Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sanctify

I didn't know much about mothering before entering this stage but I surely didn't know that sanctification came with the package. Sure, you get alot of repenting and forgiveness in marriage and the bi-product is always so sweet but I just didn't think "babysitting" little minds and hearts especially in these young years could dig so deep at my character. This week for some reason every "icky" part of me that may hide in my subconscious...you know the envy, or selfishness, or ungratefulness that just sits and grows moldy in the deepest part of you while you think you are just doing everyday life - well, it has surfaced. I can't say that I haven't asked for it though. I have pleaded nightly as I lay awake just praying for every little thing that comes to mind (and hoping it will result in some boring prayers that put me to sleep!) that God would show me all of Him through this process of sleeplessness. It's true - I will not come out of this year without having had my character and heart totally realigned. There have been too many things in my adult life that I have just gotten away with but that have sat festering...causing my heart a little more havoc each day/year that I let them go by. I know I am being hard but I really believe that behaviors and thoughts that aren't pure can cause serious damage on the inside. There are people in my life that I claim to have forgiven but really I haven't fully covered those people in a forgiving and forgetful grace....the kind that doesn't even see the past or expect the worst in the future. Or for instance the many times that my pride has caused me to shut my mouth in my marriage when my heart wanted praise and encouragement to flow. Pride is a sneaky thing and causes us to do the very thing we know we don't want to do. Yuck yuck yuck.

Anyway, somehow this week my two little boys have helped me see some of these things that lie so deep that many others would never see. I am reading yet another book called "Loving the little Years." As a mom, this book will make you feel like a saint and like you aren't crazy! The author has 5 kids under 5 and she says she didn't write the book because it is easy being a mom but because it isn't. This hit me:
"I remember a time when I used to be much godlier. It was sometime in junior high and my room was clean. It must have been beautiful weather outside because the lighting was very nice in my room where I was reading my Bible every day and feeling really good. It was quite clear to me that my sanctification was progressing very well. As the feeling wore off, I remember looking back to that time as a high point. That was really living the Christian life." (From Chapter 2: In the Rock Tumbler) {I hope you sense her sarcasm.}
The boys have helped me see this week that really living the life that I've always thought I was living means something so much harder than I ever knew. It means giving up myself to my children - not out of obligation but out of desire. I have selflessly given to them for 2+ years now but I admit, many times it's out of a motherly "duty" not necessarily a selfless desire to mold and guide their hearts and their development. It was Monday when the oldest little boy again said to me "mommy, you sad?" This time I wasn't at all sad - just being a mom on a normal afternoon - lazily laying on the floor as they played with eachother and about 7 trucks. I know this is a very very small example but it hurt my heart to think that the boys often see my lack luster outlook because they are the ones that are with me most....on the floor - all the while wondering if I'll every really selflessly embrace this time with their impressionable hearts. Would you be honest enough to admit that "the little years" aren't the most gratifying? But a friend texted me this last night and it made sense - I had said that I don't feel like I am mothering (and aging) very gracefully to which she said, "yes, but hopefully the end product will be graceful." And that is the point. Whether you are spending your mornings in an office or a hospital or a school or on the floor with little people - the investment isn't always the most graceful thing but hopefully the heart you are putting into your day will result in a beautifully graceful outcome.

Yes, oddly, I am grateful that the boys have a way with getting at the little things lodged deep in my heart. I never thought a toddler and a baby could make me think so much about the person I am.....the things that come out of my mouth....and the "me" that is behind the mom. I am more grateful today though that I know a real Grace that covers all of my inadequacies and even my selfishness. It covers it all and that is why in the end the product even has a shot at being graceful, valuable, and beautiful.

Monday, August 29, 2011

To grandmother's house we go

Last Friday a miracle fell on our lap and it goes by the name of GRANDMA and BIGDADDY! The boys and I met my in-laws in South Georgia to make the (unfair) swap. Two babbling, mischevious little boys for a weekend with no car seats and sippy cups. I'm not kidding yall...we even drove Brad's car everywhere this past weekend so there was no thought about our sweet little children because even though I don't have a "swagger-wagon" yet my car screams "I'm an old woman and I live in a shoe and have too many kids that I don't know what to do!"

I'd like to report that we slept in late and laid around drinking coffee and listening to good no-kiddo music but we were bad and we didn't do anything we should have done! Instead we cleaned every corner of the house and tried to get ours lives in order after what has been a pretty crazy year. The purging felt so good. The floors felt so good, too, clean and crumb free for atleast two days. For the first time in a long while we both loved our house. It felt like a 6 BR mansion without wet wipes and stuffed animals lying around. Sure enough, as soon as the kids and all of their 27 cars and 4 blankets and endless cups and spoons came back in the door - the house felt like old times...a little cramped (but certainly a tad cleaner!)

Perhaps the most relaxing part of our staycation without kids was riding in the car all-by-myself. I admit, I used to waste alot of time before kids....running in and out of stores with a "necessity" mind set when really I was just curious to check out the latest inventory. More so, I was wasteful with my energy. I think I used to exercise about twice a day - once in the am and then always a walk with Brad at night. Looking back, that seems a little silly to have spent so much time on myself. But this weekend I went right back to my old ways - knowing it was only a weekend that I would have to walk, do some yoga, take a long shower, and exercise until I couldn't move anymore. And then afterwards I just drove and drove and soaked up the eery quiet in the car.

The boys came home yesterday afternoon and trust me - they did not miss us for one second. They were coddled, entertained, and well fed and we are so grateful that they have someone to spoil them! I know that my sweet in-laws enjoyed the boys being with them just as much as we enjoyed the time away and that is what makes it all worth it - it's mutually beneficial! Here are some pictures my sister in law took from the boys first field trip (without mom and dad.) Do we think this could happen every month? (Hint Hint)






Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How normal feels

For the past few weeks I have been up before the rest of the house and I am addicted to this routine! I am addicted to the quiet. I am addicted to the morning sun peeping through the tall trees in our backyard as I sit on the back porch with a little coffee. I won't lie - I am addicted to the sleep and consequently, the normalcy that follows the rest of the day. Usually William is already stirring but he must know I am long overdo for some "me" time so he usually babbles pretty softly until I come in to wake him up with a big, "gooood morning, William!" You have to hear Brooks mimic this phrase because it is pretty addictive, too.
Yes, those first few hours of any day (after my few minutes of serenity) where little people are involved are pretty crazy...syrup smeared in the oddest of places, clothes thrown on - usually still dirty or on backwards, and, certainly a few tears and a tantrum in the mix. But I don't mind the tornado start to the day if............I...have...actually...slept!!!!! And for the past few weeks I have actually slept almost like a normal person. I may still call the couch my home just because I hate to keep anyone else awake that may not be so good at being awake but with the exception of about one night a week I have slept like I used to...like normal! Granted, I am sleeping with a small swallow of a pill that has become my "frenemy" but for the time being I am okay with that. I know, I know - you've read of several times on here that I threw out anything chemical - including any multi vitamin or carbonated beverage and I am not ashamed in any way that I have again had to rely on a medicine for what should come un-chemically. It's actually a pretty neat place to be for me. Out of control and truly at a place of gratitude for something to allow me to enjoy my kids during the day, cook dinner for my family at night, and relax once this children are down....things that have come with a fight the last 8 months. So for now, I thank God each night that He created something to help me in this (hopefully) short season of life. For 8 months even medicine wouldn't touch my insomnia and so I am thrilled to have a short period of normalcy with the help of a little pill....and some yoga! There are some pretty annoying day time side effects that come with this freedom but nothing a little exercise and my daily half sweet, half unsweet tea from Micky D's can't cure.
With my newfound normalcy, I have welcomed all the little nuisances that used to distract me and I have craved the monotonous minutia of a day in the life of a stay at home mom with two little boys. Ahhhhh.....I could certainly get used to this!

I am not sure where this path will lead but my hands are open to whatever it may be. I am so full today from the gift of sleep....and with that - a seemingly boring but enjoyable day! The boys are keeping me on my toes these days.....take a look.....

This will be like the game Memory. Here are the captions, now you find the picture! Hey, look at me, I'm at the spa! Colored fun at the Music class for William's birthday. Cheeks! Hi, brother, I WILL be nice to you! When you're around a girl all day - you think high heels are cool! Fun at the doctor's office. A birthday full of all of my favorite meals. That's why we buy blueberries at Costco. I don't care what the chair says, I am sitting here!








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Monday, August 15, 2011

On turning one

I really can't go there. Not today. Today I have enjoyed snuggling with a the baby. Today I have enjoyed calling my baby, "my baby." Today we have sipped every drop out of the bottle just so I could hold him a little longer. It's not that tomorrow the baby will be any different than he was today but as I just saw happen - a one year old grows out of the "baby" and into the "toddling" within a flash. And today I want to let the baby linger a little longer. So here are some pictures from the year. Unfortunately, I never once got my act together to do the cute posed monthly photos I did with Brooks and I don't even have a decent camera right now to take a decent photo....but when your subject looks like this - it doesn't matter!



















Thursday, August 11, 2011

Up for air

We are 5 days away from what has become a huge milestone in our house. It's not the kind of huge you would expect. Many of my dearest friends self-admittedly go a little over the top for a one year old birthday party. I did the same with our first born and though I want to be able to snuggle up on our over sized leather sofa in 10 years and look through beaten photo albums of the boys' young years and not have to explain why our 2nd shot at a first birthday was largely toned down compared to the 1st - I also realized this time around what is most important....and that is a peaceful home, void of any unnecessary stress.

That makes it sound like some cupcakes, balloons, and a handful of barely walking babies is stressful. It isn't but in this stage of life - anything out of our routine seems to take yet another hour of sleep from my already low bank of zzzz's. Therefore, I feel like I finally learned the art of boredom this summer and I have a feeling when our sleep/wake patterns return around here and thus ushering in the list of possible activities and to-do's with two babies - my new art will slowly go away. And I don't think I want that to happen.

I've practically written a book this summer of journal entries. I have always been a pretty consistent writer. I don't write the way I want to just yet but deep down I say that when I actually have more time I'll think more about the way the words come out - rather than just letting them storm the screen with their own personality. I've also read just about as much as I've written - half of which twice because it seems under little sleep you have to read things atleast twice to even remember if you were reading the Wall Street Journal or the newest-mindless Emily Giffin novel. Often, instead of a trip to a friends house for afternoon play I've found myself so engrossed in a book that I literally forget that the 2 year old can't really supervise the 1 year old. Oops. So, in a way this prolonged season has allowed me some time that I would normally have filled with more photo-worthy type things but I am so glad I've had a year now to catch up on things I desperately love.

More so, this year has allowed me ample time to think and pray. Almost too much time. I often think my learned ability to function on a naps-worth of sleep a night has been detrimental in more than just the obvious ways. That little "let-down" time allows my mind just enough time to recharge thus giving me more energy to think and attempt to pray my way out. Some one recently told me that had I spent more nights without even shutting my eyes once then maybe I wouldn't have the energy to think, ponder, research, and seemingly reason my way into the next season.

But this week has again given me something new. A breath of fresh air. I know not to presume that a few good nights signifies the end but I also know that I have to find enough hope in those few good nights to see me through to the next one. For the first time in 8 months I have done the most normal thing known to man - fallen asleep. It sounds so good to write that - "fallen" as opposed to "coerced through medication" or "fought my way"......I have FALLEN asleep - and in a relatively short amount of time. And while that news is the most refreshing thing I have experienced in my 30 years - the next line is even more refreshing. I sort of don't care. Not, like "I don't care" with a little cynicism attached but like - it's not the most important thing to me - kind of not caring. In the middle of one of htese recent nights I wrote in my journal

"If I come out of this battle and don't have all of Jesus then the whole thing has been in vain. God, do not relent until I have it all.

That is what became clear and most important to me this week. If this year doesn't change me at a character level then I'll take another year. Seriously. If the first words off of my lips in the presence of my children and my husband are anything less than true, good, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy - then the job is not done. I finally came to a place this week where I know that I want Jesus more than I want to sleep. Luckily, the few nights of somewhat normal sleep this week have allowed me to see that. It feels so good to come up for air but it feels even better to see land in the distance when I come up from the water.

The biggest milestone that we will celebrate next week with our newly turned one year old will not necessarily be his birth but the new life that was stirred in our home as a result of his birth. I am so grateful that this year has started to change me for the good.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our favorite time of the day

9 times out of 10 Brad puts Brooks to bed while I put the little man down but in the last few weeks I've had a few more nights as a solo parent. The best part is getting to put the toddler to bed. He puts his cup down and then comes by the bed to say his prayers. Each night he adds in something different, like last night literally going through every name he has ever known and saying thank you. Admittedly, I was a little pushy in this video with him being thankful for Jesus but here is a little taste of the night time routine with our toddler. There is nothing on this earth that is more heart-filling than hearing him talk, but more importantly pray.

The video is in the dark so you can't see anything but you can hear him....and his pushy mother.
video

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When my words won't come out that pretty

I'll post with pictures. I know my insomnia is only temporary but these memories are forever. Thank you, sweet boys, for making me smile every day. Every hour. I'm so grateful that your innocence (and age) allows you to only see the joy that I have with you both rather than the tension from the long nights. These smiles are better than any therapy for any illness on the market...