Monthly Archives: February 2015

On forming words

Watching Jack learn new words and string them together to form thoughts is our new favorite pastime. 

 “Daddy go work Life Floor.” 

 “Oh no wha’ happen?” 

 “I kick ball fall down.” 

 “Big owie go hoss-bal.” (hospital) 

“Jesus peace my heart.”

 And this, which he heard as a warning in the parking lot: “No run, car hit me.”
 

When he was still small, I told Jon I’d rather have a talker than a walker because I just wanted to communicate with my sweet boy. That time has come, at long last, and I love to hear him narrate and observe his world.

He also tells stories while he pretends and communicates basic emotions (sad, crying, pain, and his favorite “no want/don’t wike it”). 

Last week at daycare, a little friend went into time-out and Jack turned to me and said, “Uh oh. Wissen obey foast time.”
“I will listen and obey the first time, not the second time, or the third time, but the first time” is my favorite line from the Hope Academy Declaration, one that I’ve been trying to help Jack internalize. And I suppose it’s working!

Today in the way home, Jack was crying about snack or Daddy being at work or both, and I asked him what we should do to feel happy. He replied, “Play toys in jams. Feeo be’rr.”

Wearing jammies makes me feel better, too, kid.

To the moms in my circle

I’ve read a lot of articles on Huffington Post Parents that say the same thing: raising kids is hard, no one has all the answers, and everyone screws up sometimes. I’ve read them through tears, and I’ve liked and shared them on Facebook.

But nothing has been as powerful to me as when a fellow mom-in-the-trenches says to me, I’m with you in this. I’ve got your back. Hearing it from another woman whose story I know, whose life I have shared, carries more weight than reading some article on an illuminated screen in a dark room in the middle of the night. (What, mama, you thought you were the only one googling “baby sleep” at 3am? Nope. Not alone.) So I write this for the moms in my circle. Even if I can’t stand in front of you and say it, you know me, the voice behind the screen.

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Remember that woman you were before you became a mother? She’s really proud of who you have become. You’ve added so many layers of complexity to your person. You’re juggling so many titles all the time, and it’s exhausting, we know. But you’re doing all right.

Before you became mama, you were probably someone’s employer or employee. Maybe you owned your own business and you rocked that situation, because it was you, leaning all the way in, taking chances, and blowing us away with your creativity. You were faithful, you showed up, you did good work – work that mattered.

And now you’re a mother. This little life depends on you for everything all the time, and maybe that’s all you ever wanted, or maybe you’re feeling suffocated by the needing and the crying and the nursing and the loving. Maybe this is more than you signed up for and some days that old life looks tempting. You might be really happy in your current situation but you wonder what all that before stuff was for or what good it’s done you.

Or maybe you’re like me, and are content with this phase because it suits the life you want to have with your family and your babies. But perhaps you wonder what could be, later, when the kids are older and life moves into a different phase.

This is all I know of motherhood: It is terrible and wonderful.

But you are not alone. You are loved. You are doing all right. I don’t have all the any answers, really. But I am here. I will listen and cry with you.

That mess of complicated feelings? It’s okay. Feel ’em all. You’re “Mom And” now, and that’s complicated. Give yourself grace.

See, it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s me saying it. I hope it rings true coming from a friend. If not, go check out Huffington Post Parents. They’ve got good stuff on there.

Best Weekend of the Winter

imageWe were introduced to Family Fest Ministries three years ago and invited to attend their January family camp, Winter Weekend, at a resort in northern Minnesota. It was -35 F that weekend, but it was a spiritual and emotional thaw for me as I emerged from a dark fall/winter with my 10-week-old baby. We were delighted, our spirits were lifted, and we returned home raving about Family Fest!

The next year, I was pregnant with Grace and we planned to use Christmas money to replace our (very old, nearly dead) home computer. But after being challenged to build into our lives set-apart time for God, we registered for camp instead! imageAgain, it was a wonderful experience. Jack, just over a year, had so much fun singing, dancing, playing, swimming, and dog sledding!

This year, I started talking about Family Fest in October! The camp is an investment for a family of our size (plus we just got a minivan) so Jon said we needed Christmas money again in order to go. On Christmas morning, I was giddy as I opened all the generous gifts from various family members; “We can go, we can go!” I exclaimed. And so we went.

imageSeveral families from church were there, including two of Jack’s buddies from daycare, and it was so fun to watch Jack explore new surroundings and be adventurous (“Walk! Lake! Fwozen!”). He was terrified of the water slide I took him down, but was captivated by the horses that pulled our wagon ride. Our cabin shared an adjoining door with my coworker’s family, so after getting all the kids to bed, we played games together by the fireplace! Such a good time of “forced rest” – letting go of feeling the need to be productive!image

Jon and I got some great teaching by a speaker on relationships, raising kids, being vulnerable with them as they grow, and the many ways life comes full circle. We were encouraged to look for the spiritual gifts we see in our children – and to tell them! Jack may not understand fully how we see the gift of encouragement in him, nor can Gracie yet appreciate her gift of longsuffering, but even at their ages, our children reflect to us characteristics of our good God – and we are blessed by them.

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My dream is that this becomes a tradition for our family, and one we can share with others we love. We’ve already told some of our friends, “You have to come with us next year!”