Monday, December 30, 2013

My (almost) Two Year Old Teacher

Maybe I should be resting. I will be 39 weeks pregnant on Thursday (yikes!) But honestly, I just want to blog about this epiphany I had the other day.

It came about after I pulled Aria out of the fish pond at the library last week. My friend texted me and said, "Jody, you are a WARRIOR!" To be honest, I didn't feel much like a warrior, I felt more like a bad mom who's child almost drowned or almost died of hypothermia. This friend was so sweet to encourage me in that way. Something about an encouraging mama who tells you, "good job for saving your kid's life" and not, "why weren't you watching your kid?!" It was definitely what I needed to hear in the moment.

All that got me thinking, yeah, it is kind of like being a warrior. Here I am, hugely pregnant, bending over and fishing her out of the pond. There are times when I'm running after her in the store because she refuses to come. The other night she was digging poop out of her diaper, thankfully we were at my in-laws, so I could just throw her into the tub. She is quick and she is into everything. I like to call her my Wild Card because you never know what you are going to get.

Really, it's like a mommy boot camp and she is training me physically, emotionally and spiritually. Any moment could be a test of my mind, will, emotions and physical strength and agility.

Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that Aria is my Yoda and I am her Luke Skywalker.

Now, I haven't seen a lot of Star Wars, but I do remember the part where Yoda is training young Luke. It's long and hard and Yoda is constantly throwing confusing situations at Luke. He doesn't understand everything that Yoda tells him. It's a pretty intense, frustrating time of training.

I feel as though I am in this Jedi training. Aria is the teacher and I am the student. She knows what is going on. She understands every situation. She is difficult to understand at times. She is teaching me to depend upon the Holy Spirit (the Force). She is much stronger and more physically apt than you would think for her size.

Many times she has proved "baby proof" on medicine bottles wrong.

Several weeks ago I went to church early to play on the worship team and took Levi with me. Ben came later and sat with me during the sermon. He leaned over and told me that Aria had brought him three roaches that morning. One was still alive.

Yes, she is our Yoda. We are her faithful students, ever learning, frustrated at times, in awe of the things she is teaching us to do and in awe of the things she can do. She is fearless, jumping from one piece of furniture to another, maybe not always correctly judging the distance. But she always gets up without many tears. She is tough as nails. Every little sister is required this attribute, big brothers don't stand for that stuff.

She is unpredictable. She may give you a kiss, or she may slap you in the face. We have come to the conclusion that physical violence is one of her love languages. Another one is cuddling. The other day Ben was waiting for her to hug him with his eyes closed. She reached around and smacked him dead on. Lesson learned: never try to hug or kiss Aria with your eyes closed.

She is not necessarily quiet. She has some incredible volume as we say goodbye in our doorway to whoever is driving away. However, she's usually quietly wandering around the house, finding things to get into. You never know where she is or what she could be doing.

Aria, you keep me on my toes. Every day I'm thankful that you make it through. You are the cutest little girl I know and I absolutely cannot get enough of you.

Thank You Lord, for this child. You knew we needed some spice in our lives. Oh the stories we could tell. I love these stories. I love the adventure she takes us on. Thank You Lord. Please protect her, I will not be able to keep her alive without You.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Naming Baby #3

I have been hesitant to write about this because it seems to permanent to put it out there. You know, that we are naming our baby _______. But the more I've thought about it, the more I feel like it's all just a process. At this point, we feel that this name is a very strong possibility and we can't come up with anything else.

Also, I feel like the beauty of blogging is that it shows the process. Blogs are not like books because they change and grow with the person. This is our "public record" if you will, of where we are on December 20th, 2013 and who knows, we may change, we hopefully will grow, but this is the snapshot of what is on our hearts and minds.

All of that buildup… Okay, are you ready? We are 99.9% sure we are naming this little boy

Simeon James

How did we come up with this? Honestly, Ben is the best namer in the world. Or maybe just from the two of us. As I have said before, I struggle with naming things. Maybe it's because names feel so concrete and I am more of an abstract thinker, maybe it's because I think something is so much more than a name or it's just because anything I come up with is stupid. Maybe that last one is the most correct.

I knew I wanted a name that had to do with prayer. Ben is in a cool season of prayer right now. On Monday mornings he fixes pancakes and has a few guys over to the house to pray. On Wednesday mornings he goes up to our church and prays with about 40 other men. Both of these are from 6-7 and he has been faithful to continue almost every week, even through his torn achilles and not being able to drive. I have such an admiration for his faithfulness in this. Also, I have seen a huge growth in his personal prayers. It's hard to explain really, but I just feel like he's better at praying and it comes more naturally. He has also valued prayer more and sought it more. What an amazing thing to see in your husband.

So, I wanted to be able to tell this baby, "This is what your name means, this is what was going on in our lives and what God was doing in our family and in your Daddy."

One morning Ben suggested the name Simeon. You can read about him here. He had been crying out for Israel in the temple, praying for his people for years and years. He was promised by God that he would see the savior and when he did, he prophesied over Jesus. I absolutely love this passage. I love the boldness of his prophecies and his prayer. This is what I want for my son. I want him to be crying out to the Lord on behalf of his people. I want him to be devoted fully to prayer. The name Simeon means "God hears" and I think that is perfect, because when we pray, we need to pray in faith that God hears our prayers. We cannot think that maybe He is listening, maybe He's not. He hears our prayers.

We have had a few hesitancies about this name though. I don't think that I want to blog about them right now, just because to me, they are irrelevant to what we are naming him. That's what stinks about naming, you can always find a way to ruin the name. Some kid on some playground somewhere is going to ruin it and you can't do anything about it. I was just reading in Titus the other day that to the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure.

Oh yes, and the middle name is more of a family name. It's on both sides of our families, so we thought, why not? Also, I really love the book of James and how it is a book that involves so much action and truth. If you really want to be convicted, read the book of James. It's beautiful. We want him to be a man of truth and action as well as a man of prayer.

Honestly, every other name that we have thought of just hasn't seemed to fit. So now, with just three weeks left of this pregnancy, I'm feeling like maybe we should settle on this one and stop debating.

We will see.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How Quickly Kids Come

Why do I never feel like blogging? Maybe I'm going through a dry spell, maybe it's a busy spell. Maybe I just need to blog.

I'll be 37 weeks on Thursday.

Whew.

I most definitely feel like I'm 37 weeks. People love to tell you that you look great or that you look small. Those are all really nice and everything, but really, life is just plain uncomfortable at this stage of the game.

Mostly I'm feeling it when I'm chasing Aria or wrestling her into her clothes. So many times I ask God why He allowed women to get pregnant so quickly. And mine aren't even that close in comparison to some,  but really, couldn't He have made it so that you couldn't get pregnant again until your child is like 4 and can use the bathroom and dress themselves? But for some reason He allows us moms to go through this phase of having a two year old (or close to it) and waddling around, straining just to bend over.  Maybe it's to humble us. It's a very humbling thing to be so overwhelmed with two little kids and feel so physically helpless. Many times throughout the day I think to myself "This would be way easier if I didn't have a basketball-sized belly."

It's totally going to be worth it though.

With all that said about the spacing, I'm actually a huge fan of close spacing. I'm a huge believer in teaching your children to be friends and support each other and I really feel that the closer in age they are, the more they will be able to relate to each other. So really, even though I complain I didn't want much more than two years between my kids. I also believe that the whole teaching your children to be friends thing is very much something that the parents speak over their children.

I'm huge into brainwashing my children into thinking they like each other. It's easy to complain about how often your children fight and how they disagree. What's hard is to look for the good. The Lord is slowly teaching me to speak love and life over my children. Levi is chasing Aria around and she's screaming I really just want to scream back at them, but what I have been trying to tell them is that they love each other and aren't they glad they have each other as friends? I try (try, try) to get down on their level and turn the focus off of the conflict and onto playing with each other as opposed to trying to set the other one off. Sometimes I succeed. Many times I fail. But I'm learning.

Lord, help me to know what to say to these kids. Help me to choose to look for the good. It's so easy to see the bad and talk about the bad. I want my kids to see that I am on their team, they are on each other's team. Words have the power to speak life or death, it's just too easy to speak that death. Death is funnier and truer. But Lord, I want our house to have love and peace and joy. I feel like that will make it easier for them to know Your love and joy on this earth. Help me in this. I struggle so much. Even today I almost said the words, "I hate being a mom right now." They were on the tip of my tongue. It's so hard when they are fighting and disobeying at every turn and nap times don't work out and they get into everything and I have a million things to do on my plate… but Lord, let me realize the gift that they are. Help me to look into my daughters eyes and see the treasure that she is. She is so funny and cute. She is always surprising me. I cry as I write this, because really, they are some of the best things that have happened to me. They make my life so rich. Yes, they make it about a thousand times harder, but the things that they do and the way they make me laugh, the curiosity and the beauty. It's just too much sometimes. Lord, help me to see how good things are in those broken, messed-up moments. Thank You that You come through and You give me strength.

Thank You for my weaknesses, because in them You are strong.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

No(t much) TV

Yesterday afternoon I posted a picture of my kids sitting in front of our computer, watching a video Levi got from the library. We try to watch one TV show or video per week here at the Hefner house.

I say this not to brag about how awesome we are or anything like that. I post this so that others can know that it's possible.

I originally wrote about not watching TV a few years ago here

Note: I'm going to use the words video, TV show and movie interchangeably. They are all pretty much the same to us.

So, a few years ago we started having babies and found out that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child have no screen time until they are two years old. So with Levi we decided to actively keep him from watching television and movies, looking at our phones and things like that.

Ben and I have since made a very conscious decision to keep our kids from watching very much television. It's hard because Levi loves TV probably as much as I do. He begs for TV and movies, longs for them, loves them. Maybe it's because he's starving for them.

My answer is always "one movie per week." You would think that he would quickly use up his credits first thing on Monday, but with a little direction I help him to wait and forget about it. I'm amazed that sometimes we even get to a Sunday afternoon at my parents house and realize he hasn't watched a single video.

Life is more painful without TV. It's much easier to just "plug my kids in" so that I can actually get the house cleaned or just have a moment to myself. But, every mom knows that her child is affected by television. You know because as soon as your precious little one's show is over they howl for more. It's all fine and roses until that show is over, then all of hades breaks loose. I hate that time, that time when that beautiful space is over and the child just wants more. That makes me not want to have movie time at all. But that's when I just put my head down and give the firmest "No" I can give. It has to be the most steadfast, no ifs ands or buts kind of no, otherwise the child will sense your lack of position and pounce on his chance to get his foot in the door for another movie.

Here's the best part about my kids only watching one movie a week. They play by themselves. They get creative. They have long attention spans. They carry on conversations with adults. That last one has only been happening recently with Levi, but I am totally pumped about it. This morning they played in our bathroom with a little glow in the dark toy for about 20 minutes. It was amazing. I actually got the dishwasher unloaded. Levi was pulling cars on his new wooden train last night. They played in Aria's room with her stuffed animals for at least 30 minutes. Yes, it was here and there and yes I had to stop a few fights and tell them, no, we are not watching the planes DVD again. But that's just part of it. It's part of the sacrifice.

I say all of this to encourage other moms to try it. It's hard and it stinks and your child WILL ask to watch a movie dozens of times a day, but EVENTUALLY they will find something else to do. They might get into things (Aria is the queen of this, how many stains do we have on our carpets from me not being a responsible parent? Too many). But eventually they learn to pick up a book and look at it. I know I sound like a psycho for those of you whose kids watch a healthy amount of TV, but I can almost guarantee you that a child will find something else to do besides sit and watch. You just have to be firm and ready for a fight. Oh yes, and I do discipline Levi for whining and falling on the floor when he doesn't get to watch a show. Bad attitudes get spankings, at least at our house.

Okay, so that's my post. It's definitely one of the parenting choices we have made that we have not regretted.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pregnancy #3 Update 34 Weeks

I just thought I would write a quick update on how things are going with baby number three on his way.


Honestly, I have no idea. Who really has any idea of what in the world is going on in a woman's belly anyways? I mean, a doctor can say, yeah, that baby is head down, your uterus is measuring "right on time" (whatever that means) and they have a heart rate of this in the twenty seconds that they have it on your belly (20 seconds is generous I know). I can tell you that he moves. I don't know if it's a lot or a little because I'm hardly paying attention to the times that he is moving, it's when I'm in the car, or when I lay Levi down for a nap or as I'm sitting here on the computer and typing. He moves in the middle of the night or when I'm sitting with Levi and doing school. It's just completely random. It usually doesn't hurt when he kicks, but sometimes it does.

Sometimes I worry about the things I am exposing to him, the fact that I still drink a cup or two of coffee a day, I helped paint (with latex) our kitchen, or the fact that I'm still taking Ambien pretty much every night. I wonder if that will hurt him or if it won't have any effect. Honestly, those things have helped get me through. I think with Levi and Aria I felt like I was just sitting around, waiting for my life to continue and for this baby to come. With this one, I am just continuing to live and try to ignore the fact that I'm pregnant. It's getting harder and harder to ignore though.

I learned an important lesson last week. Don't eat too much.

It was my birthday and my mom made this amazing pumpkin dessert (I LOVE pumpkin desserts, pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, pumpkin muffin, all of it). This was a pumpkin dump cake. I had some on Saturday and then again on Sunday after lunch, then we had pizza that night and finally I topped it off with a more than generous helping of pumpkin dump cake. I justified it by saying, well, at least I'm not eating ice cream too. Dumb. Really dumb.

I don't know what was in it, probably about 40 grams of sugar, plus the fact that I had eaten poorly all that day, but I literally did not sleep that night. I didn't get to sleep until maybe 11, I don't know, that's when I finally turned off the light (oh my goodness, Ben and I are so lame, we are usually in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 10, now you know that we are grandparents). I woke up at 12 and 1 just wide awake. I finally got out of bed at 1:30 and was not tired at all. I felt like I could run a marathon. This was not going to be good the next day. I finally forced myself to go to bed around 3:30 because I didn't want to be wasted the next day. I still must have laid in bed for about an hour, it was ridiculous. I honestly think it was the vast amounts of sugar and carbs I had consumed and my body was just trying to process all of it.

I had totally justified it in that I was pregnant, family was in town, it was a yummy dessert, it was my birthday. So many ways to justify sin. But really, sin is sin.

I hate it when I justify.

Lord, help me to remember this lesson. I am so easily tempted to think that food will make me happy. Really, it won't. It will just make me more sad with my life if I consume it as though it will fulfill me. Tear down my idols Lord. Help me to tear them down. Thank You for Your faithful discipline. Thank You for the fact that my body can't handle that much food without crazy heartburn and being so uncomfortable. You alone can fulfill me and make me happy. Help me to rest in You.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dear Aria. Letters To My Littles.

Dear Aria,

There are so many things you are doing right now and I just wanted to take a minute to write a few down.

You are a precious little girl. Even with the naughty things you do I have to hold back the laughter. At 22 months pretty much everything you do is cute. If only there were enough video space to document your every move. I'm trying hard not to be that parent, but it's hard.

You are definitely your own person. You march to the beat of your own drummer and you definitely do not like to be told what to do. Oh my, it's going to be a long life for you. I will find you off by yourself and doing something you shouldn't, you look up at me with the sweetest, most innocent look. I think you know exactly what you are doing.

One thing interesting is that you HATE having your diaper changed by me. You are so good for your daddy and pretty sweet with anyone else while they are changing you, but with me, you are nothing but kicks and screams and it's pretty much World War Three for us.

You definitely love your Daddy. He's the one who is best at going in and calming you down if you get a fright in the evening. He's the one you will be excited about seeing in the morning, and when he comes home for lunch and when he comes home from work in the evening. This afternoon he corrected you and you cried and cried and cried. He's going to have to start getting used to having an emotional little girl around.

I think my favorite thing to see right now is your sense of humor. If you pick up that something is funny you will do it over and over. This evening you put on Daddy's winter hat and had Levi and me laughing as your ran up and down the hallway. You looked so cute in his oversized beanie. You love to dance, as soon as you hear music you start in, waving your arms and prancing around. If you fall, you get right back up. Not much can hurt you, which is good since you will be in between two boys. (Don't worry, I know how you feel.)

Something that … well, makes you unique is that you like to growl and yell. It's not so bad when we are at home, however, when we are walking through the grocery store, it's a little embarrassing for you to just be yelling at the top of your lungs.

Another thing right now is that physical touch is your love language. Well, maybe not just touch, it often comes out in the form of punching and hitting and biting. It's like you get so excited about something it's the only thing you can think to do. Tonight while I was rocking you, you told me to look at the door, when I turned back to you, you slapped me on both sides of my face at the same time. You thought it was hilarious. I had to laugh too. This made you do it again, much to my pain. I was laughing so hard though, it took me a while to get control of the situation.

Aria, you are a joy to our family right now. Yes, we struggle with you and there are difficult times, but really, it's all worth it. You are worth it. Lord, help me to enjoy this little girl. Thank You for her. She is so precious and fun and unique. I pray that she would become my sister in Christ someday. Let her know You deeper than I ever could.

I love you Aria.

Your Mama

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm Not Holy

I can't believe that this is my 303rd blog post. Maybe I should have said something about my 300th, but that already passed me by.

Oh how I love blogging. And oh how I hate it. I'm thankful I have the record and I'm able to share my heart on here, I have people come up to me in person sometimes and tell them that they appreciate my honesty on here, and that is so cool. What I hate about it is the time it takes to blog. Also, coming up with interesting topics… I will finally get the time and then end up staring at my computer thinking, what in the world was I going to blog about earlier today? It suddenly doesn't sound that interesting and then even trying to translate it into a readable thought, well, I'm not awesome at that. But it obviously hasn't stopped me yet.

Some thoughts today.

I have been posting a lot of scripture on my Facebook/instagram feed and I had the thought this morning that I probably look like a holier-than-thou Bible thumper. I apologize if anyone out there has been offended or thought that I was trying to clout my faith on the internet. Honestly, the only reason why I post it is because it speaks to me. Also, the Lord has been showing me about all the meaningless, mindless things I do on the internet and in my life that don't amount to a hill of beans. I've come to the conclusion in my life that the only thing that means anything is the Lord and His kingdom come. So really, I am over trying not to offend people and I'm over trying to cover up the fact that Jesus is my hope, my peace, actually, I'm just going to go ahead and say something really offensive and that is that Jesus is the hope, the peace of the world. If I believe it for me, I have to believe it for the world, otherwise my belief holds nothing.

In that same vein, I just want to admit my own frailty. Geez, I'm a sinner.

I have had a bad attitude.

I think it's a lack of gratefulness in my life. I just keep struggling to look for the good. I keep thinking, I'm going to kill this child if he or she continues to (fill in the blank). I have just been struggling with anger at my kids and my husband. He tries to help and it's not good enough, I see all the things he's not doing and focus on those (I need to keep in mind that he has a full-time, difficult job that he works very hard at every day, and his hard work puts food in our mouths and clothes on our backs, why am I ungrateful?!)

This morning I woke up to read the Bible and did NOT want to read. I did NOT want to get out of my warm bed. But, it was mind over matter and I knew that if I didn't get up and read that I wouldn't get to it and if I don't read the Bible my day usually goes about a thousand times worse. Also, it would put me behind in my daily Bible reading plan and I hate trying to catch up. All of these are such holy reasons aren't they?

My reading today was on the crucifixion of Christ.

Oh my goodness.

Luke 23 and John 18-19

Jesus did not open his mouth to his accusers. He did not try to defend himself. He had just spent the night weeping in the garden, in dread of what he knew was about to happen. He was betrayed. He willfully gave himself up. He was denied friendship by his closest friends.

He was mocked and beaten. And he never said a word.

On the way to the cross, he told the women, "Do not weep for me, weep for yourselves and your children … for if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" His heart was compassionate towards these people. He was despised.

Then he hung on the cross for six hours. In darkness for the last three.

He hung there. He died slowly and painfully. He cried out to God, "My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?" The Father turned his back on Jesus, he poured out all of our sins onto him. All of the shame, all of the guilt. Onto the perfect, sinless, Lamb of God.

And he gave up his life.



To pay for my sin.


I can only sit and weep.

That God would come down and allow himself to be nailed to a cross and pay the penalty so that he could rescue us out of darkness and bring us into light.

Lord, let me be forever grateful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Advice On Pregnancy

The other day I got to hear a fellow blogger Carol Spenst share about blogging, why she blogs, how it has impacted her life and the struggles that go along with blogging. It definitely inspired me to write. So, here I am.


Also, it's nap time, so I can actually put a complete thought together. That helps.


I finally picked up my prenatal yoga DVD again. It was not a priority while we were doing our kitchen and it's just kind of fallen to the wayside since then. The reason I decided to do it today is because I'm at the place in pregnancy when you start to feel like your body is going to fall apart. Or just bust open. I'm starting to have heartburn every time I bend over, which is often since I have little kids. I've also been experiencing some more serious braxton hicks contractions, especially when I pick up Aria who is just over 30 pounds. She loves to be held and since it doesn't' cause major pain yet, I'm still picking her up.

As I was doing my video I was thinking, what would I tell myself during that first pregnancy? What about my first labor? My VBAC? I was thinking about labor and how it's coming soon and how I know it's going to be difficult and painful. That the goal is survival and that it's worth it. It's worth it … it's worth it … I'll get a sweet little baby at the end and feel really proud of myself for surviving … (I will have to keep telling myself that).

So, I'm making a list of all the things that I would tell my former pregnant self and that I'm telling myself during this third pregnancy.

1. Be busy. Don't stop, don't concentrate on your pregnancy, it takes forever. Just do whatever you can to act like life is normal and keep going.

2. Eat right. With Levi I ate well because I was already heavy and was terrified of getting really heavy. I gained about 30 pounds with him but then lost around 60. With Aria I threw caution into the wind and gained 50. After those two pregnancies I knew the difference was me and my attitude. The problem was the girl in the mirror. So with this one I have been more conscious of what I have been eating. So far, by week 29 I had only gained 15 pounds. We will see what this next trimester holds though. I'm going to really have to watch all these holiday treats because honestly I LOVE sugar.
**Update since last week and crashing with ice cream, I just have to confess that I continued to crash and continued to eat uncontrollable amounts of sugar. It was terrible. It was almost as though I was trying to make up for the lost two weeks of sugar. The yeast infection has not come back (yet) and I'm hoping it will stay away. We will see. Things have been better this week, a lot of prayer and soul searching to realize that everything in moderation is best for me. No more cutting out, no more major deprivation, no more forbidden fruit that just makes me want it a thousand times more. I'm also very aware of my own sin tendencies and weaknesses in my heart. Wow.

3. Chiropractors are awesome. That reminds me, I need to call and schedule and appointment.

4. Doulas are awesome. Although, I'm a hypocrite right now because we are not getting one for financial reasons, but for the first time around, they are amazing.

5. Learn about the positioning of your baby. It's important. If you live in Little Rock I HIGHLY recommend going to see Amy Cefalo, she is a midwife here in Little Rock and she will help you figure out the positioning of your baby and has awesome strategies of turning babies. It's just 45 dollars a visit, and it could change your whole delivery. I wish I had known about her when I had Levi, I might not have had a C section with him.

6. Deny, deny, deny labor. That's going to be my mantra this time around. I don't care how strong (I want) the contractions to be, I'm just going to deny it. I want to spend the least amount of time acknowledging the pain and get the most sleep I can before I have to endure real, hard labor and delivery. It takes everything you have to do that stuff. No joke.


Okay, so that's the list right now. I also remember something that my friend Sarah, who had a home birth, said on her blog that I want to remember. Don't let anyone tell you what position to get in when you are in labor. Do what is comfortable for you. Suggestions from those around you are good and you can try them, but really, the most important thing is to do what you want to do during labor. I'm going to try to remember that. Listen to my body, do what feels right.

Anyways, those are my two cents. Not that it matters much, just thoughts I had today about all this baby-making stuff.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This Happened Today

Oh where to begin? What a day this has been.


Maybe I'll just start at the beginning.

Aria has lazy or wandering eyes, yes, poor baby inherited that gene from yours truly. I had noticed it when she was younger, but finally said something at her 18 month appointment. We scheduled an appointment at Children's Hospital two months out. I actually don't know why it was that far out, I just assumed that it was just difficult to get us in.

With great anticipation, the appointment was today. They said to be prepared to be there for three hours. They said to bring books and snacks and toys. To be prepared.

So, I prepared. I woke up at 5:30, I had snacks packed, diaper bag packed, I read the Word, showered, put my makeup on, Ben and I had an awesome time in prayer…

Then my kids woke up.

They slept until 7:30 and it was amazing.

I went and got Aria. She had pooped and it was pretty messy. Like, on the sheets, up her back kind of messy. Awesome. I carried her to her changing table and she was crying. She would NOT lay down to let me change her. She just stood there and cried. She was upset. I was trying to help. So for what seemed like forever but probably was just a few minutes we struggled and I eventually forced her to let me clean her up. "Aria, I understand that you are upset about all of this, but I am only trying to help. I know that the poop is messy and the wipes are cold and you don't like to have your clothes taken off, but this is just what we have to do right now."

Let me just also preface that last night my parents amazingly, lovingly, wonderfully took care of our kids so that we could go to a banquet. Levi and my dad made this beautiful "garage" out of toy blocks. Really, it was kind of a castle built around a toy car. It was also in the kitchen, on the floor, in the middle of life. They made Levi promise that if Aria knocked it over, he wouldn't cry. He promised. And he is a liar (we're born liars right?!) Never trust a three year old.

We go out and have breakfast. We swoon over Levi's beautiful garage. The kids had cereal and I had my eggs on a salad.  I tried to get them to eat some eggs, usually Aria loves it, but today she threw them on the floor. Breathe. Calm yourself.

I wiped her off and put her down. Almost immediately she went to Levi's beautiful garage and knocked it over.

Emotional armageddon ensued.

Levi was on the floor weeping. Screaming "No!!! We have to rebuild it!" You would think that he was pleading for his life. I'm looking at the clock and thinking, we need to leave in thirty minutes, he's not dressed, shoes are not on, I still need to pack up a few toys and books, I haven't finished my breakfast, the kitchen is a crazy mess… I told him no, we are not rebuilding the garage. Of course this caused a fit of rage. Honestly, I just didn't want to deal with it. I stood there at the kitchen island, eating my salad and watched him wallow on the floor in anguish. I was wondering if I would be able to get him under control before we needed to leave. Add that to the list of things to do: Get Levi in his right mind. It might have been quicker if we had just rebuilt the garage.

So we disciplined. I was not holy and sanctified and perfect in it. It is very difficult to control this highly emotional little boy. Somehow, we got it under control. I got the toys and books, clothed and shoed the children and we headed out the door, sippies in hand.

Right now we are painting the door that goes from our kitchen to the garage, so instead of a door, we just have a blanket hanging to sort of keep the heat in, but otherwise, it's open. So we are not using our garage right now. We went out our rarely used front door and I just locked it behind me. I got me and the kids into the van and realized I had left the keys in the house. Including our house key. So I hit the garage door opener. It opened about two feet and then stopped. I hit it again and it didn't budge. I had no choice, at thirty weeks pregnant I crawled on my hands and knees under the garage door, went in and got the keys off the counter. I tried the garage door from the inside and it still didn't work. I used the front door to get out of course. I called Ben and told him that the garage door didn't close and that I was leaving because I needed to be at the Dr's appointment at Children's Hospital.

On the way there we stopped to pick up Aria's shot record. Let me just say here that they never once asked for it at Children's. Am I a little annoyed? Yes.

At the hospital I had to ask about three different people for directions to the Opthamology Department. It is somewhere in the back recesses of the hospital. Thankfully, I had planned on this sort of thing happening and we got there with plenty of time.

The appointment was okay. I had heard to allot three hours for it, so I was prepared for a long time. However, I was hoping that Levi would be in a better mood, he just wasn't his chipper self. I'm not sure that it helped to have televisions on in almost every waiting room, with shows that I wasn't even comfortable with, I hadn't seen them before but they looked pretty dumb. Whatever.  I did have to hold Aria for the dilation and eye drops, we waited all that time for the Dr to tell us that she had no damage and that he couldn't tell she had a lazy eye. I guess that's a good thing. So really, I spent all that time and effort to find out that she's just fine. I really really really need to be content with that. Lord, I'm sorry I have such a bad attitude.

All the way home I just wanted to eat. Now, we are moving from my children's sin to my sin. Oh my, what a stronghold it can have. I scarfed down my whole bag of nuts and still wanted more.

When we got home, I had made a delicious pumpkin syrup the night before and I was snacking on that… I know I originally said that I would keep on this sugar fast for three weeks, well, I was going to gradually introduce sugar this week. Let's just say that gradually got punched in the stomach for my desire for … comfort. I think now, looking back, I just wanted something that would make me feel better. I wanted to forbidden fruit of sugar and starch and I was tired of being deprived.

That afternoon while the kids napped I decided to make myself a big ole bowl of ice cream. I did not care at that point. I had fallen from my place of perfection and I was going to fall hard. I just didn't care.

I hate the free fall. I hate the feeling of going "off the diet" and just wanting to eat an entire kitchen's worth of food and that still not being enough.

Lord, I need You. I need comfort and strength from You. Help me not to look to food for those things. Help me not to look to my husband or children or Facebook or blogging or instagram or all these things that my heart wants to love. Thank You that You are the God of all comfort. Thank You for creating good food, help me to delight in it and worship you for it. I am tired of looking to food for comfort, it's silly and it just doesn't work. Help me to look to You.

Thank You for today. Thank You that it is over.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pregnancy Update 29 Weeks

I wanted to post again about how this pregnancy is going, just as a follow up from last week.

I am now finding my equilibrium without caffeine. Who would have dreamed this was possible? I don't know that I have ever quit caffeine, maybe since college. It's been good for me. I am not falling asleep all the time, I can actually sit and read to my kids or type out a blog post in the middle of the afternoon without falling asleep. I can wake up at six in the morning just fine without both caffeine and sugar. I should say, those things probably go hand in hand for me. I always put sugar in my coffee, I love it that way.

As far as the yeast, it's cleared up significantly. Occasionally I can feel traces of it, but really, I think just starving it out was the key. I'm going to wait another week and a half (three weeks total) before I begin to slowly reintroduce caffeine and sugar. Because, let's just be honest, I really do want to be able to have those things again. I'm just going to have to watch my quantities and the frequency of the sugar, especially with the holidays coming up. Oh yes, a few other things I have been doing to treat the yeast, I got an over the counter three day cream that I spread out over five days. I also drank unsweetened cranberry juice and Kefir and taking a probiotic called Cultrelle. I have also been taking GSE orally and applying it topically as well as coconut oil topically for the past few days. Anyways, if you want to know about any of those remedies in more detail, you can email me or message me.

I took my Glucose test yesterday. I brought my kids. Like a crazy person. Yes, I did drink the sugary drink, I figured that's what I had to do, and there was no getting around it. My plan was to bring books and snacks, but also during that hour that I had to wait, to go and walk around the hospital next to the office. Thankfully I forgot something and started to walk back. That's when a nurse found me and said, you're not supposed to leave, you have to see the Dr. Oh, I thought I was supposed to wait and hour and then get my finger pricked and then see the Dr. She took my weight and blood pressure, both of those looked great. I have now gained a total of 15 pounds, which I think is significantly less than what I gained with Aria. It was encouraging, but I know that I could suddenly start retaining water or get tired and stop exercising or something stupid like that, so I'm not getting too confident yet. I just need to keep being careful and staying active.

The kids and I ended up sitting and reading while they ate snacks. They took us into the room to wait for the Dr and then Aria pooped. While I was changing her diaper I glanced at my watch and realized it was time to prick my finger. So I grabbed her, my purse, the poopy diaper (hoping to find someplace to dispose it, I really don't know what I was thinking) and told Levi, let's go! Then we all ran to the lab and I got pricked. My blood sugar was great, my iron levels were great. What a relief. The kids for the most part were pretty great during the appointment too. Someone commented that they were being so good and I said, "thanks! But don't say that!" I've learned that as soon as you start to think that things are going well and you get too confident, that's when it will all fall apart. Yes, things fell apart a few times that morning, but overall, I felt pretty good about it.

I have to say, that appointment pretty much felt like the summary of this pregnancy. It's been the healthiest one yet, the only difference is that I'm juggling two little kids and life is chaotic. We do what we have to do to get by. It's not convenient always, but it's never boring. I kind of love it.

So, there you go.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Pregnancy Update

It occurred to me that I hadn't said anything in a while on this particular pregnancy. I'm 28 weeks tomorrow, and I'm excited about these being the last few months until I get to hold our new baby in my arms.

Everything seems to be going well, even though I missed my most recent OB appointment as well as my glucose test. Darn it. I hate it when that happens. I don't even know where my brain was, I was expecting a notification from my phone, but since I didn't have any, it wasn't until the next week that I looked at my calendar that, oh, that was last Wednesday, not this coming one. Pregnancy brain, gets you every time. At least I have something to blame it on...

Yeah, so this being my third pregnancy, it just doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. Sometimes I will forget that I'm pregnant. This one is faithful to remind me though. I love feeling the little flutters and wondering what he's doing in there. We will just be driving in the car and suddenly I will feel him kick. It's amazing that a baby is really and truly growing inside of me. I'm the only one who knows all his little moves. His little feet push on my ribs, he does little somersaults while I'm cooking dinner. He loves to kick in the early morning when I'm reading the Word and spending time with the Lord. It's so amazing.

No, we have not decided on a name yet. I hate naming. I will shoot down any name you throw at me, it's terrible and Ben gets frustrated with me.


Okay, this is more on a physical note. I am hesitant to blog about this, because it's pretty personal. So I just write for other women who might be pregnant or facing this. I've had a yeast infection since ... like... February? It has come and gone and come and gone. In the early months I kept thinking that it would just go away on it's own. I've had mild ones before and they seemed to just work themselves out. Or I could do a 3 day treatment and they were gone. But this, this has been the mother of all yeast infections. Apparently they are pretty tough to get rid of while you are prego. I also have this problem: I am addicted to caffeine and sugar. I kept trying to treat it some other way and keep my little addictions over here. I used to excuse that I have two other kids to take care of and my energy has to come from somewhere. The last straw was when the Dr prescribed me AGAIN with a treatment and I thought I was great. It went away after about a week, but then two weeks later I felt the itching again. I was like, oh crap. Seriously?

So, on Sunday I decided, that's it. I'm just going to give up caffeine and sugar and starve this crazy yeast out. A detox if you will. I did some internet reading and figured out that I need to avoid carbs in general, eat lots of vegetables, some meat, a few complex carbs (good, raw kind) and very little fruit.

So, I haven't had sugar or caffeine in what, three days? Monday went a lot better than I expected, it was just hard to drag myself off the couch that afternoon. Tuesday I had some headaches. Today, every time I sat down with my kids to read or just watch them play or do school with Levi, I could not keep my eyes open. As long as I was moving, I was okay, but as soon as I stopped, my body just wanted to doze. I was reading a book to Levi and realized I was dozing after every sentence. Then I would pry my eyes open and read another sentence. He eventually lost interest. I wonder why?

I don't know how long I will have to do this whole detox thing. I try not to think about that. I more so just try to imagine how I am starving out this infection that has been ridiculous.

Oh yes, I also went to the grocery store yesterday and bought: unsweetened cranberry juice, lemons to put in my water, Keifer probiotic (unsweetened of course), probiotic capsules, and a yeast treatment. Am I crazy? Yes. Am I doing all of these things? Yes, I space them out a bit of course. If you have any suggestions as far as treatment for this stuff, let me know. I'm all ears.

So yeah, that's how this pregnancy has been going so far.

Until next time.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lately

I just wanted to do a quick update about the kids. Oh my the things that happen! So many things I want to keep track of, if only I had a baby book or something, but really I just have this blog. :)


Aria keeps us on our toes. We call her the book destroyer. She loves tearing things, picking at things and just ripping things apart. Usually even board books are not even safe. Also, along the line of books, she is just getting to the phase of liking longer books. Like Levi did, she has certain books that she will just sit through and love. Richard Scarry's Goodnight Little Bear is her book right now. She likes to kiss the bear (the book) goodnight when the mommy bear kisses him, she calls out "Whee!" when the father bear swings him onto his shoulders. She knows every turn of the page and (for the first time ever) patiently waits to turn the page. I am so excited about it, we probably read it at least three times a day. I don't even care. I remember at this age Levi's books of choice were: "Are You My Mother?" and "It's Not Easy Being A Bunny"

Levi's favorite series right now is anything Clifford. Personally, I could use a little less of Clifford right now, but at least he is enjoying books. He also loves the book "Horton Hatches An Egg" I love it too, but I always have to drink a big glass of water beforehand and set myself in for a LONG book. Some nights I'm thinking, "No! Don't pick that one!! We will never make it to bed!"

The other night he asked to read twelve books. I'm sure he thinks this is the biggest number there is. For some reason I was not using my brain because I told him that if he could say his scripture verse for that week, we would read twelve books. He just needed the first word as a prompt and then he quoted, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone." (Mark 16:15) He didn't know the reference so we negotiated down to six books. My jaw was pretty much on the floor though. Here I had recited the verse over and over to him and he barely said it back to me, and now he was RECITING it. Amazing. I'm now a believer.


Mom of the Year Award: Aria figured out how to push through both the double doors at Chick Fil A. She realized that if she put all of her weight into the doors, they would open. We had a play date there a week or so ago and I caught her trying to escape in the second set of doors. Oh dear. Well, Levi had worn socks for the first time (all summer) and we were having trouble finding them. Our friends were leaving and we were still looking high and low and Aria was attempting to escape. Everyone else was leaving, why weren't we? We finally found the sock shoved in one of Levi's shoes (I forgot that's where I told him to put it... so we wouldn't lose it of course). As I was helping Levi get the socks and shoes on, Aria escaped from my arms of course. The Chick Fil A worker commented about how she must keep me on my toes. I was so determined to get Levi's socks and shoes on and get out of there, I was not using all of my faculties, my only comment back was, "Yeah, she's probably out in the parking lot right now."  I don't think the worker knew how to respond back. I shoved Levi's shoes on him, grabbed our stuff and hoped, prayed that I would just find her pushing on the outer double doors again. Nope. She was in the arms of a very sweet lady, asking if she was mine. Embarrassed, um... yeah... she is pretty busy.

There are times when I think, wow, if only I had been thinking clearer as a mom.


Lord, help me. I need You. Help me to know what is important in these situations. Thank You for the guardian angels around my children that are saving their lives every day.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Letting Go of Control

Oh Facebook, I don't have time for you. There are too many "friends" on there and I have things to do. And blog posts to write.


Today was, maybe kind of still is, a not-so-very-good-terrible-day. Or at least that's what I was thinking until about thirty minutes ago, or maybe an hour ago.

Now, let me start by saying that last Monday was AMAZING. It was like the perfect day sent down from heaven to us. The weather was perfect, we went on a walk, we did a ton of school, the kids were good, lunch was easy... it was beautiful. This Monday may have been the complete opposite.

Maybe I need to couch that in saying that there were good things that happened today, they just didn't happen according to plan. We did make it to the grocery store and we did spend an exorbitant amount of money. Levi rode through about half the store on TOP of the little car that goes in the front of the cart. No one said anything to me. I fed them goldfish in order to save our sanity. It took us about an hour and a half. Last time I went to the grocery store by myself and it took me 45 minutes. I remember flying through the store and thinking, I get to look at prices and compare things and I get to move when I want to move and stay when I want to stay.

We did no school today. Deep sigh. I kind of, sort of tried to do school today. The problem is that when I don't have everything set up perfectly, it's difficult for us to get to the table. If I'm not looking over his shoulder, it's hard to get him to do things. I also didn't finish cutting things out last night, so we didn't have our letter "G" to lace. also, the kitchen and dining room were still a bit of a mess and it was driving me crazy. And I needed to make my grocery list and as soon as we got back from the grocery it was time for lunch. They didn't want to eat lunch because I had fed them half a bag of goldfish. Of course.

Lunch was filled with tears of us trying to get Aria to eat her sandwich. I have not done a very good job at getting past her pickyness, plus, it's the stage that she's in. I am having flashbacks of when Levi was this age and dinner times were just plain traumatic sometimes. Note to self: it helps if they are actually HUNGRY. The problem with letting a toddler who can't quite communicate their needs get hungry is that then they are angry as well. Oh the dinners I have fixed with a screaming kid pulling at my clothes. Oh the times I have wished for a padded room... It may be worse trying to get through a grocery store with screaming children though, I'm not sure. As is evident, I have not figured out how to do that.

I tried to lay them down for naps at 12:50. By about 1:10 Aria was hysterically screaming in her room. It occurred to me that maybe she was finally hungry and needed something to eat before she went down. Levi was hungry too. After they ate I just let them play. I was tired of fighting. I had fought them all morning and now I was just going to let whatever happened happen. What a good mom I am... (says sarcastically).

The best part of it all, was that they actually played together. They were running around, jumping and chasing and having a great time. Probably because they knew they were delaying nap time, but I really didn't care at that point. I loaded the dishwasher, made some pesto and just listened to them. More than anything, I want them to be friends. I want them to love each other, I want them to be on the same team and enjoy each other.

Eventually they went down for naps. The house is still standing and we live to tell about another day.

Lord, help me. I need Thee every hour, every hour I need Thee. Help me to know what is important. Help me to discipline and love my children in wisdom. Help me to see the good, the successes. Help me to rejoice in every day because it's the day that You have made. Thank You that each afternoon is new, each morning is new, each evening is new. You make all things new and Your mercies are new. Thank You for kids that keep me on my toes and surprise me daily. Thank You for peace and patience that I could not muster on my own. Thank You that we will get to add another one of these crazy kids to our family soon. What a humbling, wonderful gift they are.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mom Struggles

Whenever I want to blog our internet usually stops working. Why is that?? I usually just have to reset the router, but by the time I go through all of that, I've lost the motivation to blog. As you can see, I'm easily dissuaded. But today I will persevere!

I finally, finally, FINALLY got Levi to nap today. Woohoo! He really needed a nap yesterday, and the day before that, but when I fight him it usually just blows up in my face and I spend an hour and a half getting angrier and angrier at him and then finally give up and let him skip his nap. I will try all kinds of strategies: reading more books (problem is that I'm usually the one falling asleep at that point), singing more songs as softly as I can, cuddling with him, laying in bed with him, not laying in bed with him and spanking him he gets out of his bed or is not LAYING in the bed with his head on the pillow (I often come in and he's sitting there, playing with his animals. I've taken away animals, used different pillows (fail), cried, begged and pleaded. Sometimes he just doesn't nap.

Last night he was a basket case. Ben and I had not seen him like that in a long time. It confirmed the fact that he is not ready to completely be done with the nap. Whew. I'm definitely mourning that alone time. I'm sure every mom mourns when her first child drops their nap. I'm sure after this I will never mourn dropping naps again. What's the point really? If one's awake, why not have them all up?

Today Aria and Levi were  fighting over a toy dog. I've decided that I am not going to allow them to have "mine" and "yours" every toy is "ours" who had it first? I hate that one too. If the rule is finders keepers, what in the world does that reinforce? Just because someone got to the toy first? What if they pushed their little sister down to get to that toy? I'm still working on this one.

Anyways, Levi had the toy and Aria was chasing him and screaming. He likes to be chased. What kid doesn't? He also likes to tease her. But, I don't want her to learn that she will get something just because she screams for it. So, I took the toy away and put it on the mantel. (Our mantel ends up piling up with all kinds of things I want to keep out of reach for the kids, I gotta find a new system.) Aria was still hysterical. Now she really wasn't getting the toy. Levi went and sat on the couch.

I have a hard time with when she is crying like this, do I let her throw her temper tantrum or do I try to stop her and let her know that is not acceptable behavior? Looking back on the situation now, she was probably the one who had and wanted the toy to begin with. After she had been screaming for several minutes and becoming more and more hysterical Levi said, "Just give her the toy mom!" No way am I giving it to her at this point. I am not following instructions from a three year old and I'm not giving into the tantrum of my 20 month old.

I decided to take the toy and put it in a closet where it would not be seen. Aria didn't even notice that I took it off the mantel. She proceeded to climb on top of the fire place, onto a Little People's parking garage. As I was putting the toy in the closet I heard a crash and scream. Yep. She had fallen off the parking garage and hit her face on the fireplace.

Champion mom moment. Oh my.

Now I had a little girl who was not only angry that she didn't get what she wanted, but she was also maimed. What do you do? Comfort her? Tell her that she was being too stubborn in the first place?

Aria is just at such a difficult age with limited ability to communicate but very definite opinions. So many times I am at a loss. I want her to know that I love her and I want the best for her, but I also don't want her to grow up spoiled. Where is the line?

Lord, help me. Every day. Every hour, every minute... help! Give me wisdom to look into her little heart, to show her that I love her and I want the best for her and because I want the best for her I'm not going to give her what she wants. Oh my, this is difficult to communicate to both my children. Thank You that You do the same with us. You are faithful and wise and give us exactly what we need, even if we don't want it in that moment. Thank You for these little mirrors that I can look into and see my own life and struggles and how perfect of a parent You are. Help me to trust You. Help me to keep my tantrums at a minimum. Help me to delight in You and know that You have my best interests at heart.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Aria Stories

Talking with some other young moms this morning about the difficulty of the 18 month to 2 1/2 age. What's tough about this age is the fact that they are curious and can do a lot of stuff, but it's very difficult for them to communicate what they want or need. They understand a lot and they are also very much developing a will and opinion. They just can't quite dialogue about it yet.

One mom said, "So what do you do?"

My response: write down the stories.

Here are a few Aria Stories. Just for the record.

Once we were in the grocery store and Aria had been wanting to get out of the cart the whole time. Big mistake ever letting a kid out of the cart, they will be asking themselves, "Why would I ever let mom put me in that thing again?" And it's all over from there. So FINALLY we get to the checkout (and it's been a big, long trip) and I decide, what's the harm? I'll get her out and let her stretch her legs. I am a complete idiot honestly. So I'm wedged between the grocery cart and the checkout and trying to load stuff onto the conveyer belt and keep an eye on my toddler and honestly, who knows where Levi is at this point? This is totally a dumb mom moment. After I'm halfway through my cart another grocery store worker comes up to me with Aria and asks "Is this yours?" Upon closer observation I see she is holding a glass bottle of BEER. Yep. The baby is mine. Maybe I need to buy that beer and take it home and drink it too. Or just go hide.

Yesterday I was doing school with Levi. Normally, its a good idea to just put Aria in her crib. As usual, the safest place for a 20 month old is a contained place. But we had been eating breakfast while doing school and then she wanted down and so I let her down, foolishly thinking that she would just push her grocery cart around quietly while we worked. Foolishly. After about 15 minutes I thought, Aria has been really quiet, I wonder where she is? The next thing I knew she came into the dining room proudly displaying her hands and legs that hard strange black marks on them. I thought, has been been playing with a sharpie? Nope, it was mascara. I went back into our bathroom and sure enough, she had smeared it into the off white carpet. Next time she is going in her crib.

She's going through a phase of opening and closing doors. Usually I will just hear a door opening and closing somewhere in the house. The good thing is that she has never hurt herself unless someone else was involved (most likely Levi) and happened to push it open or close it on her. My favorite thing is to get on the other side of the door and when she opens it to scare her. She loves it.

Her main words right now are "wook" (look) "no" and "huck" (hug) She especially loves to show her daddy her dress or hat or bow.

So, those are a few Aria stories to look back on, learn from and laugh at.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fear of Suffering

Oh man, I have said this many times before, but sometimes I just don't want to blog. That's ridiculous. Jody, why do you have a blog then? Why are you typing right now?

I guess I blog to just put myself out there, to say what no one wants to say out loud. Many times before I do something I don't want to do, I have to just say so out loud. For some reason, it helps.

I don't want to blog.


There.


Fear. That's what I was thinking about today during our sermon at church. I love our pastor, can I just say that? At one point he was talking about how God leads us through suffering because He is preparing us to lead others. Whenever I hear people talk about suffering... I don't know, I just feel like we haven't had a lot of it. I mean, this past season of Ben rupturing his achilles and me being pregnant and sick and dealing with two little kids, that was hard, but I don't know if it was tragic, painful... I don't know, I just don't know that it was suffering.

I remember when I was first pregnant and hearing this couple on the radio talk about having a still-birth. I have never miscarried, but I'm not sure it would be as hard on me as waiting a whole 8-9 months and then giving birth and the child die. I just don't know. (I need to be knocking on wood right now). Honestly, I have been thinking, "why have I been able to get pregnant so easily and others around me struggle for so long?" Why have I had two and a half completely healthy pregnancies and others around me struggle?

Part of me worries. I struggle with a bit of fear that we have not been through major suffering yet. Something could happen to us or our children... thankfully, I don't walk around thinking about that all the time.

Two things: I don't want to be exempt from suffering and I want to go through suffering because I know it will bring me closer to God. I want my relationship with Him to be strengthened.

I think it just grips my heart to think that something could happen to my children or my husband that God would use as suffering. I'm not at all saying that is always the case and this is bound to happen and my children WILL be instruments in the process of strengthening my faith.

Lord, I don't know what You will do. I know I want to be close to You and I want not to fear. Help me to focus on my family now. Help me to keep my mind on what is important. Help me to teach my children about You and Your goodness no matter what. I want to follow You whatever the cost, teach me to trust and to move forward. Help me not to be afraid of the unknown. Thank You for the good and precious gifts that You have given us. Help us not to take them for granted for one little moment. I give it to You. I ask that You would strengthen Ben and me as parents, as husband and wife, strengthen us and grow us together in You.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pregnancy Update 23 Weeks

It's a beautiful Saturday morning! Fall is in the air and I LOVE it.

I'm now 23 weeks. In some ways it has sped by, but I realize I still have a while to go. I'm only going to get bigger from here... that's just a scary thought. I was just listening to a girl who just had a baby, saying that the night after she had her, she had the best sleep in a while. Oh yeah, waking up every hour to pee... I'm not looking forward to that.

I'm going to have to really start watching my posture. Especially when I sit. The problem is that I love my recliner! I love putting my feet up. The problem is that, it causes the baby to be positioned wrong in the womb and be more posterior (they are facing the wrong way, this makes them coming out more difficult and painful). At the same time, I'm only 23 weeks, so I probably won't have to watch it until I'm more like 30-35 weeks. Still, I have to watch out as well that I am sitting up straight, walking properly, and standing properly so I don't pop out a rib again.

I've been feeling a lot of kicks in the upper right side of my belly. It's been cool to think about him spinning around in there. I think for the most part, he is kind of sideways and head down.

The awesome part is that still, at 23 weeks I feel pretty awesome. I still have a lot of energy and we are still getting a lot accomplished. And by a lot, I mean, as much as you can with two little kids and homeschooling and discipline and part-time cloth diapering and cleaning up mess after mess.

Examples: there is a bunch of stone ground oatmeal in our dining room carpet right now because Levi has been playing with it and won't keep it in the pan. Yesterday, while the kids were waiting for me to fix their quesadillas, they swept the grated cheese onto the floor. I asked Levi who was going to sweep it up off the floor. He looked at me and said, "YOU are!" Thank you Levi, thank you for adding just one more thing to my work load.

Sometimes it's okay to just get around to the messes when I get around to it. Thankfully I have a very gracious and helpful husband. We have miraculously still been able to host people and have a somewhat presentable house. We just ignore the fact that we have no doors on our lower cabinets. :)

Levi Story:
Oh, I just have to inject here, my favorite thing that Levi does is talk about the past. He usually starts out by saying, "When I was two years old... " and he will say something completely inaccurage. Like that Aria was bigger than he was. Or how he was the size of a lima bean... I think it's his way of trying to make sense of what we say as adults and how we reference the past. I love it.




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Life with Levi

I'm taking a break from cleaning the kitchen because I just realized, both my kids are ASLEEP. It's actually possible to sit and think right now.

Naps have been becoming more rare for Levi lately. He will be four in a few months, so I'm sure he's bound to outgrow them sometime. I'm just realizing this phase of my life is going to come to an end, the phase where there will always be a nap time break in the afternoon. It's okay though because he does play independently so well, the thought of this phase used to terrify me, but now I'm beginning to see that it will be okay.

Speaking of Levi... oh so many things I want to blog about him.

Right now, I'm realizing how dramatic he can be. Usually the drama heightens as he becomes more sleep-deprived. I'm praying for patience and wisdom as to how to deal with a child who falls over on the floor and howls at the top of his lungs when he doesn't get exactly what he wants. Maybe I give him a drink in a blue cup instead of the cup with Lightning McQueen (why in the world did I buy those  cups in the first place?!) Or when I try to put him to bed, or when he wants to sleep on one of the throw pillows from the couch instead of the regular pillows people use on their beds.

He also has a tendency to ask for things and not accept "no" as an answer. It can be mind-numbing. I've begun to tell him that if he even asks for this certain thing again he will get a spanking. This often does not deter him. It's difficult because I want to give him things that he asks for. I want to appease him, just simply because I love him and I believe that's what God does for us as his children. He will give us what we ask for. Although, I'm just now recalling a scripture in James that talks about asking inside of His will. Maybe this will give me something to discuss with Levi. When he asks for something that mommy already has in her will and would be good for the family, he will get it.

I don't mean to paint such a negative picture though. This little boy... there are so many things about him that even as I sit here, I am amazed at what a blessing he is in my life. What a blessing he is in general. Ben pointed out that recently Levi has been very cuddly, especially before bedtimes. Sometimes he will just want to lay there and hug and cuddle for a few minutes. We have found that this will prevent many spankings and getting out of bed later. Poor little guy, how long did it take us to figure that one out?

He loves to include Aria in his adventures. He sets up a chair at the end of the couch "so that she won't fall" (I think really, she would just fall onto the wooden chair than the floor, I'm not sure it would help much. He helps feed her too. I was offering her a sandwich, trying to get her to take a bite, but she refused. I set it down and he picked it up and offered it to her, she opened wide! I didn't know whether to be mad or glad at this.

Every time Aria has to go to bed, he always asks for a hug and a kiss. I love these times. I am looking forward to watching their friendship grow between them. I believe these are precious building blocks that will pull them closer together. I know it won't always be this simple with them being little and everything, but I want them to just truly be friends right now.

Lord, help me to parent these kids. I'm so weak and so many times I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. Give me patience, help me to head off tantrums. Help me to realize that my children are not perfect and I am not perfect either. Give me strength Lord, I need it.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Confession

Taking a break from projecting right now. The truth is, I really just don't want to go out and paint in 97 degree weather. Maybe I'm just a wimp.

I'm about 22 and a half weeks. Pregnancy isn't something you can speed up or slow down, it just is what it is. I'm feeling pretty good these days, but wondering if I'm gaining a little more weight than I should...

I've been wanting to blog in the afternoons, honestly, just because that is when I'm always so tempted just to eat. It may be my worst time of day as far as temptation goes. I'm usually tired, I'm usually alone and usually I feel like it's "my time" to do whatever I want. Also, I am usually starving by about 3 o clock (or at least it feels like I am).

Honesty Room: I have not wanted to give this area over to the Lord lately. I've wanted to keep my eating to myself, I've enjoyed it and I have run to it as a source of comfort.

I've been reading in Ezekiel lately. I've never really read Ezekiel and didn't know much about him. I'm super duper proud of how I'm STILL on track for reading the whole Bible chronologically this year. This is the first time I've read the Bible in a year and I have to say, it is awesome. Do it. Stick with it. It's hard at times, but it's good.

So, Ezekiel is probably the most graphic prophet I've read yet. I always though Hosea was the most scandalous, but really, it's Ezekiel. He has the most visions from God, direct, crazy visions, and his prophecies are intense. Like when he was prophesying to a religious leader and the guy just dropped dead, or the analogy about Israel being found and nurtured by God, then they went and prostituted themselves out to other nations.

Anyways, this morning I was reading in chapters 31-34 and it just talked about obeying God and how these people talk like they are believers, but they do not act that way. They do not depend on God. They still sin in secret. I was so convicted in my heart that I had not been trusting in God. I had been trusting in me. I had been running to pleasures.

Lord, help me to run to You. It is so hard, and those voices of sin are so strong within me. I see how sin destroys and leaves us emptier than we were before. I pray that I would overcome. Thank You for the songs this morning that talk about how You are stronger, You break the chains of our sin, You have risen and sin is broken. Please continue to break the sins inside of me.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Balancing life, projects and homeschool

We are now in the middle of project mode. We've been working on our kitchen for at least a month now (Ben estimated that it would take about three months, I was hoping for less, we will see.) With each weekend or stint we bite off a little more. At first it was just two cabinets and over the sink, then it was seven cabinets, this weekend we are attacking all of our lower cabinets and island. It helped that my parents took the kids last night and Ben's dad came over this morning to help us paint.

I realized about a week and a half ago that I needed to choose one: working on the kitchen or exercising. On days that I exercised I was too tired or it took up too much time and energy to do any projects. I figure if I press on for a while the project will end sooner, the weather will cool down and walks will become much more a part of our lives.

Homeschooling is going well so far. We are doing lessons plans from www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com, just the preK curriculum. We never do all the lessons prescribed, but I give us a lot of grace since he's only three and a half. He is doing really well with recognizing the letters we have talked about so far "A" and "B". I will be reading along when suddenly he says, "I see an A!" and points out an "A" it's very exciting.

I never thought I would be a homeschool mom. Is that terrible? That's terrible. I swore I would never marry a homeschooler and that I would not homeschool. I mean, maybe in the back of my mind I would consider it, but never really thought I would. But really, the Lord has given me a heart for just teaching at home. I feel like right now I can do a good job with Levi and interact with him and just teach him. I like the one on one time, it's been good just for our relationship to sit down and work together. Yes, sometimes I would rather be checking my email or doing something around the house, but then I remember, this is my SON, he is not going to stay little forever.

Speaking of teaching, Aria is learning to talk. I LOVE this part. It's like you put something into their little brains like, "house" or "cheese" or if you really want a laugh "hippopotamus" then you get to see what comes out. Sometimes it sounds vaguely similar, sometimes it's not close at all. I love it. I usually laugh and tell her she does a good job. However, it's important for me to be able to understand my children. It's also important to me that OTHERS understand my children. (I want to know all of the cute things they are trying to communicate.) So sometimes when Aria does pronounce a word completely wrong, I try to correct her.

My method of correcting speech is this: I smile and tell her she did a good job, then I get down on her level, look at her and we pronounce whatever consonant she was trying to say. If it was "play" I will just sit and say the "P" sound. If she stays interested, we will move on to the L sound and so forth. More than anything, I want her to see my mouth moving and experience what it is doing. I want her to see the difference between a "D" and a "T". This is just my method. I did it with Levi and I have gotten a lot of compliments about how well he speaks. I am quite proud. Although, it did take him a long time to say his L's (which he can say quite well now) and he still has trouble with the word "air conditioner" :)

All in all, I feel like I'm slowly learning that if one area is going to get focused on, another area has to give. My house will not be immaculate, especially during projects. If I spend a lot of time on facebook, I probably won't get what I need to get done. It's all kind of a balancing act. There's no such thing as the perfect mom, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep trying to focus on what needs focus at that point.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This Happened Today

Sometimes I feel like life is just putting one foot in front of the other.

Today we did not do school. Yes, I posted on instagram with Levi doing some school, but that was from earlier this week. Pretty much everything I do is a latergram. I can't instagram with kids pulling at my clothes, it just doesn't work.

I woke up with grandiose ideas that we would get ready for the day, go for a walk, do a bit of school, and then my mother in law would come pick up the kids by 9:30 and I would head off to the Crisis Pregnancy Center for my weekly few hours of volunteering. Let me just say that we only really just got ready for the day.

What happened? Aria did spill her milk and cereal all over the floor. Thankfully Ben wiped it up since I was still in the shower. I have a very gracious husband.
Levi helped me sweep up our bathtub that had a potted plant fall and break in it (a few days ago).
We all got dressed after negotiating outfits (Levi wanted to wear the shirt he wore yesterday, but it was dirty), running from mommy while she's trying to take off your clothes (thank you Aria), and crying about having our hair combed (yes, there were also spankings involved for running away).

I had to put Aria in her crib several times for disobeying. She has recently discovered how to climb up on the corner of our bathtub and turn on the sink. If I ever can't find her, she will be there, with her chubby little hand feeling the water run through her little fingers. I wish I could let her do this, but it's a terrible waste and I want to teach my children to conserve. She always throws a fit as I take her down. I usually give her a little spank on the bottom and tell her no. We look at the sink and point and say, "No, no!" but immediately when I put her down she goes for it again. This is usually when I opt for her crib.

I keep asking myself, "Why am I so tired?"

The kids really are the most fun people in the world though. As long as we don't have to be anywhere and don't have to get dressed or keep anything clean. My favorite thing is to stop and read to them in our big green arm chair. Levi usually sits on the right armrest (he refuses the left side and I have no idea why) and Aria varies between the left armrest and my lap. We read Mother Goose and I do little hand motions with the poems that I remember learning when I grew up. They especially love the last page with the Three Little Pigs. I start with Levi's feet and then Aria holds up her little foot to be "piggy-ed"I feel like it's good for them to hear rhymes and silly little stories because it gives them a familiarity with sounds and rhythms. Levi's main book these past few weeks has been "Make Way For Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey. I've probably read it no less than 40 times. He corrects me if I get a word wrong. It's such a sweet story and the pictures are so good, I don't even mind that I almost have it memorized.

Lord, help me to look for the positives. Help my goals not to be too big or too small. Help me not to expect too much or too little from my kids. Thank You for their amazing personalities, for Aria and her determination. I pray that it would be used for You, that she would be determined to seek You. Give us wisdom in loving our kids and allowing them to become who they need to be. Give me strength to overcome my anger. Give me strength to put one foot in front of the other. Help me not to run to food or technology for comfort. I feel myself being tempted in those areas. Help me to run to You. Thank You that You are my sustainer.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thoughts on Motherhood

My days are filled with little feet and little hands.

Little feet pattering into my room in the morning, running up and down the hallway all day. Hands that get into everything, make spills, make messes, get out toys and other things they are not supposed to be touching.

Little hands always reaching up to be held. Little arms wanting to hug me when I'm sitting on the floor and overwhelmed.

Dozens of little outfits needing to be laundered. Little cups and dishes waiting to be washed. There isn't enough time in the day.

Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to move through molasses. Some days it feels like nothing really gets done.

Life as a stay at home mom is hard. I don't mean to complain, I don't want to complain, I'm doing  what I believe is a valuable thing that the Lord has called me to do. I don't want to sit and rant about how every day is the same and how I'm always cleaning up something or wiping someone's bottom or fixing someone's breakfast, lunch or dinner, or snack. I don't want to complain.

But it is hard. It's demanding and it doesn't really stop. Except when they blessedly fall asleep.

Getting the child to sleep is another story though. It takes all I have to get them to bed some days. It also takes all I have to keep them in bed. Aria is easy, I put a new diaper on her, put on her jammies, we say good night to daddy and she is in bed. Levi is another story completely. He requires help with his pull up, his pajamas, brushing his teeth, coaxing and eventually threatening punishment if he doesn't at least try to go to the bathroom. We read books, there's always an argument on how many. I say two he says five, we usually end up with three. Then there are songs and scratching his back and then I pray and then he always needs and kiss and a hug or two or three. It's like I feel like I'm conditioning him into sleep. If we skip any of these long, detailed steps we have to go back or there is major whining or crying and eventually spanking because we are not going to stand for that. I have to say it is so hard though. And then when he gets out of his bed, it's hard not to get angry and say, "I did all these things and all these steps, you have to stay in bed now!"

I really did this to myself though. Somewhere along the line we started to do more than one song, then we started to read more than one book. I kept giving and he kept taking. That's probably why Aria's bedtime is so simple, because that's all I gave her. We don't read books at night, just during the day. I sing one song and she usually doesn't care whether or not I finish either. When she was younger I would often walk out in the middle of it, just start the song and lay her down and walk away. Oh, if only I could go back. But I also have to keep in mind that she is a different child than Levi and we wouldn't be guaranteed the same thing anyways.

I struggle with anger. I struggle with depression. I struggle with significance, maybe that's why the internet and social media are so appealing at times... it's a way to feel significant (not that it's always the case).

What I must say, is that it's also a great joy. To get to see my kids grow and change every day, to get to know the intricacies of their personalities and desires. I get to know them better than anyone else on the planet. I get to be the one to kiss their ouchies, I get to celebrate their victories and encourage them. I get to sit in our big green chair and read them story after story, I get to watch them play and jump on the couch. I get to see them run up and down the hall as they eat their snacks. They make me laugh if I stop taking life so seriously.

Lord, help me to treasure these moments. Help me not to waste this.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pregnancy Update. 20 weeks.

Ah, the computer is so dangerous to pick up sometimes. I feel I could get lost in blogs, social media, food websites... forever. This is why I try not to pick it up too early in the day. I felt like I was needing to blog this morning though. I felt a few little flutters from Baby Boy inside and just thought, I need to blog about this for a minute.

Confession: I ate a lot of sugar yesterday afternoon. I think my blood sugar drops pretty low sometimes and then I try to spike it up again. Let's just say it's never a good idea to have marshmallows and chocolate chips as a snack. Never. I just didn't want to stop. I was about to say "couldn't" but I feel like it was more of a decision of my will and not caring. I usually care a few hours or a few days later.

Lord, help me to eat right and to glorify You. I want to be healthy for this baby. Sometimes I feel like I could eat a horse. Sometimes I'm exhausted or depressed and it just feels like food will fill it. It never fills that void, it only ever fills my stomach. Teach me to eat Father, You created my body, You invented pregnancy and all of it's intricacies and miracles, so Lord, Holy Spirit, please lead me. I need You. I'm helpless on my own.


Whew. It's good to just confess sometimes.

So I have been feeling tiny kicks and wiggles for the past few weeks. I have no idea when this started, I know some women keep track of all that stuff, and really, I have no idea. I also don't really care. I know that he is in there. I know he is a HE. That always makes a big difference in my mind. Now we can begin to think of names, now I can begin to dream of what kind of a place this baby will have in our family. In my mind it just helps. Kudos to the women who can wait nine long months to find that out, I don't think I can right now.

A friend recently was talking to me about how she's been learning that competition and comparison kill community. The thing about pregnancy is that people compare and contrast you all the time. "Oh wow, you're really skinny in comparison to my sister in law, she's huge." Or someone might say, "Are you sure there's just one in there?" It's like a whole new level of comparison. I have several friends right now who are about a month ahead of me. Of course they are bigger. Of course they make me look small. You wouldn't think that four weeks would make that much of a difference, but it does sometimes. We all grow at different rates and honestly, it doesn't matter who gains how much or who is tiny or huge or any of that stuff. When we compare it keeps us from rejoicing with each other over just being pregnant at all. There is always a winner or a loser when it comes to comparison. We look at the units instead of the person.

Lord, I want to just rejoice with my friends. I want to love them and be excited for them. I know soon we will all have our babies in our arms and then we will compare them. Lord, I want to just rejoice with those who rejoice and be glad and thankful for what You are doing in their lives and in mine. Help me to love. Help me to always seek the good. I pray that I would not judge, I would just leave that stuff up to You.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Pregnancy Update

I had a friend ask for an update... and of course I love to oblige.


Why not start out with a video?

video
Yes, we are so excited about this next little one. 

Honestly, this has been the best pregnancy yet. Yes, it was a difficult first trimester with Ben being incapacitated with his ruptured achilles, but in some ways that turned out to be a good thing. It kept me from being lazy and just sitting on the couch or moping around the house. I HAD to get up, I HAD to just tough it out and that was good for me.

I feel like I've grown a lot. My capacity for getting things done has grown. When we first moved into our house four years ago I didn't want to do anything to it, now I can't stop thinking about painting rooms and sprucing it up. We are slowly but surely working on our kitchen right now. Painting cabinets, doors, trim, ripping off wallpaper, sanding everything... it's a big job, but I feel really proud of how we've been able to do it. We are working hard and accomplishing much. Ben definitely works harder when he has someone working with him, and I just keep thinking, I can't put this off because before I know it, I won't be able to move and then I'll have a newborn... It's like I've realized that NOW is the time.

I have tons of energy. Yes, I do drink a small afternoon coffee to help me power through. I figure if I space it out enough, the baby will be okay. I also have one in the morning. It's so tempting to find the biggest stinkin' mug in the cabinet and fill that up, but I've found it's much better to find a medium/smaller one and just pace myself.

My last appointment I had gained about 4 pounds, that was pretty good considering I hadn't gained any the last visit and so it was a total of 4 pounds for those first 18 weeks. I can't all of the sudden think that I can just eat anything I want though. I tend to do that if I'm "doing good" I think, "well, of course I can have this ice cream bar, I haven't hardly gained any weight hardly at all." I remember thinking with Aria that I hadn't even gotten to my starting weight that I had been at with Levi and somehow thinking that was some kind of allowance and I could eat anything I wanted. I need to keep reminding myself: it will be easier to keep from putting it on, than it will be taking it off.

So, there is my pregnancy update. I can't believe I will be twenty weeks on Thursday. I'm so thankful this pregnancy has gone by so much quicker. I can't wait to meet our precious new little boy. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Aria Stories

I just wanted to do a quick update on here. Who blogs on a Friday night when all the cool kids are out having a good time? I do. Earlier this evening I was working on our kitchen cabinets and before that I was dominating Dominion (it's a strategy card game) with my husband and father-in-law. Yes, I'm part of the dorky club. I'm totally fine with that.


We get to find out the gender of baby #3 tomorrow! I'm hoping to post a video, although I'm fasting from social media right now... maybe I'll have Ben post it. I don't know.

Obviously, I'm not fasting from blogging.

Our evening entertainment usually consists of watching the kids jump from the coffee table to the couch. I know this will eventually ruin the couches, but I'm kind of okay with that. So far, they haven't hurt themselves too badly. Another thing they like to do is stand on the armrest of the couch and fall onto the cushions. Aria is training early for the olympic gymnastics division. She loves it.

She really just loves anything physical. If you are laying on the ground, you are fair game as far as she's concerned. She will come up and tackle you and crawl across you. She will then grab your face and squeeze as hard as she can. She may punch you in the throat or hit you in the face, but it's all in love. Punching is her love language. I'm hoping she will grow out of that one.

She also loves to kiss and hug though. She's definitely the one who will sit in your lap and contentedly suck her thumb. The only time Levi cuddled was when he was sick. We were at the dentists office and while I was getting my teeth cleaned, she sat on my lap and just sucked her thumb, or she would lay on my chest and just cuddle. I love it. Also, a good way to distract her when she's upset is to ask her to give you as kiss. She goes from crying to puckering up in about 2 seconds. It's nice how easily kids at this age get distracted. I love to think of her mind as a little white board that just gets erased as soon as she sees something else of interest.

It's amazing to see her little personality come out more and more. She is determined. And independent. She doesn't care what others think, she will go about her business and you can join her if you want. Today I watched her go down the slide at the playground at least twenty times. I love seeing her little blond head twirl down the slide, and then around she goes again to climb the steps to slide again.

She's a 19 month old bundle of joy and love. Always changing, always growing. I'm so thankful for this precious little girl.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Bunch Of Updates.

I don't really feel like blogging right now, but I was just now wasting a bunch of time of Facebook, you know when you just scroll through the feed completely mindlessly? So, it's probably better to just blog.

Pregnancy Update: I've been feeling close to awesome. It's bad because I tend to think I'm invincible and tonight I ate after Aria who has been getting over a cold. We will see how invincible I am. Yikes. The only thing is the hunger. It's like clockwork, basically. We got out of church this morning and started to talk about lunch, I was like, I'm not really hungry, those whole wheat pancakes really stuck with me today. About ten minutes later I felt like I could eat a horse. I'm trying to be really conscious of what I'm putting in my mouth, but it's hard when you feel like you are about to die of starvation.

Levi Story: His new favorite bedtime song is Come Thou Fount, today he totally sang almost the whole first verse with me. I'm pretty sure he has no idea what the lyrics are actually saying, but it's super cute. Also, each evening and nap we read a chapter from the Jesus Story Book Bible and a Clifford book we got from the library. So each night it's Jesus and Clifford. Yep. Jesus and Clifford.

Aria Story: (which one do I tell?)  Today she took the stool from the bathroom, carried it into the living room and set it on the coffee table. She then proceeded to climb on the table and then onto the stool. Let's just say she likes to walk on the wild side. She also loves wrestling and playing with Levi, until he gets a little too rough, then she lets loose her blood-curdling scream. Gotta keep that one in the back pocket.

Ben is off his "crunches" (as Levi calls them) and knee cart. Every so often Levi looks up at him and says, "I'm really sorry about your achilles dad." He's a thoughtful little kid.

We are in the midst of re-doing the kitchen. For some reason the Lord has given me a love for sanding and tearing down wallpaper lately. Ben is the resident painter. My prayer is that we will keep our momentum going. It's fun to see the progress and exciting to think of what it will look like in the end.

God Is Teaching Me: That I'm not a perfect parent. And that's okay. I realized the other day that even though I don't want to and I know it's wrong, that I base my worth so often on what my kids do. Sometimes they are angelic and sometimes they are demonic. I feel maybe the most judged in my parenting. It's not that I have had people talk to me about it, but maybe it's that I've been the one to judge. Maybe it's that I feel eyes on me when I'm out and about. Maybe it's that I don't have complete control over my children. You can never truly have complete control over them unless you harness them or put them in a straight jacket. Seriously, they will always have a desire to do what they want to do.

Lord, help me to rely on You. I do things that break Your heart all the time. I speak in ways that I should not, I disobey, I rely on myself. I need You. Help me to release control to You. Give me strength to discipline not out of anger, or feeling frustrated, but to discipline because my child needs it. Help me not to worry about the opinions of others, but to be respectful and teach my children to be kind and considerate. I need You.