Category Archives: on being a mama

it’s good to be Mama.

I went to get an ultrasound today. It was my first for this pregnancy, and I was a little stressed out about it for some reason. I take that back – the reason is that they told me I had to guzzle down 24 ounces of water 30 minutes before my appointment and then hold it until after the ultrasound. (I really think that could be classified as abuse.) But it turns out that 24 ounces first thing in the morning isn’t too bad (except for when the ultrasound is done and you get up and your baby dances on your extremely full bladder and you think, ohmahgah why do these people hate me so much?). Truly, though, the technician was extremely sweet and she said that everything looked perfect.

I was amazed by how wonderful it felt to see my baby on that screen. I recognized the feeling – it’s something I felt with both my boys – but I guess it surprised me that I’m still in such awe of this process of bringing new life into the world. Those two lines on the pregnancy test, the swelling of my belly, the first kicks, those glimpses of my babies on the ultrasound screen, the incredible process of labor and birth and bonding and those teeny tiny little baby bodies – I love it all and I feel so honored to carry the title of Mama.

Ahh…happy thoughts.

Oh, and since we’re on the subject, here’s a I-don’t-own-a-real-camera photo of me and my belly from a few days ago. I was 20 weeks and 3 days pregnant at the time.

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as I jump back on the scene

I’m just going to jump right back in. Yes, I took a 9-month hiatus, but I really don’t have any explanation for it other than telling you I had a severe case of writer’s block. I’m back now!

It’s Monday morning and the sun is shining through the trees in my backyard. I don’t think I can properly express to you how much relief I feel when I see that the trees have leaves. Green leaves. This past winter forced me to hide inside myself and now that green just keeps inviting me outward. It’s quite refreshing.

A couple of days ago, I took some time to adjust some of my post categories and just do general maintenance on my blog. I was surprised by how badly I wanted to delete a bunch of my earlier more embarrassing posts. You know, the ones where I acted like I knew what I was doing. But I was struck by the thought that this blog is sort of like a journal. It’s a bad idea to rip out the pages of the dumb, embarrassing, shallow entries because really, whether we like it or not, those entries are a part of our past and they are a tiny little piece of the greater mosaic our lives have become now. You can’t just remove little bits here and there. So, all the posts remain (except for the ones where I talked about giveaways because those are just annoying).

I’ve been in one of those reflective moods lately. I mean, I usually am, but being pregnant (yes! I’m pregnant – 20 weeks and 4 days along) always makes me think. I love that peaceful stretch of time after the first trimester (and beyond) sickness leaves, but before the third trimester aches and pains come to visit. I love to feel my baby move and to think about when I felt my other two babies move in utero – look at their lovely little lives now! And my life! Look at how each child changes my life. They’ve opened my heart, softened me, and they embody such sweetness. How is it that we grow so hardened as we age? I want to be soft again. Life could be simpler that way, I think.

I’m starting this week by challenging myself to consider every task, every event, every conversation as assignments from God. What would happen if I chose to see things this way? I might stop rushing through the day. I might value every moment instead of classifying parts of my day as either “important” or “unimportant,” don’t you think? This moment with my cup of tea and the sunshine streaming through the windows with the sound of my boys playing happily together in the living room is just as meaningful as when I’m doing dishes, or hanging out with Ryan, or reading books to the boys – because it was assigned to me as part of my day.

I just want to slow down.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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I don’t want to cry over cold coffee.

I’m gonna be honest, here…

I’ve had a rough go of it over the last few months. For whatever reason, my stress and anxiety have taken a pretty bad turn and at the beginning of each day I think, “Is this really how the day is going to go?” and then at the end of each day I think, “Seriously? Do I have to be like that?”

I get angry with myself because my attitude is ugly. All day long, I feel impatient and then I get mad at myself for being impatient. I feel irritated, and then I get mad at myself for being irritated. I feel rushed, and then I get mad at myself for being rushed. And that list? It just goes on and on and on.

In the mornings, I find myself in utter chaos. Toys have been flung everywhere, my 16-month-old is asking to nurse for the 3rd time in an hour, my 3-year-old is taking every single toy away from the 16-month-old (which is what’s making him want to nurse 3 times in an hour), and the coffee (that I made at 6am) is cold and the devotions (that I began at 6:15am) sit before me, half-finished. When I catch a moment to dive back into my devotions, my 16-month-old brings me all of his favorite books and makes his little “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh?” sound that means, “Will you read this to me?” while making the sign for “please.” And I want to smile, and weep, and crawl into a hole, and read a thousand books to that precious boy all at the same time. And I just think, why am I so stressed out? What is it in me that causes me to react so strongly to this chaos? Why does my brain feel like it’s about to explode every time one of my children need something from me?

I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

But in the midst of the stress, and the anxiety, and the weeping, I can hear this voice in the back of my head: “Slow down. Just slow down. One day, your boys won’t be begging you to read Snuggle Puppy 5 times in a row. One day, Forrest won’t want to nurse 3 times in an hour, or ever. One day, Jack will stop wanting to cuddle your arm and kiss it 70,000 times. Just slow down.”

And I’m so perplexed because I keep trying to listen to this voice, and yet – I fail. I feel defeated, and I want to ask you, “Is this just the way it is?”

But I don’t want to hear an empathetic “Yes,” or “It’s just a season,” or whatever. I refuse to believe that this is what I must settle for – even if it’s just for a season. I refuse to believe that I cannot overcome this in this season.

If there’s one thing I’m positive of, it’s that God made me the mama of my boys for a reason. He gave me to them, and he gave them to me – and that also means that he gave me the tools for the job. He gave me the ability to rise above the stress and look at the situation for what it really is.

It’s beautiful. Beautiful chaos. And I know that.

I’m just trying to figure out how to live that. I’m trying to figure out which pocket of my brain has all those tools stashed away in there.

I don’t want to cry over cold coffee. I don’t want to have to remind myself to take deep breaths when my baby asks me to read to him.

I want to remember, “I’m gonna miss this,” right in that moment – and then choose to cherish it all.

Because what’s a cup of hot coffee when compared to my babies curled up in my arms?

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Littlespeak, Part 2

It was early in the morning and I was taking a quick shower before beginning our busy day. Jack peeked around the shower curtain and asked, quite sincerely, “Mama, what are you taking?”

“A shower,” I said.

He smiled. “Oh.”

Oh, the things he says.

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Littlespeak

Whenever I sit down to nurse Forrest to sleep, Jack says, “Where is Brudder going?” It’s taken me a while to figure it out, but I finally realized that he asks where his brother is going because I always say, “Forrest is going to sleep.”

Hehe. Little people.

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Filed under laughter is good, on being a mama, photographs

Wish

Do you ever just wish you could drink coffee all day long? Not because you need the caffeine (but maybe you do), but just because it’s so comforting and earthy and delicious. And it makes you think of morning, because morning always has such a fresh sense of new and clean and good –

but if you drank coffee all day long, then it probably wouldn’t remind you of the morning

anymore.

And do you sometimes wish that it was easier to be happy? Not because you’re unhappy, but because you know that it takes so much effort to keep all of your blessings in mind and choose thankfulness when you’d really rather just pout or

whine or eat cake. Sometimes.

And do you

sometimes

wish that you could stop time?

Just freeze everything and stroke your baby’s cheek while he nurses and admire your toddler’s smile and his sun-kissed hair and the way his wide eyes look when he’s looking through a book that he loves. Take that one second and turn it into 10, 60, a million seconds. And just try not to let those moments pass unnoticed.

Do you?

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Beautiful Plenty

I want to share something with you.

I know you didn’t really ask, but maybe someone needs

or wants

to hear (see) what I have to say.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

I do my best to adhere to this principle with all of my possessions. But I don’t always do a good job – especially when it comes to my kids, because I think parents are always trying to keep well-stocked for all the what-ifs of life. Still, I try.

Oh, and,

the other principle I like to stick to is

if I can’t easily figure out where it came from or how it was made or it just doesn’t even resemble its natural state of being, I probably don’t want it in my house.

I want my kids to be able to decipher where their toys came from. Not because when they turn it over, ‘Made in China‘ is imprinted upon it –

no,

I want them to see it.

Wood.

Fiber.

You know? I want them to see it and feel it and imagine it. And I want them to appreciate the art of it and the person who brought that toy to life.

Sometimes I let things fall through the cracks. But right now, we’re doing all right. I’ve done a particularly large amount of purging in the last few weeks, and this is what we are left with:

(Oh, and I know you’ll be a dear and forgive me for the awful photo quality!)

Pots and pans for cooking delicious wooden meals

Playsilks for colorful silky fun

Blocks for building houses and knocking them down as loudly as possible

A big wooden train, a big wooden plane, and a big wooden truck for driving through the house and into the kitchen and beneath my feet while I’m trying to cook dinner

A glockenspiel for making sweet music

A pocket-sized doll

A little broom and a tiny dustpan and brush and a sweet small apron for getting the job done

Whimsical books and educational books and silly books and more books

And a few sneaky stragglers that will probably be phased out eventually, except that they’re too dear to a certain little boy to tear them away quite yet – some BPA-free plastic animals and some little plastic-and-metal vehicles.

It’s not a lot, but it’s plenty.

(And there are a few things sitting in the closet for when the boys need a bit of change. Kind of like shopping from our own toy store.)

You know, useful. Beautiful. And it’s mostly obvious where the majority of it came from.

Which is good.

It’s not always easy to resist buying all those interesting bright sing-songy musical super-educational cheaply-priced toys

but

it’s worth it. Especially because buying the natural, the mostly unchanged, and the beautiful usually means one of these:

local

or at least domestic or, if not, fairly traded

high-quality

sweatshop-free

healthy

happy

simple.

And all of that is really, really good, too.

Some of my favorite places to find these happy toys:

Nova Natural Toys & Crafts

Willow Toys

Imagination Kids

Imagine Childhood

PS – I wasn’t paid or given anythingatall to post the links to those sites. I just love them and I like to share the love. Go there and love them yourself. ❤

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Filed under homemaking, on being a mama