Friday, February 28, 2014

These Moments....Spring Teasers

A Friday ritual. Photos, with few words - capturing moments from the week. Simple, special, extraordinary moments. Moments I want to pause, savor and remember.

Dirty toes and a spoon in each hand, while we start lettuce, broccoli, onions and flowers. 
Successful searches for first flowers.
Barefoot driveway dancing.
Purple hyacinth. 
My big girl, watering garlic in the sun.
Baby spinach leaves with the seeds still attached.
Park play dates with friends.
Sunsets that come a bit later each day.
Spring teasers.

Have a great weekend, friends.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Taking the Stale Out of Mothering

As we headed to the store, she asked me if she could bring her "Cutie Baby." I didn't see why not so, I said "yes, of course!" As we walked up and down those isles, she carefully held Cutie Baby under her arm, kissing that plastic head about every 15 steps. She shared her cookie with Cutie Baby and as I loaded our cart, she told Cutie all about how she'll always love her, forever and ever.
The way she is with her baby just makes me wonder if I'm really living this Mothering thing like it's my life long dream come true. Am I living it with the joy I always anticipated? To be honest, I don't think so.
Often, being a Mama feels stale. Some days, I forget everything that's beautiful about this job. And I don't think I ever fully see just how important all of this is.
 As she walks her baby, sunshine falling on her back, smiling at her shadow, I realize that sometimes I live this Mothering thing like it's a burden, and not my life long plan come true. See, I was that girl- the one who always knew that when she grew up and got married, she would be a Mama. And now that I'm a Mama, sometimes the world tells me that it's not enough- that I could possibly lose myself in this. And how could people think that they're going to lose themselves, if they fully put themselves into something that's more important than anything else? I'd say that you wouldn't be losing yourself, but instead maybe discovering who you really are.
Somehow during these first 5 years as their Mama, little lies crept into my head, telling me that Mothering isn't really all that important. Sure, on the good days I know the truth; that this shaping lives stuff is literally life changing, but on the hard days, it's felt so...almost like a trap. It's been easy to look at big fancy people, doing big fancy things and believe that those things really are more important than this. And honestly, lots of people DO believe that. "Oh, you're just a Mom? Wow, I'm so impressed that you're even wearing makeup today!" Um, what? Yes, us Moms sometimes don't even wear Mom jeans. Did I just blow your mind?
Writing on my blog about Mothering has scared me. I've believed that if I wrote too much about how important I really think being a Mama is, that I would be seen as "just a mom", and that I wouldn't seem like I'm enough. I've wrestled with feeling like I'm not worthy to write about being a Mama, since I'm not a perfect one. I've been afraid that if I wrote about how I think what goes on under our roof, when no one when is looking, is one of the most important things in the world, I'd have this expectation on me that I need to be perfect. You know scared that someone in "real life" would see me, the gal who writes about Mothering, being impatient with her kids and then it'd all seem phony.
But, the truth is....I do think that if you're a Mama, it's been something that God has gifted you with and I believe that we need to not let it go stale. I've felt that joy slip away. I've felt when it doesn't seem special or important. I've had the days when I flat out don't like this---any of it. I've wondered how I could have wanted this all my life and then not be happy in these answered prayers. And I've looked at these 3 kids, this house, all of it and I've known, even in the times when I'm not content, that this is all one GIANT GIFT and that I need to act like it.
The way she is with those babies makes me want to be better. I want to be what she believes Mothering is. She does it with joy, because she wants to. She doesn't see it as a drag. She gently rocks that baby, fixes her food and spends time with her because SHE LIKES IT. She actually thinks it's fun.
 No one tells her it's not important. Instead, she has people telling her how well she does it. She has cheerleaders at home and in the grocery store. Lots of people stop us, smile at her and tell her what a good little Mama she is. I tell her that she's so sweet with her baby and she believes it. She loves this and she never considers if it's enough. She gets together with her friends and they play with their babies, not whining about how hard all of it is. She loves this and she helps me remember that I do, too.
She makes me want to take the stale out of Mothering.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Simple Things Sunday: Snow Edition

This weekend wasn't anything fancy, but the little things felt extraordinary and that's just how it should be. I wore my baby in the snow, snapped a ridiculous amount of pictures, ate Indian food with some special friends, visited with my sister over coffee while my baby napped and our kids played, loved the sermon at church, watched a movie with my love, shopped with my family at Trader Joes, painted with the kids and enjoyed a little adventure to find some more snow after ours melted.

Saturday morning we woke up to the smallest dusting of snow. Even during breakfast, the kids played with snow- by blowing a tiny little snowman across the table as they finished their oatmeal. Moments later, boots were pulled on over jammies, fingers were smushed into gloves and they were out the door---only to come in 5 minutes later 'cuz someone needed to pee. 

At that moment, I felt like I was right there with all the other Mamas in the world, drinking coffee, stuffing kids into snowsuits, directing fingers into the right glove hole, all while still in my pajamas. We put them in the gear, we take them out of the gear, we wipe up snow puddles on our floors, we do the extra laundry and then when they say they want to go out in the snow again, we say okay! We make cocoa, blow on cold hands, find dry hats and it's work, but I love it. The mornings that we wake up to snow are so rare and so worth it.

We ended up heading over the my sister's place to visit and play. The kids had the best time and Eliza even took a good nap over there! Later in the day, our snow melted and so we covered the table with brown paper packaging and painted snow scenes. 

Today we went to church and it was so, so good. Later in the day, we decided to stir things up a bit and hop into the car to go find some more snow. Let's be honest and say that when you have 3 little ones, you don't just go hop into the car. It does require a bit of preparation, but it was so worth it. Just about an hour from here, we found a winter wonderland and I think my cheeks hurt from smiling.

A few (using that term lightly) photos from the weekend:


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hearing Myself Think

I read something interesting the other day, that pretty much confirmed what I've been pondering on for awhile now. It was my hypothesis of sorts, that an article in a MOPS magazine confirmed as true---Basically, no one asks more questions IN THE WORLD than a 4 year old girl. Actual studies have been done and 4 year old girls can ask up to 400 questions PER DAY. Per day, people. 400, per day.
And since I have a daughter who's 3 1/2, I'd say that some days, we're averaging about 350 questions in a day. This is so, so, good. Truly, I believe that there is never a stupid question and we should all spend our lives asking questions.

The problem definitely isn't all the questions. The problem is me and how by 6pm, I feel like my brain slowly starts to leak out my ears. The kids ask questions and as I try to answer, this look comes over my face. I think my eyes start wobbling around in my head. I want to answer one more question, I want to smile and give a really great reply, but it's like it isn't physically possible. I try, but the words just wobble around in my head, unable to find their way out my mouth. They are lost, I am lost, in the sea of questions.
"Why does it do that Mama? Well, what is it? Hellllooooo Mama???" 
And my brain just flops.

So, I did something tonight that I haven't done before. When my husband came home from work, I kissed him and asked him if it'd be okay for me to pack up my Bible Study stuff, the laptop and my earphones and go hear myself think in Starbucks for awhile. It was glorious. Truly, glorious. I blasted the same 2 worship songs for over an hour and God met me right there, in that room hustling with all sorts of people.

I realized tonight that there's something good about being alone. It recharges me. I love, love, love times out with friends, but I think we all need time alone. It was loud in there, but I wasn't responsible for any of them. For a moment, it was just me, my Bible study and my pen. The room hummed, but in all of that, I found that white space that I've been craving.

I feel like I'm coming into this sweet spot with Mothering right now. Eliza is getting to that age where she can be left with Daddy for a few hours, but she's still my baby. I can go hear myself think for a bit, write, do my Bible study and then come home, recharged and sit and feed her for bedtime. That newborn stage is so very sweet, but it doesn't leave much freedom and yes, it's a bit sad that we aren't there anymore. We've moved onto that stage where they're all still small, but this Mama is regaining just a touch of freedom. I'm seeing that I need that time to think, to pray, to actually hear God.

I need moments in my day where I'm NOT multi-tasking, where I'm slowing down and carving out time to just hear Him speak to me and tell me who I am. Moments, where I can be recharged so, I can go back and be who I was created to be.

And for anyone who reads this and wishes that they could have just a moment alone, I just want to say that I get it. My husband has a really wonky work schedule and works more than any guy I know so, these moments don't just come easy for our family. Actually, it's totally the opposite. We are far from that family who's Daddy arrives back home at 4, 5 or even 6pm. We are a bit different, but I thank God for a man that lets me go and recharge when he's able to.
Here's to answering 350 questions well tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teaching her Brave

I am so far from being a perfect Mama. See, I loose my patience. I let my kids watch a bit too much TV. We ate at McDonald's today and the older ones haven't had a bath in 3 days. But Mamas, instead of just focusing on our weaknesses, I think we need to focus on what we're doing well. I've been working on something with our sweet Paisley and I love it too much not to share.

We have this new phase going on in our home. For the first time, I have a child who's afraid of the dark. Like, she doesn't even want to walk down the hallway to turn a light on in a bedroom.

After multiple times of her asking me to come with her, I took her hands, got down on my knees and looked her in the eye. Gently I said....
"Paisley repeat after me. You can do this. Repeat these words, sister. Say, I am Paisley! I am brave!"

She took a deep breath and reluctantly repeated "I am Paisley. I am brave." And then we said it again and again, a bit louder each time. "I am Paisley. I am brave! I am Paisley! I am brave! I am Paisley!!!! I am BRAVE!!!!"  A moment later, she marched herself on down that hallway and turned on the light.

A few days later, I saw her stop at the end of the hallway. She didn't know I was watching, but what I saw next just made my day. As she paused, she breathed in and then spoke it out, "I am Paisley! I am brave!" Then she ran down and turned on the light, with a huge smile on her face. She said it, she believed it and then she did it.

I feel like as Moms, we need to not only go with our kids into those places that scare them, but we also need to equip them to face these things on their own. Having someone tell you that you're brave is one thing, but repeating it over and over again, about YOURSELF is powerful. I want her to not only be told that she's brave, but I want her to also start telling herself that she's brave. The more she says it, the more she'll believe it.

I've spent so much of my life telling myself all about what I'm NOT, that it makes me want to teach my kids right now to tell themselves all about what they ARE. I think I'm realizing that raising a strong willed girl is hard, but I'm ready to take it on. I guess I'm ready to be brave with her.



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