Sunday, June 26, 2016

Reasons not to take a 2 year old on vacation.

We just got back from 4 days in Dallas on a short family vacation. On more than one occasion Hubby and I would look at each other and say "I'm never taking a 2 year old on vacation again!" The list of reasons we will not do this goes a little like this... 1. gas station bathrooms 2. ballpark bathrooms 3. waterpark bathrooms 4. ballpark bathrooms... again. And let's not forget the meltdown at The Melting Pot.

On the way to Dallas we stop to get gas and 2 of us needed a potty break. I got back to the van and checked the toddler's diaper and decided to change him in hopes that he would be asleep when we got to the hotel at 10:30 pm (I'll just pause here while you laugh that I can still be so naive after 3 children). My dear 2 year old who is potty training decided he wanted to "peepee on the rocks" aka the parking lot. No big deal right? He's two. Except there is a police officer who just pulled someone over on the other side of the van. Now I don't know if a 2 year old peeing in the parking lot is illegal but I did not want to find out. So we went in the gas station. My son is too short to stand up and pee in the potty so I had to hold him. And figuring out how to aim someone else's pee in the potty...well let's just say it wasn't easy!

Lackluster Potty Training: The Horrors or potty training and the ridiculous hype of speed training.  Being Momma blog.: I really had intended to take a break from potty training while on vacation but my son is just getting the hang of this thing and has discovered if he says he needs to go potty I will drop everything and take him.So when he got bored at the Rangers ballgame (he's 2, his attention span is about 5 minutes and the game lasted 3 hours) he would yell every 5 seconds that he had to go potty. So it went something like this: look in every potty stall and pick the one you want, wait no not that one let's look again, pick the one with the most pee on the seat (probably left from some other toddler who had trouble with aim), cry when mommy cleans pee off the seat because he wanted to clean pee off the seat, refuse to potty because he did not get to clean pee off the seat and sit down in the dirty floor, then, scream and yell when mommy insists on washing his hands because he touched all manner of disgusting things in the bathroom. I convinced Hubby to take him once. Only once. His words "I can't even tell you the disgusting the things he touched and did. I'm never taking him again. Let him pee in the diaper."

Day 2 at the Rangers game he actually went pee in the potty. And I managed to get him to hurry up by promising nachos when he was done. Of course he had to share his nachos with his brother. Which was unacceptable. Cue another meltdown.

meme | Minute For Mom: The Melting Pot Meltdown was one for the record books. We went to the potty 3 times in 2 hours. We walked outside. My food was over cooked because he insisted on sticking cooked food back in the cooking pot. By the time dessert came and he commandeered the strawberries. Our poor waiter brought 2 more bowls of strawberries because as he said "if this will make him happy I will bring strawberries all night long." He and his wife are expecting their first child this fall. Pretty sure my toddler made him question if that was a good idea. Hubby and I  agreed we were not going back to the hotel until the 2 year old was asleep. We would drive around Arlington for an hour if needed. Fortunately he gave in to sleep quickly and we threatened the other two with all manner of bad consequences if they woke the baby. For the love of all things good in the world DO NOT WAKE THE BABY!


And so it's a good thing this kid is our last because we don't want to take a 2 year old on vacation again!

Check back in the next few days and I'll provide reviews of Legoland, the Dallas World Aquarium and Hurricane Harbor.

Friday, June 24, 2016

How I (accidentally) taught my children to pray

I don't remember when my first child began to pray at meals but I remember when we started bed time prayers.  She was almost four and she had stayed with the same sitter since she was 8 weeks old.  We had changed to a daycare and she was having trouble adjusting.  She loved playing with the other kids and learning at class time but nap time was not her favorite. Drop off had become a battle and we had tried everything to get her to stop crying every morning.  One night in a moment of desperation (isn't that how we often come to God) I told her we would pray for God to go with her to daycare so she would not be alone.  After a few days of bedtime prayers the crying stopped.  And a new bedtime routine had begun.  As situations in life came up we would pray about them and slowly added people to our prayer list.  Our 3rd child is beginning to pray at meals and here are a few things I have learned.

  1. Pray in front of your children. Kid watch what you do and they copy what they see.  Our 2 year old has recently started saying "I pay! I pay!" (I pray) at meals. He has watched his brother and sister pray at meals for 2 1/2 years. He knows this is what we do and he wants to participate like any other member of the family.
  2. Keep it simple. We start with "God, thank you for this food. Amen." Or at bedtime "Thank you for this day." These are words toddlers can pronounce and are probably familiar with. It doesn't take much time so you won't lose their attention. As kids get older I try to ask them to think of one thing they are thankful for and to thank God for that person or thing. I hope to instill an attitude of gratefulness. 
  3. Don't force them. We ask " Do you want to pray?" If the answer is " no" it's no big deal. I don't ever want to force my children to pray. 
  4. Praying with your children will change your prayer time. You will find yourself with more things you want to talk to God about and not enough time in the short bedtime prayer time. Plus there are things that you will want to discuss with God that are not appropriate for little ears. Which brings me to...
  5. Keep it age appropriate. When we pray for sick people we discuss basics. Not how serious cancer is or life expectancy. 
  6. Pray for people you know and things that concern your children. Make it personal.  Some days your kids will come up with people they want to pray for on their own. Encourage that. If something or someone has been the subject of your conversation throughout the day pray for that person.  One of my 6 year olds friends had appendicitis and surgery recently. We had been to the hospital to check on him so it made sense to pray for him that night. 
  7. Handling disappointment. I'm not sure if you've experienced this or not but God doesn't answer all my prayers the way I expect. Maybe you are just more in tune with the Holy Spirit and know exactly what you are supposed to be praying for. But in my life things don't always work out the way I expect or sometimes want them to.  So how do you handle this with kids? This is where one of the biggest opportunities to teach your child about trusting God comes into play. We pray and we trust God for the answer. It's not my child's responsibility if things don't work out. (For the record adults, it's not yours either.) 
It's a tough world to raise children who love Jesus.  As parents it's our job to teach them about Jesus and how to pray.  If you have any tips feel free to comment and leave them below!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Broken hearted


As a mother this week my heart has been broken.  As I rocked my son to sleep Monday night I thought of all the parents planning funerals for their 20 something year old children.  Children they rocked and kissed and cuddled as two year olds.  Parents who are trying to remember the smell of their child's hair and the sound of his laugh.

Last night as I fought the bedtime battle (and won for the first time this week) I thought of another set of parents who would give anything for one more bedtime battle.

I can't think on these things too long because it gives me anxiety. I cannot be with my children 24 hours a day.  Even if I could I could not protect them from everything. There are children every day who are diagnosed with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. There is no way to protect them against these things.

In our hyper media driven world, where we see tragedy in real time, that so many people need medication for anxiety. There are days when I wish I had something on hand to take. On those days when a anxiety creeps in and I find it hard to breathe I remember I have a good, loving Father in heaven who loves my babies more than I do. And a Father who loves me just as much. In those moments I pray for peace. Peace for myself, peace for those who are hurting, peace for those who are afraid.

I do not serve a God who is like a fairy in the sky granting wishes.  It doesn't work that way. I have had my share of requests to God answered in a way I did not like. But I pray His will be done in my life. And I pray for the grace to give Him all the praise for everything in my life.

There are still days when I want to buy bubble wrap in bulk and not let my kiddos out of the house. But I take a deep breath and fine a way to send my heart wrapped in the flesh of my babies out the door to live and enjoy life. And I pray again.

Please let me know how I can pray for you and peace in your life.

Don't walk this scary road of motherhood alone.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What I would say to the bride I was

Twelve years ago this week I married my best friend. If I could travel back in time and give the woman I was a few tips to help her along the way what would I say? Nothing.

If I told her how hard it would be to raise kids hundreds of miles from family she might make different choices. Then she would miss some precious friendships. She would miss the blessing of seeing God use His church to be her family. I certainly wouldn't want her to miss that.

If I told her to enjoy her in laws because they would gone too soon she would worry about when it would happen.  That worry would rob her of the joy she would feel watching her father in law hold his first grandson.

If I told her that her first and only daughter would wrap that smiling groom around her little finger before he left the delivery room it would ruin the gender surprise. Plus there are no words to describe to the feeling of watching that father/daughter bond grow.

How do I describe what it's like to watch her groom teach their children to play catch and ride a bike? Or how hard she will laugh the first time he tries to change a diaper (and the second and third time too). Would she be able to understand that the wonder of a new baby doesn't diminish after the first child is born?

If I warned that glowing bride that there would be days when she and that groom were so tired from the work of living and raising babies that they would barely be able to mumble "I love you" before collapsing into exhausted sleep then she might decide not to have those babies. And I certainly
wouldn't want her to miss that.

How would I tell her that she has get through ER visits, traumatic birth experiences and potty training  to get to the fun of family vacations and cheering on kids at tball games? How do I tell her that after the newlywed glow has faded it will be their commitment to each other and the God they serve that will get them through the bad days? How do I tell her that those bad days when they are clinging to each other will be what makes the good days sweeter?

No, I certainly can't tell her any of that. So if I could go back in time and sit in the back row of that church and watch the bride I was marry the man I waited many years to meet what would I do? I would hug her tightly, squeeze her hand and simply whisper "You chose well."




Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Whole 30 update

So here we are in June and we finished our whole 30 four months ago. I thought I would give all my eager readers a little update.

1. We still eat eggs for breakfast. One of the biggest changes to our diet came at breakfast. During our Whole 30 experience we cut out all the sugary/bready/carby things at breakfast. This is probably one of the more difficult changes to our diet as it requires more time in the morning but I believe is an important change.

2. Weight loss. Hubby and I have both gained a little of our lost weight back but have kept off over half of what we lost. When the summer is over and we are home more we are hoping to do another Whole 30 so we can lose a little more.

3. Labs. I know a lot of people have expressed to me concern about increased cholesterol since we increased the amount of meat we were eating. Recent labs show that blood sugar levels are lower even 4 months after the Whole 30. Bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride levels both dropped over 20 points. I believe this is related to the decreased in processed food and increase in natural fat we are consuming.

4. Processed food. We still avoid as much processed food as possible. We ran out of our Tessemae salad dressing a few weeks ago and I had a salad slathered in Ranch dressing. I gagged. It was awful! It felt so heavy and thick. We do eat a little bread and we do eat out about twice a week but this is a hug improvement from what we were doing this time last year.

5. Coffee. I know you are all anxious to hear about this one. This is where I have fallen off the wagon. I am back on my coffee creamer...sorry to let you all down. I guess this is how smokers feel. It's a hard addiction to give up. Hubby however has let it go. He still drinks coconut milk in his coffee.

So there's the update. Some successes and some failures. The key, I know, is that if we go back to eating the way we were the weight will come back on. I don't feel as energetic as I did when I was doing the Whole 30 but it's not something we can do 365 days a year and it wasn't designed that way. If you haven't tried it yet give it a go. If you have and fell off the wagon before the 30 days was up get back up and try it again.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

When life catches up to you

Yesterday my middle child, my first son, my rainbow baby graduated from kindergarten. Earlier this year I proudly said I didn't mind my kids growing up.  "I'm enjoying each stage of their little lives!"   "It's fun to watch them grow!" But when the music at graduation started yesterday so did my tears. He was so proud and stood so tall and sang so loud. He said his name clearly and gave the principal a high five and then it was over. He's headed to big school.

I went to work and did sports physicals for the Jr High. The now 5th graders who will be going to 6th grade next year came over for their physicals. Do you know how old these kids were? Eleven. My oldest is 9. Did you do the math there? In 2 years she will be going to Jr High. Wait.  What? Jr High? Not my sweet giggly baby girl. But then I looked at her and realized she's not a baby.

In a discussion yesterday I discovered there are young girls in my midst who do not have a mother to take them shopping for female essentials. Or who recogrnize when it's time to go shopping for them.  When I got home last night I told my husband "if I die before my daughter reaches puberty please don't ignore the signs. Please get my sister or yours to take her shopping."

Then I took my coffee onto the back porch and cried. I cried because I'm so very proud of who my children are and who they are becoming.  I cried because I can't stop time and some days I'm not sure if I want to. I want to enjoy each precious moment and I don't always know how.  But God knows.

After dinner my 2 y/o grabbed me by the hand, drug me into the family room, sat in his favorite chair and said "thit down me". So I did. I snuggled his little body in close to mine.  It wasn't long before the 9 year old was snuggled up with us too. Then my hubby started a video game competition. The 6 year old beat us all once. It ended with kids wrestling on the ground and lots of giggles.  God knew what my mommy heart needed.

Some days I have to clean the house. But someday I choose to play.

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Rainbown Baby Turns 6

It was my 32nd birthday. David Crowder was playing in the background as I leaned my forehead against the nurse's chest and bowed my back at the CRNA who was sticking a needle in my spine. At that moment I began to sob quietly. Uncontrollable. I'm not sure the poor nurse knew what to do or why I was crying. She didn't know that 2 years before this moment I had discovered I was pregnant and 6 weeks later learned the baby had no heartbeat. This loss was followed 3 months later by another lost pregnancy. I became so obsessed with having another baby I took my temperature religiously every day for 3 months in an effort to know my body's cycle.  (I jokingly say my son is so rigid about things done a certain way because his conception and birth were planned meticulously.) I changed doctors and saw an endocrinologist for a full thyroid work up.

This pregnancy had gone perfectly. And finally after 2 years of waiting it was all over. In a few moments I would look in the face of my new baby. I knew that months of tears, praying, waiting and hoping were coming to an end. I could feel the pages of that chapter of my life closing. The poor nurse patting me on the back had no idea that my tears were tears of relief, joy, sadness, fear and excitement all at once.

That was 6 years ago. Social media has taken to calling these post miscarriage babies "Rainbow Babies". The beautiful result after a storm. I call him a miracle baby. An answered prayer. Grace from God. You see in those dark years of not knowing if I would carry another child in my womb I cried out to God. I came to a place where I simply said "Please teach me the lesson you want me to learn, Father. Show me what you would have me to do." I learned that He is my refuge and my strength.

So on my birthday, 6 years ago, I got what I wanted most in the world. A baby. He was longer and thinner than his sister was a birth and had no hair but I adored him. When they brought him to me to nurse at 2 AM my husband was sleeping quietly in the cot beside my bed. One little light was on over head. The nurse handed him to me wrapped snugly in a blanket and smelling like baby lotion. I wanted that moment to last forever.

My "Rainbow Baby" has had his share of trouble. He has asthma, reflux and allergies. It took us years to figure it out and get it under control. I joke and say he is so rigid about having things done a certain way because his conception and birth were planned meticulously. But he has the best smile. And when he wraps his arms around me and says "I need Mama lovin'" Oh be still my heart. He is such a funny boy. Even his kindergarten teacher has commented that he has a great sense of humor. He is the spitting image of his father when his father was 6. He is a big brother now.

Not a birthday goes by that I don't thank my God for this sweet blessing.