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.


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.