What a Waste

seeking significance (1)

Ever since I was little I wanted to be a teacher.  So much so that I would line my stuffed animals and dolls up and teach them my homework, make tests and quizzes for them, take the tests and quizzes for them, and grade everything with a red crayon.  {I was a little heart-broken when research came out that using the color red to grade was actually detrimental to self-esteem.  I LOVED that red crayon!}

Teaching is something that I’m good at.  It comes naturally to me.  It excites me.  I love the challenge of creating lessons that will reach my students and help them realize their potential.  I love getting to know my students and {hopefully} showing them what Christ’s love looks like without being allowed to actually speak His name.

That’s why leaving teaching was such a difficult decision.  When my first son was born I struggled with not being at home with him on a daily basis.  I was torn between my love of teaching and my deep desire to be the one at home raising my children.  Even though staying home has not been exactly what I pictured it to be, I’m so glad for this gift of time.

When I shared with my colleagues that I was leaving, and no not to teach somewhere else but to stay home, I got a lot of different responses.  The one that still sticks with me though is “What a waste!”  I actually get a bit emotional about this statement.  How sad is it that in our culture today it is considered a “waste” to raise your children.  To intentionally lay down your own desires, career, time, freedom, waist-line, income, and so much more for the sake of children.

The thought of giving up our own aspirations and future successes so that we can be a significant part of someone else’s.  This baffles most people, and to be honest me too sometimes.  It’s hard.  It goes against our nature and the culture of “me” that we live in.  But I think that makes it all the more important.

Jesus did this.  He gave up his life.  And not only that day on the cross, but everyday he walked this earth.  He didn’t live for himself, seeking a successful career or anything of earthly worth.  He lived, and died, for the sake of others.  He didn’t hold onto personal bitterness about wrongs done to him, He didn’t ignore others so that he could achieve his dreams.  He reached out.  He loved selflessly.  He may not have been successful by earthly standards, but he was SIGNIFICANT.  He made a difference.  He gave the world HOPE.

And he calls us to do the same.

I’m not saying that everybody should go ahead and give up their careers and things and whatever it is that is important to you.  But I do think it is important to consider others more.  To think about the needs of someone else above our own.

I’m still working through this for myself.  I did step aside from my dream job, whether permanently or temporarily I do not know.  But that one act is not in itself significant.  What I do at home will determine that.  Will I live my days with a feeling of bitterness because I don’t get to shower everyday and put on makeup and leave the house?  Will I make my husband feel bad for things that he does that annoy me?  Will I ignore my children and spend my time on social media or doing whatever it is that I want to do?

Or… Will I put aside my own daily desires?  Will I get down on the floor and giggle with the newborn even though he is slightly boring still?  Will I think and breathe before I get annoyed with the oh-so-helpful toddler?  Will my words build them up and my actions be a small glimpse of God’s love for them?  Will I choose to swallow my pride and show respect to my husband even when I disagree on things that really don’t matter?

Right now, in this stage of life that I am in, I believe fully that what I’m doing in NOT a waste.  My goal is to do the task my Lord has given me without complaint and with a joyful heart.  To give grace and love to those around me because God gave it to me first.  My goal is to reach the finish line and hear my Father say “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant.”

My goal is to be significant.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”     Acts 20:24

 

 

This is still a process for me.  I would love to walk through this process with you as well.  Comment here or Instagram/Facebook.  How can we all help each other as we live this life for the sake of others?

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Roaring like a Lion

Dr:  So…. You’re gonna have a baby.  Me:… Like when?… Like now?  Like today?

The last month of pregnancy is by far the longest.  People lie when they say it’s only 9 months.  It’s 10.  10 months people.  And that last month is probably just as long as the entire pregnancy put together.  All that you want is for the baby to decide to make it’s appearance and to NOT BE PREGNANT ANYMORE.

That is, until you’re about to have the baby.  Then reality sets in.  HOLY CRAP I’m gonna have to push a human being out and then raise it.  This is how I felt when my doctor told me that Lion was gonna be making an appearance VERY soon.  So fun.  Anxiety, stress, impatience, fear, not fun butterflies in my stomach, all of it.  But okay, no turning back at this point.

I left his office at 5pm and called my parents (4 hours away) to ask them to come down and watch Moose.  I said we probably wouldn’t need them until the next morning, but whenever they could come down would be good.  Again… HOOOLLLY CRAP was I wrong.  Luckily they left as soon as my dad got off work and were at my house at 11:30 that evening.

We left for the hospital at midnight.

It was an hour drive to our hospital.  Eric went 80 mph the entire way and got pulled over by a cop just as we were pulling into the hospital parking lot.  The officer didn’t seem interested in delivering the baby (weird, right?) so he let us go.

Remember how I said it was an hour drive?  Well, the drive was the longest part of the night.  Not figuratively, but literally in the amount of time.  Lion was born within 45 minutes of me getting checked into the hospital.

When I say “Roaring like a Lion”, again, I mean that LITERALLY.  Except the one roaring was me!  I signed the paper to get that wonderful, magical, best-drug-ever epidural, got an IV, and then this little Lion decided that I didn’t need drugs after all.

There wasn’t time anymore to get the magical wonderful numbness.  I won’t go into details, but natural birth sucks.  I offered, several times, to drink the epidural.  For some reason the nurses didn’t think that was a good idea.  Again, weird.

And then it was over.  If you’ve read my previous post about not loving my kid’s right away than you know the first thought I had when I saw my sweet, wrinkled, purple, tiny baby boy was “Thank you LORD it doesn’t hurt anymore!”

We thought it was so cute that little Lion didn’t cry, he squeaked instead.  This got less cute.

7 weeks later, and he’s grown on me a bit.  I’ve almost forgiven him for deciding I didn’t need drugs.  I’ve definitely forgotten just how horrible it was and have this crazy idea in my brain that I could do it again (in like 5 years).

I may be biased, but I’m pretty sure he’s the cutest (loudest) little baby lion ever.

Roaring Like aLion

Real Life Arguments- Post Baby

Have you ever experienced a time in life when all your brain power clearly was not present?  Imagine this lasting for a few or several months.  This is what happens to husband and I after welcoming a new bundle of sleeplessness into our lives.

Without the ability to always think clearly… or even think at all… and with emotions heightened, our arguments get kind of ridiculous.  Some of these I’m going to share with you are funny, some that we should probably all be aware of a little more, and one in particular that wins the “most ridiculous fight ever” award.

Now before you read these, please note that they are coming from my point of view, so OBVIOUSLY it will appear that I am right in all of these circumstances.  I am, of course, not always right… but Eric doesn’t have a blog, so my side wins ;).  Enjoy!

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HOW DARE YOU SLEEP WHEN I’M AWAKE?!?!!?  Real emotions were felt with this one.  Being awake every hour with a new born who wanted to eat constantly and looking over to see a peacefully sleeping husband.  Not cool.

It’s YOUR turn to [fill in blank].  This is a dangerous one.  We had this argument a lot more after Moose was born than this time around.  New parents, some advice… don’t keep score!  You’re both doing your best, you’re both exhausted (even if it appears that one is sleeping more than the other… and I’m totally on board with waking that person up just for the sake of it).  Keeping score just creates more tension.  Encourage one another, and if you are feeling over worked then share it in a kind way.

STOP ENDING SENTENCES WITH PREPOSITIONS!!! I realize this doesn’t have a whole lot to do with a newborn in the house, but since Lion arrived my grammar policing skills have definitely increased.  Eric loves this.  “Moose, do you want to come WITH?”  UGHHH!!  It’s with [ME, US, DADDY, MOMMY, ANYTHING!!!!]  I may have a problem…

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What’s for dinner?  Yup, post-baby this leads to a really fun, emotional place.

If I’m having emotions, you should be having emotions.  WHERE ARE YOUR EMOTIONS?!  I know this will be a shock to everyone, but women tend to be more emotional then men.  This is especially true with the fun hormonal rush after having a baby.  Eric and I have had several “discussions” about how our emotional states don’t match up.  I still think that if I’m stressed out about something, he should also see the gravity in the situation and be stressed out with me.  He doesn’t have this same point of view for some reason… baffles me…

As I write this I’m totally starting to see that I’m the one instigating most (read: all) of these arguments…

AND THE MOST RIDICULOUS ARGUMENT OF THE YEAR AWARD GOES TO……..

Placement of the Toilet Paper.  We don’t buy tissues, instead we have a roll of toilet paper in our room for nose purposes.  Usually this sits on my night stand.  Post-baby however my night stand gets FULL of diapers (clean), wipes, boob pads, burp clothes, pacifiers, chocolate, water bottles, pain pills, diaper cream, etc.  Eric’s night stand is empty except for a book or two, the alarm clock, and a lamp.  This led to a SEVERE disagreement about whose night stand the toilet paper would sit on.  I mean REAL feelings here people!  Three nights post baby and no sleep for either of us led to this wonderful moment of maturity.  Here is just a brief tidbit of our conversation.

Me: Just put it on YOUR side, look at all that room!

Eric: I don’t understand why we are changing the placement NOW?!

Me: [Throws roll at Eric’s side] BECAUSE!! (so much logic in that particular argument!)

Eric: UGH! [Throws roll across the room]

It landed in my closet and stayed there for a week.  We went to bed that night not talking to one another.  Guys.  For.  Real.

For the record…. I still think I was right about that one 😉

What have you argued about that was super ridiculous and caused by some post-baby sleep deprivation and hormones?  Share!

 

 

 

Lazy or GENIUS?!

With summer quickly approaching a lot of posts are being written about how to keep your kids busy outdoors.  So many great ideas from mommas who are incredibly gifted in the area of “activities.”

I am not one of those mommas.

Anything that requires more than a 1 or 2 step process to prepare, and I’m out.  You might be thinking, wow Barb… you’re a lazy parent.  But am I?  In my brain, the best activities are the ones that get played with the most and require as little from me as possible.  I love watching my toddler use his imagination… which happens a whole lot more when I haven’t structured every little bit of his play time.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite go-to “activities” (for lack of a better word) to keep my kid busy and me happy 🙂

Dirt.  Sand, mud, whatever you have available to you.  Stick your kid in play clothes and then lead them to the dirt.  For mommas who have difficulty with messy kids, this will be a challenge.  I don’t mind messy as long as I can easily clean it up… or as long as it’s Eric’s night to give Moose a bath ;).  The beauty of this activity is that they will barely even notice your presence, let alone require you to play in the mud with them.

I recommend disrobing them before you get back in the house.  Keep a towel by the door so you can wrap them up and carry them straight to the tub.  If your kid is wearing shoes while playing in the mud, make sure they are washable!

Side note:  Those flowers in the picture on the right definitely died.  But I knew they would anyway since I never watered them so I had no problem with him messing with them.  If you care about your flowers, maybe don’t let your toddler play in them.

 

Water.  Okay, so this requires a step to prepare.  Unfortunately nature doesn’t always provide pre-filled buckets of water as it does pre-filled yards with dirt.  Super lazy mommas–brace yourselves.  You will have to get a plastic container.  Any size.  Then fill it with water.  And then–now this is the hard part–carry that water to the outdoors without spilling it! And now you’re done!  You will probably have been tripping over your kid the entire way out the door.  Throw some plastic cups or toys into the bin and let them have at it.  I like to naked my kid down to his diaper for this activity.  Again, leave a towel by the door so they don’t bring water into your house.

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You can also do this inside.  It takes a bit more clean up, but worth the 20 minutes of playtime.  Plus you’ll have a cleaner floor afterwards (totally doesn’t count as child labor.)  Put a towel down so they don’t slip on the floor (… we may have learned this the hard way!)

P.S… if your kid is anything like mine… they will drink the water.

 

Rain.  This is similar to water.  (Clearly you needed me to tell you that!)  The main difference here is that you do not have to prepare the rain ahead of time.  Nature is kind like that and does all the work for you.  As long as there is no thunder or lightening, stick the kid outside.  If you don’t have rain boots for your kid, let them go barefoot.

Rain

So there you go.  I know that each one of these activities is ridiculously revolutionary and no-one has ever shared them with you before.  You. are. WELCOME 😉

What do you do during the summer/everyday to keep your kids busy?  Share in the comments!

What do you think of these stellar activities?  Lazy… or genius?!

Netflix is my Idol

 

Netflix is my Idol (2)

Idle hands are the devil’s play things.  Monotony.  Netflix.  Hours spent in front of the computer doing absolutely nothing of worth.  Checking Facebook and Instagram 100 million times within 5 minutes.  Checking my blog stats every few seconds to see if anybody has read it, liked it, commented on it.  House shopping even though we are nowhere near buying another house.

Some days, a lot of days, this consumes me.  Staying at home with two littles can get redundant real quick.  On many of these days, instead of turning to something productive or that would make God smile, I fill the time with things that don’t matter but for some reason my brain and heart care so much about.

Who really cares if I don’t respond to a Facebook comment within a minute of it being posted?  Actually, what usually happens is I see it right when it’s posted and then wait about 3 hours before responding so it doesn’t look like I’ve been sitting there waiting for it.  THAT IS SO SHAMEFUL!  I’m literally hiding from people my shame for having spent so much time wasting time.

When Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, there was a lot of time available.  The Isrealites had to wait as God carried out his promises.  And in the waiting, they chose to worship other things instead of “being productive” or doing what would “make God smile.”  In fact, they literally bowed down in front of their golden idols saying,

“THESE ARE YOUR GODS, OH ISRAEL.”

Welp, at least they realized that they were basically replacing God.  How often do we not realize the things in our lives have come to replace God?  Silly things, things that don’t truly matter.  The world will indeed go on if we don’t all see the new season of Fuller House.  What are we placing importance on that doesn’t matter?  What are we making more important than God in our lives?

Obviously this is something everybody does and needs to be aware of, but here is my perspective as a stay at home momma.  There are many many moments when it would be so nice to sit and let my brain veg away and to become concerned with the thoughts of the world.  I am constantly making things more important than the purpose God has called me to.  Playing with my babies.  Keeping my home clean (obviously my home is a bit of a mess… I have a toddler… but taking the time when I have it to take pride in how my home reflects how I care about the things God has given me).  Building up others.  Time to intentionally learn from my Father.  These are the things of importance.

I have no idea if any of this made any sense.  I think I’m still trying to wrap my own brain around letting God be my God and not Netflix or Facebook.  But here is what I’m going to do today, and I challenge you to do as well (if you feel this is an area of need for you too!)…

I’m not going to put on the TV today.  Even though it’s a rainy day and letting Moose watch Disney channel would be an amazing thing.  I’m not going to check my Facebook, Instagram, or Web Stats after posting this to see who read it and what they thought.  Guys, I almost just deleted that sentence, that’s how big this is becoming in my life and truly why I need a break.

Please leave your thoughts and own experiences in the comments.  I hope this somewhat helps encourage you as well.  I promise to respond sometime tomorrow!

There’s Beauty in Tired Eyes

Coffee &

This morning I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, concealer in hand, trying desperately to hide the new pair of dark circles that appeared over night.  It was a rough night.  Moose has a fever and cough (that could be nothing or could be flu 😦 ), and Lion was up every half hour from 1-7am eating, grunting, farting.  Those dark circles earned their place and were not so willing to be “concealed” this morning.

Mamas, new mamas… we’ve all been there.  It gets better.  This is the season of life when the laundry doesn’t get done, showers (with soap) happen less and less, and the trash is overflowing with diapers and empty take-out boxes.

I’ve been trying to remind myself that it does get better.  I think this blog post is actually more for me than for anyone else.  I get stuck in seeing the daily struggles and wanting for time to move just a little more quickly (until the boys become a bit more independent and helpful, and then time can stop again).  But husband reminded me last night that it’s actually good to live in this moment.  To not think so much about what the future will bring (hopefully sleep and clean underwear!) but to enjoy the moments that are happening right in front of me.

It’s so easy to miss the moments.  Especially when I look around my home and see piles of laundry, dishes, dog hair, and there is some kind of odor that I just can’t identify.  But the sweet snuggles, the big brother hugs and kisses, the needing me now more than they will in the future, the quiet hours while Moose sleeps and Lion sits in my arms.  These are moments that don’t come back  It’s okay to be tired during this season.  It’s okay to sometimes wish for less tired moments.  It’s okay for the house to be a bit of a wreck.  But don’t forget that there is beauty here.

Proverbs 31:10,27-28 says, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”

Not gonna lie, this stressed me out when I first read it.  This poor woman never seems to get rest.  I read “the affairs of her household” as cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, budget, etc.  And “bread of idleness” as she just never sits down.  But I think I read it wrong.  I think that, especially when children are little, the affairs of our homes are actually our children.  Time spent loving them, playing with them, making messes… this isn’t considered idleness, even if the house looks like it’s never heard the word “vacuum” let alone experienced one in use.  God calls this woman, who accomplishes these moments, noble, blessed, and worth more than rubies.  Basically… beautiful.

This woman is tired.  Because caring for littles is more emotionally, physically, mentally exhausting than any kind of house work. She has sleepless nights, is constantly needed, has children hanging off of her at most hours of the day, and wonders how many more days she can get away with not showering.  She has tired, baggy, dark circled eyes.  And God calls her blessed.  She is beautiful.

Cheater, Cheater, Ice Cream Eater

1 Clean Eating

Excuses, Excuses.  I am FULL of them.  I’m pregnant, I can’t stop thinking about milkshakes, I should have a milkshake.  I should have 15 milkshakes in one month and find it humorous, not disgusting.  MMM, Cookout!  Milkshakes are less than $5, nbd.

I decided that since baby lion has been born, it’s time for me to stop making excuses and start eating healthy foods.  Luckily, I work for a company that offers a 28 day to healthy living program accompanied by accountability and support.  Yay!

I started the program a week ago today.  Totally ready and excited.  Thinking that giving up coffee for 28 days was going to be no big thing, I’ve done it before.  Realizing that giving up my nightly ice cream would be the hardest thing for me, but determined to follow the program hard core, no cheating.

…  I’ve cheated :(.

One thing you should know is that post-pregnancy I get hit with my strongest cravings.  Weird?  Yes.  But ALL I WANT are cookies (that I eat like potato chips, no joke.  My mom made me 30 chocolate chip cookies and I ate all of them IN AN HOUR) and chocolate and ice cream and brownies and … oh gosh, this isn’t helpful.

Up until yesterday, I’ve been pretty good about following the program.  I’ve only had a cup of coffee once and I’ve eaten more almonds, hummus, veggies, salad, and berries than probably ever combined in my whole lifetime.  The first few days were SUPER hard, I felt like I was constantly hungry and there wasn’t anything that I was allowed to eat that I wanted.  Gross healthy food!  I would even get shaky right around lunch time because of low blood sugar.  As the days continued, however, I’ve learned how to snack, when to snack, and the beauty of chocolate protein shakes (yum…. seriously, I look forward to my chocolate shakes like any good chocolate addict should.  I won’t add anything to them because that would disrupt the chocolaty wonderfulness.)  I’ve haven’t been as hungry for the bad things, and when I need something sweet I eat some blueberries or strawberries and feel good about life.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  I’m not really big into celebrating specific days, but I’m doing a detox, so OBVIOUSLY I’m gonna use this as an excuse.  We had pizza for dinner.  Followed by a whole thing of Haagen-Dazs Carmel Cone Ice Cream all to myself!  (This may sound like a weird ice cream flavor, but if you haven’t had it, trust me… it’s a beautiful experience.)  I didn’t feel bad about cheating.  It was Mother’s day.  The day I get to not feel bad for eating ice cream….

But guys, for real, this morning was ROUGH.  I was so exhausted, bloaty, and feeling like I’d gained about 10lbs.  In reality, I only gained back 1 lb that I’d lost from last week, but oh boy that was one big pound.  I had to drive Eric to work since his car was in a wreck last week, and he questioned my ability to drive.  Not because I’m usually a bad driver (only while pregnant… another story for another time), but because I was so tired and unfocused.

He bought me coffee.  Life got better.

But okay, so here’s the deal.  I’ve learned (the hard way… because clearly that’s the only way I can learn anything) that when doing a detox you should STICK WITH THE RULES.  Life will be infinitely harder and results will not be fantastic when cheating occurs.  I’m reminding myself that I paid for the supplements to do this program, and by cheating I’m really just throwing all that money away.  I took before pictures (that you will not see until I have fantastic after pictures) and it would be a super shame if my after pictures looked exactly the same.

So.  Back on the detox horse this afternoon.  I had a wonderful protein shake for lunch, and a salad with avocado, tomato, and cucumber as a snack an hour and a half later (cause I’m feeding the baby so frequent snack on GOOD things is required).

Anyone else attempted to get healthy and hit some road blocks?  Did you just give up or did you decide to keep going despite the setback?  Did you do a program or go it alone?  I’d love to hear your feedback and advice!

 

Also… when the detox is over I may celebrate with this…. just cause it’s absolutely fantastic.  17-DSC_5653

Supermom

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My children eat vegetables and ask for more spinach.  My husband regularly wears ironed pants and shirts, that of course spent no more time than necessary in the dirty laundry bin, washer, and dryer respectively.  I plan out educational activities for my toddler each day so that he will attend kindergarten ready to pass the third grade.  My home does not smell like poo.  Dishes NEVER go in the sink, but instead directly into the dishwasher, which gets run and emptied regularly.  We have a dog, but you will find no dog hair lying around my home, as I love vacuuming and do so while wearing my baby in a carrier every hour of every day (even Saturday).  I cook.  Leggings are not pants.  I am amazing at multitasking and running a business with passion at the same time as wiping snot off my child’s nose… not that he has snot on his nose, because I raised him better than that.  I never doubt my skills.  My child behaves each and every time we go to the grocery store, and I never have to bribe him with a snack.

Not.

Every statement you just read is an absolute LIE.  If you did not read the paragraph with sarcasm oozing out of each word, PLEASE read it again in the appropriate manner.  I don’t know of one mom, or person, who is able to accomplish each one of these things simultaneously.

Supermom cannot possibly exist, but I think there is a lot of pressure to be her.  Mostly, I receive this pressure from myself.  Real life cannot measure up to supermom standards.  So for all of you ordinary ole’ mamas out there, here is my reality with being mom.  Hopefully this will encourage you that it’s okay when your mom duties don’t fall under “supermom”, and that can actually make life a lot more fun 😉

  1. Supermom:  I had a beautiful goal when I started my SAHM journey.  Toddler was going to learn a letter a week, and we would sing songs and make art and display the letter all throughout the house.  Reality:  We found songs on youtube that I stuck him in front of for a good 30 minutes.  We colored two coloring sheets with the letters A and B.  That’s as far as we got.  I displayed them above his toys … they mock my non-supermom status daily.
  2. Supermom: My kid eats vegetables and asks for more spinach.  Reality:  His main food groups are chicken nuggets and pbj’s.  He will not venture out even to have mac and cheese.  My kid is weird.
  3. Supermom: Laundry is done regularly and clothes that need to be ironed are ironed.  Reality:  We own a washer/dryer and an iron/ironing board.  Sometimes the washer/dryer are used.  I haven’t unpacked the iron.  The ironing board holds laundry baskets.
  4. Supermom: My home smells like fresh baked cookies and spring rain showers and sunshine and happiness.  RealityMy home smells like poo.  Literally everywhere.  I live with 4 boys (I included the dog in this number, because for real.)  There are diapers and farts and … I just can’t.
  5. Supermom:  I run a successful business that I never doubt with amazing passion and excitement daily, all while keeping my kids entertained and happy (and alive).  Reality:  I love my business, but I doubt.  I struggle.  I don’t like it some days.  Sometimes I hide from it and watch Scandal instead.
  6. Supermom:  My kids never watch TV.  Reality: “It’s the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!  Come inside it’s fun inside!”  “Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog”  “We’ve got ears, say CHEERS”  “OOOOH Toodles!”  … go and cry in a corner.

Life is messy and nobody does it perfectly.  Mama, supermom DOES NOT EXIST.  Do the best you can, and some days if you can’t do even that then that’s okay.

Now, I have to go clean my house and pretend it smells nice and never has dirty diapers or toys or random shoes everywhere so we can have company tonight.  Cause you know, I’m supermom 😉

 

PS, I’d like to note that my mom brain forgot how to spell words like “vegetable” and “reality” during the construction of this blog post.