Mom: The Comedian

I have a clear early memory of my father standing in the deli department busting out his embarrassing dance moves to one of his favorite songs, that was blaring over the grocery story sound system. With each dance move he kept trying to get his children to join in as they stared back at him with eyes wide open. My two younger siblings didn’t skip a beat as they fell into stride right next to my dancing lunatic of a father. Meanwhile I stood there not knowing how to respond. My heart wanted desperately to convince my head that my dad wasn’t embarrassing and that it would be fun. But I fell into peer pressure and stood beside my “grumpy-too-cool-for-school” older brother. We stood there with our matching crossed arms as we watched the three amigoes clearly have the time of their lives until much to our relief the song ended.

My dad was never one to shy away from a chance to be silly. He was always looking for creative and appropriate ways to live life outside the box. He would join my sister on the floor in the bookstore as she threw a tantrum after he said she couldn’t take home a book. He joined me in my ballet class when I was too nervous to do it all on my own. He would do anything to make his children laugh and bring them comfort. He loved having fun and could careless what people think about him.

He still lives this way. Growing up as a teen I never really felt embarrassed by his antics because I also learned to live by the same motto. Although, unlike my dad, I would never even think about breaking a rule I still loved finding the border of where silly met boring.

When I became a mother I actually didn’t notice my own father’s influence on me until I was caught ballroom dancing with my baby in the toothpaste aisle at our local grocery store when he was only 5 months old.

In my humble opinion, being able to laugh and be silly with our children is as important as being able to comfort them. The art of laughing at yourself and not taking life so serious has really been a lifesaver for me.

My children really love when I am silly. My daughter often asks me to use “the voice” when I am going through a drive thru ordering a coffee or lunch.  I am sure you can tell where that story is going. My son loves when I walk like a cowboy and raise my eyebrows. Cowgirl mom, often makes an appearance when I am demanding they clean the playroom or when I am “herding” them up to bed.

I guess the point of my post is to encourage you moms to let loose. start just by being silly at home. Here are some ideas

  • Hide behind the couch with mini marshmallows. call the kids into the room with an angry voice as if you are going to punish them. Count to 3 if you have to! Then as soon as they enter the room and are within throwing range start chucking marshmallows at their faces. It is strangely satisfying. They get so distracted by trying to find them all and eat them that sometimes I just keep chucking them as my own therapy.
  • Dance. Everywhere.
  • open your car windows and take your pony tail out and pretend to freak out because your hair is going to blow away. start to panic and try and use one had to keep it all on your head. (my daughter almost peed her pants she was laughing so hard, who knew)
  • Sing everywhere you go as if you are in a musical. Huge hit with the frozen lovers in my family.
  • Forget how to make dinner and get them to tell you and help you do it.
  • Forget basically anything and ask for their help. I did it once with my debit card at the grocery story and was shocked when my son knew 3 of the 4 digits to my card!! Time to change the password.
  • This is my personal favorite. Pretend to be a detective and spend the entire day looking for your spouse. (who is clearly at work) We solve clues and follow trails and it of course lasts all day and man do they love it.

I actually have a bunch more but I think you get the idea.

So this mother’s day enjoy your children. Do not take life so seriously. I am going to use this day as my way to get back at my family with some pretty good pranks. Who says it has to be all flowers and breakfast in bed. My goal is to embarrass my family so much that in the near future they take me on a vacation  (knowing the kind of torment I am capable of) just so we can spend mother’s day somewhere where they do not know anyone:) Jokes on them!

 

-Lioness

Overwhelmingly Blessed : figuring out adoption

Adoption. 

So many emotions and so much meaning packed into such a small word.

A word that provides so much hope for one person can always be a word that is pack full of sorrow and brokenness for an other.

I struggle with this. I struggle with thinking that my future children will have felt more pain and sorrow and loss than I can ever understand. It is nothing I have ever dealt with. My heart aches as I slowly come to the realization that I can not just kiss and cuddle their hurt away.

Overwhelming.

That is the word that has crept into my daily vocabulary when it comes to my life. Dealing with the mass loads of appointments and paperwork that I fit in between my children’s preschool and activity schedules. Spending spare moments packing up boxes as we prepare to move to a bigger house. A house that can fit our growing family. A house that is more than double the one we are currently in. How am I going to clean that place let alone fill it with furniture? Overwhelmingly blessed.

Blessed.

I had a dream when I was younger to work with orphans. I never really knew what that would look like or how it would pan out. When I met my husband it started to become clear. Adoption became a reality when I said “I do” to the love of my life.

Now that I am walking the road on our way to adopting our next two children I often wonder why this was a dream for me? Why would I so long to walk such a hard road. Why do I find so much peace when I am filling out paperwork? Why do I want to make life more complicated for myself? Why do I want to make it messy? Why do I want to spend my money this way? Why? Because it is the right thing to do? Nope. that can not be it. I am not that selflessly motivated.

Why?

Like everything in my life, when I dig down deep into the root of why I am motivated , it all comes down to my love for God and His Love for me. Such an overwhelming, blessed, adoptive love He has given me. He has accepted all my brokenness and mess that I have created and that was created for me and LOVES me anyways. He has accepted me into His family with no strings attached. He has called me to be the very best I can be and has promised to never leave me or forsake me. He has given me everything. He has sacrificed everything for me. He has paid the ultimate cost for my life. He has asked in return that I will Love Him and love others.

Adoption is putting that love into action. Adoption is following what God has called us to do. I know it is not simple. But nothing good ever is. I know it will be so hard. I will cry and wonder what I have done. But I am holding tight to the fact that God probably does the same with me. I make so many mistakes and He probably sits back and wonders what He has done to deserve having such a horrible failure as a daughter. I am owed nothing. God has given me everything.

By opening up our family and our home to children who have neither, we are following in the exact same footsteps as the Lord who saved me. We are called to care for the orphans and the widows. Practical Love. Practical Needs. I may feel that this is overwhelming, and it would be if I was alone. But I am not. We are not. God has our family in His hands and right now two of our children are waiting to be invited in.

 

Keep us in your prayers as we send out our paperwork next week. Gods timing. Our hearts. It is always my favorite part when I do what I can and then leave it in Gods Hands. He Never Disappoints and always goes above and beyond.

 

-lioness, waiting for her Cubs

#StepitUp challenge

We were waiting for some chairs we ordered, and my little man was being bored and squirmy. So I started doing this! I am not sure if I did it for 10 min (but it felt like I did) so I videoed after I realized that it would be good to post:) so that was me tired after:) and my son wanting to keep doing to forever.
Enjoy!

Owl

Competitive Complainers

Does anyone else try and do something nice for their spouse only to then have it all back fire in their face? Then you are left feeling full on resentment when their spouse doesn’t say “thank you” or try and return a similar gesture?

No?

Just me?

I am the only failure out here who just doesn’t quite get this marriage thing. Am I the only one who has created selfish bad habits and has yet to admit that I am wrong? Well I do know at least some other person who has these same bad habits. Its unfortunate that we also happen to be married.

Why do we keep doing the same thing over and over again after watching it fail and lead to some pretty lame fights for the marriage record books?

Here is what a common fight in our house looks like.

I wake up at 3 am, because our three year old has to go pee. As I am getting snuggled back into my own bed feeling triumphant that my three year old is not also curling up next to me. I hear my sweet sons whimpers as he rustles around in his sheets, clearly having a bad dream. I reluctantly drag my tired body out of bed and go comfort him. All I hear in the dark rooms of our upstairs is my husband’s snoring.

“He needs the sleep” I tell myself. Congratulating and Justifying my actions. I really am making an amazing wife choise. My husband works all day and provides for us so I can live my dream of staying home with our kiddos. It is only fair that I get up. Besides I can nap later when they do.

I must truly be sleep deprived to think my children will let me nap.

7am roles around and my 4 year old bounds into our room announcing the time as if we had hired him for a wake up call. My husband says…. “shhh. Some of us are still sleeping. Go see your mother.”

Cue: Volcano eruption and lightning storm. Throw in a few tornados and maybe King Kong knocking down a few buildings.

“What? Are you kidding me? I have been up all night with these two. I have let you sleep. YOU are tired? How can YOU be tired? ” – I declare, as if sleeplessness can only be possessed by one parent per night, and I have reserved all the rights to that title until the day our last child moves out.

Well, there goes my nice generous considerate offer of letting my beloved hard working husband sleep in with no strings attached.

There are always strings attached.

How come I always need to be thanked and feel as if when I do some amazing gesture, such as getting up at night with my own children, that I need to then be treated like a Queen?

My husband and I took a marriage course with our church a few years ago and it was based on the book study of “Love and Respect”. We both loved the book and how it started so many good conversations between us regarding communication and expectations. We learned to actually listen to each other’s responses and how to spend quality time with each other in the ways that the other person needed. It was actually harder than i thought. We practiced putting the other person’s feelings first. In those moments (like the story up above) when it is hard to love and serve the other person then we are to focus on God and serve God by serving our spouse.

Life with God in the center of it, is work. I find it so easy to resort back to my sulky selfish personality. I feel like my own personal “rest face” is selfishness. It is my go to. There is a fine line between taking care of yourself and caring only for yourself. Finding that Balance is hard. Especially as a full time stay at home mom. I am in control of everyone in my families lives. I make the rules. My reward is feeling like I have earned some quality “Me” time and that my family better give it to me.

Please do not read this the wrong way. I am a firm believer that all moms need quality “Me” time spent doing things they love. Us moms, need this quality time, no matter what it looks like, to become reenergized and better equipped to face our daily lives. Its pretty much an non negotiable in my marriage.

For some of my friends this quality time comes in the form of going on hikes and spending time in nature. Something as simple as a morning walk to watch the sunrise brings them to a whole new level of happiness. For others, this looks like a day at the spa getting pampered or a coffee and gab session with a friend. Whatever your way of becoming refreshed, please do it! For everyone’s sake, take the time.

Where I believe the line gets blurred is when we turn our much needed “Me time” into a way for us to manipulate our complaining. Motherhood is hard. There are stages and ages that are more trying for some than others. There are moments in the day that we dread and there are is so much unknown that we are faced with. Constantly being challenged by our lack of knowledge on a subject (tantrums and lying) and the repetition of the things that annoy us (fighting over toys, screaming, and not cleaning up after themselves, waking up all night long). When we use these hard days as reason to give up or run away or complain is what I believe makes life harder for all involved.

If your spouse came home almost every day complaining about their job and their boss and how much work they had to do and how it never ends and their coworkers seem to have it better and they just want to get away from it all. What would your response be? I would totally tell my sweet husband to quit his Job and find a new one. Obviously it is not the place for him.

This topic is a huge one. This topic of competitive complaining hits us where we are at, almost daily. Trying to one up each other with our hardships and our business. It happens in friendships, it happens in marriages, it even happens between parent and child. The learning curve of how to be a wonderful spouse and parent is huge and I am not sure anyone will ever perfect it. I know I won’t.

I know what I can do tho. I can have open communication with my husband and friends. I know I can ask for help when I am feeling like my “mom tank” is empty. I can be friends with people who lift me up and do not participate in the “complaining olympics”. I can take alone time. Most importantly I can talk to God. He hears us. He knows.

Do not bottle up what you are feeling. Those are real feelings and they are overwhelming and can cause you a lot of hardship if not dealt with. Those feelings are legitimate and worthy of being expressed. Find some safe people to share them with. Seek help from mentors and professionals when necessary. Start a blog. Seriously. That one has been huge for me. I just write down my mess for all to read and I feel free. My children may shut this blog down when they finally know how to read but until then I will keep working out my hearts concerns through broken up thoughts and words.

Knowing yourself is as, if not more, important than knowing your children and spouse. Spend the time to know your triggers and your weaknesses. Also get to know what brings you joy. That one is the ultimate healer. The best thing I ever did was get to know who I am with God by my side leading me. Knowing who He is helped me to know who I am. Knowing what He desires for me helped me to learn how to prioritize things in my life. I am a work in progress. Taking it one day at a time. Everyday learning and everyday failing. The point is, I am learning and not settling on just being a complainer.

 

-Lioness

 

p.s I absolutely love my husband. He is amazing and such a perfect match for me. I give God all the Glory for that. God knows me better than I know myself. That is why He brought my hubby into my life. A life that I am so blessed to be living.

 

 

sweet dreams my sweet boy

Dear sweet boy of mine,

As I sit here holding your hand humming your favorite hymn, to help you fall back asleep after being called into your room by your cries, I can not help but stare at you. Your whole entire life has only been 4.5 years of mine. All your days fit into my entire highschool career. Yet, I feel as though I have been doing this mommy thing my whole life.

Your sweet little eyes blink while they are closed and you take in a deep breath as you drift off to dream world. That deep sigh brings me to tears as I remember the doctors rushing around you frantically just moments after you were born and torn away from my chest. Completely distracted by nurses and doctors attending to me and asking me questions I was unaware of the lack of breathing you had yet to make. Your first cry was short and then became labored and I was later informed that you needed help to breath for 11 minutes before you were able to do it on your own again. How close we came to that day being the worst day of our lives.

I put my hand on your chest to feel you breath in.

While my hand raises up and down on your sweet little chest wrapped in the blanket you picked out because it has forest animals on it, so many memories are brought to mind. Memories of us holding your hands so you could walk around church while the pastor was preaching, because you wouldn’t stay in nursery and you wouldn’t sit still on our laps. Memories and our first swimming lessons with you. You would scream if we tried to put your face in the water yet you didn’t want to be held so you would wiggle out of our arms and inevitably submerge your face. Then you would cuddle up close as we warmed up in the hot tub. You would slowly drift off to sleep as I chatted away with the other moms and dads, each of us bragging about how amazing our little swim champions were.

Memories are amazing and horrible all in one beautiful package. They bring up moments of joy and triumph as well as pain and suffering. They are a picture of our past and cause us to take glimpses into our future. My memories often make me dream of what you will be like when you are older. Will you be the man I have been praying for you to become? Will you be honest? Will you put others first? Will you be an amazing chef and a handy man around the house? Will you marry? Will you invite me over for dinner? Will you call me? I know I am sounding needy but this is coming from the mom who has still yet to sleep a full nights sleep since the day you were born.

I am the first to rush to you when you are crying at night. I am the one who helps you in the washroom when you can’t find the light. I schedule all your outings and appointments and playdates. I decide what you eat and when you eat it. I chose your clothes and even when you put them on and when you take them off. I decide if we play outside or inside. I choose when you get a haircut and how it is done. The ball is in my court, some might say. Your days are controlled by my calendar. But as I learn to give you space will you decide to invite me along? Will you allow me to be apart of your days when they are no longer under my control?

Time is such a thief.

You will grow and my importance will diminish. Once you would have come to be for the answers to a question but now you will go to a friend. Once you would have cried on my shoulder when you skinned a knee or someone wasnt treating you as they are supposed to. Now you will deal with it alone. Once I was your everything. At one time I was all you needed and you couldnt imagine life without me. I do not want to even think of how that might change. I am going to be honest, my sweet boy, it breaks my heart to even consider that one day you will shy away from my embrace. One day you will stop running into my arms or plead me to tickle you until you cry. One day you will stop telling me your “cuddle tank” is empty and that it needs to be filled up. One day you will not hold my hand as we cross the road. One day you will stop begging me to play with you.

I can honestly say I am not ready for that day and I am thankful it is not tomorrow.  I am excited for who you are going to become and what impact you are going to have on our world and the lives of those around you. For now I just want to keep you and your cuddles all to myself.

You are my greatest accomplishment and you are not mine to keep. From the day you were born I have been slowly training myself to let you go. Slowly letting you gain your independence. You are my Son. You are a little piece of my heart unprotected walking around in this world. This world scares me. Loving you makes me so vulnerable to be broken for life. Loving you opens my heart to potential for the greatest loss any Parent can have.

My healthy, strong, brave, creative, thoughtful, and magnificent little boy. You will one day be a man. Will all these moments spent making memories with you will be all I have from our relationship? Moments to cherish. Moments that I hope will take over my dreams and spiral around like an amazing documentary of the life of a man who started as a sweet little boy curled up on this mother’s lap after a bad dream.

Sleep sweet boy and hold my hand. Although my arm is going numb and I am longing for some alone time. There are enough days in my future , God willing, that are spent alone without you in them. I will look past all the chaos and frustration I may have and just cling to your tiny hand while it still fits inside of mine. I will let go of today in hopes of a new tomorrow where I can be the very best mom you deserve and you can grow into the very best Man God has designed you to be.

 

good night sweet boy, good night.

 

-Lioness.

#StepitUp challenge idea

My husband was into TABATA for a bit, and I found this beauty under my car the other day and decided to use some of the things I learned at the gym. 
I did this on my lunch break and thought it would be helpful for those looking for something to do! 

My son also enjoyed joining me later 

Owl    
 

I am Beautiful, In every single way!

Do you ever read something  that challenges how you view the world or life and it causes you to immediately do a self check to see if you are guilty of it? This happens to me a lot. I will read an article on parenting from a mom who has been doing it for more years than me and I will be inspired and challenged to change my ways. It works for 3 days and then I need to read another article.

Lately I am finding my world has been consumed with my weight. Just being honest. I constantly am catching myself in a reflection of the hallway mirror or the microwave or a window and wondering, “What happened?” The ironic thing is that I have never been more happy and more fulfilled in my entire life. So what is happening?

I layed in bed last night thinking about this dilemma. Why am I so down on myself when I look in the mirror but so healthy in every other area. Yes, I consider looking at myself in the mirror and not seeing a pretty face looking back as unhealthy. It is extremely unhealthy. It is poison. I hate that I do that. I have read article after article, and even written a few, on this same topic. Not being happy with you reflection. Promoting positive self talk. Living healthy. Being a good example to our children. Loving yourself where you are at. But if I am honest, this is just not settling in my mind. These articles, while super motivating, are not sticking to my soul. They are not becoming my reality. They are causing me to rise and then CRASH!

I once learned, while taking my early childhood education, that when you go to teach children you will apply 20 percent of what you learned in class and the rest comes from your life experience. If you had a mom that yelled and a dad who was super stricted these areas would seep out into the workplace when you are working with children. We were warned to take a deeper look at what we would be like with children. Professionals could only “pretend” for so long and then the true colours would come out. That isn’t to say that all people with bad childhoods will never make good teachers. It was just a warning. Make sure you are continually doing self checks. Know when you need to take a vacation day or just a deep breath. We were taught self awareness and emotional regulation. Working with children is exhausting and can really bring out your true colours. The sweetest of people can be brought to tears or fits of rage by one disobedient 4 year old.

So where am I going with this? Well, this concept of our upbringing playing such a huge role on our personality and future behaviors sparked a “eureka” moment for me while I lay in bed last night. How was I brought up? My parents were amazing. Like seriously. Hands down fantastic. But… (the dreaded “but”) Diets and self hating was all around me. Not just from my parents but from almost every grown up in my life. Grandparents comparing Cousins in their size. Family friends talking about losing the last 10 pounds of baby weight. Radio Commercials like Jenny Craig that had you humming their phone number throughout the day. It was all around us. I remember seeing my own mother struggling with trying to get fit so that she could be happy and healthy. Why do those two words always go together?

Happy and Healthy are not married. You can be super physically Healthy and not be happy and you can be a very happy person and not be physically healthy. Now this is not to say that there are not people out there that aren’t happy and healthy. I know a bunch. I just really think these two words need to be used separately.

Being Healthy is a matter of the mind and the body. Finding a place where you are energetic and fueling your body with the right foods and where you look at yourself in the mirror and see your beautiful blue eyes and appreciate the colour of your hair and see the beauty that is in you no matter the size or shape of the body you are in. Where you look at yourself and first speak love. Learning how to eat proper foods in the right amount is important. Not to make you skinny and a size 2. It is important to help you gain the right amount of energy to keep up with your daily life. Having a Healthy heart is important for a long life. Not getting out of breath after running up the stairs is valuable in its own.

This Morning I went to a moms group where the topic was Beauty. I had started writing this post and had to leave part way through to make it to the program on time. I had no idea what the topic would be and the entire time I was forcing back tears as we discussed inner beauty and what makes people beautiful. I was blown away over how much this has been coming up in my life and the ultimate cherry on the cake was when we were shown a Dove commercial Video that had woman picking between walking through the door that had the word “Average” written on top and the word “Beautiful” Written on the other door. Which door would I have walked through yesterday? Which door will I walk through the rest of my life?

Beautiful! I am Beautiful. I may not measure up to society’s version of beauty. But I sure do know that I am beautiful. What makes me beautiful is that I am Kind. I am compassionate. I try my very best to think of other People. I love deeply. I listen intently. I make mistakes but for the most part I own up to them. I share. I am creative.I am honest. These are areas in my life that I really have been working on letting shine through. Up until today I was doing it as a way of Serving God and others around me. But now I know that it was all in training me to be beautiful. Physically I have never weighed as much as I do right now and I am pretty sure my hair has never been so gross. But I am also the fittest I have ever been. I can run a half marathon and do 10 pushups in a row. I can carry both my kids up the stairs to bed and not be out of breath. I can play a game of soccer with my son and out run him. I can go on hikes with friends and not need to hte nap the rest of the day. I can wake up early and go for a power walk with a friend and still support my family throughout their day and run my daycare and not need a nap. I can climb a tree to help trim it and not need a ladder.  I am strong. I am beautiful. I am amazing.

I am not listing all these things so you can see how amazing I am. I am listing them to help you search deep inside and find the things that YOU are AMAZING at. What are they? I am going to write mine down and hang them in my bedroom and in my kitchen.

I look at the woman around me and I see so much beauty. My friends are honestly the most beautiful people I know. You ask the reasons why and I could go on for days and most of the reasons would be inner beauty attributes. There is so much kindness in my group of friends. I have no idea how much they weigh or what size of clothes they wear. So why do I even care about that with myself? My friends won’t stop being my friends if I am a size 22. They may stop being my friends if I am rude and mean. What makes my friends my friends is how I treat them.

This whole new idea of beauty is not revolutionary. I did not just stumble upon some hidden mystery to solve all life’s problems. But my eyes being opened to this new way of looking at beauty is going to change my life. I want my children to remember me as kind, compassionate, and fun. I want them to remember playing soccer with me and going on hikes with them. I do not want to sit on the side lines so I will continue to eat whole foods and practice healthy habits. But I do not want my children to remember which diet plans I followed and which ones I failed at. I want more for my children. I want them to have a healthy outlook on their body image and to have a well rounded way of thinking about healthy. I want them to be happy. I want them to be kind. I am pretty sure most people don’t sit up at night and pray their children are skinny when they grow up. I sure hope that is not a prayer.

I have been praying over my children since before I even knew I was pregnant. I pray that they will be kind, loving, compassionate, fair, helpful, unselfish. I pray that they will find friends who will compliment them and that they will find friendships that will challenge them in their faith. I pray for their relationship with God. I pray for their future job and school and potential spouse. I pray for their salvation. I never have once prayed they would be skinny and gorgeous. My children are Gorgeous, and so am I!

breakaway

-Lioness

 

 

Let's Start to #StepitUp

Hello fellow humans!

Today while I was getting up this morning, my 2 1/2 year old boy was just wanting to sit or climb all over me. I was getting frustrated because I want to JUST drink my coffee in peace. BUT he gave me an idea. I asked him if he wanted to go on my shoulders so I could exercise, he gladly agreed and let me put him parallel to my shoulders and arms like a Bulgarian bag. And there, in our living room, in my pajamas, holding my sons legs and arms, I started to do some Lunges and Squats.

I had a Eureka moment!  He was so quiet, he kept giving me passionate “go mommy” and “again again!” I kept going for a solid 10 or so minutes. It felt so nice.

 

SO here is my initiative, My sister and I will be doing a #StepitUp activity/program/initiative ending May 31st

here are the guidelines

  1. spend 10 minutes a day doing small challenges, either lunges at home, or maybe not watching netflix before doing 10 minutes of squats, planks, or army crawls. the minimum is 10 minutes, but you can do however long you want. If your like myself, and go to the gym 3-4 times a week than great! use that as your ten minute challenge.
  2. try to incorporate your kids (if you have them), or a spouse or a friend. make this fun 🙂
  3. this #StepitUp initiative is for 6 days a week, so rest one day. I will most likely be resting on Sundays. but choose a day that works for you
  4. Post it! hashtag, add it to our comments during the week, spread this love. the Goal is to encourage moving, being fun and finding a new way to balance life and working out.
  5. don’t stress out about it. I know we are sometimes so eager to do this large plans, work out, diet, make sure we are burning calories galore. Believe me, I am trying to keep my goal to have endurance over the “perfect” body. #StepitUp is just a way to see what you can do for 10 minutes and to see how you can incorporate working out daily without feeling like it is a daunting task. Who knows, it might lead to you wanting to do more than ten minutes a day, and possibly creating healthier lifestyle choices.

I would love to share this with whoever wants to join! and please post whatever you are doing. Encourage each other, come of with awesome home ideas (10  min yoga on youtube, playing tag in your back yard, doing a push up everytime you child wants you to pick them up, maybe having to do planks during commercials or something)

 

I hope you want to join my sister and I on this adventure we call life

-Owl

Letters to myself

You know how people often consider what advice they would give their past selves? Like what you would say to yourself to warn them about the future events coming. Or things like.. “Don’t take yourself so seriously” or “don’t worry, you will get over him and find the love of your life.”

Today I was thinking of what kind of advice I would have given my future self. What advice would I have offered to myself 8 years down the road while I stood there in my wedding dress about to marry the man of my dreams? Or when I was making the decision of what career and school to choose. What would i have wanted myself to not forget or to hold on to? First thought is, I would have advised myself to not loan any clothes to my roommates… (just kidding ladies you were amazing). What would I have actually said?

I think back to when I was 22 years old and about to marry the man of my dreams whom I had been dating for 5 years, 3 months and 2 days. I probably would have said:

“Dear 30 Year old Jessica,

The wait better have been worth it! Ha! I know it is. He is a great boy. I mean MAN! I just want to make sure you remember a few things that are important to me. I want to make sure you remember to always have fun. I keep looking and seeing all these married grown ups in my life who do not seem to be having fun with their spouse. It is all about girls nights and bills and mortgages and family holidays. You are finally getting to be married to the man of your dreams. Don’t forget to have fun with him.

I also hear children are distracting and apparently sleep deprivation can cause you to go crazy. In the midst of all the changes life brings please still have adventures with the man you chose to spend the rest of your life with. I am so excited to wake up next to him. Do not take that for granted or I will punch you in the face. Don’t make him sleep on the couch because you are angry. Work it out and then cuddle up in that bed you have been dreaming about sharing with him. Also, Do not become a grumpy old lady! That is all. I am off to start a crazy adventure with the man I have been waiting for.

Love, 22 Year old Jessica.”

As I stand here at the cusp of another life changing adventure that I know nothing about, I am find myself feeling giddy and scared all at the same time. I often think about how one day I will look back at the “Pre Adoption Mama” and think. “Oh you silly girl. why did you even worry about that?” Or “oh you naive Lady, you did not give this any thought, did you? ” I was just talking with an adoptive Mom of 5 children and I was sharing my heart and what I was going through. I went to a dinner with 15 other moms who have already gone through the adoption process or are currently going through it.  I sat down at that long table just taking in all the conversations around me. So many crazy stories of God’s faithfulness and real life miracles. So much love. So much compassion. So much Grace. I really felt like a little grade 3 student who had stumbled into a High school math class. What is going on? So many questions and I don’t even know where to start.

So, as I stand here at the beginning of a new adventure, what advice do I want to give my future self? This took me a while to think about. What is important to me now? What don’t I want myself to forget?

“Dear Future mother of 4 Miracles,

I stand here as a mother of 2 longing to be a mother of 4. You are so blessed. This is something you have been longing and waiting for and now you are standing in your miracle. Before I forget what it is like to not know very much about adoption I want to remind you of a few things I never want you to forget.

Although, you know who your children are now, and you can see their faces and cuddle and kiss them, there was once a time where you did not. You longed for and prayed and cried over just the thought of your children. You would lay in bed and imagine what their faces would look like and what their personality would be like. Your favorite thing to imagine was the feeling you would feel the moment you first laid eyes on them. There was once a time when you had no idea who they were. Remember this when you are frustrated and at a loss of what to do with their bad behaviors or their low grades at school or when they leave the toilet seat up or forget to close the back door and the neighborhood racoon family wanders in. (I feel like that will happen to me) 

I also want to talk to you about letting go of your need to be the “hero” and the “mentor” in all your children’s lives. You are their mother and that is a huge important role but that does not mean that you need to be doing this all alone. Keep investing in that village you have surrounding you and, for heaven’s sake, let them help! Let them clean your house, or take the kids to the park. Let them invest their time into your children as well. They have been praying alongside you when all your children were just a dream waiting to come true. Allow your family and friends to rejoice in the miracle that is your 4 children. 

I know your husband didn’t do a lot of the paper work and it was like pulling teeth trying to get him to remember to get his part of the work done, but he loves those kids too. He prays for them. He longs for them. He sits with you at night and hypothetically comes ups with ideas of how you will manage camping with 4 children. He looks over 7 seater vehicle brochures to see which one will best suit your growing family. He has invested in a bigger home for your growing family. It may seem like you are the one doing all the work but he is providing a home and a life where your dreams are coming true. Yes, you are home with those kiddos and they are driving your crazy. But let me remind you. You wanted this. He listened.

Have fun! Have fun with your family and your husband. Do not spend all your time disciplining and worrying about raising your children “correctly”. Ditch the mommy guilt and go dance in the grocery aisle to try and embarrass your 4 children! Do it!! oh I wish I could do that right now. Go for a family bike ride and get ice cream for dinner. Just have fun. You are living the life, no matter how messy, that you have been praying for since you knew you wanted to be a mother. Enjoy it.

The number one thing I want you to always remember is “Don’t stop praying”. Right now I am living by prayers and prayers alone. (ok and some food and water too). Raising money and waiting for doors to open has been trying both physically and spiritually but God has never let us down. He has always provided. Your prayers may look more practical and less miraculous, but keep them coming. Spend time with the God who has listened and answered so many of your prayers with miracle after miracle. Pray for your children to have mentors and people to walk alongside them when you can not be there. Continue to pray for their developing friendships and their future spouses. Pray for their own miracles to happen in their lives. Pray for their own personal relationships with God. Just do not stop praying because the God who got you where you are has always been faithful. 

I am super excited to see the series of miracles that makes Me turn into You.

Love always,

Naive Mother of 2 little miracles and two more I have yet to cuddle.”

 

I am not sure how the future mother of 4 is going to respond to my weird letter. But I know one thing, just like i feel about myself at age 22 premarriage, I will not even be able to count the miracles and blessings that happened along the way.

 

-Lioness

 

 

 

 

Thrifty Childhood

I love watching my children completely involved in their imagination play. So much personality and passion comes out. The things they are learning in their daily life come out while they are playing and concepts they are just figuring out work their way into their dialogue. My daughter is constantly giving her dolls time outs for yelling and getting out of bed at bedtime. My sons playmobile characters seem to be getting caught playing with weapons only to explain that they were just squirting water or bubbles, so its ok:)

My children tend to get caught up in a particular theme and go full on letting their imaginations take it as far as I will let them. For a while they were constantly rearranging our play room so it was exactly like a house. Playing mommy and daddy and little puppy. Then it emerged into what they referred to as “puppy town” where everyone was a puppy and had their own dog houses (made from cardboard boxes). Puppy town lasted for so long that I know never want a dog. Currently my children are into “Camping”. We personally just started camping again as a family after waiting out the winter months. So it was no surprise to me when they decided to go on imaginary camping trips.

With the constant change in imaginative play, as a mother wanting to help foster their play, I feel as though i need to help provide material to let them continue to play happily. This can feel impossible. At first I would go on Pinterest and look for ideas. A simple idea would quickly escalate into a project that was too overwhelming for me to even start. By the time i could settle on a simple plan they had moved onto a new idea.

My daughter and I often find ourselves with a few hours to kill as we wait for my son to finish preschool. We roam the malls with the mommy stroller groups and elderly mall walkers, just waiting for the stores to open. Walking into the Lego Store or the Disney store really gets your creative juices flowing and I find myself wanting to buy something to add to their imaginative play collection.

First things first. I can not afford that. No one can! Secondly, that puts a lot of pressure on that toy to get used for a long time. No toy can live up to that kind of pressure. I basically only spend money in those stores if I am buying a Birthday Present for a friends kid.

When it comes to children’s toys and clothes and books I am a firm believer in USED!

Used toys are amazing for so many reason.

Best reason so far is there is absolutely no pressure for your children to use it. I am not constantly trying to justify the amount of money I spent on that toy to my husband and friends. Who cares if they only use it for 2 hours and then it sits on the shelf for 2 months. it only cost me 50 cents at the thrift store. I can just pass it on or donate it. Same deal goes for clothes.

My children grow so fast and whenever I spend a lot of money on a clothing item it tends to not be worth it. Especially with my son. He grows really fast. When he was little he actually skipped a whole shoe size. Who can keep up with that? We are super blessed to have donors for both my children to receive hand me downs from. I can not even express how much I appreciate getting that box or garbage bag of used clothes. Especially since i feel absolutely no obligation to use the items in it and then feel so much freedom in spending money on that one shirt I have been wanting from the independent mom and pop shop online. I use the hand me downs to create their wardrobe and then spend money on the pieces to fill the gaps. I love second hand clothing stores for getting my children their shoes and boots and outdoor play gear.

Children are tiring but they do not need to be costly. I can justify the money i save on clothes and put it towards signing them up for activities instead. My absolute favorite thing about buying used and inheriting hand me downs is that I get to pay it forward. Passing on our well loved clothes to my sister or my friends brings me a lot of joy. I also do not care if they use them or not. They get to do the same thing I did, pick the pieces they like and pass on the rest. It’s a beautiful circle of life.

So go explore your local second hand and thrift stores. Find those hidden gems.

Here are a few items I have bought second hand that my children have absolutely loved and used on a daily basis.

  • puppy leashes (only allowed to put on their wrists)
  • flash lights
  • mini lanterns
  • compass
  • magnify glass
  • plastic tweezers (picking up bugs)
  • plastic jars (storing bugs)
  • spoons (sturdy shovels)
  • notebooks and pens
  • measuring tape
  • binoculars
  • baskets
  • old trucks and boats that were inside toys to play with outside.

Those are just the few things I have found lately at the thrift stores in my area.

As their interests change I will go again with a new mission in mind.

Spending 3 dollars for a few items every few months to gain some well deserved “me” time while my children are entertained is a good investment in my mind.  If it doesn’t work, oh well. I can use those spoons to feed them instead:)

 

Happy Mothering!