised, and told them to go to sleep?  It's almost like they look at you and laugh, saying, "Yeah, right."  So bedtime has been stressful, tearful, and long.  The girls have been exhausted during the day and I've found myself very tempted to be super lenient on discipline during the day because bedtime is so dreadful.  It was once my favorite part of the day.  Full of snuggles, songs, stories, and more snuggles.  We still have those things, but I assure you bedtime no longer stops there.

  So, in the midst of this crisis that I know "shall pass", I've decided to list all of the blessings associated with this new bedtime arrangement.  Here goes...

  - Creek, the reason the girls now have to share a room
- We have to go in there at night because they are playing, not fighting
- They both have soft, comfy beds to be told to stay in
- We hear some pretty sweet giggles over the baby monitor
- The sight of two small kids scattering and racing to their beds when the door opens is quite humorous
- We get to spend more time with them??? HA!
- It has been discovered that they have a secret language, like twins!! (this is very cool, by the way)
- I've been reminded that Jacob and I are a really good team
- I've realized even more how awesome and involved my husband is
- They are healthy kids and want to play, not so sick that all they want to do is stay in bed
- They are already close and will grow so much closer through this
- The eventually do fall asleep (well past 10 most nights)
- We've experienced a patience that can only come from the Lord
- It's put me on my knees in prayer even more for them
- Last night took an hour and a half less than the first night took...PROGRESS!!

  Maybe there will be more blessings out of this.  I pray there will be.  My kids are great. They are kids.  And they will act like kids.  They will stay up past their bedtime.  Add to that the fact that they are giggly, squealy little girls and, I mean, what little girl doesn't love a sleepover, right?  It will get better.  It has to, right?  But if you hear a really bad temper tantrum tonight, around 10's not the kids :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Warning

  This is a warning to any young man who may want to date our daughters in the far-off future.  It is from Jacob, I will explain how it came about at the end.

    "Hello, son, it's nice to meet you.  I'm Jacob, the father.  I want you to know that if you attempt any physical contact with my daughter past a brief - and I mean very brief - handshake, I will arrest you.  I am the police and I can do that.  I will charge you with sexual assault.  You will be tried and found guilty.  You will be forced to add your name to a sexual offenders registry and post a sign in your front yard that says you are a sexual offender.  It will ruin your life and I will not care.  Remember, keep the handshake very brief.  Have fun at the middle school basketball game."

  Seriously, when Jacob was spitting this out, my stomach hurt I was laughing so hard.  Creek probably had no idea what was going on as he bounced around in my belly!!  This was the end of the conversation that started with me saying to Jacob, "Your haircut looks good."  What?!?! What was the train of thought that went from a haircut to a dating warning?

  Here it is: I asked Jacob if he was going to want Creek to have a short hair cut like his as a kid.  He said no, it didn't matter to him.  I asked what he would say if he wanted to grow his hair long when he was a teenager and, again, he said he didn't care - a haircut/style was not a battle worth picking (I agree!).  He said he would not have him coming in with his ears pierced all the way up and nose and eye brow rings.  Then I asked him what he would say if the girls wanted their belly buttons pierced and he said he didn't care.  Neither do I, I think they're cute...but then....

  That's when I said, "But the only time anyone would see it would be if they were wearing a bikini around some hormone driven boy!" in an almost panicked voice.  That is when Jacob calmly reminded me that it is not about controlling our children, but teaching them to make wise decision and to be obedient to God.  Wouldn't it be so much easier if it were about control, though? Just kidding, just kidding...

  I told Jacob he was right and he sat there in thought for a minute.  Then his eyes lit up - you know how they do when you have a really good idea - and that is when he issued his verbal warning. 

  Then we talked about how we should decorate the foyer of the house with multiple guns and that he should start a knife collection to display beside the guns...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Chair is Filled

  Last night, I had a very, very special moment with my daughters.  I have been following adoption blogs, reading adoption books, and praying for adoptive families intensely lately.  Adoption is something that has been very close to my heart since I was about 12.  Adoption is in the future for our family.  I have also been praying for ways to begin talking with our children about adoption and what that will mean for our family.
  Now, before you ask me - are you crazy, did you forget you're about to have a baby in 8 1/2 weeks? No, I haven't forgotten as I sit here with an ice pack on my lower back, my swollen ankles elevated, and as I struggle to take a really good, deep breath because of the precious baby throwing the party inside my belly.  But, is it ever too early to start praying God's specific direction in your family's life?  I say no, it's not.  We have no idea what path of adoption God will take us on right now.  In reality, we are looking at 3ish years at least before the child we adopt will be in our home forever.  So, for now, we are praying.
 Back to the special moment. My friend, Kim, shared with me in the spring about a family with whom her family is very good friends.  They were currently battling an obstacle in the adoption of their son in Ethiopia.  It was a very difficult 6ish weeks for this family, as the father stayed in Ethiopia with their son to overcome this obstacle, and the mother returned home to be with their 3 other sons.  I felt so blessed to be involved in prayer for this family and I prayed with the girls that baby Gideon would get to come home soon.
  Tonight, I logged onto facebook and I had a message from Kim.  She had posted the homecoming video of Gideon and his father, as they were united with the rest of their family.  I was able to watch this video with AB and Lynns, explaining to them that Gideon had not had a mommy or daddy or brothers or sisters for a long time, but now he did because his mommy and daddy adopted him to be in their family forever.  I pointed out the mommy, the daddy, and the brothers to them.  They watched in awe as the big brothers loved on their new little brother and as Gideon snuggled against his mommy.  They were all wearing their red adoption t-shirts, that said (I think) A Chair to Fill or an Empty Chair.  It was a design of an empty chair, that needed to be filled through adoption - and now Gideon has filled it!  (Thus the name of this post!)
  I thought about how someday that will be our family - oh, how I can't wait for that day!  I've placed the video link here, too.  Please watch it, but grab a tissue first!!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aspiring Musicians

  We loaded up and headed back to Louisiana today.  Tennessee always goes by way too fast for us, but it is always good to get home, too.  It was the first time I had actually made the trip all by myself - plus my two toddlers.  (Is AB still a toddler?  She's 3, not 2, but she's not a little girl, yet, either...)  The girls are wonderful travelers, I seriously could not ask for better traveling kids!  (Insert pleading prayer to God that Creek will be a wonderful traveler, as well!!)
  Throughout the whole trip, they slept, snacked, giggled, read books, and sang.  My girls LOVE to sing.  Sometimes it's a song they know, sometimes it's a song they make up.  Today, they decided they were going to make one up.  Here are the lyrics:
God, Jesus, God, Jesus, God, Jesus!
God, Jesus, God, Jesus, God, Jesus!
  There wasn't really a rhythm or tune or specific notes that either of them had to hit at any time or even at the same time.  Sometimes the words were to sung (sang, whichever) REALLY loud or really quietly.  There was clapping and waving of hands (uh-oh, they're Baptists...don't they know we're supposed to be still when we sing :)  j/k!!!)  Sometimes the words were sung with a huge smile on their sweet little faces and sometimes it was just a precious, content, happy little face.
  It was actually the best song I heard for the entire 8 hour drive.  Hearing my children, 3 and almost 2, singing their own praise song to the Father and the Son.  Will God use them to lead others in worship through song?  Will He use them to teach others how to sing or play instruments in praise to Him?  Will they love to sing in the church choir?  Will they love to sing songs of His love and about loving Him to their children one day?  I don't know.  I think for now, though, they may or may not have a good start on a music career, but they sure have a great start on praising God through song.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Big Green Tractor

  In the Fall of 2008, when Anna Beth was about 5 months old, we came up to Tennessee for a week in October.  I had the cutest little pair of overalls, with pink trim, that I wanted her to wear for some outdoor pictures I wanted to take of her.  I remember taking these pictures and thinking, "There needs to be a tractor in the picture since she's in her overalls."    In the many trips we've made up the interstate from Louisiana to Tennessee since then, I have always wanted to take her to see the big tractors - and hopefully go for a ride - at the Fowler's barn.  The Fowler's are farmers in our home church and very good family friends. 
  Finally, on this trip up, we made it over to the barn.  The girls love it when we are driving down the road and they see a tractor in a field, so I just knew they would have fun seeing the big ones up close.  We went to the barn and one of the guys that work for the Fowler's brought a big tractor out.  My Denden (my mom's dad) climbed up and then we lifted AB and Lynnsie up. 
  They were a little unsure at first and then Denden started it up.  I was afraid they'd get scared at such a loud noise, but they were okay.  Then I climbed up...all 7 1/2 months preggo of me...and we all went for a ride.  It was so much fun! And it reminded me of when I was a little girl and I would ride my Denden's tractor with him for hours during the summer.  Such fun, such special memories!!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

He's Not Here Right Now

  The girls and I are at my parents in Tennessee for a couple of weeks while Jacob is at his annual two week training for the National Guard.  The first thing we did when we got here was get the girl's rooms set up - meaning finding some great blinds or window coverings to keep it dark in their rooms for as long as possible in the mornings!  Darker rooms mean later sleeping, after all.  And that is strictly for the benefit of the girls :)  So, in the room Anna Beth is sleeping in, there is a navy blue fleece blanket with the moon and the stars and the sun (insert singing voice: "and the earth and Jupiter and Mars".)  It's really quite pretty in the mornings with the sun shining in behind it - really making everything glow and light up, just like the sun, moon, and stars.
  Anna Beth noticed it first and was very excited to point it out to me.  Noticing a teachable moment, I asked her who made the sun, moon, and stars.  She promptly replied, "God made them."  I told her that yes, He did make them and we can thank Him for making them for us to give us light. 
  She said, (with a matter of fact shoulder shrug): "Yeah, but He's not here right now." It was really a cute response because of the shoulder shrug and the tone of her voice. I felt like she should follow it with, "Can I take a message?"  I smiled at the cuteness and then realized God had given me an excellent teachable moment.  (Very cool...just minutes before this during my Bible study/prayer time, I had asked God to give me teachable moments for my kids today - and to help me recognize them.  I love it when He answers prayers so quickly and obviously!)
  I began telling Anna Beth how God is always there, that He never leaves us and He is always with us.  Now, I know I probably could have gone on and on with her and there were probably simpler terms that I could have used.  I don't even know if she really understood.  And, given the super short attention span of a 3 year old, she quickly moved on.  But it did remind me, that, yes, God is always there and, no, He never leaves us.  Not ever.

What It Means to Be A Mommy

  "You know what keeps causing this, right?"
  "Are y'all done yet?"
  "Are you still keeping count?"

 "Yes, no, and why should I?"  That is my response.  I've heard these questions in various forms over the last several months.  I'd really love to watch someone blush if I actually had the guts to FULLY answer that first question :)  I know most people mean it as a joke - especially those that know me, but the truth is - there are perfect strangers who have asked me these things and made these types of comments to me.  And others who have stared from a distance as I waddle into Wal-Mart and load up my just turned 3 year old and my almost 2 year old.  When did that become appropriate?  I even had a grown woman argue with me at the girls playgroup, telling me there was no way I could be happy with so many children so close together...all of this while her 2 year old attempted to beat up other kids in the group (Lynnsie included).  I just smiled, assured that I absolutely was happy with my life - and was super tempted to tell her to focus on her own mothering skills/decisions and leave mine alone.  After all, I have a beautiful wedding ring on my finger and we pay for our own kids, so what business was it of hers!!
  Anyway, that's my soap box as a prelude to sharing a great article on Mommyhood.  A fb friend shared the link earlier today.  It's great, here's a quote:

"Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for."

  I hope you mommies out there enjoy it as much as I did!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mama's Song

  This is another "I-almost-had-a-meltdown-on-the-treadmill-while-watching-CMT-at-the-gym" post.  I told you a few posts ago - "Just Fishin'" - that I like to watch CMT while I am walking at the gym and given my normal emotional state hyped up on pregnancy hormones plus a good country song....sometimes tears almost flow.  Or maybe they do.
  Have you heard Carrie Underwood's song, "Mama's Song" ?  It's great.  She wrote it for her mother when she (Carrie) was engaged to her husband.  It talks about how her mother raised her to do the right things, make good decisions, and she got her to where she is today.  Then it talks about how it's time to let go and let her be a wife.  Can you imagine - mommies let their babies be taken care of and provided for by someone else?!?! And daddies letting it happen, too, for that matter! I dread the day.  Anyway, it's a great song.  And it came on CMT the other morning and the video is awesome.  You should find it on YouTube or 
  But it got me thinking later in the day.  I know that I could sing that song to my mom - not literally, of course, but I could totally repeat the words to her.  I know that my mother (and father) lovingly let me go and start a family with Jacob.  I knew they did not worry about me and that I would be taken care.  And I have been and will continue to be.  But what I really thought about, was my daughter's future husbands.  I just started praying for them, even though they may still be in diapers right now.  I want to trust that whoever my children choose to marry, will love them and take care of them.  I can only do that by trusting that part (and every part, actually) of their lives to God.
  And THEN I remembered, there's a baby boy in my belly.  And we now have the task of raising him to be  a man, who some little girl can sing this song or say these words to her mommy someday.  I'd say we have a task on our hands.  Teaching a little boy how to be a godly man, who will be a godly husband, and a godly father.  These are things that books like "What to Expect When You're Expecting" don't tell you!  It's a scary task, but just like with our girls, we are trusting God with Creek's life and in the way we raise him. 
  And these are the things that walking on the treadmill at the gym can lead to.  Now....go Google these lyrics, but grab a tissue!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Media Mondays

  I follow this blog, Women Living Well, and the writer - who is great - has started an 8 week series on social media.  Each week she's going to look at how social media affects (effects? I never understood when to use which!) our relationship with God, marriage, parenting, homemaking, friendships, and health.  It's going to be good.  There's a button on the left side of my page, so click on it and hop on over to follow along in the series, too!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A July Christmas Tree

  Today is July 4, 2011.  America's birthday.  I'm sitting here, in my well air-conditioned living room, listening to the fireworks shooting off all around our house.  I actually love the sound of fireworks even if I'm not watching them.  I was worried that I was a bad American because I didn't take the girls to a big July 4th celebration.  Jacob had to work and, well, it's a little hot outside for this preggo, plus putting the kids to bed so late by made me exhausted just thinking about it!  We did celebrate - we grilled out for lunch, spent some good family time together, and went for a special snack at Sonic after naps.  But we just weren't going to make it to a spectacular celebration with the patriotic songs being played over a loud speaker and watching the night light up for a while.
  Lucky for us, there was a big celebration not far from our house and I figured we'd be able to watch some fireworks out of a window.  They started just before 9 and I went immediately to Anna Beth's room.  She was still awake, of course, so I told her to come sit with me at the window.  We sat there for a long time watching fireworks. 
  Now, we didn't get the full effect of them because there were some trees in between our house and where the fireworks were being set off.  That didn't phase either of us, though.  It actually made for the sweetest part of our "in-home" celebration.  She looked at me and said, "It's like a Christmas tree, mommy."  Don't you just LOVE the way their little minds think and imagine?  I never would have though that until she said that.  Then I looked up into the trees and, sure enough, every time the fireworks lit up the sky behind those trees, they made beautiful Christmas trees for us to gaze upon.  Then I realized that this was a perfect way to celebrate July 4th! 
  Happy Birthday, America!! I'm so proud to be part of you!!

EEEEK!! A Mouse!!

   Apparently, we have a mouse.  In our refrigerator.  I mean, mice love to nibble on cheese, right?  So when Jacob and I opened our cheese drawer to get out our block of sharp cheddar cheese and saw this.....

we had no choice but to assume there's a mouse in our fridge.  I don't think this mouse fits the typical description, though.  This mouse, is about 3 feet tall, with blond hair, and blue eyes.  So, if you see this little mouse anywhere, please give her some cheese so she doesn't have to "sneak" it anymore.  Thanks!