My Simply Tuesday

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My Simply Tuesday

Sometimes being a Stay at Home Mom can be very, very boring.  Mundane.  Repetitive.  I know some moms go on play dates, to the park, to story time at the library, music class, or what have you.

I have no such luxury.  While we decided it would be best for me to be home, we need my income. So, I run a small daycare out of my home.  While this is an amazing opportunity for me to bring in an income while staying home with my littlest boys, it also means that for 11 hours a day (at least) I am home bound.  Although I could leave after all my daycare kids are gone, this time usually includes homework, dinner, baths, and bedtime for my kids.

So, to be honest, there are weeks where I don’t leave my house for days at a time.  DAYS.  I last left the house 3 days ago, and I have no immediate plans or need to go anywhere, so who knows what this week will look like.  And really, I’m okay with this.  This is where I’m needed in this season of my life.

At first, it was really hard.  But now, I’m in a rhythm.  I’m keeping up on things, and I’m appreciating the season I’m in.

Which brings me to my Tuesday theme, inspired by Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily Freeman.  You can find it HERE. (I have it on checkout from my local library as an e-book, but some of us need actual hard copy books. I get it.)

“What if, instead of thinking we have to choose between our ordinary life and an extraordinary life, we began to realize they’re the same thing?”  – Emily Freeman

Tuesday blog posts will consist of glimpses into our day-to-day.  What small moments am I cherishing on that ordinary day?

Today, I’m cherishing brotherly love.  I mean, look at these three.  (This was actually one of about 5 shots we took this day, and this was the best one…seriously.)  Not one of them is looking at me, and I’m pretty sure one is watching TV. But look at the love they have for each other.  They love sitting together. Talking to one another. All three of them are touching.

Instead of allowing them to annoy me today, I’m choosing to appreciate and embrace these moments and experience the love my babies have for each other.

What are you cherishing today?
#itssimplytuesday

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I’m not tough enough for the Mommy Wars. #momlifeMonday

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Breast is best.  Fed is best.

Cloth diaper.  Disposable.

Rear-facing. Forward-facing.

Baby wear.  Baby leash.

Gentle.  Discipline.

Organic.  Blue box Mac & Cheese.

There is truly nothing easy about parenting.  No matter where you fall on any parenting-related issue, there are people there to tell you how wrong you are.  Your spouse, your parents, your in-laws, your family, your friends, random strangers on the internet….all have opinions on HOW you should raise your child.

I’d love to say I haven’t engaged in what some people call the “mommy wars.”  I’m sure I have.  I’ve judged another mother when her child was buckled in a carseat differently than I would buckle my sons.  I’ve felt good about myself when I see another mother whose child has a sugary soft drink when my kid prefers water.  Do I openly call these people out or share my opinions? Heck no – but that has a lot more to do with my fear of confrontation than it does my acceptance of other people’s parenting styles.

So maybe I’m not on the front lines fighting the wars, but I’m certainly in the background, fighting them silently in my head.  And I think it’s only because it makes me feel like a bit less of a disaster to think someone else is worse at parenting than me. (I know I’m not a horrible mom…but I also know there’s probably a lot I can do better.)

There are two things about the “mommy wars” that bug me:

  1. We don’t wage war on dads.  If we see a dad out with his kids and they’re having candy and sugary drinks and jumping off tall ledges and throwing knives at each other, we think, “Good work dad!  Let them be kids!”  But God forbid a mom accepted or *gasp* encouraged that kind of rough, reckless, imaginative play.  Dads don’t get shamed for buckling the carseat wrong.  Or for gagging through the diaper change.  We don’t expect them to be able to do it.  We expect them to foul it up somehow.  (In the spirit of full disclosure, my spouse is very actively involved in raising our boys and we are on the same page with almost everything regarding parenting.  He knows how to buckle carseats, change cloth diapers, and is just as aware of the importance of good nutrition as I am…but no one expects him to be.  It’s somehow my job.)
  2. The mom’s ability to decide is constantly in question.  We expect these mothers to be ON all the time and ask them to justify their decisions.

    *I’ve been asked why I cloth diaper.  “Ew, isn’t it gross?” It’s not any more gross than disposables (which blowout a lot more) and saves us a ton of money (which is really the main reason).  Plus, fluffy butts are cute.

    *I’ve been asked when I’m going to stop nursing. “Once they have teeth they need *real* food.”  Don’t know when we’ll stop – my best guess is when he and I decide we are done.

    *I’ve been told that waiting until two to turn my kiddos forward facing is stupid.  “We turned our kids around at one.  They like to see!” “Their legs are too cramped.” “We rode in the front seat without even a seat belt and we turned out fine!” (this one is my favorite)  Well do a quick Google search on carseat safety and you’ll see why I wait.

    *I’ve been told I’m too strict with their diet and I should let them “be kids.”  The thing is…you don’t know my kids.  You don’t know that if I don’t limit their options, they will never touch a vegetable.  Or that they might have special needs that require them to eat more protein.  Or that they might have food allergies.  So when I say my toddler can’t have a cupcake on an empty stomach, it’s not because I’m controlling or not letting him “enjoy childhood.”  I have reasons.

The list can go on and on.  There’s a difference between sharing information for a child’s safety – for example, I shared with a fairly new mom information about puffy coats in carseats, not to be holier-than-thou (in fact, I really agonized over saying anything at all), but because I was sure she just didn’t know – and giving unsolicited advice and opinions.    I doubt that the overwhelming majority of parents make choices because they don’t care about their child’s safety.

It all boils down to this:
Is your kiddo fed?  Good work.
Do they have clothes and shoes? Awesome.
Do you do your best when it comes to keeping them safe?  High five.

Don’t let other people – who don’t know your kids and their specific needs – judge you, mama!

As much as I’d love to say, “Don’t let everyone else’s opinions get to you,” I know it’s so so hard sometimes!  I take the littlest comments to heart.  But I know, at the end of the day, my boys have a mama who loves them and does her best for them, and that’s all I can do in this day.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll eat the organic dinner and no one will complain and then they’ll all put their own dishes in the dishwasher.  But for tonight, we’re doing the best we can.

#momlifemonday  #parenting

 

Life with Men

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I have three children now. Boys.   Three boys.  And a husband.  Also a boy.  And a dog…you guessed it, boy.  All boys in my house.

I’m incredibly outnumbered, and I know I’m not the only mom who has ever been in this place.  I know there are moms who have way more boys in their homes than I do. And honestly, even one little boy can be a lot to handle sometimes.  (this is not to say that only one little girl, or a gaggle of girls, isn’t a lot to handle.  I just don’t know.  Because, you know, I have boys.)

I always pictured myself as a mom of girls.  I don’t know why; it might have had something to do with the fact that I am a girl and I am comfortable with all things girl. Apparently, that was not God’s plan for me!

What’s so great about being a boymom?

  1. Grooming is soooo easy.  Wash. Comb Hair.  Cut Nails.  Brush Teeth.  Done.  No braids, bows, ponytails, detanglers, accessories, nail polish, etc.  Getting dressed? Piece of cake.  Pants? Check.  T-shirt? Check.  Does it coordinate? They don’t care.  (Again, maybe this is true for little girls, too.  I don’t have any.)
  2. Toys are very interchangeable.  With the exception of small Legos, almost any toy the biggest and middle boy are playing with is acceptable for the baby to play with, and despite their five year age difference, the other two play together easily.  Star Wars and Super Heroes are always age appropriate.
  3. Brothers have a special bond.  I am amazed watching how they teach each other, care for each other, and help each other.  I don’t remember being this way with my brother.  I think there is something special about brothers and I can’t wait to see them with their littlest brother once he becomes more mobile.  They are already awesome with him.
  4. Everything is funny.  Just let someone pass gas or say the word poop (or for our two-year-old right now, “booty”) and it’s OVER.  They won’t stop laughing for at least 20 minutes. And their laughs are downright infectious.  You can’t have a bad day when you’re listening to them roll on the floor and laugh.
  5. They always want to protect and care for you.  YOU are their princess and they will save you no matter what. You are always the most beautiful girl in the world to them, and they want nothing more than to make you happy.  They are little romantics when it comes to their mommies!  Just last night my middle son told me he was going to come mow my lawn when I get old.

Yes, they are loud and messy sometimes (okay, ALL the time, really).  They think gross things are hilarious and they have some sort of radar for the tiniest area of dirt to dig in.  But, they also want to take care of their mommies.  They’ll rub your back or your hair, bring you a pillow, make you a picture, or carry out some other sort of sweet gesture to make you smile.

Raising boys is important work.  They are the next generation of husbands and fathers. Teaching them to leave behind what’s become “acceptable” for male behavior and that it’s okay to have feelings, to be honest and vulnerable and respectful, to lend a hand instead of always trying to get ahead, to care for others, to value kindness over money or athletic prowess is hard work.  Work that I cannot possibly do under my own strength – many days they are simply too much for me, and I am trying hard to pause and ask Jesus for help loving them even when they are difficult.

In my boys’ bathroom, I have a sign reminding them to “Be Men of Courage” (inspired by 1 Corinthians 16:13). You can purchase it or similar signs HERE when she restocks.  My hope is that it helps them remember to do what is right and not just what it easy.  I also use Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothlin as a guide to praying scripture over my sons. I don’t even think they know I do this. (You can find it HERE.)

I know that these years go fast and I should want them to slow down. But I also know that although I’ll only have little boys for a while, I’ll always have three knights in shining armor, ready to take the recycling out for me, help me with chores, or just give me a quick hug and kiss on the cheek.

It’s not how I ever imagined parenthood would look, but I wouldn’t trade these three for anything in the world, and I wear my boymom status proudly.  There will be new experiences for me as the mom of three boys, and I look forward to the day they might give me beautiful daughters-in-law or granddaughters, but for now I am going to soak up their sloppy kisses and belly laughs and be thankful for the brothers who live in my home.

#thankfulthursday
#momofboys  #boymom  #parenting #prayer #courage #raisingboys

Hello, it’s me.

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I’ve been living life. And I’m not one to brag, but I think I’ve been living it pretty darn well. Lots has happened. Lots has changed.

At least once a month I visit this place, the place I once intended my words to fill. And I look at the time that’s passed and become overwhelmed with the things I could say to “catch-up.” And I walk away, because there are too many words inside me to merely “catch-up.” And I ask myself, “who is really listening?”

But the words are there. The thoughts. The things I want to say. So I will write them, not for readers or likes or shares, but for me and my heart.

Today I’m starting fresh. Writing is inherently a part of who I am. I go back and read old posts and drafts and I feel like I should delete them and start over. That is not me anymore.  That girl is so far from me, but in her place stands someone with much to say.

I have so much planned for this space. So much inside me and around me has changed, and I have so much I feel compelled to share.

Subscribe, follow, whatever it is you need to do – I’d love to connect with you on this next phase of my journey.

Justification–April A to Z Challenge

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The other day as I was reading, I came across a reference to Romans 5:1, which reads, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…”

I heard it again on Easter in one of my favorite worship songs, “Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise).” The lyric reads, “No fear of condemnation/By faith I’m justified.”

I’ve heard this term many times. Justified. But I’ve realized recently that it doesn’t mean what I think it means.

In life, when we say we are “justified” in doing something, we mean that whatever we have done has been for a good or legitimate reason. For instance, if I know that every time I give my three-year-old a popsicle he leaves in on the couch, I would be justified in either not giving him more popsicles or making him eat them outdoors.

But that is not what it means to be justified through faith. This is so much more than being validated in our actions. This is being made righteous by God, because of the sacrifice Christ made for us. Christ truly paid our debt, and through this we can be justified by our faith in Him.

But that’s not even the best part. The best part is that there is nothing we can do or must do to earn this. It’s given freely by the God of this universe, who loves each of us as if we are the only one. All we need to do is have faith in Him and His goodness and righteousness, and this gift is ours for eternity.

The younger, crankier, more cynical me would have questioned this over and over again. I wouldn’t believe that such an amazing gift could just be free. But I have felt God move in my life and my heart and I know that what He wants most is me. Just me. Not my actions or my deeds, but my devotion and love.

And through my faith in Him, I’m saved. Romans 5:9 says, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

I needed to remind myself of this today, as things have been kind of rough. No matter how dark the day, this incredible truth endures forever.

I miss you–April A to Z Challenge

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Today I am maybe bending the rules and I don’t care.

Today is letter I. And today is (from what I can tell on Facebook) National Siblings Day.

I have a sibling, but we don’t get to see each other as often as I’d like anymore.

So I just want to say to my sibling, I miss you. You were my first friend. And I miss you every single day.

I know I’ll see you again someday, and you know I talk to you all the time.

But I still miss you. The hole in my heart is so big I don’t think it’ll ever be filled.

I miss you, not only on National Siblings Day, but every day.

***A side note: Those of you with living siblings, don’t wait for some silly “holiday” to call them and appreciate them. I would give anything for that chance and I am kicking myself for all of the times I could have and didn’t.***

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Family, Grief, and Healing (FGH)–April A to Z Challenge

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I knew when I signed up for this challenge that it would not be easy for me to keep up. I am a busy gal. I was ready to give up, being two letters behind already. That’s one thing about me: I tend to over-commit myself.

But then a dear friend asked me why I wasn’t posting my alphabet blogs every day. I explained I’d gotten behind, and her reply was, “Oh…I was really looking forward to those!”

Sometimes I forget that there are a few people who actually read my writing. And maybe they like it? So I guess I should really try to do better at keeping up with my blogging challenge.

That being said, I’m combining F, G, & H into one post, both to get myself caught up and because they all fit into what’s on my mind and on my heart today.

Families change over time. I can look back on my childhood, and what I would have considered my family back then is worlds away from what I consider my family to be now. Back then, my family was a title exclusively reserved for the people related to me by blood: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc.

As the world changes, the definition and picture of what a family looks like has changed too. In a lot of ways, this is a great thing. My family has changed immeasurably over the last ten years. Divorces have happened. People have moved away. Family members have passed away, some expectedly, some unexpectedly. It changes you. It changes your relationships. It causes some connections to become stronger and others to fade away. At first, the changes sting. Those people who you thought would always be there suddenly aren’t, and it’s hard to adjust.

But over time, your true family shows. The family that God has provided to help you weather the storm. For me, this family includes blood relations, but it also includes wonderful friends. And I consider them my family. We share holidays, celebrations, pain, successes, and failures together. We’ve been bound together by a set of shared experiences unique to us and to our relationship.

Grief is one of these shared experiences. Recently, a few friends and students have lost dear members of their families. My heart aches for them and searches for the words to bring comfort. I find none. Through my own experiences, I know what not to say: “I know how you feel.” No one knows how you feel. No one knows the relationship that you had with that person and the aching void that their absence, either physical or emotional, has left in your life.

I’ve lost a lot in my 31 years of life. I don’t want pity, but I think I’ve lost more family members than most people my age. But I’ve gained so many. Grief has brought us together, strengthened us, and created a new family. And we have time and again brought one another out of the darkness and into the light.

That is the true meaning of family. Those people who lift us out of the darkness when we stumble and who we would do the same for in return. Those who are there in our grief to comfort us and help us heal. Those who are there when we succeed and when we fail. And I am so thankful for the amazing family I have. I couldn’t imagine any better group of people to do life with.

I’m taking the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Find out more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com