Friday, April 19, 2013

My weakness, His strength

Okay, so I have never wanted a tattoo before. Never. I hate needles. I never really wanted anything permanent like that, my grandpa would show me his tattoo and tell me never to get one because it's there for the rest of your life. My parents discouraged them... whatever.

I want to get a tattoo.

There you go, I said it.

I'm going to admit to a little bit of peer pressure on this, just to be fair. Several of my friends including Debbie and Katie (shout out) have talked about the awesomeness of tattoos. Thank you friends, you are who you hang out with and I'm grateful for these ladies and many more who have had influence over me. I'm also thankful that they love Jesus as much as I do. :)

Lately I've been struggling. Mainly with depression and out of that has stemmed struggles with food and the desire to eat my feelings. Last week... I think it was Wednesday... was a bad week. It started out with a draining weekend that led to an exhausted Monday. Have you ever had those weeks where it had only just begun and you were ready to quit? I HATE those weeks. I called Ben and told him about everything that the kids had done and how hard my life was and how difficult it is to stay at home in this craziness. He was exhausted too, so he had nothing to give me.

I was struggling with anger. Anger that I was in this situation and anger that I could hardly communicate with the outside world because every time I would pick up my phone my kids would grab at me or suddenly need my full attention or just want to hold this precious electronic device. I just wanted to send my friend a text or make a phone call.

It felt like I was moving through molasses.

On Wednesday afternoon my kids woke up early. I hadn't gotten any housework done, dinner was far from prepared, I had squandered my time on Facebook, it was cloudy and threatening to rain all day... sometimes I just want to yell at the sky to just get it over with, please just rain and get it over with.

That afternoon as my children were whining and needing me at every turn I had thoughts of, "I just want to die." Thoughts of "I hate my life." At one point Levi needed a bandaid because he found my haircutting scissors and cut his fingernail so short that it was almost bleeding. I remember sitting in the hallway putting on his bandaid with Aria looking on. I looked into their little faces and thought, "I have the most precious, beautiful gifts and here, I'm struggling with hating my life? This is ridiculous."

When Ben came home I told him about all my thoughts swirling around. Through tears I told him I was sorry I didn't get the laundry done and the house was a mess and that we were heating up leftovers for dinner. He just looked at me and said, "Jody, it's okay. It's okay that those things didn't get done. The kids are still alive and taken care of and that's all that matters."

That night I went to worship team practice. I was so thankful to have that outlet to go be with adults and play music for a few hours. I confessed my struggle to them and asked for prayer. My friend Barb prayed and it was just a sweet time of crying out to God, we were all crying by the end of it.

That evening something broke inside of me. I realized that life is not about me and my wants and my needs, it's about looking to the Lord and taking joy in Him.

I've started to realize that "the joy of the Lord is my strength." When I am drained and tired and things are not going how I want them to go, it's not about how I'm feeling, it's about taking joy in the Lord. It's about looking to Him and declaring that God is good and loving my kids in that place. I don't have the strength to love them, but He has strength to give me.

I want to tattoo "the joy of the Lord is my strength" Nehemiah 8:10 on my arm. I keep writing it on there and thinking, I need some kind of indelible ink or something. Will I get this tattoo? I don't know honestly, Ben and I are still talking about it. But I think more than anything I want a reminder of how good God is, even in my weakest times.

If you have any advice or comments about me getting this tattoo, do they hurt? are they expensive? would I regret it? Feel free to give me any kind of advice. I reserve the right to reject it :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Gory Story

Hello blog, it's good to see you again. 

What I really want to do right now is eat my kitchen's worth of food. Why do I want to do that? I have no idea, other than I am tired and there's been a considerable amount of stress today. I hate being stressed out over things I have no control over. So right now I'm just going to let go.

This is totally a side note, but I kind of want to make a top ten reasons why moms struggle with weight list. That sounds totally dumb, but I was filling up the van with gas and that idea came to me. It felt brilliant in the moment. I feel like one of those reasons is because we live in our kitchens and therefore are forced to look in our pantries like 20 times a day. Also, if a child hasn't cleaned their plate it always makes sense for you to clean it for them so they can just get up and play. Besides, children are starving in Africa. ... just a thought. 

So, I just wanted to record what happened last night. It was traumatic, and who doesn't need another traumatic story every now and then. Come to think of it, I think the last story I posted was about puke. Well, this one is about blood. 

I'm going to give you fair warning here, if blood and things like that make you queasy, you should just close this page RIGHT NOW. 

Poor Aria. If it's not one thing, it's another. Ear infection, throwing up, allergic reaction and on top of all that I think she's cutting teeth. Last night she kept waking up every thirty minutes after we put her down. She would just cry out like she was in pain and then go back to sleep. So, I got her up and nursed her to help comfort, she played and I put her back down. This might have happened two more times when finally it occurred to me that she might be teething. So, I gave her some ibuprofen. It was ten pm, Ben and I were starting to get ready for bed. She was up toddling around. I wanted to wait another 15 minutes to let it kick in before I laid her down again. 

I was on the bed and Ben playfully picked her up and tossed her (gently) on the bed. I told him no rough housing and getting her amped up before bed, so he went back to the bathroom. I was being all lazy and lying on the bed, watching her. Did I mention I had just taken an Ambien? I thought, no biggie, I'll put her down in a minute. In that moment on the bed, she moved toward the foot and stood up. Since it was so late, she was unsteady on her feet, she immediately fell face/mouth first into our foot board. In that moment, a less than ideal word came out of my mouth. I picked her up and immediately blood was pouring out of her mouth. I rushed her in and held her over the sink, Ben started yelling, "What's going on?" and I frantically explained my negligent parenting. Not failing, however, to mention that he had been the one to put her on the bed, so it was his fault too. (I apologized for blaming him later as we were finally getting into bed) He yelled, "Do something to stop the bleeding!" I got the idea that it would be a lot better if I just got in the bathtub with her, blood was literally spewing out of her mouth. It was like something out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I'm talking about spraying. We kept putting clean washrags on her, we had to keep her from leaning back and it all gushing down her throat and the whole time she is screaming. She was totally traumatized. 

Oh my goodness, it must have been a major artery. I hadn't seen that much blood since I gave birth. Eventually the bleeding slowed, but we couldn't keep her from messing with her wound and reopening it. Finally, I just started nursing her. It worked. She stopped screaming and she stopped messing with the wound. God did some kind of miracle though, or maybe it was adrenaline, but I did not feel affected by my Ambien at all during that time. It took an hour, but I finally nursed her to sleep (which I never do any more). Also, she ended up waking two more times that night, so I went in and nursed her back to sleep both of those times. I was afraid she would try to suck her thumb and reopen the wound yet again. So, needless to say, I'm a little bit tired today. Maybe that's why I feel stressed out today. 

There is still dried blood in our tub, I'm just too tired to clean it, and it can wait. Deep Sigh. I will not be stressed out. 

This phrase keeps coming to mind: The joy of the Lord is my strength. 

Lord, please let your joy be my strength today. Let me rest in You. Let me praise You even in the hardest, most difficult times. Thank You for giving us peace in the midst of the craziness last night. Thank You for Your strength today. I will rejoice in my weaknesses, for when I am weak, You are strong. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Struggle

Sometimes I just don't want to blog. This is one of those times.

How do I process all these thoughts and why in the world am I posting them? I think it's just to get it out. You know when something is just eating you up inside and if you would just confess it, it won't bother you any more? This is one of those times.

Lately I've just been wanting to eat as much sugar as possible. I was doing so good for a while there, eating lots of whole foods, raw fruits and vegetables, cutting back on sugar and meat, just doing good. I was feeling good too, which [should be] the reason why I would eat healthfully. It's not to be skinny... it's not to be skinny... I don't want to be skinny (I keep saying that to myself, hoping it will sink down into my spirit, how I've been lied to all my life). Why is it that our culture glorifies the skinniest? Why is it that when I look at my perfectly healthy self that I am upset over my belly or my arms or something else that might not be perfectly toned or tiny? I'm saying this, because I am currently struggling with it. Maybe it's the warmer temperatures and not being able to cover up as much, suddenly I'm seeing everything I could be less than pleased with.

I was stupid the other day and stepped on a scale. Maybe I would be feeling this way even if I hadn't stepped on it. The thing about the scale though is even if you are "winning" you will see the lower number and think, hey, I've been doing pretty good, I could kind of loosen up a bit. Then it becomes this whole mental battle of, well, maybe I could eat this now or what about this, when really, I don't even need to be wasting my mental energy thinking about that right now. It doesn't matter how many pounds I weigh. It doesn't matter. What matters is if I'm a good mom or a good wife. It matters if I'm a good friend. It matters if I am spending time in prayer for others or thinking about how I can improve my home or reading the Word of God... those are the things that matter. Not a number on a scale. That makes no difference.

Lately I haven't cared about eating for energy, it's just been on the basis of, do I deserve this emotionally?

Lord, bring me back. I have been going to food for comfort. When I get tired I haven't been asking You for strength, I've been daydreaming about chocolate kisses. I've been indulging in lesser things. I am sorry, I was wrong. Help me, I can't do this on my own. I'm too obsessed with how I look and what others think of me. I want to honor You in my eating. I want to honor You in my life. Help me to honor You even when I don't feel like it. Right now I just don't feel like it, but help me not to be led by my feelings.

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Letters to Littles

Aria Dawn is 15 months today. So, why not write her a letter?

Dear Aria,

Oh my what a mover you are! Today I watched you quietly toddle all around the playground. Levi was running around with his friend and you would follow at times and other times you would wander through the grass. I think you can be pretty independent, but like me, you like to get in on the action sometimes.

You are a hugger. I'll be walking around the house, picking things up, carrying laundry, making the beds and you will walk into the room, squeal and grab my legs. I finally realized that you just wanted a hug. We hugged for a minute and then you moved on. It was like you just needed a fix, so you found me. I love it. You are also good at sitting quietly in laps, especially your daddy's. I love seeing you, just sitting in his lap with your thumb in your mouth. It's as though you always belonged there. Now, sometimes you don't want to be held and you are good at lifting your arms and squirming out, but most of the time you are pretty content to sit.

I have to watch out whenever I lay down on the floor. As soon as you see me laying there you squeal with delight and run towards me. You fall on me with your soft, round belly. It's like a sweet little girl tackle. I kind of love it.

I'm amazed at how loud you scream sometimes. We're trying to discourage it right now, but for some reason, I think you will be quite the singer someday. :)

You love your Levi. He calls you "My Aria Baby" and looks out for you when it's convenient. This morning he accidentally hurt you. You were crying and upset, but as soon as he tenderly hugged you, you calmed down. It was like that was all you needed, just a hug and it was all better. I'm thankful sometimes that your memory is so short.

You're getting pickier with your food choices. You've started spitting food out and we've had to sternly tell you "no." It's difficult because you are so hurt by our stern words that we have to comfort you afterwards. I am learning that you are very sensitive. I'm sure later that will work for the better. I pray that you will be sensitive to the Spirit of God and His leanings in your heart.

Every time we go shopping you want to get down from the cart and on days that we are not hurrying I will let you walk alongside. People stop and say, "Look at that cute little baby toddling!" Just so you know, you are a cutie. In my heart I'm bursting with pride. I'm also very impressed that most of the time when I say not to touch something you obey. I'm not sure if you are just an obedient little girl or if you just haven't figured out that you could disobey. We will see.

My Aria, you are sweet, you are tender. You are lovely. You have a gracefulness about you that surprises me sometimes, I think it's the way you hold your hands, or your perfect posture, I don't know, someone said they could picture you being a ballerina someday. I could picture it too. Thank you for showing me the beauty of God. Every time I look at you I'm amazed. Your eyes and your big, juicy cheeks and your dimple on your chin that is so uniquely yours. I just want to sit here and cry thinking about how specifically God made you. I look forward to the years ahead of watching you grow.

You are my precious girl.



Friday, April 5, 2013

Sharing a Room (part 2)

I didn't want to blog at all about this at first because I didn't want to jinx it. If you want to mess up anything: babies sleeping through the night, good behavior with kids, success in potty training, anything at all, just post about it on facebook or blog about it.

It's your kids supernatural way of humbling you and proving once again that you are NOT in control of your universe.

Levi (age 3.5) and Aria (15 months) have been sharing a room for maybe a few months now. I'm specific about their ages because I think that's a big deal when it comes to kids and sleep. I feel like any child under the age of 18 months, sleep is still a little dicey. So we did it a little soon, but we kind of knew that.

At this stage Aria always goes down first. If we put them in bed at the same time she usually laughs and squeals too much for them to go to sleep. A few nights we have just let them to go sleep like that, but haven't let them do it... as I write I wonder if it would be okay to let them go down at the same time.

Some get-by parenting:
I lay with the kids a lot. Now at nap times I lay with Levi because when I would put him to bed he would usually wake Aria up from her nap as soon as I left the room. We had spankings several times for this but he didn't seem to remember. So, for now I'm laying with him for 15-20 mins until he falls asleep.
Also, the other morning they woke up at 5. Ben woke me up and told me they were making noises, so I went into the room and Levi had the light on. They were squealing and laughing. I started laying down the law in there real quick. "It's not time to get up yet" and all that kind of stuff. I laid down in bed with Levi and told Aria to lay down and be quiet. I was shocked when she obeyed. She did this the other night as well. They weren't going to sleep and she had been crying. Levi was yelling at her to be quiet and so I went in, laid in Levi's bed with him and told her to be quiet and lay down. I shushed every time she started to make a noise and eventually she went to sleep.

(Rabbit trail)
It still surprises me when I see that she can understand what I'm saying to her. It's like she's moving from being just a baby to a toddler. It's just as shocking (and angering) when she rebels. Oh my, when I tell her to come and she looks at me with that little look that says, "mommy, I understand you and I don't want to do what you are asking." Oh my ... this is quite shocking.

I know from experience that this is only the tip of the iceberg and I am not looking forward to the months ahead where she will become more disobedient. Lord, help me to be diligent in my parenting. Help me to be on top of things and consistent. Jesus, give me strength.

(Back on the path)
So far I'm glad that we have them in the same room. I think the bond between them in thickening and I am thankful that they are sharing. We still have to figure out the nap times. I'm thinking about getting a clock that changes color when they can get out of bed, it's called a Tot Clock I'm just putting if off because of the price though... It might be worth it.

So, yeah, I definitely recommend putting kids in the same room. It's challenging at times (for sure!) but I think it's teaching them to sleep through stuff better with noises in the room and just giving them that connection.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

This Happened Today

Ah, a moment of peace.

Last night Aria threw up. A lot. Some on me. There were about 6 separate instances that we counted. Don't get any ideas like we were up all night, this all happened within maybe an hour and a half. But we did end up changing her sheets a few times, went through several sets of clothing and by her last two times of puking I was able to hold her over the toilet and not get any on her or me.

I'm sure you really wanted to know all that. I'm so sorry.

This is what life is as a mom. These are your badges of honor, your initiation into being a hardcore mama. I am thankful I have such a strong stomach because honestly, it's pretty tough to comfort a little baby who smells like vomit. But she needed it. So I did it. It's just what you do.

Okay, enough of that. We were able to sleep the rest of the way through the night and the kids didn't wake up until 7 or so.

I haven't had a shower yet today. In theory, I'd love to have a shower, but honestly I'm just too tired. Also, I have better things to do like fold mountains of laundry and do yoga and blog... of course. Also, if you don't shower it makes you feel that much more hardcore. I finally got around to brushing my teeth around noon.

More than anything, the kids have just been needy today. Levi kept asking me to go outside and play baseball with him and Aria just kept crying at my feet. She has a tendency to grab my shirt of pants and just hang. We've got to stop this habit Aria, it's not helping the state of my wardrobe.

We did things like vacuum up the dried peas all over the floor from Levi's play construction. I refolded the laundry on the couch a couple of times (note to self: do not fold laundry on the couch, it will be thrown across the room). We made out homemade laundry soap. I rinsed all the clothes and sheets that were messed up last night, you know, just to get the chunks out. (Again, I'm sorry, I've become so immune to these things, it's only really funny to me now... and like I said, a badge of honor). We read some books. We went outside. We took more baths. We are lunch and finally the kids are asleep. Who knows how long this will last, but I will be thankful for any kind of peace.

This is the kind of day that is just hard... and long.

Lord, help me to know that these days, even though they feel long, are passing quickly by. I pray that I would be humble in heart as I walk with You and teach my children and just love on them in general. Thank You that You are near.