Friday, April 27, 2012

Childlike Faith

For over a year now, our middle child Jaelyn has had to undergo various tests in order to determine why she has chronic hypoxemia (lack of oxygen). We've had to keep oxygen tanks in our home and have to test her levels periodically to make sure she doesn't need the oxygen. Long story short, today we met with a pulmonologist to determine the next steps... The results weren't what we were looking for. She will more than likely have to be put under general anesthesia and undergo extensive testing.

I tried to be the strong mom and take the news like an ox, but my emotions got the best of me and while watching "Winnie the Pooh," I broke down. My husband came over to comfort me and the tears started flowing. I looked up and saw my three-year-old, Addi, standing there saying, "I know mama, I know" as she rubbed my arm and gave me a look of sympathy. That alone made me feel so much better... But it was what happened next that I will never forget.. Without any prompting, she hugged my leg and said, "Jesus, help mama. Amen."

My husband and I just looked at each other with a look of surprise, but were filled with overwhelming joy. Without any instruction or hesitation, our baby knew to turn to God for help.

Humbled.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How Do I Do It? Well...

Apparently, when you have three kids under three, people assume your house should be a mess, you should look like you haven't combed your hair in weeks, and that you've filled out papers for admission to the psych ward... So when people see my house is in order and tidy, that I shower daily and am generally happy and not stressed, they wonder how I do it..

Here's your answer: Prioritization. Moderation. Support.

In order for you to have order in your life, you must first prioritize everything in it. Start with who you are and what you are called to be. I am a Christian and a firm believer that God is pretty clear about what every woman should be (Proverbs 31), so that is my foundation. I prioritize based on that..  These are a few questions you can ask yourself:
  • Is this something I need or want to do in order to help me be the wife and/or mother I'm called to be?
  • Will ______ get in the way of me fulfilling my wifely and/or motherly duties? 
  • Am I putting __________ before my husband and/or children?

It may not be a fun process, but I would encourage you to go through this with your husband. He is the leader of your home and as a wife, you need to respect and submit to him if he thinks you should or shouldn't be doing certain things

(Note: If this seems hard to do, I'd suggest reading "Reforming Marriage" and/or "The Excellent Wife." They really dig into what it means to be a Godly wife and what that looks like.)

Moderation and Prioritization go hand-in-hand. With each child, I've learned there is a time to be organized and a planner, and there is a time to adapt and be flexible. I make a list every week of all the things that need to be done and for the most part, I try to get those done (the planner). But when life's unexpected's come into play, you need to be OKAY with not finishing your list. Whether it is as serious as a child being hospitalized or as minimal as a spontaneous trip to the zoo, you have to be happy with not checking off all the boxes for the day (the adapter). Also, you cannot let your day be so full of tasks that it is at the expense of spending time with your husband and/or children. You need to examine your life in order to find time to take care of your family as well as enjoy time with them. Here are a couple of suggestions:
  • Have a "cut-off point" at the end of the day where you no longer do house work, but spend time with your family
  • Split the tasks across the week so you have flexibility in your day (do laundry a couple times a week so it isn't so overwhelming once a week, clean the bathrooms one day and vacuum another, plan your meals and pull your coupons one day and grocery shop another, etc)
Lastly is Support. I am blessed beyond words to have family and friends around me that are willing to help with my kids so my husband and I can have a date night once a week or I can go to the store every Tuesday without the kids. If there are people around you willing to do that, LET THEM. You will find that stepping away from your children every once in awhile helps you get through the tough times that much easier because you had time to breathe and appreciate who they are, regardless of their mistakes. If you don't have that external support, really work with your husband to find a place where he can support you going and doing things while he helps with the kids (make sure you come from a place of submission and respect rather than selfishness). If the two of you are on the same page, there is more grace, love and understanding that you need in order to be joyful on a daily basis, despite not having much time to do things for yourself.

Wow, that was a chapter of a book. I could probably write an entire book on this and maybe will one day, but for now, this is a nugget from me to you! Hope there was something in there that encouraged you! 

more of my favorite things..

1. Zumba- Thanks to this gem of a workout, I have lost weight relatively fast and LOVE DOING IT... Regardless of your "sweet dance moves" or lack thereof, I would argue everyone should take a class. My class in particular is 75% of women 50 or older... Not joking. So if they can shake their booty, so can you.

2. Swiffer Vac & Swiffer WetJet- I'm not sure how families with little ones get by without these. I end up vacuuming our kitchen half a dozen times a day and probably have to mop at least twice. I can whip these babies out and be done in two minutes!

3. "Fruit Pouches"- This probably isn't the technical name for them, but that's what they are known by in our house. It's pureed food that comes in a pouch for the child to hold on to.  Some brands make them for babies as early as four months while others (Gerber) make them for toddler age. There are also applesauce and fruit varieties for older kids in the condiment aisle. These are AWESOME to have in your car, diaper bag, and/or purse in case you need an emergency snack! All three of my kiddos use them now. Better yet, at Babies R Us, you can purchase a spoon head that screws on to ANY fruit pouch to feed the tiny guys instead of having to open a jar, use a spoon, and possibly make a mess. I used this method at the doc's office the other day for Cobi and he devoured it.

4. Sparkling Ice- My mom introduced me to these. They are flavored sparkling waters. You can get a case at Costco. So refreshing and they claim they're full of vitamins and antioxidants..

5. Vitamins- No explanation really needed. An essential part to trying to live a healthy life. My husband, my girls and I all take them.

6. Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp- This is geared towards parents of toddler age and older, but I think every parent should read this BEFORE that age so you can start out on the right foot in raising your child. Found some good nuggets in this book.

7. Coupons- I am not an extreme coupon user, but on average, I save 20-30% a month overall in groceries and fast food/restaurants by getting the Sunday paper and clipping the ones I receive in the mail. That's a pretty significant amount! Allows me to get my Starbucks!!!

8. Yoplait Coconut Greek Yogurt- Has to be the best flavor out there.

9. Battery Operated Nose Aspirator- I have now had three children in the hospital for various respiratory issues. Every time, they have sent us home with a plethora of nasal saline and a bulb for suctioning. I'm pretty sure all kids hate their nose cleaned out. However, my children seem to not mind the battery operated one (ours plays music) and it does the job!

10. Mederma Stretch Mark Cream- Yes. I have stretch marks. I made it through two pregnancies without them, but they found me this last one. ::Sigh:: But this stuff has helped a ton! You can barely see most of them now. A tad on the expensive side, but it has worked the best out of the few creams I've tried.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Flawed Thinking.

I am not the perfect parent. I try my hardest, but of course fall short... a lot. Lately, my "downfalls" have been caused by comparison and false expectations. Yes, it could be a lot worse, but this is the root cause of a lot of my frustration with the kiddos and it's my own dang fault.

You see, when you have three kids under the age of three, it is VERY EASY to forget where they should be at: physically, emotionally, mentally, etc... And it tends to be VERY EASY to compare one child to another. I'm sure this happens with parents whose children are more spread out in years, but I think the closer in age, the easier it tends to be...

Example One:

Addi (almost 3yrs old) can use her words very well and for the most part, articulate why she is upset. Jae (almost 2yrs old) tries to use words, but doesn't have the vocabulary like her sister. Here is where I get to be the bad parent and repent to my daughter... a lot. "Jaelyn, you need to calm down, stop crying and use your words please." (More crying). "Jaelyn Liv, I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong." (More crying. More frustration on my end). "Jaelyn. Stop crying. Obey the first time." (Both of us pretty frustrated now). Then it happens... I get convicted and have to repent to my daughter because it clicks in my head- she is not even two, but I have the same expectations of her as I do for her three-year-old sister. If you have kids, you know there is a WORLD of difference and ability between a two-year-old and a three-year-old. Yep. Another Parent Of The Year Trophy for me (That was dripping with sarcasm if you couldn't tell).

Example Two:

My girls were crazy good babies. I never had to get up more than once a night with either of them since they were born. Addi started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks, Jae at 13 weeks. When I mean sleeping through the night, I'm talking sleeping from 8pm-8am... at least! So, when my joyful little man Cobi arrives, I have this expectation that he'll be a good sleeper as well... Nope. He is four months old and I still have to get up with him at least once a night; two on a "bad" night. Looking at it rationally, it's not that bad. Looking at it at 3am when you are straight up exhausted, the thought "why can't you sleep like your sisters" comes to mind very easily.. 

You get my point. It's really hard to let children be themselves and act their own age when you have others running around doing things differently. No, it's not the end of the world and I could be doing worse things. But how easy will it be to compare their grades and job professions later on in life if I'm doing it with things like naps?

::Sigh::

Oh the life of a parent.