Posted in acceptance

I am Second

I was driving home from work today thinking about the past few weeks events. If you have read this post, then you know it has been a stressful and challenging week.  While sitting at a red light, I read the bumper sticker on the car in front of me. Three simple yet powerful  words that caught my eye. I am second.

It’s incredible how something so random and simple can sucker punch in the gut as if to rock you to your core. I am second. I have spent the past few weeks complaining about how hard my life is, how tired I am, and how alone I feel at times.  Now I realize how many times I say “I” in a week, day or hour even.

The truth is, I am not first. I am second. Without knowing where these words were coming from, I somehow knew. We are second to God.  I am second to God. So I should stop complaining about life right now and just spend more time talking to him.  So, now instead of listing my complaints about life, I am going to list my blessings from the week.

  1. Spending the day at the beach and seeing Mini – Me smile with that contagious sun shiny smile of hers
  2. Watching 9yo play soccer
  3. 4yo’s cute little bed head when he wakes up in the morning
  4. A job that allows me to be home normal work week hours
  5. our new church home
  6. The wonderful teachers God has put in our path
  7. Quiet time for reflection
  8. Coworkers who make me laugh despite the horrid week we have had
  9. Potential job opportunities ( I am praying hard to make the right decision on that one)
  10. Teaching our children to pray
  11. Fairy Garden’s ( we haven’t killed the flowers yet)

What are your blessings this week?

 

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Posted in mommyhood

Even when they hate us, they need us

 

I hate my life! she yelled as we were trying to get through our bedtime routine. There was a loud thunderstorm happening outside and she wanted me to sit in her bed and read to her.  The 7yo was being clingy so I sat with her attached to my hip while reading  our nightly bedtime story of Eloise. It became clear that this was not good enough for the 9yo who was completely melting down before my eyes ; her words slapping me in the face as she ranted like a bratty teenager.  I wish I could tell you I was patient and said all the right things to her. Instead, I yelled. told her to stop screaming and calm down. I am pretty sure that is the worst thing you can say to a child with anxiety.  I wish I had tried to get her to look at the horse picture her counselor gave to us to use as a focal point for relaxation. Instead, I became increasingly frustrated.  Instead she yelled “I hate my life, you are making this day horrible!” It hurts when your child says such things to you, so after yelling and making it worse I sat there and ignored her. Let her rant, because what else could I do with a frightened seven year old, who is also battling a form of anxiety.

Once the 7yo was finally asleep and the storm was calm I did the only thing I knew to do.  I got in bed and lied down net to nine year old who was still wide awake in all of her anxious glory. She must have decided that her life wasn’t all that bad because  we spent the next hour talking. We talked about school, friendship troubles and Soccer. Part of me thinks she was having a little anxiety about starting back school in addition to the thunderstorm. WE laughed, and we talked and just like that, the frustration seemed foolish. I wish I had the patience to handle the situation better in the beginning.

At nine years old and such a wise sole, I forget that she is still just a child. In some ways so mature for her age and some ways so childlike. Add a little OCD tendencies and anxiety to the mix and sometimes I just don’t know what to do. I feel ill prepared to parent a child with anxiety. My inpatient nature gets the best of me. The truth is, she just needed me every bit as much as 7yo needed me.

They need us. Even when they are yelling how much they hate their life, they need us. Even when their words hurt and pierce us to our soul, they need us.  They need us to be strong and to somehow hold it together. To protect them from all of life’s overwhelmingly terrifying events. When we fall, they will forgive us. Their love is so pure and unconditional and all they really need us to give them is us. There will be times when we fail and times when we hit the nail on the head. One thing is for sure, they will always love us.

What challenges have  you had in parenting this week?wpid-2015-07-17_23.01.55.jpg

 

Posted in mommyhood

Bring them to Church

Today I sat at the dining room table live streaming the sermon from church. We have recently started attending church and due to the late night New Year’s eve partying (not quite to midnight but still stayed awake till 10pm, Ha!),  we decided to let the kids continue sleeping.

As the pastor was speaking, I swear it was as if he was talking directly to me. He was talking about raising children and spending time praying with them, choosing godly friends for them and setting the example for faithfulness.

I am embarrassed to admit that attending church is something new to our family. It is not as if we didn’t believe B.C. (before children) or anything. We just simply stopped being intentional in our faith. Life became chaotic and before we could realize, our faith and God was put on the back burner.

Today’s sermon reminded me of our first day at church. It’s the church my sister-in-law and her husband attend, so we decided to give it a try. unfortunately we kind of sprung it on the kids, so they were a little apprehensive.

First we took the older kids to sunday school, where we registered them and me and the hubby had to get fingerprints scanned and our pictures taken. I have to say I was quite impressed. Too Bad the kids were not as impressed. When it came time to take their photos tears came streaming down as if we had told them they were getting the flu vaccine. The people who worked there were really nice but my poor kids were just not going to cooperate. We toured, then we politely said maybe next time.

If that wasn’t enough, it was time to walk the 4yo to his preschool class. Silly me thought it would be easier for him since his cousin would be in the same class. That would be a big fat no on the easy front. He screamed and the teacher had to quite literally peel him off of me. Her words were ” just let me take him and run momma!” so that I did.

After what felt like a lifetime, we finally made it to the service. Arriving to church early and now late for the service thanks to the fiasco of trying to get the kids into class. We had sat down for all of five minutes when the oldest stated she was bored. So back to Sunday school we went!

It was right after I dropped the oldest to class and made it back downstairs that I received the text. 4yo is still upset and completely inconsolable. What? my son? So I turned my butt around the corner to the preschool and sure enough, they had pulled my son out of the classroom in an attempt to calm him down with one on one attention, but no. He was still crying inconsolably. The only thing I could do was grab that sweet boy and head back to church. Did I mention we were sitting in the very back row at the top of the stairs? Yep, I had to carry my 4yo all the way back up those steps in heels. Whew! Now with the 4yo in my lap I could get my church on!

The truth is I was anxious. I really didn’t pay that much attention that first day, because all the chaos stressed me out. Part of me wondered if this would all be worth it. Is stressing myself and my kids out worth going through this every Sunday? I wasn’t really sure. But  then I began reading a bible study called Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood. That’s when I began to understand.

I was reading Day four of the first week in the study, when it began talking about bringing our children to God. The author shares an experience a friend had with her children not being welcome in the adult church and explains that it really isn’t a church you would want to attend then. What I learned was, that God wants us to continue to try to show up even when it’s hard. Even when its stressful, we should still try. So we did. My kids sit with me and my husband in the adult services bored, and flopping all over those church pews but they sit quietly and we show up. I hope that one day my kids will feel comfortable attending the children’s services but how wonderful to attend a church that isn’t bothered with children in the service. My parents always sent us to church on a bus and never attended with us so I like that we do this as a family. What a blessing.

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. he said to them ” Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. – Mark 10:13-14,16.

 

 

 

Posted in acceptance

50 things I am thankful for in 2016

If  you have been on social media lately then you have been sure to see posts that say good-bye 2016, and oh I cannot wait to see this year-end! These posts by people who are clearly having a challenging time and probably more recently than at the beginning of the year. Catherine over at Thousand hour mama created a list of what she is grateful for in 2016 and I decided to follow suit. WE have all had our challenges this year, but isn’t it more productive  reflect on what was good about the year? So without further ado I give  you my 50 things of thankful for 2016!

April’s 50 things of thankful for 2016

  1. Books-any books really, I just love the feel of them and diving into someone else’s story.
  2. My Children – I want to strangle the little suckers sometimes but they give me absolute joy
  3. completing my degree
  4. COFFEE– there are no other words necessary here
  5. My coworkers – It’s amazing how working with people who make you laugh constantly just brightens your day
  6. My canon camera – since I can’t get my children to take a decent picture I might as well take them myself and not have to pay someone else.
  7. Not so perfect photos –  see above.. I have some absolute great candid shots of the kiddos ( I am sure I will blackmail them one day with said shots )
  8. Disney world – what a wonderful and magical time
  9. Soccer – I was so sad when the girls dropped ballet, but to my surprise I love watching the kids play soccer
  10. Good friends
  11. My kid’s teachers – we have been blessed with some pretty special ones
  12. Therapist – the oldest has come along way and I know its due to her sessions
  13. vitamins
  14. Art– my fridge is covered with some pretty priceless art
  15. The show This is Us
  16. Cuddles
  17. Reading to my kids – as long as they will let me, I will read to them
  18. Red wine
  19. Date nights – we do not get many of those, but they are always appreciated
  20. Movies
  21. Paying it forward
  22. Spiderman – my son’s absolute hero and alter ego on most days
  23. Pandora music on my phone
  24. Netlfix– Fuller house, Gilmore girls ..Love!!!
  25. Erin Condren Life planner – Its expensive for a planner but brings my joy 🙂
  26. Travel agents – loved that my friend and travel agent planned out our entire vacation, all i had to do was show up!
  27. Daily devotions and bible study – I have recently began a bible study that just gives me a sense of peace every time i read it.
  28. Birthdays – because it’s always a blessing to have one more birthday
  29. Hairdressers – this is a little shallow I know, but for years I went to fantastic sams with so-so results, so now that I have an awesome hairdresser at a nice salon, my hair is awesome and healthier.
  30. Progress– even when small , I am always thankful for progress
  31. Playing board games
  32. Quiet mornings
  33. Saturdays
  34. Genuine laughter
  35. The palm trees in my front yard
  36. chiropractor and massage therapist
  37. My best friend– we don’t always get to hang out, but its like we pick up where we left off every time
  38. My sister-in-law – We are beyond blessed to have her car for our kids when school is on break
  39. Conquering my fear of public speaking – yes, I did a presentation for a national conference and rocked it!
  40. Visiting Washington – oh the history there, I am glad at 35 years old, I was finally able to see it!
  41. Bedtime conversations – it’s the one time of the night we slow down and the kids tell me about their day ( what did you think I was talking about?)
  42. Pretty sunsets
  43. Online shopping – Hello Amazon!
  44. 4yo’s tonsillectomy – so far no more signs of sleep apnea 🙂
  45. Farms– there is just something special about visiting the farm
  46. Grace– because we all need to give ourselves a little grace
  47. My husband – I don’t tell him how much I appreciate him nearly enough
  48. Facebook memories – I just love that it shows you where you were years prior
  49. Cooking – it’s a sense of therapy
  50. Blogging – it’s no secret I have been absent this past year, but am glad to get back in the game

What are you thankful for in 2016?

 

Posted in mommyhood

Some days I am drowning

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You look tired. I cringed as my mother said this to me last night. It’s just a nice way of telling someone they look like crap. The truth is, I was tired last night. I was downright exhausted actually. The 4yo has been super clingy lately and I can’t even go pee without an audience who may or may not be clinging to my leg saying mommy don’t leave. These days I can’t even go pee alone. It is the very essence of exhaustion.

I read another bloggers post today  about the best piece of parenting advice she has received. That advice being to take time for yourself. Something I used to be much better about but somewhere forgotten along the way.

I am not sure if it’s because the husband works so hard and has to get up at 2a.m so he is constantly tired, or if finishing school made me feel as if I couldn’t take anymore time away from the kids but somewhere along the way I stopped taking time for myself. Between 9yo’s cognitive behavior therapy, soccer training, 7yo’s poor grades, 4yo’s sudden clinginess  and attempting to keep up with the house ( although i have lost that battle) i am drowning.

I typically choose words to live by each year instead of a normal new years resolution. I find that setting a goal to lose weight etc. just doesn’t work for me. While I still need to reflect on some words to live by in the year , you can bet they will include something in regards to taking some small amount of daily time for myself. It’s just too important for our physical and mental well-being.

Today I will make a point to spend a few minutes alone to recharge. The funny thing is, at work people think I am an extrovert when the truth is I turn on the extrovert due to necessity but I am completely drained when I get home. I need that time alone to recharge and I suppose the same goes for parents who are extroverts or really just any parent. WE need that alone time to recharge. When the hubby gets home from work, I fully intend to get a cup of coffee by myself and bring a book with me to read. It may only be twenty minutes, but I need it! Even now as i type, the 4yo is yelling “I want momma!” sigh.. guess it’s time to go. Please share your stories with me. I could use the encouragement today.

How do  you take time for yourself while in the depths of child rearing?

 

 

Posted in mommyhood, Uncategorized

Pass me the Holy Water please

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Today was a day like any other. We went to church and then had several errands to run afterwards. We needed to buy a pair of shoes for someone we have sponsored for Christmas this year, and then get some gifts for 7yo’s class Christmas party.

After much exhaustion from attempting to keep the kids occupied and quiet during the service ( a blog post for another day) I decided to let the hubby run inside to pick out the shoes while the kids and I stay in the car. During this errand, 4yo decides he needs to potty. Refusing to go into the mall, I call the husband and tell him that we are running into the closest fast food place to potty. This event goes without incident, thankfully.

I was pretty certain that the hubby would take us home prior to going to target for the 7yo’s class present, however he did not. Deciding to take only the 7yo with him.. well, this set the 4yo off! Silly me thought we just grazed by that whole tantrum phase, but I tell you I have seen a side of my 4yo that I never want to see again!

His loud shrill, of ” I want to go with DADDY!!!” Were loud enough for a deaf person to hear. At one point, I swear I seen his head spin around as he was kicking my seat and screaming like a little asshole.  Silently thinking to myself, where is the damn holy water because my son has obviously been possessed by a demon.

It was a scene that would make anyone lose their shit, and I wanted to lose mine. It was at the point that I thought, this kid is acting like an asshole and he needs a spanking, that I stopped for a second. Again, while thinking in my head ” Are  there  not   times when I am an asshole?” The answer is yes.

I recalled a moment when I was in a boardroom and told a senior VP that he was talking out of both sides. I thankfully caught myself before I took that comment too far, and he could have easily sent me out of the room and disciplined me. Instead, being the good country boy that he is, listened and explained his point of view in a calm and collected manner. You see, in that moment I was the asshole. I am not proud of myself and felt quite embarrassed, but you know what he gave me? He gave me the moment to be  imperfect, to have passion and feel comfortable voicing my passion, disappointment and frustrations. He let me be human.

I can’t tell you why this moment popped in my head at this particular time, but it did. So instead of yanking that child up, and making things worse, I did nothing. I sat there and let him scream and kick and have a meltdown that belonged in the movie the exorcist. I let him be human.

Now, before you go thinking that he got his way, well he didn’t. He stayed safely strapped into his car seat the entire time, and was never allowed to go inside the store. When the screaming and kicking  stopped and I heard nothing but the pitiful sobs of uncontrollable tears rolling down his face, that’s when I unbuckled myself and went to him. I rubbed his cheeks and wiped his tears, all while I was telling him ” I love you.”  Within a minute’s time, he stopped sobbing and I could see the face of my sweet little boy again who was happy and ready to play with his Spider-Man toys patiently waiting for his daddy to return.

He may never remember this moment, but I will for the rest of my life. As I reflect on today’s events, I realize that I want my children to know more than anything, that no matter how they act or what they do, I will always love them. It doesn’t mean that I will agree with their choices or behavior, but I will love them anyways. I hope, that when I feel discouraged or difficult to like my children , that I remember this moment.

I remember my mom doing the same for my brother when he was younger and alive. His choices were not the best and his behavior sometimes worse, but she always defended him. I didn’t get it then, and while I think as a mom, I still would not have defended the behavior, I get it  now. She was not defending it because she agreed with it, she was simply doing what she thought she needed to do in order for her to show her son that no matter what he was loved. I guess what they say is true, When you have children of your own one day, then you will understand. I understand mom,  I understand.. Now.. I just need to keep a little holy water in my purse in case we have another episode….

 

Posted in mommyhood

I get to do this!

I am sitting her drinking my coffee and thinking about the events for the day ahead. The kids are still asleep so it is just me and all the quiet I will not see again until after bedtime tonight. First we have the 8yo and 3yo’s  soccer games. Then we have lunch and with any luck nap time for the youngest while I clean the house a little. After that, its fall festivals and Halloween trunk or treats. We have missed several activities due to our new found love of soccer, so there will be trunk or treating! Busy schedules and party planning be damned!

When people first hear that I work full time, am a student anywhere from full time to part time, and manage a blog, they often look at me and claim I am super woman. The next question almost always follows suit. “How do you do it”?  I typically laugh this off to keep the conversation light and provide my standard response of “I just don’t stop and think about it.”

The truth is, I think about it. I am exhausted and most days seem to daunting. I am not the supermom that everyone seems to think that I am. I cry out of sheer exhaustion. Today, I set my alarm at 4am  on a Saturday to complete homework, because I can barely keep my eyes open at 9pm at night. Today, I am up at 4am to begin house cleaning for my son’s birthday party tomorrow, because tonight I will spend time with my kids.

I read a paragraph two days ago that spoke to me on a level I didn’t realize I needed. The passage talked about feeling overwhelmed by daunting tasks. This one line has changed my way of thinking ( at least for now) for the better. When you feel life is overwhelming you, train your thinking from I have to do this, to I get to do this!

When I think of all the things I get to do, I am overwhelmed with pride and happiness instead of exhaustion and hopelessness. I get to be my children’s mom and I get to go to school. I have spoken to many woman who would like to go to school, but can’t because their spouse isn’t supportive of the decision or there are financial impacts that they just can’t manage right now.

I get to be a working mom who loves her job and her children. I get to work at a job that allows me to put my children first and remains supportive and flexible when I need to attend a seminar at the kids school, or take them to their appointments. I get to take my kids to soccer practice and see the enjoyment on their faces when they kick the ball down the field. I get to do this!

While it has only been a couple of days, these few little words have been life changing! I encourage you to try it when you feel life is daunting. Share your stories and comments below. What do you get to do?

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