Friday, November 20, 2009


I sometimes think gratitude is one of the most underrated emotions. We all think more about it around Thanksgiving, of course...around Christmas, etc. But a life LIVED in gratitude is a really great goal.

I have to admit, I have always been more of an Eeyore type of personality. Joyfulness and thankfulness do not come first nature to me. I am, by all accounts, pessimistic. I am half empty. I am the black cloud. I am always searching the sky for the other shoe. I have to work hard to see things differently.

But life...gosh life is awesome. Have you ever stopped to just feel yourself breathe? To feel clean air rush in and out of your body, feel your body working, feel your muscles move just with a thought? We are such works of art, we humans. Works of art from the hands of an amazing Artist.

Have you ever looked at your child and seen yourself there? What an amazing thing that is, huh? Your lips, your feet, your mannerisms.

Have you carried a child? Have you nursed them from your own body? Did you know your body knows JUST the right kind of nutrition your child needs, and the composition of breastmilk changes as their needs do? A miracle.

Does your car start? Are you warm? Can you snuggle into an old sweatshirt and watch tv?

Right now, I can list 10 things to be grateful for, just in this room. A cold drink right next to my hand, stretchy pj pants that cover my baby bump, cute earrings I got for my birthday, the sound of my husband in the garage, a full belly,a sleeping toddler, clean laundry on the couch waiting to be folded, Law and order on the tv, plans for the holiday, and my ceiling fan. (it's november and it's HOT)

So why is it so hard for me to STAY in that mindset, and not get bogged down by the troubles of the day? To not Eeyore around when I get bad news? I frustrate myself with this.

So I am challenging myself to find 5 things to be thankful for, even when everything else is tough. When the day is long, and I am tired and sore and cranky and my daughter is skirting the line of adorable and horrible, and my husband is gloomy.

Because in the end, that is really all we have. Our mindset is what defines us. And gratitude leads to happiness and contentment. With contentment comes calm. Calm allows us to love better. Loving better makes our loves ones feel special. When they feel special, they treat others as special too. And all we put out, comes right back to us.

Today, I am choosing to be grateful. I think Eeyore would be proud. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Why do we do it?

The motherhood thing? I mean seriously, why?

Is it biological, logical, family pressure, life pressure, or because we think we "should"?

Cause it aint easy. And alot of times, it aint fun. It's thankless. It is, essentially, working for a 2 foot tyrant that could care less about our wants and needs. You give and give and give, and get not so much back.


Then there is that moment. Yeah, if you are a mom, you already have it in your head, right? That moment. Maybe it was just an hour ago, or maybe a year ago, or maybe when they were born...but it's there.

When you looked at your child and realized, oh my gosh, how did I ever live without you? How, how? How can I keep from holding you and smelling your head and cuddling you? How can I put you down for a nap or run an errand and be away from you?

THAT moment. When love envelops you- no....strangles you. Your eyes fill and your stomach turns over and you ache with devotion.

That's why we do it. Once, twice, 5 times. Right?

I've struggled over the past few days. I have had a cranky, out of sorts, and somewhat agressive little girl. She has been prone to fits and crying and screaming. I love her, deeply, but for the past few days, it's ben really hard to like her.

Yesterday, I was taking her unwilling self into her bedroom for naptime. She was having a royal fit, flailing, etc. I popped her leg. She hit me back, just as quick. My eyes widened. I sat her down and said very firmly "You DO NOT hit mommy." She came back with "Don't hit ME mommy!!"

And just like that, I got it. She does not see a spank as punishment, consequence, or repurcussion of bad behavior. She sees it as agression. And agression begets agression.

I don't spank often. When I do, I always have cause. There have always been warnings. I do everyting BUT spank the majority of the time.

But yesterday made me sit down and think. Alot.

I have been lazy. I have been tired and worn down. I have been inconsistent. I have done too much tv, and too little playtime. I have taken the "in the moment" discipline instead of thinking of what lies ahead. And you reap what you sow.

So my sweet little girl has gotten lost. She has been on haitus, and this little goblin who has been looking for attention at any cost has replaced her. It happend slowly, insidiously, but I allowed it by looking the other way.

So last night, I had a breakdown. Mark and I talked alot about what to do. We made a plan, put it into action first thing this morning. No more spanks. No more raised voices. More love, more playtime, more structure. Time outs for consequences, getting down to her level and talking to her. Making her be accountable. Not letting anything slide, no matter how tired we are.

Within 2 hours of waking this morning, I had a different kid. Obedient, happy, sweet. Pushing boundaries, sure, but also responding very well to the consequences.

Then as I put her down for nap, she had a small fit. I handled it. Several minutes later, she was crying in bed. I went to her, and she asked for her "woobie" back, as she had thrown it and I had taken it away. I gave it back, along with some words about not throwing things when she gets angry.

I was about to leave the room when she asked for a hug. I gave her one and she kissed my cheek, and pulled back to look at me.

"Mama, I just love you."

"I love you too."

"Alla time?"


"Even when I throw woobie?"

"Even then."

"Thank you mama."

And today, that was my moment. The moment I knew why I do this. Because no matter how far we fall, and how out of hand our children get, we love them. And there is redemption, second chances, and forgiveness. On BOTH sides.

It's hard work. Anything worth doing is. But it's beautiful as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baby Boy

Dearest Samuel,

How can love be this sweet? How can all of the emotions I am beginning to let myself feel come up so suddenly that I am blinking away tears in the morning light? How can I run my fingers over your crib, your changing table, your little clothes and pray for your tiny little life? How is this possible? How can I be so blessed?

I don't take any moment for granted. Not one kick, not one roll or nudge. I feel everything you give to me, and close my eyes and thank God for your spirit. You are amazing already- so active and vibrant. You have a presence that speaks to me. I am so thankful for every movement- you let me know all the time that you are okay. I am not taking any of this pregnancy for granted. I enjoy all of it. All of the soreness, the small means nothing compared to you. You are so loved, my sweet little son. So loved. So wanted. So anticipated.

You are coming into a family that will be kind to your spirit. We will be loving. We will treasure who you are. We know where you come from and to Whom you belong. From your father, Lily and I to your grandparents, you will be treasured.

I long for you. I think about the moment of your birth- and wonder if I will know you as I did Lily. One look at her and every piece of my life fell into place. I knew my role on this earth had been fufilled. I knew what I was born to do. I was born to be your mother, Samuel. I was born to love you and Lily. I was born to carry you, body and soul. All of my searching for meaning was over when I looked into your sister's eyes. I came home. I know it will be the same for you and I.

I realize how lucky I am. For 9 months, you are just mine. Others talk of you, doctors see you on ultrasounds, daddy feels you move. But it's me who knows you. It is a privledge to be allowed to carry life. So many others struggle with it. I know every minute how lucky I am to have life inside of me. It is a miracle.

So as God knits you together, and forms you in my womb, I will pray for your spirit. I will pray for you to always turn to family and to God when things get stormy. I will pray that you know this home is a port in the storm- a place of safety and happiness. You are so welcome here, Samuel. Welcomed into my arms, into this home, into the world, and into this family.

We are waiting and loving you, sweet baby boy.

Until I see your face...


Thursday, November 12, 2009


Today I am thankful.

For my daughter, who is so bright and beautiful.

For a healthy baby in my belly, whose growth is so good.

For the breath in my lungs, and no cough or congestion.

For my husband, who works so hard.

For friends, that love and forgive and understand and support.

For April, who is always there. Always.

For Noggin on rainy days.

For warm coffee and flannel pj's.

For Tylenol to soothe the fever, and cuddles to take away the tears.

For my house, warm and comforting.

For everything good, and everything not so good, and God's presence to help me face it all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beautiful Lily

My daughter does not look very much like me. Her face is different, her features more exotic. Her eyes are almond shaped, her lips full. Her eyebrows are like Brook Shield's. Her hair lays exactly right and curls ikn ringlets at the bottom.

But from the neck down, she has my body. From our squishy elbows, to our bigger ankles, we have the same shape. Her legs are short but strong, her shoulders broad. Her hands are small and delicate, her feet wide like mine.

When I look at her, I see myself, in all the lines of her figure.

When I look at myself, alot of the times I don't like what I see. I don't need to go into details. I am not what society teaches is beautiful.

But my perfect. She is glorious. She is amazing and strong and beautiful. From the tops of her head to her toes, she is the essence of all grace and glory.

And for now, she knows no different. She doesn't know the curves she will inherit will be something to obsess over, or that she will never be willowy or delicate. She will always be strong, not slender.

I look at her, and see myself. And I think about what I would be teaching her if she knew what I was saying about myself. "Oh my big butt, oh my huge tummy. I hate my thighs. I hate my small breasts." Eventually, she would look from me to herself...and start to pick away at her beauty.

I can't let that happen. I can't let her think she is anything less than perfect, even if her small strong body isn't something everyone she encounters will deem beautiful. I want her to hold her head high and KNOW her worth lies in more than the size of her jeans or in the curve of her waist. I want her to know her beauty is God-given, and to be treasured. I will tell her that He created her, that he knows her, and that He finds her to be more beautiful than words.

But that starts now, doesn't it? It starts with me. If she's going to love herself, she has to see it modeled first. She has to see that the body she has inherited may not be slim, but it can carry babies, feed them. It is strong and agile and will carry her through life. It will be unbroken by falls, the muscles easily toned. It can be honed into a fit, lovely shape that may not be exactly as she would want it, but that is worthy of love all the same.

It is my responsibility to instill this in her. I have to help her to be so strong in spirit, that nothing can shake her love for herself. This starts with being kind to my own body, scarred and stretched as it is. Because this was once her home, this soft body. These breasts were once her sole source of nourishment. These arms still hold her when she is scared. This body still cradles her, carries her, and nurtures her, all while carrying her brother.

It may not be perfect. It may not be beautiful to everyone, but this body is something I need to treasure and love, so that she will do the same for herself.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

For my jackass...

Alot of people think being married is no fun. Which I can totally see, from the outside. You have accountability to another person. The mundane decisions become battles. Your choice of toothpaste and spaghetti sauce is compromised. Your life is joined, for better or for worse.

But gosh it can be fun. Like when you sit, hand in hand at the mall, and watch people go by and then look at each other, and just know what the other is thinking. Or when you both look at your child and either want to give her away or eat her up. When you both want a coffee at the same time. Or when your spouse hands you, without even being asked, your morning coffee exactly as you like it.

Mark and I have been through alot of stuff. Life stuff, relationship stuff, etc. We should have broken up several times. But we didn't. We battled it out, and kept going. Because we are both stubborn, yes, but also because God handpicked us for each other. He could not be more perfect for me if I had made him myself. He is perfect, for me.

Now before this gets too mushy, let me give you a few highlights of our day. He called me "big" several times today. He told me the weight limit on a ride would not allow me to participate. He suggested a muumuu. He farted just to gross me out. He is right now off eating copious amounts of fried food and drinking beer while I sit at home in my pj's.

It is not some overly respectful, never raise your voice or argue kinda life. We fight. We kid. We horse around. Heck, I just spent 10 minutes wacking him with a kitchen spatula and chasing him to his car with a power drill, laughing so hard I peed myself. He call me weird almost daily- I call him obnoxious and stinky hourly.

But gosh do we have fun. We laugh so hard we cry. We joke in ways nobody can understand. We call each other ridiculously bad nicknames and wack each other more often than we kiss.

He is my best friend, my dearest love, and my confidante. He knows all of my secrets. He calls me on my BS. He is my safe, warm, and snuggly spot to land when the world hurts.

I could not ask for a better other half. One that will not only lolve me, but allow me to be me. Silly, goofy, weird and twisted.

Mark, you complete me. Love ya, goober.

Friday, November 6, 2009


A long time ago, I heard a sermon about seasons. Not so much the seasons of weather, but the seasons in our life when we are growing, either through great change or feeling "stuck". I have had seasons of the most intense loneliness, where I emerged a totally different person because all I did was spend time with God. I have had seasons of feeling in a rut, where going through the motions of life has been the theme. I have had seasons where life changed so quickly I could barely catch my breath.

Lately, I have been going through a season of self inspection. I have been trying to look at my life from God's perspective, and weed out what is unpleasing. I decided a long time ago that the most powerful prayer I could give to God is this: Search me. Look at everything about me, God. If something is not pleasing to you, help me rid myself of it. I have said this prayer daily, sometimes hourly, these past few weeks, and what has emerged is an ugliness I know needs to be cast out of my life, and now.

I am critical. I criticize myself almost constantly. I criticize my husband, my child. I am constantly on a search for the bad, and not focusing on the good.


I don't want to be that person. I've told myself time and again that the people I love should be off limits to anything but my support. I've even created a picture in my head- Lily and Mark, loaded down with those old fashioned buckets with a yoke over their shoulders. Everything I say, they have to carry. It stays with them for life.

But sometimes, I still forget. Kindness escapes me. The bad is glaring, the good is hidden. I find myself lashing out because I am tired and hormonal and achy. I don't think about their feelings in the face of my impatience.

And then I beat myself up for being like this. Vicious cycle.

I so wish I didn't have a critical nature. I look at some women I know, who are so positive and loving and supportive. Their relationships are loving and strong. They don't create conflict where none exists. They don't focus on the bad. I envy them. This is a serious personality flaw I have to conquer.

I guess it comes down to the big, long term picture. Do I want to have a husband who doesn't want to come home? Do I want a man that rolls his eyes and calls me "the warden"? Do I want to be a nag?

Do I want a child who comes to expect nothing but criticism from me? Who knows I won't focus on the good qualities, but the small flaws?

No. I don't.

So here goes another journey. May God set my feet and light my path, and always remind me that as He forgives and doesn't dwell on the bad, I should follow His example.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Today was a day of highs and lows. We had a growth scan for baby Sam, and the results were surprising.

He is nowhere near growth restricted, coming in at a whopping 2 and a half lbs, with everything else measuring exactly perfect. From the size of his little femur bone to his belly, he is at 31 percent for growth.

Why is this surprising? At this point, Lily was in the 5th percentile, falling entirely off the scale to 0 by 34 weeks. The tech said there is no doubt Sam will surpass his sister in birthweight, and if everything goes well, we will go to term.

I have never felt more blessed in my life than I did this morning, hearing my baby was healthy and growing right on track. I hadn't realized the fear I had been carrying that he would be too small.

Mark and I were discussing the differences as we looked at his pics from the u/s. This pregnancy has had far less stress. I have been emotionally in a much better place, peaceful even. I have taken better care of myself. I have been resting.

And also, at the core of this, is that I have given my baby to God. I have let go of worry about him. He is not mine, his future is not mine to decide. He belongs to God, and only God can decide his fate. I can simply keep myself as healthy as humanly possible, and pray. That's all.

After the u/s, I met friends for a picnic. We had a nice time, but on the way home I got a call.

I had hurt a friend's feelings. I had been insensitive. I had overlooked her. And I felt like hell about it.

I try to always be concious of others. I try to be thoughtful and kind. I try to give alot of myself to my friends. In this case, I got so wrapped up in my life and circumstances I let things slide.

I apologized as best I could, but I can't stand the thought of hurting anyone. I know life happens, and people hurt each other, but I have commited to being a good friend, and I hurt because I hurt somebody else.

When I came home, I talked to Mark. He always helps and listens, even when I am so weepy I make no sense. Even when my hormones make me darn near hysterical. But the thing that he pointed out to me is that no relationship can be free of conflict. Friends fight, friends make up. Hurt is inevitable, but so is growth.

So as Samuel grows, so do I. I suppose that's the way of things. Even when we think we have things figured out, we don't. When we think we are doing our best, we sometimes aren't. And when life gets complicated and difficult, it's still important to take care of the ones who take care of you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Left behind

Lately, Lily and I have been holed up at home alot. It seems it's been since the beginning of my pregnancy, really. What with the morning sickness and the crud, etc, we haven't been out and about nearly enough. Not for lack of trying, of course. But after battling the sickies for 3 months on and off, we have spent way more time at home than is healthy or good for either of us.

This was apparent when I stopped at the park today to let Lily play with her friends. Everyone from SS was cooling down, doing abs, chatting, etc. Lily and I stood on the outside of the circle, waiting for class to end. These women that I love had spent the last hour working out, making themselves feel good, and I was standing there with an aching back, a stuffy head, and a ragged cough. I haven't exercised in over a week.

I just felt...lost. And sad. And lonely. Nobody made me feel that way. It was coming from myself. But it hurt. I miss being a part of something.

Then, as I watched Lily play, it was apprent she was feeling a bit of the same, and acting out because of it. I do not normally have an agressive child, but this morning she pushed, pulled, and acted downright mean. It was embarassing and frustrating.

When we got in the car, I took a minute to ask her why she was hurting her friends. She looked me in the eye and said "I don't know, mama." And I believed her. She hadn't been around these kids often enough lately to act appropriately. I realized she was probably feeling all that I had been- outside of the circle. Left behind.

Every night she asks me if we will see her friends at the park the next day. More and more lately the answer has been no. The look on her face breaks my heart. I try to explain that I have been too sick to go, but she doesn't get it. She is 2. All she knows is something very precious to her has disappeared from her life.

There's not much of a point to this post tonight I guess. I just am feeling a little sad. I don't want life to pass me by anymore. I don't want to be forgotten.

And I don't want my daughter to be either.