Slow Down

Life is racing on in the Taylor household. We are busy with a lot of spring projects, and, of course, all three Munchkins. Lately I have been relearning the endless lessons of having patience and keeping the right priorities. It seems like I’m hit at least weekly with some sort of good reminder to slow down (let the laundry wait a day sometimes) and soak up some serious kiddo time. This was my reminder last night. Encouraging all you busy mamas to slow down, skip a blog post today ;-), and enjoy some kiddo time.

So Much to Say…So Little Time!

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Even though I have a handful of blog posts practically written in my head, getting them typed up on the computer is another story!

The kids just keep me so busy. Right now Lydia is begging me to take her outside so she can ride her bike with its new training wheels. Getting training wheels is probably the most exciting thing that has happened in her life to date (at least from her point of view). Paul is crawling around looking for a snack, and Abby is (thankfully) still napping. Someday I will be old and my house might actually be clean, and I might actually have time to write again, but right now being Mom is just a bigger priority.

So, enjoy a few pictures and a new look on the blog. Paul finally made it into the header picture. Way to go Buddy!

I am off to watch my biggest Munchkin ride her bike while I feed the others orange slices to keep them happy despite the cold.

My Mommy Secret to Surviving in the Overwhelming Moments

When Lydia was a baby, I was a supermom. I did everything: kept the apartment spotless, hosted guests, tackled projects, learned new things, and spent time with my baby. Abby came along and our world was turned upside down with several weeks in the NICU that stressed us beyond anything we’d ever known before. It was horrible. So, when Abby came home from the hospital, I stubbornly thought I had to prove it’s easier to have two at home than to have one at home and one in the NICU. I tried to “do it all” again and be a good mom to both girls all at the same time.

Do you know how that went? I broke. I snapped. I realized that I was acting in pride and living a lie. When I started being honest with myself and others, I found a lot of freedom. Being a mom is HARD.

During my pregnancy with Paul I was praying for the transition to three, but also preparing myself to be overwhelmed.

It’s just a season.

The house will be messy at times (most of them!).

I won’t be able to do projects the way I used to.

Taking care of three will be almost all-consuming, but we’ll survive.

Do you know what happened? The transition was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated. We do survive. In fact, sometimes the house is tidy and clean (rarely). Sometimes I cook meals with side dishes (special occasions only). I still have a quiet time alone (although, at 5:45 AM). I teach the kids, play with the kids, read to the kids, and I still manage to clean the bathroom, change the sheets, and vacuum. I still have time to plan meals and cook them, spend time with Dan, and read books (grown up ones, even). But, it’s still hard.

I have sat down on various occasions to seek advice from more experienced moms, ones that I really respect. I think one of my favorite pieces of advice that I try to put into place daily was on how not to be overwhelmed.

Pray.

One mom in particular told me about Susanna Wesley, mother to nineteen children (ten survived to adulthood), including two sons who eventually founded Methodism and wrote a lot of hymns still being sung today. As the mother of so many children, Susanna would get overwhelmed too. Then she would throw her apron up over her head to have a moment “alone” to pray for help.

Since the day I first heard about Susanna’s “apron prayers”, I’ve started to try to do the same, though, not with an apron since I rarely wear one. πŸ™‚ Sometimes I go to my room, and sometimes I gather the kids around me and we pray together. Often I just stop whatever I’m doing, close my eyes, and let out a short, desperate, completely sincere prayer for help.

Well, last week I was encouraged when I was reading about King David and I saw him put the same tactic into practice.

David (not yet King David) had been running away from Saul for months and months. He hasn’t done anything wrong, and had, on several occasions, proved his loyalty to King Saul even while fleeing his persecution. Finally David fled to the Philistines and lived among them for over a year. One day he gathered his troops together and made a journey to help the Philistine’s fight their battles. However, the Philistine lords doubted David’s loyalty, so the king sent David and his men home. Bummer.

David and his men arrived back home only to receive devastating news. The city had been raided. Their homes had been burned down and their women and children carried away as captives.

As overwhelmed as I sometimes get as a mom, I can honestly say I’ve never had a day that bad. Can you imagine coming home only to find your house burned, your possessions destroyed or stolen, and your family kidnapped?

And what did David do? Well, he wept. I probably would too.

Things got worse for David when the people grew bitter against him. Then they started talking about stoning him. Do you know what happened next? (I love this part!)

“David strengthened himself in the LORD his God”.

And then…

“David inquired of the LORD, ‘Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?”

God told David, “Yes”, to go pursue and overtake the band. David and his men pursued the band. They didn’t find it right away, but they found an Egyptian who pointed them in the right direction. Then David and his men went on to find the band, struck them down, and recovered “all that the Amalekites had taken”. When he got back home nothing was missing and no one was missing. With God’s help, David saved the day.

(See 1 Samuel 28 and 30)

So I’m no future king and my home isn’t being attacked and burned with fire, but I worship and follow the same God as David, and He is just as able and willing to help me with my little flock of Munchkins. Not only can I seek God for strength when I get overwhelmed, but I can also seek his direction in what to do in those moments when I’m tired and emotional and not sure what to do next.

I was going to post this last week but I just couldn’t get it to come out right. The next days were terrible. The kiddos were difficult and I was tired and overwhelmed. I realized God was not only preventing me from posting this in pride, but He was also giving me an opportunity to practice. (And I do need more practice.) But now a week later I can come more humbly and share the lesson I’m learning.

God hears us when we are overwhelmed (for big reasons or small). He wants us to come to him for help. He will strengthen us. And He can direct us in what to do next.

PS – For all you creative people out there who make words into pretty artwork, I think 1 Samuel 30:6 would totally make a mom-worthy print.

But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

The Necklace

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For Christmas my sister and brother-in-law gave Lydia some beads and stretchy string to make jewelry. After we got back from our trip up North, I spent a couple of days helping her make necklaces and bracelets. She made some for herself, some for Abby, and I made one for Lydia too. I was soon all beaded out.

One day Dan sat down with Lydia and she decided to make a necklace for me. Dan helped and soon I was presented with a small collection of mismatched beads on a string. Of course, I wore it all day and then left it sitting on my dresser when I went to sleep that night.

Fast forward a day or two. Our morning was not going well. Lydia was being difficult and I was getting frustrated. After yet another episode with lots of whining and crying and poor behavior (on both sides), I stomped upstairs to give myself a time out. I was near-tears-frustrated and knew I needed to cool down before having a talk with Lydia. As I sat on my bed and fumed, I started to pray, but I just couldn’t seem to calm myself down.

I glanced up and decided to get ready for the rest of the day, but something on my dresser caught my eye.

“Oh great”, I thought to myself, “the girls got into my stuff and broke one of my necklaces”. I, still angry, stood up and walked over to the dresser to assess the damage. There, lying on the wooden dresser was my necklace from Lydia.

Tears came to my eyes (again) and sentimental music started playing in my head as I slowly picked up the necklace and stared at it in my hand.

My anger was gone and the day was saved. My sweet baby girl, who is still far too young to control herself of her emotions the way I should be able to, loved me enough to want to make this for me. Even though I blow it. Even though I get angry.

Just then I heard my Little Munchkin, my Gooselett, my daughter, climbing the stairs cheerfully, fully recovered from <her meltdown. I put the necklace on and resolved to do my best to make the day a good one, a memorable one. For her.

My Thankful for 2015

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Last week our family had a restful and happy Thanksgiving Day. It was so good, I didn’t even think to take pictures, as crazy as that may sound. And, though Thanksgiving has passed for this year, I wanted to share my “thankful” for the year. This is what I shared at our church’s Thanksgiving service, so if you heard me there you can go ahead and return to your Facebook feed. πŸ™‚

A little over two years ago, our second daughter was born. At that time, my doctor told me I would probably never carry a baby past 32 weeks.

The months preceding Abby’s birth and the year following her birth were full of trials. It seemed like one trial after another. We did our best to press on, obey God, and trust Jesus that He was sovereign and using everything for our good and His glory. But it was a struggle. Toward the end of last summer, we found out we were expecting Baby Paul. Because we hadn’t moved into our new house yet (or even put in an offer), and because we were anticipating another 12 weeks in the hospital with a preemie, the news was a little overwhelming. I was praying one day about Baby Paul and felt God saying to my heart, “This is a reward”.

I had stayed up late one night researching possible medical interventions that could help Paul make it further along. That was overwhelming too. Operations, procedures, limitations, bed rest, risks, medicine, hormones…it was all overwhelming and I didn’t know what course we should take. I prayed again and God reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

So, over the next several months, we did our best to Trust in the Lord, seek His direction in all our decisions with Baby, and acknowledge Him. Right away, many came along side us and began to pray for Baby. There were at least two women from my Bible study who really carried our burden every single day.

From early in the pregnancy Dan and I started praying that Baby would not be born until after our church’s annual Fur Rondy talent show.

He did.

We also started praying that Baby would not be breach. He had been breach through most of the pregnancy. At our 20-week ultrasound he was still breach and it was around that time that I became convinced that he would not flip. Though I asked our Bible study prayer group and my husband to pray that Baby would flip, I eventually resigned myself to the likely possibility of another breach baby, which would mean another c-section baby. I prayed about it one last time and fully surrendered it to God. A couple of nights later, Baby flipped and stayed head down for the rest of the pregnancy.

Baby was not a c-section baby. He was not even early enough for me to be stuck on magnesium or antibiotics. In fact, in answer to many, many prayers, Paul was born completely naturally. All the hospital did was provide ice chips, a birthing ball, and someone to catch Baby. (They even offered to let me do that, but I was a little distracted at the time).

My last big prayer request was that I would be able to hold Baby right when he was born. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen, but I prayed anyway, and asked everyone else to pray too. I didn’t get to hold Lydia until she was one day old. I didn’t get to hold Abby until she was three days old. Words cannot describe how badly I wanted this. The closest I can come is “desire of my heart” (see Psalm 37:4). Words also cannot describe how happy I was the moment the picture below was taken. Or any time I see this picture. I know I’ve shared it before. I will probably share it again. This was one of the happiest moments EVER.

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God is so kind.

Paul was born at 35 weeks.

He came home with us from the hospital without spending a single day in the NICU. Our transition to having a baby at home was the easiest we’ve had yet and Paul has continued to be such a content, sweet, cuddly, cute, precious baby boy. He really feels like a reward. πŸ™‚

I am so thankful that God is so kind. That he leads us when we seek Him and He blesses us when we obey.

Our Hearts Are Breaking

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Dan and I recently celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. As we pass the five-year mark, several of our friends and acquaintances are starting families of their own. Some of them have cute little kiddos running around already, and I love to watch them grow up through the Facebook pictures and posts. But as time goes on, more of our friends are also losing their precious babies. It’s so hard to watch. I don’t know what to say or do, and my heart just breaks over their losses. It’s hard to understand, and hard not to ask, “why?”. No parent should have to say goodbye. No parent should have to bury a child. All we can do is pray and trust and let our hearts break for them.

Our hearts are breaking. What’s more is that we’re losing children too. According to the most conservative numbers I could find, more than two babies are being aborted every minute. Some of you are right here with me. You’re hearts are breaking too. The numbers make you sick to your stomach, and you don’t understand how this is being allowed to go on. Others of you are thinking about closing this page or skimming the rest of this post. “Oh, she’s just talking about abortion. That’s different.”

Is it different?

What’s the difference between the loss of my friends’ babies (anywhere from just a few weeks along in the pregnancy to several days old) and the loss of an aborted baby, really?

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I see abortion from a slightly different perspective than many. My first two children were born several weeks early and had to spend weeks on the neonatal intensive care unit. They couldn’t breathe on their own. They couldn’t eat or keep themselves warm. They couldn’t even cry. When I see images of a tiny little baby in the womb, I see my baby girls after they were born and learning to survive. When I hear about some of these late-term abortions I think, “That could have been my baby”.

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Did you know a baby has a heart beat just four weeks after conception? Think of it! Four weeks and the little guy already has a beating heart! My babies had heart beats before I even knew I was pregnant. Nine week old babies have been observed swallowing, sucking their tiny little fingers, and yawning. Ten weeks into the pregnancy a baby’s vital organs are already starting to function and the baby will respond to touch. Although doctors and scientists disagree about when, at some point between 8 and 20 weeks (gestations at which abortion is still legal), babies start to feel pain.

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The question that begs answering is this: are these little ones human beings? At what point do their lives deserve the right to be protected by the laws of our nation?

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I know there are horrible situations everyone wants to consider first. What about rape? What about incest? What if the mother’s life is in danger? But before you can figure out what to do in those terrible situations, you must answer the question: is that little one a human being? (And perhaps it would be helpful to mention that the vast majority of abortions are NOT being done in situations of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother).

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Why isn’t that little nine-weeker who can suck his thumb considered a human? Why aren’t we protecting the life of the ten-weeker whose organs are all functioning and who can react to touch and, yes, feel pain. You see, again I come at this from an interesting perspective. My daughters couldn’t survive outside of me after they were born without drastic and immediate medical help. Were they human? And what about Paul? He was 35 weeks and was even able to come home with us, but some 35 week babies still need time in the NICU. Are they human? The youngest preemie on record to survive was born at just 21 weeks and 6 days. Was she human?

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Did you know that whether a child can survive outside of mom, or the moment a mom first feels Baby move are very dependent on things like race, gender, and birth-order? Should your race, gender, or birth-order play in to the time when we start protecting a human’s life? Maybe simply being born is what makes someone a human with rights, but how does it make any sense at all that a person’s location determines their humanity? One moment the baby can be legally aborted and two centimeters later the baby becomes a human life worth saving?

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You see, it doesn’t work. We can’t take a baby at one point and declare him or her as non-human or without rights and one moment later declare that he or she suddenly is human and has rights. Ultrasounds have allowed us to see too much, to know that the little babies who are legally allowed to be aborted are not so different before they are born as we might have previously thought. Maybe by declaring one baby as human and another as “just a fetus” we are stepping into a role far too important, too sacred for us to fill. And by allowing that baby to be killed, to step aside and let this continue to happen, maybe we are covering our own hands with the blood of helpless and vulnerable victims who themselves have done nothing wrong.

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It’s easy to talk about abortion as a medical procedure involving the removal of some tissue, but when you actually stop and consider what’s happening the picture isn’t so pretty. Take a moment and think about the little baby with fingers and eyes and a beating heart, developing safely in his Mommy’s womb and then let the reality of what abortion is really sink in. There are two general types of abortion: at-home (medical) abortions and in-clinic (surgical) abortions.

For an at-home abortion, medicine is given which causes the lining of the uterus wall to break down, essentially causing the baby to suffocate or starve to death. Then a second pill is given which causes contractions and forces the baby out of the uterus in a process that can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. This method can only be used in pregnancies less than nine weeks along.

For pregnancies that are further along, there are several different methods. The two most common are aspiration and D&E (dilation and evacuation). Aspiration is when a small tube is inserted into the uterus and sucks the baby out of the uterus. Dilation and evacuation is usually performed in pregnancies past the first trimester. The cervix is dilated and then a combination of tools are used to cut apart and remove the baby with suction and/or forceps.

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You see, abortions aren’t pretty. Our society tries to make them look that way by using big medical terms or vague language. The truth is, abortions involve a lot of cramping, blood, bones, and body parts. It’s because the “embryonic tissue” that is being “removed” is not just a clump of cells but a living human being. That “pregnancy” is really a baby.

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Over the past several weeks The Center for Medical Progress has been releasing videos revealing that women’s health care and abortion provider, Planned Parenthood has been illegally selling body parts of aborted babies.

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I encourage you to watch these videos. They are available in both edited and unedited versions.

If you choose not to watch the videos, here is a brief overview of the ones that have been released so far:

#1: National leader of Planned Parenthood discusses the sale of aborted baby organs and tissue

#2: Planned Parenthood official haggles over the prices for aborted baby body parts and at one point appears to be suggesting that the abortion procedure could be altered to preserve organs and tissue

#3: Graphic footage of a Planned Parenthood technician sorting through baby body parts collected after an abortion

#4: Doctor negotiates sale of body parts and suggests ways to avoid legal consequences

#5: Another graphic scene sorting through aborted baby parts, director of research for a Planned Parenthood in Houston affirms that abortion procedures can be modified to get more intact tissue and organs

#6: A former technician reveals that patients were encouraged to sign fetal consent forms but sometimes the aborted baby organs were sold without the consent of the mother

#7: Includes story of harvesting an intact brain from a late-term male baby whose heart was still beating after the abortion procedure

#8: StemExpress (which buys and resells aborted baby parts from Planned Parenthood) admits that Planned Parenthood sells fully intact aborted babies

#9: Again admits that sometimes Planned Parenthood sells fully intact aborted babies

#10: Planned Parenthood leaders discuss the lengths they would go to hide their selling of baby body parts and the public relations nightmare that would occur if the information was leaked

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Whether you watch the videos or not, I urge you to again consider the question: when does a baby become “human”?

When should a human’s “right to life” be protected by law?

Should our tax dollars be going to a company that has been selling aborted baby body parts and bodies?

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Unplanned pregnancy can be scary. Having a baby is hard. Most of the pregnancies in our country are unplanned. But, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, or know someone who is, you have options. Even if you can’t care for the little baby growing inside of you, families all over America are eagerly waiting for a baby they can adopt. I literally know a church full of families that would welcome your baby into their home. Your baby may not have been planned, but your baby is loved and wanted and needed in this world. Find and visit or call your nearest pregnancy care center. Please feel free to contact me as well.

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Maybe you are one who would never personally choose abortion, but you don’t feel you can impose that belief on others. I recently heard one of the presidential nominees share how he used to hold that view, but he went on to say this: “I began to think if abolitionists a long time ago began to think that β€˜I don’t believe in slavery, but anybody else can do it if they want to,’ where would we be today? So that changed my opinion of a lot of things.”

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Maybe, as you read this and other information about abortion in our country today, you are thinking, “What can I do about this?” Know that no matter what situation you are in, there are several things you can do to help.

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The first thing you can do is PRAY. Pray that abortion will end in our nation. Pray for women in crisis situations, that they will choose life for their unborn babies. Pray that our country will start to value life at all stages. Often as I pray for our country, I read the repentant prayer of Daniel for his own nation. It’s remarkable how well this prayer fits the state of our own country if you just change the Israel’s to America’s. The big difference is that Daniel’s nation had already fallen under God’s judgement.

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You can also sign the petition to defund Planned Parenthood. Did you know that your tax dollars are going to support Planned Parenthood? That doesn’t have to be the case. Sign the petition, or, better yet, write your representative an email (good), give them a phone call (better), or send them a letter (best, bonus points if it’s hand written) explaining why you don’t want your money going to support an organization that is responsible for providing one-third of the abortions in our country and has been exposed to be selling the aborted babies’ body parts.

You can also volunteer your time at a local Pregnancy Resource Center, show love to a single mom, or donate to programs like Option Ultrasound (providing ultrasound machines to Pregnancy Resource Centers to encourage women to choose life).

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I recently learned about a biannual event called 40 Days for Life, a community-based campaign to end abortions. The next 40 Days for Life campaign starts on September 23 (that’s next week). There are a few ways you can get involved. First you can commit to pray and fast. Second, you can sign up to go and pray outside your local Planned Parenthood. For 40 days, this organization tries to have a round-the-clock presence outside of Planned Parenthood constantly praying. Third, you can participate in their neighborhood outreach.

Since I’m still nursing Paul, I’m not really up for fasting for 40 days, but I’m planning to fast from a couple of my favorite staples as I pray with my family during the campaign. I encourage you to look up your nearest 40 Days for Life campaign location and get involved in the coming weeks (some are having a kick-off prior to the actual start of the campaign, so don’t wait until the last minute if you want to get involved).

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May I make one request? I would be so encouraged to hear what others are doing, whether it’s praying, volunteering, donating, fasting, or contacting a representative. Or maybe there’s something I haven’t even listed. Leave a comment below and let me know. That would really make my day.

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William Wilberforce was a key leader in the movement to end Slavery in England. He presented his Abolitionist Bill to the House of Commons for the first time by speaking on the horrors of slave trade for three hours. He ended the speech by telling the crowd, “having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know”. As many others have, I want to echo that statement today.

If you’ve made it this far in a very lengthy post (or if you’re just skipping to see how it ends), I urge you one last time to consider the questions,

Are these little ones human beings?

At what point do their lives deserve the right to be protected by the laws of our nation?

And what are you going to do about it now?

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All of the photos used in this post are of my own daughters, except for the last one. The final picture is a screen shot taken from the fifth Planned Parenthood video. It is the hand of an aborted baby held up by a pair of tweezers.

“Mommy, Will You Snuggle Me?”

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For several weeks now, Lydia has wanted me to snuggle with her at night. After we tuck her in and say goodnight she cries out earnestly, “Mommy, will you snuggle me?”. It’s often late and there is always much to do. I need to go downstairs, wash dishes, clean the dining room, pack Dan’s lunch, wash diapers, feed Paul, sometimes go for a run, and on a good night, spend a little time with Dan. Oh, and we try to get to bed early ourselves. The members of this family need their sleep.

But I usually try to rest with Lydia for just a little while. It’s never long enough for her, but at least it’s a little time with Mommy before the last “goodnight”. Saying, “goodnight” is always a challenge for Lydia.

A couple of weeks ago I had a hard day. It was the sort of day that leaves me worn out before lunch time, and ready to cry by nap time. By the time Dan came home from work we were all a mess, Mommy, the worst, was tired and emotional. I had already given myself a time-out earlier in the day to take a few minutes alone in my room to pray and think and try to be calm and practical instead of irritable and emotional.

Something happened, I don’t remember what, but I timed myself out again, after sending Lydia to her room to wait for me. She must have done something wrong and it sure seemed like a big deal at the time, but it must not have been anything too serious or surely I would remember what it was today.

Well I was a mess. I was frustrated with Lydia, frustrated with myself, and crying like a three-year-old having a temper tantrum. It is not good when you act younger than your children and you’re trying to parent! So I took my time-out and prayed, “God help! I’m a mess! What should I do?”. And the answer came:

“Ask for forgiveness”.

So I did. I went into Lydia’s room and told her I was sorry for getting frustrated and emotional, asking her to forgive me. We talked for a while. I cried. She told me she loved me. I asked for a hug.

I needed a hug.

She gave me a hug and then waited while I held on. After a short while she asked, “Mommy, why are you still hugging me?”

That caught me by surprise. I needed a snuggle and Lydia always wants snuggling, so I told her, “Mommy needs to snuggle right now. Will you snuggle me?”

“Ok, but only for a little while”.

“What?” My little girl didn’t want to snuggle? “Why only for a little while?”

“We have to go eat dinner soon”.

In that moment, I saw what I’d been doing to my daughter. As emotional and worn out as I was, I really felt like I needed to be held and loved by my daughter. How many nights had she expressed the same urgent need to be loved and snuggled by me, and I had said, “Ok, but only for a little while”? How many times had she graciously agreed to “just a little” snuggling so I could hurry off and do my chores.

That day, Lydia snuggled me, probably for longer than “just a little while”. And that night, I snuggled her back. Now I make it a bigger priority to snuggle with her at night for more than “just a little while”. I try not to rush off too soon. And if Lydia falls asleep before I get to snuggle her, I sneak into her room and give her a short snuggle. Not because she asks for it, and not because she’ll even know I came. Just because I love her.

Mommy Chronicles

Because some days are just worth remembering…

A couple of weeks ago, Lydia and Abby had doctor appointments. I remember when Lydia was the only baby in our home and she had appointments. It would take a grand hour and a half out of our day, which felt like a huge chunk of time. With three, things sure have changed. Partway through this adventure-of-a-day, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much was involved in one little appointment. So here I am, documenting for my own future entertainment someday when life is either far easier and more peaceful or (more likely) even more chaotic.

Planning for the appointment started the day before as we prepared to get the kids to bed extra early. We were all going to be getting up early the next day so we ate our dinner and cleaned up quickly, put the kids in their pajamas, and tucked them in to bed. That’s where our troubles began…

Every night we wash a load of diapers, since we use cloth and don’t have enough to make it longer than a day (with two kids in diapers). I promptly started the load at 7:00, right after the final diaper changes for the night. Sometime later we realized the washer wasn’t washing. The switch was on, washer plugged in, lid down, and the tub was filled with water but the washer wasn’t washing. Some quick Youtube searching allowed us to diagnose our problem: the lid switch was coming unglued.

Can I interject an important truth here? I have a college education as a mechanical engineer. Most people think that means I can fix stuff, anything really. That is not the case. A mechanical engineer can do math, solve mathy problems, create complicated Excel sheets, and design parts. No fixing. No repairing. And no diagnosing. My dad does that, not me. (and as an extra side note, either of our dad’s could have fixed this problem in no time flat, I’m sure of it).

Now Dan has his training in Math and Physics with a lot of experience in programming. There is not a single math, physics, or programming course that teaches you how to repair household appliances. Although, Dan and I could quickly sit down with our skills and calculate the time and cost comparison of fixing a part, paying someone to fix the part, buying a new washing machine, or using a laundromat until one of our dads makes a trip down to fix the part.

Well, the diapers needed to be washed and we had a big day coming so we found a useful Youtube video and started tackling the repair. Things went great. We got the washer apart, found the switch, duct-taped it back together (whatever works, right?) and began the process of reassembling the washer.

Then our sweet girls, who always go to sleep without any problems, both started crying. Lydia was beside herself in tears although no one knew why. We interrupted our repair to snuggle her back to peace only to have Abby start crying, wake Lydia up, and the whole episode began again. Then Paul, who was sitting happily in his bouncy seat, started crying too. We struggled through the repair process for a little while and finally took a break to calm the criers and feed the baby.

The rest of the night was just an upsetting mix of crying and unsuccessful attempts to put the washing machine back together. It was terrible. But, we did it, and finally everyone was asleep. The diapers got washed. Dan’s lunch was packed. Clothes were laid out for the next day. We made it to bed two or three hours later than we had planned.

The next morning I had planned to get up at 5 to feed Paul, so naturally he woke up hungry at 4:30. Oh well. I fed him and took a power nap before getting up and getting the girls ready. Much to Dan’s surprise, we made it to the parking lot of his work more than ten minutes early. The kids were quiet in the back seat so we just sat and enjoyed a few minutes more of peace before saying goodbye for the day. Then it was my turn to take over the driving.

I don’t really enjoy driving. In fact, I really don’t enjoy driving especially on busy or new roads. I tend to be a pretty cautious driver and my greatest weakness is not trusting any of the other drivers to do what their supposed to do. I’m also terrible with directions and can get lost going just about anywhere. Driving is one of my scariest responsibilities as a Mommy. So when I have to drive, Dan always prays for me first. Then I pray for me. Then I tell all the kids they have to be quiet because “Mommy is driving”. I pray every time I have to get on an entrance ramp, make a turn where there’s not a stop light, or think I might be going wrong direction. I also avoid lane changes at all costs even if it means driving ten miles below the speed limit because I’m “stuck” behind a slow truck or bus.

Dan, on the other hand, is an excellent “down state driver”. He can handle traffic, construction, detours, and makes lane changes like it’s his job. He has a wonderful sense of direction and can get anywhere without asking for help even if he’s never been there before and even if he’s “lost”. He can find our car in the parking lot without a problem. He can talk and listen and dodge potholes, watch for street signs, pass slow drivers, avoid fast drivers, keep track of what our kids are doing in the back seat, and sing along to the radio all at the same time. For this, and many other reasons, Dan always drives when we’re together.

We were made for each other.

So as Dan headed in to his work building, the girls and I prayed for my driving and I began reviewing the directions Dan had given me to get home. (He’s also very good at giving directions.)

Potholes. The last thing Dan told me before going in to work was that there were horrific potholes on the highway that would definitely give me a flat tire if I hit them. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about, I was supposed to dodge potholes We prayed for that too.

I was a nervous wreck driving home. It took half an hour and I still had another hour and a half of driving ahead of me for the day. At least the kids were being quiet. I did it though, I dodged those nasty potholes and thanked God for every single one we passed successfully. We made it home and I unloaded the kids. Now, breakfast.

After breakfast we had our daily “Bible Time”, prayed (for all the driving yet to come) and sang a Bible memory song. Then I packed the diaper bag, and repacked all the kids into the car.

Would you believe we actually made it to the doctor early? Not only were we early, we were 40 minutes early. Well, I guess I needn’t have worried about the rush hour traffic after all. I fed Paul and gave the girls some last minute snacks. Maybe I was trying to give them one last little boost before the big weigh-in. When you’re only 3rd percentile, every ounce counts. πŸ™‚

The doctor appointment went remarkable well (everyone is growing and developing at a pleasing rate). I was feeling like a pretty good mom and even made a lane change on the way home to pass a slow truck. Now you all know how monumental that is, so you know I was feeling good.

Somewhere along here I had the brilliant idea, since we had the car for the day, to stop and get Dan a Father’s day gift on the way to pick him up from work. So when we got home I took a few minutes to research the cheapest place to get a Wiffle Ball and bat. It turned out that Dick’s was the place to go and, as it turns out, there is a Dick’s conveniently located right on the way to Dan’s work. Success.

We took our time eating lunch and then everyone got a half hour nap before we got back into the car. Prayed for Mom’s driving, And off we went. During the ten minute drive to Dick’s I tried to explain to Lydia what a surprise is and that we were going to get a present for Daddy for Sunday. Since it was for Sunday, she was not to say a word to him about it. Did I really believe that would work? Well, I was hopeful.

Finding a Wiffle ball set at Dick’s was more involved than I expected, and I was sad to learn that they no longer sell the balls in a set. You have to buy every single ball individually for $2 each. Ridiculous. We decided to just get the bat and ball and order more balls online. I was grateful there weren’t more people in the store to judge my parenting as Lydia ran chaotically through the kayaks yelling to me that there were purple life jackets. We survived the checkout line, even with its walls of colorful toys and candy and playground balls (honestly, who thought that was a good idea?) and made it through the checkout and back to the car with time to spare. I hid the bat and ball in the trunk and Lydia and I talked some more about surprises.

Then it was back to dodging potholes. I was a little less confident this time and decided to patiently follow the slow truck in front of me for the few miles to Dan’s work. I realized I didn’t have to worry as much about the potholes if I just followed the path of the car in front of me. That seemed to work well and soon enough we were finally safe in Dan’s work parking lot. I fed Paul and Dan came out promptly at 3:00.

Now, there are some days when, as a stay at home Mom with three, I feel like I don’t accomplish much. Dan comes home and asks what I did and I say, “I got the kids dressed and fed, did laundry, and cooked dinner. That’s all.” But this day trumped all days. “How was your day?”, he asked me. “Great! We didn’t do anything but go to the doctor, eat, and take short naps. BUT, I didn’t get lost, wasn’t late, and didn’t hit a single pothole!” And my husband, who knows me well, congratulated me and gave me a hug.

Now, as a side note so you are not all left hanging…I never heard Lydia say a single word to Dan about the Wiffle ball and bat. I snuck it into the house, and, at Lydia’s request, we made Dan a card to go with it. On Sunday we triumphantly brought out our surprise and gave it to Dan. He read the card, admired the bat, and than confessed, “Lydia told me about the bat.”

“What?!?”

“Several times…and I saw it when you opened the closet a couple of days ago.”

Good thing Dan doesn’t really like surprises. πŸ™‚

The Little Man Song

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Ever since we realized how much reflux was bothering Paul, we’ve been holding him almost all the time. His favorite position is to be snuggled upright on his belly, as you can see from the pictures, and he is held like this nearly 24/7. As much as we love snuggling our Big Guy, it makes it pretty hard to do much of anything else (like sleep!) and that can get hard on the attitude at times. A few days ago, as I was holding Paul, this song popped into my head and we’ve been singing it to him, and ourselves, ever since as a reminder of how short this season is and how we’ll miss it when it’s over. One time as I was singing to Paul and making up lots of new verses, Dan listened in for while. He mentioned afterward that he might take a video of my singing and play it at Paul’s wedding one day. I nearly cried just thinking about it. He’s already growing up so fast! So we vetoed that idea but decided to share it on the blog for memory’s sake. Here is a sampling of the many verses we like to sing…

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Little Man, Little Man
I’ll hold you like this while I can.
You are my favorite Little Man,
Little Man.

Little Man, you are so sweet,
from your fingers to your feet.
Someday you’ll be just like your dad
And that will make me very glad.
(Not holding you then will make me sad)
Little Man.

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Little Man, Little Man
I’ll hold you now and give you love
And when you’re big, you’ll give me hugs.
Little Man.

I’ll hold you like this for a while
I really want to see your smile.
I know you love to be held this way
So chores can wait another day.
Little Man.

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Little Man, Little Man
From your head down to your toes
I love you, you should always know.

Little Man, Little Man,
I’ll hold you like this while I can
You are my favorite Little Man,
My Little Man.

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When Dan read this he was extremely disappointed that I re-ordered some of the words from our most commonly sung versions of the song. So for the sake of our own reminiscing twenty years from now, here are our most common verses in their truest form:

Little Man, Little Man,
I’ll hold you like this while I can.
From your sweet hair to your feet,
Little Man you are so sweet.
Little Man.

Little Man, Little Man,
I’ll hold you like this while I can.
From your head down to your toes
I love you, you should always know.
Little Man.

Little Man, Little Man,
I’ll hold you like this while I can.
I’ll snuggle you and give you love
And when you’re big you’ll give me hugs.
Little Man.

Snuffly Quotes

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Last night, after Lydia was all tucked into bed, I heard her crying, “I don’t want to be snuffly. I don’t want to be snuffly!”. This morning she assured me that she was no longer “snuffly” because she was only snuffly when she was sleeping.

In case you don’t speak “Lydia”, allow me to translate. We’re sick. Snuffly-gooby-runny-nose-sick. So, rather than write an Abby update today, I’ll postpone that for when she’s looking a little less…snuffly. But in the meantime, I’ll share some encouraging and though-provoking quotes that I’ve read lately on the topic of difficult circumstances.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
Helen Keller

“If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at all.”
Charles Spurgeon

“God’s ways of answering His people’s prayers is not by removing the pressure, but by increasing their strength to bear it.”
DL Moody

“O Lord, by all thy dealings with us, whether of joy or pain, of light or darkness, let us be brought to thee. Let us value no treatment of thy grace simply because it makes us happy or because it makes us sad, because it gives us or denies us what we want; but may all that thou sendest us bring us to thee, that, knowing thy perfectness, we may be sure in every disappointment that thou art still loving us, and in every darkness that thou are still enlightening us, and in every enforced idleness that thou art still using us; yea, in every death that thou art still giving us life, as in his death thou didst give life to thy Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Phillip Brooks