June 30, 2011

Goals Met, Goals Set.

Guten Morgen!

Today I am celebrating a mini-victory because I stepped on a scale this morning and discovered that I am back to my pre-preggo weight! I know this is nothing to stop the presses over, and probably not even the blog over, but I was excited and in need of the little boost of spirits. I've been feeling so BLAH lately!

I put on my sassypants... uh... dress, snapped some pics, and plan to commemorate the occasion with gobs of frozen yogurt later. nom nom.

In unrelated news, Chris and I have recently committed to paying off all of our debt in the next couple of years, which is super exciting!! It's going to take lots of dedication and sacrifice, but I know we will never regret a single moment of it in the long run!

I do a LOT better with sticking to long distance goals when I have a more tangible and visual goal set up alongside of it, so I have also decided that I am going to grow my hair while we chip away at our debt. I know this will help me in my commitment to both daunting tasks- one will give me motivation for the other and vice versa. (I've been missing my long locks lately!)

I've got my eyes on the finish line:

(me and my long lost locks, circa 2008)


Here's to new and exciting beginnings!! :)

June 28, 2011

In the Unlikely Places.

I went to church on Sunday and found just what I needed in the most unexpected of places.

It wasn't in the sermon (although that was amazing and powerful too). It wasn't during worship (although that was so very beautiful and sweet). It wasn't even in the ministry time afterwards where you can go and get prayer for any specific hurts you may be carrying.

No. It was in the nursing mother's room.

That little cozy nook with all the soft lighting and rocking chairs and changing tables... I found the grace I desperately needed tucked away there, of all places.

I went to feed Truman before the sermon began, and ended up talking with some of the other women in my community who are also up to their EYEBALLS in small children. And I don't know exactly how to explain it, but I left that room feeling like there were people in this world who actually understood how I have been feeling lately... like there were ears who HEARD me and eyes that were sparkling with compassion and empathy and kindness as I was able to voice some of my rumbling frustrations. It felt so good to be honest and laugh and be real- all of us gliding back and forth on comfy cushions with squirmy babies under soft blankets in our arms.

What a beautiful and surprising place to meet God.

I have been having a very hard time knowing how to parent my six year old well lately. He is a very intense kid- always needing attention and direction and... ATTENTION. He has a very hard time being still or quiet. He has really powerful emotions at the drop of a hat. I have found myself completely exasperated by his behavior. It's Summer, he's around the house more, there is very little structure to our days (due to BABY and whatnot) and it is literally too hot to step outside. I know all of these things are contributing factors, and it has been so hard for me to see the sweet, well-meaning child that I know he really is at heart.

Before I went to church on Sunday, I felt myself spiraling down the old familiar path of believing lies about who I am as a woman and a mother. I am so grateful for the things I have walked through and learned in these last few years, because just being able to RECOGNIZE this struggle of mine is a serious victory in my life. I spent all of the day Saturday battling against it-- gaining ground for an hour or two, losing ground for four, fighting my way back for twenty minutes, and so on...

If I have learned anything in these battles it is that there is ONE path I can choose that will get me out of this spiral the fastest. The quicker I am to acknowledge the fact that I am believing lies over God's truth about me and my life and then repent- swiftly replacing those lies with what God says is true, the quicker I feel like myself again.

For example, I can sit on my sofa and pout and stew because Ezra is driving me batty and won't leave me alone or I can rise up and remind myself that God has given me all that I need to parent this child and I can ask Him to show me what is really going on with Ezra that is making him behave the way he is. And I can ask Him to strengthen me and help me.

So I was battling all this on Saturday and feeling stuck- all because I was believing that I was a bad mom for feeling soooooo frustrated and angry at my six year old... feeling like I didn't even like him. With these thoughts came the feeling of failure and worthlessness as a mother... I felt like I was the only mom in the history of ever who had ever had these kinds of thoughts towards her own child. I knew these were lies, but I still felt like... a monster.

But when I talked with those other moms on Sunday who had been in that same place that I was, I felt the lies break off of me and suddenly I could breathe again. I am NOT alone. We talked about how important it was to spend time with God everyday... because then HIS love will flow out of us and soak our children. I was impressed again with how important community really is in all of this. We were not created to live in our own little bubbles! We will die if we cut ourselves off from each other.

When I left that room on Sunday, both Truman and I were filled up to the brim. :) I am so grateful for God meeting me right where I needed to be met- in the most practical place for a busy mama like me- right in the middle of one of the only moments where I get to actually SIT DOWN and have a conversation without being interrupted a majillion times... when I am nursing at church! I had just been telling Chris how I've felt so disconnected from my friends lately because it is almost impossible to have an actual conversation with anyone (much less a deep and meaningful one) when there are three children needing me and yelling for me and hanging on me every moment of the day. I can hardly even hear myself think!

It was just so hand-crafted for my tired and thirsty heart. (and my tired and thirsty baby. heh.) God sees me, and knows me, and is MORE than able to meet my needs in creative ways... I just have to keep my eyes open and I'm sure He will continue to meet me in surprising and unlikely places. What grace!

June 11, 2011

Laughter Like a Church Bell.

When you have your first child, you become sort of like a golf ball. You are swatted around a bit, but all-in-all it's a leisurely sort of game you're in... full of learning the skill & precision of a new sport.

When you have your second child, you become more like a volleyball. You are volleyed back and forth between two opponents, but it is still a controlled and predictable flight path you find yourself traveling in- back and forth (with the occasional spike here and there.)

When you have a third child, you suddenly become a pinball... there are flashing lights and loud noises and pitfalls and bumpers and trap doors and flippers and holes and targets and switches and spinners and ramps to attend to, and at the end of the day, you feel so battered and pulled and pushed and bumped that you can think of nothing but being STILL and hearing silence.

At least, that's how it has felt lately for me. If it's not one child needing me, it's the other. And if it is not the other, then it is most definitely the other-other, who is probably in some mode of total melt-down because said "need" was not met immediately due to the fact that I was attending some other "need" when their "need" arose quickly and without warning. ("Mamaaaaaa?" My shirt tag is itching meeeeee!")

This pinball life of mine may be lacking heavily in quiet, solitude, or moments of restful reflection during the days, but I know how temporary this insanity really is, so I try to laugh as much as I can during the day at the craziness of it all. Oh... Myer is whining about food and Ezra is missing an essential lego and the baby needs to nurse and I'm in the middle of cooking dinner? Just laugh! And ask the husband to finish up the dinner while you nurse and soothe and search for a microscopic clear lego deep down in the carpet!

So... Ezra needs help with a lego set and Myer is DRAWING on his toys and the baby somehow wiggled himself onto the hardwood floor from his playmat and face-planted his mini-nose onto the unforgiving wood? Giggle it all off! And then encourage and scrub and coo and soothe! (PS. You forgot to make dinner. Doh!)

Often, the thing that saves my sanity is just imagining myself right in the middle of a sitcom. I imagine what all this chaos would amount to on a little television screen in someone's living room, and it suddenly all doesn't feel quite so daunting anymore.

So, I giggle. And I spout off some witty sarcastic remark, just like a mom in a sitcom would do, but none of my children get it because they are all under the age of seven. (Yet I feel better, none-the-less!) Then I imagine the live studio audience loudly laughing at my wit while I attend to the tri-fold needs before me.

Perhaps this makes me batty, but at least it keeps things... funny.

These boys may have my number right now, but there will come a time, when they are older and grown and living their own lives separate from me, when I hope and pray they will recall all this madness and smile inwardly. And, in those future days, we will gather on special occasions and I will look around the table at their manly faces and smile inwardly as well.

Because I will REMEMBER these days of being up to my EYEBALLS in legos and diapers and Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers, but I will also hear the years of laughter ringing in my ears loud and clear like a far away church bell, and I will know that every single chaotic moment was so very, very...

...worth it.

June 10, 2011

A Summer Photo Journal.

This Summer, there have been...



...contemplative staring out of windows...

...wearing things...

...baby joys...

...(extremely brief) times of rest...

...(extremely loud) times of play...


...tornado scares...

(i could french kiss this tornado shelter right now.)

...and precious introductions.

things have been CRAZY now that the boys are out of school,
and I would be lying if I didn't mention the fact that I have been thisclose to a mental break-down or two(hundred),
but all-in-all, things have been very sweet around these parts.

The boys start up their Summer programs next week, and things should be getting back into more a routine after that!

This here mama can't WAIT.